Monday, July 31, 2017

The General Epistle of the Apostle James Chapter 4:1-5

1 From whence are wars and contentions among you? are they not hence, even of your pleasures, that fight in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye envy, and desire immoderately, and cannot obtain: ye fight, and war, and get nothing, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye might lay the same on your pleasures.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the amity of the world is the enmity of God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, maketh himself the enemy of God.
5 Do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us, lusteth after envy?

Editor's thoughts
Verses 1-4 - Friends, in our carnal minds we wish for many things. Not only wish for but likewise, lust for them. This should not be so. We are reminded here of the words of the minor prophet, Haggai Chapter 1:1-8; 
2 Thus speaketh HaShem of hosts, saying: This people say: The time is not come, the time that HaShem's house should be built. 3 Then came the word of HaShem by Haggai the prophet, saying: 4 'Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your cieled houses, while this house lieth waste? 5 Now therefore thus saith HaShem of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 Ye have sown much, and brought in little, ye eat, but ye have not enough, ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink, ye clothe you, but there is
none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages for a bag with holes 7 Thus saith HaShem of hosts: Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the hill-country, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith HaShem.

Brethren, we place our lusts before our needs too many times. ( I am talking to me here as well), and we seek the Lord in prayer, yet, too often we ask amiss. Our prayers are not consistent with God's word. This is not just a problem for us as individuals, but also as a nation. Read Hosea Chapter 4:1-13 and Amos Chapter 4:12. Therefore, brethren, seek God first, seek His wisdom and guidance in all things. In all prayers and supplications make it known that you seek His ways to help and guide you through life.

Verse 5 - Deuteronomy 4:24 says:

For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, and a jealous God.

"To his enemies; his wrath is like fire to burn up and destroy all that oppose him and break his commands, and especially idolaters; whose sin of all others is the most provoking to him, since it strikes at his being, his honour and glory; wherefore it follows: even a jealous God; who is jealous of his honour in matters of worship, and will not suffer his glory to be given to another, nor his praise to graven images, without resenting it or punishing for it." - John Gill

"And should, therefore, be served truly, that there be no halting; and totally, that there be no halving. (See also Hebrews 12:28-29) - John Trapp

Sunday, July 30, 2017

On Prayer

by E.M. Bounds

Edited & Prefaced

by R.P. Woitowitz Sr.



Pray is our direct line to God. If I might be allowed a modern analogy, prayer is the first cell phone ever created. With it, we can go boldly into the throne room (See Hebrews 4;16:), into the holy of holies (Hebrews 10:19-20), for the veil is now torn asunder(See Mark 15:38), and commune directly with our Creator. - R.P. Woitowitz Sr.

Prayer should be the breath of our breathing, the thought of our thinking, the soul of our feeling, and the life of our living, the sound of our hearing, the growth of our growing. Prayer in its magnitude is length without end, width without bounds, height without top, and depth without bottom. Illimitable in its breadth, exhaustless in height, fathomless in depths and infinite in extension.” - Homer W.Hodge.

The ministry of prayer has been the peculiar distinction of all of God’s saints. This has been the secret of their power. The energy and the soul of their work has been the closet. The need of help outside of man being so great, man’s natural inability to always judge kindly, justly, and truly, and to act the Golden Rule, so prayer is enjoined by Christ to enable man to act in all these things according to the Divine will. By prayer, the ability is secured to feel the law of love, to speak according to the law of love, and to do everything in harmony with the law of love.

God can help us. God is a Father. We need God’s good things to help us to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God. (See Micah 6:8; Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13) We need Divine aid to act brotherly, wisely, and nobly, and to judge truly, and charitably. God’s help to do all these things in God’s way is secured by prayer. “Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (See Matthew 21:43)

In the marvellous output of Christian graces and duties, the result of giving ourselves wholly to God, recorded in the twelfth chapter of Romans, we have the words, “Continuing instant in prayer,” preceded by “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation,” followed by, “Distributing to the necessity of the saints, given to hospitality.” Paul thus writes as if these rich and rare graces and unselfish duties, so sweet, bright, generous, and unselfish, had for their center and source the ability to pray.

This is the same word which is used of the prayer of the disciples which ushered in Pentecost with all of its rich and glorious blessings of the Holy Spirit. In Colossians, Paul presses the word into the service of prayer again, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” The word in its background and root means strong, the ability to stay, and persevere steadfast, to hold fast and firm, to give constant attention to. In Acts, chapter six, it is translated, “Give ourselves continually to prayer.” There is in it constancy, courage, unfainting perseverance. It means giving such marked attention to, and such deep concern to a thing, as will make it conspicuous and controlling. This is an advance in demand on “continue.” Prayer is to be incessant, without intermission, assiduously, no check in desire, in spirit or in act, the spirit and the life always in the attitude of prayer. The knees may not always be bended, the lips may not always be vocal with words of prayer, but the spirit is always in the act and intercourse of prayer. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

There ought to be no adjustment of life or spirit for closet hours. The closet spirit should sweetly rule and adjust all times and occasions. Our activities and work should be performed in the same spirit which makes our devotion and which makes our closet time sacred. Without intermission, incessantly, assiduously, describes an opulence, and energy, and unabated and ceaseless strength and fulness of effort; like the full and exhaustless and spontaneous flow of an artesian stream. Touch the man of God who thus understands prayer, at any point, at any time, and a full current of prayer is seen flowing from him.

But all these untold benefits, of which the Holy Spirit is made to us the conveyor, go back in their disposition and results to prayer. Not on a little process and a mere performance of prayer is the coming of the Holy Spirit and of His great grace conditioned, but on prayer set on fire, by an unquenchable desire, with such a sense of need as cannot be denied, with a fixed determination which will not let go, and which will never faint till it wins the greatest good and gets the best and last blessing God has in store for us.

Christ, Jesus, our Great High Priest (See Hebrews 4:14-16), forever blessed and adored be His Name, was a gracious Comforter, a faithful Guide, a gifted Teacher, a fearless Advocate(See 1 John 2:1-2), a devoted Friend, and an all powerful Intercessor(See Isaiah 59:16; Romans 8:26, 34). The other, “another Comforter,” the Holy Spirit, comes into all these blessed relations of fellowship, authority and aid, with all the tenderness, sweetness, fulness and efficiency of the Christ. (See John 14:16, 26; 15:26, 16:7)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The General Epistle of James the Apostle Chapter 3:1-12

1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
2 For in many things we sin all. If any man sin not in word, he is a perfect man, and able to bridle all the body.
3 Behold, we put bits into the horses’ mouths, that they should obey us, and we turn about all their body.
4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small rudder, whithersoever the governor listeth.
5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth of great things: behold, how great a thing a little fire kindleth.
6 And the tongue is fire, yea, a world of wickedness: so is the tongue set among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire of hell.
7 For the whole nature of beasts, and of birds, and of creeping things, and things of the sea is tamed, and hath been tamed of the nature of man.
8 But the tongue can no man tame. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
9 Therewith bless we God even the Father, and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
10 Out of one mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing: my brethren, these things ought not so to be.
11 Doth a fountain send forth at one place sweet water and bitter?
12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bring forth olives, either a vine figs? so can no fountain make both salt water and sweet.

Cross Reference:

James 3:6: Matthew 15:11

Editor’s thoughts:

Verse 2 - Using the NKJV and the GNV translations the word perfect is put into place in this verse. However, we find in the Aramaic and Ancient Greek translations the word used is "mature". This makes the understanding more clear in so far as no one can be perfect. We can be complete in Christ yes but no one is perfect. Therefore when we are mature in Christ, we have reached a point of completeness or near completeness. We are grown enough and now better equipped to be one with Him.

Verses 5-8 - As noted in a previous study, we tend to speak without thinking. Many times we speak in anger and wrath. Note also how Christ makes mention of it in both the Gospels of Matthew and Mark (Matthew 15:11; Mark 7:15). This is what makes us appear unrighteous. Remember brethren, we are called to be holy for He is holy (Read Leviticus 19:2), let us act so in deed and speech.

Verses 9-12 - Friends we are each made in the image of our Creator. As noted above we are to be holy. One should not use the same mouth to speak good and ill of people. Let our speech always be one of a positive nature. Indeed we can recognize evil when we see it, and we can make note of it to others as well. But first be certain of what you see, and what you judge. Make certain that all assessments are based on God's words.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The General Epistle of James the Apostle Chapter 2:14-26

14 What availeth it my brethren, though a man saith, he hath faith, when he hath no works? can that faith save him?
15 For if a brother or a sister be naked and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace: warm yourselves, and fill your bellies, notwithstanding ye give them not those things, which are needful to the body, what helpeth it?
17 Even so the faith, if it have no works, is dead in itself.
18 But some man might say, Thou hast the faith, and I have works: show me thy faith out of thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God: thou doest well: the devils also believe it, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou understand, O thou vain man, that the faith which is without works, is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified through works, when he offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou not that the faith wrought with his works? and through the works was the faith made perfect.
23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that of works a man is justified, and not of faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified through works, when she had received the messengers, and sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, even so the faith without works is dead.

Cross references:

James 2:21 : Genesis22:10
James 2:23 : Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6
James 2:25 : Joshua 2:1

Editor’s thoughts:

In summation, what is being said in the entirety of these verses is that faith MUST be accompanied by works. To do the former, without the latter makes us practitioners of religiosity. We show nothing but a false confession of Christ if we do not act as His proxies upon this earth.

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can." -John Wesley

Such a faith as this, a faith without works, an historical one, a mere profession of faith, which lies only in words, and has no deeds, to show the truth and genuineness of it. True faith indeed has no causal influence on salvation, or has any virtue and efficacy in itself to save; Christ, object of faith, is the only cause and author of salvation; faith is only that grace which receives a justifying righteousness, the pardon of sin, adoption, and a right to the heavenly inheritance; but it does not justify, nor pardon, nor adopt, nor give the right to the inheritance, but lays hold on, and claims these, by virtue of the gift of grace; and it has spiritual and eternal salvation inseparably connected with it; but as for the other faith, a man may have it, and be in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity; he may have all faith in that sense, and be nothing; it is no other than the devils themselves have; and so he may have it, and be damned.

This simile is made use of to illustrate what the apostle had asserted, that as a body, when the spirit or soul is departed from it, or the breath is gone out of it, is dead, and without motion, and useless So faith without works is dead also a vain thing, useless and unprofitable, can neither justify, nor save, nor prove that a man is justified, or will be saved.” - John Gill

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The General Epistle of James the Apostle

1 My brethren, have not the faith of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ in respect of persons.
2 For if there come into your company a man with a gold ring, and in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment,
3 And ye have a respect to him that weareth the gay clothing; and say unto him, Sit thou here in a goodly place, and say unto the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool,
4 Are ye not partial in your selves, and are become Judges of evil thoughts?
5 Hearken my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world, that they should be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to them that love him?
6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not the rich oppress you by tyranny, and do they not draw you before the judgment seats?
7 Do not they blaspheme the worthy Name after which ye be named?
8 But if ye fulfill the royal Law according to the Scripture, which saith, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well.
9 But if ye regard the persons, ye commit sin, and are rebuked of the Law, as transgressors.
10 For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet faileth in one point, he is guilty of all.
11 For he that said, Thou shalt not commit adultery, said also, Thou shalt not kill. Now though thou doest none adultery, yet if thou killest, thou art a transgressor of the Law.
12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judgeth by the Law of liberty.
13 For there shall be condemnation merciless to him that showeth not mercy, and mercy rejoiceth against condemnation.

Cross references:

James 2:1 : Leviticus 9:15; Deuteronomy 1:17; Deuteronomy 16:29; Proverbs 24:23

Editor's thoughts:

Verses 1-4, 9; Read James 1:17. God is consistent in all His ways, he shows no favor based on wealth or appearance, there is no turning away or, as written in the abovementioned verse a shadow of turning.

Verse 8; We are reminded here of Christ speaking upon the two most important commands of God. To love God, and to love others. (Read Matthew 22:37-40 and also Matthew 7:12)

Verse 10; Read Matthew 5:17; Malachi 2:8

Verse 13; There is a soliloquy from the Merchant of Venice that I will quote for it sums up mercy so well.

" The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth like the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much"


by Reverend George W. Ridout

Edited & Prefaced by R.P. Woitowitz Sr.

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Romans 13:14

 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Galatians 3:27

Below we read in this Sunday’s sermon on putting on the new man, (see Ephesians 4:17, 24), and becoming Christ-like. When we accept God’s plan of salvation, and Christ Jesus as our redeemer, we are now a new creation made in His image. A changed person, from one of sinful and carnal desires to one of holiness and righteousness. We may indeed stumble, and fail at times, but to be consistent in the pursuit of the aforementioned, is what we must strive to do, and become. For what profits us, that we claim to be of Christ, but still living according to the world? But to be of one mind with Him, and to emulate Him in our ways, not only finds us approved of the Father, but likewise we approve of by others.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me. Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ in the fort, Christ in the chariot seat. Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me. Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me; an ancient prayer.

Much of the Christianity of our day is disappointing because it seems to fall short of real Christlikeness. People naturally expect that we who profess Christ should become like Christ. Paul in Philippians 2:5, says: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” In other words, be Christlike. Christlikeness cannot be attained by the mere effort of morality or moral culture.

The Christlike life can only be achieved by holy men and women. There must be the inward work, first of the Spirit of the Lord in the heart; there must be the inward cleansing of the blood; there must be the stamping of the Divine image upon the heart purified by sanctifying grace. Wesley sings: “Rest for my soul I long to find; Savior of all, if mine thou art, Give me thy meek and lowly mind, And stamp thine image on my heart.” To be Christlike means a holy combination of the qualities of Righteousness and Compassion and Love. When the Spirit descended on Jesus it was in the form of a dove. The dove hath neither claw nor sting, Nor weapon for the fight, She owes her safety to her wings, Her victory to flight. Christlikeness in the believer makes him suffer long for righteousness’ sake.

When on a certain occasion Archbishop Fenelon, that holy man of France, after having experienced much trouble and persecution from his opposers, was advised by some one to take greater precautions against the artifices and evil designs of men, he made answer in the true spirit of a Christian, “moriamur in simplicitate nostra,” ‘let us die in our simplicity.’ He that is wholly in Christ, has a oneness and purity of purpose, altogether inconsistent with those tricks and subterfuges, which are so common among men. He walks in the broad day. He goes forth in the light of conscious honesty. He is willing that men and angels should read the very bottom of his heart. He has but one rule. His language is, in the ordinary affairs of life as well as in the duties of religion, ‘My Father, what wilt thou have me to do?’ — this is Christian simplicity; and happy, thrice happy is he who possesses it.”

Christlikeness will produce in us a sweet reasonableness and correct those tendencies toward self-will and arbitrariness so common to human nature. It will arrest leanings toward fanaticism. It will make us teachable, docile and considerate for others and their opinions. Dr. Steele, writing of the fanatic which is the creature of loveless light, says: “He abjures and pours contempt upon that scintillation of the eternal Logos, (this is say Human reason). This lighted torch, placed in man’s hand for his guidance in certain matters, he extinguishes in order ostensibly to exalt the candle of the Lord, the Holy Ghost, but really to lift up the lamp of his own flickering fancy. He who spurns the spirit will be left to darkness outside the narrow sphere of reason; and he who scorns reason will be left to follow the hallucinations of his heated imagination, instead of the dictates of his common sense. (Read 2 Thessalonians 2:10-13)

The fanatic degrades the word of God by claiming for himself an inspiration equal to its theopneustic utterances. The fanatic imagines he has a manifestation of God so immediate that he no longer needs the ordained means of grace. He is characterized by acts professedly prompted by the Spirit, but which are contrary to both reason and the Word of God.” (Read 2 Timothy 3:5)

[A] likeness to Jesus produces his patience and his attitude of soul when suffering and trials come. Madame Guyon has well said: “Holy souls are without impatience, but not without trouble; are above murmuring, but not above affliction. The souls of those who are thus wholly in Christ may be regarded in two points of view, or, rather, in two parts, namely, the natural appetite, propensities and affections, on the one hand, which may be called the inferior part; and the judgment, the moral sense and the will, on the other, which may be described as the superior part. As things are in the present life, those who are wholly devoted to God may suffer in the inferior part, and may be at rest in the superior. Their wills may be in harmony with the Divine will, they may be approved in their judgment and conscience, and at the same time may suffer greatly in their physical relations and in their natural sensibilities.(Read Galatians 5:16-24; Ephesians 2:3; 1 Peter 1:14-15) In this manner, Christ upon the cross, while His will remained firm in its union with the will of His heavenly Father, suffered much through His physical system; He felt the painful longing of thirst, the presence of the thorns and the agony of the spear. He was deeply afflicted also for the friends He left behind Him, and for a dying world. But in His inner and higher nature, where He felt Himself sustained by the secret voice uttered in His sanctified conscience and in His unchangeable faith, He was peaceful and happy.”

Yes, now, while I am looking at Jesus! now, He is molding me and fashioning me after His own lovely likeness! My soul is in His hands, passive as clay in the hands of the potter. Jesus is making me all glorious within! I shall be like Him! I have fixed my eyes upon Him, never more to remove them thence, and it is by looking at Him that I am to be conformed to His likeness! O! such a fullness of love and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. I seemed, indeed, “filled unutterably full of glory and of God.” As I came home, Jesus seemed walking with me, and communing with my heart by the way. When I retired to my chamber, His presence accompanied me, and His glory appeared to fill the room! For several hours, I could not sleep. My heart was in such raptures of joy, that I could not become sufficiently composed to sleep. At length exhausted nature sank into repose; but still my mind was occupied with the same glorious object. Often I would awake in ecstasies, exclaiming “Jesus! O, thou art my Saviour”, ‘my Redeemer from all sin’ — my happiness — my heaven!” I have since, enjoyed the same delightful consciousness of His presence, who is the life of all my joys, and am still enabled to keep my eyes unwaveringly fixed upon Him. I see clearly that this is the way, and the only way to abide in His love, and to have the continued victory over the world, the flesh, and Satan, to keep looking at Jesus!

Give Him your sin and take His purity. Give Him your shame and take His honor. Give Him your helplessness and take His strength. Give Him your misery and take His bliss. Give Him your death and take His life everlasting. Nothing remains but that you take His in exchange. Make haste! Now, just now, He freely offers you all, and urges all upon your instant acceptance.

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. - Matthew 11:29-30

Friday, July 21, 2017

The General Epistle of James the Apostle Chapter 1:19-27

19 Wherefore my dear brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.
20 For the wrath of man doth not accomplish the righteousness of God.
21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness, and superfluity of maliciousness, and receive with meekness the word that is grafted in you, which is able to save your souls.
22 And be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23 For if any hear the word, and do it not, he is like unto a man, that beholdeth his natural face in a glass.
24 For when he hath considered himself, he goeth his way, and forgetteth immediately what manner of one he was.
25 But who so looketh in the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he not being a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, shall be blessed in his deed.
26 If any man among you seem religious, and refraineth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
27 Pure religion and undefiled before God, even the Father, is this, to visit the fatherless, and widows in their adversity, and to keep himself unspotted of the world.

Cross references:

James 1:22 : Matt. 7:21; Luke 6:47; Romans 2:13

Verses 19-20; These are needed traits to put to use during hard times.
Be very slow to anger and show wrath towards both believers and non-believers. Take your time in thinking what you wish to say, and say with all gentleness and love. To use an old saying; "put brain in gear before engaging mouth" or to use a more poetic quote attributed to A. Lincoln; " Better to be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt"

Brethren, when we speak harshly, and without thought to what we're saying, we simply do not show the righteousness of God that He has now placed within us. (Right now, I am speaking to myself.)

This as we shall see in a later verse below, encourages the worldly man, the man of sin to be no more than what Christ had once referred to as a white washed sepulcher. Pristine looking on the outside, but within filled with death and decay.
(Read Matthew 23:27)

Verses 21-25; Being doers of the word
We must at all times be the face of Christ, His proxies here on this temporal plain of existence. The world needs to see us as what God has a desire to see us be; doing the work of the Father.

If we hear only, we can be likened to those that attend church or fellowships for appearances only. We immediately return to the world of carnality, afterward. There is no profit in this for the believer, nor does it bear any good fruits for the community of Christ. Therefore friends, be active in your community, or job or wherever you might be in life. Let others, in particular, those in need of hearing the Gospel, see how God's Holy Spirit can manifest itself in you.

Verse 26: Reining in your tongue
First, as noted above, being slow to speak, and even slower to anger, that is to say, gives way to wrath, this one will be in accord with God's word. Conversely, the person that does not do so, then said person exists in a world of self-falsehoods.
Secondly, as James writes, in a later chapter, the tongue is a fiery flame, that when improperly used, can cause a conflagration of unlimited proportions. (Read Psalm 34:13; James 3:1-11)

Verse 27: Read Matthew 25:34-36, Isaiah 1:17, Romans 12:2