God Is ___ :: By Nathele Graham

Describing God is an impossible task. Nobody today has actually seen Him. We know Him by what we read in Scripture, which describes His characteristics and not His physical appearance. Let’s take a look at a few of those characteristics and see if we can know God better.

God is Spirit: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in the spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).

The story behind this passage is that Jesus—God incarnate and His disciples were passing through Samaria and stopped at a  well. The disciples went into the town to buy food when a woman came to the well to draw water. Jesus began a conversation with her, which quickly turned to her moral state and the Living Water which Jesus could give to her.

She was interested and spoke of worshipping in Jerusalem as opposed to worshipping elsewhere. Jesus explained that a time was coming when worship would change. After Jesus ascended into heaven the Holy Spirit was given to indwell Christians.

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)

When a person truly accepts Christ he or she is indwelt by the Spirit of God. Years after the conversation with the Samaritan woman the Jewish temple was destroyed; no longer could worship take place in Jerusalem. Christians today are the temple of God. We worship in spirit and in truth. God is Spirit.

God is eternal. God has always existed and always will exist. When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, God directed him to go to Pharaoh and tell him to set the Israelites free from their slavery. The Israelites had been in slavery in Egypt for centuries and they finally cried out to God. Moses was an Israelite who had been raised in Pharaoh’s palace but had fled Egypt 40 years earlier after killing an Egyptian soldier. He needed to know what authority he could give the Israelites when he obtained their release.

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:14)

That is a present tense statement. He didn’t say “I was that I was” or “I will be.” He has always been. Many years later Jesus riled the Pharisees when He claimed to be the voice from that bush.

“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)

Jesus said He is God. Our English translations don’t make it clear, but the Pharisees knew. The next verse says that they took up stones to stone Him. Claiming to be God was a stoning offence. There are many verses that speak of the eternal nature of God.

We know that, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

And a prayer of Moses recorded in Psalms says:

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Psalm 90:2)

In the book of Revelation, Jesus says “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

God is eternal. God is love.

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1 John 4:8)

What a blessing to know that God loves me. More than that, He IS love. Because He loves us He wants the best for us, so He sets rules. When I was a child I would get upset when my parents wouldn’t let me do just what I wanted. “When I grow up and have kids I’ll let them do whatever they want!” Silly me.

As I matured I realized that because they loved me my parents set rules for behavior. This is just a hint of God’s. Like rebellious children we want our own way and that’s why God has tried to teach us right from wrong. The Law was a teacher.

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24)

It’s easy to understand why many of the laws were there. Honor God is obvious. Don’t murder  and be sexually pure are also obvious, but some others are a bit more subtle. “Why can’t I do just what I want,” ask the rebellious children.

“Because I love you”, says the loving God. Jesus said “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)

Jesus (God the Son) did just that. He left His perfect home in Heaven and entered this fallen world. Here He was rejected, mocked, beaten, spit upon, and crucified. He knew before He laid the foundations of the earth that this would happen, but He is love and became flesh in order to bring salvation to a sinner such as me. It’s a free gift, but you need to accept that gift in order for it to apply to you.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

God is love. God is faithful.

We can always trust God to be there because He is faithful even if we aren’t. We fall into sin regularly. We need to break our sin habit, but it always seems to stumble us when we’re weak.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

When temptations come our way we usually know we’re being tempted to sin. That’s when we turn to God. Ask Him for the strength to resist the temptation. He will either remove the temptation or help you to not participate in the sin. What happens if we just go ahead and sin anyway? He’s still faithful.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

What a comfort to know that even when we sin He still loves us. It’s important to talk to Him about the sin. Tell Him you’re sorry and ask His forgiveness. He knows every sin you will ever commit and when you truly accepted His gift of salvation all of your sins were forgiven.

When you ask Him to forgive you that shows that you’re growing in your walk with Him. Babes in Christ are often unaware of what exactly is sin, but as we grow in Christ we become more aware of our sin. Asking forgiveness is humbling and shows respect for God. God will always forgive. God is faithful.

God is the God of the living. Ever since Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden death has been a part of this world. They were separated from God because of sin and when they died their souls went into sheol, the abode of the dead.

There were two sides to sheol, one of torment and one of comfort. Those who obeyed God and looked forward to the coming of the Messiah went to the place of comfort. God never forgot them. When Moses went up on Mount Sinai, God spoke with him and said:

“Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” (Exodus 3:6)

They died in faith. Hebrews chapter 11 gives examples of many who died prior to Jesus first coming, but they looked forward in faith to the coming Messiah so they are still living, as are all people who have died in faith. After His death on the cross, Jesus took those faithful souls to heaven.

Those who have died rejecting the Messiah, whether before or after the cross, are also alive but are awaiting the final judgment and eternal death. Because they rejected Him in life, He is not their God in death. God is the God of the Living.

God is light. When we walk in the dark it’s easy to stumble and fall. We need light to find our way and see obstacles in our path. The same is true in life. Darkness is all around us… the Satanic darkness of sin. We need light to find our way:

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

If our focus is on the things of the world we walk in darkness and it’s easy to fall into sin. If we fill our life with the works of Satan we fill our life with darkness. A Christian should fill every part of life with the light of God.

“Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.” (Luke 11:35-36)

What is shining from you? Is it darkness that comes from Satan or is it the pure light that shines from God. We choose what we allow inside of us and God’s light is what we need to allow in. God is light.

God is changeless. Many things in life change over the years, such as hair color, friendships, jobs, and much more. We can count on the fact the God never changes.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

We can rest assured  that when we read Scripture, what was true in Genesis is true today because God is the same. Many people arrogantly criticize God as seen in the Old Testament because He seems angry. That shows they don’t study Scripture. His love for humans has always been there. His judgment never came quickly.

The wickedness prior to the Flood corrupted all of creation, but God warned people and gave them time to repent before His judgment came. There were only 8 people who were uncorrupted and had He waited there would have been no one left to save. The people in Sodom and Gomorrah had committed horrendous sin and God wanted them to repent. It wasn’t until only Lot and his family were left who weren’t totally depraved that God sent judgment on these wicked cities.

“Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” (Psalm 119:160)

We need to take heed that we aren’t following the wrong path and are tempting God’s judgment. Study the reasons behind God’s judgments to see His love. Be assured that God is still righteous in His judgments today, but the difference is the cross. Because Jesus shed His blood to purchase our redemption we can escape judgment if we accept His sacrifice.

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life…For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:14-15, & 17)

Sin will always condemn us, but God’s love will always save us. God is changeless.

We could go through many more things about what God is, but you can find them for yourself. God is the author of peace, God is true, God is One God, and many more. You will find it very rewarding to search who God is, and be blessed by what you learn.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

www.straitandnarrowministry.com

ron@straitandnarrowministry.com

Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html

All original Scripture is “theopneustos” (God breathed).

 

The Flourishing Laodicean Church :: by Ron Graham

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

The book of Revelation reveals to us who Christ is: He is Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Almighty. He wears this name on His vesture, King of kings and Lord of lords. The Revelation of Jesus Christ also tells of His church and its condition through the ages.

In chapters two and three Jesus addresses seven different churches and sends them a report card of sorts. These churches existed at the time John received the Revelation; these letters give the condition of each church. They also give a prophecy of what Christ’s Church would go through.

Below is a Prophetic Profile of the Seven Churches Jesus is addressing:

  1. Ephesus – The Apostolic Church;
  2. Smyrna – The Persecuted Church;
  3. Pergamos – The Married Church;
  4. Thyatira – The Medieval Church;
  5. Sardis – The Denominational Church;
  6. Philadelphia – The Missionary Church;
  7. Laodicea – The Apostate Church.

Two of the churches received a good report, but the other five were failing in some areas and Jesus warned them to shape-up. The last church Jesus addressed was the church at Laodicea in which He hands over the most scathing of indictments and tells them they’d do well to heed His words.

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).

Jesus refers to the Laodicean Church as being lukewarm. This church is concerned with the materialistic riches of this world and not God. It’s all about themselves and their well being. They are quite in tune with their own feelings and believe themselves to be very spiritual as well, but the spirituality they embrace is not of God. The Laodiceans put their faith and trust in prosperity, outward luxury and physical health. They are in need of nothing, especially Jesus.

When Jesus refers to the Laodicean church as being lukewarm, He’s not saying they’ve almost made it to where He expects them to be. Jesus’ reference to hot means to be on fire for Him and cold is compared to being refreshed with a cold drink of water on a hot parched day.

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).

The lukewarm condition is so distasteful to the Lord Jesus that He cannot even swallow it, all He can do is spit it back out of His mouth. My brethren, you don’t want to be in that lukewarm state of affairs when Jesus raptures His Church.

What Jesus is telling this church is that they are spiritually naked, basically dead. The church of Laodicea is not heaven bound. The worst part is they don’t realize how utterly distasteful they are to God. They truly believe they’re in great shape and in line with what God expects of them.

That’s what makes it difficult to witness to these type of folks. In their minds their relationship to God is faultless. But take another look at what God says about them. They are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. In the mind of God there’s no difference between the folks of the Laodicean church, as described above, and those who are perishing through unbelief.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).

The Laodicean Church shut Christ out, yet He still wanted to come in. He is standing on the outside knocking, and even if one person will open the door for Him, He’ll come in and sup (join in spiritual union) with that individual. Sadly though, the door of that Laodicean church remains closed to their true Messiah.

America is replete with Laodicean Christians, and these folks will follow anyone who tickles their ears with soft, persuasive, and appealing words. Jesus Christ is not the foundation in those churches. Heaven forbid that Christians should look to Christ as the Author and Finisher of their faith and place Him first in every aspect of their lives.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

As followers of Jesus Christ no matter where we are, at church, home, work or play our faith is paramount and Jesus is always the center of our lives.

A major factor at play with this end times apostate church is their undying support of what the Bible plainly refers to as abominations. They’re upside down, as these folks now call evil good and good evil. The reason I know the Laodicean church is alive and well is by the many emails I receive from folks complaining about their Church leaders who’ve capitulated to Obama’s socialistic agendas.

It’s staggering when I realize that professing Christians can be so completely deceived as to follow such blatant evil. One of these days in the not so distant future, our government will be fully entrenched in interfering with even the content of the gospel message.

Most churches in America have bowed the knee to Baal, and it has now become more important for the church to retain their coveted tax exempt status than to speak out against a tyrannical repressive government. In order to remain tax exempt, churches have surrendered rights.

They can be tax-exempt if they remain politically correct and allow the government to police what can and cannot be said from the pulpit. Of course we know this is to be expected as we’re watching the establishment of the apostate church in America and around the globe.

Think about it, the government of the United States currently interferes with our Christian churches by demanding our pastors refrain from endorsing a political candidate when addressing their congregations. This is just the beginning of their interference. We only need to look to China to see where America’s Christian churches are headed.

China fully regulates the content of sermons preached in their government supervised quasi-Christian churches. America’s not quite there yet, but we’re getting close. As I’ve said before, the only church remaining in the last days unimpeded will be the apostate Church, from which a socialist government will have nothing to fear.

On a marquee in front of a church I passed one day were the following words: “The cornerstone of the Christian church is truth not tolerance.” There’s a good possibility that church is not of Laodicean fame.

Were the apostles Peter and John known for their political correctness? These two men had been brought before Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest for preaching about Jesus and for performing a miraculous healing in His name. Peter and John listened patiently as Annas and the others told them that they were forbidden to preach Jesus in public. Peter and John’s response to these foolish men was quite blunt but precisely to the point.

“… Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye” (Acts 4:19).

Who are we hearkening unto these days?

Christians are told to submit to the governing authorities because they are appointed by God and they serve a purpose in His plan (Romans 13:1), although, sometimes it is to judge the people or to ripen the nation for judgment. Since governments derive their authority from God, we are bound to obey them—unless, of course, they order us to do something in contradiction to God’s law.

The murder of unborn babies in the womb and the condoning of a homosexual lifestyle contradict God’s laws.

We are to hearken unto God not Man (Acts 4:19). If the state’s rulers are God’s ministers (servants), they should remember that they serve the people, and they are not gods. Christian obedience to the state is never blind; it obeys with the eyes of conscience wide open. Know God’s Word, His commands and precepts and don’t be deceived.

Children many times follow other children without even a second thought, but now that we are older and able to think and discern for ourselves we should know better than to follow anyone opposed to God.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11).

It’s childish to follow someone the way a puppy tags along after a small boy, be it someone of eloquent of speech or persuasive of words; whether he’s charismatic and charming and though his stature be as a Greek god he still needs to be viewed through the filter of Scripture. And we never use Scripture to promote our preconceived ideas or agendas. Remember the one barrier to truth is the idea we already have without studying it.

We don’t follow after vain, puffed up, arrogant, flamboyant, suave and articulate speaking men or women. We follow Christ and His commandments. As born-again believers we stand up for Jesus our God and we proclaim His message until He comes. Nothing else matters, nothing of this world can compare to what awaits believers on the other side.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Only born again believers are given the ability to grasp what the scriptures are proclaiming while the non-believer remains in darkness. That same darkness surrounds the Laodicean Church.

These apostate churches, have thrown away their first love—Jesus the Christ—and replaced Him with a naked spirituality. They’ve given up the battle and have crossed over to the camp of the enemy. The cause of Christ has been hurt far more by people who profess to be knowledgeable Christians, and yet through their very ignorance of the Scriptures do more harm than those who ignorantly and arrogantly proclaim there is no God.

Where’s Satan in all this? He’s done his part he’s succeeded in moving the once Christian church into the land of Laodicea. Satan has moved on to greener pastures so to speak, to undermine Churches on other continents where Christianity is still flourishing and not dead. His greatest conquest has been America’s Christian churches.

Oh sure, he left some of his minions of evil here to supervise the remaining slide to Laodicea, but for all intents and purposes he’s accomplished his mission. America’s once Christian churches have largely been moved into a new arena of spiritual apathy.

Satan was defeated long ago, at the cross, long before he began his work corrupting the Christian churches in America. Jesus did that through His death, burial, and resurrection. But the Church allowed Satan a stronghold, a footing as it were, so he could advance his agenda to the uttermost extreme. He and his minions of evil have now become more prosperous than ever.

So what motivates believers nowadays to keep the faith? Is it the love we have for Jesus that keeps us going in the face of all adversity? It should be. But where does that adversity come from if Satan’s mission is mostly complete? Sadly, Christians today are finding their very own brethren to be their biggest stumbling blocks.

It seems we can no longer agree on what is right and what is wrong. Any mention of sin has been banned from the pulpits of these apostate Churches. Abortion, homosexuality, pornography, divorce are accepted in the minds of many professing Christians today, and if those four abominations aren’t enough to turn God’s stomach, we are quickly becoming a nation that curses Israel. That Brethren, is the scariest.

The church at Laodicea is a body of professing believers who aren’t really followers of Christ; they are not born-again by the Spirit of God. They’ve stopped holding the entirety of God’s Word as authority.

The congregational attendees who fall into that category will not be included in the Rapture of Christ’s church. Sadly, they’ve eliminated Jesus as the foundation of their faith. People, that’s not judging. If Jesus said He would spew them out of His mouth what makes us think He’ll allow them into His heavenly kingdom in that state?

Yes my friends, the Laodicean church is flourishing in the United States of America and all around the world for that matter. These thriving congregations will soon be into full apostasy. This is the prophetic course set for the Church according to the Scriptures. If you feel you’re involved in a church that is Laodicea bound, it’s time to make a change in your Christian walk.