FACE TO FACE

January 28, 2018

L. John Bost

Introduction

Men have always wanted to be with God, even to see Him. In the book of Job, probably the earliest of the books of the Bible, Elihu told job that a penitent man could see God’s face with joy in a figurative sense (Job 33:23-26). In Genesis 32:30, Jacob (Israel) said, “I have seen God face to face…” But God had appeared to him in the appearance of a man (Gen. 32:24). In 1 Chronicles 16:11, Davis urged Israel in a psalm to “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually,” again in a figurative sense (See Ps. 105:4; Hos. 5:15). God to told Moses in Exodus 33:20, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.”

So no one in Old Testament times was able to literally see the face of God. Will we be able to see God face to face? Let us see what the Book says.

The First Century View of God

Many people saw God in the first century. The saw Him in the person of Jesus Christ. John writes in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The “Word,” as John explains in John 1:14, was “the only begotten of the Father.” The prophet Isaiah wrote of Him, “When we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” But the disciples saw Him in a different light. John writes, “We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Saw many saw God as the “only begotten of the Father.” But that was after He “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7).

Will we ever be able to see Him as God?

The Promise of 1 John 3

John writes in 1 John 3:2:

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

John says that there are two things that we do not know yet: 1) What we shall be, that is what our appearance will be. 2) He implies that we do not know the current appearance of Jesus. There are three things, John says, that we do know: 1) We are the sons of God. 2) We shall be like Him! 3) We shall see Him as He is!

We know that our weak body will rise a powerful body. Our corruptible body will rise and incorruptible body. Our natural body will rise a spiritual body. And our mortal body will rise an immortal body (1 Corinthians 15:42-53). We do not what such a body will be like until the resurrection. We do not know what God and the Son will look like until the resurrection. The good news is that we will rise and we will see God! We will not see Him as He appeared while here the first time. We will see Him as He was before He came to earth, and after He ascended into Heaven to reign on the Right hand of God (Acts 2:25, 30-35).

Conclusion

Yes, we will see God face-to-face! What a beautiful thought!
In view of this fact, John tells us what we must do: “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3).

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IT’S NOT WHAT YOU HAVE NOT DONE BUT WHAT YOU HAVE DONE

Introduction
We know that there are many things that we must not do as God’s children. Paul gives a list of things “that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21),”the works of darkness,” (Rom. 12:13-14), and, things which those “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” do (2 Tim. 2:2-5). So much is written in God’s word about things that His people must not do, that many have gotten the idea that Christianity is a “negative” religion. Many Christians think that, if they avoid certain behavior, they are “faithful Christians,” and will go to heaven based on what they have not done. But, is Christianity a negative religion based solely, or mainly, on avoiding certain sins? Is it a religion of “thou shalt not’s,” and not of “thou shalt’s?” Let us see what the Bible says.

The Old Testament Law Was a Positive Law

It may seem that the Law given by God through Moses was a negative law. After all, of the ten commandments, only two, “Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy,” and “Honor thy father and thy mother,” are positive commandments. But when we consider the answer give by Jesus when asked by a Jewish lawyer, “Which is the great commandment of the law?” a different picture emerges. Jesus answered:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Jesus’ words, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets,” are particularly informative. Paul elaborates on Jesus’ words. He writes in Romans 13:8, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” He continues in Romans 13:9:

For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

He concludes, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10). So even the Old Law was a positive law!

The New Testament Law Is a Positive Law

While we are in Romans 13, let us notice what Paul says in verse 8: “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Here is a negative and a positive. However, the thrust of the sentence is positive – Love one another! The context shows that Paul is telling us that the Christian religion, like the Jewish religion, is a positive religion based on the principle of love. Love fulfilled the Old, love fulfills the New.

John 13:34-35

At the last Passover before our Lord’s betrayal and crucifixion, He told the twelve, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” How was this a “new” commandment? Jesus answers, “As I have loved you.” Love one another was not a new commandment, but to love as Jesus had loved the apostles, and all men, was a new thing. How so?

Jesus says in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” He had told Nicodemus in John 3:16, “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.” Later, Paul wrote,”But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). God loved the world enough to send His only begotten son into the world. The Son shared God’s love for the world and willingness to come to this world and die that sinful man might be saved (Luke 22:42; Phil. 2:5-8). The commandment to love fellow man that much had never been given before Jesus gave it to the twelve in John 13:34! Sadly, one of the twelve did not heed Jesus’ words.

Jesus made a statement in John 13:35 that we all should give heed to: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

John 17:20-21

Just before Jesus’ crucifixion, in John 17:20-21 (For a discussion of John 17, see John 17, The Real Lord’s Prayer), He prayed for the apostles, and for each of us:

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Paul urges us in Ephesians 4:2-3:

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Endeavor is from a Greek word meaning, “To hasten, make haste; to exert one’s self, endeavour, give diligence,” according to Thayer. Such is the effort that Christians are to make to promote unity among themselves.

Luke 24:46-47; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16

Shortly before Jesus’ ascension, He told the eleven apostles in Luke 24:46-46:
And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Matthew and Mark include Jesus’ command to preach/teach the gospel and continue with the command to baptize those who believed. Mark’s account is more specific, including our Lord’s statement, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, thus affirming that salvation comes only after one believes and is baptized (Mark 16:15-16; See also 1 Pet. 3:20-21). The Holy Spirit would inspire Peter to preach on Pentecost that repentance is also a prerequisite to salvation.

Matthew’s account includes Jesus’ command to “teach” those things that Jesus had taught the apostles. The gospel was spread in the first century and is to spread in the twenty-first century, by those being taught teaching others (2 Timothy 2:2).

Hebrews 13:16; 1 John 3:17

Communicate means, according to Vincent, “Lit. but be not forgetful of doing good and communicating.” The same word is translated, “Contribution (for the poor saints)” in Romans 15:26. Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 8:4, “Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” Fellowship is from the same word translated, “communicate” in Hebrews 13:16 and “contribution” in Romans 15:26. Notice that Paul connects “gift” with “fellowship.”
John writes in 1 John 3:17:

But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
Christians are to give to those in need. Love demands it!
Conclusion

Jesus said in John 12:48:

He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
Jesus describes the events of the “last day” in Matthew 25:31-46. He lists six things by which each of us will be judged – six positive things! He will say to those us who have done these six things, “come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). He will say to those of who have not done these six things, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). He concludes in Matthew 25:46, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

Christianity is a doing religion! Certainly, we will be judged by what we have done that we should not have done, but we will also be judged by what we have not done that we should have done.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven – Matthew 7:21.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILD’S SPIRITUAL TRAINING?

Introduction
Who is the main/sole spiritual trainer of your children? You may say, “I send them to bible class every Sunday,” or, “I take them to Bible classes every Sunday,” or, “My wife (or husband) teaches them about the Bible,” or, “I am their sole spiritual trainer,” or “I am the main provider of spiritual training of our children, but their mother is also involved,” or, “I am the main provider of spiritual training of our children, but their mother is also involved, and we take them to Bible classes three times a week.” Or, you may say, “They have no spiritual training.” Who should be the main provider of spiritual training in your family? As with most important questions, the Bible has the answer, the correct answer. Let us see.
What Does the Bible Say About Spiritual Training?
Old Testament Teaching
God has always considered it important for His people to know His will. This was particularly true with His chosen people, Israel.
God told Moses at Mt. Sinai, “I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them” (Ex. 24:12). The priests were given the same charge (Lev. 10:11). In Deuteronomy 6:6-7, Moses told Israel:
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Perhaps the most well-known Old Testament passage on providing a child’s spiritual is Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” On this passage, Garry K. Brantley writes:
Apparently, however, the phrase is an idiomatic way of referring to a child’s specific personality and peculiar traits. The “way,” therefore, does not refer to the “strait and narrow path” mapped out by God’s Word, but to the singular characteristics of each child. Parents are to inaugurate (from hanak, usually translated “train”) their children in the way paved by their unique dispositions. This is the behavioral and attitudinal course from which a child, as a general rule, will not deviate as indicated in the following phrase: “When he is old, he will not turn from it.”
New Testament Teaching
The Word of God must be taught. Jesus spent most of His ministry teaching. He told the apostles, in Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” According to both Thayer and Strong, teach means, “to teach, instruct.” The word also carries with it the idea of making disciples, but a disciple is defined as, “a learner, pupil, disciple” (Thayer, Strong).
Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Tim. 2:2):
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

So each Christian is responsible for passing along the truth to others. That is how the gospel was spread in the first century. That is how it will be spread in the twenty-first century.
Who Is Responsible for Teaching the Truth to Our Children?
We have seen that the gospel is spread by being taught by one Christian to another. But who is responsible for the teaching of our children?
Paul wrote to Titus in Titus 2:4-5 to teach the younger women. But these, obviously, are women of marriageable age. Who is responsible for teaching children?
Paul referred to Timothy as “my own son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2). Luke writes that Timotheus (Timothy) was “was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium (Acts 16:2).
Where did Timothy learn to live the kind of life that resulted in others holding him to such a degree of esteem? Paul gives us the answer. He writes in 2 Timothy 3:14-15:
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
He wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5:
When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Timothy received his spiritual training from his mother and grandmother. It is likely that Timothy’s father, being a “Greek” (Acts 16:1), was likely not a believer in God, thus would not have been involved in Timothy’s spiritual training. Thus, that responsibility fell to his mother and grandmother who were Jews. But, what if both parents are Christians?
Paul writes in Ephesians 6:1-2:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.”
The inspired writer continues in Ephesians 6:
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
So, according to Paul, the responsibility of providing the spiritual training of the children in the home falls on the father! That may come as a surprise to many fathers who busy themselves with work, recreation, taking care of the material home, etc. and leave the spiritual training to the mother. Sadly, many fathers are almost, or entirely, absent from the home and have little contact with their children.
According to the 21st Century Dads Foundation, “There are approximately 24 million kids growing up across America without their dads.” They continue, “Children from father-absent homes are more likely to; drop out of school, abuse drugs and alcohol, get involved with crime and become incarcerated, become teen parents, have psychological problems and commit suicide.” Later, they conclude that, contrary to the modern narrative that all a single mom needs is financial support, “The truth is, what kids need are responsible fathers who are present financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually” (Emp. mine, LJB). The statistics accord with what Paul, by inspiration, wrote long ago – children need their fathers in the home bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:1-4)!
Conclusion
1 Samuel 2:12-17 describes sins of Levi’s wicked sons. Later, God gave young Samuel a message to take to Eli. He says in 1 Samuel 3:13:
For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.
Eli’s house would be judged because he had not “restrained” his sons. He had not been the kind of spiritual father that his sons needed. They sinned, but he was held accountable as well as they! Sadly, God will judge many modern fathers who fail to “train up” their children, “in the way” they should go (Prov. 22:6). If more fathers provided the proper training for their sons, there would be far fewer youth involved in crime. More would be faithful children of the Lord and serving Him as a part of His church!
May we always be the spiritual fathers that God requires of us!