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Resurrection of the Dead–Apostles’ Doctrine #5

Vital for Today’s Church

The apostles’ doctrine was the teachings that the early church walked in. Many Christians want what they had, but few in the pews (or pulpits, for that matter) know what those teachings are (Acts 2: 42).

In fact, some will say, We don’t want doctrine; we just want Jesus. Newsflash: You can’t have Jesus without His teachings. For the word for “doctrine” in the Greek means “teachings.” As the apostle states: “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). So the doctrine of Christ is vitally important.

And His teachings are plainly listed in the scriptures: repentance from dead works, faith toward God, doctrine of baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, eternal judgement, and perfection (Heb. 6: 1-2). Of course, there are seven of them.

The Resurrection of the Dead

To understand this teaching, we need to remember two things. First, there can obviously be no resurrection without a death. Self-preservation is built into a mortal’s DNA. We want to live forever, but our longings for immortality exist in a clay body that will die. So, ironically, the immortality that we long for will only come as a result of our inevitable death.

We cannot prevent our own demise. We need a Savior. We need One who understands, who has conquered death. We need someone to take our hand and lead us through this minefield of mortality and across the river of death to the green fields of everlasting life. We have that Savior who has tasted death for every man and woman. We see Him now, “who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2: 9).

Second, in this doctrine there are several distinct types of resurrection. We have Christ’s bodily resurrection without which there would be no other resurrections. There is the spiritual side of His resurrection that provides our spiritual resurrection while still in these earthly bodies. There is the resurrection of the souls that lead into “eternal judgment.” And there is the resurrection and restoration of the House of Israel (12 tribes)–the dry bones of Ezekiel receiving life after so long a time. And then there is when we receive our immortal spiritual bodies at the end of this age.

Our Individual Spiritual Resurrection

This spiritual resurrection comes when we believe the following: He took upon Himself our sin, and when He died on the cross, it was our sinful old self dying with Him. Then we believe that we are buried with Him. And when we believe that He rose from the dead, we, too, receive a spiritual resurrection inside our current mortal bodies. We through faith and belief do now walk in “a newness of life.” He provides a new heart and a new spirit through faith where “all things are become new” (Romans 6: 1-11; Gal. 2: 20; Col. 2: 11).

His resurrection provides the way for our spiritual resurrection in Him. For by faith we have now received His Spirit. We are now “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest (down payment) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession” (Eph. 1: 13-14).

What “possession”? Us. We are bought with a price–His blood. He owns us. What “promise”? He has promised us that He would grant us everlasting life if we go with Him on this great spiritual adventure. Immortality is our “inheritance.” He is our Redeemer. He bought us out of the chains of sin and misery. We owe everything to the King.

It is this personal resurrection where we receive a new Spirit while still in these earthly bodies. This admits us into the receiving of our new spiritual bodies at the end of this age. Our earthly bodies can’t handle a fullness of the Spirit. God wants to reproduce Himself; that is His overriding purpose and plan. And He cannot do it in us as long as we are in these mortal bodies. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” There’s that “inheritance” we talked about. Our inheritance is immortality. But we cannot receive it as long as we are in these aging, decaying, curruptible earthly bodies. We need a new spiritual body, a new wineskin, to contain the new wine of His spiritual fullness. Read I Corinthians 15; 35-58, the resurrection chapter, with new eyes. And rejoice knowing that in Him it is all worthwhile. For “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

In the end, these old decaying and aging earthly bodies have got to go. They must die in order to fulfill God’s purpose. He is reproducing Himself–in us.  This is the key to understanding everything else.

[I understand that the riches of His teachings are unsearchable. We haven’t even scratched the surface of the depth and breadth of His doctrine. I am humbled in this attempt to put into English a tiny bit of them. It will take us ages to search His treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Perhaps that is why He is granting us everlasting life].

Kenneth Wayne Hancock

 

 

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Life Comes Out of Death of Old Nature

“You Gotta Die Before You Live” is the name of the song [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeDb5WdFHS0 ].

That really sums up the gateway into the Christian walk. The old sinful self must die on the cross with Christ, and then by believing in His resurrection, we, too, are “raised to walk in a newness of life.” There is no watering it down; no excuses. “The soul that sins must die.” That’s the law laid down in the beginning. Man is born with unwanted sinful compulsions. In the Adamic nature, he is born into a slavery to sin. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Sin dwells in the unregenerated human, making them do incredibly selfish sinful things to others. Who can deliver man from such bondage to sin? (Rom. 7: 15-25).

We Christians know that  it is God through His Son that has provided the key to unlock the chains of sin from our hearts. He said that He would deliver us from sin, but we have been told that you’ll be a sinner till the day you die, that you cannot stop sinning; just ask forgiveness. Many precious Christian souls are wrestling with the sin question as we speak.

“Sinner till the day you die…” The irony would be laughable if it weren’t so serious. For death is the way out of the slavery of continual sinning. Not the physical death of the body, but it is the spiritual death of the old Adamic heart and nature within. That is the ticket to freedom.

What again is the answer to this dilemma?

Our Old Nature Must Die on the Cross

So how does one get out of the bondage of sin and sinning?  How do we deal with this sin problem in our lives?  The scriptures say that  “He shall save His people from their sins.”  How does this happen?  Can we ever get in a “right” state with God?  What must we do?  There is only one thing to do with the carnal sinful self and that is to confess our depraved state, identify it with Christ on the cross, and let it die.  There is only one way for the body of sin to be destroyed for the old sinful Adamic nature; it must be crucified.  But we cannot really do anything to bring this on.  It is a total work of God that has already been done—at the cross.  We cannot do anything to deserve this wonderful deliverance from this death caused by sin and sinning.  All He wants us to do is believe what He has already done to deliver us from the bondage of sin.

First, we must know this one thing: our old man, our old ego, our old self, our old nature, our old heart, our old carnal nature, the flesh, the depraved body of sin within us—it is put to death with the sacrificial Lamb.  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Romans 6:6.

Paul did not say that our old sinful nature was going to be taken care of some day when we all get to heaven.  No!  He said that it is dead, already put to death on the cross! That is not a misprint or a mis-translation.  The sacrificial Lamb of God took our sins upon Him at the time of His death.  He was our scapegoat, as when the Levitical priest laid hands on the goat transferring the sins of the people onto it.  Christ died as a sinful lost man that day, for He “was made to be sin for us, who knew no sin that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21).

He wants us to believe this—that our sinful nature died with Him on the cross, and that we was buried with Him, and that we were raised up with Him as well.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Romans 6:5.

Is this hard for us to believe?  Is it hard to have faith in this teaching?  Yet the elect will believe this word.  The others will fall as the children of Israel did through unbelief.  For you see that God is not asking us to do anything except believe what He has already done for us.  He first believed in His work in us long before we got here on this earth.

Entering the State of Being Right with God

And if we believe His word on this, then He will reckon a righteous status unto us. He will lay to our account that we are righteous in His eyes.  For it is God who makes the dead-in-sin come to life and imputes righteousness unto them because they believe Him.  Even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.  Romans 4:17.

Our part is to surrender our old sinful selves unto the cross.  Because of our faith in His redemptive sacrifice by surrendering unto death our own sinful heart, then He says, “You are now my child, and you are now righteous in My sight.  You are welcome into my arms of love and mercy.  Just walk in it by forgiving others and doing my words.  For it is not you that are doing it, for you are dead now, my sons and daughters.  It is the Spirit of the living God that I have dispatched into your hearts.  It is the Spirit of Christ within you who I recognize as the one motivating spirit of your life.  And soon you will be able to truthfully say what Paul said to the Galatians.”  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Gal. 2:20.

When we simply believe His apostle’s word and identify  our  depraved  carnal  nature with the Lamb that day, and surrender to the punishment of death to that old selfish way of life, then He is pleased.  That faith pleases Him very much, for we believe the report that He has given us concerning the Savior.

“Righteousness” is the upright walk in God’s ways and laws.  If one is righteous in God’s eyes, then He approves of their walk of faith.  Our old carnal Adamic nature can never please God, for it cannot keep the ten commandment law.  But there was one who did, even the Savior Himself.  Our part is to just believe that He is living within, for He is the Spirit, and His Spirit within keeps us in that righteous condition in God’s eyes.  Remember that He is the one who “calls those things that be not as though they were.”  He believes in His own sacrificial power; He can’t go back on it.  If we believe what He believes about us in our redeemed position with Him within, then we are walking in faith.

[The above is an excerpt from The Unveiling of the Sons of God. You may read a portion of it here: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/ebook-the-unveiling-of-the-sons-of-god/ or you may order a free copy of the trade paperback–details here: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/donate/ ]  Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Christ Is the Seed of Love–Greater Love Has No Man Than This

Christ is the Seed. He is the Seed of Love that is planted in our hearts. This happens when we believe that He laid down His earthly life for us.

“Greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends,” Christ said. That is the very definition of love in its fullest magnitude. So when we believe this about what Christ did for us all, then  that same seed of love is generated in our hearts.

This regeneration of love in our hearts truly begins when we believe that Christ was resurrected from the dead. When we believe that He was resurrected, then we, too, can be “raised to walk in a newness of life.” This is the seed of love being germinated in our hearts. And this new life that springs out of our new heart and spirit reflects His love for others in our life. For these other human beings are the very ones He laid down His life for.

Loving others with the generation of Love from within us by His Spirit is the “work of God.” Many have proclaimed their desire to do God’s work in the earth. Well, this is it: “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent” (John 6: 29). Christ’s own words. For in believing in the resurrection of Christ and all that it entails, it puts God’s very Spirit of renewal and germination and growth into our hearts. And “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5: 5).

That same Spirit of Love, courses through us now by believing in Christ’s resurrection, which comes out of His  great love for us in giving His life.

Faith/belief of all this germinates the Seed/Truth in us and starts the growing spiritual life cycle of love in us. This love channels through us to others. But it is all generated by believing in His resurrection from the dead. When we believe this, then a rebirth of the seed of love springs out of our hearts just like seeds in our garden burst through the sun warmed soil in the spring. And so Life begins again as we remember His words: I am the way, the truth, and the life.   Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Self-Sacrifice Versus Self-Improvement in Christian Growth

Life is all about love.  It is about living to love. Life is our time to love.

But it is about great love, selfless love, agape love. For that is what touches the human heart–love. But this the highest love is the giving-up-one’s-life-for-another kind of love. It is that rare selfless love. And that is the part of the Christian story that reaches into the inner recesses of the heart and gently breaks it. It touches us. That’s the kind of love that is great–laying down one’s life for a friend.

And that is where the Christian’s Savior reigns supreme in touching hearts. Hearing of His undeniable love in taking our sins upon Himself and providing Himself as an offering for our sins–for the selfish likes of us–that is what touches us.

The cool untouchable reflection of Buddha does not touch us like Christ does. It is, after all, an exercise in helping one’s self gain peace. The busy petty pantheons of India, Rome, and Greece do not move us like Christ does.

Nor do nebulous new age imaginations touch us, for they all are mere means of self-improvement, not self-denial to help others.

And we humans know too well deep down in the core of our beings that self-improvement of the self is, well, self-centered and self-important and has little to do with worshipping the Creator who needs no improvement. For His ways are perfect; His thoughts are law.

This then should give us Christians pause. For we are warned repeatedly in almost every book in the New Testament that there will be false teachers. And even though well-meaning, they “will bring in damnable heresies.”

And the heretical teaching most damning, that condemns that vulnerable babe in Christ to a stunted spiritual growth is the doctrine of “self-improvement.” In an old tract it was call “The Modern Smooth Cross,” as opposed to the austerity of the “old rugged cross.”

The smooth modern cross does not demand the death of the old self on the cross with Christ, our sin Sacrifice, the Passover Lamb of God. This doctrine merely re-directs ambitions, improves little idiosyncrasies. It never gets down to the real problem–the sin nature that is brought to the church house.

In this modern doctrine of self-improvement, the self is still there. It is never demanded to die with Christ. Therefore, the sinful self is hibernating there under the initial rush and excitement of fellowship, hiding like a cornered wild animal waiting to strike out and wound whoever would pressure it out of its comfortable lair. Some feel quite at home and feel no threats to their current status in Christendom and carry on walking through the wide gate.

The Self-Sacrifice of Spiritual Circumcision

However, we now must remember that we Christians have undergone an invisible spiritual circumcision, “made without hands, in putting off the body of sins of the flesh (Col. 2: 11-13).  For we were already “dead in our sins (v. 13). And now God has provided a way to let that sinful nature die now and avoid the rush. And we have been “buried with Him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead” (v. 12). That is how God sees it and judges it regardless of whether we see it or even feel it. The “we,” the self is dead. He said it; now we believe it.

He died on the cross; our sinful nature died with Him. He was buried; we were buried spiritually, our old sinful nature entombed forever. He was raised from the dead; we are raised with Him and “walk in newness of life (Rom. 6: 4). And we must know this one thing: “That our old man is crucified with  Him [it is already done and over with], that the body of sin might be destroyed [that means dead, caput, no more, totally annihilated], that henceforth we should not serve sin”  (Rom. 6: 6).

So how to do this in a reality? We must reckon it so. We must account that it is done like God has already done. “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God” (6: 11). Let the invisible chains of sin’s slavery fall off of you. Just walk off of the plantation. You are already dead, so just let the old sinful life go. Be alive unto God. Walk in a new life through Him and through belief in His resurrection. It is already done. God’s Emancipation Proclamation has gone forth. Just believe it, and walk off of the plantation. You are free. You don’t have to sin anymore. Whether you have been going to church three months, three years, or thirty or more years–you are free now. Just believe it; it is already accomplished. I am proclaiming liberty to the captives. Walk on in the light of His love. Give up your life for others. Sacrifice your self to help save mankind. In a word, be like Christ. That is what He is asking us to do. After he told His disciples of these things, He asked them, Are you sure you want to do this? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

The Effect?

“He that is dead is freed from sin” (6: 7). Very few preachers tell their congregations that they are freed from sin. To the contrary, they tell them how sinful they are, but never tell them how to be free from that bondage to sinning. They proudly proclaim that they are a “sinner saved by grace” and will always be a sinner. Where does the Bible say that? Just read  1 John 3: 9. They will proclaim that they “sin every day.”

But why won’t they tell them that they are freed from the clutches of sin? Because they have not taught them that they must let their sinful old nature die with Christ on the cross. No death of sinful heart=no freedom from its bondage. For “whoever commits sin is the servant [slave] of sin,” Christ said (John 8: 34). He also said that “no man can serve two masters.” You cannot serve God and serve sin. Sharp cutting words, but needful.

But tired old churchianity slogs on, “teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.” Their leaders “cause them to err,” and they will give an account to the Judge who will weigh all their justifications and give His verdict, as they are led from the room muttering, “But did we not prophesy in Your name?”

The message written here will bless the hearts of some, but some will scurry out of its light, back to the friendly confines of modern Christendom’s “Today’s Tips for Self-Improvement. ”   Kenneth Wayne Hancock    {If you haven’t visited my website Immortality Road, please do. There you will find over 300 articles and books exploring the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” all written for you, the elect sons and daughters of God, the future rulers with Christ in His soon coming kingdom
https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com }

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Immortality–Bringing “Life and Immortality to Light”

To live on.  To not have to die.  It is the common thread tying almost all cultures, religions and philosophies together.  Is it not what every nation has clamored for?

The furtive longings of a billion souls from a thousand civilizations have whispered their desire for it.  The baked clay tablets of Mesopotamia speak of it.  Fragments of Egypt’s fragile papyrus pages still share the dream.   The Gilgamesh Epic of Babylonia around 2,200 B.C. chronicles the hero’s quest for immortality.  The ancient Greeks thought that immortality was attained through courageous effort on the battlefield.  Shakespeare imagined immortality coming through the longevity of the lines he wrote.  The Philosopher’s Stone, with its lead-into-gold alchemic dream, symbolized transcending our leaden mortal existence into a golden immortal elixir of life and rejuvenation.  Time would fail us to include the Egyptians’ mummies, the Indians’ nirvana, and on down to our present day where actors and directors try to immortalize themselves in celluloid.

Each of these attempts have flickered and failed.  But the thirst for immortality will not be quenched.  Is it not the most important possession one could ever attain in this life?  To live on and silence the tears shed at your passing.  To trump and triumph over Death.  To laugh at Death’s rude intrusion into all you hold dear.  To negate Death’s mayhem.  To expose him to be a liar when he says that your expiration date is a welcomed conclusion to the human condition, and his boast that he is a friend to the infirm and decrepit.

And Then a Man Came on the Scene

Though a universal longing, all these attempts have collapsed in the dusty halls of darkness.  And then a man came on the scene some 2,000 years ago–a man said to have “brought life and immortality to light.”  He brought good news, announcing the way to conquer death.  He would know, for He defeated Death.  For He was raised from the dead Himself after “three days and three nights” in the grave, seen by hundreds of witnesses.

“After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1: 3, NIV).  He taught them during that time how to become citizens of His immortal kingdom.  In a word, He taught them how to become immortal.  He, of course is the Savior of mankind, known to the English speaking world as Jesus Christ and known to those very early disciples as Yahshua, which means in the Hebrew, Yah is the Savior.

He shared His Hebrew name with the Hebrew patriarch Joshua, the Anglicized rendition of Yahshua.  Many biblical scholars admit that their names are interchangeable [http://www.blbclassic.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2424&t=KJV].

In fact, the angel of Yahweh told Joseph to name Him  “Yah is Savior” because “He shall save His people from their sins.”

The Words He Spoke…

Now many have a problem with Him, but all that know of Him will at least say that He is a wise man, a great teacher, and a prophet.  If He was such a great prophet and spiritual teacher, then why don’t those same people believe His words?

And it is the words He spoke about life and immortality that tests us in our search.

What did He teach?  He taught us that the Father Creator is an invisible Spirit, that He is Love, that the Father has a kingdom and a government, that there is a way to enter that kingdom of God and become the children of the Father God, and that He and only He is the way to eternal life, which is immortality.

He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14: 6).  Anybody who comes up another way is a “thief and a robber.”

He also taught a duality–that there was an enemy Satan, who has a kingdom here on earth, and that he and his evil spirits are warring against God and His children’s kingdom.

Christ taught that sin is the breaking of the Ten Commandments (I John 3: 4-6).  And we humans break the law early on in our lives because of the old nature we are born with.  And He taught that it is this sin nature in us that causes our death.  We are mortal because of the sin within our hearts.  Sin brings on death.  Plain and simple.  “But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin” (v. 5).

“He shall save His people from their sins,” said the angel.  He “takes away our sins,” says the apostle John.  So if Christ takes our sins away, then we are free from sin, which opens up the way to immortality because it is sin that brings on our death.

Summing up, Christ “has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light” (II Tim. 1: 10).  He has “abolished death.”  He has abolished death by abolishing sin in our lives, and thus, He brings immortality to us.

He came to “save His people from their sins” by destroying sin in their lives.  But how does He do this?  It is through His death, burial and resurrection.  He took on our sins upon His sacrificial body, and He died.  He died, we died; our old sinful self died.  He was buried; we were buried.  He raised from the dead; we are raised from the dead–by faith in His resurrection [for much more on how He takes away our old sinful heart, see Romans 6: 1-12 and https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2010/08/21/life-out-of-death-the-ultimate-paradox/ ].

So the Savior destroyed the sin in our life, and thereby destroyed death, thus bringing “life and immortality to light.”  He destroyed sin and death, “for the wages of sin is death.”  Destroy sin and you destroy its after effects–death.

But He also said that most would not comprehend and do His teachings.  He said that broad is the way that leads to destruction and many will enter that wide gate.  But narrow is the way to eternal life, and few will find it.

And that last clause–“and few will find it”–should give us great pause.  He said, “Many are called, but few are chosen.”  Oh, to be one of His chosen, chosen to sit with Him on His throne, helping Him rule the nations during the greatest reign of peace this earth has ever seen–ruling alongside of Him for 1, 000 years, ruling as one of the immortal princes and princesses in His kingdom.   Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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