Tag Archives: Christian Living


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Bitterness is one of the most crushing mental problems in a person’s life. When a Christian is bitter, there is a loss of close fellowship with the Lord and a hindrance in one’s relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Bitterness causes a loss of many of the blessings of the normal Christian life, including emotional stability, peace and joy. Bitterness results in the loss of production of good works like gold, silver and precious stones which are a major source of blessing and reward in the plan of God.

Bitterness is a devastating mental attitude sin, and it triggers a wide range of other sins, such as:

  • Hatred Cruelty Antagonism Self-pity Unteachableness or implacability
  • Vindictiveness and desires for revenge Prideful ambition or arrogance

Bitterness is neither consistent nor rational. A bitter person is his own worst enemy. It is very difficult to maintain any kind of relationship with a chronically bitter person; and bitterness is a major contributing cause of marital and family problems.

The objective in this short article is to provide Christians with a thorough look at what the Bible says about bitterness, including many scripture examples, then to offer some direction about how to have victory over bitterness.

There are quite a few companion studies in the Grace Notes library which can help identify the mental attitude sin of bitterness and help deal with it from divine viewpoint.


In English, the concept of mental bitterness comes from the idea of something that has a sharp or unpleasant taste. We speak of something being bitter if it causes grief or is hard to bear; a bitter defeat, bitter failure. We also speak of a bitter loss when someone’s death has caused great grief.

Then, bitterness has come to be used of those things that cause pain or grief, such as bitter remarks or the actions of bitter enemies. We say “he fought to the bitter end”, meaning a struggle in the last extremity.

The biblical Greek words for bitterness are PIKROS = “bitter” and PIKRIA = “bitterness”, and other derivatives. PIKROS originally meant “sharp”, or “pointed”. Then it was used more generally for anything that was penetrating to the senses, something that had a pervasive smell or a shrill noise. PIKRIA was used for the bitterness of the taste of some plants, and finally found use in speaking of personal experience when something was unpleasant, undesirable, or when something bad was unexpected.

The words PIKROS or PIKRIA are used about 40 times in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament), only rarely to refer to literal bitterness, such as the reference to bitter water in Exo. 15:23. Usually it is a reference to men who are (pikroi) the bitter ones when they are soured or cruel (Ruth 1:20; Hab. 1:6).

There are seven instances of these words in the New Testament: Matt. 26:75; Luke 22:62; Acts 8:23; Rom. 3:14; Eph. 4:31; James 3:11, 14.

So, in the Bible, except when it is obvious that the actual taste of something in meant, PIKRIA refers to intensity of suffering of mind and body, something that is difficult to bear, something that causes animosity and reaction, something that is brought about by hatred or antagonism.

Bible Examples of Bitterness
  • Women are bitter because they cannot have children, 1 Sam 1:10.
  • A foolish son is bitterness to his mother, Prov. 17:25.
  • Divine discipline or chastisement of the Jewish people caused bitterness. This demonstrates the weakness and failure of the people. Bitterness destroyed the people’s spiritual lives. The Jews brought on self-destruction by their bitterness.
  • Lam. 1:4; Amos 8:10; Ezek. 27:30; Isa. 33:7; 2 Kings 14:26.
  • Slavery causes bitterness, Exo. 1:14.
  • Suffering causes bitterness to people who do not understand the Bible’s problem solving devices and principles, and who do not give number one priority to their relationship with God. Deut. 32:24.
  • Ridicule is a source of bitterness, Lam 3:14. The people ridiculed Jeremiah because of their bitterness toward him. When truth is taught, people sometimes react in bitterness.
  • Consummate human pride is a cause of bitterness, Acts 8:23.
  • Degeneracy is a source of bitterness, Rom. 3:14.
  • Personal choice is a source of bitterness, Eph. 4:31.
  • Husbands and wives are a source of bitterness toward each other, Col 3:19.
The Results of Bitterness
  • Bitterness is antisocial. A bitter person is selfish, inconsiderate of others, withdrawn from society, indifferent or adverse to conformity with conventional standards of social behavior. Even strangers avoid bitter people, Prov. 14:10. No one is happy around bitter people.
  • Bitterness is a sign of the spiritual life gone wrong, Jer. 2:19.
  • A bitter person rejects Bible teaching. James 3:14, “But if you have bitter jealousy and strife, stop being arrogant and lying against the truth.
  • Bitterness shows total lack of grace orientation. A bitter person does not understand the plan of God, let alone how it affects individuals.
  • In Job 9:17-18, Job’s complaint against God, “Why does God let this happen to me?,” is a statement of bitterness.
  • Bitterness accompanies the sin unto death, Job 21:25.
  • Bitterness motivates complaining, Job 7:11, 10:1. People who habitually complain are bitter people; they have no self esteem.
  • Bitterness motivates gossip, Psalm 64:3.
  • Bitterness fragments other peoples lives. Heb 12:15, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by it many be defiled;
  • Bitterness is self induced misery, and it produces chain sinning.
  • Bitterness is misery to others in the periphery. But two wrongs never make a right. You cannot build your happiness on someone else’s unhappiness.
Recovery from Bitterness

Isa. 38:17, “Behold, bitterness became deliverance to me. In Your love You have delivered my soul out of the pit of destruction; for You have cast all my sins behind my back.”

Ephesians 1:8 tells us that we have available to us wisdom and prudence which are part of God’s grace provision for us. Wisdom comes with a thorough understanding of Bible doctrine and the principles of Christian living. Prudence is the practical use of applied Bible truth in making decisions and solving problems in this life.

You can use the following practical methods to deal with bitterness in your life, regardless of the cause.

Many of these topics are discussed in considerably more detail in other Grace Notes articles, but this outline will give you ideas on how you can make specific application of doctrine to help with real world problems.

Confession of Sin

Personal sin leads to bitterness. You must deal with sin on a daily basis by confessing and moving on. If you do not do this, sin becomes a burden which clouds your joy, drains your spiritual energy and destroys your productivity and vitality. In short, sin is always depressing.

1 John 1:9 states that when you confess your sins, God “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

In privacy, make a list of your mental attitude sins, verbal sins, and behavior sins. Ask the Lord to make you aware of the habits of your own life. Respond immediately to the Holy Spirit when He uses the word to spotlight your sin. Name the sin to God; then rejoice in forgiveness and cleansing and your renewed fellowship with God. All the promises and provisions of God the Father are now available to you. Make it a spiritual habit to confess sins whenever they show up in your life.

The Filling of the Holy Spirit

When you have unconfessed sin in your life, the Holy Spirit is grieved or quenched. But the Holy Spirit fills you and controls your life when you have no unconfessed sin in your life. This is why confession of sins is so important.

You can trust the Holy Spirit to reveal sin to you when you commit it, or even before. When the Holy Spirit is in control, He produces His fruit (Gal. 5:22). The fruit of the Spirit does not include heaviness, bitterness, discouragement, disillusion, anguish, sadness, dejection or loss of productivity. Consider these points:

  • Love is free from bitterness.
  • Joy pushes bitterness out.
  • Bitterness can not coexist with peace in the soul of the believer filled with the Holy spirit.
  • Long suffering gives the ability to deal with bitterness and other troubles.
  • Gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance are fruits of
  • righteousness, which is divine good. Divine good takes the place of bitterness.
Living in the Word

By constant study and meditation in the Bible you are constantly reminded of God’s viewpoint, of His plan, of His provision, or His awareness of our spirit of bitterness and what He want to accomplish in us. Living in the sphere of human viewpoint is a source of bitterness. Living in the word gradually transplants you to a new sphere, a new environment for your life, in which there is victory over bitterness.

Furthermore, there is a continuous cleansing taking placed. See especially Ephesians 5 for how the Lord Jesus uses the word to cleanse believers.

Orientation to Grace

Bitterness is often caused by people, most of the time by people we cannot escape, or people we love, or people we cannot confront, or people we trust. Grace orientation includes the ability to look at people and see them as God sees them. It includes the ability to let them live their lives as unto the Lord, and trusting God to make His way clear to them. This technique lets people make mistakes without your judging them. It enables you to accept criticism without hurt or bitterness. It enables you to esteem others better than yourself, to do nothing through strife or vainglory.

Occupation with Christ

The technique of occupation with Christ helps to cure bitterness because it gets your eyes off your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your friends and yourself. Instead, as you move through the day, you are thinking about the Lord Jesus Christ, His plan for your life, the Father’s provision for each incident in your life, and His provision of wisdom for each decision you must make. Occupation with Christ is a by-product of the Faith rest Life. Bitterness is a by product of occupation with self, with life, with problems.

The Faith-Rest Life or Trusting God and Enjoying the Peace which Results

Faith rest is believing the promises of God and then entering into the rest phase of Christian living by claiming and enjoying those promises. Therefore, you must search the scriptures daily to remind yourself of promises, and to learn new ones. You must know who and what God is so that you will not hesitate to believe that He can do what He has promised to do. Study the attributes of God using verses about the essence of God. Know Him as He reveals Himself in the Bible. Believe Him when He tells you what He will do for you. Count on it. Let your faith rest on it. Cast your burden on the Lord.

Relaxed Mental Attitude

A relaxed mental attitude is based on knowing God and on having the divine production in the soul that comes with the fruit of the Holy Spirit. A relaxed mental attitude is one of the results of living in the word, Walking in fellowship, practicing the faith rest life, and being occupied with Christ.

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The Characteristics of Weaker Brethren

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[Please read Romans chapter 14 before going through the discussion in this article].

Romans 14 has a splendid description of the characteristics of a legalistic person who is called the weaker brother. This is a great passage about how to think grace toward someone who does something obnoxious or unspiritual.

Remember, we all have areas of weakness.

You may be the stronger believer in some of your areas of strength and a weaker brother in areas of weakness.

The idea in both cases is to avoid legalism and judgmentalism.

The strong believer in Romans 14 is mature, oriented to grace, the plan of God, occupied with Christ and operates in fellowship most of the time under the power of the Holy Spirit.

The weaker brother has one or more of the following characteristics

  • The weaker brother is disoriented to grace, especially in the area of spirituality and practices one or more forms of legalism.
  • He is not comfortable unless he is judging the stronger believer in some gray area of behavior.
  • The weaker brother is strong on scruples, but not well informed about doctrine or divine viewpoint.
  • The weaker brother operations on criteria of feelings, emotions, traditions, experiences, background, instead of Bible truth.
  • The weaker brother operates in the energy of the flesh, producing human good like wood, hay stubble which he thinks is divine good like gold, silver and precious stones.
  • The weaker brother is proud and critical of the strong believer, always judging him.
  • The weaker brother sticks his nose into the affairs of others by gossiping, maligning and judging.
  • The weaker brother likes to set up a mold and try to squeeze everyone into it, so he is a bully.
  • The weaker brother has a guilt complex, so he is emotionally unstable; he is sensitive and demands attention; he is full of self pity and lusts for approbation in his sin nature.
  • The weaker brother is jealous of others and tries to discredit them; he nit picks and condemns the activities and projects of others.
  • The weaker brother is weak because he resists grace doctrines. He can recover quickly by confessing sin, being controlled by the Holy Spirit and pursuing a program of intake of Bible truth which will make him spiritually strong.

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Freedom in the Christian Life

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Romans 8:2

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Here we have two diametrically opposed laws. One that sets free and one that brings sin and death.

APPLICATION: If you were a salesperson and these were the two products you were to sell, which one could you find a buyer for.

Well Christian, that is our product. We can take to a world in bondage a message about a way to be free.

The LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE is the same higher principle of law that James referred to:

James 1:25 “But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but aneffectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.”

James 2:8 “However, you are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well.”

In Hebrews it is seen as that better hope:

Hebrews 7:18-19 “For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”

In II Corinthians 3:3 we find where this law is written: “You are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.”


    1. The law of the Spirit of life is a law found not on tablets of stone but on the heart of the believer.
    2. It is a law possessed by the Holy Spirit.
    3. While normally a law regulates and controls, this law sets free.

II Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

    1. Since the Law of the Spirit is the Holy Spirit himself that law is not to be limited by a ridged system of law of legalism:

II Corinthians 3:6 “Who (God) also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

    1. The Law of the Spirit of life for the believer works in the believer at all times.
    2. We too often think that the Holy Spirit is totally idle when we are out of fellowship and that is not the case:

James 4:5 “Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us?”

Galatians 5:17 “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”

  1. We are always free, we are always indwelled by the Holy Spirit, but to enjoy the benefits of freedom and the power and ministries of the Spirit we must be in fellowship, F/HS.
  2. And we are the Holy Spirit works in us continually cleansing us, conforming us, to the image and character of Christ.

As Paul comes out of the struggle of Romans 7, the great declaration of this new Law of the Spirit of life is . . . FREEDOM.

Now back in Romans 6:7 Paul stated: “For he who has died is freed from sin.” That was the positional death we have at the moment of salvation. There Paul uses the word JUSTIFIED which is a legal term for being set free from any indictment of law.

Here, in Romans 8:2 the word for freedom is not a legal word but a word that looks at the function of freedom.

The means of freedom back in Romans 6:7 was the baptism of the Holy Spirit wherein we were united with Christ in His death. Here the means of freedom is the Holy Spirit but His continual working in the believer’s life.

The verb SET FREE is a aorist tense that here looks back at what started at salvation and continues even today. This freedom is related to the three stages of maturity we studied . . . more maturity, more freedom.

It is a freedom that allow the one who is free to be independent and in that independence submit, to act out of his or her free will to serve God.

Some Passages that Describe our Freedom:

Romans 8:21 “That the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

Nature, the environment, will one day be as free as you, the believer. I toss that in because we think of being as free as nature? Nature, to personify it, wants to be as free as we are.

Since the beginning of the church there are those who cannot stand the freedom the believer has:

I Corinthians 10:29 “For why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience?”

Also Galatians 2:4 the Jerusalem Council: But it was because of the false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.

We are to maintain freedom so as to not be brought back into any ridged system:

Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

We are to use our freedom to minister to others: Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

We must not let it become a stumbling block: I Corinthians 8:9 “But take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.”

Peter touches on this also in I Peter 2:16 “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.”

The Holy Spirit as the agent of freedom in the life of the believer uses the word of God to define this freedom: John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

The objective of the CCL, however, is not freedom, it is what you will do with your freedom.

Peter talked of those who promised freedom: II Peter 2:19 “Promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.”

The Law of the Spirit of Life sets us free from sin and from death so that we can function in that freedom, free from bondage, serving God and serving others.

Jesus Christ set the precedent for our freedom:

    1. Jesus Christ set the precedent at the cross. He was free to reject the cross, but He recognized the Father’s authority and became obedient even unto death,

Hebrews 5:8 “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.”

Philippians 2:8 “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled

    Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”.

  1. The Lord Jesus Christ was totally obedient. His obedience at the cross results in our spiritual freedom.
  2. The application to us is that we need to exercise our volition towards self-discipline and consistently use our freedom for the learning, thinking, and applying of Bible doctrine.

We are free in the Spirit and that means we are free to live the Christ Centered life in freedom, not bondage, serving God and others out of our freedom.

LET ME GIVE YOU A RULE: If as you as progressing in your spiritual life, you are moving to greater bondage and law, there is a problem. If however you are moving towards greater freedom and grace, you are on the right track.

One is rigid and therefore predictable and comfortable.

But the only the other can lead you to places you never imagined, never even dreamed of, could not even hope for.

This freedom from the law of the Sin Nature and its resulting spiritual death is what Paul struggled against in Romans 7. He could not free himself from it, but now the Holy Spirit has come onto the stage, taken center stage, and given that freedom.

Again, this is functional. Positional freedom was the issue in Romans 6:3-11. Now we are into the living of the spiritual life.

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Teaching in the Local Church

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Eph. 4:15,16 provides a concise description of a mature, productive local church.

  • “Speaking the truth in love,
  • we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,
  • from whom the whole body,
  • being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies,
  • according to the proper working of each individual part,
  • causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

The mature local church is made up of mature believers who work together to fulfill the Plan of God and the Christian mission.

The Local Church’s Mission

The local church’s mission includes the following activities:

Worship as a local assembly – “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together”

Evangelism – the winning of people to the Christian faith. “He that winneth souls is wise…”

Edification – “Feed the church of God …” “Feed the flock”

Training – “Study to show yourselves approved unto God, a workman …”

Service – Attention to the details of encouragement and support of everyone in the body of Christ.

The local church’s mandate, then, is to maintain an organizational structure for the purpose of meeting God’s requirements for worship, evangelism, edification, and the development of skilled workers to carry out the work associated with the stated mission.

We are to worship “in Spirit and in truth”. The work of the local church must be carried out in the presence of the Holy Spirit, with His control, and through His total ministry of teaching, convicting, and controlling. The work of the local church must center in and deal exclusively with the Bible, the Word of God. The revealed Word of God, the “mind of Christ” is the only effective tool for learning what God’s will is and carrying it out.

Therefore, the main daily work of the pastor and members of a local church is to provide a maximum of high quality Bible teaching, in sufficient quantity to allow believers to make rapid progress in the Christian Way of Life. The main activity of the local church, apart from prayer and worship, is Bible teaching

To meet the teaching requirements of the church’s mission, the following are required:

  1. A well-defined strategy for providing the teaching needs of the church.
  2. A mature set of plans for developing and carrying out a teaching program.
  3. Execution of the plans by assigning and employing people to the work, setting schedules, and putting the plans in motion

The Church’s Teaching Ministry

2 Tim. 2:1,2 “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

Bible study has four main components:

Bible Analysis – exegesis and exposition. The process of dissecting a passage of Scripture into its component parts (vocabulary, syntax, grammar) in order to learn as well as possible the meaning (interpretation) of the passage.

Topical Development – categorization. Briefly, the process of determining the meaning of words and concepts found in a passage of scripture by searching the whole Bible for clues, explanations, and illustrations of the subject under study.

Historical Study – The process of studying the social history of the people and cultures in the context of the Bible passage, and the language history of the text, to learn as much as possible about the text, as used colloquially in the time in which it was written, and to learn how the text was applied to the people living in that time and place.

Correlation of Categorical Doctrine – This involves the gathering together of groups of related doctrinal studies that deal with specific subject areas of application.

With these things in mind, a local church can design a comprehensive Bible teaching curriculum which will meet the needs of all age groups as they grow in Christ. Such a curriculum will contain components such as the following:

Bible Studies


  • Verse by verse expositional studies of books of the Bible
  • Studies of Bible topics regarding salvation, stability in the Christian way of life, and spiritual production
  • Survey studies: Old Testament survey, New Testament survey, life of Christ, Acts and Life/Epistles of Paul, etc.

Historical Studies

  • Survey of Ancient History (early times to Byzantine Empire)
  • Survey of Hebrew History (in Bible light)
  • History of major mid-Eastern world powers – Egypt, Assyria, Sumer, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Hittites, Greece, Rome
  • History of Judea
  • History of the Jewish religion and practices
  • Detailed history of the period from 100 BC to 100 AD
  • American History (from Christian viewpoint), American and state government
  • Law – short courses in “legal research” or “orientation to law and the courts”

Studies in Preparation for Teaching

  • Biblical languages (Greek, Hebrew, etc.), introductory and advanced.
  • Hermeneutics and exegesis
  • Use of reference materials: concordances (English, Greek, Hebrew); Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias; commentaries; systematic theology studies
  • Development of expertise in preparing Bible studies
  • English grammar and composition
  • Public speaking
  • Christian literature (non-fiction)
  • Bible lesson development and organization
  • Use of parallel passages
  • How to find and use illustrations
  • How to determine and teach appropriate applications

Such a curriculum is very ambitious and will require several years for any individual to complete. But when this effort is compared to the requirements for obtaining a high school diploma or college degre e, the eternal results to be gained certainly make the work of organization, teaching, and study worthwhile.

Doctrinal Studies (Partial Listing)

The following is a partial listing of the doctrinal topics to be covered in a comprehensive Bible teaching ministry. These topics can be considered the essential “fundamentals” for any believer who is motivated to move toward spiritual maturity.

Salvation Doctrines

Grace Mental Attitude of God

Blood of Christ

Barrier Doctrines (Propitiation, Reconciliation, Redemption)

Salvation and Positional Truth

Ark of the Covenant and Mercy Seat



Sin and the Penalty of Sin

Heaven and Hell



Resurrection and Ascension of Christ

Christian Life Techniques

Confession of Sin

Faith Rest

Living in the Word

Occupation with Christ

Orientation to Grace

Spirituality vs Carnality

Divine Viewpoint vs Human Viewpoint

The Lord’s Supper


Judgment and Judging

Justice of God

Divine Guidance and the Plan of God


Christian Giving


Royal Family




Spiritual Adultery and Worldliness

Suffering – Deserved and Undeserved

Divine Discipline for Nations and Individuals

Stability Doctrines – Christian Life Foundations

Essence of God

Salvation Doctrines (the believer at the moment of salvation; 36 Things)

Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ

Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

Sin and the Sin Nature

Mental Attitude

Volition: The Will of Man

The Soul

Positional Truth



Law and Legalism


Works: Dead and Alive

The Faith System of Learning Divine Viewpoint


Productivity Doctrines

Grace in Production

Holy Spirit: spiritual gifts, power


Personal Evangelism

Local Church – organization and work

Spiritual Testing and Suffering as a witness

Christian Missions

Divine Institutions

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Workers, Qualifications for Christian

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The following qualifications apply to anyone who is going into Christian service in some capacity to minister to others. These criteria particularly apply to those who take up Christian work as a vocation, such as pastors, evangelists, teachers, or missionaries.

  • The Christian worker must be born again and he must understand the Plan of God in all of its phases.
  • He must exercise his spiritual gift, such as that of pastor, evangelist, teacher, helps, governments, or other gift. The spiritual gift is a divine enabling for service given at the time of salvation and developed through intensive preparation.
  • He must be spiritually mature in the sense of being familiar with the whole counsel of God’s Word both by academic understanding and by application in his own life.
  • He must have spiritual endurance.

Maturity and the ability to do God’s work comes through years of study of God’s Word and practice in using doctrinal principles. Following is a review of the doctrinal ideas found in 2 Timothy 2:15.

Study — from the Greek word σπουδαζω (spoudzo) meaning “to be industrious, eager, to be diligent, to exert oneself”. It has a stronger meaning than “study”. It is actually connotes a way of life which includes the proper mental attitude and motivation to learn Bible doctrine daily. This word could be translated “make every effort”. And it is a command.

to show yourself or, “to make every effort to represent yourself…”. It means to make every effort to concentrate, to be objective to doctrine. to give priority to the Word of God. The reason that you are entering the Lord’s work is to live the life of Christ.

approve” — “to pass an exam”. δοκιμος (dokimos) The emphasis is on success, not failure. To be a successful Christian worker, you must study (Test #1), and you must use what you study (Test #2).

Can you teach to the glory of God? The test is on the accuracy of what you teach.

Can you work to the Glory of God? The test comes when you apply, whether you use Grace or legalism, whether you depend upon man or God.

Can you fix a car, iron a shirt, type a letter to the glory of God? The test is on whether you know how to do this.

workman” — ἐργατης (ergateis), an agricultural worker, a laborer, a routine worker. This word indicates one who is involved in the mundane, routine, ordinary, distasteful, or dull things in life. In the ancient world it meant feeding the cattle, working in the fields, cleaning out the barn, etc. Many people want to do great things for God, to get written up in articles, to get peer recognition for accomplishments.

Some people think that leading someone to Christ is more spiritual than giving a cup of cold water in the Lord’s name. But this is wrong! Any task can be done as unto the Lord; the Christian life is fantastic. The emphasis here is on doing small, routine things as unto the Lord. Stay in fellowship and wait for God’s promotion.

needeth not to be ashamed — literally, with the previous word, “a not–ashamed workman”. You don’t have to be ashamed of your station in life if you have an honest vocation. Every believer is in full time service. A Christian worker must keep grace oriented and not despise the ordinary things, or those who live an “ordinary” life. And he must have these qualities before moving out.

rightly dividing with the word of truth. — to cut straight, to line out a straight path. Use Bible doctrine to keep from straying into the cults, into the movements, to stay with accurate interpretation and application of the Word of God. This enables a life with no detours, no hangups, no blind alleys. Therefore, the verse says, “Making every effort to represent yourself approved to God, an irreproachable worker cutting a straight path with the Word of Truth.”

The Christian worker must also be able to stand the test of negative volition on the part of those he is reaching. READ Acts 13. Nothing tests the Christian worker more than a lack of response. Paul began his first missionary journey about ten years after he was saved, when he was mature. He ran into negative volition and corrected the situation with the direct approach (Acts 13:6-13).

Religion always has negative volition attached to it, as we see in this context. The religious people were filled with envy, jealous of Paul getting a hearing. They fabricated lies and began a vicious campaign of gossip and maligning. They “spoke against those things which were spoken by Paul”. They spoke against doctrine; they didn’t like Christ being called the Messiah; they didn’t like Paul’s authoritative teaching. They were the religious bosses and controlled everything religious in the town.

Paul and Barnabas “waxed bold” – that is, they spoke dogmatically with authority and confidence. He said, “It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you (Jews)”, but they ran into negative volition, “but seeing you put if from you”. So Paul and Barnabas left and went to a place of positive volition (13:46-49) and had great results.

In Acts 15, they ran into the problem of negative volition on the part of believers, toward doctrine taught categorically (Circumcision). The believers were dragging works into God’s plan of Grace. The Christian worker must understand the doctrine of volition, both positive and negative aspects.

A Christian worker must also possess spiritual endurance. The idea is expressed in 2 Tim. 4:7,8 as having iron in the soul, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Or. “Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Prov. 27:17).

The enemy of spiritual endurance is “brittleness in the soul”, as seen in Jer. 13:8‑14. In the ancient world they understood how a dried out wineskin would shatter. This passage is talking about the disintegration of the soul of an individual, like Prov. 6:32. The soul becomes brittle when the believer fails to respond to doctrine and either goes into idolatry or sexual sins. The believer drinks the jug of the foam of this life and not only does the jug shatter in his face but so does his soul. It is part of the frantic search for happiness of the person who has received some prosperity, like Solomon who prospered materially but found nothing to satisfy himself (Ecclesiastes).

Brittleness in the soul can become a way of life, like the nation which goes into terrible judgment (Jer. 13:19). This is the pursuit of success and happiness apart from God’s Plan and provision. A brittle soul has not been fulfilled by the Lord and His Word. Instead of Grace orientation, the believer with a brittle soul has legalism, self-righteousness, pride, super sensitivity, human viewpoint, self-justification, a critical and irritable spirit, and accepts no authority but his own.

Instead of being a master of the details of life, the details master him, so he seeks satisfaction with cheap substitutes. Instead of having a relaxed mental attitude, the brittle soul has mental attitude sins: bitterness, jealousy, hatred, cruelty. Instead of a capacity for personal and impersonal love, the brittle soul has pseudo-love, a sickly sweet love accompanied by boredom and instability. Instead of perfect happiness, the brittle soul has depression, frustration, and accepts instant stimulation followed by instant misery. This condition is the opposite of spiritual endurance and has destroyed many Christian workers in all parts of the world.

The mechanics of obtaining spiritual endurance are simple, salvation plus edification. Stability and endurance come through the daily intake of the Word of God accompanied by the continuous filling of the Holy Spirit and application of doctrine to the life through faith. Eph. 4:1-13.

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The Christian Walk

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Besides the examples of physical walking in the Bible, there are many references to two types of spiritual walking:

  • Walking which is advancing in the Christian life through the use of divine power, and
  • Walking in evil or controlled by the sin nature and using human energy, results in stagnation, retrogression or backsliding.

So, in walking, a Christian is either advancing or retreating. To advance, a believer must walk according to God’s plan, stay in fellowship and grow in Christ. To retreat in the spiritual life is to reside in Satan’s cosmic system.

Therefore, walking denotes many functions, both pro and con, in the spiritual life.

New Testament Words for Walking

The Greek word (peripatew) means to walk or to walk around. It is used for literal walking in Matt. 4:18. But peripatew is used primarily for the function of the plan of God in the church age in such passages as:

Rom. 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk (peripatew) in newness of life.”

Gal. 5:16, 17, “But I say, walk (peripatew) by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”

Eph. 4:1, 2, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk (peripatew) in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love,”

Eph. 5:1, 2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk (peripatew) in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

The spiritual walk of believers who are out of fellowship is described in the following:

1 Cor. 3:1-3, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking (peripatew) like mere men?”

Phil. 3:17-19, “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk (peripatew) according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk (peripatew), of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.”

The way of life of an unbeliever is also described by the word walk:

Eph. 2:1-3, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked (peripatew) according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Col. 3:5-7, “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come, and in them you also once walked (peripatew), when you were living in them.”

The Greek word (stoichew) means to march in step; to march in rank; to walk in agreement with; to function in a system; to follow a leader from the ranks. It is used in the New Testament primarily for functioning under God’s plan and advancing in that plan to spiritual maturity.

Gal. 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk (stoichew) by the Spirit.”

Stoichew is used for the pattern of salvation by faith in Christ also called walking by faith.

Rom. 4:11, 12, “and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned to them, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps (stoichew) of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.”

Stoichew is used for following the rules of the new spiritual life in

Gal. 6:16, “And those who will walk (stoichew) by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.”

Phil. 3:16, “however, let us keep living by that same standard (stoichew) to which we have attained.”

The word poreuomai) means to go; to proceed; to travel; to conduct oneself in a certain manner; to live; to walk. It is used for national degeneration:

Acts 14:16, “And in the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go poreuomai) their own ways;”

It is used for the carnal life pattern of the unbeliever:

1 Pet. 4:3, “For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued poreuomai) a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.”

Jude 16-18, “These are grumblers, finding fault, following after poreuomai) their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage. But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there shall be mockers, following after poreuomai) their own ungodly lusts.“”

See also 2 Pet. 2:10

It is used for occupation with the person of Jesus Christ on the part of believers:

Acts 9:31, “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and, going on poreuomai) in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.”

The Greek (anastrephw) originally meant in the Attic Greek to upset; to overrun; to associate. Its figurative meaning was to behave or to function in terms of human conduct. It was also used for the practice of principles.

In the Bible, anastrephw is used for the conduct and the lifestyle of the unbeliever in Eph. 2:3.

It is used for motivation for Christian integrity.

Heb. 13:18, “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct (anastrephw) ourselves honorably in all things.”

It is used for the operation of the sin nature.

Eph. 4:22, “that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside (anastrephw) the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,”

It is used for life and conduct in Christian way of life.

2 Pet. 3:11, 12, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct (anastrephw) and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!”

The Greek word (orthopedew) means to walk straight. It is used for legalistic modus operandi and resultant hypocrisy in Gal. 2:14; in other words, they were not walking straight.

Walking in the Light vs. Walking in Darkness

Walking in the light is a term used specifically for the believer’s execution of God’s will, plan and purpose for the church age. The concept of walking in the light is found in Eph. 5:8, “You were once in darkness , but now you are light in the Lord. Begin walking (peripatew) as children of light.”

This command is a reference to experiential sanctification. Walking in the light is synonymous for the Christian way of life.

Just as walking in the darkness is incompatible with walking in light, so Christian degeneracy is incompatible with the plan of God.

Walking in the light is compatible with the status of being in the light. Walking in darkness is not compatible with the status of being in the light. A Christian walking in darkness is degenerate, whether moral, immoral or both.

The command to walk in the light means that God intends for a Christian to be filled with the Spirit and to learn the word of God under the filling of the Spirit.

The Lord Jesus is our precedent for walking in the light:

1 John 2:6, “The person who says he abides in Him, he himself ought to keep walking in the same manner as He walked.”

Our example for the Christian walk is the Lord Jesus Christ during the His life on earth, not the walk of Old Testament believers.

Walking as children of light means we are to become spiritually mature believers.

The power for walking comes from using the power of the Holy Spirit on the inside, Gal. 5:16, walk by means of the Spirit. This is a command to remain in fellowship with God the Holy Spirit. Being in fellowship is the only way we can execute God’s plan.

Walking describes the purpose of living in the operational will of God to glorify God in the church age.

We are commanded in 1 Thess. 2:12, “so that you may walk in a manner worthy of God who elected you into His kingdom and glory.” This is a general reference to the fulfillment of the plan of God.

If we are going to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord after we believe in Christ, then we must be filled with the Spirit, and continually expose ourselves to the teaching of the word of God.

If we do all of this, then we fulfill 1 John 1:7, “If we keep walking in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.”

The challenge of walking in the light is found in Rom. 6:4, “Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism, in order that as Christ has been raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so that we too might walk in newness of life.”

  • Walking in newness of life means we walk in the light of the word of God.
  • We walk in newness of life because we are in union with Christ.
  • Walking in newness of life means using all of the assets God has provided for us: the availability of divine power; the indwelling of the Trinity; our portfolio of spiritual blessings; our universal priesthood and ambassadorship, etc.

The faith rest principle is also a mandate for walking. Faith rest exercise provides the poise of the Christian life. Applying faith rest you control your own life under God’s plan for your life.

2 Cor. 5:7, “For we walk by faith and not by sight.”

Col. 2:6, “As you have received Christ Jesus to yourselves, so keep walking by means of Him.”

The concept of walking is used for the function of problem solving in the Christian way of life.

Eph. 5:1, 2, “Become imitators of your God as beloved posterity, and begin walking in the sphere of love…”

Learning and using the problem solving devices moves you along in executing the plan of God, which is walking in the light.

Eph. 4:1 ,2, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, encourage you to walk in a manner worthy of your station in life into which you have been called with all humility and true sensitivity with perseverance, tolerate one another by means of love.”

All of these commands to keep walking are commands to keep learning doctrine, to keep advancing spiritually in the Christian way of life.

Walking in Darkness is Related to Satan’s Strategy of Evil

Walking is used as a warning against the cosmic system. John 8:12 is the prophecy of this.

Living in Satan’s system is called walking.

Phil. 3:18, 19, “For many keep walking, concerning whom I have often told you, even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ. Whose termination is destruction, whose God is their emotions, whose fame comes by means of dishonor, who keep on thinking about earthly things.”

1 John 1:6, “If we contend that we have fellowship with Him and keep walking in darkness, we lie and do not live the truth.”

1 Cor. 3:3, “For you are still carnal, since there is jealousy and strife. And you keep walking in accordance with men.”

Life in the cosmic system also called evil is called walking in darkness.

John 11:9, 10, “Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

Eph. 4:17-19, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;”

Walking is Related to Executing God’s Plan.

Eph. 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared in advance that we should be walking by means of them.”

  • At salvation we became His creation, a new spiritual species.
  • We are to walk by means of the things prepared by God for us in eternity past, such as the problem solving devices. The result is divine good: gold, silver, precious stones

Col. 1:9, 10, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;”

This is the point at which you fulfill all the commands for walking.

Walking is used for a mandate to advance to the objective of spiritual maturity.

1 Thess. 4:1, “Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more.”

More References to Walking

Walking by means of the indwelling Holy Spirit:

Rom. 8:1-4, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

Basic Christian living: we received Christ by faith, so now we walk by faith.

2 Cor. 5:7, “For we walk by faith and not by sight.”

Col. 2:6, “As you have received Christ Jesus to yourselves, so keep walking in Him.”

Building up momentum in spiritual things:

3 John 4, “I have no greater joy that this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”

Eph. 5:16-17, “making the most of you time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is”

Col. 1:9, 10, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord , to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;”

Walking related to the application of doctrine:

Col. 4:5, 6, “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.”

Eph. 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

Testing as part of the Christian walk:

Read Rom. 13:13-14; Eph. 4:17; Phil. 3:17-19

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Prophecy Unfulfilled

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The following is a chronological listing of Bible prophecies which remain to be fulfilled in the future.

• The Rapture of the Church (at the beginning of the period of Great Tribulation, seven years before the Second Advent of Christ): 1 Cor. 15:51-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-18.

• The Revival of the Roman Empire as a ten-nation confederacy: Dan. 7:7,24; Rev. 13:1; 17:3,12,13.

• The rise of a Middle East Dictator: Dan. 7:8; Rev. 13:1-8.

• A peace treaty with Israel (also seven years before the 2nd Advent: Dan. 9:27.

• The World Church established: Rev. 17:1-15.

• The Northern Kingdom attacks Israel (about 4 years before the 2nd Advent): Eze. 38 and 39.

• The peace treaty with Israel is broken; a world government is estab­lished; a world economic system is in place; a world atheistic reli­gion begins (3 1/2 years before the 2nd Advent): Dan. 7:23; Rev. 13:5-8,15-17; 17:16,17.

• Martyrdom of Christians and Jews: Rev. 7:9-17; 13:15.

• Catastrophic divine judgments poured out on the world: Rev. 6 to 18.

• World War (Battle of Armageddon) breaks out in the Middle East: Dan. 11:40-45; Rev. 9:13-21; 16:12-16.

• The Second Advent of Christ: Matt. 24:27-31; Rev. 19:11-21.

• The Judgment of unbelievers (the Baptism by Fire): Eze. 20:33-38; Matt. 25:31-46; Jude 14,15; Rev. 19:15-21; 20:1-4.

• Satan is bound: Rev. 20:1-3

• The Resurrection of the saints: Rev. 20:4.

• The Millennial Kingdom begins: Rev. 20:5,6.

• Revolution at the close of the Millennium: Rev. 20:7-10.

• The Great White Throne Judgment: Rev. 20:11-15.

• Eternity begins with New Heaven, New Earth, New Jerusalem: Rev. 21,22.

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