Thursday, July 30, 2015

John 1:16

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

John 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
We receive nothing good except it come from God (James 1:17). It is from his fulness that we have received. That fulness is the fulness of grace and truth. It is difficult for some to realize that even their repentance and faith are gifts from God.

Repentance is a gift -- Acts11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.  See also 2 Tim. 2:25.

Faith is a gift -- Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

We have also received the truth, of which the Lord is full. 2 Tim. 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

We also have "grace for grace." We receive the grace of God in order that we may extend through the preaching of the Gospel grace to others as God dispenses it according to His own will and purpose--grace for grace.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

John 1:15

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

John was a witness, a personal, physical witness of the Lord, Jesus Christ. What a privilege that was. Even though John was not called an apostle nor called to be an apostle, he certainly was right up to their par and lived his life to fulfill his short but successful ministry.

What Message Did He Witness

John witnessed that Jesus was preferred before him. John was born before Jesus , but he was  preferred in a higher position than John. John was the baptizer; Jesus was the actual Savior of sinners. John saved no one, but Jesus saves His people from their sins.

Why Did He Preach This Message?

John preached this very message, because, as John says, "He was before me." He was before John, not in birth, but in position and in time.

Remember John 1:1 where John said, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  Before John was born of his mother, Elizabeth, Jesus was in existence. He existed before the foundation of the world. He has always been and always shall be. Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Even when Jesus was in the tomb dead in the body, He was alive in the Spirit, and he resurrected from death so that now he lives forever and shall never die.

Therefore, those who believe and trust Him through saving faith shall live forever. John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?  

Do you believe this?  Read the following verses regarding the blind man that the scribes threw out of the temple . . .

John 9:35-38 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?  36  He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?  37  And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.  38  And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

Monday, July 27, 2015

John 1:14

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

The Word here, of course, is Jesus. He was the one who was made flesh. He was the one who dwelt among us. He was the one who had the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. He is the one who was full of grace and truth. This is our Savior. He came from above and is from above, not from the earth.  John 8:23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.

The "we" in this verse speaks of the people who saw Jesus with their physical eyes, who touched him with the physical hands, who heard with their physical ears the words of wisdom and instruction that he preached and taught along his way.   1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

This Word of life has been seen by us, also, through faith; and that is the great mystery of the Gospel and the great comfort to us, for we are blessed by it.  John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

We can see Him with our eye of faith, and we can comprehend him commensurate with the level of grace he bestows upon us as we study His word. John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

We can also hear his words and are blessed:   Rev. 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

It is God's great grace that has revealed God's Son to us through the Gospel, and it is that Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16).

The Bible's instruction to us is:   Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

John 1:13

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

Verse 12 tells us that all who receive Christ become the sons of God, even to the ones who believe on his name.  This is a great truth.

Verse 13 explains to us that this salvation is not gained by anything that we do. John mentions three things concerning how a person cannot become a son of God.

First, he mentions that we are not born "of blood," as it is explained in the book of Hebrews. Hebrews says, Heb 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Second, he mentions that we are not born by the "will of the flesh," or man's free will. Man's will is in bondage to his depraved character and cannot direct his will toward divine truth and life. If "free will" means liberty (as the term implies), then man is already born again with his own free will; but he is not alive unto God and needs the grace of God and the Spirit of God to be born from above.  John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Third, he mentions that we are not born by "the will of man," or by his own good will, the good that we may seem to have in the presence of other men, but indeed our goodness is nothing to God. Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Paul puts it a different way in Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

"But of God."  Yes, God must do the birthing. He brings us to himself, grants repentance and faith, and we believe the Gospel. Thus, God is the author, and we are the recipients of salvation.  1 John 5:1  Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

If you are not born again, may God grant you grace to repent and believe the Gospel.

Friday, July 24, 2015

John 1:9-12

 Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

The true Light, as we know from the context of this very chapter, is Jesus Christ. There is only one true Light. In this verse (9), Jesus is the TRUE Light. We read that he is "full of grace and truth" (verse 14).

Also, Jesus is the Light of the world (John 9:5). He says he is the Light of the world as long as He is in the world. He is the author of physical light, mental light, and spiritual light.

Jesus is also the "Light of life." In John 8:12 the verse mentions this. If we follow Him (in faith), we shall not walk in darkness "but shall have the light of life." This, of course, is speaking of spiritual light.

1 Timothy 6:16 speaks of a light "which no man can approach unto." This is the divine light of God's dwelling realm. This is where Jesus is and from where all spiritual knowledge comes. We cannot approach unto that light unless the Holy Spirit illuminates us (See Heb. 10:32).

In John 1:10 we find that Jesus, the Light, lights every man who comes into the world. This is life itself, both physical life and soul life, or that part of oneself that exists forever, that life which will be in eternity, either in Heaven or Hell.  Many also believe this is intelligence that is above the animals. We as humans have reason and self-awareness that animals do not have. Jesus is the author of all life.

Not only so, but verse 11 tells us that the world was made by Him. This is spoken of often in the Bible. John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3, 10.

But the world knew Him not, not by nature. That knowledge was lost in our fall into sin. The only way that any person can know God is through His revelation of Himself to man. This is a wonderful miracle of grace.

He came unto his own world, his own created things, and his own people (Jews) knew him not. Even those who should have known Him did not know Him.

Luke 10:22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.

BUT -- As many as received him, to them he gave power to become sons of God, even to them that believe upon His name. This is also a great miracle and gift of grace.

Have you believed upon Him? Turn now from your sins and know Him as your Savior through faith in Jesus and in His work for those who will receive Him. He lived a perfect, sinless, pure life, died on the cross to pay for sins, lay in a tomb for three days, and resurrected the third day. By this we are saved by grace through faith.

Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

John 1:6-8, 15

By Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

Just to emphasize the point, the word "was" here is not the same word as "was" in verse one. Jesus "was" in an eternal existence; John "was" because he "became." He was born and did not exist before his conception.

He was a man, and he was sent from God. God has and does send people to do specific jobs. John's job was to be a witness (verse 7) of the Light (Jesus Christ). The purpose of this, as it is in all Gospel preaching, is that men might believe . . . and be saved.

John was not that Light (verse 8), for he could not fit the bill for such a grand architect as Jesus. He was not eternal; he was not all-powerful, all-wise, and all-present as Jesus was. Jesus needed a witness on the earth, and John began that witness. Later the churches of the Lord were used for that as commission was given to them.

Many a person has tried to be that Light, but everyone has fallen far short of that goal. There is no other like Jesus. He is the only way, truth, and life.

John fulfilled his mission when he bore witness of Jesus (verse 15) and said that the One coming after him is preferred before him, because he was before John. John was older than Jesus by about six months, but Jesus was still before him, for Jesus is eternal, the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

John 1:4-5

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe
In him was life . . .

This life is not life as we have it. Our life comes from God, not ourselves, and not from any energy or source in the universe. Acts 17:28 says, For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. We would have no life if it were not for Jesus Christ. He is the life-giver, and we are the recipients of that life.

This life was "the light of men." That means that we as living beings would not have any light of life if it were not for Him. We must never forget that. Read here John 8:12.

This light shines in darkness, the darkness of this world, of men blinded with sin and cannot know nor understand the virtues of God and of the spiritual world.

This world did not comprehend that Light, Jesus. They resisted Him, as we will see later. The word comprehend has the meaning of "to lay hold on." The people of the world could not lay hold on the superiority, the transcendence of Christ. Neither could they lay hold on Him with their minds; they could not understand Him. They neither understood His words nor followed his teachings.

Neither could they take hold of him physically until it was God's will that they do so. It was God, then, that "put him to grief" (Isaiah 53:10). It was God who "bruised him." It was by the hands of Romans and Jews but by the execution of God that they killed Him.   

Neither do people today comprehend Him. They cannot in any way capture him to crucify Him afresh; neither can they take mental knowledge of Him, Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be (Romans 8:7).

The disciples said to Jesus in John 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. This, of course, would not suffice their understanding, because "No man hath seen God at any time," John 1:18; 1 John 4:12.

And yet the pure in heart shall see God (Matt. 5:8). This is a wonderful mystery. How shall we see Him? I don't know, but I believe the Bible is true. I can hardly wait to see Him as He is.

Friday, July 17, 2015

In The Beginning . . .

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

These first three verses in the book of John are extremely important. The phrase "in the beginning" is used 17 times in the Bible, but only three of these (as far as I can tell) have to do with the beginning of everything.

1.  Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2.  John 1:1-2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3.  Hebrews 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

Other references have to do with the beginning of the reign of a king, the beginning of a year, etc. In the three verses given above we see the very beginning of everything.

. . . was . . .

 In the beginning there "was" nothing but God. There was no time nor space. The things that God created were made from nothing. That is true creation.

In that first beginning, the Word was. This unusual word was is the Greek ain and carries with it the idea of real existence, existence within oneself and nothing dependent on another for existence, as we do.

Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

This was a was in eternity, not in time. Was was not subject to limitations of time. It is eternal existence; so the Word was in the beginning. He was not created in the beginning. He is the I AM, the ever-existing One.

In this was existence, the Word was with God, meaning that the Father and the Son are two persons, as we say. The Holy Spirit is the other, or third, person of the Trinity. They were (was), however, all God equally, because verse one continues by saying that the Word was God. He had all the characteristics and all the authority and power of the essence of God.

We know from John 1:14 that Jesus was the Word, for it states that he was made flesh and dwelt among us. Now verse 2 repeats the importance of the fact that Jesus was with God in the beginning.

All things were made by him . . .

Speaking now of the Word (Jesus), verse 3 says that everything that exists in this created universe was made by Jesus, the Word; and, just in case you did not understand this positive statement, John writes it again in a negative statement, and without him was not anything made that was made.

Then, if Jesus is not the Great Creator, then we shall forever be wont to be suspicious about these verses. Faith, however, declares and confirms the truth of these verses.

Jesus deserves all the praise we can give him, because He is the Great Creator. Paul put it well in Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Psalm 119:176

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

I have gone astray like a lost sheep

Haven't we all? Isaiah said in Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  The "all" in Isaiah 53:6 refers to all men everywhere, since we are all related to Adam, so Adam's sin came upon all of us, and we as sheep went  astray from our perfect relationship with God and are still in that state until grace overwhelms us and grants repentance and faith. When we believe, we are taken from under the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13) and brought into the liberty of Christ (Gal. 5:1).

. . . seek thy servant

When the Lord looked down from heaven, he saw that  They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Psalm 14:3). So, Luke 19:10 says, For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. If He does not seek us, then we will not be found. This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after (Jeremiah 30:17). Rom. 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Luke 15:4-7  What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5  And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6  And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7  I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Thank you, Lord, for seeking me, since I never would have sought you at any time.

. . . for I do not forget thy commandments.

What rejoicing there was in Heaven when I believed! I do not understand this completely, but I know it to be true. Now I remember the commandments of the Lord, because that law was my schoolmaster to bring me to Christ, and the moral law is good for me. I must as a believer keep His commandments; for, if I do not, then it is evidence that I do not belong to Him. John 15:10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s command- ments, and abide in his love.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Psalm 119:175

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

Let my soul live . . .
It is only by the power of God that we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).  John tells us in John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.  We owe our whole life to Jesus Christ, for He is the Great Creator of everything.  As long as we live, then, we shall give our souls to him in faith and our bodies a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).

. . . and it shall praise thee
That is, our soul shall praise God. Psalm 3:2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.  These are the many who do not see the reality of God's Providence and His care over His creatures. The hairs of our head are numbered (Matthew 10:30), and no sparrow falls to the ground without his knowledge and care (Matthew 10:29). 

Since this is so, we should praise our God, who gives us life and strength and sustenance every day of our lives. Praising Him is being joyful in the heart for his benefits and singing, praying, speaking, and writing of Him.  We also praise Him in our church attendance, which the Scriptures tell us not to forsake (Hebrews 10:25) and giving of our substance to support the Kingdom of God and His churches.

. . . and let thy judgments help me.
God's judgments refer to His word, the Bible. These are the judgments which each one of us needs to heed. Therefore, we must read it much, learn it, memorize it, write it, and practice it. If we are alive and are praising God, then we will love his commandments, which are not grievous (I John 5:3). Enjoy this day by praising God and allowing his judgments to help you.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Psalm 119:173

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

Let thy hand help me
2 Samuel 24:14 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.

Sometimes we just need to relax and rest in the hand of the LORD. He is there to support us and to help us. Sometimes we try too hard to help ourselves, but human help (although necessary in our faithfulness to God) is sometimes in the way of our trust in God.

The psalmist calls out for help from the Lord many times, as in Psalm 38:22 Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.

The hand of the Lord is many times used for discipline toward his people and toward the wicked, as in Psalm 75:8 For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.

. . . for I have chosen thy precepts  
We must remember that our help comes from the Lord and from His word: Psalm 121:2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.  God's word is precious; it is true; it is the sword of the Lord; and we can receive strength from it. The hand of the Lord is in His word; therefore, "I have chosen thy precepts."

Where else can we go for refuge? Psalm 9:9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Psalm 119:172

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe
My tongue shall speak of thy word
Now that David has learned the word of God, being taught of God (119:171), he is now ready to speak of God's word, to teach others so that they may be able to speak to others and others until the truth of God's word encompasses the world. That is the commission to the churches of God, but we must be first taught of God (John 6:45).

The tongue must be trained in order to speak properly of God and His word. We must be abecedarians (of or relating to the alphabet) and grammarians (grammar) in order to understand the depth of the word of God. It should be considered a shame for preachers and teachers to have a shallow understanding of the alphabet and the grammar which make up the words, phrases, and clauses which teach us the true meaning of God's word. Many a verse has been misunderstood and misrepresented in teaching due to a lack of understanding of elemental English.

. . . for all thy commandments are righteousness.
If we can know and understand the words of scripture in their context, we will realize that these words are holy words, not words to be trifled with. They are the very righteousness of God in word form, which form our understanding of our lives as believers and prompt us to faithful service in God's kingdom.

The righteousness of God is unveiled in the words of scripture so that, when one hears the true gospel of Jesus Christ, this righteousness of God may be imputed to a lost sinner, and salvation shall be forthcoming through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is by grace through faith in His once-for-all work on Calvary, his perfect life, his fulfillment of prophecy, his full redemption on the cross, and his victory over death through his own resurrection.

Why should we not preach and teach these righteous things? God has commanded us to be witnesses -- Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. He has also made us ambassadors of reconciliation -- 2 Cor. 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Psalm 119:171

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

My lips shall utter praise 
Did you ever read a passage of scripture and just yell out "Praise the Lord"? He is worthy to be praised, especially when He illuminates his word to us through reading and meditation on it.

We have many teachers, professors, pastors, and friends who can be a great help in our learning and understanding God's word, but there is none like the Holy Spirit to bring those truths to our minds and hearts.

. . . when thou hast taught me thy statutes  
Yes, we are thankful and worshipful when we realize that it is God who teaches us. Sometimes we try and try to learn a passage of scripture and cannot grasp its content and its concept, but then it seems that at the appropriate time God intercedes and brings the pure, clean, rich, and blessed meaning in simple and convincing thought. John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 

Have you been taught of God concerning your sin (Romans 3:10, 23)? Have you been taught of God that Jesus lived a perfect life, without any sin at all (1 Peter 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:)? Have you been taught that you must repent (turn from) your sins (Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.)? Have you been taught that you can be saved by grace through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:)? Have you been taught that through faith you have eternal life (John 3:16), and that He will raise you up in the last day (John 6:40)?

If so, then you are ready to praise God, for you have been taught his statutes, and you are eternally saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and shall not come into condemnation (Romans 8:1). What a day to praise God!