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ZADOK PUBLICATIONS MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
January 1, 2021
"Studies of the Spirit in the New Testament
You may watch this Newsletter in a video HERE
In keeping with our study of the Spirit, we turn now to the Epistle to the Romans.
Written in 56 (AD) and a portion in 57 (AD), this epistle is a powerful testimony to the emerging church. One might say also, that it has a focus on Judaism that clarifies the Jewish/Gentile congregational interaction.
One factor I need to emphasize is that the word "Saint" literally means "Holiness Ones."
1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;
7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:
To begin with, it is obvious where my book, Called to be Saints, got its start.
The Spirit of Holiness occupied the person of Jesus Christ. That same Spirit now is evidenced in the church at Rome. The Spirit testified (declared) Him to be the son of God, full of Holy Ghost power, and it was this power which raised Him from the dead. Through His power we received grace.
"Called" is used three different times in seven verses. Why? Each time the word "Called" was used referenced a heavenly action for an earthly endowment. A heavenly calling is what is missing in most clergy resumés and is the reason churches are robbed of the power of the Spirit. Paul was continually energized by the knowledge he was called and separated as an apostle in the gospel.
No whip could take it from him, no chain could wrench it out of him, no beating cause denial,
no shipwreck could dampen his spirit, no religious forum could cause him to deny it - it belonged to him and settled all arguments to the contrary.
Paul declared the Roman church to be membered by "called" congregants - yes, every member was found in verse six, "among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ." The Spirit of Holiness is still calling for the church to be "the called - out ones."
And what was their calling based upon: Holiness. "Beloved of God, called to be Holiness Ones (Saints)." Holiness is not focused upon today; it is not considered relevant in the modern setting, but it is the primary factor in the Spirit.
Because some of the Jews in the Roman congregation were boasting about their station through the Law, and how it gave them status over the Gentiles, Paul straightened their thinking.
Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, 18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. 21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, "Do not commit adultery," do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you," as it is written.
25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? 27 And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
This passage stands as a correction to any group or individual who rests on religious dogma rather than the Spirit. Arrogance and showmanship are alive and well in Christian circles today.
Boasting, while wallowing in religious elitism, is not of the Spirit. Some Messianic arenas should take notice. Hardened hearts and stubborn wills characterized the Templeites and that spirit is still prevalent in some ranks now!
Turning from the Law of Moses to the faith of Abraham, Paul bridges the gap between the early faith of Abraham and the "now faith" of the Gentiles. Pay attention to the fact that Abraham was not a Jew, but actually was a Gentile, which opened the door for all who followed his pattern.
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone (speaking of Abraham) that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.
5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Those who walk in the "faith of Abraham" will discover "righteousness" is imputed to them as well. Faith, righteousness and justification come to us through Jesus. "We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand (v.2)."
Take heed to the glory - path Paul describes. Not only does one have "hope of the Glory of God," but the believer should rejoice in the temporal aspects of that glory. Tribulation, perseverance, character and hope are to be considered ingredients of the love of God poured out by the Holy Spirit in order to bring us to higher ground in Him.
Exalting the work of Christ and the power of the contributions of the Spirit, Paul turns to the efficacy of the law. He compares the Law to the act of matrimony - the Law being the husband and the believer the bride. If the Law dies, the bride is no longer obligated to the old covenant, but is free to marry another: mainly, Christ. Under her new relationship, she is free from the Law and is now governed by the Spirit.
Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another - to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
Bloody sacrifices and a myriad of regulatory customs once ruled the individual's life, but now
Jesus' blood, once for all, satisfied every portion of the Law and brought freedom to the bride.
In Chapter eight, Paul explored (with many references to the Spirit) how Jesus met all the conditions of the Law.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
The believer lives under a higher law than the old covenant law; it is the law of the Spirit of life.
Here is where the "if" issues come into play. If one does not have the indwelling Spirit, then none of these assurances apply.
Oh, Church, it is time to get real with God and make sure the body of believers in your gates understand this passage. The "if" conditions must be met, in order for the next aspects of the Spirit walk are able to be applied.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors - not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
Emerging in this second passage (Rom 8:12-17) are four more "if" terms. The modern church MUST address them. Attempting to provide succor to the multitudes demands an answer to them. Every true son of God must have the indwelling assurance of their status.
One of the most quoted Bible passages (Rom.8:28) hinges on these factors, but notice the conditional aspects leading up to this verse.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Paul races to the heart of his missionary spirit, that of uncovering and discovering the glorious
sons (and daughters) of God. Looking at the big picture, he presents the interaction between the spirit man and the Holy Spirit. He acknowledges that the fall of man has put God's creation under bondage and it groans because of its condition (v.22). The whole creation groans under the weight of man's corruption. (The environmentalists do not understand this is a spiritual matter and not one which can be corrected by the works of man.) Being delivered from the bondage of corruption depends on the believer experiencing "the glorious liberty of the children of God."
Not only does the earth groan, but Paul groans and so does the Spirit of God. It is the Spirit that takes up our cause. The Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings which are so deep no one is able to fathom their depth or know the scope of His groaning, for He prays the will of God. This is why v. 28 is possible.
Be apprised the Spirit is working to help us be conformed to the image of Jesus. In the verses which follow are some of the greatest doctrinal passages in Scripture. God "foreknew you and me" and "predestined" us to be justified and glorified. Take note of the terms in bold print. His pre-determined factors in our redemption is enormous when you comprehend them.
Called, foreknown, conformed, predestined, justified and glorified are part of your salvation which was determined before you were born. These factors are for now and have nothing to do with our efforts; they are part of grace coming down from the throne of God. Such is reminiscent of Jesus' word to the disciples about not glorying in the fact demons obey them, but they should rejoice because their names are in the book.
Paul, continuing his summative work in chapter nine, declares plainly these things bestowed on God's children are part of the indescribable love of God and are part of our election.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." 13 As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."
Drawing upon the Holy Spirit for witness of Paul's great love for his nation, Paul tells the Romans how he would stand to be "accursed" in order to see Israel come to Jesus. Using the Spirit to assert the purity of one's conscience requires confidence in the purity of one's heart.
I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh.
Lastly, Paul addresses the issue of eating and drinking elements sacrificed to idols and how they often offend a brother or sister. His advice is to abstain from those elements for the sake of the offended one. Paul follows up his teaching with an assertion about the kingdom of God.
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
Winding down his epistle to the Romans, Paul explains his place among them as a teacher and guardian of their theology.
"There shall be a root of Jesse;
And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles,
In Him the Gentiles shall hope."
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
14 Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. 15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, 16 that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. 18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient - 19 in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation, 21 but as it is written:
"To whom He was not announced, they shall see;
And those who have not heard shall understand."
Paul added one more request to his brethren:
30 Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. 33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
The "love of the Spirit" incorporates a relationship with the Spirit not often seen in today's church climate. Many examples of Paul's dependence on the Spirit impregnates this final
request. Having been forbidden to enter Asia by the Spirit, as well as supernatural revelation through the Spirit when he was shipwrecked are just two examples, being led by the Spirit to minister in a locale (in this case Jerusalem) was an absolute necessity to the Apostle's life.
Until Next Month,
Happy New Year 2021!
Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.
From: Gospel Outreach Association
Kevin and Joy Stoltenburg
Gospel Outreach Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to Christian education and service. Since 2002, we have provided material and equipment to help groups reach remote areas of the world with the gospel.
Gospel Outreach Association has provided media equipment and content to hundreds of evangelistic groups throughout the world. Those dedicated souls, together with the help of the equipment and all sorts of teaching material, have reached many thousands with the Good News that can only be found in Christ Jesus.
For several years, we at Oliver Evangelstic Association, have partnered with Gospel Outreach to provide state of the art Media Boxes to missionaries all over the world. At this point, Gospel Outreach has been successful in placing media boxes in every county in the world with the exception of the following countries. If you have contacts in any of these countries, please let us know and we will provide the information to Kevin Stoltenburg at Gospel Outreach.
You may see their website HERE
From: Trevor and Teresa Johnson
Missionaries in Papua, Indonesia
Trevor and Teresa Johnson have served a remote Papuan tribe for over a dozen years in the jungles of Papua, Indonesia. They've been married 20+ years and have 4 children (Noah, 15, Alethea 12, Perpetua, 8, and Gideon, 4). Trevor was converted from doubt and agnosticism at 18 after reading through the Gospels and finding nobody else who ever lived or taught like Jesus Christ. Jesus is worthy of our best efforts in life, both to honor God and to help our fellow man.
Both Trevor and Teresa are R.N.s, and use their nursing skills to help care for the sick. Often times, they treat diseases and infections that are easily treatable, but often go untreated in the remote, jungle region of Papua. This lack of treatment sometimes leads to death.
Trevor and Teresa live out lives, in gratitude for what Jesus has done for them. In Trevor's words "The best way to express that gratitude is through vigorous action, especially to help the good and the needy." They've helped indigenous Papuan evangelists plant churches, started a school, health clinic, and a dormitory/orphanage. They currently support several nurses/teachers/evangelists for interior regions where there is no infrastructure. There are local believers who are being trained to become church leaders, the beginnings of an indigenous church in a tough area. In 2019, they founded the non-profit organization Jungle Hope.
The Johnson family and the view from where they live.
Everyone lives in tree houses.
Every morning, Teresa stands on the porch, and bangs on a metal pan with a spoon.
That's the signal...the "porch" clinic is open. There are no shortage of health needs, not to mention the killings performed in the name of "eradicating witchcraft".
From Trevor and Teresa
Reflections on the last two months:
Truthfully, it has been hard to find time to write a prayer letter. Things have been so busy and packed.
For a year and a half, no Danowage people have died, but in the surrounding villages, 12 people have died just in the month of October. A huge depressing blow. Very sad.
We feel that our family and the Sniders are providing a good health service to the villagers where we are located (centrally in the middle of the territory at the strategic center of the North Korowai) but the surrounding areas are still a mess and we are struggling to help this broad region.
We had two small children brought to Danowage after being sick 8 days and a month respectively and these both died, and we buried them in Danowage. It is a most sobering thing to help dig the graves of those patients that you failed to help heal. No matter if most patients recover, the ones who do not recover haunt one's thoughts at night and I've begun to have sleeping problems again and cannot seem to turn my thoughts off. The mission field brings out any mental or emotional weaknesses that one may have. You always wonder if you are doing enough, etc.
In the past, I have asked the government and church for help. They have sometimes provided it, and are increasingly doing so. Many thanks for that. But still our area has been largely ignored and unserviced. Because much aid is being pumped into Papua, many Papuans grow angry when they see the lack of government services in our area and this fuels their sense of injustice ("Where is the money going? The people at the top are becoming fat, but those at the bottom are starving and dying due to lack of attention"). I feel the same way. The government aid money is not trickling down to our area.
Then the case of Puti Hatil happened. This was a small child from Afimabul who was sick for a month with noma (cancrum oris) a flesh-eating bacteria eating away his little cheek. If you google it, the pictures are horrifying. Finally the father, led by the Evangelist Dakinus Wanimbo, trekked from 7am to 5pm and arrived on our front porch after a grueling hike through swampy jungle, father with son in arms. The cheek smelled so rotten that it was hard to even get within 10 feet of Puti without wanting to vomit because of the stench, but his father carried him in his arms for hours and hours through dense jungle. And Teresa cleansed the wound carefully and bandaged it.
When we shipped him out to the hospital on the coast a tv crew was waiting to greet him at the airport along with top government health officials. We were grateful for this show of concern and attention.
Soon many pictures of Puti were all over social media in Papua and in the papers. The case went viral and many newspaper articles were written. These were mostly accurate.
I soon found my Facebook pictures being snatched and used for promos and placards. My Facebook pics of Puti (and even my own children, such as Perpetua holding a Papuan tribal baby) started being used as other people's profile pics in a form of Social Media advocacy. Papuan students formed groups and even stood at street corners to gather funds for the Korowai and churches gathered used clothes to send them. A Social Media campaign was started, "The Korowai are not alone" and Indonesian soccer players and other minor celebrities were photographed holding signs. Most of the photographs used originated on my Facebook page.
When a Papuan friend helped us leave Papua for vacation at the airport, she asked, "How does it feel to be famous?" - and it is true that we have received a lot of unasked-for-attention. That very afternoon, after landing in Jakarta, we had a news reporter come to meet us while we were trying to eat supper.
We decided that, given the interest in the area, that we would push it and advance it to finally gain sustainable health assistance for the Korowai. We would leverage this attention to make changes in the healthcare for the region. So we wrote letters to the government. We invited news reporters to take part in heli trips to treat sick people with us and take pictures of the sick. We sent pictures and stories to the press. We agreed to be interviewed by reporters if they promised to highlight the health needs of our area.
The case of Puti reached the ears of the President of Indonesia, a very good leader by the name of Joko Widodo, who cares about Papua and invests heavily in infrastructure. He told his health director to contact the hospital where Puti was being treated. Puti is now healing and his cheek closed up. He was put for a time in the VIP room, and most costs paid for by the hospital or this group of Papuan students, who even housed his family and took them shopping.
A health report was written and sent to the President's office. A special Sekretariat office was formed for the specific purpose of focusing on aid to 3 very needy areas of people, to include the Korowai. . The Governor of Papua Lukas Enembe even visited Danowage and released a health team to go and research the area and treat the people. The Governor spoke very highly of the school and of our efforts and stated that all over Papua, before the government ever enters an area, the church and the missionaries are already there. And right now in Danowage we have government nurses and a doctor. The government has commitment to upgrade our POSTU to a Puskesmas (a larger type of government medical clinic) . And we received 1 TON (yes, 1 ton) of aid. A good start.
Our struggle now is to make sure the change is sustainable.
We are pushing for agricultural efforts (the Korowai cannot seem to get the hang of farming despite many attempts to teach them) and long-term permanent workers in villages. Since Danowage has had such a low death rate due to a constant missionary presence, we are trying to place teachers and nurses into other villages as well. The present government strategy of short-term trips is minimally helpful but appreciated since they bring immunizations, but we need more.
Daniel Hatil who carried his son Puti Hatil all day through a swamp to get help. This photo went viral throughout Papua.
Photographs of our front porch clinic. A mother who could not give milk she was so malnourished. Malnutrition remains a major problem throughout the region, both due to geography and also cultural factors.
Frambusia - easily healed with a penicillin injection. Many people go months with such infections due to lack of medical access. Such a shame - it is so easy to heal.
A Puti youngster recovering from surgery to close a hole in his cheek. The hole is now closed. And he is recovering.