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December 26, 1999

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Q/A Topics:
Jesus teaching "works"? (Mt25:14-30)

QUESTION:
Anyway-getting to the subject-from this teaching I get the impression that this is Jesus+...works. I always believed that we do things for the Lord as led by the Lord because of our love for Him. And I always believed that you must be born again and be under the blood to be with the Lord for eternity. So, then, is this a works teaching or have I missed it completely?

ANSWER:
Salvation is NOT by works. It is a GIFT from God. (Eph2:8-9) It is not -our- works that saves, but -His- mercy (Tit3:5) through Jesus' shed blood. (Rev1:5)

But how do we know that we have been saved? How does -another- person know we are saved? If it waddles, quacks and swims; it's likely a "duck". If it meows, hisses, scratches and climbs trees; it's likely a cat. How do we know if a person is a Christian? By their works. (Jas2:14-26)

The duck did not make the egg from which it was hatched; its mother did that. The cat did not form itself; its mother birthed it. Both of these come to life of the form of their parents.

The Christian is given the new birth, from God (Jn3:3) through the Holy Spirit (vs8) The form and nature is based on the nature of God. He is a "new creation" because he is "in Christ." (2Cor5:17) This new "creature" he has become is of the nature of Him Who birthed him; the "spiritual" man. (1Cor2)

How do we make sure that a 'chicken' egg was not slipped under the mother duck? We know by what hatches out of the egg. We are told to "not believe every spirit but test the spirits" (1Jn4:1)

Believers' -works- are likened to building on the Foundation of Jesus Christ. (1Cor3:11) Of what sort is it? Gold, silver and precious stones withstand the trying fires. Wood, hay and stubble gets burned up. But notice that that trial does not indicate 'savedness' or 'lostness'. The ones whose works are burned up still "make it" but "yet so as by fire". (vs15)

That's the various levels of "talent". Some build according to "5 talents". Others, by one and two talents.

The problem with the one who had been given "one talent" in this lesson was that he didn't do -any- building; good or bad. Not only did he not build with gold, he didn't even muster up himself to pull a few scraps of straw together. He had NOTHING. His works (or -lack- thereof) showed him to NOT be a "builder". He did not belong. His lack of works did not condemn him; but rather, illustrated of 'what-sort' he was. He was tested, and found wanting (lacking).

Since he was given the talent, he must have originally been a "builder". He's originally called a "servant". But along the way when he evaluates the Master's nature and qualities (a "hard man") and has figured out the "cost" (Lk14:28), decides he doesn't want to be a "builder" under -this- particular Master, so 'walks-away' ("draws back" -Heb10:38) from the "job"... empty-handed!

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Wine is sin?

QUESTION:
Do you have any detailed information pertaining to Jesus Turning Water into Wine in John 2, The Marriage feast at Cana. As you know many unsaved try to use this verse to justify their drinking.

ANSWER:
I looked briefly at the website, and realize we've never addressed this subject head-on. The Romans 14 'article' for next February (now at the website) touches on this a little, in terms of "offenses" and causing a weak brother's "stumbling".

The wording of Jn2:10 indicates that Jesus made -real- "wine". "Every man first sets on the good wine, and when they have drunk freely, then the worse. You have kept the good wine until now." When they have "drunk freely" their senses are dulled, because it's -real- wine; with alcoholic content. Thus, they don't notice the wine is of less quality. This "master of the feast" who was responsible for knowing what's going on, recognized Jesus' wine to be of 'high quality'. WINE. Not watered-down grape juice. Or, water with juice 'added'.

While O.T. 'Nazarites' were not to drink wine. (Nu6:20,Jud13:7,Am2:12) When their vow was over, they could again drink wine. Furthermore, the whole levitical system of sacrifices and offerings in the O.T. included wine.

In the N.T. Paul exhorts Timothy to drink wine for his digestive problems. (1Tm5:23)

What Scripture teaches against, is being "drunk". (1Sam1:13-15, Hab2:15, Lk12:45, Eph5:18, 1Th5:6-8) It is accurately said of liquor, when it is called "spirits". When a person is drunk, they are bereaved of their senses. They are no longer in control of their spirit. (1Cor14:32) And when they are thus "empty" of their -own- spirit, other spirits come in. (Mt12:43-45) That is why -drunkenness- is sin.

But to drink a little wine is not sin. Even Jesus drank. (Mt11:18-19)

See also: "A Little Wine" (1Tim5:23)

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