What are you thinking:  Mortify the deeds of the flesh! Yes, mortify the deeds of the flesh! 

Do YOU have a question that you need answered.  Click Here and send it to The Elder and we will answer as quickly as possible.

1.  What is the meaning of mortification? Does scripture address it?
  • According to the dictionaries, mortification deals with the "action of subduing one's bodily desires".  Another dictionary states, It is "subjection and denial of bodily passions and abstinence or self-inflicted pain or discomfort".  In the book of Matthew 5:29, Jesus says, "if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members..." He goes to say, "if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away" (RSV translation). Now these are figures of speech meaning not suggesting we maim ourselves but, as John Stott writes, he was not advocating literal self-maiming but "a ruthless moral self-denial" (Pg 89, Sermon on the Mount).  Plainly speaking, he means that when we are confronted with these temptations, act as though your eyes have been plucked out or that your hands and feet are not there so you can touch and move in the direction of the temptation.  Stott says that we should act as though we were crippled with no ability  to do the things or visit places which previously caused you to sin (Stott, 89). We have to fling them away!

2.  What are two ways by which we can prosper in life?
  • According to Rabbi Ralph Messer, the answer is honor and wisdom.  The Bible has a lot to say about honor such as honoring our father and mother so that we may live long (Exodus 20:12) and it is repeated in Mark 7:10, Matthew 19:19, Ephesians 6:2. And the scripture also addresses honoring widows that are widows indeed (1 Timothy 5:3).  Again, I do believe that Rabbi Messer has hit the nail on the head (lots of acronyms are found in the Bible). He states: 
  • "Honor is a decision, a seed, a law and honor can be taught. Wisdom is the ability to recognize who should and should not be honored. The ability to discern honor and dishonor enables you to end wrong relationships. Wrong people oftentimes will not leave voluntarily. Like Jonah, sometimes you have to throw them overboard!

    Dishonor is not a character glitch that you are born with – it is a decision to defy and disrespect God in people.

    • Dishonor is a choice
    • Dishonor disconnects
    • Dishonor disqualifies
    • Dishonor reveals the deceiver in your midst

    What you refuse to learn through people, you will learn through pain. In Hebraic understanding, deception is the birthplace of all pain. Restoration rarely occurs once a decision to dishonor is made and unfortunately dishonor can lead to disease (dis-ease).

    When you have sought forgiveness from the one you have dishonored, and forgiveness is not granted, then that’s between them and God. According to Biblical law, they were to forgive and release the offense. Some people are not able to forgive, because they have not forgiven themselves. They are locked-up within themselves.

    When you destroy or break a relationship, you have in essence dishonored someone. The guilt that comes with this oftentimes blocks the ability to restore the relationship.

    Restoration is not simply saying, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” It includes finances and a meal – a tribute offering. Repentance without a tribute offering does not fully remove one’s guilt.

    The purpose of offerings has always been to maintain the covenant relationship with God. Abuses of covenant relationship lead to defilement and the departure of the presence of God. Restoration is required to re-enact the power of covenant relationship."

3.  Is how we live our lives critical?  Good question?  Yes, I think so.
  • Again, we turn to Rabbi Messer, a well known Rabbi who teaches the Word of God, and especially God's teachings and instructions, the root definition of the word Torah or law. Here again, he states God gives us faith, which is steadiness and steadfastness in His commands. Faith is also believing. Note that faith is an abstract word whereas believing, being steadfast or steadfastness are action words.  So, faith requires an action --- what I call getting in the flow and moving as water flows down the river. Messer goes on to say that: 

  • "When God gives you an instruction, He has in essence taken something from the unseen realm and brought it into the seen realm – faith.  Once you see it, you apply the principles(instruction) of God. Once you walk in the principles of God, you find your purpose.  From purpose He gives you vision. You see clearly and have hope within yourself.  You can see long term.  From vision, comes increase.

     Faith = Principles = Purpose = Vision = Increase

     “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5 NKJV

     “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV

     “Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.” Psalms 103:3 NKJV

     “And said, ‘if you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.’” Exodus 15:26 NKJV

    We see this same representation in Hebrews 10. Yeshua becomes our guilt offering (asham) before God, and He purges our conscience from guilt. Those relationships that began with a high expectation or hope, only to fall or end in a state of despair, can cause a deep sense of guilt.  It touches the deepest core of who you are. Your offering wasn’t accepted and restoration did not occur. It’s at this time that you need to turn to Yeshua (Jesus's Hebrew name) and ask Him to become your guilt offering. Asham is the only way you become healed in this situation."

4.  Is God's grace sufficient? 
  • The answer to this question is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9. In this passage of scripture, Paul indicated that he had been given a thorn in the flesh, for the messenger of Satan to buffet him, lest he should be exalted above measure.  Paul sought the Lord three times that it would be removed.  The Lord answered with these words: "My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9b).  God's grace was sufficient at the time of this writing and it is sufficient for us today.  As Paul responded, we too have to respond.  In verse 12:9c, Paul stated: "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

5.  What is grace?

  • As used in the New Covenant or New Testament, the BlueLetter Bible says that grace is that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech.  It goes on to say that it is good will, loving-kindness, and favour.  The BlueLetter Bible continues and states that it is the favour of "the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues." 

 6.  What is God's will for the church or the called out ones?

  • This is a good question because God's will does not just pertain to the unsaved but it is His will for all people.  Unfortunately, not all people will believe and carry out His will.  "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:40, NASB).   From the Old Testament, Proverbs tells that we need to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).  The epistle of Romans also provides a very profound statement: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:1-2).  I believe this lines up with what has already been stated and meets the mandate of two or three witnesses rather than using one scripture to prove a point.  We, however, are not attempting to prove anything.  We are simply drawing from the Word.  Here are a few more scriptures dealing with God's expectation:  Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:18, 1 Peter 2:15 and the entire chapter of 1 Peter 4.

7.  What does the Bible mean when it speaks to the oracles of God?
  • This is a good question because as men and women of God, we need to know and understand what is referred to as the first principles of the oracles of God as found in Hebrews 5:12.
  • Relevant scriptures are found in Romans 3:2, Hebrews 5:12 and 1 Peter 4:11.  Let us look at these passages.

    1. Acts 7:37-38  This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.
      38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
    2. Romans  3:2.   What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much in every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.  Romans 3:1-3 (in Context)
    3. Hebrews 5:12
      For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  Hebrews 5:11-13 (in Context) 
    4. 1 Peter 4:11
      If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.   1 Peter 4:10-12 (in Context) 


    ·       Same Hebrew word is used for “Word”

    ·       References Gen 15:1, 4, Exodus 8:13 and Psalm 28:2

    ·       H1697   = Resh, Beit, Daleth (Left to right)  = 4 + 2 + 200 = 206

    ·       Dabar    = speech, word, speaking, thing, saying, utterance

    ·       H1696   = To speak, declare, converse, command, promise

    ·       In Greek, the root word is logios, which is derived from G3056, and according to the Thayer’s means a learned man of letters, skilled in literature and the arts; esp. versed in history and antiquities.  Also, in speech eloquent: so Acts 27:24. 

    Matthew 8:8   The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

     So, the oracles are the dabar or the Word of God.

 8.  "If a man die, shall he live again?"
  • This is Job's probing question in Job 14:14.  Perhaps you might be asking the same or a similar question.  If Job is asking will we come again in these fleshly bodies, I find no evidence that we will live again in these same, weak, frail bodies. 
  • Refer to 1 Corinthians 15 as well as 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 for a little insight on this question
 9.  What does it mean to be a true worshipper?
  • The term true worshipper comes from the book of John 4:22-24 where it states, '
"22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him  24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
  • According to the Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee lexicon (See Blue Letter Bible), the  term worship means, "to bow oneself down, to sink down, to be depressed.  The scriptures bear out that Abraham on at least one occasion "bowed himself toward the ground".  The lexicon goes on to define worship as one who prostrates themselves before any one out of honor and "those who used this mode of salutation fell on their knees and touched the ground with their forehead."  Accordingly, this was not just  an honour given to superiors (2 Samuel 9:8) but also to equals as reflected in Genesis 23:7 and 37:7 as two examples.  

"And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;     And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground," (Genesis 18:1-2).

  • In another passage of scripture, the LORD test Abraham by directing him to sacrifice his only son.  Abraham obeyed the LORD and moved forward with the sacrifice!! Look at the scripture below where Abraham advises his young men to stay put while he and his son went to worship.  What were they going to do? They were going to worship! More importantly, Abraham was going to sacrifice his son in obedience to the LORD's command.  
"And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you" (Genesis 22:5).
  •  Conclusion:  So, true worship not only involves bowing down or even prostrating one's self to the ground in obedience to a superior, but it also involves being willing to make a total sacrifice to the LORD, again, in obedience to the LORD, our superior.   Again, this mode of salutation can be even involve falling on one's knees and touching the forehead to the ground!  Wow!  And according to the epistle Romans 12:1, we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices unto God, and Paul states that it is the reasonable thing to do.  Stated succinctly, we must present our bodies as LIVING sacrifices. 
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,  which is your reasonable service.  (Romans 12:1)"
  • Understand also that worship also applies to someone bowing down one's self to a false god.  God forbid that believers get caught up in this kind of trap. 

10.  Does the Word God provide a stiff penalty for a child who cursing as well as striking one's father or mother?
  • As always, the answer is in the book and not only in the Old Covenant but in the New Covenant as well.  Accordingly, it is a grievous sin for any individual to curse their parents or even to strike them.
  • Children today are doing everything imaginable: Staying out late at night for no apparent reason; cursing parents, talking to the parents as if they were the parent and the parents were the child; given to drugs and alcohol (and even telling the parents, that, "yes, I spoke and drink" and hang out with my friends).  No good thing, in my honest opinion, is going to be the result of this kind of behavior.  Sooner or later, one gets caught --- and now jail time and/or parole --- for selling drugs, for consuming drugs --- worst yet, getting involved in an argument that ultimately ends up with someone being shot.
"For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death' (Mark 7:10).  "He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death" (Exodus 21:15)

11.  Today there is more back-backing in the church that ever before:  Congregants working against one another rather than being unified together.  Does God's word provide an answer and what should be done to resolve these kind of matters? Listen to what Shaul (Paul) had to say about it to the Corinthian believers.
  • For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men ( 1 Corinthians 3:3)?
  • In Christ's dynamic prayer to the Father in the 17th chapter of John, he was praying for oneness for those in the world:   "And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are"  (John 17:11 (also 22; read entire chapter in context).
  • For everything that we do in this life, the Father, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, provides an answer in terms of settling conflicts or having an ought against that brother or sister. Read the following scriptures prayerfully and carefully.  And ask yourself, "how do I line up with the Book?"
  • "18 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?  And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.  Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!  Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.  10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.  11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.  12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?  13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.  14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.  15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.  18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 18:1-18).
  • "23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift" (Matthew 5:23-24).

12.  What about backbiting?:  Click here in an effort to gain knowledge and understanding:  
  • The free dictionary describers a backbiter as who will   "speak spitefully or slanderously about (another)."  It goes on to describe a backbiter as one who will "speak spitefully or slanderously about a person." 
13.  Has God's law been abolished in favor of grace, that is, has grace replaced the law?
    • This is one of those issues that has been misunderstood for many years and still today, is still misunderstood.  Let us first look at Law as it is defined in the Scriptures.  Based on the Strong's Concordance, the word law is Torah in the Hebrew and when brought to the "root" definition, it means teachings and instruction: to throw, cast, to shoot arrow, to throw water, point out, show, to direct, teach, instruct. For clarification, this definition applies to Strong's #8451 or the Hebrew word towrah because the word law has other meanings as well.
    • Jesus makes it plain in Matthew 5:17-18 pertaining to the destruction of the law.  He states, 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  He came to make it plain.  Later in this same chapter, Jesus gives a number of illustrations as to what He ("but I say") means by fulfill.  For example, he said that it was said by them that we should not commit adultery.  Guess what?  Jesus says that anyone who even looks at a woman with lust  has already committed adultery in his heart. 
    • The 10 words described in Exodus 20 has not changed.  For example, coveting thy neighbor's wife is still a sin as well as, stealing, killing and yes, committing adultery.  One more illustration and we will let this rest because exergeting the various texts on law is an all day thing.  Here are the words of the apostle Paul from Romans 7:7:  What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.