Greetings to you from your friends at Berean Bible Church. May 2015 be a year of great growth for you and your family in faith and love that is in Christ.

As we look back at the year behind us we marvel at how fast time flies. We certainly find it easy to fill our lives with activities to overflowing. As we consider the new year ahead we wonder about things like: What will happen in the wide world out there? What will happen in my world here? How will I be impacted? Will I be financially better off or worse? What will be my state of health? How will my family fair? So many unknowns! Yet there are some knowns – we do know what our personal priorities are and what we have set our minds on accomplishing. I am not talking about the proverbial New Year’s resolutions that people make and break every year. I’m talking about the mind set that we have – the things that we know we will accomplish because we have actually set our hearts and minds to it.

As believers we also know God’s will for our lives. Paul our apostle states it for us “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30) We know that God will work in our lives to conform us to the image of His Son. His reason for this is “…that He [His Son] might be the first born of many brethren.”

Christ – the Only begotten Son

His Father sent Him into the world that He (Christ) created for “…All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3) God, who existed outside of this space- matter-time continuum, entered into His creation to become a man. I think that one of the things we will be doing throughout eternity to come is to marvel at the great enigma of that very thing - that God who existed from eternity past stepped into His creation to become a man.

John 1:14 “And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us so (and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” It is interesting to note that Jesus Christ is not referred to in scripture as the Son until He became a man—conceived in his Mother’s womb. From eternity past, He was referred to as eternal Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3) He is the living Word of which the entire volume of the written Word speaks. His very name is “The Word of God” (Rev. 19:13). He is the “only begotten Son” and as such He is the one who is able to declare the God who no man has seen to man. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (John 1:18) The only avenue of approach for any man to come to God is through the only begotten Son.

What is Man?

In Psalm 8 David looks at the marvels of creation saying, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:…” David looked at the beauty, the grandeur, and vastness and glory of God’s creation and then looked at man in his fallen state and asks why God would even give a passing thought to us. Yet, we find that God indeed is not only interested in man but that He has visited man in the person of His Son.

The writer of Hebrews picks up on the question “what is man” saying “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.” (Hebrews 2:5-8)

God created man to be the eternal custodians of all of His creation. That would include even the angelic creation for he says “he left nothing that is not put under him…” But the writer goes on to point out that we do not see man in that glorious position for which he was created yet. However, we do see one member of this human race who is what God created man to be. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Hebrews 2:9)

We note that Jesus was made lower than the angels when He became a man. Man is lower than the angels in many ways but the focus of Hebrews 2 is on the fact that man can die while angels cannot. Jesus became a man so that he could die for men. “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Heb. 2:10) Jesus as the only begotten Son was surely perfect as a man. However, there was something that He had to do to be the perfect Savior – He had to suffer in dying a death that He did not have to die in order to pay man’s sin debt. Man by himself and left to himself can never come close to being what God has created him to be. In fact, apart from the redeeming work of Christ, man would be forever lost as a part of creation ruined by sin.

Christ - The First Begotten

“And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” (Hebrews 1:6 ) This is profound! Jesus is referred to as the “first begotten”. The Lord Jesus Christ is “the Only Begotten Son” (John 1:14, 18; 3:16; 1John 4:9) but He is also referred to as “the first begotten”. We see the term used of Christ again in Rev. 1:5&6 “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. …” Note also Peter’s words Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,…” (1 Peter 1:3). As the “Only Begotten Son” Jesus is unique in that He is the only one who is both God and man in one person. As the “first begotten” we understand that there will be others begotten of God after Him. There will be others who will become children of God through faith in the “Only Begotten Son.”

On the subject of Christ being begotten of the Father we must touch on some key verses that speak of the fact that Jesus Christ is also begotten at His resurrection. Two key verses on that are Heb. 5:5 & 6 and Acts 13:33.

So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Hebrews 5:5-6)

And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. (Acts 13:32-33)

He was begotten when He was conceived in the virgin’s womb to become a man. In Israel’s program, He is also said to be begotten at His resurrection to enter His office of being a high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. Israel is to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation to one day represent the Gentile nations before God. That will be done under the authority of Jesus Christ as the High Priest of Israel. But there is another program in the New Testament Scriptures that speaks of Christ as the First begotten.

Christ - the Firstborn from the Dead

Colossians 1:15-18 (KJV)
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

When we come to the writings of Paul the apostle of the Gentiles, we find a similar but different term used in regard to the resurrection of Christ. In Colossians 1:18 (printed above) we find the term “firstborn” in regard to Christ. In fact we find the term used in Col. 1:15-18 in two senses:

· In verse 15 of Colossians 1, He is “the first born of every creature.” The first born inherits everything. He is the firstborn in that he inherits all things. But He inherits all things because He created all things. All things in heaven and in earth are His by right of creation.

· In verse 18 of Colossians 1 we see Him again as the first born from the dead. He is the beginning of the church which is His body (i.e. the one who started it) and He is the firstborn from the dead. That is, He is the first to come up out of the grave in resurrection life to be the first of those who trust Him as Savior who will likewise rise to new life. This speaks of a resurrection that starts with a spiritual resurrection for each believer that begins the moment one trusts Him as Savior. It will ultimately culminate in each believer having a resurrection body fashioned after His (Phil. 3:21).

Paul speaks of that spiritual resurrection in Romans 6 “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Romans 6:4-6).

It is the Father’s will that Jesus Christ His Son be the firstborn of many brethren. These children will be called out from the human race of which His Son became a member of in order to redeem them to Himself (Eph. 1:5&6). As He saves souls by each one’s personal faith in the redeeming work of Christ on Calvary, The Holy Spirit begins to work in their lives through His written Word to conform them to the image of His Son. This is accomplished as people humbly apply the doctrines of grace in dealing with the affairs of life to come to maturity as sons (and daughters) of God.

The Believer as a Son

A lot of wonderful things happen in the believer and to the believer at the very moment that he or she makes a heart decision to trust Jesus Christ as Savior. Romans chapter 8 talks about that. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Rom. 8:9) The believer is translated from one realm of existence to another. For one thing, he/she is translated from spiritual death to spiritual life. For another, each believer is translated from the realm of the flesh to the realm of the Spirit. Though we live the remainder of our lives in our bodies of flesh, we are none the less in the realm where God the Holy Spirit dwells within the believer and brings with Him the Spirit of Christ. Romans chapter 8 goes on to say “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Rom.8:10&11) The presence of the Holy Spirit together with the Spirit of Christ empowers the believer to live a different kind of a life than he/she did before that soul salvation occurred. The believer now has a different guiding spirit than he formerly did. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father.” (Rom. 8:14&15) The first person who addressed God as Abba Father was Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son (Mark 14:36). This is interesting! The same spirit that resided in Jesus resides in each believer today. That is possible because of the work of the Holy Spirit in joining each of us to Christ in a union that is so intimate as to become spiritually one with Him. This produces within each of us the spirit of adoption whereby we confidently approach the God as the loving Father that He desires to be and is to each believer.

The Leading of the Spirit

Romans 8:14 talks about the leading of the Spirit. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God.” God deals with His people differently at different times. Under the dispensation of the Law God commanded obedience and then blessed them if they obeyed but cursed them if they did not. That is what verse 15 of Romans eight calls the “spirit of bondage.” What a contrast that is to the spirit of adoption whereby God regenerates the believer’s previously dead spirit and puts His Holy Spirit within the believer to then lead the believer as a son in His family. How then does the Holy Spirit lead in the believer’s life today? It is only by the Word of His grace (Acts 20:32) that the believer is built up in Christ and led by the Spirit. Paul tells the Galatians “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” (Gal. 5:18) As the Spirit of God takes the Word of God and teaches it to our regenerated human spirits and we humbly submit our wills to it, He produces the mind of Christ within us. However, it is only the Word of God that can do so. The Word of God is where the wisdom of God resides. Anything outside of the Word is the wisdom of men and the wisdom of this world (1Cor. 1: 21) which can never produce true spiritual understanding.

The Father’s Will

Paul (the apostle of the Gentiles) exhorts that “…first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:2-4) The Father’s business today is the soul saving business. Truly today is the day of salvation (2Cor. 6:2) in which believers have the awesome privilege to be laborers with God as ambassadors for Christ (2Cor. 5:20&21) beseeching people in Christ’s stead to be reconciled to God.

I Timothy 2:4 speaks of God’s will. There are two different kinds of wills. There is the will that expresses one’s desire. God desires (wills) that every man be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Then there is the purposeful will that defines what one absolutely will do. The Father has such a purposeful will for man that He is executing through the redeeming work on the Jesus Christ the Son by means of the Holy Spirit’s work in the world today. The Father’s will (His purpose) is to conform each believer to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:27-29) and to deliver each believer from “this present evil world.” (Gal 1:4) Paul says much about this will of the Father regarding each believer in Ephesians: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Eph. 1:5) As children in His family each believer has a blessed and exciting future:

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:9-14)

Getting about the Father’s Business

The Father’s business is being carried out in the world today through the church which is Christ’s body. That body has a local manifestation in every local church. In the Pastoral Epistles (I & II Timothy, Titus, and Philemon) we see that God is manifested in the world today in the corporate life of each properly functioning local church. Paul says “…But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1Tim. 3:15&16) God was manifest in the flesh in the person of His Son but He is also manifest in the flesh in the corporate life of each local church. How important that local body of believers is and how significant it ought to be in the lives of each believer.

We see the One Body Ephesians 2:15 as a living person – i.e. one new man. The local church is the presence of Jesus Christ in the world today and as such has all of the characteristics of a real person. Christ has a body through which He works in the world to day in the local body of Christ. The body of Christ also has a spirit – that being the Holy Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9; 1Cor. 3:16; 2Cor. 3:3). That body (i.e. the local church) also has a soul, a real person dwelling within it – that being the very person of Jesus Christ the Son (Gal. 2:20) as Christ lives in each member. The believer can never fully appreciate the work that God is doing in the world today nor can he fully participate in it apart from functioning together with fellow members of Christ in the context of a local assembly of believers.

Conclusion: For a believer to get about the Father’s business he/she must work together with fellow members of Christ in local assemblies that hold forth the Word of truth rightly divided (2Tim. 2:5) to their respective local communities. It is there that the babe in Christ can learn the doctrine of grace that delivers them from bondage to grow to spiritual adulthood who in turn can function with other believers as sons of God in their Father’s business manifesting the unconditional love of Christ toward each other and the world around them.

Winter Retreat 2015

Our Winter Retreat this year will be focused on the Book of Hebrews. To fully appreciate the grace of God and the atonement that we have today as presented to us Gentiles in the Book of Romans, we need to understand some things about how the blood of Christ is applied in Israel’s program. The Book of Hebrews will do for the Hebrew people in the coming tribulation period what Romans does for us. We will be studying these things at the Winter Retreat Feb. 20-22, 2015 in Chippewa Falls. This year all of the sessions for the retreat will be at the church building at

301 W Grand Avenue
. For those looking for lodging, there is a block of rooms at the Country Inn Suites (715-720-1414) that are being held for us at the rate of $80.00 plus tax per night (breakfast included). This special rate will be held only until January 20th.Tell the desk that you are attending the Berean Bible Church retreat to obtain the reduced rate. We look forward to seeing you there. For those interested in bringing special music, please forward your interest to

Winter Retreat Schedule February 20-22, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015, at Berean Bible Church,

301 W. Grand Avenue, Chippewa Falls, WI

5:30 p.m. Fellowship Supper

Bring a dish to pass. If your last name begins with:

A - K bring casserole, L - S bring vegetable, and T - Z bring dessert.

7:00 p.m. God has Spoken through His Son.................................. (Heb 1) Larry Gabbard

Saturday, February 21, 2015, at Berean Bible Church

9:00 a.m. What is Man? .............................................................. (Heb. 2:5-18) Dan Gross

10:00 a.m. The Rest of God ............................................... (Heb. 3:14-16) Larry Gabbard

11:00 a.m. Israel and Her High Priest ............................. (Heb. 5:1-6:20) Richard Church

Noon Lunch Served at the Church Building

2:00 p.m. The Enigma of Melchisedec…………………… (Heb. 7:1-8:7) Richard Church

3:00 p.m. The Better Things of Hebrews……………………………(Heb 9:1-24) Mike Tiry

4:00 p.m. Israel’s New Covenant………………………… (Heb. 10:1-39) Stephen Kappas

Supper (on your own)

7:00 p.m. Singspiration

Sunday, February 22, 2014, at Berean Bible Church

10:00 a.m. We Can Have Faith Because God has Spoken................... (Heb. 11) Dan Gross

11:00 a.m. Eight Things the Hebrews Are Come to.............................. (Heb. 12) Mike Tiry

12:00 p.m. Fellowship Lunch (Local people bring a dish to pass – all guests welcome)

Upcoming Events

Polar Bear Conference in Green Bay.............................................................. Jan. 24, 2015

Winter Retreat ........................................................................................ Feb. 20 - 22, 2015

Timothy Institute.................................................................................. May 16 & 17, 2015

Grace Bible Camp.................................................................................... July 5 – 10, 2015

Timothy Institute ..................................................................................... Aug. 8 & 9, 2015

Timothy Institute.................................................................................... Nov. 14 – 15 2015