1 Timothy Chapter 3 Standards for Church Leaders

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church leaders

Standards are high for those aspiring to be a spiritual leader in any capacity.  Our leaders are held under a spot light and should be without blemish.  This style of living requires much effort and self-discipline, not only for the leader himself, but also the family.  Paul shares the standards of excellence for some of the positions of church leadership.

 1 Timothy 3:11 Timothy 3:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  

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1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop [overseer], he desireth a good work.

Paul open to Timothy with a statement of truth:  If someone rises up to be an overseer of the church, he is desiring an honorable position.  The word ‘bishop’ also translates into the word pastor, church leader, or elder.

Acts 20:28Acts 20:28
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  

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Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feel the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Philippians 1:1Philippians 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

<!-- PHP KJV MC 20. Mar. 2001 --> The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians 1 1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:  

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Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Ephesians 4:12Ephesians 4:12
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  

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For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

We must all keep in mind that when someone becomes a leader of a church, regardless of the specific position that he/she holds, they are responsible to God for the spiritual welfare of the church.  1 Peter 5:41 Peter 5:4
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.  

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commends faithful leaders of God’s flock with a ‘crown of glory’.  As a simple church member, I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of responsibility that a Pastor carries on his shoulders.  Whew!  To know that every word that you speak, and every action you perform being an overseer to God’s flock of children is under the scrutiny of judgment one day.  Of course, we all have seen great and responsible Pastors/leaders of a church, and then we have come across maybe not so great and responsible leaders.  I am a firm believer that no matter who you sit under in sermon, you should verify each message you receive with the Word of God, and your Pastor/leader should encourage church members to do that.  One day, he will be accountable to God for every word spoken, but we will be accountable as well for what we believed.

 church leaders

1 Timothy 3:2-71 Timothy 3:2-7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; of good...: or, modest 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; given...: or, ready to quarrel, and offer wrong, as one in wine 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. a novice: or, one newly come to the faith 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.  

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2 A bishop [overseer] then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant [temperate], sober [sensible], of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt [able] to teach;

3 Not given to wine, no striker [not violent], not greedy of filthy lucre [a lover of money]; but patient, not a brawler [quarrelsome], not covetous;

4 One that ruleth [manages] well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity [obey him with all respect];

5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

 Paul continues to outline the standards of an overseer, or leader, of a church that should be present in one striving to hold such a position.  He opens with the quality of being ‘blameless’, or a spotless reputation, one that contains no flaw that could be grounds for future accusations.  If he is married, he should be married to one wife, be self-controlled; be of sound mind; and live wisely and orderly in the Spirit of God within his life, habits, and work.  He should enjoy receiving guest in his home, even strangers; and is able and willing to teach the Scripture.  He must not be a heavy drinker or violent.  He should be gentle and kind, not argumentative, and is not consumed by the love of money.  He must be a faithful father who’s children respect and obey him.  Paul openly asks if a man is unable to manage his own household (family), how would he be able to care for the church?  Basically, a leader of a church must be unselfish in all non-compromising ways and  living a godly life as so given in the Scriptures.

Titus 1:6-9Titus 1:6-9
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; men: or, things 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. as...: or, in teaching  

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6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.  7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no strike, not given to filthy lucre;  8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;  9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

2 Timothy 2:242 Timothy 2:24
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, patient: or, forbearing  

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And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

1 Peter 5:21 Peter 5:2
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2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; which...: or, as much as in you is  

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Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

2 Corinthians 8:212 Corinthians 8:21
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21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.  

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Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

2 Timothy 2:262 Timothy 2:26
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. recover...: Gr. awake taken...: Gr. taken alive  

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And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

1 Timothy 6:91 Timothy 6:9
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9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  

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But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

Isaiah 14:12Isaiah 14:12
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12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! O Lucifer: or, O day star  

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How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!  how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Acts 22:12Acts 22:12
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12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,  

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And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,

1 Corinthians 5:121 Corinthians 5:12
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12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? expedient: or, profitable  

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For what have I to do to judge them also that are without?  do not ye judge them that are within?

1 Thessalonians 4:121 Thessalonians 4:12
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12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. of...: or, of no man  

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That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

Many times, we get caught up in our service to the church that we put our families on the back burner and disregard their needs.  Paul is advising against this and emphasizing that Spiritual leadership in any position begins in the home.  If a man is unable to teach, discipline, and care for his own children, then he will be unable and unqualified to do the same within a church.  With fluctuations in numbers of member attendance, sometimes we see a church place a new believer in a position of leadership.  Paul warns against this.  A new believer needs time to mature in their faith and should not be placed in this position of responsibility until they have reached a level in their faith that they are firmly grounded, and are capable of assuming the role of leadership.

 church leadership

1 Timothy 8-13

8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.

11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

 The position of Deacon was established by the apostles in the Jerusalem church [Acts 6:1-6Acts 6:1-6
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6 1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.  

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].  The Greek translation for deacon is servant.  Their primary role was to see to the physical needs of the congregation with special attention given to the widows, which freed the apostles of this duty in order to give more attention to prayer and ministry of the Word.  The standards for a Deacon are similar to those for a Bishop (overseer), adding that they must first be tested and proven first before obtaining the position of Deacon.

Ezekiel 44:21Ezekiel 44:21
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21 Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court.  

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Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court.

Acts 6:3Acts 6:3
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3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.  

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Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

Leviticus 10:9Leviticus 10:9
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9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:  

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Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die:  it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:

1 Timothy 1:191 Timothy 1:19
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:  

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Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

Titus 2:3Titus 2:3
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3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; holiness: or, holy women false...: or, one who foments strife  

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The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

Matthew 25:21Matthew 25:21
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21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  

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His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant:  thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over man things:  enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

So, what happens when a church is young and doesn’t have the qualified persons to step into the role of a deacon?  How should that be handled within the church?  If a church is limited in knowledgeable men who are experienced in Scripture, should a new believer be placed in that role?  I’m sure that each situation is different, but according to scripture, placing a new believer in a position of leadership should not be done.  I don’t know what the answer is to this question, but I would assume that it may be better if the members assumed the role of meeting the physical needs of the members as a whole than to put a new believer in a leadership position subjecting them to a situation that may lead them to fall in their faith.  As Christians, we must all lift each other up with our words and actions; helping our fellow brethren to serve Christ more effectively, and promote harmony among church members.

 Churches019

1 Timothy 3:11 Timothy 3:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  

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4-15

14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:

15 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.

 When someone is elected to a position of leadership within the church, it should be done so because of their deep desire to serve God and their display of godly living.  No one should ever be voted into a leadership position because they are popular among the church members, or because they hold a higher social status than someone else.  Sometimes, we know of someone who we ‘think’ would be a great candidate, but upon closer observation based on scripture, we soon realize that this particular person does not meet the standards set forth in the Bible.

Matthew 16:16-18Matthew 16:16-18
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16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Peter: this name signifies a rock  

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16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona:  for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 

Ephesians 2:19-21Ephesians 2:19-21
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19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  

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19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

2 Timothy 2:202 Timothy 2:20
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20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.  

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But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.

Paul was letting Timothy know in his letter, that if he didn’t arrive shortly, Timothy would be aware of how people must conduct themselves within the house of God.  The house of God, Church, was and is the pillar and foundation of the truth.

 Jesus

1 Timothy 3:11 Timothy 3:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  

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6

16 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.

When we look back upon the history of Jesus Christ and try to fully comprehend it, it truly is a mystery to many.  Paul impresses on Timothy the importance of his faith and his managerial abilities regarding the church.  Everything was so new to the Ephesians, and if Timothy faltered, it could hinder Christianity.  Christianity is built on Jesus Christ, being born in the flesh and walking the earth in human form; He was justified in the Spirit, revealing His true nature and His claims confirmed; angels were a witness to Jesus’ time on earth; the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached to all the nations; throughout time, many have come to believe and trust in Jesus Christ, accepting Him into their heart; and that Jesus ascended up to heaven after His resurrection.

Isaiah 7:14Isaiah 7:14
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14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. shall call: or, thou, O virgin, shalt call  

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Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 3:16Matthew 3:16
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16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  

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And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

Matthew 4:11Matthew 4:11
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11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.  

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Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Matthew 28:2Matthew 28:2
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2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. was: or, had been  

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And, behold, there was a great earthquake:  for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

John 1:14John 1:14
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14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.  

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And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Romans 1:3-4Romans 1:3-4
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3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made 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: declared: Gr. determined  

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3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was mad 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:

Romans 10:18Romans 10:18
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18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.  

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But I say, Have they not heard?  Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

Romans 16:26Romans 16:26
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26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:  

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But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

Acts 1:9Acts 1:9
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9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.  

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And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

1 John 1:21 John 1:2
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2  

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(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

1 John 3:5, 81 John 3:5, 8
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5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.  

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5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.  For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 4:2-31 John 4:2-3
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2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.  

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2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God:  Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:  3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God:  and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

1 John 5:61 John 5:6
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6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.  

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This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood.  And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

Colossians 1:6, 23Colossians 1:6, 23
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6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;  

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6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Luke 24:51Luke 24:51
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51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.  

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And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.

 As a Christian, we must be careful to be honest in our living, displaying the fruits of a child of God as He intended for us to do.  We are by no means perfect, nor will we ever be as long as we live on earth, but we must always remember to seek God daily in our life, and allow Him to guide our footsteps.

Written by Mary Hudak-Collins

Mary Hudak-Collins

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