Saturday, May 26, 2012

L2S2 Personal Evangelism. Listen.

---> Listen

I've heard a good share of cliche sayings in my day and one of the ones that stands out as being a genuine pearl of wisdom has been "Seek first to understand, then to be understood" The more and more I think about that motto the more I realize that not only is that a pretty strong biblical precept, but I think that is a great evangelistic technique. 

How can we gauge where a person is at, without listening to their heart. IF there is someone dealing with say, an issue of depression, then a response detailing the specifications of the wardrobe of the levitical priesthood may not be the best and most uplifting scripture to share with them. I know personally in my past I have started to try and explain the deep part of an issue that I have struggled with, only to have someone who is supposed to be listening, talking about points that aren't the subject that I am trying to address. Its like it says in the book of proverbs verse 18:13 He who answers before listening—that is his folly and his shame.  Truthfully, when they jumped the gun and didn't show the patience in trying to get to the heart of what I was dealing with, I began to see myself as someone taking up their time, a burden, and just someone that needed to be dealt with instead of someone who needed love and understanding.

How can we really hear what is going on in a persons life, or if they are in a place to hear the word of God, unless we listen.  Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, giving us an insight in the the pain, trials, or whatever.  Don't get angry if it takes ten minutes or two hours to get a word in, because in listening we give of the patience and character of Christ who bears our burdens.  It isn't about us, its about meeting them where they are at.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry  - James 1:19

Thursday, May 24, 2012

L2S2 Personal Evangelism. Love.

  • Love
  • Listen
  • Serve
  • Speak

These four action words have been impressed on my heart, specifically regarding personal evangelism. 

You know those people who you know need Jesus, and who you want to share Jesus with? You want to share Jesus with them but you either aren't sure how, or you think that God wouldn't want them because they are jerks, or you don't know if they could even see the Jesus you follow because of how loud your life is preaching a different message?

I learned something from a pastor I know (imagine that!) who was telling a story about how he used to be when he first got saved. He used to pull up in front of the bar and rev his motorcycle really loud, then scream, "Devils church! Devils church! Turn or burn! Turn or burn!" then peel out and drive away. He told the story with much regret and sadness because in the years God brought him to a deeper understanding of what it means to evangelize. I think he really began to understand the scripture that states:  "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." (1 Cor 13:1 NASB).

How many times have people been unable to hear the Word of God that we want so desperately to speak to them because WE aren't right? They can hear the fact that we would sometimes rather not be with them. They can hear when we occasionally look at them for "being lesser people," or for  not "having our understanding."  How many times has our message been lost because our heart wasn't right in the way we presented it? How many times have we forsaken the message of God, because our motives were rooted not in the things of God, but in pride?  Do we love the person we are talking to? Do we love them and want to see them in a relationship with the Creator of heaven and earth?  If our motive is anything other than love, then we are falsely representing God to men.  I may have the gift of prophecy, I may fathom all mysteries, know all things, have all faith — enough to move mountains; but if I lack love, I am nothing.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him" (John 3:16-17). God died for the person you are reaching out to. That person who is made in the image of God is no more or less lost than you were when He found you.

Remember that.

We aren't greater or less than. We are the same as our brothers and sisters.... all in need of the Savior.  As we love the Savior, we should strive to love like the Savior.  As Jesus loved us, we should love others.

Monday, May 21, 2012

That isn't actually in the Bible.

In the discourse of my biblical understanding there have been a few words that have come up that I have had to differentiate between.  Two common ones are "Legalism" and the other is "judaizer"

I laugh a little bit even as I write that because my spell check say that Judaizer is a spelling mistake.
Neither of these terms are found in the bible, so getting a Biblical context on them is tricky.

The first one I want to discuss is the term legalism.

I've been hearing that a lot in the church and it has come up recently in a conversation with a friend of mine.

How exactly do we define that?

Many would define it as strict adherence to something set in the bible.
Some would suggest that it is a strict adherence to the commands of God.
Others would say that it is rigid rules set that are above and beyond what is found in the text, like forbidding hand holding.

I want to ask, where exactly does Legalsim set in?
is it about motive? how does it differ in the spectrum of conviction? Is it when our hearts come out of a place of obedience because we love, and start to enter a different place?

Let me give some examples...

Is this Legalism:
 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.  Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
 - Jesus  in Matthew 5

Is Jesus being legalistic when he states that who ever annuls the commands of God, and TEACHES others to do so ( no distinction between Jew or Gentile , No qualifiers) 
Is that legalistic or is the teaching adherence and obedience to God.

You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’;  but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.
- Jesus  in Matthew 5

Is that legalism?

Do we classify legalism as the parts of the bible that God said to follow, but we really just don't want to?

What about Judaizers?

I've been called a judaiser, yet there is no biblical definition of that.

When it comes to the Law of God you can slice it any way you want to  but it still comes back to the same place.
As Followers of Christ, we are to turn from sin... sin is the transgression of the law of God.
As followers of Christ, we are to live like him, and he followed the Law of God.
If we believe that we are part of the New Covenant, then the law is written on our hearts and we will follow it.
If we believe that we are supposed to walk in Spirit and in Truth, then the bible defines the truth as the word of God and in many places out right says its his commands.
We are called to be Holy as He is holy, and God tells us in detail what is holy and what is not in his commands.

So, does saying that the commands of God are relevant to those who are saved... does that make someone a Judaizer?

What about Stephen,  a man full of the grace of God whom false accusers said was teaching against keeping the Law of God

You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become;  you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”
- Acts 7

Is Stephen, a man full of the grace of God, in pointing out  how the stiff-necked, uncircumcised in heart, who are resisting the Holy Spirit, neglect to keep the Law?
Is he a judaizer?

What about Paul in Acts 16:3
Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

Is this it?

What about Paul performing sacrifices after the Resurrection of Jesus to show that there isn't any truth to the claims that he is teaching against the Law of God?

 17 When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters received us warmly. 18 The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. 19 Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
 20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. 21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22 What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23 so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24 Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. 25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”
 26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them - Acts 21

A vow as outlined in Numbers 6.

Scripture states that Paul not only did this Vow to show he is Keeping to the Law of God, But he paid the way for the people that were doing it.

“After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance.

-Acts 24

Is this being a Judaizer?

We should be careful to not edit out large portions of the word of God because We don't like it.
Just because we do, or do not want to do something doesn't change what scripture says.

Do we hold to the word that states  In 2 tim 3
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 All scripture. Not just the parts we like. Not just the parts that are convenient.
We should be careful not  to categorize, minimize and readily dismiss the word of God in our lives.

Holy Handgrenades. Part 1 I guess.

Like trying to open a can of worms with a hand grenade, is taking a stance on biblical precepts.

I knew that when I shared what, and why I believe what I believe, that it would be met with skepticism, opposition, contention, conviction, an impending sense of doom, curiosity and a wide range of things prompting further discussion.

I know that this subject is going to have to outline further definition such as:
What is the Law?
What is it for?
What exactly does it mean to be under the law.?
Which will not be in this post, but I will get to it.

In fielding questions from people with a deep rooted preconception, I appreciate the patience and understanding that comes with pouring over this text, and searching out what I come to believe to be the truth. Though we may disagree, it is my sincerest hope that we be resolute that we are all brothers and sisters in the Savior who gave us the gift of life. All parts of the body.

Now more to the point. In the comments on facebook a person asked about the Disciples making a case for the observance to the commands of God. They have requested an exposition of  the text found in Acts 15 .

Lets see the text in question:

15  Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren. When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”
The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.
12 All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

13 After they had stopped speaking,  James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me. 14  Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. 15 With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written,
16 After these things I will return,
And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen,
And I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will restore it,
17  So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’
18  Says the Lord, who  makes these things known from long ago.
19 Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from  things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. 21 For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

So what we see here is that there is a new division that arises, and states that in order to be saved, you have to be circumcised and follow all of the law of  Moses ( often a hebrew idiom for the commands of God)
The sin here isn't the act of is the idea that something we have done has brought us into the covenant of God. This is something that isn't biblical. Circumcision was NEVER EVER for salvation, but rather, it was a symbol OF that salvation. I'm not saved because some sensitive areas were encountered by some sharp stuff. I am not saved because of an action of mine, or my parents. I am not saved by my adherence to the commands... I don't save myself.

Peter starts talking about this point when he stands before everyone and proclaimed "Why should we make the gentiles bear a yoke we didn't have to bear, nor did our ancestors bear? " Pointing back to the fact that it isn't the commands that save you. The command to be circumcised doesn't save you. God does. That is the way it has always been.

I want you to think about when you were saved.  Take a minute and think about it.  Did someone come to you and give you a list of every transgression you have ever done against God and his ways and order that you give up all of them now, then you will be clean enough or holy enough to be saved?
No?  that would be insane!!! who among us could stand to that? NOT any of us.  No, people were patient with you as you were turning your life over to God.  They probably waited with you and listened to you swearing, knowing that eventually God was going to take root in even that part of your life.  They didn't want to make it burdensome to turn to God... small steps.  Maybe they gave you a few steps to get you started like, Hey, you need to stop drinking. Stop fighting people. Listen....   as you do these things, you won't get kicked out of church and you can hear the word of God taught, and take it to heart.

That is exactly what is going on here.
They decide on a few rules that will keep the gentiles from being kicked out of the synagog on the sabbath ( there is a little plug for gentile sabbath keeping btw)  so that they can hear the commands of God preached and take them to heart.  Patience.

What about the commands you might ask?

abstain from  things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood

Are we to believe that these are the Only commands for gentile believers? It would make sense that they were preliminary ordinances as someone is turning to the faith, but these are not the full embodiment of the faith itself.

If these were the only commands for gentile beleivers, then why does Paul, the apostles to the gentiles  say this?

14  Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“ I will dwell in them and walk among them;
And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
17 “ Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
And do not touch what is unclean;
And I will welcome you.
18 “ And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.
- 2 corinthians 6

He is speaking to Gentiles, and adds a command to not be bound together with unbelievers?  Is this an addendum to the previous outlined commands only for gentiles?  And what is this part about Gentiles shouldn't touch things that are unclean?
Well... where do we get the definition of what is unclean? The commands of God, or as it is commonly being taught every sabbath, the Law of Moses.

Is that part of the commands of the council? To hear the commands preached every sabbath? One could make that case... but I wont...not today.

I believe that Paul was expounding on what they were learning as they were coming in to the full knowledge of God.

There is grace  reflected in Deut. 31:10-31 for the "non-jewish" Israel.

Then Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths,  when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing. Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the LORD your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law. Their children, who have not known, will hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live on the land which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.”

Follow God, keep His feasts, and you learn His words as you go.

So yeah... pray about all this. I'll be back with more posts when I am back with more posts.

Paul the Apostle on the Law of God

As I am working on my responses to many of the questions outlined in the comments section of my last post, I figured that I would go ahead and give some food for thought to wet the appetite of those waiting for a response. I appreciate those who have submitted questions in the pursuit of a better understanding of our God and living according to his word. Thank you for your patience as I get to your questions.

These are scriptures from the Apostle to the Gentiles.

 However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets.
(Acts 24:14)

For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
(Romans 2:13)

If you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal?
(Romans 2:19-21)

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
(Romans 3:20)

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
(Romans 3:31)

What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet
(Romans 7:7)

So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
(Romans 7:12)

For in my inner being I delight in God's law
(Romans  7:22)

Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
(Romans 7:25)[note the contrast of sin and Gods law]

The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.
(Romans 8:7)

To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law.
(1 Corinthians 9:21)

Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
(2 Thessalonians 2:3 )

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming
(2 Thessalonians 2:8)

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders
(2 Thessalonians 2:9)

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly
(1 Timothy 1:8)

As for the context of Galatians, I will touch on that in the future posts God willing.This is just from Paul mind you. There is a greater case in the fullness of the scriptures.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Apologeticist

This is something that I put together when I was really looking to understand why I believe what I believe.  The short version in what I believe is that God doesn't change, scripture doesn't conflict, and that  Jesus only says and does what the Father says and does.  Also, that All scripture is relevant for the life of the believer, teaching what is holy and what isn't. So that being said, read at your discretion.

Here are the three basic rules that I, along with most Christians follow, which will be essential in showing how my search for truth was conducted.

Rule number 1)
God does not change.  He does not change his mind. He does not go against his own word

Rule number 2) 
Jesus only said and did the things that God has told him to say and do.

Rule number 3)
Scriptures do not contradict.

95% of Christians would agree to these three points.
From these three points I ask one question with several sub questions that lead to the original inquiry. It is from these three points that I sought to compare denominational doctrine against scripture.

Is the Bible inconsistent?

If yes, then it is fallible and merely another book and not inspired by God.
If no, ( which I believe) Then one must rectify specific questions.

Why don't we as Christians  keep the Dietary instructions as God prescribed them?

  • A)If  we were to say God said that it was okay to eat such things and pork and shellfish and owl, then this is a violations of Rules 1 & 3 as God has said that Pork and shellfish and owl are not food for man(Leviticus 11 ) .
  • B)If  we are to say  Peter had a vision (Acts 10 )  where a sheet was lowered with all kinds of animals and God said to "rise peter kill and eat" if God was telling peter that it was now alright to eat unclean animals, then this would be a violations of rules 1 & 3. Further more, the passage states that peter was confused about the Vision (Acts 10:28 ). Peter starts to get a clue that this had nothing to do with food, and everything to do with the gentile inclusions in the kingdom.(Acts 10:28 )  In verse 34 it seems to come together for him.  We see that Peter is now giving a detailed account of his vision to show that it was not about food, but about not showing partiality.(Acts 11 )
  • C) If we are to say That Christ made all foods clean per Mark 7. This would violate rules 1, 2, and 3 if  we are to think that all food is  now including unclean animals. It would mean that either Jesus was teaching something that God said was not to be done, Or God had changed his mind about unclean animals being food for us... which then results in the conflict of scripture. As per Mark 7 passage, verse 3 states that the subject in question was a tradition making something that God had already said was food unclean. This is restated in verse 5. In verses 8,9, and 13 Jesus rebukes them for setting aside the commands of God, which would be folly if he himself were teaching something against the commands of God I.E. dietary laws.
  • D) If we are to say That through Christ's death and resurrection all things can now be eaten because they are now clean. This would violate all three rules as the actions of Jesus would now conflict with the words of God. Also in There is a passage that talks about a out pouring of wrath on those who eat things which God has stated are an abomination. This event has yet to happen therefore one must deduce that this is an event to come ( Isaiah 66:16-18) Christ would not execute such wrath if he had deemed these things acceptable.

Why don't people keep the Sabbath the way that God said to keep it?

  • (A) If we are to say that it has now changed to Sunday, this violates 1 and 3 as The scripture states that the Sabbath is the 7th day, and not the first. Further more, Paul tells people to collect money and conduct business on the first day, which would mean that if in fact the Sabbath was changed to the first day- Paul is telling people to violate it by conducting business. There is also no scripture that suggest that the Sabbath was transferred to the first day. Also, the Catholic church makes it very clear that there is not scriptural support for the change of the Sabbath from the 7th day to the 1st, and they take full responsibility for that change.
  • (B)If we are to say that the Sabbath was part of the Law and the Law is not to be followed anymore, this violates all 3 rules as  God states that the commands are to be a perpetual ordinance for Jew and gentile alike through out their generations( Exodus 12:49, Exodus-31:16, Galatians 3:29,Ephesians-2:19 ). Jesus kept the Sabbath, if we are to follow his perfect example, we would keep the Sabbath as well. To say that it is a perpetual sign for believers, but has been revoked is inconsistent. Plus there is support form the books of Hebrews that the Sabbath is still in place ( Hebrews-4:9-11) . In further support, Isaiah 56 shows that the Sabbath is still in place after the Messiah brings salvation. It is also stated that the Sabbath is in place in heaven ( Isaiah 66:22-23 ) as it endures from the new heaven and new earth which have not yet been made as pointed out in other passages ( 2 Peter- 3:10,2 Peter 3:14Revelation 21:1 )
  • (C) If we are to say that we do keep the Sabbath on Sunday, then this doesn't exactly violate any of the 3 rules, but is a blatant ignoring of the scriptures on the Subject of Sabbath keeping. The Sabbath is a day where man is to cease form his efforts and his control. This cannot be done while still choosing what day  one wants the Sabbath to be. Also God states that it is his Sabbath, therefore we do not have control over it. (Isaiah-58:13 )   The Sabbath is also defined as an appointed time of God, in which the Anti-christ seeks to change the times of. (Daniel 7:25-26)
  • (D) If we are to say that Jesus broke the Sabbath then this is a violation of Rule number 2 and 3. Jesus kept the Sabbath as was his custom,(Luke-4:16 ) . and if he broke the Sabbath then he did not do as he has seen the  father do (John 5:19, John 7:16,John 8:28 ,John 12:49) and would not be the sinless Messiah, but rather be acting like the anti-messiah.

Why don't people follow the law of God?

  • (A)If we are to say that we are now under Grace, this would imply that there was a time that we were not under grace, and thus would be a violation of rule number 1. There are several points in the old testament where Grace is prevalent, as grace is loving kindness or unmerited favor (Psalms 103:4, Psalms 103:11,Psalms 103:17,Psalms 130:4,Psalms 130:7, )
  • (B) If we are to say the law was for salvation, then this violates rules 2 and 3 as scripture states that by the law no man was saved, and in Hebrews it states that the sacrifices could never take away sins.( Hebrews 11)  Plus, king David stated that he looked to the Messiah for salvation as he followed God's law. (Psalms-119:166 , Psalm 119:81) Also there was an issue in Acts where a new Idea was introduced that SOME people were saying that one had to be circumcised and ordered to keep all the commandments in Acts 15. This is refuted in the same passage, as it is pointed out that the law was never for salvation (Acts 15:10) but obedience is the result of salvation.
  • (C) If we are to say that the Law has been done away with or Fulfilled [ by  interpretation of fulfilled meaning rendered into a manner of non-observance], then this is a violation of rule 1 and 3. Jesus stated that he didn't come to do abolish the law ( Matthew- 5:17-19) but to fulfill it.  If the word fulfill meant to render into a manner of non-observance, then that would have the same effect as abolishment. he also states that anyone who teaches others not to follow the commands will be least in the kingdom ( Matthew-5:19 ) Plus, how Could Jesus have rebuked the Pharisees for setting aside the commands of God, if he was going to set aside the commands of God, and therefore break the three rules.
  • (D) If we are to say that the Law is Bondage, this is a violation of rule 3 since it is stated that the law is liberty (James 1:25,James 2:12,Psalms 119:44-45 ) and that the law is perfect (James 1:25,Psalm 19:7 ) Also, If Jesus lived this perfectly and we are called to follow in his footsteps (1 John- 2:6,John-14:21,John-14:15,John 14:12 ) how would living a life like Christ be bondage?
  • (E)  If we are to say that it is too difficult to follow, then this is a violations of all three rules because God stated that it wasn't, as scripture points out (Deuteronomy-30:1,Deuteronomy-30:14 ). This would also mean that walking the way Jesus walked is too difficult, which is not what the Messiah says (Mathew  11:30, )
  • (F) If we are to say that Paul and the disciples taught against following the law then this is a violation of rule 3. Paul only taught against following the law for salvation, not as a result of salvation. Paul himself followed God's law, delighting in it and teaching it... Going so far as to perform a vow and sacrifice to show that there is no truth to this teaching  (Acts-24:14-15, Acts 21:17-26,Acts-24:18,Acts 26:4-5,Acts-28:23,Romans-7:22,Romans 7:25,1 Corinthians 9:21,1 Corinthians 14:37  )  It was know the enemies of the disciples were the ones saying that they were teaching against the law of God (Acts 6:10-15 ) If you note that in verse 14 of acts 6, these liars state that Jesus was altering the Law, but according to Jesus' words, he doesn't ( John-5:46-47)
  • (G) If we are to say that we now live by the spirit instead of the Law, this would somewhat be in conflict with rule 1, for the spirit of God would never tell you to do something contrary to the word of God. Plus the law is spiritual (Romans 7:14)
  • (H) we are called to be without sin, this is impossible without following the Law as sin is defined as the violation of God's law (1 John-3:4) God's grace is defined as redeeming us from every lawless deed ( Titus-2:11-14) 

How does a dispensation approach to scripture work?

  • (A) the Idea of having 7 dispensations would imply that God changes, which would violate rule 1, as God changes his mind.
  • (B) We then have to  account for Noah knowing the difference between clean and unclean animals before the dispensations of the law, where God states what animals are clean and what ones are not clean ( Genesis-7:2, Deuteronomy 14,Leviticus 11 )
  • (C) Then we would need to  account for the fact that Grace is prevalent before the dispensations of Grace (Psalms 103:4,Psalms 103:11,Psalms 103:17,Psalms 130:4,Psalms 130:7,Proverbs 3:34)
  • (D) and also how to account for the law being returned in the Millennial Reign of Christ if it is a burden now(Hebrews- 10:16,Colossians 2:17,Hebrews- 10:1,Jeremiah 32:40,Isaiah-2:2-3, Zechariah-14:16-21 )
  • (E) It is also stated that the Holy Spirit was very evident in the life of believers before the dispensation of Grace ( Mark 12:36, Exodus 31:3, Numbers 11:16-17)

Do the Writings of Paul tell us a different story?

  • (A)If one were to say that Romans 14 states that we can eat what ever animal we want, this would violate rule 1 & 3. If we were to look at the terminology as per what defines one who is weak in the faith and cross reference that with other passages of Paul's we could see that the issue is not about eating unclean animals, but about eating meat that was sacrificed. (1 Corinthians  8:9-13  ) In verse 15 of Romans 14 Paul points out that the we are not to cause offense over food, if he was saying unclean animals were food then he would be violating rule 3.
  • (B) If one were to say that the book of Galatians is telling us not to follow the law of God, then this would violate rules 1, 2, and 3 as God states that the law was to be followed by Jew and Gentile alike forever(Numbers 15:15-16,Numbers 15:29 ) Jesus states that we are to follow everything that the teachers of the law teach [but not to be hypocrites] (Matthew-23:2-3 ) If God said to follow the law, then who is Paul to say something different? We can see in Galatians 2:4 that Paul is writing this letter to refute the teaching that arose in Acts 15, this is restated in  Galatians 5:4 since the issue in acts was men seeking to be justified by the law. In acts 15 the act of seeking to be justified by the law was a new heretical doctrine that was introduced, as Peter pointed out that it was a burden that no one in history was asked to bear. (Acts 15:9-11 )
  • (C) If one were to say that by getting circumcised it invalidates Christ, This would violate rules 1 and 3. Why did Paul have Timothy circumcised if such an action would be dooming him? ( Acts 16:3) But as it were, the issue at hand was relying the law when one should have been relying on Christ as they follow the law. Paul also states that Circumcision and Uncircumcision  are nothing, but what matter are keeping the commands of God  (1Corinthians 7:19 )  which, include circumcision.
  • (D) If some one were to imply that we are now circumcised by the heart as an implication of something changed, this would break rule 3, if it were not already something that was in place. ( Deuteronomy 10:16,Leviticus 26:41,Jeremiah 4:4)
  • (E) If Paul were teaching that we should not follow the Law of God then he would have been guilty of taking away from the commands of God,(Deuteronomy -4:2,Deuteronomy 5:29-33,Deuteronomy-12:32 )  and therefore breaking rule 3. We see that Paul states that he agrees with everything written in the law and he follows it (Acts-24:14-15,Acts 26:4-5 )
  • (F) If someone were to suggest that Paul teaches that we are not hold believers accountable in regards to what they eat or regarding the Sabbath, this would be in violation of  rule 3. We find a notion of this in Colossians 2:16. However, if this is an admonishment of keeping the Sabbath or any of God's law, then Paul could not refer to it as hollow and deceptive philosophy (Colossians 2:8 ). This would also conflict with his own words, as he writes to timothy that all scripture is for rebuke encouragement reproof, breaking rule 3. (2 Timothy-3:14-17 ) This would include the dietary restrictions as at the time of him penning those words, the only scriptures that existed were the "Old Testament" in it's entirety. Further more, it is God's law and not that of any man and it has always been God's Sabbath.
  • (G) We also have it under Peter's testimony that Paul does not teach against God's law (2 Peter- 3:14-17 )
  • (H) How can we adhere to  Paul when he says follow me as I follow Christ, if  we are to interpret his teachings to say that after we are saved, we shouldn't follow the law of God, as Christ who we are saved by, followed the Law of God? It is also said in Daniel 7:24-26 that the Anti-christ seeks to change the Law and appointed times of God.

What about Revelation?

  • (A) If the commandments of God are burden some, and it is one of the roles of the adversary to create burden and strife, why does he hate those who keep the commands of God? (Revelation 12:17 ) If the commands of God were said to a burden then this would violate rules 1 and 3 as God and 1 John say that they are not (1 John 5:3,Deuteronomy-30:11 )
  • (B) If the commands are not to be followed, then why is the perseverance of the saints [us] outlined as those who hold to the commands of God in conjunction with faith in Christ (Revelation-14:12 )

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What, You think you're better then me?

Because I do.

Or at least I am working hard on it. I am trying to see you that way.

Because I think that when we walk around and think ourselves greater than others is when we get into all kinds of trouble.  

Do nothing from  selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. - Philippians 2

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.    -Galatians  6 

I should just end the post right there and satisfy the request of some of my friends to write shorter posts...  That really is the entire point isn't it. 

Its funny in that, aw man I can be such an idiot, kinda way , when we walk around strutting. We want to appear tough. We want to look invulnerable, and one of the ways we do that is with dominance, and imposition. We want to avoid getting hurt so we parade our wit in a way that cuts people down or lays waist to their line of thinking, and in doing so gives us the appearance of superiority.  Maybe we just are out for the glory, to look a certain way in front of that cute person we have had our eyes on trying to get attention.  

 That illusion again. That make believe persona that we has people put up that we have it all together and we are incapable of being hurt.

A pastor that I love and respect was preaching a sermon last sunday and one of the things he mentioned was how in society we all want to be Hard, tough and all that to be respected. Yet, love is something of tenderness. Love is a scene where we put our heart out there knowing full well it can be torn apart, get stomped on.  

That... that sounds like the opposite of everything that our flesh tells us to be. 

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, *got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.  Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
- John 13 

So, here we have the savior of the world, the guy that died for the sins of everyone, who was and is and is to come, who death itself cannot hold, who in revelation has a sharp two edged sword from his mouth...  That guy WHO REALLY IS SOMEBODY.... WHO IS BETTER THAN US...

That guy was washing peoples feet. That guy serves people in example.

I am nowhere near the Glory and might and power of the Messiah, King of kings, Lord of lords....    So where do I get the right to assert my greatness into anything?
Where do I get the gall to proclaim that my way is best, or that others should be like me in whatever regard?

Who among us hasn't looked down on someone for some reason or another...
and by what justification have we done so?  By whose authority?

We often get so stuck on our problems and all the things that others need to do for us...
Or we get indignant that others aren't being as holy and righteous as we want them to be TO us. 

we want them to serve us. 

An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest.
But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side,  and said to them, “ Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”

I'm trying to empty myself out. To pour out myself and allow that space to be filled with Godliness you know.   I'm aware of sin and failure and also hope and redemption... but let us not be fooled into thinking that because of that redemption we are beyond the realm of temptation and not prone to stumbling.  Every man man and woman is a choice away from falling.  If we focus on that fact, it might put us all on a more even field in our minds. I'm not invincible. I'm not a hard man. 

I love you people.
You are made in the image of God.

Who am I to tarnish that?
Who are we to slander that?
Who are we to self exalt ourselves above that? 

Seek to be nothing not for greatness or glory, but for the goodness in lifting brethren. In this humility lives I think. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Call to Arms.

If the word of God is a sword, a sharp two edge sword...

Then what does that make those who wield it?

Are we soldiers?  Are we defenders? Are we murderers?

 Do we take up the word in hand and charge the darkness in a pride filled slander of the enemy?
elevating ourselves equal to a entity created by God for a purpose?

When we charge in all our zeal saying "I WILL, in the name of God Defeat the enemy!!! That vile wretched thing that sows destruction and wreaks havoc!!! I WILL slay that beast and kill that dragon!!!"

 Honestly I  think there are two main things that are being broken out of His people.
Pride and fear. I see God preparing his people for war.  He is readying his peoples heart for it.
I see a boot camp of the heart taking hold in the lives of many believers.

Because we cannot fight a war with the tactics of the enemy.  We cannot fight a war, when we do not submit to command.  We cannot fight a war, when we underestimate our enemy, and are over confident within ourselves.

Years ago I was sitting in youth group at church listening to the first sermon from a new pastor. I respected his roll in that he was passionate about rallying the youth to care about those around them. Calling them out to be looking at what goes on around them.  The part that didn't sit well with me was when this godly gentleman began to talk about "giving satan two black eyes" and how "we have the authority and we have dominion and we stomp you underfoot"

At the time I wasn't reading my bible every day, or even ever week, but the night before hand I did happen to read the entire book of Jude. So what this good and godly man happened to be proclaiming that day didn't quite line up with what I had read that said things like

Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties.  But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “ The Lord rebuke you!”
- Jude

From what i know of Angels, When people see them they are so afraid that they fall down as if dead in terror and awe. I am a scary man of large stature, but never once in my entire life have I ever intimidated anything to that scale. Growing up I got in my share of fights and got beaten up... a lot.... so when I hear that Michal, the Archangel... a entity far far far far far greater than I.. refuses to speak those kinds of words against the adversary, then what right to any of us?
I find it really fascinating Michael ( which means created in the image of God) seems to portray a respect for his enemy.

What about us? What if every time we sought to war against anything we first remembered that what we fight was created for a purpose from God? That should change us right? That should modify our perspectives a little bit shouldn't it? That should make us make sure that what we are fighting for and who we are fighting are really the enemy.  Are we mad about the sin? Are we angry about the lie that a person believes?

"The Lord rebuke you"   That statement packs a huge punch because it take the authority off of us and puts it back into the hands that knows the heart of every issue.  There is a sense of humility that I see in that. My favorite apostle Peter backs me up again on this one where he says

then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,  and especially those who  indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties,   whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord.

 - 2 Pete 2

That was a hard lesson for Pete because we know he failed to respect the authority places out for a purpose in Matthew.

 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”  But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” - matt 16

 Set your mind on God's interests. Set your mind on God.  Kinda like... Seek First the Kingdom of God. We get hung up on both pride and  fear. Maybe Peter, Jesus' right hand man  has these fears about the death of Jesus.  Maybe he was too proud to think that any enemy could get past him. I don't know... Maybe he was looking at the one who has so much victory over sickness and disease and has resurrected the dead, caused the deaf to hear and the mute to speak... and he thought that if this man dies... he just may stay dead. Maybe if he dies, Peter goes back to being a nothing fisherman. If this man dies, then all of the hope and dreams that Peter has built, dies with him. Maybe he was looking for Messiah Ben David, the conquering King and he was afraid that should Jesus die, then he may have been following the wrong man.
Fear.  Fear and Pride.

 Lets just back to Paul a minute here...

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.  For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.  For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. - Romans 16:19 says ( uh- huh)

More talk of authority....  stay away from dissension... submit to God... and what does that say....   does it say that by your hand you will blow up the devil with a holy hand grenade and bring bits of what is left to him to God and then God pats you on the head because he is please with your initiative?    

....It would be really awesome if it did say that... but what it does say is even better.. THAT THE GOD OF PEACE WILL CRUSH SATAN... not only with the God of peace take action, but take it on your behalf, and HE will crush the enemy and put them under YOUR FEET!!!

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;  but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” - Luke 22 

Take note that the enemy has sought permission. Think about that.  Even in the war of the spirit there are rules of engagement. Stay in line and when hardship comes, Your trust in God will be complete, that no matter how much pain you face or how crazy things get... you will have peace in Him because He is good and He is sovereign.  

Leave your dreams and your fears at the foot of the one who has called you to battle. Leave your life in the hands of the one who decides life and death.   A call to war in the army of God is a call of sacrifice. 

It is a call to die to yourself. 

That is what I am seeing the body these days.  I think the next post I do will be on courage.