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Members of the Jewish movement that later became Christianity

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Israel Bible Podcast
Identity Shapers

Israel Bible Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2021 18:26


Rabbi Dr. Juan Marcos Bejarano-Gutierrez is a rabbi, scholar, and electrical engineer who has been a board member of the Society for Crypto-Jewish Studies and is currently director of the B'nei Anusim Center for Education.  R. Dr. Bejarano-Gutierrez discusses the complexities of Jewish and Christian identities from ancient times until today, from the challenges of Hellenism to the deepest horrors of the Inquisition and the new realities of modernity. His special focus on forced converts and secret Jews gives him a unique perspective on Jewish-Christian relations and history.Listen to the full talk here: Complex Jewish and Christian IdentitiesFind Rabbi Bejarano-Gutierrez's books HEREExplore the large collection of Israel Bible Podcast episodes HERE.Sign up to be a student at IBC with access to a huge collection of courses: https://israelbiblecenter.comStay connected with IBC on Facebook @IsraelBibleCenter or Twitter @IsraelStudy

Israel Bible Podcast
Identity Shaped by History, Part 1

Israel Bible Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2021 18:42


Rabbi Dr. Juan Marcos Bejarano-Gutierrez is a rabbi, scholar, and electrical engineer who has been a board member of the Society for Crypto-Jewish Studies and is currently director of the B'nei Anusim Center for Education.  R. Dr. Bejarano-Gutierrez discusses the complexities of Jewish and Christian identities from ancient times until today, from the challenges of Hellenism to the deepest horrors of the Inquisition and the new realities of modernity. His special focus on forced converts and secret Jews gives him a unique perspective on Jewish-Christian relations and history.Listen to the full talk here: Complex Jewish and Christian IdentitiesExplore the large collection of podcast episodes HERE.Sign up to be a student at IBC with access to a huge collection of courses: https://israelbiblecenter.comStay connected with IBC on Facebook @IsraelBibleCenter or Twitter @IsraelStudy

Gospel Spice
How should we understand today's Middle East? | Joel Rosenberg, part 2

Gospel Spice

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2021 47:54


Episode 110 – In the wake of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, how are we to understand the Middle East today? How should Western Christians approach Israel and all things Jewish? What about Bible prophecy in light of the Jewish state today? Who are the enemies and the allies of the West, and of Israel, in the Middle East today? Stephanie is joined again by Joel Rosenberg, New York Times bestselling author of novels and nonfiction books with nearly 5 million copies in print. This is part 2 of Joel Rosenberg's exclusive interview with Stephanie. Make sure to first listen to part 1, episode 109! An evangelical Christian, dual U.S.-Israeli citizen and global influencer living in Jerusalem, Joel Rosenberg embodies the Gospel Spice mission to inspire you to taste and see that the Lord is good, through an in-depth experience of the cultural flavors of Scripture. Joel is an unmatched storyteller with a contagious passion for Christ and his people. This makes him the ideal Gospel Spice anniversary guest as we celebrate our 2nd anniversary this month! Not to mention, Stephanie has been a fan of his books and political analyses for almost 20 years now. In his latest book, Enemies and Allies, Joel asks, “do recent changes in the Middle East signal peace?” One Arab country after another is signing historic, game-changing peace, trade, investment, and tourism deals with Israel. At the same time, Russia, Iran, and Turkey are forming a highly dangerous alliance that could threaten the Western powers. Meanwhile, the U.S. is drawing down its military forces in the Mideast and focusing on matters closer to home. Where's it all heading? Enemies and Allies takes readers behind closed doors in the Middle East and introduce them to the very kings and crown princes, presidents and prime ministers who are leading the change. Today, Joel also tells us about his Jewish family and growing up in America, before moving to Israel with his wife Lynn and his four sons in 2014. We talk spices and Jewish flavors – spiritually and literally! Joel takes us on a tour into Jerusalem—its streets, flavors, smells and most importantly, its uniquely global culture today. How is the Jewish Christian church doing today? Make sure to listen to find out! How can we understand what is happening in the Middle East today, from Afghanistan and Tehran to Jerusalem and Amman? Joel Rosenberg joins us to share a sobering truth about our world today: “To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it.” This applies spiritually, but also politically today more than ever, as history has shown. Then we move on to more personal things: how does Joel study Scripture in general, and prophecy in particular? How does his expertise on all things Mideast inform his thriller writing? What should we Christians know about the Middle East today to understand our world? How does our perspective on Israel inform our faith? And, how does prophecy build faith? We talk about expanding our view of God to make Him our delight and glorify Him – a topic near and dear Stephanie's heart, as you might know! How does Joel use his thriller-writing talent to sneak in other topics? Well, you GOT to hear Joel's analogy of the meatloaf smoothie. It's got to do with leveraging our entertainment culture to share the gospel, and it is irresistible. And then, how should Christians view Israel? This is a heavy question with answers ranging from disdain, to ignorance, to idolatry. Joel brings a balanced, discerning view that is sure to inform your approach to all things Jewish—spiritually and yes, politically too. This leads us to a conversation about the famous Abraham accords that normalized relationships between Israel and 4 Muslim nations in 2020: how do these breakthrough accords inform our attitude as Christians today? How about Iran? How about Afghanistan and the role of the US in the Middle East today? MORE ABOUT JOEL ROSENBERG Joel has been profiled by the New York Times, the Washington Times, and the Jerusalem Post and has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV programs in the U.S., Canada, and around the world. As a sought-after speaker, he has addressed audiences at the White House, the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol, the Israeli president's residence, the Israeli Knesset, the European Union parliament in Brussels, and business and faith conferences in North America and around the world. Joel became famous in 2002 when writing novels that had the uncanny tendency to become reality. He says, “Before my first political thriller was released, I had never in my life been on national television. Nor had I been on but a few small radio shows. But when The Last Jihad was published in November of 2002, I suddenly found myself interviewed on more than 160 radio and TV programs. Sean Hannity. Rush Limbaugh. Michael Reagan. Fox News. MSNBC. I had the opportunity to talk to more than twenty million people in less than sixty days. The media was intrigued that anyone could have written a novel that opened with a plane hijacked by radical Islamic terrorists flying a kamikaze attack into an American city and then led to a war between the United States and Iraq over terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. They were even more intrigued that I'd begun writing nine months before 9/11 and had finished the book before any of it had ever happened for real. How was this possible? Did I work for the CIA? Did I have some sort of inside information? To each host I would explain how after more than a decade in Washington as a senior advisor to a number of U.S. and Israeli leaders including Steve Forbes, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Natan Sharansky, I had decided to write a political thriller about a War on Terror I was convinced was coming and how such a war might be triggered. I explained the research I had done, and the process I'd gone through of writing a first novel. Such questions only intensified after my second thriller, The Last Days, was published in October 2003. It opened with the death of Yasser Arafat and an American president pushing hard for peace and democracy in the Middle East. Thirteen months after it was published, Arafat died, and two months later President Bush decided to make democracy in the Middle East the centerpiece of his second term agenda. What was particularly odd was that the first few pages of Days put readers inside a U.S. diplomatic convoy heading into Gaza as part of the peace process that would involve an Israeli pullout from Gaza and the West Bank when that convoy was attacked by a massive explosion. Just two weeks before Days hit bookstores, something terrible happened. A U.S. diplomatic convoy heading into Gaza as part of the peace process was suddenly attacked by a massive explosion. Among the readers of his books are Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former President George W. Bush, former CIA Director Porter Goss, former Delta Force Commander General Jerry Boykin, former senior White House advisor Jason Greenblatt, Jordan's King Abdullah II, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, former Israeli Interior Minister Natan Sharansky, former Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, and many other US, Israeli, Arab and other foreign leaders. Joel's latest non-fiction book, “Enemies and Allies,” releases this week and is already poised to become a global bestseller (you can order it here: https://joelrosenberg.com/non-fiction/). Do recent changes in the Middle East signal peace? One Arab country after another is signing historic, game-changing peace, trade, investment, and tourism deals with Israel. At the same time, Russia, Iran, and Turkey are forming a highly dangerous alliance that could threaten the Western powers. Meanwhile, the U.S. is drawing down its military forces in the Mideast and focusing on matters closer to home. Where's it all heading? Enemies and Allies will take readers behind closed doors in the Middle East and introduce them to the very kings and crown princes, presidents and prime ministers who are leading the change. Make sure to go to and subscribe at Allarab.news and AllIsrael.com for regular updates. For more information, visit joelrosenberg.com and follow Joel on Twitter (@joelcrosenberg) and Facebook (facebook.com/JoelCRosenberg). Support us!

Gospel Spice
What is happening in the Middle East today? | with Joel Rosenberg

Gospel Spice

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2021 53:12


Episode 109 – With the 20th anniversary of 9/11 barely behind us, how are we to understand the Middle East today? How should Western Christians approach Israel and all things Jewish? What about Bible prophecy in light of the Jewish state today? Who are the enemies and the allies of the West, and of Israel, in the Middle East today? Stephanie is joined by Joel Rosenberg, New York Times bestselling author of novels and nonfiction books with nearly 5 million copies in print, to celebrate our 2nd anniversary this month. Their conversation was so fascinating that we will publish it in two episodes this week (episode 109, this one, and episode 110 on September 15, 2021). An evangelical Christian, dual U.S.-Israeli citizen and global influencer living in Jerusalem, Joel Rosenberg embodies the Gospel Spice mission to inspire you to taste and see that the Lord is good, through an in-depth experience of the cultural flavors of Scripture. Joel is an unmatched storyteller with a contagious passion for Christ and his people. This makes him the ideal Gospel Spice anniversary guest! Not to mention, Stephanie has been a fan of his books and political analyses for almost 20 years now. In his latest book, Enemies and Allies, Joel asks, “do recent changes in the Middle East signal peace?” One Arab country after another is signing historic, game-changing peace, trade, investment, and tourism deals with Israel. At the same time, Russia, Iran, and Turkey are forming a highly dangerous alliance that could threaten the Western powers. Meanwhile, the U.S. is drawing down its military forces in the Mideast and focusing on matters closer to home. Where's it all heading? Enemies and Allies takes readers behind closed doors in the Middle East and introduce them to the very kings and crown princes, presidents and prime ministers who are leading the change. Today, Joel also tells us about his Jewish family and growing up in America, before moving to Israel with his wife Lynn and his four sons in 2014. We talk spices and Jewish flavors – spiritually and literally! Joel takes us on a tour into Jerusalem—its streets, flavors, smells and most importantly, its uniquely global culture today. How is the Jewish Christian church doing today? Make sure to listen to find out! How can we understand what is happening in the Middle East today, from Afghanistan and Tehran to Jerusalem and Amman? Joel Rosenberg joins us to share a sobering truth about our world today: “To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it.” This applies spiritually, but also politically today more than ever, as history has shown. Then we move on to more personal things: how does Joel study Scripture in general, and prophecy in particular? How does his expertise on all things Mideast inform his thriller writing? What should we Christians know about the Middle East today to understand our world? How does our perspective on Israel inform our faith? And, how does prophecy build faith? We talk about expanding our view of God to make Him our delight and glorify Him – a topic near and dear Stephanie's heart, as you might know! How does Joel use his thriller-writing talent to sneak in other topics? Well, you GOT to hear Joel's analogy of the meatloaf smoothie. It's got to do with leveraging our entertainment culture to share the gospel, and it is irresistible. And then, how should Christians view Israel? This is a heavy question with answers ranging from disdain, to ignorance, to idolatry. Joel brings a balanced, discerning view that is sure to inform your approach to all things Jewish—spiritually and yes, politically too. This leads us to a conversation about the famous Abraham accords that normalized relationships between Israel and 4 Muslim nations in 2020: how do these breakthrough accords inform our attitude as Christians today? How about Iran? How about Afghanistan and the role of the US in the Middle East today? MORE ABOUT JOEL ROSENBERG Joel has been profiled by the New York Times, the Washington Times, and the Jerusalem Post and has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV programs in the U.S., Canada, and around the world. As a sought-after speaker, he has addressed audiences at the White House, the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol, the Israeli president's residence, the Israeli Knesset, the European Union parliament in Brussels, and business and faith conferences in North America and around the world. Joel became famous in 2002 when writing novels that had the uncanny tendency to become reality. He says, “Before my first political thriller was released, I had never in my life been on national television. Nor had I been on but a few small radio shows. But when The Last Jihad was published in November of 2002, I suddenly found myself interviewed on more than 160 radio and TV programs. Sean Hannity. Rush Limbaugh. Michael Reagan. Fox News. MSNBC. I had the opportunity to talk to more than twenty million people in less than sixty days. The media was intrigued that anyone could have written a novel that opened with a plane hijacked by radical Islamic terrorists flying a kamikaze attack into an American city and then led to a war between the United States and Iraq over terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. They were even more intrigued that I'd begun writing nine months before 9/11 and had finished the book before any of it had ever happened for real. How was this possible? Did I work for the CIA? Did I have some sort of inside information? To each host I would explain how after more than a decade in Washington as a senior advisor to a number of U.S. and Israeli leaders including Steve Forbes, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Natan Sharansky, I had decided to write a political thriller about a War on Terror I was convinced was coming and how such a war might be triggered. I explained the research I had done, and the process I'd gone through of writing a first novel. Such questions only intensified after my second thriller, The Last Days, was published in October 2003. It opened with the death of Yasser Arafat and an American president pushing hard for peace and democracy in the Middle East. Thirteen months after it was published, Arafat died, and two months later President Bush decided to make democracy in the Middle East the centerpiece of his second term agenda. What was particularly odd was that the first few pages of Days put readers inside a U.S. diplomatic convoy heading into Gaza as part of the peace process that would involve an Israeli pullout from Gaza and the West Bank when that convoy was attacked by a massive explosion. Just two weeks before Days hit bookstores, something terrible happened. A U.S. diplomatic convoy heading into Gaza as part of the peace process was suddenly attacked by a massive explosion. Among the readers of his books are Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former President George W. Bush, former CIA Director Porter Goss, former Delta Force Commander General Jerry Boykin, former senior White House advisor Jason Greenblatt, Jordan's King Abdullah II, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, former Israeli Interior Minister Natan Sharansky, former Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, and many other US, Israeli, Arab and other foreign leaders. Joel's latest non-fiction book, “Enemies and Allies,” releases this week and is already poised to become a global bestseller (you can order it here: https://joelrosenberg.com/non-fiction/). Do recent changes in the Middle East signal peace? One Arab country after another is signing historic, game-changing peace, trade, investment, and tourism deals with Israel. At the same time, Russia, Iran, and Turkey are forming a highly dangerous alliance that could threaten the Western powers. Meanwhile, the U.S. is drawing down its military forces in the Mideast and focusing on matters closer to home. Where's it all heading? Enemies and Allies will take readers behind closed doors in the Middle East and introduce them to the very kings and crown princes, presidents and prime ministers who are leading the change. Make sure to go to and subscribe at Allarab.news and AllIsrael.com for regular updates. For more information, visit joelrosenberg.com and follow Joel on Twitter (@joelcrosenberg) and Facebook (facebook.com/JoelCRosenberg). Support us!

Daily Liturgy and Scripture
August 14: Psalm 107:23-43, 2 Samuel 2:1-17 and 26-31, Romans 14

Daily Liturgy and Scripture

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 14, 2021 9:48


We're almost to the end of Romans, and Paul is bringing the pieces together fully. Certainly, he anticipated some questions like, “if being Jewish isn't enough, what about being Jewish even matters?” Especially the talk of foods and worship days enter the discussion here, because there are differences between Christian and traditional practice in those areas. Enter the presence of grace in the church. Jewish people need not give up the customs they believe bind them to God, and Gentiles need not take on these Hebrew customs. At the same time, Gentiles should not look down on Jewish Christians for keeping those customs. The goal is harmony in the body, following the guidance of the Spirit together.

Hopewell Baptist Church
James Part 1: Patience

Hopewell Baptist Church

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 8, 2021 36:17


The following sermon excerpt entitled “The Book of James Part 1: Patience” was preached on Sunday evening by Pastor Mike Ray at Hopewell Baptist Churchon Sunday evening, 8/8/2021. If you have your Bibles, let's open them please to the book of James and chapter 1. And we're going to look at a little background to this book, and then we'll try to teach and preach a little of the first section here. I'm going to read the first twelve verses this is all we're going to deal with tonight. Notice how he starts: James 1:1–12 “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Skip down to verse 12: “Blessed [or happy] is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” We'll give you some background, then we'll get into the message. Let's pray. Father, bless the reading of Thy Word. Thank You for including this in the Bible. Help us to see how we are to use it even right now in our everyday life. In Jesus' name, we ask, Amen. The theme of the book of Hebrews — the book before this — is faith in the Christian life. The theme of the book of James is works in the Christian life. One person argues, “But aren't we just saved by faith?” Oh yes. “Well, what about works? Faith without works is dead (James 2:17).” Well, here's how it works. Because of His finished work, we don't have to work our way to Heaven. It's all by faith, but real faith works. So, if someone really gets the kind of faith God wants us to have and we've trusted Him as our Savior, it will make us want to work. We do not work to earn Heaven; We work because we're on our way to Heaven. And that's how it is. It's like someone asking, “Are you ironing all your husband's shirts because you have to do that?” The wife says, “No, I get to do that. I do it because I love him, not because I have to.” And so, we don't have to serve the Lord. We get to. Who is this guy James? There's a couple of studies. One person thinks it was the cousin of Jesus. Many scholars believe he was actually His half-brother, one of the children born to Joseph and Mary after the virgin birth. There're several arguments about that, but I believe this James was a very mature Christian. We see him mentioned in the Book of Acts. They had a council. Paul and Barnabas came, and they preached the Gospel to the Gentiles — the non-Jews, and the Jewish Christians were upset. So, they had a meeting. Guess who was in charge? James. James was called to the meeting to oversee it and give his opinion. So, he was a very respected man, a very respected Apostle. He's also one of the three that when Paul got saved, Paul said in Galatians 2:9, “And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars…” in the church. So, the new convert, Paul, said that whoever this James is, he's carrying a load, and he is respected. And then we see in Acts 15, 17, and I think 21 several times there's an assembly, and James is leading the talk. So, he was very well respected by people like Paul and Barnabas. They looked up to him. The early church leaders — they looked up to him. You would call him a mature Christian. They cared about what he said. James, the author of this book. He's the one in 1 Corinthians 15, the “resurrection chapter,” where it says after Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to the disciples, to Peter, and 500 others. It says He also appeared to James (1 Cor. 15:7). He singled out James. Isn't that amazing? If James really was the half-brother of Jesus, then Jesus was a lot older than him because He was the firstborn. Maybe Jesus was already out of the house by the time James was a teenager. We don't know. But I know how hard it is to recognize greatness in your own family. You ever notice the plumber that fixes the neighbors leaky faucet is the hero. If he fixes his own faucet, the family says it's about time! And so, Jesus is doing these miracles. “Oh yeah right. We never saw him do a miracle in our house.” Paul says, “By the way, James saw Jesus resurrected from the dead.” Maybe that was the clincher for James. “I heard all these miracles You supposedly did, but now, because I've seen You rise from the dead, I'm in.” God uses James to write this great, great book. Someone would call it the proverbs of the New Testament. It includes the marks of a mature Christian, that's what this whole book is about. Very practical. Almost every chapter deals with a different subject. How important was this to James? In AD 62, James was killed for his faith. They called him “camel knees.” They had a legend that he prayed so long and so hard on his knees that his knees were swollen, and they look more like camel's knees than human knees. He's the only Apostle we know that stayed in Jerusalem. The others scattered because of persecution and mission work. James stayed with that early church. It is said by several different historians that James was called up to the pinnacle of the temple, the place where they tried to push Jesus down and kill Him. They told James to stand up there and tell the crowd, “Tell us Who you believe Jesus is.” And he said, “Jesus is the Son of God. He sits at the Father's right hand. He's the Savior of the world.” At that time, they pushed him off the pinnacle to kill him. He landed but did not die. They say he knelt and began praying for his enemies. At that time, they began stoning him with stones. Finally, a man with a club took the club and beat him to death with it. That's the man that we're reading of right now. So, did he believe what he wrote? He must have. He died for his Savior. This was real to him. It wasn't just words. Pastor, why is it so important to be a mature Christian? Well, let's think just a moment of the difference between a baby and a mature person. All right, let me say it's going to be hard for me to remember. It's been years since we had a little baby. But I know this: babies cry a lot. Baby Christians sometimes cry. A lot of babies are selfish. If you say “Not mine,” put him in the church nursery, and give him a toy. Then put another child in there. If he puts his toy down and the other kid starts playing with it, he comes all the way back and says, “Mine!” And besides “Jesus” and “Bible” and “tithing,” usually the first word a child learns is “mine” because it just comes naturally. For the immature person, it's all about them. “Mine.” For the rest of the message, be sure to watch the video above or visit our church website. You can watch archived services on Vimeo, YouTube, or audio podcast. Stay up to date by following us on Facebook or Instagram. Hopewell Baptist Church is an Independent Baptist Church in Napa, California pastored by Mike Ray. It is Bible-based with a warm, friendly atmosphere. Hopewell is dedicated to bringing the water of life to the Napa Valley and beyond.

The Shaun Tabatt Show
651: Paul Wilbur - Discover the Power of Jesus Through Ancient Jewish Traditions

The Shaun Tabatt Show

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 30, 2021 33:51


FOR TWO MILLENNIA, the people of God's heart have been divided: His chosen people—the Jews—on one side, and the Gentile believers in Christ on the other. What might be possible when they finally unite? Celebrated songwriter Paul Wilbur has a foot on both sides of the Jewish-Christian divide: Jewish blood flows through his own veins, and the shed blood of Jesus that purchased his redemption ignited a fire in his spirit that has never been quenched. Now, Wilbur is on a mission: to draw the two halves together by proclaiming the Good News of Yeshua Hamashiach to the Jewish people and by teaching the evangelical Body of Christ about the power and blessing to be found in Jewish traditions, feasts, and festivals. While there may have been two groups for two millennia, Christ is coming back for only one beautiful Bride—unified in every way. Resources mentioned in this episode: Roar from Zion: Discovering the Power of Jesus Through Ancient Jewish Traditions Connect with Paul Wilbur: WilburMinistries.com The Shaun Tabatt Show is part of the Destiny Image Podcast Network.

Southview Sermons - Southview Baptist Church
The Spirit, the Church, & the World — Acceptance

Southview Sermons - Southview Baptist Church

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 25, 2021 24:01


Pastor Aaron Householder continues an exegetical series through the book of Acts — The Spirit, the Church, & the World. This week, Peter reports his actions to the Church at Jerusalem. His report of God's sovereign activities overcome the prejudices of the Jewish Christians toward Gentiles.Sermon notes are available on YouVersion Events.Video of the worship service is available for replay.

Living Words
A Sermon for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity

Living Words

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 11, 2021


A Sermon for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity Romans 6:3-11 & St. Matthew 5:20-26 by William Klock Our Gospel today is just a short clip from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.  The whole sermon runs for three chapters, from Matthew 5 to Matthew 7.  Luke records a similar sermon preached another time.  You could say that this was Jesus' kingdom manifesto and he probably preached this sermon or something very much like it wherever he went.  And wherever he preached it people responded just as people today respond to it: Jesus starts out his sermon with what we call the Beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the peacemakers, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Jesus tells them that they've got to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  Hearing that we think, “Oh!  That's really nice.  Wouldn't the world be a better place if we all lived that way.”  But as Jesus keeps preaching and as what he says sinks in we think, “But Jesus, that's impossible!”  In verse 20, as today's Gospel begins, Jesus announces: Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.   The Pharisees were the most righteous people around.  They lived their lives, right down to the last detail, as if they were living in the temple itself—the place where earth and heaven intersected.  They weren't priests, but they lived as though they were.  They lived each day as if they were in the presence of God and they encouraged everyone else to repent and do the same.  That, they believed, was how the kingdom would come: when Israel stopped compromising the law and living like the Gentiles.  The problem was that it was next to impossible for an ordinary person to do.  The Pharisees were mostly rich people who didn't have to worry about getting dirty with life.  And yet here's Jesus talking to ordinary people and telling them: If you want to see the kingdom, you've got to do better than the Pharisees. Jesus spoke with authority.  He did amazing things.  People were eager to listen.  People had to have been taken aback when he said this, but they were willing to keep listening.  Maybe he didn't mean what it sounded like he meant.  But then Jesus goes on and it's exactly what he said—the righteousness of the Pharisees doesn't go far enough.  Look at verses 21 and 22: You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.'  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire.   Sin culminates in violence.  That's the lesson we see in Genesis, back at the beginning of the story.  Cain resented his brother Abel, he hated him, and eventually his hate boiled over and he killed him.  Before long violence broke out everywhere.  The first king in Genesis was praised by the people for his violence.  Genesis says that on the eve of the great flood the earth was filled with violence.  The Lord chose and called Israel to be a light on a hill—to show the nations a better way—and so in the law the Lord told Israel, “Thou shalt not murder.”  But people were still angry and they still hated.  Israel—the people who were supposed to be the light of the world—was boiling over with anger and hatred, the Pharisees against the Sadducees, the Zealots against the Herodians, and everyone against the Romans.  We still struggle with anger and hatred.  Watch or read the news and your blood boils against this person or that group who aren't doing things right.  Your boss is a jerk.  Your husband or your wife knows exactly how to push your buttons.  Your kids don't do what they're told.  Your neighbour is loud and his dogs won't stop barking.  The Prime Minister, your MP, or your MLA, they're destroying the country.  The anger smoulders.  Granted, most of us probably don't seriously think of murdering anyone, but Jesus says that stopping short of murder isn't enough.  It's not the point.  Your anger may not go any further than anger and your hate may not go any further than hate, but it's still not pleasing to God and the person who thinks he's righteous because he satisfied his anger or his hate with brooding, bitterness, name-calling, or cursing instead of pulling a knife or a gun is no more righteous for it. Instead, Jesus offers an alternative: reconciliation. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go.  First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.  Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.  Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.  (Matthew 5:23-26) No matter how you read it, this is a challenge.  But it's more challenging than it might seem at first glance.  We tend to read it as if Jesus is talking directly to us.  We picture ourselves coming to worship on a Sunday and as we put our offering in the plate or as we come to the Lord's Table we realise that we need to go and reconcile with a brother or sister.  But Jesus isn't talking directly to us.  He was talking to people who lived in Galilee two thousand years ago.  What he's actually describing is one of these people making the three- or four-day trip down to Jerusalem to go to the temple.  They make the long trip, wrangling an animal for sacrifice all the way there.  Jesus describes that person going to the Temple, but as he leads the animal to where the priests offer the sacrifices, as he's reminded of God's love and God's holiness, he's also reminded of his own sin—how because of his own hate or his own anger he's at odds with, separated from some person he should be close to.  He's gone to all this trouble to make things right with God, but done nothing to make things right with his brother.  Back at home.  In Galilee. Jesus didn't really expect that this person would run back home to Galilee to make things right and leave the animal there in the temple for a week.  But Jesus' point stands.  The kingdom way is not patting yourself on the back for hating your neighbour but not actually killing him.  The kingdom way is reconciliation.  And it contrasts not just with the righteousness of the Pharisees, but the general attitude of Jews and everyone else.  The Pharisees tried to live their lives as if they were perpetually, every day and in every thing, in the temple, in the presence of God.  And yet it wouldn't have occurred to many of them, even if they were in the actual temple itself, that to come before the presence of our holy and loving God, to come before his presence seeking reconciliation—that was the point of the sacrifice Jesus describes—while being angry and at odds with a neighbour or a brother or a sister made a mockery out of the whole thing. Jesus says: Yes, live each day as if you were living in the temple, living in God's presence.  The Pharisees are right about that.  But that means understanding and appreciating that God has forgiven you and reconciled you to himself and that you need to make love and reconciliation part of your own life.  You can't live deliberately at odds with someone, you can't wilfully hold onto your anger and bitterness towards someone if you're going to live before the holy and loving God who has forgiven you. This is what it looks like to be God's people.  This is what it means to be salt and light.  This is what it means to be Israel.  But that's not what Israel was doing.  Jesus warns the people to reconcile before they wind up in court.  Again, to understand what Jesus is saying we have to remember to whom he was speaking.  The Jews were waiting eagerly for their day in court.  They were going to drag their enemies before the Lord and they prayed that day would come soon so that the Lord could rain down judgement on those enemies.  But that's not what it looks like to be the salt of the earth or the light of the world.  And so Jesus warns: Your day in court will come, but it may be your enemies who win.  Judgement may fall on you instead—because you haven't been salt and light.  As Jesus continues preaching this theme gets stronger and stronger.  To be light means to seek reconciliation because to be light means shining the reconciling love of God into the anger and hate of the world.  And if that sounds hard to us, it sounded even harder to Israel.  The Jews had suffered centuries of defeat and exile and oppression and persecution.  If any people had a right to be angry, to hate, to lash out with violence, to pray for judgement they did.  But Jesus warns: That's not the way.  Not the way for Israel and not the way for us.  The reconciliation Jesus talks about, this loving your neighbour even though you have every right to hate him, all of this sounds impossible.  We all have people in our lives that are impossible to love.  It can't be done.  Until we look at Jesus. Brothers and Sisters, think of Jesus.  He was scorned and rejected.  He was mocked and beaten.  He was killed in the most brutal and humiliating way imaginable.  He didn't deserve any of it.  He was God himself.  In Jesus God humbled himself and took on our flesh.  He became one of us.  Specifically, he became Israel's representative, he took up the mission God had given her, the mission she had failed at so miserably, he took her punishment on himself, and being lifted on the cross on that hill outside Jerusalem he was lifted up as the true light of the world.  He embraced sin and returned love and in that God's light was blindingly beautiful. And now we need to leave Matthew and turn to Paul and our Epistle from Romans.  We're jumping into the middle of Romans, but to this point Paul has been talking about grace and Jesus dying for the sins of his people.  It is by grace that sin is forgiven, he says, and wherever sin abounds, grace abounds even more.  And so he anticipates someone then saying, “Oh well, then, if grace is so good, we should keep living in sin in order to receive more grace.”  And Paul writes, “No!  Absolutely not.  We've died to sin.  How can we then live for sin?  We can't!”  It's not very different from hearing Jesus tell us to do the impossible—to reconcile with and to love our enemies.  How can we do that?  And Paul reminds us: It was impossible, but something's changed.  We've died to sin and that changes everything.  He goes on in Romans 6:3-4. Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. Baptism changes everything.  Again, just as we need to imagine ourselves as First Century Galileans when we hear Jesus preaching we need to remember that Paul, too, was writing to mostly Jewish Christians only a few decades later.  When we do that what we realise is that in Romans Paul is retelling Israel's story and in Romans 6, as he writes about Baptism and what it means and does, he's simultaneously telling the story of Israel's exodus from Egypt. Israel cried out to the Lord from the misery of her slavery and oppression.  The Lord heard and he sent Moses.  Moses led the people out of their bondage and into the Promised Land and that journey began at the Red Sea.  They entered the sea as slaves and they came out the other side a free people, their captors crushed and drowned under the waves.  And yet they had to pass through the wilderness.  It took longer than the people expected.  They grumbled a lot and even got angry with the Lord and with Moses and talked about going back to Egypt.  But the Lord led his people—a cloud by day and fire by night—and eventually they entered the Promised Land. Again, the Israelites entered the Sea slaves and they came out the other side a free people.  And Paul uses this to illustrate what happens in baptism.  We go into the water dead and we come out alive.  We go into the water slaves to sin and death and we come out free people.  And that's what makes Jesus' impossible calling possible.  It's what makes possible a righteousness greater even than the righteousness of the Pharisees.  Paul says that in our baptism we are united with Jesus in his death and resurrection.  God called Israel to be salt and light.  No matter how hard she tried she couldn't do it.  But Jesus came as the true Israelite.  His life and ministry embodied Israel's calling.  He even followed Israel's pattern symbolically in his own baptism and his own forty days in the wilderness.  And then he took on himself the crucifixion that Israel deserved.  His enemies killed him, but instead of returning judgement and violence on them, instead of cursing them, he responded by praying to his Father: “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  Sin and death, anger and hate did their worst to Jesus at the cross and Jesus overcame them with love and with sacrifice.  Impossible?  For human beings who have only their own sinful wills to rely on, yes.  But not for Jesus and not for those who have been baptised into the death and resurrection of Jesus.  We are not who we once were.  Earlier in Romans Paul describes what we used to be as being “in Adam”.  By birth we are part of the old humanity, fallen and enslaved to sin.  By virtue of our baptism we are born again.  We are now “in Christ”—in the new Adam, in Jesus the Messiah. This is what Paul means when he writes in verses 6 and 7: We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin. Sometimes sin comes knocking at the door and it seems impossible to say no.  Sometimes that certain person who irritates us comes around and we know we should forgive and love them but it seems impossible.  It feels like we're still slaves to sin.  All sin has to do is show up, give us a little wave, and we cave in to it.  But Paul says, No!  That old self is dead.  It was crucified with Jesus.  We are no longer slaves.  We have been set free from bondage to sin.  Like Israel wanting to go back to Egypt, it's easy to be tempted to go back to that bondage.  The wilderness isn't an easy place to be, but the Lord is with us anyway.  And Paul stresses that we need to remember that sin no longer has any hold on us.  We're new and free people in Christ. Paul goes on: Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.  For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.  (Romans 6:8-11) Jesus burst alive from the tomb that first Easter.  Other people, like Lazarus, had come back from the dead too, but Jesus' resurrection is different.  Lazarus had to die again, but Jesus has gone through death and come out the other side into a kind of life that death can never touch and, Paul says, if we are in Christ then we have a share in this new life. We're not there yet.  We too still have to face death, but we live in hope knowing that like Jesus we will come out the other side of death alive in a way we never have been before—alive in the way that God truly intended us to be when he created us.  But what about today?  Sin and death can't touch our future, but what about our present?  Jesus' calling still seems impossible so much of the time.  And this is why Paul makes this point.  Our baptism pulls our future hope into the present.  It takes the life of Jesus and his victory over sin and death and applies it to us today.  There's a change whether we feel it or not.  The Israelites didn't necessarily feel any different on one side of the Red Sea than they had on the other, but everything was still different for them.  They had been slaves; now they were free.  And just so for us.  We are no longer in Adam; we are in Christ.  Jesus has poured God's Spirit into us and the Spirit is at work to renew our minds and regenerate our hearts as we live in this in-between time. In verse 11 Paul says that we must consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ.  That word “consider” is an accounting term that Paul uses.  And here's his point.  When you send your books to your accountant he adds everything up and gives you the bottom line.  His reckoning doesn't change your financial situation.  Nothing about your situation has actually changed by the fact that your accountant has added up your profit and loss columns.  But that bottom line he reckons for you shows you in fact where you stand.  It might mean you've got money you need to invest or creditors you need to pay or it might mean you need to cut back and tighten your belt.  Adding up your profits and losses doesn't itself have an impact on the health of your business, but it does make you aware of it and it tells you what you need to do. And so Paul looks at the cross and he looks at the empty tomb and he looks at the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost and everything else and he says: I've done the math and it says that you are in Christ.  You are dead to sin and alive to God.  Now start living that way! Is it a challenge?  Of course.  Jesus was baptised, the heavens opened up, the Spirit descended on him and the Father spoke, “This is my Son.  With him I am pleased”.  And then the Spirit sent Jesus straight into the wilderness to battle the devil.  The Lord led Israel out of Egypt through the miraculous parting of the sea, he was present with her, giving the law and leading as cloud and as fire and yet he led her straight into the wilderness.  And we too.  We're baptised and the Lord sends us straight from the Font into the world.  There's a reason why, in our baptism, we're called on to renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil.  All three will come after us.  They'll tell us that nothing has changed.  They'll tell us that following after Jesus is impossible.  They'll tempt us to give up or at least to compromise.  When others sin against us, when they hurt us, when they wrong us the temptation comes saying: “It's okay, be angry or be bitter.  Get that person out of your life—you don't need them.  Hey, look how well you're doing!  You didn't kill them!”  Brothers and Sisters, that's sin calling.  Jesus calls us to seek to reconcile.  Jesus calls us to embrace the wrongs that others do to us and to return those wrongs with grace.  Jesus calls us to break the cycle of anger and hate and violence.  And when it seems impossible, remember your baptism, remember that you have died and risen again with Jesus, remember that he has poured his Spirit into you and then in faith live the impossible life that he has made possible.  Not only will you and I see the kingdom of God, the people all around us will see it too. Let us pray: Gracious Father, you have poured your gracious love into us poor sinners by giving your own Son as a sacrifice.  Teach us to pour that love back out to the world.  When it seems impossible to break the cycle of sin and anger and hate, remind us of our baptism and that we have in faith trusted in your promise of forgiveness and life in Jesus.  Remind us that we have died with him and risen with him and that sin and death no longer hold us captive.  Teach us to live for righteousness that the world might see Jesus and his kingdom through us.  We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

FVC Sermon Podcast
The Fundamentals

FVC Sermon Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 7, 2021 42:22


https://youtu.be/9Bcyffln0_k The Fundamentals  (Roman 1:1-7)              *All verses in NLT version* - Basketball story when I was a kid, Dad coaching teaching us the fundamentals, not a flashy one-man game (MJ, Magic, Dr. J), everyone needs to know how to play and have a strong foundation. - To face a strong opponent, you can't rely on trick plays or franchise players. If you understand the basic fundamentals, you will have tools for every situation. Teamwork makes the dream work. - Tonight, we are starting the book of Romans, where Paul is focusing the listener on the basic fundamentals of the Christian faith. Explaining God's truth and how it applies to our lives. - Possibly the most useful and all-encompassing book of the bible. It covers our human condition, and how to deal with our worldly problems and failures in the context of our new life in Christ. - Many of the answers you are looking for on social issues, community, grace vs obedience, sin, freewill, new life vs old life, etc… are in the pages of Romans. - Martin Luther once said, “[Romans] is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes.” - Romans 1:1-7, This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. 2 God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. 3 The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David's family line, 4 and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. 6 And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. - Paul wrote this letter while in Corinth, towards the end of his third missionary journey, around 57 A.D.. Many seasoned believers and strong house churches had risen up in Rome, likely established by those present at Pentecost (24 years earlier), who returned home with the Good News. - Over that period of time, some contention had grown between two types of believers: - There were the Gentile Christian believers who have now become the majority group. (Because the Jews had previously been persecuted and run out of town by the Roman emperor.)          - They were not concerned with the requirements of the Old Testament Law of Moses. - They kind of looked down on the Jewish Christians for rejecting Jesus at first, and then for being stuck on the religious stuff that Jesus supposedly freed them from. - The Gentiles only knew Jesus, grace, the forgiveness of sin, and eternal life. They weren't well versed on the history and legacy of the Jews. (Martin Luther? Reformation, protestant…) - There also were the Jewish Christian believers who are in the minority at this point.          - They wanted the Gentiles to be obedient to certain aspects of the OT law. - They looked down on the Gentile believers because they were seen as undisciplined, not respecting the roots of the faith or the rich history and tradition of God's people. - Jews were the chosen ones, and that is a hard identity to shake when it has been the culture you grew up with. (The Jewish traditions said Jews were saved by being the children of Abraham, the chosen ones, or by following the law to be righteous… Jesus could easily become an addition,

Company of Disciples' Recordings
"Misdirected" Romans 9:30 - 10:21 with Jonny Cage

Company of Disciples' Recordings

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 4, 2021 25:04


Why did the Jews resisted God's grace during Jesus' ministry and Paul's? How do we know if we are resisting God's grace? Jonathan continues his series on Romans as he discusses 9:30 to 10:21. He argues that there are three reasons why the Jews resisted God's grace and Paul is now warning the Jewish Christians to not fall into the same trap. Are we prone to fall into the same trap as well? Enjoy! Did you enjoy our production? Visit our website at www.companyofdisciples.com for more information on what we do in the business professionals' community. Looking for a church? Try out Cruicible Church. Email community@cruciblechurch.com for information or visit their website at www.cruciblechurch.com

Today's Catholic Mass Readings
Today's Catholic Mass Readings Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Today's Catholic Mass Readings

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 30, 2021


Full Text of ReadingsWednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 379All podcast readings are produced by the USCCB and are from the Catholic Lectionary, based on the New American Bible and approved for use in the United States _______________________________________The Saint of the day is First Martyrs of the Church of RomeThere were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of the “Apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 15:20). Paul had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his great letter in 57-58 A.D. There was a large Jewish population in Rome. Probably as a result of controversy between Jews and Jewish Christians, the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome in 49-50 A.D. Suetonius the historian says that the expulsion was due to disturbances in the city “caused by the certain Chrestus” [Christ]. Perhaps many came back after Claudius' death in 54 A.D. Paul's letter was addressed to a Church with members from Jewish and Gentile backgrounds. In July of 64 A.D., more than half of Rome was destroyed by fire. Rumor blamed the tragedy on Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace. He shifted the blame by accusing the Christians. According to the historian Tacitus, many Christians were put to death because of their “hatred of the human race.” Peter and Paul were probably among the victims. Threatened by an army revolt and condemned to death by the senate, Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D. at the age of 31. Reflection Wherever the Good News of Jesus was preached, it met the same opposition as Jesus did, and many of those who began to follow him shared his suffering and death. But no human force could stop the power of the Spirit unleashed upon the world. The blood of martyrs has always been, and will always be, the seed of Christians. Saint of the Day Copyright Franciscan Media

Basic Gospel : Just a Minute!
Why Love Your Enemies?

Basic Gospel : Just a Minute!

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 26, 2021 1:00


Jesus tells you and me to love our enemies. Here is the reason One day that enemy could become your brother or sister in Christ. The early Jewish Christians saw this first hand. Because of their culture they weren't very fond of the Gentiles. As a matter of fact, these groups despised each other. But that wasn't the heart of God. He extended his grace first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. Out of these two groups, he formed the church where Jew and Gentile have become one in Christ. So today, be patient and kind to those you perceive as enemies. It may be the very thing that God uses to extend his grace and welcome them into his family as your brother or sister in Christ.

Bible Thinker
20 Questions with Pastor Mike (Episode 38)

Bible Thinker

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 26, 2021 79:43


Question Time Stamps for Quick Reference: 0:00 - Introduction1. 0:43 {Why does John and Other Passages Not Mention Repentance?} If repentance is required to be saved, why is it not mentioned in the Gospel of John and other evangelical texts like Acts 16: 31 and Romans 10? Can repentance be somewhat synonymous with belief?2. 10:41 {About Orthodox Beliefs} What do Orthodox Christians believe vs. Protestants? Is their doctrine as problematic as Catholic doctrine? (I heard Hank Hanegraaf converted to it.)3. 15:43 {About the Greek in Bible Translations} Pastors often say, "what the Greek REALLY says is…" Why don't translators use the Greek that pastors cite in sermons then? (Like how Peter is akin to pebble but is translated as rock.)4. 19:41 {Explanation of Ezekiel 14 – Prophets} In Ezekiel 14:9 it says if a prophet is deceived, it’s the Lord who deceived him. Could you offer some explanation to this verse, as it seems out of character for God?5. 25:38 {About Saving Faith in the OT} Romans 4 tells us that Abraham was saved because of his faith. He believed in God. How can we say that just because he was saved that way, everyone else in the OT was saved that way? Also, if they were saved that way, why did they have to sacrifice lambs? And if people were always saved by just believing in God, why was it necessary for Christ to come?6. 31:15 {Fruit of the Spirit – Longsuffering} Could you please explain what longsuffering means, in regard to the fruit of the Spirit?7. 32:40 {Is All of Scripture Inspired?} When Paul says, "I say, not the Lord but I..." in 1 Corinthians 7: 12, does that mean that portion of Scripture was not inspired? 8. 36:12 {Assurance of God’s Love & Salvation} Does God really love me, and am I really saved? I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but I am still sinful and I struggle with sin. However, it seems that God answers my prayers. Am I really saved?9. 39:47 {Has Mankind always only had One Spirit?} What are your views that God only created one spirit and gave it to Adam which was then passed through generations? This explains how God doesn’t create an impure spirit at birth, or generational curse.10. 42:44 {About Witnessing and Exemplifying Christ} My husband isn’t open to hearing me speak truth, so I have stopped correcting him. Is this a sin?? If he dies, he will go to hell.11. 45:00 {Promises vs. Prophecies} Is there a difference between a promise and a prophecy? Are all God's promises prophecies? Am I responsible if a prophecy told about me doesn't come to pass? A church leader told me these things.12. 47:54 {How to Be Kind when it’s Difficult} What specific actions can one who has no empathy do to be kind? (Thinking 1 Corinthians 13 "kind.")13. 50:27 {Help with Marital Conflict} I feel led by God to homeschool my teens. My husband disagrees. He doesn't want them to be sheltered. I want to submit, but I’m conflicted. Thoughts?14. 53:13 {“Free Grace” Theology, Faith, & Works} Free grace theology says that "save" in James 2: 14 means from physical death or harm. All uses of the word “save” in James 2: 14 are in the context of physical harm, so why is this different for you in 2: 14?15. 57:31 {When is Kissing Sinful?} Is all kinds of romantic kissing outside of marriage a sin? Could a Christian actor/actress do a kissing scene?16. 1:00:28 {Do Jew. & Gent. Christians Worship Together?} I’m an ethnically Jewish Christian and have seen that some believe that Jewish & Gentile Christians worship together, but with different lifestyle callings. This has been stressful. Input?17. 1:03:25 {Did God Promote Adultery in Genesis?} In Genesis 38:7-10, Someone was commanded to lay with his brother’s wife and impregnate her. He didn’t impregnate her, and the Lord struck him down. Is G

Coro Baptist Church
God has no Favourites

Coro Baptist Church

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 20, 2021 30:00


The encounter between the apostle Peter and Cornelius, the Roman Centurion, is a pivotal moment in the story of Acts. The family and friends of Cornelius are the first Gentile converts to Christ- Up till that time it appears that the scattered Jewish Christians were only speaking the word of God to Jews.--Peter needed a firm 'push' to break through the barrier that had existed for centuries. That 'push' came in the form of a strange vision on an empty stomach and a Spirit prepared Centurion over 50 kilometres away. If Peter had any doubts about God's intention to include non-Jews in His Kingdom they were clearly blown away with this fresh move of the Spirit.

Valley Beit Midrash
Praying for the Monsoon: An Arizona Liturgical Adventure

Valley Beit Midrash

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2021 60:28


ABOUT THIS EVENT: The summer months typically supply a significant portion of Arizona's annual rainfall, but in recent years have been bone dry. As Monsoon season arrives, it's tempting to pray for rain. But can we do so as Jews? And if we did, what would it look like? Join Dr. Daniel Stein Kokin as he presents his “Tefillat ha-Monsoon,” and explores the halakhic, literary, and identity issues raised by this new prayer. ABOUT THIS SPEAKER: Dr. Daniel Stein Kokin is an academic wanderer, in senses both geographic and disciplinary. He has taught at Yale, UCLA, and the University of Greifswald in Germany, and been hosted by departments or programs for Italian, Israel Studies, Protestant Theology, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, to name just a few. He writes on Renaissance Humanism, Jewish-Christian relations, and modern Israel, and also develops academic presentations that synthesize scholarly lecture and dramatic performance. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at ASU. DONATE: http://www.bit.ly/1NmpbsP​​​​​​​ For podcasts of VBM lectures, GO HERE: https://www.valleybeitmidrash.org/learning-library/ https://www.facebook.com/valleybeitmi...​ Become a member today, starting at just $18 per month! Click the link to see our membership options: https://www.valleybeitmidrash.org/become-a-member/

FVC Sermon Podcast
Bearing His Reproach

FVC Sermon Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2021 44:22


https://youtu.be/hVycb2X38Ww Hebrews 13:7-17 NKJV This portion of the letter starts and ends the same- Remember them who have the rule over you — rather the guides who have spoken unto you the word of God — Remember who they were, and your obligations to them; and do not forget their instructions and their examples. This may refer to James the brother of John, commonly called the first bishop of Jerusalem, both of whom had been put to death before this epistle was written; whose faith follow — Embrace by faith the same doctrines, precepts, and promises of the gospel which these men of faith embraced; and let your faith be assured, alive, and operative as theirs was, purifying your hearts, and rendering your lives fruitful to the glory of God; considering the end of their conversation — consider the manner in which they left this life;  and let the remembrance of these things engage you to retain their faith, and courageously to follow their steps in bearing the reproach of Christ. You see, James was the first apostle to be martyred for Christ. Acts 12:1-2 NKJVIt was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. (cut off his head) The letter goes on: Jesus Christ the same yesterday. He is unchangeable. The design of this acknowledgement is to encourage these Hebrew believers to persevere by showing that their Savior was always the same. He who had sustained His people in former times, was the same still, and would be the same forever. Perseverance is founded on the "immutability" of our Redeemer. If He were fickle, vacillating, changing in his character and plans; if today He aids his people, and tomorrow will forsake them; if at one time He loves the virtuous, and at another equally loves the vicious; if He formed a plan yesterday which he has abandoned today; or if He is ever to be a different being from what He is now, there would be no encouragement to our effort. Who would know what to depend on? Who would know what to expect tomorrow? For who could have any certainty that he could ever please a capricious or a vacillating being? Who could even know how to shape his conduct if the principles of God were not always the same? Vs 9. Be not carried away rather than carried about by divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats. From the exhortation to imitate the faith of the departed leaders, the transition is natural to warnings against being carried away from it by new teachings. The faith remains unchanged, as Jesus Christ remains unchanged. Galatians 1:6-9NKJV I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert[a] the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be [b]accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. 1 Timothy 4:1-3 NKJV Now the Spirit [a]expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. These passages refer to Jewish distinctions, still held to by Jewish Christians, between dean and unclean or polluted meats; and further to a new kind of religious self-discipline, not found in the Old Testament, but based on a “new revelation”, which led to abstaining from eating meat and as the above mentions, marriage. The warning is that the true gospel does not consist in any of ...

Living Words
A Sermon for the Second Sunday after Trinity

Living Words

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 13, 2021


A Sermon for the Second Sunday after Trinity St. Luke 14:16-24 by William Klock At the beginning of Chapter 14, St. Luke tells us that one Sabbath Jesus was invited to have dinner at the house of a prominent Pharisee and that there was a man there who had dropsy.  The whole thing looks a bit like a setup.  Looking at the man and then turning to these authorities on the law, Jesus asks them if it's legal to heal on the Sabbath.  Luke says that they were silent.  Jesus then healed the man and sent him on his way and we can gather that the lawyers and Pharisees all looked very offended and scandalised—even though they had to have known that this is what Jesus would do.  Jesus then asked them, “Which of you who, if your son or your ox fell into a well on the Sabbath wouldn't immediately pull him out?”  And despite the answer being obvious—of course they'd pull out him out!—they don't know what to say.  They know whatever they might say will condemn them. So what's going on here?  Remember that for the Jews of Jesus' day and especially for the Pharisees, there were three main things that set them apart from everyone else in the world: circumcision, the Sabbath, and their diet.  Two of those things come into play here.  The Pharisees were zealous to keep the Sabbath holy and that meant absolutely no kind of work.  They were also zealous about purity—not just what they ate, but also who they ate with.  It was pointless to have clean food if someone who was unclean sat down at your table and rendered everything unclean.  Now, these markers weren't bad.  Circumcision, Sabbath, and diet—the whole law—were given by God as boundary markers for his people—visible signs to set them apart from the world—so that they would know to whom they belonged, so that they would know their calling to be light to the nations, and so that they would maintain the holiness needed to fulfil that calling.  Israel was given a light, but instead of holding it high for the nations to see, she hid it under a basket.  Israel was like a lighthouse keeper who's lit his light, but drawn the curtain…and then condemns the ship captains as they crash into the rocks. Back to Luke 14.  I suspect this man showing up during dinner was a setup meant to trap Jesus.  The man was most likely a beggar who showed up at the door for scraps.  Beggars did that all the time when rich people were having banquets.  But to see what Jesus will do, his host allows this man to actually slip into the banquet.  And instead of throwing him some scraps and sending him on his way, Jesus welcomes the man into the banquet and heals him.  And they're shocked and appalled.  Jesus has ruined the banquet—everything's unclean now.  But he's also—Gasp!—he's done work on the Sabbath.  And from their skewed perspective, this reveals Jesus to be an enemy of the kingdom—a false messiah.  The Pharisees were trying to clean Israel up, to get people to be more holy, to push the unholy and the unclean to the outside, and here's Jesus doing just the opposite. The Pharisees didn't know what to say, but Jesus launches in to two parables.  The first addresses all the social posturing that went on at these banquets.  Everyone was invited for a reason and ultimately in order for the host to show off the status he had in the world and, hopefully, to elevate himself even higher.  The second parable is today's Gospel reading and it begins at verses 12-14: He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid.  But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.  For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”   Jesus strikes at the Pharisees' source of security.  The resurrection of the dead was one of the key doctrines of the Pharisees.  They knew that when the Messiah came, he would judge the wicked and resurrect the righteous.  And, of course, they were the righteous who would be resurrected.  And here Jesus tells them: “The resurrection you're sure of—you're going to miss it if you don't change—if you don't repent.  You're convinced the Lord will reward you for your righteousness, but until you start showing mercy and grace to the poor, to the unclean, and to the outsider—until you start being the light in the darkness the Lord has called you to be—you will never understand true righteousness.  If you want to take part in the coming resurrection of the dead, you need to start bearing fruit that reflects grace.  You need to get your head around the fact that for all your righteousness and law-keeping, you too are sinners.  You won't be saved because of your family or your intellect, your law-keeping or your spirituality.  Only those who can humbly acknowledge their sinfulness and who are ready to trust in God's grace—and are humble and gracious enough to share it with sinners even worse than themselves—only they will be resurrected when the Lord comes. But Jesus' fellow dinner guests still don't get it.  One poor, clueless soul chimes in, cheerfully declaring: “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”  He doesn't understand that Jesus is telling him that if he doesn't repent of his self-righteousness, if he doesn't humble himself before God, he won't eat bread in the kingdom of God.  And so Jesus tells a second parable that's even more vivid and that strikes even harder at the Jews' source of security.  Look at verses 15-20: But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many.  And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.'  But they all alike began to make excuses.  The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it.  Please have me excused.'  And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.'  And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' Consider how important an event like this was in that culture.  This wasn't just a matter of putting a roast in the oven and inviting friends to eat and play cards after dinner.  If they call at the last minute to say they can't make it, you might be disappointed, but you can do it again next week.  A banquet like the one Jesus describes was a major social event.  The guest list was carefully made to everyone's mutual social advantage.  To top it off, a big banquet was an expensive affair—you couldn't just postpone it because your guests backed out at the last minute.  And for that matter, as a guest to a banquet like this, backing out was a huge social snub.  For all their excuses, what these guests are really doing is orchestrating a rejection of their host—they're trying to knock him from his perch at the top of the social hierarchy. What's interesting is that the man hosting the banquet simply decides to throw all social propriety and the whole hierarchical system of their world out the window.  If the people of his own social class will have nothing to do with him, he'll have nothing to do with them.  Look at how he responds: So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.'  And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.'  And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.  For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'” (Luke 14:21-24) When the rich won't come, he rounds up the poor.  Notice that his servant literally has to bring them or even compel them to come to the banquet.  The poor and crippled and blind and lame knew that they didn't belong.  When they heard the invitation from the servant, they would have thought it was a joke.  Banquets were all about quid pro quo and tit for tat.  They had nothing to offer this rich man who invited them.  And so the rich man sends his servants out to round up these outsiders and to bring them to the banquet to enjoy his gracious hospitality.  In fact, the rich man rejects the whole system of patronage and debts and reciprocal favours—none of those who rejected his invitation will ever sit at his table.  Instead, he's going to share his hospitality with the people who haven't earned it and can never repay it. Luke doesn't tell us how the Pharisees responded or if they even understood, but it's hard to think that it didn't sink in on some level.  Everyone in the Jewish word, and especially the Pharisees, were waiting for the Lord's return.  The prophets had talked about that great day in terms of a great banquet and this banquet idea then became a common image of the coming Day of the Lord.  And now Jesus explains that he's come to open the door to that great banquet.  This is what Israel has been waiting for all these years.  And yet Jesus rebukes them.  This isn't the first time the Lord has extended his invitation.  For centuries he had called to his people through the prophets, but they had refused to hear the prophets and had even killed some of them.  And now Jesus has come and he's travelled through Galilee and Judea, inviting everyone to the banquet, but like the people in the parable, they all have excuses. It's worth noting the excuses given in the parable.  One man says that he's bought five yoke of oxen sight-unseen and has to check them over.  Another has bought a field sight-unseen and needs to go have a look at it.  The third just got married and has obligations to his new bride.  The first two excuses peg these men as very wealthy.  Five yoke of oxen would only be needed to plough a very large tract of land.  A wealthy absentee landlord was the sort of person who would buy a field without first seeing it.  But all three of these excuses go back to the law given in Deuteronomy.  A man who had built a new house, but hadn't dedicated it yet, a man who had bought a field, but hadn't enjoyed its produce, and a newly married man were all excused from going off to war.  And now these guests twist those laws as excuses to reject their host's banquet.  But this is what Israel had done with the law: twisting it into something it was never meant to be.  And it's that twisting of the law that was particularly exemplified in the Pharisees.  Jesus didn't meet their expectations of the Messiah.  His banquet included too many sinners, unclean people, and outsiders.  And so they rejected the invitation.  This parable is a warning to Israel.  Jesus is saying that if they continue to reject his invitation he will turn from them and take that invitation to the unclean and to the sick and to the poor—and even to the gentiles—and having rejected him, they will never taste of his goodness or of the salvation he's brought to the world.  As in the parable of the vineyard, Israel has repeatedly rejected the representatives of the vineyard owner.  Finally, he's sent his own son to them.  This is their final chance.  If they reject him, too, the owner of the vineyard will return in wrath to take the vineyard away and to give it to those who will appreciate it and do his will. But the parable has another level of meaning.  Imagine Luke writing a generation later.  Even if greater Israel had rejected Jesus' invitation, thousands of Jews had accepted it.  The first Christians were all Jews, and then an amazing thing happened: the Good News went out to the hated Samaritans—and many of them accepted the invitation.  And then it went out to the Gentiles—and thousands of them accepted it too.  And suddenly those first Jewish Christians were in a situation very much like the Pharisees had been.  They were Jews.  They were the chosen.  They were the clean people.  They were the righteous and holy people.  Even an apostle like Peter struggled to go and pray with a gentile convert.  It's a reminder that even we who have received the grace of God, are still prone to forgetting that we come to his Table not because of our own merit, but only because of Jesus and only because of grace.  We need to remember that grace when we're tempted to think that there are people who don't belong here.  Brothers and sisters, none of us belongs here.  We're only here because God is gracious and sent his Son to die and rise from the dead for our sake. But this now takes us back to Jesus' call in verses 12-14: “When you give a dinner…do not invite your friends…lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid.  But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.  For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”  Dear friends, as you come to the Lord's Table this morning, think on the fact that he has invited us here from the highways and hedges.  We didn't belong here, but Jesus has washed us clean and grafted us into his family as adopted sons and daughters.  Because of him we do belong.  But having been invited, he now calls us to be hosts ourselves.  Lest we forget.  Lest we think that we've earned our place here at the Table.  Lest we ever think that others don't belong, Jesus now calls us to go out to the highways and the hedges—to go to the places we may have forgotten where he once found us.  He calls us to look for the poor, the unclean, and sinners, not to condemn them, but to invite them to the Lord's banquet—to invite them to receive the grace of God just as we have.  To tell them of the God who has humbled himself in becoming one of us and to die for our sake.  To invite them to come and be forgiven, healed, set free, and washed clean by Jesus.  That they might have a share with us in Jesus in the life of God and of his kingdom. Let us pray: Father, you delight to show mercy to sinners and you graciously sent your Son to suffer the punishment we deserve.  We have received your grace and have been given new life.  Remind us to set aside all thoughts of self-righteousness.  Give us opportunities now to share your mercy and grace with others, give us eyes to see those opportunities, and a love for sinners that we might never let those opportunities pass us by.  We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Wayside Bible Chapel
New Life | Galatians 2:15-21

Wayside Bible Chapel

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 13, 2021 35:28


The legalistic Jewish Christians were insinuating that Paul was sinning by eating with the Gentile believers. They had missed the wonder of the new covenant in Jesus' blood making Jew and Gentile one. The old covenant and its demands along with pride in keeping the rules Paul declared crucified with Christ on the cross. Now, in place of the law, the Spirit reigns in us, the very life of Christ! His life in us helps us to live in the Spirit, which is something the laws of Moses could never do.

Today's Catholic Mass Readings
Today's Catholic Mass Readings Friday, June 11, 2021

Today's Catholic Mass Readings

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 11, 2021


Full Text of ReadingsSolemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Lectionary: 171All podcast readings are produced by the USCCB and are from the Catholic Lectionary, based on the New American Bible and approved for use in the United States _______________________________________The Saint of the day is Saint BarnabasBarnabas, a Jew of Cyprus, comes as close as anyone outside the Twelve to being a full-fledged apostle. He was closely associated with Saint Paul—he introduced Paul to Peter and the other apostles—and served as a kind of mediator between the former persecutor and the still suspicious Jewish Christians. When a Christian community developed at Antioch, Barnabas was sent as the official representative of the church of Jerusalem to incorporate them into the fold. He and Paul instructed in Antioch for a year, after which they took relief contributions to Jerusalem. Later Paul and Barnabas, now clearly seen as charismatic leaders, were sent by Antioch officials to preach to the gentiles. Enormous success crowned their efforts. After a miracle at Lystra, the people wanted to offer sacrifice to them as gods—Barnabas being Zeus, and Paul, Hermes—but the two said, “We are of the same nature as you, human beings. We proclaim to you good news that you should turn from these idols to the living God” (see Acts 14:8-18). But all was not peaceful. They were expelled from one town, they had to go to Jerusalem to clear up the ever-recurring controversy about circumcision, and even the best of friends can have differences. When Paul wanted to revisit the places they had evangelized, Barnabas wanted to take along his cousin John Mark, author of the Gospel, but Paul insisted that since Mark had deserted them once, he was not fit to take along now. The disagreement that followed was so sharp that Barnabas and Paul separated: Barnabas taking Mark to Cyprus, Paul taking Silas to Syria. Later they were reconciled—Paul, Barnabas and Mark. When Paul stood up to Peter for not eating with gentiles for fear of his Jewish friends, we learn that “even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy” (see Galatians 2:1-13). Reflection Barnabas is spoken of simply as one who dedicated his life to the Lord. He was a man “filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. Thereby, large numbers were added to the Lord.” Even when he and Paul were expelled from Antioch in Pisidia—modern-day Turkey—they were “filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.” Saint Barnabas is the Patron Saint of: Cyprus Saint of the Day Copyright Franciscan Media

Theocast - Reformed Theology
Strong Disciples Only?

Theocast - Reformed Theology

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 9, 2021


People often get the impression that being a disciple of Jesus is only for the strong. When it comes to discipleship, there is no room for fear or doubt. Is that the presentation of the gospel writers? Is that what we see in the New Testament epistles? Are followers of Jesus ever afraid? Do they doubt? Jon and Justin consider these things.Semper Reformanda: Jon and Justin discuss the apostle Paul and how he understood himself to be the foremost of sinners. And then the guys go on to talk about the corrosion in the local church that has contributed to saints living in fear and anxiety.Resources:Episode: Discipleship is not about youEpisode: Take up your cross?1689 LBC, Chapters 13 and 18Giveaway: “A Place for Weakness” by Michael HortonFREE Ebook: theocast.org/primerSUPPORT Theocast: https://theocast.org/give/ FACEBOOK: Theocast: https://www.facebook.com/Theocast.org TWITTER: Theocast: https://twitter.com/theocast_org INSTAGRAM: Theocast: https://www.instagram.com/theocast_org/  Podcast TranscriptJon Moffitt: Hi, this is Jon. Today on Theocast, we are going to be talking about the nature of discipleship. We hear that once you become a disciple, you should have courage and boldness, be able to share your faith, and have a progression in holiness. Then there are those who don’t experience such changes.Not only that, we read in the New Testament how there are secret disciples, disciples who waiver, go up and down, and they struggle with their own sin. There’s a lot the Bible has to say about discipleship and we don’t think it’s a clean, straight line to the top. We hope you enjoy the conversation.Today we’re going to talk about discipleship specifically, as the title says, Strong Disciples Only. That’s how we hear the Bible described. For those of you who are new in Christ.—God has called you to Himself, regenerated, at that moment, you have been infused by the Spirit, and also because of the Spirit not living within you, you now have the spirit of boldness and strength. Evangelism is not what you’re afraid of. You’re willing and ready to die for Christ and to take on any kind of persecution. That’s the way in which the New Testament describes true discipleship.Justin Purdue: Yeah, you’re strong, you’re not weak, you’re never afraid, and you never doubt or wrestle or struggle.Jon Moffitt: We can take verses like when Jesus says in Luke 14:26: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” This is an absolute radical life transformation that you have to be willing to forsake everything in order to become a part of Jesus.I said this one Sunday, and I’ll say it here: if that’s your interpretation, I could also make the interpretation that Jesus is basically saying to hate everybody. “I don’t like anybody anyways. That just works out for me. I like that kind of discipleship. Just me and Jesus. I hate everybody else.” You can make that conclusion, but that’s not what he says. Also in Luke 14:33, when it says, “So therefore, anyone of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”We talked about this particular passage in the past, which is “take up your cross and follow me”, which we’ll link to in the notes as well. The problem we’re about to face here is we’re going to look at all of Scripture and we’re going to look at everything the Bible has to say about discipleship, and we’re going to then look at the examples given to us, and then compare it to what’s being told of us today, which is all disciples everywhere, once they come to Christ, should be willing and ready and have no problems with fear. Unfortunately, that’s just not what we’re about to see.Justin Purdue: I think the presentation that so many people receive and the contexts where many people have either found themselves for a season, or maybe still find themselves today, you get the idea that if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, that you’re like a Green Beret. You’re a special ops soldier and you need to come and be a part of this force of people. You need to be unafraid, you need to not waffle, doubt, struggle, wrestle, or anything like that—and that’s because only the strong survive. That’s the message that many people are given: you must persevere—which is a true thing to say.Jon Moffitt: I would say everything you said it’s true as well. We do not have reasons to be afraid. If Christ is our Savior and God is our King, we don’t have reasons to be afraid. But that doesn’t mean people don’t struggle with fear.Justin Purdue: In our experience, we struggle with fear and doubt, and that is because we are still fallen. We are saints and sinners at the same time. Because of that reality, our experience and how we feel—from hour-to-hour, day-to-day, week-to-week—will ebb and flow. This presentation that one must always be just ready to charge the wall, and that you are never fearful, that you don’t doubt, that you don’t struggle, that you’re not weak, is not something that squares with the New Testament presentation of disciples. And that’s the kind of stuff we’re going to look at today.Because we are having this from a pastoral perspective, my hope is that it encourages the weary saints out there who know themselves to be afraid at points of various things and also know themselves to struggle with doubt and wrestlings of various kinds.Jon Moffitt: I want to begin by reading our confession. I think it will be helpful here in understanding that the position that we are presenting is a very old one. It’s been concluded, argued over, and written down to be confirmed as we confess as believers. As it relates to the moment you come to Christ, sanctification does begin the process of us being transformed not only in our soul, but also in our mind, in how we engage God and how we think about Him. It isn’t always an absolute moral transformation. My kids aren’t morally struggling at the moment, but there is a mind transformation.I think it’s very helpful how the writers of the confession write this. This is chapter 13 on Sanctification. Point two says, “This sanctification extends throughout the whole person, though it is never completed in this life. Some corruption remains in every part. From this arises continual and irreconcilable war, with the desires of the flesh against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh.” And they reference some verses here that Justin and I mention quite often, which is Galatians 5:17, 1 Peter 2:11. Then in point three, it says this: “In this war, the remaining corruption may greatly prevail for a time. Yet through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part overcomes.” This is why we can take great comfort in the doctrine for perseverance or preservation of the saints. That is what they’re teaching there. But they can acknowledge and do acknowledge that at times, the remaining sin that Christians still have, the saint-sinner reality—we live in a dualistic understanding where we are saved by Christ, but yet we struggle with the flesh; this is Galatians 5:17—that discipleship isn’t a straight line. There isn’t this immediate infusion of power to the point where all struggle is gone.Justin Purdue: I was going to add a little piece from the confession from a different chapter that I think speaks to some of these things too. Even in chapter 18 on Assurance of Grace and Salvation of the 1689 London Baptist Confession, in paragraph three, this language is helpful too that we understand that assurance is ours in Christ Jesus, but we don’t always feel it. They say, “This infallible assurance is not such an essential part of faith that it is always fully experienced alongside faith, and true believers may wait a long time and struggle with many difficulties before obtaining it.” And then they go on and say other things. I think we need to understand that our experience will not always be one of rock solid confidence in Christ and in our standing in him that would then produce this kind of fearlessness and would drive away all doubt.Many times the presentation—just to reiterate and be crystal clear—is that if you are legitimately in Christ and you are a true disciple, then there are certain things that should characterize you, and there are certain things that should not. And if those things are characterizing your life, ala this conversation—fearfulness, doubt—then you should be concerned. Our posture as pastors is seeing how that’s piling it on the weary saint in a way that Christ doesn’t, in a way that the gospel writers don’t, and in a way that the apostles don’t.Take us away, brother. Give us example number one.Jon Moffitt: The first example we’re going to explain to you is that there aren’t followers of Jesus and then disciples, like there are those who are in the Navy and then there are Navy seals. It’s not two levels. Right. There are those who are in Christ and those who are not.Justin Purdue: To be in Christ is to be a disciple.Jon Moffitt: So to be in Christ is to be a disciple. To be a disciple, there are clear requirements, there are clear instructions, there are laws for us to obey—this is the new use of the law, or the third use of the law that we speak about. But we also know that there’s grace, mercy, and repentance. It’s a very complicated situation that the clearest focal point we always have is Jesus.Today, we’re gonna talk about some of the complications that you may find yourself in, and that the text leads us to and gives us examples of. A great example for me is I am finishing up John. Every time I get to a new section of John, I am always dumbfounded by what I don’t know, and just how amazing the gospel writers present the glory of Christ and the frailty of man.So Jesus is about to be buried, and John writes the most unique account of the burial of Jesus. He mentions things and says things that all the writers do not say. His account is quite unique. This helped me when trying to understand what it is that John wrote. John writes this probably about 30 years after the burial of Jesus. John has had time to contemplate, to think, to research, to know what’s going on. He isn’t writing wondering what’s happening next. First, it’s not fiction. He’s not just coming up with any of this in his head. Two, he’s not videotaping it and wondering what the next section will be like it’s a documentary. He knows what’s about to happen because he experienced it. So what you have here at the high point of history, which is Christ’s death, is you have a changing of the garden in some ways, which is really interesting in how John describes it.So, Jesus is now dead. The disciples in chapter 20 are being described as hiding out in a room out of fear of the Jews. I love the detail John puts there: the door is locked. As if that’s going to keep the Jews out.Justin Purdue: They are all afraid, they’re disheartened, they’re discouraged, they’re despondent.Jon Moffitt: They are. John isn’t writing as a form of criticism because he is describing his own self, as a doubter, as one who’s a disciple of Jesus who is afraid.Let’s just make a real quick observation. You have Peter saying, “Lord, I’ll, I’ll die for you. And there’s nothing that’s going to separate you from me.” Of course, we know of Peter’s failure. And then at the point of the cross, you have these disciples who are now running and hiding, and then you have these two disciples that John mentions. They’re quite fascinating.He describes Joseph of Arimathea and he describes him in a really interesting way. Here in John 19:38, this is what he says, “After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus…” Stop. Full stop. He clearly describes him as a follower of Christ. There’s not a question, there’s not an apostate, or a false professor. That’s not what he says. He says, “Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews…” That’s how John describes him. Mark describes him as one who took courage because he had to go stand before Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus. The last person that stood before Pilate, in reference to Jesus, died. I understand why this is a courageous act. But listen to who John couples with Joseph; he couples Nicodemus. Verse 39 says, “Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes.”What is interesting about the two men? Jesus dies on the cross, all the disciples abandon him. The two disciples are secret disciples—one comes at night because he’s afraid, the other one is being described as a secret disciple.Justin Purdue: And that coming at night, for those who don’t know, is in John 3. That account of Nicodemus coming to Jesus.Jon Moffitt: Nick at night in John 3. If you go back to chapter 12, you can see that John is describing both of these disciples. Again, remember, John’s writing 30 years after. This isn’t unfolding as time. He says this: “Nevertheless, many even of the authorities,” both Joseph and Nicodemus are part of the synagogue, so they both would be well known there, “many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.You need to take notice of a couple of facts here: one, John doesn’t discredit their belief. Two, John does not say that there are false converts or false disciples. He actually gives both Nicodemus and Joseph the title of “disciple”—not one of the 12. Of course, there were multiple disciples, but the point of it is that John very pointedly and purposely points out the fickleness of discipleship as it relates to fear, anxiety, pain, and following Christ. It’s not simple. It’s not a straight line like those who have Christ are radically going to be willing to die for him at any cost.Justin Purdue: You already mentioned Peter, but I’m going to pick up on Peter just for a minute. Many are familiar with the account of Peter denying Jesus in the gospels. What occurred there, for those who are not as familiar, is that Jesus had predicted his death and all these kinds of things many times. Peter, at points, even rebuked Jesus for talking about things like that. That’s another conversation. But then certainly, he had pledged his undying allegiance to Christ and his fearless devotion to him, that even if everybody else falls away, he won’t do it. “I’m not going to fall away. I will always be with you. I will always follow you.” Peter is told by Christ that—this is on the last night of Jesus’s life on earth—that he would in fact deny Jesus. Again, he rebuts that, saying, “No, I won’t.” And of course he does. He denies Christ out of fear when he goes to the courtyard. He follows Jesus as he’s arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, he’s taken before the council, he’s in the courtyard at the high priest’s house, and all those things. Three different times he’s confronted: “You were with him. You were with Christ. You were with him, weren’t you?” And he says, “No, I wasn’t. I don’t even know him.” That’s his initial denial.But then, something else that people might not be as familiar with occurs years later in Antioch. Paul writes about this episode in Galatians 2, and Paul confronted Peter in Antioch because Peter was operating out of fear of Jewish believers. So we read in Galatians 2:11 and following how in Antioch, Peter and Paul were there. And when Peter is interacting with Gentile Christians and there are no believers from Jerusalem, there are no Jewish Christians present, Peter just kicks it with Gentiles and is acting as they do, not worried about certain aspects of the law and all these kinds of things and is operating in freedom, and things are going well. But then there are some Jewish believers who show up—certain men who came from James, who we know was in Jerusalem. Peter completely changes his behavior with respect to how he’s carrying himself and things that he’s doing, not doing, eating, not eating, and things like this. Paul talks about having to confront him because he was operating out of fear of the Jews and fear of the circumcision party, and was leading people astray through his hypocrisy. So here you have an apostle in Peter who had already had this experience earlier, where he had denied the Lord Jesus Christ and then had been restored, and was now preaching, writing, and all these kinds of things in the early church. But then, he is afraid of men. He’s afraid of other people and what they would think of him. And so he changes how he operates, how he talks, what he eats, and things of that nature so that he would be thought of well by other people. He was dominated, in that sense, by fear of man. That’s another good example of how we can operate in fear—not just fear of authority or fear that we might lose something materially or that we might even lose our lives, but also we operate out of fear based on what other people will think of us. Such is our frailty.Jon Moffitt: In John 12, the rebuke that he gives to those leaders there where Peter himself falls under.Justin Purdue: One other example. This one is not so much fear as it is doubt, and I think those things are often related in our experience. Many are familiar with one of the 12 named Thomas. He is even referred to as Doubting Thomas, which is kind of an unfair title that we give to him. I just want to talk a little bit about his life. It’s very interesting that this man who is known for doubting—in John chapter 11, in the whole episode of Lazarus and his resurrection, when Jesus makes the decision that they will go to Jerusalem effectively, just outside of it to Bethany, because of Lazarus in his death, Jesus tells the disciples in John 11:14 that Lazarus has died. “And for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” And then Thomas says in verse 16 of John 11, he says to the other disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” He understands that their lives are going to be in jeopardy and that harm could come to them—and he’s willing to go. I think this is instructive for us that this one man who was so courageous in one moment, even if he’s saying it half out of sarcasm, later after Jesus dies is the one who’s says “I will never believe that he rose from the dead unless I see him for myself and I can touch him.” And of course, we know the episode that Jesus appears to him and we don’t see harshness at all. But he knows this man’s frame. He more or less looks at him and he says “Here, come and touch and see.”Jon Moffitt: I can hear Thomas in the background saying, “Fool me once—I gave up everything to follow this guy. Fool me twice—that’s not going to happen.”Justin Purdue: In John 20:25, Thomas literally says, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Then in the very next verse, Jesus appears to them and he says, and he says, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it on my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” And then Thomas replies, “My Lord and my God!” His faith is stirred and strengthened because Jesus condescends to his weakness.Jon Moffitt: He is gentle and lowly in spirit.Justin Purdue: Such is our frame and such is our condition. Some moments, we’re like, “Yes, I believe! I would run through a wall for Christ. I believe and I just know that I know that I know that this was true.” And then the very next day or the next week we’re questioning everything, our faith feels very weak, and I think saints throughout history have had that very same experience.Jon Moffitt: How many times do you and I talk about this?Justin Purdue: On the regular.Jon Moffitt: This is going to be kind of a weird section. I’ll say this and I’ll throw it back over to you. Sometimes, we listen to the episodes just to make sure everything is good to go and clean.Justin Purdue: Clean as in edit. It’s not like we say bad things.Jon Moffitt: Yeah. Just to make sure all the edits are correct. Anyways, we sound bigger and more professional—this is my opinion of myself. I listened to us and I’m like, “Wow. We sound great. I know who I am. I know how small I am. I know how frail I am.” I just don’t ever want listeners to hear us, and I’ll speak for you too because I know you agree, and just assume that because we do this podcast and we’re pastors that we are these strong disciples. In many ways, I wanted to do this podcast because I’m over here going, “Well, I don’t feel like a strong disciple. I feel very weak. I struggle with anxiety and fear often because of my frailty, and what’s required of me as a human being is overwhelming at times.”Justin Purdue: I can resonate with that. Even today, I’ve been feeling very intensely the battle against the flesh in various ways, to where Paul’s words in Romans 7, “Wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Those words resonate. No truer words have ever been written from my perspective. Even as we sit down to record this podcast, I’m mindful of ways that I doubt and wrestle or ways that I’m struggling against sinful thoughts in my own mind. I do not feel as devoted to Jesus as I want to be. I do not feel and understand myself to be trusting him as much as I want to trust him. I need conversations like this with you, my brother in Christ, to stir me and to encourage me.I’ve said this before, and my mentor in the faith used to talk this way too: God, I think in one sense, has made me a pastor in his providence because He knew that I probably wasn’t strong enough to not be one; meaning that my job requires me to study God’s word in order to teach it and preach it. My job requires me to point others to Christ, and as I do that, my own faith is strengthened. I find myself so often preaching and saying things to other people, and I’m having that weird out-of-body experience that you almost have regularly as a preacher, where you’re hearing yourself say stuff, and your own mind, you’re able to kind of process that. Sometimes you’re struck by it and you say, “I think I really do believe that.” Sometimes you’re struck because you’re struggling to believe and you’re asking God to give you faith. Such is my experience, and so I would never want the listener to hear me say something, and I know that you feel the same because you just said so, and think that we just never doubt, or we’re never afraid—because we are. We, too, are frail; just like people listening to us talk are. We all need the grace of God, and we all need Him to give us faith, and to preserve us, or we have no hope that He’s utterly faithful.If we were going to ask the question of what is required to be a disciple of Christ, the biblical answer to that is faith. Of course, faith is not of ourselves; it’s a gift of God. But if you are trusting Christ to be your righteousness and the satisfaction for your sins, then you are His disciple. But here’s the thing: even faith can waiver. That’s the challenge. My faith in Christ is what’s going to end up producing fruit of us being born again by the Spirit of God, we trust Christ, and then fruit is born from that in the form of repentance or in the form of good works, obedience, and the like. But even faith will vacillate and waiver at points. That’s how fundamental this battle is. That’s why we say that the fundamental battle of the Christian life is not even the fight against sin; the fundamental battle of the Christian life is the fight for faith to actually believe what the Lord has said; in particular, to believe what the Lord has said to us in His Son—that good word of our acceptance, our forgiveness, our absolution, and our righteousness that is through Christ, by faith, apart from works. We have to battle for faith so often because our life and our experiences preach a different message than the one that God speaks to us.That’s the experience of disciples everywhere, and it’s been the disciples’ experience of all time. I’m thinking about even the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12, where he talks about weakness, how he was weak, and how even the Lord told him that through Paul’s weakness, the Lord’s strength was magnified and made evident. Paul says, “I’m going to boast and rejoice in my weakness because it’s there that the Lord shows Himself to be strong, and He shows His grace to be sufficient.” I think we all need to be reminded of that in this conversation when we are made to feel sometimes like only the strong survive. Actually, we’re all weak. The thing that we need to understand is that we are weak and that we need to cast ourselves completely upon the strength that is Christ alone for us.Jon Moffitt: I think a lot of the frailty, even fear and anxiety, which we’re going to get into in a minute is caused by a confusion of what discipleship is in Christ. People are so exhausted by trying to climb into the boat of assurance and holding onto the rail that they may not be tossed out. They’re so exhausted by that, and they have the fear that they’re not able to enjoy the rest that truly is found in Christ. I think that’s caused by a lot of confusion in not only modern day teaching, but historical teaching. I can even think of the book, which we’ll probably reference more in Semper Reformanda, but the Cost of Discipleship is really what we’re talking about here. Prosperity gospel, believe it, or not creates a lot of fear and anxiety in people because of these certain reasons: they don’t see success, they don’t see God blessing them, they see failure, and they realize they haven’t done enough as a disciple for God to approve their lives, and then therefore bless and take care of them. The cost of discipleship they see is no blessings from God equals either they are not a disciple, or they’re not good disciples, and that they’re not willing to do some of the things that are required. Some of this is having this outgoing personality in worship, being outgoing in public. You see this pressing in. I’ve been in contexts even in churches where if your hands aren’t raised and you’re not emotionally charged by what’s going on, then how can you truly describe yourself as a dedicated disciple? Because if you truly were, you would be invested in what’s going on in the worship service. I look at that and I go, “I’m pretty sure that’s not what is required of a disciple to be invested emotionally into this event that you have created.” a lot of people I have met who are solemn quiet personalities, they feel less than because they’re not flamboyantly involved in a worship experience. I have other people who are very strong about their discipleship as it relates to Christ because they are so involved in this worship experience.Justin Purdue: I think another way that this kind of thing can manifest itself is maybe more in the lordship salvation camp, and just simply for our purposes today, where you see a confusion as to what faith even is. What ends up happening is not only are the law and the gospel collapsed and blended together, but then you have effectively, obedience, repentance, sincerity of devotion, and all these kinds of things woven into the definition of what faith is. If one is going to have saving faith, then one also has all of these other things that are apart from faith. What that ends up producing for us is a standard that frankly, I fear no one can really meet. It’s also a standard that no one can define either. But it’s where levels of obedience and levels of dedication are required of us.I would even say that progression in the battle against sin, in terms of getting increasing amounts of victory—like there needs to be this ongoing transformation and we do agree and uphold that our lives will be transformed—we are just trying to say, as we always do, that that transformation is going to ebb and flow some. It’s going to go up and down, and it’s not going to be clean and linear all the time. You may look at your life on any given day and have legitimate reasons to say, “I don’t know that this battle, this fight against my flesh, is going as well today as it did yesterday or a year ago because I find myself really struggling right now.” I think that is the common experience of many people. When they are in a context where they’re told that you need to be getting better all the time, then there’s a tremendous cause for concern, worry, doubt, and fear as to whether they’re really in Christ.I know in my own life, Jon, if one of the reasons that I can be discouraged in the faith—and I’m saying this as a host of Theocast and as a pastor, and I know this isn’t true—but it’s like my mind, my conscience, and things that I heard for years still wage war against me. I will think man fighting this sin is really hard right now, or my affections are not where they were six months ago or whatever it may be. And then you start questioning things, you start condemning yourself. Even if you don’t question whether or not you’re in Christ, joy and peace and rest are taken away because you’re constantly unsettled about your spiritual condition.Jon Moffitt: I think the cost of discipleship, and even both of what we described, which is making Jesus Lord of your life, you have unrealistic expectations. One, we can’t make Jesus Lord of our life because he is, and if the evidence of my Christian life is one, Jesus blessing me, or two, me sacrificing everything to make Jesus Lord of my life, then no one is truly a disciple because no one’s been able to truly do that. We have to make the levels acceptable, and there is no acceptable level that the Bible puts it at other than faith. Even when it says faith without works is dead, we don’t even know what level of works James is speaking of other than, “Look, that’s what you need to be pursuing.”Justin Purdue: I know that we’ve said this before, but for the newer listener: faith without works is dead from James 2—all we understand James to be saying is that faith will result in obedience and doing good works. We’re not told how much. We’re not told to measure it. That’s all it is. It’s not as though you need to weave works into the groundwork of your justification and your salvation. It is just simply that good works are a necessary consequence of faith—and God will produce them in you. That’s all James is writing to.Jon Moffitt: We’re going to move into a second podcast that we do. I’m going to give a couple of lead-ins.First of all, we’re going to speak a little bit more to the two sides that we showed, which is the prosperity gospel/ lordship salvation. I do want to talk about how the church has had an influence here. The church should be a place of rest and comfort. Shepherds should be feeding the sheep, not beating them; I think often, sheep come in and are beaten down so much that they become afraid of the shepherd, they become afraid of the church. We’re going to talk about that for a little bit and how we, as Reformers can help transform our churches back to a biblical Reformed perspective of what it is that we are supposed to be doing, and to draw in, not lazy Christians, not people who are nominal, but I think people who are absolutely exhausted and beat down. How do we draw them back into our church that we might build them up into Christ, and into the maturity of Christ, that they may truly know what it means to have strength that comes from something other than their own dedication to God? Because Justin and I will both agree our strength is not found in our discipline and dedication because we’re pretty bad at it.Justin Purdue: God help us if it needs to come from us.Jon Moffitt: We’re going to talk about the Reformed view of sanctification. We do a second podcast which is kind of our family behind-the-scenes podcast where it’s a little more unfiltered. If you’d like to support what we’re doing here at Theocast and join that podcast, be able to join a local community in your area to discuss it, that’s what Semper Reformanda is. We are still in the process of developing those teams in groups and we have online and local groups. If you want to be a part of any of that, you can go to theocast.org/sr, or just go to our website. You’ll find it there.Justin Purdue: If you are one of those people who, not only if you’re weary, but if you do know that you’re weak, you struggle, you wrestle, you doubt, and you’re aggrieved at the fact that you don’t obey Christ more than you do, then come join the rest of us who are just like you who are looking to Christ for everything because we understand him to be our only hope. Come and be a part of this and be encouraged by other brothers and sisters who get this too.Jon Moffitt: We have a Facebook group. Real conversations happen there as well.All right. We’ll see you guys next week.

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries
The Test of Confronting and Restoring Others

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 5, 2021 73:00


The Book of James gives us Christian theology applied in practical everyday living. It can be compared to the Old Testament wisdom literature in Psalms and Proverbs. James reminds us that faith involves doing. It is not enough to be hearers of the word, we must be doers as well. The contents move quickly from one subject to another, resulting in a loosely connected collection of moral or ethical instruction. James gives his readers a series of thirteen tests to reveal how well they are doing in their lives. As you listen to these messages you will discover that the early Jewish Christians were having problems in their personal lives as well as in their church fellowship. James deals with very up-to-date issues that are occurring in the typical local church of today.

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries
The Test of Prayerfulness Part 8

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 4, 2021 50:00


The Book of James gives us Christian theology applied in practical everyday living. It can be compared to the Old Testament wisdom literature in Psalms and Proverbs. James reminds us that faith involves doing. It is not enough to be hearers of the word, we must be doers as well. The contents move quickly from one subject to another, resulting in a loosely connected collection of moral or ethical instruction. James gives his readers a series of thirteen tests to reveal how well they are doing in their lives. As you listen to these messages you will discover that the early Jewish Christians were having problems in their personal lives as well as in their church fellowship. James deals with very up-to-date issues that are occurring in the typical local church of today.

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries
The Test of Prayerfulness Part 7

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 3, 2021 55:00


The Book of James gives us Christian theology applied in practical everyday living. It can be compared to the Old Testament wisdom literature in Psalms and Proverbs. James reminds us that faith involves doing. It is not enough to be hearers of the word, we must be doers as well. The contents move quickly from one subject to another, resulting in a loosely connected collection of moral or ethical instruction. James gives his readers a series of thirteen tests to reveal how well they are doing in their lives. As you listen to these messages you will discover that the early Jewish Christians were having problems in their personal lives as well as in their church fellowship. James deals with very up-to-date issues that are occurring in the typical local church of today.

Be Still and Know
Day 61 - Issue 37

Be Still and Know

Play Episode Listen Later May 31, 2021 3:14


READ: Acts 2.46-47 NLT 'They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.' What amazing days these were! The believers were seeing astonishing things happen and, not surprisingly, their numbers were growing day by day. It was an exceptional period in every way, and they had the added advantage that everyone spoke well of them. In the days to come the church would often be reviled, rejected and persecuted by other people so this was a time of great favour. And amidst all the excitement and encouragement the believers maintained their regular rhythm of prayer and worship. In these early years of the church the Jewish Christians continued to worship in the Temple and to maintain their Jewish identity. Alongside their Jewish acts of worship, they met regularly with the other followers of Jesus. These meetings would have been in homes which was where Christians worshipped for many years to come. The New Testament writers often refer to the importance of offering hospitality and the reason for this was that the early church was dependent on people being willing to host the meetings for prayer and worship. Our circumstances are different in many ways from those early Christians and not least because many of us worship in church communities that have their own buildings. However, wherever we worship it is vital that we maintain a regular rhythm of prayer and fellowship. It would be rare these days for churches to meet together on a daily basis but in these busy and distracted days I think it is vital for us to seek to meet together at least weekly. There is no law about this, thank God, but we do need to ensure that we are receiving regular spiritual nourishment and are able to support one another effectively. Without a regular rhythm of worship and fellowship it is so easy for our faith to struggle. QUESTIONS: What is your own rhythm of worship and fellowship, and how might it be strengthened? PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for the blessing of church life. Help me to be faithful in supporting my Christian brothers and sisters. Amen

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries
The Test of Prayerfulness Part 6

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries

Play Episode Listen Later May 29, 2021 55:00


The Book of James gives us Christian theology applied in practical everyday living. It can be compared to the Old Testament wisdom literature in Psalms and Proverbs. James reminds us that faith involves doing. It is not enough to be hearers of the word, we must be doers as well. The contents move quickly from one subject to another, resulting in a loosely connected collection of moral or ethical instruction. James gives his readers a series of thirteen tests to reveal how well they are doing in their lives. As you listen to these messages you will discover that the early Jewish Christians were having problems in their personal lives as well as in their church fellowship. James deals with very up-to-date issues that are occurring in the typical local church of today.

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries
The Test of Prayerfulness Part 5

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries

Play Episode Listen Later May 28, 2021 57:00


The Book of James gives us Christian theology applied in practical everyday living. It can be compared to the Old Testament wisdom literature in Psalms and Proverbs. James reminds us that faith involves doing. It is not enough to be hearers of the word, we must be doers as well. The contents move quickly from one subject to another, resulting in a loosely connected collection of moral or ethical instruction. James gives his readers a series of thirteen tests to reveal how well they are doing in their lives. As you listen to these messages you will discover that the early Jewish Christians were having problems in their personal lives as well as in their church fellowship. James deals with very up-to-date issues that are occurring in the typical local church of today.

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries
The Test of Prayerfulness Part 4

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries

Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2021 54:00


The Book of James gives us Christian theology applied in practical everyday living. It can be compared to the Old Testament wisdom literature in Psalms and Proverbs. James reminds us that faith involves doing. It is not enough to be hearers of the word, we must be doers as well. The contents move quickly from one subject to another, resulting in a loosely connected collection of moral or ethical instruction. James gives his readers a series of thirteen tests to reveal how well they are doing in their lives. As you listen to these messages you will discover that the early Jewish Christians were having problems in their personal lives as well as in their church fellowship. James deals with very up-to-date issues that are occurring in the typical local church of today.

Sermons by Ed
Revelation: Jesus Wins!

Sermons by Ed

Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2021 31:19


Study Notes Ed Underwood Revelation: Jesus Wins! Therefore write what you saw, what is, and what will be after these things (Revelation 1:19). The nine General Epistles point to the person and work of the resurrected Christ. They encourage Christians to cling to Him and exhort them to serve Him faithfully because He is the only source of life. Written primarily to persecuted Jewish Christians, the truths apply to every believer from every culture and in every age of church history. The canon of Scripture closes with a majestic epistle written by the Apostle John in exile on the island of Patmos during the great persecution under the Roman Emperor Domitian (AD 95-96). John received the Revelation from the Lord Jesus through an angel. The letter was sent to the churches he shepherded in the Roman province of Asia. The book is a “Revelation of Jesus Christ,” an unveiling of His character and program of the ages. Just as Genesis is the book of beginnings, Revelation is the book of completion. In it the divine program of rescue of creation from sin is consummated, and the holy name of God is vindicated in the Second Advent and final victory of His Son, the resurrected Christ, who alone has authority to judge the earth, rescue creation, and to rule the universe in righteousness. All Bible-centered believers and scholars agree that Revelation was written to assure Christians of the ultimate triumph of Christ over all who oppose Him and His people. The recipients in the early church were facing dark days of persecution and needed to know that Jesus would ultimately win. That’s the big picture message of Revelation—Jesus Wins! All sincere and believing Christians and scholars do not agree on the interpretation of the message Jesus Wins! There are four major alternatives: (1) The symbolic or idealist view sees Revelation as a symbolic portrait of the cosmic conflict of good vs. evil. Antichrist, in this view, is not a real person but the personification of evil. (2) The preterist view (Latin word praeter means past) also rejects the prophetic aspect of Revelation, maintaining that it describes events of the first century. It is a symbolic description of the Roman persecution of the church, forced emperor worship under Domitian, and God’s judgment of Rome. (3) The historicist view interprets the Apocalypse as an allegorical panorama of the church from the first century to the Second Advent. (4) The futurist view we hold at Church of the Open Door, acknowledges the obvious allusions to the first-century persecution of the church by Rome had upon the letter. But we attempt to discern the literal meanings behind the symbolism of Revelation when sound interpretation permits it through the context and by correlation with other Scripture (especially the Old Testament prophets, and the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24-25). Our futurist view centers Revelation around the second advent of Christ who will return in power and glory to judge all who rejected His free gift of eternal life. All of my notes and everything I say about the Book of Revelation is from the futurist view of prophecy. We believe in the snatching up of the church prior to the events of the Great Tribulation in chapters 6-19:6, the Second Coming in 19:7-21, a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth or Millennium in chapter 20, and the rescue of creation in the new heaven and earth in 21:1-22:5. Though we may not agree on the particulars of the Revelation, we should all agree that it is an unveiling of Jesus Christ—His person, His power, and His plan—for the rest of history. This book of prophecy is written to give us confidence that the One who washed us from our sins in His own blood will someday conquer evil and establish His rule over all creation: The three major movements in the unveiling of Christ are previewed in 1:19: what you saw (1), what is (2- 3), and what will be after these things (4-22) I. Live for Christ, because He is coming again to triumph over all who oppose Him. Revelation: Live with confidence and be encouraged—Jesus Wins! What you saw (1): Promising a blessing to all who read this book (1:13), the first chapter portrays God concluding with a theophany (visible manifestation of God that overwhelms John. The glory of the omnipotent and omniscient Christ assures the reader that He will subjugate all things under His authority. What is (2-3): Real messages to seven of the churches close to John’s heart warn and guide all churches until the Second Advent to remain faithful to Jesus Christ. All churches and Christians who have an ear to hear “better hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (3:22). And what will be after these things (4:1-22:5): John is caught up into heaven where he is given a vision of the divine majesty and the future plans of God. Father and Son are on the throne and are worshiped by the host of heaven because of who they are and what they have done—creation and redemption. Christ is declared worthy to open the seven seals of the book of judgment (4-5). Prophecies of the Great Tribulation (6:1-19:6). Three cycles of seven judgments—seals, trumpets and bowls—are sent from heaven to earth, where the Antichrist persecutes Christ’s people, though 144,000 are sealed for ministry in His name and a great multitude believes in Him (6-16). The great religio-political system (Babylon) rebelling against Christ and parallel to some version of a revived Roman empire falls (17-19:6). Christ is about to return to earth. The marriage feast of the Lamb is a rich time of fellowship with His bride, the church, and all before the throne erupt in praise to God. Jesus Christ returns as King of Kings and vindicates His righteousness and all who have been persecuted for His name (19:7-21). Prophecies of the Millennium (20:1-15). Satan is bound and saints reign for 1,000 years. Satan is released. Incredibly, there is a huge rebellion of those born during the Millennium against King Jesus. Satan is finally judged and tormented forever. All who have rebelled against the grace of God throughout the ages are judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. Prophecies of the Eternal State (21:2-22:5). The heavens and earth are recreated, the New Jerusalem descends, and the New Jerusalem is described. As it was in the Garden, so it is again. His people are in the special place He prepared for them so that He can dwell among them and love them. Epilogue (22:6-21): Revelation concludes with the reassurance that Christ is coming quickly and a warm invitation to all to “take of the water of life free of charge” (22:17). Then, there is a stern warning not to add to the words of the book. II. REVELATION AND YOU: There’s so much to argue about when it comes to Revelation and prophecy. But here are three truths we all need to hear: The primary purpose of Revelation is to encourage Christians to remain faithful during hard times, knowing that Jesus is going to win. Jesus gave us a roadmap of history. It may not be crystal clear to us now, but I believe that the generation of Christ-followers living through the dark days of chapters 6-19 will have no trouble connecting the prophecies from heaven with events on earth. The warm invitation is the church’s ministry and the words every man, woman, boy and girl need to hear and respond to. Do you want the water of life? It’s free of charge. Trust in Jesus!

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries
The Test of Prayerfulness Part 3

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries

Play Episode Listen Later May 22, 2021 58:00


The Book of James gives us Christian theology applied in practical everyday living. It can be compared to the Old Testament wisdom literature in Psalms and Proverbs. James reminds us that faith involves doing. It is not enough to be hearers of the word, we must be doers as well. The contents move quickly from one subject to another, resulting in a loosely connected collection of moral or ethical instruction. James gives his readers a series of thirteen tests to reveal how well they are doing in their lives. As you listen to these messages you will discover that the early Jewish Christians were having problems in their personal lives as well as in their church fellowship. James deals with very up-to-date issues that are occurring in the typical local church of today.

Qalam Seerah: Life of the Prophet (pbuh)
Seerah: EP16 – Bhaira The Monk

Qalam Seerah: Life of the Prophet (pbuh)

Play Episode Listen Later May 22, 2021 53:31


Episode 16: Bhaira The Monk Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Another well-konown incident is the meeting of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) with Bhaira the monk. There is a difference in narrations as to the age of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) when this happened: the minority report that he was 9 years old i.e. that this happened soon after he came under the care of Abu Talib. The majority report he was 1 2 years old. Abu Talib was a businessman and he decided to go on a business trip to Ash-Sham. At that time in history, Ash-Sham was ruled by the Romans, with a strong Christian presence. Travel was very difficult and initially, Abu Talib planned to leave the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) behind in Makkah. However, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) cried profusely and asked not to be left behind. Finally, Abu Talib agrees he can join the business caravan. While travelling, they stop near a place called Busra, which was the usual stopping place for the Quraysh. Here, there was a temple inhabited by Bhaira ar-Rahib. The majority say he was Christian, but some accounts say he was Jewish. That temple had always been inhabited by academic scholars of the Jewish-Christian tradition. The locals would stay away from Bhaira as he did not like interacting with people. When the Quraysh arrived, he would usually have nothing to do with them. This time, with the arrival of the Quraysh caravan, something catches the attention of Bhaira: he sees that a cloud is moving along with them. When they stop, the cloud stops. He notices a boy breaks apart from the group and the cloud follows him. Sitting under a tree, the branches seem to move to provide shade for the boy. Bhaira recognises the signs of the last Messenger of all times. Bahira becomes very intrigued and decides to invite the Quraysh for a feast at the temple. The group is surprised by his pleasant behaviour. They leave the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to look after the precious merchandise. Bhaira does not see the boy at the feast and asks if they brought everyone. After this, they bring him to the feast too. Whilst the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is eating, Bhaira studies him intently. He shows a lot of affection towards the boy, as he wanted to show his hospitality to the boy that he believed to be the Prophet of the last times. Bhaira speaks to Abu Talib, sharing his concerns that this special boy should not be taken further into Ash-Sham: he feels that other people may recognise what Bhaira himself recognised, but they may not be so merciful towards the boy. Thus, Abu Talib decides the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) should return to Makkah. There are three narrations as to what happens next: A small minority mention that Abu Talib decides to take the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) with him to Ash-Sham, but he shortens the business trip. The majority mention Abu Talib returns to Makkah from Busra and he takes the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) home himself. Another account mentions that some young people were with the caravan, including Abu Bakr and Bilal the slave. Others in the business caravan do not want to lose Abu Talib's company on the trip and suggest that the 3 young people go together to Makkah.

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries
The Test of Prayerfulness, Part 2

Grace Abounding Bible Ministries

Play Episode Listen Later May 21, 2021 49:00


The Book of James gives us Christian theology applied in practical everyday living. It can be compared to the Old Testament wisdom literature in Psalms and Proverbs. James reminds us that faith involves doing. It is not enough to be hearers of the word, we must be doers as well. The contents move quickly from one subject to another, resulting in a loosely connected collection of moral or ethical instruction. James gives his readers a series of thirteen tests to reveal how well they are doing in their lives. As you listen to these messages you will discover that the early Jewish Christians were having problems in their personal lives as well as in their church fellowship. James deals with very up-to-date issues that are occurring in the typical local church of today.

Sermons by Ed
Jude: Contend for the Faith

Sermons by Ed

Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2021 36:44


Study Notes Ed Underwood Jude: Contend for the Faith I now feel compelled instead to write to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith. (Jude 3) The nine General Epistles point to the person and work of the resurrected Christ. They encourage Christians to cling to Him and exhort them to serve Him faithfully because He is the only source of life. Written primarily to persecuted Jewish Christians, the truths apply to every believer from every culture and in every age of church history. Judas, or Jude, was the half-brother of Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3), and the full-brother of James (Jude 1; Acts 15:13). Jesus’ brothers rejected His claims to be the Messiah during His life on earth (John 7:5), but they believed in Him after His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7). They were among the believers who gathered in the Upper Room awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14), and they were traveling ministers of the Gospel in the early church (1 Corinthians 9:5). Due to the similarities between Jude and 2 Peter, it seems best that Jude wrote his epistle to a predominantly Jewish church sometime after 2 Peter (A.D. 64-66). Both epistles deal with the danger of apostasy (departure from the faith). Peter prophetically warns against the future rise of false teachers (2 Peter 2:1-2; 3:3) whereas Jude documents the historical fulfillment of Peter’s warnings (Jude 4, 11-12, 17-18). This means that Jude wrote his letter sometime between A.D 66-80. Much like James, Jude’s letter seems to be an “epistolary sermon,” a sermon he preached that he then sent in the form of an epistle. “One thought characterizes this epistle: beware of the apostates.” (Edward C. Pentecost, “Jude,” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament, p. 918) Though historically it occurs before the emergence of fully developed Gnosticism, incipient forms of that heresy seem to be involved. “Here, in an undeveloped form, are all the main characteristics which went to make up later Gnosticism—emphasis on knowledge which was emancipated from the claims of morality; arrogance toward ‘unenlightened’ church leaders; interest in angelology; divisiveness and lasciviousness.” (Michael Green, The Second Epistle General of Peter and the General Epistle of Jude, p. 39) Apostasy means to depart from “the faith”—the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. It involves a denial or even a repudiation of a major truth of biblical Christianity. I believe it is a matter of obedience to Christ’s teaching rather than salvation. Both Christians and non-Christians can become apostate. It isn’t a changing of your status before God—redeemed or unredeemed, but a change in your conviction concerning the truth of God—accepting or rejecting. The Book of Jude warns us of the very real possibility that not only must we remain faithful to the faith, but we must also fight for “the faith”—the teachings of Christ and the Apostles: Like his brother James, Jude used powerful descriptive and cutting terms to describe those who compromise or pervert the truth concerning his half-brother Jesus, the Son of God, Messiah of Israel and Savior of the World. I. Take care to remain faithful to the faith. A. Purpose: Jude addresses believers to warn them against false teachers who undermine the grace of God by teaching licentiousness and who deny Christ. He implores his readers to contend earnestly for the faith (1-4). B. Warning: Jude alerts his readers to the dangers of false teaching by illustrating past failures of those who strayed from God’s truth and by exposing the error of those who were teaching error (5-16). 1. Three examples of divine judgment on apostates from the Pentateuch illustrate the danger of apostasy: certain Israelites, certain angels, and certain pagans (5-7). Jude: Contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints! 2. Threetragicmistakesapostatesmakeexposetheidiocyoftheirteaching(8-16). They overestimate the importance of what they think they know. They are so sure of their “new truth” that they defile their lives, reject God’s authority, and even insult angels (8-9). They,alongwiththegullible,underestimatetheseriousnessoftheirerror.LikeCain,Balaam, and Korah from the Old Testament, they spout foolish and powerless theories, are dangerous to everyone, and invite judgment (10-13). They, along with the gullible, ignore the consequences of their error. Jesus is coming to judge all wrong, even and especially the wrongs of apostates because their weird but impressive teachings enchant people (14-16). C. Exhortation: Remember the warning of the apostles that these apostates would show up, motivated only by their ungodly desires. Build yourselves up in the faith through prayer in the Spirit, receiving love from the Father, and looking forward to the mercy of the Son. Have mercy on those who waver due to the impact of these false teachers (17-23). D. Benediction Praising Christ (24-25). II. JUDE AND YOU: The slipperiest slippery slope in the universe—the path to apostasy. Keep in mind that an apostate is anyone who denies the truth of “the faith”—the teaching of Christ and the Apostles. This progression of the apostate in v. 4 comes from the notes of Tom Constable, “Jude,” pp. 3-4. Ungodliness—the conscious decision to refuse to submit to God’s authority. This stems from a lack of reverence for God as the One who deserves obedience because He loves us. License—now that these people have decided not to submit to God’s authority, their lives become boundary-less when it comes to sin. Their conduct becomes more and more outside the lines of morality and justice. Extremely sinful, hopeless, and hurtful lifestyles are often the result. Intellectual Rationalization—finally, these people will justify their ridiculously sinful lifestyle with intellectual, religious, and philosophical theories that “prove” they are right and God is wrong. This is always based upon a denial of God’s Word and the conclusion that what God says is “right” is “wrong,” and what God says is “wrong” is “right.” If you do not live what you believe, you will end up believing what you live. Jude 4’s perspective on heresy and heretics: Though heretical teachings are usually defended only on intellectual grounds, Jude 4 tells us that it often begins with rebellion against God that leads to an immoral life that must be justified. Jude 4’s warning against the slippery slope: In your own life, or someone you love, do you see evidences of the slipperiest slippery slope of rebellion- licentiousness-apostasy?

The Faith Breathed Hope podcast
Interview with Susan Anderson

The Faith Breathed Hope podcast

Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2021 32:12


In this episode, I speak with author Susan Anderson on her Faith Journey as a Jewish Christian. Susan shares how she came to desire a personal relationship with Jesus Christ without denying her Jewish heritage. Her journey inspired her to write the book Christianity's Jewish Roots: A Study of Judaism for Christians. Find Susan on her website

Daily Read
Acts #43 - Restored

Daily Read

Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2021 11:21


Acts 15:12-21 (NIV) Read by: Hugo Castro If God is gracious and loving, then what are the boundaries of behaviour for those of us who begin to follow Jesus? This is a part of the questions that the followers of Jesus are trying to work out in today's passage? Now that the Holy Spirit is moving in and including the Gentiles in the family of God, what does it look like to walk together and be set apart as God's holy people? Some say that they need to be circumcised and follow Torah. Now, this passage is full of contention and debate around how we should interpret it, but here are some helpful thoughts. Basically James says that we shouldn't make it hard for Gentiles to turn to God, instead let's tell them to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, sexual immorality, and from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. Some take this as a basic set of guidelines to keep from offending the Jewish Christians. Others think it's a narrowed set of basics that are being prescribed. And still others probably think that it's a problem with scripture and don't like that it's there. However some context will help. First, these abstaintions were not new, they were actually given to the Israelites in the wilderness with provisions for the gentiles living among them in the wilderness. So we can hear James just reaching back to that tradition. Some Jewish scholars point back to Noah, and the laws given to him. And others the James is pointing to the need for Gentiles to no longer participate in the Pagan temple practices which included all these things. All of this is probably at play, but at the end of the day, Gentiles didn't need to adopt the Law of Moses because they probably already would have if they wanted to. But they also couldn't go on living life as usual, and if they can get along with their Jewish neighbors without causing them to stumble even better. ----------REFLECT---------- 1. What challenged you in this passage? 2. The verse about David's Fallen tent is a ref. To the temple and God's desire to restore it, and he does so by placing his presence not in a new temple but in humans where there are new creatures. How do these abstensions make sense when you think about humans as temples? 3. Sexual immorality is actually the most clear abstention. But what about the other two? Food sacrificed to idols was about not participating in idol worship, and the rules about strangled animals and blood was about respect for life. In what ways might the Spirit want to restore you, his temple, in respect to our modern idols, you sexuality, and your view of the value of life? ----------GO DEEPER---------- Bible Project: Acts 13-28 Overview >> InterVarsity Press Selections: Acts >> ----------CONNECT---------- Find an InterVarsity Chapter >> Start an InterVarsity Chapter >> Learn More >> --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/dailyread/message

Bible Questions Podcast
Why is Abraham Important to Non-Jewish Christians? Reading Romans 4 #138

Bible Questions Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2021 11:15


Abraham was born over 4000 years ago in modern Iraq. He was a man of faith, but he frequently messed up, passing off his wife as his sister twice, and seeing her marry (or almost marry) other men. Why is Abraham important to Christians who are not native born Israelis? How was Abraham counted by God as righteous considering his multiple mess-ups?

Bible Reading Podcast
Why is Abraham Important to Non-Jewish Christians? Reading Romans 4 #138

Bible Reading Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2021 11:15


Abraham was born over 4000 years ago in modern Iraq. He was a man of faith, but he frequently messed up, passing off his wife as his sister twice, and seeing her marry (or almost marry) other men. Why is Abraham important to Christians who are not native born Israelis? How was Abraham counted by God as righteous considering his multiple mess-ups?

Sermons by Ed
III John: Love and Power

Sermons by Ed

Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2021 30:50


Study Notes Ed Underwood 3 John: Love and Power I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are living according to the truth. (3 John 4) The nine General Epistles point to the person and work of the resurrected Christ. They encourage Christians to cling to Him and exhort them to serve Him faithfully because He is the only source of life. Written primarily to persecuted Jewish Christians, the truths apply to every believer from every culture and in every age of church history. John was with the apostles who were in Jerusalem (Acts 8:14), and Paul calls him one of the pillars of the church (Galatians 2:9). And then, for decades he’s not mentioned. Early Christian tradition tells us he left Jerusalem just before its destruction in A.D. 70 and headquartered in and around Ephesus. In his later years he wrote the Gospel of John and three epistles, probably as he was serving in Ephesus. I believe Demetrius, a missionary John was commending to the churches under his influence, carried all three letters. John’s first letter was written to a group of churches in danger of following false teachers. His second letter is addressed to one of those churches (elect lady) and its members (her children) who are actually aiding and encouraging these false teachers. His third letter is to Gaius, a faithful leader of one of those churches. Frustrated with a self-serving leader by the name of Diotrephes who resisted John’s instructions to support Demetrius and his team, John addresses faithful Gaius. His immediate purpose is to encourage Gaius and to make hospitality provisions for Demetrius. In just a few paragraphs John exposes the pride of Diotrephes by affirming the love of Gaius. “This epistle presents one of the most vivid glimpses in the New Testament of a church in the first century.” (Charles C. Ryrie, The Third Epistle of John,” in The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p. 1483) Third John is the most personal of all the letters in the New Testament, but its message is timeless and applies to every believer and every church: Brotherly love is the product of abiding in the truth. The messages of 2 John and 3 John portray the relationship between love and truth. Truth and love cannot be separated, and pride and love cannot coexist: The word “beloved” (NKJV) or “dear friend” (NET) introduces each of three sections in the body of Third John. I. Christian love that abides in the truth is selfless, hospitable, and generous (3 John). John is writing a personal letter to Gaius, whom he loves in truth (truly and according to the teachings of Christ and the apostles, 1). Gaius is either a disciple of John or a man in this church well known to John who has influence in the church Diotrephes is bullying (see below). In order to encourage Gaius to receive his emissary, Demetrius, John affirms Gaius’s selfless and hospitable behavior and condemns the self-serving and ambitious behavior of Diotrephes—Gaius upholds the truth with love (2-12). 1. Dear friend(2-4):John commends Gaius’s walk in the truth by praying a blessing. a. John expresses the wish that Gaius may do as well physically as he is spiritually (2). b. John rejoices over his spiritual well being: Gaius is a man who lives out the truth (3-4). 3 John: True love is demonstrated in hospitality and giving! Dear friend (5-10): John contrasts Gaius’s loving display of the truth to Diotrephes’s selfish desire for preeminence in the church. The proof that Gaius walks in the truth is his love for the brethren demonstrated in his hospitality and generous support for Christian workers sent by John from Ephesus, even those he had never met (5-8). The proof that Diotrephes only desires power is his refusal to receive John or his coworkers, his foolish and senseless verbal attacks on John, and his bullying of all that oppose him, even to the point of putting them out of the church (9-10). Dear friend (11-12): John exhorts Gaius to do the good work expected of a child of God— receive and support Demetrius. Don’t follow Diotrephes’ evil ways, but continue in your good ways—sure proof that you, not Diotrephes are following God (of God=behavior expected from a child of God in John’s epistles, seen God is to be in His light, 1 John 3:6-10; 4:1-4; 6-7. There is nothing in this letter that causes us to conclude that Diotrephes either is or is not regenerate. Carnal leaders and unbelieving wolves preying on the flock display the same behaviors. 11). Receive and support Demetrius because of the good report I send (12). C. Farewell (13-15): This letter is brief but necessary; I’m coming soon! II. 3 JOHN AND YOU: Truth or Power? The difference is real and observable! Power-broking “love” is conditional and self-serving. It is extended only to those who give them preeminence, can never be trusted, and should be resisted by all! How to identify a “Diotrephes” in the local church: They want to be “in charge.” Desiring preeminence is exactly the opposite of the Lord’s example (Philippians 2:7) and teaching (Mark 10:44) and usurps His rightful place in a local church (Colossians 1:18). They never stop talking about whatever and whoever upsets them. With unbelievable energy, they “prattle on” with malicious words and foolishly nonsensical arguments. They will actually try to throw those who disagree out of the church if they get the chance! How to relate to a “Diotrephes” in the local church: The leaders should confront them; the people should ignore them, and nobody should underestimate them! Truth-abiding love is unconditional and selfless. It is extended to workers of the truth through hospitality and generous support, can be trusted, and should be honored by all. 1. How to identify a “Gaius” in the local church: a. They want to lead, but they do not have to have their way. b. They are known for their hospitality and generosity, especially for Christian workers. 2. How to relate to a “Gaius” in the local church: Honor them and follow them!

FRDH Podcast with Michael Goldfarb
Bible Study for Atheists: Jews, Christians and Jewish Christians

FRDH Podcast with Michael Goldfarb

Play Episode Listen Later May 8, 2021 23:17


This edition of Bible Study for Atheists looks at how Jews and Christians diverged a long time ago, but not at the time of Jesus when there were Jewish Christians. FRDH podcast host Michael Goldfarb talks with Anglican priest Giles Fraser about his book Chosen: Lost and Found between Christianity and Judaism, a personal exploration of where God is to be found in the conflict between Judaism and the new religion that emerged from one of Jews" greatest traumas: the destruction of the Second Temple by the Roman Empire.

GRINDIT podcast
Episode 70: Acts 11 The Jews, The Gentiles, and Jesus

GRINDIT podcast

Play Episode Listen Later May 7, 2021 38:13


Word gets back to the church in Jerusalem about what happened with the Gentiles at Cornelius' house and the believers there aren't very happy about it. They couldn't believe that Peter would go in the house of a Gentile and even eat a meal with them! However, after they got the facts first hand from Peter they changed their minds and were delighted that God had chosen the Gentiles as well...or so it seemed. Racism between the Jews and Gentiles was deep and it would be an ongoing issue even for those who followed Jesus! In Acts 11 the Jewish Christians follow the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea preaching Jesus to the Jews but when they came to Antioch of Syria they also shared the gospel with the Jews and what took place rocked their world! So many Gentiles were coming to the Lord they had to send Barnabas from Jerusalem to check things out and he travels to Tarsus to get Saul so he could help with the large growth of the new church there. This would be a relationship that would launch many churches as Saul and Barnabas would work together traveling around telling all people about Jesus!

Sermons by Ed
II John: True Love

Sermons by Ed

Play Episode Listen Later May 4, 2021 32:55


Study Notes Ed Underwood 2 John True Love The message of 2 John—love is based on truth—is a timeless reminder to every Christian and every church. Truth and love cannot be separated: Now this is love: that we walk according to His commandments.... just as you heard from the beginning (2 John 6). The nine General Epistles point to the person and work of the resurrected Christ. They encourage Christians to cling to Him and exhort them to serve Him faithfully because He is the only source of life. Written primarily to persecuted Jewish Christians, the truths apply to every believer from every culture and in every age of church history. John was with the apostles who were in Jerusalem (Acts 8:14), and Paul calls him one of the pillars of the church (Galatians 2:9). And then, for decades he’s not mentioned. Early Christian tradition tells us he left Jerusalem just before its destruction in A.D. 70 and headquartered in and around Ephesus. In his later years he wrote the Gospel of John and three epistles, probably as he was serving in Ephesus. John’s first epistle was written to a group of churches in danger of following false teachers. His second letter is addressed to one of those churches (elect lady) and its members (her children) who are actually aiding and encouraging these false teachers. Wrongly concluding that Christian love demands a tolerance of heresy, these believers were in danger of losing all that they had worked for on earth (disciplemaking ministry) and some of what they hoped for in heaven (eternal rewards). John wastes no words as he makes his point in this letter sent hastily with First John to warn them, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine (the teachings of Christ and the Apostles), do not receive him into your house nor greet him” (v 10). The epistle easily divides into the relationship of truth and love in personal relationships (1-6), and in church relationships (7-13). I. Abiding in Christ’s truth is critical to maintaining Christian love. A. John exhorts the church to love one another by walking in the truth they originally heard. 1. This church (elect lady, the chosen assembling in a local church) of maturing disciples (have come to know the truth, 1 John 2:3-4) should listen to the elder (Apostle John) because he loves them in truth (emphasis of truth, 6X in 3 verses, 1-3). 2. John pleads with them to love one another by abiding in the truth(4-6). John was delighted to discover that members of this church were walking in the truth (note the emphasis on disciplemaking, not just conversion in John’s ministry, 4). In spite of the good report or maybe because of the good report, John now implores them to love one another by living according to the truth they heard from the beginning (apostolic teachings, 5-6). 2 John: Abide in the truth if you want to love well! B. John exhorts the church to love one another by resisting false teachers who deceive Christians. 1. John instructs them to love one another by resisting error(4-6). a. The reason (for) they should love one another in truth is because false teachers have gone out to deceive Christians and oppose Christ’s work (deceivers and antichrists, 7). b. Warning: False teaching in the church severely damages a disciplemaking ministry (all that we worked for) and could lead to a loss of reward (full reward threatened) for all who have served Christ in a local church (we occurs 3X, 8). c. Identification: Anyone who goes beyond or turns aside from apostolic doctrine (doctrine of Christ) does not have God, is not abiding in His love and truth (9). d. Instructions: Do not help (receive him into your house, hospitality) or encourage (greeting that is a type of rejoicing) this person in any way (10). In fact, you are either resisting them or joining them (11). 2. This matter is so pressing that John had to write this brief letter, but they can count on a personal letter soon and the love of their sister church from which John is writing (elect lady, the chosen assembling in a local church, 12-13). II. 2 JOHN AND YOU: What we believe will determine the quality of our love. If we want to love others with the love of Christ, we need to abide in the truth and abide in Him. We love others best by living according to the truth as the Spirit teaches it! 1. True love can not be separated from God’s truth (2John6). 2. The best gift of love I can give is the objective truth of God’s Word (Ephesians4:15). 3. The impact of my love is maximized by my obedience to God’s Word (walk in truth, lifestyle). We love others best by protecting them against false teaching! True love cannot be separated from God’s truth (2John6). Heresy always hurts those we love and the ministries we love. Tolerating false teachers in the name of love foolishly risks the spiritual health of those we love. Supporting or encouraging false teachers in the name of love is aiding and abetting Christ’s enemies! When false teachers “come for a visit” to your home, your family, your disciples, or your church, the most loving action is to slam the door in their face!

The Hero of the Story
Handling Disagreement and Uniting in the Essentials [Ep. 247]

The Hero of the Story

Play Episode Listen Later May 3, 2021 28:59


How do we handle theological disagreement? That's the question we're discussing on The Hero of the Story. Listen in as we discuss: How the conversion of Gentiles began to concern Jewish Christians in the early days of the churchThe significance the unity of of Paul, Peter, and James in the debate over whether or not... The post Handling Disagreement and Uniting in the Essentials [Ep. 247] appeared first on The Gospel Project.

BibleWorm
Episode 238 Faith and Torah (Galatians 1:13-17 & 2:11-21)

BibleWorm

Play Episode Listen Later May 3, 2021 40:30


This week, we read Galatians chapter 1:13-17 and 2:11-21. It’s a challenging set of texts for an interfaith podcast, and a set of texts with a troubled history in the Jewish-Christian relationship. As we read, we wondered - what is the role of faith and of action in our relationship to God? When is the uniqueness of each person important, and when should we look past difference to similarity?

Restoration Church
Practicing Resurrection | Culture Wars Or A Common Life?

Restoration Church

Play Episode Listen Later May 2, 2021 25:47


In Acts 15, we see the growing cultural tension between Jewish Christians and the new Gentile believers. Instead of seeing Jesus through the lens of our culture, politics and traditions, we make him Lord - and together as a new family, commit to rethinking everything in light of Jesus. (Acts 15:1-19)

Sermons by Ed
1 John: Fellowship with God

Sermons by Ed

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 28, 2021 36:22


Study Notes Ed Underwood 1 John: Fellowship with God And these things we write to you that your joy may be full (1 John 1:4). The nine General Epistles point to the person and work of the resurrected Christ. They encourage Christians to cling to Him and exhort them to serve Him faithfully because He is the only source of life. Written primarily to persecuted Jewish Christians, the truths apply to every believer from every culture and in every age of church history. John was with the apostles who were in Jerusalem (Acts 8:14), and Paul calls him one of the pillars of the church (Galatians 2:9). And then, for decades he’s not mentioned. Early Christian tradition tells us he left Jerusalem just before its destruction in A.D. 70 and headquartered in and around Ephesus. In his later years he wrote the Gospel of John and three epistles, probably as he was serving in Ephesus. False teachers were confusing the churches John oversaw by saying that Christ only seemed to have a human body. Not only were they denying the Incarnation, but they were claiming to have secret knowledge about God that made them a kind of spiritual elite. Some of the most talented brethren left these fledgling churches to form new communities that denied the reality of Christ’s humanity (4:2) and taught an “advanced” spirituality that promised to take its initiates beyond sin (1:8). John responds as a father protecting his “little children.” What they must know is that these new teachings are not only wrong, but they will steal the greatest joy any believer will ever know—the joy of life in the family of God. The theme of First John is fellowship—that experience of intimacy with Christ and His people only available to those who belong to Him and only experienced by those who walk in His light and love. The passion of John is, “don’t lose it by listening to these lying teachers.” Both the Gospel of John and 1 John address the subject of eternal life. John wrote his Gospel so that people “may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have eternal life” (John 20:31) He wrote his First Epistle so that Christians “may have fellowship” with the apostles, with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). I. John refutes the errors of those who deny the humanity of Christ and warns his readers against losing something far more valuable than any “insider knowledge” the false teachers were offering—the joy of fellowship with Jesus Christ. Prologue—call to fellowship (1:4): John declares his purpose that he wants them to experience the joy of fellowship with Jesus. Preamble—live in fellowship with God (1:5-2:11): Fellowship with God is made possible by the blood of Christ, but believers must walk honestly and openly in His light and love. 1. WalkinGod’slightbystayingonthepathofholinessbybeinghonestaboutyoursin(1:5-22). 2. KnowtheGodoflightbyfollowingChristandlovingHispeople(2:3-11). Body—live with the confidence of fellowship with God (2:12-4:19): Fellowship with God gives believers confidence. 1. Fellowship with God reassures us that we have the spiritual assets to resist the world and the antichrists (2:12-27). 1 John: Don’t lose the joy of fellowship! 2. Fellowship with God empowers us to display Christ’s character so that we will be confident at His Coming (2:28-4:19). Confident, or abiding Christians display Christ’s righteousness and love for one another, and display the Spirit’s truth and love. Application—don’t lie about being in fellowship with God (4:20-5:17): Only those believers who love one another from the new nature (even the prodigal!) are living in fellowship with God. Epilogue—the certainties of fellowship (5:18-21): Those believers who live in fellowship with God experience victory over sin and joy in this wicked world. II. 1 JOHN AND YOU: This epistle was written to encourage every Christian to pursue deeper intimacy with God. The greater our intimacy with God, the more we will experience the full potential of eternal life. Every Christian possesses eternal life (John 20:31; 1 John 5:11-13, but not every believer is living the abundant experience of eternal life God meant for us to enjoy (John 10:10; 1 John 1:3). Don’t miss the joy of fellowship! Fellowship with God is the essence of eternal life, and eternal life it not just for heaven. Friendship with the Son of God can be yours on earth if you know His truth as the Spirit teaches it, live a pure life as His Spirit cleanses it, and love His people as He has loved you! If you are a Christian, First John says you can live the best life on earth, a life that is absolutely unique and satisfying in this world—a life lived in intimate friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are still thinking about what you will miss if you live in fellowship with Christ—a life guided by His truth, demonstrating His righteousness, and loving His people—you need to know that you will not miss any of it because the joy of fellowship eclipses every “happiness” this world has to offer. The choice is yours. It’s your way or His way. And His way is an experience of eternal life you will be talking about in heaven forever...what a way to live! If you want intimacy with God, then you must live in His light. Every believer receives the “light” of eternal life. We view the world differently (2:20) and we can know how we ought to live (2:27). But we have a responsibility to walk in that light by knowing God’s will and obeying His will (1:7) and to honestly admit when we’re not in the light (1:4). If you want intimacy with God, then you must love with His love. Every believer receives the “love” of God. God is love, and we receive His life. We have the capacity and even the inner yearning to love with His love. But we have a responsibility to walk in that love (3:11ff) by loving one another, loving Him more than this world, and obeying Him (5:1-4).

Cornerstone Bible Church
Jesus, God's Climactic Revelation - Hebrews 1:1-4

Cornerstone Bible Church

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 24, 2021


Hebrews 1:1-4 Jesus, God’s Climactic Revelation Grab your Bibles and open them up to Hebrews 1. Hebrews 1 we begin digging into this letter sermon together. Hebrews 1:1–14 (ESV) 1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. If you read the Bible, and especially the letters written in the New Testament, you realize this is not the normal way that a letter begins… No greeting. No pleasantries. No commendation. No author. No blessing. It’s not: to the saints; grace and peace; greet you in the Lord Jesus; blessed be our God. He doesn’t even mess around with introducing himself. It’s a good way to start a sermon. Right out of the gate, he throws down the core proposition of the book. What God gave you in Jesus is better—and once you have Jesus, don’t ever go back to what you had before him. What God gave you in Jesus is better—and once you have Jesus, don’t ever go back to what you had before him. The theme of this opening monologue is this: God spoke his final and best [ultimate] revelation not through human prophets, but in his divine Son. God spoke his final and best [ultimate] revelation not through human prophets, but in his divine Son. The purpose of the letter is to convince a small group of Jewish Christians not to go back. Don’t do it. We find out in the next chapter (2:3-4) that this church was begun under the apostolic preaching ministry that proclaimed Jesus as Christ. It was an exhilarating message. Jesus of Nazareth is your Messiah—he is God’s anointed. He is seated at the right hand of the Father. He is the resurrected son of David. Acts 2:36 (ESV) Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified. These precious saints heard that message and they believed it. They have left the comfort Judaism. Left the synagogue. Left the festal calendar. Left the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Left the comfort of close family relationships severed by allegiance to Jesus Christ. Left the safety of being a religion that was more culturally tolerable than Christianity. Christ had meant the seizure of their property. Christ had meant for some imprisonment. For them in those early days it was worth it—they accepted persecution joyfully. The body has been in existence long enough that the preacher will say in 5:14—you should have a whole rack of teachers by now because you’ve been in the faith long enough to be mature, even though you aren’t yet mature. They had come out of the shadows of Judaism and into the brilliance of Christianity. And yet now they are contemplating going back. Returning what they knew so well. Those good old ways. If after coming to Jesus you have ever doubted whether you want to or can remain in him, Hebrews is a message for you. When you have been disillusioned because people in the body keep failing you. When you have become discouraged because your progress in the faith seems like its at a standstill and you are tired of struggling in the Christian life. When you have been rattled by opposition to Christ or your own personal doubts and you wonder… is this really worth it? It happens. And when it does, your solution is to become freshly acquainted with Jesus. Christ is the ultimate object of worship. If you are in Christ, then the Spirit of God draws you to Christ and he is your solution. That’s how the preacher shepherds this congregation. Let me reexplain, further explain Christ to you. His approach is simple: I’m going to make Jesus clear to you, and in so doing make you say—how could I possibly go back? Whatever loss I have experienced I count it gain that I now have Christ and am found in him. As unbelief has crept in and like Israel began to complain in the wilderness. Numbers 11:4–6 (ESV) Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” Jesus is a fuller revelation. He is a better revelation. Once you hear from God through him, there’s no going back. God has spoken to his people Previously God spoke piecemeal revelation through human prophets (1) Now God spoke ultimate revelation through unrivaled his Son (2-4) This is a brilliant way to begin a sermon. It is written with wonderful logic and clarity. God spoke his final and best [ultimate] revelation not through human prophets, but in his divine Son. This is one sentence in the original from v. 1-4. One sentence that unequivocally asserts and demonstrates the superiority of Jesus Christ over everything. The theme in vv. 1-2a is God speaking. Previously God spoke piecemeal revelation through human prophets (1) 1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, Πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως πάλαι ὁ θεὸς λαλήσας τοῖς πατράσιν ἐν τοῖς προφήταις It opens here sounding a bit like a long ago in a land far, far away. But it is nothing of the sort. The best English rendering here is: God, having spoken long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways (Legacy Standard Bible) God speaks to people through people. The people he speaks to first are called prophets, they get a message that they give to other people who receive it as God’s words. God spoke to the fathers… to the forefathers, the patriarchs, the founding fathers by the instrumentality of prophets. Prophets spoke for God. In the Old Testament this took place at many times and in many ways. Each one brought a message that was truly the voice of God. Their opening refrain was often, “thus says the Lord” or “the Lord says.” Every message was 100% true. 100% divine in the source. That prophetic word was considered to be directly from God himself. It never strayed. It was utterly reliable. It came in many times or you could also translate this many portions. Many parts. I think both are true—it was many different instances of communication, each contributing a part… It was bits and pieces along the way. What lacked in this revelation wasn’t that it wasn’t true. It just wasn’t the whole deal. Each word from the Lord was fully accurate, but just a piece. You go to an expensive restaurant. As you know the pricier the menu the smaller the portions (generally). Let’s say you order a five-course meal. What happens? Someone brings you a plate with a tiny little bit of delicious food on it. It’s part one. The hors d'oeuvre, but that first little plate is a complete dish. It’s not just the garnish. Or just the sauce. It is a full hors d'oeuvre. But that first plate isn’t dinner. It’s just one part of the bigger meal. Many portions. Many pieces. A tid bit here. A tid bit there. Like hors d'oeuvres and various appetizers it is preparing you for the main course. Each one would contribute to a greater understanding like puzzle pieces each one coming together and creating more and more of a picture. Not only many pieces (many times… many portions). But many ways. Something I have always loved about God’s creative mind is the way he spoke to us. He could have had one sit down discussion with one person and given us the whole enchilada at one time. He could have dropped one book at one point. No. He revealed himself progressively. And he spoke in many ways…1 He walks with Adam in the Garden He comes to Abraham in a vision while he sleeps and shows up in person to speak to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre He wrestles with Jacob He gives Joseph dreams He speaks face to face with Moses He uses the still small voice, the gentle whisper to speak to Elijah (1 Kings 18:20-40; 19:12) A message here. A vision there. A dream here. A theophany (appearance of the pre-incarnate Son) there. But over and over we find God speaking over several thousand years to over 50 individuals.2 But the many ways ought not cause us to focus on the avenue for the revelation, but rather see its piecemeal nature. One commentator notes: His point is not merely the diversity of revelation in the Old Testament, but its fragmentary, incomplete, and gradual character.3 And every prophetic word originated from God: 2 Peter 1:21 (ESV) For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, whatever a prophet spoke was to be received as the very word of God and believed. Jesus rebukes the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Why? Because they didn’t see that he was the hermeneutical key to unlocking the Old Testament? No. Luke 24:25 (ESV) And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! You should believe the prophets. Those Jewish Christians knew the prophets. They grew up reciting the prophets. They memorized verses in the prophets. It was how they came to know God. If you want to begin to talk about privilege and privileged people on the earth—Israel had privilege. God spoke to them: Romans 9:4–5 (ESV) They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. But for the most part when God spoke, Israel yawned: Romans 10:21 (ESV) But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” Being a prophet wasn’t exactly posh in Israel. God’s people often rejected the prophets. Some of them were even killed. But to this little church, they valued the prophets. And they are tempted to think this… maybe we can find a Christless path to God. Christ is the dividing line for us—perhaps we can still relate to God without professing Christ and thereby remove the costliness of following God. People do this today. Give up wherever Christ is costly and attempt to relate to God on their own terms. So arrogant. That we would set the terms by which we relate to God rather than coming to his terms. The preacher here takes the prophets. And he doesn’t denigrate them. He doesn’t say they were useless or bad. But he uses beautiful and persuasive logic to argue for the superiority of Jesus as God’s final word. Era: Long ago vs. now in these last days Audience: God spoke to our fathers vs. now God spoke to us Manner: at many times and in many ways (i.e., piecemeal and incomplete) vs. (implied) now final and authoritative, the closing word. Instrument: by the prophets vs. now by his Son God spoke best and finally in his son Previously God spoke piecemeal revelation through human prophets (1) Now God spoke ultimate revelation through unrivaled his Son (2-4) 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων ἐλάλησεν ἡμῖν ἐν υἱῷ, Here’s the uncreated creator. The self-existent God who needs nothing and answers to no one. Speaking. Speaking. Making himself known. Sharing himself by revealing himself. God is pictured not as a silent and distant force, impassively regulating the universe, but as a talker as One who has been speaking, arguing, pleading, wooing, commanding, telling stories, conversing and generally spinning words across the lines between heaven and earth since the beginning of time.4 God speaks to his people. We hear it and read it so much it requires pause to apprehend such a thought. So how did God speak to his people? The main verb in vv. 1-2a actually comes in v. 2. Your translation probably says has spoken. If you mark up your Bible, you can indicate that this is the main verb. Back up in v. 1 you probably have God spoke or after God spoke. This is a helping verb. So, here’s how this would work: having spoken or after having spoken, God spoke. The second speaking is a finite verb that indicates the definitive reality. Having previously spoken, God now spoke authoritatively and finally, you could say conclusively. Indicative here is presenting the information with absolute certainty.5 Forming a conclusion vs. formed a conclusion. And this point is furthered by the reference. He didn’t speak in prophets he spoke in Son. No article. No “the.” Of course, it was his Son, but it just says “in Son.” Why? Because he was just a son? We use the definite article in that way—hey could you bring a ball means something different than could you bring me the ball. The one signed by Steve Cishek. But this doesn’t men a Son. Rather to use Son without the article draws attention to the essential character of the one who is Son.6 The author’s point is not so much the identity of the Son, but the one having the quality of Sonship. It is one who: has the characteristics of a son. His credentials are vastly different from the credentials of prophets (or from the angels, as the following context indicates).7 Jesus, as God, brings superior revelation to any human prophet. Jesus is, “uniquely qualified to be the one through whom God spoke his final word.”8 Prophets. Prophets are great. Except their human. Except they are sinners. Except they die. Except they can only tell you what little piece of the puzzle they were given. Prophets are great if that’s all you’ve got. But to hear from the son is a whole other story. Sonship is oneness with the Father. The same essential nature. The same essential being. The Son of God is God and so to be spoken to in a Son is to be spoken to by God himself. Jesus came as the text says here in the last days. The last days came in (you guessed it) the prophets.9 The last days spoke of a new era where God would put his law in the hearts of his people. A time when he would visit Israel. And now you see that this time God didn’t send an average-Joe-run-of-the-mill-live-for-70-or-80-years kind of prophet. No this time God himself came to speak. John 6:45 (ESV) It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— God is here before you, teaching you, not through one human to the others humans, but through himself. God the Father is the source speaking. He is the ultimate cause here. The Son is the agent. This is the reality of the incarnation that we grapple with. God becoming man. Moses was the great prophet of old. The pre-eminences of the prophecy of Christ above that of Moses and all other prophets were of two sorts:—(1.) Such as arose from his person who was the prophet; (2.) Such as accompanied the nature and manner of the revelation made unto him.10 It was God himself coming. And God himself speaking. That made it final. Conclusive. It was the last word on salvation. It was the complete package. The main course. The last puzzle piece. This testimony was that the Son had arrived. It isn’t Jesus mixed in a group and he just seems to be roughly equivalent or similar in benefit. It isn’t even that he is first in the line of equals, or a head above all the rest. He is utterly unique and unrivaled in his excellencies because he is God of very God. He is intrinsically superior. Matthew 17:5 (ESV) He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” This final word spoken must be listened to. To hear the voice of the Son is to hear the voice of God. How you relate to the word of Christ is how you relate to Christ and how you relate to God. Turn with me to John’s Gospel and look at this portrayal of the final word of God. John 1:1 (ESV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jesus is the word—he speaks and reveals God. John 1:11 (ESV) He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. Just as they rejected the prophets of old. Now the Father sends his very own Son and they reject him too. But this Son came bringing a better message than Moses, a better message than the prophets, through his own person: John 1:14 (ESV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. God became flesh. He dwelled—made his abode on earth. Coming from the Father. This was a better message: John 1:17–18 (ESV) For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. Literally, Jesus exegetes the Father. Moses brought the commandments. The instruction. There was grace in the law, but it was the code for how God would relate to his people. You want a relationship with God? It comes through the law. Jesus shows up and brings grace and truth. You can get to God directly because I’m here. I came to you. Everyone who had eyes to see could see that he was the divine Son: John 1:34 (ESV) And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” Peter’s testimony: Nathaniel’s testimony: John 1:49 (ESV) Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” And we are just in John 1. I want to show you just a few snapshots of this connection it is so obvious in light of Hebrews 1 and it is so marvelous: John 5:23–25 (ESV) 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. John 5:36–40 (ESV) 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. John 6:45 (ESV) 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— John 6:63 (ESV) 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. John 6:66–69 (ESV) 66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” John 7:16–18 (ESV) 16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. John 7:46 (ESV) 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” John 8:28 (ESV) 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. John 8:31 (ESV) 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, John 8:43–47 (ESV) 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” John 10:1–5 (ESV) 1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Implication: what do you do with the voice of Jesus? If you listen to his voice, then you are his. But if you are hardened toward him or indifferent, then you are outside of him. See the warning was, recognize that this word of Jesus is even more significant than ignoring a prophet. Ignoring a prophet was bad. This is much worse. Likewise so is the corresponding comfort. Don’t leave the substance for the shadow. For them there was the temptation to return back to the former shadow. For us, the Son is the final and authoritative word. And God has graciously revealed himself to us. Instead of humans bringing parts and pieces you get God bringing you the complete and final word. So, for those original hearers…Think about it… Every patriarch was beset by sin Moses didn’t even get into the promised land because of his unbelief and anger that misrepresented God Elijah was used mightily by the Lord but then went into depression because of self-pity and fear of man and unbelief Jesus speaks a better word. God has spoken to us in his Son. Only reliable source for truth is God himself. There’s no other voice that you can trust except the voice of God. No other voice you need except the voice of God in Jesus Christ. This is to be your trust… Pulpit? As much as you can trust it, as it conforms to God’s Word. God speaks here as much as his word is the content. But his voice alone contains no error. Experts? Science? Politicians? The government? The academy? Hopelessly agenda-driven. Fallible. Self? Own thoughts. Your own feelings. Your own way of doing things? It’s as though God is still speaking today through what he spoke before. That’s the living and abiding word of God. It is a final, conclusive word. That means that we can soundly reject any prophet coming today to speak new revelation from God. Many false Christs. Many false prophets. Claiming they have new revelation from God. Claiming they know when Jesus is returning. Claiming all kinds of personal insights and authorities. Implications… How can I disregard in my thoughts and with my life? How can I distrust such a worthy word? How can I be indifferent? Comfort Commands Promises Warnings How can I not be humbled? What sets me apart from those who haven’t heard… or who have heard, and haven’t listened? Nothing… I’m a scoffer. Were it not for the grace of God there go I… But if you hear his voice as your shepherd, then you belong to the fold. How gracious that God speaks at all. Let alone came to speak to us in these last days. Do not be astonished if an emperor writes to us, for he is man. Wonder rather that God wrote the law for human beings and has spoken to us through his Son (Anthony, in Athanasius, Life of Anthony, 81). 11 Well as we said, this opening four verses is one sentence. And it presents Jesus as the superior prophet, the ultimate priest and the greatest king. This week we saw him as prophet, next week Lord willing we will see him as priest and king. Our great Messiah. We will see the qualities of this Son whom we have heard God speak to us through.

Seforimchatter
With Prof. David Berger discussing Jewish - Christian debate in the Middle Ages

Seforimchatter

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 18, 2021 70:56


#72.With Prof. David Berger discussing Jewish - Christian debate in the Middle Ages We discussed his critical edition of the class work, "Nizzahon Vetus", the various disputations (Ramban in Barcelona and others), and much more.

NeuroEdge with Hunter Williams
Episode 119 - The Essene Mirrors

NeuroEdge with Hunter Williams

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 17, 2021 27:09


Episode 119 - The Essene MirrorsThe Essenes were a religious sect of Jewish Christians that existed shortly after the death of Christ.  They have some really interesting teachings and were thought to be the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Today I talk about one of their teaching frameworks known as the Essene Mirrors.Video Link: https://youtu.be/bpQrHJZ7FssYoutube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEkqz4gWjlIRaQx_zWgTZqQ?view_as=subscriberEnlightened Masculine Fellowship Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/724343234977152 If you join our community:

Pastor Joe Sugrue - Grace and Truth Podcast
Title: Ephesians 4:3-6; One Faith “ Clarifying James 2, part 2.

Pastor Joe Sugrue - Grace and Truth Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 7, 2021 60:00


Wednesday April 7,2021 The great problem passage of Jam 2 - "Faith without works is dead." We noted that James wrote his letter to Jewish Christians dispersed by persecution. He wrote at the very start of the church, in which most Christians were Jewish. We also noted that James was writing to those who had drifted from their spiritual life and become friends with the world and perpetually carnal. for full notes: https://www.cgtruth.org/index.php?proc=msg&sf=vw&tid=2412

Deep Spirituality
How to Get Churches More Comfortable with Change

Deep Spirituality

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 18, 2021 20:35


He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners. [12] In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds. [13] Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.” [14] “No, Lord,” Peter declared. “I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean. ” [15] But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” [16] The same vision was repeated three times. Then the sheet was suddenly pulled up to heaven.Acts 10:11-16 NLTThe New Testament church was faced with a cultural change. When Gentiles became Christians, it was first met with resistance from the more religious Jewish Christians. They wanted to make them conform to their culture, like eating certain kinds of foods, instead of accepting and embracing their differences. But God taught Peter that he is about so much more than culture. He wants to reach hearts, not conform behaviors.Our churches today are faced with the same dilemma. We too must question our traditions and be willing to change. This doesn't mean compromising spiritual and biblical convictions, but welcoming and embracing people who are different. Join Russ and friends as they continue to discuss how to get churches more comfortable with change.