Jan. 2016- worst 1st 2 weeks for DOW- ever
Cross eyed ‘friend’
NEW STUFF [Past posts- verses below]
William Wilberforce [1759-1883] was part of the Clapham community in the late 1700’s- early 1800’s.
These were a group of socially minded Christians [Evangelicals] who had influence in the British Parliament.
Wilberforce was the most influential of the group- and was called the Nightingale of the House of Commons because he gave passionate speeches on the behalf of social justice Issues.
The believers at Clapham [a village about 3 miles outside of London] started Bibles societies- worked for the reform of the prisons in Britain- the ‘betterment of the poor’-
And their greatest cause was the outlawing of the slave trade in Britannia.
In the 1500’s the British began capturing Blacks in Africa and selling them in the West Indies.
The practice grew and at around 1770- there were estimated to have been 100,000 Blacks a year captured and transported by ship.
Britain was responsible for about half of the total number of blacks captured and sold.
Wilberforce fought to stop the trade- he called it his ‘Holy enterprise’’.
Yet- there was much resistance to banning the practice-because it was indeed a profitable venture.
In 1807 he finally pushed thru a law that stopped the shipping of the Blacks- and in 1883- the parliament banned slavery altogether under the leadership of Thomas Buxton- an associate of Wilberforce.
4 days before the death of Wilberforce.
The Christians at Clapham were called by God- not to abandon their role in government- but to remain in the parliament [there were about 5 in parliament- others were wealthy and had positions of influence- yet they used their voice for social change].
.CAN WE WEAR SHORT, SHORTS?
.THE ATHEIST KNEW
NEW NOTES BELOW-
. ON EATING MEAT [I wrote this commentary years ago- so I added some recent notes below].
.DAVID KORESH- KING CYRUS?
.RETHINKING HOMELESS MINISTRY.
.TIMOTHY CHAPTER 6]
(869)ROMANS 14:1-9 Paul discusses Christian convictions. Things that are personal habits of discipline where the scripture is silent on. Some believers abstain from certain types of food. Others see certain days as ‘more special’ than the others. It’s important to see that in this discussion Paul is not concerned with ‘who is right’. Though he will describe the legalistic believers as ‘weak in the faith’. And he himself will say he is convinced that ‘nothing is unclean in and of itself’. He is speaking about the convictions mentioned above. When I first became a believer I attended a good church. It was a Fundamental Baptist church that was a little legalistic in these areas. I remember a funny story, some of the brothers went on a canoe trip. We had a blast. One of the guys was wearing these old cut off shorts that looked like ‘blue jean hot pants’ [who wears short shorts, we wear short shorts!] the pants were old and the ‘fly’ kept unzipping. We told the brother ‘hey James, your gonna get us arrested or something if you can’t keep your shorts on!’. He got mad and called us a bunch of legalists! As you can see there are times where this accusation can simply be an excuse. But seriously the church was old fashioned [though well meaning]. I had another friend of mine that I led to the Lord and he asked ‘what’s wrong with the Christian rock, I like it’? He had heard some songs from the group Petra and he thought they were great. He also questioned why it was wrong for his boys to play mixed sports in public school. He was taught that the boys and girls wearing shorts in mixed company was wrong. So things like this are personal convictions that believers should not use to judge others. I want to stress that Paul does not condemn the more legalistic brothers, but he does make it clear that this is a sign of ‘weaker faith’. A faith that looks at the insignificant things and makes them significant. Many ‘Emergent’ church folk [of which I am one to a degree] seem to have had this type of background. Or at least are familiar with the classic evangelical message and preaching. Some have found a revolution in their thinking by re-organizing their lives around the actual lifestyle and teachings of Christ [which is a very good thing!]. But some seem to despise the older type churches and expressions of Christianity that they experienced while growing up. Some even cast away the good with the bad! Though many of the more legalistic churches practiced this type of Christianity, yet I commend them on spreading the gospel of Gods grace. Taking seriously their faith in the Lord. And being historic defenders of the faith at a time when the more liberal universities were throwing out the baby with the bathwater [the 20th century fundamentalist movement].
(870)ROMANS 14: 10-23 ‘As I live…every knee shall bow and every tongue confess’. Paul teaches that we will all give an account of ourselves to God. He shows that one of the proofs that ‘he lives’ rides on this fact. How? The context of every one giving an account of his life is speaking of a future judgment day. But we also see the reality of Gods existence in the fact that most people [even atheists!] have at one time or another ‘spoken to God’. I was listening [or reading?] a testimony of a woman who was an atheist. Her child became critically ill and as the days went by in the hospital she had a conversation that went like this ‘I cant pray to God now. I would be a hypocrite. I have denied him my whole life’. The point is she actually knew that in time of need you should pray to God. This universal reality that most people on the planet have at one time or another ‘confessed to God’ is proof of his existence. Paul says because of this fact that we all will give an account to God, therefore don’t judge other people [motives] before the time. If you have the freedom to ‘eat meat’ [less legalistic] then by all means do so. But if this freedom causes another to stumble, then your first priority as a Christian is to live your life in an unselfish way for the benefit of others. So do not let your freedom become an offence to those who have ‘weaker faith’. Do all things with the benefit of others in mind. When Paul says ‘don’t judge your brother’ he is not saying there is never a time for correction and reproof. Paul used very harsh language when dealing with the Judaizers. These Jewish legalists did believe in Christ, they just mixed the law in with the gospel. Paul rebuked them harshly [just like Jesus and the religious leaders of his day]. But when dealing with new believers, those who are ‘weaker in the faith’ you don’t want to overload them with too much stuff. You want them to grow and mature in the proper time. If you used to be legalistic [not going to movies, not eating pork, all types of stuff] and now are more mature in your thinking [though some movies are bad and pork isn’t real good for you!] you should not despise those who still see the practice of their faith thru this lens. Paul said ‘he that eats, eats unto the Lord. He that abstains does it also to the lord’. In these less important restrictions that some believers abide by, most of the times their motives are pure. We shouldn’t demean them. We should try to live peaceably with all men as much as possible, we will all give an account some day.
IS EATING MEAT OK?
The question of food and Holy Days are a subject that the Apostle Paul deals with more than one time in his letters to the churches.
For us today- it might not seem like a big issue- but for various reasons it was an issue for the 1st century church.
When he wrote the church at Corinth- their issue was whether or not it was ok to eat meat sacrificed to idols.
Corinth had a tradition [non-Christian that is] where the town folk would sacrifice animals to various ‘gods’.
Now- the priests who dealt in this trade- would take the leftover meat from the animal- and either eat it- or sell it to the local ‘butcher’.
These sacrifices were to false gods [also understood to be demon entities by the 1st century Jewish/Christian communities].
So- the question was- is it ok to eat the meat?
The apostle Paul tells them that we know there are no other gods but the true God- and meat in general is ok for us living under the New Covenant [he also says in the End Times some will command to not eat meat- and that God gave us all animals to be received with thanksgiving].
So- in general- the meat was fine.
But- if doing it offends a weaker brother- then don’t eat it.
Meat also played a big role in another sense- the Jewish converts to Christianity were indeed taught kosher rules for food/meat.
Were these converts not to obey their old religious rules about food?
We read of this type of debate all thru the New testament- not just about meat- but about the whole transition of the Jewish believers- and their relationship to the Old Law.
In Acts chapter 13- and 15 you can get a good feel of this debate.
There are Christians today who still struggle with the Old Law- and how we today should relate to it.
Paul says he is persuaded that there is nothing unclean in and of itself [here talking about food- not things like adultery- which some of my friends think is ok- I can’t stress enough that when the bible says ‘nothing is unclean in and of itself’- it is NEVER TALKING ABOUT BREAKING THE 10 COMMANDMENTS].
So- in the end- if in areas of what we call Christian convictions- it’s simply a matter of choice-
If the bible is silent on an issue- then lean towards grace-
But- if your freedom hurts your brother- because he thinks it’s a bad thing- then be willing to abstain from it- like eating the meat that was sacrificed to the idol- at least while their around.
Some see a contradiction in Paul's teaching- at one point he says ‘meats ok- even if part of it was used as a sacrifice to idols’- yet he also says ‘don’t eat at THE TABLE with devils [demons]’.
Ok- one of the practices at the city of Corinth was you ate in a sort of ‘demonic’ Eucharist- those who worshiped false gods had a sort of meal like Christians celebrated- which we call Holy Communion.
These idol worshippers did sort of the same thing- they ate together at their own TABLE_ in a sort of celebration of their gods-
So- Paul did forbid this practice- he told the church at Corinth you cannot eat at the table of the Lord and the table of devils-
If you were actually participating at the Table- eating the meat there- in celebration of the false god- then it’s wrong.
But- if you simply bought some of the left over meat- at the local butcher- that was fine.
No contradiction at all.
KING CYRUS- DAVIVD KORESH?
Paul uses a quote from Isaiah 45 ‘every knee shall bow- tongue confess’ – talking about God using a pagan king- King Cyrus- to restore Israel to their land.
We read about him in the book of Ezra and Daniel-
He gave the famous decree for God’s people to return to their land [2nd Chronicles 36, Ezra 1].
Josephus the historian indicates that Cyrus was shown the prophecy about him [written by Isaiah about 150 years before].
It’s possible that Daniel himself showed this to Cyrus- being he held a high position in the Persian empire- at this time.
David Koresh- the infamous leader of the branch Davidians [a breakaway sect from the 7TH day Adventist church] took his name from Cyrus-
Koresh is the Persian name for Cyrus the Great.
.IS THIS ABOUT US GETTING STUFF?
.WHO ‘RAN’ THE CHURCH?
.WHAT WAS PAUL’S SERVICE TO THE CHURCH?
(739) ACTS 9- Paul gets permission from the high priest to go to
Damascus and arrest the believers. On his way
the Lord appears to him and Paul is told to go to Damascus and wait for instructions. He is
blind for 3 days. God gives a vision to Ananias and tells him to go to Paul in
Judas house, because he too had a vision of a man coming to him and laying
hands on him. Ananias is afraid but does it at the Lords insistence. I want you
to see the role of visions and divine guidance in this event. The purpose of
the visions and supernatural events has nothing to do with the canon of
scripture. Some teach that the only reason you had supernatural guidance in the
early days was because the canon was not complete. But after its completion you
no longer had these types of things. First, no where is this doctrine taught in
scripture. Second, you did not have total agreement on ‘the canon’ [all the
books that make up our bibles] until the 4th century! Now you did
have a basic group of letters and writings that were accepted as authoritative,
but there was not total agreement. Many early believers had the epistles of
Barnabas and a few other letters that were accepted. Some did not include
Revelation at all. Others questioned Hebrews and James. You also did not have a
workable, readable ‘bible’ in actual book form until the 12th-13th
century! That's right, the actual form of our modern books was not invented
until that late date. Plus the availability of books on a mass scale did not
appear until the Guttenberg printing press of the 16th century. Just
in time for Luther’s Reformation! The first book printed on his press was the
Guttenberg bible. So the point is, the idea that somehow right after the early
Apostles died off you had all believers going to ‘their bibles for direction’
as opposed to having dreams or visions or other divine guidance, really isn’t a
workable solution. In this chapter God needed to get orders to his people, he gave
them visions! Now Paul immediately preaches Christ as the Son of God and
Messiah. He stirs up the waters and they sneak him out of town and send him to Jerusalem. The church at
Jerusalem are leery of him, Barnabas vouches for him and he is received. He
starts preaching there and once again they want to kill him. He eventually is
sent back to his area of Tarsus.
Now Peter is still on the road preaching Christ. He heals a man at Lydda and
many come to the Lord. A woman named Tabitha dies at Joppa, a town close to
Lydda. They call for Peter to come and he does and raises her from the dead.
What are we seeing here? An early church [community of believers] preaching the
gospel and doing miracles and affecting large regions without lots of money.
Without hardly any organization. Without setting up ‘local churches’ in the
sense that each area has separate ‘places’ they see as ‘local churches’ with
salaried pastors running the ‘churches’. You are seeing a radical movement of
Christ followers who are sacrificially giving there lives away for the gospel.
No prayer meetings on ‘how in the world are we going to reach the region for
the Lord. We need tons of cash’! They believed the simple instructions Jesus
gave to them on going into all the world and preaching the gospel. Sure there
will be times where support is sent to help them make it to the next location.
But the whole concept of needing tons of cash and to build huge ‘church
buildings/organizations’ and to set up salaried ministers is not seen in this
story. I do not think the development of these things over the centuries means
‘all the churches are deceived’ type of a thing. All ‘the churches’ [groups of
believers who are presently identifying themselves this way] are great people
of God. They are doing the works of Jesus and functioning to a degree in the
paradigm that they were given [either thru their upbringing or training]. But
today we are seeing a rethinking of the ‘wineskin’ [that which contains the new
wine] on a mass scale. As we read this story in Acts I want to challenge your
mindset. Don’t fit the story into your present understanding of ‘local church’.
But let your understanding of ‘ ’ be formed thru
scripture. This chapter said ‘the churches had rest and were edified and were
walking in the fear of the Lord’. The ‘churches’ are defined as all the
communities of believers living in these various locations! Local
(740) ACTS 10- This is another key chapter in Acts. Peter is still in Joppa and while praying on the roof he has a vision. God shows him all the non kosher animals that Jews were forbidden to eat and says ‘rise Peter, kill and eat’. Peter refuses and tells the Lord he has never allowed himself to eat unclean stuff. The Lord reveals to him the principle of not making judgments of what is ‘clean or unclean’ according to the old standards of the law. It is important to fully see this. God wasn’t simply saying ‘now all things are clean’ he was saying ‘the old prism of law and moral standards are no longer to be used as the measuring rule of clean or unclean’. Now, was God throwing out all ‘measuring rules’? No! He will flatly show Peter that ‘all who believe in Jesus are justified from all things that you could never be justified from BY THE LAW’. In essence God is saying to Peter ‘Jesus is the new measuring rule!’ [Actually he was the original one the law always pointed to]. Well at the same time Peter has this vision, a man named Cornelius has an angel appear to him and tells him to send men to Joppa and get Peter. So as Peter is wondering about his vision of the unclean animals, the brothers knock on the door and relate the angels message to him. Peter goes to Cornelius house and preaches the gospel and the Gentiles become believers. Is this the first time we see Gentile converts in Acts? No. Phillip converted the Ethiopian eunuch in chapter 8. But this is seen as the Lord giving Peter the ‘keys’ of the kingdom to the Gentiles. In the gospels we read how Peter was given the keys to the kingdom. Our Catholic brothers see the office of Pope as ‘the keys’. I think a better view is to see how the Lord used Peter in Acts 2 and here to be the one to ‘introduce’ the gospel to both Jew and Gentile. Keys open things. They open doors. Jesus is the open door that Peter walked them thru by faith. Now we also see Peter preaching justification by faith for the first time in Acts. His other invitations were legitimate, but they focused on repentance and baptism. Here Peter says ‘and to him give all the prophets witness that whoever believes in him shall receive remission of sins’. Now I have taught this before on this blog. I try not to make excuses for the teaching by Peter on baptism. He even says in his epistle ‘the like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us, not the washing away of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a pure heart towards God’ [quick quote, go find it for an exact wording!]. Now, if you do a word check on this blog, probably in the section ‘prophecies, dreams, visions part 2’ and you find the teaching on baptism from Acts 2:38, I do give an explanation on this. I believe we are seeing the natural progression of greater understanding that Peter and the brothers were attaining as they progressed on the journey. I showed you how Stephens sermon in acts 7 hit on Pauline theology for the first time in Acts. A few chapters later we see Peter quoting a scripture on ‘all who believe’ are justified. The first connection from Peter on ‘believe and be justified’. Now that Peter has opened this ‘door’ we will see Paul preach this thru out the rest of the book. We see the famous verse in acts 16 ‘believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, and your house’. The point is we are seeing not only the development of the Body of Christ in this book, but also the development of Christian theology. Many believers fight over these various verses and even trace the authenticity of their movements to these verses. Others try to brand you as a heretic over which scriptures you see as the ‘conversion text’. While I fully agree with the doctrine of Justification by faith as one of the foundational doctrines of scripture, I avoid calling the churches who trace their ‘altar call’ experience to water baptism as ‘Cambellites/heretics’. I also disagree with those who are strong water baptism advocates when they say those who do not believe in full submersion are not Christian. In this chapter these Gentiles were justified by passive belief! No evangelical altar call at all ‘the Spirit fell on all who heard the word’. Peter says ‘can we forbid water to those who received the Spirit like we did’? There was no altar call because Peter would have never given one! Even though God gave him the whole vision and all, yet they were shocked when God actually ‘saved them’. So we see the will of God in accepting all who believe in Jesus. The justifying of these Gentiles was passive, they had no ‘sinners prayer’ they were justified before they got in the water. So to all those
Catholic and Orthodox brothers] it is not totally wrong to trace your outward
experience of becoming a Christian to the time of baptism [I will not get into
infant baptism here!]. But it also is not wrong to trace it to the time of
simple belief. Gods purpose is to save people. Acts is revealing to us the
progressive journey of man with God. God does put down the requirement to
‘believe in Christ’. The entrance into communion with God is limited to all who
believe in him! But don’t make it harder than this. NOTE- I didn’t get into all
the particulars of repentance and baptism and exactly how many ‘steps’ you need
to ‘get saved’. Seeing Acts this way misses the main thrust of the book. But
let me add, why don’t we see Peter mention repentance here? Cornelius is called
‘one who feared God’. This description didn’t just mean ‘he prayed and fasted’
it actually described Gentile converts to Judaism. These were called ‘God
Fearers’. They practiced Judaism already, except for the rite of circumcision.
So this fact meant they ‘already repented’ to a degree. The law did teach
repentance well. It had a system that engrained the moral concept of sin and
repentance into man. Hebrews chapter 6 teaches this. So you can say Cornelius
and his relatives were already aware of sin and the need to turn from it [also
the basic elements of Johns baptism] so here Peter bypasses the repentance part
and simply shows them the missing ingredient, which was faith in Christ. Church
ACTS 11- Peter recounts his vision and experience he had at Cornelius house. The Jews at
were upset that he went and ate with non Jews. He explains that the Lord showed
him not to view these gentiles as unclean. They were accepted and made clean
thru Christ’s blood. The leadership at Jerusalem
agree [for now!] We begin to see the tension that will play out thru the rest
of the New Testament. This struggle between Jewish law and grace will become
the number one issue of contention in Paul’s letters. In this chapter we see
Barnabas go down to Antioch
and eventually get Paul
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1st Peter 1:23
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that thegoodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Romans.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John.#