Saturday, June 25, 2011

omG! With a Capital 'G'!!

In the world today or for that matter in history, there is not some elitist group of scholars who are the only people who could truly understand God and His Word. Just read Peter’s magnificent sermon on the day of Pentecost  (check out the quote from Joel) and bask in the tremendous love that God poured out that day. The Word of God is the breath of God! If God chose to communicate to man via language and eventually with spirit in all, isn’t it conceivable that it is all quite readily available for anyone who chooses to believe?

I am thankful for men like Luther and all the reformers whose desire it was to place the Word in the hands of everyday people. I am thankful for those people who stick to the integrity of the Word and not push it beyond where God intended it to go in order to elevate their own way of thinking and importance.

In Acts 4:1-13 there is an interesting section where the religious leaders were grieved that Peter taught the people about Jesus Christ and the resurrection from the dead. Shouldn’t they have been happy that Jesus Christ was preached and that PEOPLE would begin to understand what the resurrection means? Unfortunately these religious leaders were elitist (the word ‘pharisee’ means ‘separate’- omg with a little ‘g’) snobs that Jesus Christ confronted time after time.

Peter was just a simple fisherman. Tracing his life through the book of Acts, it is easy to see why God gave him the mission that he did. In Acts 10, as he continued to give and grow, it is plain to see his meekness and humility to God as he ‘did the doing’ of God’s Word. In his last entry in God’s word (II Peter 3), he refers to ‘our beloved brother Paul’ and the Pauline epistles as the ‘wisdom given unto him’ that he ‘hath written unto you’. Peter warns about those that are unlearned (untaught) and unstable (not firmly set) that ‘wrest’ or’ twist’ the Word (Check the word  ‘wrest’ out in Bullinger’s Lexicon).  Paul spoke and wrote the Word that he was taught by God.

How do you know when you have the Word of God?  Take a look at what Jesus Christ said in John 7:14-18:
Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Judeans there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?” Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.

All the men and women of history from Jesus Christ to Peter, Paul, the reformers or anyone who chooses to DO the Word of God will know it is true! Both doctrine and practice bring about the will of God. The first two letters in 'doctrine' are "do"! Anyone who does the Word ends up glorifying God!

“Oh my God!”

Monday, June 20, 2011

Spiritual Authority

There are many types of authority, but none is as powerful as spiritual authority.  It is not something that is sought, it is something that is given. It is what grace is all about. There is no mistaking it. It’s the wind in your sails undaunted by waves, storms or lightning. It moves mountains, and the impossible becomes possible. It is not obtained  by works, but by believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and all that it represents.

Abraham is called the ‘father of believing’. God promised him a fruitful life and He never backed off on that promise. Even when the law was given to Moses, God still remained faithful to what he promised Abraham. Abraham looked to the coming Christ and what it would mean as an inheritance from God.
Galatians 3:17-19: And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.  For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave (Link-charizomai) it to Abraham by promise.  Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, til the seed should come to whom the promise was made;
Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The Galatians of Paul’s time needed to hear this, as do many people who think they are justified by the law today. The law has no spiritual power because grace, which is the power of God imparted to us, is unearned. It is believed.
Galatians 5:4: Christ is become of no effect (Link-katargeo) unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

If God is the wind in your sails, why would you want to jump overboard and swim back to shore? Works take us back to the shoals of fruitless action. Putting up with the navigational hazards of shallow water, seems safe but it renders a vessel powerless not to mention it wrecks the prop when you start the engine.
Spiritual authority and power is not just reserved for those of certain calling. We all have a calling. Every person in Christ has access to God through the Word and His spirit within. Not recognizing this produces spiritually immature people who become dependent on others as well as their own limited strength rather than God.
With our sails up in believing, having the love of God from the Word as our rudder, and the hope of Christ’s return as an ready and waiting anchor, we can get to wherever need to go.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What is Truth?

What is truth? The question of all questions!  Pilate put the same question to Jesus. It is recorded in John 18:37-40,19:1:
Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?
Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber. Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.
Pilate had the truth looking him straight in the eye. Did he wait for an answer to that question? No, his concern was his position as the Roman prefect. Seeing that Jesus was not a threat to Roman government, he had done his job. That was it. All that was left for him to do was to court public opinion. He played to the crowd. He found no fault yet scourged him.

Pilate let something else do his thinking for him. It was his position, his perception of himself, his lazy attitude toward truth and just basically his own fear that motivated him. That is not freedom.

Today in any category of life we have the same choice. We can make decisions based on truth or we can look in other directions. There certainly are plenty of options. We say we are the ones to decide our own life, but in reality are we just turning our life's decisions over to something else or way of thinking. It is evident that this type of thinking leads only to entanglement and self-deception.

We have the same opportunity in life of looking into the same eyes that Pilate looked into and believe his life is the way, the truth and life.  The God of truth never controls, he sent His son to show us freedom and if we chose him we are free (link) indeed!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Strength, Assurance

In Luke 22:32 Jesus Christ spoke to Peter some great words:
Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted (strepho), strengthen (link -sterizo) thy brethren.
Even though Peter in the whirlwind of the crucifixion times, denied Christ several times, he stood up strengthened on the day of Pentecost after receiving the gift from God of holy spirit and delivered one of the boldest sermons in the history of mankind.  Peter delivered that sermon. No one coerced him. He boldly stood up with assurance of what had happened and he was to impart it to his brethren.

Paul, later in the book of Romans, Paul displays this same calling.
Romans 1:11 For I long (epipitheo- earnestly desire) to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift (charisma), to the end ye may be established ;
To strengthen people, means laying out the truth before people.  It is helping them see the same reassurance God provides to all who believe, that of holy spirit. In each of our lives, the risen Christ rests within our spirit with great potential. It becomes dynamic when the individual realizes his strength to accomplish his own unique great things for God.
Romans 16:25-27 Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery (Colossians 1:27), which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend and we got to talking about respect and the current culture. He made a statement to me t...