Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Disobedience and Obedience

Today I got into looking at the word 'obedience' in II Corinthians 2:5 and 6:
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. II Corinthians 10:5-6
First of all, it is important to look at these verses in light of the context.  This particular section is about the criticisms that had been leveled at Paul. He was reminding them about judging the way things look rather than looking at things spiritually.

In light of this, the word 'obedience' is translated from the Greek word 'hupakoe' which is from two words 'hypo' (beneath) and 'akouo' (to hear); literally it means 'to hear attentively'. The word 'disobedience' is 'parakoe' (imperfect hearing, parallel hearing, hearing alongside). All this is referring to our thought reasonings(imaginations= logismous- logic). Remember Romans 10:17:?
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Listening attentively to the word brings faith (trust in God). Read Matthew 21:21-22!

Truth is truth, regardless of comparing ourselves to each other, boasting and moving in areas that are not our assignment (vs. 12-16). Our job is to listen attentively to Christ, through the word and utilization of the spirit.

The other day I happened to catch a short clip of a television minister and what he happened to be talking about was something I had been working in the word. It was great and I knew it was from God for me to hear what he was saying. If I was to just physically assess this preacher (he looked more like a biker than a world-renown preacher) I would have missed a rich nugget.  Even if I don't totally understand some of his scriptural points of view, I got something out of this one point because of my own studying of the word and the spirit of God working in my heart.

Later on in Corinthians, Paul says:
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity (singleness) that is in Christ. 
II Corinthians 11:5-6
The whole message of Christ is messianic. God provided a way to himself through Jesus Christ. He provided the gift of holy spirit to connect us all together without losing our unique and individual relationship with him. It is amazingly simple! As we ask God for answers, we get them if we listen attentively. (Reread II Corinthians 10-11 about his topic)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Who are you to judge?

The Book of Judges is taking on new meaning for me in light of this current time we are experiencing. There is nothing new under the sun! Of course, when reading the Old Testament we
have to remember that it is the OLD Testament and that there is a NEW Testament, but there are some things that have not changed between the two.

Human nature hasn't seemed to change.  Human beings are still subject to evil. Not only are humans subject to evil, we have the choice to engage in it either by ignorance of deliberate decision.

God's original and eternal intention was and still is to bless his creation . When something goes awry it is something other than God that is setting a variance to the creation he set up. The trouble is when something goes wrong, man's natural inclination is to respond to what is wrong and diminish our relationship with God. We, humans, are great complainers when we engage our negative selfishness. It is not wrong to care about ourselves, we should, but to push it into a negative mindset and continue to stay hunkered down there is not what God had in mind for us. God has given us so many 'outs' for this dilemma, that it is a wonder why evil still floats around. God is given us so much through his love in his creation, his word, his spirit and his son. That is where our focus should be. Light dispels darkness, not the other way around. Focusing on the light is the only way out of any deep hole!

In Judges, it is a constant cycle of self-interest, stumbling, complaining, giving up, crying out and eventual deliverance similar to what is recorded in The Book of Exodus. God is so patient!
In each cycle, God was able to find someone to lead people out of the dark corners that they had drifted into.

Who were these judges? These were people who knew what they had to do because they loved God. They were not perfect but they must have been able to listen to God. Othniel was the first judge.  He was related to Caleb of whom we know 'wholly followed' the Lord. Othniel also had shown the same kind of tenacity in taking care of the enemy who had invaded the land in Judges 1.
10 And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the Lord delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim. Judges 3:1
The result was 40 years of rest for God's people!

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ is the rescuer today. Because of his life, every believer has the spirit of God in them to discern the good and the bad of this world without fear. Jesus Christ exposed the adversary and the idols that draw people away from God. He is the head of the church today and he lives on forever. We can distinguish those things that distract, oppress and abuse us and stand up without fear holding us back because of his living reality.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Government

The Book of Judges is a very relevant book in light of today's culture. God's first and foremost intent is a "Theocratic" government or more simply put, simply God ruling directly over his people. So where did labels like democratism, republicanism, socialism, monarchism, communism come from?

In the early days of the New Testament, God raised up a leader to lead his people by communicating spiritually to that leader. After Joshua died, God did not select another leader to guide the Hebrews.  It was not God's will for God's nation to be ruled by one man.
29 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash. 31 And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel.Joshua 24:29-31
Judges arose during Israel's 'Theocracy' because of problems, sin and bad situations that developed for the Hebrews. A cycle of governance was repeated over and over again during Israel's history of that time.
11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: 12 And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger.
13 And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. 14 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.
16 Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. 17 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so.
18 And when the Lord raised them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.
19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way. Joshua 2:11-19
This could be written today and applied to our culture today. Our government is not a theocracy as evidenced by confusion, corruptness, immorality, lack of believing, greed and self-centeredness. When  people turn their backs to the God who created the universe, man scrambles to construct 'ism's' in God's place to control and regulate the problems that ensue. The only way to get rid of problems is to follow the right way and get back to loving and believing God.

http://truefrase.blogspot.com/2012/10/god-bless-america.html


Monday, October 3, 2016

Part II - Reconciliation and Propitiation

In the New Testament, the King James Version, uses the word 'atonement' only once in Romans 5:11:
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Romans 5:11
The Greek work that 'atonement' is translated from is the Greek word, 'katalagge' which in the other 5 places that it is used is translated 'reconciliation'. This word has been defined as 'restoration to favor' and tied to the greek verb, 'to reconcile'  indicating 'to change thoroughly'. Probably the translators should have stayed with the word 'reconciliation' rather than 'atonement'. The words reconciliation and to be reconciled are also found in II Corinthians 5:18-20:
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Corinthians 5:18-19
 It is important to recognize that reconciliation involves being reconciled to God. It is in turning to God that we receive all that God has made available to us. When we have our back to God we don't receive. There is absolutely no darkness in God; God is pure love. Darkness comes upon us when we turn away from the light.

Sin is turning our back to God. It is when we take off in a dark direction, ignoring the light. Jesus Christ was a light unto the world:
12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.John 8:1
This ties into the word 'propitiation'.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. I John 4:9-11
In the New Testament Covenant, the way back to God is not through the blood of lambs, goats or bird or bulls offered on a continual basis.  Instead, Jesus Christ was the once and all time propitiation and path for victory over darkness for  all men specifically for those who choose to change direction and follow light.

The word of reconciliation has been committed to us. God is very much in favor of reconciliation to him. In II Corinthians 5:19-20 above, notice the phrase "not imputing their trespasses unto them". Does God focus on sin? No! Does God focus on having a relationship with him? It certainly seems so!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Part I: Covered- Atonement

In the Bible, the words, atonement, reconciliation, propitiation, are huge building blocks in scripture. Many theologians write about what these words mean and it can get very confusing because of the various theologies that have been spawned. The best place to look is God's word. God never intended to make his word difficult, therefore we need to keep it simple and expect to get answers from him.

The word 'atonement' is almost exclusively used in the Old Testament.  In Genesis 6:14, the first usage of the Hebrew word for atonement is 'kaphar' and translated 'pitch'.  'Pitch' was a tarry substance.  It was a sealer God instructed Noah to cover the ark in pitch :
14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. Genesis 6:14
The ark had to be covered inside and out to prevent leaks.  Atonement in the Old Testament was a covering. It was a type of rescue on a temporary basis.The Hebrews had various offerings and sacrifices that could be used  to worship, receive forgiveness and exhibit commitment to God. These offerings were repeated and continued for reconciliation with God.

The next few places in the word where atonement is found is in Exodus 29-30 and indeed shows repeated action:
10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the Lord. Exodus 30:10
In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lived in paradise, until they chose to not listen to God and thus sinned. Sin is simply not listening to God and therefore consequences develop because people look to something else other than God.

What caused the problems in Genesis 3? It wasn't God. God is love and in God  is no darkness at all. As a result, he provided Adam and Eve with coats of skin  from animals for a covering. They had made fig leaves to cover their shame of their nakedness.
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. Genesis 3:21
God meets needs of people where they at in their minds. Covering up is not God's heart.

Jesus Christ, who was God's propitiation, brought about true, permanent reconciliation with God.  In the New Testament, the Greek word from which reconciliation was translated from means to change thoroughly. Reconciliation with God is to have a complete relationship with God.

Next: Reconciliation,Propitiation

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