Showing posts with label Christian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian. Show all posts

27 July 2019

A Few Thoughts About the Worship Service

1 Timothy 4:13 NRSV Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching.

Reading
B1 This is reading the Scriptures publicly.
B2 Importance
C1 Psalm 119:130 NLT The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.
C2 People need the Scriptures, because the natural person cannot understand it: Psalm 119:130 NLT The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.
C3 We need God’s help to understand: John 16:8 NLT And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God's righteousness, and of the coming judgment.
C4 Psalm 119:130 NLT The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.
C5 Psalm 19:7 NLT The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
C6 2 Timothy 3:15-16 NLT You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
B3 Suggestions
C1 Church lectionary (Example: daily, Sundays, Sundays 2, daily 2 (found under heading of “daily lectionary” a pdf file)
C2 The passage being preached/taught that Sunday.
C3 Daily reading plan for whole church to read at home. (Example here, here)
C4 The plan I use which reads a chapter from the Old Testament taking 3 years and one chapter from the New Testament, which takes 1 year. I ask 2 questions:
D1 What does this chapter mean?
D2 How do I apply it to my life?
D3 Example:
MORNING
Ezra 9
What does this mean?


How do I apply this to my life?


EVENING
2 Corinthians 1
What does this mean?


How do I apply this to my life?
C5 Hearing the Bible reading, whether online or through an app.
D1 Online suggestions: you can search YouTube or other online video source. You might like Daily One Year Bible where you can choose what version (This also has commentary/devotion, but I can’t vouch for that).
D2 App suggestions: Bible Gateway, Blue Letter Bible (the icon in the lower left corner of the app), YouVersion, and many others.

Exhorting
B1 This is encouraging and motivating ourselves and others to think and live as Christians.
B2 The Greek word is παράκλησις paráklēsis. It means appeal, encouragement, comfort. It is the answer for a cry of help. The encouragement in this passage, I believe, deals with an encouragement for motivation to learn, live, think, act in society publicly and private according to God’s way. It is not bullying, controlling, or having arrogance.
B3 A few examples
C1 2 Chronicles 33:16 NLT Then he restored the altar of the LORD and sacrificed peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He also encouraged the people of Judah to worship the LORD, the God of Israel.
C2 Ezra 6:14 NLT So the Jewish elders continued their work, and they were greatly encouraged by the preaching of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo. The Temple was finally finished, as had been commanded by the God of Israel and decreed by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, the kings of Persia.
C3 Acts 20:2 NLT While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. Then he traveled down to Greece,
C4 Acts 23:11 NLT That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, "Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well."

Teaching
B1 This is teaching the meaning and application of Scripture, doctrine, and apologetics.
B2 An example of teaching comes from our Lord Jesus in what is named the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).

The brothers and sisters share their gifts
B1 Ephesians 4:11 NLT Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
B2 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 NLT There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
B3 1 Corinthians 12:28 NLT Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages.

All Christians have a spiritual gift (1 Peter 4:10).
Since we have a gift, the Holy Spirit expects us to use it. (1 Timothy 4:14 and Luke 19:11-26).
All gifts are to build up the church (the people). (Ephesians 4:15-16)


Ephesians 5:18-20 NRSV Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit,  19  as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts,  20  giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:16-17 NRSV Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.  17  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

  • We are to teach each other through music.
  • We are to worship together through music.
  • We are to learn Scripture through music (Psalms).
  • We are to learn about the Scriptures through music.
  • We are to learn doctrine through music.
  • We are to honor God through music.
  • We are to admonish and encourage the faith, the faithful, and to be faithful through music.
  • We are to give thanks through music.
  • We are to do this in the name of the Lord Jesus through music. This is giving honor, recognition, and His approval of what we are singing and how we are singing.

01 July 2019

A Few Thoughts About Worldviews

A worldview is defined as A worldview is the set of beliefs about fundamental aspects of Reality that ground and influence all one's perceiving, thinking, knowing, and doing. (Source).

A list of worldview includes: Buddhistic, Islamic, Jehovah's Witness, Christian Science, Narcissistic, Feminism, Postmodernism, Social justice, Atheism, Agnosticism, Pantheism, Panentheism, Spirit, Simulation, satanic, Secularism, Marxism, New Spirituality, and many others.

According to the Bible there are only two: flesh and spirit.

Flesh
B1 The foundation this worldview is the self. It is evil. Jeremiah 17:9 NLT The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?
B2 It is out of our hearts that evil comes. Matthew 15:19 NLT For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.
B3 Original sin is NOT that we are punished for Adams’ sin. That is error!
C1 Ezekiel 18:19-20 NLT "'What?' you ask. 'Doesn't the child pay for the parent's sins?' No! For if the child does what is just and right and keeps my decrees, that child will surely live. The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent's sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child's sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness.
C2 Deuteronomy 24:16 NLT Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes.
B4 Original sin is Me First. It is my desires, thoughts, words, and deeds. Me, Me, Me. James 4:3 NLT And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
B5 God is not pleased with the flesh worldview: Ephesians 2:3 NLT All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God's anger, just like everyone else.
B6 Flesh and Spirit contrasted: Romans 8:5-8 NRSV For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (6) To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (7) For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law—indeed it cannot, (8) and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
B7 This is a worldview enslaved and addicted to sin:
C1 Galatians 3:22 NLT But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God's promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.
C2 Titus 3:3 NLT Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.
C3 1 Peter 4:3 NLT You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy--their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.
B8 What this worldview leads to (Some do more evil than others): Galatians 5:19-21 NLT When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
B9 This worldview has the desires of power, money, and sex.
B10 The 10 Commandments list the broad classifications of sins with many subsets of sins under each. (See Exodus 20).

Spirit
B1 Christians have been cleansed from, redeemed from, saved from:
C1 Ephesians 2:3 NLT All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God's anger, just like everyone else.
C2 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NLT Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people--none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
B2 We are warned to abandon the flesh worldview: Galatians 5:16-18 NLT So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
B3 The actions and fruits of the life with the worldview of the Spirit. These words have to be defined as God defines them in Scripture, not popular culture: Galatians 5:22-24 NLT But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.
B4 There are ~1,000 rules in the New Testament for Christians to follow. Some examples:
C3 James 4.

We have a choice to make. We can live by God’s worldview or the flesh. God’s grace is sufficient.

James 4:4-6 NLT You adulterers! Don't you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy? But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, "God opposes the proud but favors the humble.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NLT Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.

26 June 2019

A Few Thoughts About Christian Character Traits

James 3:8-9 WEL But the tongue can no one tame. [It is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless God, even the Father, and with the same we curse people, who are made according to God's likeness.
Colossians 3:9-10 WEL Don't lie to one another, seeing that you have completely rid yourself of the old nature with his deeds, 10 And have put on the new [nature], which is being renewed into knowledge according to the image of him who created him.

A Christian is to be acting in God’s image, that is, in reason and in God’s character.

We see a sampling of God’s character as seen in
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
  • 2 Peter 1:3-8
  • Galatians 5:22-23

These traits must be seen in us. Perhaps, it is only briefly at first, but with time and God’s training (chastening), it develops, so we become more consistent in the character traits that He is pleased with.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a WEL Love is very patient and kind; love is not envious; love doesn't brag about itself, is not haughty, 5 Doesn't behave improperly, is not self-seeking; love isn't easily aggravated, doesn’t keep a list of wrongs, 6 Doesn't rejoice in injustice, but rejoices in the truth, 7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends
B1 Love is part of the central character of God. Truth is the other.
C1 1 John 4:8 CSB The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
C2 Hebrews 6:18 CSB So that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us.
B2 Love, God’s love, is a choice. He chooses to love. The actions of love towards others are seen in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.
B3 We are to love God in this way and other humans. Luke 10:27 MKJV And answering, he said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus then gives an example in the illustration of the Good Samaritan.
B4 We are even to love our enemies. Clearly, this has to be a choice. Matthew 5: 44-45 PickeringNT But I say to you: love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, 45, that you may prove to be sons of your Father in the heavens; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust.

2 Peter 1:3-9 WEL Since his divine power has given to us everything [needful] for life and godliness through the thorough knowledge of him who has called us to glory and moral excellence. 4 Through this he has given very great and precious promises, so that by them we may become partakers of the divine nature, [since] we have escaped the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. 5 Beside this, be diligent to add to your faith moral excellence; to moral excellence add knowledge. 6 To knowledge add self-control; to self-control add perseverance; to perseverance add godliness. 7 To godliness add brotherly love; to brotherly love add unselfish, unconditional love. 8 For if these qualities are in you and are plentiful, they will make you not to be barren or unfruitful in the thorough knowledge concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he who lacks these qualities is blind, short sighted and become forgetful that he was totally cleansed from his past sins.
B1 This list encourages us to become partakers of the divine nature, that is, God’s communicable character traits. We need to have our thoughts, desires, words, and deeds as Jesus character traits are.
B2 God gives us the grace to do this. He also gives us the training and testing that we need. Hebrews 12:10 WEL Truly, they disciplined us for only a few days according to what seemed best to them, but he for our benefit, so that we may be partakers of his holiness.
B3 This is God’s desire for us: Romans 8:29 WEL Because whom he foreknew he also already appointed to conform to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
B4 We add to these traits by
C1 Knowing them, so we must study the New Testament, not only precepts but examples from the life of our Lord Jesus.
C2 Praying for them, so God will give us grace to do them.
C3 Fellowshipping with others, so we can encourage others and they encourage us.
B5 Note the warning: 2 Peter 1:9 But he who lacks these qualities is blind, short sighted and become forgetful that he was totally cleansed from his past sins.
Galatians 5:22-23 WEL But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
B1 The Spirit in this passage is the Holy Spirit.
B2 God, the Holy Spirit, works into us these traits, if we are willing.
B3 We must not resist His grace.
B4 If they are not seen privately and publicly, God will convict us. When He does we must repent. The fruit of repentance must be seen in that we do not practice these things anymore. Matthew 3:8 ESV Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. (Another translation: Matthew 3:8 NLT Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God).
B5 Our lives, our families, our churches, our society, our country, our government, our business, our world would be a different place, if all lived by this fruit.

Some questions
B1 Do we have the character traits that God wishes for us to have?
B2 What can we do to increase these traits?
B3 Why must we be consistent in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds in private as well as in public?

Psalm 124:8 NLT Our help is from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 119:20 NIV My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.

Psalm 119:34-36 NIV Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.

16 June 2019

A Few Thoughts About Preaching


2 Timothy 3:16-17 CSB All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

All preaching is to be based solidly on the Bible.

To teach
B1 To know what we believe
C1 Gospel
C2 Doctrine
B2 To know why we believe what we do
C1 Apologetics (we have a reasonable faith)
C2 How Christianity answers the big questions of life
B3 To know what a Christian worldview and lifestyle is
To convict
B1 Of sin
B2 Of truth
To expose sin leading to repentance
B1 The purpose of exposure is to lead to repentance and be converted (from their sin whether Christian or non-Christian).
B2 It is not unloving to preach about sins listed in the Bible
B3 We do NOT have to mention names or situations, unless it is abuse or other crime that we have to warn others of
B4 It protects the church, so we will be more pleasing to our Father
B5 To explain heresies
To encourage
B1 In words
B2 In deeds
B3 In help
B4 In fellowship
B5 In emotions
B6 In faith
B7 In families
B8 In persecution
To strengthen
B1 Faith
B2 Belief
B3 Trust
B4 Bible study
B5 Prayer
B6 Fellowship
B7 Serving
B8 Evangelism

Some things to not preach
B1 People are naturally good
B2 A pep talk
B3 A little tidbit to entertain
B4 A cute story to amuse
B5 A little story
B6 Politics
B7 Only current events
B8 Only social issues
B9 And many other similar things that can be discussed elsewhere other than church

13 June 2019

A Few Thoughts About Teaching the Christian Life

Philippians 4:9 WEL Those things, which you have learned, received, heard, and seen in me, do, and the God of peace will be with you.

We must have these traits already.

Learned
  • Purpose: Proverbs 1:1-7 NLT These are the proverbs of Solomon, David's son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles. Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
  • Correction: Proverbs 12:1 NLT To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.
  • God teaches us, too: Matthew 16:17 NLT Jesus replied, "You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.
  • From illustrations: Matthew 24:32 NLT "Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near.
  • From godly mentors: Philippians 3:17 NLT Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example.
  • Know the source of all wisdom and knowledge: Colossians 1:9-10 NLT So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
  • Learning from chastisement: 1 Timothy 1:20 NLT Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples. I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God.
  • Learning to live Godly lives (from New Testament instructions: 1 Timothy 4:8, 11 NLT "Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come." ... Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them.
  • Learned from gentle instruction before we were believers: 2 Timothy 2:25 NLT Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people's hearts, and they will learn the truth.
Received

  • Acknowledge the source: John 3:27 NLT John replied, "No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.
  • By reading and studying the Scriptures: 2 Timothy 3:15 NLT You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.
  • From others living a Christian lifestyle: 2 Timothy 3:10 NLT But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance.
  • From our brothers and sisters: Colossians 3:16 NLT Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
Heard

  • From hearing the Scriptures read: 1 Timothy 4:13 NLT Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.
  • We need someone to tell us: Romans 10:14 NLT But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?
  • Hearing encouraging words: Ephesians 4:29 NLT Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Seen

  • Seeing the damage of bad examples: 2 Kings 13:6 NLT But they continued to sin, following the evil example of Jeroboam. They also allowed the Asherah pole in Samaria to remain standing.
  • Follow Jesus’s good example: John 13:15 NLT I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.
  • By working diligently to supply for ourselves and a little more to help others: Acts 20:35 NLT And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
  • Live a life of love. This does include telling hard to hear truths: Ephesians 5:2 NLT Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
  • Live what you teach both in private and pubic: Titus 2:7 NLT And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.
Apply

  • Confessing and forsaking sins: Proverbs 28:13 NLT People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
  • Apply what we read and are taught (in truth): Proverbs 22:17 NLT Listen to the words of the wise; apply your heart to my instruction.
Results

  • How to live: Psalm 119:7 NLT As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should!
  • How to know God’s ways: Romans 12:2 NLT Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
  • By learning and apply it, we receive: Proverbs 14:14 NLT Backsliders get what they deserve; good people receive their reward.
  • We learn and apply it: Proverbs 14:22 NKJV Do they not go astray who devise evil? But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good.
Do

  • The Lord Jesus says: John 13:17 PickNT If you understand these things, you are blessed if you do them.
  • The Apostle says: James 1:22 NKJV But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
  • We do what we believe. Doing does not forgive sins. Doing shows we are forgiven and changed: James 2:18 NLT Now someone may argue, "Some people have faith; others have good deeds." But I say, "How can you show me your faith if you don't have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds."
  • Finally, Matthew 7:24-27 NLT "Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn't obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash."
We need and He gives grace to help us: Hebrews 13:9 NLT So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God's grace, not from rules about food, which don't help those who follow them.

09 June 2019

A Few Thoughts About Living a Christian Lifestyle

Lifestyle defined: noun the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group. (Source)
The foundation, the first principle, of a lifestyle is
  • Our human nature is corrupted by sin.
  • Adam was the first sinner. Even though Eve committed the sin first, Adam is credited with the curse being on the universe. Sin brings destruction.
    • Romans 5:14 BSB Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who did not sin in the way that Adam transgressed. He is a pattern of the One to come.
    • 1 Corinthians 15:22 NKJV For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
  • Original sin is not that we are punished for Adam’s sin, for we are punished for our own sins. Original is the sin nature that we all have. It is “Me First.”
  • We need to be born again, to have the new nature.
When God created the universe and everything in it, He made it according to His rules and attitudes.
  • The first principle, in my opinion, is truth.
    • Psalm 31:5 CSB Into your hand I entrust my spirit; you have redeemed me, LORD, God of truth.
    • Hebrews 6:18 CSB So that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us.
  • The second is love. Love is a choice, not necessarily an emotion. The actions of love in public and in private are found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.
  • Love and truth are found together: 3 John 1:1 NET From the elder, to Gaius my dear brother, whom I love in truth.
  • So we have the summary of the Law: Matthew 22:36-40 NIV "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
  • This, in turn, is based on the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are a summary of all God’s laws. Each commandment is a board category (I wrote about this here; scroll down to “Knowing temptation comes in 10 broad areas). Each can be in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds. Each is to be followed in public and in private.
In the New Testament
  • There are approximately 1,000 rules for Christians. Here is one list: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 NET Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks. For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not extinguish the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt. But examine all things; hold fast to what is good. Stay away from every form of evil.
  • To know God’s rules for Christians in different categories for marriage or lying, we can see
God’s rules don’t change
  • Often people make the statement about God’s ways changing, but
    • God’s character does not change
      • 1 Samuel 15:29 NLT And he who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will he change his mind, for he is not human that he should change his mind!"
      • Numbers 23:19 NLT - God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
      • Hebrews 6:18 NLT - So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.
    • He rules His kingdom with His laws that do not change
  • God’s character does not change regarding His laws or promises
    • Malachi 3:6 NRSV For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, have not perished.
    • James 1:17-18 NRSV Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
What God hates: Galatians 5:19-21 WEB Now the deeds of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s Kingdom.
What God loves: Galatians 5:22-23 WEB But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
So living the principles of the Christian life today are the same as they were when Christianity began at Pentecost. The rules, the promises, what God loves, what God hates are the same. We can safely read the Bible and live a Christian life.
We learn God’s will by things we must do, things we must not do, examples of things that pleased God or displeased Him, and principles that we can apply in many ways.

08 June 2019

A Few Thoughts About Temptation


1 Corinthians 10:12-13 WEL Therefore, the one who thinks he stands, beware lest he fall. 13 No temptation has taken you but what is common to humanity, but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, and with the temptation he will also make a way to escape, so that you can endure it.
We must be aware that we are weakest when we think we are strong.
A false confidence will lead to problems.
You’ve probably see pictures as this:

If we are confident we can overcome a temptation, a tempting situation, a tempting environment, etc., we probably will fall.
So Peter thought: Mark 14:31, 69-71 NET But Peter insisted emphatically, "Even if I must die with you, I will never deny you." And all of them said the same thing. ... When the slave girl saw him, she began again to say to the bystanders, "This man is one of them." But he denied it again. A short time later the bystanders again said to Peter, "You must be one of them, because you are also a Galilean." Then he began to curse, and he swore with an oath, "I do not know this man you are talking about!"
Temptation
Will happen:
  • God does not tempt: James 1:13 NET Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one.
  • The underlying principle of temptation is our desires. Even as Christians, we have desires. A desire that is godly is OK, but ungodly desires are wrong. A desire to eat is expected, but when it consumes us, overpowers us, and we indulge in overeating, we are addicted. Note, sin itself is addicting, for we cannot stop. Only God’s grace is suffice.
Need to be alert, aware, that temptation will happen:
    • Matthew 26:41 NKJV "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
    • 1 Peter 5:8 NKJV Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Help to be delivered. We cannot do it on our own: 2 Peter 2:9 NKJV Then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.
Satan hates God and believers
He tempts, so Believers will fall away: 1 Thessalonians 3:5 NKJV For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.
He makes sin attractive and stirs up our desires: James 1:13-15 NIV When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Deliverance. We need to be
  • Awareness of God’s grace: Romans 6:14 NLT Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace.
  • Awareness of seeking His wisdom: 2 Corinthians 1:12 NLT We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God's grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.
  • Awareness of temptation, even temptation from fake Christians: 2 Corinthians 1:12 NLT We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God's grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.
  • Avoid those things we know are dangerous as an alcoholic should not be a bartender.
  • Be humble. As our verse states, “Therefore, the one who thinks he stands, beware lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12 WEL).
  • Knowing that temptation comes in 10 broad areas.
      • Related to God
        • No other God except Yahweh, so anything of greater importance is sin
        • No images of God, since we do not know what God looks like, so no idols.
        • No blasphemy, so not to diss His name, His character, His actions, His decisions, His rules, His judgment, His attributes, etc.
        • One day a week special to God. The Sabbath is not repeated in the New Testament for Christians. Still, there needs to be one day of rest and worship.
      • Related to Humans
        • Honor parents, so respect them and help them if possible.
        • No murder
        • No adultery, so no sexual sins.
        • No stealing
        • No false witness, so no lying.
        • No coveting
      • These sins and temptation to sin can be in thoughts, desires, words, and/or deeds.
      • Temptation itself is not a sin
  • We need to know God’s ways and thoughts. This can come only from reading and studying the Bible in its plain, normal sense.
  • We need fellowship. We can’t make it alone if there are other believers available.
  • We need to pray. Hebrews 4:16 NIV Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
  • We need to realize that all sin is addictive. John 8:34 NLT Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.
  • We need to understand that even the greatest saints are tempted: Romans 7:23-25 NLT But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
Some resources (I can’t vouch for the website but found these helpful).
Daniel and many other sought God’s help: Daniel 6:11 NLT Then the officials went together to Daniel's house and found him praying and asking for God's help.

05 June 2019

A Few Thoughts About Covering Up Sin


It is a must reading how religious leaders cover up their sins and the sins of other leaders, pastors, missionaries, teachers, and members. It is a disgrace to God, to Christianity, and to the leaders and members who are godly.
These fake Christians need to be exposed.
Covering up sin is dealt with in the Scriptures.
Ai
  • Great victories had come to Israel. The army approached Ai, a small town. “Surely,” they thought, “we will easily win this battle.” They lost. They grieved. Joshua and the people wept, prayed to God, and complained, but God was angry and explained that Israel had sinned.
  • God had commanded that whatever was in Jericho was God’s, not any individual’s. This had not been obeyed. It was covered up.
  • A few of the verses:
Joshua 7:1, 3-4, 6-7, 10-11, 13-15, 20-22, 26 NLT But Israel violated the instructions about the things set apart for the LORD. A man named Achan had stolen some of these dedicated things, so the LORD was very angry with the Israelites. Achan was the son of Carmi, a descendant of Zimri son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah. ... When they returned, they told Joshua, "There's no need for all of us to go up there; it won't take more than two or three thousand men to attack Ai. Since there are so few of them, don't make all our people struggle to go up there." So approximately 3,000 warriors were sent, but they were soundly defeated. The men of Ai ... Joshua and the elders of Israel tore their clothing in dismay, threw dust on their heads, and bowed face down to the ground before the Ark of the LORD until evening. Then Joshua cried out, "Oh, Sovereign LORD, why did you bring us across the Jordan River if you are going to let the Amorites kill us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side! ... But the LORD said to Joshua, "Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings. ... "Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the LORD. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you. "In the morning you must present yourselves by tribes, and the LORD will point out the tribe to which the guilty man belongs. That tribe must come forward with its clans, and the LORD will point out the guilty clan. That clan will then come forward, and the LORD will point out the guilty family. Finally, each member of the guilty family must come forward one by one. The one who has stolen what was set apart for destruction will himself be burned with fire, along with everything he has, for he has broken the covenant of the LORD and has done a horrible thing in Israel." ... Achan replied, "It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. Among the plunder I saw a beautiful robe from Babylon, 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold weighing more than a pound. I wanted them so much that I took them. They are hidden in the ground beneath my tent, with the silver buried deeper than the rest." So Joshua sent some men to make a search. They ran to the tent and found the stolen goods hidden there, just as Achan had said, with the silver buried beneath the rest. ... They piled a great heap of stones over Achan, which remains to this day. That is why the place has been called the Valley of Trouble ever since. So the LORD was no longer angry.
Covering up a crime discussed: Genesis 37:26 NLT Judah said to his brothers, "What will we gain by killing our brother? We'd have to cover up the crime.
False prophets (and pastors and other religious workers today) cover up sins:
B1 Ezekiel 22:28 NLT And your prophets cover up for them by announcing false visions and making lying predictions. They say, 'My message is from the Sovereign LORD,' when the LORD hasn't spoken a single word to them.
B2 Another translation: Ezekiel 22:28 GNB The prophets have hidden these sins like workers covering a wall with whitewash. They see false visions and make false predictions. They claim to speak the word of the Sovereign LORD, but I, the LORD, have not spoken to them.
We are not to cover up but to expose.
Proverbs 28:13 NLT People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
We are to hate evil, not cover it up: Romans 12:9 WEL Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil. Stick tightly to what is good.
The Lord Jesus exposed sin:
B1 John 3:20 NLT All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.
B2 John 7:7 NLT The world can't hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil.
The prophets exposed sin: Amos 5:10-11 NLT How you hate honest judges! How you despise people who tell the truth! You trample the poor, stealing their grain through taxes and unfair rent. Therefore, though you build beautiful stone houses, you will never live in them. Though you plant lush vineyards, you will never drink wine from them.
The purpose of exposing sin is to bring conviction and repentance. Consider King David after he had raped Bathsheba and ordered her husband to be murdered.
B1 He acknowledges his sin: Psalms 51:3 NRSV For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
B2 He acknowledges his sin is against God: Psalms 51:4 NRSV Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
B3 He acknowledges original sin (the sin nature that all humans have except for the Lord Jesus): Psalms 51:5 NRSV Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
B4 He acknowledges God’s value placed on truth. God knows everything, so we might as well agree with God’s opinion. Psalms 51:6 NRSV You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
B5 He acknowledges that only God can forgive sin: Psalms 51:7 NRSV Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
B6 He acknowledges that only God can fix what is broken in a person’s soul: Psalms 51:10 NRSV Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
B7 David doesn’t ask for happiness; he pleads for joy in his soul that only God can give: Psalms 51:12 NRSV Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
B8 He acknowledges that God doesn’t want penance, instead God wants a broken (that is not proud) attitude: Psalms 51:17 NRSV The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.