Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Monthly Archives: January 2016

Psalms Saturday #7 – Psalms 43 – Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people

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Psalms Saturday #7 – Psalms 43 – Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people – 01/30/2016

Psalms 43:1 (ESV) Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me! 2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 3 Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

This Psalm is both a plea for judgment and a prayer for deliverance, although it is just five verses it is rich in teaching moments. Let’s look it all five verses on a verse by verse basis beginning in verse one.

V1 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me!

The words “vindicate me, O God” by the Psalmist shows that the writer feels that he has been burdened or unjustly accused and he has taken his plea to a higher court, the ultimate authority if you will, he is asking for vindication and for his cause to be defended against the adversaries of God, the ungodly people. These people are described as…

• Ungodly – We see in the next two categories what makes these people ungodly. He leaves his vindication up to the Lord. How we could all learn from this as believers.
• Deceitful – When you are dealing with people who are not playing by honest standards and are representing you in a manner that is not correct, it can be hurtful.
• Unjust – These people not only know to do wrong but know how to cover it up with unjust measures.

When you are dealing with people who just are not playing fair and you are being persecuted for God’s sake then you do the right thing by crying out to God. We have to be careful though as not all persecution is Christian related because if we are causing our own drama then by all means cry out to God but also do what you can to reduce the issue from your side.

V2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

We see the reasons why the Psalmist cries out to God, he is the one that he takes refuge in, one who has protected him in the past and one that he trusts. God is his stronghold and his strength, which shows the relationship that the Psalmist has with his God. I would commend you to self-examine and see whether you call God these names and see if you have become cold with God. If you are melting like a chocolate teapot whenever you are in hot water then you may have your strength in God?

Because of his relationship with God he does ask why? Why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? I know I have had similar questions and what Christian hasn’t when they are being buffeted; we all think that God should arrange our lives in the way that we would want them. However we don’t always see God’s blueprint and see what is best for our lives.

V3 Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!

The great comfort I take from this is although the Psalmist is questioning, he is not detracted in his faith in God, he does have right to ask but he also praises God in the storm. He needs that light and truth and he desires to be led by them, it is vital to his spiritual wellbeing and he prays and is submissive in nature to the leader of the will in his life.

We learn so much about the Psalmist and why he was close to God, the submission to the will of God is tremendous, he began the Psalm lamenting about the wrong that he was having done to him but when he focusses on his God he culminates in a Psalm of praise once he has taken his issues to the LORD in prayer.

Part two has the terminology “let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling” he is being led by the light so he comes to His holy place and to his dwelling in order to continue to praise Him. For me the teachable moment is that once deliverance has occurred the Psalmist continues the praise. He wants to focus on the LORD with the people of God, he wants to dwell next to his deliverer. Such as the zealousness of this man!

V4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.

He goes into further detail of the praise he wants to lift up to God, he is full of faith, energized from laying his burdens down at the feet of God, he wants to go to the altar and sacrifice when his answer comes and give praise of gratitude. He sings songs of praise to his God! This to me is great in that it shows the depth of his communion and something we can relate to as Christians as we also sing praises to God. When we are in that close communion with God then we will come to the house of God and praise will be the overflow of gratitude in our hearts as well as an outpouring of devotion between us and our God.

V5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

We see the psalmist change in his countenance when his prayer has been heard. How much do we need to hear this as we also have had times in our lives that we think we are not being heard by God or perhaps God’s timing is not as rapid as you would like? When we are mad at God for our circumstances it can sometimes be intensified by our attitude towards what we are going through.

The psalmist uses terms like cast down, turmoil to show his former state, he is looking in retrospect at what he has cast onto God when he was in the place of being cast down or being in turmoil, we don’t see that (and I believe that we would see) his troubles have ceased or changed but when he focused on God and focused in the hope he has in God, he is then lifted out of that dark place and is no longer discouraged or depressed about his afflictions. He chooses to praise him again because as he states he is “my salvation and my God”

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority – Titus 2:11-15

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Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority – Titus 2:11-15 – 01/28/2016

This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.

Titus 2:11 (ESV) For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. 15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Paul continues his thought in the middle of this letter in verse eleven; let’s look at it in a verse by verse basis…

V11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,

Paul exposes a rich revelation here it is the grace of God that once it has appeared is what brings salvation for all people. We cannot earn it, there is no pre-selection and no one is excluded who truly wants to be saved. We also cannot earn it, work our way towards it of by some effort of ourselves. It cannot be purchased, traded or bought, it is a free gift given by God and God alone, our responsibility is to accept it, we don’t have to be separated from God, we choose to be if we fail to accept the grace of God which brings salvation for all!

None of us deserve it and we are recipients of a gift that is better and worth more in value than any lottery win. The criteria are simple and plain “all people”. From the avid churchgoer to the man on death row, the volume of sin is not important, the heart of repentance is!

V12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

The word “training” is the same word that would be used for a parent child relationship, if you haven’t been a parent you most certainly will have been a child and you will understand what is meant by the mentoring, training, teachable moments, exhortations, encouragements, the teacher is the aforementioned “grace”. We know what we have been saved from, we have stared over the abyss and being saved, changed creatures we are taught by grace to do the following…

• Renounce ungodliness and worldly passions – We have to actually BE different to the world, we are called to be “salt” and “light” and I am testimony to a life lived completely surrendered to God’s plan will cause others to question what you have and whether they want it in their lives. In my case it was a Pastor and his wife who were the dictionary definition of “loving someone to Christ”. It made such an impact on my life.

We are called not just to give up the things of our past but we are called to renounce them, remove them completely from our present day lives. We have to completely deny the worldly passions and do what so many of us do and keep one foot in the fire. We have to live towards sanctification and we see this in the next part of what Paul says.
• Live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age – Accepting the grace of God and embracing salvation is only the first part and first step on a journey, we are called to be holy, and we are called to live self-controlled, upright lives in the age where God has placed us. We have to live (some translations call it) soberly towards our fellow man and be a good example of Christianity, we are also called to live in an upright manner showing that we take our relationship with God seriously. When you assess your life, a good barometer to use would be the question “would this bring people to Christ?” Often times I have been frustrated by lack of movement in my Christian life and when I do a decent honest self-assessment I realize that I am the problem.
• Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ – And that is the timescale we have, we have until the Savior Jesus Christ comes in the appearing of His glory. A good question you have to answer would be “Are you living your life in the expectant hope of Jesus return? How are you preparing for that?

I love it when I hear that someone has an idea when the Lord Jesus will return, I like to listen but I am reminded that “no-one knows the hour or time” I always think about when I undergo something “Is this something I want to be doing if Jesus returns at this time?” It really cuts down on your sin! Jesus is appropriately named here “Our great God” and it should be remembered that the one you are serving is the very one who saved you from your sins, the only one who could and the only one who is holy enough to be acceptable to God the father as a sacrifice! Even if you are a Christian newbie Paul allows you to read this in verse fourteen…

V14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

And that is it in a nutshell! Jesus sacrifice and God’s grace allows us to be in communion with God because Jesus atoned for man’s sin when he went to Calvary and rose again. Jesus “gave” this was voluntary, he gave “himself” all that he could give and he gave it all “for us” because he knew that we had a debt with God that we could not pay on our own. He was doing the biggest debt forbearance known to man but he was buying something with a price and that price was him.

He is described as redeeming us from the lawlessness that was our lives past. In the same way that we can receive savings by redeeming a token or voucher, we receive eternal savings (pun intended) buy the redeeming work of Jesus. We are slaves that have been purchased from our master of sin and we are called to “purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works”. We are reserved for the good works, we are set apart and we are to hunger for holiness. We are to be zealous for the good works that we are commissioned to do for the Lord, I find it not great the task I have for the Lord but I am overwhelmed that he could accomplish it on his own, but he chooses to use me.

It is like when I let my six year old help me in the yard, often times it slows me down but I have to focus on the task at hand and it is as much about spending time with her as it is completing the task. Your heavenly father feels the same way when you labor in the tasks he has allowed you to help with.

V15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Amen to this notion! Can you imagine what the world would be like if we had a church with 4,000 believers that met on a Sunday go out and be 4,000 “salt and light” to the community around us? Imagine we declared these things zealously like we are meant to? Would you see your city be revived for Jesus Christ? I am not pointing the finger at anyone and I am as much talking to me as I am you dear reader! But imagine what it would be like if that was the case? Cities would be on fire for Jesus all over this land and beyond!

We are called to do this with all authority and let no-one despise you, we have to live beyond reproach and have nothing for your detractors to have against you in an accusatory fashion, we have to proclaim this message as urgent as if it came from an earthly ruler, this is a message that could quite literally snatch someone from the jaws of hell at the eleventh hour. That is how much authority our message is from; we are to preach it “in and out of season” and regardless of how it will be culturally received.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Genesis One – Day Five – God makes the birds, the sea creatures and every living creature that moves – Genesis 1:20-23

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Genesis One – Day Five – God makes the birds, the sea creatures and every living creature that moves – Genesis 1:20-23 – 01/26/2016

Genesis 1:20 (ESV) And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

This article is designed to be a slightly more in depth article than I did in the “creation series” elsewhere on this website, Lord willing I hope to look at the full creation week and examine the case for a Biblical creation from the mindset that the bible is accurate and a honest and truthful source of history in how we came to be here. I am not here to attack other mindsets as I appreciate that not everyone shares my view of a biblical history and I do welcome lively debate on the subject regardless of your thoughts or beliefs on how the earth was made.

In order to look at this from a biblical context we must first look at the text in question starting in verse twenty…

V20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”

I love the rich wording here when it says “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures” which shows the fullness that was created with just a few words. Think of the rich diversity you have when you go underwater, fish are in all shapes, all sizes all colors and the variety is tremendous. It shows a creator God who had limitless possibilities and just as a small demonstration of who he is as God he created such richness that has been summed up in eight small words.

God’s word is at odds with an evolutionary belief that creatures evolved from a single cell organism and evolved into the animals in the sea, the ones on land, the ones in the air and then at the pinnacle of evolution you have the “homo erectus” the human. God’s word states that was not the case, it does agree that humans came after the animals but it states quite clearly that God did it and they were created so that they could survive, so these were fully grown animals and not eggs or tadpoles.

V21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Again God created them “according to their kinds” and there was plenty of variation within fish and water dwelling mammals, you just have to go into your local pet store to have a small sampling of just how much variety there is. If I was to walk into my local PetSmart and say “can I have a fish please?” I could want a guppy but be handed a goldfish because the understanding would be different.

They are all according to their kinds, the fish don’t transform into birds and the birds don’t turn into dogs, the birds were created according to the bird kind, the eagle, the raven, the dove are exactly that all birds but all different. Another example is in my front room where I have a Labrador and a Queensland dog, they are two dogs and if the male Labrador was to mate with the Queensland then they would make …(wait for it)… A DOG! That would be a process known as macro evolution or a variation within kinds which has a solid scientific footing, but if you were to suggest that if they mated generation upon generation and suddenly they made another animal say a horse then that would be preposterous, however that is what you are asking me to swallow when you are saying that a fish landed on the land, sprouted legs and became a land dweller and through series of changes became a monkey and then a human. That process where two mate and it forms an intermediate species is called “macro-evolution” and that does not come from “micro-evolution”.

If this was the case then the fossil record would be littered with intermediate species bones and fragments that would blow the case for creation completely out of the water it is not there and if anything we have more fossils that show a worldwide flood where animals have been enveloped while eating others, not exactly millions of years there?

We have to come to one of three conclusions…

• Evolution happened slowly, creating billions of years of changes that the scientific evidence does not support
• The changes came in huge steps such as a lion mated or an elephant mated and created say a Rhino
• It was exactly as the bible said it happened and the earth is in fact younger than they think it is.

Obviously I have issues with the first two as to believe in either of those outcomes would require faith that I do not have. God continues his population control plan in verse twenty two…

V22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

God commands them to be fruitful and multiply, the earth was created to be populated and again the bible flies in the face of man’s logic that complains that there are too many people on earth. God created the earth to be inhabited and even with today’s numbers there is still plenty of room to be inhabited. Even in the USA there are vast lands that have no-one living on them for literally miles, and many other countries are like that also. Even in densely populated cities in the UK like Glasgow or London if you drive 20-30 miles out you see rural countryside, so we are hardly living on top of one another.

You have to remember, the land animals are not here yet! We just have the water borne and airborne animals thus far! There is no land dwelling creatures or man as of yet. Perhaps that is where evolution and the bible stop agreeing that man arrived last.

V23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And if we needed more confirmation, God names the day a day and calls it the fifth day, a literal day that was not to be interpreted any other way. LORD willing, next time we look at Genesis we will look at day six where God creates the land animals and makes man in their own image, I pray that you can make the next article and please check out Epistles page for our collection of bible studies on this and other books.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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What is the value of circumcision? – Romans 3:1-8

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What is the value of circumcision? – Romans 3:1-8 – 01/24/2016

Romans 3:1 (ESV) Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” 5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills. Let’s start in verse 1 of chapter 3…

V1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?

Paul asks a series of questions starting with this one and the thought follows from the previous article where we finished chapter two, “here” is the article. Paul debates in that article whether possession of the law would save a Jewish person still in their sins and starts with this question. Paul answers this in verse 2…

V2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.

Paul extols the rich history of the Jewish relationship with God, they were given the “oracles of God” his word before the mission of Jesus Christ, they were his chosen people and were meant to be the ones that showed the gentiles the way to communion with God. God made covenants with them, he gave them his supreme law and Paul goes on to talk about the blessings and curses the Jewish people received based on their faithfulness to him…

V3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?

Paul makes provision for the fact that not everyone in the Jewish faith would always be faithful, God is God and God is perfect. An example of this would be when he covenanted with Abraham that he was the one who took the covenant and walked where Abraham could not have. God will continue to be faithful regardless of our personal faithfulness and as a Christian who has been grafted into the family of God and not one of the natural branches I find that incredibly encouraging.

God when he loves us or works in us is not doing a futile work, yes he knows who will accept him and who will not and this is something that we can carry on today in our evangelism efforts we know that there will be those who will reject the promises and faithfulness of God and will go on believing a lie. The gospel will not fail because not everyone will receive it, Our place in the battle (the battle of course belongs to the LORD) is to be ready and willing to be in the place that God places us and ready to be used as a tool in his arsenal.

GOD IS FAITHFUL – Basic John 3:16 stuff here, God does love the world and that was the reason for Jesus sacrifice and regardless of your past you can still have a future and a use in the service of God. As much as I look good on here in the words I type, I wish I was as faithful to the service of God as I want to be. I fail and mess up as much as anyone who is reading this. (And possibly much more)

V4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”

And that is the flip side of what we are talking about, for as unfaithful and untruthful and messed up by what we have experienced in this world, God is the reverse, in as much as we are liars God is truth and the simple fact that we are so unrighteous goes to show what a righteous God we serve. We cannot attain the heights of God or even hold a candle to his holiness but God will justify us and that is a brief look at the grace of God.

We cannot earn this or attain it, Jesus scoffed at the very notion of this stating that our “righteousness would have to exceed those of the scribes and Pharisees” meaning that we would have to keep as many standards as they did but do it with the right heart realizing that we are saved by grace as well as works, works should be the fruit of our salvation but completing a checklist will not save us.

V5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)

And Paul goes on to make the point that I was touching on the last paragraph that our unrighteousness shows the righteousness of God, he then goes on to ask if God is unrighteous to inflict wrath upon us? We have to look at it from angles that have been wrongly justified in the past for this passage of scripture

• My sin gives God a job to do – to judge me! – This is incorrect as God does not desire that we sin, he desires obedience more than sacrifice (Read the book of Hosea if you need further clarification on that one!)
• My sin gives him glory, so I should go on sinning in order to be forgiven – God is a loving father who wants the best for his kids and I know that as a father if my child at age six was still making baby mistakes then I would be concerned for her development. We understand this but yet this is how many of us live our Christian lives.
• God cannot conquer xxx sin that I have – How big is your God? Are you serving he same one I am that created all that we see here in six literal days? What is your sin to this Big God? How big is your belief?

Let us get one thing straight here – God is not unrighteous in his wrath, your wickedness is still your wickedness, you have to own that! By our own efforts we are separated from God, if we choose to remain on that path then God is righteous in giving you your “due reward” for your rebellion against him. We have the same choice that Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden to follow Gods plan or not.

Tonight in my bible study we are looking at Genesis 27 and the account of Jacob and the fact that he deceived his father by lying and presenting himself as Esau in order to steal the birthright from his brother Esau. In this scenario Jacob could present himself by stating “I sinned to allow your prophecy to be fulfilled, why would I be judged on this?” but as stated above his sin is still his sin, just because God used it to his glory does not make it any less his sin or less culpable.

V6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world?

Paul uses the world as an example. Make no mistake about it, the world will be judged and Paul knew that a day of judgment was coming where God would judge the evil and restore the good. The Jews knew the difference between righteousness and evil, the difference between being on Gods side and not. Where they erred was they believed that because they were Jewish they would automatically be counted as righteous.

V7 But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?

Paul states that through his lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, so if what Paul does, even if it is not truthful it increases the glory of God then would it be justified and okay in God’s sight? This may seem odd but Paul gives reason behind this thought process in verse eight…

V8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

Paul’s teachings were misinterpreted and twisted to make it sound like he was trying to pervert the teachings of God. However Paul goes on to explain here (and in the next article God willing) that the purpose of sinning for the sake of sinning or living a life in sin in order to perversely glorify God is not just alien but downright the reverse of what God wants in your life. Paul did not teach this but it is what was reported and accredited that it was said that he was teaching these doctrines.

We have to be careful in our doctrine that we don’t preach “free grace” in that we can live the lives that we want because we know that in the end up God is going to forgive us. That to me at least is not living the Christian life; we are not seeking to be like Christ and looking to grow at a healthy rate in our day to day relationship with Jesus. Paul preached (and we have evidence in the written epistles) that God will forgive our sins and give us salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and not a works based check the box Levitical law system.

Paul agrees with them that they would be right to condemn such teachings; we have grace that we will be forgiven but we have to look at the heart of our sin. When we sin with a sin that we keep falling into, be honest and ask yourself “why did I plan to do this?” because we have accepted salvation and the things of this world, although they be appealing is a toilet bowl compared to what we are promised by God. We cannot serve two masters because we will love one and hate the other. If we choose to live such a life in unrepentance mocks the God that you claim to love so much. Looking forward Paul goes to look at how righteous we are in verses nine through twenty, I pray that God willing we get the opportunity to look at this together.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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TGBTG
SDG

In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions – Jude 1:17-19

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In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions – Jude 1:17-19 – 01/22/2016

Thank you for reading this Bible study on the book of Jude. This bible study is part of a series on the book of Jude, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Jude for other studies in this book.

Jude 1:17 (ESV) But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.

Jude continues this short but dynamic epistle by stating a remembrance of the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostles were literally speaking words that were inspired by God and they had good prophetic significance. Jude alludes to this and shows that word of God is always true, always timeless and can always be trusted. Let’s look at the words of the apostle Paul in his 2nd epistle to Timothy…

2nd Timothy 4:1 (ESV) 1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

We learn the following dynamic points that Paul was exhorting Timothy…

• Preach the Word
• Be ready in and out of season
• Reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching

These are musts for moving the needle for Jesus in your neighborhood, whether you are called to teach the word in your living room, a small group, in a church or simply to your family we are called to be consistent when it is convenient and when it is not. We are called to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ and we have to make sure that doctrinally the “ducks are in a row” but we have to lastly do it in love because there is a time coming (and some argue that it is here already) where we will see the following…

• People will not endure sound teaching
• Accumulate teachers to suit their own passions (or ones that will allow them to justify questionable things in their lives)
• Will have itching ears
• Will turn away from truth and start listening to myths

Jude concurs with this teaching in verses 17-18 and I see it today that conservative bible believing churches are being replaced with a more “experience driven” model and that to me is worrying. (Further scriptures you may want to look at are in Acts 20:28-30; 1st Timothy 4:1-2; 2nd Timothy 3:1-5; 2nd Peter 2:1-13; 2nd John 1:7-11.) I am not divisive and will not tear down movements because they do things different to the way I choose to and different people will have different deal breakers when it comes to churches they wish to attend. For me I believe the teaching of God’s word has to be front and center that to me is the major deal breaker and I want to be challenged, encouraged and exhorted by those who wish to mentor or pastor me, for me worship styles, communion methods or other silly arguments we get involved in are just that, silly! Jude talks of such divisiveness in verse 19…

V19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.

We are told it is these who cause divisions, so these people who are open in their sinful lifestyles are in the church and are unrepentant in their ways. If someone was freshly saved or did not know better than that is one thing and a different circumstance to what we refer to here, that comes down to good shepherding and decent pastoral counselling. Jude is speaking of those who are playing both sides of the fence, being a saint on a Sunday and a sinner the rest of the week.

I know all about this as I have done this before I committed my life to Jesus and these people are not all-in believers if believers at all. Obviously I cannot speak for their heart but the lack of spiritual fruit is cause for concern. Because of their lack of spiritual discernment they clash with those who are attempting to do God’s will, they are trying to guide God’s will by the standards of the world and being devoid of the Spirit they are causing tensions because their ideas may sound good to some but they cause dissention and a split in the church.

These are the people who are mockers, following in their own carnal paths and passions. They tend to ask the question first “How does this benefit me? Or “What can I get out of this? Before having an attitude of service and these might be the very people who are being served the most but you will find that because they are not on the same mission as the ones who are following Gods will then this will cause unnecessary hurt and division.

You would have thought the Christian would have learned the lesson of the Pharisee and how the very Messiah that they claim to serve would often times call these people out, calling them such terms as “whitewashed tombs”, “dead inside” and stating that they looked good when they wanted to look religious however they and their hearts were far from God. They are missing one vital component to be truly effective for Jesus Christ, they have no Holy Spirit and I am sure you will agree that we need men and women who are Spirit filled.

Jude will discuss in the next article (Lord willing of course) how to deal with these divisive people in the next article in Jude when we look at verses twenty through twenty three.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Herod carries out the infanticide – Bethlehem has no more infant boys and fulfilled prophecy – Matthew 2:16-18

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Herod carries out the infanticide – Bethlehem has no more infant boys and fulfilled prophecy – Matthew 2:16-18 – 01/20/2016

This is a series in the Gospel of Matthew which looks to visit the text from the Gospel of Matthew on a line by line and verse by verse teaching and Lord willing we will get through the full book of Matthew, this is part of a New Testament bible study series that you can read all other studies in this section on this link.

Matthew 2:16 (ESV) Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Matthew continues his narrative by showing what type of man Herod was and showing what type of “worship” that he had in mind (verse 8 in a previous article) when he spoke to the “wise men” and stated the following…

Matthew 2:8 (ESV) 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”

Be careful of being Herod-like…

I don’t know about you but that is one messed up worship? As we explained in previous blogs Herod was a messed up guy, he was really only ever concerned with protecting his own little pocket of power, building great buildings that really would be his only legacy and getting rid of his rivals and members of his own family when they came close to touching his power, he was a guy that regardless of who you were to him if you endangered or weakened his position then you had to be killed.

Joseph when he was visited by the angel a few verses back and fled to Egypt after he was warned by an Angel to flee to Egypt which fulfilled prophesy as well as preserved the life of the infant Jesus. Herod was in my opinion doing the devils work for him because in Satan’s mind how much easier would it have been to snuff out the one who came to be the second Adam sacrifice and defeat sin once and for all. God knew this and made provision for Jesus to not even be there, Satan is not looking at the full picture though; Jesus was as much God as he was man so Herod would not have been able to put Christ to death until he surrendered.

Herod-like Christianity

As far as I am aware none of us are kings and have that sort of power but we all have our hot buttons as to how we could be “Herod-like” and often times it happens in the realms of ministry or service to Jesus where we get all protective if we have a position in a fellowship, ministry or church. I see this most often in Pastors who do not wish to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” or leaders who would rather not accept the help of gifted members and plod on in a place that God never intended them to be in because it is “their role” but never “their calling”.

In order to avoid this we need to do some self-evaluation and make sure that our motives for what we are doing are for the Lords will as opposed to ours. It is wonderful to serve but you will not reap the full blessings that God has for you by being a square peg in a round hole. It is not simply enough to just “have a job” in the church but you must always be seeking what the Lord wants for you to use your callings in his service.

From the pastoral side church leaders need to evaluate and like a good coach make some switch ups when required. It is not simply enough just to have the “jobs filled” and make no care about who are why they are doing them, know the people that are laboring alongside you, be aware who is burning out and show those who have served well and faithfully that you care and that you have their backs. I have been on the “burnout curve” before and I know what it is like to be genuinely sickened by ministry because it all got too much. Good leadership goes a long way here.

Pastor-like Herods

As for “Pastor-like Herods” well we have them worldwide where they are who they are because of a number of factors, perhaps it is a trust issue, maybe they see the mission that God put them in as “their mission” as opposed to “Jesus mission that they are allowed to play a part in” perhaps they have that personality of the lone wolf, perhaps they just want people they have known for years in the positions they view as vital, all that can be done from the congregant side is address the issue with the Pastor and let him know that there is an issue and continue in prayer for your leader, do not allow yourself to be embittered by the situation and if God moves you elsewhere then leave on good terms and wish each other well.

Getting back to Herod

Three things happened when Herod realized too much time had passed since the wise men left…

• Herod saw he had been tricked by the wise men – The earlier text states that they listened to the king, there is no mention of an agreement but Herod certainly thought there was an understanding that they would return.
• Herod became furious – Herod is widely documented to have a temper and as stated prior he was desperate to keep his small fragmented piece of power in the occupied kingdom, it was ridiculous as he was a puppet king for the occupying forces in Rome.
• He sent and killed all the male children under two years old in Bethlehem – Herod thought he would directly respond to the problem of someone who he thought would displace him from the throne, he would get rid of all the kids around that age who were a specific gender. What a loving and wise king huh? Gives you an idea of the lengths he would go to retain his own circle of influence.

This is a guy who went down in history as murdering his own wife and son, so some peasants children that he would never meet would be no issue of this man. Whilst this account may seem shocking or horrific to those of us who read it, this was small fish in the deeds that Herod did. We see as a consequence of this we see the words of the prophet Jeremiah which first appeared in Jeremiah 31:15 which reads…

Jeremiah 31:15 (ESV) Thus says the LORD: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”

I know as a father of a six year old how devastated my wife and I would be if Governor Jerry Brown declared that all six year olds in the State of California had to be killed! That would be the modern equivalent in my life; it is a real situation with real tears and real heartbreak. My heart goes out to the parents in Bethlehem because I have no idea what it would be like to lose a child and I can only imagine the horror.

In the next installment we look at Jesus return to Nazareth and we see again how the life of Christ fulfills prophecy, although in that occasion not with as events that are as tragic.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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The ACTS Files – I know our wine is strong but it’s only 9 o’clock! – Acts 2: 5-13

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The ACTS Files – I know our wine is strong but it’s only 9 o’clock! – Acts 2: 5-13 – 01/18/2016

Acts 2:5 (ESV) Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Thank you for clicking on this recent installment of “The Acts Files” and this series of verses are probably the ones most quoted in a charismatic/speaking in tongues type assemblies and I have seen some great teachings on these verses and some not so great. My prayer is that I present these scriptures in a manner that is edifying and worthy of the God I wish to serve. Let’s look at these in a line by line and verse by verse format starting in verse five…

V5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.

Pentecost attracted men from all parts of the earth who just had to be in Jerusalem at that appointed time. We see that they were not originally from there as they were “dwelling” and being there on a temporary basis, I would imagine they would have arrived for Passover and would leave after Pentecost, however they were there for a much more divine appointment to just celebrate a Jewish festival and this happened at the end of their time in Jerusalem. God ordained this to happen to the biggest audience possible that would disperse to their own lands with this new gospel. Look at how they were going to be touched by God…

V6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.

Let’s get this correct…THEY HEARD THEM SPEAK IN HIS OWN LANGUAGE! This was the Tower of Babel reversed, God opened the ears of the people there supernaturally and they heard it spoken in words that they understood. I have no idea how they were seen by a multitude, perhaps they were on elevated ground, perhaps they were on a balcony, the text is not clear what is clear is the following…

• There was a sound that made the multitude come together
• It caused bewilderment that they spoke in their native tongue

Luke goes on to explain why…

V7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?

They recognized these men as Galileans, possibly by their accent, possibly their dialect. Being a Scotsman in America, I speak the same language as the people who are from here but the way that I speak identifies me as Scottish.

This does not cause bewilderment, amazement or astonishment; they realize that as a business language I also speak English, this was a supernatural occurrence that God did for his glory. Luke goes to great lengths to explain the vast nature of the amount of possible tongues that would have been heard that day in verse nine…

V9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”

What glory to God that so many different tongues were spoken and so many folks understood the message that was being given to them about the praises of God’s glory, God willing we will look at Peters Sermon which begins in Acts 2:14 and see what was being said to these people. God was outreaching both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians also. Everyone that was in attendance was able to hear about this Messiah!

Isn’t it amazing that God used men who were seen as uncultured, brash and uneducated? As a Scottish guy who barely passed high school with no college level education I am buoyed by this news that if you are willing, if you are where God wants you to be then he can use even the rawest of materials and turn them into something beautiful. In my case he used a man who was brash, uncouth, a drunkard who looked after number one (I could have been Galilean) and turned him into a man who lives to study and teach the word of God, a man who loves his wife and loves his daughter, what a testimony and what a Savior!

Based on what they had witnessed here, this was not your usual Pentecost! The people began to ask questions about what was going on around them, let’s look at verse twelve…

V12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

And here is where we get our title from, I actually blagged it from a musical hero of mine called Sammy Horner and a band he played in called “The Electrics” and they had a song called “Visions and Dreams” which many of their fans (well at least 5 of us) thought this was their Sargent Pepper or Bohemian Rhapsody. Anyways, waaaaay to long an introduction as usual!

The question they asked was a legitimate question, it was obvious that something supernatural was happening so a question of “what does this mean?” is not to unreasonable a question. This was not answered at this time but should we get to Peters sermon then you will see that Peter answers the question. They were accused of being drunk but as we read it was only the third hour of the day (9am) and it is not uncommon when God moves that he is mocked. I hope and pray that we get to the next article to hear Peters sermon.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Psalms Saturday #6 – Psalms 15 – Who Shall Dwell on Your Holy Hill?

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Psalms Saturday #6 – Psalms 15 – Who Shall Dwell on Your Holy Hill? – 01/16/2016

Psalm 15:1 (ESV) O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? 2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; 3 who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5 who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

This is a Psalm of David known as the man after God’s own heart and I love this Psalm due to its simplicity and humble let’s look it all five verses on a verse by verse basis.

V1 O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?

What a question asked by David… who can sojourn (or abide) in your tent? It is a tremendous theological question and really shows the heart of David, the desire to be in step with God, step by step and day by day shows a great desire in the heart of David to be close to his God.

Israel had a “church and state” kind of deal also where in the tent went the Levites and the priests who were the servants of the Lord and as King he was entitled to many things but he was not entitled to offer sacrifices to God. (The Tabernacle was spoken of in Exodus 25-31 and was a temporary meeting place while the Exodus from Egypt was happening.

David examines the heart of the one who wishes to dwell with God in the next few verses, interestingly the first time in the tent it is more of a guest, when he speaks of the “holy hill” it is more of a dwelling, a living there as if it is as home to the person as it is God.

V2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; 3 who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5 who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

Here are the attributes of this man of God…

• Walks blamelessly – What business does God have with one who is disobedient and refuses to walk according to his ways? (See Leviticus 26 & Deuteronomy 28 for ideas on blessings and curses for disobedience)

In the Christian life we see that conversion is only the first step on a journey with our redeemer and we have certain attributes that we will display as a child of God and follower of Jesus Christ, whilst we all fall short of the glory of God, we have to have our heart right when we do mess up, true repentance is key to walking blamelessly with God.
• Does what is right – David goes further and states that this man of God will do the right things in actions and show by is actions evidence of his faith. Although we are not saved by works, we will have fruit of the spirit as evidence of a changed life in Jesus.
• Speaks the truth in his heart and does not slander with his tongue – Amen and I wish this was more common in today’s church where we spoke the truth and do not slander. Having been in teaching ministry I have to confess that we would have much less drama and much less division if we were more careful with how we use our tongues. Jesus himself stated that the tongue is a good indicator of where you are in your heart in the Gospel of Matthew 12:34 when he said “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
• Does no evil to his neighbor – Basic Ten Commandment stuff here where he does not seek to do harm to his neighbor, perhaps not one who he has strong affinity for but certainly one who he has a sphere of influence in and can observe how “authentic” his relationship with God is.
• Does not take up reproach against his friend – Someone who he has let in as a friend and not just a friend in name, he is commanded to be a good friend, to have that friends back to be that true friend, in both this category and the last we see this also taught in the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:44 when we are commanded to “love both our friend and enemy”
• Despises vileness & honors those who fear the LORD – This has been misinterpreted a lot and is used by Christians as a stick to beat others who haven’t quite given up all of their vices but starting off in the Christian life. It is true that in order to stand for good we have to oppose evil however we are to oppose those who are living in open rebellion to God. Ones who are open and unrepentant in their wickedness. We have to respect those who fear the LORD, it does not say those who are perfect, or those who are blameless but those who fear the LORD.
• Swears to his own hurt and does not change – What a man huh? He does not change even though it may hurt him or he may not gain and most probably lose out of the interaction. That is true steadfastness and to be honored.
• Does not extort/lends money for profit – On the flip side that he does not do transactions for gain, extort or con others for profit. So if a brother gets knowledge that another brother has to sell things on the cheap, he does not take advantage and low ball offer him, he gives a fair price for what he is buying.
• Does not take a bribe/perjure the innocent – Again another Ten Commandment basic instruction, he does not take money to defame someone’s name, he does not lie or spread false witness against someone. This of course is a foreshadow of what happened to Jesus in his trial. Why would any of his followers want to do to someone what happened to their Messiah?

What a list huh? David states that “He who does these things shall never be moved” he shall be steadfast; he will be secure in the Lord. We are not called to love the world or the things of the world, we read this confirmed lastly in 1st John 2:15…

1st John 2:15 (ESV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Teach sound doctrine – Titus 2:1-10

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Teach sound doctrine – Titus 2:1-10 – 01/14/2016

This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.

Titus 2:1 (ESV) But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. 9 Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Titus begins the reason for his letter after the earlier salutation (see previous blog article) and outlines the reasons for initially writing and set out what the mission for Titus should be in chapter one. It is both a mission and a challenge because Titus would have to be very discerning in who he chose and he would require wisdom to ensure that the correct type of people were installed to help these churches to be strong. Let’s start in verse one of chapter two and my aim (God willing) is to go through the letter to Titus on a verse by verse format.

V1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

Paul states God’s plan for Titus life and these few words show that Titus was set apart for a task that was not for everyone. His task was to teach what accords with sound doctrine, he was given a responsibility that I think we take too lightly today in today’s church. Ask yourself a question, should everyone be allowed to teach in the church? James answers this quite clearly in his epistle…

James 3:1 (ESV) Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

Those who teach will be judged with greater strictness…Now you see why it is called a calling and not simply a job or an occupation. Often times Paul in his ministry was bi-vocational, he made tents and preached the gospel, I know many pastors who ministry is not their “day jobs” and it is very much a western mindset that we have teachers of the bible as a career choice.

What had he to teach? He is told to teach what accords with sound doctrine, not just an action, going through the motions type deal, but a living example of what the right things are. We read all through chapter one some of the incorrect doctrines that he was being told to correct and we see here that Paul is only interested in him being a teacher of what is sound.

It is an example to us even today, to stand up for what is right and correct and represents Christianity in a true light. The world is good at distorting Christ and his followers and many of the myths I used to spread myself and have heard about Christians are simply stereotypes and are not true. Yes we have the Bible and it is a manual to advise us doctrinally how to live and we do believe that it is the inerrant, infallible word of God. Paul goes on to explain and categorizes the different groups within the assembly.

Older men

V2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.

Titus was a younger man so it is important that when you are teaching these men that it is done with respect and love with a liberal amount of wisdom, it is obvious why because you do not want to cause offense and cause stumbling by things that are not biblical. Despite the fact that these men may be older in physical age, it is more likely that they would not be as advanced and as spiritually mature as Titus.

Despite their lack of spiritual maturity Titus was to teach these men certain standards that they had to adhere to. Titus is commanded to teach these things that might not have come with their life experience so far. If you are saved later in life you have a far bigger past that a new believe who gets saved in his teens, you may not have the following characteristics…

• Sober minded – not a lack of a sense of humor but simply someone who knows when to be serious and when to be called upon as an “elder head”
• Dignified – If dignity did not automatically come with age or if you were undignified in your previous life, then this may have to be “taught”
• Self-controlled – Titus had to teach them to be self-controlled in order to be a good example, they had to be sober, reverent and temperate.
• Sound in faith – They had to get their doctrinal “ducks in a row” in order to be effectively used in the ministry. They had to have good knowledge and be diligent in their studies
• Sound in love – They had to have a genuine love for people, this may have been an issue as I know myself as we get older we get more stuck in our grooves and we will have pre-conceived notions more than someone who is not as advanced in age.
• Steadfast – Unmovable, a word often used for an anchor, someone that is dependable. If you think of the really good elders or spiritual mentors you have had in your lives you will see that they had most of these characteristics.

Quiet a list huh? I am not really confident in which ones I should share about that I am still working on! I would imagine that due to the age difference this may have been met with some resistance however the purpose of this was to do what we should be doing more of in our churches, Titus was equipping his saints for the work of the ministry, once Titus was done with these men he would have them teach these principles to others. They would automatically have people’s ears due to their age but Titus was to make sure that the very people that could influence people are influencing them correctly and in a sound manner. Let’s look at what he had to teach the older women…

Older women

V3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Like the older men the older ladies are given their own expectations, from the text we glean that they were expected to be the following…

• Reverent in behavior – Like the older men they were to show reverence, be that example of reverence, being a woman for all the people that they would be reliant on in any situation and not disqualified due to external behaviors.
• Not slanderers – The woman of God is expected to use her tongue wisely, not to be tripped up by speaking evil of others, they must be able to be trusted to not be flippant in speech and would you confess your deepest darkest sins to one who would spread them around the church?
• Slaves to much wine – She must be sober, you notice that it says “not slaves to much wine” and the culture then, as it is today expressed that alcohol was okay. I have no actual issue with the partaking of alcohol but merely the abuse of it. If the lady was drunk consistently or lived her life according to the bottle and replaced the Spirit of God in her life with a slavery or addiction to wine.
• Teach what is good – The woman of God has to be able to teach appropriate doctrine to establish a legacy in her ministry. She is to be the living example in that she would practice what she preached and preached only sound doctrine and be a mentor to those who are looking to her for instruction.
• Able to train the young women – Again she is looking to train the young women in the precepts and doctrines of her faith, being that example and being a valuable resource in the mentoring and maturing of the young women. In many cases supporting the parents by being a spiritual parent to the younger women.
• Self-controlled – Self-control is a must, I know this is starting to sound like the perfect lady but she will have her faults and I am sure that there will have been people that will have been chosen for ministry that will have been a work in progress, so please if you are reading this do not get down hearted that you are a few categories off. God will work on you should you invite and desire that to happen. I urge you to charge on and not get discouraged!
• Pure – It goes without saying that she would be pure, with no scandal or examples that would lead the younger believer astray, yes she will have her challenges but she will be showing to have overcome them and use the challenges as a testimony to her faith.
• Working at home – In that day the women were expected to work at home and if your finances allow for that then that is wonderful, however there are many reasons why a woman would not be working at home and sometimes you have to do what is best for your family.
• Kind – She is to be kind, able to be kind in situations that warrant a gentle hand, you will notice that there is no category for the younger ladies and they are expected to get their mentoring from the older ladies, that is not to say that they would not learn from Titus, but their principle instruction would be with their husbands and the older ladies.
• Submissive to their own husbands – Those of you who think this is a “blind submission”, “submission to the dictator husband” or “forced servitude” do not have a full understanding of God’s design for marriage, the woman is expected to be submissive and be under the headship of her husband as the keeper of his home but many do not understand the dynamic that is explained in the book of Ephesians chapter 5…

Ephesians 5:22 (ESV) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Yes she is meant to submit, but the husband is to love her as Christ loved the church, remember that whole “love. honor and cherish” deal on the wedding day?

And this is enveloped in the last sentence “that the word of God may not be reviled” that is beautiful and it shows that they had to be a living example for the generation coming up and the generations to follow of what was expected of a Godly woman. Blessed are the churches that follow this pattern for women’s ministry. It is important that older does not always mean age, spiritual maturity is as vital as life experience and many effective women’s leaders would be regarded as “young”.

Younger men

V6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Young men are to be the following…

• Self-controlled – Like the older men that are teaching them, they are expected to be self-controlled and be examples to be used for the ministry of God when they are spiritually mature. The Christian faith is a journey, a day by day relationship and often times people transition and you could be called at any time, so you have to be ready to go when you are called.
• Model of good works – If you wished a scriptural example of this I would urge you to read the third chapter of the book of Colossians, the young men are called to diligence, called to be mature, called to be an example of good works to all around them. Show them that despite your youth you are an example to others. Titus had to be more than a mentor, more than a teacher; he had to be an example to these people.
• In teaching show integrity, dignity and sound speech that cannot be condemned – Here is the meat and bones of the text, the mission had to stand up to scrutiny, it had to be permeated in integrity, he had to be dignified and everything that came out of his mouth had to be sound doctrine. This was the legacy he was leaving to the younger people.
• Leave opponents with nothing evil to say about you – Be “above reproach” remember that from earlier? Leave no arguments about you, what you teach or just as dangerously your character.

Servants

V9 Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Bondservants are to be as following…

• Submissive to their own masters in everything – The church was the one place that servants could mingle with their masters on a somewhat equal footing, this was a culture shock to many as servants sometimes had positions in the church and their masters did not. However the servants had obligations as part of their servitude and they were to fulfill them with all of their heart.
• Well pleasing and not argumentative – Paul goes into a greater detail into the heart of how they were to serve and the heart behind of how they were to serve, they were to be pleasing and not argumentative in spirit or in speech, it wasn’t simply good enough to do the “bare minimum” or simply to “tick the boxes” they were called to exceed and succeed in all that they did (See Colossians 3:23)
• Not pilfering – They were not to steal and that was obvious, but ponder this, what about stealing time, wasting time or loitering so that they are not as efficient as they could be. Another common practice would be that the servants would run errands and this states that they should not profit by keeping change or property from their masters.
• Showing all good faith – Titus must show the servants that they must be an example of their faith in all that they do, they must be markedly different to those who are not of the same faith, they must be honest, trustworthy and a good example.
• They may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior – And here is the reason why, to give a good report to others of the doctrine they possess. What greater testimony than someone who is in servitude living out their life as a Christian and being the best servant he could be? Talk about the ultimate dead end job with no career prospects and they must have a Christ like attitude and work at it with all their endeavors.

We are not bondservants ourselves nor do any of us have servants or slaves so a modern day application is difficult but think on this, many of us are employed or employ others and in our daily employ do we have the above credentials? I am not trying to shame you but merely make you think and imagine what a witness we could be if we were like this. Should the Lord spare us until next time I plan to look at verses 11-15 next time in chapter two.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Genesis One – Day Four – God makes the Sun, the Moon and stars – Genesis 1:14-19

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Genesis One – Day Four – God makes the Sun, the Moon and stars – Genesis 1:14-19 – 01/12/2016

Genesis 1:14 (ESV) And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

This article is designed to be a slightly more in depth article than I did in the “creation series” elsewhere on this website, Lord willing I hope to look at the full creation week and examine the case for a Biblical creation from the mindset that the bible is accurate and a honest and truthful source of history in how we came to be here. I am not here to attack other mindsets as I appreciate that not everyone shares my view of a biblical history and I do welcome lively debate on the subject regardless of your thoughts or beliefs on how the earth was made.

In order to look at this from a biblical context we must first look at the text in question starting in verse fourteen…

V14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.

God again showed what he was doing in creation by noting that the creation on this day would mark three different timespans…

  • signs and for seasons
  • for days
  • for years

And that is even true today, you could ask my child who is in first grade “ is it light or dark when you wake up?” and she could give you an answer that can be traced all the way back to that scripture.

We are all familiar with the idea of “day”, “night”, “months”,  “years” and “spring”, “summer”, “autumn (fall)” or “winter” because we have based our very time, day, dates and years around evidence that we can see on a daily basis, we can see the sky getting darker, we can see the sky getting lighter, only a fool would try to deny that there is a planet that somewhat illuminates the night called the Moon and a planet that gives a greater light in the day called the Sun, we also see our temperature get hotter, colder, wetter and dryer at different intervals in the year, scientists would call that good observational science and I would tend to agree with them.

We also see other lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth; again my first grade daughter would easily tell you that we call them stars. (Which is confirmed by name in the next verse if you don’t wish to trust the wisdom of a six year old.) We again can observe them so it does not take a great deal of faith to believe in something that you can see plainly and interpret what it is.

V16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.

Once we have had the recipe, we then get the execution and this is where theology and evolutionary scientists depart from each other, one believes that God placed the sun and the moon in exactly the correct place in order to sustain life and another believes in no deity and it is there because it is there.

I prefer the idea of a design that was created by an architect to plan who placed all of the pieces exactly where they were supposed to be, here is my evidence this far…

  • Day one – he created the universe, made it light and dark creating the first day
  • Day two – he separated the waters from the waters creating the correct climate
  • Day three – dry land, vegetation and everything created fully bloomed and ready for man
  • Day four – where we are today he placed the sun exactly where it needed to be to be the light sustainer.

If you don’t understand why he did this then it is confirmed in the next few verses…

V17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

Not content with creating them, he placed them exactly where they were meant to go and science continues to show what an expanse that was! They keep finding more and more beautiful stars as our technology catches up to God in so many ways. I see this as a proof of the largeness of God as opposed to being problematic to showing that God created it. For me it humbles me and gives such a perception shift when we realize the size of God that we serve and the fact that if we were to realize this then we would not approach God in the way that we do.

God is a god who deserves all the honor, glory and majesty and once I fully understood this first chapter of genesis that shows the biblical creation account, it truly changed my life and I am truly grateful to my old pastor at Calvary Glasgow who took me to see a man called Ken Ham in a small church in Glasgow back in 2007 on a night that would be not even remembered by anyone who worked that tour, but I was a brand new believer and was still reconciling things in my heart as to what the bible said on many things and that night was really a game changer because that man had so many answers that led me to investigate fully based on the foundational knowledge that I now had. I am truly grateful to the Answers in Genesis organization for organizing that tour.

People ask if there is any life on other planets and I would doubt that because of how this text is finished “And God saw that it was good” and as I stated above, we have so many factors that would have to pre-exist in order to have a sustainable environment for living creatures to survive let alone live, so much so that even the most ardent science fiction person or person who wishes extra-terrestrial life to be the case would even concede that it has very problematic probability of chance based on mathematics alone. I find it to be as the name suggests “science fiction”. It would also call into question why God chose this planet to send his Son Jesus Christ to die and not any others.

God also stated that it was “good” as a reminder that nothing had interrupted creation thus far and everything so far had been from Gods hand, God is a perfect God who does not make mistakes and this is a reminder that everything was going to plan.

V19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

And as if we needed a reminder, God called this the fourth day, a literal day that was not to be interpreted any other way.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
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