Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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John the Baptist prepares the way (part one) – Matthew 3:1-12

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John the Baptist prepares the way (part one) – Matthew 3:1-12 – 02/17/2016

Matthew 3:1 (ESV) In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” 4 Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

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.

Let’s start our bible study in verse one of chapter three.

V1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew now moves on from his narrative away from the childhood of Jesus and leaves that account with Jesus growing up in Nazareth in the last article in this series (link here) and begins looking at the child who was promised of Zechariah and Elizabeth called “John the Baptist” so let’s look at who he was. We are introduced to the foretelling of the baby John in the gospel of Luke…

Luke 1: 5 (ESV) In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. 8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” 18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. 24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

So we understand this baby will come and grow into a man who will have the “Spirit of Elijah” Luke carries on in the first chapter of Luke when he accounts of the birth of John the Baptist and a prophecy by his father…

Luke 1:57 (ESV) Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

Zechariah’s Prophecy

Luke 1:67 (ESV) And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, 68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; 72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us 74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” 80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

And here is where we carry on the story in Matthews Gospel and John’s message was not one of hearts and flowers and if modern day folks who examine preachers and assess whether their message would be very “seeker friendly” would find John wanting. John had a simple message because he knew his role in ushering in the Messiah. It was his job to call whoever would listen to repentance, but not repentance for the sake of John, he was requesting a true repentance of the heart and a turning back to God for all people.

His message was so in unison with his messiahs mission that his first words were the same as Jesus, both started their missions calling the ones who had gathered to listen to “repent” and that gives an indication of how far the world had sunk away from God’s plan. That message is still relevant today because we need to lose ourselves and seek the Lord while he may be found and to call upon him while he is near.

John states this by saying “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” and that is just as true today than it was then, Jesus is coming again soon and the anticipation of that second coming of the Messiah should excite us to continue our kingdom work down here. John’s main message was not the repent, but he reason for the repentance.

Lord willing, in our next article in Matthew we will look at part two of the introduction to John the Baptist where we pick up in verse three and see what John actually preaches and the heart behind that, I would hate for you to miss it and the riches that will be revealed in that bible study. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

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
TGBTG
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The birth of Jesus – Matthew 1:18-25

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The birth of Jesus – Matthew 1:18-25 – 12/09/2015

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 1:18 (ESV) Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

I love this part of scripture as it is so dynamic, so cross cultural and so wonderful in its simplicity and this is why I love the book of Matthew. Matthew is a no nonsense guy, a tax collector who gets straight to the point and lays out the facts in an easy to read historical format. After dealing with the family tree of where Jesus came from in a legal perspective he then starts with the betrothal and in the Jewish ceremony there were three steps to marriage..

•       Engagement – Is when the initial interest is noted and they are set aside for one another, sometimes this is done before they would be able to decide for themselves and it was somewhat common for families to “align” by marriage by setting aside children to be married at a later date.
•       Betrothal – is when the couple is old enough to wed, they betroth and this would be the same as what we would call a legal wedding, they are married by law and can only break this by a formal divorce, however they still live apart for a period of time, usually the first year.
•       Marriage – this took place last and then the couple would start their lives as man and wife.

Now you can see why a betrothed woman would be scandalous if the man was a righteous man like Joseph was. The fact that Mary was with child would have culturally caused an issue and the first thought would have been that she had been adulterous. Mary must have been under intense pressure as by agreeing to do this she knew that she was essentially making herself a social outcast as no-one would believe what she said regarding the Holy Spirit.

So much so that initially Joseph did not believe (v19) Joseph is shown here as a man with great compassion as he could have had Mary stoned for breaking a betrothal. (He is called here Mary’s husband to illustrate how legal the betrothal was) You have to see it from Joseph’s point of view also as everything points to Mary being unfaithful to him and legally and in his heart also it would have been virtually impossible to go through with the marriage. Joseph still showed love for Mary by wishing to not publically humiliate her and seek a quiet divorce.

A divorce in those days was not the quick and convenient option that it has become these days. There would have been witnesses to the betrothal and other young men in the area would have known that Mary could not be courted so Joseph was trying to make it as painless as possible for both parties. So it would not be private as we read it but Joseph despite his obvious hurt and feeling of betrayal has it in mind to allow as painless a separation as possible and it is right that he is described as “a just man” as he still wanted to protect Mary’s interests as well as his own.

V20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

Divine intervention convinced Mary to conceive from the Holy Spirit and divine intervention also convinced Joseph to take Mary as his wife and reassured him that she had not been in disgrace. Can you imagine what a relief that was and how that made Joseph feel? That trust had been restored between man and wife and husband, we know he loved her by his desire to not disgrace her and now he could have the woman that he had waited so long in anticipation for.

Joseph is addressed as “son of David” so this will have alerted Joseph that he was being spoken to using the lineage of his family back to King David and the messianic meanings behind what was about to be said. You have to remember that the nation was looking for the returning Messiah so everybody knew the prophecies and everyone was on alert. And it was confirmed to him that Mary had not been unfaithful to him and was still pure.

V21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Joseph has the future revealed to him that he will witness a son, that will be called Jesus and that he will be a Savior. Jesus meant simply “The Salvation of Jehovah” it was as common as John and Joseph is today but there will be nothing common about the mission that this special child will have. He will save his people from their sins. Note that it says “his people” and not “Children of Israel” or “God’s people” which advises that Jesus will save those who come to faith in him and that was the purpose we find out even at the announcement of his birth that this child will do something to save his people.

V22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: V23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

The angel is quoting from the seventh chapter of the book of Isaiah which reads…

Isaiah 7:14 (ESV) Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

It is very God that even at the announcement of the birth of Jesus he points to the fact that he had advised hundreds of years before in the prophets and that it would not be some vague prophesy that could have been fulfilled by a hundred different people throughout history. God gave a specific prophecy about something that was biologically impossible except by supernatural intervention.

The name Immanuel (God with us) shows how far God was willing to come to meet us in our sin that he would send his son to come to earth to be with us, live like us and be an example to us and eventually die on a cross for our sins to reconcile man to God. God literally came 99.99% of the way to us and told us that he wanted communion that much that he was willing to walk this earth to demonstrate a divine nature in the historical man Jesus of Nazareth.

V24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife,

Joseph was tremendous here, for me Joseph does not get enough credit in the scriptures and when he woke, he went straight away and was obedient to the angel of the Lord and did not debate or resonate it in his heart, maybe take stock of it and logic away the divine nature of the whole thing. I feel that as Christians we tend to do that too much where we tend to overanalyze things that are obviously God and backed up by both the will and word of God and sometimes we miss out on the blessings God has for us because we are too conservative. Joseph does not do that, he walks by faith that God has blessed this union.

V25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Matthew wants to make three things clear from this verse…

•       Mary remained a virgin until after Jesus was born
•       Eventually Joseph and Mary had marital relations
•       They were obedient to call the child the name God wanted

These are important observations because it takes away the opportunity for scoffers to doubt the miraculous birth, that she would fulfil the prophecy not just at the time of conception but also at the time of delivery. It also removes the credence for the idea that Mary remained a virgin always that some denominations promote, it simply is unbiblical and unhistorical because we know that Jesus had at least two other brothers they were called James and Jude and they both wrote epistles so we have writings from these men to show that they did in fact exist.

Legally the marriage was finalized and they could live together but it was not consummated and from a male point of view that showed incredible restraint and faithfulness on the behalf of Joseph. Lastly they called him Jesus, they did what they were told by God, perhaps it was easy to be obedient when they were faced with such direct confirmation of the will of God, they called him that common name that would eventually become name above all names.

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
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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Two – December 22nd

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Two – December 22nd

Thank you for reading our twenty second installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at Psalms chapter sixteen which is an awesome piece of prophetic scripture and speaks that the messiah will resurrect from the dead…

Holy One not corrupted

Psalms 16:10 (ESV) For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.

This is an awesome piece of prophecy that is often quoted when we are looking at Messianic prophecy. Like many of David’s prophecies in Psalms it has two direct applications:

1) The life of David
2) The life of Jesus

The life of David

David was sure in his faith that his soul would not be abandoned to the grave.

The life of Jesus

As we read in Acts 2 (further down this article) Peter quotes this verse and refers it directly to Jesus. This refers to Jesus by stating the words “Holy One” as Jesus never committed any sin and was the literal first born without blemish that is called for in the Law.

Jesus would not see corruption as his body would only lie in the tomb until the third day, his physical body would not deteriorate until day 4, again fulfilling prophecy. This is confirmed in both Matthew and Acts as we read below.

Matthew 28:1 (ESV) Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Why the two Mary’s?

The two Mary’s come to the tomb and expected to see a dead Jesus, remember how I keep saying that God is in control? God knew the calendar and knew that the Sabbath would be slap bang in the middle of this, God planned it this way and the two Mary’s come to finish the body that had hurridly been taken off the cross and put in Joseph’s tomb.

We read there was a great earthquake and an angel rolled back the huge stone and sat on it. We are not privy to whether the earthquake was due to the angelic intervention or did God send the earthquake to loosen the stone? Does this not give a demonstration of the power of God, that one of his angels could effortlessly move huge stones?

Where were the guards?

The guards were also missing, now Roman guards were there “on pain of death” so it was not a usual circumstance that they would appear “like dead men”. The angel was reassuring to the women and wished to confirm that Jesus was indeed resurrected and the angel said where they would find Jesus.

Answered prayer

We see that the women got an answer to prayer that they were not expecting, Jesus had in fact been resurrected. They whole idea of coming back from the dead and living eternally was beyond what they thought was possible. You have to understand that they had personally witnessed Jesus die in the cruelest way possible and they literally saw the blood and water hit the ground as Jesus was pronounced dead and were there at the last possible minute and saw their Savior died.

An appropriate place

Which is why it was completely appropriate that they took the angels invite to see the place where Jesus was placed. This solidified any testimony they had relayed to the disciples and others stating that the messiah was no longer in the tomb. They were now eye-witnesses and primary witnesses to the fact that he had resurrected.

The two Mary’s were given an appropriate place in relaying the news both to the disciples and also in being one of the first to see the resurrected Jesus. They were truly Women of faith having the desire to come to the tomb, even when they thought their Savior was dead. They worshipped at his feet giving him the praise that was due him, if he was not God they would be sinners under Jewish law.

Peter’s Pentecostal Sermon

Peter confirms this on the day of Pentecost, lets look at the book of Acts chapter two:

Acts 2:22 (ESV) Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit spoke in a very volatile situation with no fear. You have to remember that this is Peter who just about fifty days earlier had denied his LORD three times under far less pressure.

Peter speaks what is known in scripture as “Peter’s sermon”, whilst this is a good title I would suggest that “The Holy Spirit speaks through Peter” is more apt. Peter quotes the verse that we stated above as well as another verse in Psalms chapter 16, which Peter goes onto explain why the Holy One could not be bound by death, the full quotation is below:

Psalms 16:8 (ESV) I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Peter begins with the words “hear these words” or to paraphrase “listen to me” in addition to the speaking in tongues, the miraculous signs and wonders and the explanation from the prophet Joel, Peter makes sure that they are fully aware of the reason behind this is Jesus.

This is a challenge for me as I know how many opportunities I have blown because I have not given full attribution to the LORD Jesus Christ. So many good deeds that could have given glory to God but I did not go that extra mile. People that have crossed my path but I have not introduced the gospel to them, I lament in my soul but I am encouraged by Peter’s boldness and makes me realize that God can use even the flawed to accomplish his will.

Peter pulls no punches and lets them have the truth, this is barely two months after Jesus was crucified (basically says “You crucified the messiah sent by God!) Let’s just say that people will have heard of Jesus of Nazareth, it was a big deal when he was speaking of these things. He starts with “a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know” Everyone in that crowd was aware that he died and was crucified, this is a sound evangelical principle to begin with what people know about Jesus and build from there, but Peter does not stop there.

Peter goes on to attest that he rose again in verses 24-33, he quotes the verses much better than I have and explains wonderfully that the one who was quoted to “not see corruption” was in fact Jesus of Nazareth. (Known also as the Christ)

What a wonderful Gospel message, that Jesus took the full wrath of God that was reserved for us who remained in our sins. Jesus was the only innocent, sinless one who not only died as a sacrifice for our sins in the cruelest, most barbaric way that was ever designed for a criminal to die, he also resurrected and these people attest and are witnesses to the fact to show that because of the resurrection we have proof that Jesus sufficiently paid for our sins. He also tells us that we need to call on the LORD to be saved in verse 21, the full quotation is below:

Call upon the name of the LORD

Acts 2:21 (ESV) And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

And that is the truth, Jesus is the only way to be saved from your sins and be reconciled to God. Obviously I want to see you join me in heaven, but only you can make that choice to accept Jesus as LORD of your life. If you are still in your sins, you are already in slavery to whatever you have as your God; this has no eternal value so I urge you to investigate the claims of Jesus as your messiah.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

No other gospel

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No other Gospel

Galatians 1:6 (ESV) I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel–7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Oh Foolish Galatians!

When people think of the Galatian church the first thing that people think of is the verse “Oh foolish Galatians” it is easy to think that as this letter to this church is very heavy on teaching and also very loving. Paul exhorts the church; he corrects and gives great instruction that is still applicable some 2000 years later.

The reason this is so prevalent today is that Paul marvels/is astonished (depends on the version of the Bible you read) that the Galatians have fallen into theology that is not correct. This is not a minor theological contention such as whether we sprinkle or fully immerse in baptism, whether we have one cup or many cups at communion or whether we wear suits or come as you are to church. They are turning away from the basic beliefs and tenets on the Christian faith, the building blocks of what makes them Christian.

They were embracing heresy based on confusion. Like so many of todays cults, they were trying to do “Jesus plus” what I mean was that Jesus was not enough, they had to do Jesus plus the law, Jesus plus something else, like the blood on the cross was not enough to atone for the sins of the world.

Works are good

Don’t get me wrong, as a guy who is very point by point, line by line, precept upon precept in my Bible studies, I find it beneficial to have certain works listed as good to do, but they should not be kept in the same line or same vein as what is required to be saved. Many of the things that we contend with each other these days are not Salvation issues, many are not even heretical, many are based on theological stances that attempt to help, but sometimes cause frustration.

Traditionally, (and my wife Chelsea would be the first to confirm this) I have been “works orientated” where I try to “tick the boxes” and try to (in Gods will and his power) live in a way that would befitting the title Christian. This is good, if you are a flaky person and need structure in your life then this is a good way to get some structure and have some way to grow as a Christian.

You have to be careful though, we have a tendency as humans to elevate the structure that we have as high as the reason we are doing this in the first place. Please do not allow the ritual to become the main thing and also by the same token do not worship the ritual, this leads to resentment of your mind on when you think of all the other stuff you could be doing with your time and then it leads to you dragging your feet and “going through the motions” with minimum effort.

God knows this, God knows your heart, he knows who has their heart in it and who does not.

If I don’t feel like it should I not worship God?

In the words of the Apostle Paul, God forbid. I read a really cool graphic on Facebook yesterday that read “There are two times to worship God, 1) When you feel like it 2) When you don’t.

I think this is an awesome reminder that worshipping God should be as natural as eating or drinking water, we were created to do so and if we allow our emotions to drive how we feel about God, it stands to reason that when things go badly, we will not be in a mood to worship God.

Paradoxically, when some people are in their deepest hole and when they have exhausted all other alternatives, that is when they find God. Those of whom are literally at the bottom of their “pit of despair”.

What if the hosts of heaven appear to me?

Paul states quite clearly, “if he or even an angel preaches any other gospel” and the instructions to go with that. This even happens today; I am sure you will remember about 6 years ago we had a guy called Todd Bentley who had his “Lakeland revival” in Florida. Part of this guy’s testimony was he was visited by an Angel called “Emma” who gave “new revelation” and advised that he was to do a spiritual outpouring and declare revival in the Florida area and beyond.

I am all for revival, however this testimony sounds like it is in contradiction to what is stated in Galatians. It is similar to the testimony by the founder of the LDS (Mormon) Church called Joseph Smith Junior, he was visited by an angel called “Moroni” and given golden tablets (that disappeared as soon as he translated them) in an ancient and forgotten language that he was given supernatural powers to translate into what is now called the “Book of Mormon”.

So what is the problem?

We are told that if they give a gospel contrary to the one of Jesus Christ, what Paul calls “no gospel at all” he will be “eternally condemned” If you want a picture of what that looks like, have a quick read of Revelation 20:7-10, doesn’t look like fun huh?

Trying to please men

Paul finishes by stating that what he states will not be popular among men and that if he had desired to be popular with men he would have stayed as Saul, the Jewish zealot who was a career persecutor and very popular hatchet man of the Jewish faith. Instead he had a zealous heart for what God wanted in his life, so when he was face to face with Christ (not angels as you notice) he followed what God wanted with scant regard for his own life!

LORD MAKE ME LIKE THAT PLEASE!

I hope and pray this was a blessing and please share this article and leave any comments as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE