Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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Lessons from the Ephesians – Don’t lose your first love!!!! – Revelation 2:1-7

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Lessons from the Ephesians – Don’t lose your first love!!!! – Revelation 2:1-7 – 06/28/2016

It has been a while huh? I bet most of you haven’t noticed but I haven’t put out a blog in nearly 6 weeks and I think that is some sort of record for me. In that time I have not been idle, I have been doing some reassessing and looking at myself and as the church at whole introspectively. This blog article is not dedicated to any particular group of Christians but to Christianity as a whole. The verses I want to look at today are a well-known passage in Revelation…

Revelation 2:1 (ESV) “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

I want to go to this church!

When I look at what the Ephesians had together I am amazed I would want to go to this church!!! They had …

  • Works
  • Toil
  • Endurance
  • Patience
  • A hunger for holiness
  • Enough doctrine to test what was good (They remembered the warning in Acts 20:17-31)
  • Judgment to call those false who were false
  • They were okay to endure for the name of the Lord/They were known as Christians
  • They did not grow weary/remained hopeful despite trials

Sounds like a solid bunch huh? I know from experience when I have been assessing churches to make sure that my wife and I are serving where we are called to be at this time by the Lord I have a list of “must haves” a list of “nice to haves” and a list that are “cosmetic purposes only” and this was from advice from a Pastor I trust that asked me once “what is your deal breakers?”.

Warning to the new church seeker

I say this because there maybe that guy or girl at the moment who is contemplating switching churches, perhaps for a good reason, perhaps not but I would encourage you to watch out for the Ephesian church, they may be the one with the biggest youth ministry, the best programs, the largest congregation, the best sounding worship, the best light display but outside the Sunday meeting they may be a group who never interacts with each other and are strangers apart from a warm handshake and a bunch of promises to meet (which never materialize).

They may have none of those things and may tick all of your intellectual boxes, they may not have worship down, children’s ministry sometimes happens and sometimes does not but the Pastor teaches some of the most intellectually profound, right on doctrine that flexes your spiritual muscles on a weekly basis, the exegesis and hermeneutics are phenomenal and the teaching is at college level theological seminary and new believers learn a lot of spiritual language but is light on application and you see quickly that apart from the weekly lecture, there is no mentoring, no feeding into one another and loving on one another apart from maybe one or two individuals but the culture of love is not present and you know that a year down the line you won’t know these people any better than today.

Those are two extremes of course and the church you are looking at will most probably be somewhere in the middle of those but what they have in common is that while each opposite have vital components that will get people through the door if they are Ephesian in nature and forgotten their first love then all else is in vain. As Shakespeare would say “it is all for nought”.

Beware of the Pharisee Christian

Let’s look at those vitals that are alive in this Ephesian church…

  • Works
  • Toil
  • Endurance
  • Patience
  • A hunger for holiness
  • Enough doctrine to test what was good
  • Judgment to call those false who were false
  • They were okay to endure for the name of the Lord/They were known as Christians
  • They did not grow weary/remained hopeful despite trials

However…you can fall victim to the human nature that thinks that as you progress as a Christian you become “too good” for the things you did as a baby Christian (or the basics) but I would remind you that you would not build a structure without a foundation and even if you become a master builder and have built many fine buildings, imagine turning up a new job and stating to the works foreman that we “would not bother with the foundation as this building will be great because I am the builder”. All you are setting yourself up for is a building that will fall and a reputation ruined… How is your relationship building with Jesus? Is the foundation sure?

Jesus had a lot to say to the Pharisees in the Gospels because they were the ones who know the doctrine, they were the ones who should have known better and they should have been rejoicing at the Messiah, the Pharisees had the works, had the doctrine, they were known as the holy ones, they were supposed to toil, have endurance and patience and many did but some did not… (see a pattern here?)

This I have against you…

God is not saying do not have these things in place but there is an important foundation to have in verse 4 and 5…

“V4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”

The word “abandoned” is telling here, it is not like losing your keys, they had made decisions to leave their first love, that to me is the saddest part of the passage and even although internally they were like whitewashed tombs (Matthew 23:25-28) They had left the love of God and the love for one another, they no longer had that first love of Jesus, like a marriage that both parties have allowed to become stale they no longer have that new romance spark and they did not allow it to mature so they have a broken relationship.

They are prodigals or wayward sons that have still got to come to that afternoon in the pigpen eating swill and realizing that they could have it much better as the lowest servant in their father’s house. Like the father in that account in Luke (Luke 15:11-32) when they returned to the love of the father there was much celebration, forgiveness and absolution of the sin that cause the son to go so low.

Exhortation and application

We are all sinners and the Ephesian church did not always have it together, read the epistle to Ephesians if you do not believe me. We all need repentance; we all need forgiveness whether your sins are few or many and we all could do with being closer to Jesus and I commend you all to learn the lessons of the Ephesians, take the good in what they do and in the spirit of application we need to do the basics, repent, find our first love and then follow Gods plan!

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
SDG

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Psalms Saturday #9 – Psalms 93 – The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty

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Psalms Saturday #9 – Psalms 93 – The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty – 02/27/2016

Psalm 93:1 (ESV) The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. 2 Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. 3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. 4 Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! 5 Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.

This Psalm is awesome in its praise to the LORD. I love this because it gives titles that should only be ascribed to the LORD, please enjoy this great Psalm of praise, 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 The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.

I love and rejoice when I read these words and I thank you firstly if you are spending your precious weekend reading these words. Let’s look at how the Psalmist refers to his LORD to set out the tone of the Psalm…

  • LORD – He calls him LORD (All Capitals) the name above all names and as rich as our language is, we still do not have the words to describe how majestic God is. The author of the words of this precious book that we read and a constant thread throughout scripture that is never contradictory.
  • Reigns – To the writer of this Psalm, his LORD is ruler in his life, he is in charge and in control he has total devotion to the LORD of all creation.
  • Robed in Majesty – Think of the finest king you can imagine and you are no-where close. The one who alone is worthy of All gory, All honor and All praise, then you are getting closer.
  • Strength – Do you have confidence in your countries foreign policy? Do you have confidence in being a world superpower? What about the defense policy? The Psalmist is using the same confidence that is displayed in Psalm 20…

    Psalm 20:7 (ESV) Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God

    We have moved on a little from using chariots and horses but I am sure you will get the picture that whatever strength you think that your nation has, it is nothing compared to the strength of the LORD.

  • World is established – He is the one who made everything in 6 days! It was established as to his measurements and his criteria, nothing is there that he did not request.
  • Never be moved – It will never be moved except at the LORDs command.

Getting a picture of how big and awesome He is yet? If not then please read on!

V2 Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.

He is beyond time, he is established before “old” was, he will be established after everlasting is. The prophecies of the Old Testament he could see them happening when the prophets were moved to predict them. He is outside of time but yet he made time. He had the birth of Christ planned when Micah was prophesying what city he would be born in. He established the law as an example to the people of his perfect standard knowing that he would send a redeemer to save them because God’s standards were so much above our own. The Psalmist now gives examples of how big God is…

V3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. 4 Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty!

Now we have an example of the power of God, that he can even control the floods and the waves of the sea. He can lift up the floods and make the waters roar. If you have ever stood at a shoreline with a child you will know of the worry that swells up inside of you if a wave comes in that is mightier than you would like. (For me if the water is going to hit her kneecap then I pull her out) and that is nothing compared to the type of wave the LORD can begin to send.

The terms are very descriptive and describe the situation rather well. Terms like “mightier”, “thunders”, “lifted up their voice” and “lifted up their roaring” tell of a God who has the ability to allow the waters cover the earth such as in the days of Noah, but in his benevolent grace he restrains the waters from doing so. This is classic Jewish poetry to demonstrate the point of why the original declaration of the LORD being mighty is in fact correct. The Psalmist speaks greatly about the strength of the LORD but what about the LORD’s character?

V5 Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.

The Psalmist talks about the HONESTY of the LORD. His words, his commands, his decrees are very trustworthy. You can trust his words and the words that are written in his name are words you can quite literally build your life upon. Lastly we see the term “holiness befits your house” and that is very apt, God is holiness, he does not lie and his perfect standard is way too perfect for us.

He does not lie and he is that holy that he hates sin, which is why he made provision for you to escape your sins by faith in the messiah Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to heaven and God desires you to be in heaven and as the Psalmist says that is not a temporary state but will be forevermore. There are two ways that you can travel when you die, you can have an eternity without God with eternal death and suffering in the lake of fire or you can choose eternal life with God in heaven. God is that just a God, he allows you to choose for yourself.

Lord willing, in our next article in Psalms we look Psalm 100 and an awesome Psalm of praise. The Psalmist used such wonderful terms as “mighty”, “majesty”, “everlasting” and “holiness” all words which are very befitting a glorious God. 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
SDG

Psalms Saturday #8 – Psalms 70 – O LORD, Do Not Delay

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Psalms Saturday #8 – Psalms 70 – O LORD, Do Not Delay –02/13/2016

To the choirmaster. Of David, for the memorial offering.

Psalms 70:1 (ESV) Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me! 2 Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life! Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt! 3 Let them turn back because of their shame who say, “Aha, Aha!” 4 May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” 5 But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!

This Psalm is both a plea for help 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 Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!

How many times have you felt like this? Whether the trial is great or the trial is small we want deliverance as quickly as possible. Can I be so bold as to put to you something that might not be all that popular? Could it be that God is allowing you to go through whatever trial you are going through to be a teachable moment in your life in order to build you up for something greater yet to come in your life?

I most definitely can identify with this. Who can’t? Who actually enjoys trials? Who has not been frustrated with “God’s timing” when it has been slower than your timing (or what you would like your timing to be!) Regardless of the size of the issue and regardless if you will look back in a few years’ time and be ashamed that that stressed you out, the issue is big enough at that time to cause you to plead and to beg with the one you know can deliver you.

And that is the beauty of this, when the chips are down and you are reliant on who you believe can deliver you, your faith carries you home to that loving father God. It is said that in a fire you understand what is important in your life and what you are willing to leave behind. When you are in the fire you look to deliverance, it is important that you chose the one who can deliver you!

V2 Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life! Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!

This is a righteous prayer, he wants the ones who are persecuting be put to shame and confusion and emphasizes the real harm that they want to do to him. They are said to be seeking after him looking to take his life. I am taken back by the restraint in the petition that he is not asking God (whom he knows could deliver according to his will) to “nuke them” to “wipe them out” or to “allow them to draw their last breath” and he does not seek the same medicine for those who seek his life. (At least not in these verses)

And we see this example when David is fleeing from Saul and twice has the opportunity to take Saul’s life and relents and does not. We may not be going through persecution to wipe that other person out. The Psalmist simply seeks to have them shamed, confused and dishonored. He appears willing to allow them to live.

V3 Let them turn back because of their shame who say, “Aha, Aha!”

They are saying “Aha” and not calling on the name of a Norwegian 80’s band! (Perhaps his opponents were calling him to “Take on me?”) They are being mean in their speech. It is a mean way of mocking and being derogatory and the manner of speech indicates a certain amount of gloating and goading.

Have we not all been victim of that these days due to the instant nature of the internet and the rise of social media, the slightest silly thing that we say can leave us with “egg on the face” with a period of longevity that would simply not be the case in the case of something that was said privately.

I have learned this the hard way and had to do some embarrassing back tracks and even this week I was teased about something that I posted nearly ten years ago and the reason I bring this up is that we are all blessed with astounding memories and some of us are blessed with better recall than others. I am unfortunate that when I make a “boo boo” I make a memorable one that people tend to remember. I am sure that as you are reading this you are recalling something that you have done in this manner?

V4 May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”

And here is the praise portion of the Psalm; the Psalmist does not forget that God is worthy to be praised despite the current trial or issue that befalls him. A decent question to ask is “Do you praise him in the storm?” or do you snivel and whine because things are not rosy in the garden?

Are you being persecuted for the sake of your faith or for another reason? I ask this because sometimes we cause our own drama and we are our own version of a live “Jerry Springer show” I ask this because you may not feel like rejoicing in the name of the Lord because you may not actually be seeking Him and I doubt that you will be glad in Him if your focus is all about you.

This shows the heart of the Psalmist that he wants to praise God even although he faces the pain of death! What faith is this? Do we see such faith in our modern day comfortable Christianity except on the mission field. This month we rejoiced at the release from an Iranian prison a man who I am sure we all have been praying for called Saeed Abedini and we read of how the man endured beatings because he was a faith that was not accepted in the country that he was arrested and yet he still remained faithful.

V5 But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!

He starts with “LORD make haste” and ends with “LORD, do not delay” and in case you are in any doubt of the urgency of this petition then we really should not be after seeing the urgency that begins and ends this Psalm. Timing truly is playing on the Psalmists mind. If the Psalmist was British he would be saying “Get on with it!”

He does reiterate that his God is “his deliverer” and he would be the one to get him out of this grave situation he is in. A good question to ask in this manner would be are you that confident when you go through the trials of life? Is your hope in your deliver? Do you have faith that you will be removed from danger when God’s timing happens?

Lord willing, in our next article in Psalms we look Psalm 93 and an awesome Psalm of praise. The Psalmist used such wonderful terms as “mighty”, “majesty”, “everlasting” and “holiness” all words which are very befitting a glorious God. 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
SDG

Pray with holy hands and women be modest

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This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, 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 1st Timothy for other studies in this book. 

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eight of the second chapter of First Timothy.

1st Timothy 2:8 (ESV) I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Constant state of prayer

Paul continues in his “conduct for the church” thought by stating that “every place the men should pray” which tells us Paul’s attitude towards prayer and how normal it should be for us as followers of Christ to be in a constant state of prayer. There is no caveats, no allowances for time, other things that the men have to do or even where the men were in the region, the expectation was that the men should pray and they should pray in every place.

Looking at this from an application standpoint I feel convicted on this area as (much like many of us) I could really be doing with spending more time in prayer. By western standards I have a fairly healthy prayer life but I do long for more time in prayer, but the biggest barrier to more prayer is me and trying to please myself.

The heart of the church service

Paul is speaking about the church as a whole also and it is imperative that prayer and communion with God are at the center (or heart) of any church service. Prayer is vital, not just for our individual communion with God, but praying corporately as a body is vital with a group of believers who have their hearts in a state of submission to God glorifies God in ways I cannot even fathom to describe.

Lift holy hands with no strife

Paul tells us that the men are to lead this; they are to lead and be “lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” this also leads us into the next chapter which talks about the qualifications for leadership in the church and Paul advises that the ones leading, the deacons, the overseers, the ones beginning the public prayers should all have one thing in common, they should all be men.

They should be raising hands that are holy, ones that are set apart for God, not prone to evil. We are all sinners and we do all sin, some greater than others and I am grateful for the grace of God that I am not deemed holy based on who I am or what I am done. I am holy because of what Christ has done for me when he died on the cross at Calvary.

We are to pray without anger or quarreling, we are human we will have and will hold grudges and we all have different “hot buttons”, something that annoys me may fly over your radar and something that irks you to the point of frustration I may have no quarrel with. We cannot use prayers to target people, especially if we are praying in a group or corporate setting. I have heard (and heard of) prayers that were so obviously aimed at another in the group and you could feel the seethe emanating from the person, this is what Paul is talking about! We may dress it up as “holy concern” or however we dress it up as, but we are not praying in a holy way and most certainly not lifting up holy hands. It may be a case you may have to check your heart to see where your true motives lie.

Pray for those who despise us

This may seem like a contradiction as we are also told to “pray for those who persecute you” but it is not really. This command was talking about praying for those who were against you, not in a vengeful way but pray for things that are both temporary and eternal for that person. I know I have in the past prayed for people who have despised me and prayed that we would have at least a civil relationship (temporary) and also as I grew in prayer for them I prayed for their salvation or for them to grow in God if they were a Christian. (Yes Christians can be jerks too!)

Women be modest

V9… likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works…

Paul is saying in laymen’s terms “Women, don’t be a distraction” now we can pull this text apart in all manners of ways that it was never intended to be pulled in. Really what Paul is stating is that the female of the species is a very attractive being, that they should show beauty in the things that really matter. Paul advises that they should be modest; they should not draw away or cause distraction from the worship which of course is the point of them being there in the first place.

They should be in respectable apparel, now people have tacked on many things to this which some are good and some are not so good, for a time in church women wore hats, (some denominations or creeds demanded the covering of heads) they wore sober business type suits, some wore long flowing dresses some wore long skirts all of these are good and acceptable but what I believe that Paul is saying is dress appropriately for the occasion, if you are spilling out of your clothes or trying to draw attention to you rather than God then you are a distraction.

Which leads us into “modesty and self-control” it is fairly obvious what Paul is driving at here. We have to be careful not to lower our standards to the world’s standards. The world would have you exposed in a heartbeat and I will be honest and state that until I had a daughter of my own, I really hadn’t pondered too much what this meant. Really we should be looking for moderation because in some ways, the way we present ourselves does give an idea into how we view ourselves and an idea what is in our hearts. If we have a heart given over to self-glory and self-gratification then that will show in the way we dress.

Paul gives two examples of how women used to dress themselves up in those days, that we shouldn’t be looking to adorn ourselves with things that draw attention to us. Costly attire is something that we even do today, we call it “designer clothes” and whilst it is not a sin to own nice things, we should not let our things be elevated to a place they should never be.

Profess godliness with good works

And then we get to the point of what Paul is saying…

V10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.

Paul states that we shouldn’t be eternally adorning ourselves, remember in that culture you could “rent” gold rings before you went into meetings or the temple to make you look more affluent than you actually were. He states what makes real beauty “godliness and good works” which unlike jewelry and temporary looks, that will not fade.

We read that the women are to learn quietly, without contention and not causing a distraction to the men chosen to lead in the church. The idea here is that they learn in a submissive nature and not try to grasp authority from the leaders. They are to learn in submission, not as second class citizens but under the respect of those chosen to lead.

Oppress the womem?

People get this impression that women are oppressed and that is not correct, it is like all forms of life. When I was in school, I had to submit to the authority of my teachers, when I joined the Territorial Army in the UK I was under the jurisdiction of the Corporals and Sergeants that were training me and when I sought employment I had managers that were above me so it is not unusual to have a ranking system. If the church allowed a melee or free for all then it would be chaos!  

Women not to exercise authority over a man

12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Paul reveals a doctrine that is contentious in today’s Christian church that “women are not to teach or exercise authority over a man” Paul is being clear in what he says here and I do accept that many women are gifted teachers, my wife is one of them but I know that my wife would never go to the front of our assembly and teach a bible study and explain doctrine in a room full of men. Paul states the same in the letter to the Corinthians (1st Corinthians 11:1-12) I would take both passages side by side to show the full counsel of God’s word. Below is that text…
 

1st Corinthians 11:1 (ESV) Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. 2 Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. 6 For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. 7 For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.

Head of the home

Paul states in both places that the men are to be “head of the home” and the wife is to be in submission to her husband. It goes without saying that when the families come together to make up the congregation it would be out of order for the woman to then rule over the man in the assembly of God and take the place of those qualified to be overseers or deacons. (More on that in chapter 3)

Paul cites the order of creation as the reason behind his statement; God created man first and delegated authority to him. From that authority Eve then was in submission to Adam but Paul cites the fall of man and Adam is blamed for the fall of man due to the authority he had over his household. (Romans 5:12) Eve is not blamed because she was tricked, but Adam took the fruit from his wife even although he had a direct command from God not to do so. Eve was tricked and turned around; Adam rebelled against a command of God.

Romans 5:12 (ESV) Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.

Childbearing and the health of the church

Paul lastly talks about a role for the women through childbearing, Paul does look at the health of the church and if the women are neglecting an opportunity to grow their family by seeking offices they were never intended to be in (see chapter 3 regarding overseers and deacons)  then that is a problem. Paul reiterates that they are to be in faith, love and self-control (again speaks of the attributes discussed above)

Not all women are meant to have children and my wife and I have had issues in this area (infertility) and we have been blessed by a daughter who truly is a gift from God, but even if God had not blessed us with a child we would still have praised him.

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

Would you eat before coming home for your dinner?

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Would you eat before coming home for your dinner?

1 Thessalonians 4:3 (ESV) For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Can I say this once to begin with, God wants his people to be pure. He designed a framework for us to work in because as he made us in the image of God, he knows our DNA, he knows what makes us tick, he knows what is inside of our heart. He sees the evil thoughts, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of our life. The crazy thing is – He loves us anyway!

Have you ever had that one friend that you baulked at being around, they drove your spirit down, they rubbed off on you, their humour was crass, you felt dirty after spending time in their presence. I can only imagine that God must be like with us, however, unlike us he has compassion on us and wants us to get better and become more like him.

Purity is important, the reason I write this is that sin starts always in the same way, it starts in the same way a flower does, it blossoms a seed, now the seed is your sinful thoughts, your desires, unless they are fed, watered they will wither and die (much like a flower) however if you feed it, it will grow.

Thoughts are thoughts; it is what you do with them that counts! You have one of two choices; you can dwell on them, crave them and then start sliding on that muddy slope to eventually begin to act upon them. Or you can extinguish the fire while it is still kindling. Coming from a state which is known for its forest wildfires, it is far easier to extinguish a smolder than a 15 acre fire.

What is love?

We have to be careful with the word “love” because in many cases, when we are fed things from the media machine that gives us our information, love actually means lust. Modern day love quits when the going gets tough, when the thrill is gone or when it just gets too tough.

Let me be clear, it can happen but does not happen often, we won’t often find love in our current culture called the “hook up” culture, where it is “free love” on steroids, it is all down to what floats your boat at the time, self-gratifying, self-pleasing, erotica where they may disguise it as seeing each other for dates, but it really is about what they do for each other’s lusts.

But I have never cheated, I am ok right?

Depends on your heart, Jesus states to the “righteous in deed” crowd called the Pharisees that if you “lust after a woman with your eyes, you have committed sin with her in your own heart”. This is not a Bill Clinton moment, there is no opportunity to ask us to “define what we mean by relations” It is cut and dried. It is down to your heart and what is currently churning through there.

We are asked to control our own body, (let me just say that women are not exempt even although it states “his”, women have lusts, desires and all that fun stuff to!) both internal and external, our eyes, our thoughts, our actions, our reproductive organs (yes I mean what you think I mean) which is the reason for my title “Would you eat before coming home for your dinner?”

What I mean by this is that God gave us those desires, they are natural desires. he also gave us a way to fulfill those desires by ordaining the union of marriage between one man and a woman in order that we may fulfil those needs in each other.

Lust like most sins is an appetite, if you are married and you know you have a good home cooked meal ahead of you, would you drive thru and get dollar menu knowing this will make you not eat what your loving wife has prepared for you? Why would you do likewise with your other appetites?

What about us singles? Are we off the hook?

No, not really. As singles you are commanded to be pure! If there is something that helps or empowers you to stumble, then don’t do it. If you can’t be left alone on the internet then do go on it, if there is a TV show that causes you to stumble then don’t watch it. If there is a book that inspires a thought life that will lead you to burn, then don’t do it.

TV shows and movies are dangerous if you fail in this area, you have to analyze why you watch some shows, is it because of a certain actor? If you are in a relationship and you start to compare your partner (spouse or dating) to that person, the real person will never shape up to the airbrushed person on the screen.

I always tend to avert my eyes (and I get teased for it) if there is something questionable on the screen, I want my wife to be the object of my affection and desires. I fail in so many other ways, I don’t need to add another to my pile of faults.

On Sunday, I was reminded that you can burn thirty years of good solid Godly ministry service with one indiscretion that is brought to light. People will not remember all of the things that you did to advance the kingdom of God, they will always see you due to that one act (or more if there was more)

We have not to be consumed with our lusts, so that it possesses us. We cannot be “called to holiness” if we are semi filled with our lusts. Light cannot dwell with darkness; there is no “Ying/Yang” in a hunger for holiness.

We are reminded at the end of this passage that should we continue in our sin, we set ourselves against God and not man! Personally, I find that a scary place to be! I would not wish to set myself against the one who created the earth and universe in 6 days. Makes me feel how small I am compared to God.

God will not be mocked, he knows our hearts, and he knows the ones who are trying to skirt his laws, to get as close to sinning but not actually sin. To push the envelope (usually in the name of exercising their “liberty in Christ”) and will have grace on those who genuinely try to live a life in holiness.

God bless and I hope this a blessing, a challenge and please comment with any views you may have
TGBTG
TTE