Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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The ACTS Files – Why do you wonder at this O’ Israel? – Acts 3:11-16

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The ACTS Files – Why do you wonder at this O’ Israel? – Acts 3:11-16 – 04/25/2016

Acts 3:11 (ESV) While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. 12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.

Thank you for clicking on this recent installment of “The Acts Files” and this article looks at an account where Peter and John went to pray and God used them in a mighty way. 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 chapter three verse eleven…

V11 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. 12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?

The man clung onto Peter and John, he knew that these guys had something special and I believe that what Peter said was maybe for the man who was invading their personal space as much as it was for those who were gobsmacked that God had worked in such a real and tangible way. This is a danger that we as Christians can be like these people, who know all about God but are genuinely surprised when God shows up in a real way. Makes us question how strong our faith actually is huh?

They surrounded Peter and John and Peter suddenly realizing he has an audience addresses the people! He took advantage of a willing crowd to seek explanation of what was clearly supernatural. He makes sure that they are aware that this was Jesus and not him. He shows humility in a manner that we could all learn from. This could have been Peter’s ticket to the top table of religious scholars but he made sure he attributed the glory to Jesus and Peter was doing what we see in the book of Romans…

Romans 10:14 (ESV) How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Peter knew that although they saw a miracle then that would not be enough to save them, they had to hear the word of God and understand and believe. That was the purpose of Peter preaching and that is important today, because many churches seek signs and wonders and do not focus on the other majors such as prayer and decent doctrine. Peter never wanted to give the impression that it was him or his spirituality that healed this man, he was simply the vessel used by God.

Peter asks “why do you wonder at this?” for three years Jesus went around healing people and Peter was leading the charge in claiming that he rose again and he was alive with his father in heaven so why would it be weird that he would still be distributing healing power in his name from heaven? Peter was consistent in his doctrine from the moment he picked up the man and all the way through the sermon in the portico; it was all in the name of Jesus.

V13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him.

In case you wondered what God, Peter gives the genealogy of this one. The Jewish people did not even write the name of God down out of reverence for the name of God. It would be easy to say you know God but not know which God they served. Here is an example… I am a big guy who is Caucasian in skin pigmentation with dark hair and brown eyes, if someone claimed to know me and stated that I was 150lbs, blue eyes and ginger hair then you would state that “you may know William but it is not the one I know” and Peter to avoid discussions like these makes it absolutely clear that he is talking about God. He was the God of their fathers and the one who had an everlasting covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

He also declared that Jesus was sent from God and was on a mission from God, he switches the sermon back to the point of what he wanted to say, this was all about Jesus and not in any way about Peter. When your mission becomes as much about you as Jesus then you know you have lost focus, here Peter stays on point.

And Peter reminds them of what they have done in John 18 & 19; Pilate was looking for any loophole to release Jesus as he could not find anything that he could sentence him to death for in the Roman laws. He found him guilty of no crime but because of the difficult local political situation and the desire to avoid a riot, he listens to the Jewish people and their denial of Jesus, Peter shows the Jews (who were just as much to blame as the Romans) culpability in the death of Jesus, this is a bold move and showed that Peter was indeed a changed man that the one who cowered on the night Jesus was arrested.

V14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.

Peter goes into great detail in case they had forgotten what happened (unlikely as were are talking less than a few months after it happened) He calls Jesus by who he was “Holy and Righteous” and I spoke earlier about the culpability of both the Romans and Jews in the crucifixion of Christ but the fact remains that one side could not have done it without the other. Two peoples who were normally at odds rounded up on the Holy one!

And to compound their shame he reminded them that they asked for a murderer, a local terrorist of the Roman occupation, a savage to be released instead of God’s own son! That is how far they had fallen! Peter reminds them (or perhaps tells the ones who could claim they were never told) that Jesus, the “author of life” rose from the dead and despite the best efforts of the people; death could not hold him as God raised him from the dead.

The interesting thing about peters declaration here is partly the boldness but also the public refute of the lie that had been told by the Jewish scholars that the stone had been rolled away by his followers and his body was stolen to perpetuate a lie that he had risen from the dead! (Matthew 28:11-15) He and the apostles were witnesses to this and history tells us that many went to their death for being that witness! What tremendous example of the truth of the account as who would honestly go to death for a lie?

V16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.

Peter reminds them, now he has established the following facts…

  • Who God was and made sure they understood it was God
  • Who Jesus was and made sure they knew which Jesus he referred to

The second one is important because there are many versions of Jesus out there even today, we have cults who try to decry and deny the very deity of Jesus and claim he was less than God, or just a good man, or some other lie to perpetuate their cultish false doctrine.

Peter advises that is was in the name of THAT JESUS, that Peter had faith and when he said to the man to stand up, that man had faith that Jesus would heal him of the illness that had plagued him for four decades and now he stood next to them as a living witness that he was genuinely healed and Jesus made him whole! The co-creator of heaven and earth had enough power to heal him through faith, what an awesome testimony!

Lord willing, in our next article in Acts we will look at Acts chapter three verses seventeen through twenty six when we look at part two of Peter speaking in Solomon’s portico. 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

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Psalms Saturday #11 – The LORD Is in His Holy Temple – Psalms 11

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Psalms Saturday #11 – The LORD Is in His Holy Temple – Psalms 11 – 03/26/2016

To the choirmaster. Of David.
Psalm 11:1 (ESV) In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain, 2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; 3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” 4 The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. 5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. 6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face

This Psalm is awesome in its praise and thanksgiving to the LORD. I love this because it gives great examples of praise and thanksgiving despite the obvious peril and danger in Davids circumstances and my hope is that you please enjoy this great Psalm of praise, although it is just five verses it is rich in teaching and encouraging moments. I aim to look it all five verses on a verse by verse basis beginning in verse one.

V1 In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,

Royal fugitive

Have you ever been in bother, on the run? David prior to becoming king was on the run from the existing king Saul. He was consistently hunted; he was a fugitive from royal law and at this part of his life was literally scampering for his life. His advice from those close to him we read in the text is to “flee like a bird to your mountain” But David shows great faith in God. He states confidently and profoundly “in the LORD I take refuge” He knew where to put his trust! This poses a question in my heart to you dear readers in that who do you have your trust in? Is it man with his ideas that will fail despite the good intentions or is it God who knows the “master plan”? David mocks this idea and states confidently “In the LORD I take refuge” (or have my trust) He was not going to rely on his own fears but take solace and refuge that God has this.

True mark of a man of faith

That is a true mark of a man of faith! He would rather face the oncoming danger with the LORD at his back than do it without the LORD and do what seemed like the obvious solution, to tuck tail and run and save his own skin. David knew (a man after Gods own heart remember) that the advice, although given in love and quite possibly with the best possible intentions, it was not the path that he would chose to follow.

Good heart – bad advice

V2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; 3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Verses 2 & 3 show the advice given by his friends, like I had said earlier, the advice may be well intentioned but if it is not within Gods plan for your life then it is bad advice. God had already promised the throne to David, Samuel had anointed him and David knew his purpose was to be a mighty king. He also saw the hardness of Saul’s heart and learned from the mistakes of others. Yes there was a real and present danger but for me the overriding faith in God, in his provision and He is the one that David puts his faith and security in because of the earlier prophesy that he would be King tells you a lot about the heart of David, yes he made mistakes but this is what he was made of. When a man is threatened with the loss of what he holds dearest you will soon see what his priorities are.

David’s friends really play on his fears, they have tried to get him scared of the dangers he can see as well as the dangers he cannot. Perhaps there was a little piece of self-preservation, perhaps they wanted to manage a situation to have him removed from danger, whatever the cause was if you are walking in fear and not trusting in God then you will not step out in faith when God calls you.

The Foundations are destroyed

We read this when they state “if the foundations are destroyed” Saul was the first and only king that Israel had had up to that point and he ruined the throne at the first attempt right down to its foundation. His friends were also questioning why a righteous man would take such a poisoned chalice.

What can David do? Actually quite a lot if he has God on his side, as bad as Saul was for the throne David could bring a nation back into revival. Never shirk from a task you are called to just because it seems too big! Is there a task that is too big for your God? My God is not that small. Circumstances are just that, it is only a short sighted view of the present and I serve a God that can change things in the blink of an eye.

Seen versus Unseen

Can you imagine the internal turmoil he must have been going through? Balancing the advice of the seen against the faith of the unseen. He had unshakable faith at this point of his life and we can learn a lot from him in relation to how deeply we cling to a steadfast faith in the LORD. He is in the gravest of circumstances and still clings to the promises of the LORD knowing that his will is best for him.

V4 The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. 5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence

God got this!

David knew he was going to be looked after by God; he describes the heavenly situation with the calmness of a man not in danger. He describes what the LORD sees in verse 4. Its very much like the Facebook graphic I saw earlier this week that describes this well “God is like Oxygen, you can’t see him, but once you have him, you can’t live without him” Very profound in my opinion.

The LORD’s throne is in heaven, his ways are way above our ways and he gets the grandstand view of our lives while we are in the thick of the action (to use a rugby analogy) this answer that the LORD’s throne is in heaven is David’s answer to the question “What can you do?” David defers to the one he has unshakable faith in. He speaks only in terms of what he is absolute in.

He uses the following examples of how the LORD has this…

  • His eyes see – Even if you don’t think so, God sees, God is watching out and God cares, this is why David is concerned with more than just saving his own skin, he is looking at a bigger picture because of the faith that he has that God is truth and keeps his promises.
  • His eyelids test the children of man – In keeping with that faith that the LORD is in the driving seat, he states that tests will come, that we should be like James tells us “counting it all joy when we are in the midst of trials”
  • The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence – God isn’t just watching, he is patient and will eventually right the wrongs. He does care and David uses his situation as a teaching moment and states that God sees the violence that is before me and he will deliver me because of the promises he has made me.

God v man and why they are different

V6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face

Verses 6-7 really are self-explanatory, David answers the foundations question by stating that the LORD sees, will test and he doesn’t like what he sees. The LORD will deal with it in his time. This is a timely reminder to us all, one of the most frustrating parts as a Christian is wanting God to work on my time as opposed to his perfect timing.

The LORD will deliver justice, but David elects to stay on the side of justice and stay on the LORDs side. David knows that if he stays the course and follows God’s will he will get rewarded by getting what he is promised. I know Christians that are frustrated because they believe they are “entitled” when they do not go all in with God. God will reward righteousness more than he will reward rebellion.

This is the test of faith, not trying to “help God along” or not submitting to God’s timing in a potentially damaging situation. From David’s perspective there was only one course of action and to trust God because of all that he had been promised and the afore knowledge that God does not lie. His answer of faith should be an example to us all who will try to manipulate situations to achieve God’s will when God had a much better plan for our lives.

Often times we have to learn patience and sometimes we just have to slow down to match God’s pace. But most of all if we are in trials or don’t understand we have to seek God diligently and have the faith that David does, then we will not fear. Whatever out trials are, God has this!

Lord willing, in our next article in Psalms we look Psalm 125 which speaks of trusting in the LORD, the LORDs faithfulness and the importance of righteousness, all in all a terrific Psalm and I hope that you don’t miss it. 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

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord nor of me his prisoner – 2nd Timothy 1:8-14

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Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord nor of me his prisoner – 2nd Timothy 1:8-14 – 03/18/2016

Thank you for clicking on our page for the Pauline epistle which is called 2nd Timothy, the letter is authored by the apostle Paul to Timothy who was in the Ephesian church. This is called a Pastoral Epistle and gives many doctrines that we still use in both church structure and also for choosing leaders in the church. For other bible studies on other epistles please see our main epistle page or for others in 2nd Timothy please click on this link.

2nd Timothy 1:8 (ESV) Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

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 first chapter of Second Timothy.

V8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,

Paul had just finished (in the last article) describing a spirit of power, love and sound mind and now Paul moves on to courage and encourages Timothy not to be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord. We have it easy these days in following Jesus as Christianity is an established religion of nearly 2000 years but back then he was following someone who the critics stated was crucified.

It is quite a common emotion to be ashamed of the gospel as the Christian message does not always follow the patterns of this world and often times it is very contrary to the standards of this world. It is not a popular message but a lifesaving one. It was a message so important that Paul was willing to have his liberty stripped from him in order to save souls.

When we become Christians we should not expect our lives to be easy, often times we will be tried and James tells us that we should count it all joy…

James 1:2 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

We have to get away from our “Western Christianity” that promotes the message that if life is hard then you are not doing your faith correctly. We have lost our edge and become as comfortable in the world as Lot was when he pitched his tent near Sodom. Let’s be honest here and ask “who does rejoice when they have stresses and trials? Yes we can sometimes cause our own issues and trials but we should not expect life to be easy.

Paul sees his imprisonment in a way that shows his heart, he is not the prisoner of Rome, of the ruling authorities but of “his prisoner” and this is the mark of a man who has his life immersed in his mission. If he is jailed he is jailed for the Lord, if he is free he is free for the Lord and if that wasn’t enough he invites Timothy to take a share in that ministry. Who would apply for that ministry post? With the knowledge that your mentor is in jail and you are invited to follow the same path and that would be a good application question – Would you do it?

V9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

And this is why you do it…Paul was sitting there incarcerated due to a “holy calling” and he submitted to the purpose of God and was submissive to the grace of God also. So with God on his side should he be in such difficulty? Well he was! Just because someone is working in the will of God does not mean there will not be difficulties, sometimes God’s grace is what sees us through the difficulties.

I love this because here was Paul, and if you were not looking at his situation through “theological glasses” you would see him as a political prisoner, he was a prisoner of Rome, the largest empire of man at that time. If he was talking of power and might then people would automatically think of those who held the earthly power, however God allows people power for a season and as we know the Sun has set on the Roman Empire, let’s look at what the bible says about earthly power…

Romans 13:1 (ESV) Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

We all have our opinions regarding Governments, Parliaments and ruling people such as Prime Ministers and Presidents and to air them here would only cause discord, however we are called to be subject to the governing authorities as God is the one who gives authority. Whilst I may not agree with policy decisions I trust God who knows how it will pan out. Paul also sees this by stating that this power is fleeting compared to the power of Jesus Christ who has been there since the beginning.

V10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

We all have a common savior in Jesus Christ, we have responded to a call in our hearts. Jesus came to manifest light unto the world and Jesus told us this would be the case…

John 8:12 (ESV) Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

Jesus abolished death! He came to reconcile man to God and be that spotless lamb without blemish that would replace the Passover lamb. Death is not death anymore, there is hope through Christ Jesus that we can be saved and rejoined in communion with a loving Father God I don’t see death as the sting I once did but merely a matriculation to glory. Yes I certainly will miss the ones who have touched my heart down here but apart from a mission to have as many souls as the Lord will allow me to join me, this world holds very little for me now.

Paul goes on to say this is why he was appointed a preacher, to tell that good news, that gospel! He considers it a privilege and not a course for shame; he is honored to suffer for the sake of the gospel. I just wish that I had that resolve because in all honesty I am keen to be through trials as quickly as possible and I do wonder in hindsight what valuable lessons I could have learned if I had just been patient. He calls himself three titles which he is more than worthy…

  • Preacher – Think of the sermons he has taught, the lessons he has shown people face to face and the advocate he has been for Jesus Christ.
  • Apostle – The churches he has been a messenger to (apostolos in Greek also means messenger) and has planted.
  • Teacher – Paul was given the task, despite his Jewish pedigree of being the “Teacher to the Nations/Gentiles” and we are reading fruit of that in his epistles to strengthen others.

This is why Paul was content to suffer, because he understood the majesty and honor due to the person he served. We have to realize who it is we are serving but we have to also be as committed as Paul who was committed to serving him with everything he had until the day that he would see him. (Paul calls it that Day) and this may be a question you can ask yourself… Are you all in? Do you serve the Lord with all that you have? Or Are you going through the motions? If the answer is less favorable than you would like then it is not a situation that cannot be remedied, I would suggest discussing with your Pastor or leaders how you could use your gifts more. I don’t teach at the church I attend so I use my gift for teaching on this blog, there may be more than one way to be of use to the Lord.

V13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Just as it is important to know WHO we are serving it is just as vitally important to know your doctrine (know the sound words) as we are all called to be faithful to the truth. We are to follow that pattern, to hold fast in the midst of friction, it will require inner strength as well as a firm footing in the doctrinal truths that you already know, to give you an example in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesian church…

Ephesians 4:11 (ESV) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

I see this in the church today where sketchy doctrines become popular that has precious little biblical basis but they are accepted because people who are trusted endorse them. I worry and wish to keep myself and my family (and those the Lord has allowed be to be Spiritual mentors to) free from being tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine.

Paul states that Timothy must follow his example in sound teaching and Paul is not being proud when he states this but merely giving a tangible example of someone he can relate to, we all have folks that we trust for doctrine and Paul advises Timothy to remain faithful and guard that good deposit within us by the Holy Spirit and God has supplied that helper and he desires from us more than we can do on our own and is it good to be obedient and rely on the help that we are given.

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Timothy we will look at how Paul gives a good example of what he is teaching Timothy by giving examples of faithful and unfaithful men in the faith. It truly is a challenging study from an introspective point of view. 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

Qualifications for Elders – Titus 1:5-9

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Qualifications for Elders – Titus 1:5-9 – 12/17/2015

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 1:5 (ESV) This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Titus begins the reason for his letter after the earlier salutation (see previous blog article) and outlines the reasons for initially writing and sets out what the mission for Titus should be. 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 5.

V5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—

We learn from this verse that Paul had served with Titus in Crete which is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. Titus had been left there in charge of the church movement on the island to a group of people that would be what we would call in the modern church as a church plant. There were many people attending but also many new believers. Crete was a difficult place to be in because the inhabitants of the island did not have a good reputation and it was a difficult place because the attributes listed were not externally what you would associate with the reputation that the island had. It was also great because the ones who met these qualifications would certainly be living as “salt and light” in that place.

I know how this is as when I write this article I acknowledge that even though I live in a town that has a good reputation, the area in town I live in is not the best so I truly have to be “salt and light” to my neighbors and attempt to win them over with love first and then as they question what makes me different then win them over with the gospel. Titus had been left in Crete for the following reasons:

•       Put what remained in order
•       Appoint elders in every town
•       Follow directions

We have no clarification that Titus was being left in Crete so he is there for this purpose and is there to establish the churches there on a solid foundation and appoint those who would equip the saints for the work of the ministry. Like any new ministry, the church in Crete needed structure, order and the right leaders in place to ensure solid doctrine was being preached and that the newer believers were being mentored up in the faith of Christ Jesus. This is why the term “put what remained in order” which tells us that there was something that was not quite in order, it may have been something small but it may have required major intervention, we are not told this and such talk is just speculation. However the main point is that he should appoint elders in every city.

Paul sets out quite clearly the criteria for Eldership, so much so that many churches use these verses and verses in 1st Timothy chapter 3 to

1st Timothy 3:1 (ESV) The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

The reason I use this scripture too is that in the Ephesian church model the church was more established and Timothy was asked to appoint deacons and elders but only elders are mentioned here in Titus. He had quite a job as the cities in Crete were large in number and he would have to do quite a bit of appointing. We see here that Paul wanted all of the cities to have their own leadership and this shows an immense amount of trust being placed on the shoulders of Titus, it gave him a tremendous amount of authority to be Paul’s man in Crete. Paul lists criteria for leadership that suggests that Titus had a job of ratification as well as selection.

V6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

You will notice that Paul didn’t say to Titus “find me the tallest, the good looking, the ones who have a smooth personality, the winners, the popular, the ones you like or have an instant rapport with” he gives a criteria that is much better. Also he didn’t say “pick the willing, the volunteer, the one who isn’t really equipped but he is keen, the one who tithes the most, the one who compliments” he picks more about the character of the man.

I have grouped the criteria together because there is a lot to go through so I made a list but the overriding criteria that Paul is looking for is Godly character. That should be the entry level requirements for a candidate to get through the door, I notice that we don’t see education or a seminary background and whilst it is good to do these things, that does not always automatically qualify you for leadership.

Lastly and before the list is given, it doesn’t state that the man has to have it all together, I have seen some of the greatest elder appointments were to guys that were 80% there in doing the job already but they knew the criteria that they wanted to meet and they strived at that with all of their heart, not for personal gain but to increase in their service to their Lord.

Paul gave a list as follows:

•       Above reproach – Basically above gossip, not exactly Teflon (Non-stick)  but the congregation cannot be left wondering “why is he up there?” that there should be nothing that can be attacked either by the church or externally from outside the church. Basically one that is obvious in living a righteous life, he is an example to those he is serving.
•       The husband of one wife – It doesn’t say that a leader had to be married, but what it does say is that if the leader is married then he must be married to one wife. The idea is that the leader has the attention and sights set on one woman in the church only. Would you want your elders being flirtatious and causing the ladies of the church to stumble?
•       Children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination – The heart behind this instruction is the same as the one in 1st Timothy is that the man should be in control of his household and the ability to lead his own children should demonstrate his ability to lead God’s church.
•       Not be arrogant or quick-tempered – Arrogance, self-will and quick temper should be checks in the qualifications for leadership, these and the next few would certainly not make the candidate “above reproach” can you imagine the scene if an elder is brawling or arguing with members of the congregation on a regular basis?
•       Drunkard – which means the same as “not given to wine” and that is a just qualification as a man who is in leadership will be called to deal with all manners of people, some may have had issues with alcohol and may justify sin by measure that “well my elder does it” I think that personal sacrifice is a far better example as to not stumble a weaker believer rather than a brutish exercise in ‘personal liberty”. Am I saying don’t have a beer? No, I am saying don’t be drunk with wine.
•       Violent  – You have to be an example to all believers, unless you wish to breed a generation of violent brawlers then avoid this quality in your leadership. I am not referring to those who defend themselves but Paul is stating don’t pick people who are the cause of the fighting and are violent by nature and have not submitted that to the Lord. This goes for those who throw fists as well as those the throw words.
•       Greedy for gain – Do not pick those who were just like Judas! One eye on the prize of their pocket as opposed to doing the will and work of the Lord, I have issues in the past with elders who wanted to conduct business whilst doing the Lords work and it left a bad taste in the mouth and caused me to avoid that brother for a while.
•       Hospitable – Probably the most overlooked criteria for an elder but in my view it should be the first thing that is looked at. Is that ministry candidate willing to open up their home, willing to be scrutinized? Willing to feed the poor? Clothe the needy? Not because he wants to look all holy but because he has a heart to do the work of the Lord in the city he has been planted. Will he invite people into his home and open the word of God and mentor folks? If not then why would you trust him to in the church?
•       A lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined – Men who tell the crude jokes, have the dirty minds, love the debase things, do you want them in charge at your church? What about the jokesters? The ones who you are not sure could be serious when occasion calls? I am not saying that if a man ever told a joke then he should be struck off but if a man cannot be sober minded and mature enough to read a situation well then he may not be ready for leadership. The words just, holy and self-controlled refer to his attitude towards other men, God and himself. Matthew Henry is quoted as saying “How unfit are those to govern a church who cannot govern themselves!”
•       Holding firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it – And lastly he must know his doctrine! If he does not know his doctrine and is sure of it then how will he give instruction, exhort and convict those who either come to him or contradict him. Leaders need to have a solid foundation in the Word of God, which is why Paul commissions Timothy to not pick a novice.

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
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Instructions for the church family

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Instructions for the church family

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 one of the fifth chapter of First Timothy.

Instructions for the Church 

1st Timothy 5:1 (ESV) Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. 3 Honor widows who are truly widows. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. 5 She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, 6 but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. 7 Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

I have heard people question if this is a contradiction in the bible that Timothy is told to command the congregation and lead by example and here we read that he is not to rebuke an elder. The two commands are one and the same. Paul is telling Timothy that he has to have a respect and reverence for those who are elder.
 
Dealing with Elder men

Really, like so much else it is about the heart that you approach it in. A young leader may wish to show his dominance by making a mark on the older generation but that is not wise in the slightest. If these men are aged and more aged in the faith than you are, then they are a valuable resource. A young leader can learn from their mistakes, their experience and have access to a valuable resource.

If the elder man is a new believer and in error then he must be dealt with as any other man in error, with love and respect. Not with berating and dishonor. The word is also translated “to strike out or strike at” and is similar to the English term, “to lash out” and this is not an effective form of correction. Let’s face it we all are knuckleheads and get things wrong, that is us being human, but we are not to berate or tear down in our exhortations.

Paul states that Timothy should “encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers” and that is what we have stated above, it should be done in love and in a relational status. We have to be gentle in our rebukes, yes Titus does state to “rebuke without fear” but you will have to use wisdom as to what approach to use. If you are approaching a brother for the first time about his sin it would not be good practice to go in all guns blazing. (If that would be an effective practice at all)

Dealing with Elder ladies

Paul also deals with the relationships between Timothy and the women when he states “older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity” and although this may seem obvious to the experienced Christian, Paul sets the bar for dealing with women in the church. I find it amusing when critics of the church advise that it is a “male orientated religion” and that “women are 2nd class citizens” and Paul is keen for that to be established.

Like the older men, Paul states that the older women had to be treated with reverence and respect, they should be treated as mothers in the faith. They must be honored and treated with the respect that they are due as elder women in the faith. I have seen in my experience that they have ministered to their husbands and their husbands have ministered to church leadership so all in all I see a valuable role for these ladies (much as Paul did)

These ladies also have an invaluable role in counselling and guiding the younger women in the faith. Much like the older men they have a wealth of experience and they can pass on lots of valuable things to the current generation of the church. They have much value and are a valuable resource to be used for Gods work.

Dealing with younger ladies 

The younger are to be treated as sisters, Paul is much like any godly man and has younger ladies in his fellowship that he sees as younger sisters and wanted the men of the fellowship to treat them as such.  Much as the standards for overseers states that he has to be above reproach and keep his conduct “above board”.

That is to say that he should not engage with any conduct that would compromise himself, the young lady or either ministry for the LORD. They have to be accountable and often times if I am messaging a sister in the LORD I will copy in my wife (or perhaps speak to that lady and their husband) as too not have any doubt that anything that would be regarded as impropriety has occurred. It is not for my reputation that I am concerned with, but the reputation of the other party or the witness or ministry that we are doing in the LORD’s name as to not cause an affront. You can’t be too careful and these are sensible precautions to take.

We have to use the three standards when dealing with younger ladies…

Not flirtatious or provocativeBe above reproach in actions and wordsHave clean conduct with a pure heart. 

Honor the widows

V3 Honor widows who are truly widows. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. 5 She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, 6 but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives

Paul talks about what we would call today “social assistance” and in those days the old were not really cared for in the way they are now with things such as a Government pension and other things that can help with retirement. In fact there were no retirement plans and if you were not a rich person, once you were past working age it was very uncomfortable for you in your old age.

The widows with families

If she has family to help her, then it is both honorable and right to let her be helped by them first. Not only is this a good stewardship but it creates a certain responsibility and ownership of families to look after their own people if they are unable to provide for themselves. Paul uses the term allowing the children to “make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God” which is true, these people raised the children and now it is their turn to be helped.

Of course these days we have such things as retirements and people save for those “golden years” in which they will no longer be working, but you have to remember that this was quite the burden on the churches at that time. In the Ten Commandments we are commanded to “honor our mother and father” and how honorable would it be to let them not have the basics. This is basic theology at the most basic level.

Really when the man of the house has gone, the widow should be taken care of by the son (usually the eldest son) but if it is too much of a burden for one child to bear then it should be taken on by them all in a cooperative fashion. We are commanded to “love one another” and how could anyone who professes this and leaves their mother destitute be one and the same?

The widows with no families

V5 She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, 6 but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.

Paul is talking about these people, the ones who are truly widows, and the ones that have no-one to help them. Paul is essentially stating that the church should provide for “the least of these”. Paul is fully aware of the heart of man and knows that people will try to get something for nothing so in the next few verses he makes recommendations to test if they really need help from the church.

The word honor is similar to the word sustain or provide and this is a literal meaning in this case. These people are still people at the end of the day and should be treated with no less honor than the less affluent, (See the book of James on that one!) but these circumstances are difficult for those who genuinely need help and these people still need a little respect. Yes the church should help and they should be gracious (not lord over the one who needs help) but at the same time be conservative and be careful and be a good steward of the LORDs money.

I have been in this situation where I have had more month than money as the saying goes. I have had people helping me and it is humbling when the people of God get together and help one another. The ones who truly need it and are truly in a bind are the ones who follow up with you, and the ones who thank you.

I say being conservative with Gods money because, let’s face it, people are not always honest. To quote the great fictional doctor “Gregory House M.D.” Everybody lies and it would be naive to believe that even in the church we would see that. Don’t discount this as a notion as the church is filled with people much like you and me, imperfect sinners some of whom have found their savior and some have yet to make that choice. Paul mentions this possibility in the verse below…

V6 but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.

And herein lies the danger and this can only be judged by the recipient and God, they could bring a very good story and seem very holy and ask as if they are asking in the right way and for the right things but are asking without a genuine need or asking in order to use her money not for the essentials of life but to use them for self-indulgence or frivolous things.

We have to be wise and help people but we also have to have wisdom as to not enable people in their bad choices. If someone is spending money like Congress and seeking help from the church, that is not going to fly for too long. There has to be growth on a personal level and assistance has to help.

This does not mean also that the church will also help, if a church is for example supplying all the groceries to a house that uses their grocery money to buy drugs or alcohol and there is no move in the direction to provide the basics for their family after a period of time, it would be appropriate for the church to back away and no longer enable them to make bad choices.

I have heard of a situation before when a family requested help and when the Pastor visited on an unrelated matter he realized that the family had an expensive hobby and could have easily have provided for their family by selling some of the more expensive pieces they used for that hobby. They could have made what I make in six months had they been willing to live within their means. The Pastor used wisdom in that situation by advising them accordingly.

Worse than an unbeliever

V7 Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Strong words from Paul at the end up here! Much as stated before he who does not provide for his relatives, Paul opens it up to the whole family first and then for members of his own household has denied the faith. So Timothy has to teach these things, that we should be working hard to provide for our own and if we don’t we are worse than the unbeliever.

Paul sets the minimum standards that should be expected from the Christian men, to provide for his family. It is God’s will that we do this. If someone in the assembly is on low pay or has no work, then we should be helping that man (if he is able and willing) to find better ways of providing for his family. 

Then and only then if he is too lazy to do this then he is denying the faith.

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

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

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

Pastors – Let us treat the “City of Houston” biblically

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Pastors – Let us treat the “City of Houston” biblically

Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 5:38 (ESV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

The idea of this article is perhaps to shed a little balance and take away emotion from something that is obviously a highly charged issue.  I will gladly share my bias here, I am a Conservative Christian blogger (duh, if you are here you will most certainly know that) who actually has a “dog in this fight” to use a British term. I have friends who are in the process of establishing a church in the very city that I am blogging about.

I have relative safety from this in the fact that I am blogging about this from the safety of my own home in Central California and have no ties to the City of Houston or any of its entities. As it stands at the moment my local authority has not requested any teaching that I have done or any pastors that I have been associated with.

Persecution?

This heading is rightly a question as I am a little unsure as I have heard many provocative remarks regarding whether this is “persecution” or not. The fact is that an elected official is using power that she has in order to air personal grievances. I am of course meaning the Mayor of Houston and her crusade to request copies of sermons (or as it was later requested “public speeches”)

This was done to find out if any of the pastors had taught a biblical perspective on issues of a LGBT nature, the mayor Annise Parker (which a lot has been made out of the fact that she is a lesbian, however I deem that irrelevant) has made it a personal goal to single out five pastors for “special treatment”.

I don’t necessarily call it persecution as I don’t see that I see in many other countries where biblical teachers are being dragged through the streets and tortured for even professing the name of Christ. These guys have freedoms that pastors in former communist and current Muslim countries would dream of, they have financial backing, many get paid to pastor and they can meet out in the open safe in the knowledge that the next convert may or may not be a Judas and sent them to their death.

So in the truest sense of the word it is not persecution.

Do as the verse says

We are told in the above verse that “And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well” give her the sermons, give her as much literature as she wants and needs, don’t send her bibles! listen folks. I follow a BIG GOD who has told me that this in Isaiah 55 (That the word shall not return empty) Here is the full discourse for balance.

Isaiah 55:6 (ESV) “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Here is the crux of what i wish to say, I believe that there is some reason behind why she is asking to have these sermons, in her mind she is doing her own bidding, however I would not count out that God may be orchestrating something bigger. God has done this before remember,  one of the greatest evangelists was the Apostle Paul, who up until his conversion just shy of Damascus in Acts 9, was the Pharisee Saul who tortured and killed Christians.  (In fact he was on his way to do likewise when he was converted)

If Jesus can come face to face with a murderer and a man responsible for a lot of the first century persecution,  he certainly can work this situation to the glory of God using the ones who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)

Final thoughts

We are told (again by Jesus) in the book of Matthew

Matthew 28:19 (ESV) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

So my prayer to the pastors is to let them have the sermons. (Most are available on the church websites) and be available to counsel those who have questions. Embrace those who breathe evil against you are no show them the love of Christ.

I pray for the government officials that they find the knowledge of the one true messiah. His name is Jesus Christ and he is the LORD.

Jesus said in John 14:6 that “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is through him and him only that you can have eternal life.

God bless and I pray that this was a blessing and please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads.
TGBTG
TTE

Careful who you put in charge

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Careful who you put in charge

This has been on my heart for a while, today the LORD has me write about this subject.

This is not aimed at one particular church and pull examples from several I have witnessed, of you see your situation below then pray thanks if you are in the “what you should be” and pray also if you see any of the “what you should not” category.

Titus 1:5 (ESV) This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you–6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

A lot has been said of church leadership, especially in the movement that I belong to where a leader can yield quite a bit of power locally.

I love that Paul was called by God to write on this subject in his letters to both Titus and Timothy. It is as if God had the foreknowledge (which we know that he did) that society and the standards of society would change.

What must a leader be?

We read from both passages that a leader (some texts say Bishop, some say overseer) must be the following:

THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE – not a man into polygamy, not a man who is in a series of lewd relationships, not a man given to same sex attraction.

This also discounts women leaders.

ABOVE REPROACH – not subject to questions about how he could possibly have been chosen as a leader, this one gets cloudy in our modern day church, we have people getting positions they were never called into and people serving in areas that they either do not wish to or feel obligated to because they were just honoured to be asked in the first place. (Or because they are in a certain family or legacy)

I am not referring to the missionary church or the church plant as in many cases, people help out based on need and gradually develop their calling from there. This happened to me as I was able to teach small group bible studies as developed a will and a calling to learn and later to teach.

This goes hand in hand with what is said in Timothy about the leader not being a recent convert, I have seen folks be elevated too quickly, become proud of their new status and fall from grace, truly sad and both parties (both leadership and the man who fell) need prayer in that situation.

ARROGANT – The leader should be someone you come to for counsel and should be of a gentle spirit.

We all all fallen creatures who ALL have an issue with pride, (if you say you don’t then you also have a problem with lying) one of the hardest parts of leadership is to not exalt yourself as an example when someone is bearing their soul to you. We are commanded to be humble, to treat that person with the gentleness that Jesus has treated our many sins.

SOBER – the text says “not given to much wine” I would go further and link the verses in Romans about not causing a brother to stumble.

In the Western world we have a culture of excess, we claim poverty but have riches that 30% of the world will never see in ten lifetimes. When we get into something and make it into a demi-God, like the almighty bottle (take it from a guy who used to bow at its altar at least 4 times a week) that grabs you slowly, entices you in with the taste and by the time you realise it has you, you are already too far gone down the path to ever enjoy it responsibly again.

If you can do it, then more power to you, if you are drunk or buzzed a lot, then you have the beginning of a problem, if you got to my stage and was annoyed he had to defer my first drink long enough to do a days work, then you are in idolatry and God does not want his leaders serving two Gods.

HOSPITABLE – if you are going to lead people then you have to get to know them. You have to be willing to show your home and your lives as an example to those you wish to serve in leadership.

Also, in order to give good counsel and not to bear false witness or give options that are not factual about believers in your body that you know little about. I have had this happen to me and it leads to your estimation of that leader as well as the reliability of his facts with other leadership members called into question.

Lastly, if you are not hospitable to all then how will you know who requires extra prayer, who requires more from you, we have a culture of just “skating through” and it does not cut it anymore.

GREEDY – he has to be temperate, not after money, he has to be honest. Can you imagine trying to respect someone in leadership in your fellowship who has a wide reputation for being a crook. It just does not add up.

HOLY – his life must show a “set apart” for Jesus Christ nature, he cannot be the one in the cheap seats telling off colour jokes during the lesson.

He must be an example to the newer believers, one who attracts folks coming to him for discipleship.

SELF-CONTROLLED/DISCIPLINED – is probably the hardest one (as if there is an easy one) as when you are a leader, you have so many more eyes on you than before, you have other leaders and also church members.

What I am trying to say is, it is not just the appearance of these things, it’s the actual living them out on a day by day basis.

ABLE TO TEACH – you will notice this is the last one on my list, but when people try to make themselves available for leadership positions in the church, this is usually top of mind for them.

In my mind it was the last thing I wanted, I love to teach, however I don’t want it to be about me as in the man, I want it to be Jesus being centre stage and like being refreshed on a hot day, you don’t thank the LORD for the jug, simply the water.

1 Timothy 3:1 (ESV) The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

What he shouldn’t be.

(Here is where people get upset)

INVISIBLE – he should be attending things that the church puts on, have folks over (not just the ones he likes) and actually wish to find out where the prayer points are.

CONNECTED – Pastors need to be connected with others in their movement in order to identify trends and share from the wisdom of their peers.

Elders/Deacons need to be the conduit for connection between the body and upper leadership, this whole Sunday facade that has become commonplace really needs to stop.

The facade goes as follows 1) Shake laypersons hand 2) give warm greeting 3) smile a lot 4) advise that you will see them next week.

TOO BUSY – if you are too busy to do what someone has asked you then you need to pray about stepping down. Leadership is a calling, not just a kudos point or a way to show you are holy, so if you are there because of who you know or because you like seeing your name on the bulletin, then it perhaps should be time to prayerfully back out.

The layperson in the church buys into what the leadership are doing and there is only so much that folks without position can do, if the leadership by in large does not show a certain element of buy in, then the church as a whole wont either.

An example of this is hospitality, if the boots on the ground don’t see the ones who are called to lead see it as a priority, then they won’t either. End result is the church remains fragmented and never grows together as it is harder to break up clicks once they have started. Many churches in the US today are just a gathering of groups under the one building.

This spreads like a cancer, and it starts from leadership down. in the end you end up with falsehoods such as the smile on a Sunday/but secretly hate you the rest if the week mentality. We are supposed to be one body, can you imagine the state of your body if the brain didn’t talk to the hands or feet.

How do you measure up?

Now you have read all about leadership in the church and what the bible states that it should be, how is your ministry application coming along? Has it developed prayer points? If you have anything you would like to add then please let us know below

Thanks for reading and please share or comment as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

Do we treat the Bible as the precious document it is?

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Do we treat the Bible as the precious document it is?

We in the western world are very blessed. We have a Bible in almost every room in our house. I certainly have at least 5-6 Bibles in my house that are either on my bookshelf or have barely been read. If we were to look into impoverished nations, such as those in Asia and Africa where they have only ever owned a few pages at a time in their native language, and see what they look like if they were to get a whole book of the Bible, like a Gospel of John or a New Testament, never mind a whole Bible, will make you think about your faith, your relationship with your Bible and hopefully inspire you to change. Here are a few scriptures I have chosen to ask the question above.

We need reminding to study and why

2 Tim 2:14 (NKJV) Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.

It is a sad indication that we don’t treat our Bibles the way we should. If we did, my new country (USA) would be in a state of revival that would make the Azusa Street Revival seem like a conservative “run of the mill” Sunday.

The graphic is of course amusing but it is meant to cause a point. I borrowed the graphic from a local pastor who I know quite well (Pastor Bob Grenier – Calvary Chapel Visalia) off his Facebook, sorry Bob!

The graphic however got me thinking and made me wonder about my own life, do I “study to show myself approved” as much as I should? I read the Bible sure, but how am I in the areas that really matter. How am I in personal readings? Do I study enough? Do I study with my wife as a couple? Do I lead by example when it comes to Bible reading? How do I engage my child and raise up the next generation of Christians? What example am I to the folks that God has allowed me to be head of that home?

Challenging stuff huh? I am not as bad as the graphic but I am certainly a long way from where I believe God would like me to be. It is not easy to publicly say that and it truly chafes at my inner being to admit. I like to be like everyone else and claim that I have it all down, but I am a fallen man, who fails his wife consistently (let’s be real here) but has been forgiven by God and also by his wife!

Continuing in the Scriptures

2 Tim 3:14 (NKJV) But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Starting a Bible plan is only the start; I have started, re-started and turned over enough leaves to fill an autumn. My wife calls me the “startup guy” because i am great at getting things moving, ministries started (I launched the church I attended since 2007’s Facebook & Twitter in 2009 before passing it on earlier this year) and then pass on the baton to someone else. Of course she is right, but I wish I had more staying power at times.

It is imperative that we teach the precious children the precious scriptures. These are not just words on a page, this book is the most maligned, most attacked, most martyred book ever, it contains the Word of God. The words that should guide your life as a Christian, as the verse says it “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

The world is going to teach them anything but the Bible, such as programs to ban school bible classes. We have had no official representation in schools for the Bible since 1962. If the kids are not getting the Bible in their homes (whether that home is Christian or Non-Christian) then they most certainly are not getting it at school.

I am a little bit of an enigma in that respect, until recently my dad did not care for the word. I was sent to a Brethren Gospel hall for Sunday School and I learned a basic foundational knowledge from there, I did not get beyond a basic knowledge as I did not follow up in the word (always have had a Bible) and didn’t read it because my parents didn’t. God rescued me from myself by sending a wonderful woman (see my Testimony page)

How deep is the Word?

Deut 11:18 (NKJV) “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth. 22 “For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him—23 then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves.

This is critical, we have to memorize the word, write it on our hearts, we have to bind them as a fabric of our every being. (I don’t know about you dear reader, but I am being flogged by the words today and realizing my shortcomings) God promises blessings if we abide in his word.

I like the idea of writing them on your “doorposts and gates” having reminders all around your home who you serve and the standards that you must keep. In my house when you walk through the door I see the words “FAITH HOPE LOVE” which of course refers to our family verse 1 Corinthians 13:13, all around my house are different scriptures to help remind our family that when the trials come, and they will, the God is in control and all this other stuff is temporary (see my blog on trials)

The promise to drive out our enemies is one I like, what we have to realize though is that is in God’s time. Often times he will “purify us in the fire” longer than we would like. When I get trials I usually sink to my knees and pray for deliverance. What I should be praying for is open eyes to see what lesson I am being taught here.

Destroyed for rejecting knowledge

Hosea 4:6 (NKJV) My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

God has written down his plan for your life (mine too) and we have the same choice as Adam and Eve. We can choose to reject God’s plan, discard the knowledge that is in the Word of God, reject God’s plan for your life and forget God’s law. There are two things I would like to say here, if you are giving up on God completely and going away from the faith, then that is tragic.

Secondly I see people who are in ministry, try to take on more than they were ever equipped to take on, the counsellor is soon in need of being counselled, the preacher should really sit down and learn for a season. The prayer has a dry prayer life and is pumping a dry well publically. The minister is living life based on what he knows of the words of God as opposed to the Word of God and he is falling into a hole that very soon will either lead to apostasy or leaving the faith.

I pray for those folks. I see so many folks sitting with their little “cyber guns” waiting to shoot at a minister, a pastor or someone in ministry that either has gone off the rails or is about to. Instead of getting down, getting humble and praying for those folks, honestly wishing their brother does not fall. They sit with a “Grinch-like smile” and take great glee at uncovering their sin in the same manner as Noah’s son Ham, where he could not wait to tell his brothers of his father’s shame. (Gen 9:20-23) Are you like Ham? Or are you like Shem and Japheth? (There are whole ministries dedicated to being Shem or Japheth’s)

What is the Word of God?

Hebrew 4:12 (NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

I pray that as you read this, it is not my words which impact you but the Bible verses. That is the point of this whole blog/website. The word of God is center stage. I have no “show to steal” as i am just a lay person (a nobody) giving what God has put on his heart. I have no official ordination or tie in or promotion to any church/assembly or group. I write just as me.

That being said, in studying for articles like this one, my heart does get pierced. It speaks to me in a way that no other man made document has. It is a refiner, a mirror to show your imperfections and what you need to do to fix it. I am a knucklehead so I need to be told everything many times over to allow it to resonate. This is why I believe that God wrote it down for us. So that we can’t say, well if only God would tell me what he wants for me to do with my life. In the words of Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham “Well there is this book…”

How to receive the word

Acts 17:11 (NKJV) These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Now we understand the importance of the word, how do we receive it? We have two options

1) Receive it in a passive way, possibly like you are doing now
2) Receive it in a fashion like the Bereans (v10 states who they were)

The Bereans were studiers of the word, they pulled apart the scriptures and were what we would call these days and Inductive Bible student, they found out what it meant, they liked for ways to apply it to their lives, they examined the evidence and found the truths, they looked for each spiritual nugget and how it meant to their lives.

My prayer is that God make me like a Berean!

Some comfort in the Psalms

Psalm 119:105 (NKJV) Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV) Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

Some comfort to end on a light note, the Word of God is there to help us be “lights in the darkness” and our Bibles are what keeps the light shining bright, we need to treasure these scriptures as they have been diligently been prepared (by hand until the later part of the 16th century)

We need to have the word engrained in our hearts; it allows us to claim victory over our struggles.

God bless and I pray this was an exhortation and a blessing to you all
TTE