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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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

Happy Easter (Resurrection) Sunday

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Easter blessings

Luke 24:1 (ESV) But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

Today is Easter Sunday, or as us Christians call it “Resurrection Sunday” and today is the day where we celebrate what makes Christianity different from all other religions. The fact that our messiah came to earth as a human, died for us and rose again. This doctrine is central to the faith.

Painting the picture

Imagine the scene, the disciples all were devastated, the man they had spent the last three years with, the one they understood to be the Son of God, the one they had seen many miracles be performed from was dead.

He had been crucified just before the Sabbath and everyone seen that he was dead and it was the number one topic of conversation wherever they went.

The women who attended our LORD

These women were desperate to attend to the body of Jesus as was the custom. They had been hampered from doing so as quickly as they would have liked due to the Sabbath but literally from the hour they were able to they wanted to be with Jesus. These women started their journey before dawn, light was only just coming up when they got there.

Males you evaluate your own time with Jesus huh? Are you in such a rush to spend time with him? Is it that high a priority?

Where was he?

What they were expecting to see was a body. But instead they saw a tomb that was open. This must have been perplexing as this tomb was to have a stone, to be sealed and to be guarded by two of Romans finest soldiers who would be there “on pain of death”.

Not only was the tomb open, but the body was gone. Now let’s recap, in their minds they knew and witnessed Jesus dying on that cross. They saw the cruelest possible way to kill a criminal unfold in the manner of crucifixion. People just don’t come back from crucifixion! 

They knew the answer but forgot in their grief

They were reminded of the words of Jesus where he said he would rise again on the third day. They knew the answer but forgot in their grief, the prophecy became reality and went to tell the others.

The others were in the same fragile state, one of their best friends had betrayed their master for 30 silver coins, couldn’t handle the guilt and hung himself and also they lost Jesus, they guy who they thought was going to be the messiah, did many miracles and ended up dying next to the criminals on a criminals device for torture and death.

The women relay the news

These women come to them with the most fantastically unbelievable tale! That the Jesus who they had seen being tortured and hung up on the hill of the Skull actually was missing from.the tomb and that they had been told he was alive.

Do you think they swallowed it right away? No! the man Peter, the one who is famous for jumping in and saying the wrong thing is careful about what Jesus believes here. He wants to believe but about so wants to be sure! Cautiously he goes to the tomb to check out the story. His heart shows that he is desperately seeking it to be true, went to see the cloth laying there and had the proof he needed.

Not quite the end of the story

Later in the chapter we read about Jesus appearing to the disciples, even allowing Thomas to feel his wounds to ensure that he was actually the messiah. Jesus fulfilled this to show he did actually raise from the dead.
These guys from this point would do amazing things for the gospel and in many cases proclaim the good news to the point of their own individual deaths.

My hope is that this article is a reminder to those who do believe what Easter is all about also well as a helping resource to those who are yet to believe.

God bless you and I pray you have a blessed Easter, please like, share or comment below as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

A warning against False Teachers

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Warning Against False Teachers

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 three of the first chapter of First Timothy.

Remain in Ephesus

3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Paul commends Timothy to remain in Ephesus, as stated earlier Timothy had a really tough job and he was urged to stay there to combat heresy. This encouragement is evident that he had done well so far, but God was telling him to have Timothy stay in Ephesus; continue the work until he was called elsewhere. 

Ministry is hard, you will be attacked both spiritually and mentally, I have seen good Pastors forfeit wealth, material success and sometimes have health considerations due to remaining in a certain ministry. That is faith, true faith to stay the course because all that is telling you to is that still small voice from God guiding your path. This is even more so when all of the material evidence points to escape being the only option.

Affliction goes with the territory in ministry, sometimes it is seasonal, and some of us are blessed with a permanent state of affliction. Whatever God has us go through he will give us what we need to get through it. God will allow us to be in difficult situations, often times it is to show us lessons that we need to learn. One of my failings is failing to pray for patience to get through the trials I face and my prayer usually involves the theme or tone of “Get me out of this LORD!” rather than “Show me what I need to learn and in your own time LORD let me learn and then deem me worthy to be removed from this trial”.

Why had he to remain? Simply to keep the doctrine straight! To teach no other doctrine, to make sure that the church as a whole avoided heresy and to preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul had preached to the Ephesian church and told them straight from the horse’s mouth the correct doctrine. He had set out in his own teachings a certain set of beliefs that were correct and he was keen that the Ephesians stay in the solid doctrine that he established.

Keep the doctrine straight

Paul was very concerned with keeping the doctrinal “ducks in a row” as God is concerned that we believe and what we believe. He is concerned what we believe about him, what we believe about Jesus and also what we believe about truth. Just like the times in which Paul was writing in, (Roman times) they were a very polytheistic society with many “truths”. Paul would be writing in the face of this and advising a singular truth based on the life and doctrines of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This will be offensive then as it is today, there is only one way to heaven and that is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. You cannot get there through the teachings of Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius or the Dahlia Llama. None of these other folks died for the sins of the world, there was only one person in the history of the world able to do this and that was Jesus Christ.

Teach no other doctrine

Paul was not worried about Timothy’s doctrine but the doctrine of those around him. He was commended that “you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine” he was then given his instructions to stand up against those who wished to teach “different doctrine” this doctrine was obviously contrary to the message and it must have been tough for Timothy. You have got to stop these falsehoods in the church, command if you will because this doctrine was not up for debate; he was to charge it to these certain persons.

Like any heresy it grows arms and legs, and Paul states “nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.” Timothy was to cut this out at the root because not only were they deviating from the true doctrine of Jesus Christ, they were taking doctrine and applied untruths, myths and applying things to it was never meant to mean.

I will give them the benefit of the doubt and state that I don’t think in the main it was malicious, they were not preaching against Jesus, but they were focusing on the wrong things. If we get distracted in minor points of theology it can be more distracting and can often times do more harm than good.

Gentiles keeping the Law

A prevalent problem in the early church was the Jewish believer trying to force Gentiles to try to keep the law and applying a further burden upon them. Paul was very vociferous against doctrines like this as it caused more harm than good. We do this today in our over complicating of the gospel message and attempting to over intellectualize the message to make it seem more complicated than it actually is.

Jesus+ doctrine

Another fear is the Jesus+ doctrine, this is where most cults error and advise that in order to attain higher spirituality you have to have Jesus plus something else.  The problem with this Paul states quite clearly that “which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith” they are removing the truth of edification from God for the thrill of a speculation from man.

The truth of the edification from God is pure and truthful, where the man is a created being from God and he is not honest and truthful, man is corrupt and will produce a short term thrill while the idea is new, but is nothing but a distraction or a corruption of Godly edification. The rewards are much less and really are profitless and rob you of a much greater blessing.

Pure heart, good conscience, sincere faith

Going on from this we read “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” And Paul shows the loving shepherds heart that he has for these folks, this is important as we have many “fakers”, “part-time believers” or “Sunday legalists” in our bodies today, people don’t change! Jesus called them “white washed tombs” (Matthew 23:27-28) because they looked great on the outside but were dead inside.

We have to check ourselves first and make sure that we are doing this and that we are approaching our doctrine with a pure heart. When Jesus was on this earth, the people he had the most issue is the people who should have known better. It was the ones who knew the law but they approached it with a wicked heart and used it to justify their behavior as opposed to using it to bring you closer to God. It was all about “looking holy” as opposed to “being holy”. Even although we are not Jewish, we still have Jewish type legalists, misunderstanding the doctrines and are “warriors in the church” but “silent outside”.

Examine the harvest

In order to check ourselves we have to examine the fruit in our lives to make sure there is nothing “poisoning the well” A good question to ask is “Are you being changed by God’s word or are we using it as a rulebook that we realize we cannot measure up to and attempt to work our way into God’s good books and deny our sincere faith in order to try to please God by our own efforts.

Vain discussion

V6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

When we get sidetracked, confused and sidetracked into vain discussion (some versions have idle chatter) then we go further down the track of going away from God. Some churches by focusing more on “man-made rules” than “God inspired doctrine” have done this and found themselves in all manners and areas of compromise.

Vain discussion can also be over analyzing of scripture and as stated before taking it into tangents it was never meant to go in or applying man’s wisdom and taking it places it was never meant to go in. It can lead to some interesting discussions but the fruit is questionable as does it really do what it intended to and bring you closer to God? It may very well be entertaining but can erode from the message that God is trying to tell you.

When people get “puffed up” and have something to say about scripture that makes them seem holy, they may desire to be a teacher. In Paul’s day it was the people who were pulling the sheep astray and the very ones involved in the vain discussions (the last people who should ever be allowed near the front of the assembly) they let individual pride, ambition and desire to be known take over from any good they possibly could do as servants because they seek to serve their ambition first and God a distant second.

My or thy will be done?

Please do not confuse this with a holy calling, but anyone desiring to be a teacher should really look at the qualifications in chapter two, examine them with an elder or someone you trust and prayerfully consider whether that it is a calling or whether you are working in “my will be done” as opposed to “thy will be done”. We will go deeper into this when we look at the qualifications much later.

This leads to a conclusion that we could all see coming “without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions” we see these people not seeing their own folly and also not seeing the potential damage they could be doing to the body of Christ as a whole.

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

TTE Advent Calendar Day Eleven – December 11th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Eleven – December 11th

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

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

Thanks for reading our article today and we look again at the prophecies that point towards the messiah and see how they are fulfilled in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

A few days ago we quoted this verse and the story that we told then we will go into a little further detail. We spoke about this when we looked at Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the account when they fled to Egypt due to Herod wishing to get rid of this new king.

I will be honest with you, unless I had the confirmation by Matthew having been inspired by the Holy Spirit, I wouldn’t have made the link between the two events. Matthew declares that it is and quotes the passage in the prophet Jeremiah verbatim.

I love that it is quoted though, it is like finding a jewel in the most humble of places and it is very God. Look at how the messiah was born, in the humblest of surroundings when he was (and still is) the king of Kings. He should have had servants, the finest palaces, and the best of the best but look at where he was born.

See him lying in the stable bare

Luke 2:1 (ESV) 1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

I love that the God inspired infallible, inerrant word of God is so specific. It stands the test of time and gives way more information that is required in order to verify its contents. It gives a historical account of who was the Roman in charge at that point, it gives the governors name also. We can clearly identify the point in history when Jesus was born of Mary.

This whole section is a fulfillment of prophecy

1) Born of a woman (verse 5)
2) Born in Bethlehem (verses 4-6)
3) lineage of parents (verse 4)

Need I go on? The evidence is overwhelming.

We see that the messiah, the King of Kings, LORD of LORD’s, the one who no name is higher being born in the most humble of circumstances. He didn’t even have a hotel room at an inn (modern day bar room) the only cover they found was in a smelly barn surrounded by animals.

He did not even have a crib or bassinette, his place to lie down was a receptacle that was used to feed animals. There was no mattress; he lay in cloth that was set aside for wrapping the dead. He lay on straw but in that baby who was a few minutes old was 100% human but also 100% God.

He did not need to be born this way, God could have created him fully grown as he did with Adam and Eve, but God allowed him to experience everything that we as humans experience. Jesus relates to every situation. He understands what it is like to be tempted, to have seen poverty, he lived as we lived but lived the lives we should have lived.

Herod kills the little children

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

As we read two days ago, Joseph took Mary and Jesus and fled to Egypt. God could have used Jesus as a baby and with the power of God could have wiped out Herod’s soldiers, but this was not the plan of God. God knew this would happen and chose instead to use this wicked king in order to fulfil prophecy.

I would think that he would have used the information taken by the recent census (remember that is why Joseph and Mary were there in the first place) he would have had fresh information where the young children would have been and there would have been little searching required.

Herod was known historically for three things:

1) Vast building and structural projects to flex his muscles over his (puppet) kingdom
2) Suspicion over threats to his rule
3) Killing people for personal reasons, including members of his own family

We see points 2 and 3 are evident here, he saw this “new king” as a threat to his earthly kingdom. Herod was so blinded in maintaining his own little position of power that he missed the point of the messiah.

There is application in there for all of us, how often do we pass up what God has called us to, regardless of how humble that may be to chase after things that we were never called to. Sometimes we do this through vain ambition, personal discontent and sometimes it is just good old fashioned pride, other times we do it trying to do Gods will and do Gods job for him, we have to be careful and validate that it really is God’s plan for our lives.

Jesus came not to take his kingdom but to be the sacrifice for all of our sins. Jesus will return and establish his kingdom without end. The cross was not the end but merely the beginning. So Herod’s actions were futile. He died a few years later and others took his throne.

His legacy is very much a negative one, this makes me think about my legacy and how I will be remembered. Really and not to be too blunt but my priority is my family, how I am viewed by my wife and daughter. I fully realize that I have some major work to do in this area. Some areas I do not do well in and other areas I plain stink. I am in prayer that I see the priorities and that I do better.

My wife did an awesome blog entitled “How will my daughter remember me” and I would encourage that you read that.

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

TTE Advent Calendar Day Two – December 2nd

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Two – December 2nd

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

Micah 5:2 (ESV) But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

Thank you for reading day two of the TTE advent calendar, today we look at a verse which was often quoted in the time of Jesus being on this earth.

Where was the messiah to be born?

In yesterday’s article we looked at how the messiah was to be born of a woman, really, the skeptic among you may say “well that could apply to anyone” and that would be true. However passages in the bible really narrow it down to who is the messiah. They also point to the trustworthiness of the bible.

This passage was quoted in Matthew 2 when Herod asked where the Messiah was due to be born, we read…

Matthew 2:1 (ESV) 1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Herod didn’t get the point of the messiah, he assumed that in the volatile political climate that he lived in that this Messiah would take away his limited power that he had. He already had to concede power to Rome and was essentially a puppet of Rome but he did not wish his power to be diluted any further by this religious messiah.

We can learn from this, we get so involved in our lives and our problems that we fail to observe or notice the messiah. We resolve to fix our issues ourselves instead of allowing the one who takes our burdens to bear them for us.

Why Bethlehem?

We are told Bethlehem, in the land of Judea was to be the place, what an honour for the place that was also the birthplace of David, the mighty King of Israel and a man after God’s own heart.

Historically this was a period that the nation of Israel were not proud about, they were ruled by a foreign Roman power, they were ruled by an unjust king in an uneasy political balance where Jerusalem was a melting pot between Roman, Herodian and religious authority.

So in these humble times, how fitting that God used a humble city, one that was not even regarded as much within it’s own borders to prophesy and deliver a messiah from. I see this in my life, that when I have been in the most humble of places, that is when God has used me and delivered abundance through me.

Ruler in Israel

This is where Herod got scared, he seen his power going away. Historically I find this laughable that he thought this way as the Messiah was known to be God. He could have taken out Herod with one word, however as we learn from the later part of Matthew 2, Herod was not going to last forever and he passed away while Jesus was in Egypt.

Jesus kingdom was not temporary, Jesus confirms this in his trial in the dialogue with Pontius Pilate, we read in the Gospel of John…

John 18:36 (ESV) Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

What amazing humility to submit to those he had created. This truly blows my mind on so many levels. Jesus will rule, but when he comes back at the end of the world. The religious leaders thought they had snuffed out the problem when they coerced the Romans to crucify him. They did not want to face that he was God, but as Jesus proved at Calvary – YOU CAN’T KILL GOD!

Coming forth of old, from the ancient of days

This part shows that he was not just a man, limited by a finite span on earth. He was there of old, he was there at the beginning, he was there at the end, and he was and is and is to come. This gives further credence to the fact that Jesus was there at the beginning of creation.

This tells us that although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the story did not start there. He is the ALPHA and OMEGA, the beginning and the end. (We read this is Revelation 22.) Being a third of the trinity he is as timeless as God.

The Gospel of John in chapter 1 (Quoted fron Genesis 1) .tells us when Jesus began…

John 1:1 (ESV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Who was Jesus?

He was all of this and more, he was God, he had humanity, he had humility, he was perfect, he was sympathetic to man, he was love, we was sacrificial, he was glorious, he was the fulfillment of prophesy, he was the creator and he was and is and is to come the only way to heaven. He was all this and much, much more. He is my Savior and is the LORD.

My hope is that this look at a messianic passage was a help to you and my hope is that this blessed you and hopefully stirred some questions about Jesus being your messiah.

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