Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Faith in God

BibleTalk April 29,2011
Faith in God: The 2nd Basic Principle Preceding Maturity—the Cure for April Fools

Philippians 1:27 27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel

Jude 3-4, 20-23 Contend for the Faith that has, once for all, been delivered to the saints
3Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Chris. …
20But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

Eph 4 1I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

There is a faith that has been delivered to God’s holy people which we must maintain, contend, and strive for: The Gospel (Good News) of Jesus

Romans and Colossians are theological expositions of the Gospel, let’s see what the “Little Gospel” has to say about what the gospel consists of.

Col 1 3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. …
11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Col 2 Alive in Christ
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7) rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
8See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

What is the role of Baptism in the Gospel, as well as faith and repentance?

First a look at John the Baptist and Jesus’ Earthly Ministry up to the Great Commission

Mark 1
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
"Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
'Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,'"
4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
The Baptism of Jesus
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.10And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."
The Temptation of Jesus
12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
Jesus Begins His Ministry
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
Jesus Calls the First Disciples
16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.17And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him.19And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. (Now from John 1 we know that these men had been disciples of John and had been baptizing more disciples than John with Jesus in Judea—John1-4)

Mark 16:15-16 15And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Now let’s see how the Apostles, Prophets and Evangelists preached the Gospel:
First Gospel Message: the clear answer to “What must I do to be saved?’
Acts 2:36-41 36Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
37Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
The Samaritans
Acts 8:12-13 12But when they believed Philip as he preached the gospel about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip.
The Ethiopian Eunuch
Acts 8:26-36 26Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
33In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
34And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the gospel of Jesus. 36And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.
The First Gentiles
Acts 10:48 48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Philippi: Lydia and the Jailer
Acts 16:14-15 14One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
Acts 16:30-33 30Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”32And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.
The Disciples Who Had Been Baptized Wrongly at Ephesus
Acts 19:1-5 1And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples.2And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” 5On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Paul’s Conversion:
Acts 22:12-16 12”And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard.16And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.

Faith saves us by obedience to the Faith: The gospel is the power
Rom 1:4-5 4…[Jesus] was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,…
Rom 1:16-17 16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith."
Rom 10:14-17 14How 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?15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel!" 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord,
who has believed what he has heard from us?" 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Rom 15:15-18 15But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed,

2 Thes 1:8-9 [T]hose who do not know God and … do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus…. 9will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might….

Faith in God: obedience to the Gospel of Jesus:
Realization of Condemnation, Conviction, Conversion: Justification, Redemption, Adoption and Sanctification—living as a disciple of Jesus, and Glorification
That’s the BibleTalk for today: Next Week “Instructions about Baptisms”

(More on this topic follows.)

Obedience to the Gospel is faith and does not meet the definition of “salvation by works.”
Romans 4:4-8 4Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. (Repentance and baptism do not make righteousness or eternal life our “due”) 5And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly (Repentance and baptism and living a holy disciple’s life are part of the faith in the method of justification God has ordained.), his faith is counted as righteousness, 6just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
7"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
8blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."

The Adoption as Children and Receipt of the Holy Spirit by faith
Galatians 3:25-4:7 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
1I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (The in-dwelling Holy Spirit is sent into us by God when we are born again as sons of God by being baptized into Christ by our faith.)

Saved by Obedient Faith in the Gospel
Hebrews 1:1-3 1Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son….After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…
2:1-3 1Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?
3:12-4:11 12Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15As it is said,
"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."
16For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
1Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2For the good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it did not meet with faith in the hearers. 3For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

"As I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter my rest,'"
although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all his works." 5And again in this passage he said,
"They shall not enter my rest."
6Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the gospel failed to enter because of disobedience, 7again he appoints a certain day, "Today," saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
11Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. (Unbelief and disobedience, faith and obedience are used equivalently because the faithful person obeys the Lord’s commands—we know in some ways imperfectly—and enters his rest and the disbelieving person does not.)
5:8-9 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,…
6:11, 15 11And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises…. 15And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.
9 New covenant different from old covenant in that those in the new covenant must have God’s law in their hearts and minds and know Jesus is Lord before they come into the new covenant.
9:27-28 27And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
10:9-10, 14 "Behold, I have come to do your will." He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…. 14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
10: 22-25,29, 22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near…. 29How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
Examples of Faith
11: 4By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice…
5By faith Enoch…pleased God…
7By faith Noah…in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household…
8By faith Abraham obeyed…And he went out
11By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive since she considered him faithful who had promised…
17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac…
20By faith Isaac invoked future blessings….
21By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph…
22By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus…
23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden…
24By faith Moses…refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt……

Saved By Our Obedience to the Gospel
I Peter
1:22-25 22Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24for
"All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever."
And this word is the gospel that was preached to you.
2:9-12 9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
2:24 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. (Participate in his death and resurrection: the gospel (Romans 6))
3:18-21 18For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20because] they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…
4:16-18 16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And
"If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"

I John 5
Testimony Concerning the Son of God: Water, Blood, Spirit
No testimony: No saving faith

6This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7For there are three that testify: 8the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Abandon faith 1tim 5 12
Shipwreck faith 1 tim 1:19

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Repentance from Dead Works

BibleTalk April 22, 2011
The Cure for April Fools: Repentance from Dead Works, Part 2: The Elementary Teachings Necessary for Spiritual Maturity
Matthew 7:13-14 (esv)
13 "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
What is Jesus saying here? Why wouldn’t everyone want to be on the road to heaven?
It involves pain and hardship for one: persecution. Listen to Paul in 2 Timothy 3:12-13 (esv)
”12Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” FOOLS

Intro: Well last month we talked about “March Madness” how there’s a broad road and a narrow road and most people, religious or not, are marching down the road to hell because of mental incapacitation brought on by clinging to various types of sin: impurity, idolatry, debauchery, sexual immorality, greed, bitterness, sentimentality, sorcery and witchcraft, demon deception, tolerating false doctrine, etc… This month we’re talking about April Fools and how we can be “fooled,” deceived, about who we are and where we stand before God.
We’re trying to avoid the situation described by Jesus in the “Sermon on the Mount,” Matthew 7:21-23
21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'
23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'
What’s going on here? What’s wrong with these people that Jesus is talking to here? They’re deceived aren’t they, in the cruelest sense of the word. Cast aside on the Day of Judgement. Why? Well a clue is found in verse 23 “you workers of LAWLESSNESS.” This brings to my mind 2 Thes 2:9-11 (niv)
“9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”
How can we keep from being deceived? Just what it says above: do the will of the Father, love the truth and so be saved.
In John 8:31-32 (esv) 31So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Become mature: Eph 4:11-14 (esv) “11And 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, 13until 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, 14so 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.”
This brings us back to the elementary teachings that precede maturity in Hebrews 6:1-2 (esv)
”1Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2and of instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”
Last week we talked about repentance, METANAH-E’O, which, as we saw, means more than just a simple change of mind, like a whim, but more of a heart-rending deliberation resulting in concrete action. What we didn’t spend very much time looking at was DEAD WORKS and we turn to that today.

So are these works that cause death, works that the dead do, or works that have no life? The answer is YES.
A great place to start is Galatians 5:19-24 (esv)
”16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Another word for these things is SIN.
There are sins of commission, like those above, James 2:8-13 (esv)
”8If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. 9But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
Then there are sins of omission, James 4:17 (esv)
“17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
Faithlessness is sin, Romans 14:23 (esv)
“23But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
Even faith without action is dead, James 2:14-17 (esv)
”14What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
So that pretty much catches all of us, right? We’ve all sinned.
So what does that get us?
Romans 6:20-23 (esv)
“20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Let’s try to understand the death he’s talking about here:
Who is the great deceiver? The Serpent, Satan, or the Devil (1Tim 2:14)
Where did this problem with sin all start? The Garden of Eden
Let’s go back in our mind’s eye to Genesis 2 and 3 and remember the story of the first sin. Adam and Eve were in the garden, sinless and innocent, and there was the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." and apparently told Eve, because she knew it. Then Satan asked Eve a question: "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" 2And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" 4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.”
The whole problem started with being deceived, doubting God—losing faith, indulging in sin: lust of flesh, lust of eyes and pride of life: disobedience, not seeking God’s will, being impatient, being deceitful: becoming fools.
Did they die? Did they physically die? Was that what sin brought, physical death? Or is there a more important death?
What was really happening when Adam and Eve sinned? What happens when we sin?
Isaiah 59:1-2 (esv)
Are we born with sin?
Matt 19:14
Matt 18:6
Ezekiel 18:20 (esv)
Romans 7:9
Deut 1:39
Num 14:29
Rom 5:12
Psalm 139:19
Why is this important? Because God did not make us sinners
If we inherit sin we are a VICTIM.
The fact is that we CHOSE to sin. It is our fault that we become fools and must repent. We choose death and God has to bring us back from the dead.
You were dead
Eph 2
Col 2
Sin is the problem, dead works, and repentance is one requirement in being freed from them.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Principles of Maturity

I am currently doing a series in my BibleTalk and in the WSU Campus and Young Singles Devo on the basic principles that precede maturity. Hebrews 5:11-6:2 tells us that God wants all of us to mature into teachers, perhaps not with the official title but definitely in teaching others the Gospel of Jesus. This maturity is exemplified by having one's faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil. This keenness of judgment flows, according to this passage, from a solid foundation in the spiritual milk: the six basic principles. I've rarely heard of anyone emphasizing these particular six principles but as I have reflected on them I do see why the Hebrew writer put such emphasis on them: they are the source of mast of the false doctrin that separates the churches. I will be publishing each of the sets of scriptures that I used over the past 3 weeks as I taught on: 1. Repentance from Dead Works and 2. Faith in God, and will teach on 3. Instructions about baptisms, 4. Instructions on the laying on of hands, 5. The resurrection of the dead, and 6. Eternal judgment. Internalize and enjoy!

Hebrews 5
11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 6
1Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Solution to Kansas' Ed Funding Paradox

Excellent Teachers with Larger Classes and Lean, Excellent Leadership

Here’s the post that I made on “Voice for Liberty in Wichita” website which can be found here:
I watched KSN's Jessica Schlageck's report on the new survey results released Monday by the Foundation for Educational Choice regarding Kansan's erroneous perceptions of educational funding. Dave Trabert of the Kansas Policy Institute gave an excellent interview where he astutely pointed out that Kansans generally don’t realize just how much tax money Kansas schools already receive and that, as the schools ask for more and more, the schools nor the public have yet to define”How much is enough.” The fact is that if we increase taxes to 100% and give all the money to the schools we would destroy our economy and have no schools at all, so obviously there’s some upper limit to the necessity for school funding. It’s also interesting that the individual leading the vanguard in the court battle is not a parent or business person, the sort of person you think would be leading the way if more spending were necessary to produce greater economic growth—what businessman or parent would be against that?—but rather, John Morton, Newton’s school superintendent, one biased toward bloated school system overhead: the perpetuation of his own salary.
I was further interested to note that my comment to that article reflected the wisdom of Bill Gates shared just above on the WichitaLiberty site, that better teachers—who are rare—and larger class sizes are the keys to cost effective achievement. Further it’s time we shrank district staff overhead and dispensed with wasteful extravagances as it seems Lawrence schools are learning to do. With that as an introduction here was my response to the KSN report which can be found at http://www.ksn.com/news/local/story/Survey-results-fan-flames-in-education-funding/SplQIipXz02lMClBXF4cZA.cspx :
According to the "Trends International Math Science Study," students from Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Russia and England all score higher on the study's standardized test than the United States and yet the United States spends more than any of these as a percentage of GDP, except for England, and more than all in terms of real dollars according to the CIA World Factbook. There is no relationship between dollars spent on education and individual achievement as far as raw throwing dollars into school systems is concerned. Probably the best educational value in Wichita is the Classical School of Wichita which has one of the highest National Merit Scholar to student ratios at a fraction of the cost of public education by any measure. School funding advocates like superintendent Morton of Newton are clearly biased since they directly benefit from increased taxation for schools and yet there is no direct correlation in any available data of economic growth trending with educational expenditure. Quite to the contrary, some of the chronically poorest nations on earth, with the worst education, spend the highest percentage of GDP on education. What matters most is quality curriculum, quality leadership, and quality teachers that can be achieved with higher student-teacher ratios and fewer frills exactly as they have been doing and are doing in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan and Russia. In order for class size to make any statistical difference in achievement the class must be smaller than 10 and then it would be virtually impossible, read astronomically expensive, to equip all such classrooms with excellent teachers, and so the achievement gain due to small classes would be reversed by poor teachers. The truth is that larger classes with exceptionally well qualified teachers and complete parental support with excellent lean leadership is the path to educational excellence for the masses as well as economic prosperity for the economy as a whole. At least that's what Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Korea have proved. The elite will have their “Roxbury Latin's,” of course, but it’s not good for anyone for everyone to have them.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Offering Up A Thank Offering in the Lord's Supper

Communion Thoughts: Thanksgiving And The Crucifixion

It’s only fitting that in the season of thanksgiving we should give thanks for the greatest blessing anyone could ever give: a life, a body and blood, that brings forgiveness of sins, redemption of our souls, reconciliation of our relationship with our creator God, adoption as children of God, power to overcome sin and Satan, and eternal life with all the others who share this thankfulness in the perfect home of our loving and beautiful father sharing eternal happiness with our perfect husband Jesus.

Now if you can’t get fired up about that your wood is really wet!! I mean it would have to be way wetter than Elijah’s wood when he faced the prophets of Baal. Remember that story? Elijah was going to call down fire from God so he asked the prophets of Baal to pour water all over his wood, and they poured barrels and barrels on it, but when they called for their God’s to ignite their sacrifices the Baal did nothing but God poured fire from heaven on Elijah’s sacrifice and burnt up not only the offering but the wood, water and even the stones of the alter!! Now that’s the kind of fired-up we’re talking about here, AMEN??

I did a study on thanksgiving recently and I found an interesting bit of trivia. I say trivia because it won’t make any difference in our eternal salvation if we don’t know this little fact or not, but we all like to learn fascinating insights into the scripture don’t we? Amen?

Well, the Bible talks a lot about thanksgiving:
1. Sanctifying power in thanksgiving 1 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV
1Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
2. Thanksgiving is a kind of sacrifice to God Ps 50:23 ESV
23The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!"
(Jer. 31:31-34; 33:10-12 In the new covenant thank offering will be made.)
3. We are to make sacrifices to God 1 Peter 2:4-5 ESV
4As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
4. One of the sacrifices we are to make is of our bodies. Rom 12:1-2
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 
This brings us to the interesting piece of trivia that I told you about:
Jesus is recorded giving thanks to God on only 4 sets of occasions:
1. When he feeds the 5,000 and the 4,000 (Matt. 14, 15; Mk. 6, 8; Lk. 9; Jn. 6)
2. When he is about to raise Lazarus from the dead. (John 11)
3. At the last supper (Matt 26; Mk. 14; Lk. 22;
4. With the disciples in Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)
Let’s look at the account of the Lord’s Supper in Luke 22:14-20
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
In a sense, Jesus is preparing his body for sacrifice in the sanctifying prayer and setting up a thank offering for us to remember him by continually
Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 10:16-21 to see Paul’s thoughts on these things:
16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.
18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.

So today we partake with our Lord Jesus in his memorial feast and in it we make an offering of thanksgiving to our Lord for all that he accomplished for us on that cross and when he presented himself as an offering in the presence of God in heaven. Indeed, it is not on any earthly alter that we offer this offering of thanksgiving but on the very throne of God in heaven, for the sacrifices we offer are not earthly but they occur in heaven itself.

Let us pray.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

BibleTalk Notes- We Believe Therefore We Speak, 1

BibleTalk September 24th, 2010
God’s Compelling Good News—We Believe Therefore We Speak!
Part 1, The First Moment: Jesus’ Birth

You know, when you have a great discovery or you’re struck with a brilliant idea don’t you just have to talk about it? Remember the story of Archimedes and density? The king wanted to know whether his crown had actually been made out of all the gold he sent to make it with and when the water displacement test hit Archimedes in the public bath he ran naked to the palace shouting Eureka!!

Have you ever been so excited about something that you just HAD to run and tell somebody?

I found 4 Great “Moments of Discovery” about Jesus where we see bursts of talking about Jesus: Jesus’ Birth, Jesus introduction to the world (the epiphany), the inception of the church (Pentecost), and the conviction based maturing speech of those who hear the word and hold it in their hearts. We’ll consider each of these moments briefly and finish with an ancient warning to the watchmen of Israel.

Good news about Jesus’ Birth
Luke is filled with stories of people rejoicing over baby Jesus!!
Elizabeth Luke 1:39-45
39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"
Mary Luke 1:46-49
"My soul glorifies the Lord
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
Zechariah Luke1:67-75
68"Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come and has redeemed his peple.
69He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
70(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
72to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
The Angels (God) Luke 2:8-14
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
The Shepherds
Anna and Simeon Luke 2:28-32
28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel."
Matthew also mentions the Wise Men who came from afar and brought gifts for the baby.
This is the Jesus most people are willing to believe in and talk about, but just like a baby: if your faith doesn’t grow from this point something is wrong. It’s comfortable to stay at this stage of faith, however: there’s no challenge, no sacrifice, just rejoicing and music and lights and gift-giving. But did Jesus ever command us to give him a birthday party? That idea grows more by the opportunism of merchants who see it as a way to boost sales than because people are trying to please God.

Are we at the baby Jesus level of faith? Are we comfortable just talking about and enjoying the baby Jesus or are we committed to Jesus the man, the son of God who conquered Satan and takes on the sin of the world??

That’s the BibleTalk this week! Next week The Second Moment: Jesus the man, revealed to the world!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Message of Hope for Disciples of Jesus

Hebrews and 1 John are both great epistles of love and hope. It's interesting that in Hebrews 2:1 the Spirit, through the writing, adjures us to "pay more careful attention" to Jesus' message, the New Testament, lest we "drift away" from it and Heb. 4:11 to “make every effort to enter that rest so that no one may fall by following the Israelite’s example of disobedience” and at the same time he tells us that, in Heb 3:6, “we are his house if we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope!” He’s saying “Don’t be overconfident” at the same time that he is saying “Be supremely confident!”
This can only be done by living like Jesus, who the spirit further says that in the days of his flesh he, first, did not exalt himself to be made high priest but was appointed to that office(Heb 5::5-6(Phil 2:5-11)--he was humble, and second, he offered up prayers to God with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard (not because he was God, the son, co-creator of the Universe, the one who holds all things together by his word of power, blameless and innocent, but) for his reverent submission.
So we can have confidence because we have a high priest who can relate to us and feels for us, and with that confidence we can enter the most holy place and draw near to the throne of God--the throne of grace, where Jesus is seated right now--and receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need. (Heb 4:14-16) This confidence--cemented in the God’s double eternally unchanging and irrevocable promise--serves for a steadfast anchor for our soul, a hope that enters into the Holy of Holies as well. (Hebrews 6:13-20) Our confidence is our hope: the anchor of our soul.
Similarly, in I John 1 the spirit encourages us saying that “if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of his son Jesus Christ continually purifies us from all sin.” But "if we claim we have no sin, we lie and do not live according to the truth." In other words: Be confident but not over-confident. Our confidence in Christ is in our humility. By maintaining this humility we will sin less; we will not walk in darkness.(Remainder of I John)
The grasshopper flew down the road but he didn’t hot-dog and show how he could ride the wind waves on his windshield wiper surfboard with no legs hanging on. And we don’t have to be quite as blind as the grasshopper about our destination. We have a destination that is the fulfillment of the dreams of all the men of faith, hope and love of all time. The eternal Mt Zion, the innumerable angels in festal gathering!! (Heb 12)
To get to our eternal dwelling we must endure discipline though. (Heb 12) Some days that discipline seems tough. But those tough times are our hope of sonship, our guarantee of it, the ground of our boasting. I know I have tough times and that's part of how I know, in addition to my obedience of the gospel, that I’m a son of the king and I’m on MY way to heaven!