1 John – Testing to Know – Test 6 Part B

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Test #6 Becoming an Anti-Christ – Continued

oneanother.jpgIn our last post, I settled on the topic of church life through a computer monitor, and how this may be a trap.  In the post, I challenged the reader to fulfill the “one another” commands, while attending a virtual church meeting that is becoming so acceptable in this society.

As I researched this list, it shocked me as to the volume of verses that contain the phrase “one another”  This list does not contain passages that define brotherly love other than with the term “one another”  This list only includes that one specific term.

Although lengthy, take your time and consider the consistency of this command throughout the New Testament.

Romans 12:10
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Romans 12:16
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Romans 14:13
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

Romans 15:5
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,

Romans 15:7
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Romans 15:14
I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.

Romans 16:16
Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

1 Corinthians 7:5
Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 11:33
So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another–

1 Corinthians 12:25
that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

1 Corinthians 16:20
All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

2 Corinthians 13:11
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:12
Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Galatians 5:13
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Ephesians 4:2
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 5:19
addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,

Ephesians 5:21
submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Colossians 3:9
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices

Colossians 3:13
bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

1 Thessalonians 3:12
and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,

1 Thessalonians 4:9
Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,

1 Thessalonians 4:18
Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:15
See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

2 Thessalonians 1:3
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.

Hebrews 3:13
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 10:24
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

Hebrews 10:25
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.

James 5:16
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

1 Peter 1:22
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,

1 Peter 4:8
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:9
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

1 Peter 4:10
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

1 Peter 5:5
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

1 Peter 5:14
Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 3:11
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

1 John 3:23
And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.

1 John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:11
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:12
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

2 John 1:5
And now I ask you, dear lady–not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning–that we love one another.

Enjoy fellowship with the saints.  Love one another.  Turn the one eyed bandit off!  Be with the saints!

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 6 Part A

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Test #6 Becoming an Anti-Christ

1 John 2:18 – 19
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

Wow – When I first read this verse, I couldn’t understand it.  Why wasn’t antichrist capitalized?  And why is John saying that there are many antichrists?  And that antichrists have already arrived in the first century?

Didn’t he know the Bible taught of the one coming Anti-Christ who would rule the world, work with Satan and have a false prophet as a side kick?

Let’s consider what the Bible says about  antichrist.  As a matter of fact, lets consider what 1st and 2nd John says about the antichrist, since this topic is restricted to these two books.

Four verses in all the Bible speak of antichrist.  Let’s see what they can teach us.

1 John 2:18
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.

This verse, which we are currently looking at, simply defines the occurrence and timing of the coming of antichrist.

  • They are coming.
  • They are present, that is, in the first century at the time of John’s writing.
  • And they signify it is the last hour.

1 John 2:22
Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.

This verse actually gives us a definition of antichrist.  A deceiver and denier of both the Father and the Son

1 John 4:3
and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

A bit more definition of antichrist – one that does not confess Jesus (as Lord).  Also that there is a spirit associated with antichrist.

2 John 1:7
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

John’s second epistle describes antichrist as a deceiver and denier of the humanity of Christ.  This is 1 John 2:22 retold!

So, as a test for believers, 1 & 2 John is instructive regarding antichrist.  Defining antichrist gives guidance for believers.

Our particular set of verses in 1 John 2:18-19 speak of consistency of faith.  Perseverance in following the Jesus described in the Bible, who has been raised from the dead, ascended bodily into heaven, and reigning from above.

In summary, these verses speak of antichrist not continuing with the family of God. This verse is often called upon to defend an Augustinian theology, but that is not my goal with this blog.  I would like to be practical for once.

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A living faith in the Son and the Father requires a living relationship with His people.  Continue with His people, or it may appear that in pulling away from a fellowship of believers, the actions of antichrist are being replicated.

Dear reader, do not fall for the teaching that is popular nowadays, that church can be virtual, that Christianity can be lived through a monitor.  A monitor does not have a beating heart for God, a sense of belonging with one another.  The television monitor becomes a barrier in fulfilling these exhortations.  The family of God is a one another community.  We need each other.

I will publish a list on “one another” commands found within the New Testament in our next installment.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 5 Part B

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Test #5 – Don’t Love the World – Continued

In our last post we considered John’s teaching of loving the world, what it meant and our responsibility to not do it.  In this post, lets consider the second portion of the verse, not loving the things in the world!  Let’s read the passage once more, prior to digging in.

1 John 2:15 – 17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world.

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Things in the World

Initially, when I read this phrase, I automatically think of my Prius. Or my computer.  Or my phancy phone.

You know, material “things” of the world.  But as I read the 16th verse, it doesn’t say … all that is of the world…

John declares that three things are in the world, that is according to verse 15, which believers are not to love.

Those three things are as follows

  • the lust of the flesh
  • the lust of the eyes
  • the pride of life

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Now of course I could see that my racing Prius appeals to my lust of the flesh.  (What?)

But buying a Prius doesn’t mean I have loved a thing of the world, unless it was purchased to consume upon my own desires (lusts) and pride.

By the way, the stripes were a gift from my awesome daughter, but that is another story!  You can read of it at the post Let Me Tell You a Story – A Racing Prius

What is my point?

The things of the world are not to be relegated to material things.  The things of the world are those characteristics, attributes, desires and traits that pull us away from the Father and His Messiah.   A Prius, on it’s own, can not pull me away from the Father!  But watch out – if it appeals to the lust of my eyes, then yes I have a problem.

77's pride of lifeThese three “things” of the world make us seek independence from God (pride of life), drives us to satisfy sexual desires outside the confines of a loving marital relationship (lust of the flesh), and propels us to accumulate possessions, power or people (lust of the eyes).

I freely admit my struggle with succumbing to loving my lust and pride, but I can honestly tell you that owning a racing Prius isn’t the result obeying the lust of my eyes!

Where is your struggle?  The desires of the believer are addressed here and the message is that we can decide on what our desires are to be.

Feelings follow faith.  A life of seeking the will of God (even when desire may be weak to non existent) will produce long term desire for the will of God to be realized.

Seek the will of God.  It’s got a brighter future!

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 5 Part A

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Test #5 – Don’t Love the World

1 John 2:15 – 17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world.

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Ok – John brings to our attention two topics that believers are not to love!  This has always been a confusing set of verses for me, especially since a brother once compared John 3:16 with them

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Same Greek word used in both sets of verses.  We are told not to love the world, and yet God so loved the world.
This is difficult!
Or is it?
The Greek word is kosmos and has the following definitions (BLB Strongs Dictionary)
  • an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government

  • ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, ‘the heavenly hosts’, as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3:3

  • the world, the universe

  • the circle of the earth, the earth

  • the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family

  • the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ

  • world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly, the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ

  • any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort                                            the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc)

kosmos.pngThe World
Kosmos is used to describe multiple ideas, ranging from the commonly thought of “world” as in the universe, or the physical earth, all the way to describing an arrangement or order.
Within this varied word usage, as in John 3:16, kosmos describes the totality of lost humanity, those for whom Christ died.
1 John 2:15 depends on an alternate available meaning, that is, the order or system of the world. This is what I call the “ways of the world”.
We all would recognize it when this “system” is used against us.  When a lie is uttered to defame our reputation, we realize someone is using deceit (a “way of the world”) to attain power over us (a goal of those using the ways of the world).
When a boast is made to puff us up, we can (and should) recognize this is a method used to influence us for someone else’s priorities.
When an advertiser uses a scantily clad woman to entice us to buy 12 widgets, we need to recognize this “way of the world” is depending on our fallen nature to lure us into providing funds for their bottom line.
These “ways of the world” are systems that we must not depend on, and need to recognize as being temporary, fleeting and trending to destruction.
And if you love this system, the love of the Father is not in you.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 4

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Test #4 Loving my Brother

1 John 2:9 – 11
Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.

Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.

But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

In the last post, we dealt with three concepts that John addresses in this epistle.  Justice, love and faithfulness.

John starts out with the believers claim of abiding in the light and yet hating his brother.  It is, John warns us, a false claim.  Hating a brother in antithetical to Christian life.  Golly, the Master has told us to love our enemies.  Love, in its proper understanding is the very heart of God, and is to be the heart of the believer.

But lets consider this issue of stumbling.  If we love our Brother, there is no cause for stumbling.  I assume John is saying that hating my brother is the cause of stumbling, at least in this context.

Quite a while ago, I came over another verse that made a similar claim.

Psalm 119:165

Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.

Let’s consider what it means “to stumble”.  John uses the greek term σκάνδαλον skandalon when he speaks of stumbing in this verse.

The term refers to a trap or a snare, an impediment to cause tripping.  Occasionally the term refers to the Master Himself, in relation to those who were blind and unwilling to repent.

Life is full of these traps, and by the deception of the enemy, these traps may appear to be justifiable in the believers thinking.

Let me give you an example.

A neighbor once became antagonistic to our family, and his hatred centered on my sweet little wifey.  He drug us into court over crazy claims and personally sought to intimidate us.  This went on for a number of years and we had friends that counselled us to retaliate in one way or the other.

Thinking without the guidance of the Word, we could have retaliated justly in our thinking.  He started it.  He was the one who spread lies about us, and the neighbors we were close to.  He deserved to be opposed!

david-spares-sauls-lifeIt just so happened (providentially don’t you know) that we were reading through the story of David and Saul, and how David would not retaliate on Saul.  Vengeance is mine saith the Lord, was a phrase that kept coming up.  Love your enemy.

Can I say we never fell into a hatred of our neighbor.  Not!  Absolutely I was weak.   But as the Lord supplied strength, we came out of this period seeing the Lord deliver us from this neighbor, and heard many stories of His justice being enacted on this poor man.

But I want to confess something.

Our effort to love this neighbor during this time was a bit weak.  We didn’t retaliate in any way, other than sometimes slipping into vile gossip, but we were not very proactive either.  Being friendly when seeing him on the sidewalk, offering a meal or giving a gift (like a big ol apple pie?) may have been a good start.

Let us not think that the demands of the Master are of no impact on our lives.  I often considered the offer of grace to be a relief from the burden of the ten commandments.  In some ways, the burden is greater, since the requirement is to obey the spirit of the law and not simply the letter of the law.  With the same breath, I also want to remind us to learn of Him.

Matthew 11:29 – 30

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

He is the One to look to for all things.  Help me O Lord in making Your will my focus.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 3

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Test #3 Keeping His Commandments

1 John 2:3 – 5
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,

but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:

This is the test that caught my attention when I was studying for the “Commandments for Christians” posts.

The issue in this verse is the identification of the commandments being referred to .  Is this referring to the Ten Commandments?

Yes and no.  My understanding of the new covenant that Jesus initiated for believers in the upper room, and sealed with His death and resurrection, is that He has authority over all.  He has authority over the prophets, the law giver (Moses), the interpretation of the Old Testament, the moral standards for the believer, the interpretation of the Old Testament, the …..

Get my point?  He is Lord.  And by sitting in this position, He has elevated the commandments to a much higher level, and the proper understanding and application of them in the believers life is the challenge for us.

So Carl, what is John defining when he refers to commandments in this book?

Three overarching topics rise to the surface in this study.

Truth (Righteousness)

A believer is responsible for seeking the truth and acting on it.  I have published a series “Judge Judge Judge” in the past, looking at the teaching of righteousness / justice. The reader may want to take a few moments to review.

The Master wants His people to live in the truth and make life decisions based on the truth.  This is critical and we will find this thread of thought throughout this letter from John.

Love (Mercy & Grace)

When I read this epistle, the command to  love is everywhere.  Love the brethren, love the Father, love the Son, love the lost.

Oooops – Does John bring this last topic up?

This epistle is all about family.  Although the command to evangelize runs through the New Testament, John’s purpose in this epistle is to define the status of the believer based on a number of tests.  Some may find evangelism when John refers to loving the brethren, and that may be true.  I am not convinced.  It is a minor point, since love is to permeate every aspect of our lives.  We cannot love God and not love the lost.  This is a natural outgrowth of living in the light.

As we venture through this letter, we will find that loving God is to be an all consuming motivation for the believer.

Faithfulness 

The third point that I find in this letter is faithfulness to the Father and the Son.  Denial of the Son is the lynch pin of Christianity.  I am looking forward to studying this topic most.

As I surveyed over the epistle, and the test’s John supplies, it became evident that this list looked familiar.  I think the Master supplied a similar list when confronting the Scribes in Matthew 23:23

Matthew 23:23

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

The Word is consistent, and John is delivering this truth to his brothers and sisters in a manner that suits their needs.

As I have been in this fascinating book, it has definitely challenged me, clearing out some wrong thinking, and realigning priorities to live by.  I hope, as my readers follow along, you will also find a challenge to follow Him closer, and to enjoy His loving nature in your life.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 2 Part C

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Test # 2 – Relationship with Sin – Continued

In our last post we considered verse 9 under the topic of our relationship with sin.  Let’s continue with verse 10.

1 John 1:8 – 10
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Living in Denial

Take note that this denial is different than the first condition.  The first dealt with a denial of the nature of the believer.  No sin existed in the believer.  The result was the loss of truth experienced in the life of the believer – no small issue!!!

This denial is regarding individual acts of sin in the believers life.  This is the condition I fear I fall into far too often.

I feel a story would be best to illustrate this point.

My wife and I were seeking to witness to Don and his girlfriend and were developing a great relationship with them.  We would get together on Friday nights and play cards, or some board game, and have a hoot of a time.

One night, as the competition rose around the table, I made a critical mistake in laying down a wrong card, losing the game.

foul wordOut came a foul word.  Don had never heard me swear before and he instantly picked up on it!

I denied it.  We argued about it. This is where things fell apart.

I needed to confess this sin in front of them, admitting I did wrong.  But I didn’t – My self righteous attitude clung to a lie, and because of that, I lost an opportunity to share the Master with Don. If I had confessed immediately, I could have shared of the mercy of God in providing this solution, but I preferred to defend my hypocrisy instead of exalt my Master.  What is wrong with me?

We remained friends, and I believe I eventually admitted to my sin to Don.  But I learned that my old man was very much alive and kicking, even in the effort to serve our Risen Savior.

Keep short accounts with the Lord.  Do not deny the sin, but seek a humble spirit to always be ready to admit to a sinful act.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 2 Part B

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Test # 2 – Relationship with Sin – Continued

In our last post we considered verse 8 under the topic of our relationship with sin.  Let’s continue with one of the first Bible verses a believer memorizes, and see what John can teach us.

1 John 1:8 – 10
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Living in Confession

Condition

ConfessionIf we confess our sin.  This statement provides a condition of reality.  John mentions a plurality of sins the believer may become entangled in.  It is an act of sin that John transitions to in this verse, as opposed to the state of sinless perfection described above. Given the gracious nature of our God, this willingness to walk in the truth of our fallen condition supplies a remedy to our soul.

But does our confession stir the grace and love of the Father to forgive us?   Lets look to the result of our confession of sin.

Result

The result of our confession of sin is that

“He is faithful and compassionate to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Did I write that verse correctly?  Read it again, since I have corrupted the text with my own thoughts!

Did replacing the word “just” with compassionate make a difference?  Did I write it the way I understood it, or should I read it again?  I hope this caught your attention.  Since I noticed it, it made a difference in my understanding of a walk with the Master.

Our confession of some act of sin to the Father initiates the Father’s justice!

The Greek word “just” in this verse is dikaios, and is defined as righteous, without prejudice or partiality.

So where is the love?

This forgiveness is a result of the New Covenant in the Blood of Jesus, being shed for us, and providing propitiation (satisfaction) to the righteous requirements of the Law.  His blood shed on the cross created a covenant (like a last will of a dying person) that is binding on all participants.

As a participant (or should I say a recipient) of the terms of the New Covenant, God the Father is just (righteous) in providing forgiveness to this ol’ sinner, if I come to Him on His terms.  Humbly, and without pretense, in confessing my sins, He is just in forgiving me.

Does He love me – Of course.  He suffered and died for me when I was an enemy.

But in this context, justice is the reason forgiveness is provided!

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 2 Part A

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Test # 2 – Relationship with Sin

1 John 1:8 – 10
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

John is establishing our relationship the Father and the Son in relation to sin in these verses.  Each of these verses begins with a condition we at times will find ourselves in.  If we live in this condition, John supplies the result of the agreement with the condition supplied

Living in Denial

Let’s start off with verse 8.

Condition

If we say we have no sin.  Notice this is denying the existence of sin in the believers life.  His audience must have understood the sin problem prior to their salvation, since to become a believer, sin must be confessed and repented of.  (Somewhat ironic that they were in a better position as lost souls than they are now!)

John is addressing a group of believers, who after coming to know the righteous Savior, considered themselves to be “practically” righteous.  I say practically, since the Word does describe believers as positionally righteous.  This is not John’s point.  John is speaking to believers who, according to verse 9, are capable of sinning, and will need a relief of this burden.

Result

Self DeceptionOne result comes out of being in this condition.  Self deception.  How dangerous this condition is.   How very dangerous.

This condition’s fulfilled results in the believer existing in a state of falsehood.  A self imposed delusion of being incapable of committing sin.  A sinful state in reality!

No-one other than self is to blame for this darkness of existence.   This is not the result of satanic attacks – it is simply the result of loving your life.

When I have considered my own standing before God, and found it “worthy” of acceptance, I always tend toward pride.  But didn’t the Scriptures state that we are to boast in the Lord Jesus only?

Declaring “no sin” in my life produces a proud heart, dangerously close to declaring an independence from God’s provisions, and creating a state of separation from all others.  Who wants to be around Mr Perfection?

Jesus Himself, the only One who could state this claim of “no sin” and defend the truth of it, described Himself as lowly and humble.  A believer, living in this darkness will justify this bogus claim.

Follow Him who is humble.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 1 Part B

that-you-may-know.jpgTest # 1 – Walking in Light – Continued

In our last post, we considered walking in the light and the natural growth of believers to walk as we look to Him.  In this post, let us consider the blessing accrued as we walk in the light, as He is in the light.

Let’s read our passage again.

1 John 1:6-7
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Blessings of Walking in the Light

If we conduct ourselves according to the Light of God that we understand, we experience two blessings according to John.

Blessing One

“The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin”.

I want to discuss this blessing first, since it is so bedrock to our faith!  John is speaking to believers and reminds us of the action of the blood of Christ with our sin problem.

Prone to wanderAs believers, we have been delivered from the life of sin and self, from our looking away from God.  But we all know that we are prone to wander, prone to want those leeks we left behind in Egypt.  Prone to return to our prior lives.  As we recognize these attitudes and actions in our life,  we are to repent, agree with God about our condition to God (confess) and request forgiveness from Him. (See 1 John 1:9)

In this verse, the verb “cleanses” is in the present tense in the Greek, representing a simple statement of fact viewed as occurring in actual time.  His sacrifice was a once for all act of supreme love for us.  The effects of this sacrifice are far reaching.

As we bang around and fall, learning to walk this life in His light, we must understand that His sacrifice for us is an active love that is always reaching out to us, seeking our good.

We do ourselves much damage when we ignore His loving provision.

Blessing Two

“We have fellowship with one another”  John states that as we practice the truth of God, and of His character, we have fellowship with one another.

Is he saying we have fellowship with God or with other believers walking in the light?  It seems obvious that if we are walking in light (truth), we would be in fellowship with the Source and Being of light.  Otherwise, John may be stating that we experience fellowship with others who are walking in the light.

This was an incredible blessing when I first considered it.  We had recently moved to a new town and hadn’t found a church yet.  It seemed we were all alone, and yet this verse instructed me that as I walk in the light, I did have fellowship with others of like mind.

We have fellowship with others.  A state of being, that as I walk properly, will experience that fellowship (or sharing together) with others.  Of course, being associated with a body of believers makes this much more “efficient” but it doesn’t take away from the fact that fellowship with others is based on “Light Living”.

We all know that some churches have folks that are walking in the dark, and some walking in the light.  This verse (and book) defines the difference between the two.  Notice that it is not based on personal likes or denominational distinctions.

Or that God agrees with us.  What do you mean with that remark Carl?

Let me give you an Old Testament example.

josh_5_14_captain_of_the_hostsPrior to entering Canaan, Joshua met “the captain of the Lord’s army”, and as the military man that he was, Joshua demanded whose side He was on.  The Angel simply stated “I am the Captain….”

He wasn’t on the side of the Israelite’s.  We often get this so mixed up.  He is the Lord.  They were to be on His side!  There is a difference!  Check out The Lord’s Enemy  post for a bit of teaching on this surprisingly forgotten concept for some!

He is the Lord and His people have fellowship with one another as they walk in His light.

John will describe that light throughout the remaining chapters of the book.  I hope you can walk with me through these truths and come out of them with renewed vigor to follow Him in His light.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 1 Part A

that-you-may-know.jpg

John provides our first test immediately after he gives his message, after he gives witness of who he has fellowship with, and reminds us that God is light.

Test # 1 – Walking in Light

1 John 1:6-7
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Light and darkness are two environments, two states, two authorities that we may live within.

As John gives us these tests, it is good to remember that his audience was first century, and it was common to speak of daily life as “walking”.

As believers, our lives are to be lived for God, and John (along with all the NT authors) spoke of walking when they refer to our living our lives. To walk is to live.

Walking entails a number of elements that may be instructive for us to consider.

A Focus for Walking

In the first century, walking was the primary way of getting from point A to point B. No one left point A without knowing where point B was. My point, in all these points, is that walking had a destination, or a goal in mind. Our lives also are to have a goal.

I recently began a new series titled “Let Me Tell You a Story”, and published a post speaking of walking with purpose. It may be of interest to you – Let Me Tell You a Story – Plowing.

A Manner of Walking

Prior to becoming a believer at 21, my life was a filled with confusion, and fear. Out of that fear, came an existence of drunkenness and drug abuse. I will forever be thankful for the mercy of the Lord in delivering me from that hell. During those days, I staggered through my existence. Often I would find myself in shameful conditions, or dangerous environments.

A believer is to live upright and circumspectly, understanding truth (light) and conducting themselves accordingly.

Consider yourself a Christian? Where are you at with practicing truth in your life. A little darkness known is darkness still!

Growth in Walking

I’m not sure if I have mentioned before, but I have 6.8 grandchildren, as of this writing. My oldest is 12 and my seventh will be born December 12, 2020.

Baby-Falls-Down-on-Sidewalk-in-Rain

Each of these little miracles will walk through life, and have to learn how to balance their body as they exercise their legs and feet to propel their body forward. It is a gargantuan effort for a little eight month old to stand, and even greater for that ten month child, risking the dangers of falling in order to do what daddy does. So far each grandchild has proven to want to walk like daddy. It seems to be “second nature.”

We have a second nature too, and as we love Him and watch His actions in our lives and the lives of others, we also will want to walk like our Father. The issue we need to address is whether we are watching Him or watching something unimportant.

I trust you will seek to watch the One who is worthy of our gaze.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post. Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Introduction

that-you-may-know.jpg

Heard a preacher once say that God tests in order for us to know, whereas we humans teach (supply knowledge) in order to be tested.

Which one of us is backwards???

Tests are supplied for the believer in order to know his status before God. I have come out of a denomination that taught 1 John as describing tests for the purpose of assurance of fellowship. John, I was taught, gave these tests in order for believers to know they were pleasing to God, in fellowship with Him.

It makes a lot of sense.

There are some who would refer to the tests John provides as tests of true or false Christianity. The tests define true Christianity, not whether you are a good or “bad” Christian.

A totally different ballgame here folks.

But what of it?

Is this it a manipulation of the texts in order to enslave believers into a legalism?

Wow Carl – settle down!
Keep a open mind and allow the Word to tell you without jumping to conclusions!

Join me as we go through testings in order to know, in the book of 1 John.

I trust that these tests will challenge you as they have I!


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Faith – Oligopistos – Matthew 16

Faith 2As mentioned in my earlier post, I was in discussion with my Sunday School teacher and we verred into the topic of faith.  This topic addresses the first Greek word in our table below

Faith

He had told me there are a number of Greek words in the New Testament that are translated “faith” in our English Bible, and I let him know I thought otherwise.

So I came home and did a quick study, using Blue Letter Bible web site.  The following table gives a summary of the New Testament Greek words used when describing our English word “faith”.

Strongs # Greek Transliterated English Equivalent
New Testament (Greek) for “faith”
G571 ἄπιστος apistos that believe not, unbelieving, faithless, unbeliever, infidel, thing incredible, which believe not
G1680 ἐλπίς elpis hope, faith
G3640 ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos of little faith
G4102 πίστις pistis faith, assurance, believe, belief, them that believe, fidelity
G4103 πιστός pistos faithful, believe, believing, true, faithfully, believer, sure not tr
G6066 ὀλιγοπιστία oligopistia littleness of faith

little faith

Strong’s Number G3640 matches the Greek ὀλιγόπιστος (oligopistos), which occurs 5 times in 5 verses in the Greek concordance.

We will look at the the last of the four instances that Jesus (and only Jesus) used this Greek word in this post.

Matthew 16:5-12

When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread.

Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.”

But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?

Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?

Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?

How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

 

 

Ortho...In our last post concerning Peters effort to walk on water, we considered Peter’s orthopraxy, that is the way he lived out his faith (in a very specific instance), and one of the many harsh experiences he had to under go to become a man of God.

This passage, the littleness of faith is referring to the disciples orthodoxy, that is thier interpretive understanding of the Lord’s teaching.

Lets set the stage.

The disciples had forgot bread.  A simple statement.

Jesus begins to teach on the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadduccess.  The word “leaven” stirred the disciples thoughts about bread, and they went directly to thier failure to supply. The disciples conscience started to condemn them, remembering that they had forgotten once (or twice) before.

As an aside, hadn’t the Lord supplied bread for them previously?  We are not to presume upon the Lord’s supply, but I feel this may have been simply an oversight on the disciples part.  The disciples had forgot bread.  Why was this foremost in thier thoughts?  Because they had thier mind on things below?  Because this seemed to be a habit?  Not sure.  Maybe not important.

metaphorJesus was speaking of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadduccess.  He was teaching metaphorically, not literally.  The disciples listened the the Lord literally, and missed the truth.

Jesus corrected the disciples immediately, referring to thier past history with bread.  Twice they had dropped the ball, and twice the Lord used the shortage to teach.  Here the Lord redirects the disciples to larger issues than simply food.

We so often get things sdrawkcab.  Seek ye first the kingdom of God, …

 

To the point, Jesus speaks to the disciples, and us about the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  But what is that teaching?

The Pharisee’s and Sadducee’s Doctrine/Teaching

The passage clearly combines the Pharisees teaching with the Sadduccess teaching.  But they were worlds apart on various teachings.  I found this description informative (check here for more info.)

Religiously, the Sadducee were more conservative in one doctrinal area: they insisted on a literal interpretation of the text of Scripture; the Pharisees, on the other hand, gave oral tradition equal authority to the written Word of God. If the Sadducee couldn’t find a command in the Tanakh, they dismissed it as manmade.

I have always considered the Sadducee to be comparable to liberal elitists, and the Pharisees likened to the tradition laden believers within the church.  Both of these groups promoted a teaching that Jesus warned us of.

Dang it if I can’t find anything clear in this particular passage, but may I suggest a common thread of both these groups?

Both the Pharisee and Sadducee had these common traits

  1. They were both religious.
  2. They were both political.

1. Religion

no religionJesus came to create religion.  Why is He knocking it?

Nope.

That is wrong thinking Carl.  Jesus did not come to create a religion.  (Dang it if it wasn’t religion that killed the Messiah.)  Jesus never used the word religion when He preached. He condemned both the Pharisees and Sadducees in thier religious practices (which of itself doesn’t condemn all religion). I can’t find any of the apostles referring to religion (in a positive way) except in the book of James, which definitely does not describe the religion touted by the groups we are speaking about.

James 1:26-27
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

2.Politics

organized religionSo, how does your Christian life relate to the turmoil of the political landscape in your land?  Do you get caught up in the promises, the hopes that politicians freely provide.  Do you see that political power is a positive influence in your nation?

The Pharisee and Sadducee parties were heavily involved in acquiring and maintaining  influence upon the people through the political process.  Political power is the ability to exert external pressure to make citizens/subject to conform, to fit into a certain mold, to control a population.

Christianity_Politics_NationalismI am convinced that Christianity and political power cannot exist together.  Religion and politics can exist, since they both seek to influence souls externally.  Not so with Christianity.  Christianity is completely different – The Spirit of God is internal, living and powerful, convincing and convicting each believer to follow God.

Christianity is to be the voice calling corruption to the carpet, not to be in bed with the earthly power.

Somehow, I feel Jesus may have been alluding to this unholy partnership.  Whether this passage speaks of this topic, I will leave with the reader.

Back to the Littleness of Faith

No matter, the littleness of faith spoken of by the Messiah can be directly connected with the manner in which we hear His words.  As a technically trained professional, I struggle daily to communicate literally, clearly and without contradiction, in order to have my message understood.  Vagueness and metaphors are not my cup of tea. (Ooops)

Not so with the Lord.  He often spoke in parables, likening earthly things with heavenly things, communicating on a different level.  He sometimes came down to our level, but He didn’t stay there.  He is calling us to have ears to hear His message, not to change the intent of the message to conform to our culture and training.  This is a mighty challenge!

The Word is powerful, but it is powerful the message it supplies.  We need to hear not only the words but the intent behind them.

Let us not have littleness of faith in our understanding of the Word of God.

Please leave a comment to continue this discussion and come visit next time to continue our look at faith.


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Faith – Oligopistos – Matthew 14

Faith 2As mentioned in my earlier post, I was in discussion with my Sunday School teacher and we verred into the topic of faith.  This topic addresses the first Greek word in our table below

Faith

He had told me there are a number of Greek words in the New Testament that are translated “faith” in our English Bible, and I let him know I thought otherwise.

So I came home and did a quick study, using Blue Letter Bible web site.  The following table gives a summary of the New Testament Greek words used when describing our English word “faith”.

Strongs # Greek Transliterated English Equivalent
New Testament (Greek) for “faith”
G571 ἄπιστος apistos that believe not, unbelieving, faithless, unbeliever, infidel, thing incredible, which believe not
G1680 ἐλπίς elpis hope, faith
G3640 ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos of little faith
G4102 πίστις pistis faith, assurance, believe, belief, them that believe, fidelity
G4103 πιστός pistos faithful, believe, believing, true, faithfully, believer, sure not tr
G6066 ὀλιγοπιστία oligopistia littleness of faith

little faith

 

Strong’s Number G3640 matches the Greek ὀλιγόπιστος (oligopistos), which occurs 5 times in 5 verses in the Greek concordance.

We will look at three of the four instances that Jesus (and only Jesus) used this Greek word in the following post.

Matthew 14:28-31

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

In our last post, Jesus rebuked the disciples for littleness of faith. They were poverty stricken of faith.  I noted that they had been given much teaching, personal interaction and many miracles to base thier faith on.  In this passage, the disciples had spent an additional few weeks (possibly more) since the previous rebuke, and received additional teaching and miraculous experiences

RiskIn this passage, the disciples are in a boat again, and it is in the middle of a storm, but it is Peter that “risks it all”

You gotta give it to Peter for his willingness to step out.  He saw the example of Jesus on the water, realized that as a disciple, he was to mimic the Master.  He verified the identity of the Master (Lord if it is you…) and asked for the empowerment (command me to come…).  Both of these prayers are commendable.  As believers, we are to verify the voice we are following, since there are many out there seeking our attention.  Secondly, we need to have the command of God to base our actions upon.  Both Peter did!

He jumped out of the boat and kept his eyes on Jesus.  Is this foolhardy?  Yes!  The lake was deep, full of danger, and cloaked in darkness.  When the surrounding exterior conditions became Peters focus, he began to sink into them.

How common for me to start out with my eyes on the Lord, anticipating no resistance or failure since He is so kind and good.  When I start to fall, slip or go under, my first response is to consider Him to have failed me.

RebellionThis is rebellion.

I need to hear the Lord’s rebuke, the status of my faith.  Reality checks are critical if we are to walk in truth.  My commitment to obey requires accountability and Jesus is faithful in supplying this, if we will listen.  If we listen.

Peter listened.  Did he experience shame, loss of stature among the brethren, increased doubts?  Maybe.

Did he eventually become a man of God?  Definitely.

Peter in the waterNote that upon sinking, Peter cried out to the Lord.  Immediately Jesus rescued him.  No longer did Peter walk on the water, looking to Jesus.  Jesus physically held on to him, but spoke of his littleness of faith.

In the midst of this obedience, Peter saw the tumult of his surroundings and doubted.  Peter doubted and did not pass this test.  But he stayed in the “game” and the Lord continued to challenge him, working with him in Israel for decades after, establishing the mother church and leading many to know Him.

Test 1How about you?  The last “test” you were provided?

How did you do?

  • Did you verify who was leading you?
  • Did you request power to get through it
  • Did you keep your eyes off your circumstances and on the Lord?

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Faith – Oligopistos – Matthew 8

Faith 2

As mentioned in my earlier post, I was in discussion with my Sunday School teacher and we verred into the topic of faith. This topic addresses the first Greek word in our table below

Faith

He had told me there are a number of Greek words in the New Testament that are translated “faith” in our English Bible, and I let him know I thought otherwise.

So I came home and did a quick study, using Blue Letter Bible web site. The following table gives a summary of the New Testament Greek words used when describing our English word “faith”.

Strongs # Greek Transliterated English Equivalent
New Testament (Greek) for “faith”
G571 ἄπιστος apistos that believe not, unbelieving, faithless, unbeliever, infidel, thing incredible, which believe not
G1680 ἐλπίς elpis hope, faith
G3640 ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos of little faith
G4102 πίστις pistis faith, assurance, believe, belief, them that believe, fidelity
G4103 πιστός pistos faithful, believe, believing, true, faithfully, believer, sure not tr
G6066 ὀλιγοπιστία oligopistia littleness of faith

little faith

Strong’s Number G3640 matches the Greek ὀλιγόπιστος (oligopistos), which occurs 5 times in 5 verses in the Greek concordance.

We will look at the second of the four instances that Jesus (and only Jesus) used this Greek word in the following posts.

Matthew 8:25-26

And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.”
And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

Let’s consider the situation.

fisherman

The disciples, many of which are professional fishermen, are in a boat with the Master crossing the lake, when a massive storm erupts. As skilled fishermen, they have seen these squalls come up and of all the men in Israel, would understand the clear and present danger the storm represented. They knew their storms.

Jesus is of a completely different ilk. He is a carpenter, a land lubber. And the complete and only God who controls all. Not concerned. Just ticked off.

By this time in the disciples experience, the true identity of this Jesus had not settled in. In thier walk with Jesus, the disciples had experienced the following….

  • Teaching Jesus Teaching (Mat 4:23-25; Mk 1:35-39, Lk 4:42-44).
  • Miracle A Man With an Unclean Spirit (Mk 1:21-28; Lk 4:31-37).
  • Miracle Simon’s Mother-in-law Sick (Mat 8:14-17; Mk 1:29-34; Lk 4:38-41).
  • Miracle A Leper Came to Him (Mat 8:2-4; Mk 1:40-45; Lk 5:12-16).
  • Miracle They Brought to Him a Paralytic (Mat 9:2-8; Mk 2:1-12; Lk 5:17-26).
  • Miracle Healing at the Pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath day (Jn 5:1-47).
  • Miracle Healing on the Sabbath (Mat 12:9-14; Mk 3:1-6, Lk 6:6-11).
  • Teaching And in His Name Gentiles Will Trust (Mat 12:15-21; Mk 3:7-12)
  • Experience Then He Appointed Twelve (Mat 10:2-4; Mk 3:13-19; Lk 6: 12-19).
  • Teaching The Sermon on the Mount (Mat 5-7; Lk 6:20-49).
  • Miracle A Certain Centurion’s Servant (Mat 8:5-13; Lk 7:1-10).
  • Miracle Raises the Dead Son at Nain (Lk 7:11-17).
  • Teaching Are You the Coming One? (Mat 11:2-19; Lk 7:18-35).
  • Teaching My Yoke is Easy and My Burden is Light (Mat 11:20-30).
  • Miracle The Woman With the Alabaster Flask (Lk 7:36-50).
  • Teaching Mary Called Magdalene (Lk 8:1-3).
  • Teaching Blasphemy of Holy Spirit (Mat 12:22-37; Mk 3: 19-30; Lk 11:14-20).
  • Teaching We Want to See a Sign From You (Mat 12:38-45; Lk 11:16-36).
  • Teaching Woe to You, Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites (Lk 11:37-54).
  • Teaching He Began to Say to His Disciples (Lk 12:1-59).
  • Miracle Parable of the Fig Tree (Lk 13:6-9).
  • Teaching Parable of the Sower (Mat 13:1-23; Mk 4:1-25; Lk 8:4-18).
  • Teaching Many Such Parables (Mat 13:24-53; Mk 4:26-34).
  • Miracle Jesus Rebukes the Storm (Mat 8:18-27; Mk 4:35-41; Lk 8:22-25).

Before we judge these disciples, consider your situation.

I don’t know about you but my situation is not dissimilar to the disciples. Of course I don’t enjoy the opportunity to physically walk with the Master, but He has supplied much teaching.

Miracles 1

Miracles?

I would suggest that I have seen miracles in the last 38 years of knowing Him.

I’ve seen believers give of thier bodily organs to heal a fellow believer. I’ve seen poor believers supply funds to people they do not know. I’ve seen young men, wild in thier youth, go preaching the gospel from door to door. I’ve seen believers suffer pain and doubt, yet still clinging to the hope of the gospel.

Excuses?

Not so much when I think of it!

Miracles? Yes

Lord – Show mercy to this frail man, and give me strength to stand in the day


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Faith – Oligopistos – Matthew 6

Faith 2

As mentioned in my earlier post, I was in discussion with my Sunday School teacher and we verred into the topic of faith.  This topic addresses the first Greek word in our table below

Faith

He had told me there are a number of Greek words in the New Testament that are translated “faith” in our English Bible, and I let him know I thought otherwise.

So I came home and did a quick study, using Blue Letter Bible web site.  The following table gives a summary of the New Testament Greek words used when describing our English word “faith”.

Strongs #GreekTransliteratedEnglish Equivalent
New Testament (Greek) for “faith”
G571ἄπιστοςapistosthat believe not, unbelieving, faithless, unbeliever, infidel, thing incredible, which believe not
G1680ἐλπίςelpishope, faith
G3640ὀλιγόπιστοςoligopistosof little faith
G4102πίστιςpistisfaith, assurance, believe, belief, them that believe, fidelity
G4103πιστόςpistosfaithful, believe, believing, true, faithfully, believer, sure not tr
G6066ὀλιγοπιστίαoligopistialittleness of faith
 
little faith
 

Strong’s Number G3640 matches the Greek ὀλιγόπιστος (oligopistos), which occurs 5 times in 5 verses in the Greek concordance.

We will look at the first of four instances that Jesus (and only Jesus) used this Greek word in the following post. (Matthew 6:30 is parallel passage in Luke 12:28)

Matthew 6:25-30

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
 

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

 

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

And why are you anxious about clothing?

 
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,
 

yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

GrubWorry over Grub and Garb

Worry worry worry.

Garb

A concern over food and clothing just doesn’t connect with me, residing in the USA and having much more than I need.  The disciples didn’t have it so good.  They had food for the day, thier daily bread. They may have had one set of apparel, and when it became worn, purchasing new wear would constitute a significant burden on thier resources. An inner garment and an outer garment, a belt and some sandals.  Food and clothing was a justified concern.

Does Jesus simply say not to worry.  No – He elevates our standing before God via  directing our attention to a bird and a little flower.  Amazing.  Let’s consider the lily.

The Lily

Madonna_lilyWe find Jesus talking to His disciples, speaking of the toil (growing exhausted) and spinning of a simple lily compared with the splendor of Solomon, (Israels wealthiest King).

This alone is instructive for us as believers, since we surely estimate King Solomon’s splendor (clothing/appearance) to be greater than that of a humble lily.  But the Master states that thinking to be wrong thinking.

Solomon spent his days toiling to create a splendor he enjoyed.  The lily does not toil, and is simply a splendor. (By the way, in the Lord’s estimation the greater splendor.)

Solomon had splendor that was external.  The lily’s splendor comes from within.

As believers, Jesus tells us the Father will “much more clothe” us.  He has greater concern for us than the lily, yet the lily had great splendor.  He compares the lily of the field (which has a temporary existence) with believers (non-temporary existence) who have so little faith.

Is Jesus simply speaking of the literal clothing on our back?  The Word states He supply’s our every need, so the clothing on my back is provided by the Father.

He is addressing the topic of worry.  Worry over the clothes on our back and the food we eat.  He reminds us numerous times that we are of much more worth than a sparrow or a lily.

MickeyMy greatest downfall in my walk with the Father is worry.  A mind numbing, paralyzing worry.  I have so little faith.

My worry comes from one source.  I have my eyes fixed on the wrong object.  Solomon’s splendor was visual, pride elevating, of this world.  The lily simply exhibited the life God supplied.  The lily didn’t toil for something beyond its reach, or seek to add to its current splendor, or even compare its splendor with a dandelion.

This is against my nature! I continually set goals to gauge my progress, compare myself with others and seek more out of life instead of simply enjoying the life supplied by the Father.

Abstract Watercolor TextureMy perspective is completely upside down.  Oh – I can justify my worry, calling it careful planning, walking in wisdom, careful stewardship.  How shallow and of no impact.

How accurate when Jesus called me out, that one with little faith.  Father forgive me and teach me to keep my eyes on you.

Please leave a comment and come visit next time to continue our look at faith.


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Faith – Elpis – Hope

Faith 2As mentioned in my earlier post, I was in discussion with my Sunday School teacher and we verred into the topic of faith.  This topic addresses the first Greek word in our table below

Faith

He had told me there are a number of Greek words in the New Testament that are translated “faith” in our English Bible, and I let him know I thought otherwise.

So I came home and did a quick study, using Blue Letter Bible web site.  The following table gives a summary of the New Testament Greek words used when describing our English word “faith”.

Strongs # Greek Transliterated English Equivalent
New Testament (Greek) for “faith”
G571 ἄπιστος apistos that believe not, unbelieving, faithless, unbeliever, infidel, thing incredible, which believe not
G1680 ἐλπίς elpis hope, faith
G3640 ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos of little faith
G4102 πίστις pistis faith, assurance, believe, belief, them that believe, fidelity
G4103 πιστός pistos faithful, believe, believing, true, faithfully, believer, sure not tr
G6066 ὀλιγοπιστία oligopistia littleness of faith

This post will consider the term Elpis, ἐλπίς

Strong’s Definitions
ἐλπίς elpís, el-pece’; from a primary ἔλπω élpō (to anticipate, usually with pleasure); expectation (abstractly or concretely) or confidence:—faith, hope.

Romans 5

One of the most hope laden passages in the New Testament is found in Romans 5.  Based upon the believer finding peace with God, hope is born.  Not some nebulous hope that someday things will turn out.  No – Paul gets specific.  This hope refers to the glory of God.

The first time (verse 2) hope is referred to, I believe is the hope that is received upon your initial salvation experience.  That hope which the believer experiences, which the Lord supplies, immediately upon finding peace with God through the Lord Jesus.  That hope is the eager expectation of seeing God glorified in our lives, to bring Him honor and love, and in the midst of that hope, rejoicing in the middle of it!

Now the second time hope is referred to in this passage (verse 4) is the hope that becomes our hope – that is, the hope that each believer acquires through experience.  My hope, like all believers, is in the Lord Jesus and His resurrection from the dead.

HopeBut my hope, unlike any other believer, is a result of the working of the Lord Jesus personally in my life, bringing endurance and character into my life. My experience with the Master is unlike any other believer, and this is the beauty of the body of Christ.  But that is a topic for later.

We must remember that the goal of the Christian life is to become like the One who died for us.  And that requires suffering.  And I don’t like that at all.  But on a personal note, every time my wife and I have went through a period of suffering, the Lord has been faithful, supporting us through it, helping us to hang on, and providing relief when He considers it best. (Usually much later than I would consider it best – But He knows best!)

Let’s read the passage in review

Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,

and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

all-i-have-left-is-hope

Can we think about hope just a bit more?  Hope in the English language is sometimes used to refer to as a last resort.  Something like you might say when a person is in the hospital, ” We can only hope now.”

I’m not convinced that is the connotation in the Scripture.  This hope is a confident hope, a hope that is a “first” response, not a last resort. I believe the glory of God is not something that may happen, but that we look forward to since He has already won the victory.  The hope of the glory of God is not somewhat possible.  The glory of God is inevitable.  If you are a believer, rejoice in that.

Romans 8

Romans 8:24

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?

Isn’t it obvious that hope carries with it an expectation, a confidence, an anticipation of some pleasurable experience.  No one in thier right mind hopes for a tragedy.  Hope is always associated with positive life experiences.

Note that hope is associated with the future. Nothing in the present, physical existence can be regulated to the concept of hope.  It is upon our faith in the risen Messiah that we can have confident hope that great things will occur.

1 Corinthians 13:13

1 Corinthians 13:13

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

FaithHopeWhat is the difference between faith and hope in this verse?  If I understand it, faith is associated with a person, with the Person of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures.  Hope is built on that faith, but it is associated with future happenings and experiences.

Faith is a present tense thought – Hope is always in the future.  The two concepts are two sides of a single coin.  (Somewhat like faith and repentance)

Faith in the person of Jesus, and the gracious message He brought through His life and death,  gives us an earnest expectation of good and holy things in the future.

2 Corinthians 3:12

2 Corinthians 3:12

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold,

boldnessBoldness is the direct result of hope, of a specific hope that we can find in the resurrection of the Messiah.  Wonder if Paul is going to refer the the resurrection in this passage??

Philippians 1:20

Philippians 1:20

as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

I spoke earlier of hope having expectation associated with it and Paul is reiterating the same thought here.  Occasionally, I will express the same thought differently to get a point across. Paul is doing the same here.  Or he may be trying to emphasize the thought of expectation.  Yes – since again hope is connected directly with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus in the next verse

Acts 23:6

Acts 23:6

Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.”

hope 2Paul – you must stop connecting hope with the resurrection.  It seems to be a habit of yours!
Saint – where is your hope?  A better job?  To become rich?  For things to go my way.   I understand, since I also have these temporal hopes.
As believer’s let us remember our greater hope.  Dwell on the hope we have in His life, for just a few moments.  A hope that is higher, nobler and ultimately secure.  His resurrected life supplies us hope for the future.
Rejoice.
Thanks for visiting.  I look forward to your comments and questions.

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Faith – Apistos – Unbeliever

Faith 2As mentioned in my earlier post, I was in discussion with my Sunday School teacher and we verred into the topic of faith.  This topic addresses the first Greek word in our table below

Faith

He had told me there are a number of Greek words in the New Testament that are translated “faith” in our English Bible, and I let him know I thought otherwise.

So I came home and did a quick study, using Blue Letter Bible web site.  The following table gives a summary of the New Testament Greek words used when describing our English word “faith”.

Strongs # Greek Transliterated English Equivalent
New Testament (Greek) for “faith”
G571 ἄπιστος apistos that believe not, unbelieving, faithless, unbeliever, infidel, thing incredible, which believe not
G1680 ἐλπίς elpis hope, faith
G3640 ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos of little faith
G4102 πίστις pistis faith, assurance, believe, belief, them that believe, fidelity
G4103 πιστός pistos faithful, believe, believing, true, faithfully, believer, sure not tr
G6066 ὀλιγοπιστία oligopistia littleness of faith

This post will consider Apistos, ἄπιστοςNo Faith

Strong’s Definitions
ἄπιστος ápistos, ap’-is-tos; from G1 (as a negative particle) and G4103; (actively) disbelieving, i.e. without Christian faith (specially, a heathen); (passively) untrustworthy (person), or incredible (thing):—that believeth not, faithless, incredible thing, infidel, unbeliever(-ing).

Apistos

This is the root word discussed earlier, with the prefix of “a” attached.  Having this prefix, negates the word, or in other words, creates the opposite of the term.
Consider a man who calls himself a theist – one who believes in God.  Place an “a” in front of this term and you find Richard Dawkins. (an athiest).
Unbeliever/Infidel

1 Timothy 5:8

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

infidelI used to read the KJV religiously, and in that translation, the term “unbeliever” was translated “infidel”.  This always bothered me since it is such a loaded term.
This verse actually convinced me of the need to provide life insurance for my wife, since it was so closely associated with the description of widows in this passage.
Again, this verse will be dealt with in a Conditional Security post I will provide, so I will leave the reader to that.
In conclusion of these past few posts, it seems obvious (at least to me) that the condition of unbelieving is not irreversible.   If you are in a state of unbelief, change your mind. 
Change your will.
Make a decision to follow the Master.  Consider the gospel of the grace of God and don’t throw away the invitation to enter into belief. 

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Faith – Apistos – Unbelievable

Faith 2As mentioned in my earlier post, I was in discussion with my Sunday School teacher and we verred into the topic of faith.  This topic addresses the first Greek word in our table below

Faith

He had told me there are a number of Greek words in the New Testament that are translated “faith” in our English Bible, and I let him know I thought otherwise.

So I came home and did a quick study, using Blue Letter Bible web site.  The following table gives a summary of the New Testament Greek words used when describing our English word “faith”.

Strongs # Greek Transliterated English Equivalent
New Testament (Greek) for “faith”
G571 ἄπιστος apistos that believe not, unbelieving, faithless, unbeliever, infidel, thing incredible, which believe not
G1680 ἐλπίς elpis hope, faith
G3640 ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos of little faith
G4102 πίστις pistis faith, assurance, believe, belief, them that believe, fidelity
G4103 πιστός pistos faithful, believe, believing, true, faithfully, believer, sure not tr
G6066 ὀλιγοπιστία oligopistia littleness of faith

This post will consider Apistos, ἄπιστοςNo Faith

Strong’s Definitions
ἄπιστος ápistos, ap’-is-tos; from G1 (as a negative particle) and G4103; (actively) disbelieving, i.e. without Christian faith (specially, a heathen); (passively) untrustworthy (person), or incredible (thing):—that believeth not, faithless, incredible thing, infidel, unbeliever(-ing).

Apistos

This is the root word discussed earlier, with the prefix of “a” attached.  Having this prefix, negates the word, or in other words, creates the opposite of the term.
Consider a man who calls himself a theist – one who believes in God.  Place an “a” in front of this term and you find Richard Dawkins. (an athiest).
Unbelievable/Incredible

Acts 26:8

Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?

unbelievableThis verse states that it takes faith to limit God.  What?
Let me rephrase this verse in a Carlism.
Why is your faith limited to God only working to the point of raising the dead, but not including the raising the the dead?
Is that limiting attitude considered faith?  Why do we limit God the Father?
He has given ample evidence to know the truth.
The gospel is not unbelievable – it is wholly within the realm of believability, based on historical evidence, the Biblical text, the growth of the early church and the death of the apostles, to name a few.
But as I think of it, in a sense, the gospel is unbelievable, that is, in the motive of the Father in sacrificing His Son for a sinner like me.  His love is beyond comprehension!  The Son’s love for me, in dying that cruel death, is beyond my understanding.  Oh the deep love of Jesus.
He has supplied the truth to us.  Do not let the unbelievable love of God escape your grasp.
Be right with God. 
Do not limit Him!

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Faith – Apistos – Disbelieve

Faith 2

As mentioned in my earlier post, I was in discussion with my Sunday School teacher and we verred into the topic of faith. This topic addresses the first Greek word in our table below

Faith

He had told me there are a number of Greek words in the New Testament that are translated “faith” in our English Bible, and I let him know I thought otherwise.

So I came home and did a quick study, using Blue Letter Bible web site. The following table gives a summary of the New Testament Greek words used when describing our English word “faith”.

Strongs # Greek Transliterated English Equivalent
New Testament (Greek) for “faith”
G571 ἄπιστος apistos that believe not, unbelieving, faithless, unbeliever, infidel, thing incredible, which believe not
G1680 ἐλπίς elpis hope, faith
G3640 ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos of little faith
G4102 πίστις pistis faith, assurance, believe, belief, them that believe, fidelity
G4103 πιστός pistos faithful, believe, believing, true, faithfully, believer, sure not tr
G6066 ὀλιγοπιστία oligopistia littleness of faith

This post will consider Apistos, ἄπιστος

No Faith

Strong’s Definitions
ἄπιστος ápistos, ap’-is-tos; from G1 (as a negative particle) and G4103; (actively) disbelieving, i.e. without Christian faith (specially, a heathen); (passively) untrustworthy (person), or incredible (thing):—that believeth not, faithless, incredible thing, infidel, unbeliever(-ing).

Apistos

This is the root word discussed earlier, with the prefix of “a” attached. Having this prefix, negates the word, or in other words, creates the opposite of the term.

Consider a man who calls himself a theist – one who believes in God. Place an “a” in front of this term and you find Richard Dawkins. (an athiest).

Disbelieve

John 20:27

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

disbelieve

Jesus gave Thomas an opportunity to believe. It is an act of the will, and Thomas had the opportunity to exercise his will, upon the evidence Jesus supplied him, to believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

In other words, to believe the gospel.
God is not reluctant to supply evidence. He is active if we have eyes to see, and ears to hear.
This is your decision.

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