Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 6

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the sixth post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

6. Both taught the same things about Christ’s identity – He is the Christ

Jesus

Matthew 16:16-17 — Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

Paul

Acts 9:22 — But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ [Messiah].

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Book Look – Fight

fight-preston-sprinkle-9781434704924A while back I wrote a post “What Jesus Probably Didn’t Mean – Matthew 5:9“, in which I tried to explain the  difference between being a peace keeper and a peace maker. Check it out.

Based on my understanding of Jesus command to be a peace maker, (as opposed to simply a peace keeper), I have ventured into considering the Biblical argument for the passivist life, and why some believers – me included – naturally tend to justify violence in our lives.

In this journey, I tripped over a book by Preston Sprinkle, called Fight, and found it to be very challenging.

One of the more challenging portions of the book – there are many portions of the book that are challenging! – is his portion on the book of Revelation.

He lifts Jesus up as our example, and writes…

“The book of Revelation is all about how Jesus conquers Babylon.  The word conquer (verb: nikao; noun” nike) conjours up images of military victory and everyone in John’s world knows this”

A bit later he continues…

“The Lamb conquers by being conquered.  In fact, whenever Jesus is the subject of the verb nikao in Revelation, it refers to His own death.  Jesus conquers by dying.”

Lastly, Mr. Preston refers to Revelation 19:13

He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.

His teaching shocked me, since I have always assumed the blood to be of His enemies.  Read the passage in context and tell me whose blood is on His robes.

Like I said, it is a very challenging book, and I highly recommend it – unless you like being comfortable…


If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know.  If any are hungry for church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out.  Others may be able to help you.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 5

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the fifth post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

5. Both taught the same things about Christ’s identity – He is the Supreme Ruler

Jesus

Matthew 28:18 — And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Paul

Acts 17:7 — and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Book Look – Life in Community

life-in-communityAs you have been following this blog, you may remember my conviction that I consider my Christian life to be influenced and exercised more through a small group environment than any other ministry I have been involved in.

Whether we have been involved in the conventional Sunday School group or the more open and relaxed, real life home fellowship/cell group, small groups of believers getting together to share life has always resonated with us.

We have hosted groups in our home, and it is evident that my wife has the gift of hospitality.  She loves to share and open her home.

Given our propensity to small groups, when ever I find a book that supplies encouragement in this area, I pick it up.  Recently I finished the little book “Community in Life” by Dustin Willis.  During my reading, I  found a description of hospitality that I would like to share with you.

This excerpt is attributed to Jen Wilkin.

Entertaining vs Practicing Hospitality

  • Entertaining is always thinking about the next course.  Hospitality burns the rolls because it was listening to a story
  • Entertaining obsesses over what went wrong.  Hospitality savors what was shared.
  • Entertaining, exhausted, says, “It was nothing, really!”  Hospitality thinks it was nothing.  Really.
  • Entertaining seeks to impress.  Hospitality seeks to bless.

I especially like the first point, since our schedules are sometimes fairly erratic and we simply end up pulling paper plates out and buying pizzas.

In summary, we need to remember the gospel is our license to be free to bless those around us.  We cannot do that without being involved in others lives and one of the best ways to know another is to invite them into your home.

The book is a very good treatment on the importance of small groups, and in this society of fear and dread, where we are told to restrict social interaction, the church needs to recognize her need to be intently fellowshipping with like minded folks to worship and honor the Messiah, and to serve one another.


If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know.  If any are hungry for church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out.  Others may be able to help you.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 4

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the fourth post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

4. Both taught the same things about Christ’s identity – He is Son of God

Jesus

John 10:36 — do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming’, because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

Paul

Romans 1:3 — concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh.

Gal.2:20 —I live by the faith of the Son of God…

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 3

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the third post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

3. Both taught the same things about Christ’s identity – He is God

Jesus

John 5:18 — This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

John 8:58 — “Before Abraham was, I AM”

Paul

Phil.2:6-7 — who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

Romans 9:5 — Christ came, who is…the eternally blessed God.

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 2

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the second post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

2. Both taught that God is a loving and merciful Father, whom we should imitate

Jesus

Luke 15:20-24 — And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

Matthew 7:11 — If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Luke 6:35-36 — But love your enemies…and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Matthew 5:45 — But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Paul

Romans 5:7-8 — For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 11:32 — For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

2 Corinthians 1:3 — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies…

Ephesians 2:4 — But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us.

Ephesians 4:32 — And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 5:1 — Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 1

Paul

In the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out that the message of Paul is completely different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why is this effort to differentiate the two messages?

I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information. I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

The next series of posts will address different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on, showing similarity in their teachings. My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not).

1. Both taught of the Kingdom

Jesus

Mark 1:15 — “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.”

Matthew 12:28 — the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Luke 17:21 — “For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Paul

Acts 20:25 — “I have gone [among you] preaching the kingdom of God”

Acts 14:22 — “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”

Romans 14:17 — for the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word. May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Questions I’ve been Asked – What Kingdom – Part 3?

kingdom-of-heaven-1 90.jpegkingdom-of-heaven-90.jpegQuite a while back we were enjoying a Bible study in our home, and a good brother came up with a teaching that I had never considered.

In a nut shell, he stated that the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven were two different kingdoms.  Initially I considered this to be hair splitting, and not worth chasing, but he was adamant about the difference, stating that the message had to be understood with this difference.

Okay, since I welcome a topic to discuss, and to consider what the Bible is trying to teach me, I resolved to look into it for my brothers sake.  – Spenser – if you are out there, give me a call – it has been too lang since we spoke and I miss you brother.

For the next few posts, I will provide verses where the Master, in teaching of the Kingdom,  sometimes uses God and sometimes uses  Heaven as the modifier (in the same teaching).

Let’s continue with our third (and final) post to see if we can find  any obvious differences.

Teaching of the Kingdom – 7

Matthew 13:33

He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

Luke 13:20, 21

And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?

It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

Same measurement of flour, same person doing the mixing ( a woman!) and the same reference to leaven.  Wait – what?

Did you see what I just wrote.  Leaven is used in relation to the growth of the kingdom!  No that can’t be!

Time for a Rant (It’s been a while, eh?)

When I was a little bitty baby believer, I was taught that leaven represented sin in a person’s life.  The verses below were used to justify this teaching.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

LeavenCleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Leaven, is used to represent boasting in verse 6.  In verse 8, the leaven is equated with malice and evil.  One characteristic of leaven is that it permeates any lump of dough (it doesn’t discriminate), and once it is introduced, it permeates the entire lump of dough.

The leaven isn’t related to any moral characteristic except contextually, but the purpose of using the leaven metaphor is to describe its ability to permeate any dough and all the dough.

What leaven has been introduced into your life?  Remember, any lump of dough, no matter how poor or rich, how righteous or vile, when the leaven enters, it will perform the work it was sent to do.

May the leaven be right!

End of rant – But now I have no other discussion to offer for the topic of this post in relation tho the set of verses supplied.

But, let’s wait and see before we make up our minds

Teaching of the Kingdom – 8

Matthew 18:3

and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Mark 10:14

Little childBut when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

Luke 18:16

But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

Okay – maybe here there is something.  Regarding the kingdom of heaven, if the conditions aren’t met (that is to become like a child), one cannot enter it.  Not so with the kingdom of God.  The Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children.

Is this a difference?

Matthew’s verse is describing a restriction to the kingdom.  Mark and Luke describe those to whom the Kingdom belongs.

Matthew speaks of a restriction.

Mark and Luke speak of a permission.

This may be the two sides of the same coin.

Let’s wait and see before we make up our minds

Teaching of the Kingdom – 9

Matthew 22:2

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son,

Luke 13:29

And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.

Dang – I’m not seeing anything of difference in these verse either.  Golly Spenser, I wish you were here to guide me in seeing the differences, and to help me to see.  I suppose I have lived my Christian life so far without knowing the difference, and if the difference is critical, I ask that the Father in heaven would open my understanding.

But for the time being, I think I will no longer wait and see before we make up our minds – No – I think they are the same kingdom!

Epilogue

The kingdom of Heaven is spoken of 32 times in the New Testament.  Thirty two times Matthew uses this term.  No other author uses this term.

Might Matthew have been using “heaven” instead of “God” to placate the sensitivities of the Jewish audience he was writing to?

That may be, but a quick search let me know that is a short sighted solution.

Matthew uses the term “Kingdom of God” five times in his gospel to the Jews.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 12:28

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Matthew 19:24

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

Matthew 21:31

Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.

Matthew 21:43

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.

It is interesting to note that Matthew may have reserved the term “Kingdom of God” to strengthen his message, and possibly shock his readers.   (That consideration may be good fodder for another blog post.)
Of course all of this is conjecture since I won’t get a chance to discuss these thoughts with the apostle tonight.  But maybe some day I will bring it up when I see him.  Come to think of it, I’m thinking I’m gonna be distracted by the Greater Apostle at that point, and if there is a difference, I will rejoice in it!
Hope you enjoyed our little venture into the difference between these two terms.  Leave a comment to start a discussion.  I look forward to your thoughts.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Questions I’ve been Asked – What Kingdom – Part 2?

kingdom-of-heaven-1 90.jpegkingdom-of-heaven-90.jpegQuite a while back we were enjoying a Bible study in our home, and a good brother came up with a teaching that I had never considered.

In a nut shell, he stated that the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven were two different kingdoms.  Initially I considered this to be hair splitting, and not worth chasing, but he was adamant about the difference, stating that the message had to be understood with this difference.

Okay, since I welcome a topic to discuss, and to consider what the Bible is trying to teach me, I resolved to look into it for my brothers sake.  – Spenser – if you are out there, give me a call – it has been too lang since we spoke and I miss you brother.

For the next few posts, I will provide verses where the Master, in teaching of the Kingdom,  sometimes uses God and sometimes uses  Heaven as the modifier (in the same teaching).

Let’s continue with our second post to see if we can find  any obvious differences.

Teaching of the Kingdom – 4

Matthew 13:11

And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

mk-4-11 small.jpgMark 4:11

And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables,

Luke 8:10

he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’

Golly.  This one ain’t helping either.

I know – maybe there is some overlap in the two kingdoms and that could explain the exact same descriptions used for both kingdoms, even though they may have characteristics that are different in some other aspect.

Let’s wait and see before we make up our minds

Teaching of the Kingdom – 5

Matthew 13:24

sowing-seed small.jpgHe put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field,

Mark 4:26

And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.

Difference – One time the farmer is sowing seed, the other time, the farmer is scattering seed.  At least with this set of verses, there is a difference in the message, but alas, it is a difference without distinction.

Let’s wait and see before we make up our minds

Teaching of the Kingdom – 6

Matthew 13:31, 32

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.

It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

Mark 4:30 – 32

And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?

mustard-seed small.jpgIt is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth,

yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

Luke 13:18, 19

He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it?

It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

Okay – so this is the parable of the mustard seed.  Not seeing anything jump out a me that will help differentiate between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God in this instance.

Let’s wait and see before we make up our minds

Hopefully our next post will supply some answers, (or at least produce fewer questions)!
Hope to see you then.
Be blessed.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Questions I’ve been Asked – What Kingdom – Part 1?

kingdom-of-heaven-1 90.jpeg

kingdom-of-heaven-90.jpeg
Quite a while back we were enjoying a Bible study in our home, and a good brother came up with a teaching that I had never considered.
In a nut shell, he stated that the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven were two different kingdoms. Initially I considered this to be hair splitting, and not worth chasing, but he was adamant about the difference, stating that the message had to be understood with this difference.

Okay, since I welcome a topic to discuss, and to consider what the Bible is trying to teach me, I resolved to look into it for my brothers sake. – Spenser – if you are out there, give me a call – it has been too long since we spoke and I miss you brother.

For the next few posts, I will provide verses where the Master, in teaching of the Kingdom, sometimes uses God and sometimes uses Heaven as the modifier (in the same teaching).

Let’s see if there are any obvious differences.

Teaching of the Kingdom – 1

Matthew 4:12, 17

Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee.

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Mark 1:14-15

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Both of these instances, where Jesus declares the nearness of the kingdom, occur directly after John is thrown into prison. Jesus message at that time was that a kingdom was near and that repentance was necessary. Of course, if the kingdom of heaven is different than the kingdom of God, there may need to be some additional repentance for some of these folks who heard the wrong message.

I don’t see anything obviously different in these two passages other than the modifier being used. Might they be the same kingdom?

Let’s wait and see before we make up our minds

Matt 5 3Teaching of the Kingdom – 2

Matthew 5:3

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 6:20

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

The sermon on the plain (Luke’s version) is typically considered having the same basic teaching as the sermon on the mount. Did Jesus teach this message twice? If He did, is there an obvious difference in the message, other than the use of the modifier?

Matthew uses poor in spirit, where Luke simply describes the recipient as being poor. Maybe there is a difference!

Yet the term Luke uses refers to a person who is reduced to beggary, powerless, lowly, destitute of position and honor.

It seems the message is the same. Could the kingdoms be the same?

Let’s wait and see before we make up our minds

Teaching of the Kingdom – 3

Matthew 11:11–12
Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Luke 7:28

I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

Dang – the only word revised in this message, describing John the Baptist is the term we are trying find differences in. Every word in the Matthew account is identical to the Luke account except heaven / God.

This passage is not helping with the case for two different kingdoms. But we have more passages so……

Let’s wait and see before we make up our minds

Hope to visit with you next time we are Considering the Bible.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Book Look – Finding Church – Obligation

Finding Church

I found a book called “Finding Church” by Wayne Jacobsen, and am on my second reading.

During my reading yesterday, I came across the concept of “having to go” to church. I lived in that morass of thinking for decades.

What is it that took the “wanna be with believers” from the children of God?

One simple truth – You “gotta go to church”.

What?

Why do believers adopt a “gotta go” attitude?

  1. Possibly because the “wanna go” life dried up and died?
  2. Or because of “gotta go” requirements being imposed on believers?

Who knows – As a matter of fact, if any one has knowledge of how that “shift” in church life occurs, let me know – I would be very interested to reading up on it.

Wayne makes a point supporting this thinking when he states

“….making attendance an obligation may already demonstrate that we’ve lost the vitality of real community and have become mired in mundane rituals, demands for conformity, or internal conflicts that alienate people”

Ask yourself one question. Would you attend church if the obligation (whether social or religious) to attend was completely removed?

Do you anxiously wait to visit with a brother or sister, or attend “services” only to discuss sports, work or the weather?

Brother & sister, consider the reason for fellowship. Service to others through mutual encouragement is the goal, not simply the gathering of warm bodies to fill a building and to listen to a lone preacher man.

koinonia 1

Fellowship is the sharing of life with each other, not the commonly accepted understanding of receiving bible facts (teaching) from a man many in the church rarely rub shoulders with in daily life.

Consider the last time your family came together due to obligation. A properly functioning family comes together because of love, of wanting to be with each other, of a longing to see each other and share life with each other. If your children come to visit you because of guilt, change your ways! (The word “dysfunctional” comes to mind if this is your situation.)

Why is it acceptable to motivate believers with obligation instead of love? It should not be so with the body of Christ.

1 John 1:3,6-7

that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
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.

koinonia 2

Note that those who are in fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ (vs 3) have fellowship with one another (vs 7). Those that are not in fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ do not have fellowship with anyone.

An obligation to a building or a religious service, however good they may be, will not provide the fellowship described in the Word. Obligation strips the desire of fellowship down to a simple item to be checked off in our religious exercises.

So sad.


If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know. If any are hungry for a church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out.

Others may be able to help you. Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Book Look – Finding Church – Authority

Finding Church

I found a book called “Finding Church” by Wayne Jacobsen, and am on my second reading.

During my reading yesterday, I noticed following five points Wayne made on the topic of authority.

Real authority resides in Jesus

One of Wayne’s statements rings so true.

“I trust good hearted people listening to Jesus more than I trust any hierarchy whose perspective is so easily skewed by the needs of thier institution or the realities that let them hold on to power. The historic heresies have not arisen from simple people following Jesus,, but from someone trying to gain a large following”

Matthew 28:18

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

This point seems so obvious. How often do you look to some man, or institution for direction?

Real authority illuminates the truth

Wayne makes the following observation.

Truth

“…Paul, even as an apostle, refused to resort to manipulative tactics. On the contrary he said ‘… by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.'”

Paul depended on God to validate the truth to each of these believers through thier conscience.

He also stated… ‘Those who have authority are not defensive or argumentative because they know the truth carries its own power when people are ready”

Wow – Is that not simply a true statement – One that when you hear it, it simply rings true?

As I have walked this walk, I have found the ones who argue are the ones who are the most unstable in the truth. I have yet to find anywhere in the gospels where the Master got into a word fight with anyone. He stated the facts, or corrected the lie, and moved on.

Real authority is not the power to command

Authority is granted to those who serve and not to those who seek to control. Ok – how many believers out there have trouble understanding this concept?

Jesus clearly gave direction in this regard.

Matthew 20:25-26

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.

It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,

Have you ever noticed that those who seek positions within a church leadership are sometimes the most carnal of the body? The wordly concept of authority is brought into the church, and the carnal fleshy mind loves to get that power, that control over others.

Real authority is recognized, not demanded

do it

Whenever someone within the church demands you obey them, run. Run as fast as you can.

I have been watching some documentaries on cults and one of the leading requirements of a cult leader is unflinching total obedience to thier every wish. Many in the modern church do not go that far, but it is an indicator of the manner of leadership you are under if you are not allowed to exercise, in a loving way, your conscientious objection to a matter.

We attended a church at one time that sought to force all to conform, and my open questioning of certain practices brought swift ultimatums. (Funny, they didn’t take me to a NT passage that identified my error, other than Hebrews 13:17 – Obey your leaders…) Check out my previous posts on Hebrews 13 for more info!

I am thankful we sided with our conscience. Do not give up your conscience in a discussion, or in following a man. If he is of the Lord, he will revel in the fact that you are seeking to know God’s will for your life and not simply listening to a man’s opinion.

If your minister/pastor/priest/reverend/preacher demands you follow, find the door.

Real authority establishes the kingdom

kingdom authority

If we recognize the true authority (see first point) and are willing to walk in the freedom He supplies, you will experience the kingdom in your daily walk, grow in the kingdom He is establishing and extend the boundaries of the kingdom in your experience.


If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know. If any are hungry for church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out.

Others may be able to help you. Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Book Look – Finding Church – Unity

Finding Church

I found a book called “Finding Church” by Wayne Jacobsen, and as I read will supply snippets from the pages.

This post will pull a few thoughts from his chapter on “Unity without Conformity”.

As Wayne is discussing the concept of a conformity based system, (by that a denominational structure I assume), he states…

“People are so busy conforming to doctrine or rituals that they never find the freedom to ask the difficult questions, find thier own journey inside of the new creation, and get to know God in a way that transforms them. They stay underlings in a system designed to keep them safe, but that actually hinders thier growth.”

A little further down, he continues..

“One researcher said that the pedagogy (the method and practice of teaching) of many Sunday morning services is equal to that of a kindergarten class. Where else as adults do we all file in, sit in rows, sing songs, parrot what we are told, and listen passively to what is being said up front?” (Italics mine)
Time for a Story

These snippets remind me of a recent discussion with a brother.

I read a Christian blog that raised a question in my mind, and I asked the blogger for some clarification. He eventually deleted the question. I asked why? He said it is a routine of his to clear out his comments. Fair enough.

A while later I had another question for this brother, based on his teachings. He eventually told me my motivations were evil and that he deleted my comments based on my attitude. Kinda surprised by his response and I started to wonder what actually transpired.

Unity Confusion

Unity

I fear he may be confusing uniformity with unity. I sought this discussion with him for growth in both my understanding and his. I sense he felt threatened. Maybe threatened in his beliefs. We both referred to the Word as our source, but a question that breached an alternate understanding was refused by this brother.

I’m thinking he may be riding the uniformity/conformity train, hoping to find that elusive little town called “Unity.” I’m afraid he may find the village of “Isolation”, right next to the city of “Pride”

Unity Clarity

Is this brother one who simply parrots back what he has been taught within his group? I hope not, but in my experience, those who depend on “group think” generally feel threatened by outside influences, whether they be good or evil. The very fact that the teaching may be different is what creates the need to reject it. This effort at discussion emphasized the need to go to the source of truth, to struggle with “group think” through understanding the Word of God.

Can you discuss an alternate teaching with a brother or sister, and come away from it challenged, or do you feel threatened?

Jesus Teacher

In other words, Who is your teacher?

Jesus may be using a “heretic” to teach you something you need to understand. (He has used donkey’s before, so…..) Or silently writing in the sand to make a point.

Take the challenge with a positive attitude, prayerfully study it out in the Bible, take your time with the topic, and be willing to repent of your pride. Your experience with the Teacher will only become sweeter!

Matthew 23:8-12
8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.
9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.
10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.


If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know. If any are hungry for church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out.

Others may be able to help you. Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Book Look – Finding Church – Don’t Neglect

Finding Church

I found a book called “Finding Church” by Wayne Jacobsen, and currently I am on my second reading.

He had the audacity to address the primary fundamental verse that directs, no, dare I say it, commands Christians to meet every Sunday morning. (When I first became a believer, it also commanded believers to meet Sunday night. Oh and also Wednesday night for prayer meeting, but I digress…)

You know the passage – Lets read it together.

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.

So Wayne – how do you wiggle out of the clear direction the writer of Hebrews is giving in being faithful to church attendance? (This is where he has no argument – This is gonna be so easy!)

He first gives background or context to the passage.

He states – “It wasn’t written for people who no longer wanted to attend services. It was written for those under persecution who were afraid that thier association with other known believers would make it easy for the authorities to identify them and expand the persecution”

He goes on to state that the passage simply doesn’t apply to our modern way of meeting.

Encourage one another

“”… they gathered to encourage each other, not to sit as spectators at a service.”

Maybe Wayne has an argument, a basis of his teaching that actually weakens my previous understanding. Dang it!

If you are in a church that implies the only way to find encouragement with other saints is to be at a predetermined location at a predetermined time, consider an alternate view.

The Body of Christ is surprisingly diverse and spread throughout your life. If you are restricting yourself to the local neighborhood body of believers for a one hour meeting, (which is primarily a monologue), you may be missing out of wonderful opportunities available in your life. Open your eyes and watch for opportunities to encourage and be encouraged in the Lord. (Not simply empty platitudes, nice as they are.)
By only attending a Sunday morning meeting, you may actually be violating the direction from the writer of Hebrews. Don’t let your perception of assembling together to be so restrictive that you actually suffer “encouragement starvation”.

Be encouraged. Don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves with other believers! Even when your not in a special building called “church”.


If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know. If any are hungry for church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out.

Others may be able to help you. Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Book Look – Finding Church – The Garden

Finding ChurchI found a book called “Finding Church” by Wayne Jacobsen, and am on my second reading.  During my reading yesterday I came across a story he recounts of his grand daughters coming over to visit, and spending time in his wife’s garden.

During the visit, grandpa corrected one of the little girls on how to correctly rake some mulch.  Another time, a little girl was instructed to ask gramma if she could pick a flower.

As the visit comes to a close, and the grandkids are on thier way home, gramma turns to grandpa and say’s….

cottage-garden-path“Why do you make rules in my garden?  There’s nothing my grandkids can do in that garden that I can’t fix in ten minutes after they’ve gone.  I don’t care how many flowers they pick; that’s why I grow them.

The only thing I want is for them to enjoy being in  my garden.

Obviously this discourse applies directly to the message Wayne is trying to communicate.  God’s garden, the church, is intended to be an environment of joy and freedom, not rules and restrictions.

So lets consider this.  How often have I taken my children to church and the majority (if not all) of my instruction to them was restrictive.

  • Don’t run there.
  • Don’t laugh.
  • Don’t interrupt the teacher.
  • Don’t talk to your friend in class.
  • Don’t express doubts.
  • Don’t be late for class.
  • Don’t express dissatisfaction with the status quo.
  • Don’t ignore required church appearances – You know what I mean
    • implied dress codes.
    • church speak.
    • social acquaintances.
  • Don’t ask questions.
  • Don’t ask hard questions.
  • Don’t challenge accepted teaching.
    • (Ok that last one was for me!)
  • Don’t………..
  • Don’t………………….
  • Don’t………………………….

How often have you entered “the sanctuary” and felt the need to have extra respect for a building, a room, a temple made by hands.

Acts 7:48

Yet the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands….

Next time you enter a church “building”, consider where you are.  It is just a building with rules required by men.

Break free of this thinking.

WARNING WARNING WARNING

When Stephen broke free and declared that the Most High does not live in houses built by human hands, he paid a price….)


If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know.  If any are hungry for church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out.

Others may be able to help you.  Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Book Look – Finding Church – Introduction

Finding ChurchI found a book called “Finding Church” by Wayne Jacobsen, and am on my second reading.

Like previous “Book Looks” that I have posted, I am not going to review the book so much as pull statements and concepts out to discuss with the reader.

As many who read this blog know, I struggle with the current modern gathering of believers.

I confess I am looking for less structure, less church office authority,  but greater real life believer influence.  Less uniformity to the preferences of men and women within church positions, but greater unity to the intent of the New Testament message.

Is this possible?  It is my hope.

If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know.  If any are hungry for church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out.

Others may be able to help you.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Book Look – House Churches – Protect Them from the Church

Houses that Change the WorldI recently picked up a book called “Houses that Change the World” by Wolfgang Simson, and find it to be challenging.

I am not going to review the book so much as pull statements and concept out to discuss with the reader.

This next quote I want to share with you is hilarious.  You see, during the formative years of the Willow Creek Community Church, a seeker sensitive church, the leadership came up with a seven fold strategy of evangelism

  • Spend quality time with non-christians
  • Protect them from the church
  • Witness to those new friends about Jesus Christ
  • Protect them from the church
  • Lead them to Christ
  • Protect them from the church
  • When they have matured a bit and are ready for a culture shock, introduce them to the church for the first time

My question is – If these new believers are maturing a bit, why interrupt that by introducing them to a club/church that may become a stumbling block.

Somewhere I’m hearing the apostle whisper something out of his letter to the Galations.

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?


If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know.  If any are hungry for church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out.  Others may be able to help you.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Book Look – House Churches – Worshiping our Worship

Houses that Change the World

I recently picked up a book called “Houses that Change the World” by Wolfgang Simson, and find it to be challenging.

I am not going to review the book so much as pull statements and concept out to discuss with the reader.

The first quote I want to share with you caught my eye, and then after some considering left me with no argument and the memory of a story.

“The image of much contemporary Christianity could be summarized as holy people coming regularly to a holy place on a holy day at a holy hour to participate in a holy ritual led by a holy man dressed in holy clothes for a holy fee”

How often have I rounded up the family to bring them to a scheduled church meeting, all the while creating within those I love a disdain for church meetings, erecting walls to discussions that were completely unnecessary.

Kicking Kids out of Church

I remember a time when one of my sons was struggling with a personal issue during a sermon, causing a minor disturbance. At the time, he was about 16 years old.

For the sake of the show and the audience, he was “shut down quickly”, and the matter was swept under the rug. Two deacons actually got involved, and my son was out the door. Life (that is, the relationship between my son and a congregant within the church) was happening at that point. The deacons saw the show/program/sermon as being the priority and the my son as the exception, the disturbance.

I understand the logic of the greater good – that is the audience came to hear a message and should not be interrupted.

But that is my point.

What is the purpose of meeting together as believers?

To hear one man spend time telling you what to believe? How to live?

I much rather see someone walk the walk, and then spend time with him or her. I think that may be what the apostles did.

May I suggest in the church I hope for, when interpersonal relationships conflict, the body of Christ focuses on people, and not a program.

Programs conflict with people.

My son didn’t come back to that church, if I remember correctly. As a matter of fact, the church was fairly consistent in this behavior of prioritizing program over people.

We eventually left the church, finding work in another city.


If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know. If any are hungry for church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out. Others may be able to help you.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Book Look – House Churches – Introduction

Houses that Change the World

I recently picked up a book called “Houses that Change the World” by Wolfgang Simson, and find it to be challenging.

I am not going to review the book so much as pull statements and concepts out to discuss with the reader.

As many who read this blog know, I struggle with the current modern gathering of believers.

I confess I am looking for less structure, less church office authority, but greater real life believer influence. Less uniformity to the preferences of men and women within church positions, but greater unity to the intent of the New Testament message.

Is this possible? It is my hope.

If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know. If any are hungry for church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out.

Others may be able to help you.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.