Redemption – A Story – Introduction

The Bible speaks of redemption in many ways.

It must be over three decades since I tripped, in the providence of God, over the multiple concepts God directed His apostles to describe the accomplishment of the Lord in His work on the cross. This reminder of redemtion was a blessing to my heart.

This short study, I hope, will open up our understanding of how the apostles saw our condition in our lost state, and the many facets of deliverance we have been given.

But first, we must refer to the source information, since my telling you of my thoughts without a basis in the Word, is only a fallen man’s wanderings down his dusty imagination. Hopefully, my friend, you will consider that to be of little use.

The following table supplies the greek words the apostles used to describe the Lord’s accomplishments. As you can see under the transliteration column, four basic words are used by the apostles, and we will consider each

The four basic words are

  • Agorazo
  • Exagorazo
  • Lytroo
  • Peripoiesis

Each of these words will be addressed in the following posts, along with a story of Amicus, a slave in the first century, with no hope of a future. We will follow Amicus through his experience of redemption and see in his life, the life we have experienced.

I hope you can join me in this study, and maybe, just maybe see the goodness of God.


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Discussions with an Atheist – Part 12

atheist

A long time ago, I was browsing my Facebook page when I came across a post that ridiculed Kirk Cameron’s efforts to sell an “Atheist” Bible.
A friend (who it turns out to be an atheist) seemed to think that Kirk was “uninformed”
Well I thought, lets discuss this issue, and what follows is a record of our discussion.
I really looked forward to his responses and enjoyed considering and responding to his concerns.
Some of my friends comments are a bit lengthy, and as I read them I found echoes of myself, seeking to defend a position simply by supplying a massive quantity of words, knowing inside that he quality of the argument was weak.
If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, you may find encouragement, and some understanding of an atheist’s worldview.
If you are an atheist, I would encourage you to read and consider my responses.  I seek to understand your position, and if you see a fallacy in my thinking, please comment.  I only ask that you focus your position to one point at a time, in order that I may respond (if I can) without unnecessary confusion.
My comments and responses are in red.

Again for the not recording immediately you even did this experiment in boy scouts did you not? did the story in your case get skewed? … so the likeliness of that is highly unlikely still

Please reread my post earlier, where I tried to explain that it is NOT a multiplicity of oral story tellings prior to the writing of the gospels, but that eye-witnesses recorded the life and death of Jesus.

Probability is not a factor in this. Either have the intellectual integrity to state that these men (the apostles) were bold faced liars who duped entire nations (eventually), and in that lie, suffered poverty, persecution, distress and finally martyrdom (‘cept for John), or consider their record as having validity. These men were eye witnesses of the resurrection!

But then take into account the error of the “creation” …

Creationism is not the issue. You weren’t there – I wasn’t there. All those testing methods sound impressive. Not an issue concerning the Biblical record of Jesus’s life and death!

Jones town massacre….hmmm one person making many believe his story…sounds like religion or any other endeavor with false stories and no hard evidence doesn’t it? Or any other religion that is in practice or ever was practiced…

Religion is a trap! I fell into it, and I fear you may fall into it. I am NOT defending religion! Religion, in my humble opinion, has enslaved as many folk as any “vice” in this world.

I am NOT defending religion!

It is the historical Jesus, and Him only, that I want to focus on. He made claims, that if they are not true, should be considered the worst of lies. If the resurrection is true, and is, as the New Testament states, and is God’s “validation” of His claims, His claims need to be considered .

You have to be honest with facts, Friend. Propaganda, and smear tactics are not worthy of a fella who can think like you.


Hey thanks for dropping by and reading my post, especially if you are an atheist friend.  I hope to hear from you and would appreciate a comment to begin a discussion.

Have a great day.


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Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 12

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 twelfth 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)

12. Both taught that ceremonial laws do not rank in the same class as ethical and moral standards in the Law

Jesus

Matthew 12:7 — But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.

Matthew 23:23-24 — “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. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel.

Paul

Romans 2:25-27 — So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law.

Colossians 2:16-17 — So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

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.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 5 Part A

that-you-may-know.jpg

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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Judge Judge Judge – διάκρισις – Study 6-B

Because of the CrossThanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our sixth greek word related to judging is…

diakrisis

διάκρισις – diakrisis – discerning, discern, disputation

This word is found only 3x in the New Testament.

 

1 Corinthians 12:10
to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

The Corinthian Church

Bema Seat at Corinth
Bema Seat at Corinth

Paul is speaking to believers who have been granted all the gifts of the Spirit (check out the beginning of the book).  Paul informs us that the Corinthian church is fully equipped to minister to both the believers within and the lost without.  The Corinthian church actually had saints in it that could discern / judge / distinguish between spirits.

Is Paul discussing the ability to judge between an unclean spirit and the Holy Spirit?  (I’m thinking so)  Is he speaking of discerning between a haughty spirit and a humble spirit? (This may be also his intent.)  Either way, judging spirits was available for the first century believer in Corinth
How did that work out for the Corinthian church?   I mean practically, in their everyday life.  Golly – not so good, wouldn’t you know.
A man sleeping with his daughter in law, brothers going to court with each other, believers abandoning the apostle (and to their Lord), by listening to those super apostles.
It seems that the church had believers who had the gift of discernment, but a lot of good it was doing them.  The discernment of spirits is given to believers in order to make judgments on the spirits within the church.  This didn’t seem to be happening effectively in this church.

The Modern Church

How about nowadays?
Is it a fair statement to consider the modern church to be weak and without any power?  Regarding the topic at hand, does the modern church have the ability to distinguish between spirits?
Consider a preacher that boasts of his accomplishments.  Is that appealing to you?
When you see a preacher that is dressed to the nines, has multiple skeletons in his closet, is a photo op junkie, or seeks to build his/her ministry at the expense of the poor and weak, do you see one who is honoring God?
When you see a Christian seeking to gain blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might (check rev 7:12) from his or her underlings, consider your perspective.  I am afraid there are many in the modern church who see this as a valid, even preferred line of “ministry” and we as the laity seem to love it to be so. (2 Corinthians 11:4)

An Aside

As an aside, you may think I have a grudge or some axe to grind over the “professional” christian, but alas I think not.  You see, I am of the judgment that we are all brothers in the Lord and that a “professional” christian is setting him/herself up for a lifetime of loneliness, cutting themselves off from the benefit of the fellowship of the saints.
Oh to actually be open with one another and not have some artificial man made barrier between believers.

Back to Discerning

Golly Carl, you seem to be implying that you are discerning of spirits within the church.  Am I exercising a gift of discernment of spirits?  Not likely.  I make no claim to such a gift.
Is the gift of judging spirits still granted by the Lord in today’s church?
I am sure of it.
Is it active in the modern church.
I’m not too sure of it, and with that I am saddened.
Am I too judgmental?
I have an obligation to judge (or decide) my surroundings, for without sound judgment, I am sure to accept any foolishness.
Judge for yourselves, without a plea to emotion, but on the deeds of those you look up to, and make a fair and honest evaluation of the ones you look to for spiritual guidance and teaching.
If they are not reflecting the gentle and humble heart of the Master (Matthew 11:29), it may be time to reconsider some life choices.
A few years ago, I heard a brother say that a preacher should make less coin than the average parishioner.  Interesting thought.  This one concept may assist in bringing the professional Christian into a more relatable condition with the unwashed.

Both Churches

Paul was writing to the Corinthian church, the church, when I think of them, most closely replicates the modern church.
Today’s modern church seems to be filled with both professional and lay Christians who tout of great ministries, of visions that the apostles would be shaken by, of prophecies that none will not be held accountable of, of a “tolerance” that is weakening the church, allowing sin to fester within.
Where is the sorrow, the repentance, the heartbreak for the lives we live?

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OT in NT – Revelation

old_testament_law-450x300.jpg?format=originalHow did Jesus and the apostles interpret the Old Testament?

This post is simply a data dump of information for your struggle.

Find below a spreadsheet embedded into the post that lists verses from the New Testament book of Revelation and corresponding Old Testament references.

Good luck as you research each of the verses and try to understand John’s justification for using the Old Testament passage the way he did.


27-OT in NT – Revelation


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Jesus on the Sabbath – Part 10 – A Simple Witness

jesus-the-grain-fieldRecently I penned a series of post on the Ten Commandments and as I was writing it, found that the Sabbath day was the only commandment not reapplied  to believers in the New Testament.

In writing that series of posts, I was reminded that the Sabbath day was one of the main irritants between the Lord Jesus and the Pharisees.

In our last post, we were looking at the miracle of the blind man seeing.  In this post, the message of the healing is not lost on the Jewish leadership.  Things are heating up between the Pharisees and the Lord.

First off, let’s see how this seeing man handles himself with his neighbors

Discussions and Questions

8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?”

This formerly blind man was well known in the neighborhood.  He had been a fixture in the area, and was recognized by many, but not all, which is kinda curious.  He had his sight given to him, not a tummy tuck and a nose job!

9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.”

Division.   Someone has brought division amongst the religious – Hummm.  I wonder Who?

The Pharisees were divided.  The neighborhood was divided. A little later in the text, the parents were divided.  Not with each other, but divided from this new disciple of Jesus.  They would not commit any answer to the Jewish leadership.

How sad!

How unnecessary.

And yet, how common, though for the Master to be the source of division.  He claimed that He was sent yielding a sword and there would be division within families due to Him

10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?”

The buzz was everywhere.  Everyone had heard of the miracle.  It was obvious to all that this man had been healed.  The issue was who performed the miracle! This initial test was passed with flying colors by the blind man because he simply told of what he knew.  This is the perfect description of a witness.  Tell what you know.  Don’t exaggerate, or flagellate, expand or deflate the story.  Tell the truth.

These neighbors were the first court of public opinion that the blind man had to venture through.  It turns out to be the easiest, since the neighbors seemed (in comparison to the Pharisees below) to be without much of any agenda.

11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.”

12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

The blind man knew it was “a man named Jesus”.  Fair enough.  He is telling the truth of his story.  He knew of Jesus as a man only.  He didn’t know where He was.

This discussion with the blind man was going no where.  The neighbors started to get a bit peeved, and decided to deliver the man to the Pharisees.

Bringing him to the professionals!

Join me in my next post to see how this seeing man blinds the Pharisees with his witness.  Hope to see you there – no pun intended!


 

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Song Squawk – Bicycle

In the mid nineties, I had a little red Buick and a big ol’ bass box in the trunk, and would listen to “Christian Rock”, cranked to 11.

(What did you say?  Huh?  Can  you say that again, I didn’t hear you….)

I have gotten away from that genre for many reasons, the least of which may be a loss of hearing, but some songs have stuck with me over the decades.

The artist’s I listened to sought to reflect Scriptural teaching for the most part. They ranged from “preaching” pop culture religion to significant theological teaching. As I listened to the lyrics, I found some to be quite challenging.

To be honest, I listened because I could justify the rock beat with “sanctified lyrics”.

Occassionaly I will post a song, supply the lyrics and make a comment or two. If you decide to listen to the tune, turn the speaker down unless you are already deaf. Some of the songs tend to have a certain “volume” about them!


This post will consider the song

Bicycle – by Plankeye

The verse that I loved to sing along with was the following.

You say, I told you so
You were much too young to get married
But I say, you’re way too old
And when did you stop living anyway?

If you have read my testimony, you know I married early and my favorite and I struggled keeping food on the table. Many a night we ate popcorn for supper, or the dreaded LaChoy canned chinese food. No matter, God was (and is) good to us! This song reminds me on those early days, and although nothing earth shattering regarding theology, it reminds me of my early faith, with the following verse.

As I ride my bike with my safety helmet on
And white tennis shoes
They stare at me but I see through new eyes
Or maybe you just don’t remember

As a believer, we see through new eyes! May we never forget the vision those eyes can see!

Take a listen!

Bicycle – by Plankeye

Bicycle – by Plankeye

I have a wife and together we live
In a very small room
Yesterday she lost, her car broke down
And now I ride a bicycle

You say, I told you so
You were much too young to get married
But I say, you’re way too old
And when did you stop living anyway?

As I ride my bike with my safety helmet on
And white tennis shoes
They stare at me but I see through new eyes
Or maybe you just don’t remember

This place that I’m supposed to be
Is not the chair in front of a desk, in front of a mirror

Can’t you see that it’s not here or there or anywhere?
But in speaking distance with God
And where can you go that’s too far?
Because I can worship Him anywhere

Let me know what you think of the lyrics, and of the tunes!


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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.

Discussions with an Atheist – Part 11

atheist

A long time ago, I was browsing my Facebook page when I came across a post that ridiculed Kirk Cameron’s efforts to sell an “Atheist” Bible.
A friend (who it turns out to be an atheist) seemed to think that Kirk was “uninformed”
Well I thought, lets discuss this issue, and what follows is a record of our discussion.
I really looked forward to his responses and enjoyed considering and responding to his concerns.
Some of my friends comments are a bit lengthy, and as I read them I found echoes of myself, seeking to defend a position simply by supplying a massive quantity of words, knowing inside that he quality of the argument was weak.
If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, you may find encouragement, and some understanding of an atheist’s worldview.
If you are an atheist, I would encourage you to read and consider my responses.  I seek to understand your position, and if you see a fallacy in my thinking, please comment.  I only ask that you focus your position to one point at a time, in order that I may respond (if I can) without unnecessary confusion.
My comments and responses are in red.

Granted the outliers would skew the data for life span but for total amount of the human population and amount of disease, illness, etc. would have made these stats still unlikely..

Unlikely does not prove anything, and you must have misread my response earlier. Avg life span is NOT the issue. It is the specific life spans of those recording the historical record of Jesus that is the issue!

Plus the whole biblical theology is nothing more than stories that have been reiterated….

A statement that you have not proven.

These people also believed in some of the most ridiculous things that even a child would not believe in today if they were informed properly witches, ghosts,etc

Where is it recorded that the apostles, who recorded the life and death of Jesus, believed in witches and ghosts?

Back then did they know about bacteria or viral infections? or was it bad spirits?

What has bacteria and viral infections have to do with the record of Jesus?


Hey thanks for dropping by and reading my post, especially if you are an atheist friend.  I hope to hear from you and would appreciate a comment to begin a discussion.

Have a great day.


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Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 11

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 eleventh 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)

11. Both taught that good works (works of obedience to God) are essential to the Christian life and will be the basis of the final judgment.

Jesus

Matthew 5:16 — In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 7:24-27 — “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. …And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.”

Matthew 25:31-46 — “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right… ‘I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. …Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those on his left…’I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me… Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Luke 6:46 — “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?”

Matthew 16:27 — For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

Paul

Ephesians 2:10 — For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Romans 2:6-10 — He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.

Romans 6:15-18 — What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Galatians 16-25 — But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. …Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Colossians 1:10 — that you may…[be] fruitful in every good work…

2 Thessalonians 1:8 — [Christ will come] in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Titus 2:14 — who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

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.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 4

that-you-may-know.jpg

 

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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Judge Judge Judge – διάκρισις – Study 6-A

Because of the CrossThanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our sixth greek word related to judging is…

diakrisis

διάκρισις – diakrisis – discerning, discern, disputation

This word is found only 3x in the New Testament.

Romans 14:1

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.

Opinions – I got too many opinions. As I git a bit older, Im a realizin that opinions are to be offered when asked for, and not to be supplied whenever I need to breathe.

The verse above refers to the idea of opinions, but I think it is a bit more than that.

Let’s consider what Vine’s expository dictionary says to give a bit of guidance

“a distinguishing,” and so “a decision” (see A), signifies “discerning” in 1Cr 12:10Hbr 5:14, lit., “unto a discerning of good and evil” (translated “to discern”); in Rom 14:1, “not to (doubtful) disputations” is more literally rendered in the margin “not for decisions (of doubts).”

As I grow into the Lord, I realize that the major things are to be kept major, and the minor things are to be kept minor.

But even though I’ve know that spiffy saying for decades, yet I always wanted to place into the major bucket those things I was just studying, the things I just learned, or more often that not, the things I am not struggling with.

If I did not struggle with a certain behavior or thought, then I would slide it into the major bucket, thereby giving myself a pat on the back, and supplying a hammer to hit everyone else with.

One topic that fits into this conversation is the topic of drinking as a believer.  As you may know by reading this blog, I was a teenage alcoholic, but I have spent time in my walk with God beating believers up with select Bible verses condemning the act of consuming a bit of beer or whiskey, of even a sip of wine.  (What a Pharisee!)

So I took this minor disputable teaching, dropped it into my mental major bucket, felt good of my victory over it, got puffed up, offended good believers, built walls of division and wasted time on a minor concern within the Lord’s family. (What a Pharisee!!)

Ok – so what is in the major bucket Carl? Glad you asked.  I want to tell you a story.

Story Time

Old JohnThe story goes that the Apostle John was nearing death when he finally got back to the church in Ephesus, and all the believers came together to hear the one that Jesus loved, speak to the church.

The crowds came together, and some of the elders carried John to the front, since he was so crippled up, placed him so all could here him.  The crowd hushed in order to hear the words of wisdom that would surely pour forth from the great Apostles heart, mysteries of God from walking with Him for many decades.

He drew in his breathe, looked at the saints and said…

Love one another.

That was his message.  No drawn out sermon.  Succinct and to the point.  (Much unlike some of my posts!)

Brethren.  Don’t argue over disputable issues within the Word, with those who are committed to the Lord.

  • Teach – yes.
  • Encourage – yes.
  • Admonish – yes.
  • Exhort – yes.
  • Correct – yes

Most importantly, in all things – Love the brethren.

Thanks for joining me in this study.  Hope to visit with you in our next post as we continue to look at the Greek term διάκρισις.

Be Blessed.


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OT in NT – Jude

old_testament_law-450x300.jpg?format=originalHow did Jesus and the apostles interpret the Old Testament?

This post is simply a data dump of information for your struggle.

Find below a spreadsheet embedded into the post that lists  verses from the New Testament book of Jude and corresponding Old Testament references.

Good luck as you research each of the verses and try to understand Jude’s  justification for using the Old Testament passage the way he did.


 

26-OT in NT – Jude

 


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Jesus on the Sabbath – Part 9 – Seeing Blind Men

jesus-the-grain-fieldRecently I penned a series of post on the Ten Commandments and as I was writing it, found that the Sabbath day was the only commandment not reapplied  to believers in the New Testament.

In writing that series of posts, I was reminded that the Sabbath day was one of the main irritants between the Lord Jesus and the Pharisees.

I was out with my first grandson yesterday, and he likes to read me the Bible during our ventures.  I could simply stream a passage for both to hear, but this is so much better.  I git to interrupt him, explain things that might not be obvious for a young boy, and challenge him in considering who this Jesus is.

It was awesome, and as we spoke together, the Lord reminded me of great things He has done.

Like I said, he asked what passage he could read to me and I immediately thought of this passage.  It is a favorite and I am looking forward to diggin in a bit with you.

John 9:1-16

John 9:1

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.

I asked Elias if this man had ever seen in his life.  Never.  I explained that in no time during the history of the nation of Israel had any person, born blind been healed of their blindness.  Some of the prophets raised people from the dead (only for them to die again later), but not one had ever healed a blind man.  And this fella had been blind since birth.

This miracle gives more than the simple physical healing of a blind man, miraculous as it is.  This miracle points to Jesus as the promised Messiah.  Consider two Old Testament prophecies of the Messiahs role as a healer.

Isaiah 29:18 …..And out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.

Isaiah 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened…

Isaiah 42:7  …To open blind eyes,

Psalm 146:8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind…

The blind man, born blind, benefited greatly from this mercy from the Lord.

The greater truth is that this miracle was another proof (to those willing to see) of the identity of Jesus.  Do not be unwilling to see!

2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

How could this man have sinned in the womb, in order for the “judgement of blindness” to be effected?  I tell you, there was some messed up thinking during this time.  It sure is good our thinking is so straightened out. (A bit waggish there, don’t you know!)

4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.

5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

How appropriate to bring in the character of light when dealing with a blind man?  Back in John 8:12, in discussion with the Pharisees, He spoke of being the Light of the world and that following Him will keep us out of darkness.

Now He is speaking to a man who has been in physical darkness his entire life.  This man will become a sign for the nation, and for individuals watching, that the Messiah has arrived.

6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud

During Elias’s reading, I had him stop to consider what just happened in the  text.  Jesus “horked” on the sand, pulled some dirt up with it and rubbed it on the blind mans eyes.

Imagine the hygiene issues with this method.  Imagine the grit and grime associated with the mud on (or in!) the eyes.  This may be one time the blind man may be happy he was blind, not knowing what was going to happen to him.

7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

Note that the cure did not come at the hands of Jesus only.  Don’t be alarmed – I am not saying that the power of God through Jesus Christ is not fully responsible for this miracle.

The obedience of the blind man, in having to go to the pool (as a blind man!) gave evidence of his faith.

He went.

He washed.

He came back seeing.

I don’t know if this could be considered saving faith, but it did evidence a willingness to believe in the unconventional.  Verse 11, indicates that the blind man knew the healing prophet was Jesus of Nazareth so faith in the prophet was evident.

He will be challenged in his faith later.


 

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Song Squawk – Preacher’s Kid

In the mid nineties, I had a little red Buick and a big ol’ bass box in the trunk, and would listen to “Christian Rock”, cranked to 11.

(What did you say?  Huh?  Can  you say that again, I didn’t hear you….)

I have gotten away from that genre for many reasons, the least of which may be a loss of hearing, but some songs have stuck with me over the decades.

The artist’s I listened to sought to reflect Scriptural teaching for the most part. They ranged from “preaching” pop culture religion to significant theological teaching. As I listened to the lyrics, I found some to be quite challenging.

To be honest, I listened because I could justify the rock beat with “sanctified lyrics”.

Occassionaly I will post a song, supply the lyrics and make a comment or two. If you decide to listen to the tune, turn the speaker down unless you are already deaf. Some of the songs tend to have a certain “volume” about them!


This post will consider the song

Preachers Kid – Johnny Q Public

The verse that I loved to sing along with was the following. Note that this is the ruminations of a preacher’s kid, with lots of questions!

It’s like the pictures that I draw
Pictures that I draw of dinosaurs
They remind me of the man
Who prays for the needy in our church
In other words
I’m not a good artist

Prays for the needy in our church. Aaron is seeing a problem with that man’s prayers now, isnt he?

I only found one cd that this band put out, but I searched for more. This band is awesome and the story structure is well done IMHO. This particular song speaks of the loneliness of the preacher kid, and the disillusionment that comes from being in a family dedicated to professional service to God. Well done!

Take a listen!

Preachers Kid – Johnny Q Public

Preachers Kid – Johnny Q Public

I’m staring through glass
Stained by insecurities and hurt
I’m wondering, and I’ve got lots of questions
But no answers why
Daddy is the pastor of this church
Seems to be his only out
Besides basketball on the TV
Basketball on the TV

My name is Aaron, does anybody care?
I want to fly to the moon and drive a race car
would like to be a star
My name is Aaron, please tell me if I’m wrong
Please tell me if I’m wrong
I want to dream
I want to dream
I want to dream
‘Cause dreams are real to me
As nothing is reality
It’s like the pictures that I draw
Pictures that I draw of dinosaurs
They remind me of the man
Who prays for the needy in our church
In other words
I’m not a good artist

Does Jesus love me, Mommy
Does Jesus love me, Daddy
Does Jesus love me, anybody
Does Jesus love — does anyone love me?

Let me know what you think of the lyrics, and of the tunes!


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Discussions with an Atheist – Part 10

atheist

A long time ago, I was browsing my Facebook page when I came across a post that ridiculed Kirk Cameron’s efforts to sell an “Atheist” Bible.
A friend (who it turns out to be an atheist) seemed to think that Kirk was “uninformed”
Well I thought, lets discuss this issue, and what follows is a record of our discussion.
I really looked forward to his responses and enjoyed considering and responding to his concerns.
Some of my friends comments are a bit lengthy, and as I read them I found echoes of myself, seeking to defend a position simply by supplying a massive quantity of words, knowing inside that he quality of the argument was weak.
If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, you may find encouragement, and some understanding of an atheist’s worldview.
If you are an atheist, I would encourage you to read and consider my responses.  I seek to understand your position, and if you see a fallacy in my thinking, please comment.  I only ask that you focus your position to one point at a time, in order that I may respond (if I can) without unnecessary confusion.
My comments and responses are in red.

You are basing your answers on writings/scriptures that have no validity…

Definition of  valid –… to be well-grounded on principles or evidence; able to withstand criticism or objection, as an argument; sound.

Although you have claimed many times that the scriptures are not a reliable source, this does not make them so. (I claim I can sing, but everyone else knows better. And the more I claim it, the surer everyone else is of the truth!)

Please prove to me, in one specific instance from the scriptural record, the invalidity of the document. You see, one of the definitions of the term valid is “able to withstand criticism”.

The Bible (or at least parts of it) has faced attacks from its enemies for close to 3500 yrs, and it is still “standing”. In the last century it has been “validated” by archeology many times over.

One instance is the book of Daniel, where Belshazzar, King of Babylon is mentioned. Critics found fault with this mention, since no Babylonian records named such a king. That is until the 19th century, when archeologists uncovered a stone with the writing of a Babylonian king speaking of his son Belshazzar as co-regent. Amazing discovery, since, in the Old Testament, this King B actually offered Daniel the position of being 3rd in power in the Kingdom. Third, because King B. was actually the second in command.


Hey thanks for dropping by and reading my post, especially if you are an atheist friend.  I hope to hear from you and would appreciate a comment to begin a discussion.

Have a great day.


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Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 10

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 tenth 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)

10. Both taught that love for God and for one another is the supreme test of one’s salvation

Jesus

Matthew 22:37-40 — “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’… And ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

John 13:34-35 — A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Paul

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 — If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Romans 13:10 — Love is the fulfillment of the law.

Galatians 5:6 —neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

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.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 3

that-you-may-know.jpg

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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Judge Judge Judge – διακρίνω – Verse List for Study 5

Because of the Cross

Find the full list of verses for the word diakrinō below

Matthew 16:3 And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.

Matthew 21:21 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.

Mark 11:23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Acts 10:20 Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.”

Acts 11:2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying,

Acts 11:12 And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.

Acts 15:9 and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.

Romans 4:20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,

Romans 14:23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

1 Corinthians 4:7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

1 Corinthians 6:5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers,

1 Corinthians 11:29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

1 Corinthians 11:31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.

1 Corinthians 14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.

James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

James 2:4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Jude 1:9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

Jude 1:22 And have mercy on those who doubt;

 

Thanks for joining me in this study.  Hope to visit with you in our next post as we look at the Greek term δικαιοκρισία which is commonly translated righteous judgment in the New Testament.

Be Blessed.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Judge Judge Judge – διακρίνω – Study 5-B

Because of the Cross

Thanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our fifth greek word related to judging is…

diakrinō

διακρίνω – diakrinō – doubt, judge, discern, contend, waver, misc

This word is found 19 times in 18 verses within the New Testament.  A full listing of all verses may be found below for your self study.  I will consider the verses that are not clear, that create questions in my mind, with the remaining verses left for the reader to ponder

Let’s remember that the general meaning of this word is to separate thoroughly, to make a distinction.

 

1 Corinthians 6:5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers,

In our previous post, we emphasized the division one can find within himself.  A double minded man.  (Should I mention that? Oh I don’t know – Maybe????)

This verse speaks of a double minded pair of believers.  Two brothers who both have the mind of Christ and that both of them are not exercising the mind of Christ, since there is a dispute.  That is the core problem.  Both brothers are exhibiting a spirit of pride that will not allow for a shared resolution.

But it gets worse.

No one in the entire body of believers can guide these two bothers to a peaceful resolution.  Does no one have the wisdom to exercise a humble spirit and to seek peace amongst the brethren.

Might I suggest that the item of dispute isn’t the problem, so much as the refusal of a brother to seek peace with another brother.  Remember it is blessed to be a peace maker.

Are you willing to give up a debt to a brother in order to keep peace?

Consider

1 Corinthians 6:1-7

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?

Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?

Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

 

So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church?
I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers,

 

but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?

 

To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?

Did you read what Paul suggested for the resolution of the wrong in verse 7?  Why not rather be defrauded?  What – that is not justice!
Story Time
We are currently in a disagreement with a former renter, demanding all his security deposit back.
We had clearly indicated the reason for the reduced refund, and after his terse response, we offered him additional funds to try to satisfy his demands.  At this point, he demanded all of his deposit back (even though proof of damages were clearly provided to him.)
A few days later, as I was considering the situation, I came across (providentially?) verse 7 above, where Paul asks the audacious question
Why not rather be defrauded?
Now I don’t know if he is a believer, but we are called to be peacemakers, so I discussed with my wife and we agreed to simply provide a full refund.
At the time of writing, this tenant has refused this offer, and has actually informed us he was taking us to court.
What?
Sometimes I struggle with the species I belong to.
I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.

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