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Some of my studies-
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NOTE- Every so often some of my sites think I am Spam- or a Bot- I am not. My name is John Chiarello and I post original content [all videos and text are by me]. I do share my past posts from my other sites- but it is not spam. I post 8 videos a night to many of my sites, and text posts 3 times a week. I realize that is a lot for some sites, yet this is the system I felt the Lord led me into. I NEVER take money- or ask for money- ever. Everything is free- to some sites this makes a difference- so I wanted to say that here. Thank You- John.
[TODAY’S POST BEGINS HERE]
Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
Sunday sermon videos-
.Diversity in gifts
.How the interaction with my homeless friends confirmed the readings for that same night
.We are God’s crown and Jewel- how?
.What about the New Name God gives us?
.The number 3 [how it fit]
.Why is John’s Gospel the only one that tells of the miracle of Water into Wine? [I give a few reasons on the video]
.Church history- Gnostics- Docetists
.What does the ‘Best for last’ mean in the context of the miracle in John 2?
.Augustine- Manichaeism -
.How do we give God glory and strength?
.Value the storehouse God has given you [Remember the 10 virgins?]
Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.
Isaiah 62:2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.Isaiah 62:3 Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. [All verses below in the VERSES section]
TEACHING [Past posts below]
This Sunday I did make a teaching video- I guess the theme would be diversity [And the glory of God]-
And how it was confirmed by some of the interactions I had with my friends.
I explained on the video how this fit with the readings/verses for this week.
The main theme for the readings- was the glory of God- and how God’s people share in this glory.
Yes- I taught this before- and the 2 verses I shared from John’s gospel pretty much summed it up.
But that was the main theme that tied the readings together- and that’s what I try and teach when you see me teach from the actual Catholic Mass readings on most Sundays.
I simply felt it would be helpful- over time- to teach not only from the bible chapters — or books you see me write studies on-
But also from the Sunday readings.
Though many Protestants- or non denominational churches also have their own sermons on Sunday-
Which is fine-
I simply felt I could do the most good- by teaching from the verses that most Christians/Catholics would be reading on any given Sunday.
And the way the Catholic church does have the same bible readings- world wide- on every Sunday- then yes-
It might benefit all Christians more- if I cover those verses.
Ok- I hope that explained some why you see me focus on the Mass readings for most Sunday sermons.
I did add my past teachings below on the key chapters-
And if I make a video later today I will try and post it to facebook and YouTube.
During the week I have been testing new video sites- sharing from the ‘diversity’ of different platforms-
And the quality of the videos might not be as good on some sites as others.
To be honest- I don’t care as much about the actual video quality [some sites have lines in my videos]- as long as you can hear the audio- that’s the main point.
I do want the quality there on the scenic videos- either by the water- or when you see my New York City videos-
But the main reason I post the videos is for people to kind of follow along and actually learn the bible.
As simple as that sounds- that’s really what all these posts are about-
As well as seeing my friends who I have known and been with for many years.
I realize a lot of people see ‘homeless’ people- and many Christians never really get to know them-
So this too is a benefit in my mind.
Ok- that’s it for now- hopefully you will hear from me later today-
PAST POSTS [These are links and parts of my past teachings that relate in some way to today’s post- Verses below]
1ST CORINTHIANS 12:1–6 ‘There are different gifts, ministries and out workings of the Spirit’ [my paraphrase]. In this section we see an idea that I feel gets lost in the current paradigm of ‘doing church’. When Paul addresses a church [community of believers] he is speaking to all the believers in the city. When we think ‘church’ we assume it means ‘church’ as ‘going to the church [building] on Sunday’. Therefore we tend to read these types of verses as ‘there are different gifts and functions in ‘the church’- the Sunday school teacher, nursery worker, door greeter’ well you get it. The better reading would be ‘there are various expressions and ways the Spirit works and administers thru/in the community’. For instance, those who labor in ‘Para-church’ ministries are often considered noble, but not ‘a church’. But according to this passage, they would be just as much ‘church’, a legitimate part of the local body, as the home meeting [of course we know in Paul’s day there were no church buildings]. So the broader view of church as community would see these verses saying ‘where you live there are a variety of gifted ones whom the Spirit of God lives and operates thru. These saints all express the community of the Spirit in various ways. All these expressions are just as legitimate as the other, it is one Spirit manifesting himself in diverse ways for the overall benefit of all the believers in your city’. When we label what the Spirit is doing thru other ‘administrations’ as ‘Para-church’ we violate this passage of scripture. When we limit the various expressions and gifts to ‘the Sunday church meeting’ we actually are violating the intent of these verses. In your city you have doctors, lawyers, and all types of trades. While it is fine for them to operate out of a building and to keep regular business hours. Yet you wouldn’t describe them as separate, individual little ‘cities’ who all operate out of your town. You would see all of them as various gifted people who ‘operate out of your city’. So this is the broader view of what I think Paul is saying. Now he will also give directions on how these various gifts work in the meeting, this of course is part of it. But we need to see the broader view of what the Spirit is saying. Jesus expected his disciples to go out into the highways and hedges and ‘compel them to come in’ [not into the church building for heavens sake! But into the Kingdom] Paul taught that the Spirit accomplishes this in many different ways thru ‘the church’ [people of God].
(985)1ST CORINTHIANS 12:7 ‘But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to EVERY MAN to profit EVERY BODY’. I want to share a criticism that sometimes gets made against me. I know ‘the critics’ mean well, and are actually sincere men. It’s just they have been ‘shaped’ by the present system of ‘church’. The criticism goes like this ‘sure John has an effective teaching ministry [blog/radio] but if you need someone to come pray for you, lets see if he will come’. The idea is that the true legitimate ‘elders’ are those you can ‘call for’. James says ‘if any one is sick among you, let him call for the elders of ‘the church’. They see ‘the church’ as the actual 501c3, building, Sunday meeting [storehouse] type thing — they are simply seeing thru their ‘lens’. What James is simply saying is ‘if someone is sick in your community/local body of believers, call for the elders [more spiritually mature ones] and let them pray for you and anoint you with oil’. Now, I have personally spent many thousands [yes thousands!] of actual man hours on the streets helping people. I have helped and given to some of the local homeless population who attend some of these ‘churches’, out of my own pocket. Yet these same homeless brothers are encouraged to give ten percent of their money to ‘their church’. What am I saying here? I know the men who level this type of accusation are often intimidated by peer pressure and stuff. But the verse above says ‘the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every believer to profit every one around them’. The biblical view of ‘church’ would simply require all believers to ‘administer the gift’ in a way that would profit all those around them. There is no need to make these types of distinctions between ‘the elders of our church’ or ‘the spiritual leaders in our region’. They mean the same thing. So see your gift as a freely received charism that should be used unselfishly for the benefit of others. Also some Pastors do seem to come around to ‘my view’ after many years of hearing us. They might then try and do some city wide ministry, open to all the body. Then if the results are not good, they can become discouraged also. Understand, many of these men took many years before they could really see what we were saying, don’t expect a majority of local believers to see things that took you years to see! The paradigms don’t come down that easily.
(986)CORINTHIANS 12: 8–10 this section deals with the various gifts of the Spirit. The list is not exhaustive, Paul speaks in Romans and Ephesians about other ones as well. Instead of diving into a definition for each gift, lets look a little at the various ‘modes’ and characteristics of the Spirit of God. In revelation we have a scripture that many seem to stumble over, it says ‘the 7 spirits of God that are before his throne’. Some associate Isaiah 11 with this. In Isaiah 11 you can find 6 distinct characteristics of the Spirit of God, some see 7. Or you could say ‘God has 7 actual Spirits’. Does God have 7 spirits? Or 25 or 10,000? God is the creator of all spirits. He is the Father of lights! In revelation you have Jesus holding the ‘7 stars’ in his hand, which are said to be angels. Then you have the ‘7 angels of the 7 churches’. I showed you before why these angels are not ‘Pastors’ they are angels! [You can find the post somewhere under END TIMES STUFF]. Revelation has 7 seals, bowls, candlesticks. The book is a prophetic book that has angels revealing and operating and functioning. The 7 spirits before God’s throne are probably the 7 angels spoken about in the book. Hebrews says the angels are ‘ministering spirits’. Well let’s get off the rabbit trail. In Isaiah 61 we have the famous verses that Jesus read and applied to himself in the New Testament [Luke 4]. Jesus opens the scroll and reads about the Spirit of God upon him, the eyes of everyone in that place were fixated on him. Notice how both in Isaiah 11 and 61, one of the main purposes of the anointing was to administer justice to the poor and oppressed. Much of Evangelicalism has opted out of this responsibility. There was an overreaction to the social gospel of the late 19th, early 20th century. The social gospel had a tendency to overemphasize good deeds, without focusing on conversion. But the Fundamentalist movement of the 20th century neglected the social justice aspect of the kingdom, thank God for the Catholics who picked up the torch. The point today is the purpose of the gifts, which we will get into tomorrow, is not simply for self glory and edification. Or should I say the purpose of the anointing. Jesus made it very clear that his mission involved justice for the poor and oppressed, he did not limit his ministry to ‘the church’.
(991)1ST CORINTHIANS 12: 8–11 Instead of giving you my definition for each one of the gifts of the Spirit, let me just give you a sense of where I’m coming from. Over the years I have learned the normal Pentecostal understanding of these gifts. I also have learned the ‘anti-Pentecostal’ view. I take a little from each camp. The strong Pentecostal view usually sees all the gifts as ‘supernatural’ I do too! But to them this means the gifts of Wisdom and Knowledge can’t be ‘regular wisdom or knowledge’. Okay, so what are they? Some teach that the ‘word of wisdom’ is simply a prophetic word about future stuff. The ‘word of knowledge’ is simply prophetic insight into ‘past stuff’. To be honest I have no idea how people come up with stuff like this [well, actually I do have an idea]. I see Paul as operating in a strong gift of knowledge, though Paul was trained and had a good education, the Spirit took all of his ‘head knowledge’ and quickened it. I see James as having a strong gift of wisdom, his epistle is the only New Testament work considered to be part of the corpus of wisdom literature. Of course the gifts of healing[s] and prophecy are supernatural, but wisdom and knowledge can be ‘supernatural’ without having to fall into some prophetic type category. If it’s wisdom and knowledge from God, then it is supernatural! I have known Pastors who had the gift of wisdom, sometimes they would come to the same conclusions as me, but they took a different route to get there! They might not have ‘seen’ all the knowledge portions of scripture that I saw, but the wisdom they operated in caused them to arrive at the same place. Some teach that after the Spirit fell on the church at Pentecost [Acts 2] that you no loner had miracles, dreams and visions or angelic visitations. Why is this wrong? The book that records more miracles and angels and visions than any other book [except for the gospels] is the book of Acts. In essence, one of the major New Testament books on these manifestations shows them to be a result of the Spirits outpouring! The point being these things didn’t end after Pentecost. I realize both camps [Pentecostal- non Pentecostal] have had their wars over this stuff. I find that both sides can be just as legalistic and judgmental in their views. I think one of the major ‘signs’ of being ‘Spirit filled’ is a life based on free grace. When people grasp the gospel and are filled with the Spirit, they should be free from living their lives out of a state of condemnation and guilt. Many ‘Spirit filled’ churches operate in the gifts [their view of them] but are just as legalistic as the non Pentecostals. To me this is not what it means to be ‘Spirit filled’. Overall we should be open to the working of the Spirit in supernatural ways. We should avoid making this the goal or identity of our Christian walk, but we should not reject or despise prophetic/supernatural things. They are available and necessary at times for completion of the mission.
(994)1ST CORINTHIANS 12: 12–26 Paul uses the analogy of a body to describe the church. Keep in mind that the ‘church’ in Paul’s writings mean ‘all Gods people in the region/city’. Not just the gathered assembly! It’s important to make this distinction because much of the talk on the restoration of the organic church versus the institutional church focuses too much on the way believers meet. Here Paul is saying ‘you are all individual distinct members in the local community, you express Christ in various ways, though you have unique gifts you also are part of one corporate expression of Christ in your city’. The distinct gifts function in your community, not just in the meeting! [Whether it be the Sunday building type thing or the living room!] Paul also tells them to be on the guard for the ‘one member dominating the group’ expression of church. If everyone is centered on one particular gift then the corporate expression of the Body of Christ is diminished. Or if everyone saw ‘full time ministry’ as being a modern Pastor then you would have too many sincere believers all seeking to serve God in a limited way ‘if all were an eye, ear, mouth [speaking gift]’ then where would the Body be? I find this chapter to be a key chapter in the current reformation of modern church practices. As Gods people strive for a more scriptural expression of ‘being the church’ we need to keep this chapter in mind. Now, a word for the strong organic church brothers. The fact that Paul encourages a corporate expression in the church does not mean the gatherings of Gods people must be leaderless. Paul includes the concept of Elders in his writings. To be sure these men were not to dominate the meetings, or be the weekly speaker on an ongoing basis. But some hold to a type of idea that the way the church is supposed to testify of the ‘headship of Christ’ is by demonstrating a human leaderless church. That is God ordained the local bodies of believers to have no functioning human leaders in order to show forth Christ’s headship. To be honest I don’t see this in scripture. I see leaders in plurality [never a one man show] and Paul was not afraid to tell Titus and Timothy to ‘ordain’ [recognize!] Elders in the church. But the overall instruction in this chapter is God wants all of his people to function on a regular basis in the Body of Christ. This of course includes the gatherings, but it is not limited to them. The primary way we ‘show’ the world the Lordship of Jesus is by the selfless love we have one for another. When we daily live charitable, sacrificial lives, this demonstrates the ‘headship of Jesus’ over the church. The way believers meet has some effect on this, but most of Jesus instructions to the disciples was on how they would go out into the world and bring the great message of the kingdom to society. The primary ‘battlefield’ of the church militant is the world, not the meeting place!
(996)1ST CORINTHIANS 12:27–31 Lets talk about ‘the fivefold ministry’ [some say four]. In the 90’s there was a real interest in this subject. It comes from this portion of scripture [and Ephesians 4]. The basic teaching is/was that God was restoring all these ministries [Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers- some see this as one combined gift] and that this restoration was one of the final things to happen before Christ’s return. I read and bought lots of books on church planting and how Apostles are gifted to ‘plant churches’. This teaching really wasn’t a new thing. Back in the 1800’s you had Edward Irving head up an apostolic movement called ‘the apostolic catholic church’ [Irvingites]. You had interesting folk like John Alexander Dowie who would start a modern city of God called ‘Zion’ in Illinois. Brother Dowie saw himself as an apostle and felt the Lord led him to start an apostolic city. You can still visit the city today. It was also common for many ‘up and coming’ preachers to begin seeing themselves as ‘apostles/prophets’ and actually advertise their callings in this way. Well of course the old time brothers who reject the gifts all together, saw this as another sign of the end time apostasy. You also had a strange phenomenon take place. It was common for ‘apostolic/prophetic’ people to be taught ‘the missing ingredient is covering and authority’- the churches are weak because they are under pastoral authority, they don’t have apostles ‘covering them’ [ouch!]. So it was not uncommon to have respected men kind of stepping over the normal boundaries of relating to churches and to say things like ‘you need to do this’ ‘you over there, be quiet. I don’t give you permission to speak’ and stuff like this. These sincere men thought it their responsibility to act this way. They felt this was a part of the restoration of apostles. Now, do apostles exist today [and prophets]? To be honest with you, yes. If you read this section along with Ephesians chapter 4, it is next to impossible to teach that they passed away in the first century. These scriptures make it clear that after Jesus ascended he gave ‘some apostles, others prophets’ they are included in the list of evangelists, pastors and teachers. If you lose one gift, then you lose them all. Also the timing of their ministries is given ‘till we all come to the unity of the faith unto a perfect man’. These gifts are all given to build Gods people up until we come to fall maturity. We aint there yet! So it’s pretty obvious that these gifts exist. Those who believe they don’t exist usually refer to the fact that the apostles of the Lamb [a category unto itself] did pass away. They will show you the truth of these apostles having to have been witnesses of Jesus actual resurrection. But these are a different category of apostles. The ones in this chapter were not even ‘made’ until after Jesus ascended on high. The same for the prophets. So, what do these strange fellows do? In all the books and stuff I have read on these movements, I feel some have been too limited in their definitions. Some taught that they were primarily itinerant men [traveling church planters]. Of course Paul was the master at this. But you find James as a stable pillar of the church at Jerusalem. Peter did travel, but he was no Gentile church planter like Paul! And Timothy in the New Testament had an apostolic type gifting, yet he was a protégée under Paul. So for the most part apostles do carry a special ability to ground Gods people in truth. Those who are called to ‘plant churches’ need to be more in tune with the example of Paul. Many modern day ‘apostles’ see church planting as going to a region and organizing Christians to meet in certain ways. I have heard it said ‘I have planted an organic church’ ‘I have planted a home group’ or of course the standard ‘I have planted a building based church’. The main ‘church planting’ of Paul was bringing the gospel to UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS and evangelizing those groups. Now of course he did give instructions to them on ‘how to meet’ [like in this book we are reading!] But don’t confuse ‘church planting’ with organizing believers around a new way to meet. All in all God gave us these gifts to build each other up and bring us to maturity, a place where we are no longer dependent on these gifts to function. I feel one of the greatest dangers was the strong authoritarian mindset that some of the apostolic brothers had, they meant well, but they stepped over their boundaries at times.
(998)CORINTHIANS ‘DO ALL SPEAK WITH TONGUES’? — Before we leave chapter 12, let me overview a little. Paul mentions ‘do all speak with tongues’ and the presumed answer is ‘no’. I love my Pentecostal brothers, but some have developed an interesting doctrine that says ‘God wants all to speak with tongues’ though here it is obvious that all don’t! I am familiar with the classic defense of this. It says that in the beginning of the chapter the gifts are individual gifts that all believers can have [true enough] but that later in the chapter the ‘tongues’ that all don’t operate in is speaking of some sort of ministry gift of tongues. That Paul is basically saying ‘you can all prophesy, speak with tongues, etc..’ but you are not all going to have public ‘ministry gifts’ in these things. Okay, I got it. What’s the problem with this defense? Simply that when your done making the case, the brothers usually wind up saying ‘therefore, we should all speak with tongues’! Any argument [case] made from scripture, needs to use the plain language/thought flow to interpret that which is not plain. I believe all the gifts are for today [though I would disagree on certain Pentecostal definitions of them] but I also believe we violate the New Testament when we teach that certain gifts are supposed to operate in every person. Sure, you can find tongues and other gifts as signs in the book of Acts that believers were filled with the Spirit. But this doesn’t mean that those who don’t speak in tongues are not filled with the Spirit. Paul’s teaching here is that we are all baptized into Christ by the Spirit and we are all ‘drinking in the one Spirit’ but yet he empathically says ‘you all will not have the same gifts operating’. I think it is a violation of scripture to develop a doctrine that says ‘unless you function in a certain gift, you are not Spirit filled’. I do not see the classic Pentecostal division between ‘public tongues’ [that everyone doesn’t do] and ‘private tongues’ that you must have in order to have proof of being baptized in the Spirit. I do see the division to a degree, but I feel the Pentecostal brothers are being legalistic when they make this case.
(999)1ST CORINTHIANS 13:1 ‘THOUGH I SPEAK WITH THE TONGUES OF MEN AND OF ANGELS, AND HAVE NOT LOVE, I AM BECOME AS SOUNDING BRASS OR A TINKLING SYMBOL’ Over the years I have seen how the church can ‘have a voice-make noise’ without actually effecting change. Last night I watched some Martin Luther King stuff. Without ‘sucking up for political purposes’ I must admit that Martin is at the top of my list of personal heroes. Martin spoke with a revolutionary purpose in mind, he was not ‘delivering sermons’. One time I spoke at a friends church, I only spoke for around 15 minutes [much like my radio show] and the pastor said ‘no wonder John doesn’t have a church/ preach regularly, you have to at least speak for 45 minutes’ [something like that]. Though after the message I had good comments from the people, the sincere pastor felt like we didn’t ‘put the time in’ in order to fulfill the Sunday morning practice of ‘church’. Were did we get our modern sermon from? [The actual format]. If you go to Bible College you can take a course called ‘homiletics’ this course will teach you the structure of speaking and putting a message together. If you study Greek rhetoric you will find that this science existed in the Greek intellectual world before Christians embraced it [the actual format and structure taught in homiletics comes right out of the Greek system of rhetoric, to the tee!]. I find it funny how many modern pastors seem to measure a persons degree of ‘being scriptural’ by this measuring rod. ‘Well brother, didn’t they preach in scripture’ you bet they did. We see Jesus reading from the scroll in the synagogue. Paul and Peter were master ‘preachers’ if you will [though Paul himself was no ‘golden tongue’] basically the biblical concept of preaching/teaching was more of a spontaneous thing. It’s certainly not wrong to borrow the sermon from the Greeks [which we did do] but we don’t want to fall into some mindset that sees modern ministry [pastoral] as being a professional speaker. Here Paul says there is a danger of believers becoming like ‘sounding brass and tinkling symbols’ we can lose the reality of simple communication. We also can lose the prophetic edge of speaking into society over issues of justice. If we become too mundane and ‘professional’ then the world simply views us as another program to simply pass over when clicking the remote. Both Martin Luther King and Charles Finney were known for their social activism. One of the charges [actually true] made against them was that they held to liberal theological positions. Finney was effected by the higher criticism of his day [the trend in the universities to deny the supernatural elements of scripture] he embraced certain doctrines that could be viewed as heretical [things on the atonement and mans sinful nature]. King’s critics make note of the fact that he also accepted certain types of bible interpretation that viewed some of the miraculous stories as ‘myth’ [not fake, but simple allegorical stories that were not literal but simply meant to convey a spiritual theme]. Things like Jonah and the whale, or Ballams talking donkey [or the talking snake in the garden!] Some intellectual brothers view these stories this way. Is there any validity to these views? Actually yes. I personally hold the ‘literal’ view with stuff like this, but ‘literal’ does not mean the bible does not contain different styles of writing. You do have poetry, allegory, symbol and other types or forms of grammar in scripture. Even the strong literal brothers will contradict themselves when they fully accept the ‘Lamb on the throne’ as not being a literal Lamb! [or when they interpret the scorpion like demons in Revelation as Black Hawk helicopters] So scripture does use allegory and symbol. But why did Luther and Finney associate with the more liberal trends in theology? I feel it was because of the strong anti social gospel that the fundamentalists embraced. The more conservative thinkers who rejected the liberal trends in teaching, would also reject social activism. Luther and Finney simply gravitated towards those who were like minded in their concern to speak into society. Basically they didn’t just want to be theologically correct [though they might have been in some of there views] but they wanted to be able to effect change in society. They wanted to be more than just a tinkling symbol that could tickle your ears.
(1002)1ST CORINTHIANS 13: 2–3 ‘and though I have the gift of prophecy [Pentecostal, prophetic expressions] and understand all mysteries and all knowledge [Orthodox, Reformed, intellectual creedal churches] and though I have all faith that I could remove mountains [the Faith camp] and have not charity [Agape- love] I am nothing’. Whew! Thank God us mission/outreach type guys are not in there. ‘And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor [ouch] and have not love it profits nothing’. I love the various expressions of the church, I feed from the Reformed brothers teaching, Love reading and studying Orthodoxy and Catholicism. I of course favor the outreach/hands on type ministries, but according to this text we can have all these things and still be missing the mark. Our intellectual type brothers are engaging the culture and defending the faith, but without love we don’t even put a dent in the culture. The apologists are great at refuting the new atheists, to be honest about it the Christian intellectuals are head and shoulders above the atheists [Craig Lane and men like him] but I have noticed that we don’t really change that many minds even when all the proof is on our side. And I cant tell you how many well meaning missions and soup kitchens I have been too, but often times there is a disconnect between the people being served and the ‘servers’. You get the feeling sometimes that the well meaning helpers are simply punching a time card. We all need to reevaluate our motives. People can tell when we are in ‘ministry’ for the love of the business. Or for the self glory and adulation that comes with our service. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because they truly were in it for the recognition of men. They wanted others to see that they were ‘successful in the ministry’ so they could receive recognition in public. Paul tells the Romans ‘he that shows mercy, let him do it with love [cheerfully]’. It’s easy to fall into a rut and simply be functioning out of a sense of duty. Now duty can be a good thing, there are times where we just need people to report for duty! [The harvest is plenteous, but the workers are few] but we need to examine ourselves and make sure we are functioning out of the Love of God. Often times the various ministries and expressions of the church are simply God ordained ‘places’ where we can connect with people. As we interact with the lost world, lets do our best to win the arguments, give proof for the legitimacy of Christianity. Combat false ideas and mindsets that are imbedded in our culture, but lets leave room for the other side to get in with us. Understand that they have a ‘missing piece’ [Augustine’s hole in the heart] and we are the only ones that can show them how to fill it.
(1003)CORINTHIANS 13:4–10 Okay, what exactly is this love that we need? Paul has told us that all religious activity apart from it is vain. Paul here simply gives us a picture of the way it acts. You can read this section and substitute your name for the word love ‘love puts up with stuff and is kind’ ‘John puts up with stuff and is kind’ [ouch] ‘It does not boast or show off’. ‘It does not seek its own benefit’ a ‘what’s in it for me’ type mentality. Love is being just like Jesus. James tells us ‘if you fulfill the royal law of scripture, you do well’. The law is to love thy neighbor as yourself. Paul also shows us why love outshines the other gifts of tongues and prophesy and knowledge. He says ‘we know in part, prophesy in part. But when we are made perfect and mature at the appearing of Christ the partial gifts will no longer be distinguishable. Only love will rule’ [my paraphrase] I find it interesting that Paul says knowledge itself will cease. Will actual knowledge cease? What exactly is ‘knowledge’? When we use this term in society what we usually mean is the degree of ones learning/education compared to someone else. If you have a masters and I have a high school diploma, we see a difference. We measure knowledge by the amount we have as compared to others. Now, at Christ’s appearing when we all ‘shall know, even as we are known’ this fine distinction will ‘pass away’. We still will have knowledge, but as a tool that we use to measure one another, it will cease. It wont make a difference how much of the ‘knowledge pie’ [know in part] you possess, at that time everyone one will have ‘all pie’. Knowledge is a funny thing, our understanding of it has developed thru the centuries. During the enlightenment era the concept of ‘what does it even mean to know’ was tackled. One of the famous sayings was ‘I know/think, therefore I am’ [Descartes? Hey, I forget sometimes] the study of ‘how we learn/know things’ is called epistemology. The enlightenment produced a way to approach knowledge that can be called ‘modernism’ mans modern way of knowing stuff. In essence, there exists real truth that a person can know and learn. There is/was a challenge to this mode of thought. Many in the Emergent church movement would grasp on to another theory of ‘knowing’ loosely defined as being in the category of ‘post modernism’. Some challenged the actual ability to know a thing. The emphasis is on who is actually viewing/learning the thing. The terms ‘metta- narrative’ are sometimes used to describe this dynamic. There is some truth to the fact that our context, who we are and where we are coming from, can shape the actual stuff learned. But the question is ‘does our perspective actually change the thing, make it real or not’. Some in the field of Cosmology have grasped on to this post modern theory and have surmised that the very act of human beings studying and examining a thing can in and of itself cause the thing ‘to be’. You can see how this theory would be helpful to the atheist. ‘Where did every thing come from?’ ‘it is a result of human kind’s thoughts and inquiry’ [Ouch]. This sounds a lot like the metaphysical cults that espouse that reality is a product of what you think, confess. That man has the power to create reality simply by the act of studying a thing. Well this is of course a challenge to the truth of God. Jesus and the Cross aren’t ‘real’ because men ‘put their mind to them’. They are real whether or not man ever thought about them. ‘Let God be true, but every man a liar’ Romans. Paul tells us that all these varying degrees of knowledge will some day ‘pass away’. We will all stand before a self existent God and give an account of our lives. This day is coming whether you ‘think about it or not’.
(1004)CORINTHIANS 13:11–13 WHEN I WAS A CHILD I UNDERSTOOD AND THOUGHT AND SPOKE LIKE A CHILD, BUT WHEN I GREW UP I PUT THOSE THINGS BEHIND ME- Paul shows us that we presently see and understand things thru ‘a glass’. God gives us insight and glimpses into Divine truth, but we need mercy because we all have limited sight. Over the years I know I have ruffled some feathers. Whether it be our teaching on what the church is, tithing, end times stuff. How New Testament believers should view the nationalistic promises made to Israel under the Old Covenant. I have found that the problem usually isn’t solved by simply proving something from scripture. For instance someone might become convinced by an ‘avalanche’ of information, they might actually see what I am saying. They can even articulate it to a degree [sometimes better than me!] but at the end of the day the answer to the problem is we all need to ‘grow up’. We need an overall change in the way we view things thru a legalistic lens. For instance, the tithe issue. Over the years I have taught the concept that believers are not under this law. Those of you who have read this site for any length of time know this. But I have also taught that it is fine to put 10% of your money into the offering on Sunday. It’s okay to support those who ‘labor among us’. But there are also many examples in the New Testament warning Gods leaders to not be in it for the money. Now, if we took seriously the mandate in Malachi to tithe. If we want to actually bind the believer’s conscience in this way ‘how are you robbing God? By not bringing in the tithes!’ Then we need to also look at the context. Israel as a nation was mandated to ‘tithe’ of their goods [not money] in three ways. They gave to support the Levites, also for the poor, and then they gave a tithe for religious feasts. In essence this ‘tithe’ was a total of around 30 % of their annual income, not 10%! [This by the way is right around what I spend on a monthly basis for the ministry stuff I do]. So, if we were telling people ‘you are going to be cursed if you don’t pay 10%’ we are actually misreading this verse. Also, how many believers think they are going to be cursed if they don’t ‘tithe to the poor’? Most modern preaching on the tithe simply puts it in the category of the Sunday offering. Most of this type of giving goes to support salaries, building upkeep, light bills, insurance for staff. I could go on and on. A very minute portion of this money [in general] goes to the poor. Certainly not a third! Also the portion that went to the Levites could not be used to purchase anything that would be owned by the Levite. They were forbidden to own any type of personal inheritance as Levitical priests. How often does the modern concept of tithing include this? The whole point is if we are going to bind peoples consciences in this way [which we shouldn’t] then we need to make sure we are at least teaching it right! Why bring this up? This is simply a good example of what Paul is saying. ‘When I understood in a limited way, I spoke and acted in a limited way’. The answer to the problem is simply ‘becoming mature in our thinking and speaking’. Recently I read an article from a U.S. congressman, he was speaking about the situation between Israel and Palestine. He sided with a military interpretation of the Old Testament promise to Abraham to ‘posses the land’ and used that to influence his political activism for war. How ‘mature’ is this type of thinking? Did any of the JEWISH apostles do this? No. So instead of trying to ‘crisis manage’ every single doctrinal problem, we really need to mature on an overall basis and view these doctrines thru the paradigm of Jesus and his life and work. Are we imitating his ethos when we do these things? Was this the primary message and life of Jesus when he walked the earth? How did he respond to Roman oppression and unjust govt.? Did he advocate military action in defense of the promises of God made to the nation of Israel? If we as the 21st century church do not ‘rightly divide’ these things, then we are of all men ‘most miserable’ [1st Corinthians 15].
John:1[radio # 584] Jesus is called the Word of God, he comes into the earth as the incarnation, the ‘fleshed out’ fulfillment of Gods Word. John the Baptist is asked who he is. The Jewish leaders ask ‘are you that prophet?’ he says ‘no’. What prophet? The one Moses said would come ‘the Lord God will raise up a prophet unto you, like me. Whoever doesn’t listen to him will be destroyed’. We covered this in Deuteronomy. They ask him ‘are you Elijah’ he says ‘no’. John was the fulfillment of the Malachi prophecy that said before the Lord comes he will send Elijah the prophet. Jesus says this about John. Why did John deny it? I am not sure, but it might be because he really didn’t know. Sort of like the thorn in Paul’s side, God allowed things to happen to Paul so he would not get puffed up in pride and side track his mission. Maybe the Lord never let John see how truly effective he was. John does say ‘I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness’ John does see himself thru the prophet Isaiah. I like this. I have personally had many words from Isaiah that I felt the Lord had given me, John saw himself in this book too. John was ‘the voice’ just like Jesus is ‘the Word’ John is ‘the voice’. John was a voice before he was a man. God had predestined John to carry a message before he was born. He had this word in his DNA at birth. His body was simply a carrier, an ‘incarnation’ of the voice that he was to have. God has predestined all of us with a purpose before we were born. Our appearing on the planet is for the sole purpose of carrying out this destiny. You are not here to be happy, have a nice income, go to a nice church. You are here to fulfill Gods will, you can have the other things or not, that is irrelevant. You must first fulfill the mission! John testifies of Christ by the Spirit descending on Jesus. John says ‘I knew him not, but by the Spirit’ John knew Jesus, he was his cousin! But John was only going to recognize the gifts and callings on people. He would follow Paul’s admonition ‘know no man after the flesh’. It is incumbent upon us to recognize the gifts in others and to operate accordingly. Don’t make alliances and pacts with people based on friendship and personal affiliations. It’s good to have friends and all, but the Kingdom is built upon recognizing and receiving those who have come with a mandate from God. John saw Jesus in this light. Scripture says ‘the world was made by him, he was in the world, yet they knew him not’ Jesus was creating a divine atmosphere of grace for people to access. They didn’t even know or recognize him, yet this didn’t side track him from his purpose. Understand that God has placed you in a geographical location with a pre planned destiny in mind. God has chosen you to be where you are and for this season. You will fulfill your calling whether people ‘know’ you or not. God requires us to see the gifts in each other, but many will not appreciate what you are doing, do it any way, you have come with a destiny to fulfill, so fulfill it!
1. John 2[radio # 585]- Jesus does his first miracle, changes water into wine. They say ‘most people put the good wine out first, but you have saved the best for last’. This is a type of the new covenant of his blood [wine], Jesus will introduce a better covenant thru his blood. Many will not accept this new way because they have been ‘drinking’ old wine for so long, they are not willing to change. We often see this in Christian circles, people who have functioned in a limited way for years, God might bring to them new ways of seeing things, they will often reject the new wine on the basis of being comfortable with the old way, we don’t want to shake the apple cart. God wants us to shake it! Jesus finds the money changers in the temple and drives them out with a whip, turns the tables over and gets mad. He didn’t take the ecumenical approach! There are times for radical transition, I feel we are at that place now as the people of God. The gospel is not about us increasing our portfolio, it’s about laying our goals down for the kingdom. These money changers lost their influence in the ‘temple’ after Jesus got thru with them, I think it was prophetic. Jesus says ‘destroy this temple and in 3 days I will raise it up’ those hearing this mistake his Body [temple] with the building [temple in Jerusalem]. Evangelicals [some of them] make the same mistake today. They are looking to the natural events in natural Jerusalem, they should be looking at the real temple! [Both Jesus and the Body of Christ]. Jesus goes to the Passover, the people hail him and Jesus says he will not commit himself to them, because he knew what was in man. What was in man? These same people will be asking for his death not long from now. Jesus did not seek commitment from men, contrary to the way we see ministry today. Modern ministry seeks to increase man’s commitment to them ‘pledge so much money, join this or that’ Jesus knew he had a destiny, he would fulfill it without the help of man!
The only biblical ‘test’ that is where you have a clear cut statement on ‘if you believe this your okay- if you believe this you’re not’- the statement comes from the epistle’s [letters] of the Apostle John [New Testament].
In 1st John and 2nd John he talks about those who believe that Jesus is the Christ- they are ‘from God’ ‘Born of God’ and those who say that ‘Jesus has not come in the flesh’ these are not ‘of God’ these are ‘the anti christ’.
It’s interesting to note- that in the entire bible- the few times the actual word ‘anti christ’ is used are in these passages.
So the test- if you want to look at it this way- is a Christological test- do you believe Jesus is the Christ [Messiah]. And ‘do you believe he has come in the flesh’ [what we call the Incarnation].
That’s the test- you do not have a ‘Trinitarian’ test so to speak- though the doctrine itself is found in the bible.
Why would the apostle John give these 2 criteria as ‘the test’? Because for the 1st century Jewish believer- Jesus did indeed come as the promised Messiah- and the question is indeed ‘do you believe he is the promised one- or not’.
The other ‘test’ is a little more tricky- but in the 1st century you began having a challenge to the main belief of Christians- it came from the Gnostic ‘cults’. These were the quasi ‘Christian’ groups that mixed in Greek concepts of matter with Christian belief.
The last few weeks we discussed their ideas a little- and one of the ideas that Plato taught was that matter itself was evil.
This is not the Christian view- the Christian view is that matter [creation] is from God- it is good- not inherently evil.
Okay- so you had a division of the Gnostics [which their name meant Knowledge- they believed they had secret knowledge about these things that the average Christian did not have] called Docetists.
These guys taught that Jesus was not Really a human being- who came ‘in the flesh’. Why did they teach this? Because they also taught that matter/flesh was evil- and Jesus could not have really been ‘in the flesh’.
This doctrine violates the very clear N.T. teaching that Jesus was indeed born of the Virgin- and was fully God and fully man- thus the apostle John was targeting them when he said ‘if anyone does not believe that Jesus has come in THE FLESH he is not from God’.
ACTS 1- Luke, the writer of this book, feels the need to document the ongoing work of Jesus and his revolution. He already wrote a gospel and believes this to be the beginning of the story. In essence, the reality of Jesus and his resurrection are just the start, we have much more to do and become on this journey. Most writers jump to chapter 2. We have churches and music groups called ‘Acts chapter 2’. Why does Luke seem to wait till chapter 2 before getting to ‘the good stuff’? Chapter one records the 40 days of Jesus showing himself alive after his death. Luke feels this singular truth to be important enough to simply stand alone [I do realize the early letters did not have chapter and verse divisions like today]. The real physical fact of Jesus bodily resurrection is without a doubt the foundational truth of the gospel. The outpouring of the Spirit and the whole future of the church depends on the reality of the resurrected Christ. Paul will write the Corinthians and tell them if the resurrection were not true then they are the most miserable of all people. Luke tells us Jesus gave instructions for the Apostles to wait at Jerusalem for the Spirit. Thy will be witnesses of him to all the surrounding nations after the Spirit empowers them. We also see Peter emerge as the key spokesman for the group. He quotes freely from the Psalms and reads their own history into the book. He sees the prophetic verse from David on ‘let another take his office’ as referring to Judas betrayal and death. They cast lots and choose Matthias as the one to replace Judas. Peter shows the importance of Judas replacement to come from one that was with them thru out the earthly time of Jesus. Someone who saw and witnessed Jesus after the resurrection. Scholars have confused this with the ‘ascension gift Apostles’. Some scholars have taken the truth of the early Apostles having the criteria of being actual witnesses of Jesus, and have said ‘therefore, you have no Apostles today’. Paul will teach in Ephesians that after Jesus ascension on high he gave gifts unto men ‘some Apostles, others Prophets, etc.’ The New Testament clearly speaks of Apostles as an ongoing gift in the church. Barnabas will later be called an Apostles [Acts 14:14] as well as many other references in the original Greek using the same Greek word for Apostle. But here we find Peter seeing the need to replace Judas. Other scholars think Peter might have jumped the gun. They see Paul’s apostleship as the possible person the Lord picked out as the replacement. You do find Paul referring time and again to his Apostolic authority as one ‘born out of due time’ who saw Jesus on the Damascus road. If Paul was simply an ascension gift Apostle, why would he refer time and again to his authority based on being a witness who also saw Jesus? It’s possible that Paul was in this group of ‘Apostles of the Lamb’ who had extra authority based upon their testimony of being eyewitnesses. So in chapter one we see that Jesus appeared for 40 days giving instructions to the early leadership and told them to wait at Jerusalem for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We see the incarnational purpose of God, Jesus was and continues to be the express image of God to man. He was not some ‘phantom’ like the Docetists will claim, but a very real physical resurrected Lord. Luke begins the early history of the church with this reality being important enough to stand on its own.
Almost finished with Noll’s book [scandal of the evangelical mind] and thought it time to comment. The book was published in 1994 and I realize a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. Noll brings out great points; he shows a fundamental weakness in American evangelicalism because of the way the movement shaped a sort of anit intellectual way/thought pattern of viewing the world and society. He really takes the dispensational wing of the church to task, frankly, I was surprised how willingly he dismantled many of their belief systems. I agree with him on this issue, but was surprised that a very popular book would go this far [and still be nominated book of the year by Christianity today- back in 1994!]. I think an area of weakness in the book is Noll’s ‘over association’ of young earth creationism with the Seventh Day Adventist church, and his repeating of the charge that creationists [and fundamentalists in general] are practicing a form of ‘modern Manichaeism’. He basically links an ‘anti material spirit’ that was seen in the early Christian heretics [Gnosticism, Docetism and Manichaeism] and applies this to the views of creationists and their so called unwillingness to allow the facts from nature speak for themselves. I wrote the note ‘way too much’ a few times when reading the book. I think he’s basically mistaken on this, many early Christian thinkers did hold to a young earth view, and they were the same thinkers who rebuked these cults who rejected the natural world as evil. Overall the book is a worthwhile read, it exposes the weakness of the fundamental/evangelical movement to ‘think Christianly’ about the world and society around them. Too often believers think ‘thinking Christianly’ means introducing bible verses into the conversation, this is not what Noll is speaking about. He shows the fundamental error that arose during the modernist/fundamentalist debates of the 19th/20th centuries, and how this caused the church to accept modes of thinking and learning that were disconnected from the fathers of these movements. For instance, Jonathan Edwards, who is considered to be the greatest homegrown thinker of the American experience, he embraced an acceptance of the natural sciences as a way to learn more about the ways of God. True studies of the earth and universe and things in the world were accepted as a means of God communicating truth to his people thru the ‘book of nature’. Noll shows how the fundamentalist movement came to reject this willingness to look at the natural world and learn from it. Thus his overstated charge of Manichaeism, a group that saw the natural world as evil. A blind spot of Noll is his seeming belief that the majority of all Christians/scientists accepted as fact the old earth views of the Geologic table and the other sciences that arose at the time [like evolutionary theory]. He paints a picture that says ‘see, most believers were open to learning from science back then, but the fundamentalist movement and the rise of creationism side tracked the church’. This is simply not true. Many scientists and Christians did not accept the science of an old earth and the interpretation of the geologic table. Many fathers of the church accepted a young earth view [Noll’s creationism] since the beginning of church history. Though Noll quotes saint Augustine in his defense of thinking critically, yet Augustine himself believed in a young earth. He actually believed God made everything in an instant and the 6 days of Genesis 1 were symbolic, that God used the ‘6 day framework’ to show us his creative acts. The point being, Augustine’s spiritualizing of the days of creation did not make him an old earth believer! So there were a few things like this that I take issue with, overall I think every evangelical/protestant believer would benefit from reading the book. Noll’s challenge to the evangelical church to ‘think Christianly in all areas of life’ is a needed rebuke to many in the church. Noll is correct in showing the weakness of the American protestant church and her basic disdain of intellectual learning, thinking that higher learning in and of itself is a bad thing. This has fostered a community of believers that has cut itself off from the basic institutions that effect society as a whole [the research universities being one example]. If Christians shy away from the natural sciences and the reality that even unbelievers have at times revealed to us true things thru these studies, then we are going down a road that will eventually cut our influence off from the broader society at large.
John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
https://youtu.be/nbUgpSNo7nE John 17
.Stop draining the lake
.Deity of Christ
.You see me- you see the Father
.Trinity is not Tritheism
.Unity is vital
Jesus prays for his core community ‘that they would be one’- then- he prays for those who will later believe thru ‘their word’.
John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
The church is a light in the world- just like Jesus.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Matt 5:14
Paul calls us the ‘Body of Christ’.
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 1st Cor. 12:27
We often think that when the church is powerful- she will reach the world.
If we have the gifts functioning — that will do it.
Or how about when ‘we all become rich and grasp the prosperity promises’.
Surely that will get the work done.
But Jesus says when we are one- unified- then the world will know he has sent us.
John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
I apply [on video] some practical application to the verse I posted at the top-
‘Glorify me with the glory we had- before the world was’.
Now- to God be the glory- forever.
Yet we share in the glory of Christ.
John 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that� they may be one, even as we are one:
I like the way John’s gospel says Jesus ‘knew he came from God- all things were given to him from God- and he was going back to God’.
The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians that we too ‘came from God’ he planned us before he made the world- yes- the bible teaches that.
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
So- before any of us were involved in the things we are doing-
Pastors- your church
Preachers- you’re calling
Whatever ‘world’ God has allowed you to play a part in- your sphere of influence.
Before ‘that world’ ever existed- you had this this aloneness with God.
Where he revealed his purpose for your life- and you took hold of it- despite what others said.
You prevailed by faith to see this ‘world’ come to pass.
Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
You learned that ‘all things were given to you by God’.
Now- after these things are built- after you saw God use you to build the church- or ministry.
Then there comes a time where you say ‘Father- let me not forget the way all this started- it was just me and you- and let me now return to the ‘glory’ that we had- before these things were’.
All of us need to know what it’s like to simply walk with God.
These last few years I learned to spend whole days- just with God.
No ministry- no outreach- no human contact for that day.
And it was not easy to learn this.
But at the start of the Christian walk- there was indeed this sense that it was just me and him.
Then we get involved in all types of kingdom things- good things- ‘world’ things.
And we have to come back to the start again- we have to pray ‘Father- let me experience once again- that one on one relationship that we had at the beginning- before all these things were’.
And trust that the word that you have deposited in the people you have had influence with- that it will continue- even after you are gone.
When you learn to be alone with God again- you will realize you are not alone- but the Father is with you in a very real way-
Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. Jn. 16:32
PAST POSTS [verses below]
https://ccoutreach87.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/the-flood/ John 3
https://youtu.be/f8VpxlYM_kU John 8- ‘who the Son sets free’
.  ARIUS- a priest from Egypt who would challenge the deity of Jesus in the 4th century. Arius taught that Jesus was the Son of God, but not eternally the Son. He said Jesus was a created being whom the father ‘bestowed’ son ship upon. He taught that Jesus was ‘like God’ but not God. The emperor Constantine would call the famous council of Nicaea in 325 a.d. and the council would agree with Athanasius and say that the Son and the Father were of ‘the same substance’ [homoousios] and Arius’s belief would be rejected. The debate would still rage on thru out the century as Constantine would die and the new emperor from the east would hold to ‘Arian’ views. Eventually Orthodoxy would win out and Arianism would be rejected by the majority of believers. I should note that many of the oriental churches would go the way of Arianism till this day; some of these churches are not like the modern cults that we would automatically reject, but they do hold to beliefs that Orthodox Christianity has rejected. As I have written about before, it’s easy to see how various believers have struggled with these issues over the years, some of the ways people express things can be deemed heresy a little too quickly in my view. There are believers who express the deity of Jesus in ways that some Arians express it, and they are not full Arians! The point being, yes- Arian went too far in his belief that Jesus was a created being, Johns gospel refutes this belief strongly [as well as many other portions of scripture] but too say that Jesus was/is the full expression of the father, because he ‘came out from God’ is also in keeping with scripture. Today we should be familiar with the issues and also use much grace when labeling different groups of believers; and we should strive for a unity in the Spirit as much as possible. As believers we accept the full deity of Christ, one who is of the ‘same substance’ of the father- true God from true God. He who has seen the Son has seen the father- Jesus said to Phillip ‘I have been with you a long time, if you see and know me, you have seen and known my father’ Jesus is God come down in the flesh to dwell among men, the true Immanuel, God with us.
 ‘This is why I Paul am in jail for Christ, having taken up the cause of you outsiders, so called. I take it that you are familiar with the part I was given in God’s plan for including everybody… none of our ancestors understood this, only in our time has it been made clear thru God’s Spirit… this is my life work, helping people understand and respond to God’s message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details’ Ephesians 3, message bible. As I said earlier in this study, the ‘mystery’ that God revealed to Paul was the reality that thru Christ all ethnic groups would be on the same footing with God. This specifically related to the religious belief of the day that the ethnic nation of Israel were the only ones with special access to God. For Paul to have been preaching this message in his day would be like us teaching that God’s plan for all people today- Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, Iranians, etc., it would be like saying Gods purpose for our day is to accept all of these ethnic groups as one group thru Christ. To be frank about it, I believe many evangelicals today are not fully seeing the reality of the Cross when they exalt the natural heritage of Israel as Gods special people. Though I realize many of these teachings mean well [end time scenarios and stuff] yet in practice they deny the equal footing that all people have in Christ. Paul was preaching the great news that your ethnic/cultural background no longer made any difference- thru Christ we are all Gods special people. This does not mean that we are all accepted whether or not we believe in Christ, a sort of religious syncretism, but it does mean that the offer of Jesus is available to all.
(1226) 2ND CORINTHIANS 4- In chapter 3 Paul said we are beholding/seeing God in an open way as compared to the old covenant. In this chapter he shows us how we ‘see God’. We see him in his Son. God has chosen to reveal himself to us thru his Son. One of the first Christian councils [after the one at Jerusalem in Acts 15!] was held in the 4th century under the Roman emperor Constantine. The reason was to bring unity to the church on the issue of Christ’s divinity. These councils played political roles as well as theological. After Constantine became emperor he established the great city in the eastern empire called Constantinople. This city [named after him] became both the theological and political seat in the eastern half of the empire. So you had both a religious and political competition going on in the empire. Rome, situated in the west, was feeling like she would lose her position if the eastern half started gaining too much influence. So you had differing reasons for these councils. But you also had sincere men who held to various beliefs at the time. The bishop Arius came to teach that Jesus was the Son of God, but not God himself. This created a stir in the empire and Constantine called a council to settle the question. The debates went forth, both views were discussed and classic Orthodoxy came down on the side of Jesus being God. Now, there would be more councils dealing with Gods nature and Christ’s role, but this was a defining moment in Christian history. The church [and the scriptures] teach that God became man [incarnation] and thru Jesus we ‘see God’. Paul also relates the many sufferings and trials he was going thru. He says he tastes death and bears in his body the death of Jesus. He simply does not give a picture of the Christian life that is common in today’s world. Many believers are taught that these types of difficulties and sufferings are a result of their lack of faith, or their inability to rightfully ‘access their covenant rights’. Paul refutes this doctrine strongly. Paul has already mentioned those who ‘peddle Gods word’ or who twist the scriptures for their own benefit. It always amazes me to see well meaning believers/teachers go thru the entire corpus of the New Testament and never see these things. It’s so easy for preachers/teachers to read the scriptures with blinders on. Here Paul taught that the many sufferings [both physical and spiritual] were an honorable thing, they were his way of sharing in the sufferings and death of Christ. They were ‘death in him, but life in you’ he saw his difficulties thru a redemptive lens. He says the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us. The first verse of this chapter says seeing we have received this great ministry, we don’t faint. I like Eugene Petersons Message version, he says ‘just because times get hard, we don’t throw up our hands and walk off the job’ I like that.
(1227) 2ND CORITNHIANS 5- Paul speaks of the Christian hope- resurrection! This chapter can be confusing if not taken in context. You could think that Paul is saying when we die we have a house/room in heaven ‘waiting for us’ and this seems true enough. But he is really saying something more along the lines of ‘in heaven [Gods realm] we have a promise of a new body. The Spirit in us is the down payment, but full redemption will be complete when we are raised from the dead’ the hope is a new body, not our souls living some type of disembodied existence in a heavenly
Try and watch this video- I cover lots of stuff that place this letter in context for this study. [ Read acts 10,11,15, Galatians 1–2]
This letter was written by James- the brother of Jesus.
He was one of the main church leaders at the church in Jerusalem- we read about him in Acts chapter 15.
This [Acts 15] was the first church council in the history of Christianity.
I already taught the book of Romans written by the apostle Paul.
And as we read the New Testament in context- we can see the reason why James penned this letter- and addressed it to Jewish believers.
Paul was the most influential missionary in the early church- he established most of the gentile churches we read about in the bible [Rome being the exception].
He also wrote most of the letters that make up our New Testament.
His main teaching was Justification by faith.
There was a division we read about in the bible- between some of the Jewish believers at Jerusalem- and the churches Paul was planting [the church council mentioned above- was convened over this issue].
This division was based on the teaching of Paul- and some Jewish believers in Jerusalem accused Paul of rejecting the Mosaic Law.
Paul defended himself in the letters of the New Testament [Romans/Galatians] and even talks about his visits to the leaders at the church in Jerusalem.
Now- in this context- it seems fitting for James- the main church leader of the Jewish brothers- to ‘set the record straight’.
And to write his own letter- showing the importance of GOOD WORKS- and even saying ‘see how a man is justified/saved by works- and not by faith alone’.
The higher critics of Christianity [who you have heard me talk about in recent videos] will teach that James and Paul ‘taught different theologies’.
I do not agree with them.
But- our bibles are an early collection of the Real Time things that were taking place in the early church.
At the time these men were writing these letters- they were not writing them as a complete canon [book] — but were writing them as you or I would write a letter to another person.
In the wisdom of God- I think it is possible for these men to have seen different aspects of the manifold wisdom of God- and maybe they were not fully seeing the other writer’s point of view.
To me- this would not be a criticism of the canon of scripture- but it would show us that God used these men- thru their experiences- and yes- even disagreements- to write the letters that make up our bibles-
And in time- they would indeed become the official teaching of the church-
Embracing a broad range of Divine Revelation- that in the end- does NOT CONTRADICT itself- but instead makes a complete work- which we call the bible.
This letter is short- and packed with short verses of great wisdom.
It is the only New Testament letter that falls into the category of Wisdom Literature-
Meaning a particular genre’ of writing- like Proverbs in the Old Testament.
Because of this- I am going to post each chapter of the letter during this teaching- for those of you who have never read the bible all the way thru-
I want to challenge you to read these short chapters over the next few weeks.
I will comment and add historical stuff in this teaching- like I did in the other recent studies.
But most of all- read each chapter for yourself- ask God to give you wisdom- and apply the instruction of this letter to your life.
It is a very practical- straight forward teaching that comes to us from the brother of Jesus himself.
As I have been commenting on the other writings that did not make it into our bibles- like the Gnostic gospels-
One of the reasons these extra biblical writings have so much appeal-
Is because they claim to have other teachings- from/about Jesus- that are not in the bible.
For those of us who reject these other writings- as canon-
The letter of James kind of fills the void of ‘we want to know more about what Jesus taught’.
This would be the letter to read- because James grew up with Jesus- in the same home.
He was the oldest sibling of the Holy Family-
And he was not a follower of Jesus until after the resurrection of Christ.
He was one of the witnesses Jesus appeared to after his resurrection [Paul told us this in Corinthians].
So- if anyone has any ‘secret insight’ into the other stuff Jesus taught- it would be James.
James 1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
James 1:9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
James 1:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass
END NOTES OF POST-
WHAT ARE THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS?
OCTAVIAN- A GOD?
CICERO- MARK ANTONY [or Anthony if you like].
WHO WERE THE ESSENES?
DID THE CHURCH ENGAGE IN A GRAND CONSPIRACY?
END NOTES [I posted the video for this portion a few days ago- it goes along with Hebrews 7–9 video/post] The past few weeks I had a few friends ask me about the Dead Sea Scrolls- and a few other questions about the ‘lost books of the bible’ and some other common- and mistaken ideas [like the original sin being Eve had sex with the serpent].
So- I figured I would cover a little Jewish history- which would help in this study of Hebrews-
And also hit on a few of these subjects.
As we read Hebrews- it helps to also understand some of the history that we don’t have in our bibles [though the Catholic bibles do have some of it in the Apocrypha].
Ok- the ruling empire at the time of Christ was Rome- just prior to the appearance of Jesus- the Roman Emperor- Caesar Augustus- consolidated the Roman Empire under his rule-
Rome was ruled by a senate- some famous names from history were in it- Cicero being one.
Caesar Augustus was the nephew of Julius Caesar- his real name was Octavian [Octavius].
After the death of Julius Caesar- there were some power struggles that took place- between some other famous people.
Marc Antony being one of them [Cleopatra too- he was in love with the girl for sure].
Now- we read about Augustus in the New Testament- and we read in the book of Revelation about the Mark of the Beast- and that those who don’t worship- give homage to the Beast- they will be killed.
So- Many Christians would be killed because they would refuse to give homage to Caesar Augustus [meaning son of the Divine].
‘Wow- how did he get a name like that’ [there was more than one Caesar by the way- as well as more than one Herod- who did play a part in these power struggles- it can get confusing- even to me].
When Octavian defeated Marc Antony at Actium [32 BC].
Herod [The Great] had a problem- he had previously sided with Antony and found himself on the losing side.
Yet he was smart- did some ‘brown nosing’ as we say-and patched things up.
Herod had 3 sons- who would eventually take positions of authority in the Roman government at the time of Christ.
Herod Antipas was over the region that we read about in the New Testament where Jesus did most of his ministry- Galilee.
Ok- Octavian claimed deity because of a heavenly sign associated with his rise to power- and this is how he became called ‘Caesar Augustus’.
He sort of saw himself as a ‘re-incarnate’- of his great uncle Julius Caesar.
‘John- what in the heck does this have to do with the Dead Sea Scrolls’.
Ok- good question.
The Jews had various responses to the empires that ruled over them during various times.
Alexander the Great instituted Hellenization- a sort of cultural compromise over the people he conquered.
They could keep their religious/cultural roots- but would be subservient to Alexander and Greek rule.
Some Jewish people rejected any compromise- we call them the Essenes- they moved out of town- so to speak, and lived in what we refer to as the Qumran community.
This was a few centuries before the time of Christ- and this was where the Dead Seas Scrolls were found in the 20th century.
A Bedouin boy was looking for his goats- threw a rock in a cave right off the Dead Sea- and that’s how we found the scrolls.
The scrolls might have been hidden there by the Essenes-
Now- when my friends asked me about them- I told them that it’s been a while since I read up on any of this- but to the best of my memory the thing that made them significant was the fact that they were very old manuscripts- from the bible- and they backed up what we had had all along.
I did read up this week- and basically had it right.
The earliest Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament we had previously dated back to around 900- 1000 A.D.
These manuscripts went back about 1000 years earlier- and they contained portions from almost every book of the Old testament- and some complete books.
The only book missing was Esther.
So- this was indeed a very significant find for scholars.
But the Scrolls also contain some of the writings from the Essenes themselves- things we never had before- so this too was significant.
There were Jews at the time of the first century who tried to ‘get along’ with Rome- and with the person in charge of their region [one of the sons of Herod the Great at the time of Christ].
These are referred to as Herodian’s in the bible.
Some wanted a revolution to rid Rome from Jerusalem- these were the Zealots [one of Jesus disciples was in this group].
Some thought if they returned to a legalistic obeisance of the law- that this would bring in a deliverer- like the stories we read about in the Old testament- these were the Pharisees.
And some took more of a political compromise- these were the Sadducees.
Eventually a war with Rome would be fought [By the way- Josephus- the famous 1st century historian- fought on the side of the Jews in the war- and after Jerusalem was sacked in A.D. 70- he went to Rome and wrote his great works- thinking he would make a case for the Jewish people with the Romans. This is why we have his works today- which are very valuable to scholars].
NOTE- In time I’ll try and cover how we ‘got our bibles’ [called the Canon- meaning Rule/ Measurement].
Frankly- there is a lot of confusion in the general public about conspiracies [like the Catholic Church had some type of plot to keep certain books out].
Or stories about how the Church taught Mary Magdalene was a prostitute so they could discredit her.
Actually- we read in the gospels that Jesus cast out ‘spirits’ from a woman who was probably living this type of life-
And Jesus had a ministry to the down and out- it is indeed possible that Mary was one of these women-
And if true- it would not demean her in any way-
That’s how this tradition more than likely developed- But- we don’t know for sure.
So a few years back the Church officially said ‘we don’t know’.
No- just being careful.
So there are other misguided beliefs like this- that sincere people have- and over time I hope to get to them.
I’ll do one more in keeping with this post.
I mentioned above that Caesar Augustus did indeed take the title of ‘son of God’.
And some critics of the Church say ‘see- there were all types of religions that had Sons of God’.
I watched one show a few years back- and it stated that these religions had ’12 disciples- a leader named Lord and Savior- and he healed and claimed to be God’s Son- and rose from the dead’.
Ok- that show was ‘fibbing’ to put it lightly- they went too far [historically speaking] in trying to diminish the Christians claim of Christ by doing this.
Now- is there some truth to this at all?
Yes- like I just mentioned above- Octavian did indeed claim deity- a ‘son of god’.
So- how do we explain this?
In the book of Galatians the bible says ‘in the FULLNESS of times God sent forth his Son’.
Jesus came at a set time in history- in fulfilment of the Jewish Prophets- to be who he was- and to do what he did.
Now- this is not special pleading here- but I find it a masterpiece that God’s Son came at a time when the Roman Empire had one sitting on the throne- who too claimed deity.
Yet Jesus was in a region of the lower class- his men were not highly educated- and his followers were people under oppression.
Augustus lived in the wealthy and influential capital of ‘the world’- he had all you could ever ask for- he was worshiped as a god.
Yet in 3 short centuries- one of the heirs of the empire- Constantine- would have an experience — not with a former Caesar- but with a vison of a Cross-
He would convert to Christianity- and declare Christianity to be the religion of the realm.
He would then ‘convert’ the pagan temples- into churches for these followers of Christ.
So I don’t see the fact that Augustus claimed to be a son of god right before Christ- as some type of discredit to the claims of Christ.
No- I see it as God’s way of pulling the rug out from the oppressor- see? [Oh- by the way- only one of them rose from the dead- can you guess?]
 THE UNEXAMINED LIFE IS NOT WORTH LIVING- PLATO.
I caught a show the other night on Link TV. It was a spin off from this famous Platonic quote- it was called ‘The examined life’.
They interviewed some of the most prominent philosophers of our day. Cornell West, Peter Singer- a few others [I think the name is Singer?] I found it interesting that Singer- who specializes in Ethics- tried to make the case that you really don’t need religion/God in order to do ethics- all you need is to work from the basic principle that says ‘try to treat others like you too want to be treated- and then you will have a foundation for morals’.
Now- I caught the contradiction right away- do you see it? Who is he quoting? This is the great moral principle- given to us by Jesus himself- called the Golden Rule.
This actual principle- in Theology [the study of God] we call Natural/Moral law. The Argument is based on the reality that all people [not animals- Singer- get to it in a moment] have within them this moral compass [Romans 1] and that this in itself is proof that there must be a higher moral being- a transcendent being- who has put it in man.
I just found it funny that Singer- who is supposed to be a prominent atheist/agnostic thinker- would fall flat on his face like this.
Singer advocates for legal Rights for animals- and has also argued that viability of the new born baby should determine its personhood- he says that we should be able to abort babies up until around the age of 1- because they can’t really survive on their own until that age.
Okay- why do Philosophy- or Physics- or any other of a number of schools of thought? Because too often Christians abandon these fields- and then when someone from that field says ‘this is why we don’t need God’ we usually have no answer.
When we think about philosophy- most of us think about the 3 great big shots- Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. While it is true that these guys were the major guys at right around the 5th century B.C.- yet we actually date the beginning point to the early 6TH Century B.C. to a man by the name of Thales.
Thales accurately predicted a solar eclipse in the year 585 B.C. and he gained notoriety because of this. Thales was the first Greek thinker to grapple with the idea that there must be one reality that makes up all things.
He would argue that Water was this element- that contained being and Motion and life. Many of these pre Socratic thinkers were obsessed with the idea of motion- where did it come from?
Thales observed that streams and rivers- and all types of water sources flow- so to him this was a logical source of motion.
This idea- that only one element makes up all reality- is called Monism. Monism is not be confused with Monotheism- the belief in one God- Monism actually leads to another religious view- called Pantheism- the belief that God is everything- and everything is God.
This is not the historic Christian view.
Now- the pre Socratic guys- Parmenides, Zeno, Heraclitus- these guys would challenge Thales view that water was the main thing.
Some said ‘maybe it’s Air’ another said ‘Earth’ and some Fire. These 4 elements [Earth, Air [wind] Fire and Water- are the 4 basic elements of the early Greek philosophers.
We see these things in the naming of musical groups [Earth Wind and Fire] as well as the themes in movies [fantastic 4- based on 4 basic elements- powers].
Now- one of the thinkers said ‘wait- maybe the reality behind all things is not any one of these elements- maybe there is a 5th dimension [another musical name- and also the famous Bruce Willis flick- called the 5th Element] a Boundless being- outside of time and matter- maybe this 5ht element is the foundation for all things.
Of course this view would lead to the more developed view of God that Socrates and his followers would embrace- an early view of God- much like the later Christian view [absent the Trinity].
By the way- the view that 2 or more elements make up all reality is called Pluralism- not to be confused with religious Pluralism [that all religions lead to the same God]. The most common form of Pluralism is Dualism [2 realities equally true] but all non Monists who embrace more than one reality are Pluralists.
Okay- maybe a bit much with the 10 dollar words- but it might spark the interest of some.
The church has debated for centuries on whether or not Philosophy should be taught to Christians. One of the early church fathers- Tertullian- said no- his famous quote is ‘what does Jerusalem have to do with Athens’.
Meaning what does Philosophy have in common with Christianity [Athens- Greece was the seat of philosophy in Jesus’ day].
For the most part- the early church fathers would embrace the study of philosophy- and try to make arguments for the Christian faith by presenting Christianity as ‘thee’ philosophy that best answers the questions of man.
These early Christian thinkers are called Apologists- men like Justin Martyr are in this class.
Apologist is a word we use to describe those who defend the faith- it comes from the Apostle Peter’s letter in the N.T. where Peter says ‘give an answer to those who ask you about the faith’. In the Greek language- the original language the N.T. was written in- this phrase is talking about a defense- an ‘apology’ in the sense of ‘making the case’ not in the common sense of apologizing.
In the book of Acts- chapter 17- we read the famous sermon of the apostle Paul- given at Mars Hill. He was in Athens at the time- and he was debating with all the philosophers of the day. He tells them ‘as I was looking around town- I saw that one of your altars is addressed to The Unknown God’.
He would go on and declare unto them that this Jesus is the true God- the one raised from the dead.
Paul also said ‘in Him we live and MOVE and have our being’. Kind of a popular verse quoted by preacher’s today- but we often overlook the significance of the MOVE part.
I mean- why say we MOVE in him too? Paul was a smart guy- he knew these children of Socrates questioned where motion came from [Remember Thales?] So he was basically saying ‘I am declaring to you the one true reality- the true 5th Element- the missing God particle from your system’ and he went on and preached Christ- being raised from the dead.
Paul knew that you can’t really do true philosophy- to grapple with the questions of life and being and ‘motion’ without realizing that God is indeed the ultimate answer to all things.
Even Peter Singer- who claimed that you don’t need God or religion in order to do Ethics- even he unknowingly quoted Jesus in attempting to give a basis for his Philosophy- yes- he quoted a God- one unknown to him- just like the altar at Athens- but a God never the less.
An inescapable 5th element- the missing part to the whole puzzle.
John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
John 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
John 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
John 17:7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
John 17:8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
John 17:10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
John 17:13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
John 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
John 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
John 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
John 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
John 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
John 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that� they may be one, even as we are one:
John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
John 17:25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
John 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. Tim. 3:16
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.
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1. Press This
If you remember we stopped at the 4th-5th century B.C. and we left off with Aristotle. Now- Aristotle [and Plato and Socrates] ruled the day for hundreds of years- most Western thinkers were shaped by their ideas.
So for that reason- lets skip about 800 years forward- to the time of Saint Augustine. Augustine lived in the 4th/5th century [A.D.]. When studying Philosophy you will study this man. But you run into him in the fields of Theology and church history as well- he’s considered by many to be the ‘best’ theologian of the 1st thousand years of Christianity- and to some- the best ever.
I have covered Augustine before- so let’s go light right now and hit a few high points.
Augustine had early influences that led him to the philosophy of ‘Neo Platonism’ [an offshoot of Plato’s thought] and he dabbled [well more than dabbled] in a sort of early metaphysical cult called Manichaeism [like a 3rd century type of Christian Science- the movement in our day].
As Augustine carried out his traveling teaching ministry [he was a teacher who was skilled in Rhetoric- and these traveling teachers would charge for their services] he eventually converted to Christianity [the Catholic Bishop Ambrose played a major role in Augustine’s conversion] and became the Bishop of Hippo- North Africa.
Augustine came to defend the Christian world view against his former belief in Neo Platonism. Platonism taught a Pantheistic view of God and creation. This view teaches that God and creation are one in the same. Many eastern religions still hold to this view in our day.
Augustine argued that God was the creator of all things- but that he himself was not created- or a part of the created world.
He developed a very sound theology on creation- which most Christian traditions hold to this very day.
He had a few theological battles in his day. With Pelagianism and Donatism- these were early Christian movements that broke away from the standard teaching of the church- they derive their names form the Bishops/priests who espoused these ideas.
Pelagius denied the doctrine of original sin- and he taught that men were indeed capable of obeying Gods law- out of their own moral integrity- and thus ‘save themselves’. Augustine rejected this view and taught that men were saved only by the grace of God- that men were indeed sinful and corrupt- and if left to their own designs would end up in hell.
There were various adherents to Pelagius’ view- and his ideas have carried down thru the centuries to varying degrees- sometimes you will hear [read] the term ‘Semi- Pelagian’ this refers to those who have various ideas about man’s ability to save himself through good works.
Some in the Reformed church [the original Protestant belief system that came out from the 16th century Reformation] accuse the Catholic Church of this very thing- yet the Catholic Church has made it clear that they do reject Pelagianism- and they agree with Augustine on the matter.
The Donatists taught that the Sacraments were dependent upon the ‘holiness’ of the Priest who ministers them. That if you were in a Parish where the priests were bad- lived in sin- rejected a holy life- then if you were Baptized by these men- that the Baptism didn’t ‘stick’.
The Donatists formed there own break away church in the 3rd century- and a few very influential men would join the group. A well respected early church father- Tertullian- eventually joined their ranks.
Augustine argued against the Donatists teaching- and taught that Gods grace- and the grace given to believers thru the sacraments were not derived from the holiness of any priest or preacher- but if a believer in good conscience received the sacraments- that that’s what really counted.
Saint Augustine is one of the titans of church history- he is loved by Protestants and Catholics alike. He is famous for his belief in the doctrine of Predestination [that those who are saved were chosen by God before they were born] and for this reason he is loved by the original protestant theologians [Luther, Calvin, etc.]
He also taught a very ‘Catholic’ form of Ecclesiology [church govt.] and is well loved by many Catholics as well.
The Catholic Church refers to him as the Doctor of Grace- later on in the 13th century we will meet Saint Thomas Aquinas- who the church refers to as the Angelic Doctor.
Both of these men played a major role in the development of western thought and Augustine made an effort to distinguish true Christian thought from the philosophy of Neo Platonism which was very strong in his day.
When reading Augustine [he wrote a lot] you need to be careful to distinguish some of his earlier writings from his later ones.
Early on you still see forms of Platonic thought in Augustine- but as the years rolled by his thinking progressed more and more towards historic Christian thought.
For those of you who are interested- the Confessions of Saint Augustine is considered one the classics of Christianity- you can pick up a short version at most good bookstores- it’s well worth the time to read.
)1st CORINTHIANS INTRODUCTION- Out of all of Paul’s letters, this one is ‘the most verified’ as being his. Of course we know this because Paul says so in the letter! But for all those intellectual higher critics, this helps. Corinth was a city of great influence and trade, many land and sea routes converged at Corinth and her port. The city was also known for her philosophers and ‘preachers of wisdom’ [Rhetoric]. They actually had a custom at Corinth in which you could ‘hire’ your own ‘preacher of wisdom’. These were the traveling teachers who made a living at speaking. This also might be why Paul specifically said ‘when I was with you I did not take money from you’. The custom of the traveling preachers was you could pay a one time honorarium for a single speech, or you could actually hire a regular speaker and have him ‘on salary’. Paul did not want the Corinthians to think that he was their hired preacher! How much influence this type of trade would have on the later development of the ‘hired clergy’ is unknown, but the similarities are striking. The famous 5th century bishop of Hippo, North Africa, Saint Augustine, made his living as one of these traveling teachers of philosophy before becoming a Christian. It’s believed that Paul wrote a 3rd letter to the church at Corinth, so what we know as 1st, 2nd Corinthians might actually be letters 2 and 3. I personally think Corinthians holds special value for the church today. The 21st century believer is being challenged on her Ecclesiology, the whole idea of what the church is. In Corinthians we see a specific picture of what the church is and on how she should meet. Paul will not address ‘the Pastor’ [there was none in the modern sense of the office] but he will speak directly to the brothers at Corinth and give them some heavy responsibilities to carry out [like committing a brother to satan for the destruction of his flesh! Ouch]. Paul went to Corinth on his 2nd missionary journey and spent 18 months with them [Acts 18] one of the longest stays at any church. Because of the pagan background of the city Paul will address specific issues related to believers and certain practices of idol worship. Eating meat offered to idols and stuff like that. Corinth also practiced a form of idolatry that included prostitution, so he will deal severely with the loose sexual morals of the people at Corinth. Well we have a lot to cover in the next few weeks, try and read Corinthians on your own as we plunge into this study, it will help a lot.
)1ST CORINTHIANS 10: 5 ‘But with many of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness’. As I just sat down and was debating on how much to cover, I felt the Lord wanted me to stop with this one verse. Let’s review a little. Does this experience of being ‘scattered in the wilderness’ define past experiences for you? [Or present!] Historically the church has always had to deal with wilderness times. St. John of the Cross called this ‘the dark night of the soul’. After Mother Theresa’s death we found out that she struggled with doubt many times thru out her life. The historic church has been ‘scattered in the wilderness’ over truly insignificant stuff. I find it ridiculous that one of the main reasons the western [Catholic] and eastern [Orthodox] churches split in 1054 a.d. was over the silly distinction of whether the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father [the historic creed] or the ‘father and the Son’. This is considered the official cause of the split, though there were many other factors as well. In a day or so we will cover a verse that says ‘God is the head of Christ’. I had a friend that used to point out the fact that many Baptists would refer to ‘God and Jesus and the Spirit’ he would think this was in error because they would leave out ‘the Father’. To be honest he was consistent with Trinitarian thinking [I am one by the way!] If the ‘sole’ definition of God in the New testament were ‘3 separate persons who equally posses the Divine attributes’. Then the phrase ‘God is the head of Jesus’ would not make sense. It would be like saying ‘God [Father, Jesus and Holy spirit] are all the head of Jesus’. What am I saying here? Basically the historic church came to certain ways of framing the argument that were limited in their application. Does the New testament teach the Trinity? Yes. Does the word ‘God’ primarily refer to ‘the father’ in its language? To be honest, it does. Though the reality of the Trinity is there, yet the normative language of ‘God’ is referring to ‘the Father’. So my Baptist buddy was right in seeing a contradiction when Baptists said ‘God, Jesus and the Spirit’. If they were true to all the historic language, then they should have said ‘the father’ not ‘God’. Because ‘God’ would be the all encompassing language of ‘3 distinct persons who all posses the divine attributes’. But in fact, my friend was wrong. Why? Because the language of scripture mostly means ‘God the Father’ when simply saying ‘God’. Now why go into all this? Because the historic church has been divided over the language used. Arian, the Catholic Bishop/Priest, said that Jesus is ‘not God’. That ‘God the Father is God’. He was rightfully condemned, and the Trinitarian language would prevail. The problem is some of the language of the creeds and councils that would follow were not totally accurate. Some of the Creeds would say ‘Jesus was eternally begotten [always begotten]’ this statement was for the purpose of refuting those who said ‘Jesus had a beginning’ [Arianism]. Now, did Jesus ‘have a beginning’? John’s gospel says Jesus was with the father from the beginning, and that ‘the Word was with God, and was God’. Jesus had no beginning! But, does this mean he was ‘eternally begotten’? No. He was begotten by Mary 2 thousand years ago. Begotten refers to the incarnation, not the preexisting Son who was with the father from all eternity. So the well intended phrase ‘eternally begotten’ was wrong. Why even discuss this? Because most of Christian Orthodoxy would still condemn certain aspects of the Syrian and Ethiopian churches over this. We at times are ‘scattered in the wilderness’ and our ‘bodies’ [denominations, divisions in Christendom] are a sad representation to the world. [NOTE- I want to restate what I have said in the past. I believe in the Trinity. But I also want you to see how other Christian perspectives have viewed these things in the past. There are large groups of ‘historic churches’ [not Gnostics and stuff like that, the so called ‘lost Christianities’] who lean towards Arianism. Most of the invading barbarians who sacked the Western Roman empire were converted to this ‘brand’ of Christianity. So while I hold to the historic orthodox view, I wanted you to see that we too have been inconsistent at times].
2ND CORINTHIANS 4- In chapter 3 Paul said we are beholding/seeing God in an open way as compared to the old covenant. In this chapter he shows us how we ‘see God’. We see him in his Son. God has chosen to reveal himself to us thru his Son. One of the first Christian councils [after the one at Jerusalem in Acts 15!] was held in the 4th century under the Roman emperor Constantine. The reason was to bring unity to the church on the issue of Christ’s divinity. These councils played political roles as well as theological. After Constantine became emperor he established the great city in the eastern empire called Constantinople. This city [named after him] became both the theological and political seat in the eastern half of the empire. So you had both a religious and political competition going on in the empire. Rome, situated in the west, was feeling like she would lose her position if the eastern half started gaining too much influence. So you had differing reasons for these councils. But you also had sincere men who held to various beliefs at the time. The bishop Arius came to teach that Jesus was the Son of God, but not God himself. This created a stir in the empire and Constantine called a council to settle the question. The debates went forth, both views were discussed and classic Orthodoxy came down on the side of Jesus being God. Now, there would be more councils dealing with Gods nature and Christ’s role, but this was a defining moment in Christian history. The church [and the scriptures] teach that God became man [incarnation] and thru Jesus we ‘see God’. Paul also relates the many sufferings and trials he was going thru. He says he tastes death and bears in his body the death of Jesus. He simply does not give a picture of the Christian life that is common in today’s world. Many believers are taught that these types of difficulties and sufferings are a result of their lack of faith, or their inability to rightfully ‘access their covenant rights’. Paul refutes this doctrine strongly. Paul has already mentioned those who ‘peddle Gods word’ or who twist the scriptures for their own benefit. It always amazes me to see well meaning believers/teachers go thru the entire corpus of the New Testament and never see these things. It’s so easy for preachers/teachers to read the scriptures with blinders on. Here Paul taught that the many sufferings [both physical and spiritual] were an honorable thing, they were his way of sharing in the sufferings and death of Christ. They were ‘death in him, but life in you’ he saw his difficulties thru a redemptive lens. He says the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us. The first verse of this chapter says seeing we have received this great ministry, we don’t faint. I like Eugene Petersons Message version, he says ‘just because times get hard, we don’t throw up our hands and walk off the job’ I like that.
VERSES [These are the verses I either quoted or taught from on today’s post- Other videos below]
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
3 Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:
4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
January 20 2019
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 66 Reading 1IS 62:1–5
For Zion’s sake I will not be silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her vindication shines forth like the dawn
and her victory like a burning torch.
Nations shall behold your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
you shall be called by a new name
pronounced by the mouth of the LORD.
You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD,
a royal diadem held by your God.
No more shall people call you “Forsaken, “
or your land “Desolate, “
but you shall be called “My Delight, “
and your land “Espoused.”
For the LORD delights in you
and makes your land his spouse.
As a young man marries a virgin,
your Builder shall marry you;
and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride
so shall your God rejoice in you.
Responsorial PsalmPS 96:1–2, 2–3, 7–8, 9–10
R. (3) Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth;
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He governs the peoples with equity.
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Reading 21 COR 12:4–11
Brothers and sisters:
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom;
to another, the expression of knowledge according to the
to another, faith by the same Spirit;
to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit;
to another, mighty deeds;
to another, prophecy;
to another, discernment of spirits;
to another, varieties of tongues;
to another, interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these,
distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.
Alleluia CF. 2 THES 2:14
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God has called us through the Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short,
the mother of Jesus said to him,
“They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her,
“Woman, how does your concern affect me?
My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servers,
“Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,
each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told the them,
“Fill the jars with water.”
So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them,
“Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.”
So they took it.
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,
without knowing where it came from
— although the servers who had drawn the water knew — ,
the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,
“Everyone serves good wine first,
and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;
but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory,
and his disciples began to believe in him.
OTHER VIDEOS [These are the videos I post nightly to my various sites- Links to all sites below]
6–26–20 Eli [Teaching] Bishop https://youtu.be/MrTygoZZ5pU
Acts 15 https://youtu.be/rteq0keHKsQ
Whats real? https://1drv.ms/v/s!Aocp2PkNEAGMjBVLnrrg97F-z4c_
Nick- N.J. https://youtu.be/aha-5QTHWtE
10–8–17 Sunday sermon https://www.facebook.com/john.chiarello.5/videos/10204086586723151/
3–19–17 Sunday sermon https://www.dropbox.com/s/3gydnxoa7aum0ex/3-19-17%20Mark%205.mp4?dl=0
Potters house https://youtu.be/gjGLHBZNtoc
Glenn- N.J. https://youtu.be/93W1oxlmSHM
9–24–17 Sunday sermon
Mercy seat https://flic.kr/p/2j3dR8Z
Friends n teaching https://1drv.ms/v/s!Aocp2PkNEAGMixYefAQtt5yn-6H6
Homeless friend https://youtu.be/3B2pqMHTwPg
12–18–16 Sunday sermon https://1drv.ms/v/s!Aocp2PkNEAGMhEqB_PrkjA4pODts
Dino- New Jersey https://youtu.be/nhkr0m9cL-E
12–2–18 Sunday sermon https://1drv.ms/v/s!Aocp2PkNEAGMjEqYIsr2c6k6xFiQ
10–23–16 Sunday sermon https://ok.ru/video/1613245450807
Bondage breaker https://youtu.be/_2y0Nn17eg0
Ephesians 3 https://1drv.ms/v/s!Aocp2PkNEAGMbmJ7N-LFNKVN2n0
Homeless friend https://youtu.be/tk2P6GcsMjQ
Mark 16 https://dai.ly/x7n1cto
2–25–18 Sunday sermon https://flic.kr/p/2iZXCKs
Homeless friends https://1drv.ms/v/s!Aocp2PkNEAGMixGQ5cTCvWYpPfpS
11–18–18 Sunday sermon https://www.dropbox.com/s/0wagjiywi1hbl43/11-11-18%20Sunday%20sermon.mp4?dl=0
David- Kingsville https://youtu.be/nY1hzP8iP1A
The flood https://youtu.be/BLELo-v0rRc
Homeless friends https://youtu.be/apZh_blZeYo
10–22–17 Sunday sermon https://ok.ru/video/1613048187447
Homeless friends https://www.facebook.com/john.chiarello.5/videos/10204965125806079/
MLK in his own words https://youtu.be/ATPSht6318o
Samuel 20 https://youtu.be/a94K43DPJw4
7–8–18 Sunday sermon https://dai.ly/x70c7i1
Christ church https://1drv.ms/v/s!Aocp2PkNEAGMhB6ouDEfynx23GoY
The paintings of the atheist https://www.bitchute.com/video/t2WopPsjuKxn/
1–25–19 Update- stalker vehicle on video https://youtu.be/NcfHpyAK_EQ
Part 2 https://youtu.be/utgy2BSqNpg
11–12–17 Sunday sermon https://1drv.ms/v/s!Aocp2PkNEAGMhB1o6_Yw8DBRVEW-
This is the day https://youtu.be/KRNu_7Q4dEo
Jonah- rev.- Samuel https://1drv.ms/v/s!Aocp2PkNEAGMhBzlJVde1SLezHIt
Mark 14 https://flic.kr/p/QCCYet
Plymouth Rock https://www.bitchute.com/video/pXzw2U8mVmiT/
Revelation 11 https://youtu.be/mXaBqHOO81Q
Candle stick https://dai.ly/x6c3sz0
Friends — Real time teaching https://youtu.be/FcRoveDV2Qw
Uncle Tom https://youtu.be/BLHp3DAOb5g
Apologetics- prophets https://dai.ly/x6cbdav
10–8–17 Sunday sermon https://1drv.ms/v/s!Aocp2PkNEAGMhBa3n8oVSUJeaz9t
Guitar Jason https://dai.ly/x707ofi
1–19–19 news update https://youtu.be/Ze6hCYqi5tE
Corpus Christi- teaching with friends https://youtu.be/ypqc51gfXro
Friends and teaching https://youtu.be/NICjeyd2rx4
Teaching- Crow- homeless friends https://youtu.be/0tgDvnYBDGs
2–24–17 St. Patrick’s- NYC https://bit.tube/play?hash=QmTepABsy98NeoQcmbHtdUwTk2iVZJ987KCgY7SN1udyyH&channel=160276
Take- eat- this is my Body https://1drv.ms/v/s!Aocp2PkNEAGMhBJgH7idcLKZSrX9
5–27–18 Sunday sermon https://flic.kr/p/28AnuNg
Abortion- slavery n Jesus https://dai.ly/x70qyqi
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