Quotes #1

. . . let me guide you in some ways we can uphold the truth both individually and corporately:

1. Believe it

2. Memorize it.

3. Meditate on it.

4. Study it.

5. Obey it.

6. Defend it.

7. Live it.

8. Proclaim it.

The supreme mission of the church is to uphold the precious legacy of God’s Word. What privilege to support the truth!

Pastor Jack Jenkins

This above quote came from the message “Proper Conduct & Confession Within the Church (part 2)“.

Inclinations of the Heart

Perhaps a better title for this article would be “doing battle with inclinations of the heart”.

I do want to be clear here that I’m not talking about love or passion but I am talking about those knee-jerk reactions we all have to various situations and people. These flow out of the various experiences we each have had and include what we dislike or even hate. Getting burned or mistreated by someone in specific ways can often cause us to become untrusting of others.

These things are natural for us to do as we each naturally default to wanting to defend ourselves. Nevertheless, allowing the inclinations that have been built up in us to rule us can also lead to us doing harm or “injury” to others. I’m speaking primarily to the social repercussions but such things can easily even cross over into the physical.

As Christians, we are called to be like Christ (Philippians 2:1-11). This includes then that we are to reach out to the lost even when our very faculties war against us in doing so. A practical approach to quieting such warring, such battles with potentially harmful inclinations is to deliberately face them. Don’t flee. If you notice you are having difficulty working with say poor people because of a tendency or inclination to want to stay away from what you may think or feel is dirty, then that is exactly what you need to do.

This isn’t that different from facing a fear. You face your fears in order to keep them from dominating you. The same goes for inclinations that keep you from being genuine to others or serving others. You have to deliberately put yourself in situations that you will have to confront yourself, confront your negative knee-jerk reactions and in time the difficult battles will become easier and easier to handle to the point you are able to deal with them in stride without hesitation.

Christ was tested in every way that we have been (). He had to deal with the very inclinations we do. This includes fears and the temptation to treat others in negative ways. But Jesus Christ’s mind was filled with glorifying God in His actions. He wanted to glorify God above all else, even unto death! So what did he do? He was very versed in the Scriptures to the point that He was a rabbi (this was through much study, hint hint!), and he sought out the lost in order to bring them to God including those that much of Jewish society at the time would actively look down on, mistreat, &/or treat as filth.

Don’t let your knee-jerk reactions define or dictate you.

If you have a natural urge to want to turn away from the poor and the dirty, deliberately make it your practice to reach out to them in one way or another.

Need some ideas? Volunteer at homeless shelters. Take it upon yourself to hand out water to beggars. Continually educate yourself in the Scriptures so that you can deal appropriately with difficult or quarrelsome people. Always fight to remember that every person is an image bearer of God just as much as you, whether or not that person is truly reflecting Him or not. Treat others as you want to be treated. And, above all else, treat everyone in Godly love.

You must face the darkness within you. Always remember that you are not alone. If you have Christ, then you have His Holy Spirit within you. You are not alone and He will provide the strength. Always remember to pray and ask for His guidance and strength.

 

Tis the Season…

It is the season of much frivolity and busyness with all the celebrations and such on top of our typical work to do.

Please stop to remember the reason for this season, to remember the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the greatest gift we could ever receive. 

More important than any new toy.

More important than any food item.

More important than anything in this world.

The greatest gift was given to us by God in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Emotions run high at this time year and they run the full spectrum of human emotion. Please remember those who will be alone at this time of year in your prayers and actions. Please remember to be cordial to everyone you meet. Even the smallest gestures of kindness can lift someone up.

And most of all, Merry Christmas to you!


A Woman’s Conduct – 1 Timothy 2:9-15 (Part 2)

[Begin Part 2]

In the previous post, we dealt with verses 9 to 10 from 1 Timothy 2. In this post, we move onto verses 11-15.

If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, go back and do so now as it sets the stage for what comes next.

Once again, context is important whether it be cultural, historical, etc., we must consider such things in order to understand the message most clearly and concisely. Just as in our day there are stereotypes, stereotypes existed back at the time of writing 1 Timothy as well.

In those times, females were considered inferior academically and education systems were set up for men. This was true in both Greek culture of the time as well as Jewish. With these things in mind…

A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.” (v. 11)

This statement was revolutionary. Paul writes that women are to learn as well. Women are, after all, created in the image of God just as much as men and should therefore reflect that Godliness, that Christ-likeness alongside men. You do this best by learning more about God and growing closer to Him through it such that you inevitably reflect Christ-likeness to those around you.

Earlier in 1 Timothy 2 and here Paul uses the term translated in most versions to “quietly” to describe the manner for receiving instruction. In the Greek, this term is referring to respect and not silence. This carries over into the term of “submissiveness” which refers “to arrange yourself in rank under” in the Greek. This sort of action is a willful decision and not something anyone is given the right to force upon the woman. Again, if it is her intent to follow God, she is to show this intent through her actions and to do so by her own will. This passage is speaking specifically to women in the church but elsewhere in the Scriptures we find that all followers are called to do likewise before the God-ordained leadership of the church.

In verse 12…

“But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.”

This has got to be one of the most controversial parts of this passage.

I think the sermon linked below words this quite well so I will quote:

“This command by Paul is not a prohibition against women teaching in the church, nor is it a prohibition from general instruction in the Bible. It is, however, a prohibition againsts women authoritatively proclaiming God’s Word in the context of the public worship of the Church.”

What does this mean? Remember that the context here is in reference to corporate worship. The context indicates that this prohibition is meant for the confines of corporate worship. It is not saying the prohibition should go beyond corporate worship. If it did, there would be clear conflicts then with other areas of Scriptures in which women were recorded teaching men various things about the faith – all of which took place outside corporate worship.

Official instruction in corporate worship is set for people like Paul and the elders of the church. In fact, we see Pauls talk about the elders in the very next chapter.

One of the distinctions of verse 12 is in the apect surrounding “teach”. It isn’t speaking of all teaching activities. Specifically in the Greek, it is written in the present infinitive which translates “to be a teacher”. Taken in the context of the rest of the verse we see this means a woman is not to hold a position of an authoritative teacher over a man in corporate worship. I want to note that this isn’t saying anyting about a woman’s ability.

“For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.” (vv. 13-15)

That “For” at the beginning of verse 13 is just like a “because” which tells you that what comes next refers to what came before – verse 12. Verse 13 begins the rationale Paul gives for verse 12. In it we, see Paul going back to creation.

I think it’ll be best to lay this out in points to make it easier to follow. Here we go:

  1. “For it was Adam who was first created,” is not a mark of superiority in Adam but it is a point about being the first born – a position that has always carried with it spiritual responsibility within the family. Paul is refering to the created order in humanity before the fall had even taken place. In this we see Adam was created to be the head and Eve his helpmate. It was adam, therefore, who was given spiritual headship and authority, not Eve.
  2. After this first bit, the focus shifts to mostly Eve; however, Paul is not blaming Eve here for the fall. We should pay particular attention to the word “deceived” here.
    1. Eve was clearly deceived here.
    2. Adam was not deceived meaning he transgressed fully aware of what he was doing!
    3. Adam’s failure makes it all the more clear why God went to him rather than Eve after what had happened in the garden. Not only was he supposed to be the spiritual head but he knowingly transgressed God’s rule.
    4. “Eve stepped out from under the protection and leadership of Adam and Adam violated his leadership role and followed Eve.” – from the linked sermon
  3. Nowhere is it said that women are some how lesser or inferior in intelligence or capability in this passage.
  4. Verse 15 isn’t trying to suggest that women are somehow saved through childbirth. Not only does the original text not support the idea, but it doesn’t make any sense in light of the rest of Scripture where we know that salvation comes through God’s grace and by faith in Jesus Christ.
    1. Women have a distince role that only they can play: motherhood.
    2. It is through women that children are brought into the world and this includes those who would be devout followers of God.
    3. It is also through women that the most righteous seed would come forth, Jesus Christ.
    4. As a result, “…women would have the privelege of leading the race out of sin to godliness.” – quoted from near the end of the linked sermon

As you can see, things aren’t always what they may first appear. You have to be diligent and look carefully as to what is and isn’t said. Context, of all kinds, must also be considered in order to accurately understand what is written in its original environment and how it would have been received by the people it was written too originally. Many of us have done this very same exercise in our English, history, and reading classes growing up. I recommend being consistent and to do the same in the Scriptures.


If you have any questions, please listen to the sermon first. What I have written here is in large part a summary of key points. There are more examples and further explanation in the message. Just click the “here” link below to be taken to the page to hear it for yourself.


This post is based upon notes & study connected to a spoken message that can be found here.

Clergy

Dictionary.com

noun, plural cler·gies.
  1. the group or body of ordained persons in a religion, as distinguished from the laity.

Etymonline.com

c. 1200, clergie “office or dignity of a clergyman,” from two Old French words: 1. clergié“clerics, learned men,” from Medieval Latin clericatus, from Late Latin clericus (see clerk(n.)); 2. clergie “learning, knowledge, erudition,” from clerc, also from Late Latin clericus.

Meaning “persons ordained for religious work, persons consecrated to the duties of public ministration in the Christian church” is from c. 1300. Benefit of clergy (1510s) is the exemption of ecclesiastics from certain criminal processes before secular judges; in England it was first recognized 1274, modified over time, and abolished in 1827.


Discussion/Explanation

I always find it interesting how one word can eventually become multiple in time. The term “clergy” is no different. As can be seen above, we get today’s term from sources that also brought us the word “clerk” which, while similar, has a different context of use.

The definition and history of clergy do a good job of describing what the term means. It is a broad term used to refer to all those in the religious work. Whether they be priests, friars, bishops, pastors, elders, etc., they are part of the ministry and therefore called clergy.

Dictionary.com puts the term in contrast to “laity”. The laity are the worshippers. It includes all those who participate in the services but are not ordained as ministerial servant leaders.


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Torn & Seduction

A pastor friend of my father’s once stated upon his impending return to his own country in part of Africa that he actually couldn’t wait to get back. Why?

While it isn’t just an American problem, the seduction of idols is rampant in the United States today. Materialism, in particular, has created a wealth of items that people daily prostrate themselves before. The seduction is made all the more complete by the fact that most cannot even see that they’ve been seduced by the things around them.

While my Dad’s friend had to face persecutions in his country, he would rather take on that than the seduction of the idols that are so rampant today in the West.

Yes, many of these these things we tie ourselves to are fine in and of themselves. In fact, many such items bring much joy to our lives. As always, the failure is in us. We are all too easily seduced by the ease, the entertainment, and the pleasure to the point that we look to what is around us as our reason for living.

I work to pay for my games.

I live to play basketball.

If I didn’t have (insert item), I don’t know what I’d do with myself.

I myself am not immune to such error. Seduction is embedded into our culture to the point it impacts our very thinking. I have found myself even saying, “well there’s nothing really wrong with watching this or playing that” and that thought or the item referenced wasn’t wrong for me to think or say, but there’s a pattern.

There’s a pattern here in which I know I should be spending my time more wisely on eternal things. That I should be spending my time on other people. That I should be spending my time doing what I already know I should be doing before God – instead I return to what has seduced me away. “Like the dog to his vomit.”

To be clear, seduction isn’t about sex. It is anything that turns your attention away. It is enticing. It is tempting. So many today who would call themselves Christian do not even spend regular time seeking out God, the one they claim to be devoted to with the title Christian. Why? Because they’ve been lead away. They’ve been seduced and a seduction allowed to complete ultimately brings destruction though it may seem pleasant and even fulfilling in the interim.

What are you seduced by? Seriously consider it.

I may regularly write this blog but I must struggle against this same seductive element of my culture just as you should if you mean to be a Christian. Seriously consider and routinely re-evaluate how you spend your time.

Set priorities with God at the top and stick to them!

I am praying for you. Please pray for me too!


 

Baptism

What exactly is baptism?

Dictionary.com

noun
  1. Ecclesiasticala ceremonial immersion in water, or application of water, as an initiatory rite or sacrament of the Christian church.
  2. any similar ceremony or action of initiation, dedication, etc.
  3. a trying or purifying experience or initiation.

Etymonline.com

“initiatory sacrament of the Christian faith, consisting in immersion in or application of water by an authorized administrator,” c. 1300, bapteme, from Old French batesme, bapteme “baptism” (11c., Modern French baptême), from Latin baptismus, from Greek baptismos, noun of action from baptizein (see baptize). The -s- was restored in late 14c.

The signification, qualifications, and methods of administration have been much debated. Figurative sense “any ceremonial ablution as a sign of purification, dedication, etc.” is from late 14c. Old English used fulluht in this sense (John the Baptist was Iohannes se Fulluhtere).

Phrase baptism of fire “a soldier’s first experience of battle” (1857) translates French baptême de feu; the phrase originally was ecclesiastical Greek baptisma pyros and meant “the grace of the Holy Spirit as imparted through baptism;” later it was used of martyrdom, especially by burning.


Discussion/Explanation

As you can see, the term has had some variant use. Even so, the focus here is on what you see in definition #1 from dictionary.com.

Baptism, while it has initiate qualities, more specifically display death to one’s old self and rising anew as a believer in Jesus Christ. Practices surrounding this sacrament have varied throughout church history.

Of the various baptism varitions, each can be easily placed into one of two categories of baptism:

  1. Credobaptism
  2. Paedobaptism

Credotbaptism is the baptism of professing believers. It involves the public profession of faith from the believer accompanied with entire-body immersion in water. [cred- (latin) refers to a creed or profession; often called “believer’s baptism”]

  • The Baptists (hence the name) are some of the most well-known connected to this practice.
  • The water immersion could take place in a river, lake, pool, etc. Some Christian traditions will only baptize in running water (usually a river).

Paedobaptism is the baptism done upon infants or young children. This could include immersion, dunking, or sprinkling with water. [paed- comes from Greek pais which means “child”]

  • Entire households are considered to be part of the Covenant of Grace if the parents are believers. Therefore, it is the parent’s belief that is looked to instead of the Child’s belief.
  • Baptism is considered the sign of the covenant just as circumcision was the sign of covenant found in the Old Testament.
  • For variations on paedobaptism (current & historical), see the list within the Paedobaptist post.

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Atonement

Dictionary.com

noun
  1. satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; amends.
  2. (sometimes initial capital letter) Theologythe doctrine concerning the reconciliation of God and humankind, especially as accomplished through the life, suffering, and death of Christ.
  3. Christian Sciencethe experience of humankind’s unity with God exemplified by Jesus Christ.
  4. Archaicreconciliation; agreement.

Etymonline.com

1510s, “condition of being at one (with others),” a sense now obsolete, from atone + -ment. Theological meaning “reconciliation” (of man with God through the life, passion, and death of Christ) is from 1520s; that of “satisfaction or reparation for wrong or injury, propitiation of an offended party” is from 1610s.


Discussion/Explanation

When we wrong someone, commit a crime, etc., we have to atone for it (sooner or later). The information above does a great job of describing atonement.

Atonement in Christianity is all the more powerful as the atonement, the one who paid the price to make amends for mankind’s sins, was Christ. He paid the penalty in order to mend the broken relationship between mankind and God. This is why it is only through Christ that we can have any hope. There is no one else we can turn to in order to be right with God.


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