Sunday, December 21, 2008

December 21st - Timothy's False Conversion

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Pastor Aaron Preaching
Daniel's Friend's Wisdom Teeth
Kari - Friend Moving
Gift Wrapping Outreach
Christmas Travel
Those that only come on Christmas and Easter

Text – 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13

As I was praying over this lesson, I wasn’t seeing anything especially ground-breaking that we haven’t already covered or aren’t going to cover later in the examination. Then Dave called me and asked if I could accommodate the High School class. What I was preparing to teach would have left the High School confused, it would have been like if they came in in the middle of a novel without knowing the beginning or the end.

Then something JUMPED out at me, something we talked about two weeks ago, about true and false converts to Christianity. Paul was anxious that those in Thessalonica would be false converts and fall away from the faith…he had seen this happen before…and fortunately when it happened before, it had turned out very well, with Timothy, and that is integrated into this chapter. As we do this lesson, I need you all to step up your maturity, because we’re going to talk about some sensitive stuff and if we’re immature, we’ll never get through it.

So lets read this passage quickly, not because it’s not important, it is vitally important to this book, but for our High Schoolers only sitting in for one class, there is a more important lesson here.

1 Thessalonians 3:6-13 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?

Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

Timothy went to Thessalonica to check on their progress in the faith, and came back with a very encouraging report of their salvation, as well as their spreading of the faith. They wanted to see Paul and Silas again, and Paul and Silas wanted to see them, but it would be six years before they would have opportunity to be back in Thessalonica.

Until then, Paul prays constantly that God will increase them in love, as well as growing them in holiness.

So, while that’s not all we can learn directly from this passage, I think there is a more important issue at stake here, and that is the issue of false conversion. It is very possible to think you’re a Christian and not be. The Bible is replete with these examples, Wheat and Tares, Good Fish and Bad Fish, Wise Virgins and Foolish Virgins, Sheep and Goats…etc.

First John is the best place to look to make sure you’re a Christian, but it is far from the only place. Romans, Ephesians, Galatians, John…all of these have great tests, as well as pretty much every other book in the New Testament. But I want to give you a practical example, and that example is Timothy.

First of all, you need some history. Timothy is from the little town of Lystra, in Galatia. Paul was converted around AD 32, he spent three years in the desert, probably pouring over his Bible, finding out how Jesus fulfilled the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, in other words, the whole Old Testament. He returned to Jerusalem and started preaching, but they tried to kill him so he departed via Caesarea for Tarsus. He spent nine-years in Tarsus, so when you look at Paul and think that he just magically knew his Bible, he didn’t, he’d been studying it from birth, taught at the feet of Gamaliel, one of the wisest Rabbi’s ever to live, then he continued to learn his Bible and preach it.

In AD 46 he was summonsed to Antioch, where he taught for a year, and decided to go on his first missions trip. He traveled through Cyprus, then Phrygia, and into Galatia via Antioch and Iconium. Paul's first missionary journey put him in the region of Lystra in AD 47, this was Paul's first harsh persecution and he was driven out of town, and nearly killed by Jews from Antioch and Iconium. They had done their best, and thinking him dead, left him. Of this event, he later wrote to Lystra, "Let no man trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." (Galatians 1:17)

Having introduced the Gospel to Lystra, Paul returned to Antioch in Syria debriefing his missionary stories for "no short time" especially about all of the Gentiles who were believing. In AD 49, he was called to a tribunal in Jerusalem. A group was going around saying that Gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved.

Acts 15:5 "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved."

Circumcision is the sign of the covenant of the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants, here is where you have to be mature, it is the removal of the foreskin from a boy’s penis, it is normally done on the eighth day during a ceremony called a bris, but can be done after, such as Joshua’s whole Army after reaching the promised land. It is not painful as a baby, but I’ve been told it is painful as an adult. It was vitally important to set apart Israel from other nations, but now that Salvation had been made available to others, it was determined that it was no longer necessary. If you want to really know a lot more, because it’s important, read Galatians and Romans 4.

The council in Jerusalem was to combat a works-based teaching, who were referred to as Judaizers or the Circumcision Party. Paul delivered the death blow to this works-based Judaizer heresy with the statement,

Acts 15:11 We believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as [the Gentiles] will.

Letters were sent out to the churches mentioning nothing about the works-righteousness requirement of circumcision, only exhorting every believer to abstain from sexual impurity, pagan practices, and idol worship.

Acts 15:28-29 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.

Paul returned to Antioch, just in time to receive word that the churches in Galatia, which were Lystra, Derbe, Iconium, and others, had abandoned the Gospel that he had preached to them. They had been led astray by those that say that circumcision was a necessity for salvation. Paul immediately wrote a long letter to these churches defending salvation by grace through faith in Christ's giving himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age. Who knows what letter that is? Galatians. This occurred at the end of AD 49.

Galatians 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

He called those who would require circumcision or any works, anathema, which means accursed. These churches were near and dear to Paul's heart, since he had spent much time with the peoples and they were his first mass converts, so he decided to visit them in order to set them straight and check on their progress.

The letter preceded him by about a year, and he arrived in Lystra in early AD 50. Here is where we meet Timothy.

Acts 16:1-3 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

Sounds innocent enough right…but what did Paul just get done saying? Let’s read it in the letter to Lystra,

Galatians 5:2-6 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

Paul gave Timothy a little test to see just how much he understood grace and that Christ did all of the work on the cross. Timothy got caught not reading his Bible, and received circumcision. What are the two ways to Heaven?

1. Jesus said, Be Perfect. Paul said, “If you would be justified by the law, you are obligated to keep the whole law.” Jesus was the only one ever to deserve Heaven by keeping the Law, even circumcised on the eighth day.
2. Receive the righteousness of Jesus Christ, your sins forgiven in his payment on Calvary’s cross.

Galatians 3:10,13-14 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Timothy was in trouble! Not with Paul, but with God, he was unforgiven, still dead in his sins, not redeemed by Christ nor justified in his blood! Timothy was very fortunate that Paul was discerning and did not just take Timothy’s parent’s or pastor’s word for it.

Now how do I know this stuff? I admit just reading the Acts 16 passage about Timothy getting circumcised doesn’t reveal all of these things, but there is lots of evidence for Timothy later getting saved, especially 1 Timothy 1:2 and 2 Timothy 1:5, where Paul says that Timothy was raised by godly Christian women, his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois, but that Timothy was ultimately Paul’s child in the faith…meaning that Paul converted Timothy.

The main reason I found this is because Paul and Silas went to Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea, and Timothy was not in Philippi or Thessalonica, he didn’t join them until Berea. That is one of the reasons by Paul sent him to Thessalonica to check on them, because remember, Jason in Thessalonica had promised on a sum of money that Paul and Silas would not come back…and they wouldn’t for six years.

This is six months later…so what do you think Timothy did for those months? I think he read Galatians over and over and over again, reading the letter from Jerusalem, working out his salvation with fear and trembling, counting the cost of following the Risen Saviour, and finally he got saved, through faith, not through works! Then he ran off and was able to catch Paul and Silas. At first I thought this would be impossible, but now I think it’d probably be easy, you just ask, “Which way did those Christians go?” They were the first Christians in Macedonia, so catching up with them was probably easy, especially since they had, as Acts says, “Turned the world upside-down.”

Paul gave Timothy this incredible job to go make sure the Thessalonians are really saved, and Timothy, knowing Galatians cover to cover, would be more than equipped for this task.


Without application, this is just a cool story of Timothy’s false conversion and redemption.

How does it relate to you? The first thing we have to see is that salvation is NOT by works, nobody is running around today telling you to get circumcised to be saved…but what about people that say you have to be baptized in water to be saved? Just as communion doesn’t save you, it is a remembrance of Christ’s work on the cross, baptism doesn’t save us, it is a remembrance of our washing in the blood of Christ. Martin Luther said he used to take the opportunity during every bath to remember that Christ had washed him of all of his sins.

The same way, if you want into Heaven because you think you’re a good person, you have to keep the whole law perfectly, and Jesus said there is none good but God.

How important is it to know this Bible? For Timothy, not knowing it would have cost him his soul if Paul hadn't preached to him, but it did result in the unnecessary and painful removal of a sensitive part of his body. If you don’t know this Book, then people can talk you into doing anything. The cult leader Jim Jones talked his congregation into moving to French Guiana in South America where they committed mass suicide, and afterwards during the clean up there wasn't a single copy of the Bible to be found.

If I had to make a guess at when Timothy got saved, I would say it while reading Galatians 2:19-20,

Galatians 2:19-20 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I think this is the song Bethany told us about, the lyrics are pretty good. The theology of Philips, Craig, and Dean is reprehensible, but they sure can sing:

In conclusion, it is more than possible for you to think you are a Christian and not be, Timothy thought he was a Christian.

Growing up in a Christian family doesn’t make you a Christian, Timothy was raised by two ladies who Paul considered godly.

Just because someone high up says you are a Christian doesn’t make you a Christian, Timothy came well recommended by churches in Galatia.

Only God justifying you through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and granting you his righteousness can save you. This justification is solely through faith, and this faith, if genuine, will bring forth repentance, works of love, and growing in holiness.

We finished early and so took the opportunity to look at Matthew 22:1-14

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.' But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.' And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

"But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen."

If you attend church and believe in God only for the good things, like this man was attending only for the party and the food, then you will be cast out of God's kingdom on the Day of Judgment. If you have not put on the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, the robe of righteousness freely offered, by repenting and believing in the Gospel, then you will get neither the party nor Eternal Life.

Seek first the kingdom of Heaven and Christ's righteousness and everything else will be added unto you.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

December 14th - Christmas

Prayer Requests
People who only come to church on Christmas and Easter
Kennesaw Christmas Parade Results
Pastor Aaron Preaching
Choir Gospel Singing
Safe Travels for Everyone

Text - Luke 1:26-35

I took a class from a sort-of famous preacher named Ergun Caner. He told us that we are allowed to preach one topical sermon a year, if we apologize immediately afterward. While I’m not preaching, I’m teaching, I take his exhortation very seriously and prayed long before deciding to devote this class to Christmas instead of continuing on 1 Thessalonians.

Since I don't know how many students will be here next week, we will probably do something else on that day, maybe a relook at the previous three chapters of 1 Thessalonians.

I love Christmas music, specifically music about Christ, but a lot of the stuff you hear on the radio is terrible. I want to look at a couple of songs that are theologically great.

I was unable to find the Son of God Came Down on YouTube, GodTube, or elsewhere, it is very worthwhile to download on iTunes, or even buy the whole CD.
Sovereign Grace Music
The lyrics are:

The Son of God came down and laid aside His crown
Born without great renown, this Sovereign One
All holiness and might, all glory shining bright
Have come to earth this night in Mary’s son

O come, let us adore
O Christ the Lord, our hope and Savior
Son of God yet made like us
O Christ the Lord, our King adored
Born a child, our Lord Jesus

Messiah born so small, asleep in cattle stall
Come to redeem our fall, nailed to a tree
This tiny, helpless child
Through death would reconcile
The holy God and vile, His grace so free
O come, let us adore

Let's look at a couple of words before we start.

Christmas comes from two words, Christ - Annointed and Massae - Celebration, Christmas it celebrating the birth of the Lord's Annointed.

In a lot of languages you won't see Christmas, but something similar to Navidad, which means birth. Another word that isn't very popular, but seems to be getting used more and more often is Advent, which means coming. This can refer to the first coming of Christ and/or the second. Some churches celebrate the coming of Christmas, through various traditions starting at the beginning of December, but the original term meant the coming of the Son of God.

Galatians 4:3-5 We were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world, but when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

God specifically chose the time when Christ would come, he setup the world just right for his birth, work, and the preaching of the Gospel. There are four major reasons why this is so.

Hellenistic Influence - Alexander the Great conquered much of the known world, winning Palestine from the Mede-Persian Empire. This naturalized the language of the world, and made travel easier. The dislike of petty squables kept violence down and also made travel safer.

Language - The world began to speak Greek, so much so that the Old Testament was translated into Greek by 72 Rabbis. This translation is called the Septuagint, which means 70, and it is abbreviated LXX, which are the Roman numerals for 70. Jesus and Paul frequently quoted from the Greek Old Testament, as well as from the Hebrew Old Testament. In this, we have the authority to translate the Bible into all of the languages of the world. This language congruity made preaching much easier and faster, because almost everyone spoke at least two languages. The Apostle Paul spoke at least four languages; Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin.

Jewish Dispersion - After the exile in Babylon, many Jews didn't return to Palestine, but lived all over the Macedonian empire. Where-ever there were 10 or more Jews, they setup a synagogue, which really helped Paul to preach everywhere he went, always beginning in the synagogue and then going to the Gentiles. The Jewish Dispersion is called the diaspora. Jews were supposed to visit Jerusalem for the Passover, and living far from Jerusalem would have made this possible had the Romans not built such a good infrastructure.

Roads - Roads such as the Egnatian and Appian Ways made traveling long distances much easier, safer, and faster. They were intrumental in the spreading of the Gospel.

Look at some other verses referring to the time,

Mark 1:15 The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.

Romans 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right [or appointed] time Christ died for the ungodly.

The when that Christ was born, ministered, and died was exactly the time that God intended it to be; it happened precisely according to his plan.

Speaking of language, I want to show you something neat. The Gospel of Luke has at least two authors, Luke admits to this in his introduction:

Luke 1:1-4 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

The Gospel of Luke is separated into three languages.

1:1-4 is introduced in a high Greek; Luke was showing that he was a smart guy, a learned guy, and that his history of Christ's life and ministry was authoritative.

1:5-2:52 is written in a lower Greek, in a dialect found most often in Palestine. Many of the things that it contains could have only been known by Mary, and I believe that Mary was the author of this section.

3:1-End is written in the standard biblical Koine Greek, which is the common language, written by Luke so that those that could read basic Greek were able to read and understand his Gospel.

There were a lot of passages in the Bible talking about the birth of Jesus, and they are all good, I picked one that you're probably not likely to hear a lot about since the passages of choice are Matthew 2, Luke 2, John 1, and Isaiah 9. Those are good, but so is this one.

Luke wrote to Theophilus, this word means, "Friend of God," so whether there actually was someone named Theophilus, the ultimate purpose of this Gospel is to strengthen and teach the friends of God, who were once his enemies, but now have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Luke 1:26-35 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy— the Son of God."

Now, first of all, Nazareth is 70 miles from Bethlehem, and the Bible is clear that the Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem. Mary knew her Bible, and I think she was especially confused that she was carrying the Messiah in Nazareth.

Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

The Old Testament has over 300 prophecies which were fulfilled explicitely in Jesus Christ. There are hundreds more prophecies that probably were about Jesus, ranging from probably him to maybe him. The 300 were impossibly specific, like Jesus being born of a virgin, called a Nazarite, born in Bethlehem, called out of Egypt...but he fulfilled them perfectly.

Micah 5:2 is the prophecy that the Wise Men were following to find the King of the Jews.

Beth in Hebrew means house. Bethany is the house of flowers, Bethel is the house of God, and Bethleham is the house of bread. Jesus called himself the Bread of Life. Similarly, the first king chosen by God for Israel was born in Bethleham, and the last King chosen by God for Israel was born in Bethleham. Bethleham is called the City of David, because it is where David was born.

The angel came to Mary in the 6th month, which in the Jewish calendar, the year starts near the end of September, I don't fully know why. That places the 6th month in March, and nine months after March is December. The earliest church celebrated Christ's birth on the 6th of January, but we moved it to December 25th to combat paganism. Really what is important is that we're celebrating the Advent of God and not the day.

Some claim that a winter birth was impossible because of the Shepherds in the fields tending their sheep. Indeed, this would be impossible most years in Israel, however, every 5-7 years, there is a warm year where it is warm year-round. Travel agents try to anticipate this year and sell trips to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem during it to people in parts of Europe where it gets cold. Likely Jesus was born during one of these warm years.

The Angel Gabriel, who announced the virgin conception, is seen in Luke and in Daniel. His name means, "Man of God". When-ever angels appear to people in the Bible, the people are frightened, and the angels say something to the effect of, "Fear Not." Angels must be pretty impressive. But we don't worship them, look at what happened when John tried to worship an angel,

Revelation 22:8-9 I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed these things to me, but he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God."

Jesus, on the other hand, accepted worship. We see clearly that Jesus was higher than angels, he is God, and he is not an angel.

Gabriel told Mary to call the baby's name, "Jesus". Jesus has theological significance, for example, other names mean important things, like:

Jehashophat means Ja or God the Judge.
Ja-Goel means God the Redeemer
Ja-Nissi means God our Banner
Ja-Shua or Yasha means God the Saviour, and this is what Jesus means, Jesus is the Hellenization of the Hebrew/Aramaic Jeshua or Joshua, which was turned into Isous, and then Jesus. There are many, many names and pronunciations for the Son of God, as long as you're referring to the God-man who died on a cross and defeated death, the name you choose, as long as used with reverance, is less important than the Person you are referring to.

Another name for Jesus is Emmanuel, which comes from two words, Immanence - Nearness, and El - God; it refers very specifically to Jesus being God with us.

Next, the Virgin Birth is impossible. It never happened before, it will never happen again, but what is impossible with men is possible with God, and we should expect the way the Saviour of the world was born would be a miraculous occurence.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

The census of all Roman provinces made it necessary for Joseph to go to Bethlehem, and he took Mary with him. I think they probably knew the baby would be born there, but they probably didn't know the circumstances.

Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

While this little baby was laid in a manger (a feeding though), he was holding the universe together. He didn't stop being God because he was a baby, and yet he still learned and grew in knowledge.

A manger is a strange place to find a baby, it is a very humble place to be born, to be laid in a makeshift crib, but a stable is not at all a strange place to find a lamb, and here we see the Lamb of God, come into the world in the most humble of humble ways, to take away the sins of the world.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing
I chose this version not because I endorse Carrie Underwood or her music,
but because she enunciates the lyrics of this song really well:

We only celebrate Christmas because of what happened on Easter, the two can't be separated. If Jesus hadn't grown up to give his life for his friends by going willingly to the cross to take the full wrath of his Father, then Christmas would have no significance, so in the words of Go Fish,

The beginning and the middle are both wonderful and great,
but it's the ending that can save you, and that's why we celebrate.

It's About the Cross by Go Fish

Have a Merry Christmas if I don't see you before then!

Fast Facts on Christmas by Canyon Shearer

Sunday, December 7, 2008

December 7th - Pastor Timothy

Prayer Requests
Pastors in India - $250 Bounty
Amy Geil Feeling Better
Hannah's Grandmother in Mexico flying in
Bethany's Grandmother flying in
MacIntosh and McGullion's Summer Trip Planning

Text 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5

1 Thessalonians 3:1-5 Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.

This is a transitioning chapter in this Epistle, Paul started out by commending the church, and telling them how proud he was of their good work, faithfulness, and love of the Word of God. In chapter four he is going to give them somethings to improve and strive for, like sexual purity, trusting God’s sovereignty, and respecting the hierarchy of the church.

You also notice that they may have thought Paul had abandoned them and that he didn’t really care about them anyways. He keeps saying that he loves them, and that he tried to get back to them, and that he was worried about them, and that he was unable to visit so he sent Timothy.

Paul was giving them a history of what they did after he was kicked out of town, that he was worried they hadn’t received enough instruction.

How exactly the travel arrangements happened here is difficult to say, I worked on this for a long time and I don’t think it is knowable, but it’s not particularly important to doctrine either. By my best understanding, Paul was kicked out of Berea, Silas and Timothy stayed to minister to the Bereans, Paul sent for them to come to Athens, they came to Athens. In Athens, they started to really worry about Thessalonica, so Paul sent Timothy from there. I don’t know where Silas went, but for a brief period he was separated from Paul when Paul went to Corinth. My guess is that Silas stayed in Athens, since there were people there who wanted to learn more about Jesus Christ. This was the most confusing traveling story I’ve read in the Bible…

There is a LOT going on here and for some reason it is not as clear as it could be. In Chapter 2 you’ll remember that Paul stated that he wanted to go back but was hindered, this was likely him speaking about being in Berea when the Jews came and found him and ran him out of Macedonia all together. Since they didn’t run Timothy and Silas out of town, they must have only really disliked Paul. Timothy may not have been with them at this time but met up with them, there is no mention of him in Philippi or Thessalonica on the first visit. How exactly it happened is not recorded. He probably stayed in Lystra to count the cost of being an itinerant minister, then decided to, and chased after Paul and Silas. How the communication happened is hard to discern.

Now, why were they worried about Thessalonica? There are four kinds of hearers, according to Jesus Christ:

Matthew 13:3-9 A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear."

These are the same seeds, the same sower, only the ground, or the hearer, changes.

As it happens a lot, his hearers didn’t understand, and since this is the most important parable in the Bible (Mark 4:13), Jesus goes on further to explain what he meant:

Matthew 13:19-23 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."

Your four hearers are:

Hard-Hearted Hearers – The word just bounces off of them, no growth whatsoever.
Stony Ground Hearers – Hard hearts, shallow, seeking their own happiness above God. Can’t withstand persecution.
Thorny Ground Hearers – Too in love with the world to grow.
Good Soil Hearers – Seeds grow, good roots in the Bible, produce grain which results in others being saved.

Good soil is rare to find naturally, you have to till the soil, pick out the rocks, kill the weeds, turn bad soil into good…any of the hearers could be turned into good soil hearers if the time is spent to prepare their hearts for the word.

Paul was worried that maybe Thessalonica didn’t have adequate work done to grow them in the faith, so he sent Timothy back to further train them. Fortunately his worries were unfounded, as we learned from chapters 1 and 2. The persecution that they faced and were facing proved that they were good-soil hearers, but also certainly Timothy’s visit helped to encourage them in the faith.

Pastor Timothy

Now who was Timothy? Just to give you a basic background:

Acts 16:1-3 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

Timothy was from Galatia, one of Paul’s reasons for going this way was to make sure this region was returning to preaching the true Gospel, because they had abandoned it for a little while and Paul became concerned for their salvation and ministries. He picked up this young man and decided to train him up to be a minister of God.

Paul had gotten into a huge fight in Jerusalem about circumcision, which is something the Jews would do as a sign of the covenant to boys. They decided that salvation was entirely by grace, and that the covenant did not have to have an outward sign, but for some reason Paul decided to have Timothy circumcised anyways. I think it was to avoid having to have the fight over and over again at every synagogue, and also as a demonstration of the optional nature of circumcision. See -

2 Timothy 1:5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

Timothy was well trained by his grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice, and was well spoken of. Paul did great things with him because he had such a good foundation of the faith.

His first job was in Thessalonica, then he became the pastor of Ephesus, and finally he visited Corinth to correct some of their major problems. At some point, probably before his pastorate in Ephesus, he spent time in prison, possibly with Paul in Jerusalem, although we don’t know where. He died under the persecution by Domitian, sometime between AD 81-96. Domitian hated Christians so much he killed his close relatives Clemens and Domitilla under the charge of “Atheism” which is what the Romans believed about Christians, since we worship only one God, as compared to the Romans who worshipped all of the gods.

By AD 95 the church at Ephesus had died spiritually. (Revelation 2:1-7) A great church can die quickly if they lose their good pastor.

The Epistles to Timothy are concerned largely with pastoral position, which is fitting, since Timothy was the first pastor that Paul trained. Pastors are very important and must be godly men, and also many of the admonitions for pastors include the behavior of their wives.

Some things that were written that are useful for this class are:

1 Timothy 4:7-8 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

1 Timothy 4:11-2 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

John MacArthur got his pastorate at 30 years old, after two old pastors had died, and he’s been their pastor for 39 years now. Many of the greatest pastors in history became pastors at young ages.

2 Timothy 2:11-13 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.

2 Timothy 2:8-9 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!

None of this is really new to the New Testament, but it is said very, very well. Paul knew the Old Testament through and through. Compare this passage against wayward priests from Hosea:

Hosea 4:6-9 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because [pastor/priest/shepherd] have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame. They feed on the sin of my people; they are greedy for their iniquity. And it shall be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways and repay them for their deeds.

We’ll learn next week that Timothy brought back a very encouraging report. In Chapter 4 we will talk more about the persecution that had come that Paul had promised them would come.

Finally, Timothy is called God's coworker in this passage, which is really an incredible title.

Consider these other incredible titles:
Friend of God
son/daughter of God
Half brother/sister of Christ
Minister of the Most High God

We have been given big titles to live up to, do your best to represent your God and Saviour rightly, knowing that if you fail he will forgive you, and that it is ultimately him building his church, but giving us an incredible position to be his coworker.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

November 30th - The Holy One of Israel

Prayer Requests
Black Friday Preaching Results
Students Who are Sick
Pastor Aaron Preaching

Isaiah 6
As a follow-up from Disciple Now this class period will be devoted largely to Isaiah 6, but also to tie it back into 1 Thessalonians, we'll spend some time on Isaiah 6:13, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled." The holy seed is its stump.

There were some things that we skipped over during D-Now that I really think we should have spent time on. Overall I really enjoyed the weekend, I hope you did too.

Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.

Isaiah was probably in the Temple when he had this vision. King Uzziah, the king who had brought Israel to a high level of prosperity and security had died and Israel was mourning his death. Isaiah looked and saw that God was high and lifted up, meaning God was higher than Uzziah, and that God was still seated on the throne. God was and is still in charge.

God's robe symbolizes a lot of God's attributes; righteousness, majesty, splendor, and that the train of his robe filled the whole temple, which was a HUGE building, shows that he has an overabundance of all of it.

Psalm 93:1 The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.

Compare a well known story of the prodigal son, who went and lost everything and was covered in filth and ran home, what was the first thing his father did after forgiving him?

Luke 15:21-22 And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.

God's righteousness is often referred to as a Robe and one that he clothes others in, compare a few others.

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

2 Chronicles 6:41 Let your priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let your saints rejoice in your goodness.

Who is a priest? All Christians, it is a ministerial title for those who are ministers of the Most High God.
Who is a saint? Anyone who has been saved and is being sanctified.
Who is our Great High Priest? Jesus Christ.

Two of my favorite verses are Job 29:14 and Romans 13:14, they say, "I put on righteousness, and it clothed me, and my judgment was as a robe and a crown." In other words, the judgment is as the King. How do you put on righteousness? Paul said, "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, make no provision for the flesh, to satisfy its desires."

When Isaiah saw God's robe filling the Temple, it was symbolic of God's righteousness covering his people.

Isaiah 6:2-3 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!"

Compare this picture to Revelation 4:8, And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!"

The eyes that the angels are filled with are likely symbolic of their extensive wisdom, since they have eyes all around and within, they are able to see the grandeur of God as well as their own createdness. With their extensive wisdom, look at what they do, they worship God forever.

They are covering their faces and their feet. When covering their faces, I think they are specifically covering their eyes, acknowledging the Splendor of God. I think when covering their feet they are acknowledging their created-nature.

And which God are they calling to? They aren't just proclaiming any God, they give language to specify the God they are talking about, the Lord of hosts, the God of all the earth, the one who was before all things, is living, and is coming back to earth. They are talking about the One True God, the Triune God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 6:4-5 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"

Isaiah did the right thing when he encountered God, he recognized his sinfulness and God's holiness. Let's compare some other verses:

Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Isaiah 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: "Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?"
Luke 12:5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

The reason that sinners are afraid of God is because he is big, and holy, and offended, and righteousness, and the just judge who by no means will clear the guilty. All of these things are great things, but if they are pointed at you then they are terrifying. Consider a police officer, who keeps the peace and punishes bad guys. If you're not a criminal, then he is on your side, but if you are a criminal, he is your enemy.

Why was Isaiah so afraid? His one admission was a big one, "I am a man of unclean lips...", James really expounds on this idea well,

James 3:4-12 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

This is the James who usually says things with precise and concise statements, and yet he goes on and on about the tongue both wrecking our soul and also a bad tongue proving the lostness of our soul. Jesus said that out of the mouth the heart professes. By Isaiah admitting to having unclean lips, he was proclaiming his absolute depravity.

The same thing with us, when we blaspheme God's name or swear or gossip, we're showing our sinfulness. Woe to Isaiah? Woe to us!

Isaiah 6:6-7 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for."

Notice who did wasn't Isaiah, it was the angel. There is nothing we can do to clean ourselves up, we need a working of God to regenerate and sanctify our souls. This coal touching Isaiah's lips didn't save him, since everyone who has ever been saved is saved by Christ's payment, but it did cause the cleansing of Isaiah's soul. His faith in God that God would take care of him led to his salvation and his sins were paid for 700 years down the road on the cross of Christ.

Notice also that this coal was probably painful. A lot of times the sanctification process is painful, nobody promised it to be easy.

Isaiah 6:8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."

The outward indication of Isaiah's inward cleansing was his willingness to minister for God. Unfortunately, Israel was pretty far gone by this time, and the message Isaiah was given to preach wasn't one of redemption, but of punishment.

Isaiah 6:9-13 And he said, "Go, and say to this people: "'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears,and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed." Then I said, "How long, O Lord?" And he said: "Until cities lie waste without inhabitant,and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste, and the LORD removes people far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again,like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled." The holy seed is its stump.

Israel had a thumping in store for them, first by Assyria, then by Babylon, and ultimately by Rome. Isaiah's message was just to deliver this message.

A few years later Jeremiah would preach a similar message as Babylon was invading Israel. Jeremiah preached 50-some years without a single recorded convert, and at one point he got pretty angry at God for that, here is what he said,

Jeremiah 20:7-11 O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me.8For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, "Violence and destruction!" For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, "I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name, "there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side!" Denounce him! Let us denounce him!" say all my close friends, watching for my fall." Perhaps he will be deceived; then we can overcome him and take our revenge on him." But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.

When you're preaching, just like Isaiah and Jeremiah, you are not guaranteed converts, but we're preaching for the glory of God, not the conversion of men. It is a theme of Israel not responding to her prophets, and they got thumped by Assyria, and God saved them, then by Babylon, and God saved them, but finally by Rome, and God didn't save them.

So to get back to 1 Thessalonians 2:16 God's wrath has come upon the Jews at last.

There was a promise of salvation to Israel, so why weren't they saved?

Romans 9:4-8 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

I don't fully understand why Israel was cut-off, but they were certainly given ample opportunity to repent and be saved. The Israel that was promised salvation was spiritual Israel, not national Israel. This has worked out very well for the Gentiles.

Romans 11:11-12 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

There is a little circle, that Israel was cut-off so that the Gentiles could be saved, and the Gentiles were saved to make Israel jealous so they would repent and be saved. Now how did God do it?

Grafting was normal in Palestine/Israel. Wild olive shoots grow up everywhere. The major difference between an olive tree and an olive shoot is if someone has taken the time to prune the shoot to grow into a fruit-producing tree. An olive shoot will never produce fruit on its own though.

Romans 11:17-24 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

A dying branch on an olive tree can kill the whole tree, so it is absolutely necessary for the vine-dresser, also called a husbandman, to cut off dying branches. Once the branch is cut off, an olive shoot can be stuck to the tree and the tree will adopt the while shoot and then the shoot will produce fruit.

Who is the vine in all of this? Jesus.

Who is the vine dresser? God the Father.

John 15:1-6 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned."

The branches have to abide in the vine, because the vine is the source of all their nourishment and life. A branch apart from the vine is no good for anything other than to be burned in the fire.

So, Gentiles have been saved in place of the branches of Israel. Consider that we're all in prison, waiting for our ransom to be paid. The jailer comes in and says, "You're free to go, your $100 million ransom has been paid by Jesus Christ." Half of us get up and leave, the other half say, "That's not who we were waiting for, we'll wait for the next $100 million payment by someone other than Jesus Christ." There isn't going to be another payment, they are lost.

There are three kinds of Jewish person:
1. Messianic - Trust that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. The Old Testament prophets would fit in here. I'm certain Isaiah would rather worship God at Summit than at a Jewish Synagogue of today.
2. Orthodox - Claim to follow the Old Testament. They are waiting for the coming Messiah, they reject that it was Jesus. Most are expecting Elijah.
3. Talmudic - This is the majority of Jews today. They've abandoned the Old Testament and are following oral tradition. Of this type of Jew Jesus Christ was pretty harsh:

Revelation 2:9 I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Ultimately salvation is only through Jesus Christ. The Jews that have rejected him are not the Jews of promise and will not be saved. One sign of the end of the age is that many Jews will come to salvation in Jesus Christ, the Bible says they won't even have to tell each other that Jesus is the Messiah, they will just know. (Hebrews 8 and Romans 11)

One of my friends sometimes calls the church of Jesus Christ, "Israel." We don't have the land promises and such, but we have been grafted into the promise of salvation given to Israel. It's not a term I'd use for a congregation, since it takes too long to explain...I think it's taken three class periods to get to this point...but it isn't wrong to refer to the church today as Israel.

Follow Up Question:

Why is God Jealous? I was asked last weekend why God is a jealous God, and I thought it was something that I should relay to this class.

Imagine I came to class and nobody was here, I sat down to wait, and Dave came by, and I asked, "Dave, where's my class?" and he said, "Oh, I had a new guy who wanted to teach, but I didn't have any students to give him, so I gave your class the option of where they wanted to go, and he offered them food, so I guess they went with him." So I thought...hmmm...well, ok, so I sat down and read my Bible and prayed some, but got bored and decided to go see what he was teaching.

I find the class, and he's got a Dr. Seuss book opened and I ask, "Dr. Seuss? Is there a theological implication to that?" and he answers, "No, I just like it, and I didn't have time to prepare a lesson." I ask, "Well where's the food you promised?" and he says, "We already ate it," and points to an empty bag of M&M's.

At this point, beloved, I would be jealous. Not because he stole my class, but because of the quality of instruction you were getting. I know you all are well on your way to being great ministers of God, and his teaching you fluff would stifle your growth. My knowledge of your abilities and burgeoning wisdom would lead me to want you to keep growing, which is why I try to challenge you with deep lessons.

That is why God is a jealous God, he has worked hard and knows what is best for his people, and when they run off to infinitely lesser things he gets jealous. I hope that makes sense.

See you next week!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

November 23rd - Class Canceled

We did not have class today due to D-Now schedule restraints.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, be safe in your travels, see you next week.

Here are some things to be thankful for, gifts of God through his Son Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:12-17

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

November 16th - Noah's Sons and History

Prayer Requests
Jim Jones (not the cult leader) passed away this week, his ministry will be sorely missed
Pastor Aaron preaching on Romans 6
Allen Hardage's Restaurant
Preaching at KSU
Melissa - In a Cult
Disciple Now
National Revival

Last Week
Paul got mad at the Jews, why? They were blaspheming the name of Christ.
What's another term for Jew? Semite.
Where does that name come from? Noah's son.

Correction from Last Week
The Lamech who had two wives was not Noah's father, there are two Lamechs. Lamech means Peasant, this might give us a look into the pre-flood culture, that there were two Lamech's at the same time, they might have been stripped of their personal humanness to be called by their social caste. Maybe...don't build a church on that idea though.

Names in the Bible
In the Bible names usually mean things. Jesus means God Saves, Saul means Big and Paul means Small. Adam means man and it came from Adamah which means ground.

Adam is an individual man, where-as mankind is Ish. Man and woman are sort of an attempt to show the Hebrew variations of man and woman, it misses something neat though. Man is Ish, Adam said he'd call woman Ishah, because she was taken out of man. Ishah isn't just Ish with an ah added, Ishah is close to Hebrew for soft, which is Isha...the length you hold the last vowel makes a big difference in which word you're saying. Adam made a play on words. Some of have also said that the ah on the end makes the word softer...that's how Hebrew works though, add an -ah and it usually becomes feminine.

We're going to be looking at a lot of names today, and we're going to be staying almost exclusively in Genesis 4 and 5.

Noah was from Seth's lineage, we're going to be looking at Cain's lineage today. I used to think this was a mistake in the Bible, or at least superfluous, because it tells us all of this stuff about Cain's family, which was wiped out in the flood, but of course there are no mistakes in the Bible and all of this is absolutely trustworthy, I'll show you why.

Genesis 4:19 And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.

Lamech was the first to say, "If one wife is good, two wives must be extra good." He was the first to break the marriage covenant. He also killed someone, this story may mirror John the Baptist's story when Herod had him killed for John telling Herod that he couldn't marry two women. Again, don't build a church on this.

Lamech means Peasant
Adah means Dawn or Brightness
Zillah means Shadow

Usually in the Bible, the name given first is the first born or first wed or predominant person. Using that logic, Adah was probably Lamech's first wife, and a legal wife. Which makes Zillah the adulteress. Keep that in mind.

Genesis 4:20 Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock.

Jabal means Shepherd

Remember that the Semites became the shepherds? Jabal's daughter must have married Shem.

Genesis 4:21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.

Jubal means literally a trumpet, but figuratively a Musicician.

Remember the Japhethite's became your artsy people. Jubal's daughter must have married Japheth.

Jabal and Jubal were born to Adah, the legal wife, they were not born from a sinful union. That is not the same for their half-brother.

Genesis 4:22 Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.

Tubal-cain means Follower of the Striker, or figuratively Blacksmith
Naamah means Demon

Every word in the Bible is there for a reason. At first I couldn't figure out why Naamah was in the Bible, but look at what happened later. Ham either married Tubal-cain's daughter or possibly he married Naamah. Either way, Ham's sin, along with Lamech's sin, led to Canaan's curse to be a slave to the Semite's and Japhethites.

Two Things to Learn
1. Sin is serious; it not only affects you, it affects generations to come. Lamech's sin directly effected his (at least) Five-Time great grandson Canaan.

2. What God has given is good; music and livestock/agriculture are good, but what man makes is not so good. One example is the automobile. Our ability to drive long distances has done terrible damage to community, we now get to hang out only with people we like, where-as before the car, you'd just go to your closest church, you'd have to be aquainted with your neighbors. Now we don't, we only hang out with people we like and that has wrecked our empathy.

Reader's Note - We talked briefly about the social group called the Emo's, and how important it is to befriend them because they are in need of empathy, and this is the Christlike thing to do.

So lets look at some things. (This table was impossible to put on this website)

Sons of Noah
Shem - Israel & Palestine / Shepherds / Religious & Spiritual
Ham - Africa & Asia / Slaves / Inventors
Japheth - Europe / Musicians / Artsy & Philosophical

Abraham's Wives
Sarah - Semite - Isaac - Israel
Hagar - Hamite - Ishmael - Islam
Ketureh - Japhethite - Lots of Sons - Everybody Else

Remember the promise made to Abraham before he had children.

Genesis 17:4-7 Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.

Salvation was promised to the descendents of Abraham. It was God's plan all along to save from the Semites, Hamites, and Japhethites.

Galatians 3:29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Jews were expecting salvation only for them, but that was nearsighted.

The Synoptic Gospels
Matthew - Jesus the King - To the Semites
Mark - Jesus the Servant - To the Hamites
Luke - Jesus the Physician - To the Japhethites

Matthew -
- To the Jews
- As a Baby kings were afraid of Jesus
- Lord of the Sabbath
- Sermon on the Mount - Showed his authority

Mark -
- To the Gentiles
- Jesus -
- - Feeding
- - Healing
- - Cleansing
- - Submissive to God

Luke -
- To the Gentiles
- The Science of Jesus
- Authority over
- - Nature
- - Death
- - Sin

Who is John written to? Everbody!
What's John's two purposes? Jesus is God; Love One Another

Who visited Jesus?
1. Shepherds - Semites
2. Wise Men - From where? Asia. Hamites
3. Greeks - John 12. Japhethites

To at least continue in the theme of 1 Thessalonians, lets read 2:17-20 with our last remaining minutes.

1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.

Paul, Silas, and Timothy were torn away from the church, and Paul's anger at the Jews was compounded by his experience in Corinth.

Even though they were separated in body, they were still with them in heart.

Charles Spurgeon said this, A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your names on hearts, not on marble.

I was shocked when reading this passage that Paul was boasting and glorying in this church. We are supposed to boast only in Christ...but who is the church? The body of Christ. I boast on this class all the time, especially since I've heard from several of your parents that you're sharing your faith and inviting friends to church. I'm very proud of you for doing that.

Follow Up
- Hand out some Gospel tracts this week.
- Next week will be mostly for D-Now follow-up, if we have time we'll look at a little bit at the vine of Christ and the branches of the church.
- I've strayed far from 1 Thessalonians, but I think these lessons are important to fully understand who the church is, who the Jews are, and who Israel is. I don't know how much time we'll have next week, but in preparation, please read John 15 and Romans 9-11, and reread 1 Thessalonians 2:14-20.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

November 9th - Paul's Indictment Against the Jews

Prayer Requests
-Pastor Barry Barnett in Wisconsin who is facing prison time for spanking his son.
-Pastor Aaron preaching on Romans 5-6
-Jessica's Dog
-Disciple Now
-Leon's Back

Text - 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

When was 1 Thessalonians written? AD51
Where was it written from? Corinth
Who made up the church at Thessalonica? Gentiles, probably no Jews; they were either run out of town or killed.

Acts 18:5-8 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles." And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.

Paul quoted or alluded to eight different Old Testament Books in this brief event, he wanted to let the Jews he was speaking to know that he was abandoning them in accordance with scripture. He was MAD, I don't think that can be stressed enough...he was so mad that this anger showed up in his letter to Thessalonica at the same time.

He shook the dust from his garments, which was a Jewish custom of saying, "Not only am I through with you and your synagogue, I don't even want the dust from your synagogue to touch me."

The big passage he was quoting was from Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 33:1-6 The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.

This is called a sin of omission, when you commanded to do somehting, and you don't. In this case, it is preaching the truth if you know the truth, otherwise, if you know the truth, and don't preach it, then God will require an account for why you didn't preach. Paul did preach, and they didn't listen, and according to this passage, his duty was fulfilled and he was clean of the blood of the Jews. He began preaching to the Gentiles, which was his primary calling.

Galatians 1:15-17 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

Jesus Christ is ingenious in this, that he sent the smartest Rabbi that ever lived not to the Jews whom he could have done a little good with, but to the Gentiles so they would understand the Old Testament in relation to the New Covenant as explained by a Rabbi who had been studying it his whole life.

So Paul went next door, right next door, according to Acts.

Then what happened? Crispus got saved, the highest Jew in Corinth, the person Paul had likely been seeking to convert since arriving in Corinth. This was probably God's way of saying, "See Paul, I'm in control, if you're obedient, then I will take care of my church, because, after all, I'm the one building the church using you as a tool."

First Thessalonians 2:14-16 was written at the same time as the preaching we just heard about in Corinth, and the anger expressed there carries over into Paul's letter.

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last!

Now, first of all, who are these Jews? Another name for Jews is Semites, and that name comes from the very first chapters of the Bible.

- Adam
- Seth - Yes, Seth married his sister...before the Gene pool was corrupted by sin there was nothing wrong with this and it was not socially weird at the time.
- Enosh
- Kenan
- Mahalalel
- Jarod
- Enoch - Extra righteous and was raptured...and no, I did not know Enoch, I'm not quite that old.
- Methusaleh - The oldest man ever to live, most likely died in the flood.
- Lamech - Not the Lamech who had two wives.
- Noah - Righteous in God's eyes, had three sons whom had three wives. More than likely if we search Genesis 4 we could find out a lot about the wives, but I didn't have time when preparing this lesson. (See the next lesson)

Noah had three sons.
- Shem's descendents are known as the Semites, they are Jews and Samarians
- These are your spiritual people in history.

- Ham's descendents are known as Hamites, they were the most prolific inhabitors and make up the regions of Africa, Southern Asia, America (Native Americans), and Canaan.
- They are known mostly for their inventions and servant attitudes, including being slaves to both the Semites and Japhethites.

- Japheth's descendents are known as Japhethites, and they are those that inhabited Europe and Northern Asia.
- They are known for being Artsy and Philosophical.

Every people group today can be traced back to these peoples, as was prophecized in Genesis.

Genesis 9:19, 25-27 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed. "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers." He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant."

What happened was Ham started to sink back into the old sinful ways of pre-flood, and they couldn't have that. So Noah cursed Ham, and not only Ham, but his grandson Canaan to show that this curse was genetic and not just against Ham. God ordained slavery and has used it to teach us valuable lessons in history.

How many races are there? ONE, there are many ethnicities, but only one race, all men are created in the image of God and none are to be esteemed above others.

Does God love any people group because of the color of their skin? NO!

In fact, Simon Peter was fairly certain that Jesus had only come to the Jews, then he saw a Samarian saved, and so he figured Christ came only for the Semites, but he was called to preach to some Gentiles, Greeks who were of the Japheth line. Before he preached this, Philip got an Ethiopian Eunich saved, which is a Hamite.

Acts 10:34-44 So Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that God is no respector of persons, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ ( he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.

God saves from each of these people groups, but we see just how in control God is from start to finish of History. For example, Abraham first married Sarah, a Semite, then he married Hagar from Egypt, a Hamite, and finally he married Ketureh, who tradition tells us was a Japhethite.

Who helped Jesus carry his cross? Simon of Cyrene. Cyrene is in North Africa, Simon was a Hamite, this fits perfectly into the prophecy of Genesis 9 that Hamites will serve Semites (Jesus) and Japhethites (Roman Soldiers). A beautiful redemption story in this, is that while Simon carried the cross, there was never an indictment against him for it, and later he likely became a deacon in the church at Antioch, and his father Rufus became a respected member of the church at Rome.

So that's who the Jew's are, Semites. (We'll talk a bit more about this next week, I realized afterwards that I missed a lot of neat and useful things)

Remember, Paul was a Jew. So to jump back into First Thessalonians, the word of God is at work in believers, imitating the church at Judea. Being called imitators of Judea is a compliment, it means that Thessalonica was seeing people saved and being faithful. But, also this was a reminder that persecution was not just limited to Thessalonica, but that Judea had been thoroughly persecuted by non-Messianic Jews.

Jews killed Jesus, but remember that this was a plan of God. We ought not hate Jewish people because of what their ancestors did, but we also must not overlook their sins of continuing to blaspheme the name of Jesus Christ. We know this was a plan of God because we are told so in Acts 2, but we can also see God's hand at work at the trial of Jesus, when there is a murderous thief on stage named Barabbas with Jesus. His name is not a coincidence at all, Barabbas means "Son of Fathers" or to interpret a little, the sons of men stood against Bartheo, the "Son of God". The Son of God was holy, righteous, and pure, the sons of men are unholy, wicked, and defiled. The crowd chose themselves over God, as every people group would have done; this Sunday School class, given the chance in 1st Century Jerusalem, would have cried out for the crucifixion of Christ and the release of ourselves, it is our nature, and yet Christ died for us anyways.

The Jews have gotten the brunt of the blame because they were the ones who were actually there and actually did it.

Paul indicted them on killing Jesus and the prophets. Included in this indictment was John the Baptist, James the Lesser, and who else? Stephen. Who killed Stephen? Paul was instrumental in his murder and yet Paul was so angry he didn't realize he was indicting himself in this letter with the Jews. I think he realized this soon enough and we'll look at why shortly.

They displeased God and opposed mankind by hindering the preaching of the Gospel.

1 Timothy 2:1-7 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

God desires all men to be saved, and yet the Jews were standing against this. (This passage also has good context with the election, don't forget to pray for Obama and his cabinet for wisdom and salvation; and George Bush in his last days in the White House, give him the boldness and wisdom to set-up godly stumbling blocks to oppose Obama's godless actions)

The Jews sinned and sinned and sinned and sinned some more; and the wrath of God has come upon them at last, according to Paul. This is manifested most frighteningly in their being cut-off from salvation.

Now, running out of time, when was First Thessalonians written? AD 51, when was Romans written? AD 60. So 9 years later Paul had changed his tune slightly;

Romans 9:1-3 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

If Paul could have given up his salvation so that Israel would have been saved, he would have done it. That is true love! I believe Paul wrote Hebrews as a last ditch effort to see Jews saved, he didn't sign it because if he had, then they wouldn't have read it because it was from someone they considered totally apostate and their enemy.

We're out of time, we will jump back into this next week and probably go through chapter 3 verse 5.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

November 2nd - Service for Men

Prayer Requests
Pastor Aaron Preaching
Dave Sloan safe return
Leon in the Yucatan

Text - 1 Thessalonians 2:7-13

A little bit of context, remember that Paul, Silas, and Timothy went into Thessalonica preaching the Gospel free of charge and working themselves to pay for their food and lodging. While they could have charged those at Thessalonica for the Gospel, this passage we will see why they were preaching free of charge.

But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

The spiritual life mirrors the physical life, there is a conception in which the seed of faith is planted, followed by gestation, rebirth, infancy, adolescence, and adulthood.

Matthew 13:1-13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: "A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

John 3:3-7 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'

When you are born again, your flesh is filled with the Holy Spirit. This is a major life-changing event and when it happens, you’ll know. Many Christian churches that are no longer adhering to the Bible have abandoned this language because it doesn’t happen to them and therefore they think it must be symbolic. But being born-again is as extreme and life-changing was when you were born the first time.

You don’t say, “I prayed a prayer and that made me born again.” No, being born again is an act of the Holy Spirit, it cannot be forced by someone.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

Godly sorrow, or grief, is the acknowledgement that you’ve sinned against God and that he is justified in sending you to Hell for your transgression because you’ve offended his righteousness and blasphemed his name through your actions. Few people have a godly sorrow.

Worldly grief, or regret, is the acknowledgement that your sin has caused you or someone else sadness and that you’re sorry that your sin has hurt you. This regret is bad in God’s eyes and as it says, it leads to death, not to life. Many people have this wordly sorrow.

A godly sorrow results in what the Apostle John states in one of my favorite verses,

John 1:12-13 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

This event is synonymous with the new heart that God promised Israel by the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36:26-27), where-as the person who hasn’t been born again drinks iniquity like water (Job 15:16), the one born of the Spirit will hunger and thirst after righteousness. (Matthew 5:6)

Let’s look at Jesus’ birth,

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

Jesus was born of the Spirit before he was born of the flesh. This is one of the reasons that he didn’t have a sin nature and was able to be perfect for his entire life. The biggest reason though was because he was God manifest in the flesh.

After a baby is born what does the mother do? Does she send it to work, or start teaching it immediately, or does she love it, and feed it, and tend to its every need so that it is healthy and happy? New Christians are the same way, someone shouldn’t get saved and then instantly be put in a pastoral position or sent out evangelizing.

1 Timothy 3:6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Paul realizes the correlation, the likeness, of physical birth to rebirth and compares himself, Silas, and Timothy to moms who took care of the new Christians in the same way a mother would take care of a new baby. This is another reason I think that Paul wrote Hebrews.

Hebrews 5:13-14 …everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

After their initial understanding of the Gospel and basic training on the word of God, they transitioned into teaching them how to live holy, righteous, and pure, both through word and through providing examples for them.

It is a constant struggle for me when preparing these lessons not to go too high for you guys so that it’s out of your reach, but I definitely don’t want to go too low and treat you like babies, because you’re not. If I ever say anything you don’t understand, please don’t hesitate to ask questions. One of our greatest failures in the last century, I believe, is adding the term teenager to our vocabulary. I think there are children, and there are adults, and children should transition into young adults around the age of 12-14 and start to be responsible for themselves. We are also seeking this transition in spirituality.

There should be a point, if it hasn’t happened already, where you are reading your Bible and you realize, “I don’t need Canyon or my parents to explain this to me, I can understand it on my own through the help of the Holy Spirit.” Do you remember when you were learning to ride a bike and you thought your mom or dad was still holding you upright then you realized that they weren’t but that you were doing it on your own? That’s what we’re going for, we want you to be autonomous in your ministry and relationship with God.

Paul states, “we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” We are representatives, ambassadors, for God and our lives should be becoming of his kingdom. We do this in our language, our actions, and our dress. As your spiritual leaders we at Summit are seeking the same things, sometimes it might not seem fair or reasonable, like not letting you dress up as something sinister on Halloween or making you put on a Summit t-shirt because your shirt is too small or has something vulgar on it, but we have our reasons which will hopefully become clear to you as you read your Bibles. Or if you have questions you can always ask, ultimately our goal is the glory of Christ and the sanctification, even salvation, of your soul…not that you can lose your salvation, but if you love the world and things of the world, it shows that you probably have never been saved and are in need of saving.

Continuing on… And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

The Bible is amazing, it is supernatural, it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error for its content. It is the final authority on everything it speaks of, it is not a science book, but when it speaks of science, it is accurate, it’s not a math book, but when it speaks on math, it is accurate, it is not a comprehensive history of Israel or the world, but when it speaks on history, it is accurate.

Who knows why education was so important to the Founding Fathers of the United States of America? They wanted you to be able to read this book. Every book, every chapter, every verse, every word is God breathed and as important as the rest.

It is the source of our knowledge, how God speaks to us, where faith comes from, it is our mission statement, our instructions for life, and a light for our path. Sometimes people will say it has errors in it, and at face value it might seem like there is one, but these errors are always easily harmonized.

For example, Can God create a rock so heavy that he himself cannot lift it?