The Elements of the pattern of church service and life can be seen in scripture

The elements of the pattern of church service and life can be seen in scripture.

True worshippers are to worship in truth and spirit (John 4:24), by the Spirit of God (Philippians 3:3). True believers remained in the teaching of God (2 John 1:9). They would have obeyed God as opposed to rebelled against God (1 John 3:10).

Men, women, and children would have gathered together to hear what was being taught – It may have been that only children who were old enough to understand who were in church service (such as those who were age 12, the age of when Jewish boys have their bar mitzvah, which happens to be the age of Jesus when he was in the temple courts sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions) (Deuteronomy 31:12; Nehemiah 8:1-3; Luke 2:41-47; Luke 18:15-17; Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20-21; 2 John 1:1).

They met together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). They met in the temple courts, in people’s homes, beside rivers, in synagogues, and in lecture halls (possibly schools) (Acts 2:42-47; Acts 16:13; Acts 19:8-9).

The church leaders were male elders and male deacons and female deaconesses (Acts 6:2-8; Acts 16:13; Romans 16:1; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-10).

The communion supper (also known as the Lord’s Supper) was observed (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:18-32).

Prayers were offered up to God alone, in harmony with the will of God (1 Corinthians 14:15–16; Nehemiah 4:9; Matthew 6:9,;1 John 5:14).

Songs were sung to the glory of God and thanks to God was given (Ephesians 5:19-20; Psalms 95, 96, 98).

A free will collection was taken (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:7). The Church was not involved with business (Matthew 21:12–13).

Sometimes church discipline occurred (Matt. 18:17).

The Scriptures were publically read (Colossians 4:16; 1 Tim. 4:13), and the Word of God was proclaimed (Acts 20:7; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Timothy 4:2).

Indeed, each had a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:28).

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Different meanings of the word ‘world’

In John 3:16, we see

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

The original word translated as “world” in Greek is ‘Kosmos’. These are the various definitions for that word, and we will look at examples of these different definitions in scripture:

  1. an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
  2. ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, ‘the heavenly hosts’, as the ornament of the heavens.
    1 Peter 3:3

    Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;

  3. the world, the universe

    Matthew 24:21

    21 For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.

  4. the circle of the earth, the earth

    Matthew 4:8

    Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;

  5. the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family
  6. the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ

    This is the ‘world’ – those who do not trust Christ.

    John 14:17

    17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

    John 15:19

    19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

    John 17:9,14

    I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours;

    14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

    2 Peter 2:5

    and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;

    1 John 3:13

    13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.

  7. world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly
    1. the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ
  8. any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort
    1. the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc)
    2. of believers only, John 1:29; 3:16-17; 6:33; 12:47 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19

      John 1:29

      29 The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God whotakes away the sin of the world!

      John 3:16-17

      16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

      John 6:33

      33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”

      2 Corinthians 5:19

      19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation

       

 

Train up a child in the way he should go…

There is a big debate among some Christians as to whether a Christian should homeschool or not. There are people who use scripture to say yes and others who say no.

I have already addressed the fact that both studies and scripture show that who and what we surround ourselves with affects us.

I decided to address this in light of a recent study:  Study Finds Homeschoolers Less Likely to Leave Faith Than Public, Private Schooled Students.

From the article: 

“Having a strong relationship with the child’s mother and father, attending church as a child, and years homeschooled were all clearly positively associated with Millennials’ basic Christian orthodoxy, broader biblical beliefs, Christian behaviors (e.g., attending church, keeping sex in marriage, prayer, not using pornography), satisfaction in life, civic and community involvement, and having beliefs similar to one’s parents,” Ray stated.

87% of study participants who were homeschooled said they have strong Christian beliefs. Conversely, Millennials who were enrolled in public schools or private Christian schools were more likely to walk away from the faith later in life.

“Number of years in Christian school and number of years in public school were negatively associated with most of the adult beliefs and behaviors just mentioned,” Ray explained.

Statistically, homeschooled young adults were six times as likely to be believers and seven times as likely to be stronger in their Christian beliefs as Millennials attending private schools. Homeschooled Millennials were also two times as likely to be stronger in Christian beliefs as those who attended Christian schools or public schools.

The study basically shows that people who are homeschooled (because of reasons of faith) are significantly more likely to be believers in Christ than those in either public OR private schools. This seems to run counter to the common wisdom that sending children to Christian private schools some how teaches children in a way so as to not reject Christ and help them stay in church. It also runs counter to the idea that we should send our children into schools  and allow them to be lights for Christ in environments which teach humanism.

Obviously, God has addressed the idea of teaching our children in scripture. Let’s take a look.

Proverbs 22:6 ESV

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV 

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Ephesians 6:4 ESV

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 ESV

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 12:5-11 ESV

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
    nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Titus 2:4-5 ESV

And so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

2 Timothy 3:14-17

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

All of these scriptures speak of morals, of righteousness, of equipping people for every good work. Some take that to mean the scriptures only speak of religious education. Others take that to mean all education.

Personally, I do not see a distinction between the spiritual and the physical.  I think both are intertwined. We can not separate the two. Whether we teach about God, work or life, we teach about living in a way so as to please the Lord. There is no separation.

1 Thessalonians 4:1
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.
More than that, we must teach about philosophy, human tradition, and the basic principles of this world – this is secular education in today’s world. I few don’t teach about the truth in all areas of life, our children CAN be taken captive.

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

We must be sure to teach about NOT becoming friends with the world, and how can we do this if we put our children in schools, public or private, which do exactly that.

James 4:4

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

So parents are responsible for teaching our children about God. But more than that, we are responsible for teaching them how they should live – and this includes being sure they are taught appropriately about human traditions, philosophies, and basic principles. This is not merely teaching morals, or about God, but teaching how to not be ensnared in such things. We can not do that if we turn our children over to a school which purposefully ensnares them. We MUST educate spiritually as well as in other areas of life. to do this, homeschooling is the best option.

1 Peter 1:13-25

1 Peter 1:13-25

Be Holy, purify yourselves by obeying the truth!

1 Peter was written to believers in Christ in various towns in what is now Turkey. It was written about 64-67 AD. And it was written to encourage believers in what were very difficult times – they were suffering persecution and many were trying to find jobs or even food. With that short introduction, let me begin with the text of the Bible. (The bold letters are the text in the Bible.)

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, 

Peter was sent By and For Christ

To God’s elect,

God’s chosen people are those who hear the truth of Christ and accept Him as savior. If you believe in Christ as the only way to heaven, then you are a chosen person. God chose you. God did it. Oh, you had to accept Him, but HE gave you the faith to do so. John 6:37 –  “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away”

                strangers in the world, 

We are to NOT be citizens of the world. Our citizenship is in heaven, not here on earth. As such, we need to live here as if we are strangers. We might take an interest in what is going on here, but it should not affect us as much as people who are not looking forward to going home.

                scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,

These people, like you and I, are scattered like seed – we are all planted to grow where God wants us to grow. We are where God wants us to be.,

                        2 who have been chosen

Notice, the elect are people who have been CHOSEN – they did not do the choosing. God did it. Not you. Everything is about God, not you.

In the next part of this verse, we see the explicit mention of the Trinity – Father, Spirit, Christ, as well as the four steps of salvation:

                                                  according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,

Step 1: Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love” God chose us – before the world was created. Before he had even made the world, he chose YOU to be one of his adopted children – to believe in Him.

                                                 through the sanctifying work of the Spirit,

Step 2: 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you[a] to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” And God chose you to be saved through the work of the Holy Spirit and belief in the truth – that Christ is the son of God, sent by God to live a perfect life, suffer and die to pay for your sins, and be resurrected again to demonstrate he was God.

                                                                                  for obedience to Jesus Christ and

Step 3: Obey the truth, the Gospel, which means change (or repent) from following your own ways, to following God; trust Christ as Savior; exercise faith – believe and act like it. In John 14:15, Jesus Christ said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” In Deuteronomy 5:9-10 and Exodus 20:5-6, God said, “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” God love those who love Him and do what He says. Trust God and do what He said.

                                                                                   sprinkling by his blood:

Step 4: we see the benefits of faith. In John 3:16, Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” GOD LOVED THE WORLD so much that he sent His one and only son so that whoever believes in Him (as savior sent by God for our sins) will not die, but have eternal life. THAT Is the benefit of faith – eternal life. Without faith, we are doomed to never enter heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus said “…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

3 Praise be to the God and

                                Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Peter was praying peace and grace to the believers and praising God. Grace, in this case, is something that is bestowed upon you that by  someone of higher status – that which is needed to gain entrance into heaven – God’s love and faith and patience.

                                In his great mercy

Notice the word “mercy”.  This is us receiving something we do not deserve. Romans 3:23 states, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.” We all deserve to die, because we are all sinners – we are all people who can not do everything perfect – we miss the mark of perfection (which is what sin means).  As such, we deserve death. But God is merciful.

                                                            he has given us new birth

Note the past tense of ‘given’. This has already happened. It happened before we came to believe in Him. It happened before God created the world. John 3:1-5 reads, “1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”   3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”  5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”  Being born of water does not speak of baptism. Jesus is talking about being born physically. But when he talks about being born of the Spirit, he is speaking about accepting Jesus as being sent by God to save us. The Holy Spirit works in us to be able to believe and accept what God has done. And Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9 that what God has done is a gift, and we can not earn it, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9not by works, so that no one can boast.”

                                                                                      into a living hope

This “hope” is not wishfullness. It is knowledge – expecting something to happen. We expect God to keep his promise – we expect God to take us into heave, having forgiven our sins because of the suffering and death Christ endured for our sakes.

                                                                through the resurrection of Jesus Christ

                                                                                                               from the dead,

And this is how we got that living hope: Christ was resurrected from the dead. It is only through his suffering, death, and resurrection that we can hope to gain entrance into heaven. Any other way is us trying to earn our way in. Since we are not, and never will be perfect, it is impossible to gain entrance into heaven without what Christ did for us.

                                                                                                4 and into an inheritance

Notice the future tense – we expect to receive an inheritance from our parents, in the future. When we accept what Christ has done for us, we are adopted into the family of God. Before that, we were creations of God, not not children of God in the sense that we could expect any inheritance.

                                                                                that can never perish,

                                                                                                            spoil or

                                                                                                            fade—

                                                                                kept in heaven for you,

            We know that our inheritance, eternal life with God in heaven, will never de destroyed. It is imperishable – it can not be taken from us, it can not be lost, it can not be denied us – IF we  TRUST God. I am not speaking of belief as in having an idea that something is true. I am speaking of having faith – confidence – that what God has done for us is true. If we believe something is true, we might say that we believe it, but we will never act on that belief. If we have confidence, if we TRUST in something, then we will act on that trust we have. For instance, if we might say, “I believe this 30 year old car will be able to be driven from Miami to Los Angeles.” But if we do not trust the car, we will let someone else drive it. If we trust the car, we will get into it and make the drive ourselves. THAT is trust, a belief, plus an action. And we need to TRUST Christ.

5 who through faith are shielded

                                                   by God’s power

                                                   until the coming of the salvation

                                                             that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Here is our assurance that we are saved when we trust Christ. We are shielded through faith by God’s power. This is the God who created the universe. This is the God who created you. This is the God who CHOSE you before he created the universe. If he can do that, he can certainly guard your inheritance so that you never lose it and it is never destroyed or taken from you.

6 In this you greatly rejoice,

                                          though now

                                                        for a little while

                                                        you may have had to suffer grief

                                                             in all kinds of trials.

We might suffer in this life, but it is only temporary suffering. We will have all of eternity to not suffer and to be with God. Look to the future, not the past or even the present.

                                                                      7 These have come so that your faith—

                                                                        of greater worth than gold,

                                                                               which perishes

                                                                                 even though refined by fire

                                                                               may be proved genuine and

                                                                               may result in praise,

                                                                                                       glory and

                                                                                                       honor

                                                                               when Jesus Christ is revealed.

True faith does not go away. True faith does not perish. Our faith is worth greater than anything. Gold is refined through fire. The impurities are removed that way. We suffer in life, but it helps us to mature in our faith. As we suffer, if our faith does not go away, if we rely on God, then it is real.

                                                              8 Though you have not seen him,

                                                              you love him; and

                                                              even though you do not see him now,

                                                              you believe in him and

John 20:29 says, “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Thomas had faith because he saw. WE are more blessed than Thomas, because we have faith without having seen Christ. Hebrews 11:1 reads, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” We are sure of what we hope for.

                                                               are filled with an inexpressible and

                                                                                        glorious joy,

Faith leads to joy. If we are not joyous that we are going to be with Christ, then we are not sure of what we have.

                                                               9 for you are receiving

                                                                                          the goal of your faith,

                                                                                          the salvation of your souls.

Notice the present tense. We ARE RECEIVING the goal of our faith – the salvation of our souls. It is a process, an ongoing process. It will be finished when we are in heaven with God.

                                                              10 Concerning this salvation,

                                                                   the prophets,

                                                                       who spoke of the grace

                                                                                   that was to come to you,

Faith comes through knowledge. If we do not know about something, how can we believe in it, let alone trust it? The prophets wrote of the grace, the free gift of salvation that would come to us.

                                                                       searched intently and

                                                                           with the greatest care,

                                                                       11 trying to find out the time and

                                                                                     circumstances to which

                                                                                     the Spirit of Christ

                                                                                          in them

                                                                                          was pointing

                                                                                          when He predicted

                                                                                             the sufferings of Christ and

                                                                                             the glories that would follow.

Notice that it was GOD doing the work. GOD gave them the prophecies. God said in Isaiah 53:5 that Jesus would suffer for our sins, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” If Christ suffered for our sins, then why do so many people keep trying to earn their way into heaven? I am not saying that we should not do good things, such as go to church, give money to those who need it, give to the church, feed the poor, etc.. I am saying that we can do all the good things in the world, but those things will not get us into heaven. There are some really great and wonderful people who do not believe in Christ who do those things. They are still going to go to hell. There are many people who go to church who will still be in hell because they do NOT TRUST Christ. We must TRUST Christ to enter heaven. Nothing else can do it.

                                                              12 It was revealed to them

                                                               that they were not serving themselves

                                                                                                    but you,

            The prophets KNEW they were speaking for the good of the people to come – for our good. They were not speaking for their health; they did it because God gave them the words.

                                                                when they spoke of

                                                                           the things that have now been told you

                                                                           by those who have preached the gospel

                                                                                     to you

                                                                                    by the Holy Spirit

                                                                                                     sent from heaven.

            See, even though the prophets preached, it was the Holy Spirit who spoke. Even the apostles were guided and given words by the Holy Spirit. That is how WE should live, guided by the Holy Spirit and letting HIM speak through us.

                                                      Even angels long to look into these things.

            The wonderful things the prophets of the Old and New Testaments spoke of, the thing we look forward to, is sooo great that the Angels want to see it. This thing called salvation, where we accept the gift of God – the fact that His SON died in our place so we could be with God in heaven – this is what the prophets spoke of. And this is what the angels want to see. And this is what we, if we trust God through trusting his son, have to look forward to!

Remember, even though we may suffer in this life, it is a temporary thing. What we have our hope set on is eternal life with the one true God of the universe – the creator of everything. We know we are looking forward to life with God in heaven, so we should not be discouraged by the suffering we see and deal with in this life. We are strangers here, not citizens of this world. We might live here for a time, but we are citizens of heaven. As such, we need to live like we are citizens of heaven. If you believe what Christ has done for you, then ask God to remind you when things are difficult that you are not a citizen of this life, or of this world, but a citizen of heaven and you look forward to life with Him. If you have not asked God to guide your life, to take control of your life, if you are still trying to control your life, then I urge you to change and recognize you are not perfect. God is perfect. Ask HIM to take over your life, and then you will also have your hope in the future – to a time when you are living in heaven with God.

1 Peter 1:1-12

1 Peter 1:1-12

Past, Present, and Future of God’s mercy

 

1 Peter was written to believers in Christ in various towns in what is now Turkey. It was written about 64-67 AD. And it was written to encourage believers in what were very difficult times – they were suffering persecution and many were trying to find jobs or even food. With that short introduction, let me begin with the text of the Bible. (The bold letters are the text in the Bible.)

 

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, 

            Peter was sent By and For Christ

 

To God’s elect,

               God’s chosen people are those who hear the truth of Christ and accept Him as savior. If you believe in Christ as the only way to heaven, then you are a chosen person. God chose you. God did it. Oh, you had to accept Him, but HE gave you the faith to do so. John 6:37  “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away”

 

               strangers in the world, 

               We are to NOT be citizens of the world. Our citizenship is in heaven, not here on earth. As such, we need to live here as if we are strangers. We might take an interest in what is going on here, but it should not affect us as much as people who are not looking forward to going home.

 

              scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,

              These people, like you and I, are scattered like seed – we are all planted to grow where God wants us to grow. We are where God wants us to be.,

 

              2 who have been chosen

              Notice, the elect are people who have been CHOSEN – they did not do the choosing. God did it. Not you. Everything is about God, not you.

 

In the next part of this verse, we see the explicit mention of the Trinity – Father, Spirit, Christ, as well as the four steps of salvation:

                                           according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,

                                          Step 1: Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love” God chose us – before the world was created. Before he had even made the world, he chose YOU to be one of his adopted children – to believe in Him.

 

                                          through the sanctifying work of the Spirit,

                                          Step 2: 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you[a] to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” And God chose you to be saved through the work of the Holy Spirit and belief in the truth – that Christ is the son of God, sent by God to live a perfect life, suffer and die to pay for your sins, and be resurrected again to demonstrate he was God.

 

                                          for obedience to Jesus Christ and

                                          Step 3: Obey the truth, the Gospel, which means change (or repent) from following your own ways, to following God; trust Christ as Savior; exercise faith – believe and act like it. In John 14:15, Jesus Christ said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” In Deuteronomy 5:9-10 and Exodus 20:5-6, God said, “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” God love those who love Him and do what He says. Trust God and do what He said.

 

                                                sprinkling by his blood:

                                          Step 4: we see the benefits of faith. In John 3:16, Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” GOD LOVED THE WORLD so much that he sent His one and only son so that whoever believes in Him (as savior sent by God for our sins) will not die, but have eternal life. THAT Is the benefit of faith – eternal life. Without faith, we are doomed to never enter heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus said “…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

3 Praise be to the God and

                             Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

                             Peter was praying peace and grace to the believers and praising God. Grace, in this case, is something that is bestowed upon you that by  someone of higher status – that which is needed to gain entrance into heaven – God’s love and faith and patience.

 

                            In his great mercy

                            Notice the word “mercy”.  This is us receiving something we do not deserve. Romans 3:23 states, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.” We all deserve to die, because we are all sinners – we are all people who can not do everything perfect – we miss the mark of perfection (which is what sin means).  As such, we deserve death. But God is merciful.

 

                                          he has given us new birth

                                          Note the past tense of ‘given’. This has already happened. It happened before we came to believe in Him. It happened before God created the world. John 3:1-5 reads, “1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”   3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”  5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”  Being born of water does not speak of baptism. Jesus is talking about being born physically. But when he talks about being born of the Spirit, he is speaking about accepting Jesus as being sent by God to save us. The Holy Spirit works in us to be able to believe and accept what God has done. And Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9 that what God has done is a gift, and we can not earn it, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9not by works, so that no one can boast.”

 

                                                                      into a living hope

                                                                    This “hope” is not wishfullness. It is knowledge – expecting something to happen. We expect God to keep his promise – we expect God to take us into heave, having forgiven our sins because of the suffering and death Christ endured for our sakes.

 

                                                                      through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

                                                                    And this is how we got that living hope: Christ was resurrected from the dead. It is only through his suffering, death, and resurrection that we can hope to gain entrance into heaven. Any other way is us trying to earn our way in. Since we are not, and never will be perfect, it is impossible to gain entrance into heaven without what Christ did for us.

 

                                                                                                                4 and into an inheritance

                                                                    Notice the future tense – we expect to receive an inheritance from our parents, in the future. When we accept what Christ has done for us, we are adopted into the family of God. Before that, we were creations of God, not not children of God in the sense that we could expect any inheritance.

 

                                                                                    that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you,

                                                                                  We know that our inheritance, eternal life with God in heaven, will never de destroyed. It is imperishable – it can not be taken from us, it can not be lost, it can not be denied us – IF we  TRUST God. I am not speaking of belief as in having an idea that something is true. I am speaking of having faith – confidence – that what God has done for us is true. If we believe something is true, we might say that we believe it, but we will never act on that belief. If we have confidence, if we TRUST in something, then we will act on that trust we have. For instance, if we might say, “I believe this 30 year old car will be able to be driven from Miami to Los Angeles.” But if we do not trust the car, we will let someone else drive it. If we trust the car, we will get into it and make the drive ourselves. THAT is trust, a belief, plus an action. And we need to TRUST Christ.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                          5 who through faith

                                                                                                                                                                                                    are shielded

                                                                                                                                            by God’s power

                                                                                                                                            until the coming of the salvation

                                                                                                                                                                                      that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

                                                                                                Here is our assurance that we are saved when we trust Christ. We are shielded through faith by God’s power. This is the God who created the universe. This is the God who created you. This is the God who CHOSE you before he created the universe. If he can do that, he can certainly guard your inheritance so that you never lose it and it is never destroyed or taken from you.

 

                                                                                                                                                          6 In this you greatly rejoice,

                                                                                                                                            though now

                                                                                                                                                          for a little while

                                                                                                                                                          you may have had to suffer grief

                                                                                                                                                                                                     in all kinds of trials.

                                                                                                We might suffer in this life, but it is only temporary suffering. We will have all of eternity to not suffer and to be with God. Look to the future, not the past or even the present.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  7 These have come so that your faith—                                                                                                                                                                                  of greater worth than gold,

                                                                                                                                                                                      which perishes even though refined by fire

                                                                                                                                                                                      may be proved genuine and

                                                                                                                                                                                      may result in praise,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  glory and

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  honor

                                                                                                                                                                                                    when Jesus Christ is revealed.

                                                                                                                                                                                    True faith does not go away. Truth faith does not perish. Our faith is worth greater than anything. Gold is refined through fire. The impurities are removed that way. We suffer in life, but it helps us to mature in our faith. As we suffer, if our faith does not go away, if we rely on God, then it is real.

 

                                                        8 Though you have not seen him,

                                                    you love him; and

                                       even though you do not see him now,

                                                     you believe in him and

John 20:29 says, “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Thomas had faith because he saw. WE are more blessed than Thomas, because we have faith without having seen Christ. Hebrews 11:1 reads, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” We are sure of what we hope for.

 

                                                                      are filled with

                                                                                    an inexpressible and

                                                                                    glorious joy,

Faith leads to joy. If we are not joyous that we are going to be with Christ, then we are not sure of what we have.

 

                                                                                                                9 for you are receiving

                                                                                                  the goal of your faith,

                                                                                                  the salvation of your souls.

            Notice the present tense. We ARE RECEIVING the goal of our faith – the salvation of our souls. It is a process, an ongoing process. It will be finished when we are in heaven with God.

 

                                                                                                                                                                        10 Concerning this salvation,

                                                                                                                          the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you,

            Faith comes through knowledge. If we do not know about something, how can we believe in it, let alone trust it? The prophets wrote of the grace, the free gift of salvation that would come to us.

                                                                                                                              searched intently and

                                                                                                                                            with the greatest care,

                                                                                                                                                                                                    11 trying to find out

                                                                                                                                                          the time and

                                                                                                                                                           circumstances to which

                                                                                                                                                                  the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing

                                                                                                                                                          when he predicted

                                                                                                                                                                        the sufferings of Christ and

                                                                                                                                                                        the glories that would follow.

Notice that it was GOD doing the work. GOD gave them the prophecies. God said in Isaiah 53:5 that Jesus would suffer for our sins, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” If Christ suffered for our sins, then why do so many people keep trying to earn their way into heaven? I am not saying that we should not do good things, such as go to church, give money to those who need it, give to the church, feed the poor, etc.. I am saying that we can do all the good things in the world, but those things will not get us into heaven. There are some really great and wonderful people who do not believe in Christ who do those things. They are still going to go to hell. There are many people who go to church who will still be in hell because they do NOT TRUST Christ. We must TRUST Christ to enter heaven. Nothing else can do it.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                    12 It was revealed to them

                                                                                                                                            that they were not serving themselves

                                                                                                                                                                        but you,

            The prophets KNEW they were speaking for the good of the people to come – for our good. They were not speaking for their health; they did it because God gave them the words.

                                                                                                                                                                     when they spoke of

                                                                                                                                                                                                    the things that have now been told you

                                                                                                                                                                                                    by those

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  who have preached the gospel

                                                                                                                                                                                                    to you

                                                                                                                                                                                                    by the Holy Spirit

                                                                                                                                                                                                    sent from heaven.

            See, even though the prophets preached, it was the Holy Spirit who spoke. Even the apostles were guided and given words by the Holy Spirit. That is how WE should live, guided by the Holy Spirit and letting HIM speak through us.

Even angels long to look into these things.

            The wonderful things the prophets of the Old and New Testaments spoke of, the thing we look forward to, is sooo great that the Angels want to see it. This thing called salvation, where we accept the gift of God – the fact that His SON died in our place so we could be with God in heaven – this is what the prophets spoke of. And this is what the angels want to see. And this is what we, if we trust God through trusting his son, have to look forward to!

            Remember, even though we may suffer in this life, it is a temporary thing. What we have our hope set on is eternal life with the one true God of the universe – the creator of everything. We know we are looking forward to life with God in heaven, so we should not be discouraged by the suffering we see and deal with in this life. We are strangers here, not citizens of this world. We might live here for a time, but we are citizens of heaven. As such, we need to live like we are citizens of heaven. If you believe what Christ has done for you, then ask God to remind you when things are difficult that you are not a citizen of this life, or of this world, but a citizen of heaven and you look forward to life with Him. If you have not asked God to guide your life, to take control of your life, if you are still trying to control your life, then I urge you to change and recognize you are not perfect. God is perfect. Ask HIM to take over your life, and then you will also have your hope in the future – to a time when you are living in heaven with God.

Acts 28

Day 28, Acts 28.

The last chapter of the book of Acts of the Apostles begins with the realization that Paul has washed up on the isle of Malta. Paul was bitten by a viper, and the islanders thought he was being punished for being a murderer or something, even though he had been saved from the turbulent sea. But when Paul didnt die from the viper, they thought he was a god.

The leader of Malta was named Publius. Paul healed his father, who was sick with recurrent fever and dysentery. Afterward, the rest of the people on the island who were sick came to get healed.

Once they arrived at Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with his guard. After three days, Paul called together the leaders of the Jews to explain why he was there. Having heard Paul’s explanation, they said they had received no notice about him – either in writing or verbally. But they wanted to hear from Paul concerning the new sect, which was spoken against  everywhere.

Paul explained using the the Law of Moses and from the Prophets from morning to evening.  I find it interesting that Luke chose to record what happened this way:

24 Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe.

Some WOULD NOT believe. This makes it sound like they chose to not believe – in spite of the facts.

Because of that, Paul stated,

“The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, 26 saying,

‘Go to this people and say,
“You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
27 For the heart of this people has become dull,
And with their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes;
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.”’

And if it wasn’t enough that Paul insulted them, he then said the unthinkable – that God’s salvation was sent to the Gentiles, who would listen.

28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.” 29 [When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.]

God had chosen the Jews – they were the “chosen people”. So it was not just unthinkable that God would send His salvation to the Gentiles, but insulting. This finished any discussion – at least for the day.

The book ends abruptly with this:

30 And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.

Paul spent two years in house arrest. Yet he was not alone – he had the guards, plus he had visitors. And he openly preached and taught about the kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, unhindered. Can you imagine – openly talking about who God is, what God has done, what God will do, what God wants from us and for us? And more than just openly speaking about it, but doing so for two years in the capital of the largest empire in the known world, unhindered. Wow. He was in prison, yet he was busy preaching.

How often do we convince ourselves that we are not able to talk about God to people around us, because of our job, or our friends or our family? What is it we are told about what NOT to speak about? Politics and religion. While our society says we are not to speak about God, but Paul was in prison and openly speaking about God.

What’s your excuse?

What was nailed to the cross in Colossians 2:13-14?

There is some question as to what was nailed to the cross in Colossians 2:13-14. Was it our sins, or was it theLaw, the certificate of debt we owe because of our sins?

Colossians 2:13-14 NASB

13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,

14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Colossians 2:13-14 (KJV)

13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances  that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

I think the words to pay attention to in this passage, in the NASB, to understand what was nailed to the cross, are ‘canceled’, ‘certificate of debt’, and ‘decrees’ (in the KJV, ‘blotting out’, ‘handwriting’, and ‘ordinances’).  The word translated as ‘canceled’ is exaleipho.

Strong’s Number:   1813

  

Original Word Word Origin
exaleifo from (1537) and (218)
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Exaleipho None
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
ex-al-i’-fo Verb
 Definition
  1. to anoint or wash in every part
    1. to besmear: i.e. cover with lime (to whitewash or plaster)
  2. to wipe off, wipe away
    1. to obliterate, erase, wipe out, blot out
 NAS Word Usage – Total: 5
canceled 1, erase 1, wipe 1, wipe away 1, wiped away 1

This basically is the white wash, or obliterating, or erasing, or wiping away of something.

The word translated as certificate of debt’ is Cheirographon. This is a compound word, from ‘hand’ and ‘writing’. The idea is that this is a hand written note, a hand written document.

Strong’s Number:   5498   
Original Word Word Origin
ceirografon from a compound of (5495) and (1125)
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Cheirographon 9:435,1309
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
khi-rog’-raf-on Noun Neuter
 Definition
  1. a handwriting, what one has written by his own hand
  2. a note of hand or writing in which one acknowledges that money has either been deposited with him or lent to him by another, to be returned at the appointed time
 NAS Word Usage – Total: 1
certificate of debt 1

We see in Thayer’s Greek that this word is translated a document which indicates a debt is owed (http://biblesuite.com/greek/5498.htm).

Now, the word translated as decrees means Dogma in Greek.

Strong’s Number:   1378   
Original Word Word Origin
dogma from the base of (1380)
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Dogma 2:230,178
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
dog’-mah Noun Neuter
 Definition
  1. doctrine, decree, ordinance
    1. of public decrees
    2. of the Roman Senate
    3. of rulers
  2. the rules and requirements of the law of Moses; carrying a suggestion of severity and of threatened judgment
  3. of certain decrees of the apostles relative to right living
 NAS Word Usage – Total: 5
decree 1, decrees 3, ordinances 1

We see in Thayer’s Greek Lexicon that this word is considered to be either decrees or the rules and requirements of the Mosaic Law (http://biblesuite.com/greek/1378.htm). Strong’s DOES say it can mean opinion, as in judgement.

But it is not the transgressions which have been nailed to the cross. If it HAD been, the description would have been handwriting of transgressions. But this is not what Paul wrote. Instead, he wrote ‘handwriting of ordinances’. Paul was either writing of the debt incurred by transgressions of the Mosaic Law, or he was writing of the Law itself, having been nailed to the cross – not the sins themselves.

Even if Paul was not speaking directly of the Law, if Paul was writing of the debt incurred by the sins, then by cancelling the law’s indictment against the believer, the law is annulled to the believer. This is what Paul said in Ephesians 2:14-15:

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,

And this is the same thing we see in Romans 7:6

6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

We see in Hebrews 7:18 the same thing:

18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless

So yes, the Law has been removed from being in effect against the believer.

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