Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Mystery that is no longer a mystery!

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 3:16 By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

Application: Restated the mystery is a secret, hidden before, now revealed by God which we all commonly confess. This is one of the most powerful verses in the Word of God because of Christ. Here in just a few phrases we have all that we hold as Truth stated, simply and succinctly. The only room for argument is a spirit of rebellion. Paul makes it clear that this simple statement is what the Body of Christ agrees to:

 The words, “without controversy,” (common confession) are the translation of homologoumenōs (μολογουμενως), an adverb from homologeō (μολογεω), “to agree with.” The translation could read, “confessedly.”

Pauls directness about this is refreshing in our politically correct age. Those that call themselves children of God agree and understand certain truths that are non-negotiable. The first truth is obvious, but also so important though, it is often missed.

The termGreat is the mystery of godliness - The word “mystery” is mustērion (μυστηριον) refers to truth previously hidden, which when revealed, is understood by the believer.
~ The word is also used of such things as the mystery of evil, which is a mystery not to be understood, at least, this side of the grave.
~The mystery of piety towards God on the part of men is the truth to which Paul referred in the previous verse.”
 ~ The meaning in the context of this verse is  “The contents of this truth or mystery is Christ, revealed in the gospel as the Savior from ungodliness, the norm and inspiration of godliness, the divine life in man, causing him to live unto God as Christ did and does (Rom. 6:10)” (Vincent).[1]

Much of what we believe is not completely understandable on this side of glory, we need to accept that and stop fighting about issues that only God can resolve! The rest of these truths have been clearly revealed to us and should be embraced.

He who was revealed in the flesh:  God in the Flesh, no room for debate, anything else is a cult!

Was vindicated in the Spirit: The works Christ did through the Power of the Holy Spirit proved He was the Messiah - John 20:30–31 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
Seen by angels: The fact that all that Jesus did was witnessed by the Angelic realm, which they gave testimony to i.e. His birth, His resurrection.

Proclaimed among the nations: This Truth has been preached throughout the world


Believed on in the world: Throughout history, in spite of the effort made by many; persecutions of unbelievable magnitude, millions who have laid down their lives without seeking revenge on their murderers, people of every educational background, economic level and cultural & religious background have trusted in Christ, changed dramatically and have sensed a oneness with others of like faith, no matter the differences.

Taken up in glory: This is the beginning of the Hope of every child of God. If Christ did not ascend to heaven than He cannot return. These truths are what makes our heart beat with excitement as years wane on. We do not become more tired and discouraged. Though, we become worn out and age takes its toll, but the inner man is energized and renewed at the thought of our Lord coming back for us! The mystery revealed is seen in our own lives!  ~This should be our mantra, reminding ourselves daily of this Truth so that we may endeavor not to lose heart. ~The God-man our own Christ who sacrificed Himself for us, rose from the dead and asked us to tell others the mystery has been revealed in the Truth that He is coming back for us soon and then we will live forever; away from sin and evil, pain and regret, death and sorrow. Most of all we will be with HIM face to face! Every child of God should engraft this passage into their soul Even so Come Lord Jesus!

Meditation Questions: Can you accept as the Word of God states Who Jesus is or do you change it? What does that say? Even though there are many denominations, how many faiths are there? If someone changes anything mentioned in this passage what does that show? Based on this confession, when should we retire from ministry? The world tries to preach oneness, but what is their oneness based on? What is our oneness based on? When you meet a fellow believer, what do you sense? Does it matter if they look different or sound different? What does that say?  

[1] Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (1 Ti 3:16). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The tension between being pharisaical or respectful

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 3:14-16 I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. 16 By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.
Application: Conduct: to act in a particular way that expresses general character, state of mind, or response to a situation or other people. In our desire to emphasize that God accepts us the way we are, which is true, we have forgotten that we still represent Him at all times, including at our local assembly. Notice, I said, “including”, not “especially”. I have no patience for those that only put on their Christianity when they attend their local Body. Jesus made it clear that to look clean on the outside is worthless unless the inside matches. However, in our age of “flaunting” our individuality and liberties we have seemingly lost the understanding that the way we conduct ourselves, including at our local Body, shows a lot concerning our thoughts toward You, Father. I spoke to some Hindu Priests and they were appalled with the way we treat our “holy book”. They are very respectful and treat with reverence their “holy” writings. 
I don’t believe our Bible glows and is some mystical object that needs to be worshiped, that is idolatry, but we can be quite careless at times with our behavior when it is not helpful or necessary. I believe it is great to write notes in your Bible, and if someone finds that irreverent, I would tell them not to write in their Bible. However, when someone gets in your car and there on the floor with the rest of the trash is your Bible, what do you think his or her conclusion will be about your attitude toward what you call the Word of God. I don’t want a dress code at the local Body, or to treat the building as though it is the temple of God. It is not, we are! Yet, should we approach our time in corporate worship in the presence of our Father, in a sloppy and careless way? Should we look like we just got out of bed, dress like we are about to do some dirty job, treat where we meet like it is a cafeteria? If you knew me you would know I am not hung up on any of this stuff, I preached in Hawaii for years, which is very laid back. I don’t care about this outward stuff, but the world does and I wonder what message we send by our behavior. Our outward behavior does show what is in our heart, how we truly feel about our Lord, fellow believers, etc. Did not God come to where we are to reach us? Should we not do the same to reach the unbelieving of this world. No matter how relaxed your culture is, when you identify with it you can still communicate a special respect and honor in how you approach our Lord, so they can see that He is God, not just a “superstar” that you idolize but don’t take so seriously. Even secular news people treat issues of other religions with respect partly because of the way those they interview express their respect for that religion. I know the world will criticize Christianity with no help from us, but when you see what they see, when they interview us, we add to a lot of the problem. Let us seek to honor God the way He deserves. If the world still attacks, at least it will not be based on how we have behaved!
Meditation Questions: How do you show respect for something important to you? Why? When we are concerned about how we look at church, what is the danger? When we don’t care what we look like at church, what is the danger? We agree that what matters most is what God thinks, but does that mean we should not be concerned at all about what the world thinks? Why? Why not? 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The “Church” makes a BIG difference in a community.

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 3:14-15 I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

Application: Today, many children of God treat the local assembly as a non-essential in their lives. It is true that the Church is not a building; we (believers) are the Church. Our physical bodies are therefore Gods temple. However, it is clear from Acts that God led Paul and Barnabas to go out into the world, city by city, and set up local assemblies of believers. These brethren met together in homes, because a church building would have not been allowed. In Gods timing He allowed the Body of Christ to observe some time of no persecution for the most part and historically we know, buildings were allowed to be constructed. There is no debate that man has taken this too far, which is what we always do because we are fallen. The building has become too important many times. Even so, God chose to use those local assemblies to impact their society. The Body of Christ needs to continue to do so until the Lord stops it. What is happening today is not the Lord stopping it, but believers becoming selfish with their time and making excuses to just worship at home. We should worship at home, but we should also make sure not to forsake the assembling together of ourselves! (Heb 10:24-25) The words employed by the Spirit here to describe how important the church is are quite revealing.

Consider: “the pillar and support of the truth.” Pillar – στύλος stúlos; A pillar or column which stands by itself or supports a building. Figuratively, any firm support, persons of authority and influence in the church (Gal. 2:9; Rev. 3:12); of the church as that which upholds the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). Support - ἑδραίωμα hedraíōma; to make stable. A support, stay, ground, basis, foundation (1 Tim. 3:15).[1]

In 1 Tm. 3:15 the ἐκκλησία (Church) is called στῦλος (pillar) καὶ  (and) ἑδραίωμα (support) τῇς ἀληθείας (truth) . A Church is established which protects and defends the truth against the confusion of myths. It gives the faith and thinking of individuals a sure ground in confession. No longer God alone, but also the Church of God, now guarantees the permanence of the ἀλήθεια. The steadfastness of faith has now become loyalty to the Church and the confession.[2]

Without “Truth” society is doomed! WE – the Church – need to be actively involved and SEEN in our community. We possess all the power required to impact our society, God has equipped us, we cannot ignore that stewardship because we desire more “leisure time”. Father help us!

Meditation Questions: Do you look forward to fellowshipping with others? Why? Why not? What is the reputation of the “Church” in your community? Do you think it is fair? If so, why? If not, why? What could you do about it? Do think it is important to worship God corporately? If so, why? If not, why? When someone you know that is not a believer attacks the church, what do you do? What should you do? Is thee a difference?

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[2] Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Confidence in the faith, comes from faithfulness

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 3:11-13 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Application: Notice as Paul comes to a close on the qualifications of an office in the Body of Christ he points out the benefits that are produced through faithfulness. First, note there is nothing here to do with salvation. The idea that anything we do guarantees or adds to our eternal standing with God is contrary to all that is taught about salvation in the scriptures. It's total grace, void of works. The outcome is twofold; first being, the honor the Body of Christ will bestow on those that serve faithfully. It is important that we understand that the "title" is not what causes the person to be held in "high standing". It is being faithful in the ministry of that "title" that brings the respect and honor to that individual. Second, is a confidence that what we preach is true and therefore we speak with boldness. Remember, boldness is not obnoxious! Our words remain filled with grace, but we say things based on their truth, not our skill. Consider the original here:

Confidence παρρησία parrēsía; from pás, all, and rhsis, the act of speaking. Freedom or frankness in speaking. NT meanings: freedom in speaking all that one thinks or pleases (Mark 8:32; John 7:13, 26; Acts 4:13, 29, 31); confidence or boldness, particularly in speaking (Acts 2:29; 28:31; 2 Cor. 7:4; Eph. 3:12; 6:19; Phil. 1:20; 1 Tim. 3:13; Phile. 1:8; Heb. 3:6; 10:35; plainness or exactness of speech (John 10:24; 11:14; 16:25, 29; 2 Cor. 3:12); openness, speaking publbeing in the public eye rather than being concealed (John 7:4 [cf. John 7:10]; John 11:54; Col. 2:15).  

Another benefit of this confidence is the assurance of salvation that is produced in the individual. Again, we need to make sure we understand this is not eternal security, God knows who are His, this is that subjective peace that we have that gives us the confidence that we belong to Him. As a person ministers for the Lord in the Body of Christ, the reality that he belongs to God takes hold. How many in the Body of Christ have no such confidence. It is no surprise to me that when an individual does nothing but fill a seat once every week at a building that they do not sense a confidence they belong to God. That's like kissing your wife once a week only and trying to feel in love and married. You have made it Lord that the more involved with You we are, the more we possess that feeling that we belong to You. Thanks Father for the way You have allowed us to confirm our feelings about our adoption into Your family!

Meditation Questions: If no one notices your ministry, how does that make you feel? Hurt feelings are valid, but in the end who’s approval matters most to you? What does that say? When you share what you believe, how sure of it are you? What does that say?  Do you “feel” saved? Why? Why not? What are you doing about that?