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!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Offering “grace” is not just a ritual we do, at least God does not see it that way.

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 4:1-5 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer

Application: Most believers say grace before a meal. That means they say words that express thanks to God for what He has provided. What has become a mere formality for many today is actually very important to the Lord. Food is a very clear Liberty area for the Church. It was not always so, when God called Israel out, He deliberately used certain foods as a way to keep the Jewish nation separated from the idolatrizing nations. Pork was a favorite meal at their feasts, and when you cant eat the main course, you dont go to the feast. Pigs or pork in of itself is not sinful or dirty since God has called them clean in Acts 10, yet God made that particular food a restriction for the Jewish nation. Still, we must remember even now, for various reasons some in the Body of Christ may still desire to abstain from certain foods, which is their right given to them by God. The problem is when someone decides to call his or her conviction in a liberty issue as the ONLY standard God allows. When Paul wrote this he was not trying to make anyone eat or not eat anything. He was making it clear that how we approach our eating is far more important than what we are eating.

 Wuest helps clarify this issue:
 The word “creature” is ktisma (κτισμα), which is better translated here “created thing.” When we offer thanks at the table for the food we are about to eat, it is sanctified, Paul says.  

The word “sanctify” is hagiazo (γιαζο), “to set apart for God.” Vincent says: “Not declared holy, but made holy. Thanksgiving to God has a sanctifying effect. The food in itself has no moral quality (Rom. 14:14), but acquires a holy quality by its consecration to God; by being acknowledged as God’s gift, and partaken of as nourishing the life for God’s service.” The food is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer Vincent says again: “The custom of grace at meat appears in I Samuel 9:13. Christ blessed the loaves and fishes (Matt. 14:19; 15:36). Paul on the ship gave thanks for the meal which the seamen ate (Acts 27:35).”[1]

I have experienced the importance of this personally! Living in a country that is not my home, or my culture, I have eaten things I would not have done on my own. I will spare the details for fear that some would not do well as they read, suffice it to say, that each time I have been served something, it has been a great relief to bring it before the Lord and ask Him to bless it. He has honored, I have never gotten sick or “lost” my stomach. Giving God honor for what He has supplied is always important and right, it is not a mere tradition or something to do in between commercials. 

Meditation Questions: Do you thank God for each meal? What does your answer show? Why does it matter? Do you feel bad if you forget to pray? What does your answer show you? When you ask God to bless your food, what do you mean by that? Have you ever given thanks for food and afterwards asked someone if you had remembered to say “grace”? What does that say about where your mind was when you were praying? How serious should we be when we thank God for our food? Why? Is it a big deal? What does your answer show you?

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Don’t go for the “Oscar” in life, leave that to the movies!

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 4:1-3 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

Application: This scripture gives us a good insight into how false teachers become false teachers. When you allow hypocrisy to abide in your conscience, you will leave your conscience numb to the voice of God. This is a responsibility we need to take on for our selves, if we are going to be honest. Jesus denounced this character flaw more than any other issue. Pretending is great in theater, but it is deadly in life. In the NT this word was used consistently in the most negative way:

Hypocrisy ὑπόκρισις hupókrisis; to pretend. Hypocrisy, dissimulation
 (Matt. 23:28; Mark 12:15; Luke 12:1; Gal. 2:13; 1 Tim. 4:2; 1 Pet. 2:1).
(I) The noun hupókrisis was generally used for flattery or evil deception. Hypocrisy is a thing God cannot tolerate (Job 22:16), and which He is continually exposing (Job 5:13).
 *Idolatry is a form of hypocrisy which keeps a man from being perfect,
 i.e., wholehearted, with the Lord his God (Deut. 18:13).
* Isaiah’s prophecies contain humiliating exposés and scathing denunciations of the religious hypocrisy which was so rampant in his day.
* Malachi expounds on it extensively as well. All false prophecy was hypocrisy–the saying of the thing that pleased, and not the thing that was true. The person most deceived was the hypocrite himself (Is. 33:14; Job 27:8), but he was also a danger to the society in which he lived (Job 15:34). (II) In the NT and especially in the synoptics, few sins are so directly denounced as hypocrisy.
* In John’s Gospel it is equated with pseúdos, falsehood, lying, which is equally condemned. Our Lord presents this evil as something hidden that one day will be made manifest, a sin which glories in misleading another by smooth flatteries (Matt. 22:16).
 The religious hypocrites of Jesus’ day went about in long robes seeking to be reverenced by public salutations, taking honor for granted and cloaking oppressive avarice with long prayers (Mark 12:38–40).
* Hypocrisy cleanses the outside of the cup and platter while leaving them full of extortion and wickedness. It makes men as hidden tombs, white and shining without but foul within (Luke 11:44).[1]

To be sure all of us can play the hypocrite at times, we all are sinners, but if we live that way we place our conscience in a real danger. The term here is very descriptive: 

This rare term, which means “to burn with glowing iron,” occurs figuratively
in 1 Tim. 4:2, where false teachers are said to have “branded” consciences.
The thought seems to be that they are the slaves of demonic forces.
~ Runaway slaves and criminals were branded in antiquity; also sometimes prisoners of war, workers in the mines and munitions, and army recruits.
* This practice underlies the metaphor.[2] Καυστηριάζω-  active brand with a red-hot iron; of a slave mark with a brand; figuratively, of destroying the function of conscience cause to be insensitive, make unfeeling, harden; passive and idiomatically καυστηριάζεσθαι τν συνείδησιν literally be seared in respect to the conscience, i.e. refuse to listen to one’s conscience (1T 4.2)[3]

The key for all of us is honesty ~ with our life. We need to be able recognize any hypocrisy ~ taking place in our life ~ as soon as possible, so we can stop it from taking root. This is where accountability to others is essential. There is no way we can see this for ourselves, because we are too close. We need a pair of eyes that see us from afar, yet know us well. This is exactly what real discipleship accomplishes. As we spend time with those we disciple or those that are mentoring us, they can see our patterns and behaviors, and help us discover those blind spots we all have. We need to be brave enough to open ourselves up for this. With Your help Lord we will see the benefits far outweigh the fears!

Meditation Questions: How well do you think you know yourself? Have you ever asked someone else close to you how they see you? What does your answer show you? How real do you think you are? Why do you think that about yourself? Does there need to be a change? How could that change take place?  Do you have someone in your life that can tell you the truth about yourself? What does your answer show? Would you be willing to ask God for that person? Are you willing to be that person for someone else?

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[2] Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1995). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (423). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.
[3] Friberg, T., Friberg, B., & Miller, N. F. (2000). Vol. 4: Analytical lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Baker's Greek New Testament library (226). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Two kinds of “falling away”

Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 4:1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

Application: The idea brought forth by the term fall away causes many a lot of problems in the Body of Christ these days. This should not be so. The key to understanding this term fall away from the faith is to read the context of the term and see how it is used in the passage you are reading and interpret that with the totality of other teaching or doctrine on this issue throughout scripture. A haphazard question would be,  does God lose or deny one that had belonged to Him? thus assuming that there was a loss of salvation. Yet when we read all the teaching on the gift of Salvation, it is clear that it is a wrong supposition, thus a wrong question. Those that come to true conversion are no longer their own, they are the possession of God, because they are bought with a price = the blood of Christ that was shed for the payment of our sins, sealed until the day of redemption sealed stronger than zip-lock bags! adopted = legally taken up as His own , regenerated = reformed or reborn, esp. in a spiritual or moral sense, taken up into a renewed existence., their names are written in the book of life BEFORE the foundation of the world.  These actions just to name a very few, are irrevocable! So when we deal with this term fall away from the faith we must remember that believers can and do fall away ~ and we end up in the condition of a child of God, that wastes His investment: 

1 Cor 3:10–15  According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

When reading this passage though, we see the discription of a different kind of falling away. We see a person that seemed to be following the Truth, but evidently from their works, authentic conversion never took place, because when another gospel is told to them or comes their way, they follow it. What a tragedy! They were so close, but would not take the final step of complete surrender.

The word used here describes the situation well:

Fall Away φίστημι aphístēmi; from apó - from, and hístēmi - to stand, to place: to put away, remove, to withdraw, remove oneself, forsake, desert, retire, cease from something.

In 1 Tim. 4:1, the word is translated “depart,” meaning they stood away from believing. This does not refer to those who had at one time been believers, but to those who refuse to believe, who stand aloof, alone (Heb. 3:12).

The word is also used in Luke 8:13 in connection with the interpretation of the seed that falls on stony ground. The seed finds a little soil on top of the stone, but it is not enough to take root and so the growth is only seasonal. When testing comes, there is no root to hold it down. The word aphístantai here does not indicate uprooting because there never was a root; the temporary plant stood by itself. The union with the soil was only an apparent union, never a true foundation with roots capable of holding up the plant.[1]

Those who depart from the faith are not the heretical teachers of 1:3, but those whom they mislead (Vincent).

The word “depart” is aphistēmi (ἀφιστημι), “to stand off from, to fall away.”
Our word “apostatize” is the English spelling of a form of the Greek word. The definite article before the word “faith” marks it out as speaking, not of faith as an act, but of the Faith, that body of doctrine which forms the basis of what we as Christians believe.[2]

It is so important to realize ~ in the end, it really does not matter how far or close you came, the point is you missed the truth! We are fallen beings, and if we miss it by a millimeter, we are still separated from our Creator. However, the sense of loss seems much greater when we see people that are inches away from entering a relationship that will secure their eternity with Jesus Christ only to then turn away to an eternity separated from Him and life. All the more reason we should pray for those we love and are hoping will listen to the Truth AND embrace it for them selves! Not being only a hearer, but a doer.

Meditation Questions: How secure do you feel in your relationship with Christ? Do you think you could break that relationship? How? What does that say? Is there a difference between “relationship? And “fellowship”? What is it? Can you lose something you never had? Can you look like someone that had something, but never did? Can you think of examples? If you are a parent, is there anything your child could do that would change their blood connection to you? Is there anything your child could do that would change their friendship with you? Is there a difference? What is it?  

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[2] Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (1 Ti 4:1). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.