Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Context, Context, Context!!!

2 Timothy 2: 14 – 18 KJV

14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

2 Timothy 2: 14-18 ESV

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,

17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.

It is interesting that even in the most orthodox of denominations that the preachers and teachers take things out of context to get their point across or to point out their rules for their “religion”.   When a person takes things out of context he is not only doing the person (In this case God) a disservice but also misleading those who are reading what he has written.  It is the same when they are giving a speech or are preaching.  One of the primary rules of the English language is never, never, never ( I cannot repeat never enough) take things out of context.  My dad has often said “You can take a piece of paper and put anything on it but that doesn’t make it true, and just because someone famous said doesn’t mean it is true either.” (Quote by Unknown)

I hear and read over and over where someone has taken something out of context to make a point of doctrine and when I look at the entirety of the scriptures surrounding the singled out scripture I find that 9 times out of 10 the person or persons have not taken the whole paragraph or chapter into account and therefore have taken the bit of scripture out of Context. 

What if I were to tell you on this blog that it says in the Bible “There is no God.” That is a complete sentence grammatically and I would be correct.  I could promote a doctrine on just that statement alone.  In fact some atheist have down through the centuries tried it.  But the real truth about the sentence is that it is not a real sentence, it is a phrase inside of a sentence in Psalms 14 :1, which is part of a greater paragraph inside of a chapter in the book of Psalms, Psalms 14 : 1-7. [see below]

Psalms 14 : 1-7 KJV

1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.

5 There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.

6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.

7 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

You see when it is put into context with its surroundings the complete sentence that could stand alone becomes what it actually is a phrase inside of a sentence, inside of a paragraph, inside of a chapter of a book and it lends it meaning and weight to the complete thought.

People need to be careful what they quote and where they quote it from.  It could lead to confusion and misunderstanding.  However there are those who do not care to apply the correct rules of the language known as English so that they can make up their own doctrines and religions.  I am not singling out any one individual or religious denomination.  However most of the worst offenders come from a group of individuals that have been trained in a college that has no theological accreditation and have not attended a Theological Seminary.  These men and women will even tell you that exegesis and hermeneutics are useless to them because they know how to interpret and apply the Word of God.  They are wrong and most are of the nature that they can be called false prophets and heretics.

Even though I do not have a seminary background, yet I stand on what the Apostle Paul wrote to his beloved Timothy in 2 Timothy 2 : 15. [see below]

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The Apostle Paul was writing from Rome to Timothy who was in Ephesus. Paul was instructing Timothy on how to carry out his duties as head of the church there in Ephesus.  In verse 15 he is telling Timothy to study the Word of God diligently so that when he preached or taught in the church that he would be able to expound on (rightly divide) the Word of Truth (The Scriptures, The Word of God).  This was not only good and wise instructions for Timothy, it is good and wise instructions for all preachers and teacher of the Word of God today and in the future.

Finally and most importantly do read your material before you publish it and above all do your research before you assert that what you are stating true.  Make sure it is backed up by facts or at least backed up by someone more knowledgeable than you.  I even have an editor who reads what I publish before I publish it to insure it is correct in every way possible so that I will not create confusion or misunderstanding.  It was one of my mistakes in life, when I was younger and I have now learned it is not profitable to create confusion and/or misunderstanding, it will come back to haunt you when you are older.  Again never, never, never take anything out of context to prove your point.  It is not necessary if you have studied your material and done your research.  That will be one of your best tools to properly preach or teach The Word of God.

Top Ten Christian News Stories for 2011 Countdown.

Below is a list of the Top Ten Christian news stories.

Coming in at number 10.

Crystal Cathedral Bankruptcy has caused the sale of the all glass edifice to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County, CA. for a price of $57.5 Million.  It has also caused many Christians to question the Stewardship practices of many churches.

Number 9.

Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos quarterback has brought Christianity in sports to the forefront again.  Amongst severe criticism Tebow has maintained his relationship with Jesus Christ and done so publicly.  He has cause the worldwide phenomenon known as “tebowing” which is dropping to one knee and praying.

At number 8.

“Bishop” Eddie Long “stepped down”, “took a sabbatical” after all of the furor over a homosexual sex scandal involving him surfaced in Atlanta, GA and in his mega-church setting.  Causing many Christians to wonder about the sexual purity of their church leaders.

Number 7.

Norway Massacre

Anders Brivik confessed to the bombing and mass shooting which killed 77 people.  He was dubbed, after the massacre, as a “Christian Terrorist”, “Christian Right Wing Extremist” and a “ Christian Fundamentalist”; even though he described himself as a “social Christian” and not having a relationship with God.

In at Number 6.

Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Disaster have caused Christian Organizations worldwide to pitch in with aide and supplies.  Also praying for more people in Japan to come to Christ.

Number 5.

“Pastor” Rob Bell who pastors a mega-church wrote a book that has the US Christian Community buzzing.  The book questions the Theological existence of Hell.  The notoriety caused Time Magazine to name him in their “Top 100 most influential people list.

At Number 4

Harold Camping, President of Family Radio, A “Christian” Radio organization, has failed for the second (May 21, 2011) and third time (Oct 21, 2011) predicting the end of the world and the rapture.  His comment on this failure was; “It was not the will of God but He could have stopped everything if He wanted to.”  Harold Camping since been replaced as president of Family Radio.

Number 3

Arab Spring and Occupy Movement has caused the over throw of several African and Middle East despots including Mulmar Kadaffi .  It has also sparked mass suffering of Christians in the region.

Number 2

The Death of Master Terrorist Osama Bin Laden.   What more is need to say?  Prayers have been answered.

And the Number 1

This story has many Christians Worldwide concerned.

PCUSA has cleared the way in July 2011 for Gays and Lesbians to be ordained  as pastors and preachers.

That folks are the top ten stories of News in the Christian world for 2011.

However the Story that still tops them all is the Story of a Savior that came from His throne in Heaven to earth as a man and laid down His life on the Cross as the ultimate sacrificial atonement for our sins.  And those who believe on Him will have eternal life through Him.  Sola Deo Gloria!!!

The Winter Time Birth of Jesus and What I Have Learned About It.

 

Luke 2:7-20 (ESV)

 

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

The Birth of Jesus Christ and the shepherds coming to worship him just after his birth is a wonderful and true story.  However there are flaws in the rationale of celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25th.  Tradition has it that Jesus was born in the winter.  However, all biblical accounts would have made it either, late March or early April, or late August through September.  The shepherds would not take the flocks out to pasture during the rainy season (which usually started in October) or winter.  Winter would be something like our winter in the Southern United States, particularly, southern Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona plus all of Florida.  This causes quite a bit of consternation on the part of most traditionalists, who have always celebrated the Birth of Our Savior on Dec 25th.  It is truly not because of the way things were worded in the Bible but because of misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the region and the region’s customs and the working constraints that the shepherds were under.  In fact one of the most popular songs during the Christmas season is the English carol The First Noel.   The carol is considered to come from the 17th century.   It was edited and lyrics were added by William B. Sandies and Davies Gilbert in 1823. It was arranged in a four part hymn style by English composer John Strainer and published in 1871.  The carol leads the listener to believe ‘it was a cold winter’s night with snow so deep with shepherds in fields where they lay’.  Now if you know anything about snow you will not find it on the ground in the lower elevations of the subtropical regions.  Israel is in one of those regions.  However, it will be cool enough that shepherds would not have their flocks out at night in this type weather.  The sheep would be in a covered sheep hold and in some cases caves where they could guard the entrance from wolves and other intruders.

Unfortunately for the majority of us this causes a problem.  We have always celebrated the Birth of Christ on Dec. 25th.  Even our churches have always done so.  It is tradition to do so.

Whatever you decide to do with this information that I have just presented to you, know one thing… it is not when you celebrate the Birth of Christ but that you honor Our Lord.  And by honoring Him we worship Him.  We have set aside a special day to honor His birth and also a special day to honor His death and resurrection.  It should not discourage us that the actual date of His birth is not given.  We do not have a definitive date of His death and resurrection either; we celebrate it at the same time of the year every year because it was recorded that The Jewish Passover meal was the Last Supper.  We should go forward with our celebration of Christmas with the knowledge that we are honoring and worshiping Him.

The Doctrine of Salvation

False Doctrine: Salvation is an instantaneous thing.

Ephesians  2: 1- 10 (KJV) 

1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

herein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 

5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Romans  10: 9-10, 17 (KJV)

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Ephesians  2: 1 – 10 (Amplified Bible)

1 And you [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins

2 In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the
sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God].

3 Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind.

4 But God–so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, 

5 Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). 

6 And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us ]joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in
Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

7 He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.

8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;

9 Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.] 

10 For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good  life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].

Romans  10: 9-10, 17 (Amplified  Bible)

Because if you acknowledge and  confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe  (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from  the dead, you will be saved.

10  For with the heart a person  believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is  justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth  he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and  confirms [his] salvation.

17 So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the   preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the  Messiah Himself).

On  the face of it, it sounds as if I am going against everything you  have ever heard or been taught or know.  And YES, I am, because I  promised you that I would study and rightly divide the Word of Truth.  (2 Timothy 2:15)   In a few minutes you will see why I have declared  the doctrine a false doctrine.

Let  us look at the Scripture written by the Apostle Paul (inspired by  God) to the Romans 10.  Verse  9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shall  believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, Thou shalt be saved.  Verse10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and  with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  What Paul is saying here is the end result and not the act of salvation itself.  We are spiritually dead when we come into this world because of Adam’s original sin. That is a topic for another day.  Not just  half way dead or almost dead but totally graveyard dead spiritually.  As of this date there is no human man, woman, or child that can raise someone from the dead.  But you say Jesus did.  And I will tell you  that Jesus was God.  And yes, Jesus did raise Lazarus from being graveyard dead.  God in the form of The Holy Spirit must come to you and quicken you (make alive, give life) to your spirit.  How is this done?  He creates in you an interest in you for the bible stories when you were young or  when you were older a curiosity for what the Word of God or “Christians” were saying about sin and you and salvation through Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:17 clears this up for us.  It says So then Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  So then we can only get faith by hearing the Word of God.  No beginner can get this kind of faith by hearing the Word of God for the first time.  We must be taught and understand what we are hearing about God and Jesus and sin to be saved.  When you were first introduced to the Word of God and Christianity, did you instantly believe that Jesus was Lord and Savior?  I can safely answer that for you, no.  My reasoning is simple.  It takes a while with a steady “diet” of the Word of God for faith to come.  It took me til my 19th year to learn that there was such a thing as salvation.  Yes, I had heard that Jesus could save you.  Intellectually I believed this however it just did not click.  It did not get into my soul.  It  was not until I was out on my own and had turned 19 that The Holy spirit “quickened” my soul and I became spiritually alive that I understood my need to repent and ask for forgiveness of my sins.  It was then that I was truly saved.  I had accepted Jesus Christ at a younger age, but I did not believe him to be my savior.  I took him to be the Son of God who would one day save the world and because I believed that; I was going to heaven.  It was not until I was truly saved that my heart, ears, eyes, and mind were opened to the truth of the Gospel.  It is just recently that I am learning the true Biblical Doctrines.  I had learned the man made “Biblical Doctrines”, these were made so that man could justify his religion and beliefs no matter how biblically incorrect they are.  Now I am learning the true and correct Biblical Doctrines.

In conclusion the confession with your mouth that you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and Savior and your sins are forgiven and you are saved is the end result of a process of Salvation that may have taken months, even years in some cases, to complete. The Biblical Doctrine of Salvation is NOT
an instantaneous process that occurs in a matter of minutes or seconds, but a continuous work over time that culminates in a person confessing that Jesus is Lord and that he or she has been saved.

Ten Years Later

I am posting a link to an article written by the renoun theologian R C Sproul.  I think this is an important article that all americans should read; and then Repent of Our waywardness from God and Demand that our government do the same.

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/ten-years-later-2/

The Five Solas

The Five Solas

by Reverend Jeffrey A Nelson

edited by Licensed Minister Kevin Rhea

The Five Solas are five Latin phrases that came about because of and during the Protestant Reformation split with the Roman Catholic Church of that day.  The Latin word Sola when translated to English means “alone” or “only”.  The Five Solas describe the the basic theological tenets of the Protestant Reformation and are still
used as basics in many of today’s protestant denominations.  The Five Solas are: Sola Scriptura, Sola Deo Gloria, Solo Christo, Sola Gratia, and Sola Fide.  Translated into English they are Scriptures Alone, To the Glory of God Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone and Faith Alone.  The following is an overview of the Five Solas from my perspective.

Sola Scriptura (The Scriptures Alone)

Ps 119:18 ESV  Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

Ps 138:2 ESV I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

2Ti 3:14-17 ESV (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, that  the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

It is widely accepted that King David is the accredited author of Psalm 119.  In Psalm 119 he repeats over and over that the Word of God (Scriptures) is the law and how it is his primary joy.  Thus when we look at verse 18, we see that his request to open his eyes so that he may see the wondrous things out of God’s Law (Scriptures),
he is declaring that the Scriptures are the only law for those who have faith in God.

David also in Psalm 138:2 Declares (even though he is King of Israel) that he bows down before God, who has rightly exalted HIS name and Word (Scriptures) above all else.  This gives us a sense that God’s Word (Scriptures) is absolute and uncompromising as law.

The Apostle Paul in writing his second letter to Timothy, (which was written near the end of his, Paul’s, life), states that Timothy has known of the Scriptures from childhood.  He reminds Timothy that the Scriptures will make him wise  (knowledgeable) for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  Paul goes on to say that  all Scripture is given (breathed)  by God and is profitable (useful and a standard)  for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in  righteousness so that the Godly Man (or Woman) is  competent and equipped in all that he (or she)  does (good works)

The principle of Sola Scriptura/The Scriptures Alone is one of the Five Solas, that the reformers rallied around to emphasize that it is the exalted, inerrant Word (Law)
of God and is the standard for teaching, reproving, and correcting the brethren of the Lord (Christians).  It is also the proof and standard for teaching righteousness and
right thinking.  Is there any other?  I know of no other than God’s Holy Word, The Holy Bible.

Sola Deo Gloria (For the Glory of GOD Alone)

1Co 10:31 ESV   So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Rom 11:36 ESV For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Eph 3:20-21 ESV (20)  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

(21) to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

1Pe 4:10-11 ESV (10)  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

(11) whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies–in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1Pe 5:10-11 KJV (10)  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

(11) To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

2Pe 3:17-18 ESV (17)  You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.

(18) But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.  Amen.

Rev 1:4-6 ESV (4)  John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and  from the seven spirits who are before his throne,

(5) and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood

(6) and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Rev 7:11-12 ESV (11)  And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,

(12) saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

The Apostle Paul is the author of thirteen and possibly fourteen of the epistles or letters that have been included in the Christian cannon known as The Holy Bible.  The disputed letter is the Epistle to the Hebrews. 

We will examine the phrase Sola Deo Gloria by first looking at the letters to the Romans, Ephesians, and the first of 2 letters to the Corinthians, in the chronological order they were written.

The Apostle Paul wrote his first letter to the very troubled church in Corinth.  This church was dealing with a lot of secular issues that had crept into the worship services by those who living there.  The Corinthians were known for their sexual immorality and their propensity to sue each other.   In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul wrote that whether it was eating, drinking or anything else, that they should do it to and for the glory of God. 

The Roman Christians Paul was writing to were people he had never evangelized or met, even though he had some acquaintances there (see Chapter 16).  Paul felt he had to use an oratorical and instructional tone to his letter, laying down basic doctrine and theology. One of those doctrinal and theological points is found in Romans 11:36 where he states “For Him and through Him and by Him are all things.  To Him be glory forever.  Amen.”  If that would be translated into today’s vernacular it would be something like this, “Everything comes from Him and by Him and goes back to him, for without him there is nothing.  We give Him all the glory forever!  Period!”

Ephesus was the capitol of the Roman province of Asia.  It was at a trade route crossroads.  It was also the home of the temple dedicated to the fertility goddess Diana.  Ephesus was once known as a center for pagan delights and had many  “idol” merchants.  By the time of this letter Ephesus had become a center of Christianity for the
region and the “idol” merchants were in an uproar over it.  
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians ends the first half of this letter of exhortation in a “doxology” or ‘praise to God’. He expresses to his readers the abundance of God’s mercy and love and exhorts the Ephesians to give all the glory where it is due and that is to God.

The Apostle Peter wrote his first letter to the Christians in Asia Minor (Turkey).  He recognized that living the life of a Christian had it’s tough spots.  He wrote this letter to encourage these Christians to persevere and to remind them of their eternal reward at the end of this earthly existence.  

He exhorts them in verses 10 and 11 of Chapter 4 to use the God given gifts they have received to serve their brothers and neighbors as good stewards of God’s grace and mercy.  He also tells them to do all of this to the glory of God, to whom all glory belongs.

Then in verses 10 and 11 of Chapter 5 he tells them that even though they have suffered it was all for their own good and that in giving thanksgiving they should give it to the glory of God forever and ever. 

The Apostle Peter’s second letter was written to Christians everywhere. He exhorted the Christians to ignore the false prophets and false messiahs that were cropping up here and there and stick to the truth that was given to them through his witness.  He told them that they had the knowledge presented to them before the false ones came about and that they should be growing in this knowledge and grace;  giving all the glory for it to God both then and for eternity.

The Apostle John was in exile when he wrote the final book of the Christian Cannon known as The Holy Bible.  It was because of his witness to all things pertaining to Jesus Christ that he was exiled to the Island of Patmos, a small island located in the Aegean Sea southwest of Ephesus.  During his stay on Patmos, through the Holy
Spirit, the Apostle John received great visions and momentous messages for the Christian church in general and for the Christian Churches in Asia in particular.

A part of one of these messages appears in the opening verses of Revelation where in verses 4, 5 and 6 John describes who he is talking to and who is giving these words that he is writing.  In verse six he declares that “all glory goes to God The Father forever and ever.  Then again in Chapter 7 where he is describing and
reporting the vision on what is to come, he declares he saw, in verse 11, the angels around the Throne of God, fall on their faces before God and cry out: (Verse 12) “Amen!  Blessing and Glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and power and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

We have learned from the Apostle Paul’s, the Apostle Peter’s, and the Apostle John’s writings, that there is doctrinal teaching that everything is for the Glory of God Alone.  That the Glory for anything does not belong to one person or group of people but solely and only to God The Father Alone.

Solo Christo  (In Christ Alone)

John 14:5-6 ESV (5) Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going.  How can we know the way?”

(6) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Col 1:13-18 ESV  (13)  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

(14) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

(15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn1 of all creation.

(16) For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.

(17) And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

(18) And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

1Ti 2:5-6 ESV (5)  For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

(6) who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

The Apostle John wrote The Gospel According to John.  He was called the beloved Apostle or “him whom Jesus loved”. Later he would be called John the Revelator.   This is the time that was used by Jesus to impart some of His most important instructions to the twelve.  They were at the passover feast in the upper room; the feast that would be called the last supper.  Jesus had just finished washing all of the twelve’s feet and declared that one would betray him.  Judas had left leaving the eleven with Jesus.  Jesus was telling the eleven he would be going away soon.  In John 14: 5-6 when Jesus had said this; Thomas said to Him “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  What Jesus was saying here was that in order to gain access to God’s throne room and God you had to go through him and only him.  There is no other way we can reach the throne of God and God himself.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Asia Minor church at Colosse to emphasize that as the Son of God, Jesus Christ was and is  the head of the Church and that Christians, including the Colossians, were the body of the church   In Colossians 1:13-18 he tells the Colossians that we (Christians) were delivered out of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s son, who provided us with redemption and the forgiveness of our sins.  He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God and the firstborn3 of all creation.  For by Him was everything created and by Him and for Him everything was created.  He was before all things and in Him everything is held together by Him.  Also He is the head of the church, the firstborn4 of the dead and that His name is above everything.

Timothy traveled many years with the Apostle Paul.  Paul not only taught Timothy the basics of doctrinal Christianity but also provided him an example of Christian leadership.  Paul considered Timothy a “son” in the faith  The Apostle Paul was confident in Timothy’s ability to be a Christian leader.  He believed Timothy would execute his duties as a Christian leader in Ephesus.  However he counseled Timothy to remind them of certain things that they were overlooking or ignoring.
The Ephesians were sue happy people and in 1 Timothy 2:5-6 Paul reminds Timothy and the Ephesians that Jesus is the only
mediator between God and Man,
and that His (Jesus’
) testimony was given at the proper time.

Jesus himself said that the only way to God was through HIM and HIM alone. Paul also acknowledges that Jesus, was, is and will be the only way to salvation and the kingdom of God.  Believing in Sola Christo/Christ Alone is the only way to lead a Christian life.  We also recognize in Sola Christo/Christ Alone that He is the only
mediator we have before God.

Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)

Eph 2:1-9 ESV (1)  And you were dead in the trespasses and sins

(2) in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–

(3) among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

(4) But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,

(5) even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–

(6) and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

(7) so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

(8) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

(9) not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

The Apostle Paul in writing this letter to the Ephesians recognized the need to correct them on a misconception, of among other things, how they were saved.    The Apostle Paul wrote that we were once dead in sins and trespasses.  We walk in a world of sin and degradation and it is by Grace through his love that we have faith in Jesus Christ and are saved.  No acts of kindness, no moral living, no being an upstanding citizen could save us because they are works alone.  According to God’s inerrant word it is by Grace alone we Christians have been saved through faith in Jesus Christ and that this Grace is a Gift from God Almighty. 

Sola Gratia/Grace Alone is one of the most basic tenets in Christian Theology.  During the Great Reformation led by Martin Luther, the reformers adopted this position.   It is through this grace, which is a gift of God The Father because of his love and desire that no one perish (John 3:16).  He gave us this gift of Grace so that through
faith in His Firstborn,5
 Christ Jesus, we are saved.  We cannot earn our salvation in any way, shape, or form.  Just like we get gifts bestowed on us or we bestow
them on others, God does the same for us, so that we might have a relationship with Him.  For without this gift of Grace we stay in our sinful nature and are dead to him.  The results of sin is death. (
Rom 6:23 ESV), For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sola Fide (Faith Alone)

Gal 3:5-14 ESV (5)  Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith–

(6) just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

(7) Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.

(8) And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

(9) So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

(10) For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

(11) Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

(12) But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”

(13) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”–

(14) so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian Churches in Galatia.  Galatia refers to an area or Roman province in Central Asia Minor which includes the cities of Pisidian, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe; all of which Paul visited on his first missionary journey.  Ancient history tells us that Galatians were Gauls from what is now known as the Ukraine.  They broke off from a larger group who were migrating westward to what is now France or what Paul called Gallia.

The letter to the Galatians is striking in its comprehensive and passionate statement of the Gospel of Salvation through faith alone.  Paul wrote that the Christians converted from Judaism that were teaching that they were under the law was a false doctrine and was taught by false teachers. The Galatians had seen the miracles that
were performed by someone (possibly Paul himself) who was justified by faith not by the law.  And that Abraham was justified because of his faith not because of his works.  The Apostle Paul goes on to say that those who stand on their works for justification are under the curse of the law.  They are cursed if they do not abide by everything written in the law and do them.  We (Christians) are justified by faith alone.

In conclusion we see that according to The Word of God and our reformation brothers that the basics of Christianity are: Glory to God Alone, The Scriptures Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone and  Christ Alone.  We give Glory to God for all that He has done and we work for the Glory of God alone.  We read the Scriptures which are the inerrant Word of God and through them alone are the instructions for an abundant Christian Life.  It is by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, that we are saved, and justified. 

1 For clarity the meaning of firstborn here is not order of birth but rank as used in the Roman, Greek and Jewish societies.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

The Bereans Had The Right Way Of It

Acts
17:10-12 KJV*
(focal Scriptures)
10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

This passage of scripture was brought to me for my comment and study. I find that in using the Thompson Chain Reference Bible in the King James Version and other resources available to me that I have to make the following statements about the passage. 

First let us look at the entire passage of Scripture that these verses came from for context purposes. 

Acts 17:1-15 KJV*

(1)  Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:

(2)  And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

(3)  Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

(4)  And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

(5)  But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.

(6)  And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;

(7)  Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.

(8)  And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.

(9)  And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.

(10)  And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

(11)  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

(12)  Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

(13)  But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.

(14)  And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus (Timothy) abode there still.

(15)  And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.

Thessalonica is a city in modern day Greece, however in Paul’s time it was considered to be a city in Macedonia (Turkey in modern times).  It was during Paul’s missionary trip through Macedonia that he came first and passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia. (All of these Cities mentioned are in modern day Greece)  When he arrived in Thessalonica he along with Silas went to the synagogue and for three sabbath day did reason (discuss and preach) the scriptures to them.  He was bringing
the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them.  Telling them that Jesus needed to suffer and rise again from the dead and that Jesus was the messiah. Now some of the Jews believed  and so did a great many of the devout Greeks (gentiles) and of the women who were leaders there were many.   The staunch Jews who believed that Jesus was nothing but a mere prophet, claimed that they (Paul and Silas) had broken the decree set down by Caesar and that they were therefore criminals.  So a brother in Christ named Jason and other brethren put up a security bond for them.  It is commonly believed that as part and parcel of that bond that (Paul and Silas) could not return to Thessalonica.  It is also believed that because of the animosity toward Paul that the bond could not be canceled. Thus prompting the reference in Paul’s first letter to  the Thessalonians to the hindrance of Satan. 

1Th 2:18 KJV (18)  Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.

  So Jason and the other fellow Christians residing there sent them away by night to Berea. The reason for them escaping by night was so that there would be no more confrontation. 

When Paul and Silas arrived in Berea they presented themselves to the local synagogue of the Jews and began preaching the Gospel of Christ.  The Bereans were more spiritually receptive to their testimony.  However they did not take them at face value but searched the word (scriptures) as what they considered their daily duty
in their eagerness for the truth. They became believers both
the Jews and the Greeks (gentiles).
The Bereans had the right way of it. They did not take what was being preached at face value and accept it as Doctrine, unlike a lot of Christians of today, but daily they searched the scriptures as they felt it was their duty to do so. They were eager to find out the truth from the scriptures.  When they had “rightly divided the word of truth” (see 2Timothy 2:15) they became believers of Jesus Christ, both the Jews and the Greeks including their women.

Matthew Henry (1662 – 1714) writes in the book “Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible” (Thomas Nelson publisher Nashville, TN [1789]; reprinted 1997)

The Jews in Berea applied seriously to the study of the word preached unto them.  They not only heard Paul preach on the sabbath, but daily searched the Scriptures, and compared what they read with the facts related to them.  The doctrine of Christ does not fear inquiry; advocates for his cause desire no more than that people will fully and fairly examine whether things are so or not.  Those are truly noble, and likely to be more and more so, who make the Scriptures their rule, and consult them accordingly.  May all the hearers of the gospel become like Berea, receiving the word with readiness of mind.  And searching the Scriptures daily, whether the things preached to them are so.”

Now my question to you is are you a you a “Berean”?  I certainly am.  I know that there are those out there that just listen and believe whatever is preached to them as the Gospel truth and never even crack open the Bible because the “Preacher” they are listening to has an education and “knows” what he or she is talking about.  I
warn you now that not all of those who are preachers and teachers of the Gospel are preaching the true Gospel but they themselves are teaching a humanized and self-proclaimed revelation from God that is not even true to the Word of God.  We all should be “Bereans” and study the scriptures daily.

*All Scripture Quoted by me in this message is from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. 

In the Service of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Reverend Jeffrey A Nelson