May 26, 2013 What about the Jews?

What about the Jews?

The Apostle Paul was born to a Pharisee (Acts 23.6) in Tarsus and became a ‘Pharisee of the Pharisees’, as he describes himself (Philippians 3.4-6).  No one was more zealous for the tenets of Judaism than was Paul!  After Acts 9.1-20, he did not loose his love for the Jewish faith or the Jewish people; rather, he sought their salvation with passion (Romans 9.1-5; 10.1-4), Christ being the fulfillment of the law and prophets (Matthew 5.17).  Quite naturally, then, Paul would have prayed and studied diligently about what would happen to them after the earth has passed away.  Will the Jews be saved?  This was one of his ‘mysteries’ (truths revealed over time), as he uses the term for his deep contemplations.  Consider his contemplative process, revealed in his own written words.

Wishful thinking or revelation?

  • Who puts deep contemplations within your mind?  Consider King David’s perspective in Psalms 16.7-8 and 32.8-9.  See Korah’s sons’ contemplation in Psalm 42.1-2, also.
  • Whereas Jesus used deduction to persuade the Pharisees, tying John 15.24 to Exodus 34.10, Paul used deduction to persuade ‘all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints’ (Romans 1.7).  ‘All’ is inclusive of Jews and Gentiles.
  • In Romans 10.17-21, Paul begins his divinely inspired deduction about the fate of Israel by excerpting the Psalms, Deuteronomy, and Isaiah, where God’s heart reaches out to the Jews with tenderness and, importantly, with strategy: ‘I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation….’ (Deuteronomy 32.21).
  • Who devised the argument?  Who selected the references?  God did and for the purpose of edifying the church and giving hope to Jewish readers.  God guides your deep contemplations about His concerns.
  • In Romans 11.1-36, Paul presents God’s strategic use of jealousy to win lost Jews who have witnessed Gentiles taking their ‘gifts’ (Genesis 12.1-4; Deuteronomy 7.7-8).  An analogy is King David’s jealousy that the family of Obed-Edom had been blessed by having the Ark with them (2 Samuel 6.12).
  • Perhaps the jealousy that Paul is projecting is the ‘calling away’ (Rapture) of Christians in Revelation 4.1-2, whereby Jews might complain that Christians got the rewards of Heaven intended for them first.  Paul wrote about the ‘calling away’ in 1 Thessalonians 5.1-2 and 2 Thessalonians 2.7, remembering what he had been told Jesus said (Luke 17.34-36).
  • Paul the scholar used another analogy to show God’s intended salvation of the Jews, which the Holy Spirit revealed in his ‘guided’ contemplation of this topic of importance to Paul.  The prophet Elijah fled to ‘the mountain of God, Horeb’, from Jezebel, after slaying 400+ false prophets of Baal to prove that only God is God!  Elijah complained that he was alone as God’s prophet, but God revealed facts known only to Him.  See 1 Kings 18.40; 19.8, 10, 14, 18.  Paul makes the point in Romans 11.5 has a ‘remnant’ of Jews that will be saved, known only to God (Revelation 7.2-8).
  • In Romans 11.26-32, Paul is reminded that God has promised to save the Jews, in Isaiah 27. 9; 59.20-21.  Paul used Numbers 23.19 to prove his point; again, the scholar guided by the Spirit!

Paul’s resources and systems of thought

  • Understand that Paul did not have the Book of Jesus’ Revelation to read about this remnant in chapter 7 verses 2-8.  Revelation was not written by the Apostle John until AD95.  Paul wrote Romans in AD 56.  Likewise, Paul knew the truth of John 14.6, which was not written until AD90.  Paul was killed in AD66-67.
  • So, Paul had an intimate knowledge of the Holy Spirit and learned ‘the mind of the Lord’ by listening to His voice, which he first heard on the road to Damascus.  Read slowly for savor Paul’s description of this in Romans 11.33-36!  He could relate to the description of God’s omniscience in Job 36.22-23 and 41.11.  What an inspired memory of Scripture, the result of continuous study and guided by God!  What about your study?
  • Paul treasured the sacred writings of the Old Testament and what parts of the Gospels that might have been written by the time of his writing 2 Timothy 4.13.  There, he instructs Timothy to bring ‘the books, especially the parchments’ to Paul’s second Roman imprisonment in AD66.  Nero may have killed him before they arrived; this is not known.  Perhaps the parchments included Mark’s Gospel which was written in AD63 (Easton’s Dictionary of the Bible).
  • Paul accepted the integrity of these writings, which he confirmed in 2 Timothy 3.16-17.   From his statement of their value in verse 15, he justified his encouragements of 2 Timothy 1.6-7, 13-14; 2.15; and 1 Timothy 4.11-16; 6.20.

The Success of Succession

  • The proof of best practices is their continued use by future generations of leaders.  This Paul explained in 1 Timothy 4.6-10 and 2 Timothy 4.7-8.  Read them together to see the passing on of best practices.
  • Who inherited Paul’s books and parchments after his death?  Although unknown, you are probably right to think that Timothy did, Paul’s protégé in the faith!
  • Are your study habits of reading, meditating, praying, and discussing the Scriptures developing the ‘spiritual muscle’ called Godliness?  Are you coaching your successor in faith?  How can you improve?  You should include reading through the Bible in one year, using whatever plan you might like.
  • Suggestion: write a topic for your search at the top of a page of paper.  Prayerfully ask God to explain the topic to you.  Write down what He says or impresses upon you.  Study the Scripture references He gives.  Then, tell your study partner or an understanding friend what you have learned.  (This is my practice.)
  • 2 Timothy 2.15; Colossians 2.8-10; Romans 12.2; Proverbs 4.23; 3.5-6.

Praise God!!!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2013.  www.sozoclass.com

May 19, 2013 The Mystery of Faith

 The Mystery of Faith

Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s first definition of ‘mystery’ is ‘a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand.’  Also, this dictionary traces the root of ‘religion’ to the Latin ‘religare’, meaning to tie back or, as one learned person told me, to re-connect, like the ligaments connecting your body together.  So, a ‘mystery’ is truth that reconnects you to God, that you can only know by revelation from Him and that you come to understand only by spending time with Him in prayer, the studying of His-story (the Bible specifically), and in contemplation of and, perhaps, dialogue with other seekers of God.  Jeremiah 9.23-24 states that God wants you to know and to understand Him.  And that this is of greater importance than wealth, wisdom, and strength (things for which some lust and strive and by which they compare others, in pride; 1 John 2.15-17).

Revelation from God

  • God is proactive.  He knows our needs before we ask (Matthew 6.8-13; [Philippians 4.6-7 Living Bible is best reading of this]).  God even keeps you hair in place, as He spins the Earth at over 1,000 miles per hour to raise the sun anew each day!  He limits the Earth’s wobble to preserve you to enjoy His four seasons!  He refracts light in its color spectrum through the water in the atmosphere and in glass!  He changes CO2 into O2 for your breath of life!  There are 2,000-5,000 taste buds on your tongue, each with 50-100 taste receptor cells for distinguishing sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami (meaty or savory; flavor)(Wikipedia)!  Consider Psalm 127.2.
  • God, even, drew the plans for Moses to build the Tabernacle (Exodus 26.30, 25.9, 40) and for King Solomon to build the first Temple in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 28.11-12, 19).
  • God is proactive because He has set a date for the end of time.  Contemplate Jesus’ words in Matthew 24.32-36 and Acts 1.7.  Consider, also, Paul’s sermon to the philosophers on Mars Hill (Acts 17.22-31, especially verse 31).  Listen to the imperative of Ezekiel 33.11!
  • Apostle Paul declared that homosexuals and other sinners have purposely ignored God’s revelation of Himself to mankind in order to ‘do the same and also approve of those who practice them’ (Romans 1.18-32, especially verse 19.
  • God has described you who please Him.  See Micah 6.8, Isaiah 33.14-16, and John 3.16-21 and 14.6.
  • God is exact about everything!  What a mystery!  What a life-long search to know and understand Him!  See 1 Chronicles 28.9.

That was Paul’s search!

  • Notice several ‘revelations’ which Paul wrote in 1Timothy 3.14-16.
  • In verse 15, he stated that ‘the house of God…is the church of the living God, (Who is) the pillar and foundation of the truth.’  Compare this statement to King David’s love for the Temple that Solomon would build in 1 Chronicles 28.2-3 and 29.1-5.  The Temple was not for man, but was for God; a footstool for His feet!  So is the church, a repository for the truth of God, to be protected and defended at all costs of reputation among men!  You should follow the practice of believers in Jesus living in Berea; Acts 17.10-11.
  • Verse 16 lists fundamental truths to protect against all attacks!
  1. The main truth is that Immanuel lived on earth; i.e., God came to save mankind, as He had promised (Messiah; Deuteronomy 18.18; John 14.1-11).  Notice the test for speakers of heresy in 1 John 3.24-4.1-6.
  2. Jesus was vindicated in the Spirit, for the Spirit empowered His miracles; Acts 10.38.
  3. Jesus’ birth was announced by angels (Luke 2.8-14) and, also, His resurrection (Luke 24.1-8)!
  4. ‘Jesus is Lord’ (Romans 10.6-13) was preached among the Gentiles (Acts 10.1-43).
  5. Jesus was believed on in the world; see Colossians 1.19-23; 2.8-10.
  6. Jesus ascended to Heaven to be with God; Luke 24.50-53; Acts 1.9-10.

How’s your search?

  • Are you pursuing the One who created you and everything you see, hear, touch, taste, and smell?  He wants you to live with Him eternally, not be separated from Him eternally (John 3.16-18).  Do Jeremiah 29.13!
  • The cover summary of More Than a Carpenter states: “Josh McDowell thought Christians must be ‘out of their minds.’  He put them down.  He argued against their faith.  But eventually he saw that his arguments wouldn’t stand up.  Jesus Christ really was God in human flesh.”  The summary concludes: “In More Than a Carpenter Josh focuses upon the person who changed his life – Jesus Christ.  It is a hard-headed book for people who are skeptical about Jesus’ deity, his resurrection, his claims on their lives.”
  • Josh McDowell became one of the greatest apologists for Jesus!
  • The search is worth it!  Enjoyable life…here and in Heaven!
  • Jeremiah 9.23-24!

Praise God!!!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2013.  www.sozoclass.com

May 12, 2013 Without Wrath or Doubting

Without Wrath or Doubting

The Apostle Paul wrote his two letters to his protégé Timothy to train him in right perspectives and actions; i.e., those that Paul practiced.  He wrote in 1 Corinthians 11.1 and Ephesians 5.1 wise counsels about those you, too, should imitate.  In 1 Timothy 2.1-7, Paul emphasizes the importance of prayer, leading to God’s desired result in verse 4 (sounds like 2 Corinthians 5.17-20: sidebar: remember that an ambassador must speak according to the views on the issues of the one who appointed him/her; see Isaiah 58.13-14 about fasting).

So, about prayer, why would Paul encourage raising hands in 1 Timothy 2.8 as a posture for prayer?  And what does he mean by ‘wrath’ and ‘doubting’?

What ‘wrath’ is permitted?

  • The question is appropriate because Paul has encouraged Timothy to ‘wage the good warfare’ in 1 Timothy 1.18.  You, too, must realize that you were saved from sin (rebellion against God evidenced by following the seductive demons of pride and lusts; Galatians 5.16-23) and saved to fight for yourself and for others to hold onto the faith (1 Peter 1.7; Luke 22.31-32) that brought you to God through Jesus Christ when you became a ‘new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5.17).
  • Spiritual warfare is often fought in confrontations with people who are following satan’s instructions.  Remember Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19.13), Egypt (Exodus 6.5-6; 12.12), the wicked nations of The Promised Land (Exodus 23.22-25): God showed His ‘wrath’ against all who followed gods, evidenced by aberrant behaviors.  See Exodus 20.5, Deuteronomy 7.9-10, and Nahum 1.2 also.
  • Likewise, Jesus (Immanuel; Isaiah 7.14, Psalm 110.1-2, Revelation 19.11-15) had little patience for the religious leaders who had perverted the Laws of God for their own purposes.  This is illustrated in Jesus’ ‘woes to the Scribes and Pharisees’ in Matthew 23.1-36.  His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) was a criticism of their perverted teachings.  Notice His exchange with the religious leaders in Luke 13.10-17 and John 8.30-47.
  • Thus, the Lord God (Exodus 6.3) and Immanuel (Jesus) executed ‘wrath’ against the enemies of truth (John 17.17; John 8.31-32).  In this present age, the Holy Spirit uses your words to confound enemies of truth (Matthew 10.16-20, Mark 13.11, Luke 21.13-15).
  • The answer to the question, “what ‘wrath’ is permitted”, is found in Jesus’ teachings about the Holy Spirit in these verses.  You will always triumph (2 Corinthians 2.14, Romans 8.37, 2 Chronicles 13.18) when the Holy Spirit comes against the proponents of philosophies from other gods (Colossians 2.8-10) through you, for the wisdom and words will be His, not yours!  He is defeating other gods (Exodus 12.12b)!
  • Therefore, Paul is teaching in 1 Timothy 2.8 not to become violent toward those he described in 1 Timothy 1.3-11 and 4.1-10.  They were teaching error and scattering the ‘sheep’ instead of fulfilling Jeremiah 23.4.  See Paul’s teaching about Christian living in Romans 12.17-21, which is based on Deuteronomy 32.35.  Vengeance will be administered by God…soon!
  • But, you should pray with wrath against the demons that abuse you and others, using the authority Jesus gave you in Luke 10.19 and James 4.7 instructs, pushing them back to desert places (Luke 11.24).

Is ‘doubt’ good or bad for faith?

  • How can doubt strengthen your faith in God or in His promises?
  • Consider the heros of Paul’s ‘Hall of Faith’ in Hebrews 11.1-40.  They, all, started with verse 6.  Consider this verse carefully.  What does each phrase mean to you?  You have never seen God, but you believe He exists (Exodus 33.20; John 1.19; 1 John 4.12) and that you will enjoy eternity with Him because of Jesus Christ (John 3.16).  Do you doubt this?  Contact me at once!
  • What does Paul write about doubt in Romans 14.23?  What does this mean to you?
  • How does James 1.5-8 contrast faith and doubt?  Which are you?  In what areas do you experience doubt?  Romans 10.17 is the only way to overcome doubt!  Remember that ‘grace’ is God’s word, i.e., His promises, and His willingness to use His great power to bring it to your reality!  See also Psalm 9.10 and 37.4.
  • Thus, you arrive at Habakkuk 2.4 (Romans 1.16-17) and back to Hebrews 11.6!  So, seek God (Matthew 6.33; Jeremiah 9.23-24)!
  • You were meant to live without doubt…confident in God’s love for you and His saving you now from sickness and poverty and every other difficulty satan brings upon you!

Raise Holy Hands

  • Holy hands are set apart for God’s use (Jeremiah 51.20-23).
  • Holy hands reach up to the Father, like a small child that wants security and rest from his/her parent (Psalm 131.2).
  • Holy hands are busy accomplishing the task God has assigned (John 3.27; 1 Corinthians 3.5-8).
  • Holy hands bless the Lord God Almighty, His only Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit He has given (Psalm 63.3-4; 119.48; 134.1-3; 141.2; 143.5-6).
  • Lift up holy hands to God without wrath toward man and doubting of God!  He is able to do whatever you ask, believing (Matthew 7.7-11)!

Praise God!!!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2013.   www.sozoclass.com

May 4, 2013 Collins or Broussard?

Collins or Broussard?

Earlier last week, Jason Collins publicly announced that he is gay to the applause of many in the media and government.  He is the first active participant in a major men’s pro sport in the US to confess this.  Asked for his opinion, NBA reporter for ESPN Chris Broussard called homosexuality ‘open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ’ (Leviticus 18.22), and I ‘would not characterize that person as a Christian’ (John 5.19 and 12.48-50; 1 Corinthians 6.9-11; 2 Timothy 2.5, 7) (The Washington Post, article by Cindy Boren, April 30, 2013).  Broussard did not back down when openly called a bigot and ignorant and intolerant for his opinion.  He said, ‘I’m a Christian….’  Consider God’s wisdom in Jeremiah 6.16.

Under the hot lights of public condemnation, will you be as bold as Broussard?  Now is the time to prepare!  Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 10.22 (also 2 Timothy 3.12; 1 Peter 4.14).  Stand firm was the advice that Apostle Paul emphasized to his protégé Timothy in his second letter of discipline to his successor in Ephesus; see 2 Timothy 4.2.

Just like today!

  • Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy in AD66, just before Roman Caesar Nero tracked him down, imprisoned him a second time, and murdered him along with other Christians whom Nero blamed when he burned Rome.
  • Paul described people of today in 2 Timothy 3.1-9 and said that those like them in his day had lost their senses (2.2.16-19, 26; 3.13; 4.3-4).  How can the senses be seared over so they are no longer aware of ‘the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will’ (Jeremiah 13.10)?  Can you affirm Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 2.11?
  • How do you see other people: physically to be desired for your own pleasure, intellectually to be disdained as inferior, emotionally as co-dependent and to be blamed for circumstances, and/or spiritually either as deceived by satan or as another part of the body of Christ to be nurtured?  Consider 2 Timothy 2.22-26 and 2 Corinthians 5.16.

Consistency

  • Is your lens for viewing the world around you the same for every view, or does it change with the situation and circumstance?  Consider James 2.1-9.
  • Paul told Timothy to ‘be ready in season and out of season’ to ‘preach the word’ (2 Timothy 4.2).  How do Matthew 5.37 and James 5.12 explain ‘in season’ and ‘out’ as might be contrasted ‘in church’ and ‘with friends out for a good time’?
  • Paul wrote Timothy to ‘hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me’ (2 Timothy 1.13); see also 1 Corinthians 11.1 and Ephesians 5.1.  Are you so assured as Paul of what you ‘teach’ by word and deed to those who follow you (2 Timothy 2.2, 15), considering the caution of James 3.1?

Basis

  • Chris Broussard understands the foundation for life that Paul encourages in 2 Timothy 3.16-18.
  • Stating the important points in reverse order renders:
  1. If you want to be complete and equipped to view everyone and everything properly;
  2. That is, if you want to be disciplined/trained in perspectives that please God,  and
  3. Make you ready to correct blatant error and to fine tune misunderstanding,
  4. Thereby establishing sound doctrine, you must
  5. Consult the Scripture, because it is
  6. Inspired by God!

Related references to consider: Psalm 33.10-12; Psalm 19.1-14; Colossians 2.8-10; John 14.26.

Learn from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, reading for December 10: ‘If we do not sacrifice the natural to the spiritual, the natural life will resist and defy the life of the Son of God in us and will produce continual turmoil.  This is always the result of an undisciplined spiritual nature.  We go wrong because we stubbornly refuse to discipline ourselves physically, morally, or mentally.  We excuse ourselves by saying, “Well, I wasn’t taught to be disciplined when I was a child.”  Then discipline yourself now!  If you don’t, you will ruin your entire personal life for God.’

Reflect on Jesus’ half-brother Jude’s encouragement in verses 20-21.

Praise God!!!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter 2013.  www.sozoclass.com