October 21, 2018 Symptom or Cause?

Symptom or Cause?

One of the challenges we face is distinguishing between symptoms and causes. For example, a declining business profit is a symptom, not a cause of business failure. The failure occurred with customers migrated to other providers for perceived or real reasons. Likewise, the recent national uproar over a judicial nominee was only a symptom of a deeper ideological divide.

An ideological difference was the cause of the symptoms charged by the Jewish religious leaders against Jesus: Jesus healed on the Sabbath, and Jesus made Himself equal with God (Bible, John 5.18). John had previewed such disagreement in John 1.17: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” The Jewish leaders were unwilling to admit what Apostle Paul states about the “guardian” purpose of the Mosaic Law in Galatians 3.15-29.

Jesus’ rhetoric in His dialogue with the Jews, John 7.14-24, deals with both of their complaints. In verses 19-23, Jesus reveals their duplicitous behaviors of holding Him to a standard they were unwilling to keep: “Yet none of you keeps the law.” Then, Jesus illustrates the narrowness of their thinking in His contrast of their circumcising a man on the Sabbath with His healing the “man’s whole body”, referring to the paralytic at Bethesda Pool (John 5.1-17).

Jesus alludes to the cause in John 7.16-18. If the Jews were listening to God, then they would know that His words are the same as God’s. Thus, Jesus was not speaking from His authority but with God’s. This is reference to God’s calling upon their ancestral fathers in Exodus 19.6. His accusers continued to rebel against God’s intention that they be a “nation of priests” to the world. Their disdain for God had devolved into advocacy for satan, as Jesus accuses in John 8.44.

Do we observe this in society today? That is, has a personal unwillingness to discover and nurture God’s calling caused some persons to become accusers of God for their plights? Paul discusses this in Romans 1.18-32. John the Baptist infers this in his answer in John 3.27. Jonah’s story confirms my conjecture and offers his remedy. God’s tether only extends so far, as Solomon discovered to his regret (Ecclesiastes 12.11.13; 1 Kings 11.1-11). Proverbs 19.3and 21.30state that God is not at fault; only man. So, are you fulfilling God’s calling on you (Jeremiah 1.5)?

John 7.24is Jesus’ conclusion in His rhetoric against the Jewish religious leaders’ two accusations: “‘Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.’” How do His words speak to John 1.18, about manifesting God, and John 3.8, about God leading Christians in the Kingdom of God?

Jesus’ dialogue with His half-brothers in John 1.1-10about attending the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles/Booths (Succoth) offers insight into Jesus’ understanding of the pervasiveness of the symptoms that reveal their cause. How do John 1.10-13 and John 3.19-20 explain His statement in John 7.7: “‘The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil’”? The pervasiveness of symptoms that had captured Jesus’ brothers is revealed by the following from Pursue God:

  • God’s original commands were the 613 laws of Moses (called “Torah”) that guided the ancient nation of Israel.
  • The Mishnah was an oral tradition of commentary on the Mosaic Law that introduced additional, man-made rules that “built a fence” around the Mosaic Law so people wouldn’t even come close to breaking God’s commandments.
  • The Pharisees were concerned with keeping these additional commandments and especially with having the outward appearance of keeping them. (Rules)

However, Jesus reminded the Samaritan woman that true worship is not in observing rules of man but is the truth of God that flows like living water from within Christians (John 4.23; John 7.37-39; John 3.8). Our activities of worship are symptoms of the cause emphasized in Jeremiah 9.24. Isaiah 64.4, indeed!

References

Bible. English Standard Version. www.olivetree.com.

Rules. The Torah and Mishnah.www.pursueGod.org.

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Praise God!!!

Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2018. www.sozoclass.com.

 

October 14, 2018 Pushback

Pushback

Simeon was correct: Jesus would grow up as “a sign that is opposed” (Bible, Luke 2.34). Who opposed Jesus and why? Are their arguments similar to those cast against Christians today, as Jesus said to expect, in Matthew 10.16-26? Notice in verses 19-20that in such occasions, we are to depend upon the work of the Spirit of God in the Kingdom of God, as He blows first one way, then another (John 3.8Isaiah 30.21). What can we learn from Jesus’ use of such moments that prepares us for expected opposition to “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1.27)?

John 5.16-18 tells us the two reasons the Pharisees opposed Jesus. These two reasons illustrate that truth is unwelcome when it opposes the unrighteous circumstance of money and power. This is seen, in Jesus’ context, as the contrasts in John 1.17. Apostle Paul explains the purpose of the Law and its complement in the coming of Christ in Galatians 3.23-29 (Leviticus 18.1-4, 24-30).

The Pharisees and Sadducees had expanded the code of God through Moses in condemnable ways, similar to Islam, as in ceremonial washings and such regulations which they, themselves, were unwilling to observe (Matthew 23.1-36).
 John the Baptist had already condemned this “brood of vipers” for standing behind Abraham’s robe to, supposedly, give credibility to their acts (Matthew 3.7-9; Luke 3.7-8). Jesus would defeat that argument in a later exchange (John 8.39-47).

The Spirit of God was leading Jesus in the previous and current encounters with the Jewish religious leaders. The Spirit was confronting them because of Exodus 19.6

John 5.17 & 19-21 are another illustration of the Kingdom of God that Jesus discussed with Nicodemus in John 3.1-8. Jesus is living out verse eight as He says in John 5.19-20. Paul joins Jesus (John 17.18) in reminding us that we are to be led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8.14) to work in the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 2.10).

The remainder of Jesus’ encounter with the Pharisees in John 5.21-29 is understood from John 1.14 & 16-18 & 31-34 and 1 John 4.1-6. This was Spiritual Warfare. The Pharisees did not want the Messiah to appear! High Priest Caiaphas explained this to the Sanhedrin, that “‘everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away…our place’” (John 11.45-50; 18.14); money and power!

So, Jesus spoke truth in declaring that He, now, was the Judge (John 5.22-29; Acts 17.31). That is, the Name above all names (Philippians 2.9-11) walked the Earth now as the plumb line of veracity. Receiving His Name would bring life (John 1.12;Acts 4.12). Not receiving His Name would mean a continuation of death throughout eternity (Ephesians 2.1-3 & John 3.16-21). satan has been trying to diminish this truth since before Jesus’ birth, as John writes about in Revelation 12.1-6. Paul writes about this in Romans 1.18-32 and 2 Timothy 3.1-6; see, also, Leviticus 18.1-30. Contemporary “morality” is nothing more than the old immorality that satan recycles (2 Corinthians 4.3-4).

John 6.26-69focuses on the real issue: our choice of “bread”. This is understood from two perspectives. First, Jesus reveals the true motives of the 5,000+ who had participated in the Kingdom- of-God miracle by having their physical hunger satisfied with morsels of blessed bread and fish (John 6.1-14 & 22-26) and had come for more. Their motives were the same as Nicodemus (John 3.1-2) and the Samaritan woman (John 4.13-15). Such reveal the “soul” directed by the “body” (1 Thessalonians 5.23); that is, behavior directing thinking, instead of the mindset driving thinking (Mark 12.30).  John warns about this (1 John 2.15-17).

Jesus second perspective presumes the mindset driving thinking but questions the proper mindset. In John 6.48-58, Jesus uses hyperbole to make His point: consume My “grace and
truth” (John 1.17)! “Grace and truth” are more important than what your fathers “ate…in the wilderness” (John 6.49). These are more important than the Judaism taught by the Pharisees’ inculcation or the Greek philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and others. Paul would describe these as “elemental spirits of the world” (Colossians 2.8-10).

Many of these aberrant teachings and lifestyles are promulgated by contemporary philosophers and their disciples over various media. Among the teachings are 10 Schools of Philosophy and Why You Should Know Them:

Nihilism: leading among angst teens; nothingness.

Existentialism: leading among angst undergraduates; no purpose.

Stoicism: practiced by people in high-stress environments; accept what you cannot control; it will pass.

Hedonism: pleasure/happiness is the one thing of intrinsic value.

Marxism: a method of critiquing a consumerist society for reducing everything to a commodity; anti- capitalism because of labor theory of value.

Logical Positivism: base everything on logic and empirical evidence for verification.

Taoism: based around ideas of humility; a focus on the individual, simplicity, and naturalness; fused with Buddhism and birth of Zen.

Rationalism: cannot trust senses; knowledge primarily from reason and thought, not empirical evidence.

Relativism: views are relative to perspective; no absolute truth or moral facts; cannot critique another culture.

Buddhism: suffering has a cause that can be overcome by meditation; many schools; some pantheon of gods; some karma and reincarnation as part of life; mindfulness in West is aligned. (Hendricks, 2017).

Jesus said we should expect pushback from adherents of these and other mindsets (Matthew 10.22 & 25). Our pushback will be from the Spirit of God as we encounter them by pushing back with truth in the Kingdom of God (John 3.8). Ultimately, satan does not want John 3.16 & 14.6 and Acts 4.12known outside (or inside) the church! “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5.16). How does Revelation 12.11 give Christians assurance of victory? Is this like Genesis 1.28?

References

Bible. English Standard Version of the Bible. www.olivetree.com.

Hendricks, Scotty. 2017. 10 Schools of Philosophy and Why You Should Know Them. www.bigthink.com.

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Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2018. www.sozoclass.com.