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  • James Randal 2:17 pm on April 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , make every effort,   

    So how are you different by being like everyone else? 

    different-sameTwitter is rolling out its new profile formats, which resemble Facebook, which in turn changed to look more like Google+. It must presage the Great Convergence. Run!

    Google, I believe I wrote earlier, is working off an ancient functional idea for its format: the 3×5 card. Simplicity rules. Except in the Lord’s church, where not a few want to complicate by innovation.

    ¶ Speaking of which, last night in our home reading group, we read all of 1 Corinthians 4, in which Paul apparently makes yet another application of that well known rule among Christians: “Don’t go beyond what is written” v. 6. (More …)

     
  • John Henson 10:21 am on April 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Going to Miss Heaven? 

    People tell me Hawaii is so beautiful it would be a shame to have lived and not to have seen it.

    There is no doubt that Hawaii has great scenic beauty, but it is possible to live a fulfilled and rich life on earth and die without seeing it. When it comes to living and dying and not seeing heaven, well, that’s different.

    Why would anyone live in this world and suffer the myriad things this old world dishes out, reject God’s offer of pardon and redemption, and never see heaven?

    But, people will miss heaven because they don’t think they can get there. There are those who believe the plan of salvation God has given is just too difficult to satisfy. Friend, calculus is too difficult. Obeying God is very simple. What is involved? Obedience. The problem many people have is not God’s plan, it is their own obedience to it. Going to heaven takes a desire to yield to God’s word and obey it (Romans 6:17).

    Some will miss heaven because they don’t think they’ll ever be good enough to live there. Listen up: NONE of us will ever be good enough. We have all sinned (Romans 3:23). God, however, has made a way for us to go. All that is involved is for us to obey the gospel the same way people did in the first century (Acts 2:37-38) and live faithfully to God each day. Yes, we are going to sin. John said that anyone who says they don’t sin deceives themselves (1 John 1:8). God has given us his Son to continue cleansing us of sin (1 John 1:7, 9).

    People will miss heaven because they don’t think they can change. Perhaps it is because they’re just too stubborn to try. Forgive me. It is not my intention to offend anyone, but there are those who don’t want to try to obey God and live in eternal bliss. Yes, it is difficult to believe, but the way they act it would seem so. Let me ask this: is it really wise for a person to remain set in their disobedience to God, refuse to obey him and suffer eternal condemnation? No. It isn’t. People have said, “Well, my way was good enough for mother and father; it’s good enough for me.” Unless your way is Jesus, it isn’t going to be good enough (John 14:6).

    Friend, don’t miss heaven. Your Lord and Savior Jesus doesn’t want you to miss it. He died for your sins to give you the way to get there. Throughout history, God has done everything in his power to show the way. He sent his son to die so that you could go.

    Miss Hawaii if you must. Just don’t miss going to eternal bliss and happiness in heaven. You can’t afford to stay away.

     
  • TFRStaff 7:35 am on April 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Quaking mountains, swaying hills 

    The Scripture for today, April 24, is Jeremiah 4:24 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

    “I looked at the mountains and they were quaking, all the hills were swaying.”

    We have expressions that something is “as eternal as the mountains” or “as old as the hills”. Perhaps earthquakes are a good reminder to us that nothing on earth is eternal. That also includes things, people, power, position, belongings. Eventually they quake and sway and are gone. Only that which is spiritual is forever.

    Mum Katheryn Haddad

    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/godfind/info

     
  • James Randal 1:10 pm on April 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christian news   

    Your eyes needed for new site 

    Check out the new WP installation for Christendom News, whic picks up feeds of many denominations and religions that style themselves Christian. It’s been going on Twitter since 2008. The WordPress site makes it even easier to follow.

    Soon to come, a BNc story on it, but you get first chance to visit and find any kinks. For now, it’s using the same P2 theme as we use here on TFR, to avoid titles.

    A new domain name for it would be nice, but that means laying out more money and making the WP installation the main site, which is picking up a feed from Twitter.

    Fortunately, the site doesn’t require any input from anyone; it’s all done automatically. This observation was needed to keep Weylan from his usual irons-in-the-fire comment. :)

     
    • Weylan Deaver 1:31 pm on April 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t know about Randal, but there are a lot of irons in the fire around here. Because someone has to say it.

  • TFRStaff 9:38 am on April 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    I know it says that, but it doesn’t mean that 

    The scripture for today, April 23, is Mark 4:23 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

    “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

    Some of us read a passage in the Bible and say, “I know it says that, but it doesn’t mean that.” We just don’t want to hear it.

    It’s hard to admit we are wrong, isn’t it? It’s human nature. And in the realm of religion, it is even harder because we’re talking about our eternal soul. So reading that we’re supposed to be doing or not doing something that we’ve never followed before is like being on a bridge over a roaring river, and suddenly realizing the bridge is breaking and we are not as safe as we thought we were. Let us take our human egos out of the way. (More …)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 5:48 am on April 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Link to an audio sermon on “Does God Care What I Wear?” 

    Here’s a link to a recorded sermon on the topic of “Does God Care What I Wear?” There’s also a follow-up lesson on the same page (that I haven’t listened to yet), but as far the first lesson goes, it helps to put the focus on the proper parts when it comes to the subject that’s under consideration.

    If you’re planning to present a lesson any time soon on the subject that’s obviously alluded to by the sermon’s title, it’s worth your time to sit a spell and listen; there’s plenty of room to “make the lesson your own”. But even if you’re not planning to preach on the subject – due to the little fact that you don’t preach – it’s still worth your consideration because of the way that the speaker addresses the topic. All in all, it’s a win-win for any listener who’s interested in the question that’s being asked.

     
  • TFRStaff 8:54 pm on April 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    “God’s Not Dead”: A Movie Review from A.P. 

    On March 21, 2014, the movie God’s Not Dead was released in 780 theaters across the country. Since then, more than 1,000 other theaters began showing the film, which grossed over $41 million in less than one month-pretty good for a movie with a budget of only $2 million (God’s Not Dead, 2014a).

    Read >>

     

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:54 am on April 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    The Wind Won’t Always Be At Your Back! 

    There’s an “old Irish blessing” that says, “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

    Several days ago, on a particularly windy day, I saw a butterfly flying from place to place, from flower to flower. Of all the flying creatures that you may think of that should probably “stay home” on a windy day I think it would be a butterfly; nevertheless, there he (or she) was, flying in the face of, even in spite of, the wind.

    That butterfly was a living example of Proverbs 24:10 which says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Truth of the matter is, spiritually speaking, the road won’t always be easy to travel! The wind won’t always be at our back! The rain won’t always fall gently! And we must be ready for those days. And we can be ready for those days, for indeed, the Lord has warned us ahead of time, and his word is there to prepare us.

    Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)

     
  • TFRStaff 3:40 am on April 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , religious debates   

    Hugh’s News & Views (Get Your Picture Taken) 

    “REPENT, AND GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN”

    J. D. Tant (1861-1941) was a preacher, debater, and writer who devoted his life to the proclamation of the gospel of Christ as revealed in the New Testament and to the work of maintaining the purity of New Testament Christianity and the church of which one reads in the New Testament. While most of his work was in the south and southwest, he nevertheless evangelized throughout the United States. During the course of his life’s work he conducted over 200 debates with preachers of various religious persuasions. (More …)

     
  • TFRStaff 7:17 am on April 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: spiritual darkness, , worldly accomodation   

    Getting used to the darkness 

    by Charles Box — What has happened in our world? How have we come to just accept and get used to sinful things of darkness? A friend of mine, John Hall, recently told me about waking up after working at night. He said he turned the TV on, but was not watching it yet. He was reading his mail. When he looked up he saw two men engaged in a very passionate kiss.

    How are we willing to accept homosexuality, immodesty, fornication, adultery, dishonesty and all the other evils that go with the daytime (and night-time) soap operas? How have we come to accept such vulgar music, vulgar movies, vulgar internet and vulgar books? How have we come to believe that that darkness is light and light is darkness? (More …)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:39 am on April 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Bible Riddle 

    Here’s a clever one:

    Alive without breath, as cold as death,

    Clad in mail, never clinking,

    Never thirsty, ever drinking.

    What am I?

    Because it may very well “take a Solomon” to figure out the answer to this one without a clue (or a Google search) you can check out 1 Corinthians 15:31-49; the answer is somewhere in there.

    Have a great day!

     
    • James Craven 6:44 am on April 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      a seed ?

      • Eugene Adkins 6:45 am on April 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Good guess, James, but that answer doesn’t bear the right fruit.

        Told ya it was a tougher one.

    • Gary Davis 7:37 am on April 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I kept digging through the scriptures to find the answer, but I might as well have been Finding Nemo.

      • Eugene Adkins 8:30 am on April 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        You’re actually fairly close with your answer to the right one!

        On Monday, April 21, 2014, The Fellowship Room wrote:

        >

        • Gary Davis 8:46 am on April 21, 2014 Permalink

          I answered in a riddle. I didn’t want to give it away for anyone else trying. I enjoy your riddles!

        • Eugene Adkins 8:58 am on April 21, 2014 Permalink

          Gotch ya. Makes sense to me. Glad you enjoy them, Gary.

          On Monday, April 21, 2014, The Fellowship Room wrote:

          >

    • Corla Enslow 7:51 am on April 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Is it the spirit?

      • Eugene Adkins 8:30 am on April 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for trying, but try again.

        On Monday, April 21, 2014, The Fellowship Room wrote:

        >

  • TFRStaff 9:37 am on April 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , jealousy   

    Do your good deeds in private, and God will reward you openly 

    The scripture for today, April 20, is 1st John 4:20 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

    “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”

    Jealousy and hatred are very much akin. Are there people you are jealous of? Do they have a position you want, and so you say and do things to undermine their character or work, so you can get their position? Do you have a position you love, and there is a new person who could perform better, so you undermine that person’s ability in order to protect your position? (More …)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 8:35 pm on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , iglesia de Cristo,   

    First Night of the Gospel in Espanol ends with a Splash 

    The iglesia de Cristo is striving to begin a process of sowing the seed and bearing fruit for the Lord in the Spanish-speaking community of my home town in Smithville, TN.

    Despite “experiencing” 1 Corinthians 14:19 first hand, I had the privilege last night of attending the services of what began a weekend series of meetings for the newly foundedphoto congregation. And I’m so glad I went because after hearing a lesson on the church’s one foundation a lady came forward and before a crowd of about 100 witnesses (comprised of members from about 6 different congregations) she expressed her wishes to begin life anew in Christ Jesus. So after a quick trip down the highway to the Smithville congregation’s building the first night of the gospel in Español ended with a splash and the birth of a new creation in Christ! And after using my translator app to figure out the Spanish word for congratulations I was privileged to be able to give this new sister-in-Christ a hug and a small word of encouragement that was received with a gracias and a warm smile.

    As with any other mission work, the newly founded congregation here in Smithville will face an up-hill-climb, but perhaps, by the grace of God and by sleeves rolled up, the vineyard of the Lord will grow here in DeKalb county.

    I’m going to try to get some information together for a possible story on Brotherhood News. But until then please keep this newly founded effort in your prayers.

     
    • James Randal 9:59 am on April 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Great news of this wonderful start! May God bless it with great growth and influence in the kingdom.

  • John T. Polk II 11:51 am on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Calendar Apostasy (finis) 

    Joseph, let me finish this conversation on “fellowshiproom.org” with some comments, and if you have further questions, we can privately discuss them.

    Original article:

    If they did so [continued celebrating Passover], it was without any authority from God. From Colossians 2:13-17 we learn that the cross of Christ: (1) “wiped out” Moses’ Law with none remaining (just like a sinner’s sins, Acts 3:19); (2) took Moses’ Law “out of the way” (removed it from further use, like sins, John 1:29); (3) “nailed” Moses’ Law at the same time (if there is no “judgment,” there is no law to enforce, Romans 4:15)

     You said: I think that’s a pretty radical reading of Colossians 2:13–17. [Joseph, it’s not “radical reading” to stress the exact words of the text, and then accept it’s teaching. You seem to resort to “radical reading” by looking into the words “bond,” “curse,” “elemental spirits” in passages you use. It is hardly objective to call my procedure “radical reading” and resort to the same thing yourself!] Let’s look at what the Scripture actually says (I’ll even be nice and use a good Protestant translation, the ESV):[What you term “a good Protestant translation” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s completely accurate. I find the NKJV a more consistently accurate translation.]

    You said: The “bond” is the record of those trespasses, which under the Law, we were legally bound to expiate. What Jesus canceled was not the Law, but this bond, and the legal requirements of the Law upon a Christian. [If what Christ “wiped out” was a written record of our personal sins, how would this prevent being judged “in food or in drink,” “a festival or a new moon or sabbaths?” And if that was the “shadow of things to come,” what was to come? Your interpretation is not consistent with this context. But if what Christ “wiped out” was Moses’ Law, then Christ’s death frees from personal sin and  the food and drink, festival, new moon, and sabbaths requirements of Moses’ Law. AND Christians should no longer follow the “shadow,” but the “substance” of Christ’s Law!] As he says in Galatians, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law” (Galatians 3:13) — He did not “wipe away” the Law itself. [Moses’ Law contained “the curse,”(Deuteronomy 21:23). Jesus became “the curse of the law” when He was crucified (Galatians 3:13-14). If the “curse” is removed, then the law with that “curse” is removed. If not, why not?] If that were the case, why would the Law itself (the Torah) still be an essential part of Christian Bibles? [“to bring us to Christ” (Galatians 3:19-29)]

     What is called a “Christian calendar” is the Catholic calendar of their designated times for spiritual emphasis. However, the New Testament church of Christ never re-enacted events in Jesus’ life, but preached His life, death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven,  that people could believe in Him (Luke 1:1-4; John 20:30-31; 21:25; Mark 16:15-16). Jesus was born, lived, and died under Moses’ Law (Galatians 4:4-5), but in His death, He removed that Law (Colossians 2:14-17; Hebrews 10:9-10). According to Hebrews 10:9, what “first” did Jesus “take away” and what did Jesus “establish” as the “second” which saves us today?

     It is easy to slip into unscriptural practices by imitating those who practice false religious ways, as Paul warned (2 Timothy 4:1-5), instead of imitating those who are pleasing to God (1 Corinthians 4:15-16; 2 Corinthians 10:18).

    —–John T. Polk II

     
    • docmgphillips 1:20 pm on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I have followed this discussion with interest. Perhaps we are arguing semantics; perhaps not. I have never celebrated Christmas nor Easter as religious holidays. They definitely are NOT! However, I have always celebrated Santa Claus Day and Easter Bunny Day as secular holidays, and have allowed my children to do the same. They understood from early on that there was nothing sacred nor religious about those days. After all, we celebrate 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and St. Valentine’s Day (wasn’t he a Catholic?). Personally, I see no harm in holidays as long as we understand that they have no religious connotation. We cannot control the world, but we can control what we, ourselves, believe.
      With that understanding, what is the problem? Can we not be “in” the world but not “of” the world?

      • RichardS 5:56 pm on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        When I was growing up my family celebrated Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s day, St.Valentine’s day, and halloween. However, as an adult Christian, I don’t see how I can observe or celebrate those days (which are steeped in pagan rituals) and be “unspotted from the world” (Jas 1:27) or not “conformed to the world” (Rom 12:2). The other national holidays that you mentioned, as far as I know, don’t involve any pagan rituals.

    • Joseph Richardson 1:29 pm on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      So you said that you “stress the exact words of the text.” And I “look into” the meaning of the words. Is this not the same thing? Should we not take the words for what they mean, and understand the context?

      If what Christ “wiped out” was a written record of our personal sins, how would this prevent being judged “in food or in drink,” “a festival or a new moon or sabbaths?

      Who do you think is doing the judging here? This is not talking about divine judgment. Paul says, “let no one pass judgment on you.” He is speaking, as I’ve said several times, to the exact situation that was occurring with the Romans and Galatians. Judaizers — those who taught that observance of the Torah was necessary for salvation in Christ — were passing judgment on Gentile Christian believers, who did not keep such observance. Paul says that because Christ canceled the bond of debts, He set us free from the legal demands of the Law. We are no longer bound in Christ to keep the Torah.

      And if that was the “shadow of things to come,” what was to come?

      Salvation in Christ by faith. Is this not basic Christian theology?

      But if what Christ “wiped out” was Moses’ Law, then Christ’s death frees from personal sin and the food and drink, festival, new moon, and sabbaths requirements of Moses’ Law.

      Yes, exactly — Christ’s redemption frees us from the legal requirements of the Law, to keep festivals, etc. But it does not forbid them, which is what you care claiming.

      And Christians should no longer follow the “shadow,” but the “substance” of Christ’s Law!

      That isn’t what Paul says here at all. You are interpolating a meaning that is not there. As I have shown, Paul, a Jew, as well as other Jewish Christians, “kept the Law zealously,” and did not see any contradiction between this and their salvation in Christ. How do you explain this discrepancy?

      I find the NKJV a more consistently accurate translation.

      Fine. Let’s use that one. It says basically the same thing.

      If the “curse” is removed, then the law with that “curse” is removed. If not, why not?

      Why would it be? Jesus Himself said, “Assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18) Are you contradicting the words of our Lord?

      I will not argue with you about “unscriptural practices” and “false religious ways,” since that is an entirely different argument. You are asserting meanings from Scripture that simply are not there.

      If you’d like to email me, my address is joseph.t.richardson@gmail.com. But I welcome any other input from the community and am perfectly content to keep the discussion here.

  • TFRStaff 10:26 am on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , forwarding, verification   

    Trust but verify 

    When Ronald Reagan was President someone asked him about his trust of Russia. He answered that there was an old Russian saying, and he quoted the words in Russian then pronounced them in English “Trust but verify.” Gorbachev was on the stage with him at the time and he said, in Russian, “You say that every time we meet.”

    In the last few months I have come to believe in that statement more than ever. (More …)

     
    • James Randal 11:05 am on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on Christian Hub • for churches of Christ and commented:
      Ed Smithson cautions us about forwarding emails without verification.

    • Gary Davis 9:31 pm on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      A scriptural application could be made as well, since the Bereans could have had a similar “trust but verify attitude” in Acts 17:11. John gives the same warning in I John 4:1-6. Also, just a quick correction to the article. It should be http://www.snopes.com as a resource for checking internet rumors.

  • James Randal 7:47 am on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    When God changes his mind 

    God regretsSometimes when God “repents” or changes his mind, it is in the direction of leniency. One case is judgment against King Ahab in 1Kgs 22.20-29. Other times, such language refers to judgment, such as when he “regretted” creating man and decided to send the flood, in Gen 6.6-7.

    What observations should we make when thinking of such changes in divine direction toward man? Specifically, to what degree is such language accomodative? How does such cases affect the immutability and the omniscience of God?

    Your input is most welcome.

     
    • Eugene Adkins 11:36 am on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      There’s more than one move that wins a chess game. Don’t know if that’s the type of answer you’re looking for but it’s one way that my mind sees it.

  • James Randal 3:53 pm on April 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Easter, That Yearly Date 

    Easter is not biblical

    Easter, that yearly date,
    Appeared some centuries late;
    The Christians first observed
    That weekly supper, unnerved
    By pagans’ hateful threats.
    But worldliness begets
    Desire to imitate
    An attractive fleshy trait.
    And so in time arose
    That the faith resembled its foes.

    JRMatheny

     
  • Eugene Adkins 1:41 pm on April 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    The Lord isn’t looking for an excuse, He’s waiting for a confession 

    Often times, in relation to the sins that we commit, it is easy to find ourselves offering an excuse, or even rationalizing the sins that we have committed against God, our self and others. But the Lord isn’t looking for an excuse, an explanation or a personal justification when it comes to our sin. He’s waiting for a confession. There’s nothing that we can add that He doesn’t already know. There’s nothing that we can diminish that He won’t be aware of. To be made clean – we must come clean.

    As one surveys the word of God there are individuals who stand out Goliath-high amongst the rest. At the risk of leaving many people out, there is, not specifically in order, Seth, Enoch, Job, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Amran, Jochebed, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Ruth, Samson, Samuel, Nathan, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Asa, Hezekiah, Josiah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Nehemiah, Zacharias, Elizabeth, John the Baptizer, Joseph, Mary, Simeon, Anna, Peter, James, John, Thomas, Paul, and Apollos. And in the words of Hebrews 11:32, time would fail me to mention the names of others who are worthy of such consideration. And what causes these individuals to stand out amongst all of the people that we read about in the Bible? It wasn’t because they were perfect! It was because they were willing to confess their imperfections – they were aware of their own sinful shortcomings in the face of a righteous and eternal God.

    Being human isn’t necessarily an excuse for the wrongs that we commit, but thanks be to God for His mindfulness of our human frailties. And with that thought in mind, when it comes to confessing our sin, what are waiting for?

    Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”” (Luke 18:9-14)

    Related Article:

     
    • John Henson 10:33 am on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      This is going into our bulletin TODAY. Thanks, brother!

      • Eugene Adkins 10:43 am on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Good deal, John. Thanks for the kind words.

        I just noticed a word that got left out. Let me fix that real quick.

  • TFRStaff 8:22 am on April 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , omniscience of God,   

    God’s will is for you to have the best life possible 

    The scripture for today, April 19, is 1st Corinthians 4:19a as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

    “But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing.”

    God knows each step you take through life. He knows all the roads you take in each phase of your life, and what is awaiting us at the other end. The road you are on today may lead us to where you do not want to be. But not being able to see the future, you do not always know that. (More …)

     
  • John T. Polk II 6:42 am on April 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Calendar Apostasy, a response and a reply 

    Joseph Richardson 1:08 am on April 18, 2014Permalink | Reply | Edit

    Hey, whoa, slow down, man. Let’s think this through. [Indeed, let’s.]

    The first Christians, I’m sure you realize, were Jews. They continued to celebrate the Passover (Pascha) and the Sabbath for at least the first century after Christ. [If they did so, it was without any authority from God. From Colossians 2:13-17 we learn that the cross of Christ: (1) “wiped out” Moses’ Law with none remaining (just like a sinner’s sins, Acts 3:19); (2) took Moses’ Law “out of the way” (removed it from further use, like sins, John 1:29); (3) “nailed” Moses’ Law at the same time (if there is no “judgment,” there is no law to enforce, Romans 4:15)] Christ didn’t die to “remove” these things: He came to fulfill them (cf. Matthew 5:17) [Jesus life “fulfilled,” His death cancelled God’s former Law through Moses, therefore Jews are “free” to marry Christ’s Law (Romans 7:1-4)]. Paul says in Colossians 2:16 “let no one pass judgment on you” with regard to practices of Jewish festivals or traditions. This is essentially his message in Romans and Galatians — in which he does not condemn circumcision per se, or condemn any Jewish Christian who had received circumcision (for he himself had, as did Timothy, Acts 16:3) [which under Christ’s Law is optional, not commanded, Galatians 5:6-11], or declare that Jewish believers should no longer practice the traditions of their heritage. What he taught (in opposition to the Judaizers) was that no Christian was justified by the works of the law (cf. Romans 3:20), but rather by faith (Romans 3:20-26). Did God no longer justify believers who had been circumcised? Did Jesus “remove” the covenant of Abraham or of Moses? Can God go back on His promises, or nullify the covenants He has made? [“Fulfilling” is not “going back on His promises,” rather it is completing what God said that would lead to Jesus Christ, Galatians 3:9-25] No, of course not. He justifies the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised by faith (Romans 3:30); and by faith in Christ, even the Gentiles become children of Abraham and heirs to God’s promises through him (Galatians 3:29).

    So to the idea that observing religious festivals is tantamount to idolatry: The first, Jewish Christians did, and their Gentile brethren followed suit; so this is a practice as old as the Christian Church. [If they practiced it, find where they did in the New Testament] Jesus is our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) — so should Christians no longer care about the Passover? [All of the ceremonies of Moses’ Law were but “a shadow of things to come” in Jesus’ Law, Colossians 2:16-17] Are we not heirs to God’s promises then, too? Jesus presented Himself as the fulfillment of that sacrifice, even instructing us to keep a remembrance of it, in the very language of the Passover celebration (Exodus 12:24; 24:8, Luke 22:19). [But Jesus gave new meaning to the Passover elements because that was the last time Passover was to be observed under Moses, Mark 14:12-26 ] Paul, in reference to this, instructs us to “celebrate the festival” (1 Corinthians 5:8). [Since Christians’ “Passover” is “Christ,” then “the feast” is the one where Jesus changed the elements from a lamb under Moses to The Lamb of God Himself, Luke 22:7-20]

    For what it’s worth: The Resurrection of our Lord has only ever been called “Easter” in England and English-speaking countries (in both Greek and Latin, it was called “Pascha,” Passover, since the first century); and the Christmas season has only ever been referred to as “Yule” among Germanic peoples. So you may thank our Anglo-Saxon forebears for that “idolatry,” not the early Christians. [“Easter” was a calendar term for that particular season which coincided with the Jewish “Passover,” and so was termed in the King James Version. The Jews are the one who have kept practicing some of Moses’ Law, after Jesus had removed it by His cross, not Christians!] The practice of fasting before celebrating our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection is by all appearances apostolic, in emulation of our Lord’s own fasting (Matthew 4:1-11), and He did not at all condemn fasting (in the very verse you cite, Matthew 6:16, he instructs us regarding “when [we] fast”). [Jesus condemned the public display of “fasting,” which is what “Lent” is all about! “ Christians who “fast” do so as a consequence of their activity, not as a goal for spirituality, Luke 5:30-39; Acts 14:23; 1 Corinthians 7:5]

    As for all your other charges of “idolatrous practices” and “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1) — you should be prepared to back that up before lobbing such accusations at fellow believers. No one in the early Church read or applied these Scriptures the way you are applying them. [Then why did the Holy Spirit direct Paul to write them to the Colossians, Galatians, Timothy, and why did the Jews persecute Paul for preaching, Galatians 5:11?] There is nothing in Scripture that forbids remembering and celebrating the great events of the history of salvation — in fact, it’s an essential part of the faith and covenant we have inherited from our Jewish Lord. No, these things do not contribute to our salvation in themselves, and no one believes they do; but the calendar is, as it was for the Jews, an ancient model and pattern and custom for worshipping God, for setting our minds and our hearts on Him and on His promises — especially now, in the Christian caledndar, on Christ’s Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection. [Christians are not to re-enact Jesus’ life, but re-mold their hearts to conform to His teaching, Romans 6:1-18; 12:1-2]

    I respect your position, brother, but I think you’re mistaken. If the Christian calendar so leads a believer away from Christ — why is every bit of it focused on Christ’s work of salvation in our lives? God bless you, and His peace be with you! [There is no “Christian calendar,” except to meet every first day of the week, remembering Christ’s resurrection (Acts 20:7); break bread for the Lord’s Supper, remembering Christ’s death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Every sinner must enter Jesus’ death by repenting and being baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). These are not re-enactments, but realizations of Jesus Christ within.

    By-the-way, Joseph, thank you for reading and taking the time to respond. JTPII]

     
    • wmayhue1 7:00 am on April 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks John for your good answers to Joseph…

    • Joseph Richardson 10:40 am on April 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hi again, John. I am gracious for your irenic response. I was winging it last night mostly from memory, but today I have all my notes and books in front of me. So I have a little bit more to say:

      If they did so [continued celebrating Passover], it was without any authority from God. From Colossians 2:13-17 we learn that the cross of Christ: (1) “wiped out” Moses’ Law with none remaining (just like a sinner’s sins, Acts 3:19); (2) took Moses’ Law “out of the way” (removed it from further use, like sins, John 1:29); (3) “nailed” Moses’ Law at the same time (if there is no “judgment,” there is no law to enforce, Romans 4:15)

      I think that’s a pretty radical reading of Colossians 2:13–17. Let’s look at what the Scripture actually says (I’ll even be nice and use a good Protestant translation, the ESV):

      13. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
      14. by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

      What Jesus canceled and set aside and nailed to the cross was the bond [Gk. χειρόγραφον ()cheirographon, a certificate of indebtedness, account, record of debts] which stood against us with its legal demands. The canceling of this bond is in apposition (that is, these phrases are strung together like they are referring to the same thing) with making us alive together with Him and having forgiven us all our trespasses. This refers specifically to our redemption, to Christ forgiving all our sins (that is, in fact, what it says). The “bond” is the record of those trespasses, which under the Law, we were legally bound to expiate. What Jesus canceled was not the Law, but this bond, and the legal requirements of the Law upon a Christian. As he says in Galatians, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law” (Galatians 3:13) — He did not “wipe away” the Law itself. If that were the case, why would the Law itself (the Torah) still be an essential part of Christian Bibles? In fact, Jesus Himself proclaims that “until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18). Paul insists that we do not “overthrow the Law by faith,” but “on the contrary, we uphold the Law” (Romans 3:31).

      15. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
      16. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
      17. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

      Let no pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink. What is the context of this passage? Paul begins, in verse 8, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8) The Gentile Christians in Colosse were being assailed on one side by Greek philosophers (particularly the Stoics: “elemental spirits” in this verse = στοιχεῖα [stoicheia]) and on the other side by the Judaizers, both seeking to pull the Christians away from faith in Christ by the imposition of empty ideas and traditions. As I argued before, the Judaizers were insisting that circumcision and the keeping of the Jewish Law was necessary for salvation in Christ. In this context, the removal of the “legal demands” of the Law is the very same argument Paul is making in Galatians and Romans: those Jewish practices are no longer binding on a Christian, who is justified by faith in Christ. As you yourself acknowledge, Paul is not condemning circumcision — that is still optional for a Jewish Christian. Why do you suppose, then, that he is condemning the practice of any other part of the Jewish tradition? If, as you say, Jesus “wiped out” the Law and condemned its practice, why would Paul still recommend the circumcision of Timothy (Acts 16:3)? Would keeping the Jewish festivals not also be optional?

      Yes, these things are shadows of things to come. The Law was a custodian that guided us until Christ came and leads us to faith in Him. As Paul says in the very verses you cite, “the Law [of Moses] … [did] not annul a covenant previously ratified by God [i.e. that of Abraham], so as to make the promise void” (Galatians 3:17–18). Nor did Jesus annul the Law by His new covenant or make void its promises. Nothing in Scripture supports the argument you are making.

      Now, I will not get into an extended debate here about soteriology and what is meant by Christ “fulfilling” the Law. But Paul tells us that in Christ, “God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3–4). Jesus came and was crucified not to eliminate the Law, but in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk according to the Spirit.

      If they practiced it, find where they did in the New Testament.

      Certainly. The Book of Acts is rife with references to the Apostles’ keeping of the Jewish festivals and calendar.

      “These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days” (Acts 20:5–6).

      Why are the Apostles still keeping the Jewish calendar — even while evangelizing deep in Asia Minor? Had they not left all that Jewish stuff behind in Palestine?

      “And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and the day after that we went to Miletus. For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost” (Acts 20:15–16).

      Why would Paul hasten to be at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, if he wasn’t keeping the day of Pentecost? Likewise,

      But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost” (1 Corinthians 16:8).

      And Paul presumes the Gentile readers in Corinth will understand Pentecost and know what he is talking about — why would they, if they were not observing it, too?

      “Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem, but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down” (Acts 13:13–14).

      “And from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together” (Acts 16:12–13).

      “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks” (Acts 18:4).

      The Apostles are still keeping the Jewish Sabbath, going to the Jewish synagogue, going to Jewish places of prayer.

      And of course, Jesus Himself kept all the Jewish festivals (Matthew 26:17–18; John 5:1; 7:2, 10).

      Finally, James and the presbyters at the Church in Jerusalem speaking to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; they are all zealous for the law, and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs. What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come.” (Acts 21:20–22)

      People were spreading a false rumor about Paul, that he was teaching Jewish Christians (who were all zealous for the Law) to forsake Moses and not to observe the customs. And there was a problem with this! In order to dispel this rumor, he was to

      “Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you but that you yourself live in observance of the law. But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity.” Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself with them and went into the temple, to give notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for every one of them.” (Acts 21:23–26).

      Paul was still a Jew who lived in observance of the Law! He continued to practice Jewish rites of purification!

      My brother, if you are aiming to read Scripture oblivious to the fact that our Lord the Apostles were Jews still observing Jewish practice, you are missing an awful lot!

      Since Christians’ “Passover” is “Christ,” then “the feast” is the one where Jesus changed the elements from a lamb under Moses to The Lamb of God Himself…

      Yes, He did. I ask again, are Christians no longer supposed to care about Passover?

      “Easter” was a calendar term for that particular season which coincided with the Jewish “Passover,” and so was termed in the King James Version. The Jews are the one who have kept practicing some of Moses’ Law, after Jesus had removed it by His cross, not Christians!

      Again, yes, “Easter” was a term that was applied in English. You agree with me! And yes, if “Jesus removed Moses’s Law by His cross” — why were all Jewish Christians zealous for the Law, as if there were a good thing?

      Jesus condemned the public display of “fasting,” which is what “Lent” is all about!

      No, it is not.

      Then why did the Holy Spirit direct Paul to write them to the Colossians, Galatians, Timothy, and why did the Jews persecute Paul for preaching, Galatians 5:11?

      Again, “No one in the early Church read or applied these Scriptures the way you are applying them.” No one in the early Church read the letters to the Colossians, Galatians, or to Timothy the way you are reading them. The Jews persecuted Paul for the same reason they persecuted Jesus.

      Christians are not to re-enact Jesus’ life, but re-mold their hearts to conform to His teaching.

      Is striving to do what Jesus did not conforming to His teaching?

      There is no “Christian calendar,” except to meet every first day of the week, remembering Christ’s resurrection (Acts 20:7); break bread for the Lord’s Supper, remembering Christ’s death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

      I have a Christian calendar right in front of me that says there is a Christian calendar! Again, there is nothing in Scripture which forbids the remembrance of God’s works of salvation in our world and in our lives. Does keeping these remembrances and reading the Scriptures pertaining to those events not focus our minds and our hearts on Him? I ask again — how does this lead a believer away from Christ? How is this “apostasy” or “idolatry”? What exactly are we idolizing?

      God bless you, and may His peace be with you.

      • Eugene Adkins 12:52 pm on April 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Hey Joseph,

        John’s point (or so it seems to be) is that the church of the New Testament (as one reads about her in the scriptures) was never commanded, obligated, required or even encouraged in any sense of the word to adhere to any “calendar based event” outside of the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week.

        Therefore, to “bind” any such “calendar based event” on the church (Christmas, Easter, All Saints Day, Lent, etc.) in any manner creates an environment that was not intended to be created by the revealed will of God, and in that manner such observations could be described as a “calendar apostasy” due to their roots being found in human tradition and not in the word of God.

        • Joseph Richardson 9:25 pm on April 18, 2014 Permalink

          If that were all John were claiming, then I would not have quite so much to say about it. No, the New Testament Scriptures don’t mandate the keeping of holy days, either those of the Jewish tradition or those in remembrance of the events of Christ’s life. So if you think the lack of an explicit mandate is a reason not to do something, then you are perfectly free not to do it. But John is actually claiming that Scripture positively forbids such celebrations — that Jesus “wiped away” not only the legal requirements of the Law, but the Law itself, and that for any Christian to continue to practice such things or any other aspect of the Jewish tradition is tantamount to apostasy from Christ.

          And you are right; that is a plain enough matter to resolve from Scripture: It doesn’t and He didn’t. It is quite clear that the earliest Christians were faithful, practicing Jews who continued to keep the holy days of their tradition — those that were in fact mandated in the Old Testament. And the holy days of the Christian Church followed very naturally from this, since God saw fit to establish the Church in accord with the very same calendar: the week of Jesus’s suffering, death, and Resurrection coincides with the Jewish Passover, very conveniently, since Jesus’s death and Resurrection are the fulfillment of the Passover. The Jewish feast of Pentecost, again conveniently, happened to be the day when God sent to us His Holy Spirit and established His Church in earnest. And so on and so forth.

          Since it is plain that the earliest Jewish Christians continued to keep these festivals, then either your argument that such celebrations require an explicit biblical mandate falls flat — since they were celebrating these things without anyone stating clearly in Scripture that they supposed to; or else there’s your biblical mandate right there.

          God bless you, Eugene. And I am interested in hearing from you again, John.

      • Eugene Adkins 12:56 pm on April 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        And I meant to say excuse me for butting in on your conversation, but it just seemed like a lot of words were being used to talk about a rather simple topic (in relation to other topics) when it comes to what the New Testament says.

      • Eugene Adkins 11:33 am on April 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I believe that there were a lot of things that the early Jewish Christians continued to practice that were very wrong, such as their view of Gentiles and the practice of dietary restrictions and even their recognition of certain “holy days” outside of Christ (think Galatians 2:4-14). Truly it is one thing to personally do something for conscience sake as Romans 14 talks about, but quite another for it to be bound or promoted in any manner upon the church.

        When it comes to the examples of Paul “keeping the Law” we know that Paul used the Law in a lawful manner to help convert others to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:19-23; 1 Timothy 1:3-8). If the Law could be used lawfully, then logic tells us that the Law could be and was used unlawfully by others.

        On top of that, we know that there were times when Paul did not observe the Jewish holy festivals in Jerusalem (like the Law required) due to the fact that he spent years in Gentile territories (Acts 18:11, 20:31) and there was no sin in this due to the fact that the Law’s authority had been removed, and this is why no one can judge us for not keeping/observing weekly, monthly or yearly Sabbaths as well as other formerly observed Jewish traditions and festivals (Colossians 2:16-17).

        Without a doubt Jewish Christians did continue to recognize some of their traditions after the New Testament went into effect, but every single indication is that the church as a whole was never meant to follow suit. Galatians 4:10 makes the feelings of Paul very clear when it came to the church’s (not individual Jewish Christians) observations of holy days, weeks, months and even years.

        Furthermore, Hebrews 8:13 says that the Law, which indeed was still being observed by some at the time, would indeed “vanish away” due to the institution of the New Covenant through Jesus’ blood (see also the phrase “takes away the first” in Hebrews 10:9). This very clearly seems to indicate that God Himself had determined that these observations would only continue for so long within the church before any recognition of such behavior would be removed completely.

        It seems that the totality of the subject, as found in the scriptures, indicate that Jewish Christians (not the church universal) did continue to personally observe certain customs after the death and resurrection of Jesus, but that these observations were done without any spiritual requirement from God and that they actually came with many spiritual dangers due to the tendency of people polluting the Law of Liberty with the Law of Moses (which can be seen over and over in the scriptures), and this is why in due time the church as a whole ceased to recognize any such “spiritual calendar”; which gets us back to John’s point in writing his post.

        And again pardon me for getting into the discussion. John is more than able to continue it but these things are so interesting to me.

        Have a good un, Joseph, and God bless as you study His word. I’m going to be outside today enjoying the weather.

        • Joseph Richardson 4:18 pm on April 19, 2014 Permalink

          Hello, Eugene. No, it’s not a problem at all to join the conversation. This is a community blog, and I know I appreciate your input. Here’s my latest long-winded spiel, and probably the last, unless John wants to continue.

          What Paul was speaking about in Galatians 2 were the Judaizers, those who taught that one had to observe the Torah to be saved in Christ — which Paul argues against fervently in both Galatians and Romans: we are saved by faith in Christ. And yet we have testimony in Scripture that “many thousands among the Jews believed; [and] they [were] all zealous for the law” — and this, James acclaimed, was a good thing, and Paul himself went through a rite of purification in order to exonerate himself from false accusations and demonstrate to the Jewish community that he himself “lived in observance of the law.” So clearly, first and foremost, there was nothing inherently sinful (or idolatrous, or apostate) in a Christian observing the Law.

          Now, would could possibly be “unlawful” about keeping the Law? The only thing Paul opposes anywhere is the teachings of the Judaizers, who said that keeping the Law was a requirement for salvation in Christ. He nowhere condemns keeping the Law itself, and if anybody understands him to be saying such a thing, they are faced with a clear contradiction, since we know from Scripture that Paul himself “lived in observance of the Law.” For whatever reason he observed the Law, he did observe the Law, so we know that such observance cannot in itself be sinful.

          Yes, the authority of the Law was removed. Christians were not bound to keep it. We are in agreement about this! But Jews continued to keep it. Why? Because they thought it was the way of salvation? Certainly not — this is what Paul vehemently opposed. They continued, though, because they were Jews — because that was how their tradition taught them to worship and honor God — and God Himself had declared, through Moses and the prophets and Scripture, that this was a standard of behavior that was pleasing to Him. Was continuing to keep the Law as a Christian sinful? Paul answers this question himself: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not!” (Romans 7:7) [And I just wrote a long and unnecessary summary of Paul's entire argument in Romans, but I think you get that. The Law came to show us sin, but Christ set us free from the Law's requirements, yadda yadda.]

          I have thus far tried to restrict my argument to Scripture, since I know that’s what you guys respect, but now you’ve opened the door (in supposing what “the church as a whole ceased” to do). ;) Yes, in time (by the mid-second century) the Christian Church became predominantly Gentile and ceased to keep the Jewish Sabbath and festivals. But you suggest that “in due time the Church as a whole ceased to recognize any such ‘spiritual calendar’” — which is quite untrue. My whole argument has been that the Christian calendar grew naturally from the Jewish calendar, which the early Church kept — that, even when the Church ceased to observe Jewish traditions, it had by that time developed its own Christian traditions, honoring the life and work of Christ just as the Jewish festivals honored the works of God in the life of the Jewish people. And this isn’t just blowing Catholic smoke; this can be demonstrated from history. The celebration of Pascha (the feast of the Lord’s Resurrection, i.e. Easter) can be documented definitely as early as A.D. 160. A Church-wide fast before Easter — i.e. Lent — can be documented by ca. 200. The celebration of the Nativity of the Lord (i.e. Christmas) can be documented by ca. 200 or so, though there was some disagreement about the date between the East and the West. And all of these dates are just the first certain references we have to those celebrations in the writings of the Church (and I can show you these if you’d like) — and none of them indicates that these were recent inventions, so in all likelihood such celebrations had been there for much longer, if not from the beginning. So no, rather than being something the Church in time “grew out of” or “ceased to recognize,” celebrations of Christian holy days began very early (probably, as I said, developing from the Jewish Passover, etc.) and only developed more and more as time went by.

          So, bottom line: You’re free to reject all that. You’re free to think that all of these things are just horrible and idolatrous and that the Church fell away from the true faith of Christ in taking them up. But to think that, you have to believe that such falling-away happened immediately — since the Jews kept their festivals from the beginning, and by the time the Church had quit with that, they were celebrating the events in the life of the Lord.

          So do you not celebrate Resurrection Sunday at all? Man, that seems like such a shame. It’s such a glorious time of praise to the Lord and joy at the victory He has won for us. How can such celebration pull us away from the Lord, since we are celebrating the Lord? Anyway, I am off to our Easter Vigil, and I wish you all His blessings and joy. Take care.

      • Eugene Adkins 7:05 am on April 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Morning Joseph,

        The sum of what you said doesn’t show that the church herself observed any of those holy days, but rather that the Jews, who were Christians, recognized them due to their national identity and history.

        The dates that you referred to are a ways off from the New Testament letters (which give no credence to the church recognizing any “Christian holidays”) and A.D. 70, which is the time that God revealed His “stamp of disapproval” concerning what remained of the Jewish religious system (which included the observance of the religious holy days). Keep in mind those Hebrews references that I made in the last reply; they are plain enough.

        The law itself is not sin without a doubt, if for no other reason than its origins which was God; but the law had its place and purpose which was fulfilled (Galatians 3:24-29); and it could be used unlawfully as Paul told Timothy. I believe the Jews “who were zealous for the Law” were zealous in a way that was not right. Even Peter got caught up in their “passion” for it – a passion that was misplaced.

        The fact of the matter is, Gentiles and Jews were free from having to observe any portion Moses’ Law, regardless if it was being used to “justify one’s salvation” but the majority of the Jews, who agreed that Gentiles were under no such bondage, still considered themselves “bound to it” due to their heritage as can seen in their mindset in the book of Acts. But they were wrong – and their wrong way of thinking caused them to be angry and bitter towards Paul, who in turn sought to remedy the situation by showing that he himself did not wish to violate their conscience as Jews (keep the part of 1 Corinthians 9:20 in mind that says, “…to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law;“).

        As to whether or not I celebrate “resurrection Sunday” – I do; every first day of the week by remembering Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection as well as His promise to come again when I partake of the Lord’s Supper. Which is the only “calendar based event” that the church universally observed according to the scriptures of the New Testament. Which again, gets us back to John’s article.

    • Joseph Richardson 2:13 pm on April 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hebrews 10:9 refers specifically to God abolishing the “sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” of the Old Covenant. Hebrews 8:13 likewise states that the Old Covenant is “obsolete” and superseded by the New Covenant of Christ. Neither of these statements have any bearing on keeping remembrances, in particular, of the Lord’s Passover — which the Church almost certainly did from the days of Apostles.

      You continue to refer to Paul’s statements about “using the Law unlawfully,” but you haven’t described what he meant by that, except to say that the Christian Jews who were “zealous for the Law” must have been doing it. It’s clear from the context in 1 Timothy that Paul is referring to a hypocritical, judgmental, and legalistic keeping of the Law: “Now we know that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient … in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted” (1 Timothy 1:8, 11). What James refers to in Acts 21 is plainly “in accordance with the glorious gospel,” as he presents it in a positive light, and Paul does not rebuke him but agrees to his request in reaffirming his law-keeping. You too are reading something into Scripture that is not there if you read disapproval here where it plainly is not here.

      Unfortunately, the documents I cited are among the earliest extrascriptural writings of the Church that survive, so it is difficult to show one way or another what the Church was doing in the late first century and early second century. Eusebius, in his Ecclesiastical History, records a growing controversy between the Western and Eastern churches over the proper dating of the Passover that began to reach a head in the A.D. 150s, when Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna visited Anicetus, Bishop of Rome, to discuss it. Bear in mind that Polycarp (c. 69–155) was a disciple of the Apostle John — so if the keeping of the Passover was contrary to apostolic teaching, he surely would have known it. It implies that churches in both the East and West were then keeping a remembrance of our Lord’s Passover and been for some time — long enough to come into disagreement about it (each side of the argument citing not their own opinions, but the traditions of their predecessors). Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon, a disciple of Polycarp, wrote a letter to Victor, Bishop of Rome, about it c. 190, in which he refers to the practice in keeping Passover as early as the turn of the second century.

      Peace be with you, Eugene.

  • John T. Polk II 10:33 pm on April 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , pagans, religious calendar   

    Calendar Apostasy 

    God sent His people, Israel, into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, but with these “statutes and judgments” in Moses’ final declaration to them:

    “These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things. But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks” (Deuteronomy 12:1-6). The people in that land were pagans and idolaters who worshiped the Creation rather than the Creator. They worshiped the various “gods” which supposedly represented the powers involved in life on Earth. God did not allow His people to simply adopt, nor adapt, the Canaanites’ religious practices as worship to Him. All of: “the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods,” “their altars,” “their sacred pillars,” “their wooden images,” “the carved images,” were to be “utterly” destroyed so they would have no influence among the Israelites, whatsoever. Only the specified worship in the manner God described would be acceptable to God. The Israelites were not to be allied to the worship proscribed by the seasons, but that which was determined by God.

    After the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the kingdom of Christ was established on earth, the Gospel of Christ was to be preached to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). While in Lystra, Paul healed a lame man (Acts 14:8-10), but then the idolaters sought to worship both Paul and Barnabas:

    “Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!’ And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.’ And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them” (Acts 14:11-18). God’s inspired Apostle Paul stopped any idolatrous practice from being used as an explanation for, or an application to, Christianity. There is nothing in idolatrous teachings or practices which should be admitted or accepted by Christians.

    Catholicism, whether Roman or Greek, has incorporated idolatrous practices and seasonal calendars into what they call “Christian,” when all they have done is find some Scripture or event in Christ’s life with which to “tag” what would otherwise be a rejected practice. The disciples were called “Christians” by God first in Antioch (Acts 11:26), but Catholicism has spread the term, like an umbrella, over practices of paganism and idolatry. No Christian in the New Testament ever celebrated an “Easter,” “Christmas,” “Lent,” “Seder,” or any of the 40 days of mishmash found on today’s religious calendars, which are mistakenly termed a “Christian Calendar.”

    No denomination is “Protestant” that follows Catholicism’s religious calendar. “Seder” is simply a re-creation of the Jewish Passover, which Jesus died to remove (Colossians 2:14-16); “Yule” is from witches, “Eoster/Ishtar” is from idolaters, and “Fertility rites” demonstrated by rabbits and eggs, are the very things forbidden by Paul (Galatians 4:8-11); and “Lent” is hypocritical display of a misunderstanding of “fasting” condemned by Jesus (Matthew 6:16-18). The Lord’s death, represented in the Lord’s Supper, must be kept free from the impurities of falsehood (1 Corinthians 10:15-22). Everyone who keeps special days on a religious calendar did “not so learn Christ” (Ephesians 4:20).

    To be a disciple of Christ, one must believe the historical and factual evidence of His life found in the New Testament (John 20:30-31; 21:25) and obey His command to be baptized  “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). The only events in Christ’s life to be memorialized are: (1) His death, burial, and resurrection first, when a sinner repents and is baptized into death, Romans 6:1-6, then raised “in newness of life”; and secondly, when Christians observe the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26); and (2) the day of His resurrection remembered each week when Christians assemble (“the first day of the week,” Luke 24:1-9; Acts 20:7). There are no other special or seasonal days for Christians, according to the New Testament. “The churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16) never observed a religious calendar that would lead them into apostasy (1 Timothy 4:1-3), because those who follow such stand contrary to inspired truth (2 Timothy 4:1-5). “The churches of Christ salute you” but we salute Jesus Christ above all.

    —–John T. Polk II

     
    • Joseph Richardson 12:08 am on April 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, whoa, slow down, man. Let’s think this through.

      The first Christians, I’m sure you realize, were Jews. They continued to celebrate the Passover (Pascha) and the Sabbath for at least the first century after Christ. Christ didn’t die to “remove” these things: He came to fulfill them (cf. Matthew 5:17). Paul says in Colossians 2:16 “let no one pass judgment on you” with regard to practices of Jewish festivals or traditions. This is essentially his message in Romans and Galatians — in which he does not condemn circumcision per se, or condemn any Jewish Christian who had received circumcision (for he himself had, as did Timothy, Acts 16:3), or declare that Jewish believers should no longer practice the traditions of their heritage. What he taught (in opposition to the Judaizers) was that no Christian was justified by the works of the law (cf. Romans 3:20), but rather by faith (Romans 3:20-26). Did God no longer justify believers who had been circumcised? Did Jesus “remove” the covenant of Abraham or of Moses? Can God go back on His promises, or nullify the covenants He has made? No, of course not. He justifies the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised by faith (Romans 3:30); and by faith in Christ, even the Gentiles become children of Abraham and heirs to God’s promises through him (Galatians 3:29).

      So to the idea that observing religious festivals is tantamount to idolatry: The first, Jewish Christians did, and their Gentile brethren followed suit; so this is a practice as old as the Christian Church. Jesus is our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) — so should Christians no longer care about the Passover? Are we not heirs to God’s promises then, too? Jesus presented Himself as the fulfillment of that sacrifice, even instructing us to keep a remembrance of it, in the very language of the Passover celebration (Exodus 12:24; 24:8, Luke 22:19). Paul, in reference to this, instructs us to “celebrate the festival” (1 Corinthians 5:8).

      For what it’s worth: The Resurrection of our Lord has only ever been called “Easter” in England and English-speaking countries (in both Greek and Latin, it was called “Pascha,” Passover, since the first century); and the Christmas season has only ever been referred to as “Yule” among Germanic peoples. So you may thank our Anglo-Saxon forebears for that “idolatry,” not the early Christians. The practice of fasting before celebrating our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection is by all appearances apostolic, in emulation of our Lord’s own fasting (Matthew 4:1-11), and He did not at all condemn fasting (in the very verse you cite, Matthew 6:16, he instructs us regarding “when [we] fast”).

      As for all your other charges of “idolatrous practices” and “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1) — you should be prepared to back that up before lobbing such accusations at fellow believers. No one in the early Church read or applied these Scriptures the way you are applying them. There is nothing in Scripture that forbids remembering and celebrating the great events of the history of salvation — in fact, it’s an essential part of the faith and covenant we have inherited from our Jewish Lord. No, these things do not contribute to our salvation in themselves, and no one believes they do; but the calendar is, as it was for the Jews, an ancient model and pattern and custom for worshipping God, for setting our minds and our hearts on Him and on His promises — especially now, in the Christian caledndar, on Christ’s Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection.

      I respect your position, brother, but I think you’re mistaken. If the Christian calendar so leads a believer away from Christ — why is every bit of it focused on Christ’s work of salvation in our lives? God bless you, and His peace be with you!

  • TFRStaff 8:52 am on April 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , immutability of God,   

    Things Change — God Doesn’t 

    ===== Thursday’s Thought For The Day (Apr. 17, 2014) =====

    THINGS CHANGE — GOD DOESN’T

    A family went to one of those restaurants where the walls are plastered with movie memorabilia. The grandmother went to see the hostess about reserving a table. When she returned, she found her 10-year-old granddaughter staring at a poster of Superman standing in a phone booth. She looked puzzled.

    “She doesn’t know who Superman is?” she asked her husband.

    “Worse,” he replied. “She doesn’t know what a phone booth is.” (More …)

     
  • James Randal 8:00 am on April 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mental sluggishness, pedestrian, special days   

    The foggy mind 

    mental-fogHave you ever been in a mental fog? Thinking is slow, memory fails in key points, the senses fail to register properly. Sometimes it can be hard to shake. Sometimes it might have some physiological cause behind it. More often, it’s a set of circumstances that leads to a temporary stupor. Diet, sleep, stress, environment can all contribute to dull the senses.

    Some people seem to live in a spiritual fog. Their spiritual senses are dulled by worldly pursuits and fleshly interests. Neglect of spiritual duties can bury one in a deep cloud. Such a state of being tends to be long-term, unless someone intervenes to show them a way out of darkness. That process of intervention is called, ahem, evangelism, when directed toward non-Christians, or edification, when saints are in view.

    (More …)

     
  • TFRStaff 7:21 am on April 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Our goal to please God 

    “Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more” 1 Thessalonians 4:1.

    When we justify our choices by our situation, we live in order to please ourselves as Eve did when she “saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.” We set ourselves up on the throne of our lives as the ultimate authority over ourselves. When we sow to please our sinful nature, God warns us in Galatians, that we “will reap destruction.”

    Instead, we are told in 2 Corinthians to “make it our goal to please Him.” Being resurrected with Him, we live for Him. We must please Him, not us.

    And we do this, this chapter tells us, by living sanctified, that is, holy or set apart. We do this by avoiding sexual immorality, not wronging our brother, living a pure and holy life, loving each other, and living to “win the respect of outsiders” and “not be dependent on anybody.”

    Just as the Thessalonians were doing this already but needed to be urged “to do this more and more,” so must we.

    Who do you live to please?

    Doug Kashorek

    Plattsburgh church of Christ

    http://www.plattsburghchurch.com

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:54 am on April 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Quotable saying on worldliness in the church 

    Jim Dearman (of Good News Today) was our guest speaker for our gospel meeting this past week, and last night he delivered an excellent sermon on “Putting the Cart Before the Horse”.

    One of the things that he talked about was the negative influence of worldliness in the church and I jotted down a couple of things that he said, and I wanted to pass along one of them this morning.

    In relation to Colossians 3:1-3 he said:

    A lot of members of the Lord’s church are sick of the world, but they’re not dead to it.

    I suppose this a truth that effects of all us from teenagers to retirees in our own way. Nevertheless it’s something that we must all be aware of, and it’s something that we must overcome, or at least stay away from, lest it finds a home within our hearts and overcome us.

    Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness…Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-5, 12-13)

     
    • Chester Callan 9:16 am on April 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      How could anyone, myself included, read 1 Corinthians 10:12,13, and still say “once saved always saved”? Before I wag my finger at others I must be sure that I am not giving in to temptation myself. Thanks for a good reminder.

    • John Henson 9:19 am on April 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Very good. It’s been my observation that many people would like to have the parts of the world they like and enjoy and be able to express their dislike and disdain for the parts they find offensive. Rationalization will be the ruin of many. Best to leave everything that is of the world alone (1 John 2:15ff).

      • Eugene Adkins 7:42 pm on April 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Jim hit on what you’re saying in his sermon as far as “getting as close to the line” as possible when it comes to living like the world but still wanting our spiritual cake too (my words not his, but it was the point he was making). And 1 John 2:15-17 was one of the scriptures he referenced as well…which, how could you not when it comes to its clarity on the subject.

        Thanks for chiming in, John.

  • Weylan Deaver 10:34 am on April 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    “Ladies and gentlemen, when the time comes that I am afraid of my proposition, when the time comes that I am afraid to march out as an affirmant or take a definite stand and answer simple questions, then I will draw in my sails and furl my banners and no longer pose as a representative of the affirmative side of the question.”

    N. B. Hardeman, chastising Ira Boswell’s attempt to defend instrumental music during the 1923 Hardeman-Boswell Debate in Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium (pp. 144-145).
     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:43 am on April 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Have You Used This Class Book? 

    For the third and fourth quarters of the adult class we’re going to go over the topics of the Holy Spirit and angels. For the most part I’m going to put together the materials for the class on angels but I’ve been looking for a decent (multi-aspect covering) class book on the Holy Spirit and I found one that’s published by Winkler Publications in their “Life Changing Studies with an Open Bible” series called, “The Holy Spirit – Questions Often Asked.

    My question is, has anyone used this particular class book before? And if you haven’t used it, is there another 13-week class book that you’re aware of?

     
    • James Craven 6:51 am on April 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      “The Work of the Holy Spirit in Redemption” by the late Franklin Camp

  • TFRStaff 4:34 am on April 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    God is greater than you to forgive 

    The scripture for today, April 16, is Hebrews 4:16 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

    “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

    Anyone who has lived very long has committed some sin they hope no one ever finds out about. Some people have committed many such sins. Sometimes because of that one “big” sin or the constant repetition of a particular “big” sin, people punish themselves by putting words in God’s mouth. They say, “God could never forgive me for that.” Perhaps you can never forgive yourself, but God is greater than you.

    Jesus told Peter we must forgive our brothers 70 times 7. If kept literally, that would mean we’d have to forgive the same sin 490 times. It is figurative for forgiving all the time. 1st Corinthians 13, the “love chapter” of the Bible, says, “Love … keeps no record of wrongs.” Let us not only forgive others, but let us help people who cannot forgive themselves.

    God is a God of mercy.

    Mum Katheryn [Haddad]

     
  • drkenney 1:36 pm on April 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    Alexander Campbell & Controversy 

    Sage of Bethany

    “If there was no error in principle or practice, then controversy, which is only another name for opposition to error, real or supposed, would be unnecessary. If it were lawful, or if it were benevolent, to make a truce with error, then opposition to it would be both unjust and unkind. If error were innocent and harmless, then we might permit it to find its own quietus, or to immortalize itself. But so long as it is confessed that error is more or less injurious to the welfare of society, individually and collectively considered, then no man can be considered benevolent who does not set his face against it. In proportion as a person is intelligent and benevolent, he will be controversial, if error exist around him. Hence the Prince of Peace never sheathed the sword of the Spirit while he lived. He drew it on the banks of the Jordan and threw the scabbard away.”

    – Alexander Campbell, “Religious Controversy,” Millennial Harbinger, Vol. 1, No. 1, January 4, 1830.

     
  • TFRStaff 1:02 pm on April 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Inspired men with a passion 

    The scripture for today, April 15, is 1st John 4:15 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

    “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”

    The New Testament was written by people who walked and talked with Jesus. They saw his miracles, they heard his amazing words. They were eyewitnesses. (More …)

     
  • James Randal 8:01 am on April 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ritualism   

    Break the Easter egg — Did a church ever grow from an Easter celebration? 

    broken-easter-egg

    I hate to rain on your parade. But all this talk about taking advantage of Easter, when some people may show up at church for this one time during the year (throw in Christmas if you like), sounds like a bunch of bunkum.

    Did anyone ever convert to Christ from showing up in their Easter finest? Did any church suddenly grow from a fine Easter production? Did the Sunday after Easter suddenly swell with new members because an eldership and a preacher put on their Sunday best to impress the suddenly pious visitor? (More …)

     
    • Bernard Barton 8:47 am on April 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      AMEN!!!! Brother I know there will be auditoriums filled this coming Sunday even in the Lord’s church
      Even though we don’t celebrate Easter there will be many of the members of the church of Christ who will
      show up this one Sunday as pious Christians

    • John Henson 9:48 am on April 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, can’t I rant or rave just a little. I can tell them of “unknown tongues,” a similar KJV error in 1 Corinthians 14. Easter and unknown tongues. We speak in a tongue everyday, just not in an unknown one. Of course, there wouldn’t have been a problem if men hadn’t added words to God’s message! There’s my rant.

    • bgiselbach 12:29 pm on April 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Very powerful, brother!

    • Weylan Deaver 10:29 am on April 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Well said, Randal.

  • Eugene Adkins 6:57 am on April 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , investing,   

    The only really long-term investment that never fluctuates 

    Money burns, gold melts, silver corrodes, houses fall down, pensions roll over, art fades, oil wells run dry and stocks go bust!

    But eternal salvation is found in the only thing that never loses its value in the sight of God – the blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:18-19).

    How’s our really long-term investment plan looking today?

    Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

     
  • TFRStaff 4:25 am on April 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , religious experience   

    Hugh’s News & Views (Cafeteria-Style Religion) 

    HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS

    CAFETERIA-STYLE RELIGION

    In our increasingly eclectic, “many options,” postmodern world, religion is being reduced to a cafeteria-style approach. Just as one can go through a cafeteria line picking the food items he or she wants to eat and rejecting the rest, so many people approach religion in the same fashion: they pick from the Bible (and even from various World Religions) those ideas, notions, commands, and practices they personally like and agree with and reject the rest.

    George Barna, in his book If Things Are So Good, Why Do I Feel So Bad?, has correctly captured the contemporary attitude toward religious faith. He writes: “The prevailing concern of people is no longer, ‘Is my faith pure and true?’ The dominant concern today is ‘Does my faith make me feel good and help me understand the world in a way I find reassuring and personally beneficial’” (page 91). (More …)

     
    • Joe Slater 8:50 am on April 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      “Professing to be wise, they became fools . . .” (Romans 1:22).

  • TFRStaff 9:16 am on April 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , timeliness, uniqueness   

    The silent cries of people only you can help 

    esther-timeThe scripture for today, April 14, is Esther 4:14b as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

    “And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

    Today’s scripture is about a reluctant young lady who won a beauty contest and was chosen to be queen of Persia. Time has passed, and now a command had just gone out to kill all Jews. Esther was a Jewess but had not told anyone at the royal court. She could continue to hide her nationality and let all her people die, or she could intervene with the king. She was the only Jew the king would have listened to. So she took the chance that she, too, would be killed and spoke on behalf of her people. They were saved. (More …)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:43 am on April 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Bible Riddle 

    I’ve tried to keep up with all of the Bible riddles that I’ve used here in TFR with the tag “Bible Riddle” or just plain old “Riddle” but I may have done some of the earlier ones without adding the right tag (as you can see by the discrepancies between the numbers attached to the tags above).

    That being said, I checked out all of the older riddles with those tags and I don’t think I’ve used this riddle yet:

    I’m full of holes, yet I’m full of water. What am I?

    Me thinks you can figure this one out, but if you need a clue to make sure that you’re sure then check out this section of scripture found in Mark 15:15-39 and look for the word that fits the riddle.

    Have a great day!

     
  • Ron Thomas 2:25 pm on April 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Troubling remark 

    Here is an outline point by a respected man with regard to Jesus. 1. Jesus the man was not eternal, did not exist as eternal man in heaven. 2. Conceived by HS in a virgin and born of a human mother. 3. God was in the man Jesus as never before or since. 4. Jesus is divine, but not deity – of God but not God. To make the man out to be a god is idolatry. 5. Adding mythological and pagan traditions to Jesus and God is idolatry. *** These complete his points exactly as he typed them. Seems to me points 4 & 5 are wrong. Have I missed something in this?

     
    • James 2:56 pm on April 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Number 4 is the most troubling. Depending on the explanation of “mythological and pagan traditions” I could see that being a valid point. If Jesus was not God, then we are guilty of idolatry, but Thomas after seeing Jesus resurrected said “my Lord and my God”, Jesus should have rebuked him then and there if that was inaccurate.

    • Eugene Adkins 3:07 pm on April 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Point #4 completely ignores the entirety of John’s gospel, as well as many statements made by Paul.

      I’m with James on point #5, but it really sounds as if the author of the points is saying that if one disagrees with points 1-4 then he or she is automatically guilty of point #5.

      Sounds like solid “JW” theology (amongst a few others) to me.

      • Ron Thomas 3:28 pm on April 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Well, he is not. He peaches for the Lord’s church, and is a graduate of FHC. Surely there had to br something I am misding in his outline, or that he failed to include. I have never known him to espouse something like this. I was kind of hoping you would notice something I didn’t. On Apr 13, 2014 3:07 PM, “The Fellowship Room” wrote:

        >

        • Eugene Adkins 3:40 pm on April 13, 2014 Permalink

          Hmmm. Maybe a typo in there somewhere? Though it’s hard to imagine how a small typo would change point #4 to the extent that it is saying what it does if he indeed believes the opposite.

          Maybe it’s auto correct run a muck and he didn’t pay attention to what was being said…but other than that, point #4 runs all over the beginning of John’s gospel; something to which I am sure you’re already more than aware of.

    • James 4:28 pm on April 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      What was the title of the lesson? Is it possible that he is arguing against the 4th point? Of course that would make some problems with #1-3 which seem to be reasonable conclusions from scripture.

  • Eugene Adkins 8:07 am on April 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , sola scriptura, Sufficiency of the Bible, the Holy Scriptures,   

    The Sufficiency of the Scriptures when it comes to Spiritual Knowledge, Salvation and Faith in Jesus 

    But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14-15)

    Notice what Paul did not say was responsible for Timothy’s knowledge and salvation and faith in Jesus from his childhood.

    He did not say it came from…

    • the Talmud (a.k.a. the catechism).
    • the Mitzvah (a.k.a. a creed book).
    • the Oral Torah (a.k.a. oral traditions).
    • the Sanhedrin decrees (a.k.a. man-ordained councils).

    Where did Paul say Timothy gained his knowledge and salvation and faith in Jesus from? The answer is the Holy Scriptures of God. And why is that? What is so unique about the Holy Scriptures compared to all other writings? Paul himself answers the question in the very next verse:

    All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

    If we want to know the mind of God when it comes to having the proper spiritual knowledge, salvation and faith in Jesus that’s available then we must go to the place of instruction that has been breathed out by the Spirit of God Himself – the word of God (a.k.a. the Bible).

    When it comes to doctrine (spiritual knowledge), when it comes to reproof and correction (salvation), when it comes to instruction in righteousness (faith), and our relationship with Jesus, the Spirit of God uses the word of God to remake us into the image of the Son of God. And any other “mold” (i.e. catechisms, creed books, oral traditions and council proclamations) provided by man is a mold that will fall short, for their mold reproduces people in their image instead of God’s Son (Matthew 23:15, 2 Corinthians 3:18).

    So if, according to Paul (a man who was well versed in all of the additional man-made writings and traditions of his day), the Scriptures of God were sufficient for Timothy when it came to his spiritual knowledge, salvation and faith in Jesus, then why would anyone today want to say anything else is additionally needed?

    I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13-14)

     
  • Michael Summers 12:00 am on April 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Job search, , ,   

    ON BEING TOLD THAT I AM TOO OLD 

    A flood of tears obscures my vision;
    My heart feels pierced by an incision
    That has cut through my defenses,
    Rampaged through rugged fences
    I had constructed to protect self-concept.
    Defeat has proven me not so adept
    At fending off these verbal slights;
    I’ve never fared well in such fights.
    Experience added scars but left me wise;
    One would me think me able to advise
    Those beginning their walk without a map
    How they might navigate through each lap.
    If younger, their response might incite rage;
    They denigrate, call wisdom excessive age.
    May God give me courage and persistence
    To survive this ill-conceived resistance.

     
    • Susan Irene Fox 2:02 pm on April 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      The cruelty of youth: it is difficult to shoulder feeling unappreciated or out of touch, yet our experience and wisdom also gives us patience and grace to to take the temporary feeling of being cast aside in stride. We know our fullness comes from God who knows where we have been, and loves us eternally.

    • Clint Boyd 7:34 pm on April 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on Clint R. Boyd and commented:
      Our last blog post was meant worries of appearing too young, mostly. If you’ve been at the other side of that spectrum, however, and felt too old, you should read Chaplain Michael Summer’s poem and prayer. The rough draft of his book on prayer is almost finished. See his blog for more: http://michaelwaymonsummers.blogspot.com/

  • TFRStaff 7:54 am on April 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anthropomorphism,   

    Amazing statements about God 

    by Charles Box — The word “God” is in our King James Version of the Bible more than 3,900 verses. The fact that God exists is so obvious that one would be a fool to deny otherwise. “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.” (Psalms 14:1)

    God is real and He is active in the affairs of men! Paul said, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) God is the ever-present, all-power­ful Creator of the universe. (Genesis 1-2) A saving knowledge of God is the basic need of every human being. The scriptures begin by simply stating the existence of God and the power of God. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

    In Deuteronomy 6:4 we find one of the most important declarations in all the Scriptures. The text says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” It is the affirmation of the Scriptures that there is only one true God. God is the Great Creator of heaven, earth and all of humanity. “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein.” (Isaiah 42:5) (More …)

     
  • James Randal 4:51 pm on April 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: authority of Christ, , ,   

    Bible lesson outline: The authority of Christ (Matthew 28) 

    In Matthew’s account of the Great Commission, Jesus asserts his authority. Here are some of the things we note about his authority.

    1. A received authority.

      1. The verb apparently uses the “divine passive” which refers to the action of God. Jesus received his authority from the Father. His is legitimate. Anyone else’s is not. Jesus is the only head and Lord.

      2. His authority is complete and universal: “on heaven and on earth.” No one can escape the necessity to submit to the authority of Christ.

    2. An exercised authority.

      1. Some people fail to use the authority they have. Others attempt to exercise an authority that is not theirs.
      2. The “therefore” means that Jesus’ order is based on his received authority. He exercises or uses his authority to order his disciples to do something.
      3. As Lord, Jesus gives specific commandments so that people may become his followers.

    3. A saving authority.

      1. To make a disciple of Christ is to bring one to salvation. This is what Jesus wants for all. He did not come to condemn but to save. His authority is exercised for a benevolent purpose.
      2. Jesus prayed to the Father about himself in Jn 17.2: “you have given him authority over all humanity, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him.”

      3. Paul affirmed something similar in 2Co 13.8-10, that he had received authority to edify the saints.

    4. So what? Have I submitted to Christ’s authority by obeying him? Is there some area in my life that I have refused thus far to put under his authority?

     
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