Archive for July, 2012

5Ds of Hebrews(10)

July 31st, 2012
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Scripture of the Day: 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.(NIV)

We are looking forward not backwards to God’s future and that future is already in part present with the living Lord as Spirit.

It is a liberation from sin, death, anything that prevents male and female, no matter what their human situation, from being God’s image bearers to the whole creation.

So when we talk about drifting we are talking about losing sight of our future with God. Drifting can be by default just interpreting our lives by are own background or experiences, not willing to be changed or transformed by the things we hear.

We see effectively in the centre of this conversation is that Jesus entered fully the human experience and this vital for us to understand so that we can be empowered by his life to participate in God’s family through the redeeming work of the Holy Spirit.

Message for the Day

5Ds of Hebrews(9)

July 30th, 2012
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Scripture of the Day: Galatians 4:5-6

 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.(KJV)

How will God’s family behave in God’s future towards one another? The church has always struggled with this.

 Ray Anderson:

 Learning how to walk in grace, like a child being adopted, it’s going to take a while.

 Almost every one of our denominations has to go through that, and to have the wisdom, pastorally, is to have good theology behind you. If you don’t have good theology, you’re going to knee-jerk react. If you have good theology, you can say God loves everyone, Jesus has died for everyone – God is a universalist of his love.

 When it comes to being redeemed and joined to God, then God is very particular. God is so particular he doesn’t want unredeemed people, and he has a means for redemption – through the Holy Spirit.

 JMF: Yeah, if you are going to sit at the family table, you do have to learn how to…

 RA: Sure, you learn the language, you learn the custom, you learn how to respect people and to live within that, so that the family has its own rules…

 JMF: But we are talking about a father who is absolutely committed to your success in sitting at that table.

 RA: Yes, absolutely. Therefore, even that discipline, as the Bible says, it’s the discipline of the parent, and if you are being disciplined, as Hebrew says, it’s a sign that you are a real child and not illegitimate. People miss that and they become antinomian, they think the law is no longer is effective, we can do whatever. Paul had to deal with that in Corinthians.

 No, there is the law of Christ, and unless you interpret faith and relationship with God now in terms of that familial model, being part of the family of God – the body of Christ is that family. Families have rules, but the rules are grounded in love, not in law.

 JMF: In your struggle to learn obedience, you are always embraced by God’s love.

 RA: Yes, and who has learned obedience better than Jesus, Hebrews 4. Though he was a son, he learned obedience. Jesus has been there, Jesus was the orphan. Jesus was brought in. Jesus has learned to live in family. He learned to be submissive to his father.

 If Jesus had been baptized at the age of 12 when he was out there parading all of his intellectual knowledge with the Pharisees in the temple – his mother was not impressed. Mother came back and said, where were you? You broke the family rules. Didn’t you know your father… we were looking for you? Jesus said, didn’t you know I should be in my Father’s house? She wasn’t impressed by that at all. She scolded him.

 Luke said, he went back, was obedient, he didn’t show up again for 18 years. Eighteen years later at the age of 30, he suddenly showed up with John the Baptist, now he’s ready to be baptized.

 The obedience that took him from his baptism to the cross, he learned at home with his parents. Whatever obedience is required of us, we already have the obedience of Jesus to empower us.

 I don’t have to be obedient in order to be accepted by Jesus. By the Holy Spirit I’m brought into the life of Jesus in his obedience – it empowers me, is the motive for my own.

 That’s difference between simply preaching legalism and conditional obedience as to the grace of Christ. The grace of Christ is not freedom from obedience, it’s a gracious obedience given to us to empower us.

 We are seeking to be fully liberate in to the very life of God: the life of the Father and Son in the Spirit. Redemption is being fitted in to the harmony of who God is.


Message for the Day

5Ds of Hebrews(8)

July 29th, 2012
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Scripture of the Day: Galatians 3:26-28

26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.(NIV)

I was reading something Ray Anderson said about the church which really struck a chord with me.

 Ray Anderson:

 Jerusalem was a legalistic community. Lest you’re circumcised you cannot believe. They came up to Antioch, Paul says in Galatians, and the Christians up there, the Gentiles and the Jews were all eating together.

 When they came up and started preaching, no, you can’t eat with these uncircumcised gentiles. Peter withdrew; Peter wouldn’t eat with the Christian Gentiles. Paul said, even Barnabas was carried away by that false gospel.

 Paul said, “I said to Peter, to his face before them all, that’s heretical, that legalism is heretical – it’s contrary to the gospel.” …

 Paul’s theology was eschatological – that is to say, the Christ that he knew was the Christ already ascended into heaven. Paul wasn’t simply a witness of the historical resurrected Christ, he is a witness to the Christ who is risen and is coming. So Paul said, it’s the coming Christ that’s our criterion, through the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the coming Christ…

 To go back and say, the church should be just like it was in the first century. No, no. The church should be like what it should be in the final century – when Jesus comes, when Jesus comes here, yeah, that’s what I have in mind. I want women to be free to preach. I had that in mind all along. I’m glad you finally discovered that.

 I want Gentiles uncircumcised be part… circumcision is over. I’m glad you discovered that…

 Paul made concessions for the sake of ministry. He had Timothy circumcised because his mother was Jewish, so that will help you gain entry into the Jewish community. So in 1 Corinthians 15, Luke says they tried to get Paul to circumcise Titus. He is also a gentile. Paul said, no way. I won’t circumcise Titus because to circumcise Titus is to make a concession for your legalism. I circumcised Timothy as an accommodation to the gospel….

 Pastorally, we have to make accommodations. In Ephesus, I don’t want women to teach and preach because they are carrying in with them a concept of a female deity. Other places in Rome, and Macedonia, women can teach, and Junia can be an apostle, Romans 16, no problem…

 Paul had to practice accommodation, so that we have people in our churches that carry with them remnants of tradition. We have to respect that for the sake of not offending them.

 Paul said, I won’t destroy someone’s faith for the sake of eating meat. I can eat meat offered to idols, but if there are people whose conscience hurts some of them on that, I won’t eat meat offered to idols.

 What was exciting about this conversation was that most churches start as restorationists in that they are trying to be like the church they imagine is described in the book of Acts. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the coming Christ. He leads us forward to God’s future.

 When we were discussing this at a recent Bible Study, someone mentioned the importance of the past. And that is correct. True worship involves the past, present and future.

 The past provides a foundation of God ‘s story revealing himself to us, culminating in Jesus Christ. We describe that narrative as the scriptures.

 But God is not building a Jewish church in the first century Jerusalem or even a Gentile/Jewish church of the first century Corinth. He is building a present church in the 21st century described in Revelations as from every nation, tribe, people and language. They are not looking to become like the past but to be the people that behave like God’s family in his future.


Message for the Day