Thursday, 31 October 2013
Unity in Christ
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Compare the unity of Babel (Genesis 11:3-4) to the unity “in Christ” that God planned for mankind (Ephesians 2:11-22, 4:1-16; Revelation 5:6-10, 7:9-10).

Genesis 11:3-4

3 And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth."

Here we see mankind united in rebellion against God; openly defying His commandment to spread out, be fruitful and inhabit the whole earth.  We see in this passage that they intend to go to the “heavens” by their own efforts.  Here we see mankind united in itself, trying to create its own reality and destiny; and the only thing they manage to accomplish is to devote themselves to a leader who oppresses them and leads them into a filthy, miserable existence, characterized by violence, immorality, greed, and the worse manifestations of a depraved mankind.

Ephesians 2:11-22

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called "the uncircumcision" by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands-- 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

We are all united together in Christ.  This is a profound concept; we are actually part of Him; and that, is the basis or foundation of the peace that we have for each other.  It is also what allows us to have access and fellowship with God. This is amazing—WE become a living temple in which God resides.  We no longer avoid fellowship with God which is what brings us peace, completeness—SHALOM.

Ephesians 4:1-16

1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit--just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-- 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says,"When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men." 9 (In saying, "He ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

The unity that Jesus the Christ brings is marked humility, gentleness, patience and “bearing with one another in love.”  The Spirit is what holds this all together and He is the “bond of peace.”  Christ is the head and the whole purpose of His body and its individual parts is to build it and its individual members up in love.  Truth is a major component of this unity.  Interesting since Jesus is Truth. 

Revelation 5:6-10

6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." 

The beginning of the unity that Jesus brings is his death and resurrection.  His cleansing blood is what enables us to come together and our ultimate end will be in God’s kingdom where we will serve as priests.  Now this is interesting because, if we are living according to God’s law, in His will, we are worshipping Him in truth and spirit.  It is also interesting that in our unity we will rule the earth.  This doesn’t necessarily imply something heavy-handed or exploitative--but actually something very benign, something good for us and all creation.

Revelation 7:9-10

9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice,"Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" 

The unity that Christ brings will involve the whole world.  Nobody who turns to the Lord Jesus for salvation will be denied.  Christ’s unity involves God’s peace and it is offered to all.

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Posted on 10/31/2013 11:22 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
Responding to Governmental Threats
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Question:  How do the believers respond to the Sanhedrin’s threats (4:23-31)?

Acts 4:23-31

23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: " 'Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. ' 27Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus." 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

The believers gather together and pray.  Their prayer is that God will enable them to speak boldly in this and upcoming situations.  They go to God with their concerns for the threats that have been made by the Sanhedrin.  They acknowledge His sovereignty and ask that He stretch out His hand to provide more healings and miracles through the name of Jesus.  They are filled with the Holy Spirit and then did speak the word of God boldly.

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Posted on 10/31/2013 9:30 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 31 October 2013
Preparation for Spiritual Battle
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What protective (defensive) pieces of armor are children of God given in their ongoing struggle with the forces of evil?  What offensive weapons are we given with which to wage war?

Defensive: 

Belt of truth -- Reality in the world, our lives, etc,  or maybe sincerity of belief in the Breastplate of Righteousness -- Walk in Christ’s Righteousness which will protect our reality of the gospel and its implications by keeping our hearts or souls from contamination

Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace -- Thorough understanding of the gospel

Shield of Faith -- Total trust and confidence in the Lord’s promise and His ability to finally and totally win the battle.

Helmet of Salvation -- well grounded hope of Salvation which understanding the gospel provides

Offensive:

The Sword of the Spirit the Word of God -- The truth of the Scripture.  REALITY

2 Timothy 3:16-17

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

 

 

 

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Posted on 10/31/2013 8:34 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Babel -- God Rescues Mankind Again
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According to Genesis 11:6-9, why did God frustrate the people’s attempt at united accomplishment?

Genesis 11:6-9

6 And the Lord said, See, they are all one people and have all one language; and this is only the start of what they may do: and now it will not be possible to keep them from any purpose of theirs7 Come, let us go down and take away the sense of their language, so that they will not be able to make themselves clear to one another. 8 So the Lord God sent them away into every part of the earth: and they gave up building their town. 9 So it was named Babel, because there the Lord took away the sense of all languages and from there the Lord sent them away over all the face of the earth. 

Genesis 8:21

And when the sweet smell came up to the Lord, he said in his heart, I will not again put a curse on the earth because of man, for the thoughts of man's heart are evil from his earliest days; never again will I send destruction on all living things as I have done. 

Genesis 6:5

And the Lord saw that the sin of man was great on the earth, and that all the thoughts of his heart were evil.

God puts a stop to mankind’s attempt at unity by confounding their language.  He did this because mankind still had a huge heart problem, a huge sin problem  This manifested itself in evil and violence that would have gone on to unbelievable levels, if God had left the situation alone.  Their unity would not have produced world-wide good, but rather world-wide violence and evil.  They would not have used their unity to encourage righteous, moral and ethical behavior, but rather, they would have used this unity as a platform to encourage and support each other’s descent into sin, unrighteousness, ungodliness and evil.  God also uses the confounding of the language of mankind as His method of forcing people to spread out over all the earth as He had originally commanded them.  Now why would He want this?  Well, once again, it has to do with preventing them from getting together and carrying out all the evil schemes that they could think up. 

 

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Posted on 10/30/2013 11:17 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 30 October 2013
The Apostle Paul speaks about the Governing Authorities
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What does Paul say in Romans 13:1-7 about this subject:  Does Peter do in Acts what Paul teaches?

Romans 13:1-7

1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Peter does exactly what Paul instructs in Romans 13.  He is respectful to the members of the Sanhedrin, yet he does the right thing.  Consequently, several things happen.  First, he is not terrorized by them, because he is doing the right thing.  Second, some of these men actually begin to commend the disciples and consequently, become followers of Jesus.

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Posted on 10/30/2013 9:24 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Our fight is not against flesh and blood!
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What does Paul mean when he states categorically that our fight is “not against flesh and blood”? Hi-lite each word and phrase that describes our enemy and his/its activity.

Ephesians 6:10-17

10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth (the devil deals with untruth), having put on the breastplate of righteousness (the devil offers uses filth and degradation),15and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace (the ways of the devil are intimidation, oppression and hatred);16above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts (he is going to attack) of the wicked one.17And take the helmet of salvation (the devil will attack your mind), and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 

--The combat is not against human enemies, nor against our own corrupt nature only; we have to do with an enemy who has a thousand ways of beguiling unstable souls. The devils assault us in the things that belong to our souls, and labour to deface the heavenly image in our hearts. (Matthew Henry)

--We must live in light of the fact that just as much as "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life," so it is true that "Satan hates you and has a terrible plan for your life." We have a spiritual enemy who wishes us nothing but evil.  Stott quoting Simpson: "The tactics of intimidation and insinuation alternate in Satan's plan of campaign. He plays both the bully and the beguiler. Force and fraud form his chief offensive against the camp of the saints." (taken from Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)

Our fight, our struggles, our problems in this life on earth, are not actually with other people.  The forces that cause these struggles are spiritual and our problems or fights in this life are actually a manifestation of these evil spiritual forces working in another realm, the heavenly realms.  I think the quote above regarding the fact that God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives, but that Satan’s intentions are 180 degrees from God’s, is absolutely relevant to our situation.  Satan hates us and his plan is to destroy us and/or turn us into something ugly and degraded from what God intended.  Our struggles are because we are living in a world that is disintegrating because of a spiritual, moral, and ethical darkness  in which we find ourselves. We are dying because we are turning or pushing God out of our lives.  This is crazy!  He’s the one who created us; who gave us our being, our existence, our life.   But Paul is saying that there are beings who are actually responsible for this darkness, who control it.  These are the ones that we actually fight or struggle with.  They are trying to keep us from seeing clearly where we are going and our eventual outcomes or destiny.

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Posted on 10/30/2013 8:17 AM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 29 October 2013
Dealing with human authorities
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What does Peter say in 1 Peter 2:13-17 about how to treat human authorities?  Does he follow those instructions in Acts?

1 Peter 2:13-17

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

Peter submits to the authority of the Sanhedrin.  He shows honor and respect for them.  He doesn’t curse, cajole or lie to them.  He speaks plainly and sticks to the historical facts.  Not only did his words and wisdom silence them but as things later worked out, some of them probably became believers because of the way they acted, good manners, courtesy and respect shown.

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Posted on 10/29/2013 9:20 AM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 29 October 2013
The Whole Armor of God
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Read 6:10-17, noting the key words and definitions next to the passage.

Ephesians 6:10-17

10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Believers must rely completely on God‘s omnipotence to win the battle).

11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand (to stand firm, in a military sense; to maintain a critical position while under attack) against the wiles (schemes; the Greek word from which comes the English term “methods.”  Carries the idea of craftiness, cunning, deception.) of the devil.

12For we do not wrestle (hand-to-hand combat) against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness (A description of the different strata and rankings of invisible, supernatural demons and evil spirits who are part of the devil’s empire) in the heavenly places.

13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

15and having shod your feet (Roman soldiers wore boots with nails or cleats in them to help brace their feet in all terrains.  For the Christian, the gospel of peace with God gives sure footing and a sound foundation) with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16above all, taking the shield of faith (The word is the Greek term for the large 2.5 x 4.5 foot shields carried by soldiers to protect their entire bodies.  As long as Christians place their trust in God, they will be protected) with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one (In ancient times, arrows were often tipped with cloth, covered with pitch and ignited; the idea is that our faith affords us protection against many temptations of the devil).

17And take the helmet of salvation (Protects the head, for Satan attacks a believers assurance of salvation with his weapons of doubt and discouragement), and the sword of the Spirit (the truth of Scripture, the only weapon that a Christian should carry into battle), which is the word of God; 

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Posted on 10/29/2013 7:59 AM by Larry G
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Monday, 28 October 2013
Standing before Authority
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How does Acts 4:1-22 reflect Jesus’ teaching in Luke 12:11-12 and 21:12-19?

Luke 12:11-12

11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

Luke 21:12-19

12 “But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 All men will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By standing firm you will gain life.

Jesus told His disciples that they would be dragged before authorities because of His name. He told them not to worry about what they would say and then He told them that He would give them words and wisdom that their adversaries would not be able to refute, resist or contradict. 

Peter and John are arrested and thrown into jail, they are brought before the Sanhedrin whose members soon realize that these two men are just ordinary men.  They are not learned men; they’re just two ordinary men.  But just like Jesus had instructed his disciples beforehand they become witnesses to these authorities and just like promised by Jesus, their words and wisdom would not be refuted, resisted or contradicted by the members of the Sanhedrin.

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Posted on 10/28/2013 9:15 AM by Larry G
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Monday, 28 October 2013
Our Supernatural Fight
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Spiritual Warfare: The true believer who lives the Spirit-controlled life can sure to be in a spiritual war.  The fight is a supernatural one against Satan, whose schemes are propagated through the evil world system over which he rules, and carried out by his demon hosts.  The Lord provides His saints with sufficient armor to combat and thwart the adversary.  Paul uses the common armor worn by Roman soldiers as the analogy for the believer’s spiritual defense and affirms its necessity if one is to hold his position while under attack.  Ultimately, Satan’s power over Christians is already broken and the great war is won through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, which forever conquered the power of sin and death (Romans 5:18-21).  

Romans 5:18-21

8 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.  19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.  20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

However, in life on earth, battles of temptation go on regularly.  The Lord’s power, the strength of His Spirit, and the force of biblical truth are required for victory.

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Posted on 10/28/2013 7:56 AM by Larry G
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Sunday, 27 October 2013
Obeying the Authorities
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Think of a modern situation in which a Christian should disobey the authorities and one in which he should obey.

Obviously disobeying an unlawful order for a soldier, i.e., to commit war crimes is one situation where a Christian should not obey.  Another would be for a doctor to perform a government-ordered abortion.  A modern circumstance where one should obey is paying our fair share of taxes.  Of course, there is the matter or question of what is “fair”.  But paying your taxes is one thing we should do.  Another example would be to observe traffic laws.  

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Posted on 10/27/2013 9:12 AM by Larry G
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Sunday, 27 October 2013
Spiritual Warfare -- Ephesians 6:10-17
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The faithful Christian life is a battle--warfare on a grand scale--because when God begins to bless, Satan begins to attack. Have you or someone you know, experienced what you would call “spiritual warfare”?  If so, how did you--or they--respond? Think about what happened.

Paul’s description of the true Christian, described in chapters 1-3, and the faithful Christian life, 4:1-6:9, lead him to an exposition on spiritual warfare in 6:10-20.  If we are worthy of our calling, in humility rather than pride, in unity rather than divisiveness, or in the new self rather than the old, in love rather than lust, in light rather than darkness, in wisdom rather than foolishness, in the fullness of the Spirit rather than the drunkenness of wine, and in mutual submission rather than self-serving independence, then we can be absolutely certain that we will have opposition and conflict.

The good news is that God does not leave His children unprepared or unprotected in this cosmic conflict.  This passage is a heartening reminder of all that God has done and all that we must do to win the victory.  In Christ, not only can we withstand the devil’s assaults, but we can also defeat the diabolical forces that are arrayed against God and His church.  The gates of hell cannot stand against us!

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Posted on 10/27/2013 7:49 AM by Larry G
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Sunday, 27 October 2013
Parallels between Babel and Endtimes
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How does Revelation 13:1-18 parallel the wrong unity of Babel?

Revelation 13:1-18

1 And I saw A BEAST rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. 2 And THE BEAST that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed THE BEAST4 And THEY WORSHIPED THE DRAGON, for he had given his authority to THE BEAST, and they worshiped THE BEAST, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who can fight against IT?" 5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 IT opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also IT was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given IT over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8and all who dwell on earth will worship IT, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear: 10 If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain.  Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

The Second Beast

11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. 16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

Everyone who existed at the time of the tower of Babel was involved in what happened there; it was a world-wide event, in that everyone who was alive participated in it.  The whole world worshipped the dragon through his representative, the Nimrod.  Like Nimrod, who has been described as part god and part man or a hybrid “beast,” the one that the whole world will worship will also be something other than a regular man; he and his partner, the false prophet are consistently referred to as “it” or "beasts" in the passage.  Like the Nimrod described in Genesis, the IT's or beasts described in Revelation will also enslave the world.  But like those at the tower of Babel, those who dwell on the earth will worship the beast or the “it” by following his lead; they will do as he does; that's how the world will worship him.  They will worship the “it” or beast, by living according to his example.  Their lives will be filthy, full of greed, immorality, cruelty, violence and ungodliness.  It is also interesting that like the “Nimrod” described at the tower of Babel, the “it” or beast described in Revelation will blaspheme God and his followers will follow his example.   

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Posted on 10/27/2013 9:01 AM by Larry G
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Saturday, 26 October 2013
Continuing Attitudes of an ungodly world
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Compare the attitudes of the people at Babel in say “Come, let’s…” to the attitudes described in James 4:13-17.  How are these alike?

James 4:13-17

13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"-- 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Genesis 11:3-4                                                                    James 4:13-17__________

Let us bake bricks                                                 We will go and make money

Let us build a city                                                 

Make a name for ourselves                                 Let’s do what we want

Do what we want by our own power               Everything is in our hands

So we can brag about our activities                 I/We control our/my destinies

and set ourselves up as idols                            We will set ourselves up as bigshots.

                                                                                 

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Posted on 10/26/2013 9:53 AM by Larry G
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Saturday, 26 October 2013
Conflicts Between Believers and the Authorities
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Peter and John were committed to obeying God rather than the Jewish leaders when commands conflicted (4:19).  What had God commanded them to do (1:8)?

Acts 4:19

19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.

Acts 1:8

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

According to 4:19 under what circumstances must Christians disobey human authorities, and when must we obey human authorities?

When human authorities are in direct opposition to God’s will we must obey God and follow His will.  We are directed to not fear those who can kill our bodies.  But rather we are to fear Him who can both body and soul in hell; and that is God. 

Romans 13:1-7

1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities,1 for there is no authority except that which God has established.2 The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted,3 and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.4 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.5 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.6 6 This is also why you pay taxes,7 for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes;8 if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Whatever the persons in authority over us themselves may be, yet the just power they have, must be submitted to and obeyed. In the general course of human affairs, rulers are not a terror to honest, quiet, and good subjects, but to evil-doers.  Were suppose to pay our just taxes, were suppose to have respect for governmental authorities who are exercising their just duty.

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Posted on 10/26/2013 7:46 PM by Larry G
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Saturday, 26 October 2013
Abusing Authority
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Question:  How can authority be a wise and good thing?  How can authority be harmful when abused?  

Authority can be good, when those in charge actually provide direction and guidance regarding what must be done.  Those in charge can actually provide a secure environment for people under their authority.  People feel secure when they know the boundaries in which they must operate and they need to know the standards and they need to know how they are doing.  Leaders can play a critical role in helping those under them grow and flourish.  Authority can be abused when those in charge use their position for just their own benefit, when they view those under their authority as being of less worth or not deserving of respect.  It is a terrible situation when the one in authority uses their position as a license to abuse, denigrate, and actively despise those under their authority.

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Posted on 10/26/2013 6:54 PM by Larry G
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Friday, 25 October 2013
Babylonian Attitudes
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What sinful attitudes, values and fears do the people in Babel (Babylon) display?

Their focus is now “Me/I” oriented and their thinking has become futile or foolish.  Their actions show that they don’t trust God or His promises.  This opportunity to work together to build this tower, to commit this evil act, will provide them with an environment in which they can encourage and assist each other in doing more evil.  In trying to unite, we may also see that there is a deep-seated fear of being alone, a fear of dying.  They may be trying to establish their own immortality; which is absolute futility.  The essence and manifestation of immortality belong solely to the Immortal One—God our Creator.  

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Posted on 10/25/2013 9:50 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 25 October 2013
Principles for Dealing with the Authorities
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Question:  What principles for Christian behavior before authorities do Peter and John exemplify (4:5-13, 18-20)? (See also 5:29-32)

Acts 4:5-13

5 The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is “ ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. ‘ 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” 13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

Acts 5:29-32

29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Look at 5:32, these men were witnesses of what Jesus did, His crucifixion and Resurrection.  They had chosen to obey God and the Holy Spirit was now living in them and they in turn were allowing Him to control and empower them.  I think the big principle here is obey God, let the Holy Spirit do the talking.  That’s what Jesus meant in Acts 1:8 and earlier when He told His disciples that they would be given the words.  I think that the big principle here is that we need to be obedient and willing to be led by the Holy Spirit.  Now how we do that is something I’m still thinking about.  Maybe it just involves a simple step in that direction.

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Posted on 10/25/2013 7:42 PM by Larry G
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Friday, 25 October 2013
The Importance of individual roles and functions in the Body of Christ
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TRUTH FOR TODAY

There are no classifications of Christians.  Every believer in Jesus Christ has exactly the same salvation, the same standing before God, the same divine nature and resources, and the same divine promises and inheritance (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; James 1:1-9).

Acts 10:34 -- Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality….” 

Romans 2:11 -- For there is no partiality with God. 

James 1:1-9 -- 1James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.2My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,3knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.4But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.7For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.9Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 

But in matters of role and function God has made distinctions.  Although there are no differences in intrinsic worth or basic spiritual privileges and rights among His people, the Lord has given rulers in government certain authority over the people they rule, to church leaders He has given authority over the church, to husbands He has delegated authority over their wives, to parents He has given authority over their children, and to employers He has given authority over employees.

 

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Posted on 10/25/2013 6:49 PM by Larry G
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Thursday, 24 October 2013
The Purpose of the Tower of Babel
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The first “Come, let’s…” at Babel was uttered by the humans (Genesis 11:3).  What was wrong with their purposes for building the city and tower?

Genesis 11:3-4

3 And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth." 

--TO “MAKE A NAME” (RENOWN, HONOR…FOR OURSELVES)

  • “Look at me!”
  • “See what I (we) have done!”
  • “Let’s work together, we’ll show what we can do.”
  • “The project will keep us together.”
  • The focus is now inward on the “me” or “us”, NOT toward God.

--TO AVOID BEING SCATTERED OVER THE EARTH (SEE GENESIS 1:28; 9:1)

Genesis 1:28

And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

Genesis 9:1

And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

Here we deliberate rebellion.  Man was told several types that they were to “fill the earth” or in other words—scatter. But here mankind decides to do the exact opposite.  Several things may be working here: maybe this reflects distrust of the Most High God, the Creator of all things, which in itself, is unrighteousness; this might also be a manifestation of Genesis 3:5, man just decides to do things his own way.  Why because he can. 

--TO REACH THE HEAVENS (TO CONTACT AND MANIPULATE ASTRAL GODS TO CONTROL NATURE AND HUMAN EVENTS

Bear in mind that we have been told that the “sons of God”, which is a designation for “angels” were still visiting the earth or our dimension

(Genesis 6:4 -- The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.). 

These beings are responsible for instigating much of the rebellion that is going on then and now.  They are the ones who are instructing people in the technologies of rebellion.  They and their leader want to be worshipped.  The people in building the tower of Babel are actually performing an act of worship to 

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Posted on 10/24/2013 9:46 AM by Larry G
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