Archive for category Israel
I recently taught a discipleship training class at our church entitled The Feasts of the Lord: Jesus Fulfills the Feasts. It was a three week (1x wk.) course.
I know I was blessed by and learned more from the study, preparation and teaching than anyone listening. Even so, I have an opportunity for an encore at the Sweetwater Aglow November meeting. It will be November 13, 10am-3pm at the Holiday Inn Express in Sweetwater. Lunch will be provided free of charge, and everyone is invited to attend. I hope to see you there.
One of these days, I will get around to posting about this.
For the next three (3) Sunday nights I will be teaching a series at our church entitled The Feasts of the Lord: Jesus Fulfills the Feasts. It’s a topic that is absolutely fascinating, and I hope I am able to do it a little justice.
I believe the series will be recorded, and, if so, I will try to post the audio here. At the very least, I will try to post summaries each week.
I hope it goes well. Pray for me.
And if any of you happen to be in the Sweetwater, TX area any of the next three (3) Sundays, feel free to drop in.
Jesus’ first sermon, The Sermon on the Mount, is probably the most famous sermon in history. We are all familiar with the first few lines:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. Matthew 5 (NASB)
Toward the end of the sermon, Jesus says:
1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. 6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7 (NASB)
Do the consequences sound familiar? Jesus also uses similar language in his last recorded teaching:
20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. 21 “Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. 23 “Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; 24 and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Luke 21 (NASB), and compare Matthew 24.
I have heard countless sermons on the various portions of the Sermon on the Mount. In fact, I heard another brilliant one yesterday (I will link to it when it becomes active). And I was stirred to reread the entire Sermon on the Mount.
What struck me was something I had never seen before. The opening of Jesus’ ministry is a prophetic plea. Jesus is imploring his Jewish brethren to “get it,” and warning them of the consequences of not “getting it”: being trampled.
The Sermon on the Mount is indeed full of spiritual truths, sound advice for living, and a whole host of really cool things. It is also much, much more.
When I teach my public speaking class, one of the things I try and instill is that the audience needs to hear what’s being said three times: (1) tell them what you’re going to tell them, (2) tell them, and (3) tell them what you told them. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus begins His public ministry by telling his audience what He’s going to tell them. Then he spends three years telling them. Finally, He is forced to conclude with a heart-breaking “I told them so.”
This is hardly a completed project, more of an infant idea. I just wanted to write it down for future reference (and if I had written it on paper or in a journal, I don’t know if I would ever find it).
For the last several months, our church has been holding a weekly noontime Bible study through the book of Revelation. It’s been quite enlightening, and my end-times theological cage is being rattled a little. Incidentally, the progress is being written about @ The Watchman’s Gaze if you care to follow.
But, during a recent meeting, we chased a few rabbit trails, including: Did Jesus (and by extension God) curse Israel (specifically when Jesus cursed the fig tree, or ever)? Does God curse anything? If He did before, does He still? Is God capable of cursing anything given His nature(?), or given Christ’s accomplishment on the cross(?), or are curses merely brought upon one’s self?
The discussion was obviously much more in depth than the narrowly defined questions posed above, but this is my (admittedly) slanted summary.
Thoughts? Ideas? Comments?
The goal for this week was to cover two chapters, but we only made it through chapter 8. I suppose it was a little ambitious to try and cover chapters 8 and 9, but 9 will just have to wait until next week.
In verse 1, the author is again referencing Psalm 110, a Messianic Psalm which the author has referenced repeatedly throughout the book of Hebrews. And he or she says:
Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. Hebrews 8:1-2 (NASB)
The high priest, who is also the Messiah, has taken his place in Heaven and in the true tabernacle. This is the end of the need for sacrifices. The high priest has now entered the heavenly sanctuary and is now the mediator of a better covenant, the old now being obsolete.
So that it is clear, this is not a reference to the Abrahamic land grant covenant, but to the Mosaic covenant. Until the high priest became the mediator of the new covenant, the law was written in stone. Now the laws are in the hearts and minds of the believers.
This principle actually led to the liveliest discussion of the evening in our effort to determine when and how this imprinting upon the hearts and minds takes place. Does it occur upon becoming a believer, at baptism, during the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Without reaching definite conclusions, I think the general consensus was that (1) the Holy Spirit is the mechanism, and (2) it happens when the Holy Spirit becomes activated by faith in Jesus (which we also believed was distinct from the baptism in the Holy Spirit – which could happen simultaneously, but doesn’t always, or even usually).
We again were landed with a ministry opportunity which consumed a fair amount of the time, but the tradeoff was well worth it.
The New Living Translation is giving away a trip for four to the Holy Land and a whole bunch of other stuff including Bibles in the Breakthrough to Clarity Bible Contest and Giveaway.
There are three steps to enter: (1) provide name and email and you automaticall win a free NLT Gospel of John Bible Study, (2) share your testimony about how the NLT has provided you clarity, and (3) share your story on facebook, twitter, myspace or linkedin. Contest dates are November 9, 2009 – December 18, 2009.
Everyone who enters will also be entered for a free NLT Study Bible which will be given away daily or a chance to win 100 Bibles for your church. Good luck!
Last night was the third week of our Hebrews Bible Study. We covered chapter 5 where we now learn that Jesus, the “Son” who is greater than the angels (chapters 1 and 2) and greater than Moses (chapters 3 and 4), is now a high priest. He is not an Aaronic high priest, but rather our High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
There are differing takes on who this Melchizedek character was, but we concluded that he was Jesus (whether pre-incarnate, spiritual, actual, or otherwise we cannot ultimately know). This should not be a theological sticking point, however, and more about this will follow in the coming chapters.
We also learn an interesting point: Jesus learned obedience through suffering. This clearly suggests that believers will experience some measure of suffering to learn obedience and to be remade in the image of Christ. Now, I think there needs to be a distinction between suffering we bring upon ourselves, which Christ clearly did not do, and suffering through which we learn obedience and are made perfect. For example, Christ suffered because of his compassion for others, for the lost sheep of Israel, and leading up to his crucifixion in the garden of Gethsemane.
Finally, there is an additional hard reality for believers to confront, that many if not most believers are still “infants” partaking “only of milk.” This reality becomes crystal clear in chapter 6 which we will cover next week, but merits mention now. This is a wake-up call to the church to move on to “solid food.” A level which, if we are completely honest, we must confess we have not yet reached (generally speaking), as we will see when we study what the author believes to be “milk,” or “elementary teachings” next week.
I know it’s been three weeks since I published Hebrews Bible Study-Week 1, but the first Wednesday of the month our church has a church-wide Night of Worship, so there was no meeting that Wednesday. The second Wednesday, we had several out, either sick or ministering out of town, so last Wednesday was actually just our second real week of study.
We picked up on the theme of a lawyer building a case from Week 1. The author is making the case for “the Son.” In chapters 1 & 2, the Son is depicted as greater than the angels, which in the ancient Jewish culture would have been extremely significant. Now, in chapter 3, the Son is depicted as greater than Moses. This would have been just as significant, if not more so, than being greater than the angels given Moses’ status in the Jewish tradition.
Also, we are introduced to the Son, and the author for the first time asserts that Jesus is the Son. We are advised to guard against hard hearts, which are the result of unbelief, so that we may enter God’s rest, unlike the Israelites in the days of Moses. We also learn that sin lies. The very nature of sin is deception, which goes hand-in-hand with unbelief and hard hearts.
Chapter 4 confirms that the promise to enter His rest is still available, and this is one instance in which we are permitted to fear – the fear of not entering God’s rest. Actually, this is also one of the few things in scripture for which we are encouraged to labor. Thus, we are to rest from our works, but work to enter into that rest. A beautiful and thought-provoking paradox that makes perfect sense.
These are my study notes for Hebrews Chapter 3. I don’t know if they will make much sense to anyone else, but if they are helpful to anyone feel free to use them.
The scripture references and discussion notes should have aligned with the appropriate scriptures, but I lost that somehow when I loaded the table into my blog. On the left is, obviously, the Bible text, the center column contains the scriptures I referenced or wanted to reference, and the right-hand column has discussion topics.
|Hebrews 3 (NASB)
1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;
2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.
3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.
4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.
5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later;
6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house–whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
7Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,
12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.
13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,
15 while it is said,
16 For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?
17And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?
18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient?
19 So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.
1:1-6 – Also read NLT translation.
3:5 – Numbers 12:7.
3:7 – Psalm 95 (7-11).
3:13 – Gen. 3.
3:1-“Therefore” – anytime you see a “therefore” you learn what it’s there for.
3:1-“Jesus” – first mention of who the “Son” is.
3:2-“as Moses” – Ch. 1 = greater than angels, now than Moses (cultural significance).
3:3-“builder of house” – no coincidence Jesus a carpenter/mason.
3:13-“deceitfulness of sin” – sin lies! Progression: sin – lie – unbelief.
— disobedience goes hand-in-hand with unbelief.
Last night was the first real night of our Hebrews study. Our study group actually met last Wednesday, but it was more of a meet-and-greet.
One of the themes that kept emerging throughout the discussion of Hebrews 1 was the author’s set up of his (or her) theme or thesis or argument. It is similar to how a lawyer would present a case. I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me during the days and weeks leading up the study, and only right in the midst (I might have developed the idea a little more being a lawyer and all), but it will end up being a good starting point, I think.
The opening four verses (a single sentence in the Greek) are powerful. Already, the author has grabbed the audience’s attention contending that (1) God has spoken to the fathers through the prophets and (2) God has spoken in His Son, who (3) upholds all things through the word of His power and (4) has a much better name than the angels. The importance of these conclusions to a Hebrew audience cannot be overstated.
The author then, in proving the superiority to the angels, immediately invokes Messianic Psalms. Again, the significance is clear. This Son is the one to whom the scriptures have been pointing. Everything that has come before has been to try and illustrate this.
In Chapter 2, the author cuts right to it, “if the word spoken through the angels proved unalterable,” then how much more is this true since He said it and God confirmed it through sings, wonders and miracles.
The audience is presented with the inescapable conclusion before the identity of the Son is revealed. Quite a stroke of persuasive genius, especially considering the intended audience.
And then the really good news, the devil is rendered powerless (Genesis 3:15), the slaves are set free, and He is there to help us because He gets it. He became one of us, and He gets it.
This is obviously a very shorthand version of an hour-and-a-half Bible study. I don’t know if my study/discussion notes will be of any help, but I have included them as separate posts, and you are certainly free to use and abuse them as you feel the need:
At the end of the semester I will probably make a master post with links to everything, but for now it’s one week at a time.