Thursday, February 25, 2016

In Context: The More Sure Word

2Peter 1:
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,"
18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,
20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.
21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Peter, along with James and John, saw the Lord glorified, along with Moses and Elijah. In light of this it is crucial that we understand his statement "and we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed". Moses and Elijah are the representation of all the law and the prophets; Christ being the very embodiment and fulfillment of these.

In his first letter Peter begins with this:

1Peter 1:
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,
11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.
12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,
15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16 since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."
17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,
18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,
19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,
23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;
24 for "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever." And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

The Lord, speaking to the jews, had this to say about Himself:

John 5:
37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,
38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.
39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
41 I do not receive glory from people.
42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you.
43 I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.
44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope.
46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.
47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"

And to the travelers on the road to Emmaus:

Luke 24:
25  And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
26  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"
27  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Later to the apostles:

Luke 24:
44  Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."
45  Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
46  and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
47  and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
49  And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."

All has been fulfilled by, through, and in Christ. The very moment that he gave up His Spirit the
new covenant of His blood took effect. He Himself prophesied this while still ”under the
old”.(Luke 22:19-20)

John 19:
28  After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), "I thirst."
29  A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.
30  When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Hebrews 9:
11  But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation)
12  he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
13  For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,
14  how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
15  Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
16  For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established.
17  For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.

And so the “transfiguration” on the mountain witnessed by Peter and the sons of Zebedee, in
conjunction with Jesus’ the death, resurrection, and  ascension affirm the Word of God.
 All “extra-biblical” revelation, (i.e. dreams, visions, new prophecy etc etc)  is to be rejected.
They are an “adding-to” what has been completed. When God guides us by His indwelling
Spirit, or through our circumstances,  or through others; it will line up (fully confirmed)
with what has been spoken and written by the apostles and prophets.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

In Context: Thieves and Shepherds

John 10:
1  "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.
2  But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3  To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4  When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
5  A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."
6  This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7  So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
8  All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
9  I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.                                                                                                                   
(In complete context: John 8:2-10:42)

The passage cited above, when read in its proper context, is the Lord speaking to the people about the Pharisees in the presence of the Pharisees, (i.e. their religious leaders). Therefore the lifting of any verse(s) taken from the context of chapters 8-9-10 can only be understood within that greater context. 

John 10 verses 1; 8; and 10 all speak of the same subject; the ”thief ”; that is those whom the Lord refers to as “all who came before me”. He refers to Himself as both the door and the Good Shepherd. The thief/thieves are the Pharisees. They do not enter the sheep fold by the gate (through Christ) but rather seek illegal entry. They are the ones which come to steal, kill, and destroy.(It is no different today. Acts 20:28-30; Matthew 7:15-20).

It is obvious from a careful reading of the text that John 10:10 is not a reference to Satan, (though these false shepherds are most certainly satanic). John 10:10 along with John 3:16, 1 John 4:16 and a host of other singular verses are daily ripped from their context and misapplied. A thousand delusional sects have been founded upon such shoddy interpretation. The Word of God must be understood in light of itself. We cannot apply a syncretistic approach in the expounding of the scriptures. 

Reading John 8-9-10 together as a unified narrative along with Ezekiel 34 opens up a universe of revelation; wisdom and understanding.  There are both true shepherds serving under the Good Shepherd, and there are hirelings. They serve no one but themselves and their lusts. They seek to steal, kill and destroy. He comes that all who are His might have life and that in abundance.  

Ezekiel 34:
1  The word of the LORD came to me:
2  "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?
3  You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep.
4  The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.
5  So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts.
6  My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.
7  "Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
8  As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep,
9  therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
10  Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.
11  "For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out.

John 10:
27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
28  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
29  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
30  I and the Father are one."                              (John 17:1-3)

Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, February 14, 2016


There are three passages in the scriptures (two found in Acts; one in 1Peter) in which
the word christian(s) is used. We do not hear much teaching on this as the terms
Christian, or Christianity is generally accepted as mandated by the scriptures, and of
course the title has been used for centuries by westernized Christianity, i.e. it’s the way
we’ve always done it. A much needed examination of this is needed; always in context.

Acts 26:

24  And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind."

25  But Paul said, "I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words.

26  For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner.

27  King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe."

28  And Agrippa said to Paul, "In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?"

29  And Paul said, "Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains."

The entirety of Acts 26 is the account of Paul’s testimony before Festus and King Agrippa. This is the context of his statement regarding “becoming a Christian”. Paul always chose His words wisely in every circumstance he found himself; while displaying soundness of mind when speaking and/or writing, or in as seen here, defending himself against the accusations of the judaizers.

Paul’s reply to Agrippa’s question;"In a short time would you persuade me to be a christian? , is most carefully worded. (Agrippa is simply using the same terminology used by those outside the church.)

"Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains."


Paul did not reply in the affirmative, e.g. ‘yes I would have you become a Christian’. He never referred to himself as such in any of his writings, which now comprise the majority of new covenant doctrine.

So what did Paul mean by the phrase “such as I am”?

He used the term called out, which we translate as “church” over 40 times in his letters.


He also used the term saints over 40 times in his writings to describe those who were called into sanctification/consecration.


We find the terminology “body of Christ” or “His  body” employed  nine times ; Romans;1 Corinthians; Ephesians; Colossians. (Used once in conjunction with ekklesia.)

There are 5 references to the saints in Acts (written by Luke, a believer) as “the Way”. Apparently this is a nomenclature which was acceptable to the church at the time.

A road; by implication a progress (the route, act or distance); figuratively a mode or means: - journey, (high-) way.

John 14:6  Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  (Same word used by the Lord as found in Acts)

Therefore “such as I am” can be interchanged with the saints, the church/called out, the Body of Christ, those of the way, believers, the redeemed, etc.

Acts 11:

25  So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,

26  and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

They were first called……. not they called themselves christians. Once again there is not a single example of any of the saints speaking of themselves in this way.

Last of all from Peter’s first letter we find this;

1Peter 4:

1  Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,

2  so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

3  For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.

4  With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;

5  but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

6  For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

7  The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

8  Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

9  Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

10  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:

11  whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

12  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.

13  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

14  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

15  But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.

16  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

17  For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

18  And "If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"

19  Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

The context of what we call chapter four of the letter deals entirely with the suffering that the saints endure as those in Christ. Peter takes great pains in explaining that if one suffers for that of which they are actually guilty (sins), then they re only receiving what they deserve. They are still living in their human passions (flesh). However if one suffers as Christ suffered in the flesh, i.e. as one who is not guilty of that which he has been accused, then one suffers along with Him as those who suffer according to God’s will. (Now there’s revelation that’s rarely brought up in the buildings on Sunday morning.)
So, do not suffer as a murderer, a thief, or any kind of evildoer or meddler, (? interesting).
Yet if you suffer as a christian, do not be ashamed of suffering under that false accusation (insult), but glorify God under that name. In conjunction with Acts 11:26 this would then logically lead to the understanding that the name “christian” was used as a term of derision, by non-believers. These are those who mock Christ, and so mock those who are His.

John 15:

18  "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.

19  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

20  Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

21  But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.

22  If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

23  Whoever hates me hates my Father also.

24  If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.

25  But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: 'They hated me without a cause.'

Peter is not telling anyone to identify themselves as Christians.
While there was a time when being called a christian spoke of those who were and are members of the one true church, that time has long passed. Seekers of political office,, celebrities, professional clergy, pew sitters etc all identify themselves as “Christians”, a term which has become essentially meaningless. One hears such talk as “I am a true christian” or “he/she is an authentic christian”, “I’m a born again Christian”, ad nauseum. Calling ourselves Christian just confuses the issue as there are a plethora of christian denominations. (Sectarianism is forbidden by the way; 1 Cor 3)
The call to all who are His is to come out of Babylon. Christianity is just another religion birthed out of western and roman traditions and is no more the true religion than any other.

James 1:
26  If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 27  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. 

I found Peter mentioning being a meddler to a list which included murderers, thieves, and all kinds of evildoers to be extremely interesting.

The Greek translates as meddler is:
overseeing others' affairs, that is, a meddler (specifically in Gentile customs): - busybody in other men’s matters.

I would say this applies to those that I like to refer to as “sin sniffers”. Falls right in line with gossipers to which Paul makes many references as one of the most common and worst of man’s evil.