1 & 2 Thessalonians

2 Thessaloninas

(Previous Post was 1Thess)

A few months later Paul writes a second letter. Evidently, there was a letter or a message supposedly from Paul that someone forged in his name.  It was a lie.  So Paul writes to clarify. The first letter was about Jesus.  The second one is about the Antichrist “The man of sin” or the “lawless one”.

“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come.

Somehow a fake letter was received saying the Day of the Lord had already occurred even though the first letter had discussed that there would be a “gathering” or a “rapture”.  Of course, leaving them confused!  To make matters worse,  persecution has grown worse!  Emporer worship was rising and as they refused, they were being harshly persecuted for it. Paul reminded them that the Lord is JUST and will handle all matters in the end. We have seen through the scripture the Holy Trinity.  Satan has his Unholy Trinity.

Richard Schmidt - April 29, 2016 CHART

Paul reminds them “We talked about this…”  The antichrist WILL come.

 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work;

BUT!!!  BIG BUT!!!

BUT the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.


So what is the takeaway?  What is the application of knowing this?

Stand Firm in your faith.

  • keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 
  • follow our example! never tire of doing what is good
  • Some believers (look around people) are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.
  • Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy but warn them as you would a fellow believer.

This time he signs the letter with a special mark SO THAT you know the false letter was fake-don’t this is the one to hold onto!

1 & 2 Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians

Greek letters began with the author (3 in this case), followed by a greeting and thanksgiving.    This letter is specifically written to a group of people that assemble together ‘ekklesia’-meaning church.  In case the letter went to the wrong church, they address it to the Thessalonians.  Well, now that makes sense because you would not want this letter and the letters to the Galatians mixing up!

Paul, Silas and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace and peace to you.


The Thessalonians were standing firm and exhibiting faith, love, and hope.  The purpose of this letter was:

  1. Thanks.  Paul was probably in Corinth when he wrote this and the report back to him encouraged him greatly.
  2. An explanation about why he had to leave so quickly and could not return.
  3. To encourage them as they faced hostility and suffering.
  4. To explain “fraternal love”
  5. To discuss the topic of sexual purity (they were sliding on that topic)
  6. Clarify the End days

You can feel the Joy in Paul when Timothy’s report back was:

In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain. But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you.

He slips in a reminder about sexual immorality.  Paul knows the flesh is weak and this is the one read they were failing in.  But quickly commends their continued love for each other, and reminds them to live a quiet life, working hard so others will know they love the Lord through their way of life-not but beating them up with scriptures.


Chapter 4: What will happen to those who have died (fallen asleep) and are still alive when the Lord Comes back? 

There were many different theories floating around so this letter was written to clarify the issue and put their minds at ease.

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 

We believe in a Resurrection of the Lord,  so we know that He will bring those who have died to Him BEFORE He returns. After that, a trumpet will sound.  If you read the OT with us,  you will remember the Trumpet signified a war was to begin and the Lord was with us.

15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

‘Caught up’: the Latin translation of this verse used the word rapturo. The Greek word it translates is harpazo, which means to snatch or take away. 

(If you believe the rapture occurs after the first 3 1/2 or after the first 7: I am ok with that.  I am a Pre-trib girl because it says we will be caught “in the air”.  The second coming He firmly puts HIs feet on the Mountain).


Chapter 5:  written to believers (you)

  • acknowledge those who work hard among you, live in peace with each other
  • warn those who are idle and disruptive
  • encourage the disheartened
  • help the weak
  • be patient with everyone.
  • Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong
  • Rejoice always
  •  pray continually
  • give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
  • Do not quench the Spirit (let your fire for the Lord show)
  • hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.

 

1 & 2 Thessalonians · Book Overviews

1 & 2 Thessalonians Overview

Happy Thanksgiving 🦃

Paul's Second Missionary Journey - New Testament Maps (Bible History Online)

We are reading 2 books tomorrow!  We read briefly about Paul visiting Thessalonica on his second mission trip. (look at the map; when he stayed at Jason’s house).  He left after 3 short weeks and intended on going back but did not.  Paul feels terrible that he left so quickly and did not return.

Quick History: The city was founded in 316 BC.  The king of Macedonia named it after his wife, Thessaloniki, the half-sister to Alexander the Great.  The city became a hub for government and commerce.  After the captivity, many of the Jews dispersed and relocated in the Macedonia area. The city was the 2nd largest, the first being Athens.  About 200,000 lived there.

This is a time of great persecution to the believers. The Roman Emporer Cladius in power but soon his son Nero will be 😢.  Paul was very aware of the growing practice of persecution since he was ONE OF THEM once!  He now stood on the other side of the Cross.

This letter was to encourage the believers of Thessalonica AND to assure them of Christ’s return (eschatology).  Actually, Christ’s return will be mentioned over 20 times in these books.  Paul gives us a way of living that will prepare us for the Second coming of Christ.  As persecution grows,  they need to hold on to Hope that a final judgment will occur for those persecuting them.

12. 1 and 2 Thessalonians | Jehovah Sabaoth

 

Acts

Acts 17-18:18

Paul's Second Missionary Journey - New Testament Maps (Bible History Online)

As you read, follow your map. Paul spent 3 weeks in Thessalonica.  In a short time, they caused quite the stir!  The report was: They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.  When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil.”  Unfortunately, (or fortunately) I have caused come turmoil clarifying some doctrine.  But notice Paul “reasoned” with them from the Scriptures.  It is the ONLY way.

Paul does his job and moves on for safety reasons.  BUT if you looked at the schedule we are about to read two letters to them after he leaves. (I hope it is a better tone than the one to the Galatians)


Next on the map is Berea.

11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 

Yasss!!!!  Love that!

BUT those horrible men from Thesselia followed him and messed things up!  Good Grief!


Next stop- Athens!

When Paul got to Athens, he was shocked to see about 30,000 statues of the Greek gods.  Immediately he came upon two schools of teaching (Just like Jesus faced the Pharisees and Sadducees) Paul faces the Epicururian and Stoics philosophers.

Epicureanism taught that the highest state a person could attain was ataraxia—absolute peace—and aponia—a complete absence of mental, emotional, and physical distress or need.  (sounds like Tom Cruise if you ask me) They taught people to relax and enjoy life without worrying so much. To Epicurus, the gods did exist, but they lived so far away from the affairs of man, in a permanent state of ataraxia, that they didn’t interfere with humanity—in fact, they weren’t even aware of humanity.  Ultimately, what Epicureanism was a “fulfilled” life free from pain, hunger, distress, worry—and God.

Stoicism, which emphasizes rationalism and logic, is the opposite of Epicureanism. Stoicism is all about rejecting pleasure.   Stoics believed that we need to endure pain and hardship to developed self-control to overcome feeling emotions so that we can be unbiased and clear-minded.


So Paul went to Areopagus. See the picture below.  It is the rocky hill – called Mars Hill.  It’s the greek version of a Synagogue where they just sat around all day and talked Philipohy. (I know people like that)

“People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious (that was sarcasm). 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.Paul's Speech to the Athenians · Blog from Author & Methodist Minister Adam Hamilton · Paul's Speech to the Athenians · Adam Hamilton

This unknown God:

  • made the world and everything in it
  • does not live in temples built by human hands
  • he is not served by human hands
  • He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else
  • he made all the nations
  • he is not far from any one of us
  • he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.

The next stop is Corinth-“what happens in Corinth stays in Corinth”

This is a major port city that controlled the canal so that boats did not have to sail around the peninsula.

Tour in Greece

Corinthians were very pleasurable people that legalized prostitution.  Their favorite god was Aphrodite if that tells you anything!

Emperor Claudius had expelled all Jews from Rome, and Aquila and Priscilla found their way to Corinth and settled there, pursuing their trade as tentmakers. When Paul, a tentmaker himself, came to Corinth, Paul lived and worked with them while founding the Corinthian church.

As I follow Paul I see a group of prominent people becoming Christ-followers.  This will be important as he continues to travel. Crispus was the Synagogue Leader!  (His replacement, however, was an idiot)

Paul was brought in front of the governor Gallio, a Roman Officer who could care less about Jewish Law (Sounds like Pontius Pilot) and handed him back over to the Jews.  The new Synagogue leader beat him in front of Gallio and he could care less! (This all sounds very familiar)


When Paul and his 2 new besties leave he cuts his hair.  He must have taken a Nazarite Vow somewhere along the way.    If you were not with us when we were reading Numbers I will summarize it:

The Nazarite Vow: – a dedication to set yourself apart and rely completely on God.

  • it was voluntary
  • both men and woman can take the vow
  • a certain time frame was given
  • Restrictions:
    • no fermented drink (I just heard someone say “I’m out”!)
    • could not go near a dead body (they would be considered unclean)
    • could not cut their hair

Paul cuts his har signifying the vow time frame was over.


The next 2 reads are:

Nov 27: 1 & 2 Thessaloninas
Nov 28: Acts 18:19-19:41

 

 

 

Galatians

Galatians 4-6

I make no bones about going through “dry spells” when I can’t even find my Bible but have I read this Book before?  I don’t remember this at all. We see or hear tidbits of it all the time.  A pastor quotes it, in a song, on a coffee mug…but reading it with the audience in mind as a whole book is rocking my world!

I did this read-through with a brand new Bible (not because I couldn’t find my old one smarty pants) but because I wanted to see what God would highlight totally new!  This one grabbed me:  “But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—”

Such a deep statement.

Paul continues to express his concern for the Galatians since they have changed their way.  They have gone backwards and it has caused them to lose their joy.


The story of Hagar and Sarah.  This would make more sense to the Jewish converts than the Gentiles. Paul uses the story of Sarah and Hagar to illustrate two different covenants: the New Covenant, based on grace; and the Old Covenant, based on the Law. In Paul’s analogy, believers in Christ are like the child born of Sarah—free, the result of God’s promise.

Those who try to earn their salvation by their own works are like the child born of Hagar—a slave, the result of human effort. Sarah had no business offering her servant to Abraham, and Abraham had no business sleeping with Hagar. And Sarah was wrong to mistreat her servant as she did. Yet God worked through these situations. Hagar was blessed, and Abraham and Sarah were still the recipients of the promise.  The Promise was open to both!


Chapters 5 and 6:Our Freedom in Christ.  What does that really mean?  It is not a “pass” to do what we want.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.


From the Flesh verse From the Spirit?

Ministry of the Holy Spirit: Fruit of the Spirit

 

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.


The read gets a little personal so I am reluctant to comment on the last chapter.  I am sure God has brought something to your mind that is a 1:1 with you and Him.  But I will end with a conclusion of the whole book in 1 simple verse:

15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.

❤️

Galatians

Galatians 1-3

I don’t ask much of you…but…  I am asking for ONE FAVOR.  Find a place you can read these 3 chapters out loud.  Read it to your child, dog, spouse, or sit in your car by yourself.  If you do that the book will completely come to life as you pretend to be Paul.  I am telling you!!

The book starts off with a sweet little greeting and then by verse 6 all Paul’s frustration comes out in an explosion!

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all.

Oh, my stars! 

Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! (Yikes!)


We have this issue between Paul and Peter.  (If you were as confused as me: Peter is also called Cephas: his Aramaic translated name for “the Rock”)

Chapter 2:7 says “On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised.”

So Paul: to the Jewish beliefs.  Peter to the Gentile believers.

So the man Jesus called ROCK was more like a PEBBLE!  (Don’t judge:  we have all acted one way in front of some people and a different person in front of others). That is what Peter did.  Is it a big deal?? YES.  It’s called Hypocrisy.  Do you remember when Jesus used that word: it was a greek word for Actor/Actress.  Ouch!

11 When Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles (he acted one way)  But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. (he acted another way)  13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. 

Paul’s comments after this confused me at first (that is why this post is late, I needed to “get it”).  He is NOT putting down Gentiles, actually, he is lifting them up.  Gentiles did not have a History of knowing God’s Law as proof that salvation was unattainable through the Law.  The Jews did! Salvation should have been easier for the Jews and harder for the Gentiles who did not read the unattainable law.  But it was the opposite!   I often wonder if this is why it is hard for us to believe someone is truly saved when we know ‘their sinful past’ compared to some who grew up in the church.   Hmm.

19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Paul acknowledges that BECAUSE the Law is unattainable… he is dead.  BUT that dead person was crucified when Christ gave up His life to give life!

Life in Christ is NOT our identity.  Christ is our life is our source of Life. 20: “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”

Preach it twisted sista!! (sorry, I try to stay in context but I just couldn’t help to say all that!!)


Chapter 3- I just read it aloud to my dog again.  This time with even more emotion. (she just looked at me like I was crazy).

So here is the BIG question: Has the “ticket” to Heaven changed in the Old Testament and the New Testament?  Was it EVER by following the Law?  Was it ever the ‘act’ of the Temple Sacrifice?   NO.  Paul so BOLDLY  smacks them in the face when he talks about the Father of the Jewish Nation and the Abrahamic Covenant:

Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Then to undo what the Judiazers claimed (the whole purpose of Paul’s emotional letter) he quotes from the Torah.  The Book OF the Law).  In Galatians 3:10 he is quoting Deuteronomy 27:26

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”  (meaning if you break just ONE Law, you are cursed=a sinner). 

😐

13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

Marinate on that for a minute.  On that Cross, He felt the weight and pain of every sin.  He took it all from us. That is why it went dark that day.  God could not be with Jesus when that happened.  God is Holy and cannot be in community with sin, He left Him for that time.  That is why Jesus said, “why have you forsaken me?”  God had to leave while Jesus took all that sin on Him.  (Sorry, I am getting off track). It just proves what a big deal this letter states about adding to Jesus’ sacrifice in any form.


Ready: If you did not read it aloud (caught many of you) THEN you have to answer verse 19 in your own words in the comments.   Verse 19 says: “Why, then, was the law given at all?”


Want to read something cool??  So in this book, Paul is correcting Peter’s leadership and his hypocrisy of “going along with the crowd”.  Does it leave an impact on Peter?  Well, what do you think?  Peter later writes: (1 Peter 3)

14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Book Overviews · Galatians

Galatians Overview for tomorrow

I hope some of these towns are familiar to you from last week as Paul went through them in the First Mission Trip.  When he left the Judaizers came through adding to his message.  Is this a big deal?

In the temple, a veil separated the Holy of Holies—the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence—from the rest of the temple where men dwelt. This signified that man was separated from God by sin. Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil once each year to enter into God’s presence for all of Israel and make atonement for their sins.

In the Gospel, when Jesus gave up His Spirit, the first thing the Lord did for us was tearing the veil that separated people from the Lord.  The tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus’ death symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins.

If we add works, we are saying His sacrifice was NOT enough.  So the answer is YES, it is a big deal.  Adding works TO BE a Christian is like sewing up the veil.


The churches in Galatia were both Jewish and Gentile converts. Paul’s purpose in writing to these churches was to confirm them in their faith alone, apart from the works of the Law of Moses.

Galatians Epistle was written because the churches of that region were facing a theological crisis. A message that by faith rather than by human works was being denied by the Judaizers. Specifically,  the Judaizers insisted on circumcision as a requirement for Gentiles who wished to be saved. In other words, convert to Judaism first, and then you are eligible to become a Christian. When Paul learned that this was being taught to the Galatian churches, he wrote a letter (epistle) to them.

Wait till you hear the tone Paul takes in this letter.  This is a serious topic- and his tone will be too!

 

Acts

Act 15-16

Paul's 1st Missionary Journey- Lystra – Mission Bible Class

Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”

Remember map directions were given by elevation.  Jerusalem was in the middle of 3 mountains.  Straight downhill to Antioch.  But more importantly, what these “certain people” were saying was seriously wrong.  We call these people Judaizers.

In the early church, Judaizers taught a combination of God’s grace, and human effort was required for Salvation.   A Judaizer taught that, in order for a Christian to truly be right with God, he must conform to the Law. Circumcision, especially, was promoted as necessary for salvation. Gentiles had to become Jewish proselytes first, and then they could come to Christ. The doctrine of the Judaizers was a mixture of grace (through Christ) and works (through the keeping of the Law). This false doctrine will be handled by Luke (author of Acts) and Paul Acts 15 and strongly condemned in the book of Galatians. (we read that book next)

Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”

Listen, you can’t blame them for holding to circumcision as a requirement after the way they were brought up BUT they are showing “favoritism” for the Jews.   They believed they must become a Jew first. (The scriptures addressed favoritism in James yesterday)

Paul’s response is BEAUTIFUL-

God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 

Here is another lesson for us this year as we read through the Bible.  If you are going to share Doctrine…you need to support it directly from the Scriptures. (Both OT and NT). So Paul supports this with a quote from Amos 9:11-12.

THEN Paul tells them 3 things they “need” to do.  Well, isn’t that an oxymoron since we just said they were purified by Faith and Faith alone?  Verse 20 says:

  • Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, 
  • from sexual immorality, 
  • from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

These are ALL related to Pagan Worship.  You cannot worship the Lord and a pagan god.  Remember to always take scripture in context.  I have seen people take the sexual immorality one here and smack someone with it like it was an abomination. In context,  they would prostitute themselves with others or with animals for the sole purpose of idol worship of a god.  (no google image insert needed here 🤮)

They sent them a letter freeing them of these practices and they were relieved.  (wouldn’t you be 😂)


Verse 15:36 Starts Paul’s SECOND Misson.

If this map overwhelms you here is an easier one

Paul's Second Missionary Journey - New Testament Maps (Bible History Online)

Clearly, Paul had a beef with Mark but  Barnabus liked him.  So they parted ways.  Who cares??  Divide and conquer I say.  I know a lot of people I don’t like but that doesn’t mean God isn’t using them for His purpose…I am just not going to road trip with them.


Chapter 16

Enter stage left…Timothy!  Here is what we know:

  • His mom is Jewish
  • His dad is a Gentile (greek)
  • Paul circumcised him for the mission.

Wait!  Flag on the field!  Didn’t we JUST say believers did not have to be circumcised??

  1.  Paul’s ministry of converts that did get circumcised are feeling criticized.
  2. Paul is also proving to the Jews that he is not opposed to circumcision.  It’s not needed for Salvation BUT we are not against it!  (Such modern-day application here!). We need to be very careful we don’t offend traditions WHILE sharing the Truth with them.  (Do I need to repeat that?

Follow your map.   We are now in Phillipi:  If we widened the camera lens or panned left we would see the Macedonia area is just east of Rome.  Phillipi is a major trading area on the way to Rome. Very cultural, wealthy, and diverse.  This is not going to be easy!

Three major events happen there:

  1. Lydia’s conversion.  From the clues in the text we know she has money and is possibly a widow.
  2. The exorcism of demons from a slave girl, which resulted in Paul and Silas being thrown into prison
  3. The conversion of the Philippian jailer and his family

If any of you are taking notes there are so many in this Jail scene!  So many parallels to the Cross

  • Set in motion by greed and a false accusation, and evidently causing an uproar
  • The crowd joined in on the attack
  • They were beaten with a rod and severely flogged
  • Illegal trial
  • Feet were bound
  • The earth shook and the veil was torn, I mean the prison gate was open
  • Found alive-the message of Salvation was proclaimed
  • Deeds FROM faith were performed
  • He ate with them
  • Before leaving he spoke a word to encourage them

 

Uncategorized

The last 40 reads!

We are entering the last 40 reads.  It will be during a very busy time of the year.  I encourage you to make a commitment right now that this is a priority for 40 days.  Yes, we have important things going on, but before you scroll social media, read the news, watch TV, watch a youtube video-get your reading in for the day.  We are at the advent of “the looking forward” to the birth of Jesus.  What better way to honor God than with reading each day in The Word.

 

 

James

The Book of James

If this book doesn’t speak to you, nothing will!  I am going to keep this contextual and let your Holy Spirit make it personal.

In the overview last night I pointed out the author is Jesus’ brother (half-brother-different fathers 😁).  However, that is NOT how he introduced himself:

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, (not his brother)

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: (speaking to the Jewish Christian or Christian Jews)

Greetings.


Trials and Temptations

The two biggest trials they faced during this time is poverty and persecution.  However, apply it personally.  This book is about producing strong, mature, unshakable believers. (raise your hand if that is your desire).   Christians must take a distinctively Christain perspective on life.

First and foremost: if you want to face trials in a Christian manner-ask the Lord for Wisdom (this can ONLY be gained from the Lord).  An analogy is given about a person being “a wave at sea”-one day up, one day down.  Unstable.  Forever in motion.  Divided.  Double-minded! (Living in God’s will one minute and the World the next)


Test verse Temptation.   Very different!

  • The Lord tests us.  He never tempts us.
  • OUR own desires tempts us.

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

You do not doubt that if you stepped outside on a clear night that there would be stars in the sky, so do not think that the God who places them there changes either.  If you have read since Genesis you have read that He is the same in this book as He was “In the beginning”.


Listening and Doing

If the seed of the Word is planted in you, then it will grow if the soil is right.  If you are not bearing fruit-it is a soil issue, not a seed issue!

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.


Ready for the kick in the shins Patricia Szymanski?

26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves and their religion is worthless.


Chapter 2

Favoritism Forbidden

Favoritism- the best way I can wrap my brain around this is actually through “judging”.  How we see someone is not how God sees someone.  How quick we are to “rank” Christianity in others.  We make assumptions about the way they dress, their church attendance, how we see them spend their money.  We are called to love.

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.


Faith and Deeds

19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

Yikes!

Even demons know theology.  They have intellectual faith.  But someone who says they have faith-without deeds (fruit on the vine).  Is bogus faith.  Listen, I don’t mean to sound harsh at all BUT Faith without deeds is dead faith.  If you have “heart faith”.  Real Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you will have evidence in your Salvation.

Do you see how James layers each precept so they all work together?  Trials, Testing, No Favoritism, and a Faith with Deeds

  • Abraham- the Father of the Jewish nation illustrated faith and works by obedience.

Verse 25 says: “In the same way” 

  • Rehab the Prostitute was considered righteous proved through her obedience in Joshua 2 when she hid the spies.

Chapter 3

Taming the Tongue

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Ummmm, after reading that…this will be the last post of the year.  😂 Just kidding.  James is NOT discouraging people to teach God’s word.  He is emphasizing the heavy responsibility involved if you are going to teach God’s word.  By they way-I am going to take this one step further- Have you heard people take a scripture out of context or misuse it?  It is no different.  We need to be very careful.

God KNOWS the taming of the tongue is hard!  He tells us how hard it is!  It is easier to take the wild animals he created than the tongue.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

BUT that is not a free pass.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 


Two Kinds of Wisdom

There are 2 kinds of wisdom- only one comes from the Lord.  If you have ‘wisdom’ in a matter that brings selfish ambition-that was not from the Lord.  His is: peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.


Chapter 4

Submit Yourselves to God

Wow, James’ letter took a turn.  He went from ” My Brothers and Sisters” to “You adulterous people”.  He is talking to believers-the Bride of Christ!  If we flirt with the world-we are committing spiritual adultery against the Lord.

  1. Resist the devil and come near to God and He will come near to you!
  2. Wash your hands of sin-Repent (turn away) from worldly desires
  3. Change your laughter to mourning- grieve over sin.  Let your heartbreak for what breaks HIs.
  4. Humble yourselves-and He will lift you up.

Verse 11-back to “Brothers and Sister” AND back to controlling your tongue!  False accusations, slander, gossip is rebelling against the Lord.


Boasting About Tomorrow

James (and the Lord) have nothing against making plans.  It is about the arrogance of thinking you are at the wheel (Even Carrie Underwood knows that!)   We need to place our plans and hopes at the feet of the Lord and have faith that if it is His will-they will happen. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 

The sin committed when we think we are in control is called Arrogance.


Chapter 5

Warning to Rich Oppressors

This passage is not about the rich- it is about the rich oppressors.

  1. They hoard their wealth and failed to use it to help the poor.
  2. They failed to pay their laborers what is owed
  3. They lived self-indulgent lives while those who needed were ignored
  4. They used their money for social and political influence

Patience in Suffering

11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Seems like years ago we read the Book of Job.  Talk about Suffering!  And in the end, Job NEVER gave up on God.  He persevered through a very long trial.  We are encouraged to do the same.

The Prayer of Faith
  • If you are in trouble…pray
  • If you are blessed…pray
  • Have others pray for you
  • Confess your sins
  • As other believers to pray for you
  • Pray with perseverance (Elijah did!)
  • Share the Gospel so that others may be saved from death!