Okay, so I don’t post often.  Part of that is because, I like to do a bit of research on topics before I jump into them.  Also, I’m trying to dig into stuff that most Christian know very little about.  And I’ve been literally going through the Bible a chapter at a time covering topics.  My next planned post was going to be on the Table of Nations–but. . .

In my personal Bible study, I’ve really come into something that needs to be talked about more in the Church today.  It’s a topic that most people don’t like to talk about and at most when we talk about it, we skim the surface like a pebble across a pond, not dive into it and plunge its depths.  So, I’m skipping the OT commentary for a while and jumping into the NT.  What I’m talking about is Matthew 7:21-23.

21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Whoa!  There it is!  Did you catch it?  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven”.  Wow!  That means a lot of people who think they’re saved now, will be sorely disappointed come that Day.

In verse 22, he goes on to say that many will say “‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform miracles?’  Then, I will tell them plainly, I never knew you.  Away from me you evildoers!”

To be totally honest, this verse has always made me a little uneasy.  I mean, you think you’re saved on that you’re on the Glory Land Way.  Right?  And then boom!  Jesus just pulls the rug right out from under you. 

But, I don’t quite think it works that way, either.  Jesus gives us several points here that we need to take into consideration.

In verse 23, he calls them “evildoers”.  Well, who are evil doers?  The obvious answer is those who do evil.  Those who rebel against the Law and God.  It is possible to go to Church on Sunday and live like hell on Saturday.  Conversely, he says in verse 21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven”.

So, who’s going to heaven?  The one who does the will of the Father.  That’s right.  So what is the will of the Father?  This doesn’t necessarily mean finding the “will” for your life like whether or not to take that job offer.  No, this is about doing the basic will of God.  Let’s bounce back to the OT for just a second and look at Deut 10:12

12 And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

The will of God is that we fear Him, we walk in ALL His ways, love Him and serve Him and to observe His commands.

One last thought.  If you go back to Matt 7:15-20, we learn that you can tell a tree by its fruit.  And that every tree that  does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions.  But I do set goals.  This year, I hope to bear more good fruit in my life and I hope you will too.

May God shower his blessings on you

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When one considers the fall of man and the whole eating the apple story; it is hard not to get caught up in the curse of Eve. (“Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you” Gen 3:16b).  Yes this verse has caught the ire of feminists everywhere and been source of every Biblical offense against women.  But, as I have noted in my other posts, the Bible does not condone misogyny.

However, we also cannot blame God for every offense committed in his name or how twisted men use scripture to justify twisted deeds.  I want to use this post to talk a little about true submission.  But first let’s look at something else, shall we.  We all know that Eve took the apple first and brought it to her husband right?  But check this out.  Scripture says: “For just as through the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the  one man, the many will be made righteous”.  (Romans 5:19)  Did you cath that the disobedience of one man.  But who took of the fruit first?  So why then is it through the man that sin comes into the world?  What was Adam’s sin?  It was this.  He failed to look after what was given to him.  When God gave Adam dominion over the garden, it wasn’t to kick back and prop his feet up.  No, God made man to work in the garden (Gen 2:5).  But that’s not all.  When God gave Adam dominion,  He was saying “I’m holding you responsible for whatever happens in here”.  And I believe he still says that to men today.

Adam didn’t have to take the fruit.  He could have chased the serpent out of the garden.  He could have told Eve not to do it (And yes, she still could have).  He could have called on the name of the God who walked with him in the cool of the day.  But he chose to do none of this and therein lays Adam’s sin. 

So, what does all of this have to do with submission?  Because when we are in charge, sometimes we have to do the hard thing and to put the good of others ahead of our own desires.  But moreover I wanted to touch on some other scripture teaching on submission. 

First I believe that submission is a unique little word with not one but two opposites.  On one end is subjugation. (don’t bother looking this up in a dictionary) The Bible may say wives submit to your husbands.  But no where does it say husbands subjugate your wives.  If you try to subjugate someone else to your will, you will only succeed in making them and eventually yourself miserable. 

The other opposite of submission is selfishness.  Christ gave himself to us in perfect submission not only to the Father’s will but also to our good.  He could have refused to go to Calvary (and who would blame him).  But he sought our good first.  Which is the heart of submission.

So let’s look at Godly submission

Mark 10:42-43

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant”.

Look at Phillippians 2:3-4

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.

And also 1 Peter 5:2-3

“. . . serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock”.

So, submission is not just a “woman thing” or the “wife’s job”.  As Christians we are called to submit to one another and to minister unto one another.  If we did this I believe that our marriages would be blissful, our neighbors would hold us in high esteem and the church houses would be packed to overflowing from Sunday to Sunday.

The Bible Part I

June 26, 2008

My original intent in creating this blog was to discuss the Bible. Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of questions and seen (and heard) a lot of criticism pointed at the Bible. Probably no more so than just a few years ago when Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code was all the rage. People would ask me if there was any possibility that Brown’s premise might be right. Some even got mad when I shot them down. One co-worker made the comment that the Dead Sea Scrolls had been intentionally omitted from the Bible as part of some Catholic conspiracy to cover up “the truth”.

Well, as part of my first discussion on the Bible itself, I wanted to discuss the Bible, its origins and how we got it in its present form. I am speaking of the Protestant Bible without the Apocrypha, because I know next to nothing about the Apocrypha.

The Bible is composed of sixty-six books written by more than forty men spanning three continents over a period of about sixteen hundred years.

The Bible is of course comprised of the Old and New Testament. Much of the Old Testament comes from the Hebrew Tanak, which is an acronym representing the three parts of the Hebrew Bible. These are the Torah (teachings), Nevi’im (prophets), and the Ketuvim (writings)1.

The Torah is the first five books of the OT. These are traditionally thought to have been penned by the hand of Moses himself. But, these original writings called the autograph no longer survive.

After the Torah, there are a number of other writings, some not included in the Kevitum. These writings make up the history of Israel. Then there are the poetic books, which are Psalms, Proverbs, Job, and Song of Solomon. These are followed by the prophets.

Understanding why some ofthe above mentioned books would be listed in the Bible is easy. These were for the most part official history and legal documents that have been preserved for centuries. Also, in about 300 BC, much of what makes up the Old Testament was organized into what’s called the Septuagint. These books were converted into the Greek language of the time by seventy rabbis.2

One of the things I want to touch on here is around a comment a friend made to me one time. He said that certain parts of the Bible became confusing because they kept retelling the same stories over and over. He couldn’t remember which “parts” he was referring to, but I’m making an educated guess here to say that he was probably referring to Kings and Chronicles. These four books repeat a lot of the same stories with different viewpoints and different details.

Throughout the historical timeline presented above, many other books were written. I’m talking about the prophets; guys like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel. The prophets covered periods from before, during and after the Babylonian Exile. Much of what the OT prophets wrote became popular, and was distributed and read among the Israelites.

Now, the creation of the New Testament was a little different. Techincally speaking, you could basically break down all of the NT into two categories: History and Letters. (I am referring to the Gospels through Acts as History). Everything from Romans to Revelations is a letter written by someone to some person or group of people. Now it is commonly accepted that none of the Gospels were actually penned pior to about 60 AD, thirty years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. But many of the letters of Paul were written before that.

The letters of Paul, Peter, and others were distributed to churches and copied. The original letters, called autographs are lost to the ages. But, the copies were distributed and preserved by the early churches.

The New Testament was finally canonized until the fourth century, but it was mostly settled as early as 130 AD, and it’s basic form was recognizable by 150. A fellow named Marcion started a controversy because he only accepted Luke and the Pauline epistles as scriptural. Marcion had many followers and churches began to set down a canon. Every canon included the four gospels, the letters of Paul, the Book of Acts, James, Jude, 1 Peter and John’s three epistles. Several works continued to be dsiputed into the third and fourth centuries. Moreover, the early church worked hard at historical criticism. Nothing in the modern canon was written after 130 AD and most works are much older than that. Many books claimed to be old, but the early church was able to distinguish them from the true accounts of the 1st 100 years after Jesus.3

Sources Cited

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible

2 http://www.septuagint.net/

3 http://everything2.com/node/727167

Other Links

http://www.juliantrubin.com/biblefacts.html

http://bibleresources.bible.com/afacts.php