Quote on mission, church, faith

Found this quote in an ancient (2004) email:

One who receives this Word, and by it salvation, receives along with it the duty of passing this Word on. Where there is no mission, there is no Church, and where there is neither Church nor mission, there is no faith. —Emil Brunner (1889-1966)

Archeological digs as I did in my email can sometimes turn up a treasure.

#mission #quotes

What did Jesus write on the ground?

Remember the only time that Scripture records that Jesus wrote something? It was when the adulterous woman was brought to him as a test.

They asked this to test him. They wanted to find a reason to bring charges against him. Jesus bent down and used his finger to write on the ground. When they persisted in asking him questions, he straightened up and said, “The person who is sinless should be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he bent down again and continued writing on the ground. Jn 8.6-8 GW.

No one knows what he wrote, of course, since the text does not tell us.

But might Jeremiah 17.13 provide a tantalizing clue?

O Lord, the Hope of Israel, all who abandon you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in dust, because they abandon the Lord, the fountain of life-giving water (GW).

The Hebrew text is a bit problematic, so that’s more reason not to be dogmatic.

Maybe, just maybe, the Lord was writing names in the dust, to “write off” his opponents. The idea in Jeremiah’s verse is judgment, where those who abandon the Lord will be destroyed.

Whatever Jesus was writing on the ground, we can be sure that, at that moment, it was nothing positive.

#Jesus #speculation #Jeremiah #writing

Who gets named in the story?

Names are extremely important in Scripture. So it would seem to carry meaning that, in the story Jesus tells in Luke 16, the rich man is not named, but the poor man is.

The man whom all society knows and respects goes nameless and remains so in the eyes and plan of God. The man who is despised for taking up space on the sidewalk — God knows and publishes his name.

Is this not an example of what the Lord said to Moses in Exodus 33.17?

The Lord said to Moses, “I will do this thing also that you have requested, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”

But we just can’t leave good enough alone, can we? So interpreters gave the rich man a name: Dives, from the Latin word for “rich man.”

Does the naming not miss the point of the story?

What do you think?

#rich-man-and-Lazarus #Luke #names

The sacrifice of Christ

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross deserves constant study and reflection on our part. His death is at the heart of our faith. Paul said he preached “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” 1 Cor 2.2. We can never neglect studying and speaking about what the Lord did exactly in giving his life for us.

He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. 1 Jn 2.2 NLT.

John here uses a word often translated “propitiation.” NLT translates it as “the sacrifice that atones;” NET, as “atoning sacrifice.” One definition describes the word this way:

Propitiation is the biblical doctrine embodying the concept that the death of Christ fully satisfied the demands of a righteous God in respect to judgment upon the sinner.

Many often connect it as well with the satisfaction of God’s wrath toward sin and sinners, so that he may be both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” Rom 3.26 ESV.

The Old Testament, of course, provides the background for atonement. God determined a national day for it, Lev 16. Sin must be dealt with. Eventually, in the fullness of time, Jesus dealt with it “completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity” (AMPC).

Not only is his atoning sacrifice complete, but it is inclusive and far-reaching as well: for the sins of all the world. When we add in the time factor, that his sacrifice applies to all people in all eras of the world — “A death took place as payment for the trespasses committed under the first covenant” Heb 9.15 EHV — we begin to get an idea that the sacrifice of Christ was the central event of history and is the main point of our faith and proclamation.

And we begin to get an idea of the importance that God places upon our fulfillment of his grand mission in the world, to proclaim this message to all who can have no hope of redemption except in the sacrifice of Christ.

#propitiation #atonement #sacrifice-of-Christ

So that God can make us faithful to his Word

Someone included this request in an online prayer: “Make us faithful to your Word, that we may bring your life to the waiting world.”

How can God answer this prayer to make us faithful to his Word?

  • When we study the Word daily in order to know God and obey his commands.
  • When we rightly divide the Word and become approved workers in his sight.
  • When we teach the plan of salvation, including faith and obedience, according to the New Testament.
  • When we put away human creeds, traditions, and theologies, in order to remain within the confines of Scripture.
  • When we give up human names and denominations to be God’s united people.
  • When we live according to the model he left us for faith, practice, mission, and life in Christ.
  • When we separate from the world in order to show the glory of Christ in us.
  • When we search for and accept the full truth of the gospel, in order to reject false gospels.
  • When we commit ourselves to sincere and intense love of our family of faith, for which we were purified.

What other points might you add, so that God can make us faithful to his Word and bring his life to the world through us?

#faithfulness #Bible

Merry Christmas to all

A merry Christmas to all our friends,
Who think of Jesus in a manger.
Let us therefore make amends,
Prepare for him to come again.

#Merry-Christmas #second-coming #poetry

Ready We Stand

Lord Jesus, Light of all the world:
John told the people to prepare,
The apostles preached the urgent word:
The Kingdom is near, and in the air
You come to take your people home.
Ready we stand to hear your welcome.

#poetry #second-coming

We like it

A quote from R.F. Horton in the Expositor’s Bible, on Prov. 21:

A great step is taken when we have learnt to quietly and candidly face this fact: we drink, as a society, as a nation,—each of us drinks in public or in private,—simply because it is pleasant. It is a habit governed by one supreme and absolute law—we like it.

#alcohol #drinking #vices

The Gods of Man

A quatrain for you, this fine sunny day.

The gods of man are tyrants,
Who act by whim and caprice,
For standing behind the idols
Are human will and vice.

#idolatry #poetry #quatrain

Relate rightly to God

A devotional writer said the following today:

Grace is found in God alone. Therefore, one must relate rightly to the God of all grace in order to receive all that He has for us in fulfilling His purposes and glorifying His name.

He is absolutely right. Only God gives true grace that saves forever. To enter this grace, or to receive it, one must relate rightly to God. Saving grace is not universal. It must be received and it is received by following the divine instructions, the divine will, that is, how God determined in his sovereignty we must establish a relationship with him.

The author of the above quote does not explain how to receive this grace. But he would give an answer, as most religious people would, far removed from what Scripture teaches.

The answer to the question of what to do to receive saving grace is paramount, exactly because of the quote above. Let no one complain that we spend so much time over the answer, attempting to correct people’s wrong notions about it and confront those who teach error.

For a good summary of the biblical answer, see this link.

#grace #relationship-with-God #salvation

Pray for brother’s father who died unexpectedly of Covid

Douglas is a brother in Christ here. His father was hospitalized in São Paulo and was believed to be improving. We got word today that he passed away. Please pray for the family. The family situation was rather complicated. Douglas is a fine, faithful brother, and we are saddened for his sake.

#prayers #Brazil #deaths

My prayer today

This prayer, translated from the Portuguese, reflects the reading of Isaiah 64 (in Portuguese), in parts. Say amen, if you will.

Holy and powerful Father,

You care for all your creation and exercise all authority over your creatures. We are your people, and we desire your light.

Save us, O Sovereign, from evil, even that which exists in our own hearts.

In the person of Jesus, you split the heavens and came down to earth and how wonderful it was for us, because he brought salvation in his hands.

Our Master defeated the devil, shook the world, and opened the way for everyone to walk in light.

There is no god like you, O Lord, who throughout history has done great wonders and chosen a people to bless the world through Christ.

“The Lord goes out to meet those who do good with joy, who are obedient to the Lord.” May we be among these!

Forgive us our errors, Father, and do not let us fall into temptation.

You are our Father. We are the clay and you are the potter. We place ourselves in your hands so that you may discipline us and form in us the image of Christ.

We confess that you are working in our midst and in the heart of each one of your people. You are not standing still, are not silent nor absent.

We ask today, Lord, for the people close to us, especially:

  • Those with the virus, that they may recover
  • Those who have undergone surgery, so that they may be well
  • Those who have lost loved ones; give them comfort
  • The weak in faith, so that they may be revived in the way of Christ
  • Those who have birthdays today, so that they may rejoice in this life and receive the new birth
  • The servants of the Kingdom, that they may find their strength in the Lord
  • Those who have lost jobs or have suffered financial losses; provide for their needs
  • The discouraged or depressed; open their vision to your grace
  • Families who are far away, that they may rest in the Lord
  • Those with broken hearts – renew their lives

Father, life is a process of losing many things that are precious to us. May we learn that salvation in Christ is what is most precious, but which can never be taken away.

In him we pray, Amen.

#prayer #Isaiah

Don’t make things up

It does not serve the cause of Christ when we find evidence for our assertions where they do not exist. Here’s a prime example:

The first occasion that came to mind was when He was on the cross, dying. Didn’t He pray for the criminal next to Him, saying, “I assure you that today you will be with Me in paradise?” (Luke 23:43)

Jesus was not praying for the thief on the cross beside him, but promising him paradise. There is nothing about prayer here. The point of the writer was good, about Jesus praying for others. But making up something dishonors our Lord. And the writer does it a second time.

Let us never make the Bible say something it does not say, in order to press home a point, however good the point may be.

Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately. 2 Timothy 2.15.

#Bible #hermeneutics #prayer #fairness #accuracy

Making disciples ‘only for Jesus’

A quote on Matthew 28.18-20:

Unlike other ancient teachers, Jesus’ disciples would not raise disciples for themselves but only for Jesus (23:8). Greek tradition could praise those who made many disciples (as in Diog. Laert. 8.1.16). Greek philosophers thought in terms of “conversion” to philosophy (see Nock 1933), and various pagan religious cults were propagated by travelers in antiquity (Stambaugh and Balch 1986:42; compare Acts 8:4). Judaism also spoke of sages as having disciples (see comment on 4:19; 19:21-22) and sometimes even persuading large numbers of people to become students of Torah (as in ARN 26, Section 54); they also separately recognized the conversion of Gentiles (see comment on 23:15; see De Ridder 1971). But ancient hearers would, and modern hearers should, recognize a drastic innovation in a command to disciple nations.

#Great-Commission #mission #Matthew

About our God

On a social-media service run by some Christians, one sister asked: “What are some things you love about our God?” I replied with these four things, off the top of my head:

1. He is faithful and constant; no surprises.
2. He is good and all that he does is good, Ps 119.68.
3. He is impartial; he doesn’t play favorites.
4. He is patient, a motive for greater dedication and urgency.

How would you answer the question?

#God #questions