One of our men was teaching Acts 15 on Wednesday night. I noticed something that I wanted to share with you, to get your feedback.
“And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1, NKJV).
“But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1, ESV).
“And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1, KJV).
“And certain men came down from Judaea and taught the brethren, saying, Except ye be circumcised after the custom of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1, ASV).
“While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers[a]: “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1, NLT).
Circumcision was more than custom under the Old Covenant (Genesis 17:7-14; Leviticus 12:3; Joshua 5:2-8; Romans 4:11). And we know that law is much stronger than custom.
To us, custom means something that became common over time like Sunday night worship or a family having pizza on Friday night. Law, however, is something commanded by God. In Acts 15:1, the Judaizing teachers were false teachers but they believed that circumcision was still law.
A growing belief is that the traditional definition of “adultery” is erroneous. Instead of being sexual sin, it refers to the breaking of the marriage covenant. Truman Scott admits that the heart of our differences lies in the definition of “adultery.”
“Up front let me tell you that every publication, I mean Bible dictionary, commentary, Greek Lexicon, Greek word study, specific treatises on divorce and remarriage, I mean everything that has been written or translated within the last 350 to 400 years, define adultery as follows: ‘Sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her spouse.’ That settles it. With such an array of scholarship, who would dare to think anything otherwise?’” [i]
He goes on to justify challenging the traditional definition of adultery. [ii] First, the restoration movement only succeeded because we questioned denominational beliefs on such things as baptism, music in worship and church organization. Second, the traditional definition leaves too much ambiguity. Third, these sources have failed to give the root meaning of the Greek word for adultery. Fourth, the fallacies of Bible translations. Fifth, the study of the Hebrew and the Septuagint point to the legitimacy of the concept of covenant breaking. Sixth, a proper reading of the Old Testament will prove undeniable proof.
The homosexual influence in America has spread to theological circles and gay ministers and scholars have begun to re-evaluate Scripture in the light of a “homosexual hermeneutic.” Chief among these is John Boswell’s work, Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality (1980).
In his exegesis of Romans 1:26-27 Boswell uses three arguments to trivialize the sexual aspect of these verses. (1) One, that idolatry (which he associates with temple prostitution) is not the point of this passage. Secondly, that Paul simply rebukes Gentile behavior. They could have seen evidences of God in the powers of nature, yet, they turned to idols (1:19-23). Therefore, Boswell posits, “the reference to homosexuality is simply a mundane analogy to this theological sin.” (2) Thirdly, Boswell argues that Paul is condemning “homosexual acts by apparently heterosexual persons.” (3)
The Lord’s Church has been ravaged by death this week. Basil Overton, Perry Cotham, Jane McWhorter and Wilson Wallace, son of Foy Wallace have all passed away this week.
However, great warriors of the faith never truly leave us. They live and inspire those of us who are left behind to keep the faith.
“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
I wanted to share with you some online books that are valuable in the study of Acts 27 and Paul’s voyage to Rome.
The first carries the unwieldy title, “The Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul with Dissertations on the Life and Writings of St. Luke and the ships and navigation of the Antients” by James Smith, published in London in 1856.
Since it was written so long ago, he cites works that you may not find elsewhere. This is the second edition because he talked to some sea captains and decided to update his book based on their experiences in sailing the same route. You have to respect that attention to detail.
You can find it here for free and I hope you gain as much value from his work as I am.
Update: Here is another lengthy study on the voyage from William Falconer.
People believe that man can be perfect if only the cultural climate can be made perfect. If we remove religion, opinions, rigid standards, war and guns, all of which divide people, then mankind can finally be perfect.
It is the utopia of the godless intellectual. They believe that if they can enact the right social legislation, then all crime and hate will disappear and all will be love and joy. John Lennon’s “Imagine” is the pantheon of this delusional dream.
However, we know that Satan will do everything he can to destroy what man builds (Romans 1:18-32; 3:10-18, 23). Therefore, we know how naive these Utopian beliefs are.
We wish everyone would do right all the time but we know it will never happen. Humanity will always make bad decisions and act with greed, malice, anger and hate.
All we can do is to live transformed lives (Romans 12:1-2) and keep teaching Biblical truth and pray it spreads (Matthew 28:18-20).
We must pray for our society that truth and godliness can become the hallmarks of American society and God’s truth can be our guiding light.
Fox News is reporting that some archaeologists think they have found proof that the Biblical flood did exist.
Through carbon dating of shells found on an ancient shoreline 400 feet beneath the surface of the Black Sea, they have established a timeline for that catastrophic event that happened around 5,000 B.C., he estimated. Some experts believe this was around the time when Noah’s flood could have occurred, ABC said.
Some archaeologists have supported the story of Noah, citing similar details passed along in narratives from Mesopotamian times, notably “the Epic of Gilgamesh.”
“The earlier Mesopotamian stories are very similar where the gods are sending a flood to wipe out humans,” said biblical archaeologist Eric Cline. “There’s one man they choose to survive. He builds a boat and brings on animals and lands on a mountain and lives happily ever after? I would argue that it’s the same story.”
Of course, we know the flood did exist by faith and because we know the Bible is inspired of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We read of the flood in Genesis 6-9.
It would be nice, however, for archaeologists to find something that would prove the veracity of God’s Word.
Are you doubtful or hopeful about the prospects of archaeology proving the truth of the Biblical flood?
God tells us to take care of the poor. Meanwhile, most Christians equate poverty with welfare and think that they deserve what they get. We stereotype the poor and therefore we don’t help anyone.
Somehow, we have to get past these stereotypes and realize that some people are legitimately in need and we are commanded to do what we can to help them.
“The generous soul will be made rich” (Proverbs 11:25).
“They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do” (Galatians 2:10).
There has been a huge 13 percent drop in the number of people in Britain identifying themselves as Christian, according to new data released from the 2011 Census.
The shocking statistics reveal that the number of Christians has fallen from 37 million to 33 million since 2001. Christians now make up only 59 percent of the population, as opposed to 72 percent in 2001.
Meanwhile, the number of Muslims has risen from 1.5 million to 2.7 million – or 5 percent of the population – while the number of people describing themselves as having no religion rose by 10 percent to 25 percent of the population.
Britain and Europe needs our prayers that they will have a spiritual revival!
In 2013, my preaching emphasis will be on helping the congregation grow in prayer. My prayer is that this will promote spiritual and numerical growth. I plan to preach two sermons a month and try to keep the necessity of prayer before the congregation by emphasizing it in the bulletin.
I will be deciding over the next few weeks which sermons to preach but I wanted to get your feedback.
I look forward to your answers!
Sometimes you come across an article that truly shocks you. This one certainly gave me pause.
When one thinks of China, Christianity and the Bible are likely two of the furthest things that come to mind. “Communism,” “forced abortions,” one-child policy” and other terms are, more generally, what’s the nation is known for. But now, a shocking new development has come to the forefront: China, a country that makes many products consumed in the U.S. and abroad, is now also the world’s largest Bible producer.
I hope the Bible actually impacts the lives of Chinese citizens and truth is obeyed. The world would be a much safer place if it did.
Then again, Christianity is supposedly pervasive in the United States and we are on the verge of complete moral collapse. The presence of a Bible is immaterial if it is not read and lived (Romans 12:1-2).
We all have Bibles. But are we being changed daily by its message?
“Truly the light is sweet, And it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun; But if a man lives many years And rejoices in them all, Yet let him remember the days of darkness, For they will be many. All that is coming is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 11:7-8).
A. Lay out the purpose of Ecclesiastes.
B. Trace the role of the sun in Ecclesiastes.
1. Christians should value the blessings of walking in the light (John 8:12; 1 John 1:7; Ephesians 1:3).
2. Christians should remember the lessons of the darkness [when we have sinned & come through challenges by God’s grace and mercy] (Romans 12:1-2).
3. Christians should be preparing for the future and be ready for judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).
I will leave the rest to you.