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  • cloakattroas 09:02 on April 26, 2014 Permalink |
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    Deuteronomy 12 – what is our attitude to false religions? 

    Israel are entering the Land. They are told to destroy the idolatrous religions that are already there.

    So, what is our attitude to false religions? We aren’t literally to destroy them – that’s for Christ when He returns. But Deuteronomy 12 shows the attitude we should have towards them. Any “false way” is an abomination to Yahweh.

    We may find this attitude relatively easy towards non-“Christian” religions. But surely we ought to be even clearer about false “Christianity”, because those that follow it will certainly perish.

     
  • cloakattroas 12:44 on April 21, 2014 Permalink |
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    John 15-16 – ye are my friends, if… 

    A key word in John 15 is “if” – in verses 6, 7 & 10. The promise of Christ is conditional upon obedience. He makes this point again in verse 14 – “ye are my friends, if…”

    We cannot presume that we will be Christ’s friends, unless we regard Him as our friend. And that means loving Him, and His Father, and wanting to please them.

    Furthermore, as He says in verse 7, His words must abide in us. It’s not sufficient to have a general feeling of love for Jesus, we need to listen to Him (though the Bible) and accept what He tells us.

     
  • cloakattroas 12:15 on April 21, 2014 Permalink |
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    Proverbs 31 – the King and the Virtuous Woman – examples to us 

    Proverbs 31 describes the King, who should not drink wine, and Princes, who should not take strong drink. Given that we’re likely neither kings not princes by birth, how is this helpful to us?

    The purpose of Scripture, & Proverbs particularly, is to instruct those who will be, by grace, rulers of the age to come. And that instruction is to be learnt now, so that we’re ready to assist the Lord Jesus at His return.

    Therefore, we should consider whether wine and strong drink are going to help or hinder us in helping the afflicted (verse 5) or the poor and needy (verse 9). For certainly drunkenness will stop us praying in an acceptable manner.

    The Virtuous Woman is a similarly powerful example, as she typifies the Ecclesia – the Bride of Christ.

    Rather than ignoring Scripture that we don’t think applies to us, we ought to seek practical exhortation from all scripture, whoever it was written to or about.

     
  • cloakattroas 12:03 on April 21, 2014 Permalink |
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    Deuteronomy 4 – Yahweh is a consuming fire 

    In establishing His covenant with His people, Yahweh makes it clear that this is an exclusive relationship – they are not allowed to violate their covenant with Him by taking other gods. Yet this is what they do.

    So He re-establishes His covenant with them, “that ye may live”, and warns them that “the LORD (Yahweh) thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” (verse 24).

    We must also understand that, although we are under the terms of the New Covenant, our Father does not change, and that whilst He will be merciful to His children, He will be a consuming fire to those that oppose Him. We must be diligent (verse 9) towards ourselves, and those we’re responsible for, to ensure that His anger is not kindled against us, either now or at the judgement.

     
  • cloakattroas 12:50 on April 19, 2014 Permalink |
    Tags: #devil, #satan,   

    John 12 – now shall the Prince of this world be cast out 

    Vainly would “orthodox” Christianity have us believe in a supernatural devil, but what then did Jesus mean when He said in verse 31 “now shall the prince of this world be cast out”?

    The original word translated “world” indicates the Jewish religious system; its “prince” refers to those in a position of rulership, embodied in the High Priest, and also in his minions, including Judas. Other references back this up, for instance John 16:11 and especially John 14:30, which immediately precedes Jesus’ arrest.

    Hymn 253 in the 2002 Christadelphian Hymn Book (“Now, ye saints, new anthems raise”) has the line “Vain the Prince of this world’s aim, Satan’s best endeavour”. Satan is another Biblical description of the wicked ruling powers.

     
  • cloakattroas 12:23 on April 19, 2014 Permalink |
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    Proverbs 29 – do the wicked hate us? 

    In verse 27, we read

    An unjust man is an abomination to the just:
    And he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

    The language is strong – if we are righteous, we should hate the ways of the wicked. And if we are righteous, the wicked should hate us. The Lord Jesus says the same thing in John 15:19 about the Jewish religious system that then was, but the principle is the same.

    Does the false religious system of our day, and the world in general, hate us for being righteous?

     
  • cloakattroas 11:50 on April 19, 2014 Permalink |
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    Deuteronomy 2 – the battle is Yahweh’s 

    The Children of Israel were to fight battles when they went in to possess the Land. Verse 24 (the King of the Amorites) is an example of this.

    In verse 36 we read that “there was not one city too strong for us”. This picture is reflected in 1 Corinthians 10:4, where the Apostle explains that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (fleshly), but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds”.

    The key in that verse, and in the Deuteronomy 2 narrative, is that the victory was & is God’s, not ours. Other scriptures show this principle. For instance, after his discourse in Romans 7 on the working of Sin in his body (represented by the Amorites in Deuteronomy), the Apostle goes on in Romans 8 to explain that

    9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (make alive) your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

    In other words, it is not our victory, but God’s, through his spirit. And, as the Lord Jesus says in John 6

    63 It is the spirit that quickeneth (makes alive); the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    Elsewhere, we are told to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16). This is our part in the battle – to allow ourselves to be filled by Him. This is how we overcome temptation and subdue the giants of our own flesh to the will of God.

     
  • cloakattroas 21:36 on April 18, 2014 Permalink |
    Tags: , , #scripture, , ,   

    John 11 – why did Jesus groan within Himself and weep? 

    Surrounding the verse where it is recorded that the Lord Jesus wept (verse 35) are two instances where it is recorded that Jesus groaned within Himself (verses 33 & 38).

    In support of the view that He wept because of His brethren’s unbelief in His ability to raise Lazarus, notice that the margin suggests, for groaning, that He was indignant within Himself. In other words, He groaned inwardly when they displayed their unbelief.

    We should consider how we respond to displays of a lack of faith in others, particularly of brothers & sisters. The human tendency is to lower the standards, to water down the doctrine, apparently to allow the “weaker” brother or sister to feel included. Actually, we need to be encouraging the weaker ones to become strong, which will be achieved by meditation on the Word (Romans 10:17).

    The Lord Jesus dealt kindly with His brethren, but He was also definite with the disciples (verse 14) and with Martha (verse 25), in telling them they were wrong, and in putting them right. We should inwardly groan when we witness a failure of faith or understanding – and we should also meekly instruct those that oppose themselves (2 Timothy 2:25).

     
  • cloakattroas 21:19 on April 18, 2014 Permalink |
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    Proverbs 28 – the one that will pity the poor 

    The book of Proverbs gives wise principles that could profitably be adopted by the world at large. But its primary purpose is to equip the sons & daughters of Yahweh for rulership in His Kingdom. Verse 5, for instance, illustrates that this book is about the things of God specifically.

    Verse 8 explains that those that amass ill-gotten gains do so for him that will pity the poor. Given that this book is about the things of God, we should look for spiritual meaning in these words. Ultimately, the one that will pity the poor (in spirit) is the Lord Jesus Christ. Those men & women in the world, who have collected immense wealth to themselves, are ultimately saving it up for the Lord Jesus to use when He returns.

    Of course, many of those wicked persons are “religious”. “Christendom” is not short of ill-gotten gains. We can look forward to the day when the wealth of this present world will be laid at the feet of the one that will pity the poor.

     
  • cloakattroas 21:04 on April 18, 2014 Permalink |
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    Deuteronomy 1 – Israel’s disobedience a lesson for us 

    Israel’s rebellions against Yahweh had consequences. This chapter records the death of almost an entire generation (in the wilderness) because they did not believe that Yahweh could give them the Land.

    A particularly graphic image is of the disobedient Israelites being chased by the Amorites, in verse 44, “as bees do”. The word for “bee” in Hebrew is similar to the word for “word”, as in the word of God. It seems there is a symbolic meaning behind the use of bees; in any event, the Amorites were agents of Yahweh’s wrath – a concept that occurs elsewhere (e.g. Assyria in Isaiah 10:5).

    The point is that disobedience against Yahweh had consequences for Israel – both in the short term and eternally (see Psalm 95:11 & Hebrews 3:11). Yahweh certainly chastens His children now (Hebrews 12:6), with the aim that He will not refuse them entry to His Kingdom. Rather than reacting against adverse circumstances (“this is unfair”) we ought to ask ourselves whether the hand of our God is upon us, for our good.

     
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