What the Bible says about Jesus

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.
The Good Seed and the Weeds The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.
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Monday, March 31, 2014

Bem te Vi - Portuguese for "I See You"

(Brazilian song bird whose call sounds like: I see you, I see you.
Written and posted by Jean-Louis. 9/2012) http://thelightseed.blogspot.com


Bem Te Vi, Bem Te Vi
You who sing of God´s glory
Your song is so pretty
It could seem monotone
But the call of your heart
In Springtime or Autumn
Is a confession or a delight
On a sad day or a bright night


Bem Te Vi, Bem Te Vi
Heavenly Messenger
With vigilant eye, a warning
To the wicked you call
And the righteous too
You faithfully fulfill your part
Secrets of our heart revealing
Without your own condemning 


Bem Te Vi, Bem Te Vi
Please be my friend
You see me, this I know
Because you keep telling me so
But when to the Father
My many faults you tell
Remember as you go
The good I do as well


Bem Te Vi, Bem Te Vi
Angel in disguise
The Word speaks of you
As a messenger divine
When It wisely declares: "Be careful
When the King you revile  
Even in your thoughts
Or the rich you curse
In your bedroom"
For Bem Te Vi on swift wings
Could report the whisperings . (Ecclesiates 10:20)

Jean-Louis




Credit: from Carlos Weick's Flicker album.


Tempering our weapons

Written and posted by Jean-Louis. 6/2012



In Isaiah 52:12, the Prophet declares:
“But you will not go in haste or go in flight;
For the Lord will go before you,
the God of Israel will be your rear guard."

Isn't it comforting to know that we don't have to watch our back, that the Lord protects from the attacks of the enemy from behind? All we have to do is keep our armor on, take up our shield of faith and the sword of His Word and use them efficiently. See a list of our spiritual armor in Ephesians 6:10-18

As spiritual warriors, we have spiritual weapons to combat and defeat the enemy in prayer and gain the victory in life. We are also figuratively speaking essentially a weapon in the hand of our captain of the Host. Speaking of the servant of the Lord (which we are), Isaiah declares:
He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
and concealed me in his quiver.
3 He said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will display my splendor. ”
4 But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand,
and my reward is with my God.” Isaiah 49:2-4

Please, read Jeremiah that also speaks about Israel as a weapon of war 51: 21-23.

This of course was found in the Old testament. 
However in the New Testament teaching Paul tells us the our weapons against our enemies are spiritual and then proceeds to enumerate and categorize them in chapter 6 of Ephesians.

The enemy knows our weaknesses and uses this knowledge in his schemes to try and defeat us. But the Lord will help us in our weaknesses if we recognize them and ask for help.
Another way our enemy attacks is in our place of strength. We run the risk of being defeated in those areas because we are prone to self-sufficiency and independence. If we rely in our own strength, the enemy will encourage us to move in our own ways and will defeat us.

  Generally, there are 2 ways we can react to adversity.
• First, we can think that it's the devil's work and ask God to rebuke him by the authority of Jesus’ name.
• Second, we can realize that the Lord is sovereign and the devil can only do what the Lord allows him to do and that the Lord is providing us with an opportunity to strengthen us and teach us an enduring lesson thus helping us to mature.

In Isaiah 54:14-17, the Lord declares:
“In righteousness, you will be established;You will be far from oppression, for you will not fear; and from terror, for it will not come near you.
If anyone attacks you, it will not be my doing whoever attacks you will surrender to you.”
(or will fall because of you. [In NASB]). See, "it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc; no weapon formed against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you." (The tongue that speaks the lies of the accuser o the brethren against us directly or indirectly).

This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and this is their vindication from me."

One thing I learned when I took a course in forging metal during my technical studies is that you use different kinds of cooling agents to temper the metal that you are trying to shape. Perhaps we could use the analogy of the forge and tempering with oil to understand the way the Lord works in our life to make us an instrument ready to use.

In forging, the blacksmith heats the metal to a certain color that indicates that the metal is ready for a certain application. If he wants the metal to be very hard, but brittle, he heats it to a glowing red, almost white and cools it very rapidly in water. If he wants to be able to work with the metal, he brings it to a blue and plunges it in oil which allows a slower cooling to provide resilience to the metal.

The piece of metal doesn't say to the blacksmith: Ouch, I don't like the way you are pounding on me and heating me up and cooling me down.

Sometimes in our Christian life we need the cool refreshing water of the Spirit to soothe our souls. However, there are times when the Lord is trying to purify us, make us more resilient, more usable, less brittle and breakable. I Corinthians 13:4 says: “Love is not easily angered.” Are we sometimes brittle, easily offended and engage in spiritual joust with our brothers using Bible verses, swinging our sword to prove that we are right?

So the Lord uses His Spirit as the oil to cool his weapon or instrument down.
This requires patience on our part as we have to let Him do His work in us until He says that the season of preparation is over and we are able to be used by Him for His purpose. Look at verse 16 again.
And this comes right after the beautiful chapter 53 on our Lord Jesus-Christ, the suffering servant. What a lesson!

When the blacksmith wants to fan the fire, he directs the bellows in one focused place and that place radiates heat throughout all the cooling coals and that's the spot where he plunges the metal. So sometimes the Lord will concentrate on one spot in our life and we have to stay there until we understand what He is trying to do, and decide to let Him mold and forge us into an instrument that he can use after his tempering us with the oil of the Spirit . That is His prerogative as the Lord of our lives.

Jean-Louis

Are we careful whom we listen to?

Do we check the instruction of teachers comparatively against the Bible or do we just take someone’s word for scriptural accuracy? C’mon, we can’t allow ourselves to become so complacent that we cease to check out what we allow in our eyes and ears. Posted by W.c Whitaker on Facebook.
Written and posted by Jean-Louis. 6/2012
Thank you Cameron for reminding us of this so important and crucial injunction especially in this time of  widespread, concerted and  relentless attacks of the enemy on the Bible, the truth and the meaning, nature and extent of the redemptive work of Christ and the church place in the Kingdom. 

A Famine in the Land
 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord,
    “when I will send a famine through the land—
not a famine of food or a thirst for water,
    but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.
Amos 8:11



Every idea, every suggestion, every so called prophecy or teaching is a seed being planted in the mind and heart of men.

The identity of the sower is important but the storehouse where it comes from is equally  important. Jesus and Paul warned about false teachers and false prophets. 
  • That ´s the WHO. 
  • In Mark 4:24 He warned : Be careful WHAT you hear
  • In Luc 8:18, he warned: Be careful HOW you hear
  • expanding the initial command: WHO has ears let him hear. Matthew 13:9.
In foreign language learning and acquisition, after the alphabet, the next things a student learns are the very important WHs  words. Who, what, which, where, why, and then related derivatives such as with whom, whose, from where, since when?

Then come the HOWs: how much, how many? 

As believers who want to grow in knowledge and communion with our Lord and have a desire to be taught by the Holy Spirit, it behooves us to ask ourselves these important questions since these commands are given in the context of the parable of the sower and the good seed planted in the heart of man, salvation, appearance of salvation and growth once a person is saved and the work of satan our enemy who plants bad seeds and tries to hinder the growth of the good ones. 

We cannot ignore these commands without suffering the consequences of disregarding them or taking  them lightly. Right after the context of John chapter 15 on the need of the disciple to abide in Christ in order to bear fruit, good fruit and more fruit, chapter 16 begins with this ominous statement: “ All this I have told you so that you will not go astray”. 

So  going  back to the WHS question words we can see that their application is paramount in the disciple´s life and that our steadfast and faithful abiding walk with Jesus will depend on heeding the warnings. As a good examination of our Christian walk  and of our progress or regress in our spiritual life, a simple yet powerful tool is to ask ourselves these questions and our honest answers will serve as a good gauge of where we are in the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Jean-Louis.

Sanitization or Sanctification?

Sanitization or Sanctification?
By Bob DeWaay
http://cicministry.org/articles.php

A reader phoned me recently and explained how he has seen churches depart from Bible teaching only to institute various programs for better living. He made an intriguing statement: "These programs do not sanctify, they sanitize." And he was absolutely right about that.

Let me unpack that idea and show from Scripture that this is the case.
It is possible to use human wisdom and good advice programs in order to help people achieve better living. It is possible to get an alcoholic sober, an abusive husband to be considerate and caring, a compulsive gambler to quit, a person driven to make money at the expense of family to change priorities, and to help an unhappy person become happy. All of this can be done without any special work of grace. In fact, it can be done without religion at all.

I once heard a debate between two college professors, one an atheist and the other a Christian. Toward the end of the debate the atheist made an interesting statement. He said, "You do not need a god or religion to have a good, happy life. I have been happily married for many years, have wonderful children and grandchildren, live a moral life, and could not ask for anything more from life. I do not need religion and neither do you." Sadly, many Christians have so redefined Christianity that they would not know how to respond to such a statement. It is true that many people lead happy, relatively moral lives without God. But what they cannot obtain is right standing before the Holy God who created the universe.

When Christianity is reduced to a "better-living-through-religion" program it does not offer anything that some atheists (like the one in that debate) already have. It is telling when churches fill up their docket with seminars designed to help people solve life problems through general revelation. General revelation is available to all through the normal means of knowing. All societies have their own aphorisms which they pass along—their collective "good advice." It is not a sin to give people good advice gleaned from general revelation, but neither is to confuse that advice with Christ's mandate: "Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you" (Matthew 28:20a).

Two key differences differentiate good advice from the commands of Scripture:
1) Good advice is never binding and can be safely (from an eternal perspective) ignored.
2) Good advice is not sanctifying.


The atheist with a nice family and a happy life is clearly not sanctified. The term "sanctification" means to be made holy. Holiness cannot be gleaned from general revelation. So those helped by good advice drawn from human wisdom may be sanitized, but unless they repent and believe the gospel they will never be sanctified. Sanctification comes through redemption and the means of grace. Paul wrote: "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord" (1Corinthians 1:30, 31). That atheist was boasting against the Lord! Christians can only boast in the Lord.
Dispensing human wisdom can produce many satisfied customers. A local pastor, known for preaching the prosperity gospel, was exposed in the newspaper for his lavish lifestyle and possible misappropriation of church funds. One of his members wrote a letter to the editor defending the pastor. The letter writer cited all of the positive changes that had happened since attending that church: a better family, better finances, freedom from addiction, and so forth. But he did not mention anything distinctive to Christianity. Some people who believe the health and wealth gospel actually are healthy and wealthy. But so are some atheists.

Many churches simply have given up salvation and sanctification and settled for sanitization—clean and happy "Christian" living without regard to holiness in the sight of God. Paul discusses this in Colossians:
If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (which all refer to things destined to perish with use) in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. (Colossians 2:20-23)

The cleaned up sinner is still "fleshly" because the only alternative to the flesh is the Spirit, and people do not receive the Spirit by works of law:
This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Galatians 3:2, 3)
There is no definite article with "law" in the Greek; Paul is speaking of "works of law." Whether the Mosaic Law or any other, people do not receive the Holy Spirit by works of law.
Anyone without the Holy Spirit is unsaved and unsanctified (see Romans 8:4-8). Anyone without the Spirit is motivated by the flesh (1John 2:16, 17). A person may be able to change his lusts (i.e., from the lust of the flesh to the boastful pride of life) through human wisdom dispensed through a program, but no one can escape the lusts of the world by any means except for a work of grace through the gospel. The law can restrain evil, but it cannot produce holiness.

We do not escape from worldly corruption by any means other than the promises of God found in Scripture: "For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust" (2Peter 1:4).

This being the case, why have so many churches filled their sermons and programs with ideas gleaned through general revelation that amount to good advice? The answer is found most likely in their constituency. Clear teaching of the word of God will sanctify those who are truly saved. Jesus prayed: "Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth" (John 17:17). That means that God does a work of grace on the inside that changes the motivations of the heart, not just certain behaviors (Hebrews 4:12). The behavior does change, objectively, because the Bible contains instruction in godly living that should be taught with the binding authority of God. These instructions are commands, not good advice. They cannot safely be ignored. But the good news is that God's grace comes to us through His word, enabling and motivating us to obey Him.

A church becomes filled with unsaved people when "better living through Jesus" teachings and programs become the norm rather than gospel preaching and Bible teaching. The people are there to find the sort of life the atheist bragged about having. They may get a nice, happy life through human wisdom dispensed in the name of Christianity.

But holiness is what such persons cannot find through human wisdom. Holiness comes from a work of grace, not a decision to change some things for the better. Sinners lacking the gospel but sanitized through a church program may end up in a worse condition than before. If, in the name of Christianity, the drunkenness or marriage problems go away, those who benefited may think they are saved when, in fact, they are lost. False assurance is dangerous and if not remedied will lead to eternal damnation.

The good advice approach assumes that humans possess the motivation and ability they need; that they simply need instruction on how to put what they already have to work. The real situation is that we are sinners without hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12). We do not have an engineering problem; we have a spiritual one. That spiritual problem is remedied by what God does by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8)—not what we do through human wisdom. The Bible tells us to "pursue" sanctification, because without it we will never see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). Only sanctification through the blood of Jesus makes us fit to see the Lord. Sanitization through good advice cannot do that.

Published by Twin City Fellowship
Critical Issues Commentary
P.O. Box 26127
St. Louis Park, MN 55426
952-935-3100pastorbob@twincityfellowship.com

The Wisdom of Patience

Written and posted by Jean-Louis. 4/2012
To my newly discovered friend David.

He has made everything beautiful in his time.
The end of the matter is better than its beginning
and patience is better than pride. Ecclesiastes 3:11; 7:8.


A few years back a Kraft commercial for their Parmesan cheese attracted my attention. I love the way Jewish, Italian, French or Brazilian families to name a few make the dinner table a place of great communication in sharing political debate, loud banter and laughter while at the same time respecting the experience and wisdom of the elders in the family.

On the screen a wonderful long table was set with all the delicious dishes cooked by the Mama for her Italian family. In the middle of the table a small child was sitting next to his grand-pa, anxiously waiting his turn to devour the delicious spaghetti with an appetite already stimulated by the wonderful aroma of the marinara sauce.

His big round eyes were following the can of parmesan cheese as each one was passing it around the table. He was so eager to start eating that he lifted his eyes and asked his grand-pa permission to start: “now, Grand-paw” who was answering: “not yet”. Then the same questions and answers were shared just by an inquiring glance from below and a negative movement of the index finger above. Slowly everybody was shaking the can in a heaping serving of grated cheese on their plate. 

You could see the impatience grow on the kid´s face and in his eyes imploring his grand-father to give him the signal. Nobody else seemed to pay attention to the silent complicity between the oldest and the youngest member of the family. Finally after the can had made the rounds to his grand-paw and the child had victoriously shook the container onto his plate, (there was enough left) one last time he obediently raised his eyes and with a grin waited for the green light from one he respected and that he knew loved him enough to teach him the important lessons in life. The grandfather, an affectionate smile on his face released the hungry boy with a simple nod.

This beautifully thought and presented commercial reveals a spiritual lesson that the Lord was trying to teach me.

How many times when we pray asking our Father in Heaven in faith and according to his will knowing that he will answer us do we then grow impatient when the answer doesn´t come right away? 

Do we understand the number of levels the Lord works on?
Do we know that He has already answered us, but that we are not the only ones he wants to bless? 
Do we realize that he may be sending his messengers, be they man or angels to affect the lives of people half way around the world and connecting events that took place 40, 50,100 years ago to bring about his desired end according to his will and his purpose?

To everything there is a season and I would add a “Seasoning”. To read about seasoning with salt in the season of brokenness click: Here

So next time you are tempted to reach and grab for the Parmesan cheese across the table, be patient and remember the wisdom of the elders.

 Jean-Louis.

Should a woman be ordained pastor of a Christian congregation?


Written and posted by Jean-Louis. 3/2012 Original written in 1995.


First, let me state that my views do not stem from misogynous feelings and bias.

My premise comes from the prayer of our Lord Jesus when He taught his disciples to pray at their request. Let’s examine Matthew 6:10 which declares: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

I. Kingdom authority

How is our Father’s will accomplished in heaven?

Partly through his servants, the holy angels or messengers. In any kingdom and any army there are different levels of authority and a chain of command. For instance, the Lord Jesus appeared to Joshua in a theophany and referred to himself as the Captain of the host. Joshua 5:14 or later on as Lord of Sabaoth or Lord of the armies of heaven in Romans 9:29. So, here we have the Father King, Jesus Christ, the son, Prince who is also the King. He has the function and title of Captain of the armies of angels. 


II. Roles of Christians under delegated authority

Now, how is the Father’s will accomplished on the earth? 

Through men at different levels of authority going through a chain of command.
In Philippians 2:25, Paul referred to Epaphroditus as a fellow worker and a fellow soldier. Also, in II Timothy 2:3, Paul asks Timothy to suffer hardship with him as a good soldier of Christ. Of course, generally speaking we are all, men and women, soldiers of Christ in his spiritual army.


A. Function of the soldier

Throughout the ages, it has always been man’s role to fight in wars. It has only been since the feminist revolution that women have demanded to play a role as active combatants. Women have always participated in the military in different capacities where they could use their much-needed skills. They possess God-given abilities that sometimes are lacking in men. There are however, examples in the Bible and in history when women have risen to positions of power in a military situation. I can think of two instances, one is Deborah the Judge in the Old Testament and the other one is Joan of Arc of France who led the French army against British invaders during the first half of the 15th century AD. I personally think that God raised Deborah to shame the men who were not valiant enough to defend Israel.


B. Function of the worker

In Philippians, Paul mentions the function of fellow worker. Here, let’s note the difference between function and identity. In Galatians 3:28, Paul says that: “there is neither male, nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. He is not talking here about function in the body of Christ, such as a pastor who has delegated authority over the congregation or a teacher who has delegated authority over his students, but rather about the believer’s identity in Christ regardless of gender.

All workers have an authority over them, whether a supervisor or a manager or a department head. Whatever our place of work happens to be, this is the way any organization functions, through transferred responsibility at different levels, each one having their respective authority.


III. Role of the woman

Now let’s see what Paul says about authority in the Church regarding the role of women. In I Timothy 2:12, Paul gives this injunction: “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man”. If we apply this general principle and survey the New
Testament writings, we will find ample passages to show us that women played a very active role in the development of the New Testament church.

In Acts 2:17, Peter reiterating Joel prophecy said: “In the last days, God says, I will pour my spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy”.


In Acts 21:9; we learn that Philip, the evangelist had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. From the wording in I Corinthians 11:5, we can infer that women were allowed to prophesy, provided they wore a symbol of the man’s authority over their head.

In the New Testament, women were allowed to pray and to teach in the church.
Titus 2:3 reveals to us that he, Titus was commanded to “teach the older women to … teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children… and to be subject to their husbands, so no one will malign the Word of God”.

In addition, they could exercise their gifts of mercy, helps and I suppose that of giving and administration. 


In all, the only function they couldn’t perform was that of an elder or that of a pastor. Why? I believe it is because these two callings involve exercising authority over not only a man (her husband) if she is married but also over the other men in the assembly who, if they wanted to apply the Word of God to their lives couldn’t and wouldn’t have subjected themselves to a woman’s authority, thus creating divisions in the church. 

Again, we see the protective hand of God in not having a woman ordained as pastor because usually a pastor is in a most difficult position since he is Satan’s prime target and carries a tremendous responsibility to his flock.

The Bible doesn’t mention anything about women’s natural abilities and skills that would make them suitable to lead a congregation. Rather, God uses willing and available men and women empowered by the Holy Spirit to raise up a people of His own choosing. It is very clear that He chooses us and not we, ourselves. 


Hebrews 5:4 states that: “No one (talking about priests) takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was”. You might argue that this refers back to Old Testament teaching. But I do not know of a passage in the Epistles of the New Testament where God called a woman to be the pastor of a congregation. If the instructions found in the New Testament are given to us as guidelines and patterns to be applied for the building, equipping and proper functioning of the Church, I don’t see how some women can claim to be called to serve in a function that obviously is not mentioned in the Epistles.


Are we to obey God in everything else, but not on this debatable point of conflict resulting in arguments that do not have any ground in the Scriptures to stand on? It sounds to me like the forbidden fruit that was offered to Eve by Satan in the Garden of Eden.

It is interesting that in I Timothy 2:11, Paul links this command of woman not to have authority over man with the first temptation in the Garden of Eden. Those are his words: “ A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach (men) or to have authority over a man… for Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner”.

After all, Eve could have said to Satan: “I am sorry, but I never make a decision about trees or fruit without consulting my husband first. He has been delegated keeper of the garden by God himself; I am happy in my function of helpmate and I always wait until he tells me if a fruit is ripe enough to eat or if it is going to give me indigestion or may be premature death by poisoning.” Or she could have replied: “I am sorry, but I never eat dinner without my husband. It would be very impolite. After all, we live in the southern part of the Garden where people are well known for their genteel manners!  There is a good reason for that. It is listed in the marriage manual under the heading: order of creation”.

In any case, she could have used her husband’s role as a protector to defeat the lies of the devil. One wonders what Adam was doing leaving his wife alone with a talking serpent. Man is the main one to blame for Eve’s being deceived.


So this idea that women and wife can act independently of man and husband, regardless of the order of God in creation is nothing new, it goes back to the fall of Mankind. 

IV. Paul’s Arguments


Now in case somebody might think that it was just in the Old Testament or that it is a chauvinistic attitude on the part of backward, women-hating men who wrote into the Bible what the customs of the times dictated regarding the treatment of women, Paul wrote in I Corinthians 11:3-12,16:

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God”.

So here Paul gives the proper recognition to women as being the glory of man. Are we not blessed in that? Why should women be put down when God says that she is our glory?

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that Paul refers to hair as a symbol of covering for women to illustrate the more obvious point of his teaching which is that men have delegated authority and duty from God, as servants, to care, protect and provide for their wives and their Christians sisters in general. It certainly is nothing demeaning to the women. And to reinforce his point, he adds in verse 10: “and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head”.

You might point out that Paul while teaching women to wear long hair as a covering declares that it is a shame for a man to wear long hair; maybe because it was a Greek custom to have short hair. This passage really argues in favor of Paul being flexible and adapting to the cultural context of his time.


Here Paul is not opinionated or narrow in his assessment of the situation. As a church planter and an apostle, he had great concern for the welfare of his spiritual children.  He was referring at this point to the shaven head of the Corinthian prostitutes and wanted the testimony of Christian women to be blameless. We are to avoid the appearance of evil.
So it was not a matter of being legalistic.


In Revelation chapter 2:15 John mentions the Nicolaitans. They are mentioned twice, forming a marriage of the Church and the world, through the ordination of a supposedly superior clergy elite class ruling or lording over a supposedly inferior laity, the spiritually uneducated masses if you will. This in Greek is the meaning of Nico and Laitan. It begins with a compromise and ends in powerlessness and destruction when the Lord judges and removes the candlestick of such churches. 

Who were these Nicolaitans? It is supposed that this group whose name is derived from a man named Nicolas, compromised with pagan practices in order to allow Christians to associate with popular customs.
Does it remind you of another time in Israel´s history when the people wanted a King like the other nations around them and rejected God´s rule. God told them that their King would lord it over them. This is exactly what happened to the institution of the church through the ages, the clergy, a separate hierarchical class of trained ministers, taking the control of God´s people through different methods that are not from God and are not recorded in His Word.
We born again believers are ALL individually part of the body of Christ and as corporate members, living stones in the temple  according to New Testament teaching, none of us superior to the other. I Peter 2:5 reads: New American Standard Bible
"you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."


In the last half of the twentieth century more so pervasively and rapidly than before, the Church has been infiltrated by the world’s philosophy of Satan´s seed and has found a most welcome reception in the more liberal elements in its ranks.
Now in 2012, it has invaded almost all church denominations and movements. One of the strongest  influence has been the secular feminist movement, allied with the lesbian agenda and witchcraft principles and practices which have also been embraced and whose tenets have gone into practices in all but the most conservative Bible believing churches in the United States and elsewhere in the world.

This is exactly what Paul, Peter and John were warning their flocks about. In Revelation chapter 2, the teaching of Balaam is mentioned in the same paragraph as the teaching of the Nicolaitans. To study more about this, see 2 Peter 2:15 and Jude 11.


Of course, this practice in the churches is not new. Since the absorption of pagan practices in the church under Roman Emperors Constantine’s and Theodosius’ reigns resulting in a syncretism which has permeated the church until now, we have witnessed this phenomenon in the modern church that will culminate in the unification of all the apostate ecumenical churches under the rule of Antichrist during the greatest deception ever perpetrated on mankind. This is why Paul in verse 16 of chapter 11 says: “If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God. 

As far as I know, God has not rescinded His commands to the Church. He has not changed one iota of His perfect, pure, eternal, unchanging Word. He still keeps on building His Church on the perfect, indestructible “foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone”. Ephesians 2:20.

Maybe our human hands build buildings imperfectly on faulty foundations that will crack and not support the weight. Not so with the Lord and his Word. Everything He creates and builds is perfect. We do not need to try and improve on it. 


Furthermore, there are warnings throughout the Bible for those who would try and change it. Deuteronomy 4:2 declares: “do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you”.

Several other passages give the same command, with consequences added in the case of Revelation 22:19: “And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

Further in 2 Corinthians 10:8, Paul continues with this theme after explaining to us the good use of his authority when he declares: “For even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down, I will not be ashamed of it”. We can see from these words that Paul always had his disciples’ best interest at heart.


Then, in chapter 11:3 of the same letter, after talking about his motive for exhorting his fellow Christians, Paul introduces false teachers and their teachings by referring to the fact that Eve was the one to be deceived. 

Conclusion 
Brothers and sisters, let us beware of practices prohibited by God in His Word, first introduced by people outside and inside the Church who distort the Scriptures to back up these practices and later on formulate a false theology  once the practice has been entrenched in the lives of people. 

True Christian practices should always have as their basis pure, sound doctrine and should stem from biblical principles and the leading of the Holy Spirit who will never contradict His Word. Sound teaching should always precede good practices, not the other way around because the human heart is so deceitful. Let’s leave this type of behavior to the politicians who have perfected it to an art.


Jean-Louis.

The Poison of False Teachings

Written and posted by Jean-Louis. 2/2012  
The ever pressing need for spiritual discernment in today´s church.


The scene: A greenhouse full of flowers and plants.
It´s time to fertilize the plants to help them grow and to become strong and beautiful.

Equipment needed: A tank for mixing, water, a pomp and a hose with a nozzle to carry the water and fertilizer mixture under pressure to spray the plants.

Worker´s gear: Water proof  protective suit, boots, gloves and a protective respirator mask.

 Fertilizer: ( Percentage not accurate, solely used for the illustration). Chemical contents in a paper bag in soluble powder form,
Inert  ingredients: 99.5 %
Active ingredients: 0.5 %
 
InstructionsFill the tank, dilute the appropriate dose of fertilizer and start spraying the plants.

Expected results:Plant growth.

Now let´s look at a scenario in which instead of or adding to fertilizer somebody inadvertently, maybe without paying attention to the warning on the labels or perhaps intentionally would mix a wrong poisonous substance to the water.

Everything remains the same, the place, the worker, the plants and flowers, the water, the equipment, even the inert ingredients in equal measure, everything except the 0.5 percent (more or less) of the amount of poison lethal to the plants.
What would be the effect on the plants?  At least, they would wilt, become yellow, lose their vigor, their beauty or at worst even dies if the poison concentration was strong enough.

Change of scenery.
Let´s imagine any church building. We see the building, the people, the praise group or choir, the musical instruments, the pulpit and the pastor preaching from the word of God, the bible. 
Or it could be a Sunday school or a home group meeting in which the leader and participants share their testimonies, stories or illustrations aimed at helping the group understand the lesson.


So you see the parallel with the situation in the green house.
Every time someone (the worker spraying the plants) brings the Word of God and explains it simply, clearly and faithfully the Scriptures under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the listeners (represented by the plants) grow in wisdom, understanding, love, inner strength, etc. and are comforted, encouraged in all the aspects of  Christian living if they practice the lessons of the Scriptures with diligence and obedience to the Lord´s words and his commands.

The stories, illustrations, parables, poems and personal testimonies can be compared to the inert ingredients that help to carry the biblical message to the participants. They can be neutral depending on their source and intent  and serve as a framework for the spiritual content.  They can be interesting, fascinating, but what provides the growth in the Christian hearer is the powerful and penetrating Word of God (and its correct exposition and interpretation) that operates a work of conversion in the sinner, purifying the human heart and spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who through the Word illuminates, establishes and edifies by giving him or her light, strength, peace and consolation. The list of blessings and benefits of the Word of God in the life of the believers is inexhaustible.

The Word of God is so filled with life, power and so efficacious that just one verse of the Bible is enough to change a hard and impenetrable heart, to open the mind and change the life of a man and to draw him from death to eternal life, from darkness into the marvelous light by the power of the Holy Spirit who applies the Word of Life in the heart of the sinner and operates his invisible and yet manifest work. Jesus said: “my words, they are life and they are spirit”.
 
Let´s change the scenario
Here we have the same situation, the same building, the same congregation, the same praise group, instruments, pulpit, the same pastors, the same Bible, everything is similar.

It could happen that some illustrations, poems or stories accompanying the message or the biblical lesson contain doubtful and imperceptible doctrinal elements and false teaching, read from a book or watched and remembered from a radio or a TV program. Or even worse, a deliberate departure, addition to or subtraction, or distortion from the very meaning of the word, verse or context, an action forbidden by God himself  who made this very clear in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. 

Now let´s suppose that the person doing it lacks discernment and speaks with no knowledge  of the origin, nature or the impact of what he is relating. It does not matter, the effect can be devastating consequences in the life of the people who hear, absorb and assimilate the teaching because poison is poison even in small quantities, even coming from a well-intentioned person.  Depending on the vulnerability and lack of discernment of the believer, the influence and its effect will be more or less serious.
 
In the Church, our Lord God provided everything we need, the structures, equipment,  pastors, teachers, the brothers and sisters participating in the worship. He gave us the breath and the voice to praise him, to proclaim his message of love and pardon, our mind and heart to receive, believe and share the good news of the Gospel. His Word, and the practice of good works that the Father entrusts to our responsibility helps us to grow, mature and be conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus. His Word is pure and cannot  be mixed or diluted with anything  else that is impure. Proverbs 30:5.


A teaching that is contrary to the Word of God is poison to our soul. We cannot allow our mouth to transmit what is poisonous (venom coming from the  serpent´s mouth) to others´ears. For my post on the New Age Movement click: Here
For a companion studies on our spiritual weapons click on this link:
http://thelightseed.blogspot.com/2010/03/tempering-our-weapons.html

Pastors and teachers, of course, bear a greater measure of responsibility when it comes down to exercising wisdom  and prudence towards preaching and teaching the Word of God. Indeed, every Christian ought to use the Word (written) as a filtration system to judge what is good and true (see Acts 17:11 as Paul talks about the noble Bereans) when spiritual teaching is involved. The Scriptures along with the help of the Holy Spirit help us to discern and to protect our minds from error and we must handle them as offensive weapon to combat the lies and wiles of the adversary.

The best antidote if we inadvertently swallowed spiritual poison is the truth of Word of God that purifies us (Eph 5:26-27). Interestingly enough the hope of seeing our Lord and waiting expectantly for his soon return purifies us also. (I John 3:3).

The Word of God is compared to bread. Jesus warned us that our bread must be kept from any addition of the yeast of the Pharisees that is hypocrisy when we embrace the position and conduct of those who spread false teachings and add burdens that the Lord himself has not given us. It is interesting to note that the leavening that the baker uses to make the bread rise can only be effective in a lukewarm environment described perfectly in the spiritual condition of the church of Laodicea in the book of Revelation.  Yeast cannot survive or thrive in hot or cold temperatures which neutralize its active properties. It is enough to observe the effects to recognize the causes.
  • Zeal without knowledge is unprofitable. Prov. 19:2; Romans 10:2.
  • Knowledge without love puffs up like yeast. Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God. I Corinthians 8:1. 
  • For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision,  nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. 7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. Galatians 5: 6-10.
  • 5Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Proverbs 30:5
  • 12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. 14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:12-16.

In conclusion, we are commanded to love and walk in the Spirit in order to be victorious over our flesh (sin nature) through the cross, reckoning ourselves dead and preserve the freedom to which we were called and for which Christ died for us.
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.”  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5: 13-18.

Jean-Louis

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