Freedom and Serving

One day, those who trust in the precious blood of Christ shed for the world will be free from all sorrow and tears. We will have freedom and liberty unknown even now. We will be free to worship the Lord Jesus without constraints, personal or corporate. He will be exalted forever and ever.

Yet, today, the wickedness of this coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on many lives, especially first responders and health care providers.  Some in our midst are demanding their right to live the way they want. They are demanding to go where they want, to assemble as they want and to carry on as they would want.

I WANT that for everyone! It would seem we are guaranteed that. But if my freedom endangers others, then I should restrict myself for the sake of others. I should restrict myself, so as not to endanger first responders and health care providers or others. If I am foolish, then I should not cause others to be put in the position of endangerment.

My challenge is, if I demand my freedom to live the way I want, will I live and love others thinking more highly of them than myself?  Paul wrote, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Phi 2:3-4)  If I don’t even know if I’m carrying a virus (asymptomatic), then how should I relate to vulnerable people (which we are now learning is just about everyone)?

Again Paul wrote, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Gal 5:13-16) Do I have liberty in Christ to do as I want OR as would best be serving (loving) other people. That would include all people, especially, the household of God.  Am I truly loving others as commanded (Matt 22:37-39)?

I know the issue many are making is government intrusion into my/our life/lives. I don’t want the government to cross the line – EVER! Yet, our government was established for a morally righteous people. So, what do the current actions of people say for those who gather and unknowingly spread the virus? Would they be considered wise? Would they be considered as loving others as commanded?

Look at these passages! The issue is not my right, but how do I serve others? The issue is humbling myself for the sake of others.

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; (Rom 12:10)

…submitting to one another in the fear of God. (Eph 5:21)

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Pet 5:5 )

Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. (Rom 14:19-22)

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, (Eph 4:1-2)

Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. (1 Cor 10:24 )

Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. (1 Cor 10:32-33)

No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (1 Cor 12:22-26)

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; (1 Cor 13:4-5)

I know a huge danger is shutting down businesses. AND how will those businesses get going. AND people are likely going to suffer because of not having a job. AND people are going to lose their homes. We are on uncharted waters. I’m not sure government should be in the role of shutting down businesses. Considering how little we knew about this virus and considering how little people were “restricting themselves for the sake of others,” and considering we are lovers of self rather than lovers of others, I wonder what the numbers would be if guidance was not put out?

I’m not casting stones. I’m not sure of the best way to give business freedom to operate. I’m just asking that we apply God’s Word to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One who said, “”For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mar 10:45)

Insights: Coronovirus March 22, 2020

David wrote a comforting Psalm, when he was captured by the Philistines in Gath and  was tempted to be afraid:

2 My enemies would hound me all day, For there are many who fight against me, O Most High.
3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.
4 In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? (Ps. 56:2-4 NKJ)

I like the acrostic about fear. Fear is – False Evidence Appearing Real.  The temptation of fear is there, but the overwhelming character of God helps me see my fear for what it is: Satan’s temptation to put my eyes on the current situation, rather than God’s eternal character.

Be like David – trust in the Lord – even if you come down with the symptoms of coronovirus or the virus itself. God is not caught off guard and He will sustain you, even if you are in the grasps of the virus’ pull. We will trust in the Lord!

Rev 2:1-7 Grappling Questions

NOTE: Before we jump into teaching this passage, here are some questions that have to be answered in order to correctly interpret the passage?
Revelation 2:1-7
1) 2:1 – Who is the “angel of the church”?
2) 2:4 – Who is/are the “you” and “your”?
3) 2:5 – If the subject of, who has/have “fallen, repent, and do” is doing good works in 2:2-3, how or in what way has/have  he/they actually fallen?
4) 2:5 – In what way would the Lord “remove your lampstand from its place”? What does that look like?
5) 2:7 – Who is the “He who has an ear”? Does he only listen to the guidance of what is said to Ephesus? What is the significance of this verse?
Okay, remember this is for fun and not an exercise of futility.  Your time grappling with these questions will have eternal benefits, compared to being glued to the news today.

Revelation 1:9-20

This second message is focused on the incredible description of the Lord Jesus Christ and how we should respond to Him. This picture is almost unknown in Scripture.

 

The Revelation of His Coming

The revelation of Jesus to John writing to seven churches of His coming Rev 1

1.The circumstances of His coming 1:9-11

  1. 1:9 John, 90 years-young
    • Brother and companion
    • Circumstances –
  2. 1:10 In the Spirit on the Lord’s day 1 Thes. 5:2; Rom. 14: Col. 2.
  3. 1:11 The seven churches

What are your circumstances?

2. The characterization of His coming 1:12-16

  1. 1:12 Seven golden lampstands –
  2. 1:13-16 John saw one like the Son of Man – Ten characteristics of Christ
  • 1:13 One like the Son of Man – Rev 14:14; Ez 1:26-28; Dan. 7:13; 10:4-6; Phil. 2:7-8; Heb 2:14-17
  • 1:13 Clothed with a garment to feet – 20:26. Dan 10:5
  • 1:13 Girded about the Chest – Rev 15:6; Ex 28:6-8; 39:5; Lev 8:7; Is 11:5
  • 1:14 Head and hair like white wool – 7:9-13
  • 1:14 His eyes like a flame of fire – Rev 2:18; 19:12; Dan. 10:6-12; Zech 4:10
  • 1:15 His feet were like fine brass – Rev 2:18; Ez 1:7; 40:3; Dan 10:6
  • 1:15 His voice as the sound of many waters – Rev 14:2; 19:6; Ps 93:4; Ez 43:2
  • 1:16 He had in His right hand seven stars – Rev 1:20. Dan 8:10
  • 1:16 Out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword – 6:17; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 19:15
  • 1:16 His countenance – 17:2; Rev 10:1; Is 60:19-20; Mal 4:2; Act 26:13

3. The consequences of His coming 1:17-20

  1. 1:17 -18 John’s response and Jesus’ action John 13:23; 21:7; 14:1; 2 Tim 1:7
  2. 1:19 Chronological outline of Revelation
  3. 1:20 The interpretation of the mystery of the lampstands and stars

SO WHAT?

  •  God has a message to the churches today.
  • The Lord Jesus is coming back in judgment on the world.
  • God wants us to trust Him, not the world.

NOW WHAT?

  •  Seek to please Him is all that you think, say and do. 2 Cor 5:9
  • Learn contentment with His presence. He is peace to the believer Eph 2:12-14; Rom 5:1: 8:1
  • Use those days you have remaining to tell others about your awesome Lord!

Questions

  • Why is the picture of Jesus here different than in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?
  • What aspect of Jesus stands out to you?
  • How does this picture help us in the circumstances we find ourselves?
  • How should we respond to Jesus? Do we respond like John did? How did He feel? What was He thinking?

 

Upcoming Chapter Summary Statements

  • The revelation of Jesus to John writing to seven churches of His coming           Rev 1
  • Jesus’ letters to loveless Ephesus, persecuted Smyrna, compromising Pergamos and corrupt Thyatira                                                                                                               Rev 2
  • Jesus’ letters to spiritually dead Sardis, faithful Philadelphia and lukewarm Laodicea                                                                                                                             Rev 3

 

Revelation 1:1-9

Revelation of Jesus Christ

This opening passage introduces us to the author, audience and what the book is about – the Revelation of Jesus Christ. While a small portion (Revelation 2-3)  describes the audience – the church – the majority (Revelation 4-19) is about how God will complete His Covenants to Israel and the Second Coming of Jesus. It closes with the new heavens to come.

The Alpha and Omega – Rev 1:1-8

Genesis

Revelation

New Earth Gen. 1 New Heavens Rev. 21
Begins in Paradise  Gen. 2 Paradise to come  Rev. 21-22
Devil introduced Gen. 3:1-2 Devil doomed Rev. 20:10
God’s word questioned Gen 3:1-2 Word of God upheld Rev. 22:19
Man’s first rebellion  Gen. 3:1-6 Man’s last rebellion  Rev. 20:11-15
Satan’s head crushed promised 3:15 Satan’s head bruised and crushed Rev 20:2,10
Curse imposed Gen. 3:15-18 Curse removed Rev. 22:3
Tree of Life removed Gen. 3:24 Tree of Life awaits Rev. 22:2
Human Life murdered  Gen. 4:8 Human life in Book of Life 21:27
Sorrow from sin begins Gen. 3,4 Sorrow removed  Rev. 21:4
First death Gen. 4:8 No more death Rev. 21:4

            Why study Revelation? 

  • To reveal who Jesus Christ is 1:1
  • To reveal the course of future history 1:1; 22:6
  • To complete the testimony of John 1:2
  • To receive God’s blessing 1:3; Rev. 22:7
  • To warn believers to alertness   1:3; 2 Pet. 3:14-15; 1 Thes. 4:13-18

Three cautions

  • Do not say it cannot be understood.
  • Do not be overly dogmatic on the details.
  • Do not major only on Revelation.

1. The revelation of Jesus to John 1:1-3

  • 1:1 Subject –
  • 1:1 Source –
  • 1:1 Scribe –
  • 1:1 Speed –
  • 1:2 Sight –
  • 1:3 Spiritual Blessing –

2. John writing to the seven churches 1:4-9

  • 1:4 Seven Churches
  • 1:4 Salutation
  • 1:4 Son – Who was, is, is to come
  • 1:4 Seven Spirits –
  • 1:5 Savior –
    • His character 1:5
    • His ministry 1:5-8
      • His present ministry –
      • His present work –
      • His future work –
      • His title –

SO WHAT?

  •  God wants you to know what is ahead in the future.
  • God wants you to know what is ahead in your future.
  • He wants you to know that Jesus Christ is the future.

NOW WHAT?

  •  I need to trust Him for my future.
  • I need to be content with His presence, not His presents, rewards, or blessings.
  • I need to build bridges to others to help them be content with His presence.
  • I need to share this material with two other people.

 Questions

  •  How is Revelation the capstone of the Bible?
  • Does God look at time the way we do? Why? and How so?
  • In what is the blessing found in this book?
  • Do people live for the present or the future? How so?
  • Why did/does God bless America?
  • What do I need to consider for my personal life related to the challenges in this passage?

Revelation – How to Approach It

Revelation (Part 3) – Jesus Revealed

How do you approach Revelation?  In order to understand why someone teaches Revelation the way he/she does, it is important to understand the four main ways people approach it. Here is a synopsis of the “Four approaches to Revelation.”

  1. The Spiritual approach – The prophecies of Revelation portray the ongoing cosmic conflict and the central theme of the triumph of good over evil.
  •  Strengths
    • There is a cosmic struggle – Rev 12 woman giving birth and a dragon wants to consume.
    • There is cleansing going on in the world, in which most are punished.
  • Weaknesses
    • It doesn’t hold to a natural reading of the text
    • It misses the point of God’s faithful promises to Israel
    • It misses the role of the church today and in the future Rev 2-3; 19-20

2. The Preterist approach – Revelation was fulfilled during the time of the Roman Empire, some specifically hold to completion by AD 70, or mainly in the first or first few centuries and not prophecy about the end of time.

  • Strengths
    • The judgment on Israel in AD 70 is very significant.
    • There were many challenges the early church had with Rome.
  • Weaknesses
    • It doesn’t hold to a natural reading of the events in the text.
    • It has no prophetic message to the church in the last 2000 years.
    • It misses the point of God’s faithful promises to Israel.
    • It misses the descriptions of Israel’s repentance, cleansing and regeneration during the Tribulation. Rev 6-18

3. The Historicist approach – Revelation is a survey of church history fulfilled in time and approaching the Second Coming of Christ. The churches of Revelation 2-3 describe the synopsis of all church history. 

  • Strengths
    • It declares God’s control of history. The emphasis is on God’s sovereignty.
    • It declares that Jesus is coming back in the future.
  • Weaknesses
    • It forgets the significant promises (covenants) God made to Israel, which will yet be fulfilled.
    • It forgets to let Daniel 2 and Ezekiel provide interpretation to Revelation.
    • It doesn’t recognize Daniel’s 70th week as the Tribulation period, yet to be fulfilled.
    • It declares the Catholic Church as the antichrist, which is erroneous.
    • It forces history as one thread (through Israel, to the Church, to Christ’s rule), but misses the big picture of separate phases of history and why they are unique.
    • It assumes interpretation, without letting Scripture interpret Scripture

4. The Futurist approach – Revelation 2-3 describe trends in the church age and Revelation 4 to the end describe literal events in the future.

  • Strengths
    • It looks at coming future events. This was promoted by the “Left Behind” series.
    • It promotes God is in control of events and is victorious in the end.
  • Weaknesses
    • Too many focus on a Eurocentric interpretation and make Romanism the antichrist. Although some believe this was written to get attention off of Romanism.
    • It leaves the church out of the book of Revelation, because Rev 2-3 ascribes what John saw in the first century, not succeeding centuries.

 

*   The Literal Historico-Grammatical approach to interpreting Scripture 

  • A Literal approach according to the type of writing
  • Historico– according to the history, background and culture in which it is found
  • Grammatical according to the word and verb meanings in their context

You must maintain “Authorial intent

 SO WHAT?

  • God is in control of history. We see struggle, but God is not struggling. He is sovereign. He is not struggling with how people interpret Scripture. Interpretation is part of growth.
  • Your method of Interpretation is everything in understanding Scripture. Everyone needs to learn what their approach is. If you want to grow and influence others, you will need to know how you approach Scripture and HOW YOU EXPECT YOUR BIBLE TEACHER TO APPROACH Scripture.

NOW WHAT?

  • Review your notes and ask, “How is my Bible leader approaching Scripture?”
  • Be a Berean. God knows the outcome.

Questions

  • What are reasons people plunge into the different approaches to Revelation?
  • Are there any dangers in choosing the wrong approach?
  • How would you define or describe what the “Literal Historico-grammatical” approach is?
  • The Literal HIstorico-grammatical approach is often considered difficult. Why?

Messianic Miracle 1

The Revelation of Jesus – 1st Advent

The First Deed of the Messiah – Healing of a Leper  Matt 8:2-3; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16

  1. Mosaic Law provided rules for many life and worship issues
    1. No cure for lepers in rabbinic writings.
    2. No record of any Israelite ever cured of leprosy after the Mosaic Law.
    3. Leprosy was left out of the Rabbinic cures. Why? Lev 13-14
      1. Report to priesthood, “I was a leper, but now I have been healed.”
      2. Priesthood to give two bird initial offering
      3. 7 day investigation to determine –
        • Was the person really a leper?
        • Was the person really healed of leprosy?
        • What were the circumstances of his healing?
    •     4. If the leper is healed, the priest shall go out of the camp on the 8th day, then four offerings

2. The Messianic cure of a leper Matt 8:2-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16

  1. 5:12 What was the circumstance?
  2. 5:13 What did Jesus do?
  3. 5:14 What did Jesus tell the one healed?
  4. 5:15 What happened next?
  5. 5:16 How did Jesus respond?

3. The Jewish leadership response M 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26

  • Luke 5:17 some of the Jewish leaders –
    • Observation –
    • Investigation –
    • Power of the Lord, present to heal him – Why?
  • Mark 2:1-12 Four friends brought a paralytic, but Jewish leaders blocked the way.

SO WHAT?

  • God came to man, spoke in man’s language, and acted to reveal credibility. Why? Because God loves man!
  • God functioned under His own Word, because He wrote it.
  • The leper did nothing to deserve the leprosy and God healed him.
  • God wants us challenged, will we believe Him? Will we balance our time to reach others for Christ and disciple them?

Now What?

  • God has already done everything,… Does that produce a passion to study, to pray, to sing, to witness His life?
  • Your greatest deliverance is from the power of sin.
  • You have the opportunity to learn the Word…. Will you do the Word? Trust the Word? Live out the power of the Word? Reach others for Christ and disciple them?

 Questions

  • What were the two kinds of miracles the religious leadership believed existed?
  • Why is there so much in Leviticus 13-14 about examination and cleansing of lepers if there was never one that was healed?
  • If Jesus touched the leper, why didn’t He become unclean?
  • Why did Jesus choose to heal this leper?
  • Did Jesus want the religious leadership to accept Him as Messiah? What did Jesus do?
  • What prevents you from continually believing that Jesus is the Messiah? What commands do we obey and what commands do we not obey?
  • What do we need to do?