Saturday, April 30, 2011

1 Timothy 4:6-16
Being A Good Servant

Here is the lesson for tomorrow in the Koinonia Bible Study Class

Being A Good Servant (6-16)

Teach these things and you will be a good servant of Christ. Some versions say “minister”, but the Greek word is “diakonos”, meaning one who serves. Timothy had the training to do so. (6)

“These things” could mean the things he just wrote about, false teachers forbidding marriage and requiring abstinence from certain foods. Or it could mean every thing he has written. Since, he says “these things” several times, I take it to mean the things he just discussed.

Avoid myths. (7)

Paul used the term “myths” (GR. Mythos) four times in 1-2 Timothy and once it Titus, where he referred to as Jewish myths. We cannot know for sure what is meant here, but the Jews had many extra-biblical writings that attempted to fill in the blanks of the Old Testament. We have various sorts of “Bible Fiction” today. I suggest avoiding all of it. God chose to reveal what he has revealed. It is more than enough for us to work at understanding. Do not let the devil distract you from knowing and understanding God’s word by spending your time speculating on what can not be known.

Instead of following myths, we should train for godliness.

Train for godliness.

What is “godliness”? The Greek word is “eusebeia”. It means piety. It means having reverence for God and doing the things that please God. An example is Cornelius in Acts 10. He is called devout, but it is the same Greek word. He was devout, verse 2 says, because he feared God with all his household, gave alms generously and prayed continually to God.

Physical training has value for only this life. Training for godliness has value in this life and the life to come. This is another of Paul’s “trust worthy sayings”. In verse 10, Paul said they strove and worked for godliness because their hope was on the living God. We live for something that has value in the life to come because we believe God lives in the life to come and we will be there with him. That is the hope of Easter.

How does one train for godliness? Immersion in and obedience to the Word of God.

In verse 10, Paul inserted a description of God, much as he did in Chapter 2, that causes some debate. He described God as: the Savior of all people especially of those who believe. The Universalist says this means all dogs go to heaven. Jesus died and saved all men, whether or not they believe. Of course, if that were true, there would be no weeds or tares, only wheat, and nothing would be gathered up at the harvest and cast into the fire.

Others believe this verse means God wants to save all men, but is thwarted by the will of unbelievers. The problem with that idea is that the verse does not say God wants to be the savior of all men. It says he is the savior of all men.

I think the word “savior” is used here as preserving or caring for. Each person on earth lives each day at God’s mercy. He could take them at any time, impose hardship on them, or subject them to deprivation. Each day that he provides for them is a day he preserves or saves them.

It is even more so for believers, as Paul says in verse 10. He preserves us and provides for us now, but also throughout eternity.

Beginning in 4:11, Paul started firing off short instructions for Timothy to follow in his own life and ministry.

In 11-12, he told Timothy to teach these things Paul has said. But he is also to command them. In other words, he is to demand obedience to Paul’s teaching as Paul’s delegate, his apostolic delegate if you will. Some might try to dismiss Timothy because he was younger, but Paul said not to let them. Instead, Timothy was to set an example in the purity of his speech and conduct, showing love, faith and purity.

It is harder to resist the leadership of one who lives a godly life than one who does not. An older man might resist the leadership of a younger man. But if the younger man shows himself to know the word, live it and teach it soundly, he proves himself worthy to lead.

Paul emphasized the ministry of the Word. Timothy was to devote himself to the Word by reading it publicly, exhorting or preaching and teaching (13). These are things we are to do when the church is assembled. The Word should be read and taught. The congregation should be urged to believe and obey it. This is based on the synagogue model. See Acts 13:13-16, Matthew 4:23, and Luke 4:14-1 for examples.

Justin Martyr gives witness to this custom in this First Apology, written around 150 A. D.

“On the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together in one place, and the memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has finished, the president speaks, instructing and exhorting the people to imitate these good things.”

In verse 14, Paul reminded Timothy this was his gift. He was not to neglect it. Rather he was to practice them and immerse himself in them. This would make him progress in spiritual maturity and ability and others would recognize his progress and be willing to follow him.

In verse 16, Paul warned Timothy to watch his own life and teaching. If he stayed true, he would save himself and his congregation. Again, I think “save” here means to preserve. He and this church would continue to exist and grow in maturity if Timothy stayed true to his calling and to the Word.
Being A Good Servant

At the funeral of Charles Hodge, professor of systematic theology at Princeton Seminary, William Paxton said:

When due allowance is made for his intellect and his learning, after all his chief power was in his goodness. Christ enshrined in his heart was the centre of his theology and his life. The world will write pon his monument GREAT; but we, his students, will write upon it GOOD.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

So, THAT'S why Gas Costs So Much

Exxon Mobile just announced it made an $11 billion profit for the quarter. So clearly the rise in gas prices is not just a matter of oil in the Middle East being expensive.

I'm sure Exxon is a well run company and it will hopefully use some of the money to find more oil, but it clearly is making money.

And of course, the President's stranglehold on domestic drilling is a factor. He says out of one side of his mouth that we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Out of the other side he prevents drilling so that our import numbers are soaring. If we could run our cars on hot air it would be perfect.

In addition, you always have to remember that a huge portion of the price of a gallon of gas is tax. The government could reduce the price of gas with one flourish of a pen.

I wish the liberals could come up with a new accusation. Every time you criticize Obama, they call you a racist. "Birther" was not enough. When Obama caved in to pressure from Trump and revealed his birth certificate at long last, the press began to call Trump a racist.

Really, is that the only alternative? If you do not agree with Obama's characterization of an event, the only alternative explanation is a racial motive. Give me a break. It is so trite it is stupid.

So, I have a proposal. If we call people who question where Obama was born "Birthers", I think we should call those who drop the race card on every trick "Racers".

Jimmy Carter, in North Korea of all places, accuses the U. S. of crimes against humanity.

Is there no way we can revoke his visa so he cannot return? Every time he goes overseas, he uncorks the criticisms of the U.S. that undermine diplomatic efforts.

In a country run by a mad man who starves, imprisons and represses his own people, threatens other countries to black mail them into giving him food, Carter criticizes the U. S.

It is hard to believe he was president.

Chrysler intends to pay back about $7 billion to the U.S. for the bail out loan. Maybe they will throw in a 300 sedan for the President to drive and save some gas.

Since the President led the U.S. invasion of Libya, we are running up quite a bill. Plus, although NATO now leads the way, who do you think is the big player and contributor to NATO?

It' not Belgium.

Although you could run the war for several days for the cost of the "royal wedding".

Say what you want, Trump rattled the president enough to get him to produce his birth certificate. No one else was able to do it.

Now, why the president did not just reveal it when they ruckus first started is beyond me. The issue of your qualification for the office is important enough to deal with. That is not even considering the campaign promise to be the transparent president.

By not revealing it until Trump started his questioning, the president clearly looks to be afraid of Trump. The MSM can spin that all they want, but any observer of human nature will give this round to Trump.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Britain will spend 30 billion on security for the royal wedding. It's good to know that modern times have not changed the propensity of royalty for excess.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Is California completely falling apart? Criminals fired on a police helicopter in Los Angeles, forcing it to land. When does crime become insurrection?

It sounds like time for a crack down.
China celebrated Easter by arresting Christians.

The Apostasy (4:1-5)

Chapter 3 ended with Paul’s description of the church as the pillar of the truth. In Chapter 4, in contrast, Paul said that, in later times, some will leave the faith because they would devote themselves to false teaching. He was empthatic. He said “the Spirit expressly says” some will leave. Paul warned the church several times of false teachers causing people to fall away.

Later times (or last days) means all the time of the church age, not some time far in the future.

In Acts 20:29, he warned the overseers of this very church that from within the church would come men who twisted the truth and draw away disciples.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, he said Christ would not return until the rebellion occurred and the man of lawlessness is revealed.

Peter wrote that scoffers would come in the last days, following their sinful desires and doubting Christ’s return. Peter 3:3

Our Lord himself taught that weeds would grow up among the wheat. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, sowed by the devil into the world. Matthew 13:38. In Matthew 24:10-11, he said many will fall away and false teachers will come.

So we should not be surprised that people leave the truth. The Lord clearly reveals that it will happen.

Here Paul said they would leave the truth to devote themselves to the false teaching from deceitful spirits. It is demonically driven, just as Jesus said. Paul demonstrated the spiritual nature of the conflict by contrasting “the Spirit expressly says” with “the teachings of demons”. Although the battle is fought through human beings, the underlying battle is still between spiritual forces. Remember that in Ephesians 6:10, Paul said to put on the whole armor of God so that we maybe be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. He has distorted the truth all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Jesus called him the father of lies. John 8:44.

It is important that we stand for the truth. We must preach and teach the gospel. We must be faithful to the Bible. For, even among us, are those who would pervert the truth. Jesus said we must worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:24.

Paul gave two examples: (1) forbidding marriage and (2) forbidding certain foods. Both of these teachings have surfaced many times in church history.

You cannot despise marriage because God created it and everything he created is good. It is interesting how often Paul goes to the creation story for the foundation of his teaching.

Paul showed that some are called to be single. But they are exceptions. It does not mean that marriage is bad or to be avoided. Baptists have probably gone to the other extreme, often ostracizing single people in their churches.

Paul said no food was forbidden. God made all food, so it was good. He gave it to us. We should receive it with thanksgiving. Our food is made holy by the word of God and prayer. God’s word in Genesis 1 is that all he created is good. All food that is thankfully received is holy for us, not just certain foods. James 1:17 says “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is o variation or shadow due to change.”

We are saved by grace through faith. We are preserved in the faith by God’s grace. He transforms us by his Spirit. This transformation is manifested by our works and behavior. For example, humility speaks of conversion, arrogance does not.

But the temptation often is to say I can prove I am holy by what I give up. This is asceticism. Monks gave up bathing. They ate only a little, maybe only bread and water. Paul said this is artificial piety, much like the Pharisee who broadcasted his fasting by painting his face white and looking unkempt as if he were really suffering. It becomes a life of work instead of a life of grace. If I give up enough stuff, God has to see that I am holy.

Paul says we may not condemn what God says is good. The Lord said this very thing to Peter in his vision in Acts 10. The Lord said “what God has made clean do not call common (or unclean)”.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dear A.C. Grayling:

Please get your own title for your book and do not steal ours. If you want to write a book for atheists that makes you feel good about humanity, have at it. But do not call it the Bible or any kind of Bible. It is not the Bible. The Bible contains scriptures for Christians. We believe it. If you do not believe it, or think it is important, do not steal its name and profit from it. Let your book stand on it's own.

Or is it that you cannot just compile a book of great thoughts, you must also jab at Christians? A little insult to stimulate some sales, possibly?

Grayling said "The Bible would have been “a very different book and may have produced a very different history for mankind had it drawn on the work of philosophers and writers as opposed to prophets and apostles." Certainly the Bible would have been a different book. Instead of being words inspired by God, it would be a collection of philosophies from men. I hate to say it to a Ph.D. but the best response to that statement is "duh".

It would not, however, produced a different humanity. All of the writings in your book have been available to millions of men and women through centuries of history and have not changed the fundamental nature of them. Aristotle's Greeks committed all the same atrocious acts as every other culture. The reason is not the book, it is the nature of men and women.

Human reason cannot create a better society, for each human reasons his way to a different vision of society based on his own desires. A philosopher may dream of a world where people spend their time thinking and writing in peace. However, another dreams of conquering the world and finds philosophers to validate his stance.

You go so far as to rip off the structure of the Bible. You begin with your own Genesis, a garden scene about Isaac Newton, the British scientist who "discovered". Ironically, Newton was a Christian who studied the Bible and wrote commentaries about it.

I'm glad you admit that the hunger for a spiritual connection continues. However, you cannot, as you maintain, satisfy for many by taking a walk in the country. Nature's beauty speaks of nature's creator. Involve man in it, and he throws cigarette wrappers and beer cans in it. He does not respond spiritually.

If he has spiritual yearnings, nature will not fulfill them. That is why, as many have turned away from Christianity due to attacks from atheists like you, they have tried to fill the void, not with humanism, but with other modes of spirituality, such as Eastern religion, mysticism, paganism or combinations of all of these.

So, I wish you would call your book what it is: not the Bible or the Good Book, but another futile scream in the dark saying "there is no God and I hate him".

Shortly after the President announced he will seek election for a second term, Rasmussen Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday finds only 19% of voters strongly approve of his performance. I guess that cuts down on the number of emails he has to send.

In contrast, 39% of voters strongly disapprove of his performance. The "nays" have it at this point. These are his lowest numbers ever.

Liberals are even unhappy with the President, who came from the left wing of the party. Only 37% of liberals strongly approve of the job he is doing. It could be that they are unhappy he campaigned as Jimmy Carter but has been acting like George Bush lately, invading a non-hostile country (Libya) and helping undermine the government of other countries. They may also be unhappy over his tax and economic moves lately, although you could argue he cannot operate in a truly liberal fashion with a fairly conservative House of Representatives slowing him down.

Still, when push comes to vote, Liberals will vote for Obama over a Republican candidate unless they decide to sit out, as many Repbulicans did to John McCain.

Ramming Obamacare down the throats of an unwilling public will not help his chances of election. The lack of a strong Republican candidate might help him. A truly conservative Republican candidate would galvanize the Left to turn out their vote.

In 2008, Obama won 53%-46% over that guy who ran against him. It is a long way 'til November for all concerned, not to mention voters who will have to suffer through all the posturing while knowing none of it means much.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Here is a good article by Russell Moore on consequences and the tv show Mad Men.

Monday, April 04, 2011


After working out like a Trojan on Sunday afternoon, I needed a good night's sleep. However, about 3:30 the spring thunderstorms kicked in with thunder, lightning, wind, rain and hail.

So, it like mission impossible getting out of bed and on to work this morning. In honor of that theme, you should listen to this acapella rendition of the theme song by the Swingle Singers.