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Last update: 2009-11-17

God's Ways are not Your Ways!

2009-11-17 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)


God's Ways are not Your Ways!
PODCAST
Time: 23 minutes

This is a podcast that explains our paper titled My Ways are not Your Ways.

CLICK HERE FOR A COPY OF THE PAPER


Technorati:christian podcast,podcast,podcast,PODCASTING,BIBLE STUDY PODCAST,
FAITH PODCASTING


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1 Corinthians 7: Marriage and Paul Sermon

2009-10-10 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)


1 Corinthians 7: Marriage and Paul

This is a sermon podcast on 1 Corinthians 7 given at the Bible Truth Fellowship on
October 4, 2009.

(Click HERE for the Bible verses)

Technorati:christian podcast,podcast,podcast,PODCASTING,BIBLE STUDY PODCAST,
FAITH PODCASTING

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Cultural Background and the Gospel of John

2009-06-21 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)



Question:
Discuss the possible cultural background of the Gospel of John. Suggest what sort of historical-cultural situation John’s Gospel might have been originally intended to address.

Answer:
The Gospel of John differs from the Synoptic Gospels by “translating” certain elements when compared to the Synoptic Gospels in order to probably reach a different audience. For example, in the Gospel of John, it is mentioned that the presence of eternal life exists here and now . The New Testament speaks in a tone (in regards to eternal life) as an event to take place in the future and the Gospel of John speaks about eternal life as being already here which would be similar to the Synoptic Gospels phrase “the kingdom of God” being present now and to be fully realized in the future. This translated point that eternal life exists here and now suggests that the audience were not Jews and would not be familiar with the meaning of the phrase “the kingdom of God”. This would then suggest that the audience were Gentiles. The tradition of the Early Church holds the belief that the Gospel of John was written by either “John the Elder”, or “John the Apostle”. Even though it is uncertain who exactly wrote this Gospel, the consensus is that this Gospel was composed in Ephesus, Syria, or Alexandria . These three areas were predominately Gentile, or in the case of Alexandria, separated enough from Jewish influence that the audience would understand the changes that the Gospel of John speak of if compared to the Synoptic Gospels. When looking at the choice of words that the Gospel of John uses and in light of the historical information as to where this Gospel was composed, it is logical to suggest that the intended audience were Gentiles who would not understand Judaic concepts or beliefs. …

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Revelation and the People of God

2009-06-13 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)


Question:
In the book of Revelation, how do the people of God come to participate in the reign of God and the Lamb, what’s their role in conquering the bad guys? What are one or two implications for what we are called to as we follow Jesus today.


Answer:
The people of God come to participate in the reign of God and the Lamb by becoming a saint, being part of the first resurrection of Christ, or being one of the 144,000. The role they serve in conquering the bad guys is to offer praises to the Lord. The angels of the Lord battle with Satan and his minions...there is not a reference in Revelation that any of us actually "battle" anyone. One or two implications for what we are called to as we follow Jesus today is summarized well in Revelation 14:7: ..."Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water." …

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Jesus in Hebrews

2009-05-27 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)


Question:
According to Hebrews, what is the significance of Jesus’ work for the everyday life of the people of God? How might this be applied to your contemporary context (is there something analogous to the struggles confronting the recipients of the letter)?

Answer:
Jesus was the final sacrifice for sin creating a New Covenant, which ushered in a new period for all the people of God who are ruled by faith and are being "assured" of what is hoped for and certain of what is not seen (Heb. 11:1).

In regards to the work of the every day life of the people of God, we need to: keep loving each other as brothers and sisters, entertain strangers (spread the gospel message), remember those in bondage, honor marriage, keep our lives free from this world, remember our leaders (apostles), test our faith being careful not to be led astray by strange teachings, continually offer God praise, do “God’s good works” and share these with others, and pray (Heb. 13).

Applying this to our context today, not much has changed, though more stress can be put on the author's call for perseverance. Faith requires action, which is proven in the many examples in chapter 11, and we need to "draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith" to follow the path God has laid out before us (Heb. 11:22). …

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Paul, God, and Ecclesiology

2009-05-19 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)



Question:

In Paul’s letters, who is God, which is to say, how is God’s identity shaped by the scriptures of Israel and the Christ event? Answer this question in one or two sentences. Then answer this: How does the identity of God, shaped as it is by the scriptures of Israel and the Christ event, impact an argument that Paul makes about who God’s people are (ecclesiology) or what they should do (ethics) in any one passage of your choosing (restricted to Romans through Thessalonians, not the Pastoral Epistles)?

Answer:

Paul brings the God of the Old Testament who was the God of the Hebrews into a new light to the rest of the world when Jesus was crucified and resurrected...Paul is bringing this same Hebrew God to the Gentiles as the Creator of all, the God of both Jew and Gentile, the God of all.

Paul's identity of God's people shaped by the scriptures of Israel and the Christ event is best summarized by the following passage:

(My statement is that the identification of God's people is the church...not a denomination...but the body of believers be it a converted Jew or converted Gentile...)

1 Corinthians 12:12-27 (New International Version)

12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized bya]">[a] one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.


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1 Thessalonians

2009-05-11 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)


If the only evidence you had of the existence of Christianity were 1 Thessalonians, how would you answer these questions: (1) What is the Christian message? (2) How would you know if someone you met was a Christian?

What is the Gospel message in Thessalonians?

We have been chosen by God to turn away from our sinful lives in order to serve the one true God who sent His Son to rescue us from our sins; His Son died for us, was resurrected from the dead, and is now in heaven and continues to rescue us from the coming wrath.
This answer uses 1 Thessalonians 1:4, and 1:9-10.

How can you tell through Thessalonians who a Christian is? It is through their works of faith originated in the Holy Spirit, the way they toil in their works (or occupations) through the love for Christ, and their patience stemming from the hope in regards to the coming of the New Creation. (1 Thessalonians chapter one, chapter two, and chapter three in succession.) …

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Peter's Speech in Acts 2:14-41

2009-04-23 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)


Question:

Based only on Peter's speech on Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41) and the incident with Cornelius (Acts 10), answer these questions: What is the gospel message? What aspect of that message do the people in your context (church, work, neighborhood, etc.—pick one) most need to hear?


Answer:

One of the Hebrew prophets, Joel, prophesied that the Spirit would pour out on God's people. Who exactly are God's people? Jew? Gentile? Or both? The time is now, and now we are to heed the words that those who believe, repent, become baptized, and then whom the Spirit will "pour out" on, are God's people. God's people are no longer known by a particular tribe, race, social or political standing. It is available to all people regardless of their background and sin.

What is available to God's people? First, atonement from any and all sins, second, a heavenly promise of eternal life, third, a heavenly power that is sent by God to teach, guide, and protect His people at all times, and finally, become part of a new family. This is available here and now...right now...for those who fall under the "new" definition of God's people be it a converting Jew or a converting Gentile. By this new definition, all people are given this eternal opportunity. In these difficult economic times, many have questioned what the meaning of life is about. Some do not know where to turn and the Gospel message is to turn to Jesus. …

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EASTER SUNDAY MESSAGE 2009

2009-04-12 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)

Gospel
Jn 20:1-9

On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.

SERMON:
Do you flip flop in your mind with the question if Jesus was just a good and wise teacher and not the Messiah? I ask you this question: Do you believe that He rose from a grave?

His Life poured out for us...the ransom was paid. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

On the third day He said He would rise from the grave...AND HE ROSE FROM THE GRAVE! (Mark 9:31, Mark 16:16)

What? Wait!
Some say that Jesus is just a good and wise teacher or just a prophet!

Good & WISE?
Wise in the context that He said He would rise from the grave?
No, you should say that Jesus is "good" & CRAZY...instead of calling Him good & wise!

A prophet?
No, a Lunatic!
What prophet said that they could rise from the dead?

No mortal man can say that they can conquer the grave...

Good and wise...How could He rise? Either Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the I AM, the Creator...OR NOT!

BUT NO MAN HAS EVER, COULD EVER, OR WILL EVER RISE FROM THE GRAVE ON HIS OWN!

Luke 24:34
and saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon."

IF JESUS DID NOT RISE...THEN OUR FAITH IS IN VAIN!!!

Thankfully, Christianity IS BASED ON FACT!

These facts are:

1) BROKEN ROMAN SEAL (Matt 27:66)

The consequences of breaking the seal were extremely severe. If they were apprehended, it meant automatic execution by crucifixion upside down. People feared the breaking of the seal.

2) EMPTY TOMB (John 20:1)

The disciples of Christ did not go off to Athens or Rome to preach that Christ was raised from the dead. Rather, they went right back to the city of Jerusalem, where, if what they were teaching was false, the falsity would be evident. The empty tomb was "too notorious to be denied." Both Jewish and Roman sources admit an empty tomb.

3) LARGE STONE MOVED (Matt 28:2)

On that Sunday morning the first thing that impressed the people who approached the tomb was the unusual position of the one and a half to two ton stone that had been lodged in front of the doorway. All the Gospel writers mention it.

4)ROMAN GUARD GOES AWOL (Matt 28:12-15)

The Roman guards fled. They left their place of responsibility. How can their attrition he explained, when Roman military discipline was so exceptional?

5)GRAVE CLOTHES TELL A TALE (John 20:4-8)

In a literal sense, against all statements to the contrary, the tomb was not totally empty--because of an amazing phenomenon. John, a disciple of Jesus, looked over to the place where the body of Jesus had lain, and there were the grave clothes, in the form of the body, slightly caved in and empty--like the empty chrysalis of a caterpillar's cocoon. That's enough to make a believer out of anybody. John never did get over it.

6)JESUS' APPEARANCES CONFIRMED (John 20:1-31)

Christ appeared alive on several occasions after the cataclysmic events of that first Easter and there where MORE THAN enough witnesses who saw him after HE ROSE TO CONFIRM IT AS A FACT!

7) In Paul's day, there were 500 or so people who personally saw Jesus after He rose on the third day!

These eyewitnesses TESTIFIED to this FACT. 500 people in Paul's day alone! (Acts 2:32)

There are more facts...but a question to the doubter...What more proof do you want?

What more does Jesus have to do in order for you to have faith?
If He did do what you ask, Would it really change your mind or would you doubt what you saw also?

THERE IS ONLY ONE JESUS!

Either He is a FRAUD, a NUT, OR Jesus is the Messiah!

EVERYONE LIVING TODAY MUST TAKE A HONEST LOOK AT THE FACTS FOR THEMSELVES...THE FACTS OF HIS RESURRECTION

DID JESUS RISE FROM THE GRAVE ...OR NOT??

JUST DON'T CALL HIM A GOOD AND WISE TEACHER OR A PROPHET!

This Easter, let us realize the truth found in John 1:10-14:

10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.

11He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.

12 Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed (faith"eth") in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—

13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.


14 The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only,who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


John 11:25
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth (faith"eth") in Me, though he were dead,yet shall he live:

If you seek a human teacher who will come up with a human philosophy on how to live a moral life and "be good enough" then for heavens sake find some one other than Jesus!

Why believe in a "man" who exorcised demons from people, ran around calling Himself the "I AM" and told people He would rise from the grave?

If you know that there is a spiritual side of this universe, that you are a sinner, understand why we are all sinners, can understand that this is not a guilt trip but a way of humility, seek to be forgiven and hear the call to Christ... then rejoice!!! For the problem has been solved and your faith leads to salvation in Christ who is the only path to eternal life.

Rejoice for the price of your sins past, present, and future has been paid for.

No one comes to the Father unless they come through Jesus...that is the message and that is the Truth.

God Bless you this Easter Sunday.


Technorati:sermons,sermon,Christianity,preaching,bible,bible reading,bible-reading,john 2

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GOOD FRIDAY MESSAGE 2009

2009-04-10 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)

Gospel
Jn 18:1—19:42

Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valleyto where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered.
Judas his betrayer also knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.
So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?”

They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
He said to them, “I AM.”
Judas his betrayer was also with them.
When he said to them, “I AM, “
they turned away and fell to the ground.

So he again asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They said, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
Jesus answered, “I told you that I AM.

So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill what he had said, “I have not lost any of those you gave me.” Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter,
“Put your sword into its scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?”

So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound him, and brought him to Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas,who was high priest that year.
It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Now the other disciple was known to the high priest,and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus.
But Peter stood at the gate outside.

So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in. Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, “You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”

Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold, and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm.

The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me?
Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said.” When he had said this,
one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?”

Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm. And they said to him, “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.”

One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said,
“Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?” Again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crowed.

Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium. It was morning. And they themselves did not enter the praetorium, in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and said, “What charge do you bring against this man?”
They answered and said to him, “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” At this, Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.” The Jews answered him, “We do not have the right to execute anyone, “

in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled that he said indicating the kind of death he would die. So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him,
“Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”

Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”

So Pilate said to him,“Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

When he had said this, he again went out to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in him.
But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover. Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews? They cried out again, “Not this one but Barabbas!”
Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”And they struck him repeatedly. Once more Pilate went out and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”
So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And he said to them, “Behold, the man!” When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out,
“Crucify him, crucify him!”

Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.”
The Jews answered, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” Now when Pilate heard this statement, he became even more afraid,
and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus,

“Where are you from?”
Jesus did not answer him. So Pilate said to him, “Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?”
Jesus answered him,
“You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”
Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out,
“If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar.
Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out and seated him on the judge’s bench
in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha. It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon. And he said to the Jews,
“Behold, your king!” They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!”
Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?”
The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, and, carrying the cross himself, he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross.
It read, “Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.”

Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate,

“Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews’.”
Pilate answered,
“What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares,
a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down.
So they said to one another,
“Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be, “
in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says:
They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots. This is what the soldiers did.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.


Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and that they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first
and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.

An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth,
so that you also may come to believe. For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled: Not a bone of it will be broken.
And again another passage says:
They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews,
asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus.And Pilate permitted it.
So he came and took his body. Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night,
also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds.

They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices,
according to the Jewish burial custom. Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.

SERMON:

Our Lord God is all forgiving and all powerful.
Our Lord God is also JUST and RIGHTEOUS.

Our Lord God's righteousness and justice demand that sin be punished (Romans 3:23; 6:23).

Since all sin is ultimately committed against God (Psalm 51:4), the only just punishment for sin is death (Roman 6:23).

We know this fact well...BECAUSE WE ALL DIE.

Question:
How will you ever be righteous in the eyes of God?

Do you think that your works, forgiveness of sins by a man, long and repetitive prayers, or even the saints will help you become righteous in God's eyes?

Really? If you do not know who Jesus is and why He died for your sin, then these acts do nothing! Faith is your actions based on the belief of Jesus as the Messiah and sustained in your life every 24 hour period. It is not a blindness to the Truth or a slight understanding of who Jesus is or who you think He is. The Truth is found in the Holy Bible and only by studying it will you learn the Truth. Your works, confessions, prayers, and holy saints do not take your sin away. There is only one way that can be done. Its time for some action...YOUR ACTION.

Thank the Lord that He has provided salvation beyond the ways of man!!
HOW?

1. Jesus Christ was God in the flesh (John 1:1, 14)

2. When Jesus died on the cross, He died WITHOUT SIN...and the world (with Satan), OWES THE LORD GOD HIS LIFE BACK. (Hebrews 9:15-17 15).

3. The world (with Satan) CANNOT give the Lord God His life back...for no one but the Lord God is the Creator of Life. (John 1:1-5, 14, 17 and 18)

4. Because Jesus was PERFECT and He was CRUCIFIED for being SINLESS... the world owes Him HIS Life...HE GIVES YOU LIFE BY YOUR FAITH"ing" IN HIM...
ASK HIM...KNOW HIM...READ HIS WORD...LIVE BY HIM! TOTAL FAITH"ing"!!!

5.
John 11:25
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life:
he that believeth (faith"eth") in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

6.
Jesus’ death was sufficient to pay for all the sins that have ever been committed (2 Corinthians 5:21).

7.
John 3: 16-21

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

"For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

"But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

A GIFT OF GIFTS...FROM THE LORD OF LORDS AND KING OF KINGS!
This gift is available only by your action of accepting it and living through it.
That's the beginning of faith! Walk with Him and know Him.

For another uplifting lesson on this Good Friday...
Read the sermon:
GO AND SIN NO MORE!



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Slaves and Masters: Ephesians 6:5-9

2009-01-13 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)


Ephesians 6:5-9

“Slaves and Masters”

5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters
with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart,

Comments:
Question: What made them masters? What made them slaves?

In order to become a slave…what happened? You owed! Who? The Master. You owe…you then must obey. It’s a contract. Slaves obey…thus fulfill your contract by doing your job. Why with reverence? The reverence is for your overseer. He has a job to do and you are working for him. Why with fear? In this scenario, it is about respect for his right to judge your work. Why with sincerity of heart? Sincerity of heart is simply concentrating on doing the job.


just as you would obey Christ.
6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you,
but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,
8 because you know that the Lord will reward
everyone for whatever good he does,
whether he is slave or free.

Comments:
Would you obey Christ? Why? Is it because it is the right thing to do? Why obey the masters? Again, it is the right thing to do, for it is a contact that you have placed yourself in. The contracted job needs to be done whether the master is watching you or not. Your True Master is God who is in heaven and sees all. He knows how you became a slave…he knows what you are capable of. Isn’t He the One who gives you the strength to accomplish the task?


9And masters, treat your slaves in the same way.
Do not threaten them,
since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven,
and there is no favoritism with him.

Comments:

Isn’t this true for both slave and master? There is no need to threaten…the purpose is to get the job done. Be reasonable in getting the job done. The masters role is to use the contracted help in order to get the job done. He is not the creator of the slave. He owns the contract…not the slave. Remember in the times of slavery talked about in the Old Testament, these contracts have a time limit. Slavery then in the times of Christ and before, and slavery that we know about today (for example, making people “cattle” in which they are owned) are two entirely different things. One is a time limited contract, and the other is permanent ownership.

Can you see how this verse has a “layered meaning”. First, for this world and how it can be viewed…and second, how this verse is also talking about the condition of the body after the time line or “this life” is over?

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Pelagius and Romans Chapter 5

2009-01-07 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)


Augustine’s argument against Pelagius was based on Romans 5. Read Romans 5 for yourself and construct your own understanding of salvation. Can you see the basis for Augustine’s argument? Can you think of passages in Scripture that might support Pelagius? How would you describe a theology of sin and salvation to a person who was exploring the Christian faith?

Answer:



I wanted to illustrate two points: first, what my idea of salvation is in regards to Romans 5...and second, to bring this topic to current understanding within the whole Church...Protestant and Roman Catholic/Orthodox:

First, in regards to Romans 5, I agree that physical death entered into this world through Adam (Romans 5:17). It is a fact that all men and women physically die from Adam till now. Is this a physical or spiritual death? Or both? Sin is passed through the father's seed, hence another reason why the Holy Spirit conceived Jesus in Mary's womb and Joseph had to "adopt" Jesus. We all agree that Jesus was "sinless" and thus, the Original Sin problem is conquered through the conception of the Holy Spirit in Mary.

Before the Law, one must asked the question if sin was reconcilable. I believe that in the times before the Law, judgement was personal according to how one lived...listening to the Lord or choosing the word of Satan.
When the Law was received through Moses, it served as a means to reconcile, if followed correctly. Who followed this correctly? For all men and women have died? Paul states in Romans 5:12 that "all have sinned" and thus all will die. There is a question mark on the destination of the soul or where their soul goes...heaven or hell.

Forwarding through to the New Testament...the first sin is the sin that kills you...and there is a need for salvation. The Law serves as a mirror to realize the imperfection and need for salvation through Jesus....all men and women physically die...but NOT spiritually and this is the "fulfillment of the Law" through the act of Jesus conquering death of the body and soul by His crucifixion. Original sin exists for all of us, and thus is fulfilled through physical death...but there is still the concern of the soul...does this die with the body or lives eternally? This is the reason for why Christ had to die...in order for us to be justified through faith so that we do not die spiritually...Satan does not receive our body AND soul, Satan can keep the body, but the soul is Christ's ....because of the original sin of Adam...we must die physically until the "New Heaven and New Earth".

Now to the second point....
I have attended through the years, a Bible study where one of my friends attended Dallas Theological Seminary and Golden Gate Baptist Seminary. If you would like to confront the question of "original sin" and the differences in belief today in the Church between Augustine and Pelagius...all you need to ask is the following question...

If a baby who is 2 months old dies, and is not baptized, will it go to heaven or hell?

First, allow me to expound on Orthodox and Roman Catholic views...they would state that this is the reason for the belief in "Limbo" or Purgatory. Second, if the baby was baptized...it would go to heaven. Third, if the baby was not baptized, it would possibly go to Purgatory or hell depending on the sins of the father. (This was explained to me by a Christian Brother when I attended Catholic high-school).

My friend in this Bible Study explained his beliefs through the following statements...he refuses to believe in a "punishing" God and thus does not believe in "Original Sin". His beliefs are that the human will must become developed so that one can consciously choose to break the Law...until that happens...the baby goes to heaven. The question is when does a conscious human will develop? Five, six or seven years old, or before? Until one is aware of God's Law and is aware of choosing between the Commandments and sin...it is wrong to condemn a baby or child. Hence, if one is not aware of why they are being baptized by water...there is no point.

The differences in doctrine of Original Sin still exist today...some of the Protestant community do not believe in this doctrine and those of the Orthodox./Roman Catholic denomination adhere to the teaching of Augustine.

I personally do believe in both Original Sin and condemnation through the deliberate breaking of the Law requiring then faith in the Creator, who lived in a tent of flesh and was crucified for the promise of Salvation. The condemnation of Original Sin is fulfilled through the fact that all men and women physically die...and justification for the eternal life of the soul comes through Christ who will thus bring a New Heaven and New Earth just as it was supposed to be with Adam and Eve once again through the resurrection of the dead " physical bodies". Our soul is Christ's and not under Satan's ownership... however, Satan does take ownership of our physical bodies upon our death and Christ will fulfill the promise that we live eternally when the New Heaven and New Earth is fulfilled as in John 's Revelation. …

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The Humanity and Divinity of Jesus

2009-01-07 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)


Apollinarius, Nestorius, and Eutyches did not set out to invent unorthodox Christologies. On the contrary, they developed their views in response to what they considered to be unworthy beliefs about Jesus Christ. Remember that these three were church leaders, known for their piety. In the Church today, there are faithful people who might share some of their views.

Imagine that you are talking with a friend from church about salvation through Christ. This person says, “I believe that Jesus was completely God. How could he have done all those miracles and lived without sin if he wasn’t fully divine? But I have hard time seeing Jesus as relating to me, because he was so perfectly divine. How does he know what I go through? He was God, so everything must have come so easily for him.” How would you respond? Write a message to your friend, explaining your beliefs about the humanity and divinity of Jesus.


Answer:

I would start by confirming the fact that my friend who believes that Jesus was 100% God, is a huge hurdle to theologically overcome, but is essential for salvation. My congratulations would be extended in this revelation, and I would explain the issue of “I have a hard time seeing Jesus relating to me, because He was so perfectly Divine” in the following message:

Dear Brother / Sister,

Praise the Lord for revealing the Truth that indeed our Lord was 100% divine. Allow me to explain the Truth that He was also 100% Man and why this is so important…

There are two main reasons that I will point out that are important to reflect on:

1) Kinsman Redeemer
2) Jesus knows all things regarding the nature of mankind and can help in all issues pertaining to the flesh.

Point #1: Kinsman Redeemer

As in Levitical Law and as illustrated in the Book of Ruth…the rule is this:

If you became so poor that you had to sell yourself into slavery (like the slavery you sold yourself into by sinning), the only way that you can get out of bondage is:

1) Person must be of kin
2) Person must have the price
3) Person must pay the price

The Kinsman Redeemer act was fulfilled because:

1) Jesus was born of a woman and was thus born into mankind making him KIN…
2) Jesus lived a perfect life without sin, thus had the ability to NOT physically die
3) Jesus paid the price by being crucified and thus the world owes Him his life back.
Since the world cannot give Him his life back, the world owes Him life. This catch-22 means that He has conquered death in this world.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him (He shall give life to---authors added here) shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Point #2 He knows all things regarding Human Nature

Since we have established your Truth that Jesus is completely God…let us look at why it is so important to establish the Truth of what it means that he is also completely Man.

The Lord came and lived in a tent of flesh among us. 100% God became Man and thus is 100% God and 100% man. Jesus knows what it is to suffer, has personally witnessed what it is to have ailments, to become possessed, to cry, to laugh, to live in this world…look at what Jesus did in his time in this tent of flesh. You have a personal advocate with the Father who truly understands the condition of mankind! He understands everything that a man or woman can endure on their time on earth. An angel cannot claim this knowledge! The ascended Jesus can personally and thoroughly understand your petitions as both God and Man! There is no other point in the history of this world that this claim can be made. If you have any issues pertaining to the flesh, the humanity of Jesus KNOWS 100% what is needed for you! If you have any issues pertaining to the spirit, the divinity of Jesus KNOWS 100% what is needed for you!

Rest in this fact!

I depart with the following Scripture passage:

2 Corinthians 5:19

“that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." …

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Should the Bible contain 66 books?

2009-01-01 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)


The professor has recommended including the Old Testament Apocrypha in your devotional reading. If you have never read these works, find a copy of the Bible that includes them and peruse one or more books. What themes, language, and theology in the Apocrypha are similar to those in the Old Testament canon? If you were at the Council of Carthage, what stand would you have taken on these works? Do you find texts in the Apocrypha that would cause you to doubt whether they should be included in the canon?


Answer:
When I read Macabees, I couldn't help but think that this book was written in a similar style as Judges, Kings, and Samuel. This book would fall under the category of "history" and I see nothing in it that is historically incorrect or misleading. The only statement I could make about it in a negative way is that God is not speaking in this book, it is a man who is writing down these events.

Esdras was a very interesting work. I cannot help but see similarities between the book of Daniel and Esdras. I would categorize these book as definitely prophetic. The three headed eagle in II Esdras 11:1, captured my attention and thoughts for a while! I see nothing wrong with Esdras and feel that they are prophetically inspired!

I do have a question... Where is the Book of Enoch in this list? The Ethiopian bible still has this book as the very first work in place of Genesis. I studied the history of this book a while ago, and can only remember that (and I am paraphrasing here) it was "too scary" for the public.

Here is a link to this work: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/boe/

If I was at the Council of Carthage, I would have agreed that these works were to remain as part of devotional reading and would agree that they should be incorporated into the study of Scripture. The only reason I would not include some of them would be based off of what is being told and by whom...God or man? …

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Monasticism

2008-12-20 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)


Question:
If you live near a monastery or convent, speak with one or more of the monks or nuns. Ask them to explain their understanding of the Scripture verses (1 Corinthians 7 and Revelation 14) to which the professor refers. How do their understandings compare to what you know of fourth-century monastic thought? Otherwise, explore a website, book, or magazine article about monasticism, seeking answers to the same questions.

How do monastic beliefs relate to your understanding of human sexual relations and other appetites?


Answer:
Since monasticism is confined mostly to the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church, I decided to research the Roman Catholic Catechism in order to get their statements on this topic.

“1579 All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate "for the sake of the kingdom of heaven."[70] Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to "the affairs of the Lord,"[71] they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church's minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God.[72]”
(http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/orders.html#ORDERS)

Pertaining to 1 Corinthians 7, the Catechism states:

"922 From apostolic times Christian virgins, called by the Lord to cling only to him with greater freedom of heart, body, and spirit, have decided with the Church's approval to live in a state of virginity "for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven."[461]
923 "Virgins who, committed to the holy plan of following Christ more closely, are consecrated to God by the diocesan bishop according to the approved liturgical rite, are betrothed mystically to Christ, the Son of God, and are dedicated to the service of the Church."[462] By this solemn rite (Consecratio virginum), the virgin is "constituted . . . a sacred person, a transcendent sign of the Church's love for Christ, and an eschatological image of this heavenly Bride of Christ and of the life to come."[463]
924 "As with other forms of consecrated life," the order of virgins establishes the woman living in the world (or the nun) in prayer, penance, service of her brethren, and apostolic activity, according to the state of life and spiritual gifts given to her.[464] Consecrated virgins can form themselves into associations to observe their commitment more faithfully.[465] "
(http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDH/church4.html#CONSECRATED)

Pertaining to Revelation 14:4, the Catechism states:

“Virginity for the sake of the Kingdom
1618 Christ is the center of all Christian life. The bond with him takes precedence over all other bonds, familial or social.[113] From the very beginning of the Church there have been men and women who have renounced the great good of marriage to follow the Lamb wherever he goes, to be intent on the things of the Lord, to seek to please him, and to go out to meet the Bridegroom who is coming.[114] Christ himself has invited certain persons to follow him in this way of life, of which he remains the model:

"For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."[115]
(Matthew 19:12)

1619 Virginity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven is an unfolding of baptismal grace, a powerful sign of the supremacy of the bond with Christ and of the ardent expectation of his return, a sign which also recalls that marriage is a reality of this present age which is passing away.[116]
1620 Both the sacrament of Matrimony and virginity for the Kingdom of God come from the Lord himself. It is he who gives them meaning and grants them the grace which is indispensable for living them out in conformity with his will.[117] Esteem of virginity for the sake of the kingdom[118] and the Christian understanding of marriage are inseparable, and they reinforce each other:
Whoever denigrates marriage also diminishes the glory of virginity. Whoever praises it makes virginity more admirable and resplendent. What appears good only in comparison with evil would not be truly good. The most excellent good is something even better than what is admitted to be good.[119]"
(http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/matri.html#MATRIMONY)

COMMENTARY:
I do see that the Catechism correlates with fourth century monastic thought even to this day. I find that little has changed in these writing from what we have read in our textbooks. The quote from the Gospel of Matthew is interesting in regards to the eunuchs, I can see how those who have suffered great pain through a loss of a loved one, have strong sexual urges, or are born without a desire to have sex, could be justification for this view. However, is it a shelter for those just like Christ is a shelter for condemned individuals who have sinned? I have a problem with “elevating” someone because of a purely physical act. How does the physical ever attain the spiritual? Isn’t this the reason why the body dies? I do not think that “elevating” celibacy is Scriptural or a “better way” or gives someone “brownie points”. It may eliminate distractions, but eliminating distractions does not bring about salvation. Once saved always saved…or if I am celibate, am I more saved than someone who is not celibate? That is an odd twist…
Here is a commentary from a Protestant site that I found:

“Question: "Does the Bible teach the celibacy of priests?"

Answer: This is an interesting question to answer, as the Bible does not even teach that there are to be “priests” in the New Covenant established by Christ. Please read our articles on the “priesthood of believers” and “confession of sin to a priest” for more information. The Bible addresses the celibacy of church leaders, but not priests.

In regards to celibacy of church leaders, in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, the Apostle Paul teaches, “An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs — how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world — how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided” (1 Corinthians 7:32-34). In some instances, celibacy has a positive impact on ministry. If a church leader is free from spousal and familial responsibilities, he can better focus on ministering to others. Jesus mentions some becoming “eunuchs” for the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:23). Celibacy is definitely allowed for church leaders, and to a certain degree, it is encouraged. However, Scripture nowhere requires celibacy for those serving in positions of church leadership.

In 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9, the Apostle Paul seems to assume that elders, bishops, overseers, and deacons will be married. Notice the phrases: “the husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2,12; Titus 1:6), “he must manage his own family well” (1 Timothy 3:4,12), “his children obey him with proper respect” (1 Timothy 3:4; Titus 1:6). On a related issue, please read our article on whether these Scripture mean that a church leader must be married and have children. While these Scriptures are not a requirement for church leaders to be married, they most definitely present an allowance for church leaders to be married. It is therefore anti-biblical for any church to require celibacy of its leaders.

Why, then, does the Roman Catholic Church (and a few other Christian denominations) require celibacy of its church leaders / priests? The celibacy of priests has an interesting history. The first official church statements requiring celibacy appeared at the councils of Elvira (A.D. 306) and Carthage (A.D. 390), although clerical celibacy, to a lesser degree, definitely predated these councils. Ultimately, though, celibacy became the official requirement of the Roman Catholic Church due to the practice of nepotism. Church leaders were giving their children positions in the church, despite a lack of any qualifications or training. Further, church leaders were giving church property to their descendants. As a result, the Roman Catholic Church mandated celibacy in order to keep its priests from having familial attachments which made nepotism attractive.

Again, the Bible encourages, but does not demand celibacy. In fact, Paul recognizes that most church leader will be married. The Roman Catholic requirement of celibacy is a sad example of the Church taking something that the Bible encourages, and transforming it into a requirement, in order to protect its own interests.”
(http://www.gotquestions.org/celibacy-priests.html)


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Church Governance

2008-12-03 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)


Question:

Do some first-hand research on different forms of church governance. You may want to interview a minister, priest, or lay-member from a Christian tradition different from yours—Protestant, Orthodox, or Catholic. How do you understand authority in the church? Where does authority reside to decide between conflicting understandings of Scripture or theology? What would be the advantages and disadvantages of being ruled by a bishop who is empowered to make a final decision? Compare this to a congregational or representative form of government. What can you learn from this different perspective that will enhance your appreciation for the variety of ways that the church governs itself?


I recently attended an Episcopal Church and talked with the priest. He was Anglican and was now in charge in an Episcopal church. One striking difference was that this was a "Protestant" church but still provided a communion and a Sunday "Eucharist". I asked the priest about this and he told me that since he was an ordained Angelican priest he could claim Apostolic succession. Since he could claim Apostolic succession, he could properly and rightfully provide the "Eucharist". Since I attended Roman Catholic high school (I am non-denominational) I knew that even this supposed close tie to Apostolic succession was not recognized in the Roman Catholic Church. As far as my education went, when England split from Rome, all Apostolic succession ended when that split occurred and thus all other churches and denominations were "anathema" or not recognized. A bishop still approves decision in this denomination and thus still tries to follow the succession of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox church. It was interesting that titles were more important than what was taught through sermons or bible study. To me the authority resides in the Holy Spirit and those who obviously have the Spirit and teach through Scripture. Authority seems to reside in the top hierarchy of the particular denomination such as Episcopal, and individual priest do not have the ability to teach as the Spirit shows them but only as the the governing councils have agreed to. The advantages of such a form of governance is that off the wall and "unorthodox" biblical teaching would be eliminated and that the sermons stayed the same as they have for hundred of years. The disadvantages included the inability to grow with changing times and a type of close mindedness when it came to biblical exegesis. This form of governance is like a pyramid and is a popular business management model that is still in use today. The pope or bishop is at the top and like a triangle or pyramid, all lower levels of management are influenced and in the control of the levels above them. In college, we used to use the Roman Catholic church as an effective management hierarchy because something works well if it has worked for 2000 years. However, that is not how the Holy Spirit works...it may work well as a business management model but my experience proves that the Spirit cannot be confined to a "model". What I can learn from this perspective is that even a Protestant denomination like the Anglican and Episcopal churches, find the Apostolic succession to be very important and crucial in church authority and doctrine. …

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People of the Early Church vs. People of Today's Church

2008-11-22 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)




One of the reasons we study Church history is to meet our relatives. Who have you met so far that you admire? How do you see a family similarity between this person and people in the Church today? Have you met a relative in our study so far that you didn’t like? How do you picture that person's impact on today’s Church?

One person I admire is Polycarp. Here was a man who was the last to know Jesus and stated a very important Truth; "Since Christ is a living Lord you do not need to know someone who knew Him when He was alive". Here once again was a group of people who looked for something in the physical world to link to the spiritual...they had to have a "link", they saw importance in a physical person knowing Jesus and not getting to the Truth...Jesus is the Son of God who is alive and present even after His death, resurrection, and ascension. He is Our Lord who hears every thought and sees every action as He watches over His flock.
I see a link between Polycarp and those in the Church today who have an obvious and fulfilling relationship with Our Lord. There is a big difference between those who speak about faith and those who have a living faith. This faith is present in their face, actions, words, and speech. There are those who know Christ and those who claim to know Him.
There were several relatives that I did not like. I will choose a small quote to emphasize one example...the textbook "Women in Early Church History" stated on page 18, that Jerome believed that the parable of the sower was speaking about the "one hundred fold harvest" as pertaining to the greater blessing of virginity to be twisted. Some of these "Early Church Father's" spoke with such authority that history was influenced greatly by them. I understand some of the points between celibacy and working hard at fulfilling the Lord's will, but to take one of the parables of Jesus and speak about it as if it was pertaining to virginity, widowhood, and marriage to be a teacher who can lead their flocks astray. Yes, parables have "layered meaning", but I cannot help but notice an agenda by some of the early Church Fathers that spun around some "logic" or "rational deduction".
This is true today too! I hear a "prosperity" gospel out there that emphasizes material wealth using twists of Christ's words in order to make the sermon seem that Jesus Himself spoke it. There are wolves in sheep's clothing out there...thank the Lord that we have the Son of God through the Holy Spirit protecting, watching, and helping us uncover the Truth. …

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Paul in Athens : Church History

2008-10-13 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)


Question: The Mediterranean world was a religiously pluralistic environment. Both Greek and Roman cultures had pantheons of many gods to be worshipped. Scripture records instances in which the Apostle Paul came into contact with these other religions. In Ephesus, the result of this encounter was a riot (see Acts 6) but in Athens, there was a very different result. We also live in an environment of religious pluralism. What might the Church today learn from Paul’s encounters that would help us as we encounter multiple religions?

Bibletruthonline.com answer:

The result of Paul's preaching in Athens gives us two important insights for the Church today. The first insight as told in Acts 17:22-23, is that Paul preached to an audience that on the whole had not heard about Jesus Christ. He began at a "neutral" point for them to relate to without personally attacking or openly denouncing them. He looked at the culture, the people, and their idol worship and stated: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you." (Acts 17:22-23). This allowed the audience to open their ears just a little because the initial proclamation was not directed at them in an insulting way. Who enjoys dealing with an insulting person?
The second insight that must be highlighted is the role of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit protected Paul. The Holy Spirit, in my opinion, was the source that gave Paul the insight on how to approach the people of Athens. Paul as like any man or woman, was probably fearful speaking to a people who worshiped so many idols, especially after the experience in Ephesus. Scripture tells us that "Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols" (Acts 17:16a). Isn't this true for us today? As Christ's sheep, are we not also "provoked" by the Spirit when we embrace an opportunity to share the Gospel message? What would be the purpose of the Spirit placing us in a situation of testifying to the Truth of Jesus Christ that we then use self-will and possibly skewed "logic" to figure out? I know that if the people of Athens gave Paul an ultimatum between renouncing Jesus Christ and living or refusing to deny Christ and dying...Paul would have died that day in Athens. This protection comes from our Shepherd through the means of the Holy Spirit and this is a crucial reflection to make on a daily basis. …

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Statement of Faith by my seminary

2008-10-13 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)


My Seminary: Statement of Faith

Under God, and subject to biblical authority, the faculty, managers/administrators, and trustees of (name purposefully hidden from those who do not have decent intentions) Theological Seminary bear concerted witness to the following articles, to which they subscribe, which they hold to be essential to their ministry, and which are the foundation upon which the seminary is based.

I. God has revealed himself to be the living and true God, perfect in love and righteous in all his ways, one in essence, existing eternally in the three persons of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

II. God, who discloses himself to mankind through his creation, has savingly spoken in the words and events of redemptive history. This history is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word, who is made known to us by the Holy Spirit in sacred Scripture.

III. Scripture is an essential part and trustworthy record of this divine self-disclosure. All the books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, are the written word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. They are to be interpreted according to their context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through them in living power.

IV. God, by his word and for his glory, freely created the world of nothing. He made man and woman in his own image, as the crown of creation, that they might have fellowship with him. Tempted by Satan, they rebelled against God. Being estranged from their Maker, yet responsible to him, they became subject to divine wrath, inwardly depraved and, apart from grace, incapable of returning to God.

V. The only mediator between God and humankind is Christ Jesus our Lord, God's eternal son, who, being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, fully shared and fulfilled our humanity in a life of perfect obedience. By his death in our stead, he revealed the divine love and upheld divine justice, removing our guilt and reconciling us to God. Having redeemed us from sin, the third day he rose bodily from the grave, victorious over death and the powers of darkness. He ascended into heaven where, at God's right hand, he intercedes for his people and rules as Lord over all.

VI. The Holy Spirit, through the proclamation of the gospel, renews our hearts, persuading us to repent of our sins and confess Jesus as Lord. By the same Spirit we are led to trust in divine mercy, whereby we are forgiven all our sins, justified by faith alone through the merit of Christ our Savior, and granted the free gift of eternal life.

VII. God graciously adopts us into his family and enables us to call him Father. As we are led by the Spirit, we grow in the knowledge of the Lord, freely keeping his commandments and endeavoring so to live in the world that all may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.

VIII. God, by his Word and Spirit creates the one holy catholic and apostolic Church, calling sinners out of the whole human race into the fellowship of Christ's Body. By the same Word and Spirit, he guides and preserves for eternity that new, redeemed humanity, which, being formed in every culture, is spiritually one with the people of God in all ages.

IX. The Church is summoned by Christ to offer acceptable worship to God and to serve him by preaching the gospel and making disciples of all nations, by tending the flock through the ministry of the word and sacraments and through daily pastoral care, by striving for social justice, and by relieving human distress and need.

X. God's redemptive purpose will be consummated by the return of Christ to raise the dead, to judge all people according to the deeds done in the Body, and to establish his glorious kingdom. The wicked shall be separated from God's presence, but the righteous, in glorious bodies, shall live and reign with him forever. Then shall the eager expectation of the creation be fulfilled and the whole earth shall proclaim the glory of God who makes all things new.

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Luke 13:6-9--Parable of the Barren Fig Tree PODCAST

2008-07-21 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)

Luke 13:6-9 The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree PODCAST
15.3 MB Run time: 17 minutes
07/21/08

This is an audio podcast series explaining some of the existing papers that we have written on the parables of Jesus.


LUKE 13:6-9 (New KJV)
Bible Truth Online Commentary in BLUE
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
He also spoke this parable: “A certain man (GOD)
had a fig tree (The Jews) planted in his
vineyard (The world), and he came seeking fruit
on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper
of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years
(The time of Jesus' ministry) I have come seeking
fruit on this fig tree (The Jews) and find none.
Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But
he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone
this year (The Millenium) also, until I dig around
it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well.
But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”
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Hebrews Chapter 13 PODCAST

2008-05-27 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)

Book of Hebrews Chapter 13 PODCAST
62 MB Run time: 68 minutes
05/27/08


This is a continued bible study podcast series on the Book of
Hebrews. Hebrews is a wonderful and enlightening book within the
New Testament and may seem difficult to read the first few times.
Grab your bible and read along with us as we explore, ask questions,
provide answers, and expound on the verses in Hebrews

(Click HERE for the Bible verses)

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Hebrews Chapter 12 PODCAST

2008-05-09 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)

Book of Hebrews Chapter 12 PODCAST
38.5 MB Run time: 42 minutes
05/09/08


This is a continued bible study podcast series on the Book of
Hebrews. Hebrews is a wonderful and enlightening book within the
New Testament and may seem difficult to read the first few times.
Grab your bible and read along with us as we explore, ask questions,
provide answers, and expound on the verses in Hebrews

(Click HERE for the Bible verses)

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FAITH PODCASTING

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Hebrews Chapter 11 PODCAST

2008-04-14 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)

Book of Hebrews Chapter 11 PODCAST
04/14/08


This is a continued bible study podcast series on the Book of
Hebrews. Hebrews is a wonderful and enlightening book within the
New Testament and may seem difficult to read the first few times.
Grab your bible and read along with us as we explore, ask questions,
provide answers, and expound on the verses in Hebrews

(Click HERE for the Bible verses)

Technorati:christian podcast,podcast,podcast,PODCASTING,BIBLE STUDY PODCAST,
FAITH PODCASTING

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Hebrews Chapter 10 PODCAST

2008-04-14 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)

Book of Hebrews Chapter 10 PODCAST
04/14/08


This is a continued bible study podcast series on the Book of
Hebrews. Hebrews is a wonderful and enlightening book within the
New Testament and may seem difficult to read the first few times.
Grab your bible and read along with us as we explore, ask questions,
provide answers, and expound on the verses in Hebrews

(Click HERE for the Bible verses)

Technorati:christian podcast,podcast,podcast,PODCASTING,BIBLE STUDY PODCAST,
FAITH PODCASTING

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Hebrews Chapter 9 PODCAST

2008-04-14 :: btocotnact@aol.com (John H, Pat, Adam, Wayne, Crystal)

Book of Hebrews Chapter 9 PODCAST
File size 39 MB Run Time:56 minutes


This is a continued bible study podcast series on the Book of
Hebrews. Hebrews is a wonderful and enlightening book within the
New Testament and may seem difficult to read the first few times.
Grab your bible and read along with us as we explore, ask questions,
provide answers, and expound on the verses in Hebrews

(Click HERE for the Bible verses)

Technorati:christian podcast,podcast,podcast,PODCASTING,BIBLE STUDY PODCAST,
FAITH PODCASTING

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