Friday, January 29, 2010

Wealth - an Alternative View

God put gold in the ground for Adam. And the gold was good! Heaven has streets paved with gold. Had Adam not sinned, he may eventually have made Eden into a replica of Paradise in heaven complete with streets paved with gold. Perhaps Adam may even have decided to make a golden house which God could come to during His daily afternoon walks and talks with Adam, like the Temple which John saw in heaven.

Later God gave land to the twelve tribes of Israel. The land was to be a perpetual inheritance, never sold outside of the tribe. Moses also instructed the nation not to charge interest except to non-citizens.

At that time God also promised extra fertility to His people. The numbers of offspring produced by His people was to be considered a measure of how blessed they were and of how influential they could become.

All of this was a shadow of the restored Paradise which is now reserved for us in heaven and which shall be revealed at His coming and Kingdom, thanks to the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

In the meantime, even though the Kingdom is within us, and not outward, nevertheless some of heaven's value-system with regard to material wealth may be able to shine out from within us into our families and community in this present world, even though the extent to which this may happen may be limited on this side of the Resurrection due to persecutions and physical death.

Let's consider how that may happen. Imagine acquiring land without having any intention of ever selling it. You wouldn't care about rising or falling real estate prices. Your purpose would be to bequeath the land to perpetual generations. Your future descendants would never need to purchase the land on which they build their family home.

Imagine acquiring gold, and other precious metals and gemstones - not to sell them again - but to own them perpetually and to use them to keep improving the value and beauty of your family property. You wouldn't hope for rising prices nor care about falling prices. Your purpose would be to keep and enjoy for generations.

Imagine an economy that didn't charge interest within itself. The boom/bust or inflation/recession economic cycle wouldn't exist. Foreign debt would forever be replaced by a trade surplus.

A key difference between that and other wealth-creation strategies is that it neither depends on nor can be affected by price changes.

With that view of wealth, imagine then hoping to produce as many children as possible. If each generation has five children, in the 100th year you will have multiplied into 4,678 people; or approximately 45,000 if each generation has eight children; or half a million people if each generation is blessed with twelve children. Imagine the influence on society this makes possible.

And imagine if all Christian families in the nation adopted the same value system. Imagine if each Christian family purchased acreage, not to hope for price rises so they can sell, but with the intention of keeping the land as a family inheritance for perpetual generations.

And imagine if each Christian family acquires gold and precious metals and gemstones, not to hope for price rises so they can sell, but with the intention that each house that gets built on their properties undergoes continuous and lavish improvement and beautification and remains in the family forever.

Imagine if each Christian family multiplies in 100 years to become thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands.

And imagine if each family never charges interest to a fellow family member.

In 100yrs, each Christian family could almost become a village, community or city of its own, let alone the influence that they would have in their existing communities.

Whilst the fertility rate amongst the rest of the nation's population remains below 2.0, in the second generation more than one half of all the children born in the nation will have come from those Christian families. And by the 100th year, tens or hundreds of millions of people will belong to the Christian church in the nation.

All of this could be achieved in just 100yrs, simply by adopting the heavenly/Edenic/Mosaic/Gospel paradigm of wealth: that is, adopt a view of wealth-creation that neither depends upon price rises as a stretegy nor can be negatively affected by falling prices.

It's amazing how many common wealth-creation strategies actually depend on price rises in order to succeed. For example, nowadays if people by real estate or gold, they do so hoping that instability in the economy will force prices up, so they can sell.

But God didn't put gold in the ground so Adam could hope that other people's economic misfortune would force the price of his gold up so he could finally get some advantage. No, God put the gold there so Adam could keep it and enjoy it. Same with the real estate.

True wealth is not created when instability in the economy unrealistically inflates the on-paper value of your asset. You've really created wealth only when the value of your asset has been improved in real terms: for example, if you've improved the land by building a house on it; or by decorating it with pure gold; or if you have produced something such as crops, animals. And especially if you've multiplied by having children.

Then it can be said that you have increased your wealth.

But if your wealth has increased on-paper only, then you are merely reflecting the instability and misfortune in the economy without having truly increased your wealth in real, Biblical terms. You can still be affected by a downturn in the economy. You are still depending on instability in the system.

When all along God gave us a blue-print for a wealth that promotes stability in the economy and that lasts forever.

But better still is the eternal wealth that awaits us at the coming of Jesus Christ!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Intimacy With Christ is the Key to Fruitfulness

Are you looking for breakthroughs in your church? family? personal life? community?

Our Pastor told us yesterday that God said to him, "Break through to Me - and you'll automatically receive those other breakthroughs you are looking for".

So, instead of prancing the floor, praying for breakthroughs, in our prayer meetings, we've been still - allowing God Himself to melt us and bring us into closer intimacy with Him.

And almost immediately, in our church, we've started seeing every one of the breakthroughs our Pastor has been desiring.

Souls came to the Lord - seven last Sunday morning. Broken hearts were mended. The Holy Spirit manifested His gifts in the meeting.

If you faithfully glean in Jesus' field - cling to Him in intimacy - He will notice you, and He'll act to guarantee your desired destiny!

Our Pastor shared the analogy: like a wife who says to her husband, "Just hold me"; and like a husband who asks after a minute, "For how long? I'm getting tired." Similarly, sometimes our flesh doesn't like to just wait in intimacy upon the Lord - so often our flesh wants to DO something. Yet that intimacy with God is exactly what we need.

Breakthrough to God; and He'll take care of those breakthroughs you need: in your personal life; family; church; ministry/business and community.

Since our thrice-daily prayer meetings this week have been more about drawing near to God than about storming heaven with our petitions, it started me thinking about the style of modern church services.

Imagine if Sunday morning services all around the world existed primarily for ministering unto the Lord, rather than to the congregation - although that's important too. I'm sure we'd see God break through and minister to the people!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Turn the Other Cheek

Turn the Other Cheek

Jesus taught His disciples to turn the other cheek IF SOMEONE SMITES THEM ON THE CHEEK.

That is talking about a non life-threatening situation. Being slapped on the cheek is basically harmless.

If Jesus also had life-threatening situations in mind, then a nation should have no police force, no judiciary system, no military, no insurance policies, and anytime someone wants to harm our children we should welcome it.

But Paul taught that law-enforcement is ordained by God. The New Testament also teaches that if a man doesn't care for his own family, he is worse than an infidel.

When Paul was being tried before the courts, he didn't remain silent like Jesus did before Pilate. Paul spoke at length in his own defence.

When someone smote Paul, he didn't turn the other cheek. He said, "God will smite you, thou whited wall".

Paul taught that the church ought to be able to resolve internal disputes and judge matters. If everyone was always meant to turn the other cheek, no-one should ever desire to resolve any matters. But Paul told them they ought to be able to resolve matters.

What about when Paul demanded proper treatment according to his rights as a Roman citizen in jail in Philippi? Shouldn't he have turned the other cheek, instead of embarrassing the jail-wardens by demanding his rights?

And why did Paul appeal to Ceasar when he felt he wasn't getting justice?

Paul said, "Be a follower of me, as I also am of Christ". So we know Paul wasn't contradicting anything that Jesus said.

So, what did Jesus mean?

Well, He was talking about how to respond if someone smites you on the cheek. A slap on the cheek isn't exactly attempted murder. He wasn't talking about how to respond if someone tries to kill your children.

And He didn't say you couldn't defend yourself if someone is trying to kill you.

He didn't say you can't defend yourself in a court of law. In fact, He said the Holy Spirit will give you words to speak in such moments.

And he didn't say anything about what to do after you've turned the other cheek. He didn't say you can't confront them for their wrongdoing. In fact, He said, if your brother sins against you, rebuke him.

If the person keeps hitting you on the cheek, and actually draws a weapon and tries to kill you - Jesus didn't say you can't defend yourself. He merely mentioned a slap on the cheek.

If you react violently to a mere slap on the cheek, that doesn't show any special character. It shows character to be willing to suffer a little bit of mistreatment before deciding how you are going to respond.

But the Pharisees were finding license for all sorts of cruel behaviours, by twisting things that Moses had said. So Jesus sought to tell them what was really meant by various points of Law in the writings of Moses.

For example, on the "bill of divorce" point of Law, where Moses allowed divorce if a man found "uncleanness" in his wife, the Pharisees interpreted "uncleanness" as virtually anything and they allowed divorce for any trivial cause. So when Jesus said it's wrong to get divorced except for cases of infidelity, He was explaining what Moses really meant by "uncleanness". Jesus sought to bring them back to the heart of the matter, instead of allowing them to misuse the Law to justify all sorts of sensual behaviours including adultery and murder.

When someone slaps you on the cheek, it's not going to do you any real physical harm. If they slap you twice on the other cheek, it still won't do you any real harm. You can still choose to ignore it and walk away, and then discuss it with the person later when he has calmed down. That shows character.

But if someone is persistantly trying to harm you physically, or kill you, or treat you unjustly in law - well none of that comes under the category of a slap on the cheek does it. Otherwise Christ would have been contradicting Himself when He told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would give them words to speak when they get hauled before synagogues. And Paul would have been disobeying Christ by his defensiveness before the courts.

The point is, "eye for an eye" wasn't meant to be a license for reactions, revenge, and retaliations. We ought to be slow to react, when it isn't a life-threatening situation.

And God has ordained military and law enforcement. And a father ought to defend and provide for his household.

But to retaliate immediately when someone slaps you on the cheek, just because Moses said, "An eye for an eye", is the complete opposite of what Moses was trying to say. He was trying to teach fairness and restitution, he wasn't giving us a license for irrational responses.

And Moses also taught that matters needed to be resolved properly before elders and judges - not by taking matters into your own hands.

We ought not to be too quick to react. We ought to be willing to suffer a bit of mistreatment. We ought to be patient and measured in our responses to things. It ought to be fair and just. It was fair of Paul to place his persecutors in an embarrassing position in Philippi after they'd whipped him without a fair trial.

Turn the other cheek means don't allow yourself to be provoked. It means, don't excuse bad behaviour.

The term "turn the other cheek" is not about situations where you life might be threatened.

Turn the other cheek
was not a case of Jesus putting aside the Law - it was a case of Him explaining the Law, particularly, the meaning of "an eye for an eye".

When the person came to Jesus asking Him to speak to his brother that he divide the inheritance with him, and Jesus said, "Man, who made me a judge over you". And then He taught His disciples to beware of covetousness - Jesus wasn't saying it's wrong to have judges, or to use them.

And it isn't "covetousness" when you desire what is yours, or when you desire something new. Covetousness is when you desire something which specifically belongs to someone else. It's okay for me to desire a wife, but it's wrong for me to desire your wife. That's covetousness. It's okay for me to desire to own a block of land, but it's wrong for me to extort your block of land from you if you don't want to sell it. That's covetousness.

Jesus probably would have been quite okay with that person confronting his brother if his brother was transgressing against him.

Just because Jesus' disciples didn't defend him when He was arrested, doesn't mean that there is no longer any place for a military, under the New Covenant. In the book of Romans it says they are appointed by God.

So Jesus' statements need to be understood in the context.

Leave a comment or mail me, if I'm not seeing the full picture.

Monday, January 11, 2010

"An Eye for an Eye"

"An eye for an eye"

It was probably only an expression, something which Moses didn't intend them to enact literally. It wasn't about retaliation and revenge - it's meaning was that criminal law should focus on restitution befitting the crime.

I have friends from overseas countries who often saw people walking around without hands - because of a system of law that literally did such things. That is the exact opposite of what Moses actually meant.

For example, Moses didn't mean if a criminal damaged someone's foot that his foot should be damaged. It simply meant that the criminal could be expected to pay the expenses of restoring his victim's foot back to health. It was an expression. It was about fair restitution.

It actually restricted the severity with which crime could be punished. It meant that a criminal could simply be expected to restore his victim - no worse punishment was allowed.

The "eye for an eye" statement was designed to teach, for example, that a criminal shouldn't be bound in chains and sent as a convict to the other side of the world simply for stealing a loaf of bread. He should simply be required to restore the loaf of bread!

It had nothing to do with literally amputating eyes, hands, and feet. It was about ensuring restoration to the victim without being unfairly severe against the criminal. It was about giving everyone a chance to put it behind them and move on.

It also guaranteed equality. It meant that a criminal couldn't be expected to pay more for his crime just because it had been perpetrated against some "upper class" person instead of a poor person. The punishment could only be as befitting the crime - regardless of anyone's class or rank. It was always a "hand for a hand", never a hand for a finger just because the person he hurt happened to be a ruler or rich!

The "eye for an eye" principle (it was only an expression) was a system of civil law which was designed to protect both the victim of crime and also the perpetrator of crime from further injustice.

It protected the victim from injustice by focusing on restitution. The criminal had to pay the victim for his losses.

It protected the criminal by ensuring fair treatment. The criminal couldn't be expected to pay more than make restitution.

The mercy, compassion and justice contained in the "eye for an eye" principle was a breath of fresh air compared to the injustices the Israelites had grown accustomed to in Egypt! It was a new system of civil law which came straight out of God's heart!

In our modern system of criminal and civil law, we have rejected the balanced "eye for an eye" principle and replaced it with a prison system. But did you ever notice there was no prison system in God's Law? That's because a prison system disadvantages both the victims and the perpetrators of crime.

It disadvantages the victim because it doesn't focus on restoring the damages done to him. Plus it inflicts a double-damage on the victim because it's his money (through taxation) which pays to feed the criminal in prison.

A prison system disadvantages the criminal also because when he finally gets released from prison, he carries a criminal record with him, which makes it hard to get a job, so he has to go on Centrelink, which keeps him poor, so he re-offends.

This inflicts another cost on the victims of crime because it's their taxes which fund not only the prisons but also Centrelink!

A series of injustices and costs keeps getting perpetrated all around, and nobody is advantaged except the Government and its employees. Sometimes a criminal is even expected to pay a fine to the Government, instead of restoring his victim. This does nothing to teach the criminal how his actions hurt others. Instead, the criminal almost feels it's his right to steal because of the disadvantages inflicted on him through the "system".

The "eye for an eye" statement in Moses' Law, when understood propertly, is actually a beautiful principle that addressed all of these issues in a merciful, compassionate, fair and just way.

"Eye for an eye" (when not taken literally, but as a principle of equality and restitution) is a system of law which results in total restoration of the victim and total release for the criminal.

As David said, "Oh how I love thy Law!" It's beautiful for everyone concerned.

I think Jesus made Moses' intention real clear. You know how Jesus said, "You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say to you, That you resist not evil: but whoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also".

Well, Jesus was explaining the real principle behind the Law, rather than disagreeing with it. He was pointing-out that Moses' statement was intended to be understood as dealing with the over-severe treatment of criminal justice.

It's like when He said, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Jesus wasn't disagreeing with the original statement, "Thou shalt not commit adultery". Rather, He explained the real heart of it.

Or it's like when He said, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill...but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment". Again, Jesus didn't disagree with "thou shalt not kill", rather, He explained the real heart of it.

It was in that context that Jesus said, "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out... And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off..." He didn't mean it literally - it is the heart of it that matters.

So when Jesus said, "Turn the other cheek", He was actually explaining the heart that was behind Moses statement, "An eye for an eye". The Scribes, Pharisees and Saducees were totally misrepresenting God's heart as expressed in Moses' Law, to their own advantage. It was they who were inflicting cruel punishments on people which Moses never intended.

So Jesus brought his disciples back to the true heart, the true meaning of the Law, which God was looking for when He gave Israel that Law through Moses. Jesus said, "Except your righteousness exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees you will by no means enter the Kingdom of God".

So, Jesus wasn't annulling the Law - He was showing the real heart of it.

So, we need not be against the "eye for an eye" principle, when we really understand what was intended by it. It was about restricting severity. It was about focusing on restoration.

I think we make a mistake by taking things literally when they were only meant to be expressions that illustrated a principle.

Like when Jesus said to pluck out your eye or cut off your hand. Or when He said to "turn the other cheek". They were principles, not meant to be taken literally. Same with "eye for an eye".

And society still needs to have some system of criminal and civil law. Even the New Testament says there is a place for law enforcement in civil society (in the book of Romans). But not all of us are called to be law enforcers. Most of us are ordinary civilians, and we ought to leave law enforcement to those who are called by God to represent Him in that role.

A modern way of saying "an eye for an eye" might be to say, "Restitution and Equality". It's really saying the same thing. "Eye for an eye" is meant to be understood in a good way.

Jesus didn't come to do away with the Law. He said no-one who ignores the smallest principle in the Law can enter the Kingdom of God. He actually said that! But not as the Pharisees taught it. Jesus went to the heart.

The heart behind "an eye for an eye" is: that civil law should focus on restoration rather than on severe pushment. Ordinary civilians should leave it up to God's appointed law-enforcement officers rather than take justice into their own hands; and we should have a heart that would rather suffer wrong than treat others overly severely. That's what "eye for an eye" meant. It takes cruelty away.

Incidentally, Moses also gave a better system of social welfare than our Centrelink system. If we adopted his system, it would help the poor much more effectively, plus it wouldn't cost society any money in taxes. But that's another topic!

Leave a comment or mail me if you see any indadequacy in my understanding of God's heart.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Physical Creation Awaits the Second Coming

I'm not sure how Satan used a snake to speak to Eve. Animals were placed under Adam's dominion; and since angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation, perhaps different animals came under the jurisdiction of different ministering spirits, responding to Adam's dominion over the animals, under God. And since the snake was more subtle than any other creature, perhaps it was the more likely candidate to be used by Satan on this occassion.

But Adam could have rebuked it. God questioned Eve and Adam before explaining the curse which they would henceforward suffer because of their disobedience, but God never questioned the snake - and yet He pronounced to the snake the curse which it too would henceforward come under. Animals don't have moral responsibility - and yet the snake species still incurred a curse.

All of creation suffered in the fall. Plant and animal life became subject to death; even the very characteristics of some fauna and flora may have changed.

Perhaps the act of tempting Eve was part-and-parcel of Satan's fall - rather than his fall being something that had already taken place in previous aeons. And perhaps when a third of the angels fell with Satan that day, those animals which may have been under their jurisdiction may have at that time incurred the character changes that seem to reflect the fallen characteristics of those spirits.

As early as pre-flood times, some animals were already being called unclean while others were clean. Compare your feelings about a sheep and a pig, or a dove and a vulture. Satan is called Beelzebub, the lord of the flies. The Bible does talk about angelic creatures in heaven, so perhaps some demons even look like the animals which may once have been their jurisdiction before the fall. Jesus said, "Behold I give unto you power over snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy".

Even some plant life changed its characteristics after the fall: thorns and thistles and perhaps strangling vines and poisons may have come into existence at that time.

All of physical creation groans, waiting for the redemption, the manifestation of the sons of God, when corruption shall be swallowed up in victorious resurrection. Perhaps the planet itself and the heavens shall be made anew.

We are waiting for the Day when our own bodies, and flora, and fauna, and the earth and heavens itself, shall be made new at the coming of our Lord and Savior.

In the meantime, we can exercize our Christ-given authority over snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy. Jesus bound the strongman, and spoiled his goods - and anyone who believes in Jesus will do as He did and greater works shall he do because He returned to the Father.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Responding to Supernatural Phenomena With Opennness and Integrity

It ought to be our aim to build a culture of integrity, as well as a culture that embraces whatever God is doing, in our churches. The two ought to be able to exist side-by-side.

The Apostles never expected anyone to believe anything which they couldn't verify - yet that attitude of integrity didn't dilute the level of the power of God which they saw manifested in their midst. It helped.

Embracing the move of God with childlike faith
does not mean that we should be intolerant of people who like to check something out before they embrace it.

In fact, when we are sure of our facts, we ought to wish for people to ask us for the evidence - we ought to welcome critical investigation of any miracles we have experienced - so God gets the glory after the infallible proofs have been presented.

Paul said, "...provide things honest in the sight of all men..."

Luke mentioned "...many infallible proofs..." which formed the basis of his Gospel.

When Peter and John heard a rumour that Jesus was risen from the dead, they ran to the tomb, and saw, and believed, and thereby qualified as Apostles of the Lamb - because they became eyewitnesses of His resurrection.

Our faith is based on the reliable witness of faithful men who saw, heard, handled, they ran to the tomb, they believed, their proofs were infallible. Even hundreds of non-disciples were able to verify the supernatural nature of the very same events that were being reported by the disciples in the four gospels.

Even the Pharisees said of Jesus, "...this man has done many miracles..."; and they said of the Apostles, " cannot be denied that a notable miracle has occurred..."

The Gospels were written as apologetics - to provide intelligent proofs for their testimony. So when somebody today asks for that type of evidence for an alleged miracle, it doesn't automatically mean he is cynical - it can show a willingness to embrace, to believe. If anyone is sure of a miracle, instead of criticizing such people, why not just present them with the evidence! That's what the Apostles did - otherwise we wouldn't have the four gospels.

In a court of law, someone does not qualify to give testimony about things concerning which he is not an eyewitness. The Apostles' testimony is reliable not only because they believed the women, but because they SAW for themselves. Seeing for themselves was a prerequisite for inclusion as one of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb. The Twelve Apostles were unique from modern-day apostles in that they were eyewitnesses of His resurrection. Jesus admonished Thomas for his doubts, yet He knew it was necessary that Thomas also should see Him after His resurrection so that he also could qualify as one of the uniquely chosen Twelve who should become eyewitnesses of His resurrection.

It's a matter of crossing our t's and dotting our i's - integrity is necessary in a faithful witness. Paul said, "I will not dare to speak about the things which God has not wrought by me".

Biblical manifestations such as healings and tongues are relatively easy to verify.

If someone was born blind, it's easy to find people who can testify to the truth that he was once blind. And it's as obvious as the nose on the faces of all his relatives and friends that he can now see - whether they are believers or not.

And it's relatively easy for people to admit something unexplainable is occurring when they hear someone speaking their language even though they know the person had never learned their language. That kind of thing is pretty easy to verify.

When it comes to phenomena such as feathers, oil, gold, gemstones and oil, the same criteria for authenticity that can be applied to healings, or to the reliability of the Four Gospels, ought to be tolerated, and more than tolerated - it ought to be sought and employed.

Certainly there is a danger that modern churches can fail to embrace the Holy Spirit. But one way we can help them is to provide credible evidence for phenomena that we are asking them to embrace.

That's what the Apostles did for us: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They manifested the power of God - and they didn't shy away from presenting credible evidence for the stories and miracles they were claiming.

It's not hard, when you know it's real.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

'Appearance of Age' at Time of Creation

When God created man on the sixth day, fruit was already available on trees (Genesis 1:16) even though the trees had only been created three days previous (verses 12,13). That means, God created the trees with the 'appearance of age'.

When God created the stars, moon and sun - evidently their light immediately appeared on earth on that same day - even though the light from the closest star currently takes eight years to arrive on earth. That means, God caused the light to begin arriving immediately, giving an 'appearance of age' for the universe.

Modern dating methods used by scientists cannot take into consideration that God caused things to happen in a day which currently take years.

Grace vs. Legalism or Licentiousness

Today I had an online chat with a friend about the subject of legalism vs. licentiousness especially as regards to our evangelism style.

It was centred around the statement in the Epistle of Jude, "Faith without works is dead". I make it my aim that my view on "legalism vs grace" always comes across as "pure, peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17). James talks about the importance of expressing our knowledge and wisdom with "meekness" of wisdom (verse 13) rather than with "strife" (verse 16).

Our chat went something like this - and, leave a comment if you sense anything lacking in my appreciation of God's heart:

been preaching lately?

not for a few weeks been very busy wid uni
what about you?



thats great were do you preach?



hows that going?
yeah I prob will have to do one on ones for a while


So I guess it's not really called Preaching when it's one-on-one is it

whats your thought on james concerning works as evidence of salvation?


I agree with James

na not really
yeah it is hard for people to understand we are not pushing a works salvation isnt it?


James was talking to people who were adulterers
People can't be continuing in that lifestyle and expect to be saved

can you show me where it talks about adulteres?
I thought he was talking about abraham and rahab as well



do you think 4:1-2 can be included in this idea?

Yes because the whole letter was written to the same people. James was also addressing people who were cursing others (3:10)

and I noticed boasting in chapter 3


He was addressing people who were saying that it is God Himself who was tempting them to sin, as if that justified sinning (1:13)
He was writing to people who were warring amongst themselves (4:1)

now looking at it that way it seems it encompasses almost everything, what about the beggining where he adresses the 12 tribes dispersed?

yeah it is an interesting book, how would you adress someone who said to you "NO you are preaching a works salvation"

It was mainly Jewish people whom James was addressing
He called them "sinners"

yes well they were the first convert


Paul never addressed true believers as "sinners" even the Corinthians who had a lot of stuff still to fix up!
But James was addressing "sinners"
He was addressing the types of people who employ destitute people as labourers and then refuse to pay them even when they cry out

Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
Jas 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Jas 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
if these people were not saved whats the faith trying about?


Yes his letter addresses a variety of people at various sections of his Epistle. So when we interpret each section, it helps if we understand exactly who he was addressing in each section, and what those people were up to

I think it's highly appropriate to tell an adulterous man who is cursing people and waging war, completely ignoring the poor, and refusing to pay wages, that it's not enough just to say, "I'm a Christian".

could adultery also include adultery with the world?
Jas 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.


I suppose it would depend on how 'adultery with the world' is being expressed in the individual's life. If he's continuing in adultery, cursing, and deliberately ripping disadvantaged people off, then yes, he is committing adultery with the world
It's also important to remember what type of situations Moses was addressing when he gave them the Law.
Moses was addressing a world which was so warped that they needed to be told that it's not a good idea to have sex with animals.
He was addressing a world which needed someone to tell them that it's not a good idea to have sex with your mother


He was addressing a world which needed to be told that it isn't right to own a slave against his will for the rest of his life and mistreat him or her

Do you think that the people of that day did not think it was wrong to murder?

I think many of them were so entrenched in these things and their conscience was so dulled and they delighted in one another doing such things. God was sending the Israelites into a land of people who thought it was okay to cause their children to walk through fire in sacrifice to their gods

Im not sure I agree at this point
Im not sure might take some time to think about it though it is interesting concept the last few paragrapghs


Yes so it was this same type of blindness and self-deception that James was probably addressing - Jews who had been scattered amongst the Gentiles and who had picked up their lawless ways of living.
And who adopted a 'belief' in Christ but whose lifestyles hadn't changed one little bit and they thought that was okay!

I dont know I would have to read the book more indepth with those thoughts in mind
And who adopted a 'belief' in Christ but whose lifestyles hadn't changed one little bit and they thought that was okay!


Isnt this a lot of whats going on now?

Yes it sure is

And who adopted a 'belief' in Christ but whose lifestyles hadn't changed one little bit and they thought that was

So can we apply those scriptures to people who are acting like that? How would you approach it if they were screaming legalist?


I heard the other day about a Pastor who had invited a guest speaker to his church, and the pastor sent two girls to the guest-speaker's hotel room. It's just wrong!

which church was this in the USA or Australia?


USA. And I heard about a Pastor in Pakistan who was lying about his ministry to attract money, and when a fellow-Pakistani exposed him, he had him beaten up. It's just wrong!

just a passing thought were you named after johnathon edwards?
oh that happens all the time not so much the beating up but the lying about a ministry we had a few come here and they were arrested

I don't think any sensible person with a good heart, would argue with us and call us 'legalistic' if we warn someone who thinks it's okay to keep committing adultery, lying, extortion etc.
And you are right - these things are all too common

haha what type of "christians" have you been exspoused too?

I've met Christians who think it's okay to commit fornication

I meet them all the time in the clubbing district when witnessing, friends from many different churches, the see nothing wrong with it


There is a big difference in my opinion between someone who falls into sin and feels really bad about it and confesses it and wishes they won't do it again - and someone who actually teaches that it's not a sin or that it's okay to keep doing it and who doesn't really wish to change or feel bad at all.

you tell them its wrong to get drunk and sleep around they either mention legalism or christian liberty
i agree with you on the difference I myself have fallen into sin several times
grevious sin
Have felt really convicted about it and had to put it right

Yes these people even try to quote the Bible. They are getting close to the type of situation which James was warning about. And that's why Paul said,"Be not deceived, God is not mocked..." We do reap what we sow - eternally. But there is a big difference between someone who sins a hundred times and confesses it with grief everytime, and someone who doesn't feel bad and even thinks God is okay with it. I would approach these two types of people in a similar yet slightly different way.

We all have sinned brother. But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to... It's those who don't confess it as sin who are in trouble. And these are the one's James was addressing with statements like "faith without works is dead" and "weep and howl ye sinners"

yes, so you would agree we are to test oursleves to see if we are truely in the faith?

Well, on the one hand, we can be too introspective, we can feel held-back by our sins even though we've confessed them. But on the other hand, if we are utterly disregarding others, and making a lifestyle of it, then yes - we urgently need to examine ourself.
Remember that when Paul wrote to "examine yourselves" he was addressing people who were getting drunk at church and completely despising the poor.

What do you think caused all this problem concerning people that live in continuous sin with no repentance?

And call themselves christians?


...Paul was not only addressing people who were getting drunk AT CHURCH but who also thought it was okay to have a member who was sleeping with his stepmother, doing things which even the unbelievers wouldn't do!
But if somone feels bad about what they've done, Paul told them how to treat him. He said, "Confirm your love to him, welcome him, lest Satan take advantage of his sorrow"

See the difference? If we apply James and Pauls statements to the same type of situations, then we are correctly applying the Word.
But if not, we might not be conveying God's heart exactly

ummm what about a serial rapist they are often sorry, can a serial rapist be a christian?

Not if he teaches that it's okay

what id he is sorry everytime and knows its wrong?

If he can scarcely look up to heaven for shame, and cries out to God and says, "How could I have done that?!!! God, forgive me!" Then he is forgiven, 70X7. But if he comes to church with a brazen attitude and when confronted, says it's okay, then someone needs to tell him that faith without works is dead.
Someone needs to tell him, "Examine yourself, see whether ye be in the faith".

I not sure I agree, the fact that someone is raping all the time is evidence of being lost and had never been made a new creature

Yes I suppose it all depends on whether the person is coming looking for help, or whether they don't feel they need help. James was addressing people who obviously didn't believe they needed help. They even justified themselves.
I would address a person differently if he came admitting his need for help, than I would if it was someone who was actually teaching that fornication is Biblical

I have to get back to my studies, I am doing a unit that hates God they teach that God is dead in a post christian world so its pretty fullon. Was good talking to you about this you have given me something to think about. keep up the witnessing and pray for us as we will pray for you

Thank you. I pray for a soul-winning year for you! You're an inspiration.
I'm inspired by your example and zeal

Thanks for the encouragement we need it, we just done a video with mormons and are are doing one with 7th day adventists this week, we actually go and talk to them and discuss the scriptures with them
so pray for that
so pray for that

Remember, it's not he who just talks to souls, but he that "winneth" souls, that is wise.
Good on you. You are labouring abundantly for the Lord. A good example of hard work.
Love and blessings brother.




cya mate and God bless

Monday, January 04, 2010

God's Integrity

During the work of creation, God began every action with His Word - with a spoken pronouncement of intention and will, in consultation with the other members of the Godhead, that is, with two or three witnesses. And He later assessed each of His own works, and deemed it to be not just "good" but "very good".

The Six Days of Creation Lasted 24hrs Each

Each of the six days of creation probably lasted for 24hrs each - not for a thousand years. The Biblical day starts at night, followed by day. And each of the six days of creation consisted of one period of darkness followed by one period of light. If the darkness lasted 500 years, followed by 500 years of light, photosynthesizing plants could not have survived. It also would have necessitated that God later sped-up the speed of the earth's rotation on its axis - but the Bible doesn't mention that any such speeding-up of the earth's rotation ever occurred.

Genesis 1:1 and the Age of the Universe

Even though Genesis 1:1,2 doesn't begin with the usual "And God said..." like the rest of the events of creation, I think it's probable that no part of the earth nor of the universe existed before the first of the six days of creation which are described for us in Genesis chapter one.

Each of the events described in Genesis 1:1-5 probably took place on the first day of creation.

Probably nothing was created at any time prior to the first day.

It says, "In the beginning..." not "In a beginning...". There was only one beginning.

Genesis 2:1 summarized the creation-week like this: "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." If the previous chapter was not meant to describe the creation of all things in six days - but a mere refurbishment of the existing heavens and earth - then it would have instead summarized the creation-week by saying something like, "So tat's how God's long-awaited refurbishment of the ancient heavens and earth were done". But instead chapter one was not described as being a mere improvement or refurbishment of the heavens and the earth - it is summarized as being the story of creation from the "beginning" right up to the time when they were "finished". The whole thing appears to have taken place within those six days.

But even if the heavens and the formless earth were indeed created before the first day of creation, that was before light existed, and before the sun and stars existed, before there was day and night or seasons and years. Conditions would have been so different that even if that period left remaining visible marks on the universe or on the present-day earth, it would be impossible for those marks to indicate the age of the earth based on dating methods that may be possible under present conditions.