Exploring Christ's Spiritual Laws

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Webers.Home

Active member
May 28, 2018
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#41
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Rom 14:22b-23 . . Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by
what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats,
because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from
faith is sin.

In other words, it's possible to be wrong even when you're right because it's
a sin to forge ahead when one's conscience is not sure it's okay to do so.

I once knew a Christian who felt guilty just setting foot inside a BlockBuster
video store. Was he silly for feeling that way? Not in his mind; and it's your
own personal moral compass that counts in gray areas. Some Christians
can't permit themselves to dine in a restaurant that serves alcohol; while
others see nothing wrong with it. If those two kinds of Christians should
perchance dine out together, it's the more sensitive conscience that
determines where to eat.

In other words; it makes good spiritual sense to avoid insisting upon your
freedoms and rights sometimes in order to prevent dragging your fellow
Christians into something that makes them feel guilty and/or uncomfortable.
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Webers.Home

Active member
May 28, 2018
167
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#42
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Rom 15:1-2 . . We may know that certain things make no difference, but
we cannot just go ahead and do them to please ourselves. We must be
considerate of the doubts and fears of those who believe certain things are
wrong.

Webster's defines "considerate" as thoughtful of the rights and feelings of
others, i.e. sympathetic regard; which is no doubt near impossible for
Christians afflicted with narcissistic personality disorder: a toxic
psychological condition characterized by a grandiose sense of self
importance, a need for excessive admiration, exploitive behavior in
relationships, and a lack of empathy.

I think this would be a good place to interject a note pertaining to the
statement below:

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one
another." (John 13:35)

For many of us who grew up in dysfunctional families, broken homes, foster
systems and/or orphanages et al; the concept of love doesn't resonate in our
thinking; viz: it just goes in one ear and right out the other because we
quite literally have no points of reference in our minds to aid comprehending
what The Lord means by love; and this is what makes his commandments
interspersed throughout the epistles so valuable. Many of them not only
show us how to recognize love when we encounter it; but also how to
exemplify it in our own lives so that those of us who were deprived of love
growing up are not left to figure it out on our own.
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Webers.Home

Active member
May 28, 2018
167
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Oregon
#43
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Rom 15:7 . . Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order
to bring praise to God.

That's a bit tricky but I think it just means all Christians should acknowledge
each other as Christians, and treat one another as Christians though they
may differ in opinion about what constitutes a true Christian.

For example: it's not unusual to hear a Christian pontificate that real
Christians would never watch R-rated movies, gamble, wear a speedo or a
string bikini, use cosmetics, smoke marijuana, expose cleavage or wear skin
tight yoga pants in public, stop for a beer on the way home from work, have
a glass of wine before bedtime, listen to RAP music, ditch church and
Sunday school for years at a time, or go in a bar or a nightclub where
there's topless female dancers up on a stage twining themselves around a
pole while leering men stuff currency into the hems of their skimpy little
costumes.

Too many Christians have the opinion that unless others believe and practice
the very same way they believe and practice, then those others are not
Christians. Well; the easiest way to settle this is to follow Webster's
definition that a Christian is simply someone who professes a belief in the
teachings of Jesus Christ. That's it: no more, no less, and no qualifiers. They
don't even have to practice The Lord's teachings; they only have to profess
to believe in them.

An internet forum I was on in the past made it even easier. In order to
qualify as a Christian on that forum; one only had to believe they were a
Christian; viz: they didn't have to prove they were a Christian; no, they only
had to be convinced in their own minds that they were a Christian. If we all
followed that rule it would put a stop to a lot of unnecessary quarreling,
name calling, and bad feelings.

NOTE: Heresy is subjective. In other words: what's heresy to a Catholic
may not be heresy to a Methodist, and vice versa. And what's heresy to a
Mormon may not be heresy to a Jehovah's Witness, and vice versa. And
what's heresy to a Baptist may not be heresy to the Church Of God, and vice
versa. So my advice is: never, ever call another Christian a heretic-- just to
be on the safe side; cut that name from your remarks because it just might
be that you yourself are the one infected with heresy and don't know it; viz:
be circumspect with your choice of words because the hapless day just may
arrive when you are forced to eat them.
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Webers.Home

Active member
May 28, 2018
167
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28
Oregon
#44
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Rom 15:27 . . If the Gentiles have shared in the Israelite's spiritual
blessings, they owe it to the Israelites to share with them their material
blessings.

Within the context of Rom 15:25-27, the Israelites to whom Paul refers are
not those who believe and practice Judaism; but those who believe and
practice Christianity. It is unbecoming for Christians to support religions that
undermine their Master.
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Webers.Home

Active member
May 28, 2018
167
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Oregon
#45
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Rom 16:17-18 . . I urge you, brothers, beware of those who cause
divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you
have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our
Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they
deceive the minds of naïve people.

In the 17th chapter of John's gospel, Christ prayed for unity. People in
church who cause division and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to
the teaching you have learned are detrimental to his wishes.

NOTE: Christianity isn't a democracy. It's a theocracy. The New Testament
Greek word for lord and/or master in Luke 2:29, Acts 4:24, 2Tim 2:21, 2Pet
2:1, and Rev 6:10 is despotes (des-pot'-ace) from which we get our English
word despot; defined by Webster's as a ruler with absolute power and
authority.

People in church following a fire in their belly instead of the wishes of
Christianity's despot are guilty of sedition; defined by Webster's as
incitement of resistance to, or insurrection against, lawful authority.

In their own minds; the rebels no doubt honestly believe themselves
working for the greater good, but that path is risky. For example: failure to
obey God cost King Saul the loss of his reign. (1Sam 15:22-26)

"smooth talk" is the practice of sophistry; defined as a reason or an
argument that sounds correct but at its core is actually false; viz: subtly
deceptive reasoning or argumentation.

Sophistry is typically rational, reasonable, and sensible; but the thing to
keep in mind is that faith believes what's revealed to it rather than only what
makes sense to it. For example; by revelation we know that the cosmos-- all
its forms of life, matter, and energy --is the product of intelligent design.
Sophistry argues that the cosmos originated from the mighty explosion of a
miniscule something or other; a.k.a. the Big Bang.

According to Eph 4:11-14 the very reason that Christ endows some of his
followers to speak for him is so that the rest of his followers may have
access to true premises upon which to build their faith and thus achieve the
unity for which he prayed.

FYI: "keep away from them" isn't a recommendation; it's an order.
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May 28, 2018
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#46
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1Cor 1:10 . . I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no
divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and
thought.

I think it would be interesting to analyze the incident that prompted Paul to
issue that order.

"My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are
quarrels among you. What I mean is this; one of you says: I follow Paul;
and another says: I follow Apollos; and another says: I follow Cephas; and
still another says: I follow Christ." (1Cor 1:11-12)

The "divisions" that Paul addressed were apparently related to the sins of
rivalry and elitism— some even going so far as to allege that their baptism
was superior to the "second-rate" baptisms undergone by others.

Modern examples of that kind of elitism today might go like this: one might
brag "I was saved at a Louis Palau crusade" while, not to be outdone,
another might retort "That's nothing; I was saved at a Billy Graham crusade"
or "My pastor got his degree at Dallas Theological Seminary" while another
may counter by saying "So? My pastor got his doctorate at Yale Divinity
School" or "I listen to Thru The Bible with J.Vernon McGee every day on the
radio" while another may retort by saying "He's okay for some people; but
Back To The Bible with Woodrow Kroll is where it's really at." or "I use
nothing but the King James version of the Bible" while another may scoff
with "People serious about Bible study use a Scofield Reference Bible in the
NIV." or "I can read and write Greek" while another might retort: "You
should try learning Hebrew sometime. Now there's a challenge." And then
there's the hermeneutics know-it-alls who insist that the truth of a passage
can only be seen in context and no other way

Those kinds of petty rivalries are harmful to unity; plus: they generate
unnecessary bad feelings amongst Christians, and should be avoided.
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May 28, 2018
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#47
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1Cor 1:26-31 . . Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you
were wise in the world's eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you.
Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to
shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are
powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by
the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to
nothing what the world considers important, so that no one can ever boast
in the presence of God.

. . . God alone made it possible for you to be in Christ Jesus. For our benefit
God made Christ to be wisdom itself. He is the one who made us acceptable
to God. He made us pure and holy, and he gave himself to purchase our
freedom. As the Scriptures say: The person who wishes to boast should
boast only of what The Lord has done.

Some of us tend to think ourselves pretty smart for having enough good
sense to believe the gospel. But according to the passage above, we didn't
become believers due to our IQ; were that the case, then Carl Sagan
would've stood on the side of intelligent design instead of opposing it.

No; the credit is due to God's IQ, i.e. God alone was smart enough to make
it possible for any of us to be in Christ Jesus. Personally, I look upon that as
something not for me to boast about, rather; an incredible stroke of luck.
(One of the meanings of "blessed" is fortunate.)

Boasting in what the Lord has done is sort of like the pride that sports fans
feel for their favorite teams; especially when they win. Well; it goes without
saying that God is a winner-- maybe He's not accounted a winner by the
world's best and brightest, but certainly by those of us very pleased that
Christ's mission succeeded.
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May 28, 2018
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#48
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The next commandment is embedded in the following scripture. It's
indicated by underlined text.

1Cor 3:5-15 . .What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants,
through whom you came to believe. As The Lord has assigned to each his
task: I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So
neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who
makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one
purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are
God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. According to the
grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a
foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how
he builds upon it.


. . . For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which
is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver,
precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for
the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself
will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has
built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned
up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be spared, yet so as through
fire.

Sorry for that big gob of scripture, but in order to explain what is meant by
the underlined text it's essential that I retain it's context.

It's easy mistake the judgment spoken of in that passage for the judgment
spoken of in Rev 20:11-15. But there are crucial differences worth noting.

1• The fire spoken of at 1Cor 3:5-15 burns works. The fire spoken of at Rev
20:11-15 burns people.

2• People walk away alive from the fire spoken of at 1Cor 3:5-15. Nobody
walks away alive from the fire spoken of at Rev 20:11-15.

3• People are awarded at the judgment spoken of at 1Cor 3:5-15. People
are punished at the judgment spoken of at Rev 20:11-15.

FYI: Koiné Greek words for "purify" and "purge" are nowhere to be found in
1Cor 3:5-15; and a note in the current official Catholic Bible— the 2011 New
American Bible —says: "The text of 1Cor 3:15 has sometimes been used to
support the notion of a purgatory, though it does not envisage this."

If perchance there are Catholics reading this, I should clue them that the
non Biblical materials (foot notes) in the 2011 New American Bible have a
nihil obstat by Reverend Richard L. Schaefer, Censor Deputatus, and an
imprimatur by Most Reverend Jerome Hanus, O.S.B. Archbishop of Duguque.

Nihil Obstat is defined as: The certification by an official censor of the Roman
Catholic Church that a book has been examined and found to contain
nothing opposed to faith and morals

Imprimatur is defined as: Approval of a publication under circumstances of
official censorship

So; if 1Cor 3:15 doesn't envision the notion of a purgatory, then what does
it envision? It's a depiction of people who waken inside a burning home with
barely enough time to get out; taking nothing with them but whatever they
wore to bed. Their home is destroyed, and all their valuables and all their
mementoes; but at least the occupants themselves are safe, and suffer no
harm from the fire.

The works in context are those pertaining specifically to Christians like Paul
and Apollos; viz: people involved in ministerial capacities e.g. apostles,
missionaries, evangelists, pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers, church
administrators, home Bible study leaders, et al. Though John Q and Jane
Doe pew warmer's works will some day be evaluated too; they are not the
ones whose works will be evaluated as per 1Cor 3:5-15 because John Q and
Jane Doe are depicted not as God's fellow workers, but as: (1) God's field,
and (2) His building.

It's extremely important to note that only the Christian worker's works are
tested with fire; not the worker himself. Compare this to the great white
throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15 where the dead's works are not
tested; but rather, their works are introduced as evidence in the
prosecution's case against them. The Christian worker's works aren't
evaluated as evidence against them, but as potential credit to justify giving
them a performance award.

Another extremely important thing to note is that the Christian worker's
substandard works are burned up rather than burned off.

"let each man be careful how he builds upon it" indicates that Christian
workers need to keep in mind that what they produce will be thoroughly3
scrutinized; and projects that don't measure up will be summarily culled;
resulting of course in reduced compensation for their service. How sad it
would be to see workers like Mother Teresa who, after devoting decades of
their lives to a Christian service capacity, only to be stripped of everything
and come away with nothing to show for it; not even so much as a Boy
Scout merit badge.
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May 28, 2018
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#49
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1Cor 3:18 . . If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this
age, he should become a fool so that he may become wise.

I'm guessing that command relates to one of Christ's instructions.

"Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you
shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 18:3)

The koiné Greek word for "converted" is strepho (stref'-o) which basically
means to twist, i.e. turn quite around or reverse (literally or figuratively)

In a nutshell, strepho is talking about taking a new direction.

Many of those in Jesus' audiences were mature, educated folk. Jesus is as
much as saying that they need to go back to school and learn a new trade--
so to speak -- which is what quite a few people had to do back when the
housing bubble burst in 2008 and they found themselves not only out of
work, but also quite over-qualified and/or their skills no longer in as much
demand like they once were.

In our age, "wise" would pertain to people high up in finance, education,
science, art, computing, crafts, music, philosophy, politics, etc. Many of
those kinds of people are brilliant, but when it comes to knowing the ways of
God, they're about as bright as an elementary school kid just starting out in
kindergartner in need of beginning right from square-one and learning some
basics.

"The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; that they are worthless." (1Cor
3:20)

Christ also spoke of humbling one's self as a little child. Well; I can say from
personal experience that wise people like those mentioned above make very
poor Sunday school students because their intelligence gets in the way. If
only they would leave their IQ at the door, even they themselves would be
the better for it.

"Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to
save your souls." (Jas 1:21)
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May 28, 2018
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#50
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1Cor 3:21-23 . . So don't take pride in following a particular leader.
Everything belongs to you-- Paul and Apollos and Peter --the whole world
and life and death; the present and the future. Everything belongs to you,
and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

I've noticed that avid sports fans are afflicted with chronic identity
syndromes. When their favorite team wins; they say "we" won; as if they
were on the field playing the game instead of up in the bleachers or on the
couch at home watching the action on TV.

Christians that idolize their favorite pastors and/or Sunday school teachers
are just as avid. They want to be identified with those kinds of church
luminaries because it makes them look really smart and elite; when in
reality it just makes them look silly and star-crossed.
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May 28, 2018
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#51
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1Cor 4:1 . . So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ, and as
those entrusted with the mysteries of God.

Big names like Mother Teresa and Billy Graham are practically sacred cows--
but celebrities like those are only human rather than divine; and just be
thankful you're not one of them because their responsibility is immense.

1Cor 4:5 . . Judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till The Lord
comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and expose the
motives of men's hearts.

The "appointed time" is probably referring to the event described at 1Cor
3:5-15 when the work done by outstanding Christians will be evaluated for
performance awards.

Human nature has a propensity to shower accolades on religious celebrities
without having all the facts.

For example; we now know from Mother Teresa's private letters-- made
public by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk's book "Mother Teresa / Come Be My
Light
" --that Ms. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was a nun with so little personal
belief in God as to be an agnostic; and yet for decades everyone the world
over thought she was the cat's meow and the bee's knees: a veritable poster
child of piety in thought, word, and deed. It turns out Teresa was a
remarkable actor. Her public image bore no resemblance whatsoever to the
secret life of her inner being.

The reinforcement that comes to Christ's followers via Rom 8:16 never
happened for Teresa. As a result, the remarkable nun came to the end of her
life worried that if perchance there is a God, He didn't particularly like her
and might actually be quite intent upon condemning her.

Well; I'd have to say that if you're a Christian missionary with those kinds of
thoughts going thru your head, maybe you really ought to seriously consider
another line of work.
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#52
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1Cor 5:1-5 . . It is actually reported that there is immorality among you,
and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles,
that someone has his father's wife. And you have become arrogant, and
have not mourned instead, in order that the one who had done this deed
might be removed from your midst.

. . . For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have
already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In
the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in
spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one
to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the
day of The Lord Jesus.

Gentiles of course do sleep with their stepmothers on occasion; but the
world's practice of that kind of behavior is more an aberration than a
custom.

Well, the Corinthians were treating that man's behavior as if it were a norm,
i.e. they apparently felt that the man's conduct was trivial, undeserving of
criticism. They must have wondered why Paul was reacting so badly rather
than just "get over it". After all; it's none of his business what goes on
behind closed doors. Had he not heard of the right to privacy? And besides,
didn't the Lord say: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Delivering someone to Satan for the destruction of the flesh just simply
means to ostracize, i.e. no associating with them whatsoever, and especially
no spiritual support, not even prayers. This may seem an extreme measure
but that man's impious conduct was dragging the whole church down.

NOTE: In modern mega churches it's near impossible for pastoral staffs to
keep up on who's been naughty and nice; so I'm afraid it falls more and
more upon congregations these days to police each other's morals.
_