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A Comfortable Syncretism?
Sometimes the truth is ‘hard to swallow’ so people settle for a convenient syncretism — a comforting blend of truth and lies. Jesus had spoken to his disciples and followers about ‘drinking his blood and eating his body.’ But what he said was difficult to understand, even offensive, and as a result many stopped following Jesus. They did not understand that the Passover symbols of bread and wine were given to represent Jesus’ death, his body and blood. It was only through this sacrifice that he could give the gift of eternal life to all who trusted in him.
Jesus also spoke a hard truth to the Samaritans, who thought they were following God’s will in their religious worship. But the reality was that they had a long history of syncretism, blending the truth of God with their traditions. As the chronicler of Kings wrote, the Samaritans ‘feared the Lord’ and served their own gods. This mixing of truth and error is not in accordance with God’s will, as he asks those who worship him, to do so in spirit and truth.
In the early church era the issue of syncretism was seen in the traditions that developed from the New Covenant Passover as celebrated by Christ and his disciples on the night before his death. Different groups have changed the ceremony, often called the ‘Eucharist,’ substituting different methods and times. For most Christians it is no longer the yearly New Covenant Passover memorial of the bread and wine that Christ asked his disciples to follow.
Church historians documented this Quartodecimen Controversy between those bishops in the east who followed John’s example and kept the Passover on the 14th of Nisan and those in the west who rejected the clear scriptural instructions Through a slow process and an allegorical approach to scripture, the Bishop of Rome replaced Passover with new celebrations. The objective was to distance the church from the inconvenient and unpopular ‘Jewishness’ of Passover. And the result was a syncretistic blending of scripture, the Roman calendar, and pagan culture in the celebration of Easter and the Eucharist.
Paul in encouraging the Gentile Corinthian brethren to keep the Passover, explained the power of a little ‘leaven of sin’ for it had created problems for the whole church. Tolerating lies and the sin of syncretism is having the same effects now in the Christian church that it did in Paul’s time. That is why Paul cautioned believers to celebrate the feast of Passover and unleavened bread with sincerity and untainted truth.
Comments Off on A Biblical Worldview – Nebuchadnezzar Pride Comes Before a Fall, Videos, by CGP.
(The message begins at 26:10)
Pride Comes Before a Fall
Asaph, a temple musician and singer during the reign of King David understood a great deal about pride and the nature of the proud. His Psalm 73 reflects on the attitudes and actions of the arrogant, those powerful elites who crushed the people and despised God.
Asaph asked the question, “Why do the wicked prosper?” and came to understand the power of the biblical worldview, and the truth that ‘pride comes before a fall.’ It is amazing to think that this Psalm was sung in the temple. It was a condemnation of the proud, the self-serving rulers of the day, and an encouragement to all who would humbly put their trust in God. More
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God hears the petitions and prayers of his people. Whether we are in personal distress, or our nations are facing daunting foes, our prayers can make all the difference. Hezekiah, the King of Judah, knew this to be true when the Assyrians attacked Jerusalem. Earlier, Hezekiah had been on his death bed, but God had heard his prayers and seen his tears, and healed him of a fatal illness. So when Sennacharib’s army began to demolish the cities of Judah, Hezekiah knew where to turn for help.
Though Hezekiah had been wise in creating an aqueduct to provide water to help the city weather a siege, he also knew that only God could intervene to turn the tide of war. And God heard Hezekiah’s pleas, delivered the people of Judah in Jerusalem, and destroyed the Assyrian forces. The apostle Paul reminded Timothy of the importance of petitions and prayers. And James encouraged his readers to consider Elijah’s example of heartfelt and persistent prayer, when he was dealing with the corrupt leaders of the nation in his day. Our fervent prayers can be effective if we are wholehearted and seeking God’s will in the challenges that we face.
The power of intercessory prayer was impressed upon the early church brethren when Peter had been taken prisoner. James, had been slain by the Roman overlords, and Peter’s situation may have seemed hopeless. But God heard the petitions and prayers of his people, and sent an angel to rescue Peter from certain death. Consider the many biblical examples of answered prayer. Reflect on the need to pray now for those in government. Just as Paul encouraged those living under Nero’s rule to pray, we should also pray that God would grant us good leadership so we might live in peace and continue to accomplish God’s will.
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Understanding Paul’s Message to the Colossians
There is a great deal of confusion in the minds of many Christians when it comes to God’s expectations and the role of the law in the life of the Christian. Perhaps, you have wrestled with some of these questions:
Was the law “nailed to the cross?”
Does “grace” eliminate the need for the law?
Are there different standards for Jew and Gentile?
Are the ten commandments still valid, but the statutes are not?
Was Paul’s attitude in opposition to the teachings of James and other new covenant writers in regards to the law?
What is the unified message that the scriptures present concerning the law of God?
How should we understand the concepts of torah in the Hebrew scriptures and nomos in the Greek scriptures?
And how will this vital knowledge transform our hearts and minds?
Let the scriptures speak for themselves, so you can know God’s mind on these matters!
When the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that “the mystery of lawlessness was already at work,” he was confirming that the things Jesus had prophesied were already coming to pass within decades after Christ’s death. Later, John’s writings confirm that John also had to confront the false teachers who were preaching a gospel of “anomia/lawlessness” and leading many away from the truth. And what of our time? What is the reality in most of the Christian world, when it comes to teaching about God’s law; must we be aware and wary of the anti-nomians, those who teach, “anomia?” More
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From the beginning the Lord’s intent was that his people would live in the presence of God, and become holy as God is holy. He desired a close intimate family relationship with those he would call to dwell with him. He walked and talked with Abraham, he spoke to his people Israel from the mountain top, and he conferred directly with Moses and the elders of the nation.
At that time, the people had entered into a covenant relationship with God as their King/Father and had promised to live in God’s presence. They promised to obey his commandments and follow his instructions. Yet, within weeks, they had forgotten God and fallen back into the familiar routine of worshipping idols in the form of a golden calf.
Yet, God’s mercy did not fail because the people were unfaithful. Rather, he forgave them and provided a physical reminder of God’s daily presence in the cloud and the fire. He also instructed them to build a tabernacle, and the people having experienced God’s mercy, freely gave of their wealth to make the tabernacle a reality. They were careful to construct it just as God had directed and to perform the sacrifices as prescribed. These concrete teaching tools helped them understand the awareness and self-control required to dwell in the presence of God.
Solomon’s temple was a further refinement on this biblical theme, as the people once again rededicated themselves to living in the presence of God. But as followers of Christ, our Messiah, God wants more than an outward show of obedience and animal sacrifices. God wants our obedience to flow from our love of his ways, a pure heart, and an appreciation of Christ’s sacrifice in our stead.
Living in the presence of God we will be following in the footsteps of our father Abraham who walked with God wholeheartedly.
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What is the nature of lies and why do people tell and believe lies? The scriptures give us keen insights into this issue. The Lord God of Israel, is a place of refuge and a compassionate and just judge. However, he hates and promises to eventually eliminate those who are false witnesses — the liars. He hates those whose lying lips are a testimony to their arrogance and contempt for God and those they deceive.
People lie for many reasons, from avoiding punishment to trying to please others and gain status or to control and manipulate. The scriptures provide cautionary tales to help us recognize and avoid the liars and their lies. What the liars and those caught up in their lies do not perceive is that lies have unavoidable negative consequences. It is only the truth, alethea, the true nature of reality that is able to point us in the right direction and help us avoid deception’s painful outcomes.
The cowards, villainous, and liars will have no part in God’s family. In contrast to the deceivers and the deceived, those who embrace God and his love of the truth have the hope of eternal life as a child of God. As those who follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the prophets and apostles, we must avoid listening to the deceivers. We are also responsible for speaking the truth in love and teaching God’s ways faithfully. Learn more about this vital issue and God’s advice to those he loves.
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A Message of Hope in Troubled Times
The prophet Isaiah gives us hope beyond the present adversity and a vision of the future when the Lord of Lords will reign in justice and truth. Meanwhile, we need to look to the scripture to understand God’s view on persevering through times of adversity. God did not promise his followers a life of ease, but rather he gives us the hope of the strength and wisdom to make good decisions in times of trouble. Jesus’ Olivet prophecy, and his instructions to his disciples provide a snapshot of the kind of trouble we will need to face. But God also provides hope and encouragement for the present and promises of a bright future for those who trust in him.
When God Allows Adversity
Job’s example provides a powerful lesson about coping with adversity, its source and how we should deal with the challenges that are forced upon us. Job suffered in multiple ways:ill health, grief of loss, judgmental ‘friends’ and unsupportive family. But he persevered through every adversity and was stedfast in his loyalty to God, and God was faithful in strengthening Job.
God allows adversity for many reasons, and those who follow Christ’s lead will not escape the troubles that come from living in a world under Satan’s sway. But just as Christ was perfected through suffering, so we can grow in spiritual maturity and be better able to comfort our brethren. Consider the advice that the scriptures provide so we can face adversity with persistence, and persevere in times of trouble.