Have you heard of Fandom yet? It describes a group that is devoted to a person or idea or character but uses their collective group power to direct the future of that person or object. A fandom of a particular show might dictate how the show’s last episode resolves.
As I was reading my daughter a Bible story tonight, I realized that Jesus didn’t always tell the whole truth.
John 12 starts with Mary taking a pound of pure nard and anointing Jesus’ feet with it. Judas complains about the gesture and before John includes Jesus’ response, John tells us why Judas complained – he was a thief and wanted the money for himself! Then we are told Jesus’ response, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” (v. 7-8, ESV) Continue reading →
We had a congregational meeting tonight. We have them once a month. They range from redundant and idiosyncratic to troubling to exciting.
One passage that is often taken without context is Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered in My name,there am I among them.” Often it is taken as a promise that even if an unsuccessful church event is held, God is still there.
While that’s true, Christ Jesus is there when you are alone as well. And by the grace of God the Holy Spirit indwells even you! So what’s the significance of Matthew 18:20?
The point is that Jesus is there with the congregation when it makes decisions. Matthew 18:20 completes an unpopular section where church discipline is commanded (Matthew 18:15-20). So, Jesus is there with authority in these difficult decisions about turning a church member over to Satan (1 Timothy 1:18-20). And that ensures us that other congregational decisions are made with confidence that Christ is there working His will out through His fallible and continually erring people.
So the next time you or I participate in a congregational meeting, whether you voice your vote for or against (or even abstain?), do so with confidence that the Lord is working His will. And when you get voted against and it passes, put your heart into the Lord’s work and do what you didn’t think you wanted to because your Lord Jesus was there, sovereign and glorious as ever!
This passage is one I enjoy because it sorts out so much. Paul writes it in the midst of a discourse on spiritual gifts. The difference is that this statement is the proof to that which passed before it. God is a God of peace and order so the worship of God should also be peaceful and orderly. When doing an exposition of the passage we note the context, always. But this statement is not dependent on the context. We know this because Paul uses it as a proof. A proof cannot be dependent on what it proves.
Peace, here, is used in contrast to confusion. The Greek word translated confusion also carries the meanings of tumult and unquietness. God is orderly, not confused or disorderly.
This is in direct opposition to evolution’s theory of the more complex growing out of the less complex by way of random change. This is simply not the way God works. God is a God of peace, not tumult, not confusion, not randomness but order.
Yet evolution is what our children learn. Many schools, whether out of good will or ill, teach evolution. Then our children return home and act “randomly”, seek the “random”, even praise the “random” (“that’s so random”, “he’s so random”). Should we be surprised? Through their entire day the random-god is praised. Review the current cartoons and websites (www.homestarrunner.com). I was helping with the church’s youth group one Sunday and overheard normal girl chat about this guy and that guy. What caught my attention was that one guy was described as “so funny” because “he’s so random”. Now, don’t get me wrong, the unexpected can be funny but the nonsensical and purposeless lacks humor.
So when we continue to accept and endorse teachings like evolution and fail to teach the Christian God of order, we should not be surprised that our children imitate the god they know.
I recently heard an interesting view of the word “perfect” in Matthew 5:48. It reads, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (ESV)
The view I heard suggested that the word perfect was the opposite of using a hammer to drive in a screw. The screwdriver is the perfect tool for a screw, not the hammer. The hammer is intended for another purpose so it should be used for that purpose. You have to do the things God created you to do and not try to be someone else or do their work.
I think the view uses another definition of perfect than what Jesus meant. Jesus is demanding an impossibly great standard, one which you cannot attain but only through Jesus Christ can we attain to a perfection worthy of God. By placing our faith in Jesus Christ, God imputes Jesus’ righteousness to us (all His goodness is seen by God as though we did it).
The other view can be seen-through by substituting it into the verse: You must be the right tool for the job, as your heavenly Father is the right tool for the job. Apart from the strange sound of this revision it also brings to the forefront two things: 1) there is still a standard, the Father, up to which we have to measure, in either definition; 2) we are being called not to be something as well as to be something; there is a change involved – from what we are to what God is.
So, let us admit two things: 1) the perfection Jesus is talking about is a moral perfection (which He has just described in chapter 5 up to this point) that we can only attain through living our lives by faith in Jesus Christ; 2) the conclusion of the other interpretation is correct, just not for this passage but for one like Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”