Things I Think

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38 Responses

  1. Em says:

    1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10- AMEN and bravo

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you, Em. 🙂

    This was like pulling teeth this morning…glad it had some worth.

  3. Francisico says:

    I think #’s 3 and 10 go hand in hand. These two things, a lack accountability coupled with doctrinal deviation are a deadly combination for the local church and thus the need for accountability side of heaven.

    A couple years ago a brother who started to come asked me after one of the gatherings “who are your Nathans in the local church?” while I wasn’t prepared for this question at that time I think it challenged me in good way. This brother is now one of my Nathans and one of the elders in the local fellowship. Some food for thought. If we take a look at our brethren who have fallen from Grace publicly in the last couple years, the common denominator is that 99% did not have any accountability in place. When we as elders fall in moral failure, we end up hurting those who love us the most(wives and children), but we have a choice and don’t have to finish this way.

    Finally one last thing to consider is when we raise up and send others out in the ministry, if we choose not to be accountable to anyone……….we can’t expect those we raise up and send out to be accountable to anyone either. While it’s a good thing to courage other brothers that accountability is a good thing, I’ve learned that we can’t force others to be accountable to the bride of Christ. At the end the day accountability this side of heaven is an option but giving a face to face account as a shepherd before a Holy God one day is not.

  4. Michael says:

    “Finally one last thing to consider is when we raise up and send others out in the ministry, if we choose not to be accountable to anyone……….we can’t expect those we raise up and send out to be accountable to anyone either.”

    Francisco gets an extra share of “amen” this morning… 🙂

  5. filbertz says:

    TIT lists usually have some distance to them–meaning the thoughts you have are somewhat removed from home base, application as opposed to meaning, execution instead of beliefs. This list is right in our laps, central to our core beliefs. Now you’re meddling… 😉

    Number 4 strikes at the heart of Christian practice and perspective.

  6. filbertz says:

    was this a sneak attack in honor of PHD?

  7. filbertz says:

    sorry, forgot the smiley face. 😉

  8. Michael says:

    fil,

    What’s PHD?

    I might want to sneak attack it… 🙂

  9. filbertz says:

    Pearl Harbor Day

  10. Eric says:

    Someone was saying just on Sunday that the amount of prayer in our church life was pitiful.

    #5 – are you thinking of anyone in particular? Is it us, whenever our desires are those of the devil?

  11. Michael says:

    Eric,

    #5 fascinates me.
    First of all it’s not nice.
    Jesus didn’t die to make us nice.
    Second of all it’s in the midst of Jesus making very exclusionary claims about Himself.

    I do not believe that it is an exegetical stretch to say that all men have one of two spiritual fathers…and that’s not nice to say today, either. 🙂

  12. Ray says:

    I think the “love your enemy” in the NT is first of all an attitude of our heart towards them. That is we shouldn’t hate them, but still do good to them, if possible…and perhaps pray for them. Don’t take personal revenge (Rom. 12:19-21)

    However, while “loving your enemy” in this way….you MAY find it necessary at some point to actually kill him because he is seriously threatening your life or the life of another.

    Yet you stiil “love him” in a real sense…but you had to do it.

    Is that possible?

  13. Michael says:

    Ray,

    It’s entirely possible that to “love your neighbors” you must defend them with deadly force…after making all attempts to be a blessed peacemaker.

  14. Em says:

    i used to wonder at the picture presented in Scripture of those beheaded for the Faith, where did they come from? who’s doing all this beheading? now we have so many being beheaded and many are dying for the Faith, if reports are to be accepted as accurate … it is timely and worth thinking about self defense versus dying for the Faith …

  15. Michael says:

    Em,

    That is a huge question…and I’m not wise enough to answer it.

  16. Xenia says:

    If a Muslim family moved next door I would endeavor to love them to the best of my ability. I’d take them food, babysit their animals, smile, chat, etc. Whoever the Lord puts next to me, that’s a neighbor and I am obligated to love them.

    However, if I notice genuinely suspicious activity, I will call the police out of love for all the rest of my neighbors. And I am not obligated to love Islam, just any Muslim God puts me into direct contact with.

  17. Em says:

    it is a huge question – dying for the Faith may be choosing obedience to what we know of God over our old affections and pursuits

    but one thing is unequivocally clear – clear as crystal – putting on a vest packed with explosives and shouting, “god is great!” as i detonate is NOT dying for The Faith – not for my Redeeming God

  18. Steve Wright says:

    Speak the truth in love.

    That’s the New Testament command, modeled perfectly by the Lord Jesus Christ.

  19. Michael says:

    I believe that love goes way beyond just speaking the truth…

  20. Em says:

    @16 – hear hear … and amen

  21. Disillusioned says:

    Truth. Ah, there’s a rare commodity.

    #3 so very very true.

  22. Uriahisaliveandwell says:

    #1 Scripture tells us to love our enemy, then reminds us that vengeance is His. He also tells us to guard the treasures of our heart while doing justice and not tolerating abuse, oppression, and corruption. One is vengeance, that is of the Lord, as He is only to determine what is fitting for such that hurts, one of His own. The other has to do with justice which we are told in 1 Corinthians to be diligent in exercising.

    Another consideration: We are not to strike back with the same hatefulness that was exacted upon us, but rather, to protect the flock, the family, and to hopefully, win a person to Christ, yet have good solid healthy boundaries in having a heart ready to forgive, but cautious in reconciling until there adequate proof of repentance.

    #6 When one has received such grace by way of the Cross, One’s heart is transformed. Obedience comes naturally as the work of the Spirit matures us. Such evidence is manifested as that which is listed in the Beatitudes. Much is wrought through the trials and tribulations that we get to experience. That is, as long as we do not permit our hearts to be hardened or our ego get in the way.

  23. Anne says:

    I wonder why the early Christians in Rome did not rise up with force when they were being fed to the lions? Wonder why Paul did not call for a revolution against their oppressors in his letters. Seems to me Roman violence and persecution, threats to Christian lives equals or exceeds that of Middle Eastern extremists today. Their numbers too small? Where there any forcefull rebellions to defend the faith or their way of life prior to Constantine? Checking this out a good project for a soggy day here in the PNW. Welcome any insights from community here as I start googling my day away. Thanks for broaching this subject in Things I Think, Michael.

  24. Steve Wright says:

    I believe that love goes way beyond just speaking the truth…
    ——————————————
    I think that is obvious, especially with Jesus as our example as I noted. But if I was unclear and if the question is loving a Muslim neighbor or coworker, there is no love if at some point you don’t share the truth of the gospel with them – no matter how many meals you cook for them.

    And of course there is a Christ honoring (loving) way to share the gospel, and there is not. But to not share at all is not loving at all.

  25. Steve Wright says:

    Anne, Paul was a Roman citizen with special rights of citizenship that others did not have because they were not blessed with the same birth as Paul.

    And he exercised those citizenship rights when wicked people sought to take them away from him. Even as he also was willing to suffer for Christ.

    One common thing I read lately is talking about the Bible in connection with Roman persecution of Christians which is largely a historical error as the era of Roman did not even begin until most of the New Testament was already written and in fact the Christians enjoyed tremendous freedoms of movement and religion and even protection when the occasional religious mob reared up.

    Comparing the Church in the years when most of the New Testament was written to what the Church in the MIddle East faces at the hands of Islam is not the best comparison (to be very charitable)

  26. Steve Wright says:

    era of Roman persecution that should read

  27. Anne says:

    To be charitable in return SW, having cut my teeth as a baby Christian on Foxes Book of Martyrs, the persecution still seems to me to be as intense or more so numerically and in intensity to that tragically being faced today. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as I remember learning and should refresh my memory with more current research.

    What I learned so far today is that it wasn’t until the 300s BC that Christian sects started wreaking significant violence on one another? Violence against infidels and heretics seemed to ramp up a lot in the 600s. And that scholars both christian and secular are all over the map re: Constantine’s influence on pacifism, holy wars etc.
    my apologies to all if I killed what seemed at first would be a thread full of lots of discussion.

  28. Anne says:

    Have know idea why partial post preceded complete post. Please delete shorter one if possible – thanks!

  29. Steve Wright says:

    Anne, I was speaking specifically about the era of time involved. Yes, I would much rather be blown up or even gunned down by a Muslim than to be martyred in the method that many of our forefathers of the faith were sent to glory. Even those terrible Islamic beheadings don’t compare to the way many Christians were killed in the ancient past. If that was your point then I agree with you.

    If I read you correctly, you spoke about Paul and the writing of the New Testament. Most of which was in fact written before the Roman era of persecution. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs of course covers history after the book of Acts (with just a couple exceptions noted like Stephen and James)

    And the book of Acts tells of a time where the greatest persecutors were generally the Jews, not the Romans…and tells of a time when one of the few Christians then who was a Roman citizen, appealed to and fought for his legal rights as a citizen in order to continue to preach the gospel and serve the Lord.

    As time has shown you and I are worlds apart on both matters of faith and politics, so with my historical note…noted…I’ll move on.

  30. Nonnie says:

    Xenia’s 16. Perfect.

    I have a good relationship with Muslim neighbours and co workers and they are very eager to discuss faith. I don’t hold back on sharing what Christians believe and will correct them, when they try to twist Holy Scripture to suit their needs. I find asking them questions about security of salvation, who they believe Jesus is, compared to who he said he is, etc.
    My Muslim neighbour dresses in the long black dress and head covering, (not face covering, thankfully). She is a young mother of 2 and whenever her mother in law is over, she invites me to come. They teach me recipes and we discuss our faith, the weather, grandchildren. I’m guessing they would like to convert me and of course I’m praying for their eyes to be open and for them to be set free from demonic lies. I’m grieved when I read Christians placing all Muslims in the category of Jihadis. That is like putting most of us in the same category as the haters in the Westboro Baptist group.

  31. Babylon's Dread says:

    In Ephesians 4:15 the word speaking is not in the greek, the word is a verb form of truth. Being true works… truth-ing

  32. Josh the Baptist says:

    Not completely true Dread. The verb used ” αληηθευω ” is from the same lexical form as the word used for truth, but is always translated as “speak the truth” or “tell the truth”.

  33. Babylon's Dread says:

    Josh,

    I am suggesting that it carries a more potent punch than speaking… I am suggesting that it carries a connotation of being the truth… but I wasn’t rejecting the whole conversation

  34. Josh the Baptist says:

    From the Greek, why would you think that?

  35. Steve Wright says:

    I’ll stick with the agreed translation of the ESV, NIV, NASB, KJV, NKJV and note the verse is directly connected to the previous verse which warns about deceptive teachings and doctrines.

    More significantly, in the connection to love which prompted my reference, as I wrote elsewhere a week or so ago..

    Jesus Christ speaks of love in 29 verses in the Gospel of John. He speaks of truth in 34 verses. There is the balance.

    It isn’t loving for a doctor to not share the true diagnosis, and saying he loves the patient too much to hurt his feelings still would get him in a medical malpractice suit and his licensed removed. We can criticize the way some doctors deliver the truth, and they should strive to do so as lovingly as possible.

  36. Steve Wright says:

    I should also add that the verse following speaks to the growth of the Body of Christ (Church) which of course happens by evangelism and so you have a pretty clear exegetical case here against false teachings which deceive, speaking the truth in love, and growing the body as people get saved.

  37. Francisco says:

    The only thing I would add to Steve’s comment is that even with the right translation the message of the gospel will still offend those who do not want to hear the truth. Even Jesus in his encounter with the rich young ruler experienced this. The young ruler was either not ready or simply did not want to hear the Truth. The account clearly states that Jesus looked at him and loved him and finally He told him what he must do. .We know that the young man ultimately went away sad because he didn’t like the Truth from Christ himself. We also know that when he went away sad, Jesus did not to run after him to apologize for the gospel. The truth is that the gospel is and will always be offensive to this fallen world…………… and If we try to make the gospel message palatable then we no longer have the gospel and its power to save.

    At the end of the day , we are not responsible for other people’s feelings as only Jesus is able to minister to peoples feelings. We are however responsible to share the truth in love to both the saved and unsaved.

  38. Anne says:

    This article reminded me of Xenia’s and Nonnie’s wonderful responses: https://medium.com/@davidswan_82132/dear-muslims-70fdfc49114f#.83qwjtdpt

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