Daily Archives: August 18, 2013

Theology: STANDING AND STATE

This study will be a bit abbreviated due to the depth to which we could take it. I will list topics, references and a few comments followed by some application. This section will cover standing, state, and then a comparison of the two.

STANDING THE RICH KID

“The two doctrines of Christian standing and daily life or state merge into one important truth, hence may be treated here together.

Standing, as distinguished from state or daily contact with Christ, is a reference to Christian position — the unchangeable and perfect work of God for the believer, while state refers to the changing and imperfect condition of his soul from moment to moment. Faith secures standing, but adherence to all the laws governing a spiritual life must secure daily benefits for the soul.”

Dr. Chafer comments in closing, “All that enters into the believer’s experience after he is saved — divine training and development — is to the end that he may be more conformed in his state to what he possesses in standing from the moment he is saved.” (Chafer, Lewis Sperry; “Systematic Theology”; Dallas, TX: Dallas Seminary Press, 1947, Vol. VII, p 293)

We’ve all heard of the big muscle man fellow that can whip five guys at once in a fight. Now, imagine this man after he’s had a few drinks. He begins bragging about his abilities and strengths. As he gets drunker and drunker he becomes weak — dizzy and disoriented. Finally as he’s leaning against the wall for support, he is bragging about his ability to whip every one in the room.

His standing is that of a very strong man — he can beat several fellows at once. His state is — poor — sick — dizzy — unable to stand up — about to pass out.

Now, His state doesn’t change what he really is, but it doesn’t make him look like he has that standing.

Standing is the believer’s place before God, provided by the work of the cross. State is the walk of the believer in this life.

Standing: God has given us certain things, and they are ours no matter what we do in this life.

Romans 5:1,2

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

We stand in the grace of God almighty. Grace is all around us. To bad we don’t act, and live like it.

1 Corinthians 15:1

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;”

Our standing finds it’s origin in the Gospel of Christ that we heard, and accepted at salvation.

STANDING/TERMS USED

In Christ: We are in Christ’s body, the church (invisible). We are an integrated part of His organism, His body. (Romans 8:1)

We are in Christ and as a result, there will be no condemnation. We stand before God as if already glorified.

Because we are in Christ, we have wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). These things are done in God’s mind but we have to wait for these things for a time — His time. He will bring these to pass in their completeness at His own time.

We are a new creature. Think back on your pre-salvation life. Remember what you were. Now, what are you at this point in time? There should be a change (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We will be changed physically at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).

We have all spiritual blessings awaiting us. These too are partially unfulfilled to us, but not to God. The blessings we have today may have nothing to do with these promised blessings (Ephesians 1:3).

With Christ: We are crucified with Christ. He lives in us. This is not obvious in our state, but it is true (Galatians 2:20). Can you fathom this doctrine? This doctrine of Christ living IN us. That is similar to me finding a slimy smelly garbage can to live in.

Our life is hidden with Christ in God. We are to seek things above (Colossians 3:1-3).

We Sit In Heavenly Places: This is obviously still future. We see promise of our resurrection. (Ephesians 2:6)

The Fact Of Standing: Many things are done and are ours through our standing.

1. The believer is redeemed: Ephesians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Colossians 1:30.

2. The believer is justified: Romans 5:1; Romans 4:25; Romans 5:9; Romans 3:19-28.

3. The believer is translated: Colossians 1:12,13; Ephesians 2:6.

4. The believer is sanctified: 1 Corinthians 1:2.

5. The believer is in God’s family: John 1:12.

6. The believer has an inheritance: Ephesians 1:11.

7. The believer is sealed: Ephesians 1:13.

8. The believer is glorified: Romans 8:30

APPLICATION

How do we use all of this information? Let’s recap.

We’re part of Christ

No condemnation

Wisdom

Righteousness

Sanctification

Redemption

New creation

Blessings

Heavenly eternal dwelling

Forgiveness

Inheritance

Sealed

Glorified

All of this is made possible by the blood of Jesus Christ. All of this plus more is tied up in the gift of God in Romans 6:23. All of these are ours at the point of our salvation.

In light of what He has prepared for us, shouldn’t we have a walk befitting our future position. This should be our example to prepare us for our future with God.

We truly are rich kids. We should act like it at our Fathers feet in our thanksgiving and praise.

When we really comprehend what we have in this standing we will. Realize just how wonderful God is.

How blessed we are.

How much we owe God for sending Christ to die for our sins. How much we owe Christ for dying for us.

How really sinful we are when we place ourselves first.

How much God really loves us.

How we have nothing whatsoever to be proud of.

He has given us everything we have. As we really realize how worthless we are He will begin using us more and more.

STATE A ROSE OUGHT TO BE A ROSE.

God is full of decisions for us to make. First of all He tells us we are a sinful lot, and on our way to eternal Hell. We are worthless and worthy at the same time. We are worthless to Him, but we are worthy of His wrath and judgment because we are sinners.

Then He gives us a choice. He tells us that Christ died for our sins and that we can go to heaven. We now have a choice. Heaven Or Hell. What is that choice based on? A choice. A choice to accept Christ, or to reject Christ.

After we take the logical choice and accept Christ then we are told in Scripture that we are the children of God. We have many new gifts given to us. We have seen these in our study of standing. We are redeemed, justified, forgiven, glorified etc.

But We still have another choice to make. How are we going to live in the future? This leads us to state.

State: What, who and why we are in this life is our choice and this becomes the state in which we exist.

Philippians 2:19,20

“But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.”

This pictures Paul’s concern for how the believers were living.

I have a standing — I’m a son of God. I am His child as I stand before Him, however I am in a miserable state. I’m sinful at times. I’m rebellious at times. I’m lazy at times. Let’s face it, I’m not much of a son at times. I’m not much in my state even though I am a son of Almighty God in my standing.

STATE/TERMS USED

In the World: Philippians 2:15 We are to be blameless, harmless children of God without rebuke. We do these in a crooked and perverse nation to be shining lights.

Titus 2:12 We’re to deny ungodliness, deny worldly lusts, live soberly, live righteously, and live Godly, In This World.

Walk in Him: Colossians 2:6 The context shows that we should live a life centered in Christ.

THE FACT OF STATE

1. The Believer Should Walk By Faith: 2 Corinthians 5:7 This is fact

— not a request or an option. We are to live by faith.

2. The Believer Should Walk In Love: Ephesians 5:2 We should walk in love, or live our life and base it on love.

3. The Believer Should Walk In Light: 1 John 1:5-7 In short our walk should be centered in God. God is light and we are to walk in light. This means we should check with God about everything we do This means the buying of a house, of a car — every area of life.

4. The Believer Should Walk In Newness Of Life: Romans 6:4-11 We are to have a change of life. Instead of serving sin we can turn our backs on it and walk in our new life with God. This doesn’t only mean the lying, drinking, covetousness, immorality etc. It includes the pride, the gossip, the self esteem and the self righteousness. ALL SIN.

5. The Believer Should Walk In The Spirit: Galatians 5:16 What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? It means a life with Him in control.

How do we do this? By allowing Him to control our lives — every aspect of our lives. We need to constantly try to allow Him to exhibit His fruit in our lives. Galatians 5:22,23 Mention this fruit.

A spiritual king of the mountain contest. Who is it that will control your life — YOU, OR THE HOLY SPIRIT?

6. The Believer Should Walk Worthy Of His Vocation: Ephesians 4:1- 3 This includes: lowliness, meekness, long suffering, forbearing one another in love, and trying to keep the unity of the Spirit in a bond of peace.

7. The Believer Should Walk Circumspectly: Ephesians 5:15 Walk as wise not as fools. Verse 16 “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” In short if you use your time for Christ properly you are wise, but if you use your time improperly you are a fool. Our time on earth is for God’s purposes, not our own. Are you wise or a fool?

8. The Believer Should Walk In Christ: Colossians 2:6 We’ve already looked at this one. It tells us to center our life in Christ — 3:1 tells us to set our aims on things above.

9. The Believer Should Grow In Grace: 2 Peter 3:18 Grow in grace. We, as sons of God, are sons because of God’s grace. We then should grow, or mature as children grow — into adulthood. “Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior….” Part of the maturing process seems to be from the Word of God.

Point of interest: Apostles, prophets evangelists and pastor teachers are for the educating of the saints. Now, What if a pastor, at the leading of God prepares lessons, or sermons that certain Christians really need, or maybe the Christian has told the pastor he needs it and that person doesn’t show up for that lesson or series. I believe that person is responsible for the knowledge he missed if it was an unnecessary absence. We can’t grow as Paul says, unless we are learning, be it at Church, or at home.

APPLICATION

When the child of a very important person is seen, or read about most people are very alert to see if they are up to snuff.

When I was in high school everyone’s eyes were upon the pastor’s son. They wanted to see if the son reflected the father.

I was quite surprised at President Fords daughter and son. The son admitted to smoking marijuana and the daughter had her mother’s permission to try sex before marriage. Miss Ford also requested a song that is, at best, suggestive to be played before the President of the United States, the Queen of England, and other dignitaries. This does not reflect well upon the parents.

A Christian that has outward sin in his life is no different in a spiritual sense because he is reflecting poorly upon God his Father.

We Are Sons And Daughters Of Almighty God. We should act like it. If God truly be our Father, then we truly should try to conform our walk to a walk similar to Christ, our example.

We covered a verse earlier — let me quote it again. “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation to which ye are called.”

If, today you are a born again Christian, you have an holy calling from God

— a holy vocation — you are the son or the daughter of Almighty God.

Paul begs us to live like it. When you go to the home of someone you know is quite important how do you want your children to act? You hope they are on their good behavior. You want them to be at peace with one another — to be helpful — to be, or act somewhat intelligent.

God is trying to impress the unsaved world with His children. He is trying to show the unsaved that His family is worth being a part of. He wants us to be on our good behavior.

The question is this, are you a proper child, or an embarrassment to your Father?

State is a personal choice for the Christian. You may not approve of the way I live. Maybe you think I’m wrong in some area of my life. That is between myself and my Father. I choose my state for myself, and you choose your state for yourself.

The point is this: We should all be before God planning our state. He will show us what He wants our state to be if we will ask Him. This state will always, let me emphasis ALWAYS be in line with the Scripture and always upward toward service and holiness.

He will never tell you to go downward in your spiritual life. He may give you a choice, but never say God told you to detract from your spiritual life.

Once, while we were between churches I didn’t really feel like trying another new church so threw a prayer to God and came up with the fact that we shouldn’t go to church that morning. GARBAGE. He gave me a choice, and I said no to Him. He didn’t tell me not to go to church.

State is the believers chosen place and practice on the earth.

If we are committed to God, our STATE becomes His chosen place and practice on the earth for us. If we are not committed to Him then we do as we please. May each of us worry about our own states half as much as we worry about everyone else’s state.

STANDING AND STATE COMPARED

STANDING

 

STATE

1. In heaven

Ephesians 2:6

On the earth. Philippians 1:1

 

2. It is perfect Hebrews 10:14

 

It is imperfect. Philippians 3:12-14

 

3. It is eternal Hebrews 10:14

 

It is till death

 

4. It is changeless Hebrews 10:10

 

It is changeable 1 Peter 3:18

 

5. We are sanctified 1 Corinthians 12

 

Yet to be sanctified 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

 

6. Result of one act Acts 13:38,39

 

Result of many acts 2 Corinthians 5:9,10

 

7. Justification by faith Romans 4:1-5

 

Justification by works James 22:1-26

 

JUSTIFICATION BEFORE GOD

 

JUSTIFICATION BEFORE MAN

 

8. It assures salvation

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

It determines reward 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

 

9. In it resurrection is past Ephesians 2:5,6

 

Resurrection is future Philippians 3:20,21

 

CONCLUSION

Realizing that salvation is something that takes place in a moment, we must also realize that there is a sequence of events. As a house is built one phase at a time, and each phase depends on the prior, so salvation is built one concept upon another. Without this sequence, there cannot be salvation. For example you cannot have salvation until the step of belief has been made.

When I was teaching, the final test for this section was to graphically present this process for the purpose of making overlays for an overhead projector.

If you want a good review and challenge, take the following topics and place them in chronological order graphically.

Calling, Heirs, Adoption, Fall, Understanding, Faith, Sin, Belief, Acceptance, Confession, Separation, Sanctification, Holiness, Grace, Atonement, Propitiation, Redemption, Justification, Salvation, Reconciliation, Regeneration, Renewing Of The Holy Spirit, Righteousness, Forgiveness, Adoption, Security, Glorification, Intellect, Will, Sensibility, Repentance, Conscience, Mediation, Obedience, Lordship, Perfection, Standing, State, Substitution, Temptation, God’s Will, Foreknowledge, Predestination, Decrees, Election, Chosen, Sin Nature, Imputed Sin, New Nature, Old Nature, Personal Sin, Punishment, Resurrection, Quickened, Body, Soul, Spirit, Begotten, Sacrifice Of Christ On The Cross, Sacrifice Of Christ In The Heavenlies

GLOSSARY

CALLING

 

INVITATION

 

HEIRS

RIGHT OF BEING A SON

 

ADOPTION

 

BEING MADE SONS

 

FALL

FROM INNOCENCE TO SIN

 

UNDERSTANDING

 

GRASPING KNOWLEDGE

 

FAITH

TRUST IN THE UNSEEN

 

SIN

MISSING THE MARK

 

BELIEF

KNOWLEDGE ACCEPTED

 

ACCEPTANCE

 

ACTING ON BELIEF

 

SEPARATION

 

WALKING GODLY

 

SANCTIFICATION

 

SET APART

 

RIGHTEOUSNESS

 

HOLY LIFE

 

HOLINESS

 

SET APART

 

GRACE

GIVING WHAT ISN’T DESERVED

 

ATONEMENT

 

MAKE RIGHT

 

PROPITIATION

 

SATISFACTION

 

RECONCILIATION

 

BRINGING TOGETHER (CHANGE)

 

REDEMPTION

 

PURCHASE

 

JUSTIFICATION

 

DECLARED RIGHTEOUS

 

SALVATION

 

SAVED FROM

 

REGENERATION

 

MAKE ALIVE

 

RENEWING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

REBIRTH

 

FORGIVENESS

 

PUTTING AWAY

 

SECURITY

 

IMMOVABILITY

 

GLORIFICATION

 

FINAL STEP TO ETERNAL JOY

 

INTELLECT

 

MAN KNOWING

 

WILL

MAN DECIDING

 

SENSIBILITY

 

MAN FEELING

 

REPENTANCE

 

CHANGE OF MIND

 

CONSCIENCE

 

MAN JUDGING

 

MEDIATION

 

GOING BETWEEN

 

OBEDIENCE

 

MINDING THE FATHER

 

LORDSHIP

 

BELIEVERS RELATION TO CHRIST

 

PERFECTION

 

FUTURE HOLINESS

 

STANDING

 

HOW GOD VIEWS US

 

STATE

OUR WALK

 

SUBSTITUTION

 

IN PLACE OF

 

PREDESTINATION

 

SETTING THE END RESULT

 

TEMPTATION

 

DESIRE TO SIN

 

GOD’S WILL

 

HIS DESIRE

 

FOREKNOWLEDGE

 

KNOWING BEFORE

 

DECREES

 

GOD’S PLAN

 

ELECTION

 

CHOICE

CHOSEN

 

SELECTED

 

SIN NATURE

 

BENT TOWARD SIN

 

IMPUTED SIN

 

OURS IN ADAM

 

NEW NATURE

 

BENT TOWARD GODLINESS

 

OLD NATURE

 

BENT TOWARD SIN

 

PERSONAL SIN

 

DISOBEYING GOD

 

PUNISHMENT

 

JUST DESSERTS

 

RESURRECTION

 

NEW ETERNAL LIFE

 

SACRIFICE OF CHRIST/THE CROSS

 

SUBSTITUTIONARY SACRIFICE

 

SACRIFICE OF CHRIST/HEAVEN

 

ATONEMENT

 

OUICKENED

 

RENEWED

 

BODY

MATERIAL MAN

 

SOUL

MIND AND INTELLECT OF MAN

 

SPIRIT

ETERNAL PART OF MAN

 

BEGOTTEN

 

BORN OF

 

CONFESSION

 

AGREEING WITH GOD

 

[1]


[1] Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A. (n.d.). DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.

3 Nuns Paraded like ‘Prisoners of War;’ 2 Christians Killed; 58 Churches, Properties Attacked in Egypt

Islamists burned down a Christian school, paraded three nuns on the streets like “prisoners of war,” and sexually abused two other female staff even as at least 58 attacks on Christians and their property were reported across Egypt over the last four days. At least two Christians have died in the attacks.
Islamist supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi have attacked at least 58 churches, Christian institutions, homes and shops since Wednesday, when Egyptian security forces cleared two of their sit-in camps in Cairo, according to a list Asia News received from the Catholic Church in Egypt.

Read More Here

(Bible.is) Bible App – Read, Listen & See the Bible

Not only can you read the scriptures, but you can also listen to audio recordings of the Bible being read or dramatised. If that isn’t cool enough for you, there are also many video segments provided from The JESUS Film Project.

Plus, Bible.is offers mobile access to more languages and Bible translations than any other Bible app!

Even for those whose primary language is American Sign Language:

Bible.is

(Download the Bible.is ASL App here!)

I always thought that those who were deaf would just read the Bible. I had no idea there would be a demand for this. Very cool.

Other features include:

  • FREE Holy Bible, sharing the word of God in over 700+ languages.
  • Download text and audio Bibles for offline reading and listening anytime, anywhere.
  • Search for keywords, book names, and specific verses.
  • Bookmark, highlight, and add notes. You’re one tap away from simple Bible study tools.
  • Select Favorite Bibles like ESV or KJV for quick access.
  • Watch Bible Video! See God’s Word come to life in 61 video segments from The JESUS Film Project. Available in many languages with new languages added regularly.
  • Share any Bible verse via Facebook, Twitter, SMS, Email, or Copy in just a tap.
  • Stay in sync. With a free Bible.is Account, access bookmarks, highlights, and notes on Bible.is Online (www.bible.is) and your other devices.
  • Localized Bibles based on your device language: Arabic, Chinese , English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian and more…

Screenshots

Bible-is iPhone App Screen

Bible-is iPhone App Screen 2

The online version is pretty cool, too.

You can look up a scripture and click the play button and have the scriptures read aloud:

Bible-is App Screenshot

You can also use the online Audio Bible Downloader and choose to download from a huge list of audio languages and versions.

The Bible.is online and mobile apps are impressive.

Learn more on the Bible.is website.

Source: http://churchm.ag/bible-is-bible-app/

Oxygen Network’s New Show “Preachers of LA” Has Evangelical Christian Leaders Grinding Their Teeth

Coming soon from Oxygen, the network that brings you “Bad Girls Club,” “My Shopping Addiction,” “Jersey Couture,” and “Dance Your A** Off,” is “Preachers of L.A.,” and it might be the hottest new reality show to air this fall. Judging from the trailer, the show could just as well have been called “Preachers Driving Big Cars & Living in Big Houses,” or “Pimped-out Preachers of La La Land.”

“Preachers of L.A.” is generating a huge amount of buzz. Since the program was announced, the Oxygen trailer has been viewed more than 475,000 times, its Facebook page has over 27,000 likes, and it has more than 950 Twitter followers, and garnered more than 13 million hits on Google.

It is also causing some in the evangelical community to express grave concerns about the show.

Read More Here

Questions about Marriage: What Does the Bible Say about Handling Money in a Marriage?

The Bible does not specifically address the handling of money in a marriage, but the principles regarding the relationship dynamics between the husband and wife touch on all aspects of the marriage. In other words, the principles set forth by the Lord in Ephesians 5:22–33 and Colossians 3:18–19 speak to all facets of the husband-wife relationship. This means that the spiritual balance of the spousal relationship, in all aspects, is directly impacted by the individual spouse’s personal relationship to God. In any relationship there is both blessing by association and suffering by association, and these principles are affected by the choice of each spouse to walk in obedience to the Lord.

Both spouses bring to their union strengths and weaknesses. Molding these individual characteristics into a workable relationship is a matter of understanding the order of God and the gift of grace. Financial decisions that impact the success of the family are a shared responsibility. Whatever the source of God’s provisions, whether the result of the husband’s employment or the wife’s employment or both, the assets accumulated are the responsibility of both partners together as a team. The important principle in regard to financial decisions is to “do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31; Romans 14:8; Colossians 3:23–24).

Inherent in the marriage of two people in Christ, however, is the understanding that the husband is the ultimate authority. He is responsible to God to lead and shepherd his family, while his wife’s responsibility is to submit to him and be his helper. In the realm of finances, this could mean that the husband has sole control over the checkbook, pays all the bills, and sees to the family savings and investing as well as the tithes, while at the same time consulting his wife and getting her input on financial decisions. It can just as legitimately mean that he delegates this function to his wife, especially if she enjoys or is better suited to the details of the financial realm, and that she takes over the financial details of the “family business.” But the husband still has the responsibility to oversee the process. In the end, a couple that works together in the financial aspect of the family will be a couple that usually has good communication and mutual respect.

Finally, we are also given principles such as the one in Luke 6:38, which states that the more freely we give the greater the blessing. This means that there is a correlation between the giving that we do as unto the Lord and the blessing that we receive in return, both spiritual and financial. We cannot out-give God. The more faithful we are in giving back to the LORD, the more we find that what we retain is multiplied and, indeed, more than sufficient to the point of abundance.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Relationships: What Does the Bible Say about Asexuality?

Physiologically, asexuality is defined as “having no evident sex or sex organs; sexless.” Typically, though, when asexuality is spoken of, it refers to “lacking interest in or desire for sex.” Since the Bible nowhere mentions physiological asexuality, for the purposes of this article, only the lack of sexual attraction/desire will be addressed. Is it wrong for a person to not have any sexual desire/attraction whatsoever?

What Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7 is the closest thing to a biblical mention of asexuality. In verse 1 he says it’s good for a man not to marry. In times of singleness, without the constraints of family, a person can be available to be used by God anywhere and at any time. In contrast, in verses 2–6, Paul writes that marriage is good for those who have a deep passion for the opposite sex. Marriage allows those passions to be fulfilled in a godly way. Paul then makes it clear in verses 7–8 that he was, at that time, not married. God had given Paul the gift of singleness, the ability to be happily and contently unmarried. Does this mean Paul had absolutely no desire for sex and/or no desire to be married? Not necessarily, but whatever Paul’s desire, it clearly was not as consuming as his desire to serve God. Note—in 1 Corinthians 9:5, Paul perhaps indicates a desire to marry.

So, is it wrong for a person to have no desire to get married? According to 1 Corinthians 7, no, it most definitely is not wrong. Remaining single can be a very good thing, as it can free a person to have more time to serve God. Remaining single, though, does not necessarily indicate asexuality, that is, a lack of desire for the opposite sex. The gift of singleness mentioned in 1 Corinthians 7 is the ability to be content without marriage, not necessarily lacking any and all desire for marriage. If one has no desire for marriage/sex, and is confident that this is of the Lord, he/she should use the time of singleness for wholehearted service in God’s kingdom. It would not be wrong, though, to seek medical consultation, to ensure that the asexuality is not due to some sort of hormonal imbalance.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Parables: What Is the Meaning of the Parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1–13)?

The Parable of the Unjust Steward can be found in Luke 16:1–13. The text can be broken down into two parts: The Parable (verses 1–8) and the application (verses 9–13). Luke 16:1 identifies that Jesus is speaking to His disciples, but there is a suggestion that His audience is mixed—disciples and Pharisees. Luke 16:14 states that the Pharisees “heard all these things and ridiculed [Jesus].” We also see in verse 1 that Jesus “also” said to the disciples; the “also” would suggest that this parable is connected to the previous three in Luke 15, and that audience was a mixed crowd of disciples and Pharisees.

It is important to know to whom Jesus is addressing this parable. The parable is for the benefit of the disciples, but there is also a not-so-subtle critique of the Pharisees, as was evident in Luke 15. Verse 14 is Luke’s commentary on the motivation of the Pharisees and in verse 15 we see our Lord condemn their motives. And what was the Pharisees’ motivation? They were those who were “lovers of money” and who “justify themselves before men” and exalted that which was an “abomination before God.”

With that as a backdrop, let’s look at the parable. It’s a fairly simple, if somewhat unorthodox, parable from Jesus. The story is simple, but the setting is unusual. In most of Jesus’ parables, the main protagonist is either representative of God, Christ, or some other positive character. In this parable, the characters are all wicked—the steward and the man whose possessions he manages are both unsavory characters. This should alert us to the fact that Jesus is not exhorting us to emulate the behavior of the characters, but is trying to expound on a larger principle.

The parable begins with a rich man calling his steward before him to inform him that he will be relieving him of his duties for mismanaging his master’s resources. A steward is a person who manages the resources of another. The steward had authority over all of the master’s resources and could transact business in his name. This requires the utmost level of trust in the steward. Now, it may not be apparent at this point in the parable (but is made more evident later on) but the master is probably not aware of steward’s dishonesty. The steward is being released for apparent mismanagement, not fraud. This explains why he is able to conduct a few more transactions before he is released and why he is not immediately tossed out on the street or executed.

The steward, realizing that he will soon be without a job, makes some shrewd deals behind his master’s back by reducing the debt owed by several of the master’s debtors in exchange for shelter when he is eventually put out. When the master becomes aware of what the wicked servant had done, he commends him for his “shrewdness”.

In His application of the story in the remaining verses, Jesus begins by saying, “For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light” (Luke 16:8). Jesus is drawing a contrast between the “sons of the world” (i.e., unbelievers) and the “sons of light” (believers). Unbelievers are wiser in the things of this world than believers are about the things of the world to come. The unjust steward, once he knew he was about to be put out, maneuvered to put others’ debt to himself. He did so by cheating his master (who more than likely was cheating his customers). He made friends of his master’s debtors who would then be obligated to care for him once he lost his job.

What does this have to do with believers being wise about the life to come? Let’s look at verse 9: “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.” Jesus is encouraging his followers to be generous with their wealth in this life so that in the life to come their new friends will receive them “into eternal dwellings.” This is similar to Jesus’ teaching on wealth in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus exhorts his followers to lay up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19–21).

The term “unrighteous (or worldly) wealth” seems to strike readers the wrong way. But Jesus is not saying that believers should gain wealth unrighteously and then be generous with it. “Unrighteous” in reference to wealth can refer to: 1) the means in acquiring wealth; 2) the way in which one desires to use the wealth; or 3) the corrupting influence wealth can have that often leads people to commit unrighteous acts. Given the way in which Jesus employs the term, the third explanation seems the most likely. Wealth is not inherently evil, but the love of money can lead to all sorts of sin (1 Timothy 6:10).

So the principle that Jesus is trying to convey is one of a just steward rather than an unjust one. The unjust steward saw his master’s resources as a means for his own personal enjoyment and advancement. Conversely, Jesus wants His followers to be just, righteous stewards. If we understand the principle that everything we own is a gift from God, then we realize that God is the owner of everything and that we are His stewards. As such, we are to use the Master’s resources to further the Master’s goals. In this specific case, we are to be generous with our wealth and use it for the benefit of others.

Jesus then goes on to expand in verses 10–13 the principle given in v. 9. If one is faithful in “little” (i.e., ‘unrighteous’ wealth), then one will be faithful in much. Similarly, if one is dishonest in little, he will also be dishonest in much. If we can’t be faithful with earthly wealth, which isn’t even ours to begin with, then how can we be entrusted with “true riches?” The true riches here is referring to stewardship and responsibility in God’s kingdom along with all the accompanying heavenly rewards.

The climax of Jesus’ application is v. 13: “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24). If God is our Master, then our wealth will be at His disposal. In other words, the faithful and just steward whose Master is God will employ that wealth in building up the kingdom of God.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about the Bible: Why Is It Important to Study the Bible in Context?

It’s important to study Bible passages and stories within their context. Taking verses out of context leads to all kinds of error and misunderstanding. Understanding context begins with four principles: literal meaning (what it says), historical setting (the events of the story, to whom is it addressed, and how it was understood at that time), grammar (the immediate sentence and paragraph within which a word or phrase is found) and synthesis (comparing it with other parts of Scripture for a fuller meaning). Context is crucial to biblical exegesis in that it is one of its most important fundamentals. After we account for the literal, historical, and grammatical nature of a passage, we must then focus on the outline and structure of the book, then the chapter, then the paragraph. All of these things refer to “context.” To illustrate, it is like looking at Google Maps and zooming in on one house.

Taking phrases and verses out of context always leads to misunderstanding. For instance, taking the phrase “God is love” (1 John 4:7–16) out of its context, we might come away thinking that our God loves everything and everyone at all times with a gushing, romantic love. But in its literal and grammatical context, “love” here refers to agape love, the essence of which is sacrifice for the benefit of another, not a sentimental, romantic love. The historical context is also crucial, because John was addressing believers in the first century church and instructing them not on God’s love per se, but on how to identify true believers from false professors. True love—the sacrificial, beneficial kind—is the mark of the true believer (v. 7), those who do not love do not belong to God (v. 8), God loved us before we loved Him (vv. 9–10), and all of this is why we should love one another and thereby prove that we are His (v. 11–12).

Furthermore, considering the phrase “God is love” in the context of all of Scripture (synthesis) will keep us from coming to the false, and all-too-common, conclusion that God is only love or that His love is greater than all His other attributes, which is simply not the case. We know from many other passages that God is also holy and righteous, faithful and trustworthy, graceful and merciful, kind and compassionate, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, and many, many other things. We also know from other passages that God not only loves, but He also hates.

The Bible is the Word of God, literally “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16), and we are commanded to ready, study, and understand it through the use of good Bible study methods and always with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to guide us (1 Corinthians 2:14). Our study is greatly enhanced by maintaining diligence in the use of context because it is quite easy come to wrong conclusions by taking phrases and verses out of context. It is not difficult to point out places that seemingly contradict other portions of Scripture, but if we carefully look at their context and use the entirety of Scripture as a reference, we can understand the meaning of a passage. “Context is king” means that the context often drives the meaning of a phrase. To ignore context is to put ourselves at a tremendous disadvantage.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Angels and Demons: Did One Third of the Angels Fall with Lucifer?

While there is no verse that says a “third of the angels fell from heaven,” some verses, when put together, lead us to that conclusion. Sometime after their creation, and most certainly after the sixth day when everything was declared “very good” (Genesis 1:31), Satan rebelled and was cast out of heaven. “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12). When Lucifer sinned, Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18), and in the book of the Revelation Satan is seen as “a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth” (Revelation 9:1).

We are also told that one third of an “innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22) chose to rebel with him. John saw this great wonder in heaven, “… an enormous red dragon … His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth … the great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him” (Revelation 12:3–9).

Since Satan is referred to as a star which fell or was cast down to earth, and Revelation 12:4 says a third of the stars were cast out with him, then the conclusion is that the stars in Revelation 12 refer to fallen angels, fully one third of the heavenly host. If the one-third number is in fact accurate, what assurance that is! Two thirds of the angels are still on God’s side, and for followers of Christ, they are on our side as well.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

D.A. Carson: WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR Christians to be “more than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37)?

1 Samuel 10; Romans 8; Jeremiah 47; Psalms 23–24

A considerable body of thought pictures a special group of illustrious Christians who “live above it all,” powerful in confronting temptation, victorious in their prayer lives, fruitful in their witness, mature and faithful in their relationships. And none of that is what the text says.

Read More Here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/2013/08/18/1-samuel-10-romans-8-jeremiah-47-psalms-23%E2%80%9324/

The Evangelical Gelding is Neutered

Apprising Ministries brings you a new teaching from Dr. Orrel Steincamp discussing how the Gospel has been cut in order to try and make it “relevant” to unbelievers.

THE EVANGELICAL GELDING IS NEUTERED