Seeking a Sign? PIII

Matthew 16:1-4

Do you look for other signs, or do you take His precepts as your sign and roadmap for life? Do you know this is destructive? 

The Pharisees and Sadducees were clouded the Truth with so much rhetoric and tradition they could not see the Truth. They put forth so many other regulations and insights that the main insight and rule was unseen. We, too, can be experts in interpreting trivial matters such as the weather, but unable or unwilling to apply God’s Word into our lives. We, instead, focus ourselves on minor, trivial matters such as a particular Bible version or an obscure doctoral point that becomes our god; then we become unconcerned with the bigger picture of His real truth.

We are to keep our eyes on important matters such as His Word, and how to apply it, and not be concerned with the latest trends. Ask Him for wisdom and His insights so your ideas and the ideas of others do not cloud His truth from your eyes.

Jesus was getting their attention, but they refused to listen. Some first century Jewish commentators said false doctrine is like poison water. And Jewish teachers often spoke figuratively, as Jesus did. Also, the Israelites had a long history of forgetting who God is and His provision-from just a few months of wandering in the desert, to the next generation after Joshua, to all the good kings compared to the failed kings. Thus, God had to remind them of who He is on numerous occasions (Duet. 8).

Here is a couple more key words:

“You of little faith” was one of Jesus’ favorite nicknames for His Disciples (Matt. 6:30; 8:26; 14:31). Ouch! They had some faith, but still needed to learn and grow into maturity.

You do not understand”, another ouch, as the Disciples once again misunderstood their Lord. Jesus spoke plainly, but He also taught in figurative language to draw people deeper into the meaning, to think through and apply His teaching. The Disciples only saw the face value, and either were not listening or did not want to think. The Disciples should have started to see the signs, especially after so many unprecedented miracles, the most seen since Moses.

“Just do it” requires a process-from the signal to enter the brain, it is categorized, implemented, and then the info is sent to the hands and feet. So it is with faith and our spiritual growth. Plain speech instructs, and to a good listener, it can be applied. But, metaphors require thought and a process to hone and own the precepts-to be a changed person so behaviors can be changed. This just does not happen; it requires the wrestling of thought and the work of the Spirit.

“No bread” is the sign that the disciples were over-concerned with material matters and not spiritual ones, as they should have been. We need to be aware that we do not slip into superficial ideas of Christianity; rather, we look deeper and apply His depths to our hands and feet.

The Disciples had so much testimony and wonders before them to still be stuck with superficial notions. It would take another miracle in the next chapter to cement, in their hearts and minds, Who He is (John 3:4; 4:11; 6:52; 6:63).

Have you ever seen the evidence of how false doctrines can be destructive? Consider, it gets people excited, which is not bad. Then gets peoples hopes up, still not bad. Then, the zinger, it turns out to be false and then the hope is dashed into disillusionment and frustrations and then once active people in the church give it up. False teaching destroys and hides the Work of Christ and poisons what He is doing in the lives and ministries of real Followers of Christ!

Do you understand who you are in Christ? What does that mean to you?

How can you know when you are unable or unwilling to apply God’s Word into your life? How can this awareness help you apply His truth?

 

Seeking a Sign? PII

 

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away. Matthew 16:1-4

The over-concern with appearances or trivial matters can get in the way of seeking Truth! 

Jesus made use of the Pharisees as examples of what not to do, as they were preachers of false doctrines. Just as there are so many today, chasing feelings and desires and not real true Truth. That they were wrongly teaching what the Bible plainly contains may seem small and insignificant to some, but we have to realize when we teach something as His Word that is not in His Word, or skewed, we are being Pharisees. We would be the ones clouding people from God’s revealed truth.

This is no small matter. It is like yeast; only a small amount makes its way through all of the dough, affecting the entire outcome. Essential Truth is essential. False doctrines are destructive and will ruin people, churches, and skew His plan from unfolding in us.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were “Testing Him” these two groups who were diametrically opposed to one another. The Pharisees were traditionalists and popular, while the Sadducees were liberal, denied an afterlife, and held the political power. They disagreed on many doctrinal points and customs so that each one hated the other. Yet, they were united in their joint hatred of real Truth. They both liked to interpret and apply their own rules as Law, and the One who is Truth was their chief opposition. Does this sound familiar? (Matt. 15:2-3; 22:23; Acts 23:6-10)

Let look at a couple of these key words:

So, what does the “Sign of Jonah” mean? It referrers to our Lord’s resurrection to come, not to some deluded prediction of a false teacher that will not come true. How do we know? Look at the context! Also, Christ alludes to His coming suffering for their redemption. A people who refused to acknowledge or accept Him and will put Him to the death, are given ultimate forgiveness and salvation if only they will believe. Jesus offers His life to redeem them from their sin. (Acts 2:22-36). Jonah was at the door of death, and God kept him alive with a miracle (Matt. 12:39).

So, what does Yeast mean, besides being a bakery product? This was, and still is, an essential component to make bread rise and taste better. Yeast also was a colloquialism referring to evil. It only takes a small amount of evil to corrupt the entire batch. Jesus is using yeast to mean false doctrine which is extremely destructive because it hides real truth. It is a counterfeit that quickly penetrates and corrupts and has no value for redemption. So, when you cash it in, you receive nothing but the rotten works of its aftermath (Matt. 13).

The only way to remove false doctrine is to remove the people proclaiming it. First, show them the real truth; if they still reuse to recant, remove their platform and poison from harming others As in do not give them money, do not listen to them and show others what is real true Truth from God’s Word in context and real word meanings (Gal. 5:9; 1 Cor. 5:6-7).

Do you understand who you are in Christ? Do you look for signs, or do you take His precepts as your sign and roadmap for life? The Pharisees were experts in interpreting what was going on in the world with people, motivations, knowing their rules, and even the weather, but they did not know their Scriptures. They only knew what their interpretations were, what others had said, and the passion to follow the concepts they cherished. But, they did not know the facts of what God had plainly told them in His Word.

What do you need to do to keep your eyes on important matters, such as His Word

The Methodology of our Eschatology

The Problem 

There is just too much bad and false teaching on this subject!  

Our point is to focus on what God says not what man says… we are the triviality when we distract others from Him. He is Sovereign… Thus, we look to Matthew 24, what Jesus clearly stated as our template, not heretical preachers or even what our denominations stated or what is popular…

The findings clearly show the more time in spiritual formation the increased joyful spiritual focus on Christ and effectual Christian living of the individual. Also what was asked is why is Eschatology important and how and why it is not important. The results of these questions were taken into account to the necessity of education of End Times precepts. 

It is the application of what Francis Schaeffer said as “true-Truth!” What does the Bible really say? Not what I think truth is, but willing to lay one’s truth aside for an honest investigation should not be feared; if you are right, Scripture will pan you out. If you are wrong, wouldn’t you rather be right on the side of the Bible, regardless of what others may think, or your own pride that may need to be swallowed? Then if you still feel your truth is correct and you did your homework, you are better off. But what usually happens is that we push our truth forward, ignoring logic, sound reasoning, and biblical exegesis such as, what did these terms and ideas mean in their original languages, set in their contexts, genre, and cultural meanings?

Our goal in our postings is: What did these words from Scripture mean to the human authors used by the Holy Spirit as well as the hearers at the time, not from a newspaper today that is at a different time, culture, and language.

This is what real effectual factual truth is in action and in application, asking the question what the bible clearly says in its actual meaning and context not what we think it should say.

The Essential Inductive Questions  

  1. What does this passage say?
  2. What does this passage mean?
  3. What is God telling me? How am I encouraged and strengthened?
  4. Is there a sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
  5. How can I be changed so I can learn and grow?
  6. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me?
  7. What is in the way of my listening to God?
  8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
  9. What can I model and teach?

10. What does God want me to share with someone? 

The Deductive Reasoning is as Follows 

  1. What does the word mean?
  2. What is the textual context?
  3. What is the genre context?
  4. What is historical context?
  5. Does it change anything?
  6. Does it indicate anything?
  7. What have others researched and taught on this passage?
  8. How does it add to your (and our) understanding?

Eschatology is important, why we have spent 20 years carefully researching and studying this, what is not important is crazy made up theory’s to satisfy ones pride…so we are not growing in the Faith and Fruit instead arguing with one another as the Gospel goes unnoticed…

Primary Sources, References and Resources used:

  1. The New American Standard New Testament Greek Lexicon from online and PC software based on Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Kittel, Colin Brown and the “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.”
  2. Richard J Krejcir. Into Thy Word. “Into Thy Word Bible Study Method.” Writers Club Press. 2000.
  3. Augustine. The City of God
  4. Calvin, John. The Institutes of the Christian Religion
  5. The Works of Early Church Fathers
  6. The Works Eusebius
  7. The Works of Justin
  8. The Works of Josephus
  9. Alan Johnson, Expositors Bible Commentary, I, II, Revelation. Zondervan. 1981, 1994.

10. Arthur Ogden, The Avenging Of The Apostles & Prophets, Ogden Publications, 1985

11. Barclay, William. Daily Study Bible: The Revelation of John. John Knox Press, 1977

12. Caird, G.B. Harper’s New Testament Commentaries: Revelation of St John, Hendrickson Publishers, 1987

13. Charles, R.H. International Critical Commentary: Revelation of St John, 1920

14. Craig S. Keener. The IVP Bible Background Commentary. Inter Varsity Press. 1993.

15. The Expositors Greek Testament, Eerdmans, 1979

16. Foy E. Wallace Jr., The Book Of Revelation, Wallace Publications,1966

17. G.B. Caird, A Commentary on the Revelation of Saint John the Devine, Harper and Row, 1966

18. Gerhard Krodel, Revelation, Augsburg, 1989

19. G.R. Beasley-Murray, The Book of Revelation, Eerdmans NCB, 1978

20. Halley’s Bible Handbook. Regency. 1927.

21. Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology, Hendrickson, 1999

22. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, Zondervan, 1958

23. Jerome H Smith, Ed. The New Treasury of SCRIPTURE Knowledge. Thomas Nelson. 1992.

24. Jim McGuiggan, The Book Of Revelation, Montex, 1976

25. John F. Walvoord, Revelation, Bible Knowledge Commentary, Victor Books, 1983.

26. George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, rev. ed. ed. Donald A. Hagner, Eerdmans, 1993

27. Merill C. Tenney, Interpreting Revelation, Eerdmans, 1957

28. The Moffatt, New Testament Commentary: Revelation of St John, Eerdmans, 1997

29. Morris, Leon. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries: Revelation of St John, Tyndale, 1969, 1984

30. New Geneva Study Bible. Thomas Nelson. 1995.

31. Philip Schaff, History Of The Christian Church, Vol. I, Eerdmans, 1910,1985

32. R.C. Sproul. Essential Truths of the Christian Faith. Tyndale. 1992.

33. Sturgeon’s Devotional Bible. Baker Books. 1964.

34. Warren Wiersbe. With the Word. Oliver Nelson. 1991.

35. Research at the Scholarly Archives at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA; Years of study & teaching notes; Seminary notes; Prayer

The primary exegete is Rev. Richard Joseph Krejcir, M.Div., Ph.D., is the cofounder and Director of Into Thy Word Ministries, a missions and discipling ministry. He is also the theologian in residence, at the Francis Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership.  www.churchleadership.org/  He is the author of several books including, Into Thy Word, and A Field Guide to Healthy Relationships. He is also a pastor, teacher, and speaker. He is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (M.Div.) and holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Practical Theology in London, England (Ph.D). He has garnered over 30 years of pastoral ministry experience, mostly in youth ministry, including serving as a church growth consultant. 

Do you read from the Bible or read into the Bible? Do you know the difference?

 

Thank-you for all for your attention and contributions and be blessed!

 

The Four Main Views of Revelation 2: 1-7

Preterist view: Sees this passage as addressing actual historical churches.

Futurist view: Believes as the Preterist and Historicist, too. Many theologians of all these views hold that they are historical and point to all churches, and that there is no hidden meaning in these chapters.

Idealist view: Sees these churches as symbolic with no specific reference in history, place, or time, but rather as a template for church history and the seven ages of the Church. Both Idealists and Historicists see Ephesus as the Apostolic Age to 100 A.D.; Smyrna is the church under persecution 100 to 300 A.D.; Pergamum is the church after Constantine and the Dark Ages of corruption 313 to 500 A.D., false teaching, and carnality. Thyatira is the Middle Ages of the power of the Papacy and corruption, 500 to 1500. Sardis is the Reformation 1500 to 1700 (Reformed denominations attack this position because Sardis is described as actually being dead). Philadelphia is the church with evangelism and missionary movements,1700 to the present. Laodicea represents the liberal churches from 1900 to the End of Days.

Historicist view: Sees this passage as parallels to all churches, which every church that ever was or will be will fall in one of those seven “categories.”

Questions to Ponder:

1. How would you appraise your church from this letter? What is your church doing right as listed here, and what is it doing wrong?

2. This church of Ephesus is being praised for its good and is also threatened with judgment if they do not start to love. Why would Jesus use such strong language with them?

3. Why do you suppose this church had trouble with loving? Do you think people could become victims of the ugly that happens when a key component of doing Church is left out?

4. Why would someone think that are “improving” Christianity by teaching people to compromise their faith so they can join in the culture?

5. What happens when we run our churches to please ourselves or for our comforts and ideas? Do you believe that if we refuse love then we are refusing Christ and we will be judged for it?

6. What is the condition of your church? What can you do to implement the prime purpose of glorifying Christ as a purpose statement or active slogan that is understood and applied?

7. What can you do to carefully and seriously examine your own church so you are all doing your best for His highest? What would it take to make the needed improvements? How would the people in your church handle some examination?

© 1992-2009, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

What does Revelation 2: 1-7 mean to me?

Revelation was written to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, which is now modern Turkey (Rev. 1:4, 11). The principle purpose for the writing is to encourage and chastise them for how they were running their churches (Rev. 2:1-3:22). John was fully convinced that Christ would triumph over the forces of Satan and his work in the world. He then exhorted them to be faithful and discerning between what is false and what is truth, and warned them not to worship the Emperor or to comply with evil, apathy, or compromise. He restated the importance of discipleship and Christian formation so they (we) could be authentic Christians of excellence and distinction, bringing no disrepute to Christ or His Church.

God’s purpose for John in Revelation is not that he be condescending or judgmental. Rather, it is so he could offer hope and encouragement to the Church. At the same time, it points out the issues and problems so we can address them and move from our ways to His Ways. If we just sit and point fingers at problems, ignore them, rationalize they are OK, or worry we might offend people and do nothing about fixing them, we do the Church, God, and ourselves a disservice. We are called to know what we are doing and His precepts so we can be better for His glory. Let’s take a hard look at our church and see where we are with what He has called us to, and have the courage and fortitude to fix what we are not doing right so we can seek being our best for His glory.

Jesus ends this letter with the importance of listening and heeding His precepts. We are to allow the flow of the Spirit, and to be Sprit-led, not self-led, especially with how we lead the Church. A church can only be successful as long as love is penetrating and being modeled from its leadership and members. When love is lost, so is the church (1 Cor. 13)!


Exegetical look into Revelation 2: 4-7

Key word analysis:

· I hold this against you…first love. They had forgotten the most important aspect of a church! This may also mean they had bad attitudes, too, that they were once enthusiastic but now are apathetic. They stopped the love that they had for Christ and for one another.

· Forsaken is a very harsh term meaning abandon, as in abandoning a child. There, love was left out. Sound doctrine without love and care is like salt poured in dirt; it is useless (Jer. 2:2; 1 John 4; Rev. 2:19).

· Repent. Jesus is calling them back to His love. He asks them to remember who they are and Who He is, to hold on to Him and to dwell in Him. When we slip, it is gradual and we do not notice; sometimes, we do not care or see this as a problem. Thus, to call us back, Jesus sometimes must threaten judgment unless we start running our churches as they and we have been called to do. This is serious business! If an unloving church repents, it can be saved and rebooted to serve and glorify Christ. If not, it will close and be a rotten memory to the community and to Christ!

· Remove your lampstand. Judgment will be at hand soon, unless they repent! Jesus threatens them with judgment if they do not start to love again! This is also a parody of words since the city of Ephesus had to be removed and then moved.

· Nicolaitans was a heretical group that venerated Jezebel and Balaam with their horrible demeanor, false teachers, and manipulators. They also were experimenting with Gnosticism, believing that their Christian liberty gave them the freedom to practice sin, idolatry, immorality, and engage fully the pagan culture while remaining Christians (Acts 6:5). What angered Jesus further is that they taught they were “improving” Christianity by teaching people to compromise their faith so they could join in the culture and avoid persecution. “Nicolaitan” means conquer the people. Apparently, this church also micromanaged and lorded over its people just as a cult does today, which is also very bad and ugly (Matt. 21:20-27; 23:1-12; Acts 6:5).

· The Spirit means hear the Word of God. It refers to the vision of the prophecy and perhaps the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, too (Amos 3:1; 4:1; 5:1; Rev. 1:10; 14:13).

· Him who overcomes/one who conquers means to win an athletic event or military campaign. It refers to persevering in the face of adversity and being better for it. This does not mean we earn our salvation nor have any effect regarding it; rather, it means to be faithful. Our growth in Him demonstrates our faith; it is our growth in Christ that keeps us here on this earth. No matter what is facing us and no matter what we have experienced, what we go through in life is meant to form our character and maturity. What we learn is what we carry into eternity. When we fail and do not overcome, it is disappointing in our Lord’s sight. Being faithful is the key that opens to us the door to living in the New Jerusalem (John 13:34; 16:33; Phil. 1; 1 John 4:20; 5:4-5; Rev. 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:1-22:5).

· Tree of life means access to God’s blessings. The tree of life was in the Garden of Eden from which humanity was locked out after the Fall. The promise here is the restoration of Paradise, and that this tree will grow again (Gen. 2:9; 3:22-24; Ezek. 47:12; 2 Cor. 12:2-4; Rev. 2: 14, 19; chaps 21 -22)!

· Paradise means, “pleasure garden.” This points to our restored, sinless state and/or the millennial kingdom (Gen. 2:8; Ezek. 28:13; Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4).

Exegetical look into Revelation 2: 1-3

Key word analysis:

· To the/Say this is a royal edict, as The King Says!

· Angel. The context here indicates this may be a human messenger, as people are used by God to convey His message.

· Church of Ephesus. Ephesus was the Roman capital of Asia Minor. It was located near modern Istanbul, Turkey. Its ruins are still visible today. It was once a jewel of a city with a population of 250,000. It had to move many times due to the rising of the ocean levels and near by river silts, which have since receded. Ephesus means “Cayster” the god of the river. John himself may have planted this church, and Paul lived there for three years ministering to them while he wrote the Epistle of Ephesians. Now, it is only a small village where the ruins remain in sight (Acts 18:19-20, 26; 19:8-9, 8-38; Eph. 1:1-3, 15; 1 Tim. 1:3).

· Golden lampstands refers to God’s Light, as the Church is the light to the world for God’s Glory. Christ is the destiny and pattern we follow and emulate.

· I know shows His care, that Jesus is God and omniscient (all knowing and all seeing), and the One who is to inspire us (1 Thess. 1:3).

· Perseverance means having confidence in God so we trust Him in difficult situations and still see His grace and love. Perseverance is not being faint with relationships or within situations, but being able to persist in dealing with stress so we can accomplish what God calls us to. We can do this by being encouraging with Christ-like temperament (2 Chron. 32:1-8; Esther 7; Luke 16:22-31; 18:9; Acts 19:8-10; 26:19-23; Rom. 15:14-16; Gal. 6:9; Phil. 1:6; 12-14, 25; 2 Tim. 2:25; James 5:7-12).

· Endured means God shows patience by tolerating our misdeeds for a time for the sake of others who will benefit from it by their faith being strengthened. Our endurance will communicate encouragement for our staying power; it is contagious as in “you can do it, too!” When God seems far away and no one seems to care about injustice or your concerns, God is still there caring! He will vindicate and care for you, turning your suffering into His glory and a benefit to others, too (Prov. 6:9; Rom. 9:14-29; 2 Pet. 3:9)!

· Tested infers that we are called to test for correct doctrine, and the importance for any church to be giving real, dependable, true teaching (1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Peter 3; 1 John 4:1).

· Have not grown weary means not to give up our hard work and ethics.