Stephenway's blog listings. Feed Zend_Feed_Writer 1.10.8 (http://framework.zend.com) http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway Selected Verses on the Work of the Holy Spirit- Part 1 A study of the Holy Spirit (Spirit of the Lord, God’s Spirit, Comforter, Holy Ghost) and His works would take many pages.  I will attempt to do a very short study, but highlight some of the Spirit’s works in creation and in empowering people in performing God’s will.  This will require many Scripture references as I do not wish to teach something is Biblical or led by the Spirit without being able to demonstrate the truth from the Scriptures.  The Spirit inspired the Scriptures and will in no wise contradict Scripture teachings.  This is Part 1 of at least 3.

2Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Many people don’t understand the full meaning of the term ‘prophet’.  Prophets not only told of future events, but cried out against present circumstances, praised what was good, and told in remembrance of the past events that demonstrated God’s gracious mercies and loving-kindness, His deliverances as well as His wrath.  In this sense the phrase ‘prophecy of the Scripture’ used in 2nd Peter 1: 20 above refers to all of God’s Word as we know it in the Bible.  So, though it is not common usage today, in many respects, a prophet could be anyone who tells a Word that God reveals to them, even though it may not foretell some future event.

I will start here with some selected references from the Old Testament, without much comment, and ask that you pray for the Spirit’s guidance in understanding the Spirit better through these verses.

Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Genesis 41:38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?

Exodus 31:3 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

Numbers 11:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. 17 And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.

1Samuel 10:10 And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.

2Chronicles 24:20 And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you.

Job 33:4 The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

Psalm 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

Isaiah 48:16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and His Spirit, hath sent me.

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.

Isaiah 63:11 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is He that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is He that put His Holy Spirit within him?

Ezekiel 11:24 Afterwards the Spirit took me up, and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me.

Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit.

We can see that God’s Spirit was with Him in the creation.  We see that men of God in the Old Testament were given guidance, wisdom, and special skills by the Holy Spirit.  We see that God’s Spirit empowered people to bear one another’s burdens (from the Numbers passage) and gave people the ability to prophecy.  Also, I hope you saw that even in the Old Testament, people had been prone to grieve and vex the Holy Spirit by transgressing God’s law.

The Joel passage was quoted in Acts where it was seen that people baptized in the Spirit had that Spirit ‘poured out’ on them.  However, we have not fully come to a time when it has yet been poured out on ALL flesh.  This is just a sampling of the Spirit’s work in the Old Testament.  In Part 2 we will move to the New Testament.

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Sat, 05 Sep 2015 06:51:41 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/09/05/selected_verses_on_the_work_of_the_holy_spirit-_part_1 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/09/05/selected_verses_on_the_work_of_the_holy_spirit-_part_1 A study of the Holy Spirit (Spirit of the Lord, God’s Spirit, Comforter, Holy Ghost) and His works would take many pages.  I will attempt to do a very short study, but highlight some of the Spirit’s works in creation and in empowering people in performing God’s will.  This will require many Scripture references as I do not wish to teach something is Biblical or led by the Spirit without being able to demonstrate the truth from the Scriptures.  The Spirit inspired the Scriptures and will in no wise contradict Scripture teachings.  This is Part 1 of at least 3.

2Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Many people don’t understand the full meaning of the term ‘prophet’.  Prophets not only told of future events, but cried out against present circumstances, praised what was good, and told in remembrance of the past events that demonstrated God’s gracious mercies and loving-kindness, His deliverances as well as His wrath.  In this sense the phrase ‘prophecy of the Scripture’ used in 2nd Peter 1: 20 above refers to all of God’s Word as we know it in the Bible.  So, though it is not common usage today, in many respects, a prophet could be anyone who tells a Word that God reveals to them, even though it may not foretell some future event.

I will start here with some selected references from the Old Testament, without much comment, and ask that you pray for the Spirit’s guidance in understanding the Spirit better through these verses.

Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Genesis 41:38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?

Exodus 31:3 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

Numbers 11:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. 17 And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.

1Samuel 10:10 And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.

2Chronicles 24:20 And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you.

Job 33:4 The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

Psalm 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

Isaiah 48:16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and His Spirit, hath sent me.

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.

Isaiah 63:11 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is He that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is He that put His Holy Spirit within him?

Ezekiel 11:24 Afterwards the Spirit took me up, and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me.

Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit.

We can see that God’s Spirit was with Him in the creation.  We see that men of God in the Old Testament were given guidance, wisdom, and special skills by the Holy Spirit.  We see that God’s Spirit empowered people to bear one another’s burdens (from the Numbers passage) and gave people the ability to prophecy.  Also, I hope you saw that even in the Old Testament, people had been prone to grieve and vex the Holy Spirit by transgressing God’s law.

The Joel passage was quoted in Acts where it was seen that people baptized in the Spirit had that Spirit ‘poured out’ on them.  However, we have not fully come to a time when it has yet been poured out on ALL flesh.  This is just a sampling of the Spirit’s work in the Old Testament.  In Part 2 we will move to the New Testament.

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Personal Beliefs Of course in a public forum, many people may have many beliefs and when one exposes his beliefs on a public forum, then he may be called to account for or to lay the basis or foundation of his beliefs and/or to defend his beliefs (and/or faith).  Some may choose not to listen to me because I do not go to church on Saturday (which is technically the legal Saturday).  For my particular belief, one does not “have” to go to “church” on any day to know the Lord and serve Him.  I said does not “have” to, but it is certainly encouraged in the New Testament and good for Christian growth.  But what do I believe and why do I believe it?  (Note: I do not ask anyone to believe in me or in my belief system but to search the Scriptures, because each person is responsible for answering to our Creator on his own.)

Romans 14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.  2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.  3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.  4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another?  It is before his own master that he stands or falls.  And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike.  Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.  6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord.  The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.  7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.  8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord.  So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.

Sometimes people may be brought up with different teachings.  The Lord does not judge based on teachings, but on the person having a personal search for Him through His Son, Jesus (Yahshua- Hebrew/Jewish form).  I grew up from a background of many denominations with slightly different beliefs about certain technicalities, but we were taught to study the Scriptures and search for one's own relationship.  The Torah Law from God through Moses was given to the Jews and applied to human obedience to making himself right with Yahweh through the laws.  Yahweh knew that man would never be "good enough/perfect enough/clean enough" to come to Him through the law and gave that law to demonstrate to mankind how far short we are from His standards.  He knew this from the beginning- that's why the book of Revelation describes Jesus as the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world.  (Remember in the Torah law, a lamb was to be sacrificed, but Jesus took the place of that lamb).  So we cannot be saved by the law, but only by the blood of the Lamb/Jesus.

The Sabbath is always Saturday, and a part of the law.  What does it say to do on Saturday/Sabbath?  Does it say to 'worship' on Sabbath?  Does it say to go to Synagogue/Church on Sabbath?  Does it say to study Torah and pray on Sabbath?  It says to rest and remember to keep it holy (which means 'set apart' from the other days).  What are Christians to do?  We are to strive to be like Jesus seven days a week.  We are to worship seven days a week (and worship involves that complex combination of praise/prayer/& service to Yahweh and one another).  We could go to Synagogue/Church Saturday, or Sunday, or any other day, or every day.  Any day is a good day to meet together to worship the Lord with prayer and praise and service.

The Jews in Jesus day rebuked Jesus for violating the Sabbath.  Would we seriously accuse Jesus of not keeping that day separate (as holy means separate) for doing God's will?  In a way, we could say that Jesus didn't keep that day separate (holy) apart from any other day, because Jesus did on Sabbath as He did on other days.  He daily taught God's Word, prayed, and served others.  So could we really say that Jesus treated Sabbath any differently from any other day.  But technically, keeping the Sabbath day 'holy' means keeping it 'set-apart'.

I have been searching the Scriptures for many years, and am disappointed that so many people look for so many ways to attach 'rules and regulations' about what to do and when to do it.  Christians are to treat all days as though each day was set-apart for the Lord, because in every endeavor we are to seek to serve as though we were serving Him, to live as though we were living for Him, and to pray, study, and praise the Lord.

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Fri, 04 Sep 2015 16:07:41 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/09/04/personal_beliefs http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/09/04/personal_beliefs Of course in a public forum, many people may have many beliefs and when one exposes his beliefs on a public forum, then he may be called to account for or to lay the basis or foundation of his beliefs and/or to defend his beliefs (and/or faith).  Some may choose not to listen to me because I do not go to church on Saturday (which is technically the legal Saturday).  For my particular belief, one does not “have” to go to “church” on any day to know the Lord and serve Him.  I said does not “have” to, but it is certainly encouraged in the New Testament and good for Christian growth.  But what do I believe and why do I believe it?  (Note: I do not ask anyone to believe in me or in my belief system but to search the Scriptures, because each person is responsible for answering to our Creator on his own.)

Romans 14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.  2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.  3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.  4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another?  It is before his own master that he stands or falls.  And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike.  Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.  6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord.  The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.  7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.  8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord.  So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.

Sometimes people may be brought up with different teachings.  The Lord does not judge based on teachings, but on the person having a personal search for Him through His Son, Jesus (Yahshua- Hebrew/Jewish form).  I grew up from a background of many denominations with slightly different beliefs about certain technicalities, but we were taught to study the Scriptures and search for one's own relationship.  The Torah Law from God through Moses was given to the Jews and applied to human obedience to making himself right with Yahweh through the laws.  Yahweh knew that man would never be "good enough/perfect enough/clean enough" to come to Him through the law and gave that law to demonstrate to mankind how far short we are from His standards.  He knew this from the beginning- that's why the book of Revelation describes Jesus as the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world.  (Remember in the Torah law, a lamb was to be sacrificed, but Jesus took the place of that lamb).  So we cannot be saved by the law, but only by the blood of the Lamb/Jesus.

The Sabbath is always Saturday, and a part of the law.  What does it say to do on Saturday/Sabbath?  Does it say to 'worship' on Sabbath?  Does it say to go to Synagogue/Church on Sabbath?  Does it say to study Torah and pray on Sabbath?  It says to rest and remember to keep it holy (which means 'set apart' from the other days).  What are Christians to do?  We are to strive to be like Jesus seven days a week.  We are to worship seven days a week (and worship involves that complex combination of praise/prayer/& service to Yahweh and one another).  We could go to Synagogue/Church Saturday, or Sunday, or any other day, or every day.  Any day is a good day to meet together to worship the Lord with prayer and praise and service.

The Jews in Jesus day rebuked Jesus for violating the Sabbath.  Would we seriously accuse Jesus of not keeping that day separate (as holy means separate) for doing God's will?  In a way, we could say that Jesus didn't keep that day separate (holy) apart from any other day, because Jesus did on Sabbath as He did on other days.  He daily taught God's Word, prayed, and served others.  So could we really say that Jesus treated Sabbath any differently from any other day.  But technically, keeping the Sabbath day 'holy' means keeping it 'set-apart'.

I have been searching the Scriptures for many years, and am disappointed that so many people look for so many ways to attach 'rules and regulations' about what to do and when to do it.  Christians are to treat all days as though each day was set-apart for the Lord, because in every endeavor we are to seek to serve as though we were serving Him, to live as though we were living for Him, and to pray, study, and praise the Lord.

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The Church- A Closer Look Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

apostolos— Strong- a delegate; specifically an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ : - apostle, messenger, he that is sent.  Thayer- a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders

Apostles were sent to various churches (or congregations) for various reasons: receive a collection for another church; to deliver that collection; but most notably to evangelize and/or give doctrinal support to various congregations.  Barnabas and Mark were sent as were Paul and Silas, Timothy, Titus, and many others.

prophētēs— Strong- a foreteller (“prophet”); by analogy an inspired speaker; by extension a poet: - prophet.  Thayer- 1) in Greek writings, an interpreter of oracles or of other hidden things  2) one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation

People often think of a prophet as one who foretells the future (as mentioned above), but Scripturally the better definition is the one above of one moved or inspired as a spokesman.  Prophets are those who are inspired to relate specific messages for God.  Old Testament prophets were sometimes moved to relate historical accounts that demonstrated God’s care, God’s instructions, or warnings from Moses of God’s wrath; they were also at times inspired to relate to the people an account of the people’s current situation, usually about the sins that plagued the people at the time; and also when inspired to do so, they told of future expectations.

euaggelistēs— Strong- a preacher of the gospel: - evangelist.  Thayer- 1) a bringer of good tidings, an evangelist  2) the name given to the NT heralds of salvation through Christ who are not apostles

Evangelists are those who are called to spread the good Word of salvation to peoples wherever they are called or sent.  Though apostles may be evangelists, a person may be an evangelist but not in the broader sense of an apostle.  The function of the evangelist is in that respect, somewhat more specialized.

poimēn— Strong- Of uncertain affinity; a shepherd (literally or figuratively): - shepherd, pastor.  Thayer- 1) a herdsman, especially a shepherd 1a) in the parable, he to whose care and control others have committed themselves, and whose precepts they follow  2) metaphorically 2a) the presiding officer, manager, director, of any assembly: so of Christ the Head of the church

The function of the pastor is much the same as the function of a shepherd over a flock.  A pastor is called to a specific congregation (unlike the apostle or evangelist who travels to various congregations).  As a shepherd is to lead his flock to good pastures and waters, the pastor is responsible for serving his/her congregation with a balanced diet of the milk and meat of the gospel.  New converts are not ready for solid foods.  That is why it is incumbent upon any pastor to have in his/her congregation a class or program to indoctrinate the new converts in the fundamentals of salvation, prayer, Bible study, and Spiritual gifts to wean (so to speak) new converts into maturity so they will be ready for partaking of the meat of the gospel.

didaskalos— Strong- an instructor (generally or specifically): - doctor, master, teacher.  Thayer- 1) a teacher  2) in the NT one who teaches concerning the things of God, and the duties of man

The teachers are to be coordinated by the authorities in the church (board of deacons with the pastor or a select committee commissioned by the church for that purpose) to instruct the various peoples (i.e. new converts, younger men, younger women, older men, older women) in the various works in the Christian life.

All of this is to be for the (verse 12 above) perfecting of the saints (completely equipping the members of the church), for the work of the ministry (the service of Christ to one another and the world community to demonstrate Christ’s love), for the edifying of the body of Christ (the building up of Christ’s church).  The parenthetical comments are based on Strong’s and Thayer’s definitions from their Greek lexicons.

The above verses and definitions are basically the workings, make-up, functions, (call it whatever you will) of the church.  Any Christian is a member of Christ’s church, and has a purpose as foreordained by God (Ephesians 2: 10). If your pastor is on the radio, television, or internet, see that your pastor is providing a balanced diet.  A preacher who spends much of his sermons talking about the rapture, tribulation, and second coming may be good to listen to, but isn’t providing a balanced diet of Christ’s gospel.  You would do well not to consider anyone your pastor, unless that one gives you a balanced diet of all that God has for you in His Word.

The church as a whole has many members with different gifts.  We are to use those gifts to support one another and spread the Word of God’s love to us through Christ.  Because of our love and oneness, we are to support one another.  Do we demonstrate that love and oneness?  How much would we gain by supporting one another?  We are also to love those who are of this world in hopes of teaching them the better way of the Lord.  Are we demonstrating that love?

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Fri, 04 Sep 2015 02:11:24 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/09/04/the_church-_a_closer_look http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/09/04/the_church-_a_closer_look Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

apostolos— Strong- a delegate; specifically an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ : - apostle, messenger, he that is sent.  Thayer- a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders

Apostles were sent to various churches (or congregations) for various reasons: receive a collection for another church; to deliver that collection; but most notably to evangelize and/or give doctrinal support to various congregations.  Barnabas and Mark were sent as were Paul and Silas, Timothy, Titus, and many others.

prophētēs— Strong- a foreteller (“prophet”); by analogy an inspired speaker; by extension a poet: - prophet.  Thayer- 1) in Greek writings, an interpreter of oracles or of other hidden things  2) one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation

People often think of a prophet as one who foretells the future (as mentioned above), but Scripturally the better definition is the one above of one moved or inspired as a spokesman.  Prophets are those who are inspired to relate specific messages for God.  Old Testament prophets were sometimes moved to relate historical accounts that demonstrated God’s care, God’s instructions, or warnings from Moses of God’s wrath; they were also at times inspired to relate to the people an account of the people’s current situation, usually about the sins that plagued the people at the time; and also when inspired to do so, they told of future expectations.

euaggelistēs— Strong- a preacher of the gospel: - evangelist.  Thayer- 1) a bringer of good tidings, an evangelist  2) the name given to the NT heralds of salvation through Christ who are not apostles

Evangelists are those who are called to spread the good Word of salvation to peoples wherever they are called or sent.  Though apostles may be evangelists, a person may be an evangelist but not in the broader sense of an apostle.  The function of the evangelist is in that respect, somewhat more specialized.

poimēn— Strong- Of uncertain affinity; a shepherd (literally or figuratively): - shepherd, pastor.  Thayer- 1) a herdsman, especially a shepherd 1a) in the parable, he to whose care and control others have committed themselves, and whose precepts they follow  2) metaphorically 2a) the presiding officer, manager, director, of any assembly: so of Christ the Head of the church

The function of the pastor is much the same as the function of a shepherd over a flock.  A pastor is called to a specific congregation (unlike the apostle or evangelist who travels to various congregations).  As a shepherd is to lead his flock to good pastures and waters, the pastor is responsible for serving his/her congregation with a balanced diet of the milk and meat of the gospel.  New converts are not ready for solid foods.  That is why it is incumbent upon any pastor to have in his/her congregation a class or program to indoctrinate the new converts in the fundamentals of salvation, prayer, Bible study, and Spiritual gifts to wean (so to speak) new converts into maturity so they will be ready for partaking of the meat of the gospel.

didaskalos— Strong- an instructor (generally or specifically): - doctor, master, teacher.  Thayer- 1) a teacher  2) in the NT one who teaches concerning the things of God, and the duties of man

The teachers are to be coordinated by the authorities in the church (board of deacons with the pastor or a select committee commissioned by the church for that purpose) to instruct the various peoples (i.e. new converts, younger men, younger women, older men, older women) in the various works in the Christian life.

All of this is to be for the (verse 12 above) perfecting of the saints (completely equipping the members of the church), for the work of the ministry (the service of Christ to one another and the world community to demonstrate Christ’s love), for the edifying of the body of Christ (the building up of Christ’s church).  The parenthetical comments are based on Strong’s and Thayer’s definitions from their Greek lexicons.

The above verses and definitions are basically the workings, make-up, functions, (call it whatever you will) of the church.  Any Christian is a member of Christ’s church, and has a purpose as foreordained by God (Ephesians 2: 10). If your pastor is on the radio, television, or internet, see that your pastor is providing a balanced diet.  A preacher who spends much of his sermons talking about the rapture, tribulation, and second coming may be good to listen to, but isn’t providing a balanced diet of Christ’s gospel.  You would do well not to consider anyone your pastor, unless that one gives you a balanced diet of all that God has for you in His Word.

The church as a whole has many members with different gifts.  We are to use those gifts to support one another and spread the Word of God’s love to us through Christ.  Because of our love and oneness, we are to support one another.  Do we demonstrate that love and oneness?  How much would we gain by supporting one another?  We are also to love those who are of this world in hopes of teaching them the better way of the Lord.  Are we demonstrating that love?

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Thankful? Don’t we all know someone who praises the Lord for so many things to be thankful for?  I’m talking about material things in this world.  “Thank you for such a wonderful job with such a wonderful paycheck.  Thank you for such a fine house and a top of the line car.”  I will not say there is anything wrong with having so many worldly possessions, but they can be quite a snare.  Remember the Lord said that if we love the things of this world, we will lose our life.  He also said that to whom much is given much is expected.  Jesus said if someone required your coat, give him you shirt as well.  Jesus said that when you see those in need, you are to reach out with as much as possible to help- not everyone is in a position to help as much as others.  Jesus said to give freely and not to expect to receive it back.

(Do you want me to quote or cite the references?-  Learn to be like the church in Berea and search the Scriptures daily to see if these things are not so.  In the early church, they didn’t even have the New Testament as yet, and what they called the Scriptures were what we call the Old Testament, and it wasn’t even divided into chapters and verses, so they had a lot of Scripture to search.  I don’t ask anyone to believe in me, but one who truly knows, or is seeking to know, our Savior should certainly be searching the Scriptures.  Never take what I, or any preacher says for granted, but search the Scriptures and see if what you are told is so, or not.)

But there are those who say, “Thank you, Lord, for my nice job, paycheck, home, and car,” yet when they see their neighbors in need, they say, “Well, if you would learn to live right and serve the Lord, then you would be taken care of as He has taken care of me.”  Beware- don’t forget, to whom much is given, much is expected.  We have to be careful that when we thank the Lord for material blessings, we don’t forget that the Lord has told us not to love the things of this world, and never to turn our backs on those less fortunate.  Jesus told us that our ‘blessed life’ would be a life of suffering in this world, because this world is against Him.  So, if there is no suffering in your life, and you are blessed with worldly blessings, and not reaching out to those in need, then you may be thanking the wrong god for your blessings.

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Thu, 03 Sep 2015 19:24:03 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/09/03/thankful http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/09/03/thankful Don’t we all know someone who praises the Lord for so many things to be thankful for?  I’m talking about material things in this world.  “Thank you for such a wonderful job with such a wonderful paycheck.  Thank you for such a fine house and a top of the line car.”  I will not say there is anything wrong with having so many worldly possessions, but they can be quite a snare.  Remember the Lord said that if we love the things of this world, we will lose our life.  He also said that to whom much is given much is expected.  Jesus said if someone required your coat, give him you shirt as well.  Jesus said that when you see those in need, you are to reach out with as much as possible to help- not everyone is in a position to help as much as others.  Jesus said to give freely and not to expect to receive it back.

(Do you want me to quote or cite the references?-  Learn to be like the church in Berea and search the Scriptures daily to see if these things are not so.  In the early church, they didn’t even have the New Testament as yet, and what they called the Scriptures were what we call the Old Testament, and it wasn’t even divided into chapters and verses, so they had a lot of Scripture to search.  I don’t ask anyone to believe in me, but one who truly knows, or is seeking to know, our Savior should certainly be searching the Scriptures.  Never take what I, or any preacher says for granted, but search the Scriptures and see if what you are told is so, or not.)

But there are those who say, “Thank you, Lord, for my nice job, paycheck, home, and car,” yet when they see their neighbors in need, they say, “Well, if you would learn to live right and serve the Lord, then you would be taken care of as He has taken care of me.”  Beware- don’t forget, to whom much is given, much is expected.  We have to be careful that when we thank the Lord for material blessings, we don’t forget that the Lord has told us not to love the things of this world, and never to turn our backs on those less fortunate.  Jesus told us that our ‘blessed life’ would be a life of suffering in this world, because this world is against Him.  So, if there is no suffering in your life, and you are blessed with worldly blessings, and not reaching out to those in need, then you may be thanking the wrong god for your blessings.

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More on Suffering Many people in this world are suffering.  Some suffer due to natural causes.  The Lord sees, and the Lord has a kingdom where there is no suffering.  Some suffer due to harm caused by others.  The Lord can cure that.  Some suffer due to their own laziness or their own wickedness.  The Lord knows you earned what you received.

What of the suffering in this world because there are many who steal and rob others of what they’ve worked hard for to meet the necessities of life?  What of those who suffer because others like to stir up strife, anger, and animosity?  What of those who suffer because others like to beat up and torture others?  What of those who suffer because others have no qualms about rape?  What about those who suffer because others don’t hesitate to commit murder?  Then there are those who cause suffering because their wealth is built on the toil of others because they know how to take advantage of others positions or dispositions.  There are those in politics who do not protect those who are being harmed by others.  There are those who do not take a stand to protect others.  There are those who are so selfish that they turn their heads on those who are hurt and abused, and refuse to help those in need.

Would some say that God would not pour out His wrath on the land?  God loves people and wants people to come to Him.  Do they see the warnings in the changing weather, the storms, the tornadoes, the hurricanes, the earthquakes, the volcanoes, the firestorms, the tidal waves, etc.?  Do they not see the works of men building up in the unrest, violence, and wars throughout this planet?  How many are so blind that they are saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace?

Are there those who say that God loves the world so much, that all will be saved?  Such beautiful words, because I love thieving and robbing and it’s so wonderful to know that God loves me so much He’s going to save me anyway.  I love hurting and torturing people, and it’s so reassuring to know that God has a home waiting for me.  I do so love raping and murdering, and God bless you for letting me know that God accepts me anyway.  God has blessed me so much in so many ways, and I just can’t help but be selfish about what God has given me; I don’t like to see people in need, but God gave this to me, so why should I give it to someone else just because he’s hungry?

You ignorant, wicked people who teach that God is going to save all people.  Don’t you know that you are condoning and even encouraging the wicked to continue in their wickedness.  My God’s cup of wrath has begun to overflow and the evidence is everywhere to be seen.  Those of you who say that the wicked will be spared God’s wrath have earned their judgments because you condone their doings.  Those of you who are selfish need to remember that the Lord told many to depart from Him, because He was hungry, and you didn’t feed Him.  Yes, suffering for those who call upon the Lord will soon be over, because God’s cup of wrath will soon be fully poured out on the wicked.  For those who are suffering who call upon the Lord, as Jesus said, “Lift up your heads- your redemption draws near.”

Suffering is a major topic among many today.  Remember that before Adam sinned, he lived with no need for concerns of any sort.  If someone had said- “Suffer,” he would have said, “What’s that?  What’s ‘suffer’ mean?”  But sin entered the world, and with that came suffering.  There are different kinds of suffering.  There is the suffering of the mind when one has bad thoughts, such as- “I feel so worried (lonely, worthless, confused, ugly)”.  I think most know what I’m talking about.  Then there is the suffering of illness.  Then there is the suffering at the hands of others.  This could be physical or mental abuse.

For anyone striving to live a dedicated Christian life, there is a different kind of suffering.  Christians are not to conform to this world (Romans 12: 1-2).  This world tries to demand conformity.  This world is not known for speaking well of those who do not conform.  Satan is the ruler of this world, and he will fight against anyone who does not conform.  To say that we have the Lord on our side should seem more than sufficient.  However, we too easily stray from that perfection He calls for, and this makes us susceptible to Satan’s attacks.  Though Jesus taught us to love our neighbors, and even our enemies, Jesus warned us not to expect to be loved by this world.

{All of the following references are after the Lord’s supper on the eve of Christ’s crucifixion.  I have underlined and made bold some phrases to note.  From the Holman Christian Standard Bible}

John 13: 18 "If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you.  19 If you were of the world, the world would love [you as] its own.  However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you.

John 16: 33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace.  You will have suffering in this world.  Be courageous!  I have conquered the world."

John 17: 14 I have given them Your word.  The world hated them because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world.  15 I am not praying that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one.  16 They are not of the world, as I am not of the world.  17 Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.  18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19 I sanctify Myself for them, so they also may be sanctified by the truth.  20 I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message.  21 May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You.  May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.  22 I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one.  23 I am in them and You are in Me.  May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Because of our love and oneness, we are to support one another.  Do we demonstrate that love and oneness?  How much would we gain by supporting one another?  We are also to love those who are of this world in hopes of teaching them the better way of the Lord.  Are we demonstrating that love?

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Thu, 03 Sep 2015 07:25:57 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/09/03/more_on_suffering http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/09/03/more_on_suffering Many people in this world are suffering.  Some suffer due to natural causes.  The Lord sees, and the Lord has a kingdom where there is no suffering.  Some suffer due to harm caused by others.  The Lord can cure that.  Some suffer due to their own laziness or their own wickedness.  The Lord knows you earned what you received.

What of the suffering in this world because there are many who steal and rob others of what they’ve worked hard for to meet the necessities of life?  What of those who suffer because others like to stir up strife, anger, and animosity?  What of those who suffer because others like to beat up and torture others?  What of those who suffer because others have no qualms about rape?  What about those who suffer because others don’t hesitate to commit murder?  Then there are those who cause suffering because their wealth is built on the toil of others because they know how to take advantage of others positions or dispositions.  There are those in politics who do not protect those who are being harmed by others.  There are those who do not take a stand to protect others.  There are those who are so selfish that they turn their heads on those who are hurt and abused, and refuse to help those in need.

Would some say that God would not pour out His wrath on the land?  God loves people and wants people to come to Him.  Do they see the warnings in the changing weather, the storms, the tornadoes, the hurricanes, the earthquakes, the volcanoes, the firestorms, the tidal waves, etc.?  Do they not see the works of men building up in the unrest, violence, and wars throughout this planet?  How many are so blind that they are saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace?

Are there those who say that God loves the world so much, that all will be saved?  Such beautiful words, because I love thieving and robbing and it’s so wonderful to know that God loves me so much He’s going to save me anyway.  I love hurting and torturing people, and it’s so reassuring to know that God has a home waiting for me.  I do so love raping and murdering, and God bless you for letting me know that God accepts me anyway.  God has blessed me so much in so many ways, and I just can’t help but be selfish about what God has given me; I don’t like to see people in need, but God gave this to me, so why should I give it to someone else just because he’s hungry?

You ignorant, wicked people who teach that God is going to save all people.  Don’t you know that you are condoning and even encouraging the wicked to continue in their wickedness.  My God’s cup of wrath has begun to overflow and the evidence is everywhere to be seen.  Those of you who say that the wicked will be spared God’s wrath have earned their judgments because you condone their doings.  Those of you who are selfish need to remember that the Lord told many to depart from Him, because He was hungry, and you didn’t feed Him.  Yes, suffering for those who call upon the Lord will soon be over, because God’s cup of wrath will soon be fully poured out on the wicked.  For those who are suffering who call upon the Lord, as Jesus said, “Lift up your heads- your redemption draws near.”

Suffering is a major topic among many today.  Remember that before Adam sinned, he lived with no need for concerns of any sort.  If someone had said- “Suffer,” he would have said, “What’s that?  What’s ‘suffer’ mean?”  But sin entered the world, and with that came suffering.  There are different kinds of suffering.  There is the suffering of the mind when one has bad thoughts, such as- “I feel so worried (lonely, worthless, confused, ugly)”.  I think most know what I’m talking about.  Then there is the suffering of illness.  Then there is the suffering at the hands of others.  This could be physical or mental abuse.

For anyone striving to live a dedicated Christian life, there is a different kind of suffering.  Christians are not to conform to this world (Romans 12: 1-2).  This world tries to demand conformity.  This world is not known for speaking well of those who do not conform.  Satan is the ruler of this world, and he will fight against anyone who does not conform.  To say that we have the Lord on our side should seem more than sufficient.  However, we too easily stray from that perfection He calls for, and this makes us susceptible to Satan’s attacks.  Though Jesus taught us to love our neighbors, and even our enemies, Jesus warned us not to expect to be loved by this world.

{All of the following references are after the Lord’s supper on the eve of Christ’s crucifixion.  I have underlined and made bold some phrases to note.  From the Holman Christian Standard Bible}

John 13: 18 "If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you.  19 If you were of the world, the world would love [you as] its own.  However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you.

John 16: 33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace.  You will have suffering in this world.  Be courageous!  I have conquered the world."

John 17: 14 I have given them Your word.  The world hated them because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world.  15 I am not praying that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one.  16 They are not of the world, as I am not of the world.  17 Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.  18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19 I sanctify Myself for them, so they also may be sanctified by the truth.  20 I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message.  21 May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You.  May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.  22 I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one.  23 I am in them and You are in Me.  May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Because of our love and oneness, we are to support one another.  Do we demonstrate that love and oneness?  How much would we gain by supporting one another?  We are also to love those who are of this world in hopes of teaching them the better way of the Lord.  Are we demonstrating that love?

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