Sunday, May 20, 2018

Who is God? - sermon notes revised

Genesis 1:1 ¶  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
The testimony of the Bible is abundantly clear that the universe did not come into being by itself and there is no evidence that there are alternate universes. The universe is also not eternally preexistent as a time is given here, in the beginning, and an action by God as in God created.
It is impossible to believe the Bible and, at the same time, believe in the Big Bang theory where all matter and energy comes from the primordial explosion of the singularity, the size of a period in a sentence. Nor is it possible to believe in its antecedent belief, the medieval Kabbalah’s mustard seed that explodes into the universe, or the Hindu’s or any number of other pagan mythologies’ cosmic egg from which the universe comes and believe in the God of the Bible. The physical universe is a production of God as all matter, energy, and time can be attributed directly to Him. He has no beginning and no end and is beyond our ability to finitely reason.
Modern man, since Isaac Newton, has come to believe in reductionism where, for instance, in biology the whole is defined by its parts. It is a bottom-up belief. However, the Bible teaches a top-down structure of the universe. The parts are determined by the context. As an example, the words rite/right are defined by their context in a sentence in phrases such as, “a religious rite or ritual,” or, “turn right,” or, “your legal right.” So, genes and their expression are determined by the organism they are in. I share the same genes with a fruit fly but we are vastly different creatures because there is a design, a mold, an idea that makes me different from them. Many different buildings are made partly with bricks; the London Parliament building, my house, and the local school. However, they are all different buildings because of their design plans. Drawing conclusions about what the building is by examining one brick will not edify.
So, biology and all reality, to be understood properly, should be understood by the fact that it is all based on a design formed in the mind of the Creator. Then, the smaller parts and their place in the scheme of thing come more into focus.
God is not the subject of science because He cannot be experimented on or called into an equation. Science can only study what they can see or measure and all unseen theoretical entities like quarks, leptons, and Higgs-Boson and the like are simply modern myths even if a scientist defines seeing in a different way than a non-scientist does. Saying that they have faith that one day they will prove something they cannot prove merely moves that scientist’s faith into the realm of religion. Faith is not science and science is not faith. Science has limits. Faith is only limited by God’s will for that person having the faith. One can study the mechanism by which a thing is done but no one can study God unless He chooses to reveal Himself as He has done in the Bible. Of course, if your faith is in atheism you will hit a wall as you have to twist reality like taffy to get the meaning you want to appear. No one’s there to open anything up to you but your own imagination which makes an atheist scientist his own god, at least in his mind.
God’s creation of the universe is not only confirmed by Moses, writing Genesis under the inspiration of God, but also Isaiah.
Isaiah 42:5  Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
Isaiah 45:18  For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
King David;
Psalm 33:6  By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
And the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
Mark 13:19  For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
Science requires that if you put forth a proposition, a statement of presumed fact, that you should be able to make certain predictions from it. This verse, Genesis 1:1, says that God created. So, one could logically assume that since an intelligent entity created everything that a certain degree of design and order must be present in it as in our experience order does not come from disorder without intelligent guidance. This is, indeed, the case. Physicists are looking for a unifying “theory of everything.” Well, it is right here in front of us. He is the God of the Bible. His existence explains everything from how the universe is held together to the moral sense of human beings.
Who is God? He is the uncreated person and entity who created all that is. He simply is, as He said Himself, I AM THAT I AM.
Exodus 3:13  And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14  And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
It is a nonsensical question to ask who created God. Such a question is a philosophical absurdity. It is like asking; could God create a rock so heavy He could not lift it? Such questions are the pure gibberish of the skeptic whose mind is blinded by the god of this world, Satan.
God is the source of all reality; seen and unseen. In Job God states that everything from dust forming into a clod of dirt in a farmer’s field to lions catching their prey, with the movements of distant galaxies to rain happening in places on earth where there is no man are all direct results of His direct actions. Read Job, chapter 38. God is not a watchmaker winding up the clock and walking away or standing to admire His work. He makes the hands move and the tick-tock sound is part of His second-by-second control of all events. So, scientific thought, even with Christians since Isaac Newton, by reducing God to the ultimate first cause without an active role in every moment of our existence, is just simply one of the things that is in error about modern thinking. Nothing happens by itself without direction, meaningless and pointless, a result of blind chance. Absolutely nothing.
Life itself and, indeed, all reality is a continuous miracle, a production of God. If there were no God there would be no reality. There is no reason, no possible cause, if God did not exist for there to be something rather than nothing. A universe empty of everything, cold and vacant, would always remain so. To say that the universe that we know always existed with no beginning is to make a cold, dead thing a god.

What passes for theoretical science, not the science that makes medicine or rockets that journey to the Moon, but the science of unproveable conjecture and assumptions, is often the religion of atheistic determinism. In this philosophy a militant atheist like evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins will say that life looks as if it was designed but that is an illusion which you cannot believe. A more thoughtful atheist like Fred Hoyle, the astronomer, wrote in a 1970s era textbook which I have that all evidence shows that we are in the center of the universe but, of course, that cannot be believed so they come up with some other explanation that suggests that everywhere must appear to be the center of the universe. These people would have you believe that evidence is only true when it supports their atheism and anti-Biblical worldview.

Scientists performed an experiment called the Michelson-Morley experiment in the 1800s which showed unintentionally that the earth is not moving. Albert Einstein came up with his  Theory of Relativity working on a problem in the theory of electrical waves and twenty years after the failed experiment was able to show, through his theory, that although the earth didn’t look like it was moving that too was an illusion and could be explained by his fantasy.

A scientist named Eddington then went on to perform experiments whose results were contradictory and based on flawed assumptions, admitted even by philosophers of science, which I will be happy to discuss with anyone. And yet, he confirmed falsely in 1919 that he had proven Einstein’s theory.
If this is hard to understand why such esteemed theoretical scientists would do such a thing let us not forget that a recent Aeon magazine, not a Christian magazine by any stretch of the imagination, published an article pointing out how theoretical Physics in the late 1800s was heavily influenced by the occult.

Then, we come to the highly vaunted Big Bang Theory for the origin of the universe without God. This rehash of the Kabbalah was created in the early 1920s by a Jesuit trained Roman Catholic priest named Georges Lemaitre. The name Big Bang was given to it by Fred Hoyle in a 1949 radio interview when he was still opposed to the theory.

In fact, Fred Hoyle also wrote in his textbook that I mentioned a way to explain away the idea that the earth is not moving and is in the center of the universe. He wrote that what revolves around what is a matter of relative motion anyway and has no physical significance. Nice dodge but ultimately saying that you are not wrong if you believe what the Bible and our common-sense seems to indicate we are fixed at the center of the universe and the entire thing is designed so that the right proportions of all elements are put in the right place in the universe so that life can exist here.

I think the new pagan mythology of much of speculative, theoretical Physics and Biology is as hard to believe as Thor making thunder by striking a cloud with his hammer.

But, back to God who is composed of three parts which are still one God.

Deuteronomy 6:4  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

But composed of three parts.

Matthew 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

2Corinthians 13:14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

1John 5:7  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

One of the differences between man and God is that God’s three parts can act separately from each other while if one of our three parts; body, soul, or spirit, is separated from the others we physically die. Yet, God is one.

John 10:30  I and my Father are one.

John 14:9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

Man is composed of a body, a soul, and a spirit.

1Thessalonians 5:23  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So is God. God the Father is the soul of God, the seat of will and self-identity, invisible to us. Many times in the New Testament when the name God is used it is a reference to God the Father.

John 1:13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God….18  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

1Corinthians 15:24  Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

The Holy Ghost is sent to teach and abide with God’s people.

John 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

The Son of God, the Word by which all things were made and are held together, is the Lord Jesus Christ, the only time God ever walked in human flesh, or the only-begotten Son of God, with a king’s son coming in the king’s authority as the very image of the king in power and authority, his heir of all that he owns.

Hebrews 1:3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Colossians 1:15a  Who is the image of the invisible God,

God lives in a state not bound by time, He having no beginning or ending Himself.

Isaiah 57:15  For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

As the Babylonian emperor, Nebuchadnezzar, was forced to acknowledge;

Daniel 4:34 ¶  And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35  And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

God’s center of authority is in Heaven itself, beyond the stars.

1Kings 22:19  And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.

Psalm 11:4a  The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven:

He directs all reality and controls every event, no matter how small or large. In God’s confrontation with Job in chapter 38 of that book He makes that very clear. In that argument it becomes clear that even seemingly routine, random, and meaningless events from thunder and lightning to the fresh water fountains in the ocean.

Regarding verse 16 in that chapter, fresh water springs coming up from the bottom of the world’s oceans and seas have been observed at least since the time of the ancient Phoenicians. There are now thought to be massive fresh water aquifers under the world’s oceans in the depths where no man of Job’s time had gone.

In God’s rhetorical interrogation of Job He asks several questions which may seem perplexing to us. 
In verse 25 a connection is made between lightning and thunder, which we know now that one causes the other. Aristotle, as late as the third century BC, attributed thunder to a collision between clouds.  The disturbing, again, implication in verse 25 is that even when there is flooding, God disperses overflowing water as He sees fit. This is a frightening prospect if we consider what the Bible is telling us that even in a seemingly random process God is in control. Did you ever imagine that?

If you remember the old Zen koan, “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The true answer is yes, of course. Here, God speaks about how He causes all things, even where man is nowhere around to witness the things. It rains in places where man is not to soak the parched ground and cause plants to grow that man will never see. Think about this. From the dense forests of Borneo to the jungles of Brazil there is life and there are events happening that we will never know about experientially. There are things happening a million light-years from us that we have no knowledge of now or at any time in our lives. Man is not the measure of all things as the Greek philosopher insisted or the traditional Zen koan implies. The universe God built for Himself. We are a part of His plan. But, we are not the only part.

Verse 28 places God squarely as the author of every drop of dew. Think of that. Imagine it, if you will. Every snowflake, the ice on a pond, the frost on the ground, all of it, every microscopic piece of it created by God, not just the result of a random process, an, “accident of nature,” but a direct execution of divine will. It staggers the modern mind.

The anthropologist, Susan Friend Harding, wrote, “The membrane between disbelief and belief is thinner than we think.”  Most Christians in America seem to believe in a caretaker God, like a gardener, watching over life processes and natural events that He can only affect in a minimal way by exerting Himself from outside of the process, by interrupting the process, like a landlord we call on to fix the plumbing in our apartment when it leaks. American Christians, even fundamentalists, can’t wrap their minds around the God presented in the Bible. They can wrap their minds around the God presented in their culture. That God is a sort of manager, or at times a warrior-king, or at times a big brother, and at times even a benefactor, but He is most certainly not the God presented in the Bible who controls every moment everywhere in His universe. He is neither surprised nor at a disadvantage when a thing happens. He either made it happen or permitted it to happen. Period. And that is just and right and as it should be, your fear, your grief, your pain, your discomfort notwithstanding.

God, in Job, then moves masterfully in His speech to the farthest reaches of outer space, to the nearby atmosphere of earth, and into the human heart, the spiritual heart of understanding, emotion, and reason, to underscore His sovereign reign over the sum total of reality. He even speaks of causing clods of dirt to form and providing food for wild animals and birds. He does this, Himself. He is the author of it.

This is a different earth, a different universe, than what we are used to imagining. Be honest with yourself, when the snow piled deep in your yard you didn’t think of it being a direct act of God any more than when you started your car did you think that. 

We have lived for several hundred years in a universe we thought was governed by blind forces or running on auto-pilot. The only difference between many Christians and atheists have been that Christians thought there was a benevolent and powerful entity who wound up those forces and who would intervene occasionally to interrupt those blind forces on the Christian’s behalf. Both are wrong. Dead wrong.

What does this unsearchable, complex and unimaginably powerful, sovereign God want from a human being?

There is something special about us. After all, we were made to look like Him, like the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word by which all things were created, the Son of God as in God in the flesh walking the earth.

Genesis 1:26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

He told the Israelites what He wanted from them.

Deuteronomy 10:12 ¶  And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13  To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

Micah 6:8  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

And, two thousand years ago He walked on this earth in the bodily form of a carpenter’s son in an Israel under the control of the Roman Empire. He offered Himself up to pay the price for our transgressions, our sins, against Him. He was the propitiation to satisfy His own wrath, paid the ransom to His own self for us, and rose from the dead to legally justify us before Himself. Just like when He made the covenant with Abram, making sure Abram was in a deep sleep and could do nothing, He made the agreement with Himself to deliver what He promised to Abram.

There is only one thing you can do to be saved from an eternity of suffering, one work.

John 6:28  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

This can only be accomplished by belief and faith which He gives you in your own heart based on His foreknowledge of your willingness to receive it.

Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Romans 3:21  But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

2Timothy 1:9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Why isn’t our salvation from an eternity of agony not based on our merit, our goodness as people?

So that we will know throughout eternity that it was God alone who saved us and not we ourselves. Here is the context of Ephesians 2:8.

Ephesians 2:4 ¶  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9  Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

God wants us to walk humbly with Him, to experience Him on a personal level, as Adam and Eve experienced the preincarnate Christ in the Garden of Eden. He doesn’t just want us to be in awe of His might and majesty.

Psalm 19:1  The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

So, how do His people know Him by experience every day? We already know and are taught to speak to Him in prayer. We are told to be constantly and in all times in a prayerful state, speaking to God.

1Thessalonians 5:17  Pray without ceasing.

By this we acknowledge His control over all things, seemingly good or bad, and that we trust His judgments.

Isaiah 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

We know that God speaks to us through His word when we read or hear it even verses in our own heads, that changes are made in us and in our circumstances by God as we acknowledge the power of His written word. In giving instructions for a future king over Israel;

Deuteronomy 17:18  And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:
19  And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
20  That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

And to the people;

Joshua 1:8  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Isaiah 59:21  As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.
Psalm 119:11  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

New Testament letters were read in the congregations of the various churches.

Colossians 4:16  And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

As Paul told Timothy;

1Timothy 4:13a  Till I come, give attendance to reading...

If you accept the Bible’s clear statements that God is in absolute control over all reality as it has happened, is happening, and will happen you can experience God’s power and presence in the simplest everyday functions of life. It is not just a flower bursting forth in the spring, a bird warming itself on a tree limb in the morning sun, the laughter of a baby in its mother’s arms, but the terrifying power of a raging sea, a volcano exploding in a distant land, or even the passing of a loved one for none of these things happen or can happen without God’s will being involved.

If you learn to be thankful for the moments of your life, whatever trials or struggles you yourself, personally, have been given you can begin to see God’s hand in every event and to give Him the credit for your good fortune and not just that but to plead with Him for mercy and to ask what He wants your response to be when you suffer yourself or encounter it in others.

If you seek God’s perfect will in your life; His good, and acceptable, and perfect will rather than just what you think you can get away with you can learn what God has planned for you, what your assignment on this earth is, what burden you are called to bear.

By prayer, letting the Bible change you, meeting with other believers regularly for encouragement and group worship and action as the body of Christ, acknowledging God’s sovereignty, being grateful and thankful for every moment of your life no matter how difficult or how joyous, and seeking His will over your own, accepting it meekly, you can know God in a real and personal way.

The God who creates a star in the furthest galaxy in outer space. The God who controls every cell function in your body. The God who determines when history began and when it will end. This God did an amazing thing considering how mankind is so in love with himself and his little accomplishments.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17  For God sent not his Son into
the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

God’s presence is everywhere in creation but He is not the creation. God’s power is present in every action of reality, even in the bad stuff, but His intent is for you to join Him in eternity. What we will be doing then will be the subject of a different time. God loved all mankind at the Cross but His resurrection from the dead only has a positive effect on those who trust in His righteousness and not their own. There is nothing that happens that God does not cause to happen or permit to happen and there is nothing that God does not know. So, those who think that God did not understand our suffering, or know our suffering until He walked on the earth in the form of Christ are wrong. He experienced our suffering then but as He sees and knows all time as already having happened this knowledge was available to Him before the world began.

Isaiah 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Isaiah 48:3  I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.

Who is God? God simply IS. He is the ultimate reality. All creation was made for Him, by Him, and is sustained by Him. In the end we must always remember;

Psalm 100:3  Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Revelation 4:11  Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

1Corinthians 5:9-13 comments: kicked out of the congregation

5:9 ¶  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Until you leave this earthly existence you are going to have to be around those who sin and who don’t regard their sin as a sin or as any big deal at all. It is a world where people seem to love the  drama that follows after worshipping Self. But, in the church assembly you should not be associating with someone who engages in open sin. Paul tells the Corinthians to expel the man who is having sex with his father’s wife from the congregation.

This matter of church discipline, which is somewhat lost on modern consumer Christianity, is a subject that the modern church would do well to regard more seriously. Christ addressed it in the following way.

Matthew 18:15 ¶  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 18  Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done
for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

The man who committed this sin had defrauded his brother in Christ, who in this case was his father. Notice the context in which defraud is used in the following passages.

First, as defined as robbing someone of something.

Leviticus 19:13  Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

Then, here implying that such behavior is robbing someone of something that is rightfully theirs.

1Thessalonians 4:1 ¶  Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 2  For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. 3  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4  That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5  Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 6  That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. 7  For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 8  He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

For the bodies of the husband and wife belong to each other, not to others.

1Corinthians 7:1 ¶  Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2  Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3  Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4  The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5  Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 6  But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. 7  For I would
that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8  I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9  But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Paul reminds the Corinthians that God will judge those who are of the world and not followers of Christ but it is their responsibility to judge those in the church. The church must be able to make a fair and Biblical judgment regarding open sin in the congregation. This is not about prying into other people’s personal business but about what is staring you right in the face. We are not to be busybodies in other people’s business, not searching for something to criticize, as the self-righteous do, but we have no excuse not to address adultery and fornication that rears its ugly head. This is commanded. Paul then requires that the Corinthians expel the man who is committing fornication with his father’s wife, whether she be step-mother or mother, from the congregation.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

1Corinthians 5:7-8 comments: the leaven of malice and wickedness

5:7 ¶  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Leaven represents corruption. It symbolizes pollution. It represented in type the world, Egypt which the Hebrews were leaving their bondage to.

Exodus 12:15  Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.

It was the false doctrine of the religious elite of Israel.

Matthew 16:5 ¶  And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6  Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 7  And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. 8  Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 9  Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10  Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11  How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12  Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Here, sin in the congregation, winked at, overlooked, and not dealt with, is leaven in the church.

In verse 8 we have an allusion to the Feast of Unleavened Bread at the Passover, from Exodus 12. Malice and wickedness are called leaven. Let us remember what malice is. It is, in the Bible, linked with several negative synonyms.

Ephesians 4:31  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Titus 3:3  For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

1Peter 2:1  Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

Malice, the intention or desire to do evil or ill will, is one of those things that God considers as something He does not want between His people. Let us remember, in the church, how we are to respond to each other and how we are not to return evil with evil in the context of the church body.

1Thessalonians 5:11 ¶  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 12  And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13  And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 14  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

    16 ¶  Rejoice evermore. 17  Pray without ceasing. 18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19  Quench not the Spirit. 20  Despise not prophesyings. 21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22  Abstain from all appearance of evil.

To sin, especially egregious over-the-top sins, is malice against God Himself. It is ill will and contempt. In Joseph’s predicament where the wife of his master tried to seduce him to commit adultery with him he noted;

Genesis 39:9  There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
We do not sin in a vacuum, and it is not just our business. When we sin, we sin against God Himself.

Sincerity and truth are likened here to unleavened bread, symbolizing the correct position a believer should have before fellow believers and before God.