One Body

"So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another." (Rom.12:5)

The Church is not a denomination, for denominations are organizations, but the Church is one body, and the believers, being many, are individually members of one another, irrespective of location, language, nationality, or time period. Unity is organic, not organizational, obviously. Organizations exist for the sake of order and oversight; however, they can often be a hindrance to the individual. But, the Church has no name or human barriers. It is always one body. The deeper connection is undeniable and basic to the body no matter what the external identifiers may be; the Lord only knows His one body.

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Standing Against Falling Short. His Grace is Sufficient Indeed

Sinful humanity, fallen short of the glory of God, finds remedy in justification freely by the grace of God in Christ (Rom.3:23). However, if one falls short of the grace of God, there remains no more room for repentance (Heb.12:15-17). We know that His grace is sufficient. This is all we need. So, we remain close to His Throne of Grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb.4:16). We are sensitive to the Spirit of Grace who lives in us and yearns within (Heb.10:29, Jas.4:5). We stand in grace by faith (Rom.5:2). And, His grace is sufficient for us (2Cor.12:9).

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Faith and Willingness

Faith relates to the will. It doesn't matter what one feels. Faith is the willingness to accept the truth when one is face to face with it. Unbelief, on the contrary, is willful rejection of truth despite all evidences. Unbelief is unwilling to sincerely consider the evidence. But, faith doesn't listen either to feeling or to desire; it listens to the word and responds to it in a willing embrace. Faith judges the fact of truth and doesn't doubt. When doubt arises, it shows the mirror of truth on its face and exposes the insincerity and hollowness of doubt. Therefore, faith overcomes.

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The Significance of Theological Education

SIMPLY STATED, theological education is education that one receives in the discipline of theology. Here, “theology” doesn’t merely refer to Systematic Theology or Dogmatic Theology; it is that avenue or field of study that has as its objective a clear understanding of the Christian faith. It may be defined as the discipline that aims at an appropriate understanding, interpretation, defense, and application of the Christian faith in the world. Thus, it is the Christian faith that lies at the heart of theological education.

Graham Cheesman defines theological education as “the training of men and women to know and serve God”.1 He distinguishes it from Christian education in that its specific objective is the training of individuals for Christian service and leadership.
Christian Education is generally seen as for all and takes place generally in the church. Theological Education is not for all, usually results in special service and leadership and usually takes place in a college or in a Theological Education programme centred beyond the church. Sunday School teaching, Bible study evening meetings and so on are Christian Education. Belfast Bible College, Ministry Training Colleges, TEE and Seminaries are Theological Education.2
A trained minister, thus, is understood to be one who has received some requisite level of theological education that includes both academic understanding and practical ministerial training. An untrained minister is one who is untrained and unskilled in the interpretation of Scriptures as well as has not been tested and proved in the area of ministry. Now, while God can use anyone, the Scripture instructs us to seek those who are excellent in word and deed and are filled with faith and the Spirit. A trained theologian is one who has received a higher level of theological training necessary for authoritative critic and judgment on theological trends and movements. An untrained interpreter who is unskilled and inexperienced in the Word will only lead to twisting and misinterpretation of the Word. An intellectual who lacks faith and the Spirit may indulge in skeptic and anti-faith acts.
For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Heb 5:13-14)
These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1Co 2:13-14 NKJ)
…our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. (2Pe 3:15-16 NKJ)
A bishop then must …able to teach; (1Ti 3:2 NKJ)
…holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. (1Ti 3:9-10 NKJ)
But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. (Jud 1:17-19 NKJ)

DISCUSS: Is there a relationship between lack of education and heretic teachings? Is there a relationship between bad education and heretic teachings?


Models and Forms

We may observe at least four models of theological education:

  1. The Teacher or Academy Model. This is that in which students get educated under a particular teacher. Examples are the House of Hillel, Gamaliel, and in modern times, students who wish to join a particular course given by a certain teacher in a University.
  2. The University Model. This is that in which students go to a particular college or seminary or University which is, usually, considered to be “recognized” by some Board or Association. Examples are Serampore, SHIAATS.
  3. The Church Model. This is that in which students go to a particular college or seminary recommended by the church they belong to. Some churches have their own training systems. Examples are SABC, SIBS, CITS.
  4. The Mission Base Model. These are Mission training centers that are usually short-term to three years of duration and include mission-field tailored curriculum. Examples are the DTS’s of YWAM and the like.
There are two forms of training, the formal and the informal. The Seminary is an example of formal education. Formal education is goal-oriented, systematic, and rigorous. Informal education is random and spontaneous. While it is well possible to come into possession of knowledge and skills informally, and in fact, much of experience and response-research and learning come to us in an informal way, formal education preliminarily under tutors is more advantageous as it is more specific, tailored, and time-saving. However, unless the curriculum is properly designed, the results may be far from being advantageous. For instance, cramming and rote-learning are not the ideals of true education.
I began to realise that my theological education had required me to learn too much too soon. Its pressurized approach had left too little time to think through and evaluate views the teachers had expressed or to work out how and where to put them into practice in an effective way. I began to explore non-formal and informal ways of doing this combined with elements of a more traditional approach.3

DISCUSS: Do students profit more from formal education or from informal education? How much of what one learns in formal schools does one retain? Is the time-limit (credit hours) for each subject sufficient for every student alike?
How do the four models intersect?


Pre-Learning

Theological colleges usually have a pre-requirement of a minimum 10+2 for entry into the BTh program. The rationale is nothing but the objective to keep in tandem with the secular requirements for UG and PG education. Of course, seeing that a student only has uniform education until matriculation, following which he has to choose from a variety of tracks at the Pre-University (10+1+1) level, the reasonable baseline for entry into theological education remains to be matriculation.


DISCUSS: The secular have the Humanities, Commerce, and Science tracks. While the last two can easily switch to Humanities, the former can’t to any of the latter ones. Does theology fall under humanities or is it a more professional study?


However, the present system has a time-form as well (10+2+3); therefore, BTh continues to adhere to the formal definition of UG. But, there are also open methods of entry into the program. For instance, Serampore, SABC, and CITS have the Mature Candidate entry system, though the age-limit set is usually arbitrary, though usually not below 21 years of age.

In all cases, some form of pre-learning is expected in order for the candidate to enter into the theological study program. Now, it is important to understand that the spectrum of pre-learning cannot just be limited to the academic. For instance, there will be a background difference between a person who grew up in a Christian family and one who is has only recently come to know Christ. Yet, the differences are not only limited to this. Consequently, the fresher class will always have a plethora of differences posing one big challenge for the theological teacher. It is only gradually that these begin to fall into place with each other as they begin to tune to a single faith. However, it is not impossible to agree upon a basic requirement. Therefore, the primary filter or screening must involve such instruments that can evaluate where to place the candidate at, either in the Pre-theological slot or in the theological program itself.


DISCUSS: What are some concepts and skills that a candidate must certainly have before joining a theological class at the undergraduate level?


Jesus picked His disciples from a variety of professions and backgrounds. Peter, James, and John were fishermen, Matthew was a tax collector, and Simon was a zealot. It will be interesting to see what curriculum Jesus used for training His disciples. One good study in this regard is the Training of the Twelve (1871) by A.B. Bruce. Jesus fulfilled His mission by giving them the words that the Father committed to Him. Of course, they were not able to fully understand all His teachings until His resurrection, after which again He taught them till His ascension. Then, He sent the Holy Spirit who helped them remember the teachings of Christ and today the Church is built upon Christ the Cornerstone and the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. Paul was not trained with the Twelve, but he received training under Gamaliel and he received revelation from God to help him lay the doctrinal foundation for the church.


DISCUSS: How is Theological Education today similar and different from the training of the Twelve? How did pre-learning help Paul in his understanding of God’s purposes? What is the role of revelation? How was it that most of other Pharisees couldn’t accept Christ’s teachings?


The Goal

The goal is not mere information, but wisdom. More than an academic venture, theological education is engagement in learning spiritual wisdom given to us through the revelation of God so “that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2Ti 3:17)

The Apostles, in Acts 15, sent out letters to churches with the important ruling that circumcision was not essential to salvation, for so it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to them. However, this ruling was not without a theological rationale. Paul wrote Galatians, Romans, and Colossians to explain our relation to the Law and freedom in the Spirit. He gave powerful arguments in support. The leading of the Spirit is not opposed to right theological thinking, explanation, and clarification. In fact, the Spirit authored the theological texts of the New Testament. Be encouraged to study theology in order to rightly divide the word of truth and be a skilled worker of Christ approved by God. And, let's be cautious never to think we have arrived. Let's keep on learning from the Spirit of truth.

Spiritual Development

Theological education is not so much about dry academic knowledge as much as it is about stewardship of the mysteries of God. This stewardship is not a mere job, but definitive of a disciple of Christ. Theological knowledge involves personal obligation towards Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. We are called to be a witnesses. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. Knowledge bereft of devotion and spiritual living is useless. It is not possible to educate one to be spiritual. The hunger and thirst for God lies at the foundation of theological education. One yearns to learn in order to be able to serve well and pursue after righteousness and peace. The Seminary* should be a fellowship that discourages shallow Christian living and encourages deep communion of saints and the Holy Spirit in faith, prayer, exhortation, enthusiasm, serving, vision, and mission. It is not just an academic institution. It is like the inner circle of Christ. It is a family. Spirituality cannot develop in a strict atmosphere of legalism and ritualism. It cannot exist in an environment of godless criticism and proud skepticism. The Seminary is a faith-community. A College may have professors, but a true Seminary (carrying the specific ideal of ministerial training) has servants of God who have a clear call for the ministry of teaching. Discipline, as in a family, is an important aspect of formation. Chastisement for wrong and reward for good is integral to discipline. Jesus rebuked His disciples when they were wrong; but, He also rejoice with them when He saw them in tune with God and encouraged them and prayed for them. Work should possess the enthusiasm of serving in the community. Study should be interactive and engaging. Corporate prayer and worship should be full of life and the overflowing of the Spirit in wisdom and power. Mutual respect and love in Christ must be the thread of relationship. The teachers and authority must exemplify desire to serve rather than demand respect and service. The environment should be free of all praise of humans, human institutions, culture, money; instead, it should be an environment of only grace, only faith, only Scripture, and promptness to serve. The Seminary doesn't make one a servant of God. The Seminary is a place where men and women called to serve God receive learning in the Scriptures that equips them for every good work. Therefore, a degree in theology is not merely an academic or professional degree, but is meant to recognize that the person who has completed a course of study has also exhibited sincerity, commitment, resolve, Christian character, servant-attitude, faith, Spirit-filled life, and ability to rightly divide and minister the word of truth. The student's goal, however, must be the approval of God rather than the approval of man (2Tim.2:15).

NOTES

1Theological Education – An Introduction to the Ideas, Theologicaleducation.org
2Ibid
3Banks, R., Reenvisioning Theological Education, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1999, p2 as cited by Abraham Folayan, “An Examination of Alternative Methods of Delivery of Theological Education; a view from Malawi”. www.theologicaleducation.org

*Seminary. origin late Middle English (denoting a seed plot): from Latin seminarium ‘seed plot,’ neuter of seminarius ‘of seed,’ from semen ‘seed.’ (New Oxford American Dictionary). The seminary was thought to be a place where a seed that is sown finds a fertile soil to grow. Such is the communion of the saints of God.
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Some Quotes on MARRIAGE from Draper's Book of Quotations

Title : Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World
Edition : First
Copyright : Copyright © 1992 by Edythe Draper

MARRIAGE

A deaf husband and a blind wife are always a happy couple. -French Proverb

A good husband makes a good wife.

A good wife makes a good husband.

A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers. -Robert Quillen (1887–1948)

A man too good for the world is no good for his wife.- Jewish Proverb

A successful marriage demands a divorce; a divorce from your own self-love. -Paul Frost (1938– )

A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day. -André Maurois (1885–1967)

A successful marriage is not a gift; it is an achievement. -Ann Landers (1918– )

A wife is not a guitar; you can’t play on her and then hang her on the wall. -Russian Proverb

An ideal wife is any woman who has an ideal husband.

As you would have a daughter, so choose a wife. -Italian Proverb

Be to her virtues very kind; Be to her faults a little blind. -Matthew Prior (1664–1721)

Better be half hang’d, than ill wed.

Better to break the engagement than the marriage.

By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you will become very happy. If you get a bad one, you will become a philosopher. -Socrates (470–399 b.c.)

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads that sew people together through the years. -Simone Signoret (1921–1985)

Choose neither a wife nor linen by candlelight. -Spanish Proverb

Choose your wife by ear rather than by eye.

Even if marriages are made in heaven, man has to be responsible for the maintenance.

Extreme independence is as destructive to a relationship as total dependence. -James C. Dobson (1936– )

He who does not honor his wife dishonors himself. -Spanish Proverb

Husbands and wives should constantly guard against overcommitment. Even worthwhile and enjoyable activities become damaging when they consume the last ounce of energy or the remaining free moments in the day. -James C. Dobson (1936– )

If your wife is small, stoop down and whisper in her ear.- Jewish Proverb

It is as absurd to say that a man can’t love one woman all the time as it is to say that a violinist needs several violins to play the same piece of music. Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850)

It is not marriage that fails, it is people that fail. -Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878–1969)

It takes two to make a marriage a success and only one to make it a failure. -Herbert Samuel

Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.

Knit your hearts with an unslipping knot. -William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

Knowing when to say nothing is 50 percent of tact and 90 percent of marriage. -Sydney J. Harris (1917–1986)

Let the wife make her husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry to see him leave. -Martin Luther (1483–1546)

Love is blind, but marriage restores its sight. -Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799)

Marriage halves our griefs, doubles our joys, and quadruples our expenses.

Marriage is a perpetual test of character.

Marriage is heaven or hell. -German Proverb

Marriage is like a cage; one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside equally desperate to get out. -Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533–1592)

Marriage is not for a moment; it is for a lifetime. It requires long and serious preparation. It is not to be leaped into, but entered with solemn steps of deliberation. For one of the most intimate and difficult of human relationships is that of marriage.

Marriage is that relation between man and woman in which the independence is equal, the dependence mutual, and the obligation reciprocal. -Louis K. Anspacher

Marriage may be an institution, but it is not a reform school.

Marriage resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they cannot be separated; often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing any one who comes between them. -Sydney Smith (1771–1845)

Married life is a marathon. . . . It is not enough to make a great start toward long-term marriage. You will need the determination to keep plugging. . . . Only then will you make it to the end. -James C. Dobson (1936– )

Pray one hour before going to war, Two hours before going to sea, Three hours before getting married.

She is but half a wife who is not a friend. -William Penn (1644–1718)

Success in marriage is more than finding the right person: it is being the right person. -Robert Browning (1812–1889)

Successful marriage is always a triangle: a man, a woman, and God.- Cecil Myers

The Christian is supposed to love his neighbor, and since his wife is his nearest neighbor, she should be his deepest love. -Martin Luther (1483–1546)

The man who is forever criticizing his wife’s judgment never seems to question her choice of a husband.

The man who would rather play golf than eat should marry the woman who would rather shop than cook.

There is no perfect marriage for there are no perfect people. -French Proverb

To marry a woman for her beauty is like buying a house for its paint.

Try praising your wife even if it does frighten her at first. -Billy Sunday (1862–1935)

Variability is one of the virtues of a woman. It obviates the crude requirements of polygamy. If you have one good wife you are sure to have a spiritual harem. -G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936)

When I was a young man, I vowed never to marry until I found the ideal woman. Well, I found her—but, alas, she was waiting for the ideal man. -Robert Schumann (1810–1856)

When marriage becomes a solution for loneliness . . . it rarely satisfies. -Steve Goodier

When will there be an end of marrying? I suppose, when there is an end of living. -Tertullian (c. 160–after 220)

Where there’s marriage without love, there will be love without marriage. -Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)
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The Sin of Withholding Biblical Information

"Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God." (Acts 20:26-27)

~To withhold crucial biblical information is a serious crime. To not wish to share Biblical knowledge with people unless they pay for it is like withholding free medicine from those who are in need. In a digital world, it is tempting for writers and preachers to try to make some money out of ebooks or mp3s, so that people can't download the stuff unless they are willing to pay or "donate". But, it's certain that such a lure of lucre is not from Christ. He said, "Freely you have received, freely give." Some preachers do not share because they are afraid they'll lose the surprise-element from their preaching and they can't speak the same sermon in another place. If one sows sparingly, one will reap sparingly. Jesus taught the same things again and again. Some are desperate for credit. I once saw two preachers featured in news releases, one of whom accused the other of not giving him the due credit for a recent prophetic discovery he made. Both of them may be wrong, but I wonder what's the pleasure in desiring people to know that one is the discovery guy! Some are afraid that others will use their material. But, is it "their" material? How foolish and wicked for a messenger to not deliver the message that the Master commissions him to deliver! Of course, we are called to be stewards of the mysteries of God. However, stewardship doesn't mean merchandising. Give and it shall be given unto you!
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Jesus on Adultery, Polygamy, and Divorce

For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. (Rom 7:2-3)
The Mosaic Law was one-sidedly in favor of the man. The man could be polygamous, could divorce his wife, and also keep concubines. On the contrary, the woman could be married to only one man and was tied to him as long as he lived. She could not divorce her husband.

However, Jesus changed that when He drew the attention of the Lawyers of His day to the Original Ruling in Genesis 2. In Matthew 5:31-32, He ruled: "Furthermore it has been said, `Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” (Mat 5:31-32). This ruling doesn’t still call the man who divorces his wife as adulterer, but says that the divorced woman was caused to commit adultery. How can a mere divorce cause a woman to commit adultery? This ruling is pretty hard. It implies that the act of divorce, if not for the reason of sexual immorality, makes an adulteress of the woman. In other words, by trying to invalidate a marriage through divorce, after having had sexual relationship with a woman within marriage, a man has made the woman an adulteress (since she has already been in relationship with him, but is not now his wife as he claims). This is so because in the eyes of Jesus, no marriage is revocable. So if there is a relationship within marriage, it is pure; however, if there is a divorce subsequent to this so that the man is no longer the woman’s husband, then she has been made an adulteress for having had consensual sex with a man who refuses to call himself her husband.

In Matthew 19:3-9, Jesus gives the ruling more in favor of the woman.
The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?" And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' "and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."
Jesus makes it clear that a married couple, joined, become one flesh; that Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of people’s hearts, but this is not the natural law of God for humans; that a man who divorces his wife for any reason except for sexual immorality and marries another, commits adultery. In other words, firstly, such divorce is invalid. Secondly, if a man marries another woman while his wife is still living, it amounts to adultery. Obviously, this implies an argument also against polygamy. In other words, Jesus makes it clear that it is not just not the case that a woman cannot marry another man while her husband is there; neither can a man marry another woman while his wife is still there (the divorce is invalid). But, it also means that a man cannot have more than one wife.

But, what about cases in which the man is abusive and a threat? What about marriages that are non-consensual? What about a woman who has been divorced or a man whose wife leaves him? The Bible has answers for all such questions. However, our objective here has been chiefly the ruling of Christ in favor of the original law of God in Genesis.


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A Hireling Flees

"But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees." (John 10:12)

Hirelings: Pastors who are more concerned about their own respect than the welfare of the sheep, who threaten to leave the flock if they don't listen. Teachers who have no compassion and kindness towards students, but act like terrorists and hi-fi intellectuals. Couples who are faithless and irresponsible and threaten to leave when storms arise. Parents who don't take personal responsibility for the godly upbringing of their children, but commit them to others. Children who neglect their duties towards their parents. Relatives who act in unneighborly manner. Friends who forsake and flee or jump in to only criticize in the time of adversity.

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Shrine Theologies

I asked how is it that the Son of God walked on the dust of this earth and breathed the air that we still breathe, and yet neither the dust nor the air is either sanctified nor does it sanctify us, and I remembered this verse from Haggai:

"If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?"" Then the priests answered and said, "No." (Haggai 2:12).

Sadly, many are deceived by the shrine and fetish theology of paganism that treats places and objects as holier than others and possessing sanctifying and salvific powers. The dust of Jerusalem or the water of Jordan is not holier than the dust of India just because the Savior walked on that ground. There is only one holy place in the world today, and that is the body of a believer, which is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. God calls us to possess our vessels in holiness (1Thess.4:4), not externalize holiness to places and things like the pagan do.

PS: Haggai 2:13 tells us that the unclean can make the clean (not holy) unclean; this is true of all sinful humans; but, in contrast, the unclean couldn't defile Christ, for He is the Pure One. Athanasius gave a beautiful illustration when he likened the Incarnation of Christ to the rays of the sun falling on the dust of the ground. The dust cannot pollute the sun.

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Open Doors

When God shuts the door, He wants you, for the moment, to stay in alone with Him.
When God opens the door, He wants you, at that moment, to go out along with Him.

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Chance and Accident

The Bible does use words like "chance" and "accident". This doesn't challenge the sovereignty of God. Time and chance happen to all men (Eccl.9:11). The priest and Levite happened to come down the road to Jericho by chance (Lk.10:31,32). But, they didn't help the suffering man. The Law had provision for those who accidentally (unintentionally) commit a crime (Num.35:11). Such accidents are not necessarily preordained by God. God's sovereignty is not a doctrine that has no room for chance and accidents. Man is called to be careful and wise.

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10 Lessons From The Temptation Of Christ Episode

MATTHEW 4: 1-11
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." But He answered and said, "It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."  Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,  and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: "He shall give His angels charge over you," and, "In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone." Jesus said to him, "It is written again, "You shall not tempt the LORD your God."  Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me."  Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, "You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve." Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

1. The First Temptation To Turn Stones Into Bread

Remember, Life is by the Word
- Deut 8:1-3.
-Gen 3:17-19. Eat bread till you return to the ground. Bread cannot prevent death.
-Even manna doesn't prevent death.
John 6:49-51. Your fathers ate manna and are dead... I am the Living Bread.. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.

The devil tries to turn the Living Bread of Life to lifeless stones

Bread:
(1) My Flesh (Jn.6:51-58). The sacrifice of Christ is the source of our new life. Life by His blood.
(2) My Words (Jn.6:63). The message of Christ.
(a) The word of the Gospel (1Pet.1:23-25)
(b) The commandment of the New Covenant. 1Jn.3:11-14. Eternal life and the commandment of Christ.

Lesson 1: Don't sell your birthright for a morsel of food (Heb.12:15-17). Sold by his words (Esau). Esau wept, but that didn’t restore his privileges. Gen.25:28-34. For a pot of stew and bread.

Lesson 2: Don't labor for bread that perishes, but labor for bread that endures to everlasting life (John 6:27). Don’t follow Christ for physical bread. Don’t pray and fast for blessings in this worldly life. Run in order to know Christ and His words. Don’t make your business or family the center of spirituality. Make Jesus the center and satisfaction of your life.

Lesson 3: The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom.14:17). The carnal church vs the spiritual church. The picnicking church vs the power-filled church. The partying church vs the worshipping church. The fashionable church vs the godly church. The worldly church vs the Bride of Christ.

Lesson 4: One's life does not consist in the abundance of things one possesses. Don't lay up treasures for yourself, but be rich toward God (Luke 12:15-21). Your identity and status is not determined by the kind of position you hold or the amount of wealth you have. Don’t be proud. Naked we came and naked we shall depart. Don’t labor to be rich in the world. Labor to be rich toward God.

Lesson 5: The food of the child of God is obedience to the will of God and to finish His work. (John 4:34). He only said "I thirst" after He knew that everything was accomplished.

2. The Second Temptation to Throw Oneself Down From The Top of The Temple.

Don't Forget: Life Has A Divine Purpose
What does it mean to tempt God?
To tempt God means to try to get God to fulfill what you desire rather than you trying to fulfill what God desires. To tempt God means to use tantrums, complainings, grumblings, wailings, or provocative actions in order to force or provoke God to do just want you want. Tempting God flows from self-centeredness. Tempting God flows from lusts of flesh. Exod 17:2-3.

Lesson 6: The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied from above. (Pro 14:14). The Israelites complained and craved for meat (Num.11:4,33). They tempted God. God gave them meat, but while the meat was in their teeth, the wrath of God came upon them. The good man is satisfied, but the self-centered person is perpetually dissatisfied. He is like a black hole that sucks everything and yet is never full. He is like a bottomless pit and therefore will be cast into the lake of fire. Jude 12. "They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever."

Heaven is only reserved for those who find pleasure in the presence of the Lord:  (Psa 36:8-9 NKJ)

8 They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.

Lesson 7: Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Gal 6:7 NKJ)
The Law of sowing and reaping is ordained by God. Miracles exist, but miracles are not an excuse for violating the laws of nature. If you don't brush your teeth, no matter how spiritual you are, your teeth will rot. Faith is not foolish. If you jump from the mountain, you will break your bones. Unless, God has asked you to walk on water, don't try to jump into water unless you know how to swim. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. Don't waste your life in foolish living. Make good investments. Eccl.11:1 - Charity. Sow wisely and purposefully, reap bountifully. Eccl.7:17- Why should you die before your time?

3. The Third Temptation to Throw Himself Down At the Adversary's Feet

Know that Life is for God
There are two kinds of worship in the world: Worship for mammon, Worship in the spirit and truth.  Jesus said, you cannot serve God and mammon (or money, riches, worldly profits). The devil cannot think that anyone can serve God selflessly without any profit orientedness. He accused Job of being a utilitarian person. "Touch what he has and he will curse you to your face," he challenged. But, Job put the devil to shame by blessing God when everything was taken away. The devil now tries to tempt Jesus with mammon. But, Jesus came not to be a king of this world, but to put an end to this world and become the Author of the New heaven and earth.

Lesson 8: Bless the Lord at all times and let His praise be continually in your mouth. (Ps.34:1). It also means never curse your fellowmen (James 3:9-12). Eph.5:18-20

Lesson 9: Having gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: (Rom 12:6-11 READ). Serve God according to the grace given to us.

Lesson 10: Submit to God, Resist the Devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7)

Lesson 1: Don't sell your birthright for a morsel of food (Heb.12:15-17).
Lesson 2: Don't labor for bread that perishes, but labor for bread that endures to everlasting life (John 6:27).
Lesson 3: The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom.14:17).
Lesson 4: One's life does not consist in the abundance of things one possesses.
Lesson 5: The food of the child of God is obedience to the will of God and to finish His work. (John 4:34).
Lesson 6: The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied from above. (Pro 14:14). Let God be your satisfaction, don’t tempt God to satisfy your longings.
Lesson 7: Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Gal 6:7 NKJ)
Lesson 8: Bless the Lord at all times and let His praise be continually in your mouth. (Ps.34:1).
Lesson 9: Having gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: (Rom 12:6-11)
Lesson 10: Submit to God, Resist the Devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7)

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