Hebrews 11:1 - 2 (Playdough Version)
What do you think? Have we re-defined what faith is?
Is our faith more like a box of answers or like an unfinished puzzle?
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."Matthew records Jesus saying something like this twice, and Mark once.
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."And Paul explains this further in Romans 6. When we are baptized with Christ, we are united with Christ in His death and resurrection. We go with our sins to the cross with Christ. Our selfish ways die, and we find new life with Christ.
9:2 Then, when he had been brought in, the proconsul asked him if he was Polycarp. And when he confessed, he would have persuaded him to deny, saying, Have respect unto thine age, and other things like these, as is their custom to say: Swear by the fortunes of Caesar; Repent; Say, Away with the Atheists. But Polycarp, when he had looked with a grave face at all the multitude of lawless heathen in the arena, having beckoned unto them with his hand, sighed, and looking up unto heaven, said, Away with the Atheists!I find it interesting that the Christians were called Atheists in this period. Why would Christians be called Atheists? Was it because they did not believe that Caesar was Lord? Interesting.
9:3 And when the proconsul pressed him, and said, Swear, and I will release thee, revile Christ; Polycarp said, Eighty and six years have I served him, and in nothing hath he wronged me; and how, then, can I blaspheme my King, who saved me?So the story goes that Polycarp was burned in the arena at 86 years of age, but the fire could not kill him so they killed him with a sword. All because Polycarp remained faithful to his King.
"O Lord God Almighty, Father of thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received our knowledge concerning thee, the God of angels and powers, and of the whole creation, and of all the race of the just who lived before thee, I thank thee that thou hast deemed me worthy of this day and hour, that I should have my portion in the number of the martyrs, in the cup of thy Christ, unto the resurrection of eternal life, both of the soul and body, in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. Among these may I be received before thee this day as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, even as thou hast prepared and made manifest beforehand, and hast fulfilled, thou who art the unerring and true God."Polycarp saw this as partaking in the cup of Christ. His Lord's words to take up his cross and follow Him were very real. I also see a similarity here to Paul in Romans 6 where we learn that those who are baptized into Christ died with Christ on the cross and are raised into new life with Him.
"And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake."Philippians 2:11 (NIV)
"and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."Romans 10:9 (NIV)
"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."1 Corinthians 12:3 (NIV)
Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.1 Corinthians 8:6 (NIV)
"yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live."Eph 4:4-5 (NIV)
"There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism;"Acts 2:21 (NIV)
"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."Acts 2:36 (NIV)
"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."Philippians 2:8-11 (NIV)
"And being found in appearance as a man,Apostles' Creed
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."Here at His birth are three miraculous stories introducing Jesus as King or Lord.
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
" 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
"But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."(Sorry if I'm beating a dead horse here. But I'm blogging this primarily to track my learning.)
But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."Matthew 21:32 (NIV)
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.Luke 17:21 (NIV)
"nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you."
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us."If any of our doctrines or teachings have portrayed God as something other than love, lets take another look at them. Yes God has other characteristics, but they can not contradict or ever take away from His love for us. God's love is Holy and pure, His love can be demonstrated through his justice, God's love for us can be shown by His anger against the sin that would destroys us.
"neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."Yes, we could quote some scripture either way. The words Love and Holy both show up in the Bible about the same number times (547 & 549). They must be both true of God at all times.
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."We can only really love God when we first know and feel loved by Him. It will then be a natural response to His overwhelming love for us.
"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" —which means, "God with us."It just reminded me of the truth that Jesus is "God with us". Jesus was "God with us" when he walked on this earth 2000 years ago. Jesus is still "God with us" when he lives in and through us. That is what the new covenant we live under is all about.
But God found fault with the people and said:Related Posts:
"The time is coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."
All Scripture (the 66 books we call the Bible, some of which were not even written before 2 Timothy, yet including these and all New Testament books which would be compiled into a canon a few hundred years later by the early Catholic Church) is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (and the Bible is the only inspired and authoritative word of God)"
"every Writing [is] God-breathed, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for setting aright, for instruction that [is] in righteousness,"But I'm still not sure what that means. Every writing? Which writings? That's what I'm concerned with. Did Timothy know which books would be included in the canon that came together over a few hundred years of the early church?
Why are there strifes, and tumults, and divisions, and schisms, and wars among you? Have we not [all] one God and one Christ? Is there not one Spirit of grace poured out upon us? And have we not one calling in Christ? Why do we divide and tear to pieces the members of Christ, and raise up strife against our own body, and have reached such a height of madness as to forget that "we are members one of another?" Remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, how He said, "Woe to that man [by whom offenses come]! It were better for him that he had never been born, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my elect. Yea, it were better for him that a millstone should be hung about [his neck], and he should be sunk in the depths of the sea, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my little ones. Your schism has subverted [the faith of] many, has discouraged many, has given rise to doubt in many, and has caused grief to us all. And still your sedition continues.Yes, I think it is clear the members of Christ's church have 'reached such a height of madness', and have forgotten that "we are members one of another?".
(First Clement Chapter 46, 80-140CE)
"...But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."Is there a connection between 'betraying the Son of Man' and not recognizing that Christ's Church is one body? Would a similar 'woe' apply?
"O Lord, remember your assembly, remember to rescue it from every evil and to make it complete in your love, and to gather it from the four winds into your kingdom which you prepared for it--it, which has been made holy. For yours is the power and the glory for the age." - Didache (50-120 C.E.)The early church remembered to pray for Christ's global Church. It was much smaller then, rooted closer to Christ's teachings, and had thousands fewer divisions - yet they still prayed.
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.As Christians we are often encouraged to 'be in the Word'... and I see no problem with that.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
" it has been said, Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give."http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-roberts.html
"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."