August - Reading 14

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Aug 14, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Aaron

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    Luke 17:32, Remember Lot's wife!

    It is good to remember everything we're taught in the Bible, but especially those things the Spirit highlighted with a commandment to remember.

     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good morning all and thanks for your continued input, Aaron -

    Chapter 8 of Nehemiah is one of my all time favorite Scriptural Passages. To me this portrays the human-ness of the characters involved in the story. The Israelies have just finished a very proud moment in their history. They have been freed from bondage, faced adversity both in their 900 mile journey home and the defense of the city upon their arrival. They worked as a team under the administrative abilities of Nehemiah and reconstructed a defensive wall that had layed in ruins for more than a century. Morale is high and the future looks bright. Then Ezra, standing upon a stage, reads to the people from the Law...

    and the people weep!

    Man, that's power! The people have come so far and are doing what they can to rebuild a nation but the narration of their covenants and laws brings them back to humility and grounding. This is a very moving scene.
    I have heard it said that there are three primary positions for prayer: standing for everyday prayer; kneeling for dire circumstances; and then all out prostrate for when you are really brought before God as what you are. The people in Nehemiah 8 prostrate themselves before God in their humiliation and shame of what they had become.
    Nehemiah then instructs the people to be glad for what they have become and what is to come. They then observe the Feast of Tabernacles and it is done so with a celebratory spirit that had not been seen since the time of Joshua. GREAT passage!

    In Luke we encounter a very interesting quote from Christ in verse 17:21. The Jews had believed that the Messiah would set up a Kingdom on earth that would be the eternal reward that awaited those worthy. Here Christ implies that the Kingdom is not an external entity but rather is an internal dwelling. Another possible interpretation is that He was referring to the indwelling of Christ and the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Either way, the context would suggest that the "you" in the verse is figurative. These Pharisees certainly did not meet either criteria.

    Our reading in 2Timothy is possibly referring to the Gnosticism which Timothy battled at Ephesus, but the Passage seems to speak far deeper than that. This is a great piece of writing to study to learn the proper course for one who wishes to teach the Gospel. May we all be worthy workmen as stated in verse 15.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

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    Sunday School lecture - 1/18/04 Part III

    Proverbs 12:5-14

    We see Christ using these same concepts when he confronted the Pharisees in Matthew 12:33-37. Just as the tree is identified by its fruit, the heart of a man is identified by his words. It is also interesting that in the Passage from Matthew, Christ speaks of the "treasures of the heart," a similar idea to our study of chapter 10 of Proverbs. Christ may well have had these very teachings in mind in the confrontation in Matthew 12 as in verse 42 He says, " The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here."
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

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    Sunday School lecture - 4/25/04 part II

    2Timothy 2:14-26 Avoid Destructive Debate and Be a Constructive Workman

    Paul tells Timothy to remind them (the church) to avoid word battles. This verse has stemmed two main lines of interpretation. The first is that we should not quarrel over doctrine. The second and far more reasonable interpretation is that Paul is here referring to the kind of verbal battles that were occurring in Ephesus. Paul viewed this issue as such a problem that he tells Timothy to charge the people before God, i.e. take an oath, to end it. These types of debates only served to ruin the hearers. From 1Timothy we learned of some of these debates, cf. speculations on Jewish myths. These types of debates counter the charity we must show as Christians.

    Timothy's role was to set an example that countered these word battles. His work should cause no one embarrassment. Timothy was to show himself as one approved by God, not men. The Greek word for "approved" bears a dual nuance of "tested" as in gold refined in fire. Such a laborer will have no cause to be ashamed of his work.

    Timothy's work included rightly handling the word of truth. The Greek word translated "rightly handling (KJV rightly dividing)" literally means to cut straight. The metaphor can be translated several ways. When used in conjunction with "workman (literally - agricultural worker)" it may mean plowing a straight row. Others have suggested the meaning to be hewing stones or cutting cloth. The verb is translated in Proverbs 3:6 and 11:5 with "road," allowing us to also envision the metaphor as pertaining to building a straight road. In any case, the operative word is "straight."

    As an approved workman, therefore, Timothy must avoid such godless chatter. Godless chatter logically leads to ungodliness. The term translated "leads" or "increase" literally means "to advance" and may be a word play alluding to the Judaistic mindset of superiority. This kind of talk will eat its way like gangrene (KJV - canker) throughout the whole body.

    Paul now names two individuals specifically who participate in these erroneous arguments. Hymenaeus is most likely the person he had excommunicated in 1Timothy 1:20. Philetus is named nowhere else in the Scriptures. Assuming our chronology of 1Timothy being written before 2Timothy, we learn here that Hymenaeus still led an anti-Pauline movement even after his expulsion from the church.

    Paul names part of the heresy espoused by these two men specifically: they said the resurrection had already occurred. The nature of this heresy though specifically named is a bit ambiguous and has led to much speculation. Albert Barnes makes these observations:

    Saying, that the resurrection is past already. It is not known in what form they held this opinion. It may have been, as Augustine supposes, that they taught that there was no resurrection but that which occurs in the soul when it is recovered from the death of sin, and made to live anew. Or it may be that they held that those who had died had experienced all the resurrection which they ever would, by passing into another state, and receiving at death a spiritual body fitted to their mode of being in the heavenly world. Whatever was the form of the opinion, the apostle regarded it: as a most dangerous error, for just views of the resurrection undoubtedly lie at the foundation of correct apprehensions of the Christian system.

    Whatever the interpretation, Paul viewed such advanced teachings as terribly dangerous. While Paul could be quite flexible on certain lesser matters such as eating food offered to idols, eating meat, or circumcising missionaries, on the issue of the resurrection of the saints he was unyielding.

    In contrast to the errorists who have built on sand, God has laid a firm foundation. This foundation refers to Christ and the truth of the Gospel. In this context the foundation also refers to the corporate Christ as it exists in the church. The seal on the foundation refers to designs cast or cut into the foundations of buildings in Paul's day. This seal signifies security, authenticity and purpose and ownership.

    The seal makes two statements. The first is that the Lord knows them that are His. While the word "know" in Biblical communication refers to sexual union, it also carries the ethical connotation of obeying another's will. To know the Lord is to obey His Will. He draws a line between those that are His and those that are not as marked by their obedience.

    The second statement made by the seal on the foundation is "let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." Iniquity is defined as gross immorality or injustice; wickedness. Those who know the Lord must demonstrate that they are separate from rebellion against the Lord.

    The foundation metaphor would naturally evoke the question: why are such people, those who are in rebellion, in the church? As an answer Paul provides a type of parable. The point of the metaphor is quite clear. The church is a diversified body and individual members should strive to be noble vessels. Of note in this Passage is that in verse 21 Paul uses the singular "anyone." It is up to the individual Christian to purify himself. In this way he becomes a noble vessel ready for any good work. He indeed shows himself approved for any good work.

    Paul now interjects personal counsel to Timothy. He employs a very characteristic form found in many Pauline Passages. Timothy is to "flee" youthful passions and "pursue" righteousness, faith, love, and peace. Youthful passions are obvious to the reader and refer to uncontrolled impulses. Instead his aim at righteousness, fidelity, love and peace put him in the company of those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart. The term "from a pure heart" reflects Paul's Jewish background. The phrase idiomatically means "with all sincerity."

    With specifics towards handling the disputes within the church, Paul urges Timothy to stay clear of the arguments that result in quarrels. Just as in 1Timothy 4:7 and 6:4,20, Paul uses strong language concerning these debates. He says that they are stupid, senseless and breed quarrels. Secondly Paul counsels Timothy, the Lord's servant, to handle the adversaries with patience and kindness seeking their restoration to God.

    Typically in the Old and New Testaments the phrase "servant of God" or servant of Christ" refers to any believer but here in context it refers to one who is specially endowed as a minister or leader. This person will show a peaceful disposition and avoid quarrels.

    Among other qualities of the Lord's servant is that he is apt to teach and is able to bear up under malice (patient). These qualities allow him to correct his opponents with gentleness. Discipline in the church need not assume a vindictive character.

    The goal of discipline is not to condemn but to save. Discipline ideally results in repentance, a turning around towards the truth and away from the devil's snare. The final phrase in chapter 2 has four possible interpretations: (1) the devil is understood as the antecedent of both "him" and "his," (2) the devil is understood as the antecedent of "him" and God is the antecedent of "his," (3) The Lord's servant is understood as the antecedent of "him and God is understood as the antecedent of "his," or (4) God is understood as the antecedent of both "him" and "his." All four possibilities are plausible but the stress of the whole Passage is that God takes action in granting repentance.
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

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    Sunday School lesson – 1/2/05 - conclusion

    Luke 17:20-21 The Kingdom in the Midst

    These verses begin a somewhat lengthy section of the Gospel that will conclude at verse 18:14. They teach us about the Kingdom of God and the Son of Man. Where Matthew and Mark concentrate their Apocalyptic lessons into one chapter each (Matthew 24; Mark 13), Luke and Acts have four separate Passage of which this is the first. The others will be found in Luke 19:11; 21:7; and Acts 1:6.

    The Pharisees were in the habit of attempting to calculate the time of the coming of the Messianic Kingdom and perhaps they thought that Jesus as a teacher could shed some new light on their pondering. Jesus, however, denies the question because the answer is simply not accessible. It is quite clear in Jesus’ teachings that the future belongs to God the Father and He must be trusted with it. Despite the efforts of many throughout Jewish and Christian history, there is no basis on which men can predict a date for the final consummation. Every moment is equally charged with the potential for the return of Jesus. Jesus stresses that we must be aware of the seriousness of the present moment for anything that can happen in the future can also happen right now.

    Likewise, it is foolishness to try to predict a place for the arrival. These Pharisees were asking about a location of the revelation of the Kingdom when they were blind to the presence of the Kingdom right in their midst. This phrase has two possible interpretations as outlined by Albert Barnes:

    Luke 17:22-37 The Days of the Son of Man

    Jesus now turns again to His disciples and addresses the problem facing the Christian community from the time of Luke to the present day. As we live here in the interim between Christ’s ministry and the Parousia, we face two dangers that must be confronted. There is the danger of a loss of faith and the despair that accompanies it and there is the appeal of Apocalyptic sensationalism that have drawn may from keeping their focus on the prominence of the present.

    Like the Pharisees in Christ time, the disciple is also concerned about the end of the age. The term “Days of the Son of Man” is in reference to the days of the Messiah, or in context to the teaching here, the Second Coming. Our history and our future are filled with days of martyrdom, sin, and persecution and the church has indeed longed for that Day. Yet, even so, the future belongs to God and Christ will return on God’s schedule, not ours.

    Nonetheless, this desire to see the end of the age makes some members of the Christian community susceptible to the teachings of the false apocalyptists. We have witnessed these false teachers lead many of their cults to destruction in the name of Christ. Such tragedies are by no means new as shown in 2Thessalonians 2:2. The teaching here in this Passage make it crystal clear that all such speculation over time and place are to be rejected.

    Signs will not be necessary as who the Son of Man is will be clear to all. He will be as bright as a flash of lightning. But before these things could come to pass it was necessary that He suffer at the hands of His physical generation. This may have been a hint that the church must suffer as well.

    Christ then gives two examples to illustrate the suddenness and the subtlety of the end of the age. There were no signs before the flood. There was no warning even from Noah himself. The flood came suddenly and destroyed them all. Likewise, Sodom was going about its daily business when suddenly the brimstone fell upon it.

    For those who witness the Second Coming, we are to be prepared to go boldly into that future. The affairs of this age will no longer matter. Jesus tells us to remember Lot’s wife who looked back at the city, longing for her home, her goods, her past. As a result God turned her into a pillar of salt. She sought to gain her life back despite the destruction raining down behind her. Lot who continued forward was willing to go into the future God had for him and thereby saved his life.

    The Return of Christ will cut across the earthly relationships we have. The Second Coming is described in the Gospels as coming at the last watch when the faint of heart have given up hope. The men are still in bed, the women are still grinding wheat for the day’s bread. It is at this point that the faithful will be taken.

    The Disciples were still asking “where”. Jesus’ reply is a proverb that is most often interpreted as meaning Jerusalem was the carcass and Rome was the eagles and the destruction of the city in 70AD was the fulfillment. However, in context to the Second Coming it seems more apt to accept an interpretation that when the event occurs, it will be at a place appropriated by God that serves His timing and Purpose. The Judgment of the Lord is inevitable and will be evident to all.
     
  7. Clint Kritzer

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    Nehemiah

    The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah show us incredible leadership in a time of trial. Nehemiah had taken the nearly impossible task of governing the population back into a working infrastructure. He reinstilled in them a nationalism that they had been unable to have for a generation. Under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, the returning Jews transformed from a huddled group of refugees into a formidable, defensible city/state.

    There is more, however, to a disciplined nation than buildings and order. The backbone of the re-emerging Jewish state would be the religious revival and return to the Law of Moses. There was no higher distinction for the Children of Israel than the Covenant they held with God.

    The Chronicler inserts several lengthy Passages of names of officials in attendance but what is most remarkable in these chapters, to my thinking, is the overwhelming emotional responses of the people. During the exile the people had forgotten. The older generation died off with knowledge of the festivals and the finer points of the Law and the younger of the displaced exiles became ignorant of their purpose and commitments. Today we look at the reawakening of the people of God.

    Nehemiah 7:73b-8:8 The Reading of the Law

    Once again, when studying the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the order of events does not reflect real chronology. The Chronicler instead grouped together events with a common theme. In the lesson today we see a series of religious awakenings that helped reform the Jewish nation.

    The first day of the seventh month became a holy day in post-exilic Judah but the event involving Ezra here seems to be a specially prepared gathering that was not routine. A wooden pulpit was erected before the Water Gate to elevate him above the crowd. When they had assembled, Ezra read from the Book of the law of Moses from early morning until midday.

    We are unsure exactly what is meant by the “Book of the Law of Moses.” It may have been the Book of Deuteronomy, or perhaps the entire Torah. In either case, when Ezra opened the scroll to begin the service, the people stood in respect to the Scriptures. He offered a prayer of praise and the people respond liturgically, “Amen, amen,” a response that can be translated, “I wholeheartedly agree.” The people then went prostrate with their faces to the ground. This ritual to introduce the reading of the Law was obviously familiar to these people.

    As Ezra read, the Levites in the crowd took the role of interpreters as they translated the Hebrew into Aramaic for the people who had forgotten their native tongue. They also acted as teachers as they made sense of the words being read.

    Nehemiah 8:9-12 The People’s Response

    The reading of the Law resulted in a deep emotional response from the people. Paul tells us that the purpose of the Law was to point out our shortcomings and our inadequacy. Perhaps the realization of how dismally the pre-exilic Hebrews had failed in the Covenant brought about this response. In any case, it was a guilt felt by the people as a whole.

    The people are instructed, however, to not mourn. The reading of the Law was not an occasion for sorrow but for joy. Ezra therefore proclaims a feast to celebrate the renewal of their commitment to God. True religion is not a burden to be borne but an opportunity for joy and fulfillment.

    Joy does not always express itself in revelry, however, and on this day the Levites commanded a silence worthy of the holiness of God’s presence. The people go their way to eat and drink and celebrate their renewed understanding of their relationship with God.
     
  8. Clint Kritzer

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