July - Reading 6

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Jul 6, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

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    Good afternoon –

    Tonight in 1Chronicles we discover some new data that 1Samuel did not provide us. Chapter 12 lists the warriors that joined David at Ziklag. The Chronicler assumes that the reader is familiar with the account of Ziklag as described in 1Samuel 27:6. Reading these passages makes me wonder where the Chronicler got his information. Could it have been word of mouth or was it from a previous document? In chapter 13 we see the story of the Ark out of chronological order. The return of the Ark to Jerusalem may well be one of the highest points of David’s reign and the author of the Books of Chronicles places this account early in the narration. Also in the account as told by the author of 2Samuel we do not see David conferring with his officers before bringing the Ark home. It is not until chapter 14 tonight that we see the defeat of the Philistines.

    In Luke tonight we read of Christ healing the demon-possessed man. This story also appears in the other two Synoptic Gospels in Matthew 8 and Mark 5. The description of the setting shows us that Christ was in Gentile territory and the fact that there was a herd of pigs confirms this. The healed man wants to follow Christ but Jesus sends him home instructing him to tell what has happened for him. There was no risk of interference from the Pharisees in this territory.

    In Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians, the message now moves from the theological reasoning and arguments to the practical applications of this teaching. It would seem that Paul is imploring the people to not harbor resentment for the misguided teachings that have arisen, but rather to forgive and be humble to each other as to show Christ through their actions.

    One other note: go ahead and read Psalm 132 in addition to Psalm 131 in your readings tomorrow.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lecture - 11/23/03

    Colossians 3:1-17

    This week Paul moves from the theological diatribe of the first two chapters of Colossians to the more practical exhortations toward Christian living. We can think of this section as going from the fullness of Christ to the fullness of Christian living or, the fullness of the Head to the fullness of the body. While the fullness of Christ was the answer to the heresies being promoted by the errorists, the fullness of the Christian life was the answer to the promises made by their beguiling speech.

    There are many possible images throughout today's lesson that may relate to the analogy of baptism. However, for the sake of brevity I am foregoing many of them.

    3:1-4 Focused upon Christ

    The "if" that begins this Passage does not carry the connotations of doubt, but rather it means "as surely as". So the statement could accurately paraphrased as "As surely as Christ has been raised, you too have been raised, therefore, seek."

    Just as our baptism symbolizes (as stated in 2:12) our death, burial and resurrection, our lives must show the reality of the same actions. We will even "appear with Him" at the Parousia. In short, "Christ is our life."

    Paul's first encouragement is to focus our goal on Christ: seek what is above.

    When we "seek the things that are above," it shows consistency with our experiences of Christian life spoken of last week. It is for this reason that we "have been raised." As Christ has been raised above all things and is seated at the right hand of God, when we seek the things that are above we are showing our conviction and faith of this fact. It is not likely that Paul is referring here to just blessings from Heaven or Heavenly precepts, but rather he means the whole heavenly realm including the glorified and seated Christ. In literature from this time "seated" usually referred to rest after a conflict and being at the right hand of God would show total authority. The phrase is borrowed from Psalm 110:1 and is repeated 12 other times in the New Testament. This was a very common theme in early Christian apologetics.

    Paul's second encouragement in this short powerful paragraph is to focus our minds on Christ: set your minds on things above. It is not merely our actions that mark the Christian life but also what direction our minds go. This is far from an alien idea in Pauline thought. We see similar statements in Romans 12:16; Philippians 2:4-5; 3:18-19.

    The "things that are on earth" in verse 2 may be referring specifically to the earthly rules and practices of the errorists. If, however, he is speaking generally, we must recognize that there is no evil inherent in the things themselves, as stated in Colossians 1:16; 20, but rather the evil lies in our minds cherishing them above the heavenly things, just as Christ told us in Matthew 6:19.

    That our lives are "hidden with Christ" may be a continuation of the baptismal metaphor. Whereas pagans of the time spoke of death as being hidden in the earth, we as Christians view ourselves as being hidden in Christ. We should be mindful that we are not hidden from temptation, malice, or harm. Instead, the safety implied in hiding relates back to our attachment to the Head, which is Christ. Just as all knowledge and mystery is hidden in Christ, so too is the Christian Body. It is our understanding of all mystery, or at least our acceptance of the fact that it will be revealed, that gives us peace and it is that influence that makes us a positive influence to the world. This is a direct contradiction to the exclusiveness espoused by the errorists.

    The third encouragement of this Passage is that we are to focus our hope on Christ: when Christ appears, you will appear. Paul turns from the present tense of our actions and minds being focused on Christ to the final hope. Christ is our life. He is the reason for our life, the creator of our life, and the hope of our life. The symbolism of our baptism consummates in the final glory. Not only are we dead buried and raised with Christ, but when the time comes that He is no longer hidden, we too will no longer be hid with Him. This is the glory lost in the fall: to be once again a companion to God who is Christ in His glory.

    3:5-11 Putting Off Things Unchristian

    Conversion is not a prescription for holiness and morality. The Holy Spirit does not possess, He indwells and persuades, leaving the believer his own free will. The Christian exists in two planes, heavenly and earthly. In order for us to experience outwardly what we have already experienced inwardly, we must "put to death earthly things" and show that change in our character and conduct.

    Upon conversion, we experience more than a change in status, saved from unsaved. We also experience a new birth, putting off those things that hinder us from displaying our new nature. This is the same metaphor, though stated somewhat differently as Christ's call to pluck out our eye or cut off our hand if they cause us to sin. Our bodies are the vehicles of sin. Paul uses similar metaphors in 1Corinthians 6:15 and Romans 8:13.

    The list of sins we find in verse 5 refer to sensuality and covetousness. The phrase "which is idolatry" may be a reference to ritualistic prostitution but more likely refers to making earthly things one's master. The non-believer can make a God of gain.

    Because of the divine judgment, the Wrath of God will come in consequence of these sins. This is not to be confused with vindictiveness or retribution but justice and a consequence of the corruption of a moral universe. Paul is saying here that just because one is a believer, one is not necessarily exempt from this judgment.

    Instead, the Christian is expected to have put off these pagan and earthly practices. Paul is reiterating the most basic instructions a Christian receives. Anger, malice, slander, blasphemy, and foul language are not what we expect of a Christian at any stage in their maturity. Perhaps the debates between those that held to the Head and the errorists who had become detached from It had resulted in strongly emotional debates that bred bad conduct. This was no excuse. The Christian remains hidden in Christ and as such puts these things off. Christ also warned us of the same thing in Matthew 12:36 as did James in James 3:1.

    Just as the old self must constantly experience death, the new self is constantly renewed. This particular Passage beginning in verse 10 seems to have a strong correlation to the story of Adam. The Christian is renewed in knowledge which Adam sought wrongly (Genesis 3:6). We seek that knowledge after the image of its creator. As Christ was the physical manifestation of God (Colossians 1:15) and Adam was created in the image of God, when the believer puts on Christ, he regains what was lost in Eden. As such, cultural barriers cease to exist in Christ. The Greek and Jew are racial analogies, circumcision is a religious reference, the barbarian represents the uncultured, the Scythian is the savage, the slave (or bond) has no rights and the free has every social advantage. Yet all these facets of society are brought together upon conversion in Christ. Christ is all in all.

    3:12-17 Putting on Christ

    Paul now gives us seven qualities necessary within the social order of the church to demonstrate the putting off of the old self and the putting on of Christ.
    1. Recognize that we are the chosen.
    2. The virtues in verse 12-14 counter the vices listed in verse 8. They are what are demanded of good conduct in social life.
    3. Forgiveness is necessary when confronting one with a complaint.
    4. We are called to peace in one body.
    5. Teaching and admonishing show a collective existence.
    6. Singing also shows the collective life of Christians.
    7. It is by love that we are bound together in these matters.

    The Colossians as Gentiles had added incentive to be thankful. To Jewish thought the fact that they were now among God's Chosen would be near blasphemy, but Paul made it clear that they were part of the divine family.

    As Christ unified all of us, whether we were Greek, Jew, circumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, we must display the characteristics of verses 12 & 13 in order to get along. As Christ accepted us, so must we accept each other despite our varying experiences and backgrounds. We must have a mind for generosity, non-aggressive reactions, patience even in the face of insult and forbearance which is the willingness to accept each other's quirks and idiosyncrasies, for the sake of fellowship.

    That the Lord has forgiven us is a strong incentive to follow his example. We must lean towards reconciliation and not revenge. The Grace we have been given is more than ample motivation for forgiveness of one another.

    Love completes the necessary arsenal we need to complete this task of imitating Christ's acceptance. Again, this counters the arguments of the errorists' in this respect. Love binds those in the church together. The intellectual hierarchy they promoted drove it apart. The disposition that Paul is promoting in this Passage leads to the perfection and maturity that the errorists promised but could not provide. Christ as the Supreme Law and example of unity was the secret to fellowship and perfection.

    The peace that Christ knew should rule the Christian heart. Christ told us so Himself in John 14:27. Peace is a collective concern for all of us as we are all in one body. Thankfulness in the context of this verse implies that the meaning is "agreeable" or "good-natured." It is this attitude that promotes peace.

    The "word of Christ" probably means Christ's teachings. Like peace it is a collective necessity in the church but it is also critical for the individual. So, too, is praise and Paul lists three types of songs used in worship: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Psalms were sacred songs; hymns were festal tunes, and Spiritual Songs were solemn. This verse shows that singing was always a part of Christian worship along with teaching. This music should cause reflection and focus on Christ. William Burkitt said this about this text in his 17th century expository notes:

    Paul sums up this Passage with the ultimate formula for good Christian living: do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. All that we do we should be willing to put Christ's name to.

    If we can emulate the character of Christ, ruled by the law of love and His peace, putting off the sinful nature, putting on the new self, renewing ourselves in the image of the creator, then we are living truly Christian lives.
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

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    Sunday School lesson 10/24/04 - continued

    Luke 8:26-39 The Gerasene Demoniac

    This account is the only one in Luke in which Jesus sets foot on non-Jewish soil. There has been much confusion over the exact location of where this event transpired. Luke and Mark seem to translate best as Gerasenes while Matthew reads Gadarenes. Though we are unsure of the exact location, it is evident that this was an area on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee.

    Upon exiting the boat, Jesus is immediately confronted with a man who is possessed by demons. The site of the landing must have been near the town's burial grounds as the poor man is described as taking shelter among the tombs. So overwhelming was the man's condition that he would even break chains used by his countrymen to restrain him. He was thus ostracized to the wilderness of the desert.

    Though the Disciples had just asked while crossing "who was this Man," the demon knew who He was in an instant. He is the Son of the Most High God, the One who rules over all powers in the universe, both natural and supernatural. The demons recognize Jesus as superior to them and having total authority and thus plead for Him not to torment them. Though they had established a foothold in the man they possessed they knew that Christ could cast them out and away.

    When asked to identify himself, the demons reply that they are legion, meaning that there are many of them in this man, thus explaining his pitiable condition. Even though Jesus was facing a great number of evil spirits, they were still no match for His authority and they recognize it. The demons beg not to be sent to the "abyss (KJV - the deep)". We learn in Revelation that this is the prison designed for satan and his demons where the Greek is interpreted "bottomless pit" by the KJV.

    The reference to the herd of pigs gives us further evidence that this was a Gentile land as they were an unclean animal in Jewish Law. However, these animals would be a much more fitting abode for unclean spirits than this man. Jesus sends the legion of demons into the pigs who, ironically, cast themselves into the sea. Though they had begged Christ not to cast them into the abyss, the sea was associated with the netherworld in ancient thought.

    The spectacle of the exorcism and the mass suicide of the pigs draws a crowd from the nearby town when the pig herders tell of it. They find the well-known demoniac subdued and tranquilly sitting at the feet of Jesus. His unwilling possession by demons has been replaced with a willing submission to Christ. Their fear of His awesome powers manifests itself in their rejection of Jesus and driving Him from their land. The formerly possessed man begs to go with Christ but his new mission would best be accomplished in his native land. After this brief encounter he becomes the newest evangelist and begins spreading the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven, represented in the Person of Jesus Christ, to the lands east of the Sea of Galilee.
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

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