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Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [Part 4]?   Leave a comment

Spirit

Before Jesus ascended, He told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem:

Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4

The day of Pentecost(Harvest Festival) was approaching and Jesus commanded His disciples to wait as He was planning something special on that day. If Jesus did not told them to wait, maybe they would have gone around telling people that Jesus rose again and that they had just had supper with Him. After all, they have been trained for 3 years under His ministry and were well acquainted with His teachings and why could not they start preaching?

Well, waiting for the day of Pentecost now looks evident but if the disciples did not listen they would not have had that boldness brought by Holy Spirit and would have preached out of experience, the flesh and intellect. The day of Pentecost was a special day since many people from various regions came to Jerusalem for that feast and it was the opportunity for God to reveal Himself to them in their own language. The disciples spoke in unknown languages that day and the people said:

Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs.And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed.” Acts 2:11

On that day 3000 people believed and were baptized – incidentally a great harvest on the Harvest Festival. I believe that out of these 3000, there was at least a representative of all these nations who spoke in other tongues. Now see how quickly the gospel would spread itself!

The Holy Spirit intentionally gave the gift of tongues on that day to cause a massive movement and conversion.

Whether we minister in prayer meetings, in preaching, evangelism, worship or participate in any form of spiritual matter, if this is not done through inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is surely done either by our carnal nature or skills.

The Pharisees are examples of religious people who stuck to the letter or law rather than the spirit behind the scripture. They were not guided by the Holy Spirit in their actions. Out of their zeal, they were quick to judge the disciples of Jesus who broke crops on the Sabbath day and ready to fire the first stone on the adulterous woman. There is no doubt that these people were well versed in the scripture, intellectuals and had some form of wisdom (be it not divine). In their wisdom, their discerned that Jesus (the Holy One of heaven) was possessed by an evil spirit or mad (John 8:48, John 10:20). They also wanted to kill Jesus and were finally able to do so at God’s appointed time. If religious leaders at that time failed to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah despite all their scriptural knowledge, how can we expect that it is better today?

Our churches are packed with the same spirit of the pharisees or admirers of them. We are warned about such people (Col. 2:8) who are amidst us. They may use philosophy,some sort of wisdom or try to impress us by their mastery of Hebrews or Greek. They may have a doctorate in divinity or be eloquent but they minister WITHOUT the presence of the Holy Spirit. This is very alarming and at the same time this explains why many churches are dead even though packed with so many intellectuals. When the Holy Spirit was leading Paul, He not only guided Him where to preach but also forbidden him to preach in some places.

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” Acts 16:6

I would like to emphasize on that situation because firstly Paul was commissioned by God to go and preach everywhere, secondly he was an apostle and thirdly he knew the Gospel and was well equipped to preach. All these 3 elements were not sufficient for him to open his mouth and preach where he wanted. The lesson we can draw here is :

  1. Even though we have been called to go everywhere to preach the gospel, we should do so ONLY if accompanied by the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, there could be a chaotic situation, even death. Going on the mission field without the approval and presence of the Holy Spirit is not only a waste of time and resources but an act of disobedience.
  2. Being an apostle, pastor or teacher does not give us a license to say whatever we want. We should preach ONLY when under the influence of the Holy Spirit otherwise, the listeners or readers will be influenced by our spirit or reasoning instead of the Holy Spirit. When you do not feel led by the Spirit to speak, it’s time to sit down and listen to Him. God does not expect you to speak each Sunday because you’re a preacher or pastor.
  3. Our knowledge of the Gospel or scripture does not automatically qualify us to go and preach, ONLY the Holy Spirit does. For it is only the Holy Spirit who convicts hearts of sins (John 26:8), not us. Some of us plant and others water but it is God who makes the seed grow (1 Cor 3:6). Think about it. No matter how much you sow or water that seed, there can be no rejoicing unless that seed germinates. The One who makes that seed sprout or take life is the Holy Spirit and without Him in vain you toil.

Being led by the Holy Spirit, in everything we do, is essential for the church’s health and our growth. We could think that it was the jealousy of the Pharisees which blinded them but what about Judas? Judas sat at Jesus’ table, was part of his close circle, heard things none of us heard and saw many miracles but yet Jesus was just a rabbi not his Lord (Mat. 26). Without the quickening of the Holy Spirit, the things of God remain veil to us.

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments” 1 Cor. 2:13-15

 

Posted November 3, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [Part 3]?   Leave a comment

Spirit

There was an atmosphere of celebration when the ark of the covenant was brought back to Jerusalem through David. Suddenly this rejoicing vanished and set place for fear when Uzzah reached out his hand to hold the ark which was about to fall. God’s in his anger struck Uzzah down as he was not a Levite. David was unhappy with that severe action God took and wanted the ark to be away from him.

David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?He was not willing to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the City of David” 2 Sam. 2:9

Later on David said:

He said to them, “You are the leaders of the Levite families. You must purify yourselves and all your fellow Levites, so you can bring the Ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the LORD our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.”  1 Chr. 15:12

God’s presence is synonym to holiness and since no man is sinless, it is a great fear and dilemma for man to dare coming close to God. For this reason, God through the blood of Jesus made us a kingdom of priests (Rev 1:6) and rendered us qualified like the Levites to minister in His presence.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,  let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:20

God’s invitation for Jesus’s disciples to enter the Most Holy Place is real and He also made it possible to render our body itself a temple where His Holy Spirit can reside and bring worship and praises from within us. Whether it be the Levites or ourselves, one common prerequisite is to go through a purification process before daring to minister in His presence. Standing in God’s presence without this purification is a fearful expectation of death.

Ananias and Sapphira are examples of disciples who died because they lied to the Holy Spirit. Peter did not say that they lied to Jesus(though it’s implicit), but said to the Holy Spirit. This couple saw many people giving and they probably concocted to imitate the same behavior to earn praises through deceit (false declaration of sales). This was a matter of fraud/trickery in God’s eyes.  This is very indicative as the One who was ministering and was offended was precisely the Holy Spirit who nothing is hidden to Him. When God struck to death this couple, this demonstrated how He felt about it. Now if we do not see God massively dealing in the same way in churches, that does not mean God feels better about it.   Elsewhere Paul also mentioned that some have died and many were sick because they were not right with God. In the old testament many man of God were commended for their ‘fear of God’.  Is there still this fear of God or a fearless/rebellious attitude of the consequences of our acts ? Having the fear of God is a sort or worship since we realize His presence and holiness. Being under grace should not be an excuse to sin (Rom. 3:8) or cause us to be fearless of our acts. On the contrary, we’ll be judged more severely.

They rush to commit murder.  Destruction and misery always follow them.They don’t know where to find peace.”They have no fear of God at all” Rom. 3:18

I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before their eyes” Ps 36:1

That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died. ” 1 Cor. 11:30

Jesus said that where two or three gather together in His name, He is among them. Now if we believe this is true, then we should be careful that when we gather together, we do so with a right heart lest we found ourselves in the same situation as Ananias and Sapphira.  Now if we gather together with a filthy heart, participate in the Lord’s supper and have a fraudulent heart and no discipline result from God  we must question whether we have really gathered as disciples in His name or for other motives.

If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all” ( Heb. 12:8)

For ONLY if we gather in His name that He promised to be there. If Jesus is not present when you gather for worship, flee from that place lest you be found participating in a cult given to Satan. How do you know whether God’s presence is there? See whether Christlikeness (2 Cor. 3:18) is found in those praying and worshiping God. Look at the fruit of the Spirit, if there’re no fruits then there’re no marks of His presence.

This said, God’s presence should be considered with much reverence and we should be careful how we treat each other as we’re an habitation of the Holy Spirit.

We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.” Eph. 2:21

There’re thousands of physical churches on earth but there’s only one Church – one bride. Similarly, if we consider that there’re millions of disciples of Jesus then there’re millions of temples where the Holy Spirit dwells. However, all these millions of temples form part of the same divine temple. This is how we’re in Christ and Christ in us.

Have you ever come close to someone possessed by an evil spirit? This can be a shivering situation. If being inhabited by an evil spirit causes people to be afraid imagine what effect this had when disciples of Jesus are filled by the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit!

No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people” Acts 5:13

Posted October 13, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [Part 2]?   Leave a comment

Spirit

If you know that you’re the temple of the Spirit then take heed that this holy habitation is not defiled. If you did not realize or forgot that you are the temple of the Spirit , today is the day to get out of laxity, ignorance and be diligent.

As a born again Christian it is vital to realize that God’s remaining work on earth has been entrusted to the Holy Spirit . Since the fall of man, Jesus was the long promised Messiah entrusted to bring salvation. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He then entrusted the Holy Spirit to continue His work on earth:

But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you ” John 16:7

The Holy Spirit would not dwell in the heart of man and begin His mighty work until Jesus ascended. “It is best that I go away, it is for your benefit, it is for your advantage that I go away” Jesus said. God’s salvation plan has been fulfilled through the coming, death and resurrection of Jesus. Sin has lost its power and man has been reconciled with the Holy God of heaven by Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus has set up the foundation i.e. the doctrines of faith in Him for salvation and then gave His orders/instructions/commandments to the Holy Spirit to remind his apostles and future generations about His work and doctrines.

until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.” Acts 1:2

Jesus clearly said that the main activities of the Holy Spirit would be to teach the disciples all what they need to know and remind them what has already been said. This is important since Jesus himself said that He could not deliver much of His teachings since the disciples were not yet ready to receive it all.

I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth” John 16:12

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” John 14:26

God has promised the Messiah to bring salvation and this came to be. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit and this also has been fulfilled (Joel 2:28-30, Acts 2:1-3). The Spirit given, the scripture cannot do any more for us except to remind that the Son of God will come again to rise His saints from the dead, establish His Kingdom and Judge the world.

We are living in this time where the Spirit has been generously outpoured, something which the prophets in the old testament desired to see.  Are we living this life in the Spirit or just merrily walking where this life brings? Being now a kingdom of priest and the temple of the Holy Spirit, we simply cannot be the same or living like the ordinary mortal man. Everything being practiced by Christians be it evangelism, teachings, worship, discipleship, intercession, healing or prayers if not done solely by the power of the Spirit is nothing but an act of the flesh, a formality, an event,  intellectualism, entertainment, pride or a diabolical undertaking.

Posted October 12, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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The Authenticity of our faith   Leave a comment

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;  not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;” Rom. 12:9

My father often told me “There’re 2 kinds of people you should never give a job to do : Christians and relatives“. My father said that not because he was not a Christian and did not like his relatives but because he had bad experiences with those persons who should have been trustworthy. For the sake of keeping a good relationship with his relatives and for love sake, he refrained to express his frustration towards them. So he warned his children to beware of giving jobs to relatives and Christians. He even started to point out the danger of dating some so-called Christians. Did you ever have a similar experience?

I’m particularly interested with my dad’s statement concerning Christians because trickery, ruse, hypocrisy, dishonesty and avarice should not be found in Christians. The name of the Lord is slandered among non-Christians because of such behavior.

Paul warned the Thessalonians :

and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.” 1 Thes. 4:6

Living wisely according to James is:

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. ” James 3:17

In His 3 years of ministry on earth, Jesus had a loaded agenda to preach the Good News, heal the sick and prepare His disciples. Another item He had on His agenda was to reveal the hypocrisy of religious people, the Pharisees. For decades the Lord of heaven has seen how those religious leaders burdened his sheep and abused them and when Jesus came to earth He expressed the anger of God kept all these times for that moment. Jesus has been preaching about love and been doing good all around Him but as what concerns the religious leaders, He did not use velvet gloves but was particularly hard towards them.

Matthew recorded a whole Chapter (Mat 23) of what Jesus said about those fake spiritual leaders.  All throughout His ministry, the Pharisees tried to trick Him (Luke 20:23) and Jesus rebuked them publicly.

It is important for Christians to be genuine.

As per the secular definition of hypocrisy: “it is the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case

It is play acting or pretending someone you’re not. Jesus said “Everything they do is for show” Mat. 23:5

God sees us through and knows whether we are genuine in our faith or just behave like the Pharisees. If at work we pretend to be saints and tell our colleagues the right thing to do but in secret we do the very thing that we said is wrong, then we’re acting like an hypocrite and condemning ourselves. If we set some standards and judge others by them, we’ll also be judged accordingly.

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?  How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Mat. 7:1-5

Pretending to be humble, abstaining from pleasures/fasting/praying/giving to the needy for people to see is something God abhors.  Using ruse or trickery for self gratification is an attitude that is not Christ-like.

Are you authentic in the way you are with your spouse/friends/colleagues/neighbors/relatives? Does your closest relative think you’re the same person at church and at home?

Is your ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ an absolute truth or is it a lie?

Jesus said: “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

0 or 1 is used in computing to take decisions, it can either be yes or no and in an absolute sense computers will never be able to understand anything else (even in AI) . There’s no existence of fractions between 0 and 1 in computing.

Computers cannot take decisions on ‘Maybe’. Computers do not know anything between ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Saying ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ in the same circumstance are double behaviors.  If you want to play double with a computer and say ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, it will tell you it’s False. The computer will say True only if you always say ‘Yes’ or always say ‘No’. Christians cannot have double behaviors but should have one behavior no matter the circumstance – integrity (being one). This is particularly a challenge for me because I have failed many times by playing double with God and people.

Here’s a D- test which identifies hypocrisy:

Duplicity, Double talk, Deceit, Dishonesty, Double dealing.

Posted August 24, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Legalism and Justice [Part 3]   Leave a comment

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In Part 1 and Part 2 of “Legalism and Justice”, we’ve seen what are some forms of legalism and what are the characteristics of the legalists. We’ve also read how harshly Jesus dealt with the legalists(Pharisees) and how Jesus used scripture to correct the wrong interpretation of verses used to support legalism. The devil has been twisting the scripture in an attempt to make Jesus fall (Mat 4) and this is what he still does through the legalists. We may discern forms of legalism when the motives behind the teachings are not Love, Mercy, Faithfulness and Justice. Discipline in the church is not a form of legalism when love is the motive.  God Himself discipline the one he loves (Heb. 12:10). However, when love is not the motive behind discipline then we may find ourselves participating in ‘stoning the adulterous woman’.

As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?..They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” John 8:3-9

It would be unfair to the victim of the adultery(the spouse) not to receive justice. If this case was brought in our modern court with Moses law to be applied and you were to judge, what would you do?

The Greek words used in this phrase suggest the following interpretation  “Let the one among you who has never sinned similarly throw the first stone!

I would prefer not to participate in the judgment of a case in which I had myself made a similar offense. If I condemn others of an offense that I did myself but no one caught me yet, then I’m condemning myself along and acting like an hypocrite. If we consider for instance Jesus’ teachings about lust and adultery very few religious people would find themselves eligible to pass on a judgment. I spoke several times badly of liars without realizing that I have in the past lied.

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Mat. 5:28

What did Jesus say about judging others?

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Mat. 7

Jesus in this verse is warning against judging others. It is not prohibited to judge others but it holds great responsibility. It is sinners like us who pronounce judgments in courts. Court judges simply apply what the law of the country say and they are themselves subject to be judged by others should they commit a similar offense. No one is above the law. If holiness was the prerequisite to judge, then the notorious criminals, drug traffickers and murderers would not be put to jail. The statement let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone” is a great reminder that the Holy One of heaven is looking down on us and that our judgement is not flawless since we’re ourselves sinners and thus offenders of that same system in a way or another.

Jesus made a call to the guilty conscience  of the Pharisees and this made all of them uneasy since it appears that all those people who brought this woman were not beyond reproach. The oldest left first as he probably was the greatest offender.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest” John 8:9

I guess that if there was indeed a man among the mob who never committed adultery, then he would be right to execute the stoning but there was none left! How hypocrite can religious people be! Only Jesus was left with that woman for only Him never committed such sin and only him could stone that woman. Remember that each time you judge someone, God is watching.

The world dictionary defines hypocrisy as “the sin of pretending to virtue or goodness“. It is pretending to be someone you’re not or having some qualities what you do not have. It is imitating like an actor whose virtue and goodness are seen only on stage but behind stage – at home he is a vilain. Hypocrisy consists of deceit, dissimulation and above all it is the absence of integrity for integrity means being one (in Mathematics integer), consistent and coherent.  So this was how Jesus qualified the Pharisees. In the scene of the adulterous woman, He unmasked their role and hypocrisy.

 Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”“No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

The accusers now dispersed, Jesus now recommends the woman to leave behind this sinful life and live in the righteous path.

 

Posted March 26, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Legalism and Justice [Part 2]   Leave a comment

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They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them..” Matthew 23

Hypocrisy is usually a character of the legalist. At some point the legalist will tell to people what they should do but they themselves might not be doing what they say.  Severe to others but indulgent to themselves. They have a false humility i.e. they make as if they do not seek for glory, leadership position or privileges when this is what they are actually seeking. They may be soft spoken persons but in the inside they are wolves in sheep clothing. Their soft tone, humble way of clothing themselves or even the way they walk are deceits. This was how Jesus described the Pharisees who wore wide boxes (phylacteries) on their arms or forehead. These boxes contain scriptures and making them wide was probably a demonstration that they were well versed in the scripture. Boasting about one’s knowledge of the Scripture or the law is another characteristic of the legalists.  They loved to be greeted with respect when they walked in public places(market place) Jesus said. In other words, they sought for recognition. They might also feel insecure if someone aims to learn more about the law/scripture or wish to enter God’s kingdom without going through them.

This is what Jesus said about this: “You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to

They want to be those who guide people to heaven but Jesus called them blind guides. In other words they want to be a mediator between God and man but there is only one Mediator – Jesus. This is why Jesus said never to call a man rabbi or father for there is only one Teacher – Jesus and only one Father – God.

This is a gross mistake of the catholic priests who take the name of ‘father’. The pope for instance is a modern time Pharisee according to this verse and also do all his adherents/followers. Is it on same ground of super spirituality that the catholic priests are not allowed to marry(Peter was married) – for fear of being defiled with sexuality ? The leader among the disciples, Peter was married(1 Cor . 9:5) and it’s hard to understand how the Vatican came with this ascetic doctrine of forbidding man to marry – which has caused so many of them to become pedophile or rapists. These priests probably taught about holiness but they themselves lived in immorality. Asceticism is therefore another characteristic of the religious legalists.

Since the legalists think that they have the key to the knowledge of God or are an authority to God’s affairs, they allow themselves to add or remove to scripture. This is why many false doctrines emerged. For instance, the Pharisees twisted the scripture when they said: ” ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’”. To this teaching Jesus pointed out that their reasoning did not make sense.

As regards tithe, the Pharisees took it so seriously that they even gave a tenth of their spices—mint, dill and cumin. To this Jesus responded “you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness“.

One can be so absorbed in practicing the law that he forgets that the spirit behind the law is justice, mercy and faithfulness.

Tradition in the church is one of the common source of arguments. Traditions are man-made and many leaders consider them as similar to God’s Word. For instance, celebrating Christmas, Easter, Mother’s day are not commands in the bible but are traditions brought in the church. For the Pharisees, it was a tradition that hands should be washed before eating. Of course this is a healthy thing to do. There’s nothing wrong to wash our hands before eating or celebrating mother’s day to honor our mother or Easter/Christmas to remember Jesus’ coming, death and Resurrection. However, eating without washing one’s hands makes someone prone to diseases but not a sinner. Not celebrating Christmas, Easter or Mother’s day does not make one a sinner. This is what the Pharisees said:

Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” 

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’  they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition” Mat. 15:2

Once again Jesus showed the Pharisees that their teachings were contradictory. The Pharisees probably taught that one should honor his father and mother and failing to do so was such a gross sin that it was subject to death penalty. However, the Pharisees in their hypocrisy reasoned that since they have already spared aside some gifts/money to God then they are unable to use that gift to help their needy parents. They considered that this gift set aside were already reserved/devoted for God and was therefore not right to use it otherwise. In modern time, this might also do to our commitments. For instance, if we reason that we have already committed ourselves to give 6 months of our time in mission and have to leave behind our sick and needy parents then we’re behaving like the pharisees. God does not need our money or sacrifice. Obedience, love, justice are better than sacrifice. Be careful in the way you deal with money in church affairs. If you feel confused in how to spend your time, money or resources in spiritual matters, think about the spirit behind the law: Love, justice, faithfulness and mercy.  What would Jesus do?

 

 

 

 

 

Posted March 22, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Legalism and Justice [Part 1]   Leave a comment

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Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.)And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.” Mat. 12:9-12

During the 3 years of ministry of Jesus, the people who considered themselves as teachers of God’s law challenged Jesus with many tricky questions in order to bring charges against Him. Even if the arguments brought by these Pharisees/teachers of the law were not held in court, they were sufficient to set a trap Jesus.

At many instances Jesus warned the people and his disciples against the fake righteousness of the Pharisees and drew a line between legalism and justice. Love was the chalk Jesus used to draw this line.  The spirit behind the law was to love people and love God until Jesus came. The first 4 commandments concerned our love, respect and devotion towards God and the remaining 6 had to do with respect and love of our family and neighbor. Paul described the law as:

Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. …. If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. .. Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed….Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.” Gal. 3:24-29

To put it imply, Paul said:

For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.”These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.” Rom. 13:9-10

It is true that the Mosaic law required that the Israelites shall consider the seventh day a special day and not work on it (Ex. 33:2). That command was so important that if one disobeyed it, death was the penalty. The Pharisees considered that Jesus was working when He healed people so they asked whether it was right to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus is the one who inspired the prophets to write the law and He explained the intent behind the law. Being also a divine Advocate, Jesus replied the Pharisees brilliantly.  It was common sense that a Jew would save his sheep if one fell into a well. What if that incident happened on the Sabbath day? Would you be so hard hearted that you would just watch that sheep drown without moving a finger for fear of doing work? In the book of Deuteronomy we read:

If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility.Take it back to its owner. If its owner does not live nearby or you don’t know who the owner is, take it to your place and keep it until the owner comes looking for it. Then you must return it. ” Deut. 22

What if the neighbor’s ox erred on a Sabbath day? That would put the legalist in a great dilemma! Would that be a conflict in the law? For love sake and pity, be careful of never allowing yourself reasoning like a legalist. For those who understand that the spirit behind the law of keeping your neighbor’s goat from wandering is love, it will not be difficult for him to make the right decision if the neighbor’s goat erred on the Sabbath. David’s companions were hungry and for love sake and compassion David broke the law when they entered the house of God and ate the reserved sacred bread (Mat. 12:4). In the worldly court, David would have been condemned but in the divine court, David was not found guilty.

In Numbers 28:9, the priests did not feel guilty of breaking the fourth commandment when they had to work on the Sabbath. If it ever happens that you find a conflict in God’s word, think about the love spirit behind God’s word. There will always be some Pharisees throwing some bible verses to condemn you or others but think about this: “What would Jesus do?”

Here is an example: Jesus’ disciples were hungry and the Pharisees brought charges against them saying they were harvesting/working on the Sabbath. Jesus did not rebuke His disciples but rather justified them through scripture.

But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.

Posted March 9, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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