Posts Tagged With: Gentiles

You Want Me to Go WHERE? You Want Me to Do WHAT?

I want you to imagine for a moment this scenario. (As you will hear in this PODCAST, a potentially familiar biblical story to you.)

That being said, see if you can guess the name of its principle player.

His people were ravaged by a barbarically blood-thirsty Empire, the armies of which decimated his land, desecrated his holy places, and butchered his people.

His hatred for these pagan barbarians flamed in his guts with the white-hot fury of volcanic rage. A smoldering-just-beneath-the-surface-anger that could have understandably erupted into a deadly confrontation at the slightest provocation.

But God is a God of mercy, isn’t he?

So He asked this man to set aside his prejudices, to extinguish the fiery rage that blazed within him. And in the face of the mountain of abuses he and his people suffered at the hands of these hedonistic heathens, these merciless marauders, to travel into the very power-center of this occupying power in order to share with the people there the Good News of God’s redemptive love.

The notion that he would engage these interlopers on any level was utterly repugnant to him. Not to mention his absolute inability even to entertain the slightest possibility that some such as these might spend an eternity with him in Heaven.

He didn’t want God to save them; He wanted God to obliterate them.

So down to the seaport city of Joppa he went (that’s your clue to this mystery man’s identity) where he confronted a personal crisis of faith unlike he had ever experienced before.

Does he walk away in rebellion against God? Does he get into a boat and sail away, in direct defiance of God’s revealed will?

Or does he submit himself to the task to which God called him, knowing full-well that in doing so he may-well place himself squarely in the crosshairs of his sworn enemy?

To whom am I referring? Who was this singularly-selected servant of God, forced to face such a potentially life-threatening, history-altering choice?

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Remarkable Man to Whom was Passed the Torch of Torah

Hate is a horrible thing.

Hate unbridled and unchecked is a murderous thing.

Hate in name of God is terrifying and terrorizing thing.

And as you are about to hear in this PODCAST, hate in the name of God is indeed a terrorizing thing because such religious hatred is actually viewed by the hater as a righteous thing.

Just ask a certain Pharisee—emphasis upon that lofty religious title, Pharisee, since it goes to the very heart of this story—named Saul. Yes! Saul was a Pharisee.

On the night before He was executed, as Jesus and His now-eleven disciples were slinking through the dark alleys of Jerusalem, literally one step ahead of His betraying-disciple Judas, the Temple guards, and the Roman cohort that Judas was leading to arrest and ultimately to crucify Jesus, Jesus made this chilling statement which should have given His disciples pause, assuming that in that desperate hour they had presence of mind to pause.

It’s found in John 16:2, where Jesus said this:

“The time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God.”

A prediction, a prophecy that has historically come to pass in our day—the bitter result of religious extremism—far too many times to count. Bloodshed in the name of God. Be that blood shed at the hands of the Christian Crusaders, Muslim suicide bombers, or a now-ranking member of Sanhedrin—keep that label in mind; it too goes to heart of this story—Saul.

From where did Saul’s unbridled fury, his murderous hatred for Jesus and all things Jesus-related come?

Tonight, we will consider together much of what is often overlooked in any discussion about Saul-to-become-Paul’s background.

All of which will expose the degree to which God went when preparing His “Apostle to the Gentiles.”

Indeed, Paul will write in wonder in Galatians 2:8,

“For by God’s power I was made an apostle to the Gentiles.”

That power was clearly at work in Paul’s/Saul’s past. And as you are about to hear, that power was equally at work in Saul’s present here in Acts 9.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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THE House

JEWISH_TEMPLE00000018Welcome to Monday of Jesus’ last week, His Passion week, the final few days leading up to His coming crucifixion.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, way back in John 2 (Podcast #21), Jesus cleansed the Temple for the first time. Now here in Mark 11, at the very end of His ministry, Jesus cleansed the Temple for the second time.

A display of uncharacteristic anger, rare to be sure. But a shocking display of anger nonetheless. Quite out of character for a Jesus who described Himself, and who consistently showed Himself to be a Very.Gentle.Jesus.

As Jesus walked through the Temple courts that day, something set Him off.

Yes, He was understandably upset about the fleecing of the flock that was going on here. To be perfectly pointed about it, these religious leaders were making bank by selling God. Religion had become big business. By the time of Jesus, the Temple Industrial Complex was alive and well and oh-so-lucrative.

Sadly, they had discovered in that day what so many Christian leaders have discovered today: God sells. Jesus sells. Then and now, there is money to be made in Jesus’ name. A boatload of money.

That being said, there was something of even greater offense to Jesus going on there in the Temple courts. You might not see it at first blush. But trust me, it is there, front and center. As you will soon see.

I’ll give you a hint: God desperately longs to dwell among His people, literally. That is a thread that is woven throughout the pages of the Bible.

God desperately longs to dwell among His people, literally. All of His people, Jew and Gentile alike, “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5).

From the very first pages of the Bible (Genesis), through to the very last pages of the Bible (Revelation), God desperately longs to dwell among His people.

That theological thread that ties the entire Bible together runs right through this story here in Mark 11, as Jesus cleansed the Temple for the second time.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Epic (and I Do Mean EPIC) Handoff

2009-11-26T221005Z_01_DET12_RTRIDSP_0_NFL“Epic,” as in Your-Salvation-and-Mine-Rides-or-Falls-on-This. I kid you not.

This PODCAST is going to be fun, and so instructive. Instructive on two levels.

1. Instructive as we discover together exactly what Jesus meant here in Matthew 18:18-20.

2. Instructive as we are handed, courtesy of Jesus, an opportunity to learn what to do, and perhaps more importantly, what not to do with the Bible.

As you are about to hear, we must bring to this passage every interpretive tool in the tool box in order to arrive at an accurate interpretation and application of this passage.

Let me put it this way: The Apostle Paul encouraged his protégé, young Pastor Timothy, to…

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth, (2 Timothy 2:15).

Do you know why Paul encouraged Timothy to handle the word of truth correctly? Because there were then, as there are now, scores of people — pastors, teachers, conference speakers, authors, commentators — who routinely handle the word of truth incorrectly.

In 1 Timothy 1:3, Paul similarly wrote Timothy,

I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth.

Why write this? Because there were Sunday school teachers or small group leaders in Timothy’s church who were teaching error.

It is so easy to make the Bible say whatever we want it to say. It is so easy, too easy, to carelessly teach what the Bible does not say.

Case in point: Matthew 18:18-20. A commonly-quoted passage made to mean all sorts of things that, to be perfectly honest with you, Jesus never intended. A passage so often applied in ways that Jesus did not have in mind. He would cringe today to see what so many have done with this passage.

And, as you are about to see, this passage will indeed require us to bring to its interpretation and application a whole set of interpretive tools — a knowledge of language, history, geography, culture, chronology, context, literary & Jewish background — all in an effort to understand what Jesus did indeed intend to convey to His disciples and to us at a singularly watershed moment in Jesus’ ministry.

So in this podcast, dear friend, we have a lot to talk about.

Please remember that depending upon your connection speed and web browser, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

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