Posts Tagged ‘humble’

Capture

For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head . . . because of the angels.

In the last few decades there has risen much confusion around this particular verse, as well as the whole of the subject matter being addressed here by Paul to the Corinthians. All the same, this verse is part of God’s Holy Word and is intended to be both informative and instructive, though tucked neatly away here in a very illuminating passage of scriptures.

Since it is part of God’s Word that never changes, believers today are still obliged to give the utmost prayerful consideration as to its application to their lives. For we are to be as lights in the midst of this dark and blind world; and are also called to properly “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things,” both in what we say and do, in order to give the glory and honor due to the Blessed Name of our Glorious Savior Jesus Christ.

Nonetheless, for a variety of reasons, “believers” nowadays simply choose to ignore Paul’s 298 instructive words in this particular passage, (counted in the King James prior to verse sixteen) and have imprudently conclude “we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” In so doing, they treat Paul’s instruction here as completely irrelevant to them, as if it was written without reason, and were a complete waste of Paul’s time and parchment.

Nevertheless, up until the last half-century or so, the majority of “the churches of God” did keep the custom of women wearing head coverings to some degree. This shows that most believers in today’s Church have lost the very attribute for which Paul was praising the Corinthian church in the first place, “I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

So, what was Paul saying, “we have no such custom, neither the churches of God?” Well, what was the beginning of that verse?

1 Corinthians 11:16 – But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

What this verse is saying is simply this, as believers and members of the Body of Christ, we are not supposed to be contentious, for only by pride comes contention.

Though Jude said to “earnestly contend for the faith,” that does not mean we are to be contentious or belligerently quarrelsome. There is a big difference between earnestly reasoning the perceptual truths of God and argumentatively rejecting them out of personal preference or ignorance.

Still, many discard parts of God’s word simply because they don’t understand them and therefore don’t feel they are important, or that it doesn’t apply to today’s church. These poor servants of Christ would miserably fail to follow what has been called “the Gospel of Mary,” when she told the servants at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, “Whatsoever He says unto you, do it.”

The Gospel isn’t a smorgasbord buffet-style religion where everyone gets to pick and choose what they want to do. They who would come to Christ, hoping to have the atoning blood of the Lamb of God applied to their lives, must do as did the Jews in Egypt; they must consume ALL of the sacrificial Lamb WITH its bitter herbs . . . not just the choice tender desirable parts.

Exodus 12:8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roasted with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roasted with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And you shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning you shall burn with fire.

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin..

To refuse to do “whatsoever He says unto you” leaves one as guilty as those preachers failing to keep the Great Commission, “Go you therefore, and teach all nations . . . to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

So, as I stated before, until recently the majority of “the churches of God” faithfully kept the custom of women wearing head coverings. Therefore, one would do well to ask, “Why then, and not now?” What is different? Are today’s liberal churches more enlightened? Or have they simply moved further from the faithful application of God’s perceptual truths, to now abusing the liberty they have from sin’s dominion through grace as an unwarranted liberty of the flesh?

We do well to remember what Paul said to the church of Corinth, “I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.”

What were the ordinances? Perhaps an even better question would be what exactly is an ordinance? A simple way to find out what Paul meant is to study how the Greek word which was translated “ordinances” in this verse was translated elsewhere in scripture. For out of the thirteen times the word was used in scripture, only this one time was it translated “ordinances.” The other twelve times it was translated “tradition” or “traditions” as seen below-

  • Matthew 15:2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
  • Matthew 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
  • Matthew 15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, [he shall be free]. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
  • Mark 7:3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash [their] hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
  • Mark 7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
  • Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
  • Mark 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
  • Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your traditions, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
  • 1 Corinthians 11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered [them] to you.
  • Galatians 1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the tradition of my fathers.
  • Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:6  Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

God used the Apostle Paul to deliver ordinances, or traditions, which he intended to be observed by the Church. However, while some at Corinth kept them, others had elected not to. This division in keeping the observance Paul had commanded had led to a contention between them, and that is not surprising since the true foundation of this subject matter is that of spiritual authority.

It is evident Paul had some who were strong resisters of his authority in the Corinthian church as testified by scripture-

1 Corinthians 9:11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

2 Corinthians 11:12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

Paul was trying to set things in proper order and lay a firm foundation for their understanding of order and godly authority in the Church. Hence Paul wrote, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” It is evident here that Paul was rehearsing the divine structure, or order of authority to them, which is established further by the phrase “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.”

The Bible in Basic English states it this way, “For this reason it is right for the woman to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels.” So, we readily see that the woman ought to have her head covered while praying or prophesying, i.e. teaching the things of God. But what does it mean “because of the angels?” Just what does a head covering, or the covering of the hair, have to do with the angels?

Well, let us look through a window provided by scripture into the throne room of heaven-

Isaiah 6:1 – In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.

Here we can see the angel’s were using two of their wings to cover their face, which meant they held their wings over their heads so as to conceal their faces, and with two they covered their feet. But why?

The answer is simple, they did not wish for their God-given beauty to detract from the glory, honor and praise due to God alone. This will become more evident as we continue, for in the scriptures there is a detectable similarity between the gifts God gives to the woman and those He gave to Lucifer before he fell from God’s grace.

Ezekiel 28:13 – You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the ruby, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the turquoise, and the emerald, and gold. The workmanship of your tambourines and of your flutes was prepared in you in the day that you were created. 14 You were the anointed cherub that covers, and I had put you in the holy height of God where you were.; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you.

What do we see in these verses here?

First we can see that God gave to the anointed cherub a glorious apparel to complement the position in which he was placed in God’s creation.  His garment, or covering, was a divine gift of a majestic adornment given to honor him.

What about the woman? –

1 Corinthians 11:15 – But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

Who gave this “glory” to compliment all women? The Creator did.  Doubtless when God created Eve that she was given long hair as an adornment to complement her God-given beauty.

As we can see from both passages, both the jewel-studded garment of the anointed cherub and the woman’s hair are said to be given by God as a glorious “covering.”

Still, that does not answer the question, “What does women wearing a head covering have to do with the angels?” Perhaps we should review what happen with Lucifer and what caused him to have his negative conversion and to fall out of God’s graces.

We can see what happen to Lucifer in Ezekiel’s prophetic words against the king of Tyrus, who by pride of position, wealth, power and beauty, became more and more covetous.  The king of Tyrus foolishly sought to go beyond the bounds of what was lawful for him, and being covetous had sinned, and therefore God was going to cast him down. For this prophecy of Ezekiel concerning the king of Tyrus in his pride is merely a repetition of exactly what Lucifer had done and reveals how sin first entered God’s holy creation.

Ezekiel 28:2 – Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:

The king of Tyrus had exalted himself in his own eyes, but his pride did not change in reality what he truly was; a mere man who because of his pride was going to die as a man –

Ezekiel 28:9 – Will you yet say before him who kills you, I am of the gods? But you are a man, and not God, in the hand of him who kills you. 10 You shall die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers. For I have spoken, says the Lord Jehovah.

Now God could have ended this prophecy here.  It conveyed all it needed to about the king of Tyrus sin.  Yet God continued to reveal more through Ezekiel for our admonishment and understanding of sin’s induction into creation.

Ezekiel 28:11 – And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 Son of man, lift up a lament over the king of Tyre, and say to him, So says the Lord Jehovah: You seal the measure, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the ruby, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the turquoise, and the emerald, and gold. The workmanship of your tambourines and of your flutes was prepared in you in the day that you were created. 14 You were the anointed cherub that covers, and I had put you in the holy height of God where you were.; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you.

In these passages it is revealed how the king’s personal life and pride was, as it were, a prophetic mirroring of Lucifer’s prior to his fall.  This can all be safely determine by the following statements –

  • “You have been in Eden the garden of God” – The king of Tyrus was never in the Garden of Eden . . . but Lucifer was.
  • “the day that you were created” – The king of Tyrus was born, not created . . . but Lucifer was.
  • “You were the anointed cherub” – We see in verses 2 and 9 that God clearly says of the king “thou art a man.”

There are other parts that could be expounded on here, but before we do, let’s look through another similar prophetic window of scripture at the fall of Lucifer, the anointed cherub.

Isaiah 14:4 – you shall take up this song against the king of Babylon and say, How the exacter, the gold gatherer has ceased! 5 The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers 6 who struck peoples in wrath, a blow without turning away, ruling the nations in anger, a persecution without restraint. 7 All the earth is at rest and is quiet; they break out into singing. 8 Yea, the fir trees rejoice at you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since you have fallen, no woodcutter will come up against us. 9 Hell from below is moved for you, to meet you at your coming. It stirs up the dead for you, all the he-goats of the earth. It has raised from their thrones all the kings of the nations. 10 All of them shall speak and say to you, Are you also as weak as we? Are you like us? 11 Your pride is brought down to the grave, and the noise of your harps. The maggot is spread under you, and the worms cover you. 12 How you are fallen from the heavens, O shining star, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart, I will go up to the heavens, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. 14 I will go up above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. 15 Yet you shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the Pit.

Above we have anot prophecy against a king, this time the king of Babylon. And again, he is going to be brought low and judge by the God of heaven and earth. Why? Because of his pride, his life as well has mirrored the pride of Lucifer; having extended himself beyond God’s given and lawful boundary of rule and influence.

But what do we see in Lucifer’s heart by this prophecy of Isaiah? We discover his intention to rise up out of his place and to usurp the authority above Him, even God.

Isaiah 14:13 – For you have said in your heart, I will go up to the heavens, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. 14 I will go up above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. 15 Yet you shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the Pit.

What was it about Lucifer that he allowed to deceive him and into thinking he should be, and thus could be, “like the Most High?” This is where it is helpful for us again to return to Ezekiel’s prophecy.

Ezekiel 28:7 – Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you.

The anointed Cherub Lucifer’s heart was lifted up because of his beauty and he had corrupted wisdom by reason of his brightness.

What does this reveal? It reveals that God had given to the anointed cherub a perfect and beautiful countenance that radiated with the glory of God. But when Lucifer began to take pride in his countenance and his beauty he “corrupted wisdom.”

What does that mean, he “corrupted wisdom?” What is it that phrase is trying to tell us? First we need to understand what exactly is the foundation and heart of wisdom.

We know that wisdom finds application in all areas of life and relationships from parenting, friendships, business, economics, from following to leading. Yet the greatest relationship one must be concerned about is by far their relationship with God. What do the scriptures tell us?

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 4:7 – Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

Proverbs 9:10 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Proverbs 14:27 – The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

The foundation of true life-preserving wisdom is “the fear of God.”  Yet by scripture we can see how in the heart of the anointed cherub, that when he became prideful over his God-given beauty, it stirred his heart to covet the very position of praise and honor reserved for the Most High Himself alone.  He foolishly cast off fear and wisdom, by reasoning within his own heart as to why not he too should share a place of equality with God and thus began plotting to ascend to the positioned reserved for God alone.

Isaiah 14:3 – For you said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Gazing upon his own beauty and brightness, Lucifer compared himself to the manifested glory of God and foolishly believe he too was worthy of the worship of the rest of the angels. Instead of having humility with his gift of beauty, he felt he was deserving of the majestic apparel God had given him. And so, Lucifer rejected his position in the spectrum of authority by attempting to usurp the authority of God, seeking to steal the praise that God alone is worthy of.

It is “for this cause” ought the woman to have power on her head, because of the angels. God has given the woman her hair to be a natural adornment of beauty. Why else do most men have a natural admiration for long hair?

However, when we who are the creatures of our glorious Creator gather together for prayer or worship or the reading and speaking of God’s word, let the woman with humility cover her head, as do the angels in the very presence of God, willfully concealing her “glory” lest it detract from the glory due God. Likewise a man should not cover his head, “forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God.” To do so would be to dishonor his head, i.e. Christ Himself.

Each of us, whether male or female, have been given positions of honor and gifts from God, yet we must learn to be faithful in the place which God has given us to serve Him, being fitly joined together serving Him while we adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. The woman is to submit to the authority of her own husband “as unto the Lord.”  The husband is to love his own wife, “as even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”  Thus we adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

Yet when a woman refuses to submit to her husband, the angels shutter with fear as they recall with utter clarity Lucifer’s introduction of sin into God’s holy creation. This is why the scriptures plainly teach that women are not to usurp the authority of God has given unto men as He holds them accountable for the family.

Now having shared all this, I must clarify that I do not feel a women needs to wear a head covering constantly. As the scripture says, “bodily exercise profits little, but godliness profits withal,” and unless the heart is right it matters little what one does outwardly. But if a woman wishes to go on to a “more perfect way” of walking in the light of God’s word, then as the scriptures say, while “praying or prophesying,” she should prayerfully consider keeping” the ordinances” Paul delivered unto the churches. I would also further clarify that I feel “prophesying” implies also the instruction or teaching of God’s word to the younger women so that they too might learn how to adorn the gospel of Christ in all things.

I must admit, I have had many women express to me that they do not “feel any unction of the Holy Spirit” to begin covering their heads. I would answer that with pointing them back to what we all do have, the written word of God. Isn’t that enough? Are we one moment to be defending the scriptures as “the Word of God” and then the next minute failing to acknowledge what is written?

Honestly, most of the time I do not feel “any unction of the Holy Spirit” to do many things, nor do I need such an “unction” if the Holy Scriptures has already given me light and a path for me to walk in. It is simply my duty to walk in the light . . . while I have the light.

John 12:35 – Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walks in darkness knows not where he goes.

Ephesians 5:8 – For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light.

Mark 4:23 – If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 24 And he said unto them, Take heed what you hear: with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. 25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.

I pray this may be a blessing to those seeking to glorify of Lord in all things. Remember . . .

Proverbs 13:10  – Only by pride comes contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

1 Corinthians 11:16 – But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

For those interested, I had addressed the distinct roles of the man and woman in my post “Why God Created Us Male And Female.” Peace.

Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.

A brother and I were praying for another person a while back when he quoted parts of the  verses above in his prayer. That got me to thinking about how these two verses are possibly the ones which I hear taken out of context most when praying with others. Each verse seems to have their own catch phrases that tend to be quoted by young or untrained believers. Even believers who appear mature and seasoned are still only repeating without evaluating what they’ve heard from some preacher, trying to “claim” the promises of God. However, I need to ask, is that really Jesus’ intent here? Was He merely trying to teach us the formula of what and how things need to be done so we can then successfully claim His promises and get our prayers answered?

So, wen I hear people misused verse 19, it is actually quite troublesome to me, because they really believe that by getting me or another to stand in agreement with them that they’re more likely to have their prayer answered. This flawed understanding literally keeps these believers in a position of trying to perfect the way they do things so they can have faith for their prayers… rather than simply praying because of faith.

Sadly, I am absolutely certain there are many Christians out there who cannot even understand what I just said. Because they been taught things incorrectly, they are left believing “faith” is something they must somehow muster up to compel God to move on their behalf, or even to hear their prayers.

We often witness another naive, though popular tactic to apply faith to prayer. This happens when people conclude their prayer request with that notable fluctuation in their tone as they say, “In Jesus name!” It kind of reminds me of when I was a kid and we would see another kid aspiring to be a magician wave his plastic wand and say “Abracadabra!” That’s because that was the magical word that was going to make the magic trick work.

However, scripture says faith comes by hearing and that hearing the word of God, so obviously many are hearing the word of God incorrectly and are failing to discern when they do. Faulty hearing leaves people trying to apply another kind of “faith” to their prayers, rather than permitting the word of God to be the vehicle whereby true faith is given unto them. That is why scripture states over and over, “He that has an ear to hear, let him hear.”

Regarding verse 20, it is evident it is being misunderstood by someone when you can sense they feel the need to verbally remind the Lord that there are “two or three are gathered together” in the His name. When I hear such usages of the scriptures it saddens me; because these are not the context in which the scriptures are given. Therefore I am writing this post to go over these verses to show how they are misused and address an error that is too common among those professing to know and walk with the Lord of Glory.

First, let’s look at this belief that if “two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything” then they will get whatever they are praying for. This misunderstanding is one reason why a lot of Christians hold hands when praying corporately. That doesn’t mean holding hands is wrong, but rather believing there needs to be “touching” is wrong. Most believers have witnessed this on religious TV shows, and perhaps that is where they were taught this erroneous belief.

While I discourage viewing the whole video, this is an example of  what many preachers do when they call on the people and those out in the viewing audience to come into an agreement together. Sometimes they will use the added touch of encouraging the people to reach their hands forward towards the pulpit and those at home to lay hands on their TV sets, as they pray for everything from financial prosperity, a revival, the salvation of family members, physical healing, and once again, some more financial prosperity.

It seems the more people can “do” while they are praying the more likely they are to have the faith for what they are praying about. What these preachers are doing is literally asking the people to make a conscious decision to willfully consent to surrender their minds and use their bodies to accept whatever is being told to them to do.

However, Jesus’s reference to “agree . . . as touching anything” is actually to imply an indication that such faith is authentic; and was not issuing an instruction to make physical contact. “As touching” is the proof faith is already present in their hearts; the kind of faith spoken of in Hebrews-

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Substance is tangible; it can be held and thus touched. Such is the gravity of true faith, evidence that has undeniable weight with God. But this faith comes only by correctly hearing, or rightly dividing, the word of truth. A hearing that receives understanding into the heart whereby we firmly lay hold of the promises of God.

Heb 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

When “two of you shall agree ” it is an indication that there exists a like-mindedness and unity of faith. Jesus wasn’t teaching us that we should solicit others to agree about issues of prayer so it will be more likely they will be answered, He was explaining when believers truly come together in a unity and faith regarding something (to be discussed later) then He will hear and their prayers will be answered by Him. Of course, the “agree as touching” or unity of faith will be dependent on each yielding to the Holy Spirit as He imparts to them a correct understanding of a matter through their”hearing” of His word.

Which brings us to verse 20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” Perhaps what I would like to do first with this verse is address what it is not saying. It is not saying that there needs to be “two or three gathered together” to have Jesus in our midst. His promise to all His children is evident in the verses below–

Ge 28:15 And, behold, I am with you, and will keep you in all places whither you go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken to you of.

Mt 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.

There are many other passages that confirms the Lord is with each of His children. Remember, we are the temple of God, so to think Christ would not be with us when alone would be a rejection of the greatest promise of God to never leave or to forsake us. So then, if we are to be good “workman that needs not to be ashamed” and rightly walk in the light of this word, we must determine what Jesus was in fact speaking about.

To start, keep in mind the whole of Matthew 18 from verse 7 to the end is dealing with “offenses.” However, from verses 15 to 35 Jesus begins dealing specifically with one  “brother” or believer being offended by another. When that happens we are instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ here to go and “gain” our brother back. That is because sin separates men from God and each other, causing a breach in the unity of faith and the bond of peace to be broken. Jesus begins by telling us to first go privately and explain to our brother how he has “trespassed” against us.

Matthew 5:23 – Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has ought against you; 24 Leave there your gift before the altar, and go make your way to first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 18:15 – Moreover if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone:  for if he will hear you, you have gained your brother.

 

Sometimes people don’t even recognize that the thing they did offended someone, or perhaps know what they did or failed to do was actually a sin. This instruction of scripture requires us to be willing to humble ourselves and to go seeking to remedy the situation by lovingly reasoning with our brother regarding the nature of their offense. Should they fail to hear us individually we are further instructed to take another brother with us so that these truths which are given to guide our love and behavior towards each other “may be established” according to God’s word.

If the brother continues to be unwilling admit or unconvinced that they have truly sinned, then Jesus says we are to tell it unto the whole church so that the whole body can judge the matter and together attempt to persuade the transgressor of his sin. However, the success of this will only be achieved through unfeigned love together with fervent prayer and often times requires fasting; thus placing the whole focus on restoration of unity and the bond of peace so the body might remain fitly joined together in service and worship to the glory of God.

Again, this all comes down to the transgressor humbling himself to correctly hear the word of God regarding the nature of his actions (or lack thereof). If he hears you, or the multitude of witnesses, then we have gained back our brother. If not, then we are clearly told that a willful sinner who continues to reject God’s word is to be unto us as “an heathen man and a publican.”

This “retaining” of their sin isn’t placing the brother in a state of condemnation, for his own continuance in sin has done that. Rather it is the churches responsibility to not enable sin by allowing people to continue in a known sin by permitting them to continue with us in a false fellowship. Yet this is what churches do all the time under the banner of “Love the sinner, Hate the sin.” Light and darkness have no meeting place for godly fellowship. However, if he acknowledges the truth and repents of his sin, then we can “loose” him from his sin with prayer and forgiveness.

When the sinner acknowledges their offense, it is here that we see the agreement “as touching anything” that Jesus was speaking of. All the parties involved have come to an agreement and a unity of faith regarding both sin and righteousness; the issue having been rightly divided and the offender humbled thereby and now seeks forgiveness. It is here at this precious moment we truly see how “two or three” are gather in Jesus name for righteousness sake and the petition that would be foremost upon their lips and hearts is for the Lord of Glory to forgive and heal the body of believers by strengthening the bond of peace and increasing our passionate charity one for another. Jesus’ promise assures us that He is there in our midst to heal us and bind us together in His Spirit, for He loves when we acknowledge His word and repent of our sins.

To take these verses and reduce them to a willful consent to accept another’s notion or desire about anything else and to pray holding hands to accomplish such, does enormous damage to the true intent of Jesus’ words. He has instructed us to love one another as He loves us and to humble ourselves, even when we are in the right. We are to go seeking restoration of that one who has perhaps ignorantly slipped out of the path of righteousness. Brothers and Sisters, what incredible healing God could work in His church if only they would correctly hear His words that were sent to heal us.

Concerning our praying “in Jesus name,” we do so as the qualifier of the object and reason of our faith; for it is because of Him and what He has done that we can exercise faith and come boldly before His throne of grace in our times of need, such as a holy reconciliation. We know “as touching” that we have our petitions because what we ask is according to His will and not our own, for His glory and not our wants. And thus faith does work, for faith works by love. It comes from hearing and that hearing the truth of God’s heart, love and will for us.

Therefore, faith’s focus is always God and His steadfast faithfulness to His word. Faith exists solely because of what He has wrought for us and desires to complete in us through Christ Jesus our Lord. Faith finds rests only in His word and believing what He has done and what He has said He’ll do; never depending upon anything within or from ourselves. Faith is given to us simply because we believe what “He has said…”

Heb 13:5 – Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.

1 Peter 1:13 – Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as He which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, “Be you holy; for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by Him do believe in God that raised Him up from the dead and gave Him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God22 Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently. 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides for ever. 24  For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower thereof falls away: 25 But the word of the Lord endures for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Jesus is always with all His Children. But He is especially there in their midst as a healer to strengthen and bond us together again when in love we strive for the unity of the faith, confess our sins and pray for one another; for this is truly one of the greatest witness of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the LORD.

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another.

So, go and “gain” back your brother…

Love and Honor

Posted: August 3, 2014 in Shared Thoughts
Tags: , , , ,

Which is more important, to feel you are honoring the Lord, or for Him to feel He is being honored? Likewise, which is more important, for us to feel that we love the Lord, or for Him to know He is truly loved? Let’s take this one step further, by adding to our considerations what Jesus also said about faithfulness.

Luke 16:10, He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”

Now based upon Jesus’ words, if when we are being faithful in the least, that discipline will remain constant into our being faithful in greater things; it then seems obvious that the opposite would be true. No, I am not simply repeating what Jesus said, I am working this principle backwards, from the greater down to the least.  For if men are unfaithful in the greater things, then they are without a doubt being unfaithful in the least of things.

Therefore, if men are failing to honor God, they will surely be failing to respectfully honor men. Once again likewise, if they are failing to love God they will be miserably failing at loving other men. Now that doesn’t mean they are going to be aware of it, at least not be facing it head on in the mirror so to say. For we have a way of lying to ourselves, especially about love. (more…)

(Timely re-post) 

Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

A brother and I were praying for another when he quoted parts of these verses in his prayer. It got me to thinking about how these two verses are possibly the ones I hear taken out of context most when praying with others. Each verse seems to have their own catch phrases that tend to be quoted by young or untrained believers. Even believers who appear mature and seasoned are still only repeating without evaluating what they’ve heard from some preacher, trying to “claim” the promises of God. However, I need to ask, is that really Jesus’ intent here? Was He merely trying to teach us the formula of what and how things need to be done so we can then successfully claim His promises and get our prayers answered?

So, wen I hear people misused verse 19, it is actually quite troublesome to me, because they really believe that by getting me or another to stand in agreement with them that they’re more likely to have their prayer answered. This flawed understanding literally keeps these believers in a position of trying to perfect the way they do things so they can have faith for their prayers… rather than simply praying because of faith.

Sadly, I am absolutely certain there are many Christians out there who cannot even understand what I just said. Because they been taught things incorrectly, they are left believing “faith” is something they must somehow muster up to compel God to move on their behalf, or even to hear their prayers.

(more…)

I hear it all the time, how God loves us all unconditionally. Over the years of having conducted services at a mandatory rehab for people whose crimes were drug related, ministered at homeless shelters and having countless conversations with “believers” who readily admit they are not walking with God as they should, I frequently run into those who enthusiastically confess to me how they know, absolutely know, that God loves them unconditionally and that He accepts them just as they are.

This has led me into many discussions with people about what it means to “believe” and what exactly this “grace” is that these people are boasting about since they know they are saved because of it.  Sadly, many have no real understanding of what grace really is, they simply repeat what they were once told, “It is unmerited favor.” It is as if people are convinced that when God looks at them He has on some special “Jesus only” colored glasses because they think God only sees Jesus when He looks at them and not themselves for how they truly are.

Grace is truly an amazing gift of God given to the believer, but there are four things about grace we can readily know from scripture –

1. Grace is sufficient

2. Grace can be frustrated

3. Grace while working similarly in all God’s children, still has a uniqueness to it purpose as it is given to each of us

4. Grace can be received in vain.

(more…)

Watching the news today in regards to the Mississippi flooding there was considerable concern mentioned regarding “sand boils.” For those who don’t know what those are, according to Wikipedia these “occur when water under pressure wells up through a bed of sand. The water looks like it is “boiling” up from the bed of sand, hence the name.” As I watched them addressing the seriousness of these occurrences I was strongly impressed that this phenomenon actually has a equivalent that similarly takes place in both the moral and spiritual realm as well. I say moral as well as spiritual because there are many people who are not godly who really believe they are “good people.” They have consistently lived their lives by a defined level of morality and have therefore kept themselves in their minds distinct from those they consider to be a more abase manner of people.

However, as is life, there are times when circumstances get out of our control and these external pressures steadily build up. When this happens, the moralities of these individuals are invaded by the same pollutions they had thought themselves to be greater than. If challenged regarding their moral change or outburst of behavior it is quickly explained that it was only because of  the extenuating circumstances; there is a defensible justification for their apparent change of conduct. If it had not been for the forces beyond their control they never would have reacted the way they did, therefore (they argue) their behavior should be considered “justifiable” and would be debated so if the matter were to make into a court of law.

(more…)

With the passing of David Wilkerson, I was reminded that we are all called to be candles of the Lord. Instruments for His glory where He can shine forth as the hope to a world held captive by the powers of darkness and sin. If a believer, any believer, truly humbles himself before the Lord as did Brother David, and allows God’s graces to work to their full extent, then the wonderful glories of God’s unspeakable love, mercies and grace becomes undeniably evident for a world of lost sinners to see through each and everyone of us. For we are not the Light, merely candlesticks upon which the high and lofty One which inhabit eternity has chosen to abide. What manner of love is this, that we can be the light of the world and be called the Children of God?

(more…)

Capture

For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head . . . because of the angels.

In the last few decades there has risen much confusion around this particular verse, as well as the whole of the subject matter being addressed here by Paul to the Corinthians. All the same, this verse is part of God’s Holy Word and is intended to be both informative and instructive, though tucked neatly away here in a very illuminating passage of scriptures.

Since it is part of God’s Word that never changes, believers today are still obliged to give the utmost prayerful consideration as to its application to their lives. So as lights in the midst of a dark and blind world, they may properly “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” that they say and do, to give the glory and honor due to the Blessed Name of our Glorious Savior Jesus Christ.

Nonetheless, for a variety of reasons “believers” nowadays simply choose to ignore Paul’s two hundred and ninety-eight instructive words, (counted in the King James prior to verse sixteen) and imprudently conclude “we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” In so doing, they treat Paul’s instruction here as completely irrelevant to them, as if it was written without reason, a complete waste of time and parchment.

Nevertheless, up until the last 40-50 years the majority of “the churches of God” did keep the custom of women wearing head coverings to some degree. This shows that most believers in today’s Church have lost the very attribute for which Paul was praising the Corinthian church in the first place, “I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

So, what was Paul saying, “we have no such custom, neither the churches of God?” Well, what was the beginning of that verse?

(more…)

Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

A brother and I were praying for another when he quoted parts of these verses in his prayer. It got me to thinking about how these two verses are possibly the ones I hear taken out of context most when praying with others. Each verse seems to have their own catch phrases that tend to be quoted by young or untrained believers. Even believers who appear mature and seasoned are still only repeating without evaluating what they’ve heard from some preacher, trying to “claim” the promises of God. However, I need to ask, is that really Jesus’ intent here? Was He merely trying to teach us the formula of what and how things need to be done so we can then successfully claim His promises and get our prayers answered?

So, wen I hear people misused verse 19, it is actually quite troublesome to me, because they really believe that by getting me or another to stand in agreement with them that they’re more likely to have their prayer answered. This flawed understanding literally keeps these believers in a position of trying to perfect the way they do things so they can have faith for their prayers… rather than simply praying because of faith.

Sadly, I am absolutely certain there are many Christians out there who cannot even understand what I just said. Because they been taught things incorrectly, they are left believing “faith” is something they must somehow muster up to compel God to move on their behalf, or even to hear their prayers.

(more…)