Tuesday, October 09, 2007

These are the Last Days

Sunday School with a bunch of 9th and 10th grade boys is always an adventure. I have been teaching them now for about 1 month and it is going well. The first week I asked them some questions to see what they understand and don't understand about the Bible. I wanted to teach them Romans (since they came up with a 14 step process for salvation) but they were adament that they wanted to learn end times. Although I didn't think it was the greatest misunderstanding they had, I decided that it would be a good idea just because of how vocal they were on wanting to learn end times. So far they have shown enthusiasm in sunday school and if it helps them learn truth then so be it.

Today we talked about the Davidic Covenant and how David is promised an eternal lineage of Kings and an eternal Kingdom. We are just kind of laying the ground work for our study in Daniel and Revelation (I know, am I a product of NTBI or what?). No but Daniel and Revelation go together so naturally it would be harder not to teach them together so there.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

If not the Gospel, then what? Mark 10 part 2

So last entry I went on a little rant about how the passage of Mark 10:17-24 was not talking about salvation entirely (although I'll admit the topic is touched) but I failed to go on to say what it is about. Well here we go

The rich young ruler comes to Jesus and says "what do I need to do to inherent eternal life". Here is where the topic is touched. The man is inquiring into the subject of eternal life, but remember what nationality he is. He is a Jewish man. From the Christian standpoint when we think of eternal life we think the sweet by and by of heaven forever and ever (which may not be the most accurate view of the afterlife but that is irrelevent). What is the Jewish view of eternal life? Life in the Kingdom that was promised to David. One in which the Messiah would put all of Israel's enemies under his feet and sit on the throne in Jerusalem forever. This is what a Jew is expecting for eternal life and unlike what some critics say this would be accurate for a Jew to believe. The Kingdom is coming and it will be eternal with the Messiah sitting on the throne. So when this rich young ruler says "what must I do to inherit eternal life" he is essentially asking "how may I enter the Kingdom."

What is required of a Jewish person, before the Cross, to enter the Kingdom. Is it not obedience to the Mosaic Law? Anytime they were ever punished in the Old Testament, check it out, its because they broke the law. Sometimes they would break the law and then offer sacrifice. This would still be considered "keeping the law" since God knew they would make mistakes. If mistakes were not an option God wouldn't have extended them the grace of sacrifices. Sometimes we see that they would continually be committing a sin, with no intentions of change, but still offering sacrifice. God was not pleased with that at all and would ask them to stop sacrificing. What was the gospel of the kingdom in the 4 gospels? "Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Now notice to repent means to turn back to. The only thing the Jews would have possibly needed to turn back to would have been God and His law. And there were some who were ready for this Kingdom spiritually speaking. I think this rich young ruler was one of those, unlike what many people will say, as he was keeping the law (although the Scriptures don't tell us if his heart was near God or not).

So what did he lack? Christ told him that he lacked only one thing. Lacking for what? Eternal life? Christ tells us what he is lacking. He is lacking "Treasure in Heaven". This man is being implied in the text of going to the Kingdom. He just doesn't have any treasure there. He is rich in this life, but in the Kingdom he has stored nothing up for himself. The issue becomes a lack, not of eternal life, but one of treasure.

He is then told to sell his things and follow Christ. The man didn't want to do this since he was a rich young ruler. He didn't want to give up what he had, his wealth, and he didn't want to follow Christ. It interesting, to start the man had called Jesus good. Jesus reminds him that only God is good, but it seems to me what is going on is this man is expressing that he believes Jesus is a pretty important guy, possibly the Messiah. It would make sense why he asked Jesus how to enter the Kingdom. If he thought Jesus was the Messiah of that Kingdom the logic is there. However, if he was thinking that Jesus was the Messiah he did not think that it would be worthwhile to give up his treasure now to have treasure in the imminent kingdom the Messiah would usher in. Poor choice, showing his heart was not actually near to God at all, it was near to money.

In conclusion it might seem that I talked about at first him being saved and then second that he wasn't saved. I'm not really saying one way or the other but what I am saying is for a Jew to enter the Kingdom he had to be made ready by the Messiah. Righteousness is essential for Kingdom entrance. This man was also not ready for the Kingdom as demonstrated by not rallying to the Messiah and secondly by not wanting treasure in the that Kingdom. So in the end the passage is talking about treasure in the Kingdom, rather that being saved from hell.

(open for discussion :-) )

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mark 10:17-24...The Gospel??

I was greatly disturbed this week as we had a guest speaker at our church doing "revival services" and the purity of the gospel was not proclaimed. I had an open mind as the services began because, for one I had never heard him speak and had no reason to be skeptical, but in the very first message a red flag was raised as he said in opening "If someone has a faith that they think will take them to heaven but doesn't take them to church, I wouldn't trust that faith." I had hoped that I had misunderstood him but in questioning him afterwards, he meant exactly that: Christians who are not doing christian activity were probably never saved from hell to begin with.

A follow-up message on "bring a friend night" was on Mark 10:17-24. He entitled the message "What Jesus would say you need to do to be saved". If you read the passage you will understand that his message can be summarized to the following: When faith in Christ gets you to the point in your life where you give up everything to follow Christ, that is genunine faith.

I find all of this extremely disturbing. Unlike the popular title "The Gospel According To Jesus" would have you believe, nothing has to be given up to be saved. Being declared righteous by God is by faith alone in Christ alone. Do I need to remind anyone of Abraham? Or the phillippian jailor? Unfortunately this is where many people are in explaining the gospel to people. It's getting harder for me to listen to a false gospel preached, one that would have us look to ourselves for the commitment and resolve to live for Christ and that being what saves us rather than simply looking at the fact that Christ died on the cross for my sins, paid the price for me, and satisfied God's wrath completely with that act. Nothing is left for me. All is done. That moment I believed that to be true, God saved me giving me His Spirit. However all of this reminds me of the lack of telling others the gospel. Hearing the gospel preached incorrectly reminds me that I'm not preaching it at all, and that is sin.

In all this God is working on my heart. One to not be divided against my brothers because God is not a God of division. The body of Christ is not divided, and secondly that I need to be preaching the gospel constantly. I pray God give me half the passion of half the peopel in the church.