Saturday, June 28, 2014

What is the eternal destiny of the human soul?

What do you believe is the eternal destiny of the human soul?  Notice the special emphasis on eternal. 

Most Christians will say, ‘Well, if you’re good you go to heaven, if you’re bad, you go to hell.’  End of story.  But is this really the teaching of the Bible?  No.  The idea that our eternal destiny is in an immaterial or purely spiritual heaven or hell is not a teaching of the Bible.  Nor is the similar idea that the righteous will become angels and play harps in the clouds of heaven.

So what does the Bible teach?  The Bible says there’s going to be a resurrection of the dead—of both the righteous and the unrighteous!  This will be a real, physical resurrection. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Biblical Giving

In the last few weeks we’ve been looking at the Bible’s plan for leadership in the Church.  An important part of that plan is how we handle the finances, the money, in the Church.    

One of the quickest ways to identify that something is not right in a local church is when it has a preoccupation with building up the organization rather than building up the people.  If the leadership of the church is constantly calling on the people to sacrifice themselves for the church, something is wrong.  It’s supposed to be the other way around.  The leaders are supposed to sacrifice themselves for the people.  We’re not supposed to build man’s kingdoms, but God’s kingdom.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Leadership 3

Ritual Bath (Mikveh)

We’ve been talking a lot about leadership in the church.  And the simple reason for that is that we need to establish some kind of structure in order to be a church.  But for that to work, we need to be in agreement with the Bible’s plan for leadership.  We need to agree with Jesus’ instruction that he alone is the head of the Church, and that all the rest are brothers—all the rest are equal under him.  He alone is our rabbi and leader. 

Jesus taught us that to be great in the Body of Messiah, you must be a servant to everyone else in the Body.  He said, “It will not be this way among you; rather whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be your slave” (Matt. 20:26-27).  Why?  Because God’s plan is for us all to submit to each other.  God’s plan is for us all to serve each other.

We’ve also seen that a key part of the structure of the local church is the elders of the church, who are pastors to the others—they help and serve all the others.  But why does the Bible say that elders should be men, and in fact married men (“It is necessary therefore that the overseer [another name for an elder] be above reproach, a husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,” 1 Tim. 3:2)?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Feast of Weeks (Shavuoth)

A few weeks ago we talked about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection at the time of the Passover festival.  But it’s important to remember that Jesus’ resurrection wasn't just a one-time experience for the disciples.  They continued to meet with Jesus in his resurrected body over a period of 40 days.  

But then, after 40 days, he had to leave them.  Why?  So the Comforter could come, the Holy Spirit: (“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you,” John 16:7).  So on the 40th day, he ascended into heaven.  And then, on the 50th day, the Holy Spirit descended on the Day of Pentecost. 

These amazing events were not just random miracles.  They were part of God’s plan from all eternity.  How do we know that?  Because they are a detailed fulfillment of the festivals of Israel.