May 1, 2011

1 Thessalonains - Prequal

Paul, Silas, and Timothy had traveled to Thessalonika from from Phillipi, where they were beaten and imprisoned for casting a demon out of a slave girl (Acts 16:12-40). Now as was his custom, he went into the Synogogue to preach the good news of the Messiah and to convince them of the new covanent in His blood.

Now that's interesting. There were no miracles done, or wonderous acts. Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures.".... "And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas..." (Acts 17:4)

For some reason or another, these days, there are some who would have us stop using the Scriptures as the basis for the truth we speak. You might hear it like this; "You can't use the Bible to prove Christianity. It's your religious book. It was written by people who wanted to brain wash the people with this dogma."

RESPONCE: If the Bible was false and simply written by many different authors over the period of 1200 years, on three different continents, how does it maintain such consistancy and accuracy? It's history and facts are all accurate. It is a written record of events as recorded by eye witnesses, in the midst of severe opposition. So if I quote Jeremiah to substantiate Isaiah, or Peter to verify what Paul has said, I am quoting completely different writers who are all independantly attesting to the same thing. Is this not a method of higher criticism with all other subjects? So why is it rejected with Bible?

Maybe you are one of those persons who actually knows what the Bible says because you read it alot. Then someone comes along (from within the Church usaully) with their understanding and you reject it because it is contrary to the teachings of the Scripture. This usually results with you being accused of worshipping the Bible, or your being a stuffy-theological-cold-hearted-know-it-all who needs to understand the new culture and times. Or, this is a funny one (it's usually spoken with a snooty condescending intonation), "Well, you see, as I've matured in my faith, I have come to realize that is not what the Bible actually means."

Really? Wow. O.K. So what it says is not what it means, and for the last 2000 years we've all had it wrong? Oh thanks be to God for finally sending someone who can understand that the Bible doesn't really mean what it says!!

And the idea that we worship the Bible is such an ad hominum. It just shows that they don't have any objective basis for their Scripture twisting. Granted there are some who are all head knowledge with no heart, and that is wrong, but that doesn't mean that what they are saying is incorrect and should all be rejected. You may not like it, (and in most cases this is the big reason why some will think of the "messenger" negatively), but it's still the truth.

If we are to know anything true about the Almighty, who is unsearchable, it is only if He reveals Himself. He has given us the Bible. It is His word to us. So we learn about Him, by His word, and we come to understand life and situations correctly by the truth He has revealed to us. We don't decide truth, He does. And it's not worshiping the Bible if we stand firm on what it says. Standing firm on what is written in the Bible, is to stand firm with God. We worship God, and we listen and obey what He has said.

Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
(Psa 119:104-105)

...for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word.
(Psa 138:2)

There is also another form of opposition to "reasoning" with people from the Scriptures, with the hopes that they hear the truth, receive the truth and are saved. It is thus; "You cannot reason people into the Kingdom". Or, "Salvation is from the Holy Spirit, not from reasoning with people, therefore you shouldn't spend so much time doing it, because that's not how people are saved."
The thing about this is that it is true. We don't convert people, the Spirit does. But, "how then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Rom 10:14) Because "faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Rom 10:17)
The word of God is the choice weapon of God for this warfare. We are to weild it, and it's a good thing if you know how. Don't let the enemy convince you to put it down.

Within the church, some of the oppostion to this "reasoning" approach has to do with the study of apologetics, which has been understood to be the study of other religions and how to wrangle with them from the Scripture. Obviously Paul's knowledge of Judaism helped him in convincing some and winning thier souls to the Lord. It isn't meant for everybody to go out and do this, but are we not all to "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth."? I think we are. Don't let anyone tell you different. Study hard and if you want to invite the Jehovah's Witness in, God be with you.

Remember though, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2Ti 2:24-26)

May the word of the Lord sound forth!

Apr 22, 2011

have a blessed celebration of the resurrection of our Lord.

In the process of finding ways in which to have a more Christ centered celebration of Jesus Christ, my wife and I attanded a Messianic Seder meal last week. What a wonderful tradition. I know that we are not Jewish, but God Himself was the one who instituted this family meal.

The Old Testament is so filled with types and shadows which all point to the Messiah, who is Jesus Christ. The Passover and Seder are fine examples of this. The difference is that when celebrated with the revelation and knowledge of Jesus Christ it makes it that much more amazing.

If you have near you a Messianic Jewish Center or a Jews for Jesus Ministry, you should consider contacting them to find out more about this great tradition.

May God bless you all with a joyfull recollection of our Lord and Saviour's resurrection.

Enjoy this wonderful hymn.

Apr 12, 2011

Things to Come

So, here I am. I have come much further in the process of creating this whole Like a Thessalonian Ministry, and I have yet to actually go through my favourite book of the New Testament. 3 John.

Naaaa, I'm just joking, it's Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians.

I did a long time ago, explain how and where I received the inspiration for this ministry (click here to read it if you wish), but I've always planned on doing a verse by verse exposition of this fantastic letter by the Apostle Paul.

I just want to say preliminary, as we are going through 1 Thessalonians, I will also be writing articles for this website and adding them as I complete them. I will in all efforts try to have a new post up each week for us to read and ponder and discuss.

I look forward to questions and comments.

In everything by prayer
By the power of the Holy Spirit
In Jesus Christ the Lord of all
For the Glory of the Father

Ryan Banman

Mar 16, 2011 is a go!!!

Hey everyone. Sorry I haven't written anything as of late. I have been a little busy getting my actual website up. It is now on-line. It is still a work in progress, so please be patient. I am adding articles as I finish them.

One thing that I am in the process of doing with this as well is to bring my ministry before my elders and put it under their "supervision". It is important for me to submit my "para-church" ministry under the leadership and guidance of my leadership. I guess I have kinda jumped the gun on this already, but it's never too late I suppose.

As with my ministry, it is an evangelistic ministry, and on this blog I have been, I suppose, teaching theology. I know these posts are my "musings", but I think if I am in any way "teaching" doctrines of the holy Scriptures, it should be done so under the guidance and knowledge of my elders.

I know it may sound a little authoritarian, "I am in submission to my elders" as if they are a group of pompous individuals in robes. This could not be further from the truth. Non-the-less, I think in order to pursue this ministry Biblically, I will submit to their leadership. I will not be a lone-ranger christian. My elders and pastor are the greatest guys I have known, I look forward to their wisdom and accountability.

Anyways, check out my site and let me know what you think. The navigation bar at the top is the same as for my site. It will direct you as stated.

God bless

Feb 17, 2011

Romans 8: 17-25

So to recap what we've gone through in Romans 8 so far. Because of our inherent sinful nature with which we are born, we cannot keep God holy Law. Because of our lawlessness, we are in fact enemies of God. Jesus, however, did keep God's Law. Not only did He keep the Law, but also He did it for the purpose of accrediting us with keeping the Law. In addition, by His blood sacrifice He has paid for the forgiveness of our transgression of the holy Law. Therefore, He saves those who are in Him, and we are included to receive an inheritance with Him, as true children of God. At the end of verse 17 though we see yet another 'if' word.

You know, I think the world would just love it if they could just remove all those annoying 'if' words from the Bible. Oh wait, there are many in the Church who are trying.

Anyways, the verse says this, from Rom 8:16-17; "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him".

"If indeed we suffer with Him..."

Does this mean that we must all be under persecution or we are not really saved?

Unfortunately, there are those who would suggest such things. Which is usually a way in which they justify their weirdo cultist practices or their new understanding of what the Scriptures really say to be true?"

Fortunately, this is not what the verse says. Well, I suppose, as it is written, this is what it says. How should it be understood though?

In order to understand difficult passages, there are a couple of ways in which we go about discerning their meaning.

The first way is context. What do all the verses around this verse say? What is the general point of what is being discussed?

The second way is to interpret Scripture with Scripture (which is how we figure out this verse). We would gather all of what we know, in this case, about salvation and then we determine its meaning from that.

So do we need to suffer so that we might be glorified? I think the answer is both yes and no and here's why.

Jesus said that if you follow Me, they will hate you (Jn 15:18-20). Who is "they"? The world. That doesn't mean that everyone you know should hate you. But James does say that friendship with the world is hostility towards God. (James4:4)

So if you would follow after Jesus Christ, but you receive no flack from the world for doing so, perhaps you need to examine your walk with Christ. Are you emulating Him enough? Jesus said that the world hates Him because He testifies that it's deeds are evil. (Jn 7:7)

Do you speak out against evil, or refuse to take part in it? Do you converse with unbelievers so easily that they have no considerations or feel no embarrassment about how they speak when your with them? Perhaps your trying to hard for them to like you. I would consider the words of our Lord and His apostles.

Certainly this does not mean that you always will or even more often than not will receive "persecution", especially not in the way that the early Church did. At least not in Canada or any other western nation. (In the middle east or the far east they certainly do) What do we get? A little bit of ridicule or mocking? Ooooo.

If we consider that and we say that we must be persecuted or we will not be glorified, then I'm out, and my faith is in vain. That's ridiculous. My salvation is based on God's grace alone, by faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. (Eph 2) We need also be careful that we don't think that because we are doing things we are earning our salvation. Jesus said there will be a lot of people who do that. (Matt 7:21-23)

I think though, that it's just because of the Christians new nature that he/she will automatically rub the world the wrong way. Some will receive the ire of the world in different ways. What we need to remember though, is Jesus said that if we love our father or mother, son or daughter more than Him, we are not worthy of Him. (Matt 10:34-38)

So if we don't receive such sufferings as Paul did, or consider them as he did; as unworthy to be compared to what we will receive from Him; an eternal inheritance as His children with Christ, then I would be concerned about whether or not the Spirit of Christ dwells within you. Make sure!! There is nothing more important.

For we are waiting anxiously for His return, it is our hope, and if we hold to this as greater than what the world may throw at us, then with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

So let me just conclude by saying (more to myself then anyone), whatever it is you are going through, ridicule at work or with family, defamation, marital problems, job loss, a tragic loss (perhaps even more so if a loved one was killed for the gospel); None of the pain in any of this can compare to the amount of joy we shall receive as we are glorified.

In fact, Peter tells us to rejoice in all of this (1Pe 1:3), as does James (Jam 1:2-5). James goes on to say that through these various trials, it is the Lord who is testing us, so as to produce endurance in our faith so that we may be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

I like the way one of my favourite preachers put it (as far as I know he is the author of said quote), Dr. Walter Martin, speaking about boldly proclaiming the gospel no matter the cost in his sermon “Baptism of Boldness”, “and after you have endured everything count yourself an unprofitable servant as you have endured only that what was asked of you”

Great quote. Easier said than done. May the Spirit of the Lord lead us in mortifying sin within us, and sanctify our hearts, conforming us to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Jan 21, 2011

Pauls Letter to the Romans: Chapter 8:15-17

Last week as we read through Romans 8:9-14 we seen that, even though our salvation is not subject to us being perfect in holiness, we are non-the-less obligated and commanded to live according to the Spirit. Even though we still live in this flesh we are not to live according to the flesh.

Of course, God, by His kind grace, knowing that this is impossible for us, does not leave us t our own efforts, but He Himself leads us in this. By the leading the Spirit, who dwells within those who have been born again by His power, we live a life of sanctification and a growing in holiness. What we once were we are no longer. "By the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the body" (Rom 8:13)

We are no longer a slave to sin. If the Spirit is within you, have you noticed how the sins you once loved disgust you now? If they don't disgust you, they should at least be less appealing, and gradually they will become more and more vile to you.

This is the work of the Spirit within you. It is extremely important to remember though, that this is not you working to earn or maintain your salvation. Everyday you should remind yourself of what the gospel is. It is not salvation by means of working for it, but Christ has bought it for you.

Our sanctification is a means of God's grace to us whilest we still abide in the world, so that we might be the salt and the light to the world so that they might know the truth and be saved.

"For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" (Rom 8:14-15)

These are some of my favourite verses in all of Scripture. The Law of Moses was given by God. The Law is right and holy. It was always understood that it is by the Law that we obtain righteousness and salvation. This is wrong. The law is our tutor that leads us to Christ that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor (or the Law). (Gal 3:24-25)

We do not have to work for our salvation, Christ did that for us (Rom 8:3-4). Do not be burdened by guilt if you should commit a sin. Do not think that you are no longer a Christian if you sin. Certainly we do not live in it, but we do not all of a sudden need to be re-saved. We do not live under the fear of the Law.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'"

This is the total freedom of which is found in Jesus Christ. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Rom 8:1-2)

You are a child of God. Do you realize the implications of that? No child of the Almighty Yahweh will ever wear a yoke of slavery and fear. We should not fear that we would be condemned.

These Scriptures continue in reassurance and of God's amazing kindness. "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him." (Rom 8:16-17)

OK, read that again.

So let me get this straight; When God gave us life, we spat in His face, and turned against Him. Instead of just thumping us all, as we deserved, He would come, live in the same miserable existence we do, in order that He might be tortured and crucified by us, so that we can then be adopted as if we were His children, and share in the inheritance which is rightfully and deservedly His true Son's!!!

WOW!!! Halleluyah!!!

Is God not so incredibly kind to us? We deserved His wrath, and instead He is going to give us a share in Jesus' inheritance. Absolutely amazing.

Next time, we will continue with looking at verse 17 and what it means to suffer with Him.

Thanks for joining me in this study.

So my brothers and sisters in Christ, instead of living in guilt, which is the tool of the Devil, live with these thoughts in mind. The more you do, the less you will desire to sin, and the more obedient you will want to be. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Because of how incredibly kind God is.

Jan 9, 2011

Paul's Letter to the Romans; Ch 8:9-14

Romans 8:9-14

In my last post I began to go through Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome. (Talk about divine providence. Paul's wrote to the Christians in Rome and his letter to them is called Romans. Wow, coincidence? I think not.)

In those first 13 chapters we saw how Paul made a distinction between those who are in Christ and those who are not. Those not in Christ are at odds with God, even in a hostile manner, and they are under a curse of death. Yet those in Christ receive from God, life and peace with Him. Not, however because of anything those in Him have done, but solely and completely because of what Jesus Christ has done and accredited to those who receive Him and in whom dwells His Holy Spirit.

Paul makes an interesting statement in vs 9; "However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit," meaning in contrast to those who are in the flesh, who "cannot please God" (Rom 8:8), you who are in the Spirit are pleasing to God. Again though, I can't stress this enough, Rom 8:3-4, only because Jesus has fulfilled the Law in the flesh, so it is accredited to us.

Here is that interesting part of what Paul says, and one I don't believe is spoken as often as it should be. Rom 8:9, "...if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you."

Excuse me? Did he just say IF? Yes, yes he did. That means that there are those who believe themselves to be Christians and followers of Jesus Christ, but as Jesus said, "not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven..."(Matt 7:21-23)

This is a very scary prospect. There are those who think they are saved but are not, and they will stand before Jesus in that day of judgement, and even tell Him about all the great things they did in His name, and He will say "I never knew you, depart from me you who practice lawlessness." (Matt 7:23)

I would encourage anyone who professes Jesus as their Lord, to do as Paul instructed. Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test? (2 Cor13:5)

How can we test ourselves in this? Believe it or not Romans gives us the answer to this.

One answer is not known until we die. That is eternal life and the resurrection of our bodies. Our earthly bodies are dead because of our sin. Rom8:11; Our spirit is given life because of Christ, we are born again, and eventually God will resurrect our earthly bodies in power and glory.

The next test the Christian should examine himself with is that of sanctification. "...but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live." Rom 8:12-14

Are you growing in holiness? Of course this does not mean perfection. No one can obtain perfection in the flesh, and anyone who says they are and have no sin, is deceived and the truth does not abide ion them. (1 Jn 1:8).

The saying is, "it's not about perfection, it's about direction." One of the promises of the Holy Spirit is the sanctification of those who He leads. It is clear that one receives salvation by repentance from our sinfulness. This is not a onetime act though. Repentance is a lifelong turning from sin and a lifelong leading of the Holy Spirit into righteousness. We can, sorry I shouldn't say that WE can, but the Spirit will grow us in holiness.

Are you growing in holiness? Are you sinning less? There is no single gauge which might apply to all believers, this is really between you and God. There is also no single holiness-booster shot, it is a life long journey of repentance as the Spirit reveals areas of sin in your life and dying to yourself and growing in the Spirit.

This is best accomplished by reading and meditating upon God's word and PRAYER.

Spend time praying!! Lots of time!! Also, I know in our worlds attempt to be super spirituals, this may sound selfish (but it’s not), you don’t always need to pray for others, but pray for yourself. Pray especially for the Spirit's guidance into all truth and understanding of God's will and to grow you in the likeness of Jesus Christ.

The more we are made in the likeness of Jesus Christ, the more others and ourselves come to know Him and what He is like. Think about it. The more we become like Him, the more we will know what He is like. And this will in turn move others, and ourselves, to love Him more and more.

May the Spirit of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ fill you with peace and grace for the glory of God.