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!