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Christianity's Commandments


Webers_Home

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Hello;

I thought it might be fun, and spiritually profitable, to round up and discuss a collection of commandments that are particular to Christianity; beginning with the book of Acts and systematically working on through to Revelation. I'll also have occasion to refer to the Gospel narratives from time to time too.

Anyone with the wherewithal is at liberty to comment, contribute, point out errors, and/or ask questions; I mean, after all, this might be a devotion; but it's not a filibuster, so I encourage interaction.

Some people regard any and all commandments as legalism. But let me assure you the commandments on my list are not the commandments of a legalist, but rather the commandments of the Bible's Christ.

†. 1Cor 2:12-13 . .We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

†. 1Cor 14:37 . . If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of The Lord.

†. 1Ths 2:13 . .When you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God.

†. 1Ths 4:1-2 . . We beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.

Teachings don't have to be couched in "Thou Shalt" and/or "Thou Shalt Not" to qualify as commandments. Any directive qualifies as a commandment, as does any imperative which Webster's defines as: of, relating to, or constituting, the grammatical mood that expresses the will to influence the behavior of another.

Some of my commandments will be accompanied with notes, and some will be solo; and I should warn everyone that this is a huge task and requires several weeks of daily-bread style posts to accomplish as I have well over 400 commandments on my list. But if you stay with me to the end, I can easily promise you will be much the better Christian for it.

†. Rom 12:1-2 . . Be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

†. 2 Cor 3:17-18 . . Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is that Spirit.

NOTE: Lest someone should take this compilation of commandments lightly, as if it were nothing more than a locker-room bull session, I should point out that OBedience to Christianity's commandments is the acid test of one's loyalty to the Bible's Christ.

†. John 14:15 . . If you love me, you will comply with what I command.

†. John 14:21 . .Whoever has my commands and OBeys them, he is the one who loves me.

†. John 14:23-24 . . If anyone loves me, he will OBey my teaching . . He who does not love me will not OBey my teaching.

†. John 15:14 . .You are my friends if you do as I wish.

ps. I never really know how other people's computers display fonts so if my choice is grossly too big or too small, let me know.

C.L.I.F.F.
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Christianity's Commandments (01)

1) Acts 15:19-20 . . Abstain from food tainted by idols, from promiscuity, from the meat of strangled animals, and from blood.

NOTE: some cultures drink fresh blood right out of an animal's veins. That's not for Christians. (cf. Gen 9:4)

2) Rom 6:11 . . Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

NOTE: "dead to sin" doesn't mean born-again Christians don't sin (cf. 1John 1:8-10). It means they're no longer in danger of sin's ultimate consequences. (John 5:24, Rom 5:6-11, Rom 6:3-11)

3) Rom 6:12 . . Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you OBey its evil desires.

NOTE: Cain was given the same instructions. (Gen 4:7)

4) Rom 6:13 . . Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness.

5) Rom 12:1-2 . . Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

6) Rom 12:3 . . Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.

7) Rom 12:6 . . If God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you.

NOTE: when explaining the Bible to others, the speaker had better be speaking not just for God, but as God (cf. 1Pet 4:11). If not, then he needs to sit down and shut up.

8] Rom 12:7a . . If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well.

9) Rom 12:7b . . If you are a teacher, do a good jOB of teaching.

10) Rom 12:8a . . If your gift is to encourage others, do it!

11) Rom 12:8b . . If you have money, share it generously.

12) Rom 12:8c . . If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.

NOTE: a natural aptitude for leadership doesn't count. It has to be God-given; that is: a legitimate Spiritual gift. (cf. Rom 12:3-8, 1Cor 12:4-11, 1Cor 12:27-30)

13) Rom 12:8d . . If you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

14) Rom 12:9a . . Don't just pretend that you love others.

15) Rom 12:9b . . Hate what is wrong.

16) Rom 12:9c . . Stand on the side of the good.

17) Rom 12:10a . . Love each other with genuine affection

NOTE: real affection is easy to imitate, but very difficult to duplicate.

18) Rom 12:10b . . Honor others over yourselves.

19) Rom 12:11 . . Never be half-hearted in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.

20) Rom 12:12a . . Be glad for all God is planning for you.

21) Rom 12:12b . . Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful.

22) Rom 12:13a . . Share with God's people who are in need.

23) Rom 12:13b . . Practice hospitality.

24) Rom 12:14 . . Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

NOTE: it isn't essential that Christians try to like the people who pick on them, but it is essential that they remain civil and not reciprocate evil for evil.

25) Rom 12:15 . .When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow.

26) Rom 12:16a . . Live in harmony with each other.

27) Rom 12:16b . . Don't be elitist, but willing to associate with people below you.

NOTE: elitism is a chronic prOBlem for newbies on internet forums as there's always a cadre of territorial bullies who see your intrusion as a new kid on the block invading their little boys' club house. And God forbid you should refuse to dance to their tune. They will make your online experience a living Hell. The same circumstances sometimes exist in churches too. Back in the mid 1970's I attended a monster Baptist church in San Diego and rubbed shoulders in the choir with a bassist who was a "charter" member. He was a turkey, if you know what I mean.

28) Rom 12:16c . . Don't be wise in your own conceit.

NOTE: Webster's defines conceit as: excessive appreciation of one's own worth or virtue. Conceit often goes hand in hand with vanity; which is defined as: inflated pride in one's self; viz: smug; self satisfied.

29) Rom 12:17a . . Never reciprocate evil with evil to anyone.

NOTE: I just hate it that so many of the Christian internet forums that I've visited in the past have become virtually adult-free zones where I had to tiptoe on egg shells all the time in order to avoid denting the fragile egos of a growing proliferation of complainers, tattle tails, imperious bullies, and thin-skinned, self-absorbed cry babies and mama's boys getting even by generating a flood of vindictive reports to forum moderators. What's happened to internet Christians? Have they forgotten all about turning the other cheek?

C.L.I.F.F.
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Christianity's Commandments (02)

30) Rom 12:17b . . Respect what is right in the sight of all men.

NOTE: more on that item when we get to 1Cor 6:1-6

31) Rom 12:18 . . If possible, so far as it in your power, be at peace with all men.

NOTE: assertive, defensive, critical, imperious, judgmental, confrontational people are not going to heaven. Why? Because heaven is a place of peace (Mtt 5:9). Disagreeable people with a propensity to animosity and hostility simply don't fit in there and besides, it wouldn't be fair to the others to let them in without their first undergoing a second birth as per John 3:3-8.

32) Rom 12:19 . . Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written: Vengeance is mine, I will repay; testifies the Lord.

33) Rom 12:20 . . If your personal enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.

NOTE: way back when SURVIVOR was in its second or third season, two of the women fell out of sorts and one vowed that even if the other were lying in the street near death from thirst, she'd walk right past and not give her so much as a drop of water. Bad form. Christians have to remain civil and not permit detestable people to dictate the way they treat their fellow men. Mind your manners.

34) Rom 12:21 . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

35) Rom 13:1 . . Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities

NOTE: that command covers J-walking, feeding parking meters, coasting through stop signs, exceeding the speed limit, unsafe lane changes, road rage, driving on worn out tires, et al.

36) Rom 13:6 . . Pay your taxes

NOTE: thinking about donating money for Haiti? Not to worry. President OBama pledged millions of your tax dollars for you. You're covered.

37) Rom 13:7 . . Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

38) Rom 13:8 . . Owe no man anything.

NOTE: some have construed item #38 to mean that it's a sin to have a mortgage, a car payment, and/or a credit card balance. However, the koiné Greek word for "owe" is opheilo (of-i'-lo); an ambiguous word with a number of meanings, one of which is to fail in duty; viz: fail to meet your OBligations. In other words, Christians should pay their bills on time and not be deadbeats. Sp if you've already paid your paper boy for this month; you won't owe him anything till the next billing cycle.

39) Rom 13:12 . . Put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

40) Rom 13:13 . . .Behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.

NOTE: if you think you might be going to heaven, then start behaving the way they do there. It's good practice for that big day. In other words, the Desperate Housewives are not really what one might call heavenly role models.

41) Rom 13:14 . . .Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not scheme to gratify the desires of the flesh.

NOTE: that commandment has the distinction of being the correct interpretation of Jesus' teachings on adultery— with emphasis on scheme

†. Mtt 5:27-28 . .You have heard that it was said to those of old: You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Erotic fantasies don't make a man an adulterer. The kind of lust Jesus is talking about is the kind that begins working on a plan to actually taste the goods rather than stand back and admire them.

42) Rom 14:1 . . Accept him whose faith is weak, without being judgmental in gray areas.

NOTE: a "weak faith" is one that's not sure one way or the other whether something is okay for Christians.

43) Rom 14:2-4 . . One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.

44) Rom 14:5 . . One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

45) Rom 14:13 . . Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another in gray areas. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or OBstacle in your brother's way.

NOTE: it's very bad form to attempt to bully a fellow Christian in a gray area and thereby persuade them to agree to something that compromises their personal principles. This directive is limited to GRAY areas rather than black and white areas: which are cut and dried and therefore not open to debate. A pertinent example of a gray area is the King James' English translation of the Bible. Some Christians swear by it, while others think it's a dinosaur. This is something each has to decide for themselves according to the dictates of their own conscience; and God forbid they should impose their personal dictates upon others and thus usurp the Lord's sovereign prerogative to make the rules for his own sheep.

C.L.I.F.F.
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Christianity's Commandments (03)

46) Rom 14:14-16 . . I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

47) Rom 14:19 . . Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

48) Rom 14:20-21 . . For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

49 Rom 14:22-23 . . Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

NOTE: item #49 is an important principle. In other words, it's possible to be wrong even when you're right because it's a sin to forge ahead when one's conscience is not sure it's okay to do so.

I once knew a Christian who felt guilty just setting foot inside a Block Buster video store. Was he silly for feeling that way? Not in his mind; and it's your own mind that counts in gray areas. Some Christians can't permit themselves to dine in a restaurant that serves alcohol; while others see nothing wrong with it. If those two kinds of Christians should perchance dine out together, it's the more sensitive conscience that dictates where to eat.

50) Rom 15:1 . .We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

51) Rom 15:2 . . Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

52) Rom 15:7 . .Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

53) Rom 15:27 . . For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.

54) Rom 16:17-18 . . Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

NOTE: the koiné Greek word for "divisions" is dichostsis (dee-khos-tas-ee'-ah) which means: disunion. It's Jesus' wish that his church be unified (John 17:14-21). The propensity of man's base nature is towards disunity; easily seen by the proliferation of various Christian denominations.

Disunity in America is everywhere rampant in matters of race, age, gender, language, sexual preference, justice, class, income level, and religion, et al. Yes there are ties that bind us; but just as many forces driving us apart; and anything preventing unity in Christ's body is an OBstacle to unity; which is contrary to his wishes.

55) 1Cor 1:10 . . Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

C.L.I.F.F.
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God has no gray areas.

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I agree, the Bible's God has no gray areas.

However, the Bible's God, in His wisdom, has not seen fit to micro-manage His son's church like some sort of Big Brother society; and that's why the principles stipulated in the 14th chapter of Romans are guidelines for "doubtful disputations".

The koiné Greek word for "doubtful" is dialogismos (dee-al-og-is-mos') which means: discussion; viz: debate.

The word for "disputations" is diakrisis (dee-ak'-ree-sis) which means: judicial estimation.

When somebody begins a statement with the words "in my opinion" they are getting ready to give you their judicial estimation. And there's nothing I know of that's intrinsically wrong with that. However, when spiritual opinions clash, resulting in a holy war that neither side can possibly win, then the principles stipulated in the 14th chapter of Romans rule.

Take for example the KJV. Now that I know how you feel about that particular English translation, I will never again argue with you about it because I would be fueling a doubtful disputation; and I don't want that on my record in heaven. I would prefer to be known as a live and let live kind of guy rather than an imperious kind of guy; though I can be, and have been, very dogmatic to the point of bigotry on black and white issues because I truly believe that compromise on black and white issues is never a good thing for a Christian's integrity.

C.L.I.F.F.
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Christianity's Commandments (04)

56) 1Cor 1:26-31 . . For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many nOBle, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

NOTE: Sometimes I think I would feel better about believing in the Gospel if more celebrities, scientists, and PhD's did. By human standards, I am not particularly bright, certainly not influential, nor of nOBle birth. There is no one in my family tree to be proud of. And on top of that, my craft was welding; which is a trade rather than a profession, and welder's aren't widely known as intelligent people. When somebody like me believes in the Gospel; it's actually to be expected I'd be gullible enough to do so; after all, isn't religion said to be the opiate of the masses?

The koiné Greek word for "glorieth" is kauchaomai (kow-khah'-om-ahee) which means: to vaunt. Webster's defines vaunt as: to make a vain display of one's own worth or attainments; viz: to brag; to call attention to with pride and often boastfully. 1Cor 1:31 is a hard command to OBey seeing as how belief in the Gospel really isn't what I would call something to brag about in this day and age.

57) 1Cor 3:18 . . Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

NOTE: by human standards I am not very smart; but according to God's I'm one of the brightest men who ever lived, even surpassing Steven Hawking, Albert Einstein, and ROBert Oppenheimer.

I am not a prince Charles, but I am kin to God; which is a much nOBler position than anybody you might name in Queen Elizabeth's royal family. When all is said and done, the only smart people left standing will be the ones who took the path to safety. All the rest— no matter what their IQ, no matter how sophisticated, no matter how well educated, no matter how well bred, no matter how much they've achieved, nor how well positioned —will be the idiots.

58) 1Cor 4:1 . . Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

NOTE: Christians are so prone to fan worship and name-dropping. They idolize the pastors of their churches— celebrities of the Christian world like Mother Teresa and Billy Graham are practically sacred cows —when they should recognize that those pastors and celebrities are mere servants rather than gods. Reverence for man is a dangerous trap. (Prv 29:25)

59) 1 Cor 4:5 . . Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts:

NOTE: the judging in this instance regards man's propensity to idolize celebrities like Mother Teresa and Billy Graham without having all the facts.

For instance; we now know that Teresa wasn't the saint she was thought to be all those years in India. Her private letters, made public by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk's book, Mother Teresa / Come Be My Light, reveal a nun with so little faith in the Bible's God as to be an agnostic. You can read about it at the link below to an article written by David Van Biema for the Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007 edition of Time magazine.

Teresa's Crisis Of Faith

Father Kolodiejchuk, by the way, is not a rogue priest nor does he have an axe to grind. He was good friends with Teresa for something like twenty years and today is the director of the Mother Teresa Center and a postulator in favor of her canonization. Father Kolodiejchuk OBtained Rome's official permission to publish Teresa's private letters. He didn't do it on the sneak.

Look; I've no doubt somebody out there reading this idolizes Teresa and regards her as a primo Christian role model and will get their nose bent by this post. But they have to realize that the people we admire most are only human after all: viz: they have feet of clay; so it's only a matter of time before they disappoint us.

If I were in a position to coach budding missionaries, my textbook of choice would be Father Kolodiejchuk's book so I could show them the right way to go about it by contrasting Teresa's wrong way that she went about it.

NOTE: does Mtt 7:1-5 condemn all judging? No, it only condemns judging with a double standard.

60) John 7:24 . . Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

NOTE: righteous judgment can be defined as the enforcement of rules without passion or prejudice; viz: without bias, partiality, or favoritism.

Christians are not only encouraged to judge, but they are mandated to judge. Read on.

61) 1 Cor 5:1-7 . . It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

. . . For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

. . . Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

C.L.I.F.F.
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Christianity's Commandments (05)

62) 1 Cor 5:7-8 . . Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

NOTE: the "feast" in view is the seven-day feast of Unleavened Bread (Ex 12:18-20). The first night, when the passover lamb is consumed, commences the week. At no time during that week, including the pesach, may leavened bread be eaten.

Before we can begin to make any sense out of Paul's instructions, it's first necessary to define what the Jews of his day meant by leavened bread.

In ancient times, bakers would set a portion of fresh dough off to the side and deliberately let it go bad. Then the next time they baked bread, they mixed the fermented dough in with a batch of fresh dough in order to cause it to rise. Nowadays people add yeast to their dough to make it rise; but that is not really the Bible's leavened bread; that's an artificially leavened bread. The Bible's leavened bread is a blend of old and new; and that's what Paul is getting at.

Malice and wickedness are inherent in human nature rather than in the Spirit's nature. Human nature is the nature of the "old" man while the Spirit's nature is the nature of the "new" man (cf. Gal 5:16-23).

The Bible's God does not want that old stuff in His son's church. He desires only the fresh untainted stuff. The instant malice and wickedness are added to sincerity and truth, you no longer have sincerity and truth. What you have then is a toxic amalgam of old and new. That may be acceptable to men; but certainly not to the God of Jesus' church.

FYI: Christ isn't a replication of the original Passover lamb. He's merely a Passover lamb in a manner of speaking. Each lamb— the Exodus lamb and the New Testament lamb —serves its own unique purposes. The Exodus lamb wasn't a sin offering; while the New Testament's lamb clearly is. The Exodus lamb was designed to protect only the firstborn males of individual households, while the New Testament's lamb has the potential to protect the entire world regardless of gender or primogeniture.

63) 1Cor 5:9-13 . . I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

NOTE: good luck getting modern Christians to comply with those instructions; instead they'll piously protest: "It's not for us to judge." Contrary to those pious protests; judging and ostracizing aren't negotiable. Paul's instructions to "put away from among yourselves that wicked person" is an imperative; not an option.

64) 1Cor 6:1-6 . . Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

. . . If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

NOTE: apparently some of the Christians in the church at Corinth let the Sermon On The Mount go in one ear and out the other.

†. Mtt 5:39-40 . . Matt 5:39-40 . . But I say unto you; that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.

†. Luke 12:57-59 . . Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right? When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison. I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.

Jesus began his teaching in Luke with the words "why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?" In other words; if someone threatens to take you to court over a matter, and you know darn good and well he's in the right; don't force him to go to law. Instead, own your wrong and settle out of court. According to Jesus, it’s unrighteous to fight it out in court when you know your own self that you are the one in the wrong. There's just simply no righteous reason why Christian defendants and plaintiffs can't be their own judge and jury in tort matters.

†. 1Cor 6:7-8 . . Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

C.L.I.F.F.
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Christianity's Commandments (06)

NOTE: numbers of well-meaning folk have attempted to use that verse to prove that gays and lesbians are hopelessly doomed to eternal suffering. But that would mean fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners, are hopelessly doomed too. It would also mean that Christ didn't die for the whole world, but just for a select portion of the world, which certainly isn't true. (cf. 1John 2:2)

†. 1Cor 6:11 . . And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God

The koiné Greek word for "justified" is dikaioo (dik-ah-yo'-o) which means: to show, or to regard as innocent; in other words: justification (in this instance) pertains to Jesus' cross; which was an official act of God that fully satisfies justice for one's wickedness.

It's ironic that numbers of immoral people are going to make it to safety when they cross over to the other side while numbers of clean-living religious folk won't.

†. Matt 21:31. .Verily I say unto you; that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

The audience to whom Jesus spoke those words consisted of Judaism's chief priests and elders: the cream of the crop (Mtt 21:23). The prOBlem with those guys in that particular incident was that, although they were very religious, they were not very righteous. It would seem then, that God isn't nearly as pleased with church attendance, rOBes, rituals, sacraments, and holy days of OBligation as he is with righteousness. (cf. Isa 1:10-20)

I'm not saying immorality is better than religion; but what I'm saying is: hypocrisy is even worse. However, both the hypocrite and the immoral can OBtain an acquittal at the cross.

Webster's defines "acquit" as: to discharge completely (as from an OBligation or accusation). An acquittal is much superior to a hung jury. When you're acquitted, you have the protection of the principle of double jeopardy; which means, essentially, that you cannot be put on trial again for an accusation for which you were adjudged innocent in a previous proceeding. However, an acquittal doesn't necessarily mean the court was convinced you were innocent; it simply means there wasn't enough evidence to put you away.

Now, what's interesting about the process of heaven's acquittal is that the Bible's God has plenty enough evidence to put you away; no doubt about it since He keeps detailed files on everyone recording every second of every day of their lives. So the question becomes: How can a divine jurist of the highest possible integrity acquit people when He has at His disposal plenty enough evidence to put them away? Has he no conscience? How is justice served by acquitting guilty people?

Yom Kippur is an annual Jewish holy day during which ancient Jews were reminded that their sins were still on record in Heaven, because the maximum that Aaron's atonement system could OBtain for them was a reprieve. In other words; Aaron's atonement system didn't satisfy justice for one's sins; it merely covered them for the time being.

However, the cross fully satisfies justice for one's sins rather than merely covering them, thus allowing a righteous God the liberty to acquit deserving-of-hell sinners; including, but not limited to: fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners,

†. Isa 53:6 . . All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

†. 1John 2:2 . . He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

The koiné Greek word for "sanctified" in 1Cor 6:11 is hagiazo (hag-ee-ad'-zo) which, in a nutshell, means to render something holy. New Testament sanctification is both a process and a status. In this case, it's a status. Now think about just how incredible 1Cor 6:11 really is. It's saying, in as clear a syntax as the British vernacular of 400 years ago allowed; that the fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners in the church at Corinth had the status of "holy" by means of the cross. No, they weren't intrinsically holy; no sir, not by any stretch of the imagination. But God no longer saw them for what they really were; He saw them for the status He gave them in His son.

†. 1Cor 1:2 . . Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus

†. 1Cor 1:30 . . But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

†. Heb 10:14 . . For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Christianity's enemies often criticize that we have a license to steal because of the cross. Well, let me say to them, that when you think about it; a license to steal is the only possible way anybody is going to make it to safety when they cross over to the other side. The justice of God is very thorough, and each and every sin merits capital punishment.

†. Rom 6:23 . . For the wages of sin is death

What's so bad about death? Well, to begin with; people's first death is already earmarked for Adam's sin. (Rom 5:12, Rom 5:17-18). So then, people's first death can't be used to atone for their own sins because it's earmarked to atone for Adam's.

However, everyone will live one more time.

†. Dan 12:2 . . And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

†. John 5:28-29 . . The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

People's second life can, and will be, used to atone for their own sins. However, each count merits the death penalty. Here's how it works: Supposing a sinner is convicted of 250 counts of lying. They can satisfy justice for one of those 250 lies by forfeiting their resurrected life; but how are they going to satisfy justice for the other 249 lies since there is only one resurrection per person?

Answer: only by a perpetual death in the reservoir of liquefied flame depicted at Rev 20:11-15.

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Christianity's Commandments (07)

66) 1Cor 6:18 . . Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

NOTE: The koiné Greek word for "fornication" is porneia (por-ni'-ah) which means: harlotry; a term that takes in all manner of immorality including adultery, incest, promiscuity, pornography, date sex, and shacking up.

Young Christian people often want to know how far they can go with their boyfriends and girlfriends before they're into forbidden territory. Well, we all instinctively know the upper limits, but since the lower limits aren't chipped in stone then I would have to say let your own conscience be your guide in accordance with the Lord's principles stipulated in the 14th chapter of Romans regulating gray areas. The key principles are these:

†. Rom 14:5 . . One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

†. Rom 14:22 . . Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

†. Rom 14:23 . . And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

However, as an old senior guy of 66 who's been around the block a time or two, I must forewarn youngsters that the human conscience is trainable. What I mean is, if you manage to suppress your first pang of guilt, the next time will be easier; and each succeeding suppression of your conscience gets easier and easier ad infinitum till the day comes when you feel no pangs at all.

†. 1Tim 4:1-2 . . Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.

I really have to admire Mozart's wife Constanze in the movie AMADEUS. During their separation, Constanze went out dancing and one night right in the middle of a waltz, she stopped and informed her partner she had to leave. When he inquired why; she replied: This isn't right. You see, she had pushed her conscience to the limit and couldn't take it anymore. To Constanze's credit; she had the good sense to yield to her conscience instead of cauterizing it.

67) 1 Cor 6:20 . . For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

68) 1Cor 7:2 . . Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

NOTE: The above is especially true in 2010 America. Fornication is everywhere: on a pandemic scale. It's in our music, in our schools, in our offices, in our televisions, in our movies, in our novels, and in our conversations. People are even sleeping together on their first dates. Even Congressmen, Senators, and US Presidents are indulging in forbidden love. This country is in a state of moral decadence, and becoming more and more like the ancient city of Pompeii just prior to its destruction by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.

69) 1Cor 7:3-4 . . Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

NOTE: did you know that there is no Hebrew word in the Old Testament for either wife or husband?

†. Gen 2:24 . .Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife

The English word "wife" is translated from the Hebrew word for woman. So then, from whence did the translators get wife? Answer: from the possessive pronoun "his".

In other words, a husband is "her man" and a wife is "his woman". So then, marriage is essentially all about possession: wives own their husbands, and husbands own their wives; ergo: "The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife."

What that's saying is when married people sleep with somebody outside the home, they are giving away something that does not belong to them; which is really no different than a car thief fencing your SUV to a chop shop.

69) 1 Cor 7:5 . . Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

NOTE: The koiné word for "defraud" is apostereo (ap-os-ter-eh'-o) which means: to despoil; which Webster's defines as: to strip of belongings, possessions, or value; viz: pillage.

In other words, married people who withhold intimacy from their spouses are nothing less than thieves.

†. Ex 20:15 . .Thou shalt not steal.

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Christianity's Commandments (08)

70) 1Cor 7:8-9 . . I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

NOTE: the koiné Greek word for "burn" is puroo (poo-ro'-o) which means: to kindle, to ignite, to glow, and/or to be inflamed. I seriously doubt Paul meant to convey the thought that the believers who lacked self control at Corinth were in grave danger of the flames of Hell since he had already assured them in 1Cor 6:9-11 that they were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Paul was one of those rare kinds of men with a very low-powered libido. But not everyone is like him; nor is everyone cut out to live alone.

Webster's defines celibacy as (1) the state of not being married, (2) abstention from s_xual intercourse, and (3) abstention by vow from marriage

Celibacy then, isn't limited to zero s_x, but also includes zero marriage; even platonic unions. There was a Catholic priest here in Oregon recently quit the priesthood after serving more than 30 years in order to get married because he couldn't stand being alone anymore. He wasn't especially looking to get laid, he just wanted to be with somebody.

The prOBlem with a vow of celibacy is that although it may prevent a priest from getting married, it cannot prevent him from pining for a female companion in the privacy of his own room. 1Cor 7:9 should suffice to silence the mouths of ascetics who preach it's holy to abstain from every form of earthly pleasure; and also the mouths of those who preach it's a sin to marry solely for s_x.

71) 1Cor 7:10-11a . . And unto the married I command— yet not I, but the Lord —let not the wife depart from her husband: but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.

NOTE: supposing one of the spouses sleeps with somebody during the separation? Is the other spouse supposed to still make an effort to reconcile? NO! According to the lord and master of New Testament Christianity; unfaithfulness dissolves the marriage bond.

†. Mtt 19:9 . . I say unto you: whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery

May a woman put away her husband for a cause other than fornication? No; of course not; that would be a double standard. But why are only the husbands targeted in Mtt 5:32? Answer: the Lord's audience lived under the terms and conditions of Moses' covenanted law. Under that law, it's the husbands who initiated divorce rather than wives.

†. Mtt 19:7-9 . . They say unto him: Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

Before meeting my wife in 1979, I was active in a very large single's group in a church in San Diego. One of the girls in the group had supported her ex while he was in medical school. You know the story: after graduation, Mr. Gray's Anatomy dumped her.

That girl was level-headed, young and pretty, had no children from a previous marriage, drove her own car and had a jOB. In other words, she was a good bet; but her conscience wouldn't permit dating since she was convinced that Christians are married forever. Wishing to be helpful, I pointed out that if her ex was sleeping with somebody, then Mtt 19:9 made her available. (No, she couldn't accept it; at least not right then anyway. I sincerely hope she changed her mind some day before it was too late.)

72) 1 Cor 7:11b . . and let not the husband put away his wife.

NOTE: there is of course an exception to that rule.

†. Mtt 19:9 . . I say unto you: whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery

Fornication in the case of a married woman is adultery; which, in the economy of God, is a death offense for both genders.

†. Lev 20:10 . . And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

†. Deut 22:22 . . If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman.

Additionally, if a girl marries a guy under the false pretense of being a virgin, that too is a death offense. (Deut 22:13-21)

Even though there is no death penalty in the USA for either adultery or fornication, the Bible accounts the offender to be a dead-man-walking, leaving the victim of infidelity free to divorce and remarry. It could be said that in cases of infidelity, divorce papers are the adulterer's death certificate.

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Christianity's Commandments (09)

73) 1Cor 7:12 . . If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

74) 1Cor 7:13 . . And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

NOTE: marrying an unbeliever is of course strictly forbidden (1Cor 7:39, 2Cor 6:14-18). However, it is very common for households to become religiously divided during marriage; like for instance when one of the spouses later gets converted at a Luis Palau crusade. As long as this situation doesn't cause intolerable friction in the home, they should stay together.

75) 1Cor 7:15 . . But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

NOTE: If the believer has to compromise their religious principles in order to keep the peace at home, then that would be justifiable cause for separation.

†. Amos 3:3 . . Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

They can walk together only if one, or both, is willing to compromise— and compromise in matters of faith is never a good thing for a Christian.

†. 1Cor 16:13 . .Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

†. Jude 1:3 . . Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

76) 1Cor 7:17 . . But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk.

77) 1Cor 7:18a . . Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised.

NOTE: it was of course impossible to literally reverse circumcision in Paul's day. However, there did exist a procedure to ceremoniously reverse it. (cf. 1Mcc 1:15)

78) 1Cor 7:18b . . Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.

The circumcision is question is ritual circumcision; which is an initiation rite into Judaism.

A fair question one might ask is: If 1Cor 7:18b is a hard and fast rule, then why did Paul circumcise Timothy at Acts 16:1-3? Answer: that wasn't done to initiate Timothy into Judaism, but rather, so that the Jews wouldn't make an issue of Paul associating with a Gentile who had no respect for their religion and thereby self-render themselves tone deaf to the Gospel. This very same prOBlem exists today among people who fixate on the King James English translation of the Bible. They will not listen to a teacher, not even a Spirit-endowed teacher, unless he quotes from the KJV.

Missionary Tip: A wise Bible teacher won't restrict himself to just one English translation; but will accommodate his audience so he doesn't lose its attention just as Paul accommodated certain of the Jews so he wouldn't lose their attention.

79) 1Cor 7:20 . . Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

NOTE: in other words: Bloom where you're planted. There's no need to quit your jOB and sell your home in order to run off to God knows where and start an orphanage in some third world country. God can make use of you right where you are.

I once knew a really good Catholic man who felt guilty never going out as a missionary to a foreign land to help people less fortunate than himself. Well, I assured him that somebody has to stay back here in the States and hold down a jOB in order to earn the money needed to finance missions already in place.

You know, the ratio of soldiers in the rear compared to the ones at the front is something like six to one. It takes a massive support base to keep guys on the line out there facing off with the bad guys; all the way from workers in state-side factories manufacturing war materiel, to the sailors and airmen moving men and materiel over land and seas, to the doctors and nurses staffing M.A.S.H. facilities, to the guys and girls driving supply trucks to the front. We can't all be in the doo-doo. Somebody has to be in the rear with the gear. Compare 1Sam 30:1-25 and Mtt 20:1-16. So take comfort in knowing that if you're involved in the effort, then you're a part of the effort; and will be rewarded accordingly.

80) 1Cor 7:21 . . Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.

NOTE: a slave earns no wages; but a free man does. So, then, use that freedom to earn to help finance the Lord's enterprises, and to assist those less fortunate than yourself; bearing in mind that charity begins at home.

†. 1Tim 5:8 . . But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

81) 1Cor 7:23 . .Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

NOTE: though literal slavery is no longer legal in America, it's still possible for U.S. citizens to sell their souls, if you know what I mean.

82) 1Cor 7:24 . . Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

NOTE: are you a welder? Therein abide with God. Are you in the 6th grade? Therein abide with God. Are you locked away in San Quentin? Therein abide with God. Are you a corporate president? Therein abide with God. Are you a stay at home mom? Therein abide with God. Are you a US Senator? Therein abide with God. Whoever you are, wherever you are, and in whatever situation you find yourself: therein abide with God; for the Bible's God is not the god of a mosque nor the god of a Vatican, but rather, the god of life.

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Christianity's Commandments (10)

83) 1 Cor 7:25-28 . . Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath OBtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned.

NOTE: The "present distress" relates to circumstances that make it difficult and/or inadvisable to settle down and raise a family, e.g. Jer 16:1-4 and Mtt 24:19-22. However, if people are already engaged, Paul says not to break it off, and quick to point out that marriage, overall, doesn't displease God; after all, men and women were intended to be couples rather than specimens.

†. Gen 2:18 . . And the Lord God said: It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

The Hebrew word for "help" means aid, as in first aid rather than aide as in aide-de-camp. Aid is what we lend to people in need; like the Haitians and/or the people of Pakistan and China who've recently been victims of earthquakes and floods. So then, woman was created, first and foremost, to be the man's crutch.

I've heard it said that a man without a woman is only half a man. No, it's far more correct to say he's handicapped. He may not know he's handicapped, but when the right girl finally comes along, he'll wonder how he ever got along without her. In other words, procreation is only secondary in marriage. The primary purpose of marriage is companionship; and a marriage built on anything less is doomed to be rocky.

I caught a few moments of a televised interview with Valerie Bertinlli one day and the moderator was asking questions about her 24-year marriage to Eddy Van Halen. Valerie said it was okay at first until one day, after the magic wore off, she realized that she and her husband were never really friends. She had literally married a stranger. Valerie was your typical star-struck moron when she married Eddy, and too late she realized marrying a man while under the heady influence of hero-worship is a terrible mistake.

84) 1Cor 7:36 . . But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

NOTE: we have a saying in America that goes like this: So and so married what's her name and made an honest woman out of her. Well, most grown-ups know what that means without me having to say so. The point is: if a man and his significant other find themselves on the brink of exceeding the limits of propriety, it's time to tie the knot.

And then too there's the so-called biological clock that stalks women during their productive years. It's cruel, unthinkable, and utterly selfish of a man to keep a girl on hold during those years if and when he's fully aware that she's longing to settle down and have a family of her own.

85) 1Cor 7:39 . . A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must be in the Lord.

NOTE: when people sound-bite a verse like that one out of context, they run the risk of coming to some very false conclusions; and one of those is that Christians can never, under any circumstances, divorce and remarry. Well, OBviously they can, under certain circumstances. However, a Christian ex-wife has to be careful not to re-marry outside her faith as that would be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

86) 1Cor 8:4-13 . . As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols: we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

. . . Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.

. . . But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; and through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

NOTE: 1Cor 8:4-13 can be said to be a codicil to the 14th chapter of Romans.

Putting this into a modern context is pretty simple; e.g. here in Oregon we have tavern-style restaurants; viz: a portion of the tavern is a bar, and another portion is dedicated to dining. The bar portions usually host State-sanctioned gambling machines too. Suppose you have Christian friends who seriously feel it's wrong to patronize a tavern-style restaurant because of the alcohol and the gambling.

Though you yourself might be comfortable in your own mind that there is no sin in dining at taverns, your friends are not so sure. So if you were to take them to a tavern, they would be committing sin in compromising their principles; and you would be committing sin by putting them in a situation that causes them to make that compromise.

A pertinent example is Hooters; where the waitresses are cute buxom girls filled out in all the right places clothed in short shorts, and clingy tops; so that the situation is a double whammy of sex and alcohol. Supposing your Christian buddy seriously feels it's wrong to patronize Hooters? Then you would be wrong in taking him there for a burger even if you were convinced in your own mind there is nothing wrong with Hooters because you would be leading your Christian buddy into a situation that causes him to compromise his principles.

The Bible says that Christians should please others to their edification . Well, when we please ourselves to their detriment; that's being selfish. Some guys feel that buxom girls are a God-send, while other guys regard them as the Devil in disguise. The correct route here is to accommodate the more sensitive conscience.

This is one of those situations that requires the individual to be convinced in their own mind whether Hooters is wrong for himself or okay (Rom 14:5) and God forbid you should criticize a fellow Christian who patronizes Hooters because this is indeed one of those gray areas and just who are you to pontificate the rules (Rom 14:3-4). It's unfortunate that there are some very imperious Christians out and about who see nothing wrong with bullying others to compromise their principles just so long as they get their own way.

†. Rom 15:1-3 . .We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written: The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

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Christianity's Commandments (11)

87) 1Cor 9:7-12 . .Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes?

. . . For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 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.

NOTE: detractors sometimes find it necessary to criticize the Bible's Jesus for free-loading and imposing on people wherever he went. But when you think about it; the Lord earned every so-called free meal he ever got. Jesus' miracles healed thousands of people in Israel during a time when health care and medical technology were all but non-existent. His countrymen owed the Lord a huge national debt of gratitude; just as the Hmong family next door owed Walt Kowalski a debt of gratitude for protecting them from gang-bangers in Clint Eastwood's movie: Gran Torino.

(Walt is funny. He's a hard-bitten old war veteran who cares little for Asian food, and even less for the Asians that cook it; but when his Hmong neighbors brought him dumplings; Walt caved: proving yet once again the old adage that the way to a man's heart is through his tummy.)

88) 1Cor 9:13-14 . . Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

NOTE: Paul's reference is to the Levitical priests in the Old Testament. A number of the sacrifices and offerings their constituents brought to the Temple were dedicated to not just sustaining a friendly association with God, but also to nourishing the priests. (e.g. Ex 29:31-32, Lev 2:1-10, Lev 7:11-15)

In other words: pitch in and help provide your church's pastor with a decent standard of living. This is not optional; no, it's something that the Lord has ordained; viz: instituted.

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Christianity's Commandments (12)

89) 1 Cor 9:24 . . Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may OBtain.

NOTE: this race isn't for people struggling to become Olympians; but rather, for people who are already Olympians; they're in the games; they've qualified; and the prize isn't heaven, but rather, a performance award. (cf. 1Cor 3:10-15)

90) 1 Cor 10:7 . . Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written: The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

NOTE: the Bible doesn't provide much detail at Ex 32:1-6 as to what went on in camp while Moses was up on the mountain. The Hebrew word for "play" at Ex 32:6 is tsachaq (tsaw-khak') which means: merriment. It's the very same word at Gen 26:8 depicting Isaac's sport with his wife Rebecca; which is a kind of sporting that unmistakably says people are lovers. In other words, the people indulged in a kind of golden-calf revelry that included wild parties, gluttony, and orgies.

FYI: biblical gluttony is not the same as going out to a buffet and over-eating, it's more like bulimia. Party-goers stuffed themselves then went outside and regurgitated so they could come back in and continue eating and drinking.

91) 1Cor 10:8 . . Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

NOTE: that event took place at Num 25:1-9

92) 1Cor 10:9 . . Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

NOTE: that event took place at Num 21:5-9. It's noteworthy due to the fact that Christ appropriated it at John 3:14-18 to illustrate the necessity, and the efficacy, of his crucifixion. But anyway, the lesson is that it's potentially fatal to complain about the quality of God's providence.

93) 1Cor 10:10 . . Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

NOTE: that event took place at Num 14:2-38. The "murmuring" grew into a pretty large anti-God protest. Anon it became violent and came within a hair's breadth of culminating in Moses' assassination. That was a very grave moment in Israel's history

94) 1Cor 10:11-12 . . Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

NOTE: the conduct of Yhvh's people didn't bring about their return to Egypt because they were a "redeemed" people and God can't go back on that. However, their conduct did cause them to "fall" that is: fall out of favor with God; resulting in a number of them dying before their time. That's still a risk.

†. Rom 8:13 . . For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

†. 1John 5:16-17 . . If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

Sin that leads to death isn't a specific sin. It's different for everybody. What might be a lethal sin for me, may not be all that serious for you. I mean, look at David; he committed the awful sins of premeditated murder and adultery, yet God allowed him to live (2Sam 11:1-2Sam 12:14). But when Ananias and his wife Sapphira lied about the money they got for the sale of their property, they were summarily executed. (Acts 5:1-10)

95) 1 Cor 10:14 . .Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

NOTE: from the passages above, it's apparent that there's far more to idolatry than just bowing to figurines and statues. OBviously it's possible to be an idolater without the use of sculptures and/or paintings.

The koiné Greek word for "flee" is pheugo (fyoo'-go) which in many of its applications in the New Testament means to run for your life.

C.L.I.F.F.
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Christianity's Commandments (13)

96) 1Cor 10:24 . . Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.

NOTE: that's just a reiteration of the golden rule.

†. Mtt 7:12 . . All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

I once took a city slicker friend out shooting in the Oregon woods with a cowboy style six-gun. In typical wrangler fashion he yelled yahoo and fired the six-gun up into the air before I could stop him. It then became necessary for me to remind my friend that bullets eventually come down and can quite possibly hit someone off in the distance; maybe even a child. Drive-by shooters know this, but they're typically psychopathic so it's to be expected they don't care where their bullets go. However, I should hope no Christian reading this is psychopathic; but will think about their words and actions before those words and actions impact an innocent person's life in a way that's not easily repaired.

97) 1Cor 10:25-26 . .Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.

NOTE: a percentage of the meat sold by vendors in Corinth was either blessed by, or dedicated to, heathen deities. Paul instructed his friends to avoid asking which was which since it doesn't matter to the Bible's God if the foods Christians ingest are religiously tainted without their knowledge.

98) 1Cor 10:27 . . If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.

NOTE: in other words, this is one of those "don't ask, don't tell" situations.

99) 1 Cor 10:28-29 . . But if any man say unto you: "This is offered in sacrifice unto idols" eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof: conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other

NOTE: if you go ahead and dine in a non-Christian friend's home where you know in advance the food is either dedicated to, or blessed by, a heathen deity, or that when they say grace around the table it will be to a god other than your own; then your host is quite possibly going to come to the conclusion that his religion is just as valid as yours.

This is not saying that Catholics and Protestants can't eat together and/or pray together around the table; nor is it saying that Christians and Jews can't eat together and pray together around the table: not when Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Christians are all praying to the same God: just from a different perspective. I will say this though: if you are a Catholic host, and your guests are either Protestants or Jews; for God's sake DO NOT pray to Jesus' mom around the table. That is extremely offensive to Protestants and Jews, and totally unnecessary anyway when you can just as easily say grace to the one God common to both you and your non-Catholic guests.

100) 1Cor 10:31 . .Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

NOTE: Moses' covenanted law says pretty much the very same thing. One's love of God is demonstrated by their compliance with His wishes.

†. Deut 6:4-5 . . Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

†. Mrk 12:30 . . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength

Ironically, it isn't even necessary to particularly like the Bible's God in order to love Him. Comply with His wishes first and you can work on liking Him later: because compliance is paramount.

†. John 14:21. . He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me:

†. John 14:23-24 . . If a man love me, he will keep my words . . . he that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings

†. John 15:14 . .Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

†. 1John 5:3 . . For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments

†. 1Sam 15:22-23 . . Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in OBeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to OBey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

†. Isa 66:2 . . But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

101) 1Cor 10:32-33 . . Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

NOTE: Webster's defines self-seeking as: the act, or practice, of selfishly advancing one's own ends, and 2) seeking only to further one's own interests

NOBel prize winner John Nash discredited self-seeking in his economic theory. He felt that it's possible to not only do yourself the better good, but at the same time to do it in such a way that your efforts mesh with the efforts of others so that all benefit.

Webster's defines that principle as synergism; which is the interaction of discrete agencies, agents, or conditions such that the total effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects.

We here in America admire rugged individualism. However, individualism may be effective, and even necessary, in some pursuits, but overall, it's a self-seeking way of life that cares little for its effects on the lives of others. This puts us right back to 1Cor 10:24 and the golden rule.

102) 1Cor 11:1 . .Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

NOTE: in the Catholic religion, a "saint" is a role model for others. Well, there's two for starters: Mr. Paul and Messiah Jesus.

C.L.I.F.F.
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Christianity's Commandments (14)

103) 1Cor 11:3-10 . . 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. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

. . . For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

NOTE: a surprising piece of information comes out in that passage. Though the wording of Gen 1:26-28 suggests that women were created in the image of God; they actually weren't; no, according to Paul, they were created in Adam's image. Where Adam was created directly from dust in the image and glory of God; Eve wasn't, no she was manufactured not from dust, but from the organic tissues of a man (Gen 2:21-13). So then, since Eve was, organically, Adam's first child, then all women, including Jesus' mom, are subordinate to men.

†. Gen 3:16 . .He shall rule over thee.

†. Ex 20:12 . . Honor thy father and thy mother

Eve had no mother, but she did have a father— Mr. Adam. So then, contrary to feminist humanism's rabid protests, women will never be equal to men in the natural order of things. No, they will always be daddy's little girl. Ergo: women aren't from Venus after all; no, they are actually from Mars.

Why are there so many female personnel serving in the military these days; and why do so many female role models on television and in the movies carry guns and abuse men? Easy. Because though they might wear a veil in church, they would rather be dead than wear one over their hearts. I recently saw a military recruiting ad on television showing a young woman manning a large caliber machine gun. There's something terribly out of harmony with God in a young woman who's comfortable killing men with a machine gun. Where's the veil in that scenario?

(Kelly Ripa once made the remark that guys should always pay the restaurant tab for their dates because women are the ones who have the babies. Well, my question is, who gave birth to Eve? Since women owe their existence to Adam, then maybe they should be the ones paying the tab.)

Anyway, point being, Jesus' mom was manufactured with the glory of a man, while Christ was manufactured with the glory of God.

†. John 1:14 . . John 1:14 . . (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

†. Heb 1:1-3 . . God . . hath in these last days spoken unto us by His son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person

The koiné Greek word for "express image" is character (khar-ak-tare') which means: an engraving.

The various mints in the US produce coins by engraving. But they don't do it with carving tools, but rather with upper and lower metal dies in a mechanical press; viz: they're stamped. In this way, they can produce millions of coins that are precise imprints of the dies. Auto manufacturers make car parts the same way on assembly lines with powerful tools call drop hammers.

Now, note the progression. The Hebrew word in Gen 1:26-17 for Adam's likeness of God is tselem (tseh'-lem) which means: a phantom; viz: a shadow.

So then the dignity of Jesus' mom was that of the glory she derived from a shadow, while her son's glory is that of a solid stamping. In other words, God pressed the image of a God into Christ, while Adam pressed the image of a man into Mary. Who then should be given the greater respect? Christ or his mom? Duh.

†. John 14:8-10 . . Philip saith unto him: Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him: Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then: Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

Some take 1Cor 11:3-10 to mean that Christian women should cover their faces in church. No, the focus is upon a Christian woman's hair, not her face. A scarf or hat would suffice for that purpose; and it need not totally OBscure her hair like a burkha; after all what we're after here is merely a "token" of female submission. Even something no bigger than a little doily would suffice for that purpose.

But let me be quick to point out that the venue is narrow; viz: Christian women are urged to cover their hair only when they pray or prophecy in the presence of God's men (which by definition includes their Christian husbands) rather than in the presence of the world's men, or when they're alone, or in the presence of God's women. So then, ladies' prayer groups, ladies' Bible studies, and/or ladies' missionary societies; etc, are exempt.

The whole idea is that the covering— whether it be scarf, cap, beret, tam, or hat —be a sign; viz: a testimony that women owe their existence to a man, and that they were not created to be served by men, nor were they created equal to men, nor were they created in the image of God as men were; but they were created from a man, after the man, and for the express purpose of supporting a man (Gen 2:18-23 and Gen 3:16). Basically, men have the primogeniture. That can't be very good news to feminists.

When a Christian woman covers her hair with something when she prays and/or prophesies, she's declaring her subordination not just to God, but more importantly, to men of God. This is prOBably a mite difficult for American women since their culture encourages them to compete with men, to stand up to men, and assert not only their equality with men; but also their independence. Subordination to men really chafes some women, even so called "Christian" women; and really puts their professed devotion to God to the acid test. American woman who know their place in the scheme of things are pretty rare.

Common OBjection: You've taken those passages out of their appropriate historical context. In no way are Christian women of today required to cover their hair; nor are Christian women subordinate to Christian men in any way. That was a mandate given to a particular people in a particular place in a particular time. And what about Paul's comment: "But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God" (1Cor 11:16)

I once heard a cute story along that line.

A little girl was out playing in the backyard when she suddenly felt the urge for a snack; so she came in and asked her mommy for a peanut butter sandwich. Well, to the little girl's delight, her mommy put a chocolate chip cookie on the plate along with the sandwich. You see, the little girl's mommy didn't have to add the cookie but she did it anyway because she loved her little girl and wanted to make her happy.

There are Christians doing only what they have to. Those are average Christians— just pew warmers —and they'll get a pew warmer's reward.

†. Luke 17:10 . . So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say: We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Others are going the extra mile for the Lord because they want to not only OBey Him, but also to make Him happy.

†. 1 John 3:22 . . And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

Paul's entire statement, from 1Cor 11:3 to 11:16 is an appeal to reason.

†. 1Cor 11:13 . . Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?

If, in their own better judgment, hair coverings for Christian women aren't for today, then I really have to wonder how that OBjector became so conceited as to actually believe their own judgment is superior to an apostle's.

NOTE: "prophecy" as it's generally understood in the Bible, is broad rather than strictly predicting the future. When people speak for God in any capacity— whether in a locker-room bull session, on a forum, in a chat room, in evangelism, or in Sunday school —they are prophesying; which is why people wearing the Christian label need to be very careful when they discuss the Bible with others.

†. 1Pet 4:11 . . If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God

So then, if somebody cannot speak for God, and as God, when they explain the Bible, then they need to sit down and shut up; and that goes for both men and women speakers.

The identity of the angels in verse 10 is prOBably best understood as not the holy angels, but rather the angels of Rev 2:1-3:22; which aren't spirit beings, but rather, human beings; in other words: church managers; viz: the pastors. The koiné Greek word is aggelos (ang'-el-os); which just simply means: a messenger. So then, an "angel" is basically somebody who speaks for God and/or as God; whether human or divine; and women who lead prayer meetings, or teach Sunday school and/or catechism classes, certainly fall into the prophet category.

For example: Abraham was a prophet (Gen 20:7). How so? He was his own camp's spiritual advisor. (Gen 18:19)

C.L.I.F.F.
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104) 1 Cor 11:27-30 . .Whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

NOTE: It utterly baffles me how the minds of some people see an act of homicide 1Cor 11:27-30. According to a footnote in the current official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church, partaking of the Lord's supper unworthily isn't an act of homicide, but rather, a personal insult. Look at this example:

†. 1Cor 6:18 . . he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

Is fornication an act of homicide? No, of course not. Good lord, the way some people construe the meanings of the Bible's words is just shameful!

The koiné Greek word for "unworthily" is anaxios (an-ax-ee'-oce) which means: irreverently; which Webster's defines as: lacking proper respect or seriousness.

The koiné word for "examine" in that passage is dokimazo (dok-im-ad'-zo) which is an ambiguous word that can mean test, approve, evaluate, and/or examine; and is used in a wide variety of applications; for example:

†. Luke 12:56 . . Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?

†. 1Cor 3:12-13 . . Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

In order to properly apply anaxios and dokimazo in 1Cor 11:27-30 it's essential to do so in their context; which begins at 11:17 and extends down to 11:34.

What had happened in the Corinthian church was that its members had lost sight of the purpose of their meeting together in the first place. The cross was supposed to be their focal point; but the Corinthians had marginalized the cross and instead were meeting together for social purposes replete with food and beverage.

The examining Paul commands is to be very sure one's heart is in the right place. A Christian's motive for attending church should be for commemorating the cross rather than for a carnal purpose like a church buffet. In other words, church is not the place for dinner parties. You can eat and drink all you want at home; but when Christians assemble together on the first day of the week, their focus should be upon God's son, and upon what he went through to ransom their souls from the wrath of God. Failure to do so can actually result in God striking a Christian with bad health and/or an untimely death.

NOBody should be permitted to partake of the elements of the Lords supper unless they first understand what it's all about; therefore it's an excellent idea for a pastor to take time beforehand to re-instruct his congregation as to the significance of the ritual especially as it pertains to the satisfaction of justice for the sins of man.

†. 1Cor 11:26 . . For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

The koiné Greek word for "shew" is kataggello (kat-ang-gel'-lo) which means: to proclaim, to promulgate. Webster's defines promulgate as: to make known by open declaration. In other words, the Lord's supper should never be done in private behind closed doors; but rather, right out in the open where the whole congregation, both believers and unbelievers, can see it like an advertisement plastered up on a billboard along a state highway.

The Lord's supper advertises that the Bible's God cannot sweep sins under the rug; it was therefore absolutely necessary for Christ to be executed.

†. 1John 2:2 . . He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

†. 1John 4:10 . . Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins

Webster's defines propitiate as: to gain, or regain, the favor or goodwill of; viz: appease and/or conciliate (cf. Rom 5:6-11). In other words, Christ's crucifixion satisfies justice; thus making it possible for the Bible's hell-fire God to let sinners off— sans His son's crucifixion, nOBody would escape the reservoir of liquefied flame depicted at Rev 20:11-15.

It only stands to reason that if the Bible's God were to sweep sins under the rug instead of dragging them to justice, He himself would be guilty of the crime of OBstructing justice. The Bible's God is a jurist of the highest possible integrity who can't— as so many US presidents seem able to do —let people off without somebody first paying for their crimes. The scales of justice have to balance; and the Bible's God will settle for nothing less.

†. Mrk 10:45 . . For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Webster's defines a ransom as: a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity

That's the message of the Lord's supper.

BTW: the Lord's supper was instituted in private behind closed doors; but where is it now? It's right out in full public view on the pages of the New Testament for all the world to see.

C.L.I.F.F.
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Christianity's Commandments (16)

105) 1Cor 11:33-34 . .Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation.

NOTE: The gist of the matter is: The Lord's supper isn't supposed to be a meal, nor is it supposed to be an individual act like blessing yourself with holy water on your way inside. It's a congregational act rather than an individual act; and it's a symbol rather than nourishment so people shouldn’t be heaping piles of tasty bread on their plates and filling gOBlets with wine as if they were out to dinner at a nice restaurant where they bring you a basket of French/Italian bread and a beverage of your choice prior to the main course being served.

†. 1 Cor 11:17-22 . . Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

. . .When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

How on earth the Christians at Corinth had turned the Lord's supper into a time of banqueting is beyond me; and they even broke into caste groups rather than maintaining congregational unity. In college, study groups are important, but they are also elitist. Sometimes the study group you're in is even more important to your status on campus than the subject your group is studying.

That should never happen in a Christian church. Everybody is equal at the foot of the cross whether you're Nike's kingpin sequestered in the throne room of its lavish headquarters in Beaverton Oregon, or a worker in an Asian sweatshop that makes Philip Knight's shoes. In church no one sinner is better than another; all are sinners— Christ gave his life for Beaverton as well as for Asia.

The Christians at Corinth had actually marginalized Christ, totally losing sight of the terrible price the Lord paid to ransom their souls from the wrath of God. You can just imagine how insulting that must be for Jesus and his Father; not to mention its effect upon their feelings.

106) 1Cor 12:24-27 . . For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

NOTE: It's sad that congregations have been reduced to the level of an audience in some churches rather than valued and respected as legitimate pieces of Christ's body. Churches might just as well start selling tickets to their sermons and Sunday schools; and set up red carpets outside where rank and file pew warmers might ooh and ahh over the Cadillac Escalades and Lexus LX10's driven by their church's celebrities; admire the fashions, cheer, lick shoes, snap photos, and ask for autographs from church staff.

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Christianity's Commandments (17)

107) 1Cor 14:1a . . Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts

NOTE: the koiné Greek word for "charity" is agape (ag-ah'-pay) which means: love. One of the salient characteristics of love is its willingness to stifle its own interests for the benefit of others. Love isn't a show-off either. Love should be the impetus in any exercise of spiritual gifts; viz: gifts are for the benefit of others rather than one's self.

108) 1Cor 14:1b . . but rather that ye may prophesy.

NOTE: prophecy isn't strictly limited to foretelling the future, but more importantly, a prophet is an inspired individual who is very skilled and effective at teaching, explaining, and applying the Bible; viz: a character-builder rather than a mood enhancer.

A soloist, a choir, a pianist or an organist may entertain the congregation, and put it in a temporary spiritual mood, but typically do nothing to improve the congregation's character. It's the character-building gifts that are the most valuable inside the church.

109) 1Cor 14:13 . . Let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

NOTE: a charismatic once told me that he prayed in a tongue because he couldn't express his feelings any other way. Mind you this was an American adult of almost fifty years old; educated in America and spoke English his entire life. So I asked him how it is that his command of the English language was so poor that he could only express himself in a language that no one could understand; not even himself. That wasn't Paul's way.

†. 1Cor 14:14-15 . . For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

110) 1Cor 14:22a . .Tongues are for a sign

However, the sign isn't intended for the benefit of believers, but rather, for non-believers.

†. 1Cor 14:22b . . not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

The purpose of any tongue is communication; so if a tonguer is speaking a language nOBody understands, he's actually created a barrier to communication, and the purpose of the tongue is defeated.

†. 1Cor 14:6-9 . . Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

Since tongues are for the benefit of unbelievers, then it's de facto they're supposed to be used as an evangelistic tool rather than an edifying tool. Somebody who exercises a tongue for any other reason has missed the point; and they're behaving like a little kid with a toy.

111) 1Cor 14:20 . . Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

†. 1Cor 14:23-25 . . If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

112) 1Cor 14:27-28 . . If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

NOTE: tonguers are not permitted to speak all at one time like a mOB of drunken sailors. They are to take turns; speaking one at a time, rather than an entire congregation together. And if there's no one to interpret, tonguers are not permitted to speak at all. If Christians the world over followed those rules, it would put the charismatics out of business in less than two week-ends.

These directives regulating the exercise of tongues in a church meeting were written by the apostle Paul— a duly authorized agent speaking on behalf of the Bible's Christ.

†. 1Cor 14:37 . . If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of The Lord.

†. 1Ths 2:13 . . When ye received the word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

†. 1Ths 4:1-2 . . We beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.

So then, when Christians proceed to disOBey the rules regulating the exercise of tongues, they are in shameful rebellion against the very lord and master of New Testament Christianity; and yet, ironically, still have the chutzpah to pass themselves off as his followers. A follower can be defined as someone who gets in step and/or falls in line.

†. 1John 1:6 . . If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth

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Christianity's Commandments (18)

113) Cor 14:29 . . Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

114) 1Cor 14:30-31 . . If anything be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

NOTE: that isn't permission to derail a Sunday school class with wild-eyed epiphanies. The directive is restricted to those who actually have the gift of prophecy rather than the gift of gab; in other words: truly inspired individuals.

What he's saying is: Sunday school shouldn't be a filibuster. If a truly inspired person seated in the room knows something helpful, they should be allowed to share it with the rest so that everybody (including the teacher) benefits from their Spirit-endowed insight.

And it should go without saying; the inspired person's comments should not digress; viz: they should be on-topic; that is: solidly pertinent to the subject at hand. It's all too common for Sunday school classes to go off on tangents and in effect hijack the morning and render it completely disconnected from the leader's agenda. I'm a firm believer in the freedom of speech (and the freedom of the ear) but not to the point of making a nuisance of one's self and infringing on the rights of others. Freedoms are precious blessings that should be utilized wisely by wise people; viz: by grown-ups.

†. 1Cor 14:32 . . The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

Though God endows certain Spirit-selected people in church with the gift of prophecy (1Cor 12:4-11) it is not He who endows them with the impulse to talk out of turn. Self control is their responsibility; not His.

†. 1Cor 14:33 . . For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

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Christianity's Commandments (19)

115) 1Cor 14:34 . . Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under OBedience, as also saith the law.

NOTE: the "law" to which Paul refers is Gen 3:16— "To the woman He said: he shall rule over you"

1Cor 14:33-34 seems to contradict 1Cor 11:3-10 where the author permitted women to pray and/or prophecy in church just so long as they wear something on their hair to indicate a Christian woman's subordination to Christian men. However; there are limits to that privilege.

†. 1Tim 2:11-13 . . Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

In other words, men have the primogeniture and therefore it is a disgrace for Christian women to assume equality with Christian men in a Christian church.

It never fails that there's always at least one assertive, confrontational female in the crowd impassioned to countermand Paul's instructions with other of Paul's instructions. For example:

†. Gal 3:27-28 . . For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

However, Paul is speaking of unity in Gal 3:27-28 while in places like 1Cor 14:34 and 1Tim 2:11-13 he's speaking of authority; and in matters of authority, there is eo ipso limited equality because somebody has to be the superior and somebody has to be the subordinate. In Christian churches; gender-wise, females are the designated subordinates. So then, they have no right to sit on a church board, nor to pastor a church, nor to lead an adult Sunday school class. In point of fact, the women in adult Sunday school classes aren't even so much as permitted to open their mouths and participate in discussions.

116) 1 Cor 14:35 . . And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

NOTE: Christian women are forbidden to participate in spiritual discussions when Christian men are present. So then, what's a Christian wife to do if her Christian husband is spiritually inept? Well, have Mr. Inept pass her question on to somebody who knows a thing or two and then get back to her. If she's married to a non-Christian husband, then she should route her question via one of the Christian women married to a Christian husband; but it's especially important to guard against permitting another man to come between women and their husbands.

117) 1Cor 14:37 . . If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

NOTE: if your Sunday school, or your catechism class, is being captained by somebody who disagrees with Paul; believe me, you have a serious prOBlem because it indicates that your leader is only human rather than inspired.

118) 1Cor 14:38 . . But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

NOTE: in other words; don't argue with a Bible teacher who's only human; it will just be throwing good money after bad. Instead, leave his/her class to themselves and you get yourself out of there pronto.

119) 1 Cor 14:39-40 . . Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.

NOTE: things like incoherent blabbering, talking out of turn, digression, and impudent women; are neither sensible nor orderly; no, they're chaos, anarchy, bedlam, annoying, rude, disruptive, and on a par with heathenism.

†. 1Sam 15:22-23 . . Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in OBeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to OBey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

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Christianity's Commandments (20)

120) 1Cor 15:34 . . Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

NOTE: Paul's directive is in connection with the Corinthians' ignorance of the fundamentals of resurrection (1Cor 15:12-33) which are labeled elsewhere as baby food. (Heb 5:11-6:3)

People who subsist on Gerber's products are "dull of hearing" That doesn't mean they have wax in their ears. It just means that they are too immature to handle certain concepts because they cannot be understood without first understanding something simpler first; for example things like arithmetic. There's no use in trying to teach an infant the principles of long division. That would be about like strapping a parachute on the little guy and expecting him to pull the rip cord on his own at two thousand feet. You just have to be realistic about some things.

†. 1Cor 3:1-2 . . And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

The "brethren" in the Corinthian church included its managers; viz: pastors, deacons, elders, and Sunday school teachers. It's not that Corinth's rank and file pew warmers were un-teachable, it's just that their instructors were inept. That's still a prOBlem in churches even to this day. So instead of getting led, those congregations end up being misled.

I once attended a Conservative Baptist church here in Oregon where the Sunday school teacher assigned to one of the adult classes was a seminary student. Part of his degree program was to teach a certain number of hours in a real church. Anyway, one morning his text was this: "This I say then: walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Gal 5:16)

Mr. Seminary Student commented that he didn't get up that morning with the goal of walking in the Spirit throughout the day primarily because he had no clue how it was done.

Thunderstruck at the realization that my wife and I were being led in Sunday school by a man speaking for God who would announce such a thing, I stood up and asked for a show of hands of anyone, or anybody, in the room who was walking in the Spirit that morning. The only response I got in return was a roomful of silent, wide-eyed faces who looked like I'd just announced the end of the world. NOBody was walking in the Spirit, and Mr. Seminary Student was standing off to the side looking as embarrassed as a kid who just soiled his knickers.

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