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Showing posts from January, 2015

Genesis 4: What makes an acceptable offering?

Almost everyone knows at least the basics of the story of Cain and Abel.

Two brothers each made an offering to God.
God accepted one brother's offering, but rejected the other's.
The brother whose offering was not accepted became jealous of the  praise his brother received and killed him in a jealous rage.

What do you think is the point of this story?
Murder is wrong? No that's too obvious Don't be bitter, but learn your lesson? Better, but no. I believe the point of the story is to teach us the difference between an acceptable offering and an unacceptable one. In a previous post I contrasted the God of Israel with the false god's of the ancient world. In the false religions of the ancient world, human beings were created to be slaves to the the god's. The gods had needs, and the worship of humanity was supposed to literally be food to them. The God who reveals himself to Israel however, is the source of everything. The true God is all powerful. He doesn't…

3rd John: Gaius and Diotrephes. A Leson in Hospitality

3rd John teaches the importance of hospitality by contrasting the character of two very different men.

John dispatched this letter to a church whose name is lost to us now, through a man called Demetrius. Demetrius, however, is not sent to the head of the church, but rather, to a man named Gaius. Why?

It seems a man named Diotrepehes had assumed a position of power in the church, and in an attempt to jealously guard his position, began bad mouthing John and other leaders. He also refused to welcome messengers sent from other churches and if anybody else did so - he kicked them out of the church. 3JN 1:9

Now it is very likely that John knew Gaius personally and may have played a part in his conversion or early instruction because he refers to him as one of his "children", and he has even heard from previous messengers about his love for the church. 3JN 1:3-4 So John has a pretty good idea that if his messenger (Demetrius,) can't receive welcome from anyone else, he may at…

3rd John: Outline

1:1-1:4   Introduction and Thanksgiving
1:1-3     Greeting vv
1:4       Thanksgiving
1:5-11    Gaius and Diotrephes: A Contrast of Character
1:5-8     The Charge to Gaius
1:9-11    Diotrephes the Troublemaker
1:11-12   Do The Right Thing
1:13-15   Conclusion

Genesis 3: Uncertainty and the Voice of Doubt (The Origin of Evil)

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden '?"  The woman said to the serpent, " From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;  but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.  - Genesis 3:1-6

Genesis 3 tells us about the origin of sin. In both Greek and Hebrew the words we call "sin"…

Does God Care About First Place?

Primogeniture is the custom that teaches that the right of succession belongs to the first born child. And I have heard many people say that the Bible teaches this. I have even seen it used as the foundation for gender roles.  I don't believe that primogeniture is a part of God’s law.  I think it is a human practice that God tolerated for a time, chose to work through, and ultimately seeks to discard. Consider this:

Though God uses the imagery of the first born to communicate something about Jesus
Psalm 89:27, “I also shall make him My first-born, The highest of the kings of the earth." Col. 1:15, "And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation."          Heb. 1:6, "And when He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” Rev. 1:5, "and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us…