EMISSARY^7 (G²)

COMMISIONED by CHRIST 4 SHARING HIS LIFE/KEEPING IT REAL ADMIST THE LIES (II Cor. 5:17-21))

The 411 (i.e. Purpose of the Site)….& My M.O

Before procedding, some definitions for all of us to consider…

em·is·sar·y [ émmi sèrree ] (plural em·is·sar·ies)
noun 
Definition:
 
1. representative: an agent or representative sent on a particular mission
2. spy: a secret agent or spy ( dated )
[Early 17th century. < Latin emissarius “somebody sent out” < emiss-, past participle of emittere (see emit)]

 http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861608158/emissary.html

am·bas·sa·dor [ am bássədər, am bássə dàwr ] (plural am·bas·sa·dors)
noun 
Definition:
 
1. diplomatic representative: a diplomatic official of the highest rank sent by one country as its long-term representative to another
2. official representative: an official representative of an organization or movement
visiting this country as an ambassador for a fund dedicated to saving endangered species
3. unofficial representative: somebody or something regarded as an unofficial representative or a symbol of something
The swallow is an ambassador of spring.
[14th century. Via French ambassadeur< Italian ambasciator< Latin ambactus “vassal” < Gaulish, “servant”]http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/Ambassador.html   At first glane, these two definitons may seem to have nothing in common……but look further & you’ll quickly see that they do. For both involve

That said, these two definitons may seem to have nothing in common…..but if one were to look further, he or she will quickly see that they do, for both involve the action of being SENT on a MISSION, representing someone or something far greater than themselves.\

     The reason I’ve chosen the title Emissary 7 for the Blog (minus the fact that “Emissary” just sounds so cool & I love the Title/ how it’s been used elsewhere…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emissary…..& “7” stands for the 7th number in the Alphabet, which is “G”: The letter of my initials) is because that’s what allof us are called to do.

      An ambassador is an offical representive on behalf of one country to another…..& as believers, we are CHRIST’S ambassadors……SENT on a RESCUE MISSION FOR THE LOST/THOSE WITHOUT THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST AND COMISSIONED with THE TASK OF BRINGING HIS his MESSAGE of RECONCILLIATION TO A HOSTILE WORLD. God has brought us back to himself (renconciles us) by blotting out our sins & making us righteous (Ephesians 2:13-18)…..& what a privelage it is to know that we are no longer God’s enemies, or strangers or foreigners to Him when WE TRUST IN CHRIST. And because we have the privelage of being renconciled to God, we also have the privilege of encouraging others to do the same.

  . However, our jobs as ambassadors isn’t simply a privelage…..but a RESPONSIBILITY AS WELL…..& we DARE NOT TAKE THIS RESPONSIBILITY LIGHTLY,…..FOR WE LIVE ALSO IN A WORLD THAT’S HOSTILE TO GOD..DOMINATED BY LIES…….& sadly, becuase many of us have failed in our responsibility, MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN HINDERED IN COMING TO KNOW GOD/BE SET FREE…..BEING CASUALTIES OF WAR 

        How many individuals do you know who know what it means to have a BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW? Or who think that having one is SILLY/IMPRACTICAL?

Better yet, how many do you know who claim the name of Christ & yet their lifestyle is CONTRARY to the very things He has said……& moreover, how many of you have watched as their lives literally went to hell while they thought everything was cool?

 As Paul said, the World we live in is full of philosophies/man-made approaches to life that seem as if they’re 100% truth/trustworthy….but in reality, they’re designed to destroy us/take us into bondage…..& in order to avoid those things, one must not only know what they are, but he or she must be alert, using their minds to think critically, analyze, KNOW WHAT’S UP, KNOW WHAT THE 411 IS (I.e. THE ISSUES IN OUR SOCIETY THAT ARE TAKING PLACE & study God’s Word IN ORDER TO HAVE HIS LIFE-CHANGING PERSPECTIVE……while alL THE WHILE keeping their eyess on OUR COMMANDER & CHIEF, CHRIST. Truly, just as it would be with a secret agents/EMISSARIES, WE ARE WAR/ON A MISSION……& WE CANNOT FAIL TO NOT BE AWARE OF WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD/The DEVI’LS LAIR:

Colossians 2:8 

 8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ..

That said, it is my hope/aim to do JUST THAT.—BRINGING THE TRUTH ADMIST A WORLD OF LIES…..& HELPING OTHERS COME BACK TO WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW. And To everyone who reads, please pray for me as I’ll be trying my best to keep everyone updated on the issues taking place around us, & TO NEVER FAIL IN TAKING PEOPLE BACK TO WHAT THE WORD OF GOD SAYS…… for whether people wish to acknowledge it or not, the Best/ONLY WORLDVIEW SUITABLE FOR DEALING WITH THE ISSUES OF LIFE IS A BIBLICAL ONE.

 (Ecclesiastes 1:16-18). 
Wisdom Is Meaningless

12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

15 What is twisted cannot be straightened;
what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I thought to myself, “Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.”

17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.

nyone studying Ecclesaistes will quickly realize that there are two kinds of wisdom highlighted in the book: (1) human knowledge, reasoning, or philosophy, and (2) the wisdom that comes from God. In these verses Solomon is talking about human knowledge……& the consequences that come from it.

For The more we know & understand, the more pain & difficulty you experience. For example, the more you know, the more imperfection you see around you………..& when human knowledge ignores God, it ONLY HIGHLIGHTS OUR PROBLEMS because it cannot provide answers without God’s eternal perspective and solution ( (Ecclesiastes 1:16-18). 

Only with the Truth of the Gospel/Good NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST CAN WE BE SAVED (Romans 1:16-18)

Romans 1:16-18 

 16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[a] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[b]

…..& seeing that we who claim the NAME OF CHRIST have been comissioned to be His Ambassadors, His Representives………, In Short, .EMISSARIES, it’s my desire to do that with those of you who’d chose to read/visit here….& that perhaps you’ll all grow to do the same (II Corinthians 5:11-21)

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 

The Ministry of Reconciliation

 11Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.  16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.

 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s AMBASSADORS, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

INFO ABOUT ME:

Sex:

Male

Interested In:

Women

Looking For:

Friendship

Dating

INFO ABOUT ME:

Sex:

Male

Interested In:

Women

Looking For:

Friendship

Dating

Activities I’m Into (& please bear with me as I try to be humorous): Just another intelligent black man (a dying breed, mind you) living it up under pressure, giving it up to the game called life, taking the good with the bad, the pain with the gain, and still keeping it R.E.A.L (Relational, Enlightened/Effective, Authentic, and Lively) in the way I deal while bringing fame, not shame, to the Name… of Christ.

In case anyone was confused as to what I just said/meant (most likely you were), I’m a college student at KSU and seeking to live for the Lord. I’m involved at a campus ministry on KSU called “Wings and Worship” and I’m also an Intern and a Youth Deacon in training in my Youth Group (5979 Youth Ministries), and I’m also a full time brother to my little sister (Risa–already 2 and still going strong-Bless God!) and good son to mi familia.

I’m also an runner (was a cross-country/track n’field runner in Highschool/Middle School…& though not at my prime, I intend to get back soon and have tried throughout the year…it’s gotten better), a singer, a teacher and constantly being “schooled” in the ways of God (In God’s school, I have yet to graduate…probably won’t for a long time comin’n., but I’m still advancing!)

Interests:  

Serving God/being a “light”, lovin’n the the blessings He hands my way, enjoying the life He gives me day by day, Studying/Conveying the W-O-R-D with/to Others, keeping it real for my sistas/brothas (note: for those of you who are not minorities..meaning white people… I’m talkin about ya’ll too so please don’t trip or develop a complex)

Preaching and reaching, singing and teaching, and wanting to bring fame, not shame, to the name of Christ. Seriously, I enjoy ministry and mentoring others (particulary youths in highschool and middle school) and serving others in whatever small ways I can, giving words of encouragement and building others up in the areas they need assistance, relating to others where they’re at,
analyzing/discussing the heavy issues affecting the world (i.e. the decay of absolute morality and rise of relativism/immorality, the dangerous obsession in the U.S with media/pleasure and entertainment, the overall depravity of man, etc.), reading and writing/journaling, spoken word/poerty, exploring (wandering really), dancing, and developing deep lifelong and Christ-Centered/ multi-cultural friendships (note: I don’t just mean where Jesus is merely mentioned in our plans or even a part of the plan, but rather where He is the plan and where we’re not just claiming the Name without having the Nature of Christ ) while living on the Edge of Tommorrow…(i.e. Keeping up with the Times…)

Oh..and I also enjoy music and athletics and just having good time

Favorite Music:  

Tradional Gospel/ Urban Worship (i.e. Destiny Praise, Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Lisa Mclendon, Helen Baylor, Tye Tribbet, CeCe Winans, Byron Cage, GRITS, Da Truth, KJ 57…anything real/deep and clean that I can dance to, sing to, rap about and shout it out so I can get my praise on, HA!…etc). I also enjoy alot of contemporary Chrisitan artists, but mainly old school ones (i.e. D.C Talk, Passion, etc).

Apart from that, I try to stay within the generes of music which can be considered either “clean” (i.e. no profanity, obsecnity, crudness, foolishness, etc…yeah, the beat’s may be slammin’but “garbage in still garbage out”-Galatians 6:1-4) or carrying a positive message while truly dealing with the issues of society. My other favorites are Smooth Jazz/R n B (excluding, of course, the sensual “bump and grind” kind and anything vulgar of course or that would put me in the wrong kind of mood…get my drift?), Old School Tunes (Earth, Wind and Fire, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, etc), Classical and anything either Latin or from the West-Indies (i.e. Regae, Calyspo, etc).

Not much more to say here…

Favorite TV Shows:  

Call me “Old School” if you like cause I’m mainly all about the old school shows (ex. Good Times, The Jeffersons, The Cosby Show, A Different World..I could relate to this show seeing that I went to an historically black college, , Startrek: Next Generation/ Deep Space Nine, ROOTS, etc).

Gotta give it up also for the old school cartoon/animated series from back in the day too (“Batman: Animated Series”, X-Men, “Reboot”, “Beast Wars”, etc…If I seem silly in what I’ve listed, no, I don’t apologize alright?)

Apart from that, and mabye a couple of new shows like “Wild” on Discovery Channel and the History Network, and ocassionally “Showtime at the Apollo”, I really don’t watch much television anymore. Nothing seems really worthile watching. New School really has nothing to offer nowadays…

Favorite Movies:  

Gladiator, The Last Samurai, Saving Private Ryan, Tears of the Sun, Hotel Rwanda, John Q, Remember the Titans, Amistad, A Time to Kill, Sabrina, Batman Begins, Lord of the Rings, The Shawshank Redemption, Les Miserables Honestly, I’ve seen so many that it’s hard to remember all of them and honestly what may be a favorite of mine may vary from time to time. Besides, I’m tired and it’s late at night while I’m writing this

Musicals/Animated:

West Side Story, The Wiz, Beauty and the Beast (Minus the Story of God’s Love for us as shown in the Bible, IMHO, IT’S THE BEST LOVE STORY OF ALL TIME), The Lion King, Mulan (Yeah, I’m givin’n it up for Disney. Gotta give credit where credit is due), All Dogs GO TO HEAVEN, …and of course, The Prince of Egypt (Truly one of best of animated/musical movies of all time and the directors did a real good job of making the movie work, even though it wasn’t entirely accurate, although if you want the real deal about the Exodus, though, gotta go to the Bible…the real version is much better/more intense!)… more will come to my mind later…

Favorite Books:  

The W.O.R.D: Gods love lyric to man. His Words, taken from eternity, placed into time, written on paper by Spirit for all to Hear it and See, that I Could be made free and His glory be seen in me. Truly, what else can compare? (Psalm 1, Psalm 19, II Timothey 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:10-12)

Apart from that, I don’t really have a favorite book, seeing that I’m constantly reading/assimilating knowledge. I mainly tend to draw toward anything dealing with practical Christian living, couseling, and Christian theology/doctrine. I do enjoy the Classics of Christianity (i.e. “Journey to Hell” by John Bunyan, “Mere Christianity” by C.S Lewis, “Morning and Evening” by Charles Spurgeon, etc…the list goes on but there are too many good authors to note!) and contemporary books like “I kissed Dating goodbye”/ “Sex is not the problem (Lust is )” by Joshua Harris, “Rediscovering the Kingdom” by Myles Monroe, “Life on the Edge” by Dr. James Dobson, etc. Other Christian Novels include “This Present Darkness”/”Piercing the Darkness”, and “Redeeming Love”.

Apart from Christian literature, my other favorite type of genere would be African American Literature, specifically slave-narratives (“My Bondage and My freedom” by Fredrick Douglass), and literature from the Reconstruction up to the Harlem Renaissance and beyond (“The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B Dubois, “Their Eyes were watching God”, “Invisible Man”, practically anything by Langston Hughes and countless others)

Favorite Quotes:  
” There is Nothing new under the Sun” (Ecc. 1:9….Sad, but all too true…)

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the pathe of sinners, not sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. Not so the wicked, for they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners int the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” –Psalm 1:1-6–

“True Triumphs are God’s triumphs over us. His defeats of us are our real victories.”-Henry Alford

“That which men spit against heaven shall fall back into their faces.”-Thomas Watson

Eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset…to the wicked, it is a night with no morning.”-Watson

“Man’s way leads to a hopeless end…Gods way leads to an endless hope.”-Anon

“Procrastination..the art of keeping up with yesterday”-Anon

“Truly, no greater fatigue is there known than that of work which is left undone.”-Benjamin Franklin (I think..)

“Sweat…the colonge of Success”-Anon

“Why shop for what you cannot afford?”

“Success… a ladder you cannot climb with your hands in your pockets.”

“I wish you would…( The Black Man’s Creed; whites seem to live by the “I hope” creed…that is, “I hope none one messes with me today, or “I hope he won’t rob me”, but blacks say things like “I wish you would rob me!)-Cedric The Enternanier.
“Keep campaigning for this butt whuppin, you gonna get elected”-Anon

“Don’t Trip…”

“Stop Tripp’n”

“Still Tripp’n?”

“I feel that…”

“Heavy…”

“Sweet!”

“Righteous…”

“Smooth…”

“Holla..”

“Whoa..

“Man..”

“Brah…..

“For Real, Brah..

“SHANDA!!!!”

“Not everyone can become famous but everyone can achieve greatness, for greatness is service” -Martin Luther King

“Not everything that can be counted counts….& not everything that counts can be counted…”
-Albert Einstein

“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity …”-Henry David Thoreau.

“Those who kneel before Jesus can stand before anything.”-Anon

“You no more need a spiritual holiday than your heart needs a holiday from beating…”- Oswald Chambers

“”Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” -Corrie Ten Boom

“But for grace….”

“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ Our Lord! (Romans 7:24..reading the verse in context makes the verse a whole lot more powerful)

“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” (Jude 24-25)

More on My Personality:
  
I’m relational and I’m loyal (that is, to those who I consider my family and friends and who return the favor), transparent and fierce, compassionate and passionate, intense and not one to “sit on the fence”, love to relate and conversate ( preferably one on one conversations…I don’t really like crowds… and I don’t really do well with discussing surface issues for long-periods of time, but I highly enjoy converation which involves sharing what’s going on in a person’s mind/ heart and having productive discussions which I can look back on and remember and appreciate)…

love to analyze, hate not feeling energized (which is why I have trouble often sitting down for long-periods of time, unless I have a really good book I want to read or some kind of quote/poem I’m trying to write somewhere), love to meditate long and I like to think…not so short it seems like I blinked…

Basically, if you can see, I love to chill and I’m still keepin’n real for the Lord Jesus.

I’m Not Perfect, Just Forgiven. Only Because of His Mercy am I still livin’n. Trying to keep it true to the Letter (Word), choosing His ways..not just becasue I have to but comapared to the rest (man/the world’s style) it’s truly better.

By Him alone I’m seek’n to walk the straight and narrow (Matther 7: 13-14), the only way to go. . . But 4 grace, where would I be. Brah, who Knows…who knows? Later…

P.S: The reason I’m rhryming so much is because it helps me to catalog what I’m thinking much more efficiently. If it offends anyone or trips anyone out, so sad..but too bad!!Holla!

Education Info

College:
High School:

Work Info

Employer:

Liberty Church

Position:

Youth/Children Worker

, & I work on the Custodial/Technical Enginerring Staff @ my church

My Learning Style/Further Reason into Why I do as I do: To note (and I hope it doesn’t come off in any way like I’m boasting), When it comes to social/theological issues, RESEARCHING, inquiry, getting as much knowledge as possible and seeking to discover TRUTH that’ll change lives (more than simply desiring to be right/win an argument) is one of my greatest passions.

The passion’s partly due to the myriad of experiences I’ve had growing up and how, going to a Christian Highschool with folks from various denominations (DOMINION CHRISTIAN HIGHSCHOOL….and imagine going from a Charismatic background to being in a pre-dominately Prebysteryian Highschool!!), I was constantly exposed to new ideas/oints of view that differed with MINE……and I constantly witnessed how many Christians went into discussing issues primarily from their experiences/points of views/soley focusing on their “nuggets” of truth that they found in Scripture….

And, although many had strong biblical points, folks often  rarely got anywhere because they were so wrapped up in their own perspective……They’d often use the Word of God as a tool to exalt themselves/make themselves look good and approach the pursiut of knowledge not from the perspective of helping others to be more like Christ and to build them up………, and they were often more concerned with having the last word (PRIDE… Proverbs 13:10) than being humble and seeking to gain a full perspective on something, whether it was through arguing an issue from someone else’s side, examining their points/experiences, asking questions or anything else for that matter (as long as it didn’t contradict the Word, of course)……
And because of how people were so opinionated/concerned with arguing their side than seeking to learn together, we often rarely got anywhere…what it led to was many wrong accusations, generalizations, fighting/quarreling and damage on all sides. Sadly, though many of them (myself included) thought we were wise, we didn’t realize how foolish we all were being…
Proverbs 18:2

2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding
but delights in airing his own opinions.

Again, that’s why I’m so passionate about being willing to hear all sides of an issue, seeking to get all the facts before answering (from the Word of God, to the testimonies of others), continually acknowledging that I don’t have the monopoly on truth/understanding an issue and need to be open to new ideas, and making sure we hear both sides of the story before judging and making any kind of solid/soud decisions.
In all honesty, there’s a aspect of truth that all people have on something….but only when we discuss an issue fully /objectively can we have COMPLETE TRUTH, UNDERSTANDING, and a BALANCED PERSPECTIVE on ANY TOPIC…..

Proverbs 18:13

13 He who answers before listening—
that is his folly and his shame.
Proverbs 18:15

15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge;
the ears of the wise seek it out.
Proverbs 18:17

17 The first to present his case seems right,
till another comes forward and questions him.

To be zealous alone in our beliefs and yet have no desire for understanding’s and seeking to be certain we understand what we’re getting ourselves into and whether or not we’re fully accurate is a dangerous thing. Just like the Word says,
Proverbs 19:2

2 It is not good to have zeal without knowledge,
nor to be hasty and miss the way.

 regarding putting up others teachings, I really have no problem with it. Some may say “You’re letting others think for you & not saying anything original yourself”….but my stance has been/always will be that being original with what one posts isn’t as important as making sure one gives out SOLID INFORMATION/BIBLICALLY ACCURATE inforamtion that’ll bless those who visit…& moreover, information they can investigate for themselves & turn to their OWN BIBLES for answers
 
     . The goal of my site is to be EDUCATIONAL in nature, meaning that I need to make certain I give out resources for people to listen to…..much like you would with inviting someone who’s a known expert in their field & inviting them to speak in your classroom. If people have questions/converns after that person has left, that’s where I would step in & share MY OWN PERSONAL THOUGTS on the Issue……& from there, hear the thoughts of others/LEARN TOGETHER.
 
 Going to a Christian High  School where I was exposed to various worldviews & forced to constantly examine my own in light of Scripture, as well as not being the FIRST TO SHARE MY TWO CENTS but to give audience to what others had to say first,  my mentality’s a bit different than what others are used to.
 
      I’ve alsways preferred the “synagouge” approach to things, where you simply listen to the ideas/thoughts of others first, inquire/ask questions, find common ground & then move on to discuss the issues you have ALONSIDE/PRIOR to  your own.  That’s how Paul.did it (Acts 17), as well as Jesus when He was young (Luke 2:46-47):

 Luke 2:46-47

46After three days they found him (aka: “Jesus”) in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Acts 13:14-16 

14From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. 15After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.”

 16Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!

Acts 13:41-43  41

” ‘Look, you scoffers,
      wonder and perish,
   for I am going to do something in your days
      that you would never believe,
      even if someone told you.’[a]

 42As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. 43When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.”

Acts 14

In Iconium

 1At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. 2But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.

Acts 17

In Thessalonica

 1When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3explaining and proving that the Christ[a] had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,[b]” he said.

Acts 17:16-18

In Athens

 16While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 

Acts 18:4
Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

Acts 18:19
They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.

Acts 19:7-9 

 8Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

 Again, in light of that…..as well as other passages, I try to do the same. Moreover, My M.O has always been about being wise in “spreading knowledge” (Proverbs 15:7), referring to the “words of the wise” just as you would with men in the Bible who had crucial  things to say:
 
 
Proverbs 1
Prologue: Purpose and Theme
 1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
 2 for attaining wisdom and discipline;
       for understanding words of insight;

 3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
       doing what is right and just and fair;

 4 for giving prudence to the simple,
       knowledge and discretion to the young-

 5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
       and let the discerning get guidance-

 6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
       the sayings and riddles of the wise.

Proverbs 22:17-21 
Sayings of the Wise
 17 Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise;
       apply your heart to what I teach,
 18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart
       and have all of them ready on your lips.

 19 So that your trust may be in the LORD,
       I teach you today, even you.

Proverbs 19:20
Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.

 Proverbs 22:17-21 

 17 Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise;
       apply your heart to what I teach,
 18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart
       and have all of them ready on your lips.

 19 So that your trust may be in the LORD,
       I teach you today, even you.

 20 Have I not written thirty [a] sayings for you,
       sayings of counsel and knowledge,

 21 teaching you true and reliable words,
       so that you can give sound answers
       to him who sent you?

ave I not written thirty [a] sayings for you,
       sayings of counsel and knowledge,
 21 teaching you true and reliable words,
       so that you can give sound answers
       to him who sent you?

As long as people are being challenged, growing, learning, & developing in their knowledge/UNDERSTANDING of the Bible/A Biblical Worldview, it’s all good. But that’s just me…
That’s all I can share for now, but I pray that blesses someome. ThAT ALL SAID, PRAY that everybody learns….& above all else, that they ENJOY THE RIDE!!!! Peace……

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29 Responses to “The 411 (i.e. Purpose of the Site)….& My M.O”

  1. emissary7 said

  2. Lailene said

    I googled “service quote by MLK” and I stumbled upon your page. I have a lot of respect for someone who is devote to both religion and education. It’s rare thing nowadays, or at least in CA. Here it seems acquiring a relationship w/ God comes secondary to acquiring wealth.
    What advice, if any, do you have for someone who is looking to bring God into their life, but can’t seem to find the faith? I’m a science major and find it hard to bring myself to believe when I’m forced to look for reason.

  3. mrs. maverick said

    hey gg,
    congrats on starting your blog. here’s to a large readership! God bless you, younger brah. lol :p
    mav

  4. Double-G (G2) said

    Hi, Sis Mav!!!!

    I second the motion on developing LARGE READERSHIP (lol)….& Glad you decided to drop in. Thanks for the encouragement, & hopefully we’ll see you around more often. Peace…..

  5. Double-G (G2) said

    Hi, Lailene!!!!

    If you would please, would you mind expanding on your question as to what you mean? Is there anything in yor life you feel that may be keeping you (or DISCOURAGING YOU from wanting to find faith in the Lord? Moreover, what exactly did you mean when you said “forced to look for a reason”? In saying that, Did you mean being forced to turn to God when no other options seemed available or times seemed tough…or that you didij’t like it if things didn’t seem too easy to understand regarding God?

    Love to hear your heart…..Blessings….

  6. Torahrevival said

    Peace to you emissary,

    I saw your comment on IndyConservative’s blog where you said you would like to see his and Dazzarai’s “prolonged” discussion with a “legalist.” Well, I’m that very same “legalist” and the discussions can be found on the following links.

    You will find that a) they are not prolonged, b) Indy ducked out as soon as his arguments came under the slightest scrutiny and c) in place of solid biblical reaosning, he resorted to childish foolishness in order to denegrate me and my character. YOu will also notice that neither he nor Dazzarai have made any effort to refute the videos that I have posted. Dazzarai calle dme out by name with that video “Last response to Torah Revival” which basically just rea dout Acts 15. I have responded with a detailed exposition of Acts 15 showing his conclusions to be in error. He has provided not a single word of comment.

    Here are the links:

    Original discussion (you have to scroll down a bit):
    http://www.youtube.com/comment_servlet?all_comments&v=xYxJg0natJY&fromurl=/watch%3Fv%3DxYxJg0natJY

    More Indy and Daz ducking and diving:
    http://www.youtube.com/comment_servlet?all_comments&v=snY6PUugunA&fromurl=/watch%3Fv%3DsnY6PUugunA

    My response to Dazzarai’s vid about me:

    Shalom, and feel free to join the “discussion”
    TR

    FYI, the discussions can be found onthe following links. Please note that INdy is the one who has ducked out of the discussion. While I have attempted to provide reaosnable biblically-based explanations for my views, INdy. let’s just say, he hasn’t. And also note, I have provided a four part response to Dazzarai’s video directed personally at me. To date, he has said nothing in response – not one word!

  7. Torahrevival said

    btw, please forgive my shocking lack of editing in the last post! – my bad

  8. Double-G (G2) said

    Confused, Brah…

    Which Post are you talking about?

  9. emissary7 said

    Cancel that….I just found it, Brah (lol)

  10. Will Reply Soon

  11. Torah,

    I must say that I did enjoy the Relevant Scriptures you posted regarding your position. I went through the dialouges (which by the way were a bit of a bother to my spirit, especially in light of II Timothy 2:23-26 & the Standards for how the Lord’s Servant is to act not seeming to be followed out)……& honestly, I was failing to see where there was a real issue….

  12. Torahrevival said

    Hey,

    Thanks for the scripture reference. It’s a good reminder that not matter how much you think you are right and someone else is wrong, we have to conduct ourselves in the right spirit.

    Anyway, I just thought I’d let you know where the discussions were as you had been asking.

    Peace

  13. Torahrevival said

    Hey Emissary,

    Thanks for the scripture reference – a good reminder that we always need to check ourselves (our motives, our demanour toward others) when we are discussing. Sometimes (annd I am contsantly having to check myself on this) we get so caught up in debating that we totally lose track of the elementary principles of love.

    Anyhoo, just thought I’d let you know where the discussions were as you had been asking.

    Shalom to you

  14. Hey TorahRevival,

    Wanted to let you know that I plan on doing a post on Messianic Jews…..& I was wanting to have your input, seeing that it seems you’re one yourself.

    If I asked you to write me an article on what your stance is on the Law/Torah, would you be interested? I’m always in the market for people who have good ideas, interesting views, & things that’ll cause people to think.

    Let me know if you’re Up for it, Brah……

  15. Torahrevival said

    Hey emissary,

    I’d definitely be up for writing such an article. Just let me know. By the way, I’m a ‘Messianic Gentile’!

    Shalom

  16. Torah,

    Email me you’re thoughts (Ggreaves103@comcast.net) & what you’d like to write about. Or, if you prefer, just go ahead, write something, & I’ll go ahead & post it (of course I’ll let you know what my thoughts are AHEAD OF TIME). Peace…..

  17. http://www.christianpost.com/article/20071006/29601_Is_it_Possible_to_be_a_Hindu_Follower_of_Christ%3F.htm

  18. Go to this site by the way & check it out, as it may tie into the coming discussion:

    http://www.christianpost.com/article/20071006/29601_Is_it_Possible_to_be_a_Hindu_Follower_of_Christ%3F.htm

  19. Torahrevival said

    Hey,

    I’ll have a think and come to you on the article. Maybe I could just write a short article ginving the bear-bones reasons why I believe what I belive with regard to Torah.

    Also, I read that article. How do you think it ties in with this issue?

  20. EHHHH!!!!

    Wrong website (though the article was pretty interesting to see, though. Very Informative, especially in regards to sharing the Gospel within the context of whatever culture one’s in, as Paul did with the Jews/Gemtiles:

    1 Corinthians 9:19-27

    19Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

    24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

    25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

    ….)

    This is the one I think you should investigate:

    http://www.yashanet.com/library/under1.htm

    Going along with that, here are some other ones I’d like for you to consider:

    http://www.therefinersfire.org/book_of_romans.htm

    http://www.therefinersfire.org/ea.htm
    http://www.therefinersfire.org/index.htm

    Though I do not necessarily agree with EVERYTHING inherent in the sites, I do feel that they have some very worthwile information to share. Will share more later, but for now, I think these should prove highly interesting, Brah.

  21. Torahrevival said

    Ah!

    Yes that Hinduism article was interesting.

    Yashanet is a very good site with lots of very useful information. What’s particularly good about sites like that is they contextualise Yeshua. In other words, they put him in his historical and social context.

    I’ve seen that refiner’s fire site a few times but haven’t really spent much time on it. I’ll check it out at lunch tomorrow.

    Here are a couple of sites I would recommend to get a good overview of the Torah observant Messianic world:

    http://www.bethimmanuel.org/audio-archives.html
    The first 3 or 4 audios on Acts are awesome because they show just how Torah-observant the early saints were. The other audios are good too and there are some good articles on there.

    http://theloveofgod.proboards3.com/index.cgi
    This forum has some very good dsicussions concerning practical issues to do with Torah as well as some investigations of the Greek scriptures (NT). I have learned a massive amount in my time there..

    Shalom

  22. Cool…

    I investigated one of them already. Very intriguing….

    To note, so you’re clear on where I stand on the issue:

    Acts 21:17-26

    Paul’s Arrival at Jerusalem

    Paul’s Arrival at Jerusalem
    17When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers received us warmly. 18The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. 19Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
    20When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. 21They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. 25As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”

    26The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.

    Regarding this paticular passage, the Jerusalen Council (Acts 15) had already settled the issue of circumcision of Gentile Believers. Evidently, though, rumor said that Paul had gone far beyond their decision, even forbidding Jews to circumcise their children. This, of course, was not true, so Paul willingly submitted to JEWISH Custom to show he was not working against the council’s decision & camp; that he was still Jewish in His Lifestyle….which shows us how we must sometimes go the extra mile to avoid offending others, especially when doing so would hinder God’s Work.

    Continuning, these four men had made a religious vow. Because Paul was going to participate with them in the vow (apparently he had been asked to pay for some of the required expenses), he would need to take part in the purification ceremony for entering the temple (Numbers 6:9-20).

    Paul was not observing the laws in order to be saved, but was simply keeping the laws as a custom to avoid offending those who he wished to reach with the Gospel (Romans 3:21-31, Romans 7:4-6, Romans 13:9-10)

    Paul submitted himself to Jewish custom to keep peace in the Jerusalem church….for although Paul was a man of convictions, he was willing to compromise on non-essential points in order to become all things to all people so he might save some (I Corinthians 9:19-23)…..which is important to note because many split over disagreements about minor issues or traditions, rather than doing like Paul & remaing firm on Christian essentials but FLEXIBLE on non-essentials…..exercising the gift of mutual submission for the sake of the gospel

    For good commentary on the subject, go here:

    http://www.studylight.org/com/bnn/view.cgi?book=ac&chapter=021

    http://www.gty.org/Resources/Transcripts/1784

    Also, as Ray Stedman wisely said on the subject, “Many have misread this and concluded that Paul’s mistake was that he did not boldly acknowledge that he did set aside Moses and the Law, that he did reject circumcision as of no value whatsoever, as you read in his letters to the Colossians and Galatians, for example. But the key phrase is, “that you teach all the Jews” to do so. That charge was totally false. Paul never taught a Jew to abandon Moses, or not to circumcise his children. What he strongly taught was that the Gentiles should not be made subject to these Jewish provisions. He utterly would not allow them to come under the Jewish Law and insisted that they did not have to follow any of these Jewish provisions. But he did not set aside the ritual for the Jews.

    Rather, he pointed out to them that this was all symbolic, was all a picture, and that it was all pointing toward Christ (Colossians 2:17). The very rituals they were performing and the sacrifices they were offering were all telling them of Jesus in no uncertain terms. Jesus’ coming had fulfilled, and filled out, the picture that the Old Testament sacrifices had drawn. Thus, in the very process of carrying them out, the Jews were simply retelling themselves of the coming of the Lord Jesus. These observances were very much like the Lord’s table is for us today.

    We go through this ritual every so often — about once a month here. We know that we are dealing with symbols. There is a sense in which those symbols are telling again the story of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. Doing this does not add anything spiritual to us. In itself, it does not make us any better, but it reminds us.

    This was the function of these Jewish rituals. They were reminders of what the Lord Jesus had come to do, and had done. All through the book of Acts we see Jewish Christians going into the temple and offering sacrifices, just as the Lord himself had done. There is no suggestion that they should have stopped, or that it was wrong for them to do this. Until God took the sacrifices away they were permitted this means of expression. The sacrifices ended when the temple was finally destroyed in A.D. 70, when the words of Jesus were fulfilled and Roman armies came and laid siege to the city. His words of warning were, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then flee into the mountains, for then shall be fulfilled all that has been predicted,” {cf, Matt 24:66ff, Mark 13:14ff, Luke 21:21ff}. The city was taken and the Jews were carried away captive, exactly as the Lord Jesus said. But that was several years still in the future from this point in history. So there is no compromise on Paul’s part when, as we read in this next section, he took upon himself certain Jewish practices. James said to him,

    “What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you but that you yourself live in observance of the law. But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity.” Then Paul took the men and the next day he purified himself with them and went into the temple, to give notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for every one of them. {Acts 21:22-26 RSV}

    Here Paul was following his own announced practice. He said that when he was with the Jews, he became as a Jew; when he was with the Gentiles, he became as a Gentile; and when he was with the weak, he limited himself and became as weak as they — all in order that he might reach them on their level, through the medium and culture to which they were accustomed. He was simply declaring again the freedom he had in Christ. He was free — free to live as a Gentile among the Gentiles, free to live as a Jew among the Jews, free from the Law, but free also to keep the Law if there were certain advantages to be gained by so doing.

    So he adopts this Jewish practice, and there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. He is willing to become as a Jew, along with these others, in order that he might clear up a misunderstanding which had a totally false basis. It is interesting that, as you read the account which follows of the trouble he met in Jerusalem, you can see that not one bit of it was ever a consequence of his Jewish practices.” (http://www.pbc.org/library/files/html/0445.html )

    Regarding the Torah, many people forget that the Jewish laws can be thought of in TWO WAYS. Paul rejected one way & accepted another. (1) Paul rejected the idea that the OT laws bring salvation to those who keep them….for salvation is FREELY GIVEN by God’s gracious act & we recieve it by faith. The laws are of no value for salvation except to show us our sin. (2) Paul accepted the view that while the OT Laws prepare for & teach about the coming of Jesus Christ, who fufilled the law & released us from it’s burden of guilt, the LAW STILL TEACHES MANY VALUABLE PRINCIPLES AND PROVIDES GUIDELINES for GRATEDUL LIVING.

    For example,

    Regarding the Scripture that IC placed up in one of the dialouges as something for you ti check out (Colossians 2:17-23), here’s some EXCELLENT Commentary on the verse that may be of benefit to you:

    (which gets at the HEART OF THE ISSUE, which is LOVE FOR ONE’S NEIGHBOR/APPRECIATION FOR TRADITION/CULTURE).

    Also, consider these as well:

    http://preceptaustin.org/colossians_216-23.htm
    http://preceptaustin.org/colossians_218-191.htm
    http://preceptaustin.org/colossians_220-23.htm

    Will share more later……but I hope it blesses you, Brah…

  23. Torahrevival said

    Hey,

    Good stuff there. iv’ euse dup my lunch break (and a little xtra) typing up this message, so I’ll have to check out those links when I get home from work this evening.

    What I like is that you are dealing with the fact that Paul and the early saints most definitely kept Torah. Many Christians simply ignore this. I also liek the fact that you recognise that keepign Torah has never been meant to make someone saved. This is one thing that Dazzarai doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge or look into any more detail when challenged. Coloured by his Dispensatinal thinking, he (and probably many Christians with him) seems to think that under the Old Covenant, people were saved by works, but Yeshua came in to bring in salvaiton by faith.

    But I do have some problems with what you are saying though. I’ll give two of them.

    PAUL ONLY KEPT TORAH WHEN HE WAS AROUND TORAH-OBSERVANT JEWS
    The first problem I have is the notion that Paul kept Torah ONLY so as to get in the good books of the Jews. I really can’t see how this doesn’t make Paul out to be a deceiver. Let me explain. In Acts 21:24, the apostles and elders say to Paul that “you yourself also walk orderly and keep the Law” (Acts 21:24). They do not add any caveats. They just say that he keeps the Law (Torah). This does not indicate that they thought he selectively kept Torah depending on his surroundings.

    When Paul is drectly accused of breaking Torah, he responds by denying this accusation. In Acts 25:8 we read “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.” Then when speaking to the Jewish elders in Rome, he says ““Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers” (Acts 28:17). These are emphatic statements that he keeps Torah.

    I really don’t see how we can possibly allow these statements to mean that Paul sometimes broke Torah and sometimes kept it. If Paul for example, would eat Pork when he was around the Gentiles, this means that he sometimes broke Torah. For me, it calls his integrity into question because he is allegedly claiming one thing and doing another.

    This is the same point I make in my vids on Paul and the Torah (especially Parts 3 and 4):
    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=5599BE2D6220F146

    JAMES EXPECTED GENTILES TO BE KEEPING SABBATH AND HEARING TORAH
    There is a crucial word from James which show that he expected Gentiles to be keeping Sabbath and hearing (and thus doing) Torah. I deal with this in part 4 of my vids on the Jerusalem Council:
    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=258BBF0F3387799E

    TWO-STREAM ETHNIC-BASED FAITH
    One last problem (for now) is the notion that Paul “did not set aside the ritual [i.e. Torah] for the Jews” but DID set it aside for the Gentiles. For me, this drives a wedge between the body of Messiah that is based on racial grounds.

    Paul spoke often about saints being transformed into the image of Messiah (e.g. Romans 8:29). What does this mean? Christians would usually interpret this in an aphomorphous and non-sepcific manner. They might say “it means we will walk in love, and be self-controledd, and love our enemies” etc. But John says quite explicitly “He who says he abides in him [Yeshua] ought himself also to walk just as he walked.” (1 John 2:6). Yeshua walked according to the Torah. It seems to me that all of his disciples, whether Jew or Gentile, should walk likewise, as enlightened and empowered to do so by God.

    Anyway, I thank you so much for taking time out to get into these things. It’s a refreshing change from the kind of discussions I have had so far. Usually people just quote words from Paul in a complete vacuum and then exit the discussion as though the issue is closed.

    Anyway, shalom for now

  24. Torahrevival said

    ps – I don’t think “apomomorphous” is a word. I meant

    “amorphous: 1. lacking definite form; having no specific shape; formless: the amorphous clouds.

    2. of no particular kind or character; indeterminate; having no pattern or structure; unorganized: an amorphous style; an amorphous personality.” From Dictionary.com

    .. I’m a bit bored at work!

  25. No worries, Brah…..It’s all good in the hood (Lol).

    Forgot, by the way, to give you these resources to investigate:

    http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/articles.html

    http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Olam_Hatorah/olam_hatorah.html

    http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Torah-Aware/torah-aware.html

    http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Torah_Observance/torah_observance.html

    IMHO, these are the best study sites that I know of on the issue….& in case I came off the wrong way in my previous writings, I by no means am saying that we should not be Torah Observant ( or at least unaware of what God’s Standards/laws, as they are of GREAT VALUE)

    By the way, FEEL FREE TO COMMENT ON THE OTHER POST’S THAT I HAVE MADE FOR THE SITE!!!( lOL, lol, lol).

    Not to rush you or anything, but I have been dying for communication from others on the issues I’ve been seeking to bring up……& though I GREATLY APPRECIATE YOUR FEEDBACK FOR THIS TOPIC (which I consider to be HIGHLY VALUABLE), I would like to see it on other parts of the site as well.

    Curious, has the site been enjoyable/helpful to you at all, Brah??

    Also, on Colossians 2:17-23, thought I share something that may be of blessing to you. To note, when people say things such as “The LAW ISN’T IMPORTANT; CHRIST KILLED IT”, I think that’s a GROSS MISUNDERSTANDING on their parts, for the written code that the passage was the LEGAL DEMANDS of the OT LAW….for the law opposed us by it’s demands for our sin, & though no one can be saved by merely keeping that code, the moral truths & principles in THE OT still teach/guide today.

    To clarify further where I’m coming from,

    Adressing the question of “DO Christiabns STILL HAVE TO obey the OT laws”, many Christians forget that Paul’s saying non-Jews (Gentiles) are no longer bound by these laws does not mean he was saying that the OT Laws don’t apply to people today. He was simply saying that CERTAIN Types fo laws may not apply to us. For in the OT, there were 3 categories of laws……& I believe that understanding how there were VARIOUS PARTS OF THE TORAH & thAT NOT EVERY ASPECT OF IT IS NECESSARILY IN EFFECT TODAY can help reconciling what may appear to be CONTRADICTIONS when it seems that PAUL SAID HE IN VARIOUS PASSAGES HE WAS FOR THE CUSTOMS OF THE JEWS & THE TORAH while in other places it seemed as if He did differently:

    Ceremonial Law: This was the Kind of Law relating specifically to Israel’s worship (see example, Leviticus 1:1-13). It’s primary purpose was to point foward to Christ. Therefore, these laws were no longer necessary after Jesus’s death & resurrection. While we are no longer bound by ceremonial laws, the principles behind them–to worship & love a holy God—still apply. The Jewish Christians often accused Gentile Christians of violating the CEREMONIAL LAW……& the same is what happened to Christ.

    For examples:

    Mark 7:1-23

    On this one, Jewish rituals involved devout Jews performing a short ceremony before EVERY meal, washing their hands & arms in a specific way. The disciples did not have dirty hands, but they simply were not carrying out this traditional cleasing…& the Pharissees thought this ceremony cleased them from anything which they felt was unclean….but Jesus said they were wrong in thinking they were acceptable to God just because they were clean on the outside.

    Moreover, The Pharisees had added HUNDREDS of their own rules & regulations to God’s Holy Laws…& then tried to force people to follow these rules, which caused much confusion among people. It’s idolatry to claim that one’s interpretation of God’s Word is as important as God’s Word itself. It’s especially dangerous for one to set up unbiblical standards for others to follow. Instead, we should look to Christ for guidance about our behavior & let Him lead others in the details of their lives. Jesus’s wasn’t against ALL TRADITION, but He was against those who made their tradtitions as important, if not more important, than God’s Word……..for Good traditions shine a spotlight on God’s Word,, move us to obediant service, & help our hears to sing. They can serve to explain & REINFORCE the TEACHINGS OF GOD…..but God’s Word should always be the focus, and tradition as a means of bringing that Word Alive. Celebrate our traditions with the prayer that Christ would be exalted, but we must be willing to change them if they become more important than God’s Word/Simple Faith in CHRIST’S WORK.

    To add on to that, as they interpreted the Dietary laws (Leviticus 11 ,the Jews believed that they could be clean before God because of what they refused to eat. Jesus pointed out that sin begins in the attitude & intentions of the inner person. Jesus did not degrade the LAW/TORAH, but He did pave the way for the change made clear in Acts 10:9-29 , when God removed the cultural restrictions regarding food. While being concerned about what we put in our bodies is a good, healthy practice, very few people are as stringent about what they put into their minds through reading or watching telivision…..& Jesus made clear that He was more concerned about mind-set/thought processes than about FOOD LAWS.

    Luke 8:40-56

    On this one, thought it’d be noteworthy to point out how according to Jewish LAW, a man who touched a menstruating woman became ceremonially unclean (Leviticus 15:19-28). This was true whether her bleeding was normal, or, as in this woman’s case, the result of illness. To protect themselves from such defilement, Jewish men carefully avoided touching, speaking to, or even looking at women. By contrast, Jesus proclaimed to hundreds of people that this “unclean” woman had touched HIM—-and that in Jesus mind, this suffering woman was not to be overlooked since she was God’s creation & deserved attention/respect.

    Does this mean that we are not to follow the OT health/dietary restrictions? In general, the basic principles of health & cleaniness are still healthful practices, but it would be legalistic if not wrong, to adhere to each specific restriction today, Some of these regulations were simply intended to mark the Isarelites as different from the wicked people around them…while others were given to prevent God’s people from becoming involved in pagan religions practices, one of the most serious problems of the day. Still, others related to quarantines in a culture where exact medical diagnosis was impossible.

    Moving back to the 3 Categories of Law, the CIVIL LAW was a type of Law that dictated Israel’s Daily Living (Deuteronomy 24:10-11 . Because modern society & culture are so radically different, some of these guidelines cannot be followed specifically. But the principles behind the commands should guide our conduct. At times, Paul asked Gentile Christians to follow some of these laws, not because they had to, but in order to promote UNITY.

    The last category of Law would be MORAL LAW, which is the sort of LAW that’s a DIRECT COMMAND from God–for example, the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) . It requires strict obediance, for it reveals the nature/will of God, & it still applies to us today. And we are to obey the MORAL LAW of God, not to obtain salvation, but to live in ways pleasing to God…….THOUGH even in this case, some things should be considered.

    Matthew 12:1-14

    Matthew 12

    Lord of the Sabbath

    1At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
    3He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5Or haven’t you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent? 6I tell you that one[a] greater than the temple is here. 7If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,'[b] you would not have condemned the innocent. 8For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

    9Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

    11He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

    13Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.”

    Regarding this passage, the Pharisses had establised 39 categories of actions forbidden on the Sabbath, based on interpretations of God’s Law & on Jewish Custom. Harvesting was one of those forbidden actions,……..& by picking wheat & rubbing it in their hands, the disciples were technically harvesting according to the religious leaders. Jesus & his disciples were picking grain because they were hungry, not because they were trying to gain a profit. They were not working on the Sabbath. The Pharisees, however, could not (& did not want to) see beyond their law’s techincalities. They had no room for compassion……..& because of that, they ended up missing the PURPOSE of the SABBATH (rest & worship of God) while keeping the letter of the law. The same thing happened with the man with the shriveled hand……for They were so concerned about keeping religious rituals that they missed the entire purpose of the temple—to BRING PEOPLE TO GOD…..and when we become more concerned with the MEANS of WORSHIP than with the ONE we worship, we will miss God even as we think we are worshipping Him. God is a God of PEOPLE, not RULES…..& when tradition becomes so much of the focus that we end up not being willing to do what it takes to help people/deal with human needs, we’re in error.

    That was the issue that was DRIVING THE COUNCIL DECISION in Acts 15:19-21 ,

    Acts 15
    The Council at Jerusalem
    1Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad. 4When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

    5Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.”

    6The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

    12The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. 14Simon[a] has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
    16″ ‘After this I will return
    and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
    Its ruins I will rebuild,
    and I will restore it,
    17that the remnant of men may seek the Lord,
    and all the Gentiles who bear my name,
    says the Lord, who does these things'[b]
    18that have been known for ages.[c]

    19″It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
    The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers
    22Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. 23With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. 24We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

    30The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers. 33After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them.[d] 35But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.

    for James Judgment was that the Gentile BELIEVERS did not have to be Circumcised, but he still felt that they should stay away from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality ( a common part of IDOL WORSHIP), & from eating meat of strangled animals and from consuming blood (Leviticus 17:14 ).

    If Gentile Christians would abstain from these practices, they would please God & get along better with their Jewish Brothers/Sisters in Christ. For James mentioning a few laws that the Gentile Believers should keep was done with the understanding that a basic morality (i.e. CONSCIENCE/That INNATE AWARENESS THE LAW OF GOD WRITTEN ON PEOPLE’S HEARTS) & living for God would COVER THE REST.

    Romans 2:12-29

    12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

    14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
    The Jews and the Law

    17Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; 18if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”[a]

    25Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the[b] written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

    28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

    As another wisely said,

    The dispute raised by Judaizing teachers.

    Some from Judea taught the Gentile converts at Antioch, that they could not be saved, unless they observed the whole ceremonial law as given by Moses; and thus they sought to destroy Christian liberty. There is a strange proneness in us to think that all do wrong who do not just as we do. Their doctrine was very discouraging. Wise and good men desire to avoid contests and disputes as far as they can; yet when false teachers oppose the main truths of the gospel, or bring in hurtful

    doctrines, we must not decline to oppose them. (Acts 15:7-21)

    The council at Jerusalem.

    We see from the words to �purifying their hearts by faith, to � and the address of St. Peter, that justification by faith, and sanctification by the Holy Ghost, cannot be separated; and that both are the gift of God. We have great cause to bless God that we have heard the gospel. May we have that faith which the great Searcher of hearts approves, and attests by the seal of the Holy Spirit. Then our hearts and consciences will be purified from the guilt of sin, and we shall be freed from

    the burdens some try to lay upon the disciples of Christ. Paul and Barnabas showed by plain matters of fact, that God owned the preaching of the pure gospel to the Gentiles without the law of Moses; therefore to press that law upon them, was to undo what God had done. The opinion of James was, that the Gentile converts ought not to be troubled about Jewish rites, but that they should abstain from meats offered to idols, so that they might show their hatred of idolatry. Also, that they should be

    cautioned against fornication, which was not abhorred by the Gentiles as it should be, and even formed a part of some of their rites. They were counselled to abstain from things strangled, and from eating blood; this was forbidden by the law of Moses, and also here, from reverence to the blood of the sacrifices, which being then still offered, it would needlessly grieve the Jewish converts, and further prejudice the unconverted Jews. But as the reason has long ceased, we are left free in this,

    as in the like matters. Let converts be warned to avoid all appearances of the evils which they formerly practised, or are likely to be tempted to; and caution them to use Christian liberty with moderation and prudence. (Ac 15:22-35)

    Being warranted to declare themselves directed by the immediate influence of the Holy Ghost, the apostles and disciples were assured that it seemed good unto God the Holy Spirit, as well as to them, to lay upon the converts no other burden than the things before mentioned, which were necessary, either on their own account, or from present circumstances. It was a comfort to hear that carnal ordinances were no longer imposed on them, which perplexed the conscience, but could not purify

    or pacify it; and that those who troubled their minds were silenced, so that the peace of the church was restored, and that which threatened division was removed. All this was consolation for which they blessed God. Many others were at Antioch. Where many labour in the word and doctrine, yet there may be opportunity for us: the zeal and usefulness of others should stir us up, not lay us asleep. (Ac 15:36-41)

    Of course, other actions are inappropiate for believers, but the Jews were especially concerned for these four….& this compromise was what helped the church grow unhindered by the CULTURAL DIFFERENCES of Jews & Gentiles. For when we share our message across cultural & economic boundaries, we must make certain that our requirements are GOD’S, not necessarily PEOPLES’. That’s what Paul was about when He brought up I Corinthians, for all that mattered was that HE GLORIFIED GOD & BROUGHT BROUGHT PEOPLE TO CHRIST, even though he proclaimed he had freedom to do anything:


    1 Corinthians 9:19-23

    19Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

    That’s part of why Paul observed the CEREMONIAL LAW in Acts 21:19-26. As respected theologian Matthew Henry said on the subject, ”

    James & the elders in Jerusalem asked Paul to gratify the believing Jews, by some compliance with the CEREMONIAL LAW…….the religion that Paul preacheed tended not to destoy the Law, but to fufill it. He Preached Christ, the END OF THE LAW FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS; AND REPENTANCE & FAITH, in which we are to make great use of the LAW.”….& for study material/commentary, http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=4262 & http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=2154

    A noteworthy excerpt from the study links to consider:

    While there were many new Gentile converts, living in far away places, Jerusalem had thousands of Jewish believers, who were still “zealous for the law.” These saints had been distressed by (false) reports that Paul had been teaching Jewish converts to turn from the law and from all of their Jewish practices and rituals, as though this was not profitable, and perhaps even wrong.

    It was apparently of no concern to the elders or to these “zealous for the law” Jewish Jerusalem saints that the Gentiles would not observe the law. After all, this was what the church had decided, some time ago, at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). The only requirement placed on the Gentile believers was that they “abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication” (verse 25). The problem seems to be in what the Jerusalem Council did not say about Jewish practice. The Jerusalem elders probably clarified the fact that Jewish Christians could continue to keep the law, not as a means to salvation, but as an expression of love and obedience. They could delight in the law, not because it gave them any merit or standing before God, but because it had been fulfilled in Christ, and because they were now righteous in God’s sight. The standards of righteousness which the law upheld were now no longer a cause of fear, but the basis for rejoicing and worship. They once were frustrated by their own failure to fulfill the laws demands, but now they rejoiced because Christ had fulfilled the entire law and they were not under the curse. And the kingdom to which the Old Testament saint looked forward was a certainty, which Jewish and Gentile saints would receive together (see Hebrews 11:39-40).

    The question which remained was now what the Jewish Christian was free, as a believing Jew, to observe, but how Paul stood on this matter. Did Paul agree with the position taken by the Jerusalem elders, or did he reject this position, teaching Jewish Christians to discard the law and Old Testament Jewish rituals, as thought they were worthless, perhaps even evil, as some rumors had it? Paul could settle this matter once and for all, by publicly worshipping in the Temple, as a Jew, and as the Jerusalem Jewish Christians did. This is what James and the elders proposed, and what Paul did. This is also what got Paul into trouble, so that he was placed under arrest. This is what would eventually take Paul to Rome.

    The main question for us is this? Were these elders wrong for asking Paul to do as he did, and was Paul wrong for doing it? I think that the answer must be a categorical “NO!.” The elders were not wrong in asking this of Paul, nor was he wrong in doing so. Paul’s very strong words in the Book of Galatians were addressed to those who would impose the law and law-keeping on Gentile believers, not toward those who were true believers and who wished, as Jewish Christians, to continue to live in accordance with the law and to observe Old Testament rituals. It was one (damnable) thing for Judaisers to insist that Gentile saints must keep the law in order to be saved, and quite another for Jewish Christians to keep the law because they were saved. Even Gentiles were not turned away from the law, but were enabled to fulfill its requirements:

    There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1-4).

    Paul was not asked by these elders to do something against his doctrinal beliefs or his convictions. In fact, Paul was only encouraged to practice publicly that which he already did. In what seemed at the time to be a most parenthetical and unnecessary comment, Luke said this of Paul: “In Cenchrea he had his hair cut, for he was keeping a vow” (Acts 18:18).

    Would they ask Paul to participate in worship with some of his Jewish brethren from Jerusalem, pertaining to a vow? This was something which Paul could gladly do, for he had done so himself as a Christian. Paul elsewhere indicated his desire to continue in some of those practices and rituals which he had observed (ignorantly) as a Jew (see Acts 20:16; 1 Corinthians 16:8). Paul did not need to do this reluctantly, but he could do so gladly, with conviction and with joy. Paul was only being urged to practice what he (along with these elders) believed, and what he (along with the Jerusalem Jewish saints) practiced.

    It was not because this was the wrong thing to do (any more than going to Jerusalem was wrong) that everything seems to have fallen apart when Paul did it. Even when Paul attempted to demonstrate his continued commitment to (true) Judaism, his unbelieving brethren would have no part of him, of his teaching, or of his practice. Note however that it was not the Jerusalem Jewish believers, nor even the unbelieving Jerusalem Jews, who caused this trouble for Paul. It was the “Asian Jews” (verse 27) who created the uproar, and all because of their own hasty and inaccurate conclusion—that Paul had brought a Gentile into the Temple, so as to defile it. Their conclusion was wrong, but it did not take a great deal of evidence to convince these folks, who were predisposed to believe such a thing of Paul, that he was guilty.

    Paul took the four men who were “under a vow” and participated with them in temple worship. I am not clear as to the precise ritual, though it at least resembles that described in Numbers 6.479 When the seven days of this ritual were nearly completed, some of the Asian Jews, who were familiar with Paul and with Trophimus, and who recognized them both, falsely concluded that Paul had brought him into the temple. This was a horrifying thought to them, and one which stirred them to act, dragging Paul out of the temple and closing the doors behind him.

    On his second day in Jerusalem, Paul and some of his companions met with James and the Jewish leaders (elders) of the church. In considerable detail, he reported to them how God had used his preaching of the gospel to save many Gentiles (21:19). These Jewish brethren rejoiced when they learned that many Gentiles had come to faith in Jesus. But they also wished to convey to Paul a matter of serious concern. Paul was a well-known celebrity in Jerusalem. He had received much of his training from Gamaliel, who apparently lived in or near Jerusalem (Acts 5:34-39; Acts 22:3). Jerusalem seems to have been Paul’s base of operations when, as an unbeliever, he opposed the gospel and persecuted the church (Acts 26:9-11). Thus, Paul was well known to both believing (Acts 9:13-14, Acts 9:26) and unbelieving (Acts 22:17-21; 26:4-5) Jews alike.

    The elders in Jerusalem knew that distorted accounts of Paul’s ministry among the Gentiles had already reached their city:

    20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all ardent observers of the law. 21 They have been informed about you – that you teach all the Jews now living among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs” (Acts 21:20-21).

    Enemies of the gospel were eager to believe the worst about Paul and his ministry. Unsaved Jews gladly believed the reports that Paul had turned against Judaism, the Old Testament Law of Moses, and the temple (see Acts 21:28), something that was far from the truth (see Acts 26:5-8, Acts 26: 22-23). Even believing Jews in Jerusalem were being persuaded that Paul was teaching Jewish believers who lived in Gentile lands that they should not circumcise their children or continue to observe Jewish customs.

    James and his colleagues were deeply concerned that these false reports about Paul might do harm to the church, and even hinder Paul’s ministry among them. It seems evident that they had already agreed among themselves concerning their words of counsel. They asked Paul to publicly participate in temple worship, along with four Jewish men who had taken a vow. He was to take these four men and go through a purification ritual with them, paying their expenses to do so. This symbolic action would demonstrate that he continued to worship as a Jew. It would also prove that he had no reservations about encouraging other Jews to do likewise. Without debate or delay, Paul set out to comply with this request.

    Before we move on, it would be helpful to pause for a moment to take note of several observations regarding the events described in verses 17-25:

    First, note the genuinely warm welcome Paul and his companions are given by the Jerusalem church leaders. I believe that identifying with Paul was not the safest option for the Jerusalem church leaders. Paul was a “lightening rod” for opposition, and yet his Jewish brethren in Jerusalem gladly embraced Paul when he arrived. There is no hint of division or of hostility here, but only warm brotherly love.

    Second, there was rejoicing on the part of these Jewish church leaders over the salvation of Gentiles. One need only read Luke 4:23-30 and Acts 22:21-22 to see how strongly opposed unbelieving Jews were to the evangelization of Gentiles. James and his colleagues praised God for the success of Paul’s ministry among the Gentiles.

    Third, Paul’s arrival raised some legitimate concerns on the part of the Jerusalem church leaders. While some are inclined to view the counsel of James and the elders of the church as unwise or unbiblical, Luke leaves me with the impression that these concerns were legitimate. There were false reports about Paul’s ministry, and these had negatively impacted the church. The church leaders were right to be concerned.

    Fourth, the request of Paul’s Jerusalem brethren was a reasonable one. They did not ask Paul to do something that was contrary to his faith or practice. Indeed, they did not ask Paul to do something he had not already done on his own. We simply need to recall what Luke told us in chapter 18:

    Paul, after staying many more days in Corinth, said farewell to the brothers and sailed away to Syria accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because he had made a vow (Acts 18:18).

    Later in chapter 20, we read:

    For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so as not to spend time in the province of Asia, for he was hurrying to arrive in Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost (Acts 20:16).

    It seems quite evident that Paul continued to worship as a Jew, and that the request of his brethren in Jerusalem was merely a petition to make his practice public enough to dispel any false information circulating about him. This was for the good of all.

    Fifth, the Jerusalem church leaders made it very clear to Paul that their request was in no way to be understood as contradictory to their previous decision at the Jerusalem Council:

    But regarding the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter, having decided that they should avoid meat that has been sacrificed to idols and blood and what has been strangled and sexual immorality” (Acts 21:25).

    The relationship between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians needed clarification. The first step had been taken at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). There, essentially the same men as were now gathered had determined that Gentiles do not need to convert to Judaism in order to be saved. That decision is reaffirmed by the Jerusalem church leaders here in our text (Acts 21:25). Now, in the light of charges that Paul taught Jewish Christians (living abroad in Gentile territory) to forsake their Jewish culture and traditions, the Jerusalem church leaders deal with the other side of the equation: Jewish converts do not need to forsake their Jewish heritage because they have become Christians.3 Thus:

    Gentiles do not need to become Jews in order to be saved.
    Jews who are saved do not need to completely forsake their Jewish heritage.

    We learn from our text that Christians (Jews and Gentiles) can worship God differently – in a way that is consistent with their culture. Our text illustrates the fact that culture plays a part in our worship. Where Christianity and culture do not conflict, worship can be done within one’s culture. I have been privileged to participate in worship with fellow-believers in various parts of the world. The musical instruments may be very different, as well as the language and style of the songs that are sung. In some places, a Sunday gathering is considerably longer than here in the United States. (I have also experienced worship with a different cultural flavor in the United States, particularly with my African American brothers and sisters – and frankly, I enjoy it.)

    We need to be willing to allow others to worship in ways that are more closely tied to their culture. We need to be careful not to impose our cultural tastes or preferences on others. Cultural diversity can also occur on a generational level. The older generation in a church may want to sing only hymns and a few familiar choruses, while the younger generation may prefer worship songs that are unfamiliar (and even annoying) to some of us older folks. The older folks may prefer the piano and organ; the younger generation prefers guitars, drums, and synthesizers. Let’s be careful to be gracious in showing sensitivity and grace with regard to the musical tastes and convictions of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

    This principle of toleration for cultural differences also needs to be observed on the mission field. In former days, if not today, missionaries not only took the gospel to the heathen, they also took our Western culture. Let us be careful not to alienate folks from their culture where it does not conflict with the gospel. This is the spirit I see in Paul, and I believe that we may need a bit more of it ourselves.

    (5) I see in our text a practical example of Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 9.

    19 For since I am free from all I can make myself a slave to all, in order to gain even more people. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew to gain the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) to gain those under the law. 21 To those free from the law I became like one free from the law (though I am not free from God’s law but under the law of Christ) to gain those free from the law. 22 To the weak I became weak in order to gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some. 23 I do all these things because of the gospel, so that I can be a participant in it (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

    In the larger context (chapters 8-10), Paul is dealing with the issue of foods offered to idols.8 Paul teaches that even if one had the liberty to eat foods offered to idols, it would be a sin for him (or her) to exercise that liberty at the expense of a fellow-believer.9 A “right” is “wrong” when it causes a weaker brother to stumble. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul sets out to illustrate how this works in his life. Even though he has the undisputed right to be supported in his ministry, Paul has chosen to set this right aside in order to advance the gospel. So also while Paul has the freedom to live as a Jew or as a Gentile (culturally – such as in the foods he eats), he gladly foregoes his rights whenever doing so will enhance the gospel.

    Is that not what we see illustrated in our text in Acts 21? When Paul was ministering among the Gentiles, I have little doubt but what he lived like a Gentile. Among other things, this means that he would have eaten Gentile food. But now that Paul is back in Jerusalem, he makes a point of worshipping as a Jew, so that his ministry to Jews (saved and unsaved alike) can be enhanced. Paul gladly forsakes his cultural liberties in order to advance the gospel. I wonder how much we give up for the advance of the gospel. What should we give up? These are questions that are surely worthy of our consideration.

    To add on to that, this is the reasoning behind Acts 16:1-4, where Paul had Timothy Circumcised. Timothy’s Father was a Greek, & by being both Jew & Gentile, Timothy had access to both cultures—an indispensable asset for MISSIONARY SERVICE. The circumcision was done to aid his acceptance by the Jews & provide full access to the synagouges he would be visiting with Paul & Silas, for the Jews could have assumed that he had renounced his Jewish heritage & had chosen to live as a Gentile………& contrary to what some may think, Paul wasn’t doing this soley to “decieve”/play sides. It was an issue of LOVE.

    As I Corinthians 9:19-23 makes clear, Within the Limits of God’s Word & his Christian conscience, Paul was determined to be as culturally and socially Jewish as necessary when witnessing to the Jews (Romans 9:3, Romans 10:1, Romans 11:14). He was not bound to ceremonies & traditions of Judaim….& all legal restraints had been removed, EXCEPT THE CONSTRAINT OF LOVE….Consisdering what would be BEST FOR BRINGING PEOPLE BACK CLOSER TO THE SAVIOR.

    Within the bounds of God’s Word, he would not offend the Jew, Gentile, or those weak in understanding. Not changing Scripture or compromising the truth, he would condescend in ways that would lead in Salvation/GROWING IN THE SAVIOR……THE ENTIRE POINT OF CHRISTIAN FREEDOM:

    1 Corinthians 10:23-33

    The Believer’s Freedom

    23″Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. 24Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

    25Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”[a]

    27If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28But if anyone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience’ sake[b]— 29the other man’s conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience? 30If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

    31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

    Romans 14

    The Weak and the Strong
    1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The 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. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

    5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

    9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11It is written:
    ” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
    ‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will confess to God.’ “[a] 12So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

    13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food[b] is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

    19Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

    22So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

    That’s why he had issue with Peter when the Judaizers came to the house of a Gentile & Peter, though he was eating Gentile Foods, backed away from them. The Judaizers already accused Paul of watering down the Gospel to make it easier for Gentiles to accept, while Paul accused the Judaziers fo nullifying the Truth of the Gospel by adding conditions to it. Things came to a climax when Peter, Paul, the Judaizers, and some Gentile Christians all gathered together in Antioch to share a meal. Peter probably thought that by staying away from the Gentiles, as TORAH may’ve required (in my understanding at least), he may’ve been promoting harmony—He did not When they all gathered for a meal…..FOR to eat with the Judaziers, even though Peter had given up all Mosaic ceremony (Acts 10:9-22, Acts 11:1-18), & then decline invitations to eat/fellowship with Gentiles, which he had previously done, meant that Peter was affirming the very dietary restrictions he knew God had abolished (Acts 10:15)…thus STRIKING A BLOW AT THE GOSPEL OF GRACE because he NO LONGER WAS DOING AS HE WAS PREVIOUSLY by MODELING THE IDEAL OF CHRISTIAN LOVE/LIBERTY BETWEEN JEW & GENTILE. …….

    Galatians 2:11-21

    Paul Opposes Peter
    11When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

    14When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

    15″We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

    17″If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”[a]

    .& again, for study material, http://www.bible.org/topic.php?topic_id=65

    To be certain, Paul never said that the Law was BAD, because in other letters he wrote that “The LAW (TORAH) is HOLY” (Romans 7:12 )….&

    moreover, the law still has an important part in to play in the life of a CHristian, seeing that (1) it guards us from sin by giving standards for behavior, (2) convicts us of sin, leaving us the opportunity to ask for God’s forgiveness, (3) DRIVES US TO TRUST IN CHRIST SUFFICIENCY since we can NEVER KEEP THE 10 COMMANDMENTS PERFRCTLY.

    As Galatians 3:18-19 show, FAITH DOES NOT ANNUL THE LAW….for God’s promise to Abraham shows that faith is the ONLY WAY TO BE SAVED, while the Law shows how to obey God in grateful response…..and as Galatians 3:24-35 SHOW, the “supervision of the Law” is like the supervision given by a tutor to a young child. We no longer need that kind of supervision. The law teaches us THE NEED FOR SALVATION, while God’s Grace GIVES us THAT SALVATION……but the OT STILL APPLIES, in that God REVEALS HIS NATURE, HIS WILL FOR HUMANITY, HIS MORAL LAWS, & HIS GUIDELINES FOR LIVING:

    Galatians 3:15-25

    The Law and the Promise
    15Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”[a] meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
    19What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.

    21Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

    23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ[b] that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

    Other verses worth considering: 1 Timothy 1:6-11 , Romans 5:20-21 , & also, for your own investigation regarding the proper place of the LAW in the life of a Christian, go here: http://www.pbc.org/library/files/html/3765.html

    Ultimately, as Jesus/others in the NT AS WELL AS THE OT made clear, the ultimate thing that matters above all else is LOVE FOR THE LORD/NEIGHBOR….because in doing that, ALL OF THE PURPOSE OF THE TORAH IS NATURALLY FUFILLED….& BY fufilling those two commands, a person keeps all the others, for they summarize the 10 Commandments/other OT MORAL LAWS…..& rather than focusing or worrying about all we should not do, we should concentrate on all we can do to show our love for God/others:

    Galatians 5:13-15

    13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature[a]; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other

    Romans 13:9

    The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Matthew 22:34-40

    The Greatest Commandment
    34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

    36″Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[a] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'[b] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    Again, hope it blesses ya, Brah (& know that I plan on discussing the other points you brought up later). Later……

  26. Torahrevival said

    Mi amigo,

    Thank you so much for your words and thoughts. You have a pretty in-depth understanding of the scriptures and I can see I’ve got a lot to learn from you.

    I haven’t had a look at the rest of this site as of yet – I will do (though you’ve now given me a lot of reading to get through!).

    I get the impression that even if it turned out that I totally disagreed with everything single word on it (not likely!) I would still be humbled by your heart attitude which is clerly one of love of God and of the brethren.

    God bless you homes and thank you for being a great example.
    Shalom

  27. gcmwatch said

    Hey G2G you seem like a real interesting guy. Man keep up the good work and thanks for including a link to my blog.

    And I had a couple of friends at Liberty Church. Do you know Norman Miller?

    be blessed.

  28. Hi,

    My email is lynettehar@msn.com evenings and weekends.
    Day time is Jharrell@darefamily.org Mon-Fri

    Varied and Multiplied Blesings in the Most Wonderful Name. This is my new favorite site. So much thoughtful nfo and insight and many resources.

    saint james

  29. […] (a) of Christ in [see note Romans 9:33] “(a rock) of offense” [cf 1Cor 1:23‘; see note 1 Peter 2:8] and of His cross [Gal 5:11] of the “table” provided by God for Israel [see note Romans 11:9] […]

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