Today's Christian thought: Thursday December 4th, 2003
Paul, the final Apostle chosen by our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus, is often taken out of context. His instructions misread and misunderstood. Today, we are going to try and make the former Pharisee turned Apostle more understandable. At the same time help you understand who the Apostle is talking to and who he is telling you to treat in such and such a manner. Ready? Ok, let's do it.
Let's first understand who Paul is talking to:
First Corinthians opens like this: ¶ Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, Paul is talking to the Christians in Corinth and any others who are sanctified in Christ, not the people of the world, not everyone in Corinth, just the Christians in Corinth and all others who are sanctified in Christ, them and only them.
In Second Corinthians we see Paul open with these words: ¶ Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Here Paul is talking to the men and women who made up the church of God which is at Corinth and all the saints which are in all Achaia:. Again, he is not giving instructions for every man women and child, only the Born Again Washed in the Blood of the Lamb Christians in Corinth and all the saints which are in all Achaia:
Now let's go to the letter to the Ephesians ¶ Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
This letter is addressed to: to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus. It is addressed to the saints in Ephesus and to the faithful in Jesus Christ. Not to the world, not to every man and women walking down any street in the world, it is addressed to Born Again Washed in the Blood of the lamb Christians and no one else.
Now in each of these letters and in every letter that Paul writes, he includes instructions on how we are to life and how we are to interact with others. But who are these others Paul is instructing us on how to interact with?
We are going to look at verses 17 through 32 of chapter four of Paul's letter to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.
¶ This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard of Him(Jesus), and have been taught by Him (The Holy Spirit), as to the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his *neighbor: for we are members one of another. * neighbor here is not just anyone living next to you or near you, it is your fellow Christian living anywhere.
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to *him that needeth. *him that needeth, is not every Tom, Dick, and Harry, it is first and foremost your fellow Christian, your brothers and sisters in the Lord come first.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: *And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. *And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another. One another is other Born Again Christians, not every one in the world.
Don't get me or the Apostle Paul wrong, there is nothing wrong with helping strangers who are heathens. There is nothing wrong with sharing food with unsaved who are hungry. And heaven knows there is nothing wrong with keeping a civil tongue in your mouth when dealing with the secular world. But, in Paul's letters, he is instructing Christians on how to live a Christian life, interacting with other Christians.
How do I know this? First I read the letters in the context in which they are written and to whom they are written. Second, I know that every word that Paul wrote was dictated to him by God and God is not the one to try and confuse us or trick us up with words. And amongst those things God dictated to Paul are these verses in Paul's second letter to the Corinthians:
¶ Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
And what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial?
Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?
For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
And who again did God through Paul address these words? unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: Now look at that word Achaia, On first glance it would seem as if the Lord only wanted this letter to go only to the church of God which is at Corinth, and all the saints which are in all Achaia. All the saints which are in Achaia. So where is this place Achaia? Stay with me now, we are going to the original text in Greek with the English translations in front of the Greek words which are in italics within parentheses. And then you'll understand just where this Achaia is and who it is that God is giving instructions to through His servant, the Apostle Paul.
Unto the church (ekklesia) of God (Theos) which (ho) is (on) at (en) Corinth (Korinthos), to them that are sanctified (hagiazo) in (en) Christ (Christos) Jesus (Iesous), called (kletos) to be saints (hagios), with (sun) all (pas) that in (en) every (pas) place (topos) call upon (epikaleomai) the name (onoma) of Jesus (Iesous) Christ (Christos) our (hemon) Lord (Kurios).
Achaia is everyplace. Everyplace.
I'm not telling you to stop helping the unsaved poor, I'm not telling you to stop evangelizing. I am telling you to first and foremost help other Christians and then the world. If you have a job to fill and you have ten applicants and nine are unsaved yet really well qualified and the tenth is a brother in the Lord, but not to well qualified, hire the bother and train him. If you have some extra food and you know of five hungry families, four unsaved and one Saved, feed the Saved family first, for they are your brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Bible, the word of God is full of warnings to keep yourself and your family away from the unsaved, yet there is not one warning telling you to be wary of the Saved. Not one.
Lord I pray that You will help us distinguish between what is right in Your eyes and what is right in the eyes of secular society. Amen.
Pray for my friend Mac, pray for Rush and Michael Savage. While the Lord does not need the platforms and audiences that Rush and Michael have, they, Rush, Michael and their audiences need the Lord.
The Lord God of the Universe, Messiah Y'shua be with you all, amen.
It is better to be a horse fly in the stables of the Lord Jesus than the CEO of hell.
All Scripture quoted, in both sermons and daily thoughts, except when done by a guest, is from the ACP/authorized 1611 King James Version. The words in red are those quotes of God the Son, the Lord Jesus and the words in purple are those qoutes spoken directly by God the Father and the words in this sickly greenish color are of satan. But all of the Bible is spoken by God and should be viewed as God's handbook for us to run our lives by 2 Timothy 3:16.