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Author Topic: Christ's Ways
Sa:ji:sdo:de
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Introduction

Hello; and welcome to a grass-roots collection of close to 500 specific items-- beginning in the book of Acts and concluding in the book of Revelation --stipulating the Lord's rules of conduct for each and every Christian in the whole world regardless of their denominational affiliation.

This daily adventure thru the Bible takes roughly eight months to complete, barring laziness and/or unforeseen difficulties.

Some Christians regard any and all commandments as a throw-back to the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But let me assure them the edicts in this collection are not those of the first covenant, but those of the second; viz: Christ's law rather than Moses' law.

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

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

Critics sometimes inform me that Paul was a false prophet and his writings should not be accepted as the Lord's instructions. Well; I appreciate their concern; but the allegations are of no interest to me. The reason being that mainstream Christianity is convinced that Paul's letters-- as well as Peter's, James', John's, and Jude's --are valid fulfillments of the Lord's mandate to go therefore, and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. (Matt 28:19-20)

Until a qualified person, who knows what they're doing, can provide sufficient empirical evidence to prove beyond a shadow of sensible doubt that those men's letters are spurious, then I and my fellow mainstream Christians will remain convinced that they are safe for human consumption.

Buen Camino

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

The meat of a strangled animal is different than that of a butchered animal. Though a strangled animal may be brain dead, it's flesh will be viable for a bit because the blood in its veins still has usable oxygen in it. This is why the new rules for CPR recommend concentrating on chest compressions first while delaying blowing air into somebody's lungs till a little later.

In essence what we're talking about here is eating living flesh versus ordinary raw flesh. Christians may eat all the raw, uncooked meat they want just so long as they are absolutely certain the meat is dead beyond recovery.

Though this is one of Christ's wishes; it has been God's wishes ever since Noah came off the ark. (Gen 9:3-4)

Promiscuity can be defined as sexual misconduct; e.g. adultery, incest, shacking up, one night stands, sleeping around, etc.

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

"dead to sin" doesn't mean the Lord's sheep don't sin (cf. 1John 1:8-10). It means they're no longer in grave peril of sin's ultimate consequences. (John 5:24, Rom 4:25, Rom 5:6-11, Rom 6:3-11, Rom 8:33, 2Cor 5:19)

I've had lots of unbelievers protest that if it were true that the Lord's sheep are in no peril of sin's ultimate consequences; then they would have a license to steal. The answer to that is both YES and NO

The big difference is that when the Lord's sheep sin, it's a family matter; but when outsiders sin; it's a criminal matter. While outsiders face justice for their sins, the family only faces discipline because their justice was satisfied at Calvary. (cf. Isa 53:1-12 and Rom 6:3-11)

For example; when my youngest brother and I were kids; we pelted my dad's old Hudson Hornet with eggs and made a big mess of it. My dad not only blistered our bottoms but also made us wash it all off. But if somebody else's kids had pelted my dad's Hudson, he would have called the police. You see, for my brother and I, the egging was a family matter; but had an outsider egged my dad's car it would have been a criminal matter and something to be settled in court rather than in my dad's wood shed; if you know what I mean.

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

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

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

5) Rom 12:1 . . Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

The above indicates that sacrifices don't have to be deceased in order to qualify as valid offerings. (cf. Gen 22:12, Jgs 11:30-40,1Sam 1:1-28)

6) Rom 12:2 . . And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

I heard a story about some students in a seminary who prayed about an upcoming exam instead of cracking the books and burning the midnight oil. Apparently they were somehow under the impression that the information they needed for the exam would somehow drift up out of the duck feathers where God had it stored in their pillows and be miraculously absorbed by the gray cells in their brains-- and this while they were fast asleep.

Long story short; they all got an F on their exams; and not because the professor despised their laziness; no, because they simply didn't know the answers. Moral of the story is: in order to "renew your mind" and to "prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" one must take the initiative to knuckle down and learn the Lord's wishes; viz: study the Bible via either reading, sermons, Sunday school classes, seminars, lectures, and/or radio programs like Thru The Bible and Back To The Bible, et al. This stipulation is not optional by the way, no; it's one of the Lord's many commandments; and I'm pretty sure he expects it to be obeyed.

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

Christians of little faith have little value; while Christians of great faith have great value; but should be careful not to let their great value go to their heads; if you know what I mean.

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

The koiné Greek word for "prophesy" in that verse is from propheteia (prof ay-ti'-ah) which encompasses predictions. Predictors were common in the early church; for example Agabus' predictions at Acts 11:27-28 and Acts 21:10-11. Hunches don't count as God speaking through you. You have to really know it. Don't ask me how to really know it because I don't have the gift.

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

"serving well" implies serving conscientiously and whole-heartedly rather than half-baked and/or hit and miss.

One of my brothers has been a construction foreman for decades and one of his perpetual complaints is that he never knows from one day to the next whether some of the men he hires on jobs will show up. In other words: they aren't reliable-- he can't count on them. What I'm saying is: if you're thinking about becoming helpful in some way, don't do it unless you're willing to commit to the long haul because people need to know that they can depend on you to stay the course.

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

I had a Sunday school teacher once who worked as a maintenance man in a public swimming facility. One Saturday he had to work very late repairing some equipment at the pool and had no time to prepare his lesson plan for Sunday morning so he just threw something together. It stunk; and my wife and I got nothing out of it. In contrast, I once knew a pastor who took all week long to prepare his Sunday morning sermons; rather than just Saturday night. Now there was a guy who knew what it means to "do a good job of teaching".

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

You know who really benefits from encouragement in a big way? Little kids. Thoughtless grown-ups can break a growing child's fragile spirit by criticizing them all the time and never once giving them an "atta boy" or a single vote of confidence. A fitting word spoken at just the right moment can really beef up somebody's resolve to meet life head on. If you're good at that sort of thing, then watch for opportunities to do so.

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

There are some people barely making ends meet who nevertheless make an effort to include charities in their budgets, while others loaded with dough are misers in that they only give what they have to and nothing more. The "extra mile" is foreign to their concept of what it means to be generous.

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

A natural aptitude for church management doesn't count. It has to be God given; that is: a legitimate Spirit-endowed ability. (cf. Rom 12:3-8, 1Cor 12:4-11, 1Cor 12:27-30). There are far too many people sitting on church boards merely because they're a success in business. Well; if your church is a business; then maybe you should think about finding another one.

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

That would probably correspond to incidents like the one depicted in the parable of the man attacked by road agents in Luke 10:30-36. In that instance, a passerby had the skills and the wherewithal to provide care for a total stranger in need. Personally, I'm not much at first aid and/or emergency medical services. But what we're getting at here is that should you find yourself in circumstances where you can be of genuine, effective assistance; don't lend a hand grudging. It ought to make Christians happy to be of assistance instead of getting irritated and grumpy about an unexpected inconvenience.

A solo Pacific Crest Trail hiker named Cheryl Strayed, in her book WILD, recounts an evening wherein she was very low on funds and having no luck locating a suitable place in the woods to set up her tent before it got really dark. Cheryl found her way into a fee campground and set up at the extreme end of the facility where she thought no one would mind; but later that night the caretakers came by and, in a not-so-friendly tone, insisted that she either pay the $12 fee or break camp and leave. The Christian thing to do would have been to pay the fee for her instead of forcing a woman to wander out into the pitch black forest all alone at night.

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

Webster's defines "pretense" as fiction, make-believe, and/or simulation. Ironically, pretense is foundational to ordinary civility and common courtesy. But when it comes to love; Christians should never put on a front. In other words: don't lead someone on to believe you're fond of them when in reality you aren't. That's not only dishonest; it's cruel.

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

Hating evil is second nature to God-fearing people.

†. Ps 97:10 . .You who love Yhvh: hate evil!

†. Job 1:1 . . In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.

†. Prv 8:13 . .The fear of The Lord is to hate evil. Pride and arrogance and the evil way, and the perverted mouth, I hate.

†. Matt 5:6 . . Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness.

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

Christian CEOs on the boards of multi-national corporations have my sympathy. Good luck complying with item #17.

I recently watched a very interesting documentary on NetFlix that analyzed corporations; and they found that corporations, as a personality, typically exhibit all five of the psychopathic behaviors listed below.

• Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.

• Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships.

• Reckless disregard for the safety of others.

• Deceit and dissembling; viz: repeated lying, suppressing information, stretching the truth, and conning others for profit.

• Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors.

One of corporate America's more shameful management practices is the exploitation of foreign poverty, cheap labor, defenseless employees, minimal safety requirements, and hardly any environmental regulations in order to keep costs down and the bottom lines of quarterly reports up. It's all about profits with corporations; while the human suffering exploited to obtain them is collateral damage, so to speak; and nowhere has that been more prevalent than the manufacture of textiles and garments.

Another of corporations' rather annoying behaviors is their lack of patriotism. They have a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders which supersedes any wish they may have to pay their fair share of the tax burden imposed on their fellow citizens. Thus they contribute relatively little towards the Federal Government's ability to pay its bills in comparison to regular people.

A popular corporate tax-saving dodge, which is perfectly legal, is the moving of their corporate headquarters offshore to countries where tax rates on profits are much lower than here in the USA; where they have a permanent haven just so long as they don't bring those profits into the country; which is really a shame because those profits could otherwise be invested here at home to create more jobs for Americans and thus strengthen the economy.

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

Real affection is easy to imitate, but not so easy to duplicate. Going through the motions, is just not the same as feeling the feelings.

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

Most alpha achievers would have trouble with that one. I mean. why be a winner if not to feel superior to everyone else and accumulate bragging rights and accolades? The alpha achiever's motto is: It's not enough to succeed: everyone else must fail.

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20) Rom 12:11 . . Never be halfhearted in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.

Webster's defines 'halfhearted" as feeling or showing a lack of interest. The koinë Greek word for "work" is spoude (spoo-day') which refers to movement in regards to speed; viz: velocity. In other words; item #20 is talking about dragging one's feet rather than getting with the program and expediting whatever it is you're assigned to do.

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

Christians unsure of their afterlife destination cannot, in all honesty and a good conscience, comply with item #21.

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

Patience is something every so-called mature adult is supposed to have but relatively few seem able to produce. What we're talking about here is "composure" which Webster's defines as calmness: especially of mind, manner, or appearance.

Composure is pretty easy to maintain when nothing is bothering us; but not so easy when we're upset, frightened, worried, nervous, angry, irritated, annoyed, over-worked, dead tired, under pressure, stressed, chafed, interrupted, ignored, cut off in traffic, in deep credit card debt, a sudden death in the family, behind in your mortgage, your car payments and/or your student loan; injured, life changing news like your job outsourced to China or you've got cancer, involved in a school shooting, and/or your spouse announces they've met someone and wants a divorce. People tend to come unglued at times like that.

†. 1Pet 4:12 . . Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.

A "painful trial" can be likened to a process to which assayers subject samples of gold to evaluate its worth as a precious metal. If somebody can maintain their composure under the conditions I listed above, I'd have to say that they are a high-value gold. As for the rest of us; we would no doubt benefit from a dose of the fruit of the Spirit; hence the enjoinder to "always be prayerful".

†. Gal 5:22 . .The fruit of the Spirit is patience; et al.

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

"God's people" is a bit vague. I'm guessing it pertains to Jews. See Matt 25:31-46.

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

Webster's defines hospitable as: (1) given to generous and cordial reception of guests, (2) promising or suggesting generous and cordial welcome, (3) offering a pleasant or sustaining environment.

In other words; a hospitable person is civil, courteous, thoughtful, easy on one's nerves, helpful, approachable, accommodating, and relaxing to be with.

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

The koiné Greek word for "persecute" is dioko (dee-o'-ko) which means to pursue; viz: to hound. In other words; a persecuting personality is one whose mission in life is to ruin somebody's day at every opportunity; and they are pretty good at finding ways to do it. Christians are under orders to remain calm with people like that, and continue to be hospitable too.

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

When you're blue about something, the last thing you need is for somebody to come along and tell you: Don't be that way; snap out of it! Well; it's not too hard to figure out where their loyalties lie is it? If you know what a party pooper is, then you know what a funeral pooper is-- they try to brighten up a sad situation when what they really should do is bite their tongues and let people grieve through their loss.

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

It isn't necessary to be in 100% agreement with others on everything in order to comply with that command. But it is necessary to make every effort to avoid quarrels. For some people, every disagreement is an act of war to be won at any cost. That's not harmony, that's hostility. It's far and away better for Christians to be diplomatic that to be defensive.

†. 2Cor 12:19-20 . . For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.

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

One morning the owner of a boatyard where I was employed just happened to be going east at the same time as me on a freeway in San Diego. I saw him coming up on the left in my side mirror. I and my VW beetle were in the middle lane and he and his Chevy pickup were in the fast lane. As the boatyard owner came up alongside me, he kept his head turned to the left as if he was intently looking at something alongside the highway as he went past.

You know what was over there on the left side of the freeway? Nothing. It was a 30-foot embankment of bare earth; an impenetrable wall of China. He was deliberately averting his gaze so he wouldn't have to wave to me. And guess what? Mr. Boatyard was on the board of a large Wesleyan church in Spring Valley that he and I both attended on Sunday mornings.

In another incident, I went to a Church singles' group meeting in a private home where everyone was seated on the floor chatting when I arrived. All the really cool singles had gravitated together and left this rather geeky fellow sitting all by himself with no one to talk to. Well; I wasn't all that cool myself so I sat with the geek and as we conversed, I began to realize that in spite of his appearance, he was actually a pretty bright guy; but he and I were marginalized because the others didn't want to be seen with us

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

Webster's defines "conceit" as excessive self-appreciation of one's own worth or virtue.

Conceit is uncivil, untrainable, and intolerable. It truly believes nobody beneath its dignity could possibly have anything to tell that it doesn't already know, and if it doesn't already know, then that's because the information possessed by those beneath its dignity isn't worth knowing.

Those kinds of people will interrupt you right in the middle of your sentence and begin talking about their own perspective as if your voice is nowhere to be heard in the whole room. You know why they do that? Because they sincerely believe that nothing you are in the midst of saying is nearly as important as what they have to say. In other words: you, and your thoughts, are both superfluous.

Conceited folk are generally very picky about their influences too; in other words, even if somebody is a Spirit-gifted Bible teacher, but are neither published, accredited, or properly educated, then forget it. That Spirit-gifted somebody is eo ipso undeserving of conceit's intellectual attention right out of the box.

Conceit is not only stuck on itself; but very critical of others too. I've seen it to happen time and again that when a Spirit-gifted Bible teacher comes across with a personality like Elijah's or John the Baptist's that conceit summarily brushes them off as "unloving" no matter even if they speak as the very voice of God. In other words; conceit disdains to be taught; rather, conceit seeks to be accommodated.

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

I've participated on nearly thirty Christian internet forums beginning in 1997, and one of the things I've noticed is that too many people wearing the Christian label have forgotten all about turning the other cheek. Oh m' gosh you wouldn't believe how ugly, spiteful, and vindictive Christians can be when they put their minds to it!

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

The koiné Greek word for "right" is a bit ambiguous. It can mean: honorable, decent, sensible, mature, conforming to social norms of decency and propriety, beautiful, virtuous, honest, having worth, fitting, and/or appropriate. Those are all good qualities and should be practiced not only inside church, but outside church too.

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

Assertive, defensive, fault-finding, imperious, judgmental, confrontational, bossy, hard-nosed, implacable, moody, thin skinned, vindictive, spiteful people are not going to heaven. Why? Because heaven is a place of peace (Matt 5:9). Disagreeable people who fight at the drop of a hat simply don't fit in heaven and besides, not only would they be a fish out of water; but it wouldn't be fair to the others to let difficult people in to heaven where they would surely turn it into the same kind of hell to live in that they've made the earth.

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

The focus is upon one's "own" revenge; in other words: if the matter can't be settled legally; let it go rather than take it upon yourself to be prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner. Those who seek justice outside the justice system are no less criminals than the people they seek to punish.

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

Way back when SURVIVOR was in its second or third season on television, two of the women fell out of sorts and one vowed that even if the other were lying in the street near death from thirst, she'd walk right past and not give her so much as a drop of water. Bad form. Christians have to remain civil and not permit detestable people to dictate the way they treat their fellow men. It is far better for the Lord's people to exemplify humanitarian principles rather than nurse a grudge.

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

They say "fight fire with fire". Well, that might work in some circumstances; but Christians should never permit themselves to fight evil with evil. Two wrongs never make a right.

I just have to wonder-- in a land that prides itself in the principle of the accused being assumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law --why Osama Bin Laden wasn't captured alive and given a fair trial before the Obama administration executed him. I mean; after all; several of Germany's big name war criminals were given fair trials; and so was Saddam Hussein, wasn't he? Far from being "brought to justice" Mr. Bin Laden was assassinated lynch-mob style. Thus, America overcame evil with evil; which is a clear violation of the Lord's wishes as per Rom 12:21 and to think some Americans actually pride themselves in being a so-called Christian nation.

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36) Rom 13:1-5 . . Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

. . . For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

According to that passage, non Christians have the God-given right to govern Christians by means of civil criminal justice systems. This has its roots clear on back to the days of Noah.

†. Gen 9:4-6 . . And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.

Rom 13:1-5 is a fair warning to Christians that should they break the law; to expect neither favoritism nor immunity. So then, if you can't do the time, then don't do the crime. And especially if a Christian should commit a capital crime, to expect their head to roll just like any other capital criminal's head.

God has given mankind the right to play God in matters pertaining to criminal justice; and any Christian who opposes mankind's right to play God, is playing the Devil. God forbid!

Rom 13:1-5 covers petty crimes too like J-walking, illegal U-turns, feeding parking meters, drifting through stop signs without coming to a complete halt, exceeding the speed limit, unsafe lane changes, road rage, disturbing the peace, et al. Christians really ought to be the most law-abiding people on earth; but unfortunately, many are shamefully guilty of conduct unbecoming.

37) Rom 13:6 . . Pay your taxes

While it's true that tax dollars often get wasted on fraud, graft, pork, bail outs, ear marks, and such things; by and large taxes are essential if we're to expect services like schools, parks, national defense, law enforcement, fire protection, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, foster care, endowments, reparations, flood control, TANF, and the maintenance of infrastructure, etc.

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

I don't particularly admire Barack Hussein Obama; but seeing as how God requires Christians to address people in his position appropriately; then were I to meet him, I would not address him as Barry, but as Mr. President.

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

Some have construed item #39 to mean that it's a sin to have a mortgage, a car payment, and/or a credit card balance. However, the koiné Greek word for "owe" is opheilo (of-i'-lo) an ambiguous word with a number of meanings, one of which is to fail in duty; viz: fail to meet your obligations. In today's world; debt is pert near impossible to avoid; but debt is okay for Christians just so long as they pay their bills on time and steer clear of defaults and deficits. Christ is neither pleased nor honored when his followers are known as deadbeats.

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

Among the first things that God created for the cosmos was light (Gen 1:3). He didn't have to create darkness because darkness as per Gen 1:2 was just simply the default condition in the absence of light.

At that time, God made a distinct difference between light and darkness (Gen 1:4). I think it is very notable that God labeled the light "good" but He didn't label the darkness good.

I believe Gen 1:4 set the stage; in other words: from that point on in the Bible darkness typically represents something harmful and/or distasteful; while light always represents something tasteful and/or beneficial. So then we could label the deeds of darkness as deeds unbecoming Christ's followers, and we could label the armor of light as deeds befitting his followers. In other words: deeds befitting Christ's followers are their first line of defense in a world gone mad with evil.

41) Rom 13:13 . . Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and envy.

In the beginning, God labeled the light "day" and the darkness He labeled "night" (Gen 1:5) ergo: accordingly, day is good while night is bad. So then; things done in the day are good things, while things done in the night are, by default, bad things. Day and Night, and Darkness and Light, are interesting figures of speech and can be seen in use at quite a few locations in the Bible; for example:

†. John 3:19-21 . .This is the judgment; that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.

Envy can be a good dog or a bad dog, and when it's a bad dog, it's the combined meanness of a Pit Bull Terrier and a Rottweiler because envy fuels some very bitter rivalries. Wanting to be equal with others is one thing, but striving to be better than others is a horse of another color. Christians have got to be careful of that. This isn't optional by the way; no: it's required.

What I find interesting about Christ's commandments is that his followers have to be told how to "properly conduct" themselves; viz: it's never assumed they can be trusted to instinctively and/or intuitively know how.

42) Rom 13:14 . . .Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ

Clothing one's self with a personage was a colloquialism many years ago which would correspond in our day to "emulation" which Webster's defines as trying to be like someone or something you admire. They say that imitation is the highest flattery. Well; if you'd like to flatter the Lord; adopt his principles and put them into practice. In other words: become Christ's understudy. You can do no better for a role model.

Q: How does one go about measuring up to Christ?

A: Well, up to this point, we've listed 42 ways. In other words; complying with Christ's commandments is really the best and only practical way to go about it.

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43) Rom 14:1 . . Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

A strong faith consists of the elements of knowledge, confidence, assurance, and conviction. A weak faith can be defined as vacillating; viz: one that's not all that sure whether something is wrong for a Christian; or even that something is right; in other words, a weak faith lacks the elements of knowledge, confidence, assurance, and conviction.

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

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

When somebody begins a statement with the words "in my opinion" and/or "well; I think" they are getting ready to give you their judicious estimation; and since opinions are often subjective, biased, and arbitrary, rather than objective, unbiased, and by-the-book; then opinions inevitably invite debate; which, in matters of spiritual significance is strictly forbidden within the context of the 14th chapter of Romans; because debatable matters are not matters of doctrine; but rather; matters of conscience.

We're not talking about black and white doctrines and principles here. Those are not open to debate. We're talking about gray areas.

"Thou shalt not commit adultery" is black and white; while issues like video games, music, fashions, foods, cosmetics, movies, self defense, gambling, swim suits, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, fasting, religious art, crucifixes, couture, and holy days of obligation are debatable. In regards to those areas; let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind rather than somebody else's mind.

Those are things about which each has to decide for themselves according to the dictates of their own conscience; and God forbid they should impose their personal dictates upon others and thus become dictatorial because that's playing God and usurping the Lord's sovereign prerogative to make the rules for his own church.

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

If you sincerely believe that fast food, GMO, high fructose corn syrup, non organic produce, processed foods, grain-fed beef, raw oysters, sushi, and/or anything fried in lard is sinful; well; more power to you; but God forbid you should condemn others who disagree because to my knowledge the Lord has issued no hard and fast rules regulating Christian nourishment other than those listed at Acts 15:19-20.

So then; whether or not to eat grass-fed beef or grain-fed beef is your call; although in my judicious estimation; you run a much higher risk of contracting E.coli 0157-H7 by eating grain-fed beef. But the choice to run that risk is yours alone; not mine. The important point to note is that either way, God will accept one's diet just so long as they are convinced in their own mind it's not a sinful diet.

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

Common Christian holy days are the Lord's Day (Sunday), Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, the Epiphany, Solemnity of Saint Joseph Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Ascension Trinity Sunday, Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Good Friday, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, All Saints, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ (Christmas), and the Sabbath. Some would probably include Easter and Ash Wednesday.

If your denomination, or your church of choice, rules that days like the above are sacred, then for you they are. Whether God himself really and truly rules them as sacred is irrelevant. What matters is whether you are convinced He does.

46) Rom 14:13a . .Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.

Within the context of the 14th of Romans, "passing judgment" pertains to condemning others for refusal to accept and/or comply with your gray-area beliefs and practices.

47) Rom 14:13b . . Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.

The koiné Greek word translated "stumbling block" means a stub. For example: one year I cut down a troublesome bush in my front yard and left a bit of a stump sticking up out of the ground that later damaged my lawn mower when I accidentally ran over it while cutting the grass; which had grown tall enough to conceal the stump.In that respect, stumbling blocks are hazards not easily detected.

Within the context of the 14th of Romans, I would equate stumbling blocks to the clever sophistry that silver-tongued orators employ to persuade people to do things contrary to their convictions and their conscience. In other words; there are people out there with the skills to make a lie sound like the God's truth. (cf. Eph 4:11-14)

48) Rom 14:14-16 . . I know and am perfectly sure on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. And if another Christian is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don't let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. Then you will not be condemned for doing something you know is alright.

You may believe that there is nothing wrong with eating non-Kosher foods; but your dinner companion might feel very strongly about it. Well; sure, you can get by with eating non-Kosher foods; but Rom 14:14-16 is saying don't. In other words; it is Christ's wishes that you restrain yourself from eating non-Kosher foods in front of your companion out of respect for their feelings about it.

I would go so far as to say that rule applies to alcohol. If your dinner companion is a recovering alcoholic, then for God's sake don't order drinks at your table. It's not only thoughtless and offensive; but you might inadvertently succeed in bumping your friend off the wagon.

49) Rom 14:19 . . Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

The koiné Greek word for "edification" is oikodome (oy-kod-om-ay') which is a word related to the building trades; and in this instance would be related to structural improvements like a new wing, or a bedroom, or another floor; and in many instances adds square footage to an already-existing structure and/or improves its appearance, its value, and it's utility. Edification then, builds up instead of tearing down.

Webster's defines "peace" as a state in which there is no war or fighting; viz: harmony and mutual concord.

†. 2Cor 12:19-20 . . For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.

50) Rom 14:20-21 . . Do 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.

The critters that God lists in Israel's covenanted law as unsuitable for food aren't intrinsically unsuitable. They're only unsuitable for Israel because that's how God wants it for His people. But outside the covenant; and for everybody else: everything is suitable for food; all flora and all fauna.

†. Gen 9:3 . . Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

51) Rom 15:1-2 . . We may know that certain things make no difference, but we cannot just go ahead and do them to please ourselves. We must be considerate of the doubts and fears of those who believe certain things are wrong.

God forbid that any of Christ's followers should talk their fellow Christians into doing something that bothers their conscience because then both they and the talker will be in the wrong even if he's right.

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52) Rom 14:22a . . So whatever you personally believe in debatable areas keep between yourself and God.

53) Rom 14:22b-23 . . Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But 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.

In other words, it's possible to be wrong even when you're right because it's a sin to forge ahead when one's conscience is not sure it's okay to do so.

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

In other words; it makes good spiritual sense to avoid insisting upon your freedoms and rights sometimes in order to prevent dragging your fellow Christians into something that makes them feel guilty and/or uncomfortable.

54) Rom 15:1-2 . . We may know that certain things make no difference, but we cannot just go ahead and do them to please ourselves. We must be considerate of the doubts and fears of those who believe certain things are wrong.

I think this would be a good place to interject a note pertaining to the statement below:

†. John 13:35 . . By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

For many of us who grew up in dysfunctional families, broken homes, foster systems and/or orphanages et al; the concept of love doesn't resonate in our thinking; viz: it just goes in one ear and right out the other because we quite literally have no points of reference in our minds to aid comprehending what the Lord means by love; and this is what makes his commandments interspersed throughout the epistles so valuable-- many of them not only show us how to recognize love when we encounter it; but also how to exemplify it in our own lives so that those of us who were deprived of love growing up are not left to figure it out on our own.

55) Rom 15:7 . . Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

That's a bit tricky but I think it just means believers should acknowledge one another as Christians, and treat one another as Christians, though they may differ in opinion about what constitutes a true Christian.

For example: it's not unusual to hear a Christian pontificate that real Christians would never watch R-rated movies, gamble, wear a speedo or a string bikini on the beach, use cosmetics, smoke marijuana, expose cleavage or wear tight fitting yoga pants in public, stop for a beer on the way home from work, have a glass of wine before bedtime, listen to RAP music, ditch church and Sunday school for years at a time, or go in a bar or a nightclub where there's topless female dancers up on a stage twining themselves around a pole while leering men stuff money in the hems of their skimpy little costumes.

Too many Christians have the opinion that unless others believe and behave the very same way they believe and behave, then those others are not Christians. Well; the easiest way to settle this is to follow Webster's definition that a Christian is simply someone who professes a belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ. That's it: no more, no less, and no qualifiers. They don't even have to practice the Lord's teachings; they only have to profess to believe in them.

An internet forum I was on in the past made it even easier. In order to qualify as a Christian on that forum; one only had to believe they were a Christian; viz: they didn't have to prove they were a Christian; no, they only had to be convinced in their own minds that they were a Christian. If we all followed that rule it would put a stop to a lot of unnecessary quarreling and bad feelings.

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56) Rom 15:27 . . For if the Gentiles have shared in the Israelite's spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Israelites to share with them their material blessings.

Within the context of Rom 15:25-27, the Israelites to whom Paul refers are not those who believe and practice Judaism; but those who believe and practice Christianity. It is unbecoming for Christians to support religions that undermine their Master.

57) Rom 16:17-18 . . I urge you, brothers, beware of those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people.

One of the Lord's very effective opponents isn't a person; but rather, it's a persuasive teaching method called sophistry; which Webster's defines as a reason or an argument that sounds correct but is actually false; viz: subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation. Sophistry is so rational, so appealing, makes such good sense, and is so convincing that even its users are easily fooled by it.

Sophistry in religion is found in true-sounding beliefs based upon false premises. According to Eph 4:11-14 the very reason that Christ hand-picks some of his followers to speak for him is so that the rest of his followers may have access to true premises upon which to base their beliefs. Some Christians are of the opinion that they can get by without the assistance of Christ's hand-picked teachers just by reading the Bible on their own; but it is not the Lord's wishes that they go that route.

58) 1Cor 1:10 . . I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

I think it would be interesting to analyze the incident that prompted Paul to issue that order.

†. 1Cor 1:11-12 . . My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this; one of you says "I follow Paul" and another says "I follow Apollos" and another says "I follow Cephas" and still another says "I follow Christ".

The "divisions" that Paul addressed were apparently related to the sins of rivalry and elitism-- some even going so far as to allege that their baptism was superior to the "second-rate" baptisms experienced by others.

Modern examples of that kind of elitism today might go like this: one might brag "I was saved at a Louis Palau crusade" while, not to be outdone, another might retort "That's nothing; I was saved at a Billy Graham crusade" or "My pastor got his degree at Dallas Theological Seminary" while another may counter by saying "So? My pastor got his doctorate at Yale Divinity School" or "I listen to Thru The Bible with J.Vernon McGee every day on the radio" while another may retort by saying "He's okay for some people; but Back To The Bible with Woodrow Kroll is where it's really at." or "I use nothing but the King James version of the Bible" while another may scoff with "People serious about Bible study use a Scofield Reference Bible in the NIV." or "I can read and write Greek" while another might retort: "You should try learning Hebrew sometime. Now there's a challenge." And then there's the hermeneutics know-it-alls who insist that the truth of a passage can only be seen in context and no other way

Those kinds of petty rivalries generate unnecessary bad feelings amongst Christians, and should be avoided.

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59) 1Cor 1:26-31 . . For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

When people aren't boasting about themselves; they're often boasting about the accomplishments of their heroes; e.g. athletes, movie stars, celebrities, scientists, financial moguls, politicians, news anchors, military personnel, journalists, authors, and others like that. Well; though those people's accomplishments are certainly admirable and fully deserve recognition; bottom line is: they don't impress God one whit because their accomplishments, and yours too, are nothing in comparison to His. In point of fact, their accomplishments, and yours too, are less than nothing in comparison to God's.

One of God's accomplishments that causes me to greatly admire Him is the scheme He came up with to clear the books of my sins in a way that satisfies justice without causing me harm and/or compromising His integrity.

God's intuitive sense of justice imposes some serious limitations upon both me and Him; and one of those limitations is that His intuitive sense of justice does not permit sweeping sins under the rug. No; God's intuitive sense of justice demands that sins be brought to justice. Ergo: were God to sweep sins under the rug, He would violate the dictates of His own conscience; which, according to the principles we only just recently looked at in the 14th of Romans, is a pretty bad sin itself.

Another of God's many accomplishments that causes me to greatly admire Him is the scheme He came up with to knock down a wall separating Him and me that is far more impenetrable than that of either Berlin's or China's; which reads like this:

†. Jer 13:23 . . Can the Ethiopian change [the color of] his skin; or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

In other words: it is impossible for a man to break human nature's tendency to do evil. Just as people born with black skin are stuck with black skin, and just as leopards born with spotted fur are stuck with spotted fur; so a man accustomed to doing evil is stuck with continuing to do evil.

God solved that problem by somehow transferring me from the human race patterned after Adam the sinful man, to a human race patterned after Christ the sinless man. In other words: though I cannot see the results now, there is a day coming when I will never, ever again commit a sin of any kind in either thought, word, or deed because in him, there is no sin (1John 3:5). You gotta admit; that's quite an accomplishment. Nobody can top that one.

The next commandment I wish to discuss is embedded in the following scripture. It's indicated by underlined text.

60) 1Cor 3:5-15 . .What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe. As the Lord has assigned to each his task: I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it.

. . . For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be spared, yet so as through fire.

Sorry for that big gob of scripture, but in order to explain what is meant by the underlined text it's essential that I retain it's context.

The works in question are those pertaining specifically to Christians like Paul and Apollos; viz: God's fellow workers involved in ministerial capacities e.g. apostles, missionaries, evangelists, pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers, church administrators, home Bible study leaders, et al. Though the average rank and file pew warmer's works will some day be evaluated too; they are not the ones whose works will be evaluated as per 1Cor 3:5-15 because John Q and Jane Doe are depicted as: (1) God's field, and (2) His building.

It's extremely important to note that only the Christian worker's works are tested with fire; not the worker himself. Compare this to the great white throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15 where the dead's works are not tested; but rather, their works are introduced as evidence in the prosecution's case against them. The Christian worker's works aren't evaluated as evidence against them, but as potential credit to justify giving them a performance award.

Another extremely important thing to note is that the Christian worker's substandard works are burned up rather than burned off; as if the worker has to spend some time in a purgatory or something like that.

The phrase "he himself will be spared, but only as through fire" is rendered by some translators as "like someone escaping through a wall of flames" and/or "as one escaping through the flames". It's a depiction of people who waken inside a burning home with barely enough time to get out; taking nothing with them but whatever they wore to bed. Their home is destroyed, and all their valuables and all their mementoes; but at least the occupants themselves are safe, and suffer no harm from the fire.

"let each man be careful how he builds upon it" indicates that Christian workers need to keep in mind that what they produce will be thoroughly scrutinized; and projects that don't measure up will be summarily culled; resulting of course in reduced compensation for their service. How sad it would be to see workers like Mother Teresa who, after devoting decades of their lives to a Christian service capacity, only to be stripped of everything and come away with nothing to show for it; not even so much as a Boy Scout merit badge.


NOTE: According to 1Cor 4:5 the motives of Christian workers will be evaluated too in order to determine whether they were in it for the Lord, or just in it for themselves.

FYI: The koiné Greek words for "purify" and "purge" are nowhere to be found in 1Cor 3:5-15; and a note in the current official Catholic Bible says: The text of 1Cor 3:15 has sometimes been used to support the notion of a purgatory, though it does not envisage this.

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61) 1Cor 3:18 . . If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a fool so that he may become wise.

Webster's defines a fool as a person lacking in judgment or prudence and/or someone lacking common sense.

Well, as most everyone knows; someone need not have a low IQ to qualify as a fool. It isn't uncommon for otherwise bright people with above average intelligence to think, act, and speak like they've taken leave of their senses.

How do you go about convincing somebody with an IQ of 110 that they're foolish? Well; of course they're not really half-witted; they're smart in their own sphere, but alas; challenged in things that have value to God.

Take for example people like Nancy Pelosi, Hilary Clinton, Barbara Walters, Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, Jimmy Fallon, Paul McCartney, et al. Those people are geniuses at what they're good at; but when it comes to things that mean something to God: they're incompetent dunces because they have focused all their intellectual energy upon things that have value to themselves; and zero intellectual energy contemplating things that have value to God.

†. 1Cor 3:20 . .The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; that they are worthless.

Maybe the thoughts of the wise are worth something to the world; but not to God. They bore Him to tears.

62) 1Cor 3:21-23 . . So don't take pride in following a particular leader. Everything belongs to you-- Paul and Apollos and Peter --the whole world and life and death; the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

I've noticed that avid sports fans are afflicted with chronic identity syndromes. When their favorite team wins; they say "we" won; as if they were on the team playing the game instead of up in the bleachers or on the couch at home watching the action on TV. Christians who worship the ground that their favorite pastors and/or Sunday school teachers walk on are just as avid. They want to be identified with those kinds of church luminaries because it makes them look really smart and elite; when in reality it just makes them look like star-crossed morons.

63) 1Cor 4:1 . . So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ, and as those entrusted with the mysteries of God.

Christians are so prone to hero worship. They idolize the pastors of their churches; and celebrities of the Christian world like Mother Teresa and Billy Graham are practically sacred cows-- when they should recognize that those celebrities are mere servants rather than gods. And in light of passages like 1Cor 3:5-15; it's makes more sense to fear for those servants safety than to admire them.

64) 1Cor 4:5 . . Judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till The Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and expose the motives of men's hearts.

The "judging" with respect to 1Cor 4:5 regards human nature's propensity to idolize religious celebrities without having all the facts. For example; we now know from Mother Teresa's private letters-- made public by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk's book "Mother Teresa / Come Be My Light" --that Ms. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was a nun with so little personal belief in God as to be an agnostic; and yet for decades everyone the world over thought she was the cat's meow and the bee's knees: a veritable poster child of piety in thought, word, and deed.

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65) 1Cor 5:1-5 . . It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife. And you have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead, in order that the one who had done this deed might be removed from your midst.

. . . For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Delivering someone to Satan for the destruction of the flesh just simply means to ostracize them-- no associating with them whatsoever, and especially no spiritual support, not even prayers. This may seem an extreme measure but that man's conduct was extremely detrimental; it was dragging the whole church down.

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66) 1Cor 5:6b-8 . . Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

. . . I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-- not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.

Paul's comparison to leavening indicates that the shameful conduct of just one member of the congregation is the whole congregation's shame. This isn't a proprietary Christian principle. It first shows up in the 7th chapter of Joshua. The insubordination of one insignificant Jewish man-- just one --caused God to stop assisting Joshua's army in battle. As a result, 36 men were needlessly killed in action; and ultimately capital punishment was inflicted upon not only the insubordinate man himself, but also his sons and his daughters. What did God say? Achan has sinned? No: Israel has sinned. (Josh 7:11)

This is one of the best arguments against church expansion. The bigger a congregation gets, the more difficult it is to keep an eye on everyone's conduct.

Q: What about saved and born-again LGBT? Do they have to be judged and ostracized too?

A: There was a time in the not-so-distant past when there would have been no need to ask that question. But the question is very pertinent nowadays what with so many State, local, and Federal laws practically giving LGBT the status of protected species. It's got to the point when accusing them of sexual sin is considered hate speech.

Before ostracizing LGBT they have to be sexually active; just as that man in the Corinthian church was sexually active with his stepmother.

And please; let's not level all the heavy guns at LGBT because the list includes swindling and greed too; which were responsible for the Wall Street crash back in 2008 that led to thousands of people everywhere losing their jobs, their retirements, and their homes. LGBT are of no consequence at all in comparison to the power of greed and swindling to ruin people's lives, collapse entire economies, and create fear, panic, and havoc on a titanic scale.

67) 1Cor 5:6a . .Your boasting is not good.

The Corinthian church was liberal in its attitudes about sex. That's no surprise considering the city's culture in that day and age. Then, as now, liberals tend to think of themselves as sophisticated and progressive. and vastly superior to the stodgy, old-fashioned ways of conservatives.

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68) 1Cor 6:1-6 . . If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!

. . . Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother goes to law against another-and this in front of unbelievers!

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

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

†. Luke 12:57-59 . .Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right? As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

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

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

The koiné Greek word for "defraud" is apostereo (ap-os-ter-eh'-o) which is an ambiguous word with more than one meaning, and more than one application. The meaning that seems appropriate in this instance is "deprive".

It works like this: Were I to trip and fall because of a crack in the walk leading up to the front door of the home of one of my kin; I wouldn't haul them into court over it because we're related; viz: any injury I might incur by tripping and falling because of a crack in their walk would be a family matter rather than a legal matter; and they have a right to be treated by me as family rather than as enemies in a lawsuit because we're related. Were I to sue them for tripping and falling because of a crack in their walk; I would be depriving them of the love that kin have a right to expect from one another.

Well; Christians are supposed to be brethren; in the highest possible sense of the word.

†. 1John 3:14-16 . .We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. . . We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

I think it's safe to say that if somebody is comfortable taking a fellow Christian to court; then they certainly are not prepared to lay down their life for the brethren.

It's really sad to see relatives suing each other in court; but it happens all the time. When the world does it; well, that's to be expected; but when Christians sue each other; that's dysfunctional.

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69) 1Cor 6:18 . . Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body.

The koiné Greek word for "fornication" is porneia (por-ni'-ah) which doesn't mean pornography; it means harlotry; a term that Webster's defines as sexual profligacy. Porneia would include things like prostitution, adultery, promiscuity, date sex, free love, shacking up, one-night stands, swingers, wife swapping, and that sort of thing.

The command is not to walk away from fornication; but to run away from it as if your very life depends upon putting distance between you and it. The same Greek word is used at Matt 2:13 where an angel instructed Joseph to flee into Egypt in order to save his little boy's life.

Fleeing is different than shunning. I think what we're talking about here are the times when a golden opportunity comes along to mess around with somebody who is absolutely irresistible. Some people would call that getting lucky; but in God's estimation, it's getting stupid if you play along and see what happens.

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

"Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." (Rom 14:5)

"Happy is he that feels no guilt in that thing which he allows." (Rom 14:22)

He that doubts is guilty if he eats, because he eats not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." (Rom 14:23)

However, as an old senior guy of 73 who's been around the block a time or two: I must forewarn youngsters that the human conscience is trainable. What I mean is, if you manage to suppress your first-time pangs of guilt, the second time will be easier; and each succeeding suppression of your conscience gets easier and easier till the day comes when you feel no guilt at all. In other words: you will eventually succeed in cauterizing your conscience. (cf. 1Tim 4:1-2)

The phrase "sins against his own body" is sort of the same wording as at 1Cor 11:27 where it's said "whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord."

Some Christians construe 1Cor 11:27 as murder. Well if so, then sinning against one's own body would be suicide. But actually, what we're talking about here is gross contempt and disrespect. In other words; Christian fornicators are treating their body like a chamber pot instead of a holy vessel; and all the while dragging God's Spirit into situations that He finds extremely unbecoming.

†. 1Cor 6:19 . . Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

†. Eph 4:30 . . Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

They're also dragging Christ into shame and disgrace too.

†. 1Cor 6:14-16 . . Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with an harlot? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with an harlot is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh."

It's sad but true: a number of Christians have spent so little time in the book of Genesis that they haven't a clue what 1Cor 6:14-16 is talking about.

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

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70) 1Cor 6:20 . . For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Christ's crucifixion and resurrection liberated his followers from facing justice and the second death in the scene depicted at Rev 20:11-15. That was a mighty big favor, and I should think it earns him the right to ask a favor in return. All things considered; conducting ourselves in ways that honor God is really not too much to ask seeing as how it was He who donated His own son to die for us.

71) 1Cor 7:2 . . Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

The above is especially pertinent in 2014 America. Fornication is everywhere: on a pandemic scale. It's in our music, in our schools, in the White House, in our offices, on our televisions, in our movies, in our novels, and in our conversations. People are even sleeping together on their very first dates. Even Congressmen, Senators, and US Presidents are indulging in forbidden love. The previous Governor of Oregon was openly shaking up with a girlfriend. An item in the January 2011 issue of National Geographic reported that 41% of America's births in 2008 were illegitimate; which is up 28% from 1990.

This country is in a state of moral decadence, and becoming more and more like the ancient city of Pompeii just prior to its destruction by the volcanism of Mt. Vesuvius.

It's important to note that 1Cor 7:2 makes it okay to marry for sex. My childhood religion taught me that it's a sin to marry for any other reason except procreation and that couples who decide to remain childless are living in sin. They get that from Genesis 1:28 where it's says: "God blessed them; and God said to them: Be fruitful and multiply". But that is clearly a blessing rather than a law. It's always best to regard blessings as benefits and/or empowerments unless clearly indicated otherwise.

Ironically the original purpose of marriage was neither sex nor procreation; it was companionship. (Gen 2:18)

72) 1Cor 7:3-4 . . Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not authority of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not authority of his own body, but the wife.

What we're talking about in that verse is the principle of private property. In other words: spouses own each other in a community property arrangement wherein the wife is "his woman" and the husband is "her man". So then; if you're looking for a man, or for a women, then go out and find one of your own instead of taking a married one who has no right to give themselves to you without their spouse's consent.

It's not uncommon for wives to withhold sex from their husbands as a strategy to manipulate them. God forbid that any woman believing herself to be one of Christ's followers should ever pull a stunt like that! Same goes for the husbands. There is just no excuse for that kind of behavior in marriage.

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73) 1 Cor 7:5 . . Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

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

In other words, married people who withhold sex from their spouses without their consent are nothing less than thieves, and in violation of the 8th commandment.

†. Ex 20:15 . .Thou shalt not steal.

The temptation in question is of course adultery. In other words; if one spouse denies the other spouse's conjugal rights for too long a time they run the risk of pushing them into another's arms.

I heard a story recently about a rather conniving Christian woman who wanted a divorce from her Christian husband; but seeing as how the Lord only allows death or adultery to dissolve the marital bond; she deliberately denied her husband his conjugal rights in order to force him to think about taking a lover; and when he did; she proceeded to divorce him on the grounds of unfaithfulness. That way, in her mind's eye, she was the innocent victim and he the villain. (chuckle) What people won't do to circumvent the laws of God.

The woman's first mistake was going for a divorce instead of a separation. Her second mistake was denying her husband's conjugal rights without his consent. Her third mistake was in putting a stumbling block in his path. Her fourth mistake was in leading him to do something that made him feel guilty. She no doubt made a number of other mistakes too but those four suffice for starters.

74) 1Cor 7:8-9 . . Now to the unmarried and the widows I say : It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn.

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

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

Webster's defines "celibacy" as (1) the state of not being married, (2) abstention from sexual intercourse, and (3) abstention by vow from marriage. Celibacy then, isn't limited to zero sex, but also includes zero marriage; even platonic unions.

Not long ago, a Catholic priest here in Oregon quit the priesthood after serving more than 30 years in order to get married because he couldn't stand being alone anymore. He wasn't especially looking to get laid, he just wanted to be with somebody; which is exactly how normal guys are designed.

†. Gen 2:18 . .Yhvh God said: It's not good for Adam to be solitary

The problem with a vow of celibacy is that although it may hinder a priest from getting married, it does nothing to prevent him from pining for a female companion. 1Cor 7:9 should suffice to silence the mouths of ascetics who preach it's holy to abstain from every form of earthly pleasure; and also the mouths of those who preach it's a sin to marry solely for sex.

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75) 1Cor 7:10-11a . . Unto the married I command-- yet not I, but the Lord --let not the wife depart from her husband: but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.

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

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

Q: May a woman put away her husband for a cause other than fornication?

A: No; of course not; that would be a double standard.

Q: But why are only the husbands targeted in Matt 5:32?

A: The Lord's audience was primarily Jewish and lived under the terms and conditions of Israel's covenanted law. Under that law, the husbands typically initiated divorce rather than the wives.

†. Matt 19:7-8 . . They say unto him: Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

The Lord's comments were based upon the passage below:

†. Gen 2:24 . . For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

There is no mention of divorce in the wording of that decree, nor is there any mention of polygamy either. In point of fact, if I'm understanding the Lord correctly, prior to rules regulating Christian church officers at 1Tim 3:2, it was okay for every man to have more than one wife just so long as they didn't divorce the first simply in order to take up with a second.

According to Matt 19:7-8, Moses premised divorce settlements upon the hardness of men's hearts rather than upon the hardness of their heads. In other words; Moses decreed divorce settlements as a safe-guard against men discarding their unwanted wives like chattel. A proper divorce separates a woman from her husband with at least a measure of her dignity intact and also ensures she isn't dumped without fair compensation; in other words: mandatory divorce settlements force men to respect women as human beings rather than yesterday's newspaper.

Q: So then; God permits divorce?

A: Webster's defines "permission" as: formal consent; viz: authorization. It's far more accurate to say that God tolerates divorce.

Were God to authorize divorce for any cause other than unfaithfulness; then according to Matt 19:9, God would be condoning adultery. And not only would He be condoning adultery, but He would also be inconsistent with His own one-flesh decree at Gen 2:24. The point is; people get divorced regardless of God's decree at Gen 2:24. Because of that ugly little fact of life; God requires that if people just have to get divorced; that it be done in such a way as to protect the women; especially their reputations. If a man dumped his wife without something in writing, future suitors might assume it was because she was unfaithful.

Q: But doesn't Gen 16:1-4 and Gen 30:3-10 indicate that God permits adultery?

A: I am unable to locate wording in either of those passages clearly indicating that God granted Abram permission to marry his half sister and/or to sleep with Ms.Hagar; and I am also unable to find wording in either of those passages clearly indicating that God granted Jacob permission to sleep with his wives' maids.


FYI: When the Bible's God stands by and does nothing to prevent sin, it should never be construed to indicate that He condones it because the Bible's God prefers not to micro-manage intelligent creatures. For example: the Bible's God could easily have prevented Cain from murdering his kid brother Abel. Does that eo ipso indicate Cain had God's consent to murder his kid brother? No. The Bible's God also could have prevented Judah from sleeping with his daughter-in-law Tamar to produce an illegitimate child who subsequently ended up in the Lord's biological genealogy. Does that eo ipso indicate Judah had God's consent to commit incest? No. In some jurisdictions; silence is construed as consent. Beware applying that kind of logic to the Bible's God.

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

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

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76) 1Cor 7:11b . . and let not the husband put away his wife.

There is of course an exception to that rule.

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

Fornication in the case of a married woman is adultery; which, in the economy of God, is a capital crime.

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

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

Even though there is no death penalty in the USA for adultery that I know of; the Bible accounts adulterers to be dead-men-walking, leaving the victim of infidelity free to divorce and remarry. It could be said that in cases of infidelity, divorce papers are the adulterer's death certificate.

Q: But aren't Christians exempt from Lev 20:10 and Deut 22:22?

A: They are exempt from the death penalty as per those two divine laws because Christians are not covenanted with God to comply with them. However; according to Rom 13:1-4 they are not exempt from civil laws that execute adulterers.

In addition, believers are not exempt from discipline as per Heb 12:5-13. To see just how extreme that can get, feast your glims on Acts 5:1-11 and 1Cor 11:27-30

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77) 1Cor 7:12 . . If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

78) 1Cor 7:13 . . And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

Christians are of course strictly forbidden to marry non-Christians (1Cor 7:39, 2Cor 6:14-18). But even if a potential spouse is a Christian, you may want to think twice before tying the knot if the other does not believe the same things and/or the same way. Marriage is hard enough to keep intact without introducing religious division into the home right out of the gate.

It's very common for marriages to start off okay, and then later on to become religiously divided; like for instance when one of the spouses gets converted at a Luis Palau crusade. As long as the situation doesn't cause intolerable friction in the home, the couple should stay together.

†. 1Cor 7:14-15 . . For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.

According to Matt 19:9, divorce and remarriage are holy only if one of the spouses has been unfaithful. So; if a believing spouse divorces their unbelieving spouse for any other reason than infidelity, and remarries; then as far as God is concerned, any children produced in the believing spouse's second marriage will be illegitimate.

Q: Why isn't spousal abuse cause for a believing spouse to divorce an unbelieving spouse? After all, according to 1Cor 7:15, God has called believers to peace.

A: Because according to Matt 19:9 the only acceptable cause for divorce is infidelity. Other than that, the only acceptable alternative is separation. (1Cor 7:10-11)

It isn't unusual to encounter unbelievers employing clever sophistry to circumvent Matt 19:9. I highly recommend letting their smooth-talking words go in one ear and out the other because there is no peace to be obtained by disobedience.

†. John 16:33 . .These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation

One of the "things I have spoken to you" is Matt 19:9. If believing spouses heed Jesus' instructions, they will have peace. If not; then I think they should pretty much expect to be out on their own.

†. 1John 1:5-6 . . And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth

79) 1Cor 7:15 . . But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

In other words: If an unbelieving spouse initiates divorce for whatever reason; then the believing spouse is in the clear to remarry; but of course not until the unbeliever starts sleeping with somebody.

80) 1Cor 7:17 . . But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk.

It isn't necessary to go out on the mission field in order to serve Christ faithfully and effectively. Even just being a good citizen counts.

81) 1Cor 7:18a . . Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised.

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

82) 1Cor 7:18b . . Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.

The circumcision in question is ritual circumcision; specifically the initiation rite into Judaism. Paul's advice is very practical because if a believer undergoes Judaism's circumcision rite, they will obligate God to come down on themselves with the curses listed at Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69 for noncompliance with the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. All one has to do is research the last 3,500 years of the Jews' history, up to and including the Holocaust, to see for themselves that God is serious about those curses.

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

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83) 1Cor 7:20 . . Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.

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

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

The ratio of soldiers in the rear compared to the ones at the front is something like six to one. It takes a massive support base to keep guys on the line out there facing off with the bad guys; all the way from workers in state-side factories manufacturing war materiel, to the sailors, soldiers, and airmen moving men and materiel over land and seas, to the doctors and nurses staffing MASH facilities, to the guys and girls driving supply trucks to the front. We can't all be in the doo-doo. Somebody has to be in the rear with the gear.

So take comfort in knowing that if you're involved in the effort, then you're a part of the effort; and will be rewarded accordingly. (cf. 1Sam 30:1-25 and Matt 20:1-16)

84) 1Cor 7:21-22 . . Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord's freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ's slave.

In Paul's day, not all slaves were lifelong slaves. Some were what's called indentured slaves; which Webster's defines as a person who signs and is bound by a contract to work for another for a specified time especially in return for payment of travel expenses and maintenance. Indentured slaves were also in-service in lieu of settling their debts with money, or some other considerations; e.g. property and/or goods and possessions. In "civilized" countries like the USA people simply file for bankruptcy but that was not an avenue of escape for most people in Paul's day.

Bottom line is: it's not a sin for believers to be in slavery; but it's more to the Lord's advantage for them to be free.

85) 1Cor 7:23 . .Ye are bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

The point is; whether bond or free, every believer is indentured to the Lord. But it is his wish that believers remain free rather than make a habit of indenturing themselves to humans primarily because a free man's labor earns him wages: a portion of which can be donated towards the Lord's work; while a slave earns no wages to donate towards the Lord's work. Also; a free man is at liberty to move about and make himself useful to the Lord, while a slave's movements are pretty much limited to their human master's jurisdiction.

86) 1Cor 7:24 . . Brethren, let each one remain with God in the situation in which he was called.

In other words: if you're a slave; don't become a runaway slave. Whether indentured or permanent; bite the bullet: stay put and make the best of it; always keeping in mind that whether slave or free you answer to a higher master.

87) 1Cor 7:25 . . Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.

Paul was an inspired man. Though in this instance he doesn't claim to speak as God and/or speak for God; it's to be expected a man like him would know the Lord's mind on certain issues without having to ask. That's a pretty advanced degree of spirituality when somebody's thoughts are God's thoughts; especially when they are 110% confident that their spiritual opinions are accepted in Heaven. Too many Christians are wishy-washy. They have an annoying habit of pontificating their opinions as the God's truth; when in reality they haven't the confidence to stand up and announce themselves infallible.

88) 1Cor 7:26-28 . . Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are. Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned.

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

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

†. Gen 2:20-24 . . So Yhvh God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Yhvh God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said : This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called "woman" for she was taken out of man. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

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

I've heard it said that a man without a woman is only half a man. No, it's far more correct to say he's handicapped. He may not know he's handicapped, but when the right girl finally comes along, he'll wonder how he ever got along without her. In other words, procreation is only secondary in marriage. The primary purpose of marriage is companionship; viz: if your spouse isn't your best friend, then your marriage is doomed to be rocky.

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

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89) 1Cor 7:36 . . If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married.

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

And then too there's the so-called biological clock that stalks women during their productive years. It's cruel, unthinkable, and utterly selfish and psychopathic of a man to keep a girl on hold during those years if and when he's fully aware that she's longing to settle down and have a family of her own. A man who does that has no clue what the word "honor" means.

90) 1Cor 7:39 . . A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must be in the Lord.

When people sound-bite a verse like that one out of context, they run the risk of coming to some very false conclusions; and one of those is that Christians can never, under any circumstances, divorce and remarry while their spouses are alive. Well, obviously they can, under certain circumstances (e.g. Matt 5:32). However, a Christian ex-wife has to be careful not to re-marry outside her faith as that would be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. (cf. 2Cor 6:14-18)

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91) 1Cor 8:4-13 . .We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

. . . But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

. . . Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.

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

Putting this into a modern context is pretty simple; e.g. here in Oregon we have tavern-style restaurants; viz: a section of the tavern is a bar, and another section is dedicated to dining. The bar sections usually host State-sanctioned gambling machines too and typically off-limits to minors.

Suppose you have Christian friends who seriously feel it's wrong to dine in a tavern-style restaurant because of the alcohol and the gambling. Though you yourself might be comfortable in your own mind that there is no sin in dining at taverns, your friends are not so sure. So if you were to take them to a tavern, they would be committing sin in compromising their conscience; and you would be committing sin by knowingly leading them in a situation that causes them to make that compromise.

†. Rom 15:1-2 . .We may know that these things make no difference, but we cannot just go ahead and do them to please ourselves. We must be considerate of the doubts and fears of those who think these things are wrong. We should please others. If we do what helps them, we will build them up in the Lord.

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

The Bible says that Christians should accommodate others to their edification (edification means to build someone up as opposed to tearing them down), Well, when we please ourselves to their detriment; that's being selfish. Some guys feel that cute buxom girls and yummy gams are a God-send, while other guys regard them as the Devil in disguise. The correct route here is to accommodate the more sensitive conscience.

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

For example: it is my own personal feelings that Luke 22:35-36 makes it okay for Christ's followers to own guns for self defense. Well; a rather opinionated Christian in one of my Sunday school classes sneered at me for feeling that way and proceeded to pontificate that Jesus' instructions were only "preparatory" for the upcoming confrontation with Judas and the crowd that came with him that night to arrest Jesus. Okay; that's fine with me if that's the way he feels about it; but sneering at me for feeling my way about it was really out of line.

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92) 1Cor 9:7-12 . .Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn't the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses : Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain. Is it about oxen that God is concerned?

. . . Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in anticipation of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you?

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

93) 1Cor 9:13-14 . . Don't you know that those who work in the Temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

The above refers to the Levitical priests of Moses' covenanted law. The "food from the Temple" is the showbread, which is supposed to be baked fresh every day and displayed on a special table. The previous days' showbread isn't thrown out; but rather, divided amongst the priests. It can also be used as emergency rations in special cases. (cf. 1Sam 21:1-6 and Matt 12:1-4)

As for the Altar; a number of the sacrifices and offerings the priesthood's constituents bring are dedicated to not just sustaining a friendly association with God, but also to nourishing the priests. (e.g. Ex 29:31-32, Lev 2:1-10, Lev 7:11-15)

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

94) 1Cor 9:24-25 . . Do 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. Everyone 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.

The "prize" that Olympians won back in those days wasn't much. No medals: just a simple garland for the head consisting of a wreath made with wild olive leaves from a sacred tree near the temple of Zeus at Olympia. In time the leaves dried out and crumbled.

The important thing to note in 1Cor 9:24-25 is that the prize isn't a pass into the kingdom of God. No; the prize is an award rather than a wage; and there is more than one kind; e.g. Php 4:1, 1Tim 4:8, Jas 1:12, 1Pet 5:4, Rev 14:14.

95) 1Cor 10:6-7 . . Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to play.

The Bible doesn't provide much detail at Ex 32:1-6 as to what went on in camp while Moses was up on the mountain. But one thing we know for sure is that there was a golden calf; and the "eat and drink" to which the apostle refers was a ritual where people sacrificed to the calf and afterwards consumed the sacrifice as an act of communion with it; sort of like an old fashioned Passover.

"to play" in Ex 32:6 is from the Hebrew word tsachaq (tsaw-khak') which means: merriment; viz: pagan songs and dances dedicated to the calf; a kind of worship revelry; the likes of which in the ancient city of Corinth no doubt culminated in a drunken orgy. Apparently some of the religions in the Roman world were pretty wild and sensual, and as a result; very popular. In comparison; Christianity was dull and boring. Those pagan religions really gave you your money's worth, while Christianity has very little to offer in the way of entertainment, except maybe for Catholicism. David Letterman says they put on a pretty good show.

96) 1Cor 10:8 . . Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

That event took place at Num 25:1-9. The fornication he's talking about wasn't believers with believers. It was believers with unbelievers. In other words; Christ's followers need to avoid getting romantic with unbelievers lest unbelievers lead his followers down the primrose path into something shameful and very unbecoming.

97) 1Cor 10:9 . .We should not test the Lord, as some of them did-- and were slain by snakes.

That event took place at Num 21:5-9. It's noteworthy due to the fact that Christ appropriated it at John 3:14-18 to illustrate the necessity, and the efficacy, of his crucifixion. But anyway, the lesson is that it's not a good idea to complain about the quality of God's providence.

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98) 1Cor 10:10 . . And do not grumble, as some of them did-- and were killed by the destroying angel.

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

Anyway, Yhvh's people were of the opinion that God had led them out of the frying pan into the fire by assigning them an impossible task; one that would result in everybody's deaths had they attempted to obey His orders; viz: a suicide mission. Joshua and Caleb tried to convince them it wasn't a suicide mission; and that with God on their side; they would not only survive; but easily succeed. They refused to listen; and thus became resolutely insubordinate.

Now; the obvious fatal error in their thinking was simply a lack of belief that God would assist them to conquer the land. In point of fact, they didn't believe God was able to in spite of all His amazing displays of supernatural power in rescuing them from Egyptian slavery; and that's what made their unbelief all the more inexcusable. Most of us today have never seen God in action; we've only heard tell of His exploits; but Yhvh's people were eyewitnesses.

Putting this in a modern context:

New Christians are often led to believe that accepting Christ will improve their mood and remedy their circumstances. Well; apparently somebody neglected to tell them that they would have to fight for it, i.e. in order to obtain the fruit of the Spirit spoken of at Gal 5:22-23 they would have to knuckle down and live a life pleasing to both God and Christ; viz: comply with their wishes. (John 14:23, John 15:11)

I'm sure you can see how easy it would be for a new Christian to become disillusioned, disappointed, and somewhat bitter at being seemingly tricked into something that turns out to be too good to be true-- then they get to complaining that a number of Christ's commandments are too difficult. Nobody can keep them so what's the point in even trying.

Well; that complaint is reasonable, I'll admit; but it's also insubordinate; and worse; it's contagious. If they want to give up trying to comply with the Lord's wishes; fine; but they really ought to keep their discontent with his wishes to themselves in order to avoid kindling large-scale rebellion and discontent in the ranks; which will quite effectively end up thwarting their church's work for the Lord.

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99) 1Cor 10:11-12 . .These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall.

Their unbecoming conduct didn't bring about the return of Yhvh's people to Egypt. However, their conduct did cause them to "fall" that is: fall out of favor with God; resulting in a number of them dying before their time. That's still a risk.

†. Rom 8:13 . . For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

There's nothing mystical about the flesh. It's just Biology 101; viz: according to that passage; the flesh and the body are one and the same.

Your body's flesh is the source of your human nature and it isn't all that difficult to define. Webster's says its (1) the ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that are common to most people, and (2) the nature of humans; especially the fundamental dispositions and traits of humans. In other words: the flesh is just simply that which comes natural to humans as opposed to that which comes natural to God.

The word for flesh is sarx (sarx); which essentially indicates the meaty parts of either man or beast. The meat of the human body would of course include all of its organic tissues; including the 3-pound lump of flabby stuff housed within everyone's bony little skull sufficing for a mind; viz: your brain is that part of the human body that produces your personality; and that's really scary.

According to Rom 7:14-24, I am the person who the organic tissues of my body have made me. In other words; the "me" that I am today can easily be transformed into another "me" by little more than a blow to the head. I once read the story of a woman who was in a very bad auto accident that left her in a coma for a while. When she came to; the woman was someone else. Her favorite foods were no longer her favorite foods. Her favorite colors were no longer her favorite colors. She preferred different fashions, different kinds of music, different hair styles, different kinds of entertainment, and even her mannerisms were different. She came out of the coma with a whole new personality. The woman was so unlike her original self that neither her own children nor her own husband recognized her. They could legitimately ask: Where is our mother; and what have you done with her?

What happened? Well obviously her brain function changed. The auto accident had somehow altered its activity; subsequently making her into another woman. It's somewhat disturbing to realize that we are who the organic tissues of our bodies have made us; and that those same organic tissues can make us become someone else; and there is not one thing we can do to stop it.

Anyway; Rom 8:13 isn't speaking of just one deed; but a life continually steered by one's natural impulses; in other words: an accumulation of deeds that individually might be tolerable; but when synergic become quite insufferable. For example in Gen 15:15-16 God said to Abraham: You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.

There are Christians out there apparently unaware they are gradually filling up-- via one act of human nature at a time --a book of seemingly insignificant deeds that when combined become a force to be reckoned with. This sort of reminds me of the old Blue Chip Stamp days. One Blue Chip stamp alone was insignificant; but when shoppers filled the pages of a Blue Chip Stamp book with individual stamps, then those heretofore insignificant individual stamps could be redeemed for some pretty nifty stuff. In point of fact, that's how I got my very first baseball glove.

Filling up the pages of a "deeds of the body" book one act of human nature at a time may take a while; and because of that Christians are easily lulled into thinking they're getting away with them; sort of like cooking a frog to death by starting with cold water and gradually heating it to the boiling point. Poor dumb ol' frog never sees it coming.

100) 1Cor 10:14 . .Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

There's that word "flee" again; which in many of its applications in the New Testament means to run for your life. So you can see that idolatry can have very serious consequences.

There's more to idolatry than just bowing and/or praying to sculpture and art. It's possible to be an idolater without even being especially religious.

†. Col 3:5 . . Don't be greedy for the good things of this life; for that is idolatry.

Greed then, is one of the characteristics of an idolater. In other words: idolatry is a personality issue rather than only a religious issue. Even atheists qualify as idolaters if they have a greedy personality; e.g. Wall Street's investment bankers and commodities traders. Their "golden calf" is profit.

It's okay to want the good things in life: after all; God has given us richly all things to enjoy (1Tim 6:17). It's the insatiable desire for good things that makes people idolaters; in other words avarice; which is never content; no, avarice always wants more, more, more, more, and then some. Nowhere is that more rampant than corporate greed which will walk over the dead bodies of its employees if that's what it takes for a better quarterly report.

I'm not exaggerating. Made-in-China goods merchant Wall-Mart used to take out life insurance policies on its employees-- not for the families; but for itself. In other words; it named itself the beneficiary on those employee life insurance policies so that when one died, they recovered some of the wages and benefits they had to pay the employee while they were alive and working for them.

The policies are called COLI (corporate-owned life insurance) policies. But they're better known in the insurance industry as "dead peasant" and/or "dead janitor" policies. Wall-Mart isn't the only big business doing this sort of thing. An attorney for the Hartford Life Insurance Co. estimates that one-fourth of the Fortune 500 companies have them, which cover the lives of between 5 million and 6 million workers. COLI policies seem to me a ghoulish way to make a buck; but then it should surprise no one that idolaters have no sensibilities to speak of seeing as how they revere not God, but rather the power, the prestige, and the comforts of wealth.

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101) 1Cor 10:24 . . Nobody should seek only his own good, but also the good of others.

That's not saying it's wrong to seek your own good; just wrong to seek it at the expense of others' good; viz: selfish ambition might be an acceptable modus operandi in professional sports and big business; but it's totally unacceptable in one's association with other believers. And there is nothing new in that; I mean after all; it's just another way of expressing the so-called golden rule; which states: "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matt 7:12)

It's interesting to note that if people weren't so hard-hearted; there would be no need for laws that force people to do right by their fellow man.

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

102) 1Cor 10:25-26 . . Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for the earth is The Lord's, and everything in it.

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

103) 1Cor 10:27 . . If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience.

In other words, this is one of those Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell situations.

104) 1Cor 10:27-29 . . But 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-- the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours.

If you go ahead and dine in someone's home where you know in advance the food is either dedicated to, or blessed by, a heathen deity, or that when they say grace around the table it will be to a god other than your own, or to a sacred personage that you do not accept; then your host is quite possibly going to come to the conclusion that his religion is just as valid as yours if you don't decline.

This is not saying that Catholics and Protestants can't eat together and/or pray together around the table; nor is it saying that Christians and Jews can't eat together and pray together around the table: not when Catholics, Protestants, and Jews are all praying to the same God: just from a different perspective.

I will say this though: if you are a Catholic host, and your guests are either Protestants or Jews; then for God's sake DO NOT pray around the table to the Lord's mom and/or to one of Catholicism's many patron saints. That is extremely offensive to Protestants and Jews, and totally unnecessary anyway when you can just as easily say grace to the one God common to all of you.

105) 1Cor 10:31 . . So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

One of the meanings of the Greek word for glory is "honor" which in this case can be defined as doing something out of respect for someone admired.

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106) 1Cor 10:32-33 . . Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Some Christians have a really nasty propensity of taking advantage of every opportunity to ridicule Judaism's beliefs and practices. God forbid! Don't ever forget the lord and master of Christianity is a Jew, a son of Abraham, Isaac. and Jacob; and takes those kinds of insults very personal. If you don't believe me just feast your glims on Matt 25:31-46 where the sole criteria determining which Tribulation survivors go to hell or enter the kingdom is how they treated the Lord's countrymen.

107) 1Cor 11:1 . . Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

In the Catholic religion, a "saint" is a role model for others. Well, 1Cor 11:1 lists two models for everyone regardless of their denominational affiliation: Mr. Paul, and his master Messiah Jesus.

†. Phil 2:5-7 . .Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant

Here in the USA people sort of look down on service occupations; for example housekeepers, sweat-shop seamstresses, yard maintenance, car washers, gas pump attendants, and fast food and farm labor. But yet those are very good examples of the proper attitude. It's ironic that capitalists-- by means of predation, exploitation, plunder, and profits --strive to be on top; while Christians are supposed to be striving to marginalize all that the capitalist values and be down low.

†. Matt 5:3 . . Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

†. Matt 5:5 . . Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

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108) 1Cor 11:3 . . But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

It never seems to fail that somebody will actually attempt to refute Paul's statement by quoting another of his own statements.

"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal 3:26-28)

(chuckle) Paul pitted against Paul; the clash of the titans, only in this event, both titans are one and the same titan. Yes, both genders are one in Christ; but then Jesus and God are one also, yet there is a hierarchy in the Divinity because "the head of Christ is God"

109) 1Cor 11:4-5a . . Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered disrespects his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered disrespects her head

That's a little tricky seeing as how the word "head" can refer to somebody's skull, and it can also refer to somebody's superior. So to clarify this a bit, I'm going to revise some of the above a little.

"Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered disrespects Christ. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered disrespects men."

Christian women aren't required to cover their hair all the time; only whenever they pray and/or prophesy; especially in the presence of men.

No doubt this chafes a number of women whose heart's ambition and joy is to demean men and assert their independence, but if they don't want to cover their hair when praying and/or prophesying out of respect for men, then they should at least woman-up and do it out of respect for Christ's feelings about it.

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

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

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

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

110) 1Cor 11:5b-6a . . it is just as though her head were shorn. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off;

In other words: if Christian women want to be treated equal to Christian men, then they should go all out to imitate Christian men by first of all getting themselves a man's haircut, and leave their hair short all the time like a masculine lesbian; viz: a butch a.k.a. a dyke.

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111) 1Cor 11:6b . . If it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.

Okay then: if Christian women would be somewhat embarrassed to show up in church looking like a man and/or LGBT, then then they have only one other option; and that's to show up in church looking like women. But in order to retain their femininity whenever they pray and/or prophesy; they are simply going to have to cover their hair with something or heaven will have no choice but to assume the worst about them.

112) 1Cor 11:7-10 . . A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a token of authority on her head.

The koiné Greek word translated "angels" is aggelos (ang'-el-os) which is a nondescript word that just simply indicates a messenger. In other words; aggelos doesn't always indicate a celestial being but can just as easily indicate a human being, for example Matt 11:10, Luke 7:24, Luke 9:52, and Jas 2:25.

The identity of the "angels" in 1Cor 11:10 is probably best understood as not the holy angels of Heaven, but rather the angels of Rev 2:1-3:22; which aren't spirit beings, but rather, human beings; in other words: church supervisors; viz: the pastors. In other words: a woman praying and/or prophesying with her hair exposed is an arrogant way of telling the pastor that he's no better than she is; which of course displays an insolent attitude towards the hierarchy that humanity's maker established in the very beginning.

Though the wording of Gen 1:26-28 suggests that women were created in the image of God; they actually weren't; no, according to Paul, they were created in Adam's image. Where Adam was created directly from dust in the image and glory of God; Eve wasn't, no she was constructed not from dust, but from the organic tissues of an already existing man (Gen 2:21-13). So then, since Eve was, organically, Adam's first child, then all women, including the Lord's mom, are subordinate to men due to the principle of primogeniture.

So then, contrary to feminist humanism's rabid protests, women will never be equal to men in the natural order of things. No, they will always be daddy's little girl. Ergo: women aren't from Venus after all; no, they're actually the progeny of Mars.

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

Anyway, what this boils down to is that hair coverings are not costumes or uniforms; but rather: an indication that the covered Christian woman accepts that she owes her existence to a man, and that women were not created to be served by men, nor were they created equal to men, nor were they directly created in the image of God as men were; but they were created from a man, after the man, in the image of a man, and for the express purpose of supporting a man. (Gen 2:18-23, Gen 3:16)

When a Christian woman covers her hair with something while praying and/or prophesying, she's declaring her subordination not just to men, but even more importantly to Christ. This is probably a mite difficult for American women since their culture encourages them to compete with men, to stand up to men, and assert not only their equality with men; but also their independence. Subordination to men really chafes some women, even those piously wearing the Christian label; and really puts their professed devotion to Christ to the acid test. American Christianettes who accept their place in the creator's scheme of things are pretty rare.


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

RESPONSE: The "custom" he's talking about was the practice of heathen women praying and/or prophesying with their hair exposed in some of the Roman world's pagan religions. And in point of fact, some of those heathen women were actually cult prostitutes.

Basically what Paul is saying is that if the pastors of the Christian churches in Corinth were to allow their Christian women to pray and/or prophecy in church with their hair exposed, everybody would have to assume they were immoral. And not only that, but none of the rest of the Christian churches in the Roman empire were allowing their women to pray and/or prophecy with exposed hair, and none of the synagogues were allowing their women to do it either.

So; had the Christian churches at Corinth allowed their women to pray and/or prophecy with their hair exposed; they would have not only been the exceptions; but also the odd balls and people would quite naturally begin to wonder what was the matter with supposed followers of Christ acting like that.

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

The answer of course is NO; it isn't proper-- it's insolent, it's inappropriate, it's disrespectful; and it's conduct unbecoming for women professing to be followers of Christ and worshippers of mankind's creator. Christian women ought not to be telling the world they're equal to men, or that they're cult prostitutes; no; they ought to be telling the world that because of Christ; they're different; and their hair coverings-- whether a simple scarf or a stylish hijab --have a pretty amazing story of their own to tell that goes all the way back to the opening chapters of Genesis.

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113) 1Cor 11:27-30 . .Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

The koiné Greek word for "unworthy" is anaxios (an-ax-ee'-oce) which means: irreverently; which Webster's defines as: lacking proper respect or seriousness. In other words "sacrilege" which is gross irreverence toward a hallowed person, place, or thing.

"sinning against the body and blood of the Lord" is very similar language to 1Cor 6:18, which states: "The immoral man sins against his own body". There, as here, we're not talking about suicide and/or homicide; were talking about degradation; which Webster's defines as the act of treating someone or something poorly and without respect.

People sin during the Lord's supper when they fail to take it seriously that the elements represent his body-- not his glorified body; but the one that was crucified; viz; his mutilated body.

†. Matt 27:45 . . From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land.

What do you suppose went on during those three hours of thick darkness around the cross? Well; I'll tell you what went on because I'm not authorized to keep it a secret. The things that the Romans did to Christ were merely a warm up for the main event. When the darkness came; that's when God stepped into the ring; and the gloves came off. When the darkness lifted, people saw a Jesus so beaten and bloodied beyond recognition that they could scarcely tell he was the same man.

†. Isa 52:14 . .There were many who were appalled at him-- his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man, and his form marred beyond human likeness.

†. Isa 53:10 . . The Lord was pleased to crush him, putting him to grief

I have to wonder how ever a father could do something like that to his own son; especially do that for a world that wouldn't even appreciate that the injuries God inflicted upon His own son were for their benefit.

"A man ought to examine himself" is an imperative to make double sure that one's heart is in the right place when consuming the elements. Some people gulp them down as if they were nothing more than a snack of hot wings and cold beer during a Super Bowl game instead of a sacred reminder of what God's son endured to ransom their souls from the wrath of God. Those people have to expect that a very insulted father is going to come down on them for that-- maybe not with sickness, maybe not with death, and maybe not right away; but eventually with something; and really, who can blame Him?


NOTE: Observance of the so-called Lord's Supper isn't a mandatory requirement; so if you are a bit nervous about going about it in the wrong way; then play it safe and refrain.

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114) 1Cor 11:33-34 . . My brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.

The command doesn't frown upon things like church banquets, men's' breakfasts, ladies' luncheons, and/or potlucks per se. What it's criticizing is a lack of congregational unity. Here's comments leading up to that verse.

†. 1Cor 11:17-22 . . Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.

. . .Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.

Their lack of love and unity during church functions was nothing short of hypocrisy seeing as how the Lord's supper speaks of sacrifice rather than selfishness, elitism, and hoarding. In other words; seeing as how Christians all share in Christ's blood equally, then everyone should be given equal treatment at church regardless of age, gender, skin color, intelligence, income level, nationality, what side of the tracks they live on, or social status. None of Christ's body parts are untouchable; nor are any of them expendable. God forbid that there should be some sort of caste system in a gathering of people for whom Christ suffered and died equally for each one. That just| wouldn't be right: it would be an insult to the principles underlying the Lord's supper.

†. Matt 26:27 . . Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying: Drink from it, all of you.

If Christians are all drinking from the same cup, then they should all be, at the very least, eating the same food and not be overly concerned about where they sit and/or who they sit next to and/or who they're seen with. And they should also make double sure that everyone gets enough to eat and that no one gets left out and nobody gets more than his fair share. And they should all sit down together at the same time. I just hate it when people don't wait for each other. Some get back to the table and start in gulping, slurping, clattering, and clanking while others from their table are still in line.

And they should also take into consideration the possibility that a number of their congregation are in assistance programs like TANF and SNAP. In other words; don't just bring enough food from home for yourself; but, if you're able, bring enough for those among you who can't bring anything at all. And for God's sake, don't bring a side dish of gourmet food along just for yourself. Leave your special gourmet stuff at home. There's just no excuse for flaunting your "sophistication" around church thus giving everyone the impression that everyone else's tastes are below yours.

You know; why am I even saying these things? In point of fact, why even did Paul? I mean: shouldn't Christians be eo ipso sources of the milk of human kindness without somebody shaming them and lecturing them into being humane with their fellow believers and taking thought for their feelings? Why must so many Christians be practically strong-armed into being civil with one another?

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115) 1Cor 12:24-27 . . God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no schism in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

It's sad that congregations have been reduced to the level of an invasive species in some churches by over-achieving, ambitious types passing themselves off as pastors, deacons, and elders. Churches like that might just as well start selling tickets to their sermons and Sunday schools; and set up red carpets outside so the rank and file might crowd up like the Oscars; where they can ooh and ahh over the Cadillac Escalades and Lexus LX10's driven by their church's managers; admire their fashions, cheer, kiss derrieres, lick shoes, pose for selfies, and ask for autographs.

The rank and file are not expendable commodities; nor do they constitute a fan base. And God forbid that church managers should begin to think of their congregation as just numbers.

I once attended a mega Baptist church in San Diego that hired a hot shot business man that we all had to address as "reverend" to help them increase their membership. Why would they do that when there was already 4,000+ members on the books already? Well; I'll tell you why. They had an ambitious building program in mind that couldn't proceed without more money in the church's coffers. Well; Mister HotShot got the church's numbers up, and the managers got their building program. My wife and I bailed. We wanted no part of it.


BTW: After the church's managers got the congregation deeply in debt to finance the building program, they all took new positions elsewhere, including the pastor, leaving his flock holding the bag. That was the most disappointing church I ever attended. It treated the congregation like so many head of livestock: just dollars per pound on the hoof and cheap labor easily exploited.

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116) 1Cor 14:1a . . Pursue charity

The koine Greek word for "charity" in that command is agape (ag-ah'-pay) which basically means love, e.g. affection, benevolence, kindness, compassion, tenderness, understanding, devotion, caring, thoughtfulness, and a host of other things like that. Love will cause you to look out for someone's best interests without them even having to ask you to.

The word for "pursue" is dioko (dee-o'-ko) which in many places in the New Testament means persecute. Well; it hardly seems a good idea to persecute love. I think what the command is wanting to get across to Christians is that they're supposed to go after and obtain love with a determined attitude like a hunter, or a stalker, or someone who just won't take "no" for an answer; like the woman who hounded the Lord at Mark 7:25-28.

Love is the heart and soul of all of Christ's commandments. Christians without love haven't even got to first base yet. I think it's very safe to say that without love; one won't be loyal because love and loyalty go together like a horse and a carriage.

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

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

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

You know, when you love somebody, you will do all in your power to make them happy. Nobody has to crack the whip on people who truly love Christ because their affections compel them to please him-- not to get on his good side, but just to cheer him up, do him little favors, and make him happy. People with a tin woodman's soul don't understand what I'm talking about because there's a cold piece of steel inside them where a heart is supposed to be. Well; thank God there's a remedy for that; at least for Yhvh's people anyway.

†. Ezek 36:24-27 . . For I will take you from among the nations and gather you from all the countries, and I will bring you to your land. And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you will be clean; from all your impurities and from all your abominations will I cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you and bring it about that you will walk in My statutes and you will keep My ordinances and do them.

I think it safe to say that what we're looking at there in Ezekiel is a result of the curious birth about which Jesus spoke at John 3:3-8.

I believe that there are large numbers of rank and file pew warmers trying to follow Christ and keep his commandments without love. They're actually love-starved and love-challenged. It's a handicap; and for them, following Christ and keeping his commandments is a chore rather than a pleasure. I feel for those love-challenged pew warmers because without affection for Christ, it is impossible to please him. It just can't be done. In point of fact; I've no doubt they even resent having to make the effort. To them; Jesus is a nuisance-- he's trespassing on their privacy, he's meddling in their affairs, he's asking too much of them, and he's sticking his nose in things that are none of his business.

There's a worst-case scenario depicted in the third chapter of Revelation. The Laodicean church had become so love-challenged that Christ is depicted standing outside the building banging on the door trying to get someone's attention to let him in. Nobody in that church had any feelings for Christ, he was unwelcome there, none of them were his friends-- not the pastor, not the deacons, not the choir, not the Sunday school teachers, not the deaconesses, not the ushers, not the elders, and certainly not the rank and file pew warmers. Can you imagine an entire, fully-functioning Christian church off-reservation and estranged from Christ? Well; if there was one, then you just know there's gotta be more.

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117) 1Cor 14:1b . . eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.

A true spiritual gift is an ability that comes from God, and there are quite few of them, e.g.

• The word of wisdom (1Cor 12:8)
• The word of knowledge (1Cor 12:8)
• Faith (1Cor 12:9)
• Healing (1Cor 12:9)
• Miracles (1Cor 12:10)
• Prophecy (1Cor 12:10)
• Distinguishing spirits (1Cor 12:10)
• Languages (1Cor 12:10)
• Interpreting languages (1Cor 12:10)
• Helps (1Cor 12:28)
• Administration (1Cor 12:28)
• Ministering (Rom 12:7)
• Teaching (Rom 12:7)
• Encouragement (Rom 12:8)
• Charity (Rom 12:8)
• Leadership (Rom 12:8)
• Compassion (Rom 12:8)
• Evangelism (Eph 4:11)
• Pastoring (Eph 4:11)

The New Testament Greek word for "prophesy" is propheteuo (prof-ate-yoo'-o) which essentially means to speak under inspiration. That definition is very similar to the Old Testament Hebrew word for "prophet" which is nabiy' (naw-bee'). That word describes an inspired person of either gender; e.g. Abel was a prophet (Luke 11:50-51) Abraham was a prophet (Gen 20:7) Moses was a prophet (Deut 18:18) Miriam was a prophet (Ex 15:20) Deborah was a prophet (Judg 4:4) and Huldah was a prophet (2Kgs 22:14).

Inspired people need not be especially educated because the situation of a prophet isn't a career path. For example Amos was just a simple farm boy whom God drafted into service right out of the blue. (Amos 7:14-15)

Prophets are not only given glimpses of the future; but also things to say relative to current events; e.g. the author of the book of Revelation.

118) 1Cor 14:13 . . anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says.

If Acts 2:1-12 is the model; then a genuine Spirit-endowed tongue should be an honest to gosh real-life language instead of blabber that's intelligible to no one, not even the speaker.

"Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

. . . Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs-- we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"

Mozart composed some amazing music; but had he not arranged the components properly, it would likely grate on people's nerves instead of entertaining them; sort of like when an orchestra verifies the pitch of its instruments just prior to a performance. The discordant din that the orchestra makes is a cacophony instead of a melody.

"Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes?"

Modern tonguers typically don't compose anything pleasant to the ear. The words and grammar and syllables coming out of their mouths are a discordant cacophony.

I was informed by a Charismatic friend that he prayed in a tongue because he couldn't express his deepest feelings any other way. Mind you this was an American adult of almost fifty years old; educated in America and spoke, wrote, and read English his entire life. So I asked him how it is that his command of the English language was so poor that he could only express his thoughts in a language that not even he himself could either identify or understand?

†. 1Cor 14:13-15 . . If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.

In other words: there are Christians out and about blabbering incoherently because they choose to, rather than because they have to. With just a simple act of their own will they could easily switch to something intelligible.

Why on earth would a grown-up prefer incoherent blabbering? Isn't that the way small children communicate? Well, i can excuse small children because they're uneducated. But shouldn't supposed educated adults be just a bit more mature with their language and grammar than small children?

†. 1Cor 14:20 . . Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

The true gift of tongues is very handy for communicating with foreigners. But in our day and age, Charismatics typically don't communicate with anybody, either foreign or domestic . As a result, Charismatics are looked upon with the same disdain as the kooks that hurl themselves on the floor, faint, scream, writhe, shout, and dance with rattlesnakes.

Well; not too many sensible people care to accommodate kooks so if you're serious about influencing people for Christ, I highly recommend sticking to an intelligible language. Here in my country, English is a good choice because most people can understand it without requiring the services of a translator.

And for God's sake, please do not allow yourself to be drawn to participating in a tongues meeting.

†. 1Cor 14:23 . . So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand, or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?

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119) 1Cor 14:22a . .Tongues are for a sign

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

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

The purpose of any tongue is communication.

†. 1Cor 14:6-9 . . Even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

So if a tonguer is speaking a language nobody understands, they've actually created a barrier to communication; viz: a regression to the tower of Babel; and you can see for yourself how destructive that was to unity (Gen 11:1-9). Webster's defines "regression" as: movement backward to a previous, and especially worse or more primitive state or condition; viz: backwards thinking.


NOTE: Some people object to the use of a Webster's dictionary in Bible study; but this is the very reason why I highly recommend it's use to anyone who utilizes the English language when communicating with English-speaking peoples and/or reading Bibles translated from the ancient languages into English.

Since tongues are for the benefit of unbelievers, then it's de facto that a tongue should be a valid language that the unbeliever himself speaks and understands (cf. Acts 2:4-11). Somebody who exercises a tongue for any other reason has missed the point; and they're behaving like a little kid with a toy.

120) 1Cor 14:20 . . Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

121) 1Cor 14:27-28 . . If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

Tonguers are not permitted to speak all at the same time like a mob of howling political protesters. One of the reasons why I get so annoyed by talk shows like Today's Talk with Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda Kodb, and ABC's The View is because everyone talks all at once like a bunch of undisciplined dogs barking and yapping in a kennel. And the way they interrupt each other back and forth before the other can even finish a sentence is one of the very things we teach children not to do. You'd think those supposedly mature adults grew up without supervision the way they conduct themselves in a conversation.

NO; tonguers are to take turns; speaking one at a time, rather than an entire congregation of tonguers barking and yapping like dogs in a kennel whenever they "feel the Spirit" moving them. And if there's no one to interpret, tonguers are not permitted to speak at all. If Christians the world over followed those rules, it would put the charismatics out of business in less than two weeks.


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

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

Therefore, when Christians proceed to defy the rules regulating the exercise of tongues, they are in shameful rebellion against the very lord and master of Christianity; and yet, ironically, many tongue violators still have the chutzpah to pass themselves off as the Lord's Spirit-filled followers. However; a follower can be defined as someone who gets in step and/or falls in line rather than going off-reservation to do their own thing.

†. 1Sam 15:23 . . Rebellion is as the sin of divination; and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.

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

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122) 1Cor 14:29-31 . .Two, or three, prophets should speak, and everyone else should weigh carefully what is said. If a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.

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

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

True prophets channel God's thoughts; viz: they speak as the voice of God. People with opinions don't speak as the voice of God at all; they speak as themselves. True prophets are revelators; people with opinions are little more than a nuisance; and if not kept in check they will quickly derail a Sunday school class and drag it off onto a perpetual bull session that never gets to the bottom of anything.

123) 1Cor 14:34 . . Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak; but must be in submission (i.e. subordinate to the men)

It could be argued, with some merit, that this rule applies only to tongues and prophecy; but Paul goes further with this in a letter to his friend Timothy.

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

It's important to note that this is neither a gender issue nor an issue related to competence; it's an issue related to primogeniture-- for that reason, and that reason alone, it is a disgrace for Christian women to lead Christian men in a Christian congregation.

Q: Doesn't 1Cor 11:3-10 permit women to pray and/or prophecy just so long as they cover their hair?

A: There is a gender limit to that privilege. In other words: Christian woman are not allowed to pray and/or prophecy in the hearing of a mixed congregation; i.e. where Christian men are present.

Q: What about women like Anne Graham Lotz. Is she out of order?

A: Though women aren't permitted to speak to a mixed-gender Christian congregation, that doesn't mean they can't speak to a mixed-gender public forum, or in the street; or in a coliseum, or in a stadium, or in a convention center, or on radio and television.

The best place in church for women blessed with the Spirit's gift to teach for Christ is in a women's group; and if a man should invade a women's group led by a Spirit-gifted woman; I think he should be asked to leave.

Q: What about Deborah in the Old Testament book of judges? Exactly how was she an exception to this rule, if indeed she was?

A: Things are quite a bit different now with Christ at the helm, i.e. Christ's association with his church trumps Deborah's association with the Jews. I do not recommend using her, or any other woman in the Bible, as an excuse to defy Christ's edicts in matters pertaining to the governance of Christian congregations.


NOTE: Paul appeals to "the law" as the basis for 1Cor 14:34. Normally when Paul speaks of the law he's referring to the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Exactly where in the covenant women are explicitly forbidden to preach, or teach, or usurp authority over men in matters of religion, I don't know. However, it's quite obvious that the covenant is very sexist, i.e. women are not permitted in either the priesthood or the Sanhedrin.

124) 1Cor 14:35 . . If women have questions, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

What's an inquiring wife to do if her husband is spiritually inept? I'd suggest that women married to spiritually inept Christian men, and/or women married to non-Christian men, and/or unmarried women; seek assistance from one of the ladies in church known to be somewhat of a Bible expert. But for God's sake, don't seek assistance from another woman's husband; even if he's the pastor, or a deacon, or an elder; it's not only disobedient, but that's also how rumors (and other things) get started.

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125) 1Cor 14:37-38 . . If anybody thinks he's a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command.

If your Sunday school, or your catechism class, is being chaired by somebody who disagrees with the Lord's commands regulating women's hair, tongues, and/or prophecy; believe me you have a serious problem because it indicates that your leader is only human rather than inspired.

126) 1Cor 14:38 . . But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

In other words: if somebody in a Christian church refuses to accept Paul as a duly authorized agent speaking for Christ; then Christians are under orders to ignore that person's opinion of themselves that they're a prophet and/or spiritually gifted.

127) 1Cor 14:39-40 . .Therefore, brethren, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.

That rule applies only to people who actually have the gifts of tongues and/or prophesy because according to Rom 12:4-6, 1Cor 12:10, 1Cor 12:29-30, and 1Cor 14:5 not everyone does.

128) 1Cor 15:34 . . Come to your senses and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don't have the knowledge of God.

That directive is in connection with some of the Corinthians' insistence that dead people stay dead and never recover.

†. 1Cor 15:12 . . Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

Apparently some of the Corinthians couldn't see that Christ's resurrection is evidence that it's possible for dead people to recover. A measure of that blindness exists even today among people who insist that Christ's natural body didn't recover. They insist he rose from the dead with a so-called glorified body; and some even insist that Christ returned from the dead as a spirit being rather than a human being, and others postulate that his post crucifixion appearances were done as an angel disguised in a fully functioning human avatar. But if any of that were true, then Christ's prediction at John 2:19-22 would be easily invalidated.

According to 1Cor 15:51-53 and 1Thes 4:13-17, the natural remains of Christ's followers will first revive as they were and then be transformed into something very wonderful during a flight up to meet the Lord in the air.

There is really no sensible reason to not believe that Christ's dead body underwent the very same process, i.e. his crucified remains were first returned to life just as he predicted; and then forty days later, at some point during the flight to heaven as per Acts 1:9, his natural human body was transformed into an immortal, supernatural human body; the likes of which is on display at Matt 17:1-2; where it's depicted extremely incandescent.

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129) 1Cor 15:56-58 . .The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is The Commandments; but thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing discourage you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of The Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord isn't futile.

Though Mother Teresa put up a very convincing public image during those five decades of missionary activity in India, her private letters to spiritual counselors reveal that the poor woman was never really sure that Christianity's God even exists; and if He did exist, she was plagued with dread that He didn't particularly like her and might be quite disposed to condemn her. Though she never said so in public, there were was hardly ever a time when she didn't truly wonder if God wanted her in India in the first place.

Had Teresa's personality not been the D-9 Caterpillar tractor that it was, I think the celebrity nun would have given up in India after only one year. But as anyone who knew her will vouch, Teresa wasn't a quitter; no, she was a little bulldog, a survivor; and poverty was her dream venue. However, bull-doggedness is not what Paul is talking about in 1Cor 15:56-58; no, quite the contrary.

Just imagine if somebody had it in the back of their mind that they might be giving the Lord unreserved quantities of their time, talent, and resources in a thankless endeavor only to end up being condemned anyway as per Matt 7:22-23. Well, Paul assured the Corinthians that Christ's work on the cross, and in the grave, guaranteed that wouldn't happen to them-- their resurrection to a better life was in the bag; therefore they needn't fear that in the end their work for the Lord will be judged all for nothing.

Ironically; and at the time of his writing, the Corinthians were not all that spiritual. (1Cor 3:1-3). However; though their work in the Lord was being performed by Christians whose spirituality was basically substandard, they were still useful; which tells me that it isn't necessary to be a super saint before one can begin serving Christ. Just serve him as best you can and pay no attention to your location on the curve: keeping in mind that reliability counts more than quantity. Webster's defines reliable as "dependable".

130) 1Cor 16:1-3 . . Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.

The "God's people" to whom Paul referred were Jewish Christians whose church was located at Jerusalem. They were having it pretty rough in the early days of Christianity.

Lest somebody should get the wrong idea, that wasn't a tithe. Christ left it up to each individual in Corinth the amount that they felt like donating towards the Jews' relief effort.

†. 2Cor 9:7 . . Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Tithes are not gifts; no, tithes are demanded rather than donated out of the goodness of one's heart. I don't give the government my taxes; no, they take them from me by force of law; viz: I pay taxes against my will, both reluctantly and under compulsion; and I have absolutely no voice in the parentage of my income that they take. When it comes to taxes: I am not cheerful; no, I am grudging. Well; that is not the Christian way of giving. Christians have a faith that works by love, not by law. (Gal 5:6)

It would be interesting to take a poll among America's churches just to see, out of curiosity, how many have a program for assisting Jewish Christians over in the modern State of Israel.

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131) 1Cor 16:13a . . Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be men of courage; be strong.

Churches are like vegetable gardens in that they have to be nurtured or weeds will take over and the soil will become fallow. And it's not just weeds. Without irrigation, vegetables wither; while there's a pretty good number of weeds out there that can get along without irrigation just fine. Well; the sad reality is: there are Christian churches being led by pastors, deacons, and elders who are just as arid as a Texas vernal pool in August.

†. 2Pet 2:15-17 . .Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity: the mute burro speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

Those kinds of church officers are in it only for the power, the career, the prestige, and the income. Ergo: like Balaam, they're just prophets for profit-- and the sheep? bait fish for the barracudas.

The koiné Greek word for "men of courage" is andrizomai which means: to act manly; which Webster's defines as: (1) having qualities generally associated with a man; viz: strength and virility, and (2) appropriate in character to a man.

Nowadays, what with the destructive influences of feminism abroad, it's difficult to distinguish anymore between womanliness and manliness. Sexism has been made a sin in feminist cultures; which Webster's defines as: behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on gender. Well, too bad for the feminists because the God of Christianity is very sexist: take Him or leave Him; as is.

The koiné word for "strong" is krataioo (krat-ah-yo'-o) which means, in common colloquialisms, to man up, step up to the plate, and/or take the bull by the horns. A man doesn't have to stand tall to be a man, but he does have to stand up; and if perchance you're a man reading this: don't you dare ever let women define manliness for you; no, let Christ define it for you. If you permit women to define manliness, they will manipulate you; and your self respect (if you get my drift) will be in their purses. Tom-boys have purses too so be especially wary around competitive she-males. They love nothing better than to whittle a man's self respect down to that of a squeaking little gerbil.

You know, if only Adam had been a man of courage and strength in his relationship with Eve, the world wouldn't be in the mess it's in today.

132) 1Cor 16:14 . . Do everything in love.

In order to protect their church from ecumenism, church managers simply have to be somewhat firm, assertive, and confrontational when the situation calls for it. If one isn't sure how to do this in love, then they might take some time to study 1Cor 13:1-8 with a commentary and/or read How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

133) 1 Cor 16:15-18 . .You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers, to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it. I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.

Paul and his associates depended pretty heavily upon the hospitality of local believers for accommodations and daily necessities. Believers do well to follow the examples of Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus either by opening their homes to missionaries or by funding their stay in a motel and providing them with a rental car. You can usually arrange this through your local church. Believers who do so "deserve recognition." That doesn’t mean they should demand recognition, but there is coming a day of evaluation for believers when they'll be fully compensated. (1Cor 3:10-15, 1Cor 4:5, and Rev 22:12)

134) 1Cor 16:20 . . Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Kissing was a common form of greeting in the old world; and still is in the Middle East and certain parts of Europe; but here in America-- a super-sized racial/cultural amalgam of customs from all over the known universe --it's wise to dispense your kisses with discretion. Some of us don't even like to be hugged, let alone bussed; and if you should perchance try to make physical contact with an autistic Christian, you're liable to cause them a panic attack; so go easy on the touchy-feely stuff.

The people to whom Paul referred as "one another" are one's fellow born-again Christians. We're not required to kiss unbelievers. You can be courteous to them, yes (cf. Matt 5:47) but reserve especially warm greetings for your siblings; viz: those who've undergone a second birth as per John 1:12-13 and John 3:3-8, and thus share your adoption into God's home as per Rom 8:15-17.

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135) 1Cor 16:22 . . If anyone love not The Lord, let him be accursed.

There's nothing new in that command. It's been on the books every since the days of Moses.

†. Deut 6:4-5 . . Hear, O Israel: Yhvh our God, Yhvh is one. Love Yhvh your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Failure to love Yhvh in those days was curse-worthy.

†. Deut 27:26 . . Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.

One's love of Yhvh is evidenced by loyalty.

†. Deut 6:6 . .These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.

That hasn't changed.

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

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

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

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

Picture a mountain with many roads around the base heading towards the top. Well; Christianity accepts only one of those roads reaches the top; viz: the rest are dead-ends, terraces and cul-de-sacs, i.e. no outlets and nowhere to go except back down the mountain.

Now picture a huge pit, deep and wide, with many roads around the rim heading towards the bottom. Well; Christianity accepts that every one of those roads reaches the bottom; viz: there are no dead ends, no terraces, and no cul-de-sacs. In other words; people can get to hell any number of ways; but only one way to the new cosmos depicted at 2Pet 3:10-13 and the 21st chapter of Revelation.

Does a Muslim have to be a terrorist to be cursed? No; they only have to be a loyal follower of Muḥammad ibn `Abdullāh instead of a loyal follower of Jesus Christ; same goes for Atheists, Nonreligious, Baha'i, Buddhists, Chinese Universalists, Confucianists, Jains, Kabbalah mystics, Shintoists, Spiritists, Taoists, Zoroastrians, Jews, Sikhs, and Hindus-- they're all on a road to hell: they're cursed and there is nothing to be gained in arguing about it.

How many people am I talking about? Well, as of mid 2014, worldwide there were:

7,794,000 Baha'i
515,951,000 Buddhists
451,292,000 Chinese Folk Religionists
8,424,000 Confucianists
974,597,000 Hindus
5,567,000 Jains
14,142,000 Jews
1,673,590 Muslims
2,819,000 Shintoists
24,918,000 Sikhs
14,183,000 Spiritists
8,660,000 Taoists
196,000 Zoroastrians
828,594,000 Nonreligious
692,111,000 Agnostics and
136,483,000 Atheists.

The grand total for just the non Christian groups in that list (sans Kabbalah) is 5,359,321,000. The population of the world in mid 2014 was approximately 7,178,722,893 people. Those numbers on the list represented roughly 75% of the world; and that's not even counting all the Christians who are Christians in name only; e.g. Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. It's my guess that the tares easily outnumber the wheat.

†. Matt 7:22-23 . . Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Master; have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them: I never knew you; depart from me, you that work iniquity.

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136) 2Cor 2:5-10 . . The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.

The cause for which Paul wrote that section was a guy in the Corinthian church sleeping with his stepmother (1Cor 5:1). Paul had commanded the Corinthians to not only hold the man's feet to the fire, but also to ostracize him.

Some time had passed since then, and the man was apparently regretting his actions, and broken off the illicit relationship with his kin, so it was time to let him back into the group. No doubt the humiliation of it all had a tremendous impact upon his attitude-- probably upon the congregation's too because at first their attitude wasn't all that good about it either. (cf. 1Cor 5:2)

Here in America scolding and ostracizing a church member would probably just make them indignant rather than repentant.

137) 2Cor 2:9-11 . . If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven-- if there was anything to forgive --I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

One of the opposition's tactics is to create disunity in a church. Sure enough when that happens-- as when one portion of the congregation believes in judging and ostracizing while the other doesn't --people start taking sides and the church will end up divided into cliques and factions. According to the lord and master of New Testament Christianity, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Paul mentioned that his extension of forgiveness was "in the sight of Christ". Judging by the churlish behavior of a good many online Christians, I've come to the conclusion a lot of them are unconcerned that everything they compose for forums and message boards be in the sight of Christ.

138) 2Cor 5:20-21 . . We 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.

There's two different aspects to reconciliation. One is a criminal justice kind of reconciliation (Rom 5:6-11, Rom 6:3-11, 1John 2:2) and the other is a fellowship kind of reconciliation. (Gen 4:1-7, Gen 5:22-24, Gen 6:9, Gen 17:1, 1John 1:3-7)

For example, a man and his wife may not be speaking to each other; and sleeping in separate beds; but they're still married: they're just not getting along; in other words, they're out of fellowship with one another. It's God's wishes that His own walk with Him in fellowship while they're waiting for their departure; and the Corinthians weren't doing very well at it.

In order to restore diplomatic relations between themselves and their Father above, that congregation had to knuckle down and deal with sin in their midst in accordance with their master's wishes rather than their own. Compare Josh 7:2-26 where Yhvh's people couldn't win anymore battles until they first dealt with a sin in their midst.

It's ironic that a fully functioning Christian church like the one at Corinth was in need of reconciliation with God. How many Christian churches are just like that today? They pride themselves in being Spirit-filled congregations, yet their congregational attitude is completely out of touch with Christ. Yes, Christian congregations are oftentimes out of touch and need to come to their senses and reconnect or else they risk becoming like the church at Laodicea where the central figure of Christianity is depicted outside the building banging on the door trying to get someone's attention to let him in. (cf. Rev 3:14-22)

139) 2Cor 6:1-2 . . As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain; for He says: In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.

Some of Christ's followers are sort of on hold as they look forward to God's patronage and providence after they die; but Paul says you can lay hold of those benefits now. In other words: the cross not only qualifies people for Heaven, but also for obtaining God's earthly patronage and providence. However, that earthly aspect of the plan of salvation comes with a string attached-- obedience.

†. John 15:1-7 . . No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Nobody really wants to be a stick of ol' dried up yard debris, but that's what happens when Christ's followers go off-reservation and follow their own noses instead of walking in the light.

†. John 14:23-24 . . When somebody loves me, they will obey my teaching; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

In other words: according to the Father's testimony as an expert witness in all matters pertaining to fellowship: a Christian not obeying Christ has disassociated themselves from both Christ and his Father (2John 1:9). But they aren't lost; they're just lax.

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140) 2Cor 6:14-18 . . 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.

That commandment clearly forbids intermarriage between Christians and non-Christians; e.g. Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky. Failure to comply with those instructions is not only grossly disobedient, but it's unwise and can have tragic results; for example:

†. Gen 6:1-2 . .When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

If we assume that the "sons of God" were believers and the "daughters of men" were not; then it would appear that back in Noah's day, believing men threw caution to the wind and built themselves harems of unbelieving women. What happened to those believing men when it came time for the Flood? Well, for one thing; they had lost their piety.

†. Gen 7:1 . .The Lord then said to Noah: Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.

None of the other sons of God in that day were righteous; hence they weren't invited aboard the ark. All of those men-- whose wives were chosen based solely upon sex appeal sans any spiritual prudence whatsoever --perished in the Flood right along with their infidel wives and children. Let that be a lesson to you.

†. 1Cor 10:11-12 . . Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

It is definitively not wise to make yourself one flesh with an unbelieving spouse. It's a proven tactic for watering down, compromising, and even extinguishing Bible beliefs and practices (e.g. Num 31:7-16). Solomon found that out the hard way; but too late. (1Kgs 11 & 12)

In a mixed relationship-- one a born-again Christian and the other not --the born-again Christian will be forced to compromise their convictions in order to keep the relationship going. Compromise in the area of spiritual values is not a good thing for born-again Christians who wish to be Christ's followers. It will quickly cool their love for Christ and quite possibly result in the Lord calling them on the carpet for being tepid; which Webster's defines as lacking in passion, force, or zest, and/or marked by an absence of enthusiasm or conviction.

Most people want love, romance, companionship, and a family of their own. According to Gen 1:27-28, and Gen 2:21-24, those things are Divine blessings, they're perfectly normal, nothing to be ashamed of; nor is there anything intrinsically naughty or sinful about them. But a believer has to be self controlled, and not permit their base nature to make them lose their heads and ruin their chances for happiness.

Adult dating is where it starts. And adult dating isn't harmless. It leads to other things, and it leads into commitments and promises that are not easily reneged. The end result of adult dating is ultimately marriage and children (quite possibly illegitimate children). Whose religion will prevail in the marriage? Whose religion will be taught to the children? The believer's or the infidel's? And ultimately, who will get the children's souls-- God, or the Devil?

Some couples try to accommodate each other's beliefs by teaching their children the concepts of both ideologies. For example, a marriage between a Buddhist and a Christian. The children are given a choice between the Dharma and the Bible; and between Siddhartha Gautama and Christ. That may seem like a good idea, but it only creates confusion in the minds of the children. Why are mom and dad not in agreement? Whose ideology is right? Can both be right? Does it mean that one ideology is just as good as the next?

Teaching their children more than one system of beliefs and practices is out of the question for born-again, Bible-believing Christians because the Lord and Master of Christianity demands their exclusive devotion. It's always been that way; even for God's chosen people.

†. Deut 6:4-5 . . Hear, O Israel: Yhvh our God: Yhvh is one. Love Yhvh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.

†. Mark 12:28-31 . . One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that he had answered them well; asked him: What commandment is the foremost of all? Jesus answered: The foremost is "Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength."

I think there's a pretty good number of insubordinate Christians out there who are essentially heathens and don't know it. (1Sam 15:22-23)

So far I've only talked about marriage; but 2Cor 6:14-18 also targets ecumenism; which can be roughly defined as an ideology that believes everyone's a Christian if they say so. Okay, fine, everyone's a Christian if they say so; but do all believe in intelligent design? No. Is everyone in the same denomination? No. Do all believe that Christ's crucified body revived? No. Do all believe in a literal hell? No. So be careful out there. Those are potentially serious missteps.

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141) 2Cor 7:1 . . Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of deference to God's wishes.

The promises in view are those at 2Cor 6:14-18. Compliance with God's wishes is the way to go to obtain them.

Q: If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? (Gen 4:7)

A: You will be excepted. (John 14:21-24, 1John 1:6-7))

142) 2Cor 8:11-15 . . If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written : He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.

That directive is an excellent passage for debunking the so-called Faith Promise; which is a popular scheme for tricking church members to pledge money they don't have while expecting God's providence will somehow provide it. That is not the Lord's wish. By means of Paul, the Lord says to give out of what you already have, not what you hope to have later; I mean: it is not His wish to copy ENRON's mark-to-market accounting practices and/or futures trading with pork bellies and soy beans.

143) 2Cor 9:7 . . Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

I have yet to meet a pressured giver who was cheerful about it. What Paul is saying there is that the Lord would prefer you kept your money than give it out of reluctance and/or resentment. And that goes for anything else on your list of charities. If your heart isn't in it, scratch it off your list.

Church managers can be very creative when it comes to laying guilt trips on their congregations in order to con money out of them. One morning at a church I was attending some years ago, a flyer was distributed to all the Sunday school classes that pointed to the Israelites in Exodus 35:4-36:7 as an example of pious generosity.

But what the flyer didn't point out is that those very same Israelites worshipped a golden calf and indulged in revelry while Moses was up on a mountain receiving the Ten Commandments, and also the very ones who refused to invade the promised land when God told them to; resulting in forty wasted years marching around in that awful Arabian desert till everybody over the age of twenty from the original crowd was dead except for just two guys: Joshua and Caleb.

Oh, and one of my very favorite scams is called Saving And Serving. In other words; the congregation is talked into loaning their church the money for an ambitious building program and promised to be paid monthly mortgage payments from the church's budget; which of course is funded by the congregation too. (chuckle) If that isn't the most pious of all Ponzi schemes ever!

144) 2Cor 10:7 . . If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ, he should reconsider that we belong to Christ just as much as he.

It's amazing that any Christian's ego would be so inflated as to think themselves holier than an apostle, however, there are some people out there with a pretty bad case of conceit who are up to it. I can just hear the sneer in their voices as they think to themselves: "What's so special about him? He puts his pants on one leg at a time just like everybody else." That's the voice of one of the most destructive human passions there is: malicious rivalry. It got Abel murdered (1John 3:12) and it got Christ crucified. (Matt 27:15-18)

†. Mark 12:13 . . And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.

Just look at that! The Lord's enemies actually stalked him, hoping he would slip up and say something they could use against him. Who were the "they" in that passage? None other than Judaism's religious elite.

†. Mark 11:17-18 . . And as he taught them, he said: Is it not written: My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it 'a den of robbers. The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

You know what kind of animal stalks? A predator. So people infected with malicious rivalry are nothing in the world but human wildlife: feral beasts.

145) 2Cor 10:10-11 . . For some say: His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing. Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.

Next to gossip, I'd have to say that rumors are another very effective method for influencing how others think. As Hitler's propaganda minister once said: "Repeat a lie often enough, and in time the masses will accept it as true". Sad but true: word of mouth oftentimes enjoys more acceptance than the facts of a matter.

The people who made those comments about Paul apparently never met him for themselves. They were just going by hear-say and their own imagination. That's not love; no, that's malice. Real love is protective; it doesn't seek opportunities to hurt someone's feelings, undermine their credibility, malign their reputation, find fault, nor denigrate them solely to satisfy a blood lust for bringing people down.

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146) 2Cor 10:17-18 . . But, let him who boasts, boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

It's unfortunate that some of Christ's followers have reached the point where the only Bible teachers they will listen to anymore are those with a résumé of accolades like doctorate degrees, books published, and positions held; as if any of that validates their usefulness to God's purposes. One thing we should always remember is that just because somebody is published, or that somebody was educated in a seminary, doesn't make them eo ipso right.

Christians relying solely upon accredited sources are setting themselves up for disappointment since it is God's Spirit who selects and empowers His own teachers rather than colleges and seminaries.

†. 1 Cor 12:1 . . But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually: as He wills.

And sometimes the Spirit selects people to speak for God who seemingly have no business speaking for Him at all; for example:

†. Amos 7:14-15 . .Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah: I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdsman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit: And Yhvh took me as I followed the flock, and He said unto me: Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.

Christ was a blue collar craftsman; a carpenter; which was a trade considered at the level of uneducated society in his day.

†. Mark 6:3 . . Is not this the carpenter . . . and they were indignant.

†. John 7:14-15 . . Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marveled, saying; How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?

Peter was a commercial fishermen; another profession that required no education.

†. Acts 4:13 . . Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated ignorant men, they marveled

It has been my experience that people who rely solely upon accredited sources do so because they have no choice; in other words; they're forced to because they lack the anointing described below.

†. 1John 2:26-27 . . The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

Christians need instruction; in fact instructors are a gift from Christ to his church (Eph 4:11-15). But instruction alone cannot condition a Christian's intuition to recognize the truth when they encounter it; viz: instruction alone cannot give a Christian a feel for the truth, nor can instruction alone break down a Christian's resistance to the truth. That's where the anointing comes into play. It assists Christians to recognize and to accept the truth when they encounter it; and assists them to sort it all out and make it click.

What that means is; the Lord's sheep should be able to recognize the truth and accept it whether it's coming from an accredited ThD or a common rank and file pew warmer; because the only person who can be safely trusted to know the right interpretation anyway is God's Spirit.

†. 1Cor 2:14 . .The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are absurd to him : neither can he comprehend them, because they are spiritually discerned.

What that's saying is that even if a non-anointed Christian should run across a genuine Spirit-endowed teacher, they won't listen to him, no, they will reject the Spirit-endowed teacher. They have to reject him because the man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are absurd to him : neither can he comprehend them, because they are spiritually discerned.

I'm not saying there's something wrong with divinity school. I'm just saying that graduation from one doesn't eo ipso recommend somebody's spiritual competence since it's the Spirit's sovereign prerogative to select and empower the men whom God wishes to represent His son and that's why it isn't all that unusual for a man with his collar on backwards to have his head on backwards too.

147) 2Cor 13:5 . . Examine yourselves, whether you're in the faith; test your own selves. Don't you know of your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you're all reprobates?

Peers and contemporaries tend to grade themselves on a curve, utilizing proprietary standards. I don't think that's what Christ is recommending because it's quite possible to be judged a saint by your peers and/or contemporaries while judged a devil by God (cf. 1Cor 4:3-5). But actually, Paul isn't speaking of conduct; no, he's speaking of something far more crucial-- Christ's residency inside one's physical body. His absence is literally a life-threatening condition.

†. Rom 8:9 . . If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

The spirit of Christ is also labeled "the spirit of His son" for example :

†. Gal 4:6 . . And because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of His son into your hearts calling out: Abba! Father.

Abba isn't a name; it's an Aramaic filial vocative. What that means is; when I'm out in the garage working alone and my son and his mother are in the kitchen talking about me, the noun "dad" merely indicates my son's father. But when my son wants to get his father's attention, and he calls out: Dad! Where are you? then "dad" becomes a filial vocative.

What that boils down to is this: the spirit of His son always compels Christ's sheep to call out to a father, never to a mother and the reason for that is actually quite simple. God's son never prays to his mother; but always to his Father; hence those inhabited by the spirit of the Father's son will do the very same thing.

That, by the way, is a pretty good litmus test. If somebody is comfortable praying to the Lord's mom or to a patron saint, it's a pretty good indicator that the spirit of the Father's son is not in them because His son would never do something like that; nor would he ever encourage others to.

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148) Gal 1:8-9 . . But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

The koiné Greek word for "accursed" in that passage is anathema (an-ath'-em-ah) which means to ban and/or excommunicate.

Schools sometimes ban certain books from their libraries because they feel that the language and/or the subject matter is inappropriate. Some may feel that when schools do that they become a dictatorial throwback to China's cultural revolution back in the last century. Be that as it may, bans are sometimes for the greater good; e.g. smoking in movie theaters, hunting and/or plinking within city limits, and bringing drugs and alcohol to rock concerts.

I think that the people whom Paul targeted with Gal 1:8-9 are speakers and/or Sunday school teachers that do not hold to the gospel precisely as the apostles taught it. For example: it's amazing the number of "Christians" out there who sincerely believe that some of Paul's teachings are not for today. Those are the very ones you really have to be on guard against. If it is not in your power to get rid of them, then at the very least refuse to lend them your ears. That's only common sense.

Below is an interesting application of anathema.

†. 1Cor 12:3 . . I make known to you that no one speaking by God's spirit calls Jesus accursed.

I don't know if Paul meant it to be or not; but that is a subtle reference to Judaism's refusal to accept Jesus as its long-awaited Messiah. Consequently Jesus is officially banned from Judaism's company; which is just the reverse of Christianity's ready association with Christ.

149) Gal 5:1 . . Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Let's say you tell a lie. Well; if you're covenanted with God to be truthful as per Lev 19:11; then the lie will shoot yourself in the foot because the covenant is contractual; viz: it obligates God to come down on you with a curse for breach of contract (Deut 27:26, Jer 11:3-4). He has to levy a curse against you or He himself would be in breach of contract.

Maybe you're a bit unreliable at honoring your commitments; but I assure that God is 110% reliable at honoring His. A cursory review of the last 3,500 years of Jewish history easily bears that out.

To view a menu of curse options available to God; just feast your glims on Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69. I do not think it wise to yoke oneself to those curses.


NOTE: There's basically two categories of commands in the Bible: binding commands and non-binding commands.

The commands in the Old Testament are binding commands; viz: Yhvh's people are under contract with God to comply with them; and He is under contract with His people to enforce them; which means that when Yhvh's people breach the contract by disobeying one of its commands; God is obligated to slam them with any and/or all of the covenanted curses listed at Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69.

Christ's commands, on the other hand, are non-binding commands; viz: Christians are not under contract with God to comply with them; nor is He under contract with Christians to enforce them. So when a Christian disobeys one of Christ's commands; God is under no obligation to slam them with a curse. They might get slammed with discipline; but never with a curse.

†. Rom 8:1 . .There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

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