12 May 2012
Our God is a consuming fire
- Extracted from the Sermon- the Hebrews, Chapter 12:
14 Seek peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one can ever see the Lord.
15 Be careful that no one is deprived of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness should
begin to grow and make trouble; this can poison a large number.
16 And be careful that there is no immoral person, or anyone worldly minded like Esau, who sold his birth right for one single meal.
17 As you know, when he wanted to obtain the blessing afterwards, he was rejected and, though he pleaded for it with tears, he could find no way of reversing the decision.
18 What you have come to is nothing known to the senses: not a blazing fire, or gloom or total darkness, or a storm;
19 or trumpet-blast or the sound of a voice speaking which made everyone that heard it beg that no more should be said to them.
20 They could not bear the order that was given: If even a beast touches the mountain, it must be stoned.
21 The whole scene was so terrible that Moses said, 'I am afraid and trembling.'
22 But what you have come to is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where the millions of angels have gathered for the festival,
23 with the whole Church of first-born sons, enrolled as citizens of heaven. You have come to God himself, the supreme Judge, and to the spirits of the upright who have been made perfect;
(Interpretation: All of us who cooperate with the grace of God, and form the entire assembly of the new covenant, shall be the first-born sons.) 8-)
24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to purifying blood which pleads more insistently than Abel's.
25 Make sure that you never refuse to listen when he (referred to Jesus Christ) speaks. If the people who on earth refused to listen to a warning could not escape their punishment, how shall we possibly escape if we turn away from a voice that warns us from heaven?
26 That time his voice made the earth shake, but now he has given us this promise: I am going to shake the earth once more and not only the earth but heaven as well.
27 The words once more indicate the removal of what is shaken, since these are created things, so that what is not shaken remains.
28 We have been given possession of an unshakeable kingdom. Let us therefore be grateful and use our gratitude to worship God in the way that pleases him, in reverence and fear.
29 For our God is a consuming fire. 12 May 2012
19 May 2012
With the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, what the Apostles decided concerning Circumcision, Food, Drinks and marriages - Extracted from the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 15:
1 Then some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, 'Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.'
2 This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was decided that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the question with the apostles and elders.
3 The members of the church saw them off, and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they told how the gentiles had been converted, and this news was received with the greatest satisfaction by all the brothers.
4 When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and by the apostles and elders, and gave an account of all that God had done through them.
5 But certain members of the Pharisees' party who had become believers objected, insisting that gentiles should be circumcised and instructed to keep the Law of Moses.
6 The apostles and elders met to look into the matter,
7 and after a long discussion, Peter stood up and addressed them. 'My brothers,' he said, 'you know perfectly well that in the early days God made his choice among you: the gentiles were to learn the good news from me and so become believers.
8 And God, who can read everyone's heart, showed his approval of them by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as he had to us.
9 God made no distinction between them and us, since he purified their hearts by faith.
10 Why do you put God to the test now by imposing on the disciples the very burden that neither our ancestors nor we ourselves were strong enough to support?
11 But we believe that we are saved in the same way as they are: through the grace of the Lord Jesus.'
12 The entire assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul describing all the signs and wonders God had worked through them among the gentiles.
13 When they had finished it was James who spoke. 'My brothers,' he said, 'listen to me.
14 Simeon has described how God first arranged to enlist a people for his name out of the gentiles.
15 This is entirely in harmony with the words of the prophets, since the scriptures say:
16 After that I shall return and rebuild the fallen House of David; I shall rebuild it from its ruins and restore it.
17 Then the rest of mankind, all the pagans who are consecrated to my name, will look for the Lord, says the Lord who made this
18 known so long ago.
19 'My verdict is, then, that instead of making things more difficult for gentiles who turn to God,
20 we should send them a letter telling them merely to abstain from anything polluted by idols, from fornication, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.
21 For Moses has always had his preachers in every town and is read aloud in the synagogues every Sabbath.'
22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose delegates from among themselves to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas, known as Barsabbas, and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood,
23 and gave them this letter to take with them: 'The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of gentile birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia.
24 We hear that some people coming from here, but acting without any authority from ourselves, have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds;
25 and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with our well-beloved Barnabas and Paul,
26 who have committed their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27 Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written.
28 It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to impose on you any burden beyond these essentials:
29 you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.'
30 The party left and went down to Antioch, where they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter.
31 The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.
32 Judas and Silas, being themselves prophets, spoke for a long time, encouraging and strengthening the brothers.
33 These two spent some time there, and then the brothers wished them peace and went back to those who had sent them.
You said, I have heard about many different views from different Christian Churches concerning food matters, what are exactly the food that is forbidden by God?
Heres the answer based on Accredited Church Teaching:
Based on the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 15: 29 above, dont you think it is obvious that all Christian/Catholics are allowed to eat everything under the sun (that is not toxic) except those mentioned in the same verse? 8-)
Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans, Chapter 14, clarifies further:
14 I am sure, and quite convinced in the Lord Jesus, that no food is unclean in itself; it is only if someone classifies any kind of food as unclean, then for him it is unclean.
20 Do not wreck God's work for the sake of food. Certainly all foods are clean; but all the same, any kind can be evil for someone to whom it is an offence to eat it.
21 It is best to abstain from eating any meat, or drinking any wine, or from any other activity which might cause a brother to fall away, or to be scandalized, or to weaken.
See Genesis, Chapter 1:31 - God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good
For instance, I attend a party and I know that in eating some food, I may cause scandal to my brother(s) in Christ, thus it would be best for me not to eat those food. Well, deep within me, I am well convinced that these food are not unclean at all...
Many would have the same experience as me especially when we were baptized soon after we were born (/when very young), our conscience is not in any way affected by the food at all, but for the sake of my brother(s) whom Christ had died to save, I would restrict myself form eating such food when he is /they are around in order not to be a cause of scandal to him /them
Lets recall Peters vision before he went to baptize the Centurion Cornelius and his family, God told Peter specifically that everything that He has made is clean
-Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 10:
9 Next day, while they were still on their journey and had only a short distance to go before reaching the town, Peter went to the housetop at about the sixth hour (12 noon) to say his prayers.
10 He felt hungry and was looking forward to his meal, but before it was ready he fell into a trance
11 and saw heaven thrown open and something like a big sheet being let down to earth by its four corners;
12 it contained every kind of animal, reptile and bird.
13 A voice then said to him, 'Now, Peter, kill and eat!'
14 But Peter answered, 'Certainly not, Lord; I have never yet eaten anything profane or unclean.'
15 Again, a second time, the voice spoke to him, 'What God has made clean, you have no right to call profane.'
16 This was repeated three times, and then suddenly the container was drawn up to heaven again.
17 Peter was still at a loss over the meaning of the vision he had seen, when the men sent by Cornelius arrived. They had asked where Simon's house was and they were now standing at the door,
Whats next? The baptism of the Roman Centurion Cornelius and his family -> here
19 May 2012