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The Elephant in the Bible (Video and Discussion)

Discussion in 'Discipleship: Following Jesus' started by John Helpher, Jan 10, 2021.

  1. MMXX

    MMXX Jesus Loves You

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    Being learned in early church history is necessary if one is trying to dictate how the church should operate these days, using the earliest church(s) as a model. For one thing the early church was under a huge amount of percussion from Rome and operated accordingly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  2. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

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    He probably has me on "ignore." I've shown him from Scripture the faultiness in his views but he is too invested in them to make alterations. Sometimes, its more important to folks to have a sharply distinguishing point of view, a view that makes them stand out from the crowd, than to have a correct view.

    You can lead a horse to water...
     
  3. John Helpher

    John Helpher John 3:16 Supporter

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    The love of money is the root of all evil. No one wants to believe they love money, and yet a lot of money loving still happens. The worst people in the world believe they're just doing what's best for themselves, their family, and their friends. This is why Jesus said, "If you love those who love you, what reward do you have"?

    Sincere people will think carefully about the teachings of Jesus, what he and his followers did, and seek to imitate that behavior. The temptation to make excuses will always be there with all of us. There is no avoiding that. But, that is what makes integrity so valuable; we choose to set aside the excuses and justifications. We face the problems head on. We confront our greed, and our fears, and our pride.

    "This people draw near to me with their lips, but their heart is far from me". A sincere person will read that and be shook to the core. They may feel tempted to justify themselves at first, but eventually they will not be able to bear such pretense; they will leave behind those excuses and try to practice the teachings of Jesus.

    To those people who may be reading these threads, don't give up. Keep trying. Every effort you make toward goodness is appreciated.
     
  4. MMXX

    MMXX Jesus Loves You

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    So the message is, having an honorable vocation to fund the church, ministry which spreads the gospel, to fund the needy, to take care of your family, and lastly to take care of your own needs so no one else has to, amounts to a lack of integrity?
     
  5. John Helpher

    John Helpher John 3:16 Supporter

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    There is no honor in demanding payment for your love.

    You can't spread the gospel if you're busy giving your time to making money.

    What a proud, boastful attitude; God needs you to demand payment for your love or the bills won't be paid? Poor God; if you didn't work to support him, how could he survive? How could he provide for his servants without you? Don't you see just how horrible that kind of attitude is?

    The testimony you've suggested giving to your family is that the value of life is found in the profit you can derive from selling your God-given skills to the highest bidder. That is not care.

    Once again, what a proud, boastful comment; "I demand payment from others so that I can afford not to need help from anyone!" Paul wasn't saying that we should manipulate payment from one another so that we'd never need to ask for help. What a horrible twisting of his words! He was saying the exact opposite; people who join the Christian community should be ready to work hard in service to one another rather than expecting others to provide everything for them.

    Have you never experienced lazy moochers? Have you never once, yourself, mooched from others? Paul's rebukes about people in the Christian community "working with their own hands" is a rebuke to lazy people. It's not a command that the Church of God should start demanding payment from one another because they're afraid of starving to death. My goodness, what a horrible lie to tell in the name of Paul! If he were here today, I'm sure he would be disappointed.

    We are called to carry our own burden, and also to carry the burden of others. You've done everything you can to twist this concept into caring for yourself, first, and perhaps, once you've done that and have a bit of extra income, give to your religion as a sign of your own piety. Care for others is just a convenient doctrine. It's really all about you. This is why Jesus rebuked the Pharisees even when they donated to the church; he said they were doing it out of their abundance. Rather, he commended a widow who gave everything she had, even though it was far, far, far less that what the other people gave. The point was that she trusted God to take care of her.

    Remember when I said that some people claim Jesus didn't really mean what he said? You expressed some incredulity at that, even declaring:

    Yet, here you are, saying that Jesus didn't really mean what he said about money. Jesus said, "You will hold to one, and despise the other". That's pretty clear, especially when you compare this to the behavior of his disciples and all the thousands of new Christians who joined the church in Acts 2 and 4. Jesus told his followers to go into all the world teaching them to obey all he had told them to follow. That's exactly what they did, and as a result, thousands of new converts sold everything they had, shared all things in common and, went everywhere preaching this same message.

    Now, some modern day Christians have decided that such commitment is not necessary; that you can demand payment for your love because Jesus only meant his teachings for those other people. We live in a different time where it is honorable to demand payment, so long as you're doing it in the name of what you believe makes your own life better. You have so many ways to make such demands sound respectable and normal, so similar to Satan merely suggesting that Jesus change stone to bread. After all, wasn't Jesus hungry? Wasn't it within Jesus' power to feed himself? Would God really want Jesus to be a lowly, homeless beggar who could not even take care of himself, much less the souls of all the world? What kind of leader would Jesus be if he couldn't even take care of himself? Wouldn't Paul be so very disappointed in Jesus, according to your interpretation of Paul's comments about a man caring for his family.

    Christians beware; Satan's temptation did not cease when he left Jesus. Jesus meant what he said when he said that his teachings will judge us. He meant what he said when he said some will call him Lord, yet he will reject them.

    His teachings are the standards of the Kingdom of Heaven; there is no amount of jargon, or religious double-speak, or flowery speech about how he is Lord, or rituals, or sacraments, or tradition which will impress him. He is looking for those sincere individuals who respond to his spirit, and his teachings are his spirit.

    No one can say they belong to Jesus while rejecting his teachings, no matter how ritualized they make their speech. Don't be fooled. Jesus meant what he said. Believe that. Really, really take it in; he meant what he said.

    Before he is a loving God, he is a just God. He will judge righteously. If you're using his love and grace to justify selfishness, he will see it, even if you don't. That's what makes this whole situation so terrifying. We so easily deceive ourselves. That's exactly why wise men said, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". Whatever you've been told about salvation and security; question it in the light of the teachings of Jesus. Re-examine whatever security you may feel with fear and trembling, because that is the beginning of wisdom. Do it every day, using Jesus' teachings as your cornerstone.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021
  6. MMXX

    MMXX Jesus Loves You

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    Actually what I said wasn't based on what Paul wrote, but rather what you yourself wrote, so that's yet another in a series of false accusations you've made against me. You've made a lot of judgemental accusations, based on your misinterpretation of what I meant and what my attitude is. And I've seen you do so to others as well.

    You do a great deal of twisting either from lack of understanding, or intentionally.

    This pattern you have of not understanding and twisting what I and others are saying and coming to wrong conclusions, is reflected in your interpretation of scripture. I think you're having just as much or more of a problem interpreting what Jesus and Paul said, as you have been in interpreting what people have said in this and your other thread.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021
  7. John Helpher

    John Helpher John 3:16 Supporter

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    Matthew 4:19-20 "And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him."

    Matthew 4:21-22 "And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him."

    Luke 5:10-11 "And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him".

    Luke 18:28 " Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee."

    Matthew 16:24 "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

    John 14:21 " He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me:"

    John 14:23 " He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me."

    Matthew 28:20 "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:"
     
  8. Chris35

    Chris35 Member

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    The way that I have come to understand this.

    But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

    With God All Things Are Possible
    23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

    Jesus equates it to entering into the kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven.

    41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

    The Fellowship of the Believers

    42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

    The apostles and believers were lead to the exact same thing by the spirit.

    From what I can tell, the "elephant" Christians have been avoiding isn't an elephant at all but they have been avoiding the kingdom of God.

    The selling of possessions, giving to the needy, and to eachother is a foundation of the kingdom of heaven that comes from love, love for God, and love for our brothers and sisters.

    Now the way most Christians see it is that if they are saved, and they love the best they can, and then after they die they will enter into the kingdom of God.

    However I think it may be backward, in that the kingdom of God, has already been given to us, God is not nescicarilly withholding but Christians have essentially been standing at the gate, to scared to enter it, as In order to do so, they have to share everything with eachother, because it is essentially how the kingdom of God works.

    For one may say, I have spare farm land, I will give it to my brothers and sisters in Christ so that they may produce food for eachother, and another says, I have a job that I hate, let me come work on the farm so that I may produce food for my brothers and sisters in Christ, all that I need is a place to sleep and food to eat. While another, I have been blessed with cooking skills, let me prepare meals for my brothers and sisters. Etc... ect..
     
  9. John Helpher

    John Helpher John 3:16 Supporter

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    I think you're on the right track. The kingdom of Heaven is all about sharing. The more people who do it, the more there is to share and the better the quality of life will be for all of us. The opposite is true; the fewer people who share, the less there will be and the more difficult it will be.

    When Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, one line of the prayer was, "Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven".

    In Heaven, they don't demand payment for their help. A lot of people have this idea that Heaven is some special place far off and only has relevance as a place we go to when we die. But Jesus is saying that is not the case. Heaven is anywhere where his teachings are practiced. Heaven isn't just a location; it's a concept.

    Jesus' first command at the start of his ministry was, "Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is here".

    In Luke 8:1 the record shows that Jesus and his followers traveled together showing the kingdom of Heaven. This is why Jesus was so adamant that his followers must practice his teachings; they are a demonstration of the kingdom of Heaven. The practice of his teachings is what shows that we are citizens of that Kingdom.

    Unfortunately, so many professing Christians today don't see it that way. They want the salvation and blessings, but they don't want the discipline and accountability. They like the idea of being part of something better, but in practical, day to day life they continue serving in the worldly system. This is why Jesus said we cannot serve two masters. He said God is one master and money (and the things money can buy) is the other master. He said we will love one and hate the other. You can't say you hate money while still working to get more of it.

    In fact, most of the responses I've seen from professing Christians on this topic end up defending work for money quite vigorously. They don't refer to it as a necessary evil, but rather the opposite. They say it is honorable and loving to demand payment for our help.

    As a result, they only end up distorting Jesus' message. They talk about his love and salvation while at the same time demonstrating that they are no different to any other person out there who works for the world. Jesus' message just ends up looking like a joke. These people can render some very lovely sounding speeches about love and grace; the songs they sing can bring you to tears; their respectable, civilized behavior can appear so gentle, but in the end it's all for show. They don't really have anything different than the average atheist who also goes to work for money 40 hours per week.

    The kingdom of Heaven is fundamentally different from the world. That's the bottom line here; these people are afraid of change. Jesus said that anyone who falls on the rock of his teachings will be broken. There's no avoiding that. We must confront our greed, our fear, and our pride. This is what the teachings of Jesus accomplish. What if my family won't come with me? What if I starve to death? What if I end up homeless on the street? What if my friends and family think I'm crazy? It can feel like we're being broken into pieces. The alternative is to be crushed to dust. He told this parable in the context of people killing him in their effort to hold on to their old ways. Jesus wasn't joking.

    There is a real consequence to ignoring his teachings. No amount of religious jargon about salvation and the love of God will change that.
     
  10. Chris35

    Chris35 Member

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    Thiis is where this verse comes in...

    Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.

    Hence the family of God, brothers, sisters, mothers, children. All those in Christ become our family.

    It's really amazing and beautiful what God has done.
     
  11. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    Philemon, Simon the Tanner, Phillip, etc. owned houses.

    Aiki raised this issue early on in the thread, but you have not addressed it.
     
  12. John Helpher

    John Helpher John 3:16 Supporter

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    If you think all these others guys can give you eternal life, then it makes sense that you would model yourself after them. If you think Jesus can give you eternal life, then it would make sense that you would model yourself after him.

    All you're doing with these kind of arguments is showing the rest of us who your messiah really is. This is exactly why Jesus said, "why do you call me, 'Lord', but do not obey me"?
     
  13. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    You mentioned Jesus' followers. These were followers of Jesus in Scripture. Is there some reason you don't want to address it?
     
  14. John Helpher

    John Helpher John 3:16 Supporter

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    I am addressing it, but you're not hearing it because you're not genuinely interested.

    For example, consider the example of Philemon which you brought up. That is a letter to Philemon from Paul.

    Paul is being superduper nice because Philemon had given them a donation. He's not yet a full member of the church. He's more like a generous associate who is moving in that direction.

    Onesimus was an escaped slave. Paul is sending him back because he doesn't want Onesimus to spend the rest of his life as an escaped slave and neither does he want Philemon to be an aggrieved slave owner. He wants Philemon to recognize that he should free Onesimus because he wants to and not simply because circumstances forced it. This is an important part of Philemon's spiritual development and for his relationship to his brother's in Christ. If he's gonna join the church, he needs to genuinely understand why he's doing it.

    He wants Philemon to see Onesimus as he sees Paul; a brother in Christ, not a slave to be owned by him. But you don't see that. You guys rarely care about the context. You don't think deeply about what's actually happening and compare it to Jesus the cornerstone.

    You just see a verse which appears to support your personal desires and then you spit it out as though simply quoting a verse from the Bible makes your personal desires correct by default.

    This is the same thing you did with Paul's other writings about lazy people contributing to the good of their brothers and sisters in the community instead of being lazy and expecting everyone else to take care of them. He says they should work, and, from the abundance of your heart you interpret that as, "for money". All you could see there was a command that people should demand payment from one another. Paul didn't say anything like that but still, you stubbornly insist that he did, because that's what you want to believe.

    I addressed those comments several times and here you are with a new set of arguments. You will likely reject this assessment of Philemon in your heart and move on to some other example. You'll probably say that God gave Solomon wisdom so that he could get riches. What about that, huh!? But, on two occasions Jesus said that he has something better than what Solomon had.

    Then you'll probably reference Joseph of Arimathea. But, the text says that he was a secret disciple for fear of the Jews. But, Jesus said we should not be afraid of those who kill the body.

    With all these examples, you never deeply consider the context. To you, they are merely a convenient shield. It's all about owning a house. It's all about the honor that comes from demanding payment for your love. It's all about helping yourself first, then, maybe if you have time and resources, you can give something to God.

    No answer will satisfy you because you don't really want to change.
     
  15. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    While you appeal to the context, it does not match up with your conclusion.

    He is called a fellow laborer, and the church meets in his home:

    1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, 2 to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:

    He has faith towards Christ:

    4 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints,

    He would not be a brother in the Lord with him unless he were in the Lord.

    16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

    Philemon owes Paul a debt, likely because He came to faith through Paul's preaching.


    I will repay—not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self besides.

    25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

    There is nothing to indicate he is not part of the church. The only reason you would assert that is because of your view regarding the need for believers to give up their homes.






     
  16. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    We see you saying that Paul was not inspired, and mistaken, and explaining away clear statements to support something the text does not support.
     
  17. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    No, next I will ask you why you didn't address Phillip. He was there in Jerusalem with the brothers when they were sharing all things. And he was one of the seven who helped with the distribution of food. He went preaching Christ wherever God sent him. Then later we see him later owning a home.

    Acts 21:8 On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
  18. tall73

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    He makes it plain in the same letter he still plans to do it that way, and it was not a mistake.


    7 Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. 9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows! 12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.

    He did not sin against them. They were wrongly accusing him of many things though he remind them that he has only acted towards them in love. He reveals that the ones causing the controversy were false apostles. He indicates he will go on continuing to support himself.


    And in the passage you quote, as with his earlier "boasting" he is being facetious to shame them.

    11 I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. 12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds. 13 For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong!

    14 Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.

    16 But be that as it may, I did not burden you. Nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you by cunning! 17 Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus, and sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?

    19 Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification. 20 For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; 21 lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.


    He intends to come again, and still not be a burden to them. He is laboring to spend all he has spiritually and materially for them, because he loves them, and it undercuts the false accusations against him.


     
  19. tall73

    tall73 Sophia7's husband Supporter

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    I hope if you are living in a community of full time gospel workers that you are not the one tasked with recruiting. We have been asking you questions so you can discuss your view, and we are trying to look at the Scriptures to see if it matches up. And from the outset you have questioned the sincerity of everyone in the thread.

    So let me share a text for you to consider as well:

    Romans 14:10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written:

    As I live, says the Lord,
    Every knee shall bow to Me,
    And every tongue shall confess to God.”


    12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

    Now if I feel the Lord (not you, the Lord) convicting me to sell all, I will.


    If I am convinced that the Scriptures teach this, then I must obey it. But your continual questioning of everyone's motives is not helping your case. Discuss what the word says, and leave your judgments out of it. If you have something to share, then share it in faith. Why not share how your community is doing these things, and the blessing it has been?

    As it is our church is in a poverty stricken area. Yet all of the churches, banding together, even during this pandemic, have served hundreds of thousands of meals to those who were in need. They are trying to help those both of the faith, and out. They have helped with living expenses, they have helped with housing for the homeless.

    One of the members of our churches went to work at a care center during the pandemic. They won't let the ministers in to conduct services or visit, due to the virus. But since she is working there and is already in the facility they have allowed her to preach, share the gospel, and pray with the sick and dying, including those who previously had no faith in Christ.

    I do not see any conflict with this and the words of Christ. And it is in line with working with your hands so that you have something to share, which is in Scripture.


     
  20. John Helpher

    John Helpher John 3:16 Supporter

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    Exactly. There is no end to these defenses. The bottom line is that you're prepared to point to anyone except Jesus.
     
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