Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Elementary principles (Hebrews 6:1-2, Romans 10:17, 1 John 2:5-6, Matt 3:13-17, 2 Tim 1:6-7, 1 Thess 4:15-18, Revelation 21:8, 1 John 4:17-19, 1 Cor 13:1-3)

"Ocean Grove Auditorium, NJ"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Must've had too much fun at Carnegie Hall.  I got a cold.  But I promise not to leave germs on the blog hahaha.  It's almost gone now : )

I heard an interesting story on the News.  A Mormon Bishop was touched by the concept of compassion.  He wanted to see how compassionate his Church was.  So he went to a make-up artist and asked her to make him look homeless.  It was so real looking, people in his Church walked far away from him.  One person gave him money.  He went into the Church and sat on a pew.  People were horrified and asked him to leave.  Yikes!

It makes a statement about us doesn't it?  He got up behind the pulpit and revealed who he was.  How embarrassing.  Maybe this is in line with the elementary principles described in Hebrews 6.

Here's the News story:
Mormon bishop (link)

Back to Hebrews:
Hebrews 6:1-2

1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment

There's a lot here to think about.  To me, repentance from dead works are the things that have no value.  When I get annoyed with my husband and decide I'll say something to bug him. I'm doing a dead work.  There's no value in it.  Faith toward God, comes from reading and doing His Word.  

Faith toward God
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
(Romans 10:17 NASB)

The best way to grow in faith is to study the Bible (daily quiet times).  And then go out and give it a try.  Pray first and go help someone or give to someone in need.  Pretty soon it's part of our foundation and becomes natural.  Bible Study can be a verse, paragraph, chapter, or if you're really inspired a book a day.
Bible Study
But whoever keeps His Word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
(1 John 2:5-6 NKJV) 

God is pleased when we study His Word. Those who read and retain it, are blessed.  What really delights God, is to see us doing our best to do His Word and bless others with it.  I find peace and compassion in His Word. 
From these verses it looks like studying the Bible helps us gain confidence so we can be useful in helping others.  Everything hinges on love.
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”
(Matthew 3:13-17)
Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.  The method of baptism was being dunked in a river.  It symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  I was baptized in a Southern Baptist Church.  There was a baptismal filled with water at the front of the Church.  Some Churches sprinkle (holy) water or just water to baptize.  Most Christians can't agree on this one- we'll find out in Heaven.  I have a hunch it's all good.  Baptism isn't a requirement for salvation, it's symbolic of making a public profession of faith.

Laying on of Hands
6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
(2 Timothy 1:6-7 NKJV)

This is simply placing a comforting hand on a person who is suffering.  With prayer we can help others heal.  Personally, I can't just zap someone into good health.  But I can pray.  Almost lost my brother last year and now he's back to work.  The liver transplant was a success!  The final answer comes from God.  God also uses this to give spiritual gifts to believers.

Resurrection of the Dead
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 NKJV)
There will be a day when Jesus will return for those believers who have died. It will be a glorious day!  Then those who are alive will rise to be in Heaven. No more temptation, or fear. 

Eternal judgment 
8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
(Revelation 21:8 NKJV)

I really don't like to think about this part...   Eternal judgment will come to those who deny God's existence and are filled with evil.  I believe it's people who have become like animals.   They feed on their own selfish desires.  God's wrath will be unleashed.

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.
(1 John 4:17-19 NKJV)
True love is the opposite of fear.  It's reaching up and silently asking the Lord what to do, asking for the Holy Spirit to give me words, because I want to help someone in need.  I remember when I first went to Church.  I felt like a fish out of water.  I was afraid to say anything because someone might be offended.  The people seemed so "good" and I felt so "bad."  After awhile I realized we all feel bad when we mess up.  Maybe true love is forgiving ourselves along with others.
This describes the resurrection of believers when Jesus comes back for us. 
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NKJV)
It's like what the Bishop did.  He decided he'd walk in someone else's shoes so he could understand compassion and love for those in need, and help others see people are not always who we think they are.  So, what I get from this is perfection is in loving like Jesus does.  It's about putting my fears and misconceptions aside and doing what I know pleases God.

*12-5-2013 Did some edits and separated Eternal judgment and Resurrection of the dead.  It just wasn't making sense to me so I did more research.

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