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All About GOD - Growing Relationships with Jesus and Others

Certain topics have always been controversial, such as women teaching men, women speaking in church, head coverings, divorce, going to court, praying aloud or quietly, paying our debts, tithing, etc.


One will argue against the head covering, citing it as outdated or a metaphor, while upholding not letting women teach because it's not the same and God commands it.


But as I was studying the difference between the terms holiness, righteousness and justification this morning, something I read just answered a lot of questions that are so often debated.


Laying aside all our notions and beliefs of all these matters, when Jesus said to obey His commands, just what commands was He speaking of?


Galatians 5:14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Matthew 22:36-40
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”


John 15:10-12
If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.


‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

  1. Honor your father and your mother.
  2. You shall not murder.
  3. You shall not commit adultery.
  4. You shall not steal.
  5. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  6. You shall not covet.


Every message was to love God and one another, to live in peace with one another. Even Paul's teaching on head coverings and women teaching were wrapped into that central theme. As Paul said, if his eating meat offended a weaker brother, then he wouldn't eat meat. People were offended about women speaking out or showing their head, and it was causing disagreements and dissention in the church because of customs and trivial matters. The church was against one another and divided in beliefs. Kinda like Baptist, Pentecostal, Nazarene. All because of trivial matters, churches divide and write their own "beliefs" a.k.a. rules. When the only written statement should be "Love God, believe in His Son Jesus Christ, and love others." That simple.


Jesus repeatedly demonstrated love. Love takes care of every commandment. If you steal, you hurt the one you steal from. To dishonor your parents is going to hurt them, etc. The commandments were a guide on how to love God and others...how to treat one another.


The Pharisees tried to nit pick it and make up a bunch of rules like you must pay 10% even if you don't have it, you are not permitted to speak (which wasn't even what quietness meant), you must cover your head. All this clouded what Jesus was teaching.



Matthew 23:13-15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.


There are 613 Jewish laws. That certainly is placing burdens on people. Just try and commit them all to memory. Some people can but the rest of the real world would be pulling their hair out.


Jesus never commanded us to keep women silent or from teaching. He never commanded us to cover our head or pay 10%. His commands were to love Him and love others. As long as we're adhering to that, truly loving others, we don't need a list of rules and regulations.

We're not going to do anything that would hurt a brother or sister. We won't covet what they have or steal it. We won't dishonor our parents. We won't lie about others or murder them. We won't step out on our spouse and tear a family apart.

But then we'd have nothing to debate and this site wouldn't exist and I wouldn't have posted this. And we'll finally have reached unity and have just one church.

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Seek,

Unfortunately I do not think you are really up on this topic. Let me try to briefly explain why this is so ...

But the small matters of dress, hairstyles, holidays, which gifts we should still exhibit or not, drinking, lifting hands, loud or quiet praise, etc. should have no bearing on unity. If these matters weren't preached and each person decided for themselves, in faith, how they interpret them,

Most churches are not separated over these issues. Some take their view on these as more serious than others, but this does not usually separate people to the exception of gathering in local bodies according to various preferences. This is normal as most people are attracted to others or things in which they have an affinity with. 

Churches are separated, in most cases, over positives and negatives. The positive aspects relate to the view of the churches mission. Some are heavily involved in missionary work while others are heavily focused on social issues. Again people will gather according to what is viewed as important to them, but this too does not necessitate disunity. Some are separated by fundamental beliefs (Calvin vs Arminian). Negative aspects would include some of the following: Grace salvation vs works salvation; tongues required for baptism of the Holy Spirit and in some cases even for salvation; baptism required for salvation vs baptism as symbolic. We also know that some take a low view of Scripture while others a high view. Then we get into the deeper dividing hot topic of today ... homosexual and transgender. There absolutely are some deal breakers that will cause people who claim to have faith to not associate with one another.

Maybe if every church was non-denominational we'd be more unified.

Every local church, whether a part of an organized denomination or not, is a denomination unto itself. It is a separate entity with leaders, a set of beliefs, etc. So, no, remove the denominations and have only independent churches you would have an even greater divide IMO.

The two main denominations I personally know (Baptist and Pentecostal)

Pentecostal is not a denomination, but a set of core values that separate them from other Protestants, mostly over the gift of tongues and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Yes, there are groups who use the term Pentecostal in their name, but that is not the same as there are many groups (denominations) who are under the Pentecostal banner (Assemblies of God, Vineyard, Word of Faith, etc).

I see unity as everyone being able to come together on the Gospel.

Define Gospel and explain the salvation process. You will find that there are various camps regarding this doctrine. Legalism vs grace, eternal security vs can lose one's salvation, allegoric reading or face value understanding, exegesis or eisegesis.

This disunity (confusion) goes all the way back to the 1st century and will not go away.

Seems we'd attract more to believe when they saw all Christians working in unity.

Believe what? That is the problem coupled with the errant idea many have that salvation is only believing ... salvation is life transforming. We are not called to make converts or get people to believe ... we are called to make disciples, which is a whole other subject in itself.

I will end by expanding a little on what I said above regarding deal breakers. I am not the judge, only the Lord is, but I will take a stance on issues that I believe based on the method I study and understand Scripture cross the line and cannot be upheld or ignored for the sake of unity.

Lord Bless,

LT

Well I don't know much about denominations for sure. I've attended 1 Catholic service (which was more like an alien invasion to me), I grew up attending a Baptist Church and the Cleveland, Tennessee Church of God. And then a few months in a Southern Baptist church about 12 years ago... which wasn't quite as alien to me as the Catholic service but probably ran a close second. Then I had a slight introduction to Charismatic not too long ago, and just recently learned what Apostolic and Unitarian basically were and attended 1 non-denominational service. So I can only really go by the two I grew up with. And with years of sermons from the two, there were no real differences other than in these minor matters. Tongues being a big factor. This is why I've just seen division mostly in the smaller areas. However....

This disunity (confusion) goes all the way back to the 1st century and will not go away.

I hope not. Since reaching unity is important.

We are not called to make converts or get people to believe

I don't get this one.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

You have to hear to believe. And someone has to tell it before it can be heard. Even then, many people know about Christ who don't know about Christ. I heard preaching for years, yet I didn't listen to it and so I didn't understand it. It took God leading one person to say just what was needed to get me to finally understand and know that I needed Him.

God does the tugging on the heart but He does use us to spread the Gospel of Christ.

Disunity: A good portion of Paul's writings to the various churches has to do with disagreements that existed in the church. The key here is to understand what is really meant by unity. There is no way until Christ returns that we will see all children of God believe exactly the same way. There are so many reasons for these variances I could not even list them all if I tried. Even Paul and Barnabas fell-out over John Mark. The unity we can experience as children of God is two-fold. 1) Unity of Spirit, for there is only one Spirit and the Holy Spirit is the one who brings regeneration and connects us to Jesus. 2) We are to be unified around Jesus, yet as I stated earlier there are differences from small to great regarding what various people or individuals believe about Jesus.

An old saying:

In the essentials, unity; in everything else, grace.

Regarding Believing: James says the following:

Jas 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
Jas 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
Jas 2:20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

Faith that does not lead to life transformation is not saving faith, for even the demons know there is one God. In what is commonly referred to as the great commandment Jesus tells us the following:

Mat 28:18-20 NIV84 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Other words of Jesus:

Joh_14:15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command.
Joh_14:23 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Joh_14:24 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.
Joh_15:10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.

LT Summary of the John verses:

Love is the result of a transformed life and because of that love we will desire to live for Him. If one does not desire to live for Him or begin to show a changed life then one would have to question the reality of their profession of faith based on John 14:23-24.

Lord Bless,

LT

Yes, belief must also have repentance. Only when we're truly sorry for our sins do we repent, and belief that Jesus died so that we could live eternally with Him should make us truly desire to please Him and desire His Word which will cause us to bear fruit. One thing I noticed however is that we can bear fruit we don't recognize ourselves, even when someone points it out. That's a thought change only the Word can eventually bring about.

This made me think of a post I made to an article somewhere where someone said we need to forget the cross and focus only on the resurrection. That remembering the cross is like killing Jesus all over again. What do you think of that statement?

I told them that I do focus on the cross, and also the resurrection. Remembering the cross only deepens my understanding of how much God loves us. Anyone who would willingly and silently go through that torture and death to do what we can't do shows love we can only hope to understand. Then it's the resurrection that brings the hope of eternity and free gift. I think focusing on just the resurrection may be why some believe that we're saved by grace no matter how much we keep sinning. Without understanding His love, how can we love what He did for us enough to want change? Is it wrong to remember both? I only know for myself, remembering His suffering is what has helped me love Him more and thereby increases my faith.

They go hand-in-hand. Paul said the following:

Gal_6:13 Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh.
Gal_6:14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Blessed be God, there will be no more disagreements among believers! Episcopalians and Presbyterians, Calvinists and Arminians, Millenarians and Anti-Millenarians, friends of Establishments and friends of the Voluntary system, advocates of infant baptism and advocates of adult baptism,-all will at length be of one mind. The former ignorance will have passed away. We shall marvel to find how childish and blind we have been.
- JC Ryle 

Was this guy referring to after the rapture or before? That's what I've been trying to figure out. What LT says about united in Christ but not on every matter makes sense but when I see people say something like this I still wonder about how united we must become before He returns or if the reference is to after, as this guy seems to be saying by saying the old things have passed away.

Just a little scratching my head trying to see how to apply unity to Revelation events. Even the idea on what is meant by unity seems to create disunity in interpretation. LOL

I don't know the context of the quote, but based on 1 Corinthians 13:12, I think it must be post rapture.  I interpret that he is speaking with an eternal perspective.

I would say it's after the resurrection

Hmmmm I hadn't thought about it possibly being after the rapture until I saw this quote, but I went back to reread the passage and it could make more sense that it is.

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ

It makes sense that we keep building each other up in the faith "until" we reach unity (in heaven?) I'd always read it with an emphasis on reaching unity by building our faith until we all believe the same thing before the rapture. I need to recheck where I was in Revelation to see if it agrees cause this seems to make more sense.

"I'd always read it with an emphasis on reaching unity by building our faith until we all believe the same thing before the rapture. I need to recheck where I was in Revelation to see if it agrees cause this seems to make more sense."

interesting.  Israel is God's timepiece.  To begin to understand Revelation it must be studied from a Jewish perspective.

I don't think we can all believe the same pre-rapture, or pre-resurrection because even though we have a new heart and a born again Spirit, our dead flesh still influences our opinions, thoughts and actions.  We're not complete yet. 

Blessings, Carla

Note how the article is closed:

let us seek Biblical unity by faith in Christ by pursuing a growing understanding of the Bible and by humbly yielding to the Spirit within us as He guides us into all truth.

Without even realizing it (IMO) he is espousing the fact that this unity is a process and is not a done deal even now. Perfect unity (mind, body and spirit) will not be experienced in this life. Just as we are maturing in Christ and awaiting the completion (Philippians 1:6) this unity follows the same path. 

Remember (not hoping to open a can of worms) but salvation has three phases described in Scripture:

1) Justified and regenerated (spiritually): At new birth

2) Sanctification: On going process in this life after new birth

3) Glorification: Finished work and fully transformed fitted for eternity, which includes perfect unity.

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