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Matthew 13: Jesus and the False Positives


The Invisible WarThe Invested Life

I was teaching group of teenagers last year and I asked them to send in some questions before I came. Here is one of them and an answer that I gave right out of Matthew 13:

Question: If you accepted Jesus into your heart, but then go out and do really bad things and stop following God’s Word, will you still go to Heaven?

Answer: It depends! There are four types of people who hear the gospel but only one type is truly a Christian. If you were never a Christian in the first place then the behavior makes sense because continuous willful disobedience with no guilt is to be expected. If you are truly a Christian then you are a SAVED SINNER who will still sin but will experience a war within between the sin nature and your new nature. More importantly you will experience guilt or remorse once confronted by God’s Holy Spirit inside directly or indirectly if you are confronted by a loving brother or sister in Christ. Furthermore, if you are a true Christian know than you cannot ever ever ever lose your salvation for God does not want you to be in an insecure relationship with Him. The question is do you have salvation in the first place!

Below are the four types of people who hear the gospel. In this parable people labeled #1, #2, and #3 are not Christians but the ones labeled #4 are truly Christians. You will find 1 – 4 in Christian churches!

Matthew 13:3-9; 18-23 – Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop — a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

… “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When #1anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The #2 one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The #3 one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the #4 one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

So let’s break down the four people who hear the gospel and “say the prayer”:

#1 The Hearer – The word of God never penetrates the soul of this person so Satan snatches the word from the surface.

#2 The Stoner – A person who makes merely an emotional commitment to Christ as shown by their lack of commitment.

#3 The Thorny – A person who again makes a superficial commitment to Christ without repentance so he or she easily chokes on the love of money and worldly pleasures.

#4 The Christian – Truly makes a transaction with God! He or she moves from a creation of God to an adopted child of God who becomes a disciple and makes disciples.

If you are truly #4 the Christian then you must remain secure in your relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This security and acceptance is what enables you to grow as a child of God. You work from your salvation not for your salvation!

John 6:28-29 – Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

There is a class that I teach at McLean Bible Church called “Christianity 101” that ends with the assurance of Heaven. The below information is taken from the course book:

(OF COURSE, THESE APPLY TO #4 ONLY)

In order to lose your salvation someone (including you) you have to be able to accomplish the following:

1. Someone would have to ___SNATCH_____ you out of God’s hand.

John 10:28-30 – I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

2. Someone would have to break the ___SEAL_____ of God’s ownership.

Ephesians 1:13-14 – And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession — to the praise of his glory.

3. Someone would have to remove the ____SPIRIT_______ of God in you.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

4. Someone would have to ___SEPARATE_____ you from the _____LOVE____ of Christ.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

5. Someone would have to erase your ___NAME____ from the ____BOOK______ of Life.

Philippians 4:3 – And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life.

6. Someone would have to burn your ______ADOPTION______ papers!

Ephesians 1:4-7 – In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

RED-DAWN-WOLVERINES

Now you will experience a real war in your body between obeying God and disobeying God by following your sin nature. As you grow the war will increase, and you will win some battles! But the war is not over because our commander has not returned–yet! The goal in the teenage years as young men and women is to give your body God’s temple no territory so that you avoid a lifelong war! As adults your job is to fight and take back the territory that the enemy once accessed from the inside and now has to get to you from the outside!

Below is a very encouraging section of the Bible as the Apostle Paul describes this war that he experienced some 20 years after coming to Christ:

Romans 7:18 – 8:13

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members….Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did…For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace…if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

I did a deep dive into this war within earlier this year. You can find that post here

Maybe you are loosing because you don’t know how to fight. Take a look at the book that I recommend above called “The Invisible War”.

Get someone to disciple you and invest on how to fight, or invest in someone else! Some of you have reached your spiritual peak because you spend your time with others when God wants you to invest it.

Come Lord Jesus Come!

Until He Returns,

Peter P. Lackey, Jr.

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“So That” The Ministry We Never Prayed For


Changes That HealCelebrate Recovery

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 – “3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

The belief that God is a “God of all comfort” is an essential truth that every believer must embrace when life’s journey leads us through the valley.  In our scripture today God calls us to do two things with this essential truth.  First, God wants us to apply this truth in our own lives by letting Him into the deepest parts of our being to be comforted personally by Him.  Second, God wants us to serve others with the same “comfort we ourselves have received from God”.  Notice the so that in verse four.  God is comforting us not merely to benefit us, although that is certainly true, but with the intention that we will serve His people with the same comfort that we have received from the Father of compassion.  In essence we are called to give it away!  Notice that there is a correlation between the areas of your life that you allow God in to comfort and the type of comfort that you can give away.  Is there an area in your life that needs comfort that you have not allowed God into?

Every Sunday my Senior Pastor Lon Solomon makes theology both personal and practical by asking his famous question “So What”?  Throughout the Washington D.C. area, our Mclean Bible Church brothers and sisters are making this theology of comfort personal and practical as they serve the Lord in their own “So That” ministry.  Their ministry is an outgrowth of the comfort that they have personally received from God while in the midst of the valley experiences of their own lives.  For instance, we have couples who have experienced hope and healing in their marriage whom now have chosen marriage mentoring as their “so that” ministry.  We have other couples who have experienced the comfort of God through the touch of a community of saints who now serve as small group or community group leaders.  What is your “So That” ministry?

When are you going to start?  If not now, when?

Our “So That” ministry is our most personal ministry and one that can have the greatest impact for the Kingdom.   I call it the ministry that we never prayed for because I do not know anyone who prayed for addiction, prayed for abuse, prayed for a husband, wife, or child to leave this earth before we were ready.  What you allow God to do with these areas of pain and how far you let Him into the pain will determine if you are a space taker or a difference maker in this world.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus thank you so much for sending me the Comforter when you went to be with the Father; for you knew in this life that is exactly what I would need.  Father, I ask your forgiveness for and seek your comfort in ____________________.  Give me the strength to serve your people with the same comfort that I have received from you.

Until He Returns,

Peter P. Lackey, Jr.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2013 in Suffering, Uncategorized

 

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Tongues & Acts: When To Debate When To Divide


toungues of fire

Since the Book of Acts is a history book, it is a very bad place to grab permanent theology.  Every time people do so they get in trouble and twist themselves into a theological pretzel. There are things that happen at the establishment of the church for the first time that are to never happen again. I repeat, there are things that happen at the establishment of the church for the first time that are to never happen again. Why? Like all transitions even in your own life they are unique. This transition that God makes is huge! So huge that the Apostles themselves have to be “pushed” by God and shown that the time has come for the end of the Temple sacrifices, the Jewish priesthood, and the theocratic system.  Everything they have known as part of their worship and identity as a Jew is vanishing.

One example of the theological pretzel that I am talking about is what has been called “the second blessing” or “second baptism” that is supposedly evidenced by “speaking in tongues”. All of the supposed biblical support for this is taken from the experiences read in the book of Acts. As I will demonstrate below this is not  biblical basis for a “second baptism” or “the sign of a filling of the Spirit”. What this is is a lack of understanding of the historical context of the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant an example of which was given last week in my post on Acts 1. If you remember even the Apostle Peter got himself in trouble by using Old Testament methods in New Testament times.

Debate

We can debate and not divide over the matter of the belief that tongues still exist today, but there is no debate and we must divide over the belief that there is a “second blessing or filling” needed after one has already came to Christ. Now some of you may think “well that is harsh!” Really? But are you not promoting division within your own church by creating a “have’s and have not’s” of suposed Spirit-filled believers and just believers? This division within one local church body has become so significant that some churches have even started classes to learn how to speak in tongues. So let me get this straight now you can teach people in the flesh what is from the Spirit? I think not my brothers and sisters and I hope that this post combined with a teachable spirit will convince you. You will see no “priming the pump” here. As to the matter of the debate on the existence of tongues today I will address this when we get to 1Corinthians. What fun it is to learn from one another through debate! To debate is to love and to discern the truth so that we actually grow!  The post later will be a post for debate among my brothers and sisters, but not a matter of division. However this post today is a matter of biblical division. Biblical division is good!

1 Corinthians 11:19 – No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.

Divide

So why is there a delay in belief and receiving of the Holy Spirit at times during the establishment of the church? Here is the answer: The Apostles are establishing the Church that includes everyone who accepts Jesus as the Messiah. The Messiah as to human origins is of Jewish lineage and came to the Jews first but not the Jews only. This delay occurs 4 times, and happens to 4 types of people representing every race of men. Furthermore, every time this happens it occurs at the laying on of the hands by an Apostle.

(1) The Church includes the Jews: Acts 2:5-21

Acts 2:1-8 – When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 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?

Please note that these tongues were not gibberish but real languages! There were Jews there from many nations and they heard in their own NATIVE LANGUAGE. Remember there were many believers with the 11 Apostles who were all speaking.

(2) The church includes the half-breeds; the Samaritans:

Acts 8:14-17 – When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized intoc the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 

Again the Apostles Peter and John lay on the hands to establish the Church that includes, Jews and Samaritans—but God is not done. Now at this point Jesus had already shown that He accepted the Samaritans and even used them as an example in the parable of the “Good Samaritan”. So, I imagine Peter thinking to himself “Hey they are at least half Jewish.”

(3) The Church includes the God-Fearing Gentiles. These are Gentiles who converted to Judaism but remained uncircumcised and follow the one true God.

Acts 10:9-23, 44-46 – About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” 

14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” 

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” 

16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. 

17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. 

19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, threea men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” 

21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?” 

22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

Now God had to go further by providing Peter a vision of Old Testament “UNCLEAN FOOD” to show that God is changing the times. It is New Covenant times! Peter needed a vision to push him along to the Gentiles!

You can see that God’s plan worked:

Acts 10:28, 34-35 – He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean…Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 

(4) The Church includes the Gentiles. The Gentiles in Ephesus. (These are people like me whom believed for the first time as a Gentile)

Acts 19:1-7 – While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 

3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”

“John’s baptism,” they replied. 

4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all. 

Note again that this event happens at the laying on of the hands by an Apostle! This takes us back to the last post on the presumption and disobedience of Peter when it became clear that Jesus was to pick the replacement for Judas and not Peter.  Jesus called Paul to be the Apostle to the Gentiles, and it is interesting that God chooses Paul this time and not Peter to use:

Acts 9:15 – the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.

As you can see by looking at all of these events together and not in isolation there is a pattern! This is why I often give the advice to “never read a Bible verse!” You must read the verse in context with the paragraph, the book, the books together in the New Testament, then in their totality. This book is even more unique in that regard because it is a history of God using the 12 Apostles as pillars of the new church of ALL Nations. So hopefully you see that you can never use the book of Acts where events occur for the first time to get a theology that is normative in the church for all time. The other books of the New Testament give us the rest of the story.

These four events are the fulfillment of the Prophet Joel quoted by Peter on the Day of Pentacost:

Acts 2:16-17 – this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on ALL people.

In addition this is the beginning of the fulfillment of the Great Commission that God is using us Spirit-filled Christians to fulfill! We can fulfill this mission because all of us who are true Christians are filled with Holy Spirit. The sign of my own filling is a changed heart and a new life!

Matthew 28:19-20 – Therefore go and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them ina the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

GO!!!!!!!!!!

Until He Returns,

Peter P. Lackey, Jr.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Was Mohammad Called by Gabriel? [Luke 1]


12th Iman

Tehran Inititive

Answering Islam

Let me provide a little backstory before we get to today’s topic. I wanted to do something to get the family around God’s word every day and have tried many things that have failed or have been semi-successful. We live in the crazy Washington, DC area which makes it worse when trying to plan something. We probably get dinner as a family together 3 times during the weekdays so I decided that something, some times is better than nothing at no time. A few months ago I started getting my Bible for what I call “Proverbs at Dinner”. Beginning in the book of Proverbs, I will read a few Proverbs and then ask each of my kids to put it in their own words and tell me what they think it means.  Through this process we have had quite a few Spirit filled conversations together as a family. This has been really great and is something that any Dad can do, or Mom if Dad is not around. You don’t have to be “The Bible Answer Man” to do this either!

During one of these “Proverbs at Dinner” discussions we were discussing good fear verses bad fear since “Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom-Proverbs 9:10”. My youngest asked me, “Dad would be ok to be scared if an angel appeared to you?” I said “absolutely but do not worry because the first thing that an angel from God would do is tell you to not be afraid”.  You see faith and fear can never occupy the same territory in Christian’s heart, so remember that. This got me thinking about Mohammad the founder of Islam so I explained to my family his experience and explained that it was not from God. How do I know and how can you know?

One of the sure tests if a Prophet is or was called by the one true God is to test that person’s experience by what we already know to be true.  Below is a brief history of the prophet of Islam taken from a slide of a class that I teach called “Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up-The Jesus of Islam”.  Mohammed came on the scene ~ 580 years after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Screen Shot 2013-02-16 at 3.47.23 PM

Now that we have a little historical context let’s turn to the story of Muhammed’s experience with an angelic being as recorded by Ibn Ishaq the earliest biographer of Mohammad:

“When it was the night on which God honoured him with his mission and showed mercy on His servants thereby, Gabriel brought him the command of God. ‘He came to me,’ said the apostle of God, ‘while I was asleep, with a coverlet of brocade whereon was some writing, and said, “Read!” I said, “What shall I read?” He pressed me with it so tightly that I thought it was death; then he let me go and said, “Read!” I said, “What shall I read?” He pressed me with it again so that I thought it was death; then he let me go and said “Read!” I said, “What shall I read?” He pressed me with it the third time so that I thought it was death and said “Read!” I said, “What then shall I read?”—and this I said only to deliver myself from him, lest he should do the same to me again. He said: “Read in the name of thy Lord who created…”

Muhammad was deathly afraid of the source of his newly found revelation, believing that he was possessed by a jinn or evil spirit. But he found in Khadija a great source of comfort and encouragement. Khadija is also said to have relayed this incident to her Christian cousin Waraqah, who upon hearing her descriptions reassured her that Muhammad’s source of revelation was the same as that of Moses. What is interesting is the fact that Muhammad himself was not assured of the source of his revelation! Not only that, his initial belief was that in the cave of Hira he was possessed by an evil spirit.  Here is a summary of his experience:

(1) He was gripped with Fear

(2) Thought he was visited by a demon or a Jinn

(3) Every revelation brought pain and suffering

Now how does this square with other visitations by Gabriel God’s messenger:

Daniel 10:12-13 – Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.

Luke 1:12-14 – Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. But the angel [Gabriel] said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias

Luke 1:26-31 – Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary….The angel said to her, ” Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. “

Look at the way that Gabrial assured these men and women personally to not be afraid.  Fear was a natural reaction, and even modern psychology knows that we do not think clearly when we are gripped by fear. Gabriel addressed each person by name and said “do not be afraid…”. So what are we to make of Mohammad’s experience in the cave of Hira? I have no doubt that Mohammad was visited by an angelic being, but it was not from God! When Satan fell he took 1/3 of the angels with him who are now called fallen angels or demons.

So the next time that someone tells you that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship the same God reflect back to this experience and share it.  What we have in common is that we are all monotheists meaning that we all believe in One God. This is where the commonality begins and where it ends. In fact, the only unforgivable sin in Islam is called the sin of shirk which is attaching partners to God. This sin was aimed at Christianity and the doctrine of the Trinity, thus, Jesus being God! If Jesus is not God friends than none of us who embrace Jesus as Savior are forgiven of our sins. And friends, the sin of shirk is also why my Muslim brothers and sisters who come to Christ have a death sentence on their heads; most of it declared by their own father! So, think of them in prayer and remember that coming to Christ cost them their very life and this same conversion only cost you broken relationships in your family as we spoke about in the last post here.  Yes those breaks are painful but they are not deadly.

If you would like to learn more about Islam and do it in a fun way I highly recommend my friend Joel Rosenberg’s thrilling fiction series listed above.  And hurry book 3 comes out next month and I cannot wait!  Though this is fiction Joel cleverly weaves in Islamic theology and eschatology (end times) throughout the story as the characters quote Islamic scholars and the Qur’an. If you would like an excellent deep dive I would turn to Dr. Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb’s book “Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of The Cross”. This book was actually highly recommended by the Washington Post after 9-11.  For on-line reference see the following links:

www.thespiritofislam.com                        www.jihadwatch.org                                         www.memritv.org                                    www.joelstrumpet.com                         www.answering-islam.org

Until His Precious Return,

Peter P. Lackey, Jr.

 
 

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Seeing Jesus Christ in the Passover & Holy Communion-Final


Please forgive me for the accidental post that was incomplete!!!!!

This is a really important post:

Did you know that the Last Supper was a Passover meal? I like Leonardo Da Vinci, but as a Jew Jesus certainly would not have had a loaf of Italian bread on the Passover table as depicted in his famous painting. The Last Supper by Da Vinci

The Passover or “Sedar” meal is critical to understanding the powerful symbolism of the ordinance of Holy Communion that Christians around the world celebrate.  In order to understand the richness of these symbols of “bread” and “wine” we need to understand what they first symbolized in the Passover meal itself. Now Jews that do not accept Jesus as the Messiah celebrate a Passover meal as described below. Wait until you see how the Sedar meal points to the Jesus the Messiah. Jesus clearly re-pointed two key symbols in the Passover meal from its types and shadows to Himself.  Personally I believe that the first and second coming of Jesus are represented in the Passover meal.

I am going to focus on the key pieces and not the entire meal.  If you would like to see a nice presentation of the entire “Christ in the Passover” presentation watch this video from my friends at Jews for Jesus:

www.jews-for-jesus.org.   Christ In The Passover

So lets take a look at this important meal in the life of the Jews today and its power for both the Jew and the Gentile who accepted Jesus Christ as his or her personal Messiah.  The “Leader” of the Seder will take the first cup and say a prayer to begin the Seder. There are 4 cups of wine that are part of the meal but I will focus on the first and the third cup since they are specifically mentioned at the Last Supper.  Just wait until you see the powerful symbolism with the Matzah.  I promise you that you will never take communion for granted again!

Wine-Matzah-Scripture

First Cup, the Cup of Sanctification:

Let’s take a look at this part of the Last Supper.

Jesus was the Leader of the Passover feast “The Last Supper”

Jesus:  Luke 22:17-18 “After taking the cup, He gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you.  For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom comes”

The 3rd Cup “The Cup of Redemption”

Say: This cup is “The Cup of Redemption” and is filled following the partaking of the Afikomen (bread explained next)  

The Hallel are the songs of Praise sung

Luke 22:19-23

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.”  23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

Jesus also said that the cup of wine—The cup of redemption—represented the cup of the New Covenant (cf. Jer. 31:31ff) in His blood.  Jesus raised this cup with the disciples and drank it. This my brothers and sisters is the communion wine.

Now, to the bread the most important piece of the Passover Meal:

Matzah Tosh

The Matzoh Tosh or Matzah bag

Note that THREE pieces of Matzah are placed into the Matzah Tosh.  The Matzah Tosh represents a Unity of 3 in one.

–       There are a few ideas on what this Unity actually is:

  • Some Rabbis say:  A unity of the 3 Patriarchs:  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
  • Some Rabbis say: A unity of Worship in Israel: Priests, Levites, and people of Israel.
  • Messianic Jews and Christians say that you are missing it for this clearly represents God:
    • 3 in 1 (There is 1 Matzah bag and 3 compartments)
    • This is one God but three persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not convinced? Wait there’s more!

–       The 2nd piece of bread is called the “Bread of Affliction”.  Like ALL unleavened bread.  The dough is rolled out and pierced before it is cooked on a rack.

Matzah-2

Notice that:

  • It is unleavened
  • Striped
  • Pierced

–       During a particular part of the Passover near the very beginning, the 2nd or middle piece “The Bread of Affliction” is taken out of the Matzah Bag, broken, wrapped in linen and buried somewhere in the house. The half that is not broken is placed back into the middle pocket (more on that later).

  • This piece of bread is called the Afikomen which means “it comes later”
    • This is so important to the meal that the Passover cannot be complete until the Afiikomen is found.
    • The children try and find the Afikomen and the one who finds it is given a reward.

–       The Leader (Jesus in this case) takes this piece that is broken, buried and brought back with a reward for the one who finds it:

  • He breaks off pieces and passes it out to everyone at the meal
  • No food may be eaten during the evening after partaking of the Afikomen
  • Does this remind you of anything?
    • Jesus said take and eat and do this in “Remembrance of ME”

Breaking MatzahJesus said that this bread symbolized His body. How?

  1. The bread was without leaven which in the Bible represents sin—Jesus was without sin (2 Cor. 5:21).
  2. Jesus was the Bread of Life (John 6:48).
  3. His body was to receive stripes and to be pierced (Isa. 53:5, Zech. 12:10).
    1. 700 years before Jesus’ birth the prophet Isaiah wrote “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities…and by His stripes we are healed”—Isa 53:5
    2. Jesus was wrapped in linen, buried, and then raised to life.

To me there is something interesting about the piece of Matzah that is placed back into the middle pocket. Now I have never heard anyone teach this so this is my opinion that I though that I would share with you.  Jesus already demonstrated that this second Matzah piece Afikomen represents Him and his first coming to be pierced, striped, wrapped in linen and raised again. Therefore, I believe that the second piece represents His second coming that remains hidden in God. In addition, the temple and Jerusalem are key to the Passover meal just as they are when He returns.  Just something to think about.

Until HE Returns,

Peter P. Lackey, Jr.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Jesus Christ, Uncategorized

 

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The God of The Vision is The God of How to Get There


BIG BOOK OF BIBLE DIFFICULTIES Is God A Moral Monster

In December before we began the One Year Bible that I posted the “17 Mistakes The People Make When Reading the Bible” from Dr. Norman Geisler’s book The Big Book of Bible Difficulties. All of them can be found in order here.

As we have been reading though the Old Testament we see that the Bible accurately records the sins of some of its heroes. This actually is one of the things that serve as what scholars call internal evidence for the Bible’s reliability because the text is honest with the sins of its heroes. In contrast, many texts from history only report the victories of its heroes (some exaggerated) and immediately and correctly come under the suspicion of scholars. Though the Bible is honest with the sins of its heroes, it never condones those sins! Assuming that it does is a classic logical fallacy in reasoning known as the “is-ought fallacy”. This brings us to Mistake 11: Presuming that the Bible Approves of All it Records. It is worth re-reading before continuing this post.

In fact, not only does the Bible report those sins, it also reports the negative consequences of those sins. In the case of Abraham we continue to see the consequences play out today between the Jews who find their lineage of Isaac, and the Arabs who find their lineage through Ishmael. In Genesis 16 we saw Abraham and Sarah take matters into their own hands by “baptizing” a common Ancient Near East (ANE) practice of taking a servant girl as a wife to provide children for Sarah whom remained barren until God stepped in at His timing. As an aside, there is much archaeological evidence confirming this practice; therefore, confirming the historicity of these events.

Abraham knew full well that God intended from the very beginning monogamy not polygamy or bigamy.  Think about it!  Why would a just and holy God make a promise but have its fulfillment through sin?  God’s ideal for marriage is a one-flesh monogamous union between a man and a woman, a husband and wife.  If more women were necessary Adam had plenty of ribs left for God to use. Moreover, notice that the sins of the father passed down from generation to generation as Isaac, Ishmael and Jacob all imitated their father and took for themselves additional wives and concubines. As a father myself I can testify to the truth that more things are caught by our children than taught to our children. Kids are amazing recorders of information but terrible interpreters of it.

A pause for reflection: What cultural practice do you “baptize” in order to get what you want? Has God placed a vision in your heart? How have you taken matters into your own hands in order to fulfill that vision?

Reflect on that a moment before the Lord.

“The God of the vision is the God of how to get there” – Peter P. Lackey, Jr.

future-vision signs

Patience is a virtue, impatience is the vice. In our fast food culture many of us want to pull up to McJesus, make an order, and then pull around for a quick delivery.  But God almost never works that way. He is much more concerned of the product that YOU become through the process of:

Vision–>Development–>Fulfillment

He is the God of not just the ends but the means toward that end. His primary end though is a better YOU!

Until He Returns,

Peter P. Lackey, Jr.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2013 in Genesis, Suffering, Uncategorized

 

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Sodom & Gomorrah: Is There Archaeological Evidence of Destruction?


Archaeological Study Bible

Check out Associates for Biblical Research at  www.biblearchaeology.org for lots of information on archaeology and the Bible.

Here you will find some information about Sodom and Gomorrah taken from The Archaeological Study Bible.  This great resource takes your bible reading to a new level by including every Archaeologically relevant finding and includes it with the biblical text. ‘click’ on the icon above to purchase from Amazon.com.

What is fascinating is the fact that evidence for the existence and destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah started pouring in beginning 1977.  What was found is almost eery! Take a look at the find below:

Two victims of the destruction of Numeira. These two skeletons were found adjacent to the east tower, lying in the ashy debris of the conflagration which brought the city to an end. They were buried under the collapsed stones from the tower.

Picture taken from: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/04/16/The-Discovery-of-the-Sin-Cities-of-Sodom-and-Gomorrah.aspx#Article [accessed  8 January 2013]

Genesis 19 According to Genesis 19:24 burning sulfur “rained down” on Sodom and Gomorrah, obliterating both of these cities, as well as the surrounding region (vv. 25, 29). To date, the location of Sodom is still disputed (but note possible location of Sodom and Gomorrah indicated by a box and arrow on “Map 1” in the back of this Bible). Some people place it on the southwestern side of the Dead Sea, others on the north side of this body of water near the mouth of the Jordan and still others at modern Bab edh-Dhra on the southeastern side of the Dead Sea.1 Recently archaeologists have focused significant attention upon Bab edh-Dhra, where they have found evidence of several Early Bronze Age2 occupation levels.

Bab edh-Dhra—view east along the south wall. Note the
proximity of the mountain in the background. The angels told Lot,
“Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (Gn 19:17).

Picture taken from: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/04/16/The-Discovery-of-the-Sin-Cities-of-Sodom-and-Gomorrah.aspx#Article [accessed  8 January 2013]

Although a layer of ash and burned debris has been discovered in excavations there, the most dramatic evidence that this may indeed be the site of ancient Sodom comes from a nearby cemetery. The dead had been interred in charnel houses, or mausoleums, constructed above ground. Five of these structures were excavated and found to have been burned. A detailed examination of the largest of these (26 ft x 51 ft [8 m x 15.5 m]) indicated that the fire had begun on the roof. Geological investigations determined that an earthquake had added to the devastation.

Since there were several distinct occupation levels at Bab edh-Dhra (evidence of habitation at the site during various time periods), evidence had to be handled carefully. For example, there is a substantial ash layer associated with the occupation in Early Bronze I (the oldest of the Early Bronze occupation levels), but this cannot be associated with the Biblical destruction of Sodom because its ruins point to a date far earlier than the time of Abraham. In fact, this earlier, fire-related damage appears to have been the work of invaders. The Early Bronze III city is more likely to be the Biblical Sodom. A much larger city, evidence points to its destruction by a combination of earthquake and fire in approximately 2350 B.C. People evidently reoccupied this site in Early Bronze IV, but it appears to have been permanently abandoned for some reason around 2150 B.C.

Kaiser Jr., Walter C.; Garrett, Duane (2010-10-19). NIV Archaeological Study Bible: An Illustrated Walk Through Biblical History and Culture (Kindle Locations 4393-4412). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

I pray that this information was helpful in building your confidence in the Bible. It is also my hope that knowing the source of the information in this post, you will check out the Archaeological Study Bible and the wonderful work being done at the Associates for Biblical Research.

Equipping the Saints,

Peter P. Lackey, Jr.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Archaeology, Uncategorized

 

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