Is God Making You Holy? 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

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1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NET)

23 Now may the God of peace himself make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is trustworthy, and he will in fact do this.

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Context: Paul is writing short lessons as he ends his first letter to the Thessalonians.

Phrases:

Now may the God of peace himself –

  • This is Paul’s prayer. See verse 25, where Paul says, pray for us too. Therefore, this must be Paul’s prayer for their sanctification.
  • Paul calls Him ‘God of peace’ because God took action to reconcile us to himself through Jesus Christ even while we were yet sinners.

• Romans 4:25 – 5:1 (NET) He was given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification. Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

• 2 Corinthians 5:19 (NET) 19 In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation.

Discussion Question:

• Can you share your story of how you received peace with God through Jesus Christ?

make you completely holy –

• Notice the word ‘make’ is in the present tense. God is doing this work now.

• ‘Completely’ means in spirit, soul, and body mentioned next. In other-words, the whole man.

• ‘Holy’ means to set apart. Some translate as sanctify.

• Summarizing, God is at work in the believer and in their lives to make them more and more like His character in every way in every day.

• John Gill Commentary says it beautifully:…sanctification is a progressive, gradual work, it is like seed cast into the earth, which springs up, first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear, and is as light, which shines more and more to the perfect day.

• 1 Corinthians 1:8,9 (NET) 8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into fellowship with his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

• Ephesians 5:26,27 (NET) 26 to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, 27 so that he may present the church to himself as glorious – not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless.

• Philippians 1:6,10 (NET) 6 For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 10 so that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ,

Discussion Questions:

• What does the phrase say that God is making us?

• Can you think of ways through which God is making us sanctified?

and may your spirit and soul and body –

• The Pulpit Commentary says…The “spirit” is the highest part of man, that which assimilates him to God; renders him capable of religion, and susceptible of being acted upon by the Spirit of God. The “soul” is the inferior part of his mental nature, the seat of the passions and desires, of the natural propensities. The “body” is the corporeal frame.

• Romans 1:9 (NET) For God, whom I serve in my spirit by preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness that I continually remember you

• Hebrews 12:3 (NET) Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up.

• Romans 12:1 (NET) Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice – alive, holy, and pleasing to God – which is your reasonable service.

be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ-

• Meaning the believer’s spirit, soul, and body are kept blameless by God’s sanctifying work in the believer all the way to the second coming of Jesus Christ.

• ‘Entirely blameless’ does not mean completely sinless, but means the believer is preserved from falling away or becoming rebellious against God’s ways.

• Imagine buying a refurbished beach house on the windy ocean for your King who’s time of coming could be weeks, months, or years in the future. At anytime the king arrives, the house you bought for him is good and acceptable for him. But it is your work to keep the house preserved against the harsh elements and to continue to make improvements to make the home even better. This is the work that God is doing with the believer.

Discussion Question:

• Imagine Jesus was coming back today. Has He preserved your faith? What improvements has he made in your character since your conversion?

He who calls you is trustworthy, and he will in fact do this –

• Meaning the same God who called the believer to reconciliation can be fully relied upon to 1) complete his sanctifying work in the believer and 2) keep the believer blameless to the end.

• Hebrews 12:6-10 (NET) 6 “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.” 7 Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? 8 But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. 9 Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? 10 For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness.

Discussion Questions:

• What motives do earthly parents have to continue in training up their children?

• What motives may God have to train up his children?

• How does it feel to know your Heavenly Father will never give up on training you?

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Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.

———

Bob

I brought you reconciliation through My Son. I did not do this that you may remain the same, but I did this that you may be completely transformed more and more.

Be holy for I am holy. I am making you holy

by My Spirit convicting you of sin,

by my written and preached word,

by examples of others,

and by the good and bad times of life.

It is all for your sanctification.

My Son will return. How will your character be when He returns? What will you doing at His revelation? I will keep you blameless.

I am your Father. I will sanctify you as a good Father does his son. Trust Me. It’s all for you good. I desire your life to be transformed that all the principalities and powers will see My grace and Work in you. I desire your character to grow to be like your Father’s character, that is like My character.

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Do you value Prophecies? 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22

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1 Thessalonians 5:20-22

20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt.

21 But examine all things; hold fast to what is good.

22 Stay away from every form of evil.

——-

Context:

Paul is ending his letter with various short instructions.

Phrases:

Do not treat prophecies with contempt –

A) prophecies

• New Testament Prophecies are speech spoken by one with the gift of prophecy.

• Romans 12:6 (NET) And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If the gift is prophecy, that individual must use it in proportion to his faith.

• Prophecy is a desirable speaking gift. Also note that prophecy is a distinct gift from the gift of teaching though there is some overlap in the practice of the two gifts as we will see later in this study.

• 1 Corinthians 12:28-31 (NET) 28 And God has placed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, gifts of healing, helps, gifts of leadership, different kinds of tongues. 29 Not all are apostles, are they? Not all are prophets, are they? Not all are teachers, are they? Not all perform miracles, do they? 30 Not all have gifts of healing, do they? Not all speak in tongues, do they? Not all interpret, do they? 31 But you should be eager for the greater gifts. And now I will show you a way that is beyond comparison.

• 1 Corinthians 14:1 (NET) Pursue love and be eager for the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.

  • Note: I personally have not seen some of the prophecy examples below practiced legitimately in my lifetime. Although I believe they are possible if God still wants to use them.

Below are various examples of different purposes of prophecies.

1. For telling future events.

• Acts 21:10-11 (NET) 10 While we remained there for a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it, and said, “The Holy Spirit says this: ‘This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will tie up the man whose belt this is, and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’

2. For Speaking of God’s works in the past.

• Acts 2:8 (NET) And how is it that each one of us hears them in our own native language?

• Acts 2:11 (NET) both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs – we hear them speaking in our own languages about the great deeds God has done!”

• Acts 2:16 (NET) But this is what was spoken about through the prophet Joel:

• Acts 2:18 (NET) Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.

3. For strengthening, encouragement, and consolation which builds up the church.

• 1 Corinthians 14:3-4 (NET) 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouragement, and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds himself up, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.

4. For helping others. Prophecy is lumped together with revelations, knowledge, and teaching in verse 19 where they are summarized together as the word ‘instruct’.

• 1 Corinthians 14:6 (NET) Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I help you unless I speak to you with a revelation or with knowledge or prophecy or teaching?

• 1 Corinthians 14:18-19 (NET) 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you, 19 but in the church I want to speak five words with my mind to instruct others, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.

5. Prophecy is primarily for believers.

• 1 Corinthians 14:22 (NET) So then, tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers. Prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers.

6. However, prophecy may be for convicting the heart of unbelievers.

• 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 (NET) 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or uninformed person enters, he will be convicted by all, he will be called to account by all. 25 The secrets of his heart are disclosed, and in this way he will fall down with his face to the ground and worship God, declaring, “God is really among you.”

7. Prophecy is for encouragement and learning in the church. It is called revelation. Also, women should not prophesy in church unless their head is covered which symbolizes they are under authority. 1 Cor 11.

• 1 Corinthians 14:29-35 (NET) 29 Two or three prophets should speak and the others should evaluate what is said. 30 And if someone sitting down receives a revelation, the person who is speaking should conclude. 31 For you can all prophesy one after another, so all can learn and be encouraged. 32 Indeed, the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, 33 for God is not characterized by disorder but by peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak. Rather, let them be in submission, as in fact the law says. 35 If they want to find out about something, they should ask their husbands at home, because it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church.

• 1 Corinthians 11:4-5 (NET) 4 Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered disgraces his head. 5 But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered disgraces her head, for it is one and the same thing as having a shaved head.

8. For conferring and confirming spiritual gifts of individuals.

• 1 Timothy 4:14 (NET) Do not neglect the spiritual gift you have, given to you and confirmed by prophetic words when the elders laid hands on you.

In Summary, although most people immediately think of foretelling future events when they here the word ‘prophecy’, the actual usage of the gift is much broader in the New Testament and includes:

• Telling future events,

• Speaking of God’s works in the past,

• Strengthening others,

• Encouraging others,

• Consoling others,

• Convicting unbelievers,

• Sharing revelations,

• Instructing others,

• And conferring or confirming Spiritual gifts.

B) contempt

• The Greek word means ‘to make utterly nothing of’.

• In other words, Paul is saying do not ignore prophecies because this shows a contempt for them.

Discussion Questions:

• Why do you think Paul gave this instruction to the Thessalonians?

• Today, what types of prophecies mentioned above have you seen practiced? What types have you not seen practiced?

• What percentage of Christians in our culture actually attend church and speaking events?

• How have you observed different denominations emphasis or lack of emphasis on speaking within their Sunday schedule?

• In what way has modern Christianity devalued the speaking gifts of the ‘laity’?

• In our time, what other practices do Churches or members devalue?

But examine all things; hold fast to what is good-

• Meaning just like with teaching, all forms of prophecies should be examined. Only what is good should be held tightly.

• 1 John 4:1 (NET) 1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

• Proverbs 4:13 (NET) 13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; protect it, because it is your life.

Stay away from every form of evil –

• Meaning stay away from false prophecies and false prophets.

• The Pulpit Commentary says it best…This verse is connected with the last, and states negatively what is there stated positively. Test the declarations of the prophets; retain the good, and reject the evil.

• Jude 1:4 (NET) For certain men have secretly slipped in among you – men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe – ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

• Jude 1:8 (NET) Yet these men, as a result of their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and insult the glorious ones.

• Jude 1:16 (NET) These people are grumblers and fault-finders who go wherever their desires lead them, and they give bombastic speeches, enchanting folks for their own gain.

• Jude 1:19 (NET) These people are divisive, worldly, devoid of the Spirit.

Discussion Questions:

• How would you examine if a prophecy is good or bad?

• How should the church deal with a false prophet?

——-

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.

——-

Bob,

Do you value Prophecies?

Do not take for granted those that are gifted to speak. I have gifted them to build up and strengthen the church. Come ready to hear. Come mentally alert with your heart prepared. Come prepared to participate if possible. Do not neglect the discipline of listening to gifted speakers. Your culture has forsaken hearing my word. Only a small percentage of those who profess My Name actually continue to go to church regularly to hear from My Word. Encourage those who have forsaken the assembling together to return alert and ready to listen.

Know My Bible well so you can discern what is being said. Examine what is being said carefully. Have courage to confront false prophets. Confront them with the motive of love to protect others and themselves. Esteem those who speak well.

What is an Elder’s family like? 长老的家庭是什么样子的? Titus 1:6 NET 提多书1:6 NET

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Titus 1:6 NET

提多书1:6 NET

What is an Elder’s family like?

长老的家庭是什么样子的?

6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of one wife, with faithful children who cannot be charged with dissipation or rebellion.

长老需要具备的品质,首先他是無可指責的,只做一個婦人的丈夫,兒女是信徒,他们沒有被控告為放蕩或不服從。

————–

Context:

回顾

In the last verse, Paul told Titus that he left him in Crete to appoint Elders. Now Paul provides the qualifications for those Elders.

在上一节中,保罗告诉提多把他留在格利特岛的原因就是让他在那里的各个地方设立长老。这一节保罗给出长老需具备的品质。

Phrases:

词语

An elder –

长老

• The Greek word for Elder is, presbyteros. The Protestant Christian denomination, Presbyterian, is named after this word.

长老这个词的希腊文是presbyteros. 基督教的一个支派长老会presbyterians的名称就是由此而来。

• The word means an older person, a rank, or an office.

这个词的意思是长辈,也代表一个级别或职位。

• Easton’s Bible Dictionary says: The “elders” of the New Testament church were the “pastors” (Eph 4:11), “bishops or overseers” (Act 20:28), “leaders” and “rulers” (Hbr 13:7; 1Th 5:12) of the flock.

在Easton圣经词典中的解释是,新约圣经中的长老就是牧养人(牧师)(以弗所书4:11),主教或监督者(使徒行转20:28),领导者或管理者(希伯来书13:7,帖撒罗尼迦前书 5:12)。

Discussion Question:

问题讨论

• Why do you think a church leader is associated with a word that has to do with a person’s age? 英文中教会领袖(长老)这个词与一个人的年龄相关联,你认为是什么原因?

must be blameless –

必须是无可指责的

• This does not mean that the Elder must be perfect, but it means the Elder cannot be accused of living rebelliously against any of God’s ways.这里的意思不是指长老必须是完美的,而是指长老在生活方式上是无可指责的,完全遵循神的道。

Discussion Questions:

问题讨论

• What are behaviors where an Elder should be disqualified to be a church leader?

你认为哪些行为会导致一个长老失去资格?

the husband of one wife –

一个妻子的丈夫

• First, notice the Elder of the church is to be male. 首先长老是指男性

• 1 Timothy 2:12a (NET) 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man. 提摩太前书2:12 2 我不准许女人教导人或管辖男人

• 1 Corinthians 11:3 (NET) But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.哥林多前书11:3但是我愿你们知道:基督是每一个男人的头,男人是女人的头,而神是基督的头。

• Second, the Elder should be a one woman man. Meaning he should not have affairs with other women nor have multiple wives at the same time. The English NIV version even translates this phrase as, faithful to his wife. 第二,长老应该是一个女人的男人。意思是他不能有婚外恋或者同时有多个女人。新国际版英文圣经中的翻译是忠诚于他的妻子。

• The phrase does not mean that a single man is prohibited from being an Elder. Paul encourages Christians to remain single in 1 Corinthians 7:32-33 with the intent to serve the Lord undistracted. However, an Elder with a wife and children was the most common situation. 这句话并不意味着单身男子不可以是长老。哥林多前书7:32-33保罗鼓励基督徒保持单身以便能更专注于服事神。然而,实际最普遍的还是长老有妻子和孩子。

• The phrase is not talking about a widowed man who has remarried another woman. We know a widow is free to remarry in the Lord in 1 Corinthians 7:39.这句话也不意味着一个丧偶的男人不可以再婚。哥林多前书7:39告诉我们丧偶的人可以再婚。

• 1 Corinthians 7:39 (NET) A wife is bound as long as her husband is living. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes (only someone in the Lord).哥林多前书7:39 丈夫活着的时候,妻子是受约束的;丈夫如果死了,妻子就可以自由地嫁给她所愿意的人,只是要嫁给主里的人。

• Last, the phrase is not intended to restrict all divorced men from being an Elder. If a divorced man has remarried, and he has lived a proven, consistent, and godly life for many years, then he may be very valuable to minister. Paul persecuted Christians, yet even he was used as Jesus’ Apostle.

• 1 Corinthians 6:11 (NET) Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.哥林多前书6:11 你们有些人过去是这样,但是藉着主耶稣基督的名,藉着我们神的灵,你们已经被洗净了,被分别为圣了,被称为义了。

Discussion Question:

讨论问题

• What may be reasons Paul required an Elder to be faithful to his one wife?

保罗要求长老忠诚于他的一个妻子是出于什么原因呢?

with faithful children –

忠实的儿女

• Meaning the Elder’s children should be faithful to carry out his instructions and the rules in his home. 意思是长老的儿女应该忠实地服从他的指令和规定

• This does not mean that the Elder’s children must be believers as some translations read. Although, an Elder is an example and teacher of Christ to his children, he cannot guarantee that his children will become believers. 这并不意味这长老的儿女一定是信主的。虽然长老是他的儿女信仰道路上的典范和老师,但他不能保证他的儿女都信主。

who cannot be charged with –

不能有

• Meaning the Elder’s children should not be accused of…意思是长老的儿女不应该有下面的行为

dissipation –

生活放荡

• The Greek word means unsavedness. Meaning while living in the Elder’s home, the children’s character should not be allowed to be lost due to the Elder’s passive parenting. 这个词在希腊文的意思不能被救赎的。 当长老的儿女未成年前,与父母住在一起的时候,儿女的品格不能因为疏于父母管教而丧失。

or rebellion –

叛逆

• The Greek word means unsubdued. Paul means an Elder is disqualified if his children are unruly because of the Elder’s own neglect in not consistently and lovingly confronting his children. 这个词在希腊文的意思是不服管教。长老如果不能以爱且严格的方式管教儿女,长老失职。

• If an Elder is dealing with a hard-hearted child, but he is still maintaining order in his house by lovingly and firmly confronting the child’s behavior and heart attitude, then this is exactly the type of Elder needed to refute false teachers and rebellious professing Christians in the church. 长老面对一个心硬的儿女,如果能以爱且严格的方式管教这个孩子维持良好的家庭关系,这也正是长老在教会对待邪说和叛逆的人会众应持的态度。

• 1 Timothy 3:4-5. 4 He must manage his own household well and keep his children in control without losing his dignity. 5 But if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for the church of God? 提摩太前书3:4-5 好好带领自己的家,在一切的事上庄重,使儿女顺服。 5 但如果有人不知道怎么带领自己的家,他怎么能照顾神的教会呢?

Discussion Questions:

问题讨论

• What are reasons so many in our society let their children run wild and unrestrained in their home? 为什么当今社会很多父母任由他们的孩子在家里过着放荡不羁的生活?

• How would you define qualities of good parenting? 你认为好的父母教育方式是什么?

• What may be the consequences of an undisciplined home? 一个没有纪律的家庭会是什么后果?

• What may be the consequences of an undisciplined church? 一个教会如果缺乏纪律会是什么后果?

Conclusion:

结论

• Although the qualifications of spousal faithfulness and disciplined parenting is required of church leaders, they are certainly qualities for which all Christians should strive. 教会要求忠诚于配偶,严格管教子女,这也是所有基督徒应追求的。

What is God’s Will for Your Mouth? 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 (NET)

16 Always rejoice, 17 constantly pray, 18 in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not extinguish the Spirit.

———

Context:

Paul continues to list several brief instructions as he ends his first letter to the Thessalonians.

Phrases:

Always rejoice –

• Meaning to make it a practice to continually rejoice in all situations. Even in the midst of suffering, the Christian has much to rejoice over due what Christ has obtained for him for eternity.

• James 1:2 (NET) My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials,

Discussion Questions:

• How often should the Christian rejoice?

• What is the opposite of rejoicing?

• How does always rejoicing go against our corrupt human nature?

• What are some specific things we can rejoice over?

• Can you name someone who is a good example of always rejoicing?

constantly pray –

• Meaning to make it a practice to continually speak to God.

• Romans 12:12 (NET) 12 Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer.

• 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NET) 1 First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, 2 even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior, 4 since he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Discussion Questions:

• How often does our study’s phrase say to pray?

• When is the last time you prayed privately? Or with someone else?

• What are different types and categories of prayer?

• Do you keep a prayer list?

• Describe your current prayer practice?

in everything give thanks –

• Meaning to thank God for all things in all situations – even bad situations.

• Philippians 4:6 (NET) 6 Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God.

• Colossians 3:17 (NET) 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Discussion Questions:

• In this phrase, In what things should we give thanks?

• What is the opposite of thankfulness?

• How would you describe the reasons why a person is ungrateful?

• Can you ‘count’ / name some of your many blessings for which you are grateful?

• How does the teaching of sanctification and God’s sovereignty provide hope to the Christian to be thankful for even the bad things that come in life?

For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus –

• Three possible interpretations.

• Meaning this way of speaking (rejoicing, prayer, and gratitude) is what God wants in each of our lives as Christians. This is my preferred interpretation.

• Or, Paul means only giving thanks is God’s will for them.

• Or, Paul means everything mentioned from verse 11 is God’s will for them.

Discussion Questions:

• Can you describe how different our lives would be on the inside if we just spoke in these three ways – always rejoicing, constantly praying, and in everything giving thanks?

• Can you describe how differently the outside world would see Christians if we spoke in these three ways?

Do not extinguish the Spirit –

• Meaning do not put out the influence of the Holy Spirit from our lives.

• Ephesians 4:30 (NET) 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Discussion Questions:

• How would you describe the Holy Spirit to someone who may ask?

• Why do you think Paul’s command includes the word ‘extinguish’ when speaking of the Spirit?

• If you wanted to extinguish a relationship with your best friend or spouse, how would you go about doing it? Isn’t it the same with our relationship with God?

——-

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.

———

Bob

Rejoice! Yes, there is always something to complain about. It’s in your corrupt human nature to complain and be depressed. But don’t follow your corrupt nature, always rejoice!! Look at all your blessings and acknowledge them to Me and to others. I have put so much good into your life – little blessings in many many details. Rejoice in all of this good. Rejoice about heaven and My work for you. I created you, brought you into the world, gave you a spiritual birth, saved you through My Son, given you an eternal inheritance. Rejoice. You will be with me forever! Show all your rejoicing that is within your heart by smiling and testifying to others of My blessings toward you.

Pray. There is so much to pray about and people to pray for. Talk to Me as your friend. Don’t let our friendship be extinguished by being so busy and ignoring My Spirit within.

Continue to give thanks in everything. I know you tasted how even suffering is for your sanctification, and you are beginning to trust in My sovereign plan. I know you are beginning to see things, good and bad, are ultimately for your good and maturity. Continue to be grateful for all things.

Will You Pursue Good in the Face of Evil? 1 Thessalonians 5:15

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1 Thessalonians 5:15 (NET)

See that no one pays back evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.

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Context:

Paul continues to finish his letter with a barrage of short commands.

Phrases:

See that no one pays back evil for evil to anyone-

• Paul commands not to respond back to evil with revenge against anyone – those in the church nor those outside of the church.

• Leviticus 19:18 (NET) 18 You must not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the children of your people, but you must love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

• Proverbs 20:22 (NET) 22 Do not say, “I will pay back evil!” Wait for the LORD, so that he may vindicate you.

• Proverbs 24:17,29 (NET) 17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and when he stumbles do not let your heart rejoice, 29 Do not say, “I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will pay him back according to what he has done.”

Discussion Questions:

• What does this phrase in Thessalonians say not to do?

• What are ways those in the church of Thessalonica May have been treated by those outside the church?

• What are ways we may be treated evil today by those inside the church, outside the church, at work, or even in our own home?

• Does this verse mean we should not defend ourselves, set boundaries, or calmly communicate our point of view?

• How should we respond to evil directed toward us?

Barns commentary summarizes it well:

The moment we feel ourselves acting from a desire to “return evil for evil,” that moment we are acting wrong. It may be right to defend our lives and the lives of our friends; to seek the protection of the law for our persons, reputation, or property, against those who would wrong us; to repel the assaults of calumniators and slanderers, but in no case should the motive be to do them wrong for the evil which they have done us.

but always pursue what is good for one another and for all-

• The conjunction, but, ties this phrase to the previous phrase. Instead of repaying evil, always pursue what is good.

• The adverb, always, describes when to pursue good. The implication is to always pursue good – even after receiving evil.

• Good must be pursued. If we are passive it will not happen.

• ‘One another’ and ‘for all’ describes who should receive the good that is being pursued. One another, are those individuals inside the church. For all, refers to the church as a whole or to those outside of the church.

• Romans 12:17-21 (NET) 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil; consider what is good before all people. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people. 19 Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head. 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

• Galatians 6:10 (NET) 10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.

• 3 John 1:11 (NET) 11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is bad but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does what is bad has not seen God.

Discussion Questions:

• What is the verb in this phrase?

• When we receive evil, do we feel like pursuing the other person’s good?

• We know we should always pursue good toward our friends and enemies. Then why do you think we find it so difficult to put effort to do good toward others?

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Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.

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Will You Pursue Good in the Face of Evil?

Bob

Do not repay evil for evil. This will only stir up more wrath. Let me take care of things. Give place for me to work and discipline.

However, don’t be a target for constant abuse. Confront others gently by calmly explain your position. Then do what goes against your nature – Pursue the other person’s good. This will pursue peace.

Do You Care Enough to Say Something? 1 Thessalonians 5:14

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1 Thessalonians 5:14 (NET)

14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the undisciplined, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient toward all.

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Context: In the last passage, Paul commanded the church to highly esteem their Elders in love because of their labors, exercising of authority, and admonitions. Now Paul beings to end the letter with a list actions Christians should do.

Phrases:

And we urge you, brothers and sisters-

• Paul now exhorts not only the leaders but all of the individual church members to….

admonish the undisciplined-

• Each church member is commanded to admonish the undisciplined.

A). Undisciplined

• Strong’s Definitions: ἄτακτος; átaktos, at’-ak-tos; unarranged, i.e. (by implication) insubordinate (religiously)

• Thayer’s Greek Lexicon – deviating from the prescribed order or rule.

• Galatians 6:1a(NET) 1 Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness.

• Matthew 18:15 (NET) 15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault when the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother.

• James 5:19,20 (NET) 19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, 20 he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from his wandering path will save that person’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

• 1 John 5:16a (NET) 16 If anyone sees his fellow Christian committing a sin not resulting in death, he should ask, and God will grant life to the person who commits a sin not resulting in death.

• Jude 1:22,23a (NET) 22 And have mercy on those who waver; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire;

• 2 Thessalonians 3:15 (NET) 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

Discussion Question:

• In this phrase, who is Paul specifically writing to at Thessalonica?

• What does Paul tell them to do?

• Why should the members admonish others and not rely only on the Elders to admonish others?

• Why do you think church members hesitate to admonish the unruly?

• Do you have an experience you would like to share of admonishing or being admonished?

comfort the discouraged-

• Next Paul commands church members to encourage the discouraged.

A) discouraged

• Strong’s Definitions: ὀλιγόψυχος oligópsychos, ol-ig-op’-soo-khos; little-spirited, i.e. faint-hearted.

• 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NET) 3 Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Discussion Questions:

• In what ways do people become discouraged?

• What are ways to show encouragement and comfort to others?

• Have you received comfort from others during a discouraging time? What helped you the most?

help the weak-

• The third command from Paul to church members is to help the weak.

A) help

• Strong’s Definitions: ἀντέχομαι; antéchomai, an-tekh’-om-ahee; to hold oneself opposite to, i.e. (by implication) adhere to; by extension to care for:—hold fast, hold to, support.

B) Weak –

• Strong’s defines as strengthless.

• Luke 10:9 (NET) Heal the sick in that town and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come upon you!’

• 1 Corinthians 8:9 (NET) But be careful that this liberty of yours does not become a hindrance to the weak.

Discussion Questions:

• What is the verb in this phrase?

• In this immediate context, what may Paul be referring to when he says those who are weak?

• Broadly speaking, in what different ways are people weak?

be patient toward all-

• Meaning to be patient with people in the three states mentioned above: those needing admonishment, those needing encouragement, and those needing help while in weakness.

• 1 Corinthians 13:4,5 (NET) Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful.

• Galatians 5:22 (NET) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Discussion Questions:

• What is commanded it this last phrase?

• Finish these two phrases, a person who is patient is ? A person who is impatient is?

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Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.

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Do You Care Enough to Say Something?

Bob

Admonish others who need correction. Do not rely only on the elders to do it. You have access to people that the elders do not have access to. Admonish humbly. When you speak a word of admonishment, it shows that you love them.

Encourage those who are discouraged. Encourage those who have fallen into sin and are discouraged about their failures – lift them up – remind them of My forgiveness. Encourage those who have been through great suffering with the same encouragement that you were encouraged through your suffering.

Help the weak. Help those who are weak in faith. Help those that are having doubts. Help those who are unsure on what is right and what is wrong. Help the sick. Help the poor.

Be patient with everyone as I am patient with you. Those who are patient show that they are filled with My Spirit, are mature, and are humble. Those who are impatient are immature and arrogant.

Are you Esteeming the Elders? I Thessalonians 5 verses 12 to 13

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1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NET)

12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who labor among you and preside over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them most highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

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Context: Paul finishes his revelation related to the second coming of Christ and how the Thessalonians should live as children of the day. Now he teaches them to honor the leaders among them.

Phrases:

Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those-

• This is speaking of ‘those’ Elders among them.

• The Greek word translated acknowledge is usually translated in the New Testament as, know.

• KJV translated it as, know.

• Kittle’s Theological Dictionary defines as to recognize.

• In other words, the Elders among them should be known in the group, meaning they should not be ignored, and they should be recognized, given consideration, given attention, and given respect.

Discussion Questions:

• How would we acknowledge a public leader, like mayor or governor, if they came to our church?

• What is the motive of some who ignore the leadership in the church?

who labor among you –

• The first function Paul mentions of Elders is they work hard in their ministry for others.

• Strong’s Definitions: κοπιάω kopiáō, kop-ee-ah’-o; to feel fatigue; by implication, to work hard

• Thayer’s Greek Lexicon – to labor with wearisome effort, to toil.

• Acts 20:28 (NET)28 Watch out for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.

Discussion Question:

• Can you list some functions Elders do that require their hard work?

and preside over you in the Lord-

• The second function Elders do is they lead with authority over others in the church.

• Strong’s Definitions: προΐστημι proḯstēmi, pro-is’-tay-mee; to stand before, i.e. (in rank) to preside, or (by implication) to practise.

• Thayer’s Greek Lexicon -to be over, to superintend, preside over (A. V. rule).

• Hebrews 13:17 (NET) 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls and will give an account for their work. Let them do this with joy and not with complaints, for this would be no advantage for you.

• 1 Peter 5:5 (NET) 5 In the same way, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

• 1 Peter 5:2,3 (NET) 2 Give a shepherd’s care to God’s flock among you, exercising oversight not merely as a duty but willingly under God’s direction, not for shameful profit but eagerly. 3 And do not lord it over those entrusted to you, but be examples to the flock.

Discussion Question:

• What could happen in the church if there is no recognized leadership.

• Explain how can an Elder exercise authority in leadership yet not ‘Lord it over’ the flock?

and admonish you-

• The third function Elders do is to warn and correct others.

• Strong’s Definitions: νουθετέω, nouthetéō, noo-thet-eh’-o; to put in mind, i.e. (by implication) to caution or reprove gently

• Thayer’s Greek Lexicon – to admonish, warn, exhort.

• Titus 1:9 (NET) He must hold firmly to the faithful message as it has been taught, so that he will be able to give exhortation in such healthy teaching and correct those who speak against it.

• 2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NET) 24 And the Lord’s slave must not engage in heated disputes but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient, 25 correcting opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance and then knowledge of the truth 26 and they will come to their senses and escape the devil’s trap where they are held captive to do his will.

Discussion Questions:

• What types of things should Elders admonish?

• Why do you think Elders in many churches neglect to admonish others?

• How should we respond if we are admonished by an Elder?

and to esteem them most highly in love because of their work-

• Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon defines the the Greek word for ‘esteem’ as to think, to consider, to regard.

• The Elders should be not only regarded , but regarded most highly.

• An Elder should be highly regarded in love because of their work.

• Galatians 4:14 (NET) 14 and though my physical condition put you to the test, you did not despise or reject me. Instead, you welcomed me as though I were an angel of God, as though I were Christ Jesus himself!

• Galatians 6:6 (NET) 6 Now the one who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with the one who teaches it.

• 1 Timothy 5:17-19 (NET) 17 Elders who provide effective leadership must be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching. 18 For the scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and, “The worker deserves his pay.” 19 Do not accept an accusation against an elder unless it can be confirmed by two or three witnesses.

Discussion Question:

• List some works Elders do that should cause us to esteem them in love?

Be at peace among yourselves-

• In the immediate context, this phrase means we should be at peace with our leaders. However, certainly it also means we should be at peace with each other.

• Ephesians 4:3 (NET) 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Discussion Question:

• What should we do if we have a disagreement with the an Elder so peace will continue to abound within the church?

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Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.

————

Are you Esteeming the Elders?

Bob

Highly esteem your Elders in love. They labor hard for your soul. They organize, they study, they prepare, teach, preach, train, serve, and they pray for you and your family. Consider them, think of them, acknowledge them, regard them.

Be careful of feelings of disrespect toward Elders because Satan desires to use them against you, the Elders, and the church. Resolve discontentment by thinking things through, by putting yourself in their shoes, and by speaking with them directly.

Honor them with double honor – with respect and monetarily for all their labors on your behalf.

Nimuel Chhatria India Missions Report February Through April 2018

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OUR DEAR PRAYER PAYER PARTNER’S , LOVING GREETINGS TO YOU IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST WHOM WE LOVE AND SERVE ,GLORY TO BE GOD AND THANKS FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND HELPS ,

1,REPORTING TIME PERIOD , February to April -2018

2,DONATION RECEIVED THROUGH THIS PERIOD , We received little through Western Union and PayPal ,

3, DONATION SPENT THIS PERIOD , Spent all ,

4, ACCOUNT BALANCE END OF THIS PERIOD. Contact for details.

5,LIST OF PEOPLE SERVED THIS PERIOD ,135+8=143 People professed to Jesus as their personal Saviour and God ,

6,LIST OF PLACES VISITED THIS PERIOD ,49 Villages ,

7,SPECIAL EVENTS THIS PERIOD ,

A, Baptized 8 people and started a worship group , House Church ,

B, Gifted a Bicycle to a Pastor ,

C, Follow work at Bahadurpita Village ,

D, Bible studies class among 9 Missionaries at Raipur Chhattisgarh State ,

E, VBS program among Outcast Children ,Leper’s Camp ,

CHHATTISGARH State ,9 missionaries report through Pators,Biskot Sika ,

A , They have visited total 37 Hindus Villages ,Distributed total ,1000 NT and

4300 gospel tracts ,

B, Started 36 HopeCell ,Prayer group and 9 worship group ,

C, These 9 missionaries are giving much an interest emphatically in personal evangelism , Going Door to Door ,meeting the people ,sharing gospel with NT & tracts ,

8, PRAISES FROM THIS PERIOD ,

Thank God for His grace that enabling us to do the personal evangelism work

and many people professed to Jesus by grace through faith ,

Praise God for our Hope-cell group ,Follow up work   ,VBS among outcast

Children ,

Baptism program ,

Donated a Bicycle to a Pastor ,

Praise God for our prayer partners and their gracious hands ,

9,PRAYER REQUEST ,

As we are committed for the gospel work ,personal evangelism ,Visiting Door to Door ,absolutely praying for a Four Wheeler for gospel team work because doing unitedly is much profitable ,

Kindly pray for gospel team work and their needs ,

Kindly pray for a Church building in Raipur City ,

Kindly pray for a Church building in Bahadupita Village ,

Kindly pray for Hope cell to establish ,

Kindly pray for new souls ,and worship group ,

Kindly pray for Children at Leper Camp as we plan to do a Day Care Center ,

10,FUTURE PLAN ,

A, Gospel team work ,

B,VBS Program in Summer time ,

C,Baptist Bible training School , One year course ,

D, In every month we will do the HopeCell and Follow up work ,

TOTAL NUMBERS OF MISSIONARIES ,PASTORS ,32

TOTAL NUMBERS OF HOPECELLS GROUP ,45

TOTAL NUMBER OF WORSHIP GROUP ,40

TOTAL NUMBER OF PEOPLE OF HOUSE CHURCH ,684

TOTAL NUMBER OF PEOPLE OF HOPE CELLS ,345

Above all kindly uphold us in your prayer as we have been praying for you all , your family , your Jobs, let God name be  glory through this ministry , Here sending Chhattisgarh State report in separate mail ,

God bless you all ,

In His service ,

Rev,Nimuel Chhatria ,

NEW LIFE MOVEMENT ,BAPTIST MINISTRIES .INDIA ,

Cell, +91 94377 39404

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Pastor Biscot Report

Respected dear Sir,

Loving greetings to you and your family in the matchless name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Thank you so much for valuable prayers and support to ward Chhatisgarh India ministry. As I update the reports of three months uphold in your prayer. the almighty God enable us to work for Him in five districts of chhatisgarh along with our nine missionaries(gospel team) as mentioned bellow.

THE REPORT FROM FEBRUARY TO APRIL 2018.

1. Praise God for the month of February we visited 10 villeges in two districts and distributed more then 200 NT bibles and 1000 copies tracts. where we started ten prayer cells in each villege and two worship group. also we had bible study classes, fasting prayer meetings every week.

2. Praise God for the months of march once again we visited 12 villeges in three districts and distributed 300 NT bibles and 1500 copies tracts. wonderfuly we did follow up works, in this month also we started 12 prayer cells and three worship group. we done four places bible study class with youth and trained new disciples among trival people.

3. Praise God for the month of April we visited 15 villeges in three districts and distributed 500 NT bibles and 1800 copies tracts. also started 14 prayer cells and 4 worship group. Thanks God for privilleg to have get together all our chhatisgarh missionaries and had bible study classes along with pastor Nimuel Chhatria, who taught very nicely to our young missionaries. our brothers got spiritualy boldness and commited to work more, also reach the gospel to unreach place,  thanks God for VBS done very nicely among outcast children, where our children learn so many bible verses, stories, and action songs. all to gather it was so wonderful and glorious program for our missionaries ministry. to God be the glory.

4. Please pray for our upcoming programs VBS, Youth meeting, women meeting, gospel meeting, and out reach ministry.

Specially pray for the outcast orphan children we have been pryaying for their eat, wear and educations. If we do not take care up those children their future will be so pathetic.

5. Please pray for the church building of chhatisgarh.

6. Please pray for the missionary funds as thy are working in different places.

7. Within this three months of our nine missionary ministry 135 people received the Lord Jesus Christ for their personal God and Savior.

8. Above all these we need much prayer and sufficient funds.

9. All together reached 8 districts, 37 villeges, 1000 NT bibles, 4300 tracts, saved 135 souls.

IN HIS SERVICE

Pastor. Biskot Sika

Raipur chhatisgarh

Day Child are You Awake? 1 Thessalonians 5 verses 5 through 11

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1 Thessalonians 5:5-11 (NET)

5 For you all are sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness. 6 So then we must not sleep as the rest, but must stay alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, we must stay sober by putting on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet our hope for salvation. 9 For God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that whether we are alert or asleep we will come to life together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as you are in fact doing.

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Context: The immediate context is Christ’s second coming and the Judgement.

1 Thessalonians 5:2 (NET) For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night.

Phrases:

For you all are sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness-

• Sons of the light means they are born of God and see clearly as in the daylight to the things of God and that the day of the Lord is coming.

• Sons of the day also means they are believers and are spiritually awake and alert.

• Believers are ‘not of the night nor of the darkness’ as unbelievers. Unbelievers are unaware and cannot spiritually see Christ nor His day coming. For unbelievers, that day will come as a thief in the night.

• Ephesians 5:8 (NET) 8 for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light –

Discussion Question:

• Explain the differences you see in your life now that you have been transformed from a son of darkness to a son of light?

So then we must not sleep as the rest, but must stay alert and sober-

• Meaning believers should live their life alert and sober keeping the day of the Lord in view. They should not live as unbelievers who are unaware and in a state of sleep.

• Romans 13:11-13 (NET) 11 And do this because we know the time, that it is already the hour for us to awake from sleep, for our salvation is now nearer than when we became believers. 12 The night has advanced toward dawn; the day is near. So then we must lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the weapons of light. 13 Let us live decently as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in discord and jealousy.

For those who sleep, sleep at night and those who get drunk are drunk at night-

• Paul describes activities done at night: sleeping and drunkenness. When sleeping , one is not aware. When drunk, one’s senses are dulled. Unbelievers live unaware and dull to the fact that the day of Christ is coming.

• 1 Peter 5:8 (NET) Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.

Discussion Question:

• With what things of the world have we become drunk and spiritually dull towards God?

But since we are of the day, we must stay sober –

• Paul repeats that believers should live sober by using the following methods.

by putting on the breastplate of faith and love-

• Paul describes the first way to stay sober – put on faith and love as a breastplate.

• Faith means to continue to trust him.

• Love means to continue to give ourselves in service to Him and others.

• 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NET) 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Discussion Questions:

• Why do you think Paul describes faith and love as a breastplate?

• How does putting on faith keep a believer sober minded?

• How does putting on love keep a believer sober minded?

and as a helmet our hope for salvation-

• The 2nd way to stay sober is to continue to put on the helmet of hope for salvation.

Strong’s Definitions: ἐλπίς elpís, el-pece’; to anticipate, usually with pleasure; expectation; confidence.

• Hope for salvation does not mean we are hoping to receive salvation, rather it means our hope, anticipation, expectation, and confidence is that we have already obtained salvation which will be fully realized at His second coming.

• This is the second time in this letter that Paul mentions faith, love, and hope.

• 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NET) because we recall in the presence of our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Discussion Question:

• How does putting on hope keep a believer sober minded?

For God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ-

• Paul is teaching that our hope is so sure that we were even destined to gain salvation through Christ,

• Acts 13:48 (NET) 48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began to rejoice and praise the word of the Lord, and all who had been appointed for eternal life believed.

• Unlike unbelievers, who are destined for wrath.

• 1 Peter 2:7-9 (NET) 7 So you who believe see his value, but for those who do not believe, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, 8 and a stumbling-stone and a rock to trip over. They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

He died for us so that whether we are alert or asleep we will come to life together with him-

• Meaning Jesus died for believers, and all believers will be gathered together on that day alive whether they are currently alive or have already died. This is repeated from chapter 4.

• 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NET) Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.

Therefore encourage one another and build up each other-

• As in chapter 4 verse 18, Paul again commands them to encourage each other with these truths.

• He commands us to build up each other to live as those who are of the day, and to live in faith, love, and hope.

just as you are in fact doing-

• As in chapter 4, he again commends the Thessalonians for doing the very things he is reminding them to do.

Discussion Question:

• Who are we encouraging to live like a son of the day? Who is encourage us?

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Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.

———-

Day Child are You Awake?

Bob

Do you remember the way you were before your spiritual birth. You were following the ways of the world and blinded from seeing Me. But then I awakened you.

Don’t live like unbelievers who focus on this world. Don’t become drunk on money, comforts, and entertainments. I am coming! Live your life knowing that I am coming.

Protect your spiritual life with the breastplate and helmet. Continue in faith that I am coming, and all is in My control – even suffering. Love others! Become less self centered by giving of yourself to others. Maintain hope that My day is coming, and your salvation will be realized.

Be encouraged by all My other children who influence you, and be an encourager to those brothers and sisters around you. Encourage them to be alert and awake – not sleeping or drunk with the world.

History of Christianity 2 at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Spring 2018

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I really enjoyed my first class at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Spring 2018.  History of Christianity 2 extends from the Reformation up through today.  We used the book, The Story of Christianity, Volume 2, by Justo L. Gonzalez.   My professor, Dr Michael McMullen, was very interesting and informative.

https://www.mbts.edu/about/faculty/michael-d-mcmullen/

I appreciated that he gave us some freedom to choose individuals we could study from a short list of characters from the Reformation and Post Reformation history.  I also enjoyed many of the students’ classroom presentations – we were allowed to give a presentation or write a paper.  I was impressed with the talent and knowledge of the students even though most were half my age 🙂

Below are highlights of some of the individuals we learned about during the class.  Next is a link to my English Reformation PPT that I created.  Last are the individuals I chose to study from Dr. McMullen’s short list with a short abstract for each individual.

Individuals Covered in Class

Pope Clement VI, Erasmus, Martin Luther, Ignatius of Loyola, William Tyndale, King Henry VIII, John Calvin, Michael Servetus, John Edwards, John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, John Eliot, William Wilberforce (briefly covered John Locke, Sir Isaac Newton, Voltaire, David Hume, Immanuel Kant), Andrew Fuller, Michael Sattler, and many many others were mentioned more briefly.

English Reformation PPT

Below is a link to my English Reformation PPT

https://app.box.com/s/phvzeferdmu4bfz0ap8feo3eldg19pd7

Individuals I Chose to Study from Short List

John Wesley 1703 to 1791

Sources:  Gonzalez, class notes, Bruce Gore lecture.

3 c’s

The Club, Conversion, and Colonies

The Holiness Club

John Wesley was the youngest child of 19.  He was homeschooled in the classical languages by his parents, Samuel and Susanna.  Samuel was an ordained Anglican priest.  At 5 years old John survived a house fire.  This event influenced his thinking throughout his life.  He attended Oxford University.  There he was a member of the Holy Club which his brother, Charles, help start.  The name, Holy Club, was given to them by the other students as a term of mockery.  The club had many rules such as, prayers, songs, reading from the Greek text of the scripture, fasting twice per week, Lord’s supper weekly, and they began visiting prisoners.  They also earned money to help pay for the debts of those in the debtors prison.  An Oxford tract referred to the club as the Oxford Methodists – the name stuck.  John also became a priest in the Anglican Church in 1728.

The Conversion

John went to America on a mission which lasted two years.  During his trip, there was a life threatening storm at sea.  Being already impressed with the behavior of a group of Moravians, he was more impressed during the storm as the Moravians calmly sang while the boat deck was flooded by the sea.   After arriving in Georgia, he tried to bring his strict Method from the holiness club to those he was serving.  However, the mission did not work out, and in his own words he said, Georgia was a disaster.  After 2 years he went back home with self-doubts and feeling he did not have saving faith as the Moravians.  Moravian, Peter Boehler, told him to keep preaching faith until he had it.  In 1738 at a Moravian meeting at Aldersgate Street in London, the German Moravians were reading Martin Luther’s commentary on the book of Romans.  While listening, Wesley said, I felt my heart strangely warmed, I felt I did trust in Christ alone for salvation.

The Colonies

Wesley (an Arminian) was friends with George Whitefield (a Calvinist).  George asked John to take over his mission to the miners in Bristol.  Here John learned to open air preach and his following grew.  He started many groups to be used to feed them into the Anglican Church.  He kept his meetings at different times than those of the official church so they would not conflict.  He desired his followers to take communion at the Church of England.  The bishop of Bristol tried to limit his traveling and preaching, but  John said, the world in my parish.  Wesley used lay preachers as a solution to the rapid growth of the movement.  Due to a law requiring registration for buildings which the Anglican Church did not recognize, Wesley had to register his buildings and worship under English law.  Also, in the colonies, Anglican priests came back to England during the American Revolution.  Since Wesley believed biblically, a bishop and an elder is the same office, he believed he could ordain.  Due to the need in the colonies, he ordained two elders there and others in Scotland.  These actions eventually lead to the new denomination, Methodists, by the time of Wesely’s death, although he still desired to stay Anglican.

George Whitefield

  1. Holy Club
  2. Calvinist
  3. Colonies

Sources:  Class notes and Bruce Gore Lecture.

Holy Club

George Whitefiled, 1714-1770, was born in England in a poor family.  He attended Oxford as a servitor to pay his way through school.  He had a passion for the theatre.  At Oxford, he helped start the Holiness Club with Charles Wesley.   George’s conversion was from reading a book given to him by Charles Wesley, The Life of God and Soul of Man.  Like John Wesley, he became an Anglican priest.  Even during his ordination speech some in the room were converted.  He preached to the miners in Bristol using his open air preaching method.  He knew his preaching was effective by seeing the streams of tears down the dust covered faces of the miners.  He requested help from John Wesley to help with the work in Bristol.  Under John, the work began to grow and over his lifetime morphed into the English Methodists.

Calvinist

Although there are many points where Whitefield and the Wesleys are similar, they did have a significant doctrinal difference with regard to Calvinism.  George was a Calvinist while John was an Arminian.  George even used his Calvinist beliefs within his evangelistic sermons.  Even today, you can listen to his sermon being read on youtube, the Potter and the Clay.  Calvinists believe that God decreed who will be saved based on God’s own purpose and will.  Arminius believed that God made His selection by foreseeing how the person would choose in the future.  At the Synod of Dort, the assembly gave 5 points refuting the Remonstrance in the Netherlands.  These 5 points against the Remonstrance are as follows:  T – total depravity – that man is totally depraved and can only be saved by God’s grace, U – unconditional election – that man was not chosen by God based on man’s works, L – Limited Atonement – that Jesus’ Sacrifice is efficacious for only the elect, I – Irresistible grace – that if you were of God’s elect, then his grace would be irresistible and would be received, P – Perseverance of the saints – the faith and sanctification of the elect would persevere to the end.

The Colonies

Whitefield opened an orphanage in Savannah, Georgia.  Today, the Bethesda Academy is the oldest charity still in operation. Whitefield’s chapel is still there. Though Whitefield was not against slavery, he did believe slaves should be educated and receive the gospel.  During a sermon with slaves in attendance, at the end of the sermon, he directly addressed the slaves by quoting the verse that in Christ we are all one.  George preached for 30 years.  Some say he preached so much that it was like a 30 year long sermon.  He preached in England, Scotland, and the Colonies where God used Whitefield in the Great Awakening.  He spoke 1000 times a year, 3 times a day, speaking 60 hours in a week, seven days a week.  He crossed the Atlantic Ocean 13 times.  He spoke to crowds of 20,000 people.  Ben Franklin calculated that his voice could be heard by 30,000 people.  There are reports that he could be heard up to one mile away.  He preached in Johnathan Edward’s church.  Sarah Edwards said Whitefield was a born orator.

 

Jonathan Edwards 1703-1758

Sources:  class notes, Bruce Gore lecture, and Gonzolez – History of Christianity Volume II, Britannica.

  1. about Edwards
  2. the great Awakening
  3. the Theologian

Edwards

Jonathan Edwards, 1703 – 1758, is America’s greatest theologian and philosopher. Edward’s grandfather was Solomon Stoddord, a very well respected pastor of the church in Northampton in Massachusetts Bay colony.  As a child, Jonathan was homeschooled and learned Latin by 6 years of age, by 13 Greek and Hebrew.  He entered Yale by the age of 13.   Edwards was very interested in the natural sciences.  He often gives illusions to natural science examples in his sermons and writings. He married Sarah Pierrepont, and they had 11 children.  Many of Edward’s decedents became university presidents and pastors.  After the death of his Grandfather Stoddard, Edwards became Pastor of Northampton in 1729.

the great Awakening

Although Edwards was not an emotional speaker and he read his sermons word by word, a great revival happened in 1734 while Edwards was teaching on a series regarding Justification by Faith Alone.  The revival spread through the region.  Within about 1 year, 300 people in Edward’s church professed faith in Christ.  Edwards wrote about the awakening in 1737, A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God.  George Whitefield and Gilbert Tennent were passionate speakers, and the awakening spread even more throughout the colonies.  However, Edwards was later dismissed from his church based on his view of who should take the Lord’s Supper – only true believers for Edwards.  He later wrote a book, Qualifications for Communion.  Edwards then became a missionary to the Indians.  By 1757 he became president of what is known today as Princeton University.

Theology

Edwards at first objected to God’s sovereignty in who will be saved and who will not be saved, but after his conversion in 1721 he calls the doctrine sweet.  Edwards became a strong defender of Calvinism.  He wrote about original sin, but his most famous work was, The Freedom of the Will.  The book uses Romans 9:16 as it’s basis:  It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.  He believed the verse proved that man was saved by God’s grace through God’s decree and not by man’s own corrupt human desire which could not receive grace.

Edwards argues that man has natural ability to choose God, but man does not have moral ability to choose God.  This argues in defense of Calvinism’s assertion that man cannot choose God because he is (T)otally depraved and spiritually dead toward God; this is the first assertion in the Calvinist formula, T.U.L.I.P.  As an example, Edwards gives an example of a prisoner that remains in an OPEN cell because his pride will not allow him to come out and kiss the king’s ring to be forgiven.  Though he has natural ability to walk out, yet he does not have the moral ability, due to his pride, to walk out.  So man has natural ability, but he does not have a moral ability to come to Christ due to his spiritually dead condition.

Edwards argues that though man is free to make choices, those choices are based on previous choices and other factors that are not within one’s control, such as, his natural predisposition, his moral inability, and his circumstances, such as, when he was born, where he was born, who his parents are.  If the first chain link in one’s own life was not a free choice, then how can all the subsequent choices be considered totally free?

John Spilsbury 1668

2B’s and Three K’s

Sources:  Michael Thompson Dissertation

B – Baptist

John Spilsbury was one of the early Particular Baptist leaders in England in the early 1600’s.  Some believe his church was the first Particular Baptist Church in England.  Spilsbury had no formal education.  His occupations were being a cobbler, a weigher of hay, and knitter of socks.  He married in 1627.  John pastored for 23 years.  He died between 1663 and 1668.  In additions to his pastor duties, he also put effort toward the London Association of Particular Baptists which still remains today.  Spilsbury’s church still exists today, Church Hill Baptist Church.

It is assumed that John Spilsbury was the main author of the First London Confessional, 1644.  Seven leaders from his and other particular Baptist churches signed the document.  The primary purpose of the document was to make more clear the doctrine of the particular Baptist compared to the Anabaptists.  Many in England were calling the particular Baptist group Anabaptists, and John wanted to make clear that his church’s doctrine was in alignment with orthodox Christian doctrine of the Presbyterians and Congregationalists:  mainly the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and Calvinistic doctrine regarding salvation.

At that time there were three major groups of Baptists:  Anabaptists, General Baptists, and Particular Baptists.  All three groups believed in believers’ baptism, and they were against the practice of baptizing babies as the Catholics, Anglicans, and Presbyterians.  However, there were several differences between the groups.  Some of the Anabaptist groups denied the Trinity and were pacifists.  The General Baptists believed in general atonement.  This aligned them with the Arminian view of salvation that Christ’s atonement was general and could potentially be received by anyone whose will cooperated with God’s grace.  Particular Baptists believed in particular atonement, or limited atonement, which aligned with the Calvinistic view of salvation that Christ’s atonement was only for the Elect who God chose according to the council of His own will who would receive God’s grace only after being born again from their dead spiritual state.

In the Anglican Church there were many Puritans.  They desired to purify the Anglican Church to operate more biblically.   However, some Puritans separated from the Anglican Church and became known as Separatists.  Churches started by Separatist were illegal.  Both the general Baptists and particular Baptist churches in England were made up of separatists.  Spilsbury’s church met in secret, and he was imprisoned briefly in 1641.

B – Baptism

In addition to being an author of the First Baptist Confession, 1644, John Spilsbury also wrote defenses of believers’ baptism known as, Treatise Concerning the Lawful Subject of Baptism, and God’s Ordinance, the Saint’s Privilege.  Spilsbury argues against the idea that infant baptism is a substitute for old covenant infant circumcision. He believed only those with faith should be baptized which is not possible with an infant.  He said there is no example or command in scripture to baptize infants.  The church should be made up of believers not of those baptized into it as infants of whom many will never be believers and will corrupt the church.  Baptizing infants will allow people to be easily confused by thinking that baptism is for salvation.  It makes void the possibility of personally obeying Christ’s command for baptism if baptized already as an infant.  Infant baptism goes against the sign itself, which is a willful dying, burying, and rising with Christ though faith. He argues if infant baptism is the substitute for infant circumcision, then why are children refused the Lord’s Supper which could be seen as a substitute for the Passover from which ancient Israel’s children partook.

Three K’s

Within John Spilsbury church were three men who would later become better known in church history than Spilsbury:  William Kiffin (1610-1701) who is the only person to sign both the first and second Baptist London Confession; Hanserd Knollys (1598-1691) who left the English Church, went to America, and started a Congregational Church and America’s second Baptist Church; and Benjamin Keach (1640-1704) who also signed the second Baptist London Confession, compiled what is known as Keach’s Catechism, and compiled Hymns for singing in the churches.

Ignatius of Loyola and his Rules of Thinking with the Catholic Church, 1522

Acronym P.R.I.E.S.T

P- Confess sins to a Priest, also His views on predestination.

R – His views on relics.

I – His views on Images

E – His rule on the Eucharist and Mass.

S – His rule on veneration and invocation of the Saints.

T – His rule on FasTs, such as those done during LenT.

—–

Pope Clement VI and His Bull of Unigenitus 1343

Acronym P.P.P.

P – About the Pope.

P – About the black Plague.

P – About the Treasury of Merit as the bases for Indulgences for reducing time in Purgatory

—-

Erasmus of Rotterdam and his banned book, Praise of Folly, 1509.

Acronym B.B.B.

B – About Erasmus, his name meaning, Beloved

B – About his Greek text of the New Testament as the basis for Luther and Tyndale’s Bibles

B – About his Banned Book, Praise of Folly.

—-

Ignatius of Loyola

Sources:  Class Notes, and Documents of Christianity – Rules of thinking with the Church (1522).

Ignatius was a soldier in Spain.  Oddly he was short with red hair – not your typical Spaniard.  As a soldier,  he was hit by a cannon ball in the legs.  He survived several surgeries due to the cannon ball injury.  During his recovery, he believed he had a vision of Jesus and Mary.  He spent much time in a cave and practiced asceticism by praying for 7 hours a day.  It was during this time that he wrote the Rules for thinking with the Church, Spiritual Exercises II in 1522 – only 5 years after Martin Luther’s 95 Thesis.

While in France, he co-founded a religious order called the Society of Jesus with Francis Xavier.  The Society of Jesus is also known as the Jesuits.  The Jesuits are an educational order within the Roman Catholic Church.  Eventually, the Pope recognized the order and Ignatius’ rules.  The Jesuits spread through the world with an aggressive missionary movement.  Some countries, such as, Britain banned the group.  Today in my home town, Rockhurst College and High School are a result of the Jesuit movement.  The Jesuits are considered a counter-reformation movement because they came after the reformation and defended much of the Roman doctrine and practices that the Reformers were against.

Below are a few of the rules in Ignatius’ Rules for Thinking with the Church, Spiritual Exercises II, 1522.

P.

Ignatius affirmed private confession of sins to a Priest.

He acknowledges the elect are predestined, yet in the rules he warns against over emphasizing the teaching.  He also goes on to warn against emphasizing Salvation by Grace and through Faith.  He believed all three teachings could make the followers lazy when it comes to practicing good works, which he believed were efficacious, and in practicing Means of Grace.

R.

One rule specifically mentions the veneration of Relics.  Relics, many of which were fake, were a target by the reformers.  Visiting relics were also a form of indulgence under the works of satisfaction in the Roman doctrine of penance.  Martin Luther specifically targeted indulgences.

I.

He has a rule for the veneration of Images.  Yet he does say they should be used as they are intended.  Many Catholics wrongly endow the images with special powers.

E.

He has a rule on participating in the Eucharist at least annually, though he recommends more often, such as monthly or preferably weekly.

S.

He has a rule on the veneration and invocation of the Saints.

T.

He also has a rule on practicing fasTs. Specifically he mentions the Fast during the season of LenT.

—-

Pope Clement the VI, Papal Bull, Unigenitus, 1343.

Sources:  Class Notes and Documents of Christianity, Papal Bull Unigenitus, 1343.

  1. About the Pope.
  2. About the Plague.
  3. About the Bull which speaks of the Treasury of Merit which is the basis of the indulgences which are used to reduce time in Purgatory.

P – About the Pope.

Pope Clement the VI was the 4th Avignon, France Pope.  His real name is Pierre Roger.  He was awarded the name Knight Roger.  Pope Clement was headquartered in France.  He refused his invitations to headquarter in Rome.  He used the Palace of Joan I.  He offered to pay 80,000 Crowns for the palace, yet he actually never paid for the palace.  He justified this because previously the palace was used as a brothel and now he was giving it a better purpose, and he did absolve Joan of sins.  One quote about Pope Clement was, He was a patron of the arts, but he is not a Saint, when speaking about the character of the Pope.  He did participate briefly in the Crusades by ordering a naval attack on Smyrna.

P – About the Plague.

During his time as Pope, the black plague was present.  He did spend much time ministering in the plague.  He never caught the disease himself.  He ministered by organizing aid for the sick, those dying, and those who died.  Many at that time blamed the Jews for the plague because they were not catching the disease as frequent as others.  However, he put down this idea, and he believed the plague was caused by God’s wrath.  He absolved the temporal sins of all who died in the plague.

The plague was called the black plague because of the black spots it would cause on the victims and because it was spread by black rats.  Some estimate that the black plague resulted in the death of 60% of all Europeans.  Many believe the black plague was indeed what we know now as the bubonic plague.

P- Purgatory

Pope Clement wrote the Papa Bull of 1343 named Unigenitus.  Uni is Latin for, only.  Genitus is similar to our word Genesis, it means begotten.  So the name of the Bull is Only Begotten, a reference to Jesus Christ.  The word Bull refers to the lead bubble that is pressed with the Pope’s seal.  The bubble looks like a water bubble when water boils, which is the word, Bullire in Latin.  The leaden seal shows that the document is authentic.

The first half of the Bull is very Biblical.  It speaks of the blood of Jesus Christ.  However, the second half then goes into Roman Catholic doctrine, such as the Treasury of Merit being dispensed by Peter’s successors, meaning the Popes.

Although the words purgatory or indulgences is not mentioned in the bull, Cardinal Cajetan, used the bull during Martin Luther in the Augsburg trial of 1518.  The Treasury of Merit mentioned in the Bull is for the remission of all or part of temporal sins.

In the Roman Catholic doctrine of Penance, the penitent must go through four steps:

  1. Confession of their sins to a Priest.
  2. Contrition – or genuine remorse and repentance for the sin.
  3. Works of Satisfaction
  4. The Priest can then absolve the penitent.

Within the Works of Satisfaction the penitent must make up for the sin he committed.  However, if making up for the sin is not possible or was not done perfectly, then the believer must still suffer in purgatory for the temporal sin.  Ultimately, they believe they will still go to heaven due to the Grace of God, but before entering, they must suffer in purgatory to be purged of their temporal sins.  However, the use of an indulgence can be used to reduce the time in purgatory.  The indulgence can be a work, a pilgrimage, purchasing an entrance to see a relic, or purchasing a piece of paper that states some time off from purgatory through monetary sacrifice.  (During the time of Martin Luther, a Friar named John Tetzel was selling these indulgences.  The money was being used to build St Peters Basilica in Rome.  Luther believed the selling of them was being abused by Tetzel which led to Luther writing the 95 Thesis and writing directly to Rome about them.  However, this resulted in his excommunication from the Roman church.)  When an indulgence was obtained, the merit was withdrawn from the Treasury of Merit mentioned in the Bull.  The Treasury of Merit contained the merit of Christ, Mary, and the works of all the elect from the beginning of time to the present time.  Even today, the supererogation works of the saints are incrementally being added to the Treasury of Merit.  Of course, the Reformers were against the abuse of indulgences, and they were against the doctrine of purgatory which they believed was against the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice.

—-

Erasmus of Rotterdam, Praise of Folly, 1509

Acronym B. B. B.

B – Beloved

B – Bible

B- Banned Book

Sources:

Class Notes, Praise of Folly, 1509

B – Beloved

Desiderius Erasmus Rotterdamus was originally known as Garard Gerardson.  His parents died in the black plague.  He was educated in a monastery.  The name Erasmus means Beloved.  He became a monk and a Roman Catholic Priest.  He was Dutch and was from Rotterdam Holland.  Erasmus lived during the time of the Reformation.  He was controversial because he never took a clear side – Luther or Rome.  However, he did believe the church needed reformed, but he could not agree with the methods that Luther used.

B – Bible

Erasmus compiled ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.  Before Constantinople was sacked by the Muslims in 1453, many ancient manuscripts were saved and brought to Northern Europe.  During the Renaissance, Northern Europe desired to get back to the original documents and move aside the clutter of scholasticism.  During this time, the only Bible that was legal was Jerome’s Latin Vulgate.  This Latin Bible was the Roman Catholic Bible.  They kept it in Latin so only the educated scholars could study and teach it.  It was forbidden to translate it into common languages.  Erasmus wrote many pamphlets explaining how the Greek text that he compiled and translated into Latin was better than the existing Latin Vulgate translation.  Martin Luther and William Tyndale used later editions of Erasmus’ Greek text when they translated the Bible into German and English.

B – Banned Book

Erasmus’ most famous book was named, Praise of Folly, written in Latin in 1509.  The book was later translated into several languages.  He wrote the book to amuse his friend Sir Thomas More, the Chancellor of England during King Henry VIII’s reign.  The book was banned on the index of banned books by Rome until 1930.

Folly is personified.  She is praised in all the things gone wrong in society.  Various subjects are mentioned, but the book is important because of the harsh criticism it makes from the monks all the way up to the pope.

Remember, Erasmus was a monk, so he remembers well their lifestyle.  He criticizes them as follows:  because they do not work, they fill up their day with foppish ceremonies, they seemed overly concerned about grooming their beards, they trust in their works for salvation, they pride themselves on their poverty and not speaking.  He seems to imply that he would rather see them working and speaking to help others.

Erasmus really goes after the superstitions of trusting in Saints.  In one place he mentions that if prayers are made to St Christopher, then people will feel safe the next day.

The harshest words were reserved for the Pope.  He said they get their position through buying votes, and they keep their position by poisoning their challengers.  They only appear to help people, but in reality they do not.  He condemns all their foppish ceremonies.  He condemns their excommunications and their roaring bulls.  He said their life is a life of ease.  He mentions their long trail of servants, even implying some servants being prostitutes.

The book added fuel to the fire for a society that was ready for change.  Some saying, Erasmus laid the egg which Martin Luther hatched.