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Showing posts with the label #ChristAlmighty

The Holy Spirit reminds us what Jesus taught… assuming we know what Jesus taught.

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John 14.25-26.Most Christians figure Jesus’s students followed him three years. It might actually have been longer than that.The idea of three years comes from the fact three Passovers get mentioned in John, Jn 2.13, 6.4, 11.55 the last one being the Passover for which he died. But just because John mentioned three particular Passovers doesn’t mean these were the only Passovers which took place during Jesus’s teaching time. Coulda been nine for all we know.No I’m not kidding:7 BC: Jesus was born.24 CE: Jesus’s 30th birthday. Luke states he was ὡσεὶ/oseí, “like,” 30 when he started teaching. Lk 3.23 Didn’t say exactly 30, but let’s start from there.33 CE: Jesus died. And woulda been about 39.Time for some basic arithmetic. If Jesus started teaching in the year 24, and “like” just means he was a few months shy of 30, by the year 33 he’d’ve been teaching nine years. If “like” instead means he was already in his thirties; say 33… he’d’ve been teaching six years. (Still more than three.)…

The Holy Spirit of truth… and dense Christians.

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John 14.15-17.Christians take for granted that we receive the Holy Spirit by virtue of being Christian: When we say the sinner’s prayer and claim Jesus as our individual savior, we individually, automatically get the Holy Spirit to indwell us and guarantee us an eternal place in God’s kingdom. Right?Right. But the assumption Jesus makes when he says as much to his students in John, is his students don’t just passively believe in him. Don’t just passivelybelieve all the correct things about him, and have the proper “faith”, and that’s what saves us. And once we die after a lifetime of taking God’s grace for granted, we get to use the Holy Spirit as our entry fee to heaven.The Holy Spirit’s been granted to us to help us continue to follow Jesus.John 14.15-17 KWL15“When you love me you’ll keep my commands,16and I’ll make a request of the Father, and he’ll give you another Assistant,because he’ll be with you in this age:17The truthful Holy Spirit.The world can’t comprehend him, because it…

Mammonists versus God.

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Luke 16.8-15.the Shrewd Butler Story, Jesus commended the butler for using his boss’s money to generate goodwill instead of profits, and his moral was for his followers to do likewise.Mammonists stumble all over this story. To them the point of money isn’t to use it as a resource, but to accumulate it and gain power by it. To their minds the butler was completely untrustworthy. He was already accused of squandering it, Lk 16.1 and then he turned round and deliberately squandered it by changing his boss’s debtors’ receipts. Lk 16.5-7 He made it look like he collected more money than he actually had; like his boss was owed less than he truly was; and he did it to benefit himself instead of enriching his boss—which was his job, wasn’t it? He embezzled from his boss. He stole. He’s a thief. There’s a command against theft in the bible somewhere; it’s one of the bigger ones!So Mammonists really don’t know what to do with Jesus commending this butler… except to conclude, “I guess Jesus appr…

Mammon in the Shrewd Butler Story.

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Luke 16.1-9.As you know, Jesus said you can’t be a slave to both God and Mammon, Mt 6.24 and as a result people tend to think of Mammon as a person. It’s not really. Whenever Jesus and the Pharisees spoke about mammon, they meant money, and they were speaking of it negatively. Exactly like we do whenever we describe money as “lucre.” Nobody ever talks about clean lucre; it’s always filthy lucre; it’s always money used wrong, used for evil.Same deal with mammon, which is why I translated τῷἀδίκῳμαμωνᾷ/to adíko mamoná (KJV “the unrighteous mammon”) as “filthy lucre.” You come across lucre in this story, it means mammon. Got it? Good.Jesus tells this story right after the Prodigal Son Story, Lk 15.11-32 if that context helps: A man squandered all his money, and when he came home his father threw him an expensive party; and his brother objected to the wastefulness (or to use old-timey English, the prodigality) of both the wasteful man and his extravagant father. And since we’re on …

The Spirit empowers us to speak.

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Mark 13.9-10, Matthew 10.17-20, Luke 21.12-15.When Jesus warned his students about the coming tribulation in his Olivet Discourse, he told ’em he (or the Holy Spirit, depending on the gospel) would have their back when it came time to testify before kings and leaders. He put it this way.Mark 13.9-11 KWL9“Now look at you yourselves. They’ll turn you in to the Senate. They’ll cane you in synagogues.They’ll stand you before leaders and kings because of me, to witness to them.10You have to first declare the gospel to all the gentiles.11When they turn you in, don’t premeditate what you might say:Instead whatever’s given you at that hour, say it, for you aren’t speaking; the Holy Spirit is.”Matthew 10.17-20 KWL17“Watch out for the people: They’ll turn you in to the Senate and their synagogues. They’ll flog you.18They’ll take you to leaders and kings because of me, to testify to them and the gentiles.19When they turn you in, don’t worry about what you might say at the time you give a defense…

Warnings when persecution comes. (Unless you’re American.)

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Mark 13.9, Matthew 24.9-13, Luke 21.12-19.In his Olivet Discourse, Jesus told his students about what’d happen before as predicted, the Romans destroyed the temple in the great tribulation. Many fearful Christians insist Jesus wasn’t speaking of the next 40 years, but our future; the events of the End Times. That’s largely because they don’t know first-century history, nor their bibles, and only believe other fearful Christians. If you aren’t as paranoid, peaceless, and agitated as they, they feel you’re too stupid to listen to. The End Times has gotta be all about fear, not hope—and they explain away the fruitlessness of fear by claiming it’s really “the fear of God” they’re about. Yeah right.Today’s passage tends to trigger ’em more than most, because here Jesus speaks about the active persecution of Christians. Which, at that time, was coming soon. Really soon; possibly before the year was out.Jesus gave this discourse during Holy Week, and he’d be killed at the end of that week. I…

Can we really ask God for anything we want?

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Matthew 7.7-11, Luke 11.9-13, John 14.13-14, 15.7, 16.24.These passages are found in the middle of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, in Jesus’s teaching on prayer requests in Luke, and as part of Jesus’s Last Supper lesson in John. Obviously the Matthew and Luke bits line up more neatly than the John bits, but the same idea is found in the John verses.I tend to summarize this idea as “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” If we want something from Jesus, ask! It’s okay for us to do that. He does take prayer requests.Matthew 7.7-11 KWL7“Ask!—it’ll be given you. Look!—you’ll find it. Knock!—it’ll be unlocked for you.8For all who ask receive, who seek find, who knock God’ll unlock for.9Same as any of you people. Your child will ask you for bread; you won’t give them a cobblestone.10Or they’ll ask you for fish; you won’t give them a snake.11So if you’re evil, yet knew to give good gifts to your children,how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him?”Luke 11.9-13 KWL…

Quit prematurely freaking out about the End.

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Mark 13.7-8, Matthew 24.6-8, Luke 21.9-11.Jesus ordered his followers not to worry. When we haven’t surrendered our entire lives to Jesus, we’re gonna suck at obeying his teaching: We’re gonna worry. We’ll fuss about food and drink and clothing, like Jesus specifically highlighted in his lesson. We’ll worry about what others think of us. Worry about money and financial stability. Worry about politics. Worry about our guns. Worry about anything which threatens our comfort and stability.Most of the professional End Times prognosticatorsespecially want you to worry about your comfort and stability. Not just because they wanna sell you food buckets for your End Times bunker. Most of ’em are preaching out of their very own paranoia. They worry even more than you do about the stuff they agitate about. Their own End Times bunkers are very well-stocked.All of ’em ignore what Jesus taught on the subject. Or in some cases flip its meaning over entirely.Mark 13.7-8 KWL7“When you might hear of wa…

Before the war come the fake Messiahs.

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Mark 13.5-6, Matthew 24.4-5, Luke 21.8.After Jesus commented the temple’s eventually coming down, some of his students wanted to know when. So Jesus started talking about the events that preceded the temple’s destruction in the year 70. Historically Christians have called this the Olivet Discourse, ’cause Jesus shared it on Mt. Olivet.In context, it’s about the Jewish War. The students wanted to know when the temple’d get destroyed; Jesus told ’em about when the temple got destroyed four decades from then. Fake Messiahs showed up and rallied the people to overthrow the Romans; the Romans sent reinforcements; the Judean people decided the End had come and decided to go all in with the false Messiahs, and a bloodbath followed. The Romans slaughtered half the world’s Jews, destroyed the temple, and left Israel without a homeland for 19 centuries.If you don’t know this history, it’s because Christians downplay it. Certain of us are so desperate for information about Jesus’s second coming—…