“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)”
Praise God despite the need for social distancing, my weeks have been productive. Thus far, I have Bible studies on the following days: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Oh yes, our Sunday gatherings are for Bible study, not the usual Christian gathering supposedly for worship, and we have biblical reason to back up our practice. Thereby, I can do Bible studies with different or any Christian people any day of the week as long as they believe the Scripture is the Word of God and sole source of truth and nothing more.
The apostle Paul, in Scripture said, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship (Romans 12:1 CSB).” Clearly, true worship has everything to do with biblical Christian living – that is, living in faith and trust and obedience to Christ Jesus our Lord.
See also John 4:23; the Lord Jesus Christ said: “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.” With the coming of Jesus Christ, the True Temple (John 2:19,21) of God, gone are the regulations of the Mosaic Law. And mind you, Jesus Christ or the apostles mentioned nothing about liturgies in worship; these are from the traditions of men.
Our ministry principle then adheres to Scripture alone, and Paul instructed Timothy:
“Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me (Paul), in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:13
“You then, my child (Timothy), be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me (Paul) in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1-3
Paul’s teachings were all from the Scripture. Having been accused of violating God’s word, Paul declared: “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way (Christ’s teachings), which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets” (Acts 24:14). In other words, the New Testament writings simply affirmed Old Testmanent declarations. Also, the New Testament spoke of the fulfillments of the Old Testament, and they serve as commentaries to each other.
No wonder, Jesus Christ declared: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17). The redemptive works of Christ and all His declarations parallel the Old Testament Scripture.
Consequently, after His death and resurrection, Christ Jesus explained and said: “Then He (Jesus Christ) said to them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’” (Luke 24:44)
I have been a student of the Bible for more than two decades now. Previously, I often noticed nuisances between Scripture passages as presented by contemporary Christian teachings and declarations, but having been preoccupied with the other demands of again contemporary Christianity – it’s only after my departure and going independent doing God’s work that time and priorities were made available to me. Glory be to God, spending seven years studying in-depth the Word of God, I can now safely correlate both New and Old Testaments Scripture without the nuisances. Certainly it was a worthwhile journey.
So henceforth, we don’t do Bible studies using written prepared materials; rather we use only the Bible, studying and digging into its contents, coupled with the aid of Bible lexicons (Hebrew and Greek language tools) and biblical background references (Jewish customs and history), verifying each passages according to the context of its book or letter and checking if it agrees to the whole tenet of the Scripture (Old to New Testament and New Testament to Old).
On my last day at the seminary, a professor told me, “Nothing in our past is ever wasted in God’s perspective,” and truly he was right. Now, I can see everything similar to Joseph’s story, though a lot of unpleasant things occurred on his journey, but it was all necessary for God’s molding and His ultimate goal for him. The apostle Paul summarized such as a journey through Romans 8:28.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.
Hence, for everyone who has truthfully confessed faith in Christ Jesus, trusting His words and adhering in obedience, recognize that all experiences – good or bad humanly speaking – are all for the glory of God.
Therefore, the present pandemic should not discourage us from believing – God is good and He remains to be in control, for He is sovereign over all creation. There may have been things, opportunities, or privileges that were lost, but we must learn to see and be thankful of God’s grace despite the pandemic. Perhaps God has a better purpose later on.
For the same reason, looking backward to all my past experiences, I thank God for the pastor He used to teach me the ins and outs of the Bible tools (lexicon, Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias and biblical references if needed) even before I entered seminary training. Also thankful for his pastor brother who started the Bible study at our home after the tragic death of my only son. And later similarly to my seminary professors, particularly for my hermeneutics, inductive Bible study and the overview of the New Testament and Old Testament Scripture. I used to be a strong proponent of systematic theology. Though not so much anymore, yet the inherent disciplines therein serve as a guide in my present understanding of the Word of God. I do not belittle lessons learned from my church history class. In hindsight, it allowed me to see the faults and defects of man, though they might be held in high esteem by other Christians. I might not remember every detail of the subjects I had during my student days, but everything comes and works together for the good purpose of God.
I am also thankful for the people who supported and worked with me during my interim ministry doing visitations and Bible studies while I was still in the seminary and months after while waiting for the departure date for my pastorate in the Queen City of the South. Thankful also for the senior pastor in my home congregation while I was still with them. In fact, in several occasions, he came to visit even while I was already out doing God’s work independently. In the same token, I would like to express my gratitude to the seminary president during my stay who had supported me while I was still studying and even when I was with my former pastorate.
The same gratitude for everyone who worked and partnered with me during my six years of pastorate work. Specials thanks to the family who prior to our departure from the parsonage offered their place for us to stay at initially for four years until we moved to our present residence. We also thank God for everyine who believed in our ministry and partnered with us – one time, seasonal or otherwise. Quoting Paul’s words, thanksgiving and perspective in ministry and partnership, Philippians 4:19.
And My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Finally, thanking God for His divine providence. Despite the unpleasant experience of departing from my former pastoral work, God has a better purpose allowing me to focus solely on the study and teaching of God’s Word. Subsequently I’m no longer entangled with the bumps and humps of conventional pastoral work but have freely been serving the Lord Jesus Christ and no one else. Likewise, God had faithfully provided not only for the work of His ministry but a home, our day-to-day needs and previouly for the education of our youngest daughter until her graduation from college. Taking this time, once again, to thank God’s people, everyone who has partnered and contributed before and after we have started doing His work independently. The Lord Jesus Christ is indeed faithful to His Word, promises and assurance (Matthew 6:33), teaching us to live by His word found in Haggai 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38 – “the righteous shall live by faith”.
Our ecclesiology, the doctrine of the church, likewise adheres to God’s words, see Colossians 1:18-23.
“And He (Jesus Christ) is the Head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”
Also Ephesians 5:22-33.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
And many other passages but it would go on and on extending and digressing from my discussion in this blog. Glory be to God, from time to time, in spite of my schedules for Bible studies, I also get to write on my blogsite – Liberating Truth (UnlearningTraditionRelearningScripture.com). Thankful that the Lord burdened me to start blogging, expanding the reach of my ministry.
Before I end this blog, allow me to say a few words of encouragement. In the midst of this present pandemic, let me encourage everyone that God is ever present even in times of trouble, and He Himself will carry us through the challenges of life. Christ Jesus is victorious over death and His reign is forevermore, hence His sovereignty is above and over the pandemic. Therefore, fear not, only believe and keep your eyes in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Many thanks and blessings to all!
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