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Hope for All Nations

SYNOPSIS  -  The Gospel of the Kingdom of God announced by Jesus is a message of hope and gladness for men and women of all nations .  After his resurrection, Jesus declared - “ All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me; go therefore and make disciples of all nations .” Installed as the  Lord over all things , he commanded his disciples to proclaim his sovereignty and the good news of the salvation that is now available through him for all men and women from every nation, whether Jew or Gentile, Greek or barbarian, rich or poor, male or female - ( Psalm 2:6-10, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:7-9 ).

Having Begun in the Spirit...

SYNOPSIS  -  The receipt of the Spirit while in an uncircumcised state is irrefutable proof that Gentile Christians are accepted by God  –  Galatians 3:1-4 .  In his  letter to the Galatians , the Apostle Paul addressed a growing danger to his congregations. Certain Jewish believers from Jerusalem were claiming that Gentiles must keep at least some of the required deeds and rituals of the Mosaic Law in order to “ complete ” their faith. They were “ compelling Gentiles to Judaize ” - To conform to Jewish customs and otherwise “live as Jews.” This included circumcision, the observance of Jewish feast days, and possibly dietary restrictions based on the Levitical purity regulations - ( Galatians 2:11-14, 4:10 ). - [ Photo by Vinayak Sharma on Unsplash ].

Deceivers - Sign of the Last Days

SYNOPSIS   -   The presence of false teachers in the church provides a clear sign that we are in the period known as the “last days”   -   2 John 7-8 .  The second and third letters of John dealt with a real and present danger to the churches of John - False teachers had risen from within these congregations and were causing dissension among some members. Among other things, the deceivers denied the real humanity of Jesus. The Apostle labeled them “ deceivers ” and “ antichrists .” In the process, John provided his understanding of just what an “ antichrist ” is: - [ Photo by  Julia Joppien  on Unsplash ]

True and Greater Temple - Jesus

  SYNOPSIS  -  Jesus is the Greater and Final Temple foreshadowed by the ancient Tabernacle and the later Temple of Israel .  Some schools of interpretations argue that a “third temple” will be built in Jerusalem either just before or during the Millennium, the “t housand years ” during which the “ saints ” reign as a “ kingdom of priests .” This last temple will be the global center of worship. The ancient feasts, sacrifices, and other Levitical rituals will be restored, and national Israel will fulfill its role as the “ light of the world .” - [ Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash ].

Persecution and the Cross

SYNOPSIS  -  To follow Jesus means self-denial and a willingness to suffer for his sake. Persecution is the highest honor for his disciple  –  Matthew 5:10-12 .  Contrary to the “ wisdom of this age ,” rage, belligerence, and especially violence are  NOT  appropriate “Christian” reactions to persecution -  Whether perceived or real . Angry reactions by disciples to perceived threats to their civil “rights” only demonstrate how far many of us have assimilated to the values of the surrounding pagan society, beliefs often contrary to the teachings and example of Jesus himself, especially to the paradigm of Christ crucified.

Christ-Like Response to Persecution

SYNOPSIS  -  When Christians react in kind to hostility, whether from government, society or individuals, Satan triumphs  –  Matthew 5:12 .  According to many news reports, the persecution of Christians is on the rise in many countries. This raises some basic questions; for example -  How should Christians react to persecution , especially when implemented by governing authorities? Ought they to respond with indignation, civil disobedience, and public protests? Do they not have the “right” to do so, at least in western-style democracies? Or should disciples of Jesus follow his example and that of the Apostles and early church? - [ Photo by Yannick Pulver on Unsplash ].