Sunday, March 1, 2009

Overcome evil with good

The New Testament forbids us to "pay back evil for evil to anyone" (Rom12:17). We are to leave all such judgment to God (Rom12:19). 

Jesus himself lived this way:  "While being reviled He did not revile in return, while suffering He uttered no threats but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously"  (1Pet2:23).

So it seems a bit of a surprise when we read on in Romans 12:

"But if your enemy is hungry feed him and if he is thirsty give him a drink for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head" (v20)

How do we reconcile "not paying back evil for evil" with "heaping burning coals on his head"?!

The answer is found in passages such as 1Pet3:16 where we see that the opponent really heaps the burning coals on his own head:

"....keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ will be put to shame"

Here the Christian is being "slandered" and "reviled" but doesn't repay evil for evil - instead he continues with "good behaviour", he continues to maintain a "good conscience". The outcome? The opponent is "put to shame". He is shown to be the wrong-doer. He tried to heap burning coals on the righteous man's head but really only succeeded in doing it to himself.

Its the same again in Titus 2:7-8:

"In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us"

If we remain "beyond reproach" at all times, those who seek to ambush us only ambush themselves:

"They say....'Let us ambush the innocent without cause'.....but they lie in wait for their own blood, they ambush their own lives" (Prov1:11-18)

As the passage in Romans 12 concludes:

"Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good" (v21)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Christian and riches

The sixth chapter of the so-called "first" letter of Paul to Timothy is very instructive about the Christian's attitude to riches.

Firstly, it tells us that "if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content" (v8).

Next it tells us that if we are NOT content with these but "want to get rich" we get ourselves into all sorts of trouble: we "fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction" (v9)

Finally it tells us that if we are already rich we shouldn't be hoarding our riches but rather "be generous and ready to share" (v17-18).

Conclusion:

If we are a Christian and not rich, lets not desire to become so.

If we are a Christian and already rich lets be generous with our riches and share.

"A rich man's wealth is his strong city and like a high wall in his own imagination" (Proverbs 18:11)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The forgiven-much loves much

I recently read again the story of Jesus, Simon the Pharisee and the "sinful woman" in Luke 7:36-50.

At first it seems to be all about the woman. Simon certainly thought it was. 

But its really all about Simon.  He's the one who needs the teaching, not the woman. He's the one with the wrong attitude, not the woman. He's the one who doesn't appreciate the company he's in, not the woman.

Simon "loved little" not because he needed to be "forgiven little". He "loved little" because he didn't appreciate that perhaps he too needed to be "forgiven much". 

The extent to which we appreciate our own sinfulness determines the extent that we will be drawn, overflowing with gratitude, to Christ.

"'Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ' God I thank You that I am not like other people - swindlers, unjust, adulterers - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I pay tithes of all that I get'

But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast saying 'God be merciful to me the sinner!"  
(Luke 18:10-13)

Monday, February 16, 2009

The atheist's faith is greater than mine

Sometimes people sneer at the idea of "faith". 

But we all have faith. The atheist has faith that there is no God. He pins his eternal future on it in fact because if he's wrong - and Jesus is right - he's in terrible trouble. When I contemplate the extraordinary universe around me and the compelling life of the Nazarene, I must admit its a greater faith than I can muster.

"I tell you that every careless word that people speak they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment" (Matt12:36)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Proper use of church funds

If it is faithfully following the New Testament pattern the church today should only be using its funds to support its own members. 

Individual members of the church can of course do as they see fit with their own money - indeed we are instructed to "do good to ALL people and especially to those of the household of the faith" (Gal6:10). 

But the money the members put in to the church collection on the first day of the week (1Cor16:2) - the "collection for the saints" (1Cor16:1) - was just that: a collection "for the saints" ("the saints" just meaning "the holy ones", Christians, members of the church itself)

Nowhere in the scriptures do we see the church using its "collection for the saints" to meet the material needs of the world. The church's obligation to the world is to be "the pillar and support of the truth" (1TIm3:15).

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mary and Martha (Luke10:38-42)

I love this story.  Brief yet powerful, I never tire of pondering it. It constantly challenges me to evaluate what I'm doing. 

Left unchecked we probably all gravitate towards "Marthism".  Mary keeps pulling us back to where we need to be - remembering that really only "one thing is necessary" (Lk10:42)

"Thankyou Father for Mary's example:  her love for Jesus and her love of the truth. Thankyou for ensuring in Your wisdom that this story has endured even until now to instruct us in the way we should go."

"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (Jn6:37)

Friday, February 6, 2009

God is not Father Christmas

A traditional representation of God is of a benign, grandfatherly figure smiling at everyone and "handing out the presents" as it were. 

But the God of the scriptures is much more than that. Yes, He is kind and loving but He can also be angry and severe.

The Israelites were God's chosen people to whom He kindly "stretched out His his hands all day long" yet they were "disobedient and obstinate" (Rom 10:21). 

Paul likens them to an olive tree which has some of its branches broken off "because of their unbelief".  In their place some new branches were grafted in: non-Jewish people or "Gentiles" who believed the gospel and proved obedient to it (Rom11:17, 20a).

But Paul warns his Gentile readers that they should not become conceited by this but rather "fear, for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either" (Rom11:21).

Paul's conclusion?

"Behold the kindness AND severity of God. To those who fell, severity but to you God's kindness if you continue in his kindness otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief will be grafted in for God is able to graft them in again" (Rom11:22,23)

God's kindness is immense -  but so can be His wrath. Which we experience is entirely up to us. Choose life (Deut30:19).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How devoted is "devoted" to prayer?

The New Testament expects Christians to be "devoted to prayer":

"These [the apostles] all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer..." (Acts1:14)

"They [new Christians] were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (Acts2:42)

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love, give preference to one another in honour, not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer....." (Rom12:10-12)


The question is what does "devoted" mean? Of course we can look up a dictionary but that just tells us what someone who wrote a dictionary thinks. We need to look for other places the New Testament itself uses the word to understand what God thinks.

Here's some examples of how the Greek word (the New Testament was written in Greek originally) translated "devoted / devoting" above is translated elsewhere in the New Testament:

"Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple and breaking bread from house to house they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart...." (Acts2:46)

".......he (a Roman centurion)  summoned two of his servants and a devout soldier of those who were in constant attendance upon him..." (Acts10:7)

"Even Simon himself believed and after being baptized he continued on with Philip....." (Acts8:13)

"And He told His disciples that a boat should stand ready for Him because of the crowd, so that they would not crowd Him....." (Mark3:9)


The bold words in these references are from the same Greek word that has been translated "devoted / devoting" in the prayer references.  We can start to see that when the New Testament writers say "devoted" to something they mean to be day by day "continuing" in it, to be in "constant attendance" to it. I particularly like the last reference (Mark3:9). The boat was to be set aside for Jesus. It was to have no other purpose except to be available to him. It was to be "devoted" to Him. 

So what would the prayer pattern of someone "devoted to prayer" look like in practice?

Lets consider first what it wouldn't look like. I think we would agree for example that just participating in prayers during church on a Sunday or the quick giving of thanks before a meal or praying only when a crisis looms wouldn't constitute "devotion" to prayer.

By contrast the apostle Paul could say that he prayed "night and day" for Timothy (2TIm1:3) and the Christians in Thessalonica (1Thess3:10) and that he "unceasingly" made mention of the Christians in Rome in his prayers (Rom1:9,10). Epaphras was described as one who "laboured earnestly" in prayer (Col4:12).  Jesus Himself would "get up while still dark" to pray (Mk1:35), would "slip away to the wilderness to pray" (Lk5:16) and even went off to a mountain and "spent the whole night in prayer" in Luke 6:12.

When we put all this together we get a pretty good picture of what being "devoted" to prayer looks like.

And why wouldn't we be devoted to prayer when you consider what prayer is? 

It is communing with a God who is ABLE to do all things for his children (Eph3:20), who WANTS to do all things for them (Rom8:32) and who WILL do all things for those who ask (1Jn5:14,15)

Why wouldn't we be devoted to prayer when it is the opportunity to thank God for the "indescribable gift" (2Cor9:15) of His Son. 

Why wouldn't we be devoted to prayer when it is the opportunity to do things for each other far beyond what we could possibly do for them ourselves? (Jas5:16).

"Pray without ceasing" (1Thess5:17)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Courage

Courage is giving up everything even though no-one else sees (Luke4:5-7)

Courage is continuing to walk the path even though no-one will share it with you (Mark8:11,12)

Courage is receiving the blows in silence when you know you're only trying to help (1Pet2:23)

Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway (Luke22:42,44)

Courage is thinking of others in the midst of your own pain (Jn19:26,27)

Courage is keeping your compassion when everyone else has abandoned theirs (Luke23:34)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

We're living under the NEW covenant

A recent anti-Christianity letter to the editor of my local paper included this: "If we go by what the Bible says we should be out there putting homosexuals to death". The writer cited Leviticus 20:13 to support his statement.

The Leviticus reference is correct but what the writer failed to recognize is that there is an old covenant and there is a new covenant - and that we live under the new covenant today. 

So no, we should not be out there putting anyone to death -  or offering animal sacrifices or keeping the Sabbath or attending religious feasts in Jerusalem or many other things that were part of the old covenant between God and the nation of Israel prior to the coming of Christ.  
Jesus ushered in a new covenant between God and His people (the church, the "Israel of God" [Gal6:16]) along with new terms and conditions:

"Now [Jesus] has obtained a more excellent ministry by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant which has been enacted on better promises...... 

'Behold days are coming says the Lord when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, for they did not continue in My covenant and I did not care for them, says the Lord.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days says the Lord: 

I will put My laws into their minds and I will write them on their hearts and I will be their God and they shall be My people, 

And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen and everyone his brother saying 'Know the Lord'  for all will know Me, from the least to the greatest of them. 

For I will be merciful to their iniquities and I will remember their sins no more.'

When He said 'a new covenant' He has made the first obsolete....."     (Heb8:6-13)


Its important we make the distinction between the old and the new, not just to avoid binding unnecessary things upon people (including ourselves) but, more importantly, so that we are found to be doing what is God's will for His people now, not what it was before

The terms and conditions of this new covenant are found in our so-called "New Testament". Does that mean we have no need for the old covenant ("Testament") scriptures today? Not at all. They are still the word of God and still therefore have much instruction / encouragement value for us. Referring to them Paul writes:

"Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Rom15:4)

Lets just be clear about what is binding upon us today and what is not.

There is no life, only prayer

That we have "a life" is really only an illusion. We don't. We actually only "have" this moment. We may not even be breathing 30 seconds from now!  All we can do is pray that God may grant us life again tomorrow if it be His will:

"Come now you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit'. Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapour that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills we will live and also do this or that' " (Jas4:13-15)

Someone who understood this was David , illustrated in the way he dealt with the terminal illness and ultimate death of his son in 2 Samuel 12:15-23.

When his son was gravely ill David prayed to God, lay all night on the ground and refused to eat (vs16,17). Such was his obvious distress that his servants feared to tell him when the boy actually died in case David "did himself harm" (v18). 

When they do eventually tell him they are astonished at the way he reacts. He gets up, washes and clothes himself, worships God, has something to eat and basically gets on with his life again (v20) saying:

"While the child was still alive I fasted and wept, for I said 'Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me that the child may live'. But now he has died, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again?...." (vs22,23)

This was a man who knew that he never really "had" anything in the first place, only what God granted him. All he could do was pray. He did that and accepted God's answer.

Monday, January 26, 2009

We are justified by works and not by faith alone (Part 2)

Part 1 of this post ended with our "problem" unresolved:

How do we reconcile what Paul says about works with what James says?

Paul: We are justified by faith apart from works of law (Rom3:28)

James: We are justified by works not by faith alone (Jas2:24)

The short answer is that Paul is talking about people who want to justify themselves before God by their own efforts independent of Christ while James is talking about the opposite: people who hope they will be justified before God by Christ's efforts regardless of what they themselves do. James is condemning "faith alone", Paul is in effect condemning "works alone". Both attitudes are wrong. Neither results in justification before God.

Typical of the people Paul had in mind were those Jews who refused Jesus as their Messiah and still hoped to justify themselves before God by keeping the Law of Moses:

"Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith but as though it were by works.......I testify about them that they have a zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes" (Rom9:31- 10:4)

But the principle holds for any of us who seek to be justified before God by our own means without reference to Christ (Eph2:8,9; Titus3:4-6). There are plenty today for example who believe they will be found acceptable to God for the "good life" they have lived despite the fact they never took Jesus seriously.

James on the other hand has an entirely different problem in mind. His concern is people who go to the other extreme and want to rely entirely on their faith in Christ's sacrifice to justify them while they sit back and basically do nothing:

"What use it my brethren if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?" (Jas2:14)

"You believe that God is one. You do well - the demons also believe and shudder. But are you willing to recognize you foolish fellow that faith without works is useless?" (Jas2:19-20)

So, as we would expect from God's word, there is no contradiction here at all.

James would of course agree with Paul that you can't "earn" your salvation by your own merits independent of Christ. Thats why he also urges his readers to "hold their faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ....." (Jas2:1) for example.

And Paul would certainly agree with James that a faith which is "words only" will not save. Thats why he also urges his readers to "be careful to engage in good deeds" (Titus3:8) and to "work out their salvation" (Phil2:12) and that he was mindful of their "work of faith" (1Thess1:3) and that what's important is "faith working through love" (Gal5:6) and so on.

What both would certainly DISAGREE with is the widespread teaching today that our salvation has NOTHING to do with our works, that we are justified by "faith alone" regardless of what we do.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

We are justified by works and not by faith alone (Part 1)

Some people will be very upset at the title of this post. It will be tantamount to heresy to them. "You can't say that! Everyone knows we're saved by faith in Christ! None of us can earn salvation by our works!"

But of course these aren't my words, they're God's. Its a direct quote from the New Testament:

"You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (Jas 2:24).

Of course the objectors aren't entirely wrong either. Yes, we are saved by faith in Christ and no, we can't "earn" salvation by our works. The following from Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus makes this pretty clear:

"By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works that no-one may boast" (Eph2:8,9)

The problem is that a long time ago influential people such as Martin Luther were unable to reconcile these two truths, chose to latch on to the latter and a whole new false teaching eventually arose (and has become almost all-pervasive today) that salvation has NOTHING to do with works at all. It is widely taught now that we ARE "justified by faith alone" even though Jas2:24 says categorically that we're NOT! They have in effect taken a pair of scissors to the scripture and cut out the bit they don't want!

So, what's going on here? What is the situation regarding faith and works?

Before we get on to that I want to back track for a minute and consider an important underlying principle here.

When we come across instances in the scriptures where two writers are apparently saying contradictory things we can conclude one of three things:

1. The bible is in error, its therefore not the word of God and must be thrown out

2. One of the two writers is in error and must be thrown out of the bible (this is basically what Luther decided - initially anyway)

3. It is our understanding that is in error and requires further development

What's curious is that we deal with this sort of thing in everyday life all the time and don't give it a second thought.

For example:

(a) Its a long way from the earth to the moon

(b) The moon is quite close to the earth

On the face of it these two statements seem to contradict each other. But we very quickly see that there is a sense in which both are true depending on your frame of reference.

So, lets look at our "problem" again:

James: We are justified by works not by faith alone (Jas2:24)

Paul: We are justified by faith apart from works of law (Rom3:28)

For a start the word "alone" in James should give us a hint that something different might be going on here. Secondly we can entertain the possibility that each writer just might be using "works" in a different sense. Suddenly the need for necessary contradiction starts to dissipate.

Principle: we can either panic when we run into "problems" in the scriptures or we can learn to trust God's word and recognize that we still have something to learn. After we've been Christians for many years we get used to seeing these "problems" all the time and then seeing them resolve as we persevere in our study and deepen our understanding. "Curiosity" instead of "panic" becomes our default setting.

Anyway, I digress. Back to our question: what's the answer to the "works versus faith" thing?

Sorry, out of space. Please go to Part 2!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

About sin....

Is there any aspect of Christianity more brought up - and messed up - than "sin"? (possibly "works" I guess but thats another post). As usual, the scriptures are very clear on the topic. Its men who complicate things.

The bible teaching is simple - sin separates people from God (Isaiah 59:2). 

Why? Can't He just overlook it?  No, He can't. Sin is "darkness" (Col 1:13) and "God is light - in Him there is no darkness at all" (1 Jn 1:5). God and sin can therefore no more co-exist than light and darkness can co-exist. The presence of one banishes the other. "What fellowship has light with darkness?" asks the apostle Paul in 2Cor6:14. "None" is the answer he is obviously looking for.

When we truly appreciate this it makes every sin we commit that much more important doesn't it? Even "little" sins are still "darkness" and will separate us from the "light". If we only committed one sin in our whole life would that be enough to separate us from God for eternity? You bet!  According to the scriptures you'll be just as cut off as the person with a multitude of sins. I won't quote it all here but read again about this principle in Ezekiel 33:11-19. Notice especially the end of v12:  "A righteous man will not be able to live by his righteousness on the day he commits sin".  One sin - any sin - is enough to separate you from a holy God.

One of the most insidious false teachings going around these days is that while all the above applies to men generally, Christians are somehow immune to the problem because the blood of Christ "automatically cleanses" them of any sin they commit regardless of what they do about it. 

Thats not what the scriptures teach. In the New Testament the  conditions for forgiveness of sins for Christians is the same as for non-Christians  - except for baptism of course. Nowhere do you find Christians getting baptized again for the forgiveness of their sins but you certainly do see them needing to repent of their sins and confess them.  

1Jn1:9 (written to Christians remember) is very clear: "If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness". 

What's the most important word in this verse?  "IF". The necessary conclusion is that if you DON'T confess your sin you DON'T obtain the forgiveness and cleansing.

I remember a discussion about this between two Christians. One finally said to the other in disbelief: "If all this is true then I would need to be watching what I'm doing all day long and confessing and repenting regularly". Well, yes! 

Or even better, do as Paul advises the Christians in Corinth and "STOP SINNING" (!) (1Cor15:34)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

You don't "choose a church", God adds you to "THE church"

One of the common pieces of advice you hear religious teachers giving new converts is: "Find a local church that you feel comfortable with and join it". Its well-intentioned but its incorrect. 

In the New Testament a person is automatically "added" to the church as a result of becoming a Christian (Acts 2: 41). This is hardly surprising.  "The church" in the New Testament after all is simply the body of believers. You become a believer, you become a member of the body.

You can't "choose a church" because there is only ONE church according to the scriptures: Christ's church (Matt 16:18).  You're either in it or your not.

So, here's how it works according to the New Testament:

You hear the gospel
You believe in Jesus
You repent of your sins
You are baptized for the forgiveness of your sins
You are added to THE church, Christ's church, the church of God, the body of believers, the saved, those having eternal life

To see all these steps happening in one place at one time read the account of the very first group of converts becoming Christians and being added to the church in Acts 2: 36-41. 

Notice the next few verses too (Acts 2: 42-46). The new believers continue on from there as a group, meeting together to pray, break bread, learn the apostles' teachings and so on. In other words, they were now "the church" doing what "the church" does.

And finally there it is again in v47: as others believe and join they too are described as being "added" to the number "by the Lord". Its automatic. Its not something you choose after becoming a Christian. Its something that is a by-product of becoming a Christian.

Wonderfully simple and logical isn't it? Much better than the convoluted ways typical of so much man-made religion. But that shouldn't surprise us either.  It is, after all, God's way.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Baptism is not an "optional extra" in the New Testament

A lot of time and energy seems to get expended arguing why it isn't necessary to be baptized to be a Christian. How sad. Even a cursory reading of the New Testament will leave the open-minded enquirer in no doubt that baptism was part and parcel of the process in that first century.

Even if there was no other reference to it in the New Testament, the command of the apostle Peter to those first converts in Acts 2:38 to "repent and be baptized" should be the end of the matter. 

But of course there are many other references to put the issue beyond doubt.  Read through the rest of the book of Acts and see time and again people being baptized as part of the process of becoming a Christian.

The Ethiopian eunuch hears the gospel from Philip and asks "Look, water, what prevents me from being baptized?" (Acts 8:35 ) Obviously Philip's preaching had included the need for baptism.

Saul of Tarsus becomes a Christian after having been a violent persecutor of the faith. The process includes baptism (Acts 9:18).

The apostle Peter, having preached the gospel to some Gentiles (non-Jews) and witnessed the Holy Spirit falling upon them, says "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did can he?"  And he "ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 10:47,48)

In Acts 16 Paul preaches the gospel to some Macedonian women. One of them, Lydia, has "her heart opened to respond to the things spoken by Paul and when she and her household had been baptized....." (Acts 16:14,15)

In the same chapter the Philippian jailer cries out to Paul that he wants to be "saved" and asks "what must I do?" Paul tells him to believe in Jesus and takes him "that hour of the night and baptizes him" (Acts 16: 30-33)

The book of Acts is the account of the first people in the then-known world converting to Christianity. Baptism was clearly an integral part of that process. If you wanted to be "saved" you believed, you repented of your sins and you were baptized.

If we're still in any doubt the apostle Peter puts the issue to rest once and for all. Having just described how Noah and his family were physically "saved" through the waters of the flood in the ark, he tells his Christian readers:  "corresponding to that baptism now saves you" (!) (1Pet 3:21)  

Thats pretty much the end of it, isn't it? It should be - but unfortunately its not. People still want to dispute. They say "what about the man in the desert who is dying and converts but has no chance of getting to water to be baptized. Surely he will be saved won't he?" 

There are a million "what ifs".  God will deal with the "what ifs". Nothing changes the fact that He instructs us to be baptized

Ours is not to query God's instructions. Ours is to obey them. 

I think we can safely leave the rest to Him.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

About this blog

After many hours on the internet looking at so-called "Christian" web sites and forums and becoming increasingly frustrated at all the man-made rules and doctrines being taught as "Christianity" I began to better appreciate how the apostle Paul must have felt as he walked through Athens and felt his "spirit provoked within him as he observed the city full of idols" (Acts 17:16). 

I decided it was time to turn that provocation into something positive - just like Paul did. He preached the truth to them.

This blog seeks to present Christianity straight from the New Testament without including any of the "precepts of men" (Matt15:9). 

It is based on the belief that the New Testament writings are "not the word of men but.... the word of God" (1Thess2:13)

It is hoped you will find the articles a useful aid in your exploration of "the word of [God's] grace which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (Acts20:32)

The New American Standard Bible is used throughout unless otherwise indicated. If you spot an incorrect scripture citation please email me (provisfam1@bigpond.com) so that I can correct it. Thankyou.