Episode 180

Disciple Up #180
Shepherding: Feeding & Defending the Flock
By Louie Marsh, 10-7-2020

Intro. An e-mail poured in! Disagreement on what I said about Witness Lee and the Local Church. Episode 73-74.

So what is the duty of teachers and shepherds when it comes to dealing with doctrinal error and, sometimes, out right heresy? Let’s take a look!

 Everyone – Leaders Included – Must Watch Their Mouth!

 Yes, I am very well aware that we’ll be judged for every careless word we speak. I’ll go even further we are also commanded not to lie and not to condemn our brothers when we disagree with them

 34You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”” (Matthew 12:34–37, ESV)

4Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4, ESV)

6The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:6–8, ESV)

1“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1–5, ESV)

 TEACHERS AND SHEPHERDS HAVE DUTIES FROM GOD

 FEED AND LEAD:

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. (Jn 21:15–17).

However, pastors and teachers aren’t just commanded to teach and lead the flock. We are also called upon to defend it when necessary. James says teachers are under a stricter judgment and this tension between not being judgmental but being discerning and defending your flock from harm, is part of the weight of that judgment.

Ezekiel tells us that if the watchman doesn’t warn those under his care he will be condemned. So yes, I am very aware of this and living with the weight of this greater judgment is something I agreed to take on when I became a teacher and pastor.

WATCHMEN – PROTECTING THE FLOCK

1The word of the Lord came to me: 2“Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, 3and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. 5He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. 6But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.” (Ezekiel 33:1–6, ESV)

3Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 3–4, ESV)

5And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 7in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 8You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”” (Mark 7:5–8, ESV)

Should We Name Names?

11But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.” (Galatians 2:11–12, ESV)

19holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” (1 Timothy 1:19–20, ESV)

16But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.” (2 Timothy 2:16–18, ESV)

  • If the people involved are public figures – like I am – the answer is yes!

THE PRICE OF LEADERSHIP:

1Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.” (James 3:1–2, ESV)

  • God’s judgment is based on what you know.

20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20, ESV)

That’s the only way His judgments can be just. He can’t condemn or justify you if you didn’t something was right or wrong.

47And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” (Luke 12:47–48, ESV)

12Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:12–15, ESV)

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Episode 114

Disciple Up # 114
Let’s Talk About the Trinity
By Louie Marsh, 6-26-2019

 The notes for this episode were taken from an old series that I wrote quite a few years ago called Basic Bible Questions. Also, don’t forget to check out http://www.waltermartin.com/ for great Bible teaching!

Introduction

 One of the most frequently misunderstood subjects in the Bible and the Christian faith is the Trinity. If you have questions about the Trinity – welcome to the club! Almost everyone does! Questions like: How is it possible for three to be one? What do we mean when we say they are one? What is the doctrine of the Trinity anyway?

This chapter will attempt to give basic answers to these and other questions about the Trinity. Please don’t think of this as the last word, or the most authoritative word, on the topic. Rather think of this as a basic explanation of this important biblical truth.

Only One God

The best starting place for an understanding of the Trinity is the bedrock of all the Bible’s teachings about God. If you don’t understand and believe this – then you do not and cannot understand what the Bible teaches about God. This is absolutely essential to understand and believe.

There is only one God! Not three or four or five or hundreds or more, only one! While many cults and other religions deny this, it remains the cornerstone of biblical truth about God. All Jewish and Christian faith is based on the unshakable conviction that this is true.

The core of the Old Testament faith is found in Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”  Rabbi’s call this the Shema. It declares the unique biblical view that there is only one God.

God Himself says the same thing, “Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”  Isaiah 44:8

God also had this to say about the issue: “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed– I, and not some foreign god among you.

You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God. Isaiah 43:10-12

If God doesn’t know of any other gods, and if He in fact declares that they don’t exist, never have and never will, that ought to settle the matter shouldn’t it? [See the End Notes of this chapter for more Scriptural support of this position.]

Three Called God

The Jewish faith lived by their belief in only one God (a belief called Monotheism) for two thousand years. But in the New Testament we learn something new about this One God. We find that there are three Persons (or Personalities) who are called God.

  • The Father: Jesus taught us to pray this way: “This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, Matthew 6:9. Paul also wrote this; I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father…Eph. 1:17.It is obvious then that the Father is God!
  • The Son: Jesus Christ was called God and called Himself God many times in the New Testament.  In the John’s Gospel He not only claimed this, but he enemies clearly understood Him to be making that claim.  I and the Father are one.”  Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”  “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” John 10:30-33The Apostle Paul teaches us that Christ is completely God, and not some half-god, half-man myth like Hercules for example. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, Col. 2:9 [See this chapters End Notes for more references like these.]

    It is equally obvious that the Son is God!

  • The Holy Spirit: Besides the fact that the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of God and therefore must be God too, there are other Scriptures that show us His divine nature. One that is often overlooked was written by Paul, Now the Lord is the Spirit… 2 Cor. 3:17.We see this very clearly in Acts where in a confrontation with a man who refuses to quit lying Peter makes it clear that lying to the Spirit is lying to God.  Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit… What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” Acts 5:3-4

    Clearly the Holy Spirit is God too!

References Throughout the New Testament

Throughout the New Testament references to the three members of the Trinity abound. For example look at the baptismal formula Jesus gave us: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19.

Or look at what the Apostle Peter said: who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood… 1 Peter 1:2.

Then there is Paul’s blessing (or wish prayer as some call it) on the Corinthians:  May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Cor. 13:14.

From these references (and many others can be found) it’s obvious that the writers of the New Testament believed in the Trinity even if they never used the word Trinity.

A Little Logic

Now it’s time for a little logic. Follow this chain of thought through and see if it doesn’t make sense to you.

  • The Bible says there only one God;
  • Yet the New Testament calls three Persons God.

Therefore one or the other of the following two conclusions must be true:

  • The writers of the New Testament were complete idiots who didn’t realize they were contradicting themselves, or
  • Somehow, in someway not completely understood by us, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit together make up the One God of the Bible!

That is what Christians have always believed that the Bible teaches – that is the position Christians everywhere have held.

Defining Terms

I took debate in college and one of the things they constantly stressed to us was the importance of defining your terms. If you can’t define it, you can’t believe it or defend it! Below is a good working definition of the Trinity, this is the classical formula that has been used and believed for centuries.

“Within the nature of the one eternal God, there are three eternal Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Three Being One, Not One Being Three

Having defined the Trinity, it’s important to look a bit deeper at what it means. The Trinity isn’t one God acting like three different persons, or becoming them one after the other, or at different points in time.

This view, known by various names but perhaps best known today as the “Oneness” doctrine (held by the United Pentecostal Church among others) is not what the Bible teaches. It is also not what the Church has taught through out the ages or what Christians have believed.

To illustrate why this interpretation can’t be right let’s look at a couple of situations from the life of Christ and imagine how different they would be if the Oneness doctrine was correct.

 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22

Here at one place and at the same time we have the Son being baptized, the Spirit descending on Him like a dove, and the Father speaking from heaven. Now either God is a ventriloquist or a magician or else the three members of the Trinity co-exist simultaneously together.

If the Oneness doctrine is correct then in the above example God deliberately deceived us by pretending to be three persons when He’s really only one! The same is true of the Transfiguration, look at what God said about Jesus.

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Matthew 17:5

If the Oneness view is correct then God the Father either lied here – or He made a mistake. He should have said, “This is my beloved me, with me I am well pleased, listen to me!”

Kind of confusing isn’t it? Of course! When Jesus prayed to the Father was He talking to Himself?  No! That’s why the doctrine of the Trinity is so important because it helps us make sense of some of the things Jesus said and did! He wasn’t talking to Himself; He was talking to His Father. So in the New Testament when we see Jesus talking to the Father or the Father talking to Him what we are seeing is one Person in the Trinity talking to another, as they have done from all eternity.

How Does It Work?

No one other than the members of the Trinity themselves could possibly understand or fully explain the way they co-exist together. However through out the history of the church many different illustrations have been used to help us grasp a little of what the Triune God is like.

You’ve probably seen pictures of an over lapping circles to explain how the three Persons of the Trinity can be one yet separate as well.  Or you may have heard the Trinity compared to an egg or a three-leaf clover (that was St. Patrick’s favorite!). Below are my two personal favorite illustrations.

An Illustration From Nature

Picture a beautiful lake surrounded by towering snow capped peaks on a cold mountain morning. It’s covered with a layer of ice and a dense fog is floating over it.

If you could reach into the ice and take a molecule from it, reach into the water below the ice and take a molecule from it, and also take one from the fog what would you have?  You’d have three identical H20 molecules. The substance of the liquid (water), the solid (ice) and the gas (fog) look different, and act different, but has the same molecular makeup – H20.

So it is with members of the Trinity. Their substance is the same, yet they are three distinct Persons. The three are one!

An illustration From Science

Chemists tell us of something they call “The Triple Point of Water.” When you put water into a vacuum tube, pump out all the air and put in under an exact pressure and extremely low temperature, something remarkable happens. Inside the tube the water at the top bursts into steam, the water at the bottom freezes solid, and the water in the middle stays liquid.

All three states exist simultaneously. The Triple Point of Water is the best example of the Trinity I’ve ever heard of (thanks to the late Dr. Walter Martin for teaching it!). The three are unique, yet one, and co-exist simultaneously.

H20 is the simplest of all the molecules, yet God has created it so that it reflects His complex nature. If water can do that – why can’t God? The argument against the Trinity that it’s impossible or irrational is simply not true, as I hope I’ve demonstrated here for you.

The Trinity isn’t completely beyond our grasp. We can understand a little bit of what it is and how it works. God created His universe to mirror His nature, so that we could grasp a little of His glory.

It’s not too hard to believe.

End Notes

Below are some Scripture references that will help you as you study the doctrine of the Trinity, the nature of God and the identity of Jesus.

Only One God: Duet. 4:35,39; 6:4; 32:39; Neh. 9:6; Psalm 83:18; Isa. 37:16; 43:10-15; 44:6-8; 45:5-12,21-25.

Mark 12:29,32; John 5:44; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Eph. 4:6; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:15; James 4:12; Jude 1:25.

Jesus is God: John 1:1-3; 5:16-18; 14:6-9; 20:27-28; Phil. 2:5-11; Col, 1:15-20; 2:8-10.  There’s more but this should get you started!

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Episode 57

57 Disciple Up Show Notes
Contending for the Faith #1
False Faith & The Thought Police
By Louie Marsh, 5-23-2018

What Contending for Faith Episodes will be:

3  Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4  For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:3-4 (ESV)

6  I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7  not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9  As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10  For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:6-10 (ESV)

These episodes aren’t just teaching Scripture but looking at what the world around us is saying on a variety of topics and issues and then applying Scripture to that.

http://slideplayer.com/slide/6299785/

This appears to be one slide from a sermon which is actually supporting the validity of Scripture and the identity of Jesus. So apparently this slide is a summation of the wrong approach to Jesus.

Nevertheless it deserves to be looked at closely.

3  But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4  For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 (ESV)

 

Do You Have A Right To Believe Whatever You Want Too?

https://aeon.co/ideas/you-dont-have-a-right-to-believe-whatever-you-want-to

By Daniel DeNicola is professor and chair of philosophy at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania and the author of Understanding Ignorance: The Surprising Impact of What We Don’t Know (2017), which received the 2018 PROSE Award in Philosophy from the Association of American Publishers.

 Please Get In Touch!Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


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