Monday, July 13, 2015

Am I my brother's keeper?

And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.  And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?  And he said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. (Genesis 4:8-10))

What we can learn from a Homeless Man

Scripture above records a very perverted account of a relationship between two brothers. And depending on how we perceive the scripture to interpret brotherhood,  we may very well be playing out  this murder of our brothers over and over again. 

The thing that metaphysically calls us Cains is our  defining of the word brother.  How we answer the question  "Who is my brother?" makes a different in the level of hypocrisy in which we walk out our Christian faith. 

Do we limit brotherhood to those that share my immediate parents; or those the share my personal opinions; or those that share Christian beliefs? Or is brotherhood something greater?

Yesterday, I stood in the foyer of our church sanctuary speaking to two of the brothers there. One spoke from his heart the love he had for those less fortunate, and why he has been so faithful in doing all he could to help them. The other brother spoke of our need to do more.

I contemplated a time when I was likewise faithful, not long ago when the ordinances of justice were the badge of my Christianity (Isaiah 58:1-9 . It’s not that I thought giving to my brother made me a better Christian, but that I felt that giving to my brother was a byproduct of who I was as a Christian. But somehow I had gotten away from loving my brother, fallen in the perverted abyss of my needs and my quality of life, and my stuff and my  feelings and my opinions.  And because I failed to do what I knew was right, James 4:17  as I spoke to these brothers in Christ  the Holy Spirit was twisting the sword of my spiritual guilt right through my very heart.   John 16:8 

On the street of Philadelphia, one of the largest homeless communities in the United States, we see our brothers every day, trying to invoke our mercy and remind us of our alms with cardboard signs that sum up the issues of their frustrations. Not every one of our brothers in need are crazy or  drug addicts, though even if they were, our responsibility would not change. But the signs don't invoke our love for them, they ignites our disdain for those who need us. yeah some of use will give a quarter, or if exceptionally generous a dollar. Where most of swerve into the far lane causing the driver next to us to nearly crash just so the we can avoid our brothers.

We justify our failure to give alms, by saying things like; 
 “I don’t have any change” or “they will only use the money for drugs or alcohol” Or the always pious “I’ll buy them something to eat, but I won’t give the money” yet we can’t remember when the last time we actually bought  our Brother in need something to eat. 

Today, many Philadelphians justify their lack of care for their brothers on Mayor Nutter’s  ban on giving money to  our brothers,  or  feeding our brothers on street corners and on taking  food into the parks so that our brothers can have a warm meal. Proverbs 14:3 , Proverbs 29:7   What type of administration bans helping your Brother? the irony is that we are called the City of Brotherly Love

However the saddest thing I have ever seen is when my brother was at the corner of Bridge and Pratt and he asked a man getting off the train could he have the rest of whatever the man was eating. The man spat in  my brother's face then, took the food out of the paper bag and threw it into the trash can uncovered to avoid giving it to my brotherPsalm 14:6

The Bible clearly teaches that we are our brother’s keeper, though a perverted world teaches otherwise.  We look to Leviticus 25:35 which says if your brother become poor and is unable to take care of himself, help him.  However, this responsibility was not given to us as a burden,  rather that the mercy and grace of God might be realized by all of our family,  on this side of  our Father's glory.

If we take the doctrine of Christianity as true, and apply it to the inclusivity of a fallen world, whereby we all share the same original parents; the same original sin; and the same need for salvation, grace, and mercy. If we truly apply the tenets of our faith unequivocally to all mankind, then no one can deny this truth. That our brother is the man, the women and the child who has fallen down and needs us not to look down on him, but to reach down to him and to pull him up. 

Your Brother in Christ



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Dichotomy of Judgment and Love

This is part one of a three part series on judgment.   

The Dichotomy of Judgment and Love.

A dichotomy is a division into two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory parts. This does not mean two things which are opposite. For instance the opposite of religion in non-religion, but its dichotomy is secular. In the same way the opposite of natural is unnatural, but it dichotomy is supernatural. We see in that it is natural for person to be born with two eyes, two legs etc. It is unnatural for a child to be born with only one arm, or one leg, or one eye. Thus it is Supernatural when the child born with only one of his legs grown the second after prayer and supplication. Understand this Juvenal explanation is only given to show the difference between the usage of opposite as opposed to the usage of dichotomy.

A dichotomy can also exist in the attributes of an person. Consider one of the most common dichotomies but seldom ever addressed is the dichotomy of judgment and love. For the Christian we see this in the statement “love the sinner but hate the sin” but this over used, seldom practice statement takes a very difficult gem of understanding and tries to packages in a Cracker Jack box of application. Let’s investigate further.

Judgment of Sin

The unenlightened and enemies of God weld as their primary weapon, contextomy [1], twisting scripture to justify their perversion, their sin, and unscrupulous behavior.  With the intent of supporting their abominable actions, destroying your faith, and adding doubt in your heart, they carefully pull scripture which could be seen as to defend their position. All the while ignoring all others scripture which requires them to be held accountable for their perversions.

Among the most common ways the enemy uses contextomy to disarm us, is to say that we should not judge them.  “Jesus said judge not lest you be judge” they would defend. However this form of quote mining allows them to quote authority, shut your mouth by that authority, yet not live their lives contradictory  to the teaching of the authority themselves. 

Don’t be fooled their intent is to get you off their back, to mind your own business, to shut you up. What they really mean is “Let me waddle in my sin and perversions and mind your own business!”  From a secular position they say “You do you, and let me do me” mentality is right. However when we accost a person of their sin, perversion, or wrong doing we do this not from the point of minding their business, rather from the perspective of submitting ourselves to the authority for which they quoted their defense. The Great commission requires us to reach out to them. The very same Jesus whom they know nothing about has required this of us Matthew 28:19-20, The Apostle teaches us the desperate need to convince other of the Gospel now and the horrific outcome for them if we do not. 2 Corinthians 5:11, And the prophet warns us if we do not. Ezekiel 33:5-7.
Throughout the beginning, God has set a man to warn the people of the rewards of their sin. Today He has set us who are His own, to warn the world of the impending danger to come. So the dichotomy is that we must intervene in their lives. deliberately introducing a change in thought feeling and behaviors in a way which will allows them to see their self-destructive behavior.  This so that the judgement of the christian is not out of hate or malicious behavior, but out of love.

Love that Causes Judgment

Therefore, I (we) don’t witness to an unbeliever because I’m “doing me”. we witness because we are commanded to ( Mark 16:15-16, Matthew 28:16-20, Ezekiel 33:7 )  we tell those that have not come into the knowledge  of who Christ is because we fear for them, because the result of us not telling them is that they will die and suffer for eternity in hell, and their blood will be on our my hands. A true Christian does not witness because we dislikes what they do, or who they are. Sure we are told to hate sin, (Psalm 97:10, Proverbs 8:13,) but we are also called to love indiscriminately (John 13:34, 1 John 4:11, Luke 6:27-28, Romans 12:14) A true Christian witness Christ because we fear the wrath of God on those that do not know Christ; A true Christian witness Christ because we love them, and true love will not remain silent while someone unknowing walks off the precipice of self-destruction

The apostle Paul says “knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” 2 Corinthians 5:11-21,)

The real question every so-called Christian must ask himself is “If I witness to an unbeliever, will I be imposing my faith on him? If I speak on false teaching, will I be labeled a heretic, on tolerance will I  be labeled intolerant; If I speak on sin will I be labeled Judgmental?” Is there any wonder that the Apostle Paul needed the prayers of the Ephesian church to strengthen him to preach (Ephesians 6:19) witnessing is hard work but only bring about rewards. 

When the Jesus say “judge not lest you be judge” (Matthew 7:1-3, He was not talking about giving a righteous judgment, but a hypocritical judgment  This is why in the gospel of Matthews and the gospel of Luke He (Jesus) gives a comparison to the hearer. (ie someone with a great big board in his eye judging someone else with only a splinter in his eye) It’s important to know that we cannot draw interpretations from a single verse; we must understand the context in which the verse is written, whom it is spoken to, and even historic idioms as they relate to that verse.   Consider that in Matthew 7:1 “Jesus commands “Judge not” then in Matthew 18 he commands us to judge! Jesus did not forget what he had said earlier, it was never His intent that we do not judge, if that is what we get form Matthew 7:1-3, then we need to test it against other scripture to see what is really being said.

But in the gospel of John, Jesus sets the perimeters for judgment (John 7:24) and those requirements are “Righteous Judgment.” Don’t ever let someone mislead you; the Bible is replete with examples of men and women of God judging the action of others.  John the Baptist rebukes King Herod (Luke 3:19) But since we are using the quotes of Jesus as a defense for not judging let’s see what scripture actually reveals.

1.      Jesus corrected people publicly, and directly  (Matthew 5:20, Matthew 23:14, Mark 7:6)
2.      Jesus corrected the actions of people metaphorically by associating their actions with the animals for which their behavior resembled. Many times he called the Pharisee snakes (Matthew 3:7 ) the King a fox (Luke 13:32) , false teacher wolves (Matthew 10:16) and unregenerate Gentiles “dogs.(Matthew 7:6)
3.      Jesus used comparison when correcting people; Jesus rebuked the lack of belief by the covenant people (Jews) by singling out the faith of a gentile (Matthew 8:5-13)
4.      Jesus corrected those with prideful and error motives (Matt. 8:18-22

If we did any of these things then everyone even many of our family members would hate us. The main point that has to be understood is that judgment for the Christian originates out of love. Love for God, and love for the individual we are addressing. When righteous judgment is applied, the love that we are required to have for that individual does not dissipate. Just as important the love of God does not make us tolerant to evil. This is the proper application of Righteous Judgment, this is why Jesus was able to call the Pharisees snakes, and forgive a woman caught in the very act of adultery.  

Your brother in Christ 
TC FireSpeaks

 other post you may like

The intent is to prepare the Christian against encounters when he will be accosted with statements like “You can’t judge me,” or ”Jesus said Judge not lest you be judge”  But more importantly the intent is to teach Christians how to witness to a person with love without compromising God’s word. 

[1]Contextomy is the practice of misquoting someone/something by shortening the quotation, or by leaving out the surrounding words or sentences that would place the quote in its proper context..


Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Bible and the Koran are Not the Same Thing

You Got it all wrong Pope Francis! The Bible and the Koran are not the same thing!

Many people want to say that the Bible and the Koran teach the same thing, however this is just not the truth.  Many key feature make the Bible and the Koran Juxpostionally opposed to one another. Take for instant how we view God, Jesus Christ, and salvation which may mean nothing to atheist, but are foundational differences that cannot be overlooked by either Christian, Jew or Muslim. In fact the very foundation of the Bible, which is Jesus, is antagonistic to the teaching of Islam. 

Some people in an effort to be peacemakers teach a bible which says “there are many paths to the same God.” The problem with this theory is Jesus teaches there is only one path (John 6:44 ) these statement are contradictory to one another, they can’t be both right. The most common tool of the enemy is the twisting of scripture, this is done to bring about doubt in the difficult statements of exclusivity that the Bible teaches. But when Pope Francis (though he is nothing to me) makes a false statement like this, because of the reverence that is given to him by Catholics around the world, and some Muslims as well, no one will even question the validity of his statement.

My only hope is that you do not fall into this tom-foolery  of false teachers and inerrant doctrine, but instead that you would be as the bream  and receive all teaching with grace but tested it against scriptures. 
T.C. FireSpeaks

The Bible
The Koran,
Who is God
God is One in three persons (Trinity) Father, Son, Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:1-3, Isaiah 43:10; 44:6-8; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14 )
Quran Monotheistic (5:73; 112:1-4), denies the Trinity (5:73).
Holy Spirit is the 3rd person in the Godhead. He will bear witness of Jesus (John 14:26; 15:26).
The Holy Spirit is the angel Gabriel (2:97; 16:102).
Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross at the hands of Pontius Pilate (John 19:17, John 19:23,  Luke 23:33, Matthew 27:35-37, Mark 15:24-25, 1 Pet. 2:24)
Jesus does not die on the cross, nor is he resurrected from death. This is important because almost every historian in the world are absolutely sure that Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross at the hands of Pontius Pilate. (4:157) Yet 1 Billion Muslim today in spite of the clear evidence are in denial of this fact.

Jesus is God in the Flesh (Col. 2:9, 2 Peter 1:1, John 1:1 John 1:14, John 5:17-19)

The Quran: Jesus is not God (5:17, 75).
Jesus rose from the dead (John 2:19-20)
The Koran Jesus never died
Jesus is the Son of God (Mark 1:1, Psalm 2:7,  Mark 3:17, 17:5,
Jesus was not the Son of God (9:30).
Salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9)
Salvation by sincerity and works (3:135; 7:8-9; 21:47; 49:14; 66:8-9).
The Devil is a fallen angel (Isaiah 14:12-15)
Satan was Jinn (2:34; 7:12; 15:27; 55:15)
Man is fallen, a sinner (Rom. 3:23)
Man is basically good.
The Bible  Doctrine;   The Koran Doctrine
Disciples were Christians (Acts 11:26).
Disciples declare themselves Muslims (5:111) even though it was over 700 years before the first Muslim came into existence
Worship on Sabbath (Exodus 20) then later on Sunday (Rom. 14:5-6; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2)
Worship on Friday (62:9)
Miracles, numerous are recorded (124 Miracles in the Bible.).
No Miracles recorded, except they claim the Qur'an is a miracle.
The bible was written by over 40 authors over 1800  years with a single theme

Quran only has one author written over 23 years
The Bible makes innumerable prophecies (click here for a small list),
The Quran does not make prophecies