Saturday, September 15, 2018

2.2 Naturalism Lesson notes

BIG IDEA: According to naturalism, 
nature consists of the physical world accessible through the five senses.

Summarize the three main worldview categories. 
Naturalism is the worldview that the physical universe alone exists with no supernatural influences. 
Pantheism is the worldview that everything is divine with no creator distinct from creation.
Theism is the worldview that one, personal God created everything.
(Polytheism: is the view that many gods and/or goddesses exist.)

How does Naturalism answer four
What is real?—According to naturalism, the only things that are real are those that can be tested by the five senses. 
Who is man?—According to Darwinism, humanity developed by a "cosmic accident
After death?—When you stop breathing, your life is done.  You cease to exist.
Right & wrong (Purpose)?—There’s no standard outside of mankind that determines right and wrong.

Misconception: A meaningful life can be found in the things of this world alone. 
Romans 1:28
Illumination: Without a relationship with God, life in this world is meaningless.   
2 Peter 1:3-4; Ecclesiastes 2:24-25
Application question:  What gives meaning to your life.  Why do you do things?

Solomon—Ecclesiastes 1-2
1. What are the repeated phrases in chapters 1 & 2?
vanity (futility)--1:2, 2, 2, 2, 14; 2:1, 11, 17, 19, 21, 23, 26
labor (toil, i.e. wearing effort; hence, worry)--1:3; 2:10, 10, 11, 18, 18, 19, 19, 20, 20, 22, 24
striving for the wind-- 1:14, 17; 2:11, 17, 26
wisdom (chokmah--wisdom, skill, shrewdness) 1:13, 16, 18; 2:3, 9, 12, 21, 26
under the sun--1:9, 14; 2:11, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 
under heaven--1:13; 2:3; 
“Under the sun,” used 29 times in Ecclesiastes and nowhere else in the Old Testament, simply means “on the earth,” that is, in terms of human existence (1:9142:1117181920223:164:137155:13186:15128:915179:369111310:5; cf. 1:132:33:1). The phrase shows that the writer’s perspective was universal, not limited to his own people and land.  And it shows that Solomon was looking at life from the perspective of man on the earth without the aid of special revelation from God  --Thomas Constable's Expository Notes

2. What kind of picture does Solomon paint of our existence? (1.3-8) (Does that surprise you?)

3. How does Solomon try to satisfy himself? Why didn’t it work?  (What have you tried?)
2.1-11  PLEASURE; (NET--indulgent pleasure; KJV, NKJV--mirth
2.12-17  "MATERIALISM" wisdom land madness and folly  (NET--wisdom, as well as foolish behavior and ideas)
2.18-21  "WORKAHOLIC"  labor (RSV, ESV--toil; HCSB, NLT--work  

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
"The order of the two points (fear … keep) is significant. Conduct derives from worship. A knowledge of God leads to obedience; not vice versa."  --Michael A. Eaton, in TOTC

The fear (H3372 yä·rā') of the Lord is
The awareness that God is watching, weighing, and rewarding all that I do, say, and think.
“The remarkable thing about fearing God,” wrote Oswald Chambers, “is that, when you fear God, you fear nothing else; whereas, if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” --Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Satisfied

keep  (H8104  shä·mar': to keep, guard, observe, give heed)
1A (Qal).
1A1 to keep, have charge of.
1A2 to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life.
1A2A watch, watchman (participle).
1A3 to watch for, wait for. 1
A4 to watch, observe.
1A5 to keep, retain, treasure up (in memory).
1A6 to keep (within bounds), restrain.
1A7 to observe, celebrate, keep (sabbath or covenant or commands), perform (vow).
1A8 to keep, preserve, protect.
1A9 to keep, reserve.

James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995).
"Now in the epilogue, almost as an aside, it is pointed out that such a life will have implications. It must not be restricted to the Mosaic law." --Michael A. Eaton in TOTC 
"The fear of the Lord must result in obedient living, otherwise that “fear” is only a sham."  --Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Satisfied

whole (H3605 - kol : all, the whole}

NET Bible tn Heb “This is all men”; or “This is the whole of man.” The phrase זֶה כָּל־הָאָדָם (zeh kol-haadam, “this is all men”) features rhetorical elision of a key word. The ambiguity over the elided word has led to no less than five basic approaches: 
(1) “this is the whole duty of man” (KJV, ASV, RSV, NAB, NIV); 
(2) “this is the duty of all men” (MLB, ASV margin, RSV margin); 
(3) “this applies to all men” (NASB, NJPS); 
(4) “this is the whole duty of all men” (NRSV, Moffatt); and 
(5) “there is no more to man than this” (NEB). 
The four-fold repetition of כֹּל (kol, “all”) in 12:13-14 suggests that Qoheleth is emphasizing the “bottom line,” that is, the basic duty of man is simply to fear and obey God: After “all” (כֹּל) has been heard in the book, his conclusion is that the “whole” (כֹּל) duty of man is to obey God because God will bring “all” (כֹּל) acts into judgment, including “all” (כֹּל) that is hidden, whether good or bad. See D. Barthélemy, ed., Preliminary and Interim Report on the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, 3:596.

judgment   (H4941 - mish-pawt'; properly, a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially)

Westminster Shorter Catechism
Question 1
Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man's chief end is to glorify God,1 and to enjoy him forever.2
1 Corinthians 10:31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Romans 11:36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Psalm 73:24-26. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God isthe strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
John 17:22, 24. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one... Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Weaker Brother and the Free Brother

I have for some time wrestled with the description of a "weaker brother" in Romans fourteen.  It seems to point to someone who is feeble and deficient.  But it seems to me that someone who is principled and holds firmly to the convictions of his/her conscience is anything but weak and feeble.  And if this person has a fundamental shortcoming, why wouldn't the Scripture encourage them to strengthen themselves in their faith or understanding?  Paul does not rebuke the weaker brother here like he does legalism in other places.

One day after a wedding I was discussing the service with a strong believer who would not be described as "legalistic."  I commented on how lively and contemporary the recessional had been. It was a fun "tune" to end the wedding.  He responded that we probably should not have allowed that tune because it was associated with a particularly ungodly and heathen musical group.  

I thought to myself, it's nice that I don't know anything about that group so that I am able to enjoy the song.  Then it hit me that in a sense it was my ignorance or the absence of a special sensitivity, not my superior spirituality that made me the "stronger" (free) brother in this situation.  I imagine that if I had the same background and experience with that song, I would have been troubled the same way my brother was.

Knowing what I had learned about that piece, it would be my desire to not use it in another wedding, for my bother's benefit, not because it would trouble me.  There was nothing particularly objectionable about the tune to either of our sensibilities, but it had connotations for my friend that it just didn't for me.  He should not condemn me because my background leaves me free to listen, and I should not insist on using the song with him because I know it would trouble him.

Asian Responses the question about meat sacrificed to idols in 1 Cor 10.27-28.

But what happens is this. Hindus [mostly] take some of the food and offer it to the idols. Now they offer it to people because that food offered to the idols is very precious and the belief is that it will invoke blessing.  But when they see a Christian or a Muslim come for a gathering or a function, most of them are sensitive not to give the food offered to the idols.  They bring the same food but the ones not offered to the idols.  Or I have in some contexts told them gently that I would love to eat but not the one offered to the idols.
What do you think a Hindu would think of you if you ate from the part of the food that had been offered to the idol?
Hmmm... that is good question. In some places that I have been, I have been able to witness that my God is much bigger than any other spirits or forces, and I am not afraid nor I am acknowledging their god.  Because as you said, they do think that I have accepted their god or see their god as mighty or worthy of worship. Where I have shared that it is the opposite. 
Yes. It is an issue when we start addressing it. 
Most Christian parents always warn and keep their kids in check about those offering foods, and things we will encounter with friends at school.
Now Hindu's do the offering food stuff mostly during their festivals. Although, they have about 10-15 main festivals all through the year for different deities, the main 3-4 festivals are usually lengthy and the celebrations go on for about 7-10 days.  This is when they have stalls put up on the streets or neighbourhoods with large idols, and constant puja's (worship) and chanting of the recitals called mantras etc.  Families sign up for this worship with the priest and stuff.  They have stalls like this in all neighbourhoods through out the country, big and small, 5 feet x 5 feet to 20 x 20 feet.  So they have like 20 - 100 puja's everyday, and at the end of the each puja session, the priest just gives the prasad (food snack that has been offered to the idol and is kept in front of the idol) to everyone in the vicinity.
So first thing our parents train us and warn us is, when we're walking along that route, DO NOT even look at the stall.  It's nothing but Satan.  So we somehow get this fear in our hearts as children, that that is so evil and even looking at it can make the devil go after us.  Or that something bad will happen to us, if we lurch around there or see the idol and the stuff there. 
Secondly, to understand the concept of why Hindu's offer food, snacks and goodies to Christians and Muslims -  Being a country with several religions, the biggest way we share with our community and neighbours is that when its Christmas, Christians make big plates of goodies (Snacks, cookies, cakes and all kinds of sweet and salty, spicy snacks) and we visit our Hindu and Muslim neighbours or friends and give them and visit a little bit. An average family usually hands about 20-30 such packets or plates. Muslims do this to only very close neighbours or friends, and Hindu's do it too. 
So as far as I can remember, everybody that knows you and is close to a Christain knows that we don't eat the prasad.  We are trained to just tell our friends that we don't eat food offered to idols. So sometimes, when we are visiting a friend and their parent brings over a prasad before we leave to school and give an exam, the mother brings over some prasad, and we just have to say - no thanks aunty. I cannot eat prasad.  It's hard at first but soon, it becomes second nature. 
The best part is - Hindu friends that know you start taking off the snacks aside first for their christian friends and then put the whole bowl in front of the idol. They just bring over stuff and say, - we did not put it in front of the idol. we took some aside first. so you can have it. 
Even at work, on a big Hindu festival day, the whole office has a small puja and someone in the office goes around all the floors giving prasad to everyone. We just have to say, No I don't eat prasad or just be absent from the scene for a while. 
Yes, you can take it and not eat it and throw it away, but my mom always said, Do not take it. let them know that we are not supposed to eat it. 
No doubt, there will be people who laugh at us or talk about it behind us, but that's never bothered me. the only thing I would worry about is that I can tell them No, and that they will take No for an answer. Some people try to force you - Just this one time, yu know.
And also no doubt, there might be hindu's who say they didn't offer and bring you stuff from there. But we can't knnow that. 
When I first went into the Dom Tribe the clan that I lived with to learn the language and culture and begin evangelism would often kill a pig as part of a bride price, to pay a debt etc.  Because I was part of that clan I was given a small portion of the meat.  I would always take the meat and eat it.
Then about every 5-6 years there would be a large pig killing ceremony where dozens of pigs would be killed and  because I was part of the tribal clan I was also given a small portion of this meat to eat .  It wasn't until I began to evangelize and had young Christians that this became an issue.  The Christians came to me and said "Don't you realize the pig that was killed during the pig killing ceremony was sacrificed to the spirit of our ancestors?".  They said I should not be eating this meat.  When I realized they were bothered by this I no longer took my share of  this meat.
This was never an issue unless we went to a village for a festival.  We would attend the “celebration” (used ever so loosely) and be observers.  It was good to fast and pray during those times.  However, in a day to day setting the markets are just that, markets where folks are trying to make some cash. 
Glory...really it is a nice topic to discuss. In India it is a everyday test for the christians. If you go to a store, the owner of the store every day morning without offering Pooja he won't sell anything. If you go to a meat shop we will get Hallal meat only. that means he offers that to God before he sells to us. If you get in to a Bus everyday morning without offering prayer to God and without breaking a coconut to God he won't start the bus. In some buses we can find neatly framed idol photos. Even in the Banks we can find idol photos in the corners. Even if you go to a hotel everyday morning without offering to the God and without keeping some portion of the food in front of the idols he won't serve the food. What we have to do? Knowingly we are eating that food, we are purchasing the things from the store knowingly, we are travelling in the buses knowingly, we are getting the meat knowingly :). By doing all these things Are we doing against to the Word? By doing all these things Are we falling in our faith? Firmly i can say NO. Then am i encouraging people to eat the food which was offered to Idols?..No.. It is good not to take food which was offered to Idols.  If anybody takes such food,then not to judge them by the food. It is good not to take such food when it is weaking fellow believers faith. For further clarifications refer to Mark 7:15-23.,Romans14:20-23.

Generally we avoid such places and funtions. If we go there we ask people not to serve such food for us. We are not worrying about taking food unknowingly because it won't weakens my faith in the God. In my experience i used to attend many functions and places, when they invites me i will clearly tells them that i won't eat food because you offers it to idols. Sometimes they prepares food for us separately. Sometimes by saying like that we avoids such functions.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Galatians 5:13-15 Thru Love Serve ONE ANOTHER

13 For you, brethren, have been called to freedom;
(QUICKLY point out other two used of “freedom” in Galatians)
hmmmm… that could really be misunderstood!
only do not use freedom as an opportunity for the flesh,
but through love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this:
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
15 But if you bite and devour one another,
beware lest you be consumed by one another!

Go quickly through #1
1. BACKGROUND  For you, brethren, have been called to freedom;
Freedom from what?---From keeping the law in
Just allude to…Galatians 2.4- Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—  to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
Freedom to eat non-kosher food with the gentiles
Galatians 3:2-3  2  Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?  3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
·       Saved by faith, walk in faith—not by keeping laws (rules)
Galatians 5:1
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.  I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.  You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.  For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.

·       If we are “free,” what will restrain our behavior?
·       What is the meaning of this freedom? Freedom from what?  Free to do what?
·       How do we exercise this freedom?

A. NOT as an opportunity for the flesh,
Not to satisfy the desires of the flesh.
Eph 4.28  stole, but work to give
Eph 4:25 not corrupt, but edifying to build up
Eph 4:31-32  Not bitterness…malice, but kind, tenderhearted, forgiving

·       Freedom from the slavery to selfish desires and impulses to freedom to give.
·       Freedom from the rule our lower nature has over us.
·       “Christian freedom is freedom from sin not to sin.”  John Stott

B. but through love serve one another.

through love  This love is a higher level that brotherly love.
·       There is a difference between fulfilling the law of true love and keeping the laws through grudging obligation..
·       It is not another set of rules to keep.  Doing good deeds for the sake of doing good deeds. 
·       Allow God’s Spirit to fill you with His love to overflowing.
·       Even the fleshly old nature can serve thru compulsion or pride.

serve   douleo to serve (be a servant to).
·       We have gone (as in Eph 4:28) from using our resources to gratify our excess, but to love, to give to others.
·       There is an implication of humility in this expression.
·       “You can tell whether you are a servant, by how you act when you are treated like one.” 
·       “Frustration at lack of reciprocity or appreciation are warnings that we are serving others, not the Lord.  That we are acting from completion not love.”
·       (The answer is not to not serve, but ask God to change your heart in service.)

3. The Critical contrast …The law of love over against vicious destruction

Leviticus 19:17-18
 17  You shall not hate your brother in your heart,
But you shall reason frankly with your neighbor,
lest you incur sin because of him.
18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge
against the sons of your own people,
but you shall love your neighbor as yourself:
I am the Lord.

·       How do you hate your brother?  By allowing offenses to go unaddressed
·       Live and let live is often (if not always) not a Christian sentiment.
·       What is the opposite of serving/loving?

But if you bite and devour one another,
watch out (beware) that you are not consumed (destroyed) by one another.
5:15. The ancients (especially in the Old Testament and Jewish sources, e.g., Prov 30:14) used the metaphor of being eaten by others as a grotesque description of a horrible fate or inconceivable wickedness  (literal cannibalism horrified ancient sensitivities even more than it does modern ones).[1]

Mark 3    Jesus proving he did not cast out demons by Satan…
24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 
25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.
Even Satan knows that you can’t fight each other and win!

Being ugly to each other should strike us as grotesque and foolish.

How do these verses express the heart of the Gospel?

[1] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ga 5:15.