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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Reflections on the Church #3




The Church is unlike any other institution or body in society. That is why the Church must retain its special mission to present Jesus Christ to the world in a clear manner. Many think this is the pastor's job and they are willing to let him do all the work.

Yet it is clear in Scripture that God gives each Christian work to do. The job descriptions are listed in 1 Corinthians 12:27-30. Here Paul explains, “Now Christ’s body is yourselves, each of you with a part in the whole. And those whom God has appointed in the Church are…

First – apostles
Second – prophets
Third – teachers
Fourth – workers of miracles, and so on...

The qualifications for clergy are given in 1 Tim 3:1-13. Here we note that only those who are "in Christ" are to be added to the Church and only those who are mature in faith and stable in their relationships are to lead others.

In 1 Corinthians 3:1-17, Paul warns against bad conduct. Christian leaders to fail to adhere to the high moral standard of the Apostles harm the Church and give Christ haters occasion to speak evil of the Lord and his Church. Those who serve faithfully will be rewarded at Christ’s Judgment Seat.

The pastor is to follow the example of the Apostles. He is to instruct, correct, discern the spirits, rebuke, commend, and proclaim the Gospel. He is to gather the people for worship, for the study of God's Word, and for fellowship that builds the local congregation.

All Christians are to regularly participate in the life of the Church. “. . let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

All Christians are to seek the truth by searching the Scriptures, as did the noble Bereans who "received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11

Related reading: All Christians are Ministers; Few are Priests; Reflections on the Church #1; Reflections on the Church #2


Monday, September 11, 2017

Reflections on the Church #2




The Church is the body of all faithful people. They are called "saints" because they are sanctified. The words "saint" and "sanctified" share the same Latin root. Sanctus means holy. The saints are sanctified, that is, we are made holy by divine grace. St. Paul explains this to the believers at Corinth.
“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.” (1 Cor 1:2)

Paul encouraged the Christians at Corinth to live sanctified lives. Their conduct was to be exemplary. They were to live pure lives in the service of Christ and his Church. Their holiness would stand out in the midst of the sexual immorality that characterized this ancient city. Paul wrote:
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” (1 Cor 3:16, 17)
All forms of sexuality immorality were to be avoided: adultery, fornication, bestiality, onanism, and homosex.

The Apostle's admonition is repeated in the epistle to Timothy.
“. . . so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” (1 Tim 3:15)

1 Timothy 3:1-10 is directed to the leaders of the Church. They are held to a high standard.
Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

Verses 12 and 13 continue the description of the style of life expected of a deacon.
 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

The call to holiness applies to the Church today as much as to the time of the Apostle Paul. Those who seek to live sanctified lives will stand out in a morally corrupt society. This is one way that the Church witnesses to the world that God grants power to live above the baseness of the prevailing culture. The saint who overcomes by God's grace will be clothed in a white robe of righteousness (Rev 3:5).

Related reading: Reflections on the Church #1; The Wardrobe of Saints


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Reflections on the Church #1





Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

This is the first of several reflections on the Church.

The word "Church" appears 77 times in the New Testament. Some notable examples include Jesus' promise to build his church (Matt 16:18); the church as an instrument of correction (Matt 18:15-20; Acts 5:1-11); the natural home of the true convert (Acts 2:37-42); and the body that continually devotes itself "to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:41, 42)

The Church is God's creation through the blood of Jesus Christ, and an expression of God's will on earth. Therefore, the Church is a target for evil forces and needs faithful clergy and laity to protect it. The Apostle Paul understood this and experienced demonic attempts to destroy the fledgling congregations that he and other apostles worked so hard to plant and sustain. He experienced the "plots of Jews" to kill him and harsh treatment at the hands of Gentiles. He wrote:

"Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things,. .” (Acts 20:28-30)

What is needed in the Church are faithful clergy who will uphold the Gospel, rightly divide the Scriptures, maintain discipline in the churches, gather the people for regular worship, and equip them for ministry. Is this happening in your church?


Related reading: Looking for the True God?A Latent Stumbling BlockContending for the FaithA Historic BattleSatanic StrategiesDefining OrthodoxyThe Spiritual BattlePrinciples Determining Interpretation

Friday, September 1, 2017

INDEX of Topics


Current as of  21 September 2017

Apologetics
Why Sincere Muslims Should Learn About Jesus
Looking for the True God?
A Latent Stumbling Block
Contending for the Faith (Latent Stumbling Block, Part II)
A Historic Battle (Latent Stumbling Block, Part III)
Satanic Strategies (Latent Stumbling Block, Part IV)
Defining Orthodoxy (Latent Stumbling Block, Part V)
The Spiritual Battle (Latent Stumbling Block, Part VI)
Principles Determining Interpretation (Latent Stumbling Block, Part VII)
The Creation of the Universe (Latent Stumbling block, Part VIII)
My Response to a Muslim Scholar
Another Response to Islam
Further Thoughts on Creation Issues
The Glory of Belonging
The Science-Faith Question
President Lincoln's Faith
A.W. Tozer on Pursuing God

Authority
Divine Authority as a Gift
A Special Meeting in Galilee

Baptism
On Holy Baptism and Discipleship
Psalm 23: Identification through Baptism
Progressively Exchanging Life

Bible Blurb (Thoughts about the Bible, brief biblical insights)
Probability and Reliability
Specific Details of Jesus' Last Week
Mini Bible
The Bible is a Library

Bible Study
A Clarifying Search of the Scriptures
The Living Word Transforms Lives
The Gospel for Seekers
Two Powerful Words: "I Believe"
Melchizedek: A Type of Christ
The Incarnation of the Son of God
Conforming the Mind to Scripture
The New Testament: What Authority Without the Inspiration Doctrine?
Christ's Triumphal Resurrection: Victory over Death
The Second Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: Redemption!
The Third Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: A New People
The Fourth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: An Entirely New Self-concept
The Fifth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: God's Power for Living
The Sixth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection: A New Glorified Body
The Seventh Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Eighth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Breath of God: Why Study Greek?
The Veracity of the Holy Bible
Praying the Psalms
Meditation of Luke 22: Glory
Meditation on His Glory, Part II

Cartoons
Animal Pranks on the Ark
Adam's Bad Dream
Genesis is Spelled With a G
On the Lighter Side
Noah's Dog
Call it a day!

Church
Reflections on the Church #1
Reflections on the Church #2
Reflections on the Church #3

Discipleship
Thomas à Kempis on Discipleship
Discipleship Before Church Growth
Merton, Bonhoeffer and Kierkegaard on Discipleship
Pastors Need to Disciple and Honor Vocations
The Importance of Teaching for Discipleship
The Importance of Follow-up in Making Disciples
What is the Context of Biblical Discipleship?
All Need to Repent
Forgiveness: Against Easy Believeism
Repentance Unto Life
All Need to Repent
Billy Graham on Discipleship
C.S. Lewis on Discipleship
Oswald Chambers on Discipleship
John Stott on Discipleship
Evelyn Underhill on Discipleship
Charles H. Spurgeon on Discipleship
Dwight L. Moody on Discipleship
Survey of the Fundamentals of Discipleship
Making Disciples: What Christian Students Need to Know
How to Build a Disciple-Making Church
Building a Disciple-Making Church
Discipleship and Church Mission Statements
C.S. Lewis Was a Thoroughly Converted Person
Larry Osborne: Thoughts on Discipleship
Who am I in Christ?
Living the Gospel, Part I
Living the Gospel, Part II
Forgiveness and Restoration (Part I)
Forgiveness Must Bring Forth Fruit (Part II)
Forgiveness is Not Enough! (Part III)
The Costs and Benefits of Christian Discipleship
Discipleship is Not Refurbished Religious Education
Discipleship Comes By Listening
Taking Your Spiritual Temperature
Are First Commandments Neglected?

Distinctive Discipleship blog
Launching a Blog about Discipleship
One Year Anniversary! Thanks for reading, folks.

Easter
Christ is Risen!
Resurrection Day Approaches

Emotions
The Dangers of Emotional Compulsion
The Christian and Emotions

Evangelism
Discipling With Authority
The Great Commission is Our Mission
The Great Commission and Things Unwritten
The Great Commission - Part III
The Great Commission - Part IV
Partnering with the Lord
Bringing Christ to our Neighbors
You Shall Be Fishers of Men

Faith
Our Common Confession
Overcoming By Faith
How Faith Overcomes - Part I
How Faith Overcomes - Part II
How Faith Overcomes - Part III
How Faith Overcomes - Part IV
How Faith Overcomes - Part V
How Faith Overcomes - Part VI
Faith Overcomes Antichrists - Part VII
How Faith Overcomes - Part VIII
How Faith Overcomes - Part IX
Obedience of Faith, Part I
Obedience of Faith, Part II
Obedience of Faith , Part III

Jesus Christ
The Many Triumphs of Christ's Resurrection
The First Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Second Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Third Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Fourth Triumph of Christ's Resurrection
The Fifth Triumph
The Sixth Triumph
The Seventh Triumph
The Eight Triumph
Before the Throne of God

Holidays
Let All the Angels Adore Him!
Christmas: Merry Christmas to Adam's Race (a poem)
Merry Christmas to All US Residents
A Blessed Nativity Feast
Divine Opportunities in the New Year
New Year's Day: A.W. Tozer
Salt the New Year!
Prayer for the New Year
Presidents' Day: President Abraham Lincoln's Faith
St. Patrick's Day: Remember an Obedient Servant of the Lord
Fourth of July: Prayer for the Nation

Lundwall, Edward F. Jr.
About Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.
(See "Publications" below for information on ordering printed materials.)

Marriage
Part I: Christian Marriage
Part II: Married Love
Part III: The Many Facets Of Christian Married Love
Part IV: Living in Harmony
Part V: Loving for a Lifetime
Part VI: Married Life: Continued Harmony

Military Service
Military Service in Vietnam: Why Volunteer?
Why I Volunteered
Walking With Christ Through Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
When the Mortars Fell
Mercy in the Midst
On Mercy and the Number 13
Letter to a Christian Service Person in Desert Storm

Prayer
The Lt's Godly Prayer
George Washington's Prayer
Introduction to Praying the Psalms
Praying Psalm 1: The Way of the Righteous
Praying Psalm 2: Kiss the Son
Praying Psalm 3: God is My Shield
Praying Psalm 4: Let Me be Approved of Thee, O God
Praying Psalm 5: Renew a Right Spirit Within Me
Praying Psalm 6: When Weeping Leads to Victory
Praying Psalm 7: The Basis of Boldness
Praying Psalm 8: Worship in Admiration and Humility
Praying Psalm 9: Hope for the Oppressed
Praying Psalm 10: Deliverance from the Wicked
Praying Psalm 11: The Foundation of Life
Praying Psalm 12: Lamenting the Lack of Godliness
Praying Psalm 13: Faith's Triumph
Praying Psalm 14: Remembering We Are Sinners
Praying Psalm 15: Fellowship With God
Praying Psalm 16: God-Pleasing Godliness
Praying Psalm 17: Progression Sanctification
Praying Psalm 18: God's Power to Deliver
Praying Psalm 19: Witness for Worship
Praying Psalm 20: Personal and National Revival
Praying Psalm 21: Worship and Thanksgiving
Praying Psalm 22: The Hope of Christ - The Prophetic Vision
Praying Psalm 23: Daily Living with the Good Shepherd
Praying Psalm 24: Inspired by Creation, we worship the Creator
Praying Psalm 25: Lifting Up One's Soul
Praying Psalm 26: God's Affirmation of the Accused
Praying Psalm 27: Waiting on the Lord
Praying Psalm 28: Desperately Seeking in Prayer
Praying Psalm 29: God's Power and Glory Seen in Nature
Praying Psalm 30: A Disciple's Heart Desire
Praying Psalm 31: Humbly Waiting on the Lord
Praying Psalm 32: The Beatitude of the Redeemed
Praying Psalm 33: A National Prayer for Revival
Praying Psalm 34: God Redeems
Praying Psalm 35: Friends and Foes
Praying Psalm 36: Finding Holiness in God's Presence
Praying Psalm 37: Trusting the Lord
Praying Psalm 38: The Suffering Sinner
Praying Psalm 39: The Discouraged Disciple
Praying Psalm 40: The Sustained Servant
Praying Psalm 41: The Sick Servant
Praying Psalm 42: The Dry Disciple
Praying Psalm 43: The Questioning Disciple
Praying Psalm 44: A Dependent Disciple
Praying Psalm 45: A Disciple in Love
Praying Psalm 46: The Disciple's Refuge
Praying Psalm 47: The King's Disciple
Psalm 48: The Disciple's Stronghold
Prayers Not Answered? Why?
Unanswered Prayer, Part I
Unanswered Prayer, Part II
Unanswered Prayer, Part III
Unanswered Prayer, Part IV
Praying Hebrews 1:1
Praying Hebrews: He shall be to me a Son
Praying Hebrews: He shall be heir of all things
Praying Hebrews 2:9-11
Praying Hebrews 2:14-17
Praying Hebrews 3: The Builder and the Building
Praying Hebrews 3: Jesus Our Great High Priest
Praying Hebrews 3:6-19
Praying Hebrews 4:1-3
Praying Hebrews: The Disciple's Perfect Priest
Praying Hebrews: The Design of Discipleship
Praying Hebrews 6: God is Faithful


Publications
The Breath of God: Why study Greek?
The Disciple's Cross: Progressively exchanging life
Book 1: Growth of the Faithful (Acceptance of Foundational Precepts)
Book 2: Growth of the Faithful (Principles of Contentment)
Book 3: Growth of the Faithful (Principles of Development)
Book 4: Grown of the Faithful (Principles of Endurance)
Book 5: Growth of the Faithful (Principles of Expression)
Book 6: Growth of the Faithful (Principles of Ministry)

Repentance
Repentance is Necessary
Repentance-Forgiveness-Regeneration

Spiritual Warfare
Some Thoughts on Spiritual Warfare
Spiritual Warfare
The Spiritual Battle

Testimony
A Dancing Disciple
Bug Inspired Faith
I Like an Old Wash Rag
The Story of Three Trees
Jesus and the Fire Witch
Digging Dirt by Faith
Faith Facing Death
A Lost Dad is Found
Loving God With My Mind


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Repentance is Necessary



Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Jesus said that repentance is necessary! “. . . except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5).

Why is repentance is necessary? Because all fall short of the glory intended for those created in the divine image. We were created for righteousness and we must repent to find that path.

In Ephesians 2:2, the Apostle Paul speaks of the natural man who walks "according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience."

This is the path upon which we walk that leads to death. Repentance is what happens when we turn and go back to the beginning where we are directed to the path of righteousness by the Holy Spirit.

Without repentance and returning to the authority and worship of God, the individual cannot please God. Further, the unrepentant individual contributes to the moral breakdown of society by choosing darkness and deception above the light of Christ and His truth.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; . . Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Rom 1:18, 21, 22).

Becoming a disciple of Christ is accepting a lifestyle of bringing every thought under subjection to His will. Believing and living according to His Word. Accepting the necessity of one's dependence upon the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment (John 14:26; Gal 6:7). Being Jesus Christ’s disciple is a lifestyle of repentance and obedience of faith (Rom 16:25, 26). Forgiveness follows repentance. Regeneration follows forgiveness.

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is the greatest challenge a person can face and also the greatest joy!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Overcoming by Faith





“. . this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” 
1 John 5:4b

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.


Faith overcomes worldly influences by persuasive God-given influences. Faith gets its power from God through natural revelation (Ps. 19:1-6, Roms. 1:20), the special revelation of the Bible, and God's testimony within man of His reality.

The Greek word for faith comes from the verb to persuade. The classic scriptural illustration is the life of Abraham (Rom 4:11, 12). God persuaded Abraham through challenging circumstances to trust God's promises. Faith that overcomes is faith that trusts enough to be effective. 

Overcoming faith is a mark of the mature disciple and expresses true worship of the Triune God. It trusts without full understanding. The Bible describes faith by the examples of the obedience that faith produces. Abraham did not understand the divine plan, but he believed God and this was credited to him as "righteousness" in Romans 4:3.

Living after the time of Messiah's appearing, we have the added evidence of the Apostolic witness. As the Apostle John writes: “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life — 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us — 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:1-3 NASU).


Related reading: What Abraham Discovered on Mount Moriah; William H. Willimon, On a Wild and Windy Mountain; Two Powerful Words: I Believe

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Discipleship Before Church Growth




Imagine all the time, money and resources that have gone into church growth in the last generation.

Is it naïve to wonder what the world and the church would look like today if all that effort had been invested exclusively in church health instead?

Is it possible that if the church had prioritized health, not as a means to growth, but as an end in itself, we would be in a greater position to represent Jesus to the world?

We’re often told that one of the reasons so many churches remain small is lack of faith. But I wonder… Could it be that the reverse is true? Might our obsession with bigger and bigger churches be rooted in a lack of faith?

Read it all here.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Two Powerful Words: "I Believe"



Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For 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, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:4-10 NASU

When Satan tempted Eve, she said: “I believe” to his deceit and “I disbelieve” to God's warning. Her attitude of belief towards God gave her paradise with her husband. When by her actions she said: “I believe” to Satan her home was the desert and her husband became a disinherited, worn-out farmer.

When Adam and Eve said to God: “We’re naked!” God responded by giving them the skins of an animal for clothing. The animal’s life was taken thereby, and became a prototype animals being used as a means of reconciling man to God for the forgiveness of sins and worshiping God. Therefor, the reason Abel’s animal sacrifice was accepted by God, and Cain’s was not. For “. . without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Heb 9:22), because the result of sin is death. Abel learned from their parents, but Cain was self centered and so substituted his works, i.e., fruit of the ground.

In prophetic type, the sacrifice animal was in principal a type of Christ as the Lamb of God. So as a God given type Able was demonstrating faith in Christ and His sacrificial payment for his sins and sin nature. Even the mentioning of the offering of the fat portions was speaking of reliance on the reserve energy of Christ to carry through what was begun in His death to finish the reconciliation started in the sacrificial death.

“I believe!” is the key to receiving God’s mercy to us, and the key to His work being done in us, so that we become “His workmanship.” This faith is not an arbitrary gift of God that appears without our choice. Faith is a God-given gift through the means He makes available to us in Jesus Christ.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith,. .” (Eph 2:8 NKJV). The vehicle of grace, God’s mercy, is personal faith. It is to say to God: “I believe!”

This is revealed as the obedience of faith (Rom 1:5; 2 Peter 1:4). For as we respond to the stimulus through both the blessings and trials we mature and are transformed (James 1:2-4).

Salvation and transformation by faith comes as we keep our focus on Him by the Holy Spirit’s work: “. . we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:18)

As Hebrews 12:2 describes this responsive sanctifying walk of faith: “. . fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith,” This is the consistent result of saying to God and His promises: “I believe!”

In this way of obedience of faith God’s promises and purposes to and in us will our experience like Paul’s will be:
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:12-15).

In John 20, we read the account of Doubting Thomas. When Thomas was told that the Lord was alive, he did not believe. Then Jesus appeared to the disciples again and Thomas was there. Jesus told Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed;blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

We must apply two powerful words that change everything: “I believe!”

Monday, May 8, 2017

Melchizedek a Type of Christ (Hebrews 7)

Artist rendering of Melchizedek
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” (Hebrews 7:1, 2)

I offer praise and thanksgiving for the type of Christ revealed in the person and ministry of Melchizedek. The story reminds me that Jesus is my King of righteousness. I am reminded that in Him I am made righteous, cleansed from my sins. For He took the guilt of our sins and put to death our sinful nature (Rom. 7:23-8:1-9).

Therefore, Jesus is the King of peace as I invite Him live in me (Gal. 2:20). As a believer I am made free from the domination of sin by faith persuasion (John 8:31-35) to walk with Him in the light of His Word (Ps. 119:9-11). Thereby, my character is changed.

Melchizedek’s bringing of bread and wine reminds me of the communion I enjoy with Jesus, our bread of life. His blood brings refreshment and forgiveness.

As Melchizedek came to Abraham after the defeat of his enemies, I am reminded that after the believer’s battle of life is over, Jesus takes us to the glorious place He went to prepare for us, that we might joyfully dwell in God’s eternal presence.

“In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Ps. 16:11

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Related reading: Who Was Melchizedek?Praying Hebrews 6; Praying Hebrews 5: The Disciple's Constant Companion; Praying Hebrews 3: Jesus Our Great High Priest; Praying Hebrews 3:6-19; Praying Hebrews 4:1-3; Praying Hebrews 4:5-8; Praying Hebrews 4:4-16; Praying Hebrews 5:1-4; Praying Hebrews 5:5,6: The Disciples' Pattern

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Incarnation of the Son of God




At the heart of the Christian Faith is the reality of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We may not understand this great mystery, but we may give thanks for it. The conception and birth of the Lord Jesus through the Virgin Mary is according to earlier promises made by God. One of the earliest is found in Genesis 3:15, the Protevangelion. Here we are told that the Seed born of the Woman would crush the serpent's head. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham's ancestors in Eden.

The Incarnation of Jesus Messiah also fulfills a prophetic witness concerning the believer’s High Priest and His eternal priesthood. This is expressed in Hebrews 5:

“So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him,

"YOU ARE MY SON,
TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU";

just as He says also in another passage,
"YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER
ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK."

Thanks be to God for the prophetic witness that He is our eternal High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Oh, the blessing to all who are persuaded of the adequacy of the salvation we receive through Him!

The balance of the Epistle to the Hebrews details our High Priest's ministry of intercession for us who trust Him to bring us redeemed to the eternal home He has prepared for us.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Jesus Christ is risen!



Jesus is our God risen from the dead as was foretold concerning the Righteous Ruler, the Messiah. He is risen! Hallelujah!

The New Testament speaks about Jesus as the ruler-priest. He is the firstborn from the grave and by his resurrection He delivers to the Father a "peculiar people." He leads us in the ascent to the Father where we receive heavenly recognition because we belong to Him.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Good Friday




Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.
      
A preacher introduced his sermon by crying out: “Fish for sale!”

He did so to get the attention of his listeners. He went on to explain how words can convey meanings that seem contrary to their usual meaning. When thinking of the terrible death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross most of us do not associate the event the word good. In fact, we think just the opposite.

“Good" Friday is exactly that because of the forgiveness His death accomplished for sinners.

The day is called good for other reasons also. To God the Father it is "good” because the Son fulfilled the Father's will. It is "good” because Jesus showed His infinite love for the Father and for the world.

Christ’s death was infinitely “good” because it made eternal life a reality for all who put their trust in Him. It makes us heirs as God’s redeemed children.

“Good Friday” was good because redemption’s price was “finished.” God’s solution that was proposed in the past eternity was now accomplished! There was no more that needed to provide for the propitiation for the sins of all mankind even though relatively few would appropriate it (1 John 2:2).

Even the Jewish leaders who demanded Jesus' death considered the day "good" because they thought that they has gotten rid of Him. What a surprise when Christ rose from the dead!

The Devil thought of Jesus death as a good thing. But the gratification was short lived as Satan got a splitting head ache (Gen. 3:15) when he bruised Jesus' heel (Gen 3:15).

Therefore, let all true believers rejoice!  “Good" Friday is the turning point in God’s redemptive plan. Jesus said, "It is finished" and that marked the beginning of eternal blessedness to be accomplished in our lives and in the world to come. Rejoice and give Jesus the honor and praise He deserves because of that first “Good" Friday.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Approaching Easter

Peter and John at the tomb, Henry Ossawa Tanner 

Dear Readers,
With the celebration of Resurrection Day approaching, I recommend that you read the following articles on the triumphs of Christ's resurrection. 

The first triumph: He lives again! 
The second triumph: Believers are alive in Him!
A third triumph: A new people are created!
A fourth triumphAn entirely new, self concept!
A fifth triumph: God-given power for living!
A sixth triumph: Assurance of a new glorified body!
A seventh triumph: Equipping the Church to be self edifying!
The eighth triumph: God can give rewards of eternal value!

It is my prayer that you might know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible you may attain the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:10-11).

Sincerely,

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Establishment of a Religion


The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices. It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.



Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

The First Amendment to our Constitution forbids Congress to establish a religion. The meaning of this needs clarification to safeguard the other provision in the First Amendment that guarantees the free exercise of faith. Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union have used the courts to limit this freedom to exercise one's faith by citing the First Amendment.

The First Amendment prohibits Congress to establish a national religion. Our founding fathers knew that the establishment of a religion meant the adoption of a specific Church as the required religious affiliation for their citizens. This was what they hoped to avoid, given the numerous conflicts that arose from this arrangement. In an established religion tensions arise because of these conditions:

  • The State or Crown appoints officials in a hierarchical church structure. Only those who hold to the doctrine and liturgical tradition of the State religion are granted offices in the church.
  • The State or Crown specifies doctrines that define church orthodoxy. Many people were put to death when they challenged these doctrines.
  • Ecclesiastical courts enforce religious regulations and orthodoxy.
  • The State or Crown levies taxes on the churches.
  • The State or Crown dictates the religious instruction in schools. 

When I served in the Army at our barracks at the old Dachau prison camp in West Germany, a notable warning was emblazoned in the camp. It said: “If we forget history, we are bound to repeat it!” Early in our history some colonies attempted to establish a religious: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland and Pennsylvania are examples.

The basic premise of the Declaration of Independence from England acknowledges the Creator as the Giver of “inalienable rights” which no State can rightfully take from its citizens. In the Constitutional Congress, the delegates were at an impasse and near giving up when Benjamin Franklin exhorted them to pray. Then, differences were overcome and the writing of Constitution was finished. To this day, congressional sessions begin with prayer. Even the Supreme Court begins its sessions with an invocation to God.

In 2014, the Supreme Court upheld the right upheld the tradition of offering prayers to open government meetings. In a case involving the town of Greece, New York, the justices ruled by a narrow margin that opening local government meetings with sectarian prayers doesn't violate the Establishment Clause. The Court decided the town was using prayer for "permissible ceremonial purposes" and not as an "unconstitutional establishment of religion."

Thomas Jefferson required the teaching of the Bible in the DC schools even though he authored the worn out phrase “a wall of separation between Church and State!” Though Jefferson's "Bible" has no miracles, it is clear that he recognized the existence of the Judeo-Christian God.

George Washington read the Scriptures and prayed the daily office of the Book of Common Prayer. While at Valley Forge, on 3 August 1776, General Washington issued this warning against taking God's name in vain.

The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing, a vice hitherto little known in our American Army is growing into fashion. He hopes that the officers will, by example as well as influence, endeavor to check it and that both they and the men will reflect that we can little hope of the blessing of Heaven on our army if we insult it by our impiety and folly. Added to this it is a vice so mean and low without any temptation that every man of sense and character detests and despises it.

In contemporary American society there are numerous organizations that hope to remove such expressions of faith from the national memory. The Humanist Manifesto seeks to remove God from public conversation. This infringes on the Constitutional rights of "theists" and proposes a view of humanity quite foreign to that of our Founding Fathers; namely that "Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change." If that is true, it is futile to speak of "inalienable rights."

Related reading: Six Supreme Court Decisions that Would Have Been Different Without Justice Scalia

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The World and the Christian Life


"In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Image result for lemmings going off the cliff

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them."


1 John 4:9-16


Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Some Episcopal churches have decided not to offer prayer for President Trump by name. Yet Scripture is clear that Christ's followers are to pray for all in authority. In His conversation with Pilate, Jesus made it clear that all earthly authority is derived from the Father who appoints men to ruler. These rulers are responsible for governance that is moral, ethical, just, and compassionate.

When a nation's leaders turn away from divine law, the people are easily seduced by Satan and the world. In the Biblical sense, the "world" is the culture in which we conduct our daily lives. Apart from Satan, the culture is our chief enemy. Like the promiscuous woman who appeals to the naive young man, hoping to seduce, so these entice us to irresponsible "pleasures" that corrupt the mind, body and soul and bring death.

The power of the world is to stimulate desire beyond control: “. . the corruption . . by lust.” (2 Peter 1:4). “. . all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16). The world entices us with calls to conformity, to political correctness, to do it because everyone's doing it! We are tempted to follow the fashion, to pattern our lives according to the latest thing. But there is no joy in that way of living.

When a nation's social and spiritual life is seduced by these appeals, corruption and decline reign! History illustrates this: When Israelis did not separate themselves from the idolatrous heathen, their corruption brought judgement after judgement. When the Church allowed the Roman empire to adopted Christianity, it declined into the Dark Ages and the Inquisition. When the US culture declined in the '20s in America, and to the present time where: “If it feels good, do it!” and personal desires are personal rights. Are not the results grievous?

In the present time, the politically correct cultures are: “enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.” (Phil 3:18, 19).

Faith is the key for spiritual victory over the worldly sin barrier that separates human beings from God. The Apostle John says we are able to overcome the world by believing that Jesus is the Son of God, by discerning the spirits, and through obedient faith. Faith can overcome the world's influences. Faith finds affirmation in God's revelations through the natural revelation (Ps 19:1-6), the Bible, and God's testimony within us of His reality.

"In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”

". . this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” 1 John 5:4b


Related reading: A Word to Ministers of the Gospel


Monday, February 6, 2017

A Word to Ministers of the Gospel




Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

For ministers of the Gospel, teaching others continues until maturity is reached and maturity is required to make new converts. This is not about feelings or emotions. Teaching and discipleship appeal to the mind and to the will.

Karl Hinrich Rengetorf wrote:
“The whole teaching of Jesus is with the view to the ordering of life with reference to God and one’s neighbor (Mt 22:37ff and par 1 of 19:16ff). Thus his teaching constantly appeals to the will, calling for the practical decision either for the will of God or against it.”
While the teaching or instructing appeals to the will and is to lead to understanding, the  understanding is not as a prerequisite to faith. We are to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not rely on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:4, 5).

This is not blind obedience. Once the will has yielded to the Gospel, attention is given to a growing understanding of the principles of Gospel living (John 15:8, 14, 15; Matt 13: 16–18 ff; Eph 1: 15–23; 4:11–18).

I think that there is a good application here. The Greek teachers gained their status and authority through superior logic and rhetoric. This is how they built up a following of students (disciples). They appealed to the mind.

In proclaiming the Gospel, the first step is to bring the human will into wholehearted submission to the authority of God. Then comes understanding of what our Lord has revealed in the Scriptures. Then follows obedience.

How can we say that we are being fully obedient, if we do not evangelize, baptize and teach? How can we say we are obedient if we fail to make disciples who also make disciples?

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?" (Romans 10:14)


Related reading: Teaching: An Instrument of DisciplingThe Central Command and Christ's Authority


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Contradictions of the Cross


Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.


Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.


Everything Satan does is designed to deceive and to bring about some kind of death. This understanding of Satan finds expression in Genesis 3. As a poisonous snake, Satan is going to bite Jesus' heel, but Christ crushes Satan’s head. Satan’s efforts are contradicted and Christ the Lord offers life and freedom for all who will identify with Him.

In the Cross of Jesus Christ God contradicts Satan's efforts so as to effect His divine purposes. In this aspect, God shows Himself to be the Almighty Warrior.

We are inclined to wonder how God is still in control when we consider the murder of six million Jews, the abortion of millions of babies, etc. people. Yet, God is a mighty warrior against the forces of evil. He wages war on our behalf.

To be victorious and exhibit God’s wisdom, we must clothe ourselves in the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). Putting on the full armor of God means applying Christ to every area of our lives. This pleases God and pushes back against evil.

In the Cross Christ destroys death's hold for all humanity, but this is effective only for those who trust in Him and do His Gospel work (1 Cor 15:1-4). In this, God contradicts Satan’s seeming victory and sets forth His plan of redemption.

In the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, a great contradiction is seen. Satan’s work involved getting God’s "chosen" people to reject and crucify Christ. God contradicts this by those Jews and followed Him then and those who believe and follow Him now.

We imagine that Satan gloated as Christ was laid dead in His tomb. God contradicts this by making the empty tomb a sign of hope that our grief, pain, sin, and mortality will be canceled. So we rejoice in the wonder of God’s forgetfulness and might!


Friday, January 6, 2017

Divine Opportunities in the New Year



Doors

In varied shapes, sizes, and hues
A myriad from which to choose
Some stay closed; others open wide.
We all approach and decide
Which ones on which to knock,
But carry no key for any lock
That bars opportunities
Or presents impossibilities.

This New Year, is a door that’s opening,
Filling hearts and minds with hoping…
Oh, Creator God of Mysteries,
Only You hold all those keys.
We, mortals trapped in time,
Struggle your loving ways to mime;
Open doors that reveal your Face,
Fill this year with your Mercy and Grace!


Hope Ellen Rapson - January 2017


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Teaching: An Instrument of Discipling




Teaching is the primary means of making disciples and developing them into being reproducing disciplers (2 Tim 2:2). Teaching influences their decisions to become permanent followers of Jesus Christ (John 8:30–36; Acts 14:22; 15:41). Whatever is done in Church life should have the effect of teaching for the edification of the members (1 Cor 14:26).

Karl Hinrich Rengetorf writes:
“The whole teaching of Jesus is with the view to the ordering of life with reference to God and one’s neighbor (Mt 22:37ff and par 1 of 19:16ff and par). Thus his teaching constantly appeals to the will, calling for the practical decision either for the will of God or against it.”
Further, the word "disciple" literally refers to one who learns at the feet of a teacher. It implies the recognition of authority. This authority rests in understanding God’s authoritative revelation. In the New Testament, group learning is centered in the teacher as one who knows and embodies the authoritative revelation. The qualified teacher knows the message well enough to pass it on to his students (Eph 4:11, 12; 2 Tim 2:2). Thinking based on group consensus does not reflect divine authority, but instead is humanistic (2 Tim 4:3, 4; Eph 4:14).

Throughout the ages, the divine revelation is tied to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is foreshadowed in the Old Testament from Genesis to the Prophets. His full humanity-full divinity is described in the New Testament. He used parables to teach about the Kingdom of God and to provide insight into the mind of God. Each parable and encounter with Jesus reveals more about the heart of God. A true disciple seeks to understand God’s priorities in order to align our own priorities with God's. This expresses the reality of newness of life.

C.S. Lewis wrote, "There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him, but trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”― Mere Christianity

Related reading: Discipling With Authority; C.S. Lewis on Discipleship