The following Scripture passages are offered to aid beginning fellowships. The readings and commentary for this week are more in line with what has become usual; for the following will most likely be familiar observations. The concept behind this Sabbath’s selection, the Spirit of God, continues.
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For the Sabbath of January 13, 2007
The person conducting the Sabbath service should open services with two or three hymns, or psalms, followed by an opening prayer acknowledging that two or three (or more) are gathered together in Christ Jesus’ name, and inviting the Lord to be with them.
This Sabbath’s reading is a continuation from the previous two Sabbaths.
The person conducting the service should read or assign to be read 1 Timothy chapter 1, verses 3 though chapter 2, verse 15.
Commentary: The problem of false teachers, false apostles,
false prophets within Christendom has caused Christians to be a curse, a
terror, a hissing, and a reproach for nearly two millennia—as ancient
Israel would not listen to the prophets God sent but listened to
self-proclaimed prophets who promised blessings upon a lawless nation (Jer
29:15-19), endtime Israel does not and will not listen to those whom God has
sent, but instead, listens to those who promise physical prosperity for
lawlessness and physical entrance into heaven through a bodily rapture. Or even
Meaning or linguistic objects must be assigned to
all words or linguistic icons. Words mean what reading communities say they
mean. The well intentioned Bible student who strives to recover the
“precise” meaning of a historically-used word is doomed to
frustration and failure. This Bible student may, at midlife, decide to return
to the university to take a degree in theology, or in Christian ministry, or in
any number of related majors—and this student will read late 1st-Century
CE and 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Century writings by
the so-called pillars or fathers of Christendom. But this student will miss
what is truly important: when the Apostle Paul wrote his first canonized
epistle to Timothy, the repudiation of the foundation Paul laid had already
begun. When Paul wrote his second canonized epistle to Timothy, this repudiation
affected all of
Paul gives endtime disciples the criteria to determine false from genuine:
· False teachers and false prophets have their minds set on earthly things, and earthly fulfillment of endtime prophecies.
· False teachers glory in their shame, transforming lawlessness into grace and keeping the precepts of the law into legalism.
· False teachers, false apostles, false prophets work for money and the acquisition of the things of this world; they work for their bellies, and they have appetites that are never satisfied.
Pause for a moment and look out over Christendom
and see how many prophets or prophecy pundits have their minds set on earthly
things and earthly fulfillments of prophecies about the endtime recovery of
Yes, the journey made by each spiritually circumcised Israelite is mental or philosophical or theological: it is a journey of the mind that causes the born of Spirit disciple to leave the beliefs and traditions of his or her biological father and mother and to begin living by every word God has uttered (Matt 4:4). The disciple who, by faith, keeps the precepts of the law (Rom 2:26), thereby causing his or her uncircumcision to be counted as circumcision, will stand on the same theological ground as the Observant Jew who, by faith, professes that Jesus is Lord and believes that the Father raised Jesus from the dead (Rom 10:6-9). Each will have arrived by a differing path, but both will have the promise of salvation. Both will be firstfruits and will be part of the resurrection when Jesus returns.
Without faith, no person can please God. Thus,
every Israelite will have to make a mental journey by faith that is comparable
to the physical journey Abraham made; for it is the faith of Abraham while yet
uncircumcised (Rom 4:11-12) that is the benchmark for every disciple’s
faith. The profession of faith by the person who journeys nowhere is dead and
worthless rhetoric that has less value than yesterday’s wind. And this
concept of “journey” would end denominationalism as it presently
exists, for a denomination is merely a roadhouse on the way into or out of
Returning to Paul’s epistle to Timothy, Paul writes, “Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murders, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurer, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted” (1 Tim 1:8-11) … the previous is quite a list that when reduced to basics has humankind divided into two camps, the first being all those who are bondservants to disobedience, consigned to sin (Rom 11:32), owned by the prince of this world. It is this camp or division of humankind for which the law was laid down. This camp is that of the lawless and disobedient.
The other camp or division of humankind has no need for the old written code, for this second camp has been spiritually circumcised. The law of God is written on the hearts and placed in the minds of this portion of humankind (Heb 8:10; Jer 31:33). This portion has been liberated from mental bondage to disobedience; therefore, sin has no dominion over this portion (Rom 6:14) unless, of course, a person from this portion voluntarily returns to sin and surrenders him or herself to the prince of this world to again be a bondservant to sin. No more sacrifice remains for the spiritually circumcised person who surrenders to Satan and willfully breaks the commandments of God—and the commandment most often broken by Christendom is the Sabbath commandment.
Worshiping on the 8th day is contrary to sound doctrine, and an evil not even anticipated by Paul.
The lawless—those who are still consigned to
disobedience—need the law of God in an external form; thus, the lawful
use of the law of God is as a yardstick or guideline for that portion of
humankind that does not have circumcised hearts. The portion with circumcised
hearts has this same law within each person, inscribed on the heart and mind by
the soft Breath of God. So the problem arises when false teachers of
Yes, the teacher of Israel who would have a newly born of Spirit disciple return to sin—attempting to enter God’s rest on the following day is sin—is the servant of Satan regardless of how righteous he or she might appear. This teacher has disguised him or herself as a servant of righteousness (2 Cor 11:15), but make no mistake, he or she is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a wolf intent upon devouring as many spiritual firstborns as possible.
The old written code does not pertain to those
Israelites who are spiritually circumcised. The old written code is for those
consigned to disobedience. But this does not mean that anyone who is of
The physically circumcised Israelite, a bondservant
to Pharaoh, dwelling in
But once liberated, the Sabbath was revealed to
The Sabbath has been revealed to spiritually
This subject will be continued through next
Sabbath’s reading, for rebellion against God by born of Spirit disciples
seems too fantastic to be believed. But the people of
The Apostle Paul places two possibilities before
Roman converts. One possibility is that one day is esteemed better than the
other six days. The other possibility is that every day is esteemed equally. In
the course of a Gentile trekking from the mental landscape of his or her
nativity and journeying to spiritual Judea [God’s rest], it is possible
and even likely that this Gentile has not yet been fully convinced to keep the
Sabbath, a mindset that leaves this Gentile on the Babylonian side of the river
Jordan. This Gentile will be as Abraham was when he settled with his father Terah
The other possibility is that the Jewish convert esteems the Sabbath better than the six other days. Paul tells Roman converts that each person should be fully convinced in his own mind (Rom 14:5), that the person who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. Indeed so. But if the day esteemed better is the 8th day, then the disciple has committed rebellion against God, whereas the disciple who judges each day alike will either work on all seven days, thereby never entering into God’s rest, or will come to esteeming the 7th day as the physical representation of God’s rest.
Can a person work seven days a week and still honor
God? No, the person cannot even though Paul’s words can be twisted into
permitting a disciple to work seven days a week. What will happen when working
seven days a week is that the mind never rests, but always thinks about work,
about the things of this world. Paul never worked
seven days a week: as a Hebrew, he kept the Sabbath. He did not, as best as can
be determined, work at his trade on the Sabbath, but worked to proclaim the
The person who esteems every day alike needs to be
working to proclaim the
The person conducting the Sabbath service should close services with two hymns, or psalms, followed by a prayer asking God’s dismissal.
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."