The second request Jesus tells his disciples to pray in Luke 11:2 is “Thy Kingdom come.” As I claimed in a previous study, some folks believe that, if we are praying for God’s Kingdom to come, our prayer implies his Kingdom must not yet be present. However, this isn’t so in the light of Luke 10:21, where Jesus rejoices and addresses his Father as “Lord of heaven and of earth!” Our Father cannot be Lord of earth, unless his Kingdom is present upon the earth. Moreover, the exact same tense of the verb “come” in Luke 11:2 is used for the verb “forgive” in Luke 11:4, and certainly we can’t be asking God to forgive our sins at some future date. Therefore, if this logic is sound, how should we understand our asking our Father to cause his Kingdom to come? In what sense must it yet come, if it is already here? Read the rest of this entry »
Tag Archives: spiritual warfare
In Luke 11:1 we find Jesus praying in a certain place. Luke records Jesus praying eleven times, and Luke 11:1 is the seventh time Jesus is found at prayer in Luke’s Gospel. It appears to me that whenever Luke records Jesus at prayer, something happened immediately afterward that seems to show us what Jesus was probably praying about. For example, the first time Jesus is recorded at prayer in Luke is immediately following his baptism (Luke 3:21), and immediately the heavens opened. Not only were the heavens parted, but, according to the fourth Gospel, they stand open (John 1:51).That is, they remain open even today. Blessing, in the person of Jesus (Isaiah 64:1), came down out of heaven and now the powers of heaven are available to mankind, and this has occurred, because Jesus prayed. Read the rest of this entry »
I have been discussing Jesus’ three temptations found in Luke 4:1-12. They are the same temptations found in Matthew 4:1-10, but Luke reverses Matthew’s second and third temptations. Nevertheless, in Luke 4:16 to Luke 6:49 Luke discusses Jesus’ temptations in the order in which Matthew places them. I have been discussing these temptations with the understanding that the wilderness into which the Spirit led Jesus (Luke 4:1), is not a desert or an uninhabited place. Rather, it was a wilderness of people (Ezekiel 20:35), that is, people who are absolutely devoid of the kind of spiritual understanding that would lead them to God. Read the rest of this entry »
Walking in the Spirit is a matter of choice, but it is more complicated than simply a matter of choice. To begin with, the flesh is at war with the Spirit (Galatians 5:17). In other words, the flesh or the natural man (1Corinthians 2:14) will not embrace the things of the Spirit, because spiritual matters are foolishness to the natural order of things—or how the natural man (viz. the spirit of man) understands his world. The natural man compares physical evidence with physical evidence in order to draw his conclusions, but the spiritual man compares spiritual matters with spiritual matters (1Corinthians 2:13). The natural man has no frame of reference in spiritual matters, because they are spiritually discerned, i.e. they are understood through the Spirit of God which is given to believers (cf. 1Corinthians 2:14 and Galatians 5:17). Read the rest of this entry »
In John 5:6 Jesus asked an impotent man if he wanted to be made whole. On the surface, this is almost a silly question. Why wouldn’t the man wish to be made whole? Well, Jesus’ question goes much deeper than this simple observation. The man was crippled for 38 years. He claims he had no one who would help him (John 5:7), but obviously his basic needs were met by someone. Read the rest of this entry »
In Acts 8:1 we are told that Saul (Paul) consented to Stephen’s death. This may indicate that he was a member of the Sanhedrin and was perhaps a prosecuting attorney. However, I’ll pursue this possibility in another blog. For now I wish to focus upon the year of his mission to afflict the Messianic believers at Damascus. It is worthy of note that the Apostles were not persecuted. Why was this so? The only logical answer, as far as I can see, is that it was only that branch of the church to which Stephen belonged that was persecuted. The Grecian or Hellenistic Messianic believers had separated under good terms from the main body of Palestinian Messianic believers (Acts 6:1-6). Read the rest of this entry »
The account of Ananias and Sapphira seems a bit strange to me. First of all, nothing is said to introduce the account. Who were they and why did they act in the manner in which they did? Secondly, what prompted Peter to question the sale? Why was he suspicious of them? Later, when Paul tried to join himself to the Apostles, the text said they viewed him with suspicion, and Barnabas had to step forward to alleviate the concerns of the believers at Jerusalem. But, in the case of Ananias, nothing is said to introduce them nor is it later revealed why they were held in suspicion. Read the rest of this entry »
Acts 8:5-25 records the ministry of Philip the evangelist as he preached the Gospel in Samaria. A certain sorcerer named Simon believed the Gospel after he had seen some of the miracles done through Philip (Acts 8:13). This same man traded on sorcery and many thought he was some great one (Acts 8:9-10). The people looked to him, because they believed God was working through this man. However, all he did was through the curious arts or the corrupt spiritual gifts of Adam. Read the rest of this entry »
Writing to the Galatians, Paul jumps ahead of his story to fourteen years after his conversion. Now, Paul saw Jesus in 35 CE, immediately following his receiving new orders from the high priest. Caiaphas was put out of that office cir. 35-36CE near the time of the Passover. In any event, Paul would need new arrest warrants to take to the synagogues, showing the high priest, whether Caiaphas or Jonathan, his replacement, sought the synagogue leaders’ assistance in arresting Grecian Messianic Jews there so they could be brought to Jerusalem for judgment (Acts 9:1-2). Read the rest of this entry »
Paul and Barnabas had their work before them. The churches of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia had to be informed of the decision made in Jerusalem, as it pertained to the Gentile churches. James wrote letters and sent out representatives from the Jerusalem Messianic believers to show the new Gentile churches that Paul was not in conflict with the original Gospel commissioned by Jesus. The letters were written to convey the apostles position, and the Jewish representatives were sent to verify not only that they were not forged by Paul, which enemies might claim, but to keep anyone from accusing Paul of misinterpreting what the Jerusalem council had decided. Read the rest of this entry »
As I turn to the end of Paul’s third missionary journey, I find myself considering the riot that occurred in Ephesus just before Paul left for Macedonia. I had been writing about how Paul’s ministry affected the Jews or believers in God, but now I wish to consider how his ministry affected the world. Read the rest of this entry »
Awhile ago, I had been reading a particular study theme in Lee T. Dahn’s blog showing both the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts have an underlying theme that contrasts the priestly family of Annas with the Priesthood of Christ, the one being corrupt and the other holy. The basic strategy, which I wish to share today, comes as a result of Mr. Dahn’s understanding, which anyone could see if he were to click on the link to his blog above. Read the rest of this entry »
As Paul started out to his next mission field, he began the third journey as he did the second, by passing through Galatia encouraging and strengthening the churches there (Acts 18:22-23). Meanwhile, in Ephesus Aquila and Priscilla became acquainted with Apollos from Alexandria (Acts 18:24-25). He was a spirited and eloquent man preaching out of the Scriptures according to John’s baptism. They instructed Apollos concerning Jesus, showing it was he of whom John had spoken. After his stay in Ephesus, Apollos decided to go over to Achaia and encourage the brethren there, so Aquila and Priscilla sent letters along with him to exhort the Corinthian church to receive him (Acts 18:27-28).
About the time Apollos was in Corinth, Paul was already on his way to Ephesus from Galatia and encountered some of what was probably Apollos’ disciples who were following the baptism of John (Acts 19:1-3), being ignorant of the existence of the Holy Spirit, or the indwelling of God. Paul instructed them in the way of the Lord more perfectly, and they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke with tongues (Acts 19:4-7). Read the rest of this entry »
Paul left Thessalonica mostly to maintain safety for those who spoke for him before the local authorities. It is possible that Timothy and others in Paul’s company stayed behind to help establish the new church there, but Paul and Silas left for Berea. Later, the rest of the team would have joined Paul there. The Jews in Berea received the word of God and searched the Scriptures to make sure Paul was correct. However, when the Jews in Thessalonica heard about Paul’s work there, they sent representatives to Berea and stirred up the city, so Paul had to make an escape by sea.
The thing that wonders me is, why were Timothy, Silas and others of Paul’s company able to stay behind? Why weren’t they in danger? It may be that Paul kept adjusting his manner of preaching to accommodate the possibility of the most fruitful harvest from each city in light of spiritual opposition and how it works against the Gospel. During his first missionary journey Paul confronted the sorcerer on the island of Cyprus (Acts 13:8-11) and the result was Mark had left the team for Jerusalem (Acts 13:13) and many brethren there misunderstood Paul’s work in the Gospel and sent out teams to undo the work Paul had done in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15: 23-24). Spiritual warfare needs to be planned. Otherwise, one has to spend a lot of time cleaning up in terms of unnecessary misunderstanding. If left alone, the backlash of spiritual warfare could separate brethren.
In Philippi Paul separated his small group before attacking the territorial spirit that possessed they young woman (Acts 16:16-17), but both Silas and he were attacked by the offended townsfolk (Acts 16:19-20), the puppets of spiritual warfare taking place behind the scenes. Paul may have felt the beating and imprisonment of both he and Silas was inflicted upon one more than necessary. Apparently, Paul’s stay in Thessalonica may have been a little different, because it seems the offended Jews sought only Paul (Acts 17:13-14). Paul may have kept Silas and Timothy in the background supporting those who had already begun trusting in Christ. This understanding is further substantiated in that those from Thessalonica who had come to Berea still sought only Paul, so Paul was able to escape there by sea, while both Silas and Timothy were left behind to support the young church and establish it by laying hands upon its leadership, before rejoining Paul in Athens.
Of course these are merely my own thoughts, and some other explanation could be the truth, but this does fit the context. My only question is: so why isn’t there a letter to the Bereans? I would have loved to know how the church got along there. What problems did they have, and how would Paul have addressed them. Well, I suppose such things will have to wait for when I meet Paul after this life, and perhaps he will have time to sit and explain thing over a cup of coffee or tea or whatever they may drink in heaven.