Commissioned and Ready | Acts 1:1-5

“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”

Commentary

Jesus Christ had lives a life of ministry, and then He died a sacrificial death to redeem the sins of His People. The Acts of the Apostles continue Jesus’ Ministerial Work, in that they are trying to uphold their commissioning to preach (Luke 24:45-49; see also Isaiah 52:10). Jesus is in His final day on Earth and is preparing to give the apostles (also called disciples) His final words – His final teaching is nigh.

We see Luke looking forward to Jesus’ Ascension, which means Luke likely wrote these things after Jesus ascended into Heaven. Luke seems to have absolute insight such events occurred, for he was one of a few who recorded such things. He indicates that it’s been forty days since the day of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, for Luke is noting this is His last day before He ascends into Heaven.

Jesus’ teaching includes the commission to preach to those in Jerusalem first and then spread to the outer nations. Jesus must have spoken unto the disciples several times of the doctrine/gospel that they were to preach and teach among other men. Some ordinances were to be administered as well; therefore, Jesus may have taught them during different occasions after His Resurrection.

Jesus notes here that the disciples should wait to depart from Jerusalem until they have received the promise of the Father, which one might remember Jesus saying He will send the Comforter – the Holy Ghost – to be with His disciples while they minister (John 14:16).

Jesus makes no contradiction here by saying that the disciples will be baptized – not with water as John the Baptist had done – but with the Holy Ghost. They would be baptized in the near future, as in a few days thence. Many proponents of baptismal regeneration negate this verse, and use Acts 2:38 to attempt to prove baptism is required for Salvation; however, Jesus would not contradict Himself nor would He allow Peter to contradict Him. Therefore, the argument for baptismal regeneration is countered here in this verse by Jesus Himself: Not baptized with water, but with the Holy Ghost.

Archaeological and Historical Notes

The layer of geography that the Book of Acts encompasses includes 58 cities in the eastern Mediterranean area near the Roman Empire. Hippodamus of Miletus composed much of the mapping systems in this era, and from the preclusion of the Greek maladies, most of the trade routes led to Rome.

Theophilus was a man to whom Luke wrote this book unto, but it is unclear who the exact man was, since many slaves and elites had this name. There were not many in the Jews who had this name, and the most notable, which could be the point of reference here, was a high priest named Theophilus who ruled from 37-41 AD. His name is inscribed atop an ossuary inside of a crypt near Jerusalem.

Other Notes

Modern day preservation of ancient historical sites has been threatened due to political conflict in the Middle East. This is increasingly deteriorating the chances of finding the hidden secrets of the world and the wisdom hidden in the ages.

Another neat note is that the book of Acts mends with the books of Peter (1 & 2 Peter), while some of Paul’s material mends in and through in a different way. The early works were greatly filled with many new converts to Christ, what a time to rejoice!

How to be a spiritual Christian | 1 Thessalonians 5:16-28

“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”

Commentary: Paul tells the Thessalonians several ways on being spiritual, although not an all-encompassing list. Here are his instructions on how to start being more spiritual (which can draw you to a feeling of closeness to God):

  • Rejoice – Have joy in the Holy Ghost arising from your pardon by Christ’s Blood, and righteousness He has imputed upon you. Rejoice in gratitude – being thankful for your every day life and provisions by God. His Glory, His Salvation, His Peace – be grateful for these things.
  • Pray without ceasing – This does not mean to always be on your knees, or always in prayer. Rather, do not let your flesh break you from prayer, if your spirit has demanded it. If you spirit says you need to pray, then you need to sacrifice a bit of time and pray. Ethiopic texts render it well by saying “pray frequently.” Pray, even if a little is better than not at all. Do not stop praying… ever!
  • Give thanks – It is vital to have gratitude, especially toward God. This actually changes the mindset from a poverty way of thinking (the negative thought that you feel you are without) to an abundance way of thinking (knowing that you have God’s Provision and you can continue to have His Provision). Be thankful for what? Our being (able to live), food, other temporal good things, family, friends, raiment/clothing, shelter, water, grace/forgiveness, hope, the election of yourself to Salvation, spouse (if it applies), our ever-loving Savior, and so much more.
  • Not quenching the Spirit – Not to say that we can deliver a jab at the person of the Spirit; however, this refers to either the grace of the Spirit or faith – to which we should not allow ourselves to avoid the use of Spiritual Gifts, such as prophecy, teaching, evangelizing, tongues, edification, exhortation, or any other spiritual gift. We should be using that which we were gifted in, for to avoid use could be quenching of the Spirit – such as putting out the Fire of the Holy Ghost, or letting the Living Waters within dry up, or letting the inner light of the Lord Jesus Christ to dim. We must always let the water flow, let the light shine, and let the fire burn for the Lord in all of our lives, and we can do this by becoming more spiritually close to God by practicing the things in this passage of Scripture.
  • Not despising prophecy – Now, it is incorrect to assume that Christ Jesus will change anything about history that He has already announced – Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). We do not pass into the lukewarmness of the world, and prophesying selfish things or other worldly gain. Rather, we prophesy based on what has already been written. When such things are nigh, it is important to announce them before our fellow brethren to encourage readiness for any possible trials or adversity. The emancipation in societal things brings us closer to being good at analyzing how prophecy is portraying itself in our world today. It is more ideal for those who feel gifted to prophesy to give the Word that will bring edification and comfort, especially if the person does not have the Gift of Tongues.
  • Prove all things, hold fast to the good, abstaining from appearances of evil, being blameless – To do this, we shall attempt to seek the truth at all times. Modern day calls this “fact-checking”. Many people intend to deceive one another, fabricating fables, myths, and other seducing lies. Even the very people of God try to deceive each other and are easily deceived themselves – but put this far away from you and hold to the truth in God’s Word. Remove yourself from evil situations and avoid being seen sinning or doing terrible things (do not make God look bad!). We must be blameless as we look forward to the coming of our Lord’s appearing – a joyous day to come.

You see the Lord is faithful, and calls you to do wonderful things as a minister. It is vital to pray for your own ministry and be more connected with God, but also pray for other ministers and fellowship with them occasionally. Teach others these things as well on how to be spiritual, and drawing closer to God by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Sons of God – Sonship | John 1:12-13; Romans 8:16-17

John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Romans 8:16-17, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

Commentary: Those receiving Christ Jesus have the power to become sons of God literally, because they have believed upon God and received Salvation by Jesus Christ. Being born of God means literally from God, not from blood as we know it (such as genetics necessarily), but by the Blood of Christ Jesus. We as Christians are not descendant from the will of flesh or the will of man, but are given as the Will of God. This is presumed as being born again, which Jesus verifies in John 3:5-6, which states that one must be born of water and the Spirit to be able to enter the Kingdom of God. Those born of the Spirit are now known as spirit (as in spirit being from God).

Perhaps one determines this is the same as mysticism; however, that argument does not view the other point-of-view, which says that His Spirit translates spiritual things to our spirits (therefore, people are not mystics). This is the message from Paul to the Romans. Paul also explained to the Galatians people in Galatians 3:26 that those who have faith in Christ Jesus are children of God.

The power to be called sons or children of God came via promise from God to Isaiah to tell His People, in which a special everlasting name is given unto God’s People who become His sons (Isaiah 56:5). This is a marvelous benefit that we will receive a special name, and His People have the promise of being written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (One is to wonder if that special name will also be written in there and we have it presented to us)(See Luke 10:20; Revelation 3:5; 20:12-15). Most Jewish law prohibited the inheritance of something to be assigned to females; however, Paul states here a generality, which is to suppose that God allows both male and female to inherit the promise of sonship, for all are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

Such sons of God are heirs of an incorruptible inheritance, which excels all other privileges. It is the supercession and/or succession of the justification and remission of sins. Such privilege comes upon people of any generation of any heritage who has believed upon Jesus Christ for Salvation and made righteous before God by His Saving Grace (See again Galatians 3:28). This is likely the highest greatness man can reach, and most certainly not of one that dwells again on power, but dwells on the person of Jesus Christ, a much higher thing than power, especially in purposeful submission unto God as the supreme being and limiting oneself to the worship of God alone, rooting out all idolatry (See Luke 12:32; 22:29-30; Acts 26:18; Galatians 3:29; 4:7; Ephesians 3:6; Hebrews 6:17; 1 Peter 1:4; Matthew 25:21; Revelation 3:21; 21:7; indirectly – 1 John 3:10).

Every Soul is subject to God & Government | Romans 13:1-10

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

Commentary: Every person is subject to God, that is absolute. However, the powers that be (governing authorities) that are ordained by God reserve subjection unto them as well (as much as you would like to disagree with them). Resisting governing powers is resisting the ordinance of God, and though not blasphemous unto God, still may be damned on Earth because of resistance (such as a person becoming imprisoned for breaking the law or for treason).

Rulers are to be a minister of God to people for good, and not for evil. Pay your taxes and do what is right in submission unto the governing authorities as long as it is godly to do so (Obey God before man – see Acts 4:19). You must, no matter the case, express love in whatever you do, for it is believed to be the primary way to exercise godliness in your life.

Archaeological notes: Paul writes this to the Romans during the infamous reign of Emperor Nero, who reigned in Rome from 54 to 68 AD. Nero was the last ruler part of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty, which was comprised in order: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and finally Nero (Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus). Such dynasty was responsible for restoring the old Roman religion along with a rather godless idolatrous system. Under their system of government, they had total control over Rome, and made much of their senate ceremonial (which is hard to imagine, especially if you live in the USA). Consuls and tribunes were faded to gray as much of the tyranny of their dynasty ruled on. Slave trade and ruling was highly supported by governing authorities, and religion and politics were very controlled by the government; therefore, persecution was very common. Rulers must know, however, that authority comes from God, which means they are to obey Him.

Paul knew that zealous Jews did not want to have any ruler but God and did not want to pay any taxes whatsoever except to God. Paul appeared to hope for the Romans to one day have a new and benevolent ruler – one that may be tolerant to their needs. Paul emphasized careful loyalty (not necessarily patriotism), assuming the governing powers (especially an imperial authority) would not turn against Christians. A few years after his statements here, reports had shown that members of Caesar’s house became believers (presumably of God or Jesus Christ)(see Philippians 1:22).

Flee Heresy Whatever You Do! | Galatians 1:6-9

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

Commentary: Paul is here attempting to deal with the Galatians in reproof for their instability of the Gospel teachings. This is important to understand these truths, for being well established in the Gospel brings great blessing, but those who teach a false gospel bring curses upon themselves. Think about this right now carefully… If you teach about the efficacious Gospel of Jesus Christ, you are going to be ministering about the marvelous grace that He bestows on each of us that allows us utter enjoyment already: justification, sanctification, peace, pardon, atonement, wisdom, joy, love, strength, comfort, and did we mention grace? Why would somebody want anything more than the marvelous riches from Jesus Christ? Those truly called by grace would not end up in perversion of heretics and false gospel preachers.

There are heretics and false teachers that seek to pervert the Gospel of Jesus Christ by distributing their own ideas about Christ Jesus, such as the following “gospels”: prosperity, new age, permissive grace, social justice, sexual preference, interfaith dialogue, suffer for success, poverty gospel, God is love only, therapeutic, formalist, moralist, socialist, communist, activist, churchless, judgmentless, mimeses, social-club, fraternity/sorority, mystic, quietist, and cults (such as Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, Roman & Russian Catholicism). Keep in mind these are all false gospels, as we think in the Church today, since those movements typify what the Bible says about discerning false doctrine, false gospels, false teachers, false prophets, etc. The movement of these things outside of the church that does not involve the church at all is a separate matter (such as fraternity and sorority, or activism can be a different matter).

The following Bible versions are not recommended: The Message Bible, New World Translation, New Living Translation, New Century Version, Good News Bible, God’s Word Translation, Contemporary English Version, etc. There are however, other trusted Bible versions.

If you are looking for a trusted Bible version, please feel free to choose The King James Bible, The Geneva Bible, Young’s Literal Translation, The Bishop’s Bible, Webster’s Bible, and KJV 2016 (New Testament only). For any other Bible version that has not been listed, either unrecommended or trusted, is okay to use, but use it as a secondary reference. It is recommended to use a trusted Bible as the first point of reference, and use a different translation as a secondary reference, which may help you define the verse a bit better.

Such false teachers and false Bibles, and other heretics would be a very large list that is quite exhaustive. While not necessary to list them here, it is necessary for you to be careful as a believer, especially as you instruct your fellow brethren.

Those who preach unbiblical things are cursed because of their heresy, which means they are to be excommunicated from the Church itself. The message of Jesus Christ is to be Salvation for the nations. We must not let false teachers and heretics in, but we must be aware that they are around to try to reel people in to their influence to siphon life, money, or time from good spiritual people.

Archaeological and historical notes: In 1:8 above, accursed refers to the Greek word “anathema”, which involved a temple dedication ceremony involving a vow to a god, usually a false or heretical doctrine is used as tribute, such as a monetary gain. Eternal curse awaits those who do such things (who are not truly saved by Jesus Christ). Those who are truly saved may expect to receive some form of discipline from God, because those who are teachers are held strictly under God’s Dominion. If you are unaware of the scrutiny that could come resulting from your lack of attention to detail in your teaching or preaching the Gospel, you should avoid teaching and preaching (James 3:1).

Preaching the Word | 2 Timothy 4:2-5

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

Commentary: Paul instructs Timothy in this letter, which could help those who aspire to teach their fellow brethren, to preach the Word, as in to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are urged to preach at any time and any place when necessary. If at a moment’s notice you need to preach, you must stand and do it boldly as the Lord summons you, and with all endurance to do it well enough.

We are in times when sound doctrine is not easily tolerated, which means that people do not want to hear the hard truth the Gospel contains; rather, they want to live according to their own lusts and will only listen to people who cater to their inner desires. The truth about our Lord that breathes fire into the pit of our soul is what we must earnestly yearn for – what we most need in this turbulent world. Show the Lord how well you can preach the Gospel by your humility, and endure through it because it is surely rewarding.

Be wary of heretical and false doctrine, especially in our contemporary age where progressive, liberal, and new age agendas are being pushed as the Will of God, and that God is being used as a device to spread the progressive agenda to the nations. Some of them are able to preach about Jesus Christ for their own gain; however, they are potentially unsaved. Be watchful, and do not be easily deceived or partake gullible doctrine.

4:2 gives the following instructions, which are defined as follows:

  • Reprove: To charge someone with a fault, or criticize them for something wrong or incorrect they have said, believed, or done. Reprove has more to do with errors and heresies.
  • Rebuke: Similar in meaning to reprove, but can also mean to check, restrain, or discipline as in correcting someone. For example, if someone has done something incorrect, you can reprove them by criticism, and rebuke them by correcting them with the correct fact/opinion. Rebuke is more associated with helping someone understand their sin or what they are doing is incorrect.
  • Exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine: To encourage, advise, or warn someone, and to do it with endurance or patience (not quitting easily), and with doctrine (as in, what you are stating is to teach them what is true based on what the Bible says and nothing heretical or false about it). Christians should exhort each other in love, to do good works, to hold fast to our faith, to persevere in faith and holiness, or comforting them as a minister of the Gospel of Christ. Preaching peace, pardoning, righteousness, and Salvation by Jesus Christ is assuredly a good thing when you detect someone needs to be exhorted.

The Need for Scripture | 2 Timothy 3:15-17

“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

Commentary: God has inspired the Holy Scriptures to be given unto Man to instruct them in His Doctrine. Doctrine is between God & Man – not corporately set by a church body. This helps perfect the man so the man knows how to do good works unto people in godliness. This wisdom is obtained by Salvation in Jesus Christ, in which we have righteousness before God. Men are not wise alone, for naturally are without understanding of spiritual things. The things of God’s Spirit cannot be known by the natural man because of being spiritually discerned. The Scriptures help to make men wise in the aspect of spirituality. The wisdom of Salvation is not in the Jewish Law, but it is in Jesus Christ, which lies within faith that imputes onto us as we study His Holy Word.

All Scripture of all kinds, Old Testament and New Testament are given for the edification of man, and are of God, not men. The Scriptures transcend all human understanding, and its capacity cannot be surpassed. The Scriptures do the job of discovering, illustrating, and verifying doctrine concerning God, and helps us understand the attributes of God and the majesty of Jesus Christ. Ministers should obtain their doctrine from the Scriptures, and then use it to reprove heresies, for the Sword of the Spirit cuts down all false and heretical doctrine. The Scriptures are the perfect rule of faith and every believer is expected in the use and practice of the Holy Scriptures.

Archaeological notes: The Scriptures of the first Christians were the Jewish writings that were held sacredly, and we believe what Jesus said that the Old Testament writings referred to Him (Luke 24:44). Second Temple Jews understood their Scripture differently from the Samaritans, because the Samaritans seemed to have rejected all writings of Scripture except for the Torah. It seems that Paul was referencing Old Testament Scripture in this context when writing unto Timothy. However, in the modern day, we do believe that all other Scripture is given for the same reasons, because they too (the New Testament) is about Jesus and His Redemptive Work.

Historical background: It appears “from a child” references a Jewish custom to allow a child that is age 5 to begin learning the Scriptures. Timothy knew this for his mother was a Jewess, and trained him early in the writings of the Word, and then eventually Paul mentored him by servitude.

Other notes: 1 Timothy 6:11 says to follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. John 5:39 says Scripture testifies of Jesus Christ, the giver of eternal life.

Beginning Commentary: Jesus admonishes the Disciples on Titles – Matthew 23:7-12

Welcome to the beginning of our commentary on this site. We are glad to administer commentary on a normal basis. I do hope this experience allows you to learn bits of Biblical knowledge each day (hopefully daily most of the time). We appreciate all of the new followers, welcome to the Lord’s Work!

Today we are discussing the admonishing to the Disciples that Jesus gave about using titles in ministry.

Scripture: Matthew 23:7-12

“7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren.9 And call no [man] your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, [even] Christ.11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

Prophetic data: There does not appear to be prophetic data in reference here.

Archaeological data: There does not appear to be archaeological data in reference here.

Commentary

Jesus is explaining to His Disciples (which translates over to all Disciples after this that carry on the Lord’s Work of ministering the Gospel) that they should not be as the Scribes and the Pharisees who call themselves “Rabbi,” “Teacher,” “Master,” or “Father.” Jesus charged them with not using titles in front of their name, because it gives the false impression that the Disciple is someone of power or authority.

Instead, they are to be a servant to their brethren, yes, on equal ground with their brethren in Christ. Jesus Christ is the True Master of all, and God is the True Father of all, and God is also “Reverend” (Psalm 111:9). Jesus gives the impression that there is no need for more masters, mystics, deified, or exalted beings. God gave the knowledge of Deity to Jesus Christ, and He is Master.

Those exalting themselves (such as with titles, authority, or other misleading traits) would be humbled, and those who are humble (such as servanthood) would be exalted (which would probably amount to doing more work for His Service in the Kingdom).

Spiritual pride can cause incalculable evil in the Church; however, please note that He is not speaking against spiritual leaders (the greater among men that are servants; also called servant leadership in some circles). What Jesus is speaking against is for those that attempt to distinguish themselves from other members of His Body. Jesus sees all of His People equally and does not show preference (see Romans 2:11).

Other notes: Some source notes for Matthew 23:12 show that “ostentation” should be avoided. 23:8 notes “be not ye called” an ingressed aorist subjunctive from the Greek, possibly to regard the potential adoption of titles to be used publicly as an object of pride of the Disciple or assigned to the Disciple — Jesus did not differentiate whether the Disciple assigned the title to themselves or would allow someone else to assign it. 23:9 “father” notes “Abba”, which depicts the harmonic sense of “spiritual father”, which would be stated to not condemn a person’s Earthly father.