Sessions 2: Understanding the Cosmic Conflict on Earth

➡ Average Reading Time: 18 minutes

Session 2: Understanding the Cosmic Conflict on EarthWhen you finish this session you should be able to:

  • Comprehend the strategy of attack and counterattack in the ministry of Jesus
  • Know how attack and counterattack are presented in the teaching of Jesus
  • Understand the armament of the Spirit
  • Rework your prayer life

Session Preview

This session discusses the idea of cosmic conflict as it was played out in the ministry of Jesus while he was on earth. We will observe four ideas about this cosmic war. First, we will look at the concept of attack and counterattack as it is seen in the ministry of Jesus. Then, we will see how the same idea is portrayed in the teaching ministry of Jesus. Next, we will overview the spiritual armament, which is provided for us by the Spirit of God. Finally, we will define how the Lord’s Prayer is a model for disciples of all ages as they enter into the cosmic conflict.

Where We Are Going

Introduction
Attack and Counterattack in the Ministry of Jesus
The Attack: Jesus in Combat
The Counterattack: Satan in Combat
Attack and Counterattack in the Teaching of Jesus
Suit Up
Learning to Talk to God
The Lord’s Prayer
Praying in the Spirit
Summary

Introduction

There is a war going on! Those living on earth are on the battlefield. The enemy does not understand that he has been defeated. God planted a cross on earth and announced that he ruled. The war has been decisively won! But there are still small battles that occur between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. We can illustrate this by observing how the battles are carried out in the form of attacks and counterattacks. We should understand that as we attack the citadels of Satan, his forces will counterattack. The life and ministry of Jesus serve as a model for the ecclesia to understand this strategy.

Attack and Counterattack in the Ministry of Jesus

Jesus appointed his twelve disciples (Mark 3.13-15). Up to this point in Mark’s story, he had recorded the preaching and baptisms by John (Mark 1.1-9-8). The empowering presence of the Spirit in the life of Jesus (Mark 1.9-11). The battle of Satan and Jesus in the wilderness (Mark 1.12-13). The proclamation of Jesus that the time for the kingdom had come (Mark 1.14-15). In the last two events, the wilderness and the proclamation of Jesus, the battle lines were drawn. Satan had attacked Jesus in the wilderness and the response of Jesus was the proclamation of the kingdom as an assault against Satan and his domain. The war was on!

The Attack: Jesus in Combat

The continuing story of Mark revealed the invasion of the kingdom into this present evil age. Jesus expelled a demon at Capernaum (Mark 1.21-28); healed the mother-in-law of Peter speaking to the fever as a demonic force (1.29-31); healed the sick and cast out many demons (1.32-34); went through Galilee preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons (1.39); cleansed a leper (1.40-45). At the conclusion of the first chapter of Mark, Jesus announced that the kingdom had arrived in his works.

Mark points out how the religious community responded to Jesus.

In the second chapter of Mark, Jesus continues the assault. Two attacks are recorded by Mark: the healing of the paralytic and the healing of the man with a withered hand. Mark points out how the religious community responded to Jesus. When Jesus healed the paralytic, the Scribes are amazed and give glory to God (2.1-12). By the conclusion of the section, the religious community has become antagonistic and its leaders met to decide how they should kill Jesus (3.6). The summary of this warfare is given by Mark at 3.7-12. He says that many were healed and that many demons were expelled. The first three chapters of the Gospel of Mark show Jesus on the attack.

The Counterattack: Satan in Combat

Jesus began to multiply his efforts in the war in his choice of twelve disciples for a special purpose (Mark 3.13-15). These disciples were to have a relationship with him and enter into combat with him (sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons). At home alone, Jesus is counterattacked by the enemy. The first attack came from his family: they thought he was crazy (Mark 3.21). The second counterattack came from the religious leaders: they accused him of being demonized (Mark 3,30, see John 10.20). These attacks were in your face attacks, designed to prevent Jesus from continuing his attack on the kingdom of Satan.

Attack and Counterattack in the Teaching of Jesus

Jesus understood the ability of Satan to counterattack. In Luke (11.24-26), he taught that a demonic power would strike back when he told his listeners that one demon could be expelled only to return with seven others, more evil to take up residence.

The counterattacking ability of the enemy is suggested in the teaching of Jesus about the greatness of John the Baptist (Matt. 11.11-15). John was the first to announce that the kingdom of God had arrived (Matt. 3.2). His announcement was a declaration of war! Jesus states in Matt. 11.12 “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.” The kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of God are the same (see Luke 16.16).

Another translation could be:

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven is being violently treated, and violent ones are trying to plunder it.

The word translated by NIV as violent people can simply be violent ones; there is no word in the Greek text for men.

The text means that from the time John the Baptist proclaimed that the kingdom was coming, declaring war on Satan, until now, at the point, Jesus was teaching and continuing to teach, the sons of the kingdom were suffering violence; violent ones, the demonic forces, which were resisting the advance of the kingdom by the word and works of Jesus, were plundering members of the kingdom. In short, the violent ones are trying to reclaim what they have lost: they fight back, they counterattack. [ref]James Kallas. The Satanward View. A Study in Pauline Theology. 1961-2020. 73-74][/ref]

The late George Ladd argued that “We do not discover (in the Second Testament) the idea of Satan attacking the kingdom of God or exercising his power against the kingdom itself. He can only wage his war against the sons of the kingdom…God is the aggressor; Satan is on the defensive.” [ref]George Ladd. A Theology of the New Testament. 1974a. 160-166[/ref] By saying that Satan does not war directly on the kingdom, (he cannot ascend to heaven and attack God directly), this does not imply that Satan does not attack the people of the kingdom. He does attack and with great effectiveness when we are unaware of his methods.

Dr. Ladd also stated, “God’s rule makes its way with great force and keen enthusiasts lay hold on it, that is, want to share in it…. God was acting mightily in his own mission and became the dynamic power of the kingdom, which has invaded the world, men are to respond with a radical reaction.” Jesus used violent language to demonstrate that the presence of the kingdom demands radical reaction (Matt. 1034; Mark 9.43; Luke 14.26). [ref]Ladd. Theology…. 69-70[/ref]

Satan does strike back when his kingdom is attacked by the kingdom of God. Jesus taught such in the parable of the sower (Matt. 13.18-23; Mark 4.19). When asked what he meant by this parable, he replied that Satan comes and takes away the word (he fights back to the advancement of the kingdom). In the parable of the wheat and the weeds (Matt. 13.24-30), he explains that the weeds were the sons of Satan and the enemy who had sown them was the devil.

Satan knows his time is short and his days are numbered. As we attack the strongholds of Satan’s kingdom with the rule of God, we can expect him to forge a counterattack. He will always try to undo the work of Jesus in lives. Paul uses the metaphor of soldiers in an army in pleading with the Ephesians to “put on the whole armor of God.” After putting on the armor, Paul exhorts the believers “to stand and fight (Eph. 6-10-18). God has provided offensive and defensive weapons. With them, we can attack as well as sustain the counterattack of Satan’s kingdom.

Suit Up (Ephesians. 6.10-18)

Ephesians Divided By Two!

Ephesians, like Paul’s other letters, can be seen in two parts: theology and practice. The first three chapters (Ephesians 1-3) demonstrate that the Father’s plan for us was adoption. The last three chapters (Ephesians 4-6) tell us how to live out our adopted life.

Finally…

This word could be translated for the remaining time. Paul is saying that the whole of the interim between the first coming of Jesus to inaugurate the kingdom and the second coming of Jesus to consummate the kingdom will be characterized by conflict. Thus, for the remaining time, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power (6.10). This is a picture of Divine Enablement.

Be Strong…

This phrase could be translated: Continue to be strengthened by the resurrection power of Jesus.

Put On…So That

Put on means to cover with clothing. It is a favorite phrase of Paul (Rom. 13.12; 13.14; 1 Cor. 15.53, 54; 2 Cor. 5.3; Gal. 3.27; Eph. 4.24, 6.11, 14; Col. 3.10, 12; 1 Thess. 5.8). So that (for the purpose) you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes (v. 11b). The word schemes (NIV) could be translated strategies. The enemy is tactically shrewd and ingeniously deceptive. His plan for your life is destruction.

For our struggle…

Flesh and blood mean “human.” We do not fight against humans but the forces behind them which drive humans to do dastardly deeds. Paul gives a full description of the enemies with whom we will be in continual conflict. They are powerful, wicked, and cunning. We fight:

  • against rulers and principalities: High ranking spiritual beings blocking heaven from earth
  • against authorities and powers: A different expression for the same thing as principalities
  • against the world rulers of the darkness: a metaphor for the devil
  • against spiritual wickedness in heavenly realms: This word most likely refers to the most depraved abominations, including such things as extreme sexual perversions, occultism, and Satan worship which, come from the supernatural sphere where Satan temporarily rules.

Wobbly Jesus followers who have no firm foothold are easy prey for the devil.

Take Up…

The original word is different from “put on.” The word can be defined as “to take up a thing in order to use it.” Paul provides a detailed look at the weapons available for the believer in this ongoing conflict. There are six main pieces: belt, breastplate, boots, shield, helmet, and sword. Each piece of equipment pictures a spiritual weapon: truth, righteousness, the good news of peace, faith, salvation, and the word of God. In the First Testament, two of these items are used to picture God as a warrior who was fighting to vindicate his people from their sinfulness.

He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak (Isa. 59.17).

God is pictured in the First Testament as having the very pieces of armament that he gives to his people.

God is pictured in the First Testament as having the very pieces of armament that he gives to his people. Paul is saying that if this armament was good enough for God, it is good enough for his people. These pieces of armament are all that the Jesus follower needs. He or she doesn’t have to go running after every present, Christian fad to fight the enemy. We already have all that we need.

Prayer may be the seventh weapon, although no specific piece of equipment is attached to it.

The Army of God

Paul used this metaphor in Ephesians when he alluded to the six pieces of equipment which the Roman soldier used, which are analogous to the weapons the Christian soldier has at his or her disposal (Eph. 6.10ff). The ecclesia is the army of God through whom God brings his rule into this present evil age. Here is our equipment. Suit up!

The Belt of Truth: Ephesians 6.14

Background: The Roman soldier used his belt to tuck his tunic up, so it would not become flowing attire in the midst of a battle and impede him from fighting his enemy. In addition, the Roman soldier’s belt was used to hold the warrior’s weapons: the large and small sword.

Application: Paul described the belt as being like truth. The truth here should be thought of as truthfulness and honesty as opposed to phoniness, deceitfulness, and hypocrisy. To participate in these latter activities is to play the devil’s game. You should know that you cannot beat him at his own game.

The Breastplate Of Righteousness: Ephesians 6.14

Background: When the Roman soldier wore this piece of armament, it covered his front and back. The breastplate covered his vital organs.

Application: Paul likens the breastplate to righteousness. In Ephesians 4.2 and 5.9, Paul used the word righteousness to clearly mean the right character and conduct. Jesus followers and the ecclesia are most vulnerable to Satan when he or she or they as a group destroy their own character and conduct by sinning. In short, when a Jesus follower or the ecclesia as a group of Jesus followers sins. If we continue to sin, it is like having a chink in our armament that allows the enemy a pathway into our lives. Think about it: Sin puts a chink in God’s armament. If we replace old sinful patterns with the right character and conduct, the enemy cannot get to us as easily.

The Boots: Ephesians 6.15

Background: The Roman soldier had special boots. They were made of leather with studded soles and allowed the toes to be free. They were tied to the soldier at his ankles and shins with ornamental straps. Wearing these boots equipped the soldier for long marches and provided him a solid, firm stance.

Application: The gospel of peace (rest in the midst of turmoil), which is given to the Jesus follower, helps each to stand on a firm foundation. Remember that one of the deceptions of the enemy is fear. Most of what we fear does not happen. We use mega energy to worry. Fear can be understood as: False Expectations Appearing Real.

The Shield of Faith: Ephesians 6.16

Background: The shield that Paul referred to was the larger of two shields that were used by the Roman soldier. It measured 4½ feet high by 2½ feet wide. It was like a small wall built of two layers of wood, glued together, and covered with leather. The shield could be planted in the ground and the Roman soldier could squat behind it. One of the weapons used in wartime was darts that had been dipped into pitch, lit, and fired at the opponent. The Roman shield would catch the dart and extinguish it.

Application: For Jesus followers individually or corporately, Paul likens the shield to faith. In this passage, it appears that faith means individual Jesus followers or the ecclesia’s ability to believe that God will protect him/her/them from ultimate harm. As Satan throws his fiery darts: unsought thoughts, desires to disobey, rebellion, fear, lust, hate, anger, sarcasm, etc., we can hide behind our shield of faith, knowing that God will protect us.

The Helmet Of Salvation: Ephesians 6.17

Background: The Roman helmet was made of a tough metal-like bronze or iron. It had a hinged visor for frontal protection. Nothing short of an ax could penetrate the helmet.

Application: Paul likened the helmet to the believer’s salvation. It seems that salvation means the means of deliverance based on the four other times this word appears in the Second Testament (Luke 2.30, 3.6; Acts 28.28; Titus 2.11). To be saved is to accept the deliverer and the deliverance, knowing that nothing the enemy can throw at you can penetrate.

The Sword Of The Spirit: Ephesians 6.17

Background: The sword for the Roman could be an offensive and defensive weapon. In this passage, the word sword is machaira (makh-ahee-rah). This was the smaller of the two Roman swords. It was a twelve-to-fourteen inch knife-like instrument whose blade could cut in any direction and whose tip was pinpoint sharp. It was used for close personal combat. The soldier would use the larger sword to disable his opponent. Then he would use the smaller instrument to penetrate the chinks in his opponent’s armor and plunge the sword in.

Application: Paul likened this sword to the word of God. Word in this passage is rhema, which is used seventy times in the Second Testament. Five of these times it is used in the phrase word of God. On all five occasions, it should be translated a word of God, although it is translated the word of God in most translations. In Luke 3.2, the word of God appears to be a message from God which John preached. In Luke 4.4, the word of God is that which is provided to give humans life. Hebrews 6.5 suggests that the believer taste the word of God. In Hebrews 11.3, the word of God is an utterance by which God summoned into existence that which had not existed before (see Gen. 1.3). In light of the above, it seems best to take Ephesians 6.17 to also mean a word of God, a specific statement given by the Spirit to assist the believer in defending against the enemy as well as assaulting the enemy during a battle. This may be a spoken word of Scripture or an impression from God.

Watch and Pray: Ephesians 6.18-20

The phrase in the Spirit in Scripture can have the meaning of in control of the Spirit (Matt. 22.43, Mark 12.36; Luke 2.27, 4.1; Acts 19.21; Rom. 8.9; 1 Cor. 12.3). With reference to prayer, it indicates Charismatic prayer in which words are given by the Spirit. Prayer in the Spirit includes, but is not limited to, praying in tongues.

  • Pray in the Spirit: all kinds of prayers and requests.
  • Be alert and pray for all the saints.
  • Pray for Paul that as he shares the good news he will receive the right words and speak them fearlessly.

Final Words: Ephesians 6.21-24

  • Peace to all.
  • Love together with faith for God and Jesus.
  • Grace to all who love with incorruptible love.

Learning To Talk To God

The Lord’s Prayer. Matthew 6.9-13

Remember, the basic background of the teaching of Jesus is that of the invasion of God’s rule into the kingdom of Satan. This provides an adequate key to understanding what Jesus is teaching.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray as they were standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
And lead us not into temptation.[ref] Zondervan. NIV, The Books of the Bible: New Testament,[/ref]

The following Audio Download links are for your listening pleasure:
The Gospel of Luke  | and The New Testament Complete.

Jesus taught his disciples about acts of righteousness and the place they should be accomplished (Matt. 6.1-4). The place for doing acts of righteousness is in secret, not in public. The pattern for prayer is the same. Jesus said, Do not be like the play actors when you pray…this is how you should pray… (Matt. 6.5, 9). The address is not a put-down of prayer, but a put-down of the showboating style of prayer, which would call attention to the one praying!

Winn’s Thoughts…

I grew up in a small southern pentecostal church. Every once in a while, the preacher would call for an all-night prayer meeting. A few folks would show up and spend part, if not all of the night, praying. What I found interesting about this practice was the chatter than occurred afterward and in the testimony times during the Sunday services. The testimonies would often go something like: “I want to thank my sweet Jesus that he kept me awake for six hours praying in tongues as well as English.” Or, on occasion, “I would like to thank the Spirit that he allowed me to stay awake all night in deep and anguishing prayer.” It often struck me that this was a public display not of the praying itself but the results of a competition that was publically proclaimed. One could tell by the ‘oohs and ahhs’ of the listeners that the one who lasted the longest was the “winner.”

There are two sets of petitions in what is often called the Lord’s Prayer. Actually, it is a model for the disciples to use in their prayers. The first set, petitions one and two, are concerned with the establishment of God’s purpose on a cosmic scale. The second set, composed of the last three petitions, regards the personal needs of the disciples. All five petitions are imperatives. Remember, the basic background of the teaching of Jesus is that of the invasion of God’s rule into the kingdom of Satan. This provides an adequate key to understanding what Jesus is teaching.

The first petition is the hallowing of God’s name, which means not only reverence and honor should be given to God, but also to glorify him by obeying his commands.

Let your name be hallowed: We can speak to God about allowing us to act in such a manner that his reputation is not slandered.

The second petition is that God’s kingdom would come and be practiced on earth as it is in heaven. At some point in past time, Satan was cast out of heaven along with a host of beings. The war which arose in heaven had been cast down to earth. Jesus was teaching his disciples and us to ask the Father: “Just as you have expelled Satan from heaven, establishing your rule there, that you continue to bring about that same rule on earth.” Everything was now all right in heaven, Satan was cast out—now Satan is to be pursued on earth.

Let your kingdom come, your will be done: Pray for God’s Rule in our life, work, children, family recreation.

The third petition comes in verse 11. Give us today our daily bread… This, unfortunately, is an inadequate translation. It could better read, …Give us today the bread of tomorrow…. Hunger is a work of Satan. Jesus took the work of Satan seriously. He requested the Father to bring to his people today some of the abundances of God’s rule from tomorrow.

Give us today the bread of tomorrow: We can pray for the specifics, which we need in our lives. We can pray for spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, and social needs.

The fourth petition is …forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors. This is a prayer for the forgiveness of sins. This petition has a condition attached to it. Matthew 6.14-15 makes this petition clear. These verses do not mean that our forgiveness of others earns us the right to be forgiven. They mean that God forgives only the penitent, and the chief evidence of penitence is a forgiving spirit.

Forgive us our sins: This is the arena to pray for forgiveness of our sins.

The fifth petition is …And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Here again, a better translation could be: Do not let us succumb to the attack of the evil one but deliver us from the evil one and his attacks. Jesus was giving instructions to his disciples on how to pray when Satan comes to attack. Satan was surely going to attack them in their ministry.

Do not let us succumb to the attack of the evil one: Stand against the attack of the evil one.

The entire prayer of Jesus is based on his conviction that this present world is under the control of the evil one. The praying of the disciples in this fashion was one more tool in their arsenal.

Praying in the Spirit

One more piece of armament that believers have is prayer. A part of one’s prayer life can be praying in the Spirit or praying in tongues. To pray in tongues is foreign to many people. Speaking in tongues has received a lot of bad press and much abuse. However, throwing out the baby with the bath wash is never a suitable alternative to abuse. I believe that every believer has the right to speak in tongues as part of her/his Christian experience. There are may fillings in the Spirit, one of them may have the manifestation of tongues. Those who have been taught that this is no longer available today and use passages like Do all speak in tongues? as a way of saying that even if it was for today, not all could do it, have missed the meaning of the passage quoted from 1 Corinthians. This passage at the conclusion of Chapter 12, is in the middle of a longer contextual passage about When the church comes together. The answer to the question Do all speak in tongues? is No! All do not speak in tongues. The context, however, provides us the answer where this No! is given. It is when the ecclesia comes together. When the ecclesiae comes together, if everyone spoke in tongues it would be mass confusion. So Paul says that when the ecclesia does come together that all do not speak in tongues. He is not speaking to the issue of all being qualified to speak in tongues by virtue of being a believer, only that all should not speak in tongues when the ecclesia comes together.

Summary

During our stay between the already and yet-to-come kingdom of God, there will be occasions that God calls us to attack the lines of the enemy. When we do, we can be assured that there will be some counterattacks. On both occasions, God has given us armament to guard ourselves and advance his rule.

Community Discussion Questions

➡ |CDQ Info|

  • Comprehend the strategy of attack and counterattack in the ministry of Jesus, the figure out what you should do.
  • In what areas of the stronghold of the enemy have you been attacked?
  • In what areas has the enemy counterattacked?
  • Where is the devil trying to gain back what he lost in your life?
  • How does Satan take away the word of the kingdom rule in your life, your family life, your business life, your marriage, and your church life?
  • How are you arming yourself with the truth of God’s word? How are those in the battle with you treating you?
  • What ways are you choosing “right” character and conduct in your day-to-day life?
  • Do you find that the enemy gets to you easily? Why or Why not?
  • How peaceful is your life?
  • How are you doing with your faith that God will protect you from ultimate harm from the enemy?
  • How often do you feel like your helmet doesn’t fit? Why?
  • Can you recall the last time that God gave you his word like a sword? Was it for offensive or defensive purposes? Reflect.
  • Do you think this prayer is a prayer to be quoted or a model to use in developing a prayer life? Why?
  • In what areas has the enemy counterattacked?
  • Where is the devil trying to gain back what he lost in your life?
  • How does Satan take away the word of the Kingdom rule in your life, your family life, your business life, your marriage, and your life in the ecclesia?
  • How are you arming yourself with the truth of God’s word? How are those in the battle with you treating you?

Practice

  • Spend a few minutes with God and do not ask for anything. Give him verbal honor and reverence.
  • Make a list of items in your day-to-day life that you need the rule of God to invade, so that in those areas his will is done just like it is in heaven.
  • List the needs that you have and then pray and ask God to give you some of his future blessings now.
  • Ask God to forgive you for all the specific sins you can think of.
  • Pray that God will help you with his kingdom rule to stand strong against the attacks of the enemy.

Think About It!

  • If you are a non-charismatic believer, reflect on the information that has been provided above. Ask God to cut through all the abusive things that you may have been taught about tongues. Risk asking him for the language of his choice to come through you. Remember, if you ask him for something good, he will not give you something evil.
  • If you are a Charismatic believer who has spoken in tongues, reflect on the perception that you may feel somewhat superior because of this operation of the Spirit in your life. Pray and ask God to help you put tongues in its rightful theological place.

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Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)

Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)