Audio: The Temple – Herod’s Temple

 

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands – remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:11-13

 

This is the seventh in a series of nine messages tracing the history of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem entitled ‘The Temple: The Biography of a Place.’

This series of messages, along with their accompanying PowerPoint slides, were originally presented by Brother Tom Schetelich at the Forge Road Bible Chapel of Perry Hall, MD in late 2010 and early 2011.

Lord willing the series of messages will be posted every Friday through March 8th.

 

 

The Temple Part 7: Herod's Temple from DigitalSojourner

 


The Temple: The Biography of a Place
Series Directory

Part 1 The Temple: Choosing the Place
Part 2 The Temple: David Prepares the Materials
Part 3 The Temple: Solomon’s Dedication
Part 4 The Temple: Ahaz and Hezekiah
Part 5 The Temple: The Glory Departs
Part 6 The Temple: Haggai and the Second Temple
Part 7 The Temple: Herod’s Temple
Part 8 The Temple: Jesus at the Temple
Part 9 The Temple: Today & Beyond: Ezekiel’s Temple

 

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NT Tuesday: The Lord’s Day Pt. 2

But we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days. On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. Acts 20:6-7 ESV

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet. Revelation 1:10 ESV

Golden Gate BridgeLast week we looked at the nature and characteristics of the Lord’s day from scripture.

I would like to consider some additional thoughts on this subject, however, I suppose it is safe to say that these thoughts will be more musings than commentary on scripture.

Let me be clear, we need to be governed by the truth contained in Colossians 2:16-17 – “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” But I also think we would be wise to take before the Lord how He would want us to live on the Lord’s day– as well as, every other day.

If the Lord’s day is supposed to have a characteristic that reflects that Jesus Christ is Lord, then what does that day look like?

I think it is fair to say that we ought not to be indifferent towards the Lord’s day. If the Lord required obedience to the Sabbath based on Law, then out of love, in response to grace, we ought to look upon the Lord’s day in a serious way. Do we use the Lord’s day for spiritually profitable things or for a “day off”, recreation, amusement, errands, work, etc? If there was value for the people of the former dispensations to set aside one day, would there not be value in the people of God in this dispensation to also set aside a day – out of love, not law?

Of course, we won’t find real rest even by voluntarily, in response to love, setting aside a day for the Lord and unto the Lord. We will only find real rest in the person of the Lord of the Sabbath.

I am not trying to be legalistic, just contemplative, even purposeful. I think we would do well if we seriously considered our use of the the Lord’s day and whether it reflects the Lord and His priorities or whether it reflects our own selfish desires and priorities.

Until next week, press on and enter into the rest that comes only from Jesus Christ.

 

[photo credit]

 

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Audio: The Temple – Choosing The Place

 

Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet Acts 7:48 KJV

 

This is the first of a series of nine messages regarding the history of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem entitled ‘The Temple: The Biography of a Place.’ The series of messages, along with their accompanying PowerPoint slides, were originally presented by Brother Tom Schetelich at the Forge Road Bible Chapel of Perry Hall, MD in late 2010 and early 2011.

Lord willing the series of messages will be posted on Fridays beginning today and ending on Friday, March 8th.

 

 

The Temple: The Biography of a Place from DigitalSojourner

 


 

 
Tom SchetelichAbout the author: Thomas J. Schetelich is an attorney with the law firm of Ferguson, Schetelich & Ballew, P.A. in Baltimore, MD where he represents many Christians in business and ministry. Tom is also the President of the Christian Professional Network, a leading national organization of Christian businesses, professionals, and ministries.

Mr. Schetelich is an elder at Forge Road Bible Chapel in Perry Hall, MD. He also serves at Christian Missions in Many Lands, The Maryland Bible Society, The Maryland Fellowship of Christian Athletes, The Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, and The Baltimore School of the Bible among other ministries.

 

Editor’s Note: Thank you brother Tom for sharing this series with Digital Sojourner ~~ Scott


The Temple: The Biography of a Place
Series Directory

Part 1 The Temple: Choosing the Place
Part 2 The Temple: David Prepares the Materials
Part 3 The Temple: Solomon’s Dedication
Part 4 The Temple: Ahaz and Hezekiah
Part 5 The Temple: The Glory Departs
Part 6 The Temple: Haggai and the Second Temple
Part 7 The Temple: Herod’s Temple
Part 8 The Temple: Jesus at the Temple
Part 9 The Temple: Today & Beyond: Ezekiel’s Temple

 

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NT Tuesday: The Lord’s Day

But we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days. On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. Acts 20:6-7 ESV

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet. Rev. 1:10 ESV

Wheat and SkyWe’ve been considering what the Scriptures say as it pertains to the Sabbath and the Christian’s response to it (part 1 here, part 2 here). We rightly understood that the Sabbath is no longer a day, but rather it is now found in Jesus Christ.

Now we are going to consider what the Scriptures say about the Lord’s day which is the first day of the week (not to be confused with the ‘Day of the Lord’ which is an entirely different teaching found in the Scriptures). Interestingly, many early Christian manuscripts, written prior to AD 170, refer frequently to the first day of the week as the Lord’s day.

The Lord’s day is not the day that was sanctified by creation rest, nor is it the day of law which the law commanded Israel to keep.

From a grammatical standpoint, the term “Lord’s day” does not involve the possessive tense. Rather, the word “Lord’s” is actually an adjective and it describes the nature and purpose of the day.

Continued… click ‘Read More’

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NT Tuesday: Fellowship

Crew

Last week, Scott was kind enough to cover for me while I had the privilege of directing Boys’ Camp at Greenwood Hills Bible Conference in Fayetteville, PA. While directing the camp, I couldn’t help but think of another important New Testament principle.

In Acts 2:42, the Holy Spirit caused Luke to write “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” The principle of fellowship is noted early on in church history and I would like to explore it more this week and next week in my blog.

Before we start our study on fellowship, I want to remind everyone of what makes a New Testament principle. A principle is “a basic truth, law or assumption.” So, a New Testament principle is “a basic truth, law or assumption that was established or expounded upon in the New Testament for believers seeking to follow the Lord Jesus as His disciples, individually or collectively.”

Please note, that in the early church, the saints devoted themselves to fellowship. They didn’t just “have fellowship” but they devoted themselves. This means that it was a priority and was purposeful, something that was meaningful to them, something in which they invested their time and resources.

Our common conversation about fellowship falls far short of defining real fellowship. We somehow confine fellowship to that which takes place in between meetings and often involves coffee and conversation. While that may be good, it’s not the biblical concept of fellowship. I am guilty of this type of talk too – especially when it provides justification for certain activities.

For example, I enjoy (or at least I did last year, this year it hasn’t been much fun) watching the Phillies play at Citizens Bank Park. So, if I take another young man from the assembly with me, we can call it “fellowship” and it seems far more spiritual than it really is! But, that kind of activity also falls far short of the biblical concept of fellowship.

Let’s look at how Mr. Webster defines fellowship. According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary it means: (a) companionship, company, associate (vb.); (b) the community of interest, activity, feeling or experience, i.e., a unified body of people of equal rank sharing in common interests, goals, and characteristics, etc.; (c) partnership, membership (an obsolete usage but an important one. It shows what has happened to our ideas of fellowship).

There are three key ideas that come out of this:

  1. Fellowship means being a part of a group, a body of people.
  2. Fellowship means sharing with others certain things in common such as interest, goals, feelings, beliefs, activities, labor, privileges and responsibilities, experiences, and concerns.
  3. Fellowship can mean a partnership that involves working together and caring for one another as a company of people, like a company of soldiers or members of a family.

Joe Reese, a gifted Bible teacher, has pointed out that another good definition of fellowship is “two fellows in a ship rowing in the same direction.” You can see how that meets the 3 key ideas.

So what does this have to do with Boys’ Camp at Greenwood Hills? Tons, but we’ll have to wait to next week for the connection and the application to our relationship with other believers in the local assembly.

Until next week, fulfill your ministry!

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Jump to the next post in this series.

Photo credit: R0uge (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Ordination or Commendation?

Ocean RocksIf you have been following Digital Sojourner you already know that Tuesdays have been nicknamed “New Testament Tuesdays.”

New Testament Tuesdays started back in the early spring with a series of articles by Jack Hay entitled “Which Church? A Problem.” In the series Brother Hay looked at 11 patterns, or principles, of how the early church gathered together in local congregations. Unfortunately, even a casual observer will note that there numerous discrepancies between what is commonly practiced in most local churches today and the pattern of meeting together as found in the New Testament. A PDF ebook of the series is available here for free.

After the Which Church? series concluded, Brother Mike Stoudt picked up Digital Sojourner’s Tuesday time slot and continued to write about various other patterns and principles found in the pages of the New Testament. Due to a prior ministry obligation Mike was unable to write a post for today, so I thought I could share a little about a subject found in the New Testament that I am currently studying: commendation.

What in the world is commendation you ask? Don’t worry you are not alone! The vast majority of evangelical churches never use the term nor practice the principle – even though the practice of commendation is clearly found in the New Testament. See Acts 11:19-26, Acts 13:1-5, Acts 14:24-28. Even a cursory reading of these passages will reveal that the church in Antioch recognized that the Holy Spirit had called out from among them two believers for a work that God had called them to.

 


Ordination



 

Seems fairly simple… and it is simple. Unfortunately we like to complicate what God has made simple. Today most ecclesiastical circles will speak of “ordination.” Though the practice differs widely, ordination typically means that one has successfully mastered a prescribed religious curriculum, has been approved by an officially recognized inter-church ruling body, and has been ‘ordained’ during a special church ceremony. The one who has been ordained is then considered to be a member of a special class of Christians called “the clergy” and can hold certain offices and practice certain ministries that most other Christians “the laity” can not.

The modern practice of ordination may seem fine. Unfortunately, however, the practice can not be found in the New Testament. Because the practice is so common today many refuse to believe that there is no New Testament precedent regarding ordination. However, I would like to suggest that not only does the modern practice of ordination lack a Biblical foundation, in many ways ordination is actually contrary to New Testament teaching.

How is the modern practice of ordination contrary to the New Testament? Consider this…

  • There is no ‘prescribed religious curriculum’ other than the Bible itself — no other book or even church history is authoritative. Revelation 22:18-19
  • There is no ‘officially recognized inter-church ruling body’ sanctioned in the New Testament — The passages referenced above clearly show that it was the one local church alone that recognized what the Holy Spirit said. Acts 13:1
  • There is no ‘special church ceremony’ described in the New Testament for this purpose. When the local assembly in Antioch ‘sent off’ Barnabas and Saul for the work that God had called them to do they fasted, prayed and laid their hands on them. Acts 13:3. This does not sound like an ornate ceremony with great pomp and circumstance — in fact the Lord Jesus taught against this. See Matthew 6:5-7 and Matthew 6:16-18
  • There is no distinction made in the New Testament between the ‘clergy’ and the ‘laity.’ The New Testament actually teaches that all true Christians are members of the so-called ‘clergy’ — the priesthood of all believers 1 Peter 2:4-5 KJV

I know that this may sound shocking to you, so I would ask you not to take my word for it, but rather go to God’s Word alone and prayerfully study what God says about this topic.

 


Commendation



 

Well, if commendation is not ordination — what IS commendation? From the above referenced passages in the book of Acts one preacher has defined commendation as “an action by a local assembly in which they recognize God’s call of one of their own for a specific ministry and they hand the individual over to the grace of God for His care and blessing.”1

So, commendation is simply…

  • the local assembly recognizing that God has called one or more of their own for a special work. Acts 13:2.
  • the local assembly giving way to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:2.
  • the setting apart of the called believer(s) to the Lord. Acts 13:2.
  • the setting apart of the called believer(s) for a specific work of God. Acts 13:2.
  • the setting apart of the called believer(s) from the local assembly. Acts 13:2-4.
  • an ongoing relationship between the commending assembly and the one commended. Acts 14:26-28.
  • involves the entire local assembly. Note the multiple use of the word ‘they’ in Acts 13:2-3.
  • involves the assembly fasting and praying. Acts 13:2-3 — in accordance with Matthew 6:5-7 and Matthew 6:16-18 both fasting and praying should be done in a spirit of humility, and in such a manner that does not draw attention to the ones who are fasting and praying.
  • the local assembly identifying itself with the one(s) being commended as symbolized through the laying on of hands. Acts 13:3.

Therefore, commendation is something that is simple and spirit lead. All too often the modern church has added layer upon layer of rules and regulations to the simple and clear teaching of the Word of God. Yet, so many true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ seem to be blinded by the traditions of man.

So, what do you think? Has the modern church over-complicated and possibly even overruled the Scriptures with the modern practice of ordination? I would appreciate hearing your thoughts in the comments.

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1William Yuille (June 27, 2012) Commendation, message given at Greenwood Hills Bible Conference, Fayetteville, PA.

Also special credit to: Tom Irwin (July 30, 2012) Commendation, message given at North York Gospel Chapel, York, PA

Photo credit: Chris Buggins, used with permission.

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NT Tuesday: Doing the Work of an Evangelist

Golden Waves


Over the last few weeks (here, here, and here), we have considered several New Testament principles: worshipping God in spirit and in truth and the appropriate use of spiritual gifts. Now it is time to turn to another principle found in the New Testament. Before we look more intently at this new principle, I want to remind everyone of what makes a New Testament principle. A principle is “a basic truth, law or assumption.” So, a New Testament principle is “a basic truth, law or assumption that was established or expounded upon in the New Testament for believers seeking to follow the Lord Jesus as His disciples, individually or collectively.”

To introduce this next principle, let’s look at a few verses. The first verse is one of the parting comments of Jesus Christ to His disciples and is found in Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Another verse, with the same thought, is found in Acts 1:7-8

“He (Jesus Christ) said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Both of our verses suggest the idea of spreading the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus Christ died on the cross as payment for our sins and that the Jesus Christ rose from the dead three days later as proof that God is completely satisfied with that payment. Elsewhere we have a few other verses that are more direct in our responsibility to share the Gospel with the lost. In 2 Timothy 4:5, Paul exhorts Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist”. And in Ephesians 4, we read that the Risen Lord gave men as evangelists for the well-being of the church (the same reason all of the other gifts were given).

Several simple and accurate conclusions can be reached by looking at these verses. One is that God has entrusted men and women with the responsibility of delivering the good news that Jesus died for mankind’s sins according to the scripture. I want to emphasize something – the responsibility is given to INDIVIDUALS – not to the church, either local or universal! The assembly is not responsible for spreading the Gospel; the universal church is not responsible for spreading the Gospel. Rather, each and every believer is given the individual mandate and privilege to share the Gospel with the lost.

We will think more on this important topic next week!

Until then, fulfill your ministry and do the work of an evangelist!

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Photo credit: Chris Buggins, used with permission.

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Jottings – Insanity Is A Discriminating Epidemic

Jottings

On Acts 26:24 : “At this point in the proceedings Festus announced in a voice that boomed all round the court: “You are mad, Paul; your massive learning is driving you insane” (Acts 26:24). Strange that! You could enjoy the gladiator shows in Rome, like the rich and noble did, as well as the masses, and watch with amusement while men hacked each other to death—and not be charged with lunacy. You could in more recent times be so fanatical in pursuit of communist theory as deliberately to eliminate millions of human beings—and still not be called mad. But start a vigorous campaign to clean up the morals of the Roman Empire, to call on people to repent and seek the living God, to preach a message of forgiveness, peace, and hope—and it will seem to Festus, and a good many more, insanity. Insanity is obviously a very discriminating epidemic.”

David W Gooding, True To The Faith. Port Colborne, ON: Gospel Folio Press, 1995, p. 365.

True To The Faith is available here in print and here in PDF.

 

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Which Church? Does My Church Match The New Testament Pattern?

Which Church? New Testament Churches Had No Sectarian Title

As stated in the introduction, this series of posts have been framed with the newly saved person in mind, but we all have to take stock of our ecclesiastical position.

Ask the question, “does the group I am linked with match the New Testament pattern?” If not, you have a responsibility to respond to the teaching of Scripture and to meet with believers whose principles of gathering correspond to that biblical pattern.

Obviously this study has not been exhaustive, but be like the people of Berea, who “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”, Acts 17:11.

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To be continued…

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Which Church? New Testament Churches Met For Collective Prayer

Which Church?

Collective prayer was an important function of the early churches, Acts 2:42, Acts 4:23-24, Acts 12:5, and the prayer meeting should still be a priority for every assembly. On some occasions in the Acts, these were impromptu gatherings in emergency conditions, but it is clear that meetings for prayer were a regular feature of the early churches.

The doctrinal part of the Word that regulates the conduct of prayer meetings is 1 Timothy chapter 2. The first two verses show how we should pray, blending supplications, intercessions and thanksgivings. They show for whom we should pray, and why, and really, the command to pray for ‘all men’ provides wide scope for our public prayers. As has been observed already, verse 8 indicates who should do the public praying, the men.

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