Justification by Faith

Check out this awesome, very clear teaching on Justification by Faith by Ariel Ministries, Highly recommended:

Audios for download:

http://www.arielm.org/dcs/mbs105/dcs_podcast.php

Pdf for reading:

http://www.arielm.org/dcs/pdf/mbs105m.pdf

Q&A:

http://www.arielm.org/qbq/105.html

Please have a listen!!! be blessed!!!

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Beyond the Tithe, Chapter by Michael Eaton

(The first part is my comments and title and then Michael’s document follows)

Dear friends, there have been many studies and teachings about tithing whether For or Against…

I believe as the Scriptures say the fact we know that we are free and not under the Mosaic Law. The Law and the Prophets was a shadow, but the Reality is found in Christ.

Col 2:17 these are only 1 the shadow of the things to come, but the reality 2 is Christ! 3

That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t read the Law of Moses i.e. the book of Leviticus or Deuteronomy, but we should read the Old Testament keeping in mind that we cannot fully understand the OT without the New Testament Scriptures and the introduction of Jesus the Messiah.

Most Christians will point out the reasons why we should tithe:

1) According to Mosaic Law

2) According to Abraham and Jacob

The first reason is invalid because we are not under the Mosaic Law, the second reason was completely voluntarily and lead by the Spirit not out of a command- so that means we simple do it whenever God leads us, not legalistically. The law of 10% only stirs up sin.

Some people might be going ‘whippee’ at this point and say, “Cool! I don’t have to give 10%!! I’ll just give 3%!”.  You give what you have decided in your heart, if its 5% this time, or 50% next time, its whatever you’ve decided in your heart to give.

2Cor 9:6-8

My point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sowsgenerously  will also reap generously. Each one of you should give  just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly  or undercompulsion,  because God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace overflow  to you so that because you have enough of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow in every good work.

What most Christians don’t realise is that we as believers and partakers of the New Covenant, are so much more privileged than those who have gone before us under the Old Covenant.

We have a better sacrifice that is Jesus’ blood, not the blood of bulls and animals…

We have better promises and a better mediator

I believe that people living under Grace will give as they are being lead by the Holy Spirit than those living under the Old Covenant or Abraham’s days.

2 Cor 8:3 For I testify, they gave according to their means and beyond their means. They did so voluntarily,

Grace people on occasions will tithe, give 10% but more likely all the other times will  actually go beyond the tithe

Grace people are empowered to do more than law people because of a change of heart, they are more priviliged under a better covenant!

Grace people are not bound by rules and laws and that bounds them, but are now free to stretch their wings and take faith risks which makes them actually enables to do more as their heart has been freed by love…

Nevertheless, the Christian is free to give or not to give and whatever amount God puts on their hearts they are not not pressured by man but give out of their hearts.

Please enjoy this document by Michael Eaton on Tithing!


Chapter 23 Tithing (Malachi 3:7c-8)

As always happened when Malachi was preaching, the people responded with hostility. Most of them were quarrelsome and argumentative. Here it happens again. Malachi says: But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ (3:7c). But as always Malachi refuses to be intimidated. He answers their question! Should a person rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions (3:8).

Why does Malachi mention tithing? It is because it is a highly practical matter. The people have become careless about keeping the Mosaic law. One sin is being committed, it seems, by almost everyone in the nation. They are all withholding the ‘tithe’ – the tenth of their agricultural profit and of their flocks of animals that was to be given to God at the temple. The people were generally careless about the things of God, but this is something which is very sensitive (most people are touchy about wealth!).

What was ‘tithing’? It was the setting aside of a tenth of harvested crops and animals to be given to God (see Leviticus 27:30-33). In Leviticus we are told that it was required animals and crops that were grown in the land should be tithed (27:30). It effectively meant that one’s in come was subject to a ten per cent tax. The crops (but not the animals) could be given a money-value and the tithe paid in cash. If this was done 20% was added to the estimated value (27:31).

The tithe was very sacred. ‘All tithes … are the Lord’s; they are holy…’. Later on in the law fuller information was given. Numbers 18 refers to the same tithe. (The idea that there is a tithe of crops and animals and another tithe for Levites and maybe a third tithe for the poor – is surely mistaken). The tithe had to be given to the Levites (Numbers 18:21) – the sections of the tribe of Levi that were not priests. The tithe was to be given them as a salary instead of land (18:24).

Deuteronomy 14:22-29 is a further development of the legislation, forty years after its first mention in the law. It adds to and modifies the original law with a view to what will happen in the future. Deuteronomy 17:14-20 is explicitly looking forward to a future period in Israel’s history, and so looks forward to what will happen when there is a central national place of worship. The tithe was an annual matter. Deuteronomy 14:22 makes it explicit. Moses (i) takes it for granted that the annual tithe will be brought to a central sanctuary. (ii) He also takes it that in two out of three years the visit to the central sanctuary will be a special occasion. Deuteronomy 14:23 says ‘And you shall eat before Yahweh your God’. It does not say ‘You shall eat it’ (which might seem to refer to the whole tithe). In this context ‘eat’ has the idea of ‘celebrate’, ‘join in a religious meal together’. Most of the tithe would have been given to the Levites to use or give out according to the well-known legislation. But the people who have come a long way also ‘eat before Yahweh’ (the identical phrase is found in Deuteronomy 12:7). That is, they enjoy a meal in which they are celebrating together. However if they live a long way from the sanctuary they will not be able to do this easily. So they may turn the tithe into cash at the place where they live (14:24-25a). They they are to carry the cash to the central sanctuary (14:25b) and use it to buy what they are giving as tithe (14:26a). They have a family celebration with a little of the tithe (14:26b), and then give the vast majority of it to the sanctuary (14:27). The Levites will no longer be quite so needy as they were when they first settled in the land, so the bulk of the tithe will be given to the central sanctuary. Yet the Levites must not be forgotten altogether. If they are in need some of the tithe may still (as in the original legislation) be given to them (14:27). (iii) Moses also laid it down for the distant future that every third year the tithe would be used in a different way. Every third year the tithe is to be stored in the towns until it is completely brought together from the rural areas (14:28), and then it will be given to the Levites, foreigners, orphans and widows (14:29a). This – says Moses – will lead to blessing for the entire nation (14:29b). Any Levite who misused the tithe was liable to be executed (Deuteronomy 18:32b).

2. What was the origin of tithing? It began with Abraham and Jacob. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20; Hebrews 7:6); and Jacob vowed to the Lord and said, ‘Of all that you give me I will surely give a tenth to you’. But it is important to note that this pre-Mosaic tithing was purely a matter of being led by the Holy Spirit. Abraham and Jocab tithed because at a time when they were close to God, and God was working powerfully in their hearts, they felt led to give a tenth of their possessions in this way. They were tithing in the Holy Spirit. Later on the tithe became a matter of law. Israel was under a tithe-legislation.

3. Is the Christian obliged to tithe his income? I answer ‘No’ and ‘Yes’! Strictly speaking the answer is ‘No, the Christian is not under the Mosaic law’. The Christian does not tithe as a matter of legislation. We have ‘died to the law’, and there is nowhere in the New Testament where we are told to tithe. Matthew 23:23 is telling those under the law to keep the law! It cannot be made into a command for post-Pentecost Christians. The New Testament speaks of proportional giving but it is not compelled like the tithe (2 Corinthians 8:8; 9:7). It was ‘according to means’ (8:11). This is not exactly tithing.

Israel was an earthly nation. The tithe was part of its state-law. There was a time when state-churches could demand a tithe of every citizen of a country. In Britain state-enforced tithing was not entirely abolished until 1936! Even today there is at least one country where the tithe can be collected from every citizen as part of its collecting the national taxes. Only those who exempt themselves are released from it. Certainly the Christian is not under the Mosaic law, and state-Christian-religion tends to have a corrupting influence on the purity and sincerity of the churches (to say nothing of its tendency to produce ‘Christians’ who persecute others). Is the Christian under a tithe law? No!

Yet this is not the whole story! The Christian has to give to the work of God. His or her giving is more like the tithing of Abraham and Jacob. They gave a tenth of what they had because that was the leading of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They were tithing by the Holy Spirit, not tithing by any legislation. Christians are not under the law; they are under the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit inspires giving! Another point is: if someone gave a tenth under the law, the movement from law to grace is a movement forward. A person who gave a tenth under the law would give even more – by the Holy Spirit. Whether this ‘proportional giving’ is called ‘tithing’ or not is unimportant. But there is no escaping the fact that when under the law, the believer was to give a tenth and the Holy Spirit is likely to inspire in the heart of the Christian the giving of even morethan a tenth, in the heart of the Christian. It is a good way to test whether we are walking in the Spirit! Are we under the law? No! But we fulfill the law – and go beyond it – by walking in the Holy Spirit. Christians do not tithe ‘Mosaically’. They surpass the tithe when they are walking in the Holy Spirit.

Acts 15 Commentary, by Michael Eaton

Being Kind to the Weaker Brother  (Acts 15:19-35)
Although James concluded that Christian gentiles need not come under the Mosaic legislation, he did ask three things of them (5:19-20)1.  Therefore I for my part come to this conviction: we should not harass people from the gentiles who turn to God (15:19), but we should write to them asking them to abstain from the pollutions of idols, and from wrongful sexual relationships, and from what is strangled and from blood (5:20). He wants to ask gentile Christians (i) not to buy and eat food which was associated with idolatrous worship (having been offered in sacrifice before being sold); verse 29 uses the phrase ‘food sacrificed to idols’.  He wants them (ii) to be specially careful about immorality.  And he wants them (iii) not to eat meat from which the blood had not been drained.
How should these be interpreted.  There are three possible interpretations.
(i) Do James’s three points deal with permanent principals of behaviour?  Are Christians forever forbidden to buy meat with dubious associations, forever forbidden immorality, forever forbidden certain types of food?  This interpretation makes sense with regard to immorality and idolatry but not with regard to the other two matters.  Christians are not permanently compelled to refused meat with blood in it.
(ii) Do James’s three points deal only with minor Jewish sensitivities to which gentiles make concessions?  Are Christians temporarily forbidden to buy meat with dubious associations – as a concession to Jews? Are they temporarily forbidden immorality – as a concession to Jews?  Are the temporarily forbidden certain types of food with blood in it – as a concession to Jews?  This interpretation makes sense with regard to one or maybe two matters, but not with regard to immorality, which is permanently forbidden.
There are expositors who think that ‘wrongful sexual relationships’ refers here only to Jewish sensitivity about the forbidden relationships of Leviticus 18.  But this would imply that such relationships are now allowed, and gentile Christians had then to stay away from them only as a concession to Jewish sensitivites.  Yet the wicked relationships of Leviticus 18 are permanently forbidden – not because of the permanence of the law but because of the permanence of the conscience, and the forbidding of the Holy Spirit.  Although the Christian is free from the law in general, there are certain parts of it which are are are fulfilled without change (especially Levticus 19:18) for reasons of conscience and the leading of the Holy Spirit.   Leviticus 18:6-20 is not dealing with marriage; it is dealing with criminal sexual relationships that were punishable by the death-sentence (see Lev.18:29).  The Christian knows the sins of Leviticus 18 are still wicked.  He does not need the law to know it.  ‘The works of the flesh are obvious’ (Gal.5:19) – even without the law.  But is would be wrong to take this phrase in Acts 15:20 as only a ‘temporary concession’.  Leviticus 18:6-20 will be obeyed by those who keep a good conscience and walk in the Holy Spirit – without their having to come under the entire law..
(iii) Actually, two of these matters are dealing with Jewish sensitivities, and one of them deals with a permanent matters of behaviour. This third approach is less tidy but it is  necessary. Two items are dealing with minor sensitivities to which gentiles make concessions. But immorality is more serious.  Gentile Christians are forever forbidden immorality; but the Christian gentiles are temporarily asked not to buy meat with dubious origins – as a concession to Jews with tender consciences. And they are asked to temporarily abstain from food with blood in it- as a concession to Jews.  The three matters are not all of similar importance.
It may seen puzzling that the three thing are not all of the same kind.  Two of these matters are about food-laws or the purchasing of food; and one of them is about more serious sexual morality.  The explanation, I believe, is that these three (unequal) matters really were, as a fact of history, three concerns of Jewish Christians.  Jewish people were concerned about (i) indirect contact with  idolatry, (ii) looseness of gentile morality (which they feared might still characterize even Christian gentiles), and (iii) horrow at the thought of eating blood.  James says: please make a concession about two matters, and please forever be very careful about a third.
What then are the practical implications of all of this for the modern Christian?  One is: Christians should wise and kindly even where they have freedom.  Two of these three points are not strict ever-lasting legislation for the Christian.  Yet they were necessary in the first century if Jews and gentiles were to have fellowship together.  Care about what you eat would make it possible for Christian Jews and Christian gentiles to have fellowship together without Jews being horrified.  A modern Christian trying to talk to a Hindu friend had best not invite him to a meal with beef in it!  Although Christian gentiles were not under the law, Christian Jews were likely to want to keep their culture for a long time.  If the two groups were to have fellowship and were to eat together, some concessions would have to be made.  Moses gets read in the main cities of the empire (15:21).  Jewish people everywhere are specially sensitive about these three matters, so gentile Christians would do well to restrain themselves, even though they are not bound to the Mosaic law-code.
It must be realised that these three requests are not things that are binding on Christian gentiles for all time.  The three requests are not a new law-code!  They were guidelines to help gentile Christians to avoid offending Christian Jews needlessly.
Chapter 7  Coming To Agreement  (Acts 15:22-16:5)
Part of the precise requests of Acts 15:20 have fallen aside for the modern Christian, and today the concessions about the kind of food we eat are no longer directly relevant.  Yet there is a principle here which still stands.  When relating to people who have some cultural restraints or some excessive sensitivities, one might have to go along with them for a while until the ‘weak brother’ comes to a clearer mind. Christians should be sympathetic to those who have cultural inhibitions; they should be kindly to those with such inhibitions, even where they themselves have freedom.
1.  One way of resolving disagreement is discussion by church conference.  It is a matter of joy when dispute comes to a happy conclusion.  The meeting at Jerusalem agrees with James’s conviction, and they write a letter to the Antioch church.  The letter comes from the entire leadership of the Jerusalem church, with the involvement of the people (15:22).  It is addressed only to the area around Syrian Antioch (15:23).  They explain that the trouble-makers who had come to Antioch had no authority from Jerusalem (15:24).  The letter commends Barnabas and Paul (15:25-26), and it is to be taken to Antioch by people who will explain it more fully (15:27).  The Christians at Jerusalem are resolved not to ask for the Jewish law to be kept by gentiles (15:28), but they do have three requests to make (15:29).
The letter is taken to Antioch and the gentiles Christians rejoice at what has happened (15:30-31).  The ministry of the Jerusalem prophets is received (15:32) and friendly greetings are sent back to Jerusalem (15:33).  The ministry of Paul and Barnabas in Antioch continued (15:34).
So the dispute came to a happy conclusion.  This Jerusalem consultation between two churches is a model of what churches need to do from time to time.  When there is doctrinal dispute, when there are cultural perplexities, there needs to be inter-congregational consultation.  Churches need to cooperate well with other churches, in so far as it can be done.
2.  Another way of resolving disagreement is for both sides to follow different procedures while maintaining friendship.   Immediately after the agreement at Jerusalem, another kind of disagreement springs up between Paul and Barnabas!  Paul wants to visit the church in Cyprus and south Galatia again, but refuses to take John Mark.  Barnabas refuses to go without Mark (who is Barnabas’s cousin – Col.4:10).  The disagreement between the two men is sharp (15:35-39).  In the end they divide the mission into two. Barnabas takes the Cyprus section of the trip.  Paul takes the Galatian section.  The dispute did not cause permanent bitterness.   Although the disagreement was sharp for a short time, eventually a good solution was reached.  They made two missions instead of one. Insoluble disagreements do arise in the church.  God may bring good out of them if they are handled with wisdom and love.  Sometimes an amicable parting is the best way to handle the matter, in which case great care needs to be taken that good relationships are preserved after the separation.  Love can find a way of separating in a friendly manner, and good may come out of it despite bad appearances. Paul speaks well of Barnabas in 1 Corinthians 9:6, and later Paul and Mark were colleagues again (Col.4:10; 2 Tim.4:11; Philem.24).
Because of the dispute the evangelistic team became two teams.  God gave Paul some new colleagues.  Silas took the place of Barnabas (15:40-41).   He was als0 (like Barnabas originally) from the Jerusalem church (15:22) and was a prophet (15:32).  It appears from what we read later that (like Paul) he was a Roman citizen.  Although Paul would probably not have replaced Barnabas if it had not been for the dispute, yet it is likely that Silas was a more suitable co-worker for Paul at this point.  Sometimes God pushes us into decisions that we would not have taken for ourselves.
When the two men got to Lystra (16:1), Paul found a replacement for John Mark also.  Timothy had been in Lystra as a young believer when Paul and Barnabas.  He was one of the Christians who had received Galatians.  Presumably he was in heart agreement with what Paul said in Galatians.  As someone who was half-Jew, half-gentile, he was a useful man.  Such people can relate to Jews as a Jew, and to gentiles as a gentile.  He was just the kind of colleage Paul needed.  Paul was very firm about salvation through grace, but so long as grace was clearly established he was a very yielding and gracious man.  He had Timothy circumcised.  It was a step taken to make thing easier for Paul when relating to Jews.  As long as no one thought Timothy received grace from God by circumcision, than Paul did not mind Timothy’s being circumcised as a concession to culturally touchy Jewish Christians.
3.  The important matter is the preaching of the gospel.  One can see that behind both of these disputes (the conference at Jerusalem, the forming of two evangelistic teams) is a concern for the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Ways are being found to overcome difficulties in the way of preaching.  The kingdom of God is not circumcision; it is not disputes over opinions.  It is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  It is Jesus.   The apostles settle these matters as speedily as they can, and then the outreach teams get on with the work of building up the churches.  The decisions made at Jerusalem are told to the churches (15:4-5).  Paul is now ready for a further step in taking the gospel of Jesus to areas where the message is unknown.

Freedom from Mosaic law, Acts 15

There is a Grace Revolution in the earth today…

Short commentary on Acts 15 (Please read the whole chapter)

How many of you want Freedom and Love Freedom? How many of you want freedom from religion, rules and traditions of men? There is a war going on between the ‘control spirit’ and the ‘Spirit of Grace’.

I believe Acts 15 is key turning point Scripture to understanding that we as New Covenant believers are FREE from the Law of Moses.

Acts 15:5  But some from the religious party of the Pharisees who had believed stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise the Gentiles and to order them to observe the law of Moses.”

The story says that some of the legalist became believers but still held onto the law of Moses. When the Gospel went to the Genttiles, it was a surprised for the Jews becasue they thought that God only wanted to save the JEws. Even Peter on the rooftop had no idea and had to convince the other brothers that salvation also went to the Gentiles. So the problem they had now was that they realised that God wanted to save the Gentiles as well.

So in the early church they had this problem: What do we do with the Gentile beliveres? Do we convert them to Jewish proselytes and keep the Law?

The answer was Peter stands up in

15:11 So now why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? 15:11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they are”

Peter states that, that not even Jews have to keep the law of Moses now, so the Gentiles definitely don’t have to keep the Law.

Then what happens?

15:19 “Therefore I conclude that we should not cause extra difficulty for those among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 15:20 but that we should write them a letter telling them to abstain from things defiled by idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled and from blood. 15:21 For Moses has had those who proclaim him in every town from ancient times, because he is read aloud in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

V21 states that the law of Moses has been proclaimed everywhere in ancient, meaning that we as believers have to be sensitive to the unbelieving Jews who have been scattered everywhere so that gentile believers don’t offend and so win them to Christ. (More on that later)

Remember the Law of Moses was only given to the Israelites at ONE TIME in history, in ONE PLace, through ONE man MOses, and it was NEVER given to the gentiles. (Psalm 147:20, John 1:17)

For a commentary on the purpose of the Law, please goto:

http://gracerevolution.tv/grace/gracerevolution/2008/04/29/what-was-the-purpose-of-the-law/

So these are the three rules for Gentile believers:

1) Abstain from things defiled by idols

2) Abstain from Sexulal immorality

3) Abstain from what has been strangled and from blood.

He doesn’t add anything else such as:

4) Remember to Tithe as gentiles, (For detailed explanation on Tithing by bible theologian Michael Eaton, please goto:

http://gracerevolution.tv/grace/gracerevolution/2008/12/05/beyond-the-tithe-chapter-by-michael-eaton/

5) Keep the sabbath

6) Don’t eat this and don’t eat that

7) Can’t drink alcohol

8) You can’t watch tv or goto the movies

9) ADD YOUR OWN ONE HERE in modern Christianism that you know ain’t right

10) Or any other religious rules, laws and traditions of man that you might have in your churchianity

Gentile believers are free from the Law of Moses – 613 commandments!

15:28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules:

What are ‘These necessary rules’?

These are the rules they delivered to the believers in Antioch.

What do those 3 rules possibly mean to the believers in those days?

1) Abstain from things defiled by idols

There is only One God. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… the whole of Genesis is all about people Worshipping the One True God!”

Later Paul writes about it in 1 Corinthians,

10:14 So then, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 10:15 I am speaking to thoughtful people. Consider what I say. 10:16 Is not the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 10:17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all share the one bread. 10:18Look at the people of Israel. Are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? 10:19 Am I saying that idols or food sacrificed to them amount to anything? 10:20 No, I mean that what the pagans sacrifice is to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot take part in the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 10:22 Or are we trying to provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we really stronger than he is?

Romans 14

14:1 Now receive the one who is weak in the faith, and do not have disputes over differing opinions. 14:2 One person believes in eating everything, but the weak person eats only vegetables. 14:3 The one who eats everything must not despise the one who does not, and the one who abstains must not judge the one who eats everything, for God has accepted him. 14:4 Who are you to pass judgment on another’s servant? Before his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord 2 is able to make him stand.

14:5 One person regards one day holier than other days, and another regards them all alike. Each must be fully convinced in his own mind. 14:6 The one who observes the day does it for the Lord. The one who eats, eats for the Lord because he gives thanks to God, and the one who abstains from eating abstains for the Lord, and he gives thanks to God. 14:7 For none of us lives for himself and none dies for himself. 14:8 If we live, we live for the Lord; if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 14:9 For this reason Christ died and returned to life, so that he may be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

14:10 But you who eat vegetables only – why do you judge your brother or sister? And you who eat everything – why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 14:11 For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God.??? 14:12 Therefore, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Exhortation for the Strong not to Destroy the Weak

14:13 Therefore we must not pass judgment on one another, but rather determine never to place an obstacle or a trap before a brother or sister. 14:14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean in itself; still, it is unclean to the one who considers it unclean. 14:15 For if your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat,you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy by your food someone for whom Christ died. 14:16 be spoken of as evil. 14:17 For the kingdom of God does not consist of food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 14:18 For the one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by people. Therefore do not let what you consider good

14:19 So then, let us pursue what makes for peace and for building up one another. 14:20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. For although all things are clean, it is wrong to cause anyone to stumble by what you eat. 14:21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 14:22 The faith 14:23But the man who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not do so from faith, and whatever is not from faith is sin.The faith you have, keep to yourself before God. Blessed is the one who does not judge himself by what he approves.

2) Abstain from Sexulal immorality

In the begining God made them male and female

Gen 2: 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife, and they become a new family.

3) Abstain from what has been strangled and from blood.

1 Cor 9:19 For since I am free from all I can make myself a slave to all, in order to gain even more people. 9:20 To the Jews I became like a Jew to gain the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) to gain those under the law. 9:21 To those free from the law I became like one free from the law (though I am not free from God’s law but under the law of Christ) to gain those free from the law. 9:22 To the weak I became weak in order to gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some.

9:23 I do all these things because of the gospel, so that I can be a participant in it.

I believe this rule has to do with evangelism purpose for reaching out to those under the Law.

Below taken From the Commentary from net.bible.org

Three of the four prohibitions deal with food (the first, third and fourth) while one prohibition deals with behavior (the second, refraining from sexual immorality). Since these occur in the order they do, the translation “abstain from” is used to cover both sorts of activity (eating food items, immoral behavior).

Telling them to abstain. These restrictions are not on matters of salvation, but are given as acts of sensitivity to their Jewish brethren, as v. 21 makes clear. Another example of such sensitivity is seen in 1 Cor 10:14-11:1.

What has been strangled. That is, to refrain from eating animals that had been killed without having the blood drained from them. According to the Mosaic law (Lev 17:13-14), Jews were forbidden to eat flesh with the blood still in it (note the following provision in Acts 15:20, and from blood).

In conclusion, the New Covenant believer whether Jew or Gentile, we are FREE Specifically from the LAW of MOSES with its commandments and its conditions. The New Covenant believer lives from and by a new heart (changed by God- He writes His Laws on our hearts by His Spirit so that we will know how to live from the inner guide) not from following some external rules and laws on tables of stone.

Please meditate on this Acts 15, I believe this is the Key passage to freedom!

1Corinthians 10:23 “Everything is lawful,??? but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is lawful,??? but not everything builds others up. 10:24 Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person. 10:25 Eat anything that is sold in the marketplace without questions of conscience, 10:26 for the earth and its abundance are the Lord’s.10:27 If an unbeliever invites you to dinner and you want to go, eat whatever is served without asking questions of conscience. 10:28 But if someone says to you, “This is from a sacrifice,??? do not eat, because of the one who told you and because of conscience 18 10:29 I do not mean yours but the other person’s. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 10:30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I blamed for the food 19 that I give thanks for? 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 10:32 Do not give offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God, 10:33 just as I also try to please everyone in all things. I do not seek my own benefit, but the benefit of many, so that they may be saved.

The believer is FREE from all laws that bind him so that he can live for God from his heart out of God’s Grace!

But one note about freedom:

Galatians 5:15 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh,but through love serve one another.

Don’t use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature but to serve one another and to reach the lost! This is the year of Jubilee where God sets us slaves free through Jesus so that we come back to Him out of freewill and serve Him because we want to not because we have to!

Sometimes we wonder, “What is God’s Will for my life?”

God’s will is that you are free!

Acts 15:28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: 15:29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled 91 and from sexual immorality.If you keep yourselves from doing these things, you will do well. Farewell.

Essentially what the apostles were saying to the Gentile believers in antioch was this:

“Hey guys, you are free man! it seems best to the Holy Spirit and to us that you Remember only 3 rules:

1) Abstain from things defiled by idols

2) Abstain from Sexulal immorality

3) Abstain from what has been strangled and from blood.

Because you are Already a New Creation, this is how a New Creation lives. You don’t have to live like this to Become a New Creation, but this is Already Who You Are.

You don’t have to obey any Scriptures from the bible (it would mean from Genesis to Revelation in our day) because you are a slave set free by Jubilee and you obey your master not because you ‘have to’ but because you ‘want to’. but you obey God because you want to.

That maybe a shock to you, but that shows you how good God is and His ways of making us Holy is not through laws but it’s through Grace.”

Only 3 guidelines that fits in with New Creation nature,  that’s pretty simple isn’t it!

When the Law of Moses got cancelled at the Cross, all the “Have to’s” are gone. Jesus never forced anyone to follow Him, people followed Him because they wanted to.

When the Spirit of God and the new creation you are rises up from within you as it shakes off the chains of religion and laws, you will automatically desires to obey God because you want to (New Covenant mindset) not because you have to (Old Covenant Law of Moses mindset).

We obey the bible not because we have to. Freedom is Not True Freedom unless you are Free to do whatever you want to do. We obey God because we are Free to do so!! our New nature when its been liberated from the chains of religion and rises up out of revelation of who we are in Christ, just wants to live for God.

Grace is Not Freedom TO SIN, but Freedom FROM SIN!!

I have seen legalism operate in my own life, when I live by rules and laws I make up for myself, I end up in living in frustration and anger, unhappiness and critical of others. That’s what the ‘law’ will do to you.

God wants to change us from the inside, not the outside. If you put laws on people, you will change them externally on the outside for a period of time. But if you change people’s hearts from the inside, you will change them forever. External behaviour modifications have an apperance of Godliness but has no ability to restrain the sinful nature.
Col 2:20
If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits of the world, why do you submit to them as though you lived in the world? 2:21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!??? 2:22 These are all destined to perish with use, founded as they are on human commands and teachings. 2:23 Even though they have the appearance of wisdom with their self-imposed worship and false humility 45 achieved by an 46 unsparing treatment of the body – a wisdom with no true value – they in reality result in fleshly indulgence.

I welcome your comments!

All Scriptures taken from the net.bible.org

Check out Michael Eaton’s commentary on Acts 15:19-

Boast in God’s love for you

What do you like to boast about? yourself? things you do? your heavenly encounters of works of charity?  or about Jesus’ love for you??

What is the Definition of love?

1 John 4:10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

*I boast in God’s love for me, not in my love for God; my confidence is in His love for me, not my love for Him. God’s love for us is unchanging, eternal, everlasting; my love for Him has its ups and downs, its not always consistent. If my foundation/focus in life is on my love for Him, then I will become depressed, unworthy and condemned.

John 17:26 I made known your name to them, and I will continue to make it known, so that the love you have loved me with may be in them, and I may be in them.???

God our Father loves us the same way He loves Jesus!!

Question: Do I always tend to focus on my love for God rather than His love for me? How does this affect my relationship with God? Or with others

I AM THAT I AM??? is the Name of God

*Exodus 3

3:11 Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, or that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt???? 12 He replied, “Surely I will be with you, and this will be the sign to you that I have sent you: When you bring the people out of Egypt, you and they will serve God on this mountain.???

13 Moses said to God, “If I go to the Israelites and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they as me, ‘What is his name?’– what should I say to them????

God said to Moses, “I AM that I AM.??? And he said, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’??? v15 God also said to Moses, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘The Lord –the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob –has sent me to you. This is my name forever, and this is my memorial from generation to generation.’

*When Moses discovered “Who??? God is, he also discovered “Who he is???.

If you know His Name “I AM that I AM???, then you will know your name, “I am that I AM???.

*One of the revelations of my identity in Christ, is that “I AM God’s beloved???

See yourself the way God sees you: the One He loves.

Luke 3:22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my one dear Son; in you I take great delight.???

*I don’t say ‘I am’, but I say “I AM”. When I declare God’s Name, “I AM that I AM???, I am actually saying I AM one with God, I AM one in Him, He is in me, he lives in every cell of my body.

My name is connected to His Name, because God is in me, I can say “I AM”, I exist because of Him

*I don’t say, “I can, I will be???, but I say, “I AM??? because I already have it, I lack nothing. It’s not going to happen, but it has already happened.

Questions: How important is it for us to know who we are?

Declarations you can make everyday (I do this every morning when I get up)

I AM beloved

I AM the one He loves

I AM God’s beloved

I AM Father’s beloved

I AM Jesus beloved

I AM Holy Spirit beloved

Questions: How is your self talk? Do you have bad self-image? do you speak about yourself as God’s Son or Daughter?

What is the Difference between OC and NC love?

*In the OC, you boast about your love for God because you were obligated, had to love Him

*In the NC, you boast about God’s love for you because you want to love God, not because you have to, but you have such an revelation about how much He loves you that it stirs a reciprocal love towards Him

Lazarus was referred to by others as “the one Jesus loves???

John 11:3 So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, look, the one you love is sick.???

v.36 Thus the people who had come to mourn said, “Look how much he loved him!???

*If you want to get Jesus attention, say “I AM the one He loves..”

John called himself “the disciple Jesus loved???, John boasted in God’s love for him

*Who wrote the book of John? John wrote of himself as the One Jesus loved!!

What is the difference between disciple John and Peter? Peter was someone who boasted in His love for God, whilst John was someone who boasted in God’s love for him.

Benefits of boasting in God’s love for you, not your love for God

1)You will feel the closeness of Jesus, find rest in His bossom, know the secrets of God

13:23 One of his disciples, the one Jesus loved, was at the table to the right of Jesus in a place of honor. v24 So Simon Peter gestured to this disciple to ask Jesus who it was he was referring to. v.25 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved leaned back against Jesus’ chest and asked him, “Lord, who is it????

Peter couldn’t ask Jesus’ directly the question, but had to go through John, because he felt far away.

2)You will follow Jesus all the way to the end.

19:26 So when Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, look, here is your son!???

John followed Jesus all the way to the cruxifiction, while all the other disciples deserted him

*You will outrun (more passionate) than anyone else

John 20:1-9 Now very early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been moved away from the entrance. So she went running to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!??? 20:3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out to go to the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the strips of linen cloth lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who had been following him, arrived and went right into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen cloth lying there, and the face cloth, which had been around Jesus’ head, not lying with the strips of linen cloth but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, came in, and he saw and believed. (For they did not yet understand the scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead.)

*You will have greater faith. No need to see with your physical eyes to believe. Why didn’t John go into the tomb straight away? Because he knew Jesus wasn’t there, he remembered Jesus said “I’m going to rise from the dead???.

*You will be the first to recognise when God is doing something in your midst, His Presence/appearance, signs and wonders.

John 21:4 When it was already very early morning, Jesus stood on the beach, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, you don’t have any fish, do you???? They replied, “No.??? He told them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat,and you will find some.??? So they threw the net, and were not able to pull it in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!??? So Simon Peter, when he heard that it was the Lord, tucked in his outer garment (for he had nothing on underneath it), and plunged into the sea.

 

The negatives of boasting in yourself and your love for God

Peter was always boasting how much he was doing for God, he thinks he know it all,his eyes was fixed on himself, not Jesus.

*You will end up getting ahead of God’s will

Matt 16:21 From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him: “God forbid, Lord! This must not happen to you!??? 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.???

Peter thought he knew it all, he knew better than God.

*You will end up denying Jesus, become hypocritical/compromise/backslide

Matthew 26:31 Then Jesus said to them, “This night you will all fall away because of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd,

and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.

32 But after I am raised, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.??? 33 Peter said to him, “If they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away!??? 34Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, on this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.??? 35Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will never deny you.??? And all the disciples said the same thing.

*You will always be comparing yourself with others, judgmental and jealous of others, proud, self-conscious, self-righteous, self-condemned

John 21:18 I tell you the solemn truth, when you were young, you tied your clothes around you and went wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will tie you up and bring you where you do not want to go.???19 (Now Jesus said this to indicate clearly by what kind of death Peter was going to glorify God.) After he said this, Jesus told Peter, “Follow me.???

21:20 Peter turned around and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. (This was the disciple who had leaned back against Jesus’ chest at the meal and asked, “Lord, who is the one who is going to betray you????) So when Peter saw him, he asked Jesus,“Lord, what about him???? Jesus replied, “If I want him to live until I come back, what concern is that of yours? You follow me!???So the saying circulated among the brothers and sisters that this disciple was not going to die. But Jesus did not say to him that he was not going to die, but rather, “If I want him to live until I come back, what concern is that of yours????

1Peter 5:5 In the same way, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

*You will live legalism- condemnation and death.

2 Cor 3:7 But if the ministry that produced death – carved in letters on stone tablets – came with glory, so that the Israelites could not keep their eyes fixed on the face of Moses because of the glory of his face (a glory which was made ineffective), 8 how much more glorious will the ministry of the Spirit be? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry that produced condemnation, how much more does the ministry that produces righteousness excel in glory!

Question: Can you see some examples of when you have boasted in your own love for God?

Or when you boasted in God’s love for you? What happened?

What are some practical ways I can boast in God’s love for me?

What are the some other benefits of boasting, focusing on God’s love for me?

When you boast, only boast in God’s love for you and He did for you, don’t boast about how good you are!! Don’t boast about your good works- you will always fall short, but focus on God’s eternal, unchanging love for you that is Constant, you will have a stable consistent life.

Don’t boast about your ministry, what you do for God, but what He has Done for you in Christ!!

Grace is about “wants to??? not “have tos???, stirs up voluntary/spontaneous love for Jesus, reciprocating His love

1 Corinthians 1:31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.???

Galatians 6:14 But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

In conclusion, say with me,

I AM God’s favorite One!!

I AM God’s Chosen One!!

I AM God’s Beloved!!

*This message has its origins in a message on “Boasting in God’s love for you, not your love for God”, by pastor Joseph Prince