Paul: “give no offense”

1 Corinthians 10:33

Is it merely my conscience involved to live my personal preferences? Today let us meditate on what the Lord Holy Spirit spoke through Apostle Paul on this controversial subject in our very personal and subjective world and the predominant “me, me, me” philosophy believed in, practiced and permeated throughout many human societies. The following bible passages speak specifically to God’s people, -the Christians and draw us to focus on some practical missions in this life: promote spiritual growth in others, beware of others’ judgmental conscience (do not let others have the opportunity to condemn yours), do not (even if passively) cause others fall into a trap (take offense) even if dug by themselves because they interpret your actions according to their conscience. This is a tall order to Christians. Are we keepers of others? Reading this passage it would appear “yes”. Like what Paul advised all Christians, “I sincerely attempt to do anything I can so that others may be saved.” In the final analysis nothing else matters.

1 Corinthians 10:32 (NKJV) “Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God,”

1 Corinthians 10:23-33 The Passion Translation (TPT) )

You say, “Under grace there are no rules and we’re free to do anything we please.” Not exactly. Because not everything promotes growth in others. Your slogan, “We’re allowed to do anything we choose,” may be true—but not everything causes the spiritual advancement of others. 24 So don’t always seek what is best for you at the expense of another. 25 Yes, you are free to eat anything without worrying about your conscience, 26 for the earth and all its abundance belongs to the Lord.[a]

27 So if an unbeliever invites you to dinner, go ahead and eat whatever is served, without asking questions concerning where it came from.[b] 28 But if he goes out of his way to inform you that the meat was actually an offering sacrificed to idols, then you should pass, not only for his sake but because of his conscience. 29 I’m talking about someone else’s conscience, not yours. What good is there in doing what you please if it’s condemned by someone else?

30 So if I voluntarily participate, why should I be judged for celebrating my freedom?[c] 31 Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God. 32 And make sure you’re not offending Jews or Greeks or any part of God’s assembly over your personal preferences. 33 Follow my example, for I try to please everyone in all things, rather than putting my liberty first. I sincerely attempt to do anything I can so that others may be saved.

Footnotes:

1 Corinthians 10:26 See Pss. 24:1; 50:12; 89:11.

1 Corinthians 10:27 Or “questions of conscience.”

1 Corinthians 10:30 Or “eating food that I gave thanks for.”

For those interested to know more, I quote from

Vine’s Greek New Testament Dictionary

Offence [Noun] skandalon originally was “the name of the part of a trap to which the bait is attached, hence, the trap or snare itself, as in Rom 11:9, RV, ‘stumblingblock,’ quoted from Psalm 69:22, and in Rev 2:14, for Balaam’s device was rather a trap for Israel than a stumblingblock to them, and in Matt 16:23, for in Peter’s words the Lord perceived a snare laid for Him by Satan.

“In NT skandalon is always used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by the way.”

The Revelation’s Last Chapter: inside and outside

Revelation 22:17b

Today we start reading from the end. It is good to be more focused on what matters in the end and not waste time on squabbling on matters that do not add value to whether one enters or not in the end.

By the way, the mention of dog in 22:15 is somewhat disturbing for owners of dogs. So I have found a few different versions which are more specific and the word “dog” pertains to human and not our pet.

Those not permitted to enter are outside: the malicious hypocrites, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, murderers, idolaters, and every lover of lies. (TPT)

Outside are the dogs [the godless, the impure, those of low moral character] and the sorcerers [with their intoxicating drugs, and magic arts], and the immoral persons [the perverted, the molesters, and the adulterers], and the murderers, and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying (deception, cheating). (AMP)

Outside the city are all those who live like dogs—those who do evil magic, those who sin sexually, those who murder, those who worship idols, and those who love to lie and pretend to be good. (ERV)

Revelation 22 New King James Version (NKJV)

The River of Life

And he showed me a [a]pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

The Time Is Near

Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the [b]holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

Now I, John, [c]saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.

Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. [d]For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. 11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him [e]be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”

Jesus Testifies to the Churches

12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the [f]Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

14 Blessed are those who [g]do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 [h]But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

A Warning

18 [i]For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, [j]God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God[k] shall take away his part from the [l]Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

I Am Coming Quickly

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”

Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be [m]with you all. Amen.

Footnotes:

  1. Revelation 22:1 NU, M omit pure
  2. Revelation 22:6 NU, M spirits of the prophets
  3. Revelation 22:8 NU, M am the one who heard and saw
  4. Revelation 22:9 NU, M omit For
  5. Revelation 22:11 NU, M do right
  6. Revelation 22:13 NU, M First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
  7. Revelation 22:14 NU wash their robes,
  8. Revelation 22:15 NU, M omit But
  9. Revelation 22:18 NU, M omit For
  10. Revelation 22:18 M may God add
  11. Revelation 22:19 M may God take away
  12. Revelation 22:19 NU, M tree of life
  13. Revelation 22:21 NU with all; M with all the saints

Supernatural Christianity with a purpose

Ephesians 1:7 redeemed through the blood of Jesus

What is in God’s heart? How did Jesus demonstrate this?

Mark 6:34, 36 – “When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He was moved with compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd [lacking guidance]; and He began to teach them many things.

God’s solution to sin, sickness, poverty, and death: The sacrifice of Christ through the shedding of His blood. Ephesians 1:7 – “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

Commandments given by Jesus to all believers: (Scripture quoted in New King James Version)

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Mark 16:15-20 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

Luke 24:46-48 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

2 Corinthians 5:19 – “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

THIS is What Stirs the Heart of God:

Luke 15:7 – “I say to you that likewise, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 just persons who need no repentance.”

For Evangelists: Psalm 2:8 – “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.”

Titus 2:14 – “God gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself.”

Examples of how the apostles and early churches/disciples applied what Jesus has commanded: How they prayed, the prayer’s effect, and how they applied:

Acts 4:29-31 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Acts 5:12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.

Acts 5:14-16 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

Acts 5:29-32 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit Whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Acts 6:7-8 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. 8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.

Acts 8:6-8 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.

an urgent message (1498th post) to watchmen

watchmen on the wall

Watchman’s notes on 18/2/19: Around 2009 I was introduced to a group which focused on spiritual activities. The founding pastor testified that she personally encountered Jesus, was miraculously saved from a Buddhist background, delivered from demonic attack and subsequently walked in the power of the Holy Spirit healing sick people. She encouraged sick people to use intensive Bible reading, attend regular prayer meetings and wait upon God to help themselves without the use of medicine. Worship then appeared to focus on exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

However, it soon becomes evident that there are no significant miraculous healing testimonies except testimonies occurred many years ago. There are obvious doctrinal self-contradictions with mixed and confused teachings in combining the Old and New Testaments. Most noticeably, there is no practical application of the Grace and Love as taught by Jesus. Instead of teaching and practicing the grace and truth that came through Jesus, the leader focuses on the teaching and practicing the Old Testament Legalism and the ministry of death and condemnations (as warned by apostle Paul against the legalism teachings by the Judaists in 2 Corinthians 3 and Galatians). It is no surprise that increasingly “devotees” have left in disappointments and hurts.

We must take heed the stern warnings from Jesus and the early apostles against the yeast (false teachings) of the Pharisees and the Judaists. The apostle James has also clearly warned that a double-minded man (Christian) will not receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:7-8)

The earliest Jerusalem church’s apostles and elders have unanimously agreed and decreed that they should not test God by putting a yoke (i.e. commanding the Gentile believers to follow Jewish practice and keep the law of Moses) on the neck of the Gentile (non-Jews) disciples which the Jews themselves were unable to bear. (Acts 15:10-11) “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.” Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God”.

After I stopped attending their gatherings, there are news that the above mentioned leader has changed their worship to emulating worshiping in heaven (as popularly imagined) using harps* (see my notes at the end) which she deems worthy to be the one of the main few exclusive musical instruments used in heaven. Yesterday I heard that they are selling harps* (made by a third world country) to many (presumably churches and Christians) like hot cakes (exorbitantly expensive ones). This latest news has prompted me to revise what I have written in this blog ten years back about the duties of a watchman and his/her weapons. I have since cast that 2011 blog to trash bin.

REVISED FOCUS for all “watchmen” (Every born again believer): we have the Holy Spirit inside, the Bible, and eternal life which means know God and Jesus.

What has Jesus taught and commanded us? What has Jesus demonstrated while on earth? Let us emulate Him!  

Jesus is our sole spiritual power source and authority. He has personified God -grace and truth in Himself. He has given every believer in Jesus the Holy Spirit and His gifts and anointing. Jesus said that He and the Father (God) will dwell in every believer of Jesus. Jesus has reconciled every believer with God. God’s presence is now in us and not outside us somewhere (as in the Old Testament time). No amount of external atmosphere or ambience can bring God to anywhere nearer than what Jesus has accomplished for every believer of Jesus!

The works of Jesus every believer is to do and continue doing: doing what Jesus did. Jesus did not do any harp playing worship. Neither did the apostles and disciples of Jesus in the early churches did. What did Jesus and His apostles and disciples do? Preach the gospel, heal the sick, set the oppressed free.

The New Testament has assured us that every born again believer of Jesus already has the following qualifications:

  1. We are saved by grace (God’s initiative) and not by works (our initiative). It is already a done deal through Jesus.
  2. We are born of the Holy Spirit.
  3. We are saved, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, justified, sanctified and made the righteousness of God. God has made Jesus become our wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption.
  4. We have eternal life: know God and Jesus.
  5. We have His Word: The Bible.
  6. We have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
  7. We can do all things in Christ Jesus who strengthens us.
  8. We are seated with Jesus at the right hand of the Father in heaven.
  9. We are sons of God; therefore, we are led by the Holy Spirit.
  10. We are filled with the Holy Spirit and are given His gifts to bear fruits.
  11. As Jesus is, so are we in this world, anointed by the Presence of God (the Holy Spirit dwelling in us).
  12. We have received the same precious faith as the apostles did.
  13. We have been made partakers of the divine nature of God.
  14. We walk by the Spirit.
  15. We live by faith.

Our mission on earth: Our spiritual anointing (empowerment by the Holy Spirit) is to do the work that Jesus had done and greater works than what Jesus had demonstrated while on earth as a man (Luke 4:18; John 14:12). Jesus has given us power and authority to do them: witnessing for Jesus, seeking, healing and saving the lost, doing and teaching about the kingdom of God, be ambassadors for Christ, imploring the world to be reconciled to God.    

Commandments given by Jesus to all believers: (Scripture quoted in New King James Version)

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

See my other blog on the Bible verses from: Matthew 28:18-20 , Mark 16:15-20 , Luke 24:46-48 and Acts 1:8

Examples of how the apostles and early churches/disciples applied what Jesus has commanded: How they prayed, the prayer’s effect, and how they applied:

See my blog on the Bible verses from: Acts 4:29-31, Acts 5:12, Acts 5:14-16 , Acts 5:29-32 , Acts 5:42 , Acts 6:7-8 and Acts 8:6-8

Jesus teaches that His truth can set free those under the legalistic bondages imposed by the Pharisees and scribes.

The Truth Shall Make You Free ] Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32

2 Corinthians 3:14-18 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as [a]by the Spirit of the Lord

Footnotes:2 Corinthians 3:18 Or from the Lord, the Spirit

*Note on harps: I have written another related blog: please click on: harp and lyre delusion effect on Christian worship congregation. 

Ihave no issues with using harp or any other musical instrument if you like its music. But I would caution that it is not an exclusive Christian musical instrument and it does not give anyone healing or deliverance unless they believe in Jesus who shed His blood for our redemption, by the power of the Holy Spirit. I also urge Christians and churches to remember the command of Jesus for His believers, to go (out into the world) and witness for Him, make disciples of all nations. There is nowhere in the New Testament Bible (throughout Jesus’ walking on earth as a man, up to His death, resurrection and ascension to heaven and the establishment of Christianity on earth) that speaks of Christians (and churches) practicing using of any specific musical instrument to worship. i believe that as watchmen for truth, we have a responsibility to point other believers to the truth.

A pagan king had used the same musical instrument, the harp, to accompany the worship of him (as their compulsory idol) by his subjects: “when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up” (Daniel 3)

CHOOSE

CHOOSE GREATNESS: CHOOSE LIFE

Today I ponder on the legacy we shall each leave behind. There is always a point where each of us must make a crucial decision that will be etched into our history. I walked through the histories of many great men and women in the past. A few years back I was invited to write the life story of one special woman who gave her best years to others (strangers in a remote land). I met some who know her well in her past life as a successful banker and the people group in the remote backwater war-ravished land whom she has loved so dearly and relentlessly that she has given up her past life decades ago to become one of them. I asked her why? She said she loves them because she knows Jesus loves them. A childhood friend of hers said he believed she wanted to leave a legacy behind.

Your choice may be to continue staying in the comfort of your vineyard at the safe shady valley below with gentle breeze or to continue climbing up to the high summit where there is strong wind and brilliant light from the sun. I pray you choose right.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Deuteronomy 30:18-20  18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them

John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

Joshua 1:7-9 New Living Translation (NLT)

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”