Sunday, October 21, 2007

Restoring The Early Church - Lesson 4

( Please note: this post is part four in a study series we are beginning on Discussing Restoring the Early Church, in which you are welcome to join. You may find Lesson One HERE, Lesson Two HERE and Lesson Three HERE.)

He was trembling as he heard the words, his every muscle taut with the tension of the moment. As Shaphan finished the reading, all was still, the only perceptible sound the throbbing of his heart. The realization of all that the newfound scroll comprised struck fear in his very soul. His quivering hands subconsciously moved to clutch his throat when a wave of emotion enveloped him. The words of the law had been read. He immediately sensed the guilt that was upon himself and all the people.

Fearing the wrath of the God of Israel, he frantically ripped at his garments, violently tearing them asunder. The people, drawn by the sounds of his groaning agony watched in astonishment at this outward expression of the rending of his heart. Dropping to his knees King Josiah cried aloud, "Great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book." Echoes of his weeping reverberated throughout the palace and to the ends of the land...

The Holy Scriptures had been lost, and now were restored to Israel. He humbled himself, repented and received mercy. After the scroll had been rediscovered, King Josiah gathered the family leaders to hear the Word of the Lord so that they could rededicate themselves to their covenant with the Lord.

This is the place we are finding ourselves now. In a sense, the Word has been lost to us, buried in the doctrines of men. Adding to, changing, and reinterpreting the Word is a place we never want to be, and yet...

22,000 "Christian" denominations...

Hundreds of "Church Fathers"...

Councils, Edicts, Creeds, Doctrines...

Father, help us find our way back to your Word alone...for your glory.

Lesson 4, How Was The Word Lost? is HERE. Thanks for joining us!

15 comments:

  1. Those "did you know" questions...

    Well, no I didn't know. I never realized that many rabbis taught about spiritual rebirth, that there were elders, deacons, and apostles, and that baptism was already in place. (I did wonder about that though, given John the Baptist in the N.T. and Christ's own baptism.)

    I think this information is relevant and would like to learn more. I am very much interested in considering the study and application of the teachings and practices at the time of Christ and how they relate to us today.

    [i]Something[/i] is missing in the church.
    What have we lost of the Scriptures in past centuries? Have translations subtly changed the original purpose and intent of the inspired writers? (Not to mention those translations which take great liberty in rewriting Scripture!) What did they know that we have not known, which would give us keys to understanding the Bible better?

    Is there a reason why the O.T. takes second seat to the N.T.? They are both equally the inspired Word of God. I think much of the time it is taught that the O.T. was out-moded by the N.T. and is no longer that important. Sure, we have stories and facts, but so much of it only relates to Israel, or so we say; that it doesn't really apply to us. Or does it???? That is what I would like to find out!

    This morning at church we sang a song crying out to God to anoint us with His Spirit and Power once again. That is my prayer for myself and all of God's people.

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  2. Hi, I am Melanie. I hope I can put my thoughts on "paper". So please bear with me. About 3 years ago I somehow found out about the biblical holidays and ever since have been on a journey. Good in one way, since it is refreshing and has answered some of the many questions I have had, in another it is LONELY.
    We left the "church" at the beginning of this year and are trying to still find a fellowship of believers who are willing to take all they thought they knew and examine it.
    I ask God for forgiveness and for wisdom.

    What I thought was interesting is the Jews knew what Jesus was talking about yet they put all these restrictions on the grace God had given them and it was hard for them to see Jesus for who he was. I feel it is the same with us (gentiles). We have added traditions also. Another thing, if I understand correctly I thought Constantine was to blame for all this mess and yet it seemed to have started before him.

    Julie, I am thankful you chose to do this study and helps to hear others thoughts.

    All though this time is lonely, I am grateful for God for allowing me to be a part of of this kind of revelation.
    I rather be the remnant than with the crowd.
    I am trying to understand so many things.

    How have you all found fellowship?
    How have your children reacted to learning these "new" things?
    Has it confused them? I ask this because we have had to back track all we have taught in some form.
    We have not celebrated certain holidays the way we use to or done some things we use to. All I can tell my children is we are learning to. We don't have all the answers.
    My children are soon to be 11, 7 and 13 mths. My oldest seems to be affected the most. He is not traumatized he is just questioning things also.
    Thanks for letting me "talk".
    The Gospel of the Covenant seems really good.

    Blessings,
    Melanie

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  3. I LOVE your fine print statement, Julie. If I go back to blogging - I'm using it! Thank you!

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  4. Shalom Melanie. I'm sorry my Sister that you are experiencing loneliness on this leg of your new journey.

    That was us 7 years ago. When we began to see the Hebraic roots, the only other family we knew who believed as we were coming to believe lived 1 1/2 hours away from us.

    We got booted out of our church and lost all of our friends (they'd all gone to the same church with us). Even more difficult than that, we didn't know any else except for that 1 family who were Christians who loved ALL of the Scriptures.

    I kept asking my DH, "How can we be the ONLY ones in the world? Are we just crazy?"

    Now, you know that in His good timing, Yahweh brought us out of the desert of wilderness and allowed us to see and appreciate that there were many brethren walking along this path with us (we have 5 or 6 families in our state who we get together with). I have dear friends who keep the Feasts.

    As you learn, if you feel led to, just share with your children what you are learning. Be open with them about your discoveries and show them the scriptures to support any changes you are making. My poor children had to endure a major shift 2x as we got saved when the oldest were 12, 6 and 4. Then again, 4 years later we left the church. They've been so good about it all. Take heart. Your children will be fine.

    Have a blessed day.

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  5. (I love your commenting fine print...I may just have to plagerize it totally for my blog.)

    I don't even know what to say with this lesson. I feel so totally behind on what I know in my heart should be done, and should have been done.
    We are walking alone here as well. We have a very different lifestyle than most in our area. We are not 'Plain' enough for close fellowship with the Plain communities, and yet we are too 'Plain' for much consideration from those around us in the world. The Lord has been moving around in our lives making so many heart changes in us over the past year or so. There are so many things that we were never taught in other churches...so many parts of Scripture basically dismissed...

    I am so thankful The Lord has not forsaken us totally in our ignorant walk...we have too long put aside the Old Testament as out-dated in our lives. All the while yelling from the roof-tops about the things in the New Testament that are not taught in mainstream churches today. It is no different. We have been picking and choosing ourselves. The Father is sharing so many things anew with us!

    Oh the ignorance we have lived in! Thank you Father for a spirit of Grace and Mercy and for the awakening of a hunger of learning those old paths.
    Deanna

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  6. This chapter really opened up a lot of new information - I see how The Jews were very care to set themselves apart (the whole point of the law was to set them apart and draw them closer to God - am I right?)
    And in doing that they wanted to define exactly what the law was.
    Fence building - that is such a great picture - here is the cliff kids - stay far from the edge.
    But then it became about keeping the rules instead of drawing closer to God.
    Nowadays it is keeping busy instead of drawing closer to God.
    Trying so hard to please God without finding out what exactly is pleaseing to God - so we try to please people at Church instead.
    Now I am pretty worried, since I teach the Gospel to kids in the elementry schools...have I been misleading them?
    Because of this study I have been going into great detail about maintaining a relationship with God, rather than just pushing the get saved message.

    How did you find other people that were searching for the same answers?

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  7. Annette~
    I know what you mean! I don't know what I used to think...did baptism just spring up out of nothing at all...and what did Jesus mean by "to fulfill all righteousness"? Now...finally...after studying the Old Testament more, and piecing together what it was that the disciples all knew when they heard the Gospel (apperception again)...I am starting to get it.

    Melanie~
    We haven't had any trouble with our kids as far as re-teaching them something far different than what we always had...partly, I think, because they are used to it. I mean, they are used to us saying, "Wait guys...you know what we said about___? Well, we were wrong, and here's why. And here's how we know it is right this time." It has happened a lot throughout our journey. The kids roll with it, ask questions, and learn right beside us.

    And about Constantine...yeah , he was the guy who made it all "official", but it goes back more to Augustine. And before him, it was Satan, with a few others in between to keep it going.

    Holly-Belle~
    I'm praying for you about your "if".

    Beth~
    You're right, Dear. I have to keep reminding myself that it *is* His timing.

    Deanna~
    We were pretty convicted when we, too, realized we had been picking and choosing. Thank you, Father for your mercy! (And longsuffering...definitely thank you for being longsuffering and giving us *time* to get out of our ignorance. )

    Ali~
    Yeah, and it didn't just become more about keeping *the* rules (Deut. 30:11, 1John 5:3), but about keeping *their* rules (Mt. 23:4, Acts 15:10).

    This has been something that my Mr. Visionary has really been talking a lot about lately. Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus chapter 10) should be warnings to us that God *does* have an opinion about HOW we worship Him. We just need to pray, ask for wisdom, and dig to find out how the Scriptures lay that out. He wouldn't require it to be done a certain way, and then not tell us.

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  8. You know, I'm just so new to this...I'm simply learning. Not really adding much to the conversation nor the study at this point...Iam praying for open eyes and a willing heart, though.

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  9. "the Judaizing Stream earnestly endeavored
    to keep the Jewish people from violating
    God’s law by establishing other
    laws and rules as “fences”.
    Don't you find that this is still going on today...subtle maybe...sometimes these "fences" are set by those in leadership, sometimes by people and sometimes by ourselves...both for ourselves and for others...although the intent is good...it doesn't justify the means...
    We need to tear down the fences, trust God and run freely in the pastures!

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  10. I've posted some thoughts on my blog....hope it makes sense, I've got a cold and my head hurts....

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  11. oldpathsfamilyfarmOctober 22, 2007 at 3:44 PM

    Holly~
    We're all just learning, Darlin'. I have prayed much that each of us would see and hear only that which Father desires us to see and hear...only His truth, as revealed in His Word, with no extra added on. Open eyes and a willing heart are good...but so are ears to hear. I pray that we'll all have those, too.

    Cheri~
    I do find that. I imagine most of it is well-intentioned...most are just trying to help us be godly. The thing is, Father has already outlined for us what that looks like, and he said not to add to His words (Deut. 4:2 and 12:32). I, myself, am looking forward to running free with Father!!!

    Chrissy~
    Praying! Guess Hubby passed the sore throat, huh? Share the wealth, we always say. *grin* Hope you'll feel better soon!

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  12. Oh, my brain is stretching too (agreeing with Chrissy's comments on her blog). It feels good to stretch, but in some ways would be much easier to run the other way and just say this is just too hard to learn/apply/absorb....but oh how I long for the freedom to run with the Father.
    Melanie-we are right there with you...brand new to this walk...and having to try to explain things to our children
    Julie-thanks for the great example of explaining things to our children...that's already coming in handy
    One part that stuck out to me was "statement from a rabbi that if those who claim to follow Jesus would live out the sermon on the mount, the Jewish people would see who the Messiah was"...that hit me hard...
    wish I could stick around and write more, but the baby is crying for momma

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  13. What spoke to me in this lesson the most was, "Think of the vitality that could flow in and through faith communities if believers expended as much effort in living what they've already learned as they do in seeking after more knowledge." It seems to me that often the seeking after more knowledge is used as a way of prooftexting and justifying a belief or practice instead of following the simplicity of what Father wrote to us.

    Our children have been amazing in all of the changes we've made over the past several years. As we've been honest with them, and shown them in the Bible what Father wrote, they've been more accepting of the changes than we could have imagined. It may have helped that we were completely up front about our own fallibility. We'd often joke with them, "We know you think otherwise, but Mommy and Daddy are *not* perfect. {wink} But there is Someone who is - let's see what He has to say about . . . ."

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  14. Oh well, of course, Julie. EARS, too. :)

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  15. Matt. 5:18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. " I take this verse to mean that God is preserving His Word for us so that we have the WHOLE thing. My husband had a Jewish co-worker who read the OT in Hebrew (didn't believe in the NT), but he said for those who didn't learn Hebrew growing up, they were recommended to read the NASB, as it is the most literal translation from Hebrew to English.

    I've never been in a church where the NT supersedes the OT...I guess I've always been taught that the OT tells what's going to happen and the NT shows God fulfilling His Word. Obviously, there is SO MUCH MORE to it than that, but in a nutshell, that's the background I come from. I don't know the background of the authors, so it is hard to know where they are coming from.

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