JohnSWilson3 Blog


We Have Decided
November 30, 2012, 2:42 am
Filed under: 1B Favorite Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

This is another revised song. I revised the words to give it a corporate confession, a confession that as a body we have a choice, a decision, to gather together with Him as Head, to follow Jesus.

Thought you might like this great youtube video that gives this song a wonderful joyful feel, which should characterize I think more of what following Jesus should look like by His people. Following Jesus was never meant to be a burden but a life lived together in joy and peace and grace no matter what the world brings into our lives. Yes, in this world we will have trouble, but Jesus has overcome the world, we live in that rest. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sVvUHHRrzA.

This song is originally by a Garo Christian (a tribe in the North-Eastern part of India) probably during the early part of Christianity of the tribe (late 1800AD).

We Have Decided

(to the tune of “I Have Decided”)

We have decided, to follow Jesus.
We have decided, to follow Jesus.
We have decided, to follow Jesus.
No turning back, no turning back.

Though none go with us, we still will follow.
Though none go with us, we still will follow.
Though none go with us, we still will follow.
No turning back, no turning back.

Our cross we’ll carry, ‘til we see Jesus.
Our cross we’ll carry, ‘til we see Jesus.
Our cross we’ll carry, ‘til we see Jesus.
No turning back, no turning back.



We Surrender All
November 30, 2012, 2:25 am
Filed under: 1B Favorite Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

This is a revised hymn originally written by Judson W. Van De Venter (1855–1939). I felt it needed a more corporate versus individualistic sense in the lyrics. You can listen to the tune at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xj91gL8mbk8. May the ekklesia surrender all to Jesus together.

We Surrender All

(to the tune of “I Surrender All”)

All to Jesus we surrender,
All to Him we freely give;
We will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

We surrender all, we surrender all;
All to thee, our blessed Savior,
We surrender all.

All to Jesus we surrender,
Humbly at His feet we bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
Take us Jesus, take us now.

We surrender all, we surrender all;
All to thee, our blessed Savior,
We surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine.
Let me feel Thy Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

We surrender all, we surrender all;
All to thee, our blessed Savior,
We surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

We surrender all, we surrender all;
All to thee, our blessed Savior,
We surrender all.



Review of “Jesus: A Theography” by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola
November 25, 2012, 2:59 pm
Filed under: 2A - Book Reviews

This book above any other, including the Bible should be read by every follower of Jesus Christ. It is the one book that can help every gathering of brothers and sisters around this globe see how the Bible is to be read and understood. Too often people, Christian or otherwise will take the Bible and read it like any other book without understanding the unique way God meant for it to be read. Leonard and Frank remind us “that all the Scriptures are held together by a single narrative: the story of Jesus Christ.”

What Leonard and Frank do is none other than what Jesus said to the Jewish leaders: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you possess eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40, TNIV). And later to His disciples in Luke: “He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’ Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:44-45, TNIV).

Throughout church history brothers and sisters have often divided themselves over various interpretations of the Bible, because of using a wrong hermeneutic. Thankfully there have always been remnants of God’s people who “got it” throughout church history. Today is another one of those days in church history. Now in this unique book all of God’s people can see the unique way the Bible was meant to be read, not just a few. Leonard and Frank want believers to see that “the Bible contains its own hermeneutic” by which we understand the Scriptures: “Jesus Himself was the common source…Jesus is the interpretative key of the Bible…everything in the Bible points to Jesus – either His person, His work, or His character…He is the Canon within the canon.”

As Leonard and Frank say: “In a word, Jesus is the thread that holds all Scripture together. He is the prism that breaks forth its multifaceted colors. He is the lens that puts all of it into focus, the switch that sheds light on its dimly lit quarters, and the key that unlocks its meaning and richness.”

The authors also help inform the brothers and sisters when reading the Bible that history and composition matter. “The Bible didn’t emerge out of a vacuum. It is historical but also metaphorical and narrative story of truth written within history.” They state that “biblical logic defies logic. The Bible was written in a circle” because they were written at a time when the spoken word was written in what is called “ring composition.” The connections in the Bible are done “not sequentially but synoptically” because it is a “story-circle” not a “story-line.” As such reading the Bible must take into consideration the literary constructions of “(1) parallelism, (2) chiasmus, and (3) latch” which the authors describe in the book and as they relate it to reading the Bible in their many examples throughout the chapters of “Jesus: A Theography.” Too often the Bible is read like a novel, quickly, focusing on key parts, and then once done put it on the shelf. Or it is read like a ‘self-help’ book and we read only those parts we can ‘apply’ to make our lives ‘better.’ Because the Bible was written in “ring composition” it “forces one to slow down and pay attention to the details while never losing sight of the whole.”

It has been said by many that the “Introduction: The Jesus Story” from Leonard and Frank’s book is worth the price of the book. I would heartily agree! In fact this review is a review of the introduction because of this one section’s importance. In the rest of the book the authors pick up the Bible with the reader and together peer into Christ as they look afresh into the First and Second Testaments, the terms the authors use for the Old and New Testament. The rest of “Jesus: A Theography” applies what they speak of in their Introduction to help the brothers and sisters “discover that the entire story of Israel in the First Testament repeats itself in the life of Christ in the Second Testament. And it does so in almost every detail. In this regard, Jesus not only fulfills the First Testament narrative but also reenacts, relives, and replays it.” In the end the authors make an astute comment: “Don’t try to figure everything out or get everything right. Just let the story unfold. Let the Bible tell its own story to you. Trust the Jesus story as it moves from Genesis to Revelation. And see if the Holy Spirit doesn’t open your eyes to see the greatness of Christ anew and afresh.”

There have been many complicated theories and opinions put forth about many sundry things in the Bible, things that get the focus instead of Christ Jesus our Lord. I would encourage you to get a copy of this excellent book and see how Christ comes afresh from the pages of the Bible. Then as you read the Bible for yourself, see, as the authors tell us, that all the words of the Bible should be in “red” letters. May the Father by His Spirit open our eyes to Christ in the Bible! And let us not stop their, because it is only the beginning, “the elementary truth’s of God’s word… the elementary teachings about Christ” (Hebrews 5:12, 6:1, TNIV) because in truth the Scriptures teach us that God wants us to know the Christ, in Reality in one another!

May the prayer of Paul given to the brothers and sisters in Ephesus be our reality: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe…I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 1:17-19a, 3:16-19, TNIV).

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0849947022/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

http://frankviola.org/2012/08/13/jesuschrist/



“…may he adjust you in every good thing…”
November 23, 2012, 3:26 pm
Filed under: Q - Letter to Hebrews

Towards the end of the letter to Hebrews the author makes a tremendous statement, giving, as it were, his final greetings to the brothers and sisters. This statement holds the glue of their fellowship together in these tough times.

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, (may he adjust you in every good thing) for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1)

It is Christ in us who is doing the work. It is Christ’s resurrection from the dead kind of life who is living in and to and through us as we keep our thoughts and eyes on Him as Lord, as Head of our gatherings. Interestingly, in Chapter 11 verse 3 a similar word for “adjust” was used previously by the author. “By faith we understand that the universe was formed (adjusted) at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Is this not what is also happening by way of analogy as we live by His spiritual life together?

In Chapter 13 the author pointed out the importance of keeping on sacrificially loving one another and remembering how God has guided them through others and the results of their faith. We do not look to the types and shadows of Christ or the traditions of men for our spiritual life, we look to the Christ in one another, the experience of the Reality of Him in us. Because of this the author states that we are to “listen (to be persuaded) to those guiding us (in living by the life of Christ) and yield to them for they are sleepless on behalf of our souls (to God’s possessing of our souls), for they are giving Christ to you, so that it will be a joy to them and not sorrow, for it would not be useful if you did.” (2) Christ is adjusting us to a fuller expression of Himself, as He guides His people in and to and through one another. It is the keeping on loving one another, despite the difficulties that God gets what He wants.

This also has the sense of praying for one another, listening to Christ through one another. Perhaps this is the atmosphere of what Paul meant when he said when the brothers and sisters gathered together they each had something of Christ to share. Sadly many have used the biased translations of these words to create an abusive relationship of control and division in the body by ascribing some as being “leaders” and others being “followers” in the body.(3) Brothers and sisters, institutionalism or any other kind of division, has caused the body to “not be useful” because it perpetuates the false idea that only some are useful to the Lord and the rest are to obey them. There is only one Head or Leader in the body and He is Christ Jesus our Lord. By His Spirit the Lord guides His people organically as we each live by His life together to the building up of the body. We are adjusted by Him through one another by faith with love as we listen and yield to Christ in one another, this is what benefits the body! How much the joy of the Lord in the body of Christ has been lost because of not adjusting ourselves to the Christ in one another.

The author then says to also pray for them, especially that they “may be restored to you soon.” The author’s focus in this regard is based on having “a clear conscience” and a “desire to live honorably in every way.” Here in lies another aspect of how Christ adjusts us through one another and is part of the spiritual conflict that the body wrestles with together. Giving up our soul life so that Christ’s spiritual life can percolate and diffuse and control the body’s soul life. Prayer is hearing and responding to Christ, it is fellowship with Christ in and to and through one another, it is living by His life with one another, friends, and neighbors. And this is not just an individual matter but a corporate way of life. If we are hearing Christ and following Him together we will have “a clear conscience,” we will have “a desire to live honorably in every way” towards others. We will see Christ’s life expressed in and to and through one another, we will see a much larger Christ, a fuller expression of His life together. In the crucifixion of our soul life we will see a resurrected Christ in the spiritual life of one another, and it will be God who does this! It will be well pleasing to Him and He will find a place of rest and be our peace! May the Lord continue to possess my soul, may He continue to possess our souls, that He may “work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

(1) The literal translation of verse 21 is “may he adjust you in every good thing.” Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 669.
(2) The Greek word that is translated “obey” by almost every translation is from the root for “faith” and means “persuade.” “In the passive and middle voices, ‘to be persuaded, to listen to, to obey’ ” and for some reason the translators opted to use only the word “obey” giving a false sense of the original thought of the author. Vine’s suggest that “peitho, in NT suggests an actual and outward result of the inward persuasion and consequent faith.” It also seems to have a sense of what Paul told the ekklesia in Corinth, who were focusing on leaders, and were being called to adjust to the Christ through one another when he told the brothers and sisters when they gathered to hear what others say in the gathering “weigh carefully what is said.” The Greek word that is translated “rule” or “submit” by almost every translation is used only here in the entire New Testament. The word “hupeiko” means “to retire, withdraw.” Even Vine’s suggests that it can mean both “to yield” or “submit” but the translators choose to translate it submit. I am of the opinion that brothers and sisters are to submit to the Christ in one another, because of the many instances where the other Greek word “hupotasso” is used, but this is because of an inward persuasion from Christ Himself in one another. Why the KJV used “rule” is anybody’s guess. Yield has the sense of a community life, of yielding to one another as we listen to Christ in one another, in contrast to being overbearing but “rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” as Paul wrote to the ekklesia in Philippi. W.E. Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 438-439, 607.
(3) The KJV in its mistranslation states “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch over your souls, as they must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” For more on this topic, especially on the word mistranslated for “guiding” see my article titled: “…looking at the final expression of their manner of life…”



“Let us, then, go to him outside the camp…”
November 21, 2012, 3:11 pm
Filed under: Q - Letter to Hebrews

The author to Hebrews now begins to contrast his thoughts regarding the many examples that he just related on living by the life of Christ, to “keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.” These brothers and sisters have been facing persecution, being tempted to leave their gatherings to fall back to the Judaism, the religion of their day. The author has continuously pointed out how Jesus is greater than Judaism or any cultural tradition that forces His people to live apart from Christ. He begins to circle his thoughts with regard to grace and now reflects on those who focus on “foods” instead of grace. Paul has reflected on this issue before with the followers of Jesus in Rome. It is amazing how the flesh can find the smallest thing and make it a divisive issue between brothers and sisters. But what is interesting is that the author changes the thought about food as tradition but food as an analogy.

“”Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating of ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who observe such rituals. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.” Hebrews 13:9-13, TNIV

Grace is what strengthens His people, God’s grace given by the Spirit of His Son through one another. The ceremonial foods of the Old Testament were meant to show the importance God placed on following Him, but because of the curse we are totally inept to do so. The ceremonial foods of the Old Testament are an analogy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself stated that He was the bread from heaven, that His body was real meat and His blood real drink. A different kind of life, spiritual life. Because of His death and resurrection He has removed the curse! If we have believed in the Lord Jesus He has given us His new life and He is now our new altar and our new food and drink of whom we live by.

We now live in a new way, because Christ is our new way! But this new way is fraught with conflict, as Paul said between living by the Spirit and living by the flesh. The description the author chose to use as his analogy is that of the sin offering. Not only is Christ the true altar, our real food and drink, He is our way of life, a way of sacrifice. The sin offering shows us how to live by Him, who is our sin offering. It is only through a sin offering that the curse of sin is removed and only in Christ is that possible. The sin offering shows us what Jesus did in removing the curse but also shows us the kind of life we will also live together. As we live by Him we too will act out lives of offerings to God.

“Then the anointed priest shall take some of the bull’s blood and carry it into the tent of meeting. He is to dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle some of it seven times before the LORD, in front of the curtain of the sanctuary. The priest shall then put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense that is before the LORD in the tent of meeting. The rest of the bull’s blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering at the entrance of the tent of meeting. He shall remove all the fat from the bull of the sin offering…Then the priest shall burn them on the altar of burnt offering. But the hide of the bull and all its flesh, as well as the head and legs, the internal organs and the intestines – that is, all the rest of the bull – he must take outside the camp to a place ceremonially clean, where the ashes are thrown, and burn it there in a wood fire on the ash heap.” Leviticus 4:5-8a,10b-12, TNIV.

burnt offering

The priests when offering many of the offerings where allowed to eat of them but of the sin offering they were not allowed to eat of it, it had to be totally burned up. The fat, kidneys, and part of the liver were burned on the altar of burnt offering and the rest burned outside the camp. The priests had no right to eat of any of this offering. But in Christ, because of breaking the power of the curse, of sin and of death, we can eat of the real sacrifice together. He is now our real bread, our real drink. He is now our altar in whom we find rest, grace, mercy, and help.

Jesus is our sin offering. He was flogged and mocked inside the city of Jerusalem and later carrying His cross was crucified outside the city. The author has throughout the letter pointed out that Jesus is our sin offering, and in fact the better sacrifice because He “offered for all time one sacrifice for sins,” and now culminates his letter with the way of life of the sin offering.

Brothers and sisters because we live in a world that is still “groaning as in the pains of childbirth” due to the curse we must take heart that in Christ we have been made right with God through the one sacrifice of Christ once for all! To follow the way of Christ is to follow a way that is contemptible in the eyes of the religious, those who still follow the way of the flesh. No matter what others think we are to, by faith, follow Him. To follow Jesus is to follow Him outside the camp of the religious, the way of the flesh. It is to live by His life together, not by the traditions of man. As we do so we will bear “the disgrace he bore.” We “need to persevere…we are not of those who shrink back,” we are “of those who believe.” We are to “go to him,” “fix (our) thoughts” and “our eyes on Jesus” and by His life endure those time of disgrace by others, “scorning its shame,” making “every effort to live in peace with everyone.” Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

“Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

180px-Gustave_Doré_-_Crucifixion_of_Jesus



The Fragrant Incense of Christ’s Life
November 9, 2012, 2:27 am
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes

altar of incense

Just as the fragrant incense constantly diffused and filled the entire inside of the temple with its beautiful fragrance may Christ’s life of grace, truth, faith and love so diffuse and fill our spirit, soul, and body revealing that He truly is our life and that it is no longer we who live but Christ living in us. This is not an individual endeavor but the corporate life of the ekklesia.

“Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the Lord for the generations to come.” Ex. 30:7-8, TNIV.

“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” Pr. 27:9, TNIV.

-jesus-anointed-at-bethany

“While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.” Mark 14:3, TNIV.

“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:3, TNIV.

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you…May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” (1 Thess. 3:12; 5:23-24) TNIV.

“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one e are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life…But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us…We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (2 Cor. 2:15-16; 4:7,10) TNIV.