Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Timothy, This is How Christ Saves the Chief of Sinners - Paul's 3 Great Sins and 3 Praises (1 Timothy 1:12-14)

Read Paul's conversion in Acts 9

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus
(1 Timothy 2:12-14, ESV)

The apostle Paul himself was living proof of the saving power of “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” (v.11) which he preached. I imagine he burst into praise for what God had done in his life and made it all possible for him to preach the gospel “which [he] have been entrusted” (v.11). Here in verse 12, Paul gives thanks to Christ for 3 things that made him what he was:

First, he gives credit to Christ who give him “strength.” I recalls what Paul writes in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” I often heard people whining, complaining and making excuses that they don’t have this and that, and so they never did anything great for God. This is sin! If we are God’s people, He has given you everything you need according to what God’s call you to be and do. Christ will enable you, He will give you strength. Second, Paul thanked Christ for counting him faithful. The Lord “judged me faithful.” Paul was faithful, intense and zealous Pharisee who persecuted Christians. But when Christ called him, he became faithful, intense and zealous apostle of Christ. Faithfulness – this is the one virtue that is essential in God’s work. Last of all, Paul praises Christ for the privilege of being in the ministry. Christ “appointing me to his service” or ministry. He was convinced he was in the place where God had put him. Dear preachers, missionaries, pastors, teachers and all ministers, are you convince that you are where you’re appointed to be? If yes, draw your strength from Him, be faithful to the end and praise Him for calling you in the ministry.

As I read verse 13, I thought that every Christian has things of the past that he wishes had never happened, Paul included. He must have felt that his conduct was the worst of all. Just as there were 3 things for which he thanked Christ, he now mentions 3 great sins he did in the past. First, Paul says he was a “blasphemer.” Before he became Christian, Paul (in his conscious, Acts 23:1) never blasphemed against the God of Israel, he was only against the Lord Jesus Christ. But after his conversion, he understood that his blasphemed against Jesus Christ is the same as blasphemed against God. He also says he was a “persecutor (read Acts 8-9). He was there when Stephen, the first martyr was stoned and he was the one who ‘hunted’ Christians all over Israel and beyond. If you want to see how zealous Paul was in persecuting early Christians, I recommend you to watch TV series A.D. The Bible Continues, very well acted! Lastly, the worst of all, Paul was a man of evil-harsh-violent. The word is “insolent” or “injurious” which I’m not familiar with. He was evil both in his heart and in how he treated Christians. I bet Paul was not proud of these things but he did not minimize the magnitude of his sin.

But with all of these horrible sins, Paul “received mercy because [he] had acted ignorantly in unbelief” (v.13). “Acted ignorantly” because all of it were done not intentionally against God (when I studied Book of Leviticus, there is no provision made for wilful sin against God, but for sin through ignorance, there is! See Leviticus 15:27-31). Paul, an ardent student of the Scripture, should have recognized Jesus as the Messiah but he didn’t. He was an ignorant. He said of himself “the chief of sinners” (see 1 Timothy 1:16 and Galatians 1). “But I received mercy,” he said. Not just mercy, but also “the grace of our Lord” (v.14). Not just grace but grace “overflow” or “exceeding abundant.” I like to use the word “super-abounding” – grace abounding on top of grace! That like putting superlative on top of superlative! It is said that grace is when God gives us what we don't deserve and mercy is when God doesn't give us what we do deserve. Paul experiences mercy and grace. Eugene Peterson paraphrases verse 14 wonderfully: “Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus.” Hoahhh! Wow!

Are you a sinner? Worst sinner?
There is hope, come and see, Jesus is the Saviour!

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Timothy, the Law Is for Men who Practice Homosexuality But... (1 Timothy 1:8-11)

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexual immoral, men who practise homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted
(1 Timothy 1:8-11, ESV)

The law is good and useful. Useful for who? Not for the righteous, but for the unrighteous. Here Paul lists to Timothy those to whom the law applies and for whom it was made. It is interesting that the list falls into two categories, sins against God (“but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane”) and sins against one another (“for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexual immoral, men who practise homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers”). This led me to believe that Paul is referring to the pattern of the Mosaic Law, especially the Ten Commandments which fall into the same two divisions or categories.

First on the list are “the lawless and disobedient.” Those who don’t recognize law or rebel against the constituted authority (read Matthew 24:12) and those who have the do-my-own-thing attitude. The disobedience remind me of Judges 21:25: “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Then Paul moves to “the ungodly and sinners.” Though many people may not openly deny the existence of God, their lives demonstrate that God is nonexistence or they doesn’t consider God to be relevant, personal or important. The ungodly is more of a passive inactions whereas the sinners are actively rebels against God. This is followed by those who are described as “the unholy and profane.” Because of ungodliness, the thought that God is holy and righteous is far from their minds and hearts. Holiness is a strange word and concept. And because of the righteousness, glory and holiness of God is unknown, profanity, which simply mean “trampling on that which is holy,” come next (remind me of Romans 3:18).

Paul now turns to sins against one another. “For those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers” those who did exactly what it is said. No sense of God’s holiness breed no sense of respect for others, even to parents. Thus, no respect will resulted in seeing others as no value… so murdering those who bear the image of God is easy. Then Paul turns to sex sins. “The sexually immoral.” There are two common words related to sexual immorality in the Bible: fornication and adultery (if you read Book of Hosea, the common word is “whoredom”). I often differentiate them this way: fornication refers to sexual sin prior to marriage (premarital sex) and adultery refers to the same sin after marriage (having sex with other than his/her spouse). And then he touches on the most common sin during Timothy’s time but becoming very sensitive today “men who practise homosexuality.” It is sad that homosexuality has become accepted as a way of life today. We read news of homosexual churches, homosexual ministers/pastors/priests and homosexual wedding ceremonies. Though I’m sympathized with those who really struggle with homosexual tendencies, but actively practising homosexual relationship is a sin. Direct and clear.

Paul continues his list by mentioning “enslavers.” My ESV Bible footnote explains that enslavers are “those who take someone captive in order to sell him into slavery”. Kidnapping is a form of enslaver. It was estimated that nearly 4,000 Malaysian children went missing in 2014-2015 and no doubt that most of them are victims of human trafficking! Very sad. Finally, “liars, perjurers” complete the list of sins specifically named. Lying is an accepted way of life in much of the world today, even among those who professed to be Christians. White lie, black lie, yellow lie – all lies! This kind of lying is selfish, irresponsible and deceiving. Then, for all other sins against God and one another Paul included them all under “whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine” (read previous articles about sound doctrine). I noticed that Paul did not say “whatever else is contrary to sound action” but rather “contrary to sound doctrine.” What a person believes – faith and theology/doctrine – determines how he lives.

This is the use of the law of God: to show that all of the above are the result of human unrighteousness. By law we are damned! But have hope and be joyful for Paul – and all the prophets and apostles – “have been entrusted” with “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.” We can put our trust in their writings because they simply wrote the truth that God had entrusted them to deliver and proclaim. God’s glory is in Jesus Christ the Son of God. “He is the radiance of the glory of God” (Hebrews 1:3). Thus, it is the gospel of Jesus Christ that Paul is proclaiming! In Christ, we move from law to grace; from bondage to freedom; from unrighteousness to righteousness. The law is good, but the grace of God is wayyyyyyyyyyyy better! Amen.

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Nadai Utai Ti Nemu Agi Ngakal Ari Ati Mensia Tang Jesus Ulih Nuchi Ati Kitai (Mark 7:14-23)

Udah nya Jesus ngasoh orang mayoh datai ngagai iya sakali agi, lalu ko iya bejako enggau sida, ‘Dinga ka ulih kita, lalu pereti ka! Ukai utai ari luar ti tama ka dalam mensia ti ngasoh iya enda tuchi, tang utai ti pansut ari dalam iya ti ngasoh iya enda tuchi (Dinga ka ulih kita, enti kita bisi pending kena ninga!).’ Udah iya ninggal ka orang mayoh, iya lalu tama ke dalam rumah. Sida murid iya lalu nanya ka reti jako sempama nya ngagai iya. Ko Jesus bejako enggau sida, ‘Penemu kita mengkang enda lebih ari penemu orang bukai. Kati kita enda nemu? Nadai utai ari luar ti tama ke dalam mensia tau ngasoh iya enda tuchi, laban utai nya enda tama ke dalam ati iya, tang ngagai perut iya, udah nya lalu pansut ari tuboh iya.’ (Leboh nyebut nya, Jesus mega madah ka samoa pemakai tau dempa magang).
(Mark 7:14-19, Berita Manah Ka Rebak Diatu)

Gaga ati aku ninga Jesus madah samoa pemakai tau diempa magang! Iya meh Tuhan ti ngelepas kitai ari mayoh macham pemali enggau penti. Amat Jesus Pengelepas mensia. Ko Iya, “Ukai utai ari luar ti tama ka dalam mensia ti ngasoh iya enda tuchi, tang utai ti pansut ari dalam iya ti ngasoh iya enda tuchi.” Pemadas sekalika penyai orang ukai bepanggai ba pengawa iya ari luar tang bepanggai ba peragam enggau runding iya dalam ati. Kitai nemu pengawa ti digaga kitai semoa ya “pansut ari dalam ati” kitai. Enti ati iya manah, iya deka ngaga utai di manah; enti ati iya kamah, iya agi ulih belakon nyadi orang manah tang pengujung iya, iya deka nunjok peragam enggau runding iya ti jai lalu ngaga mayoh macham penyai.

Nabi Jeremiah bisi nulis: “Sapa nemu ati mensia? Nadai utai ti nemu agi ngakal ari ati mensia. Iya kelalu balat sakit lalu enda ulih digeraika” (Jeremiah 17:9, Bup Kudus Baru). Baka sida orang Parisi, sida iya ngakal (‘hypocrite’, pura-pura, ngaga diri manah). Di moa orang sida manah, baka masu jari sebedau makai (Mark 7:3). Sida bepasa, meri sedekah ngau besembiang “ngambi ka genap iko orang ulih meda sida” (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16). Ko Jesus nampong jako Iya ngagai sida murid Iya tadi: “Utai ti pansut ari dalam iya, nya ti ngasoh iya enda tuchi. Laban peragam ti jai datai ari ati iya, nya ti ngujong ka iya ngereja utai jai: baka nerumpak, munoh orang, butang, amu lalu ngereja samoa macham utai ti jai; ngelakar, ngereka penyai, kepapas, nyumpah, sumbong enggau ngelusu, samoa utai nya datai ari ati mensia lalu ngasoh iya enda tuchi” (Mark 7:20-23).

Nadai utai ti nemu agi ngakal ari ati mensia,” ko Jeremiah. Jesus madah: “Utai ti pansut ari dalam iya, nya ti ngasoh iya enda tuchi.” Kati ko kitai ulih nuchi ati kitai ti jai? Kati ko kitai “ngeraika” ati kitai? Enti kitai empu, enda ulih... tang Jesus ulih nuchi ati kitai! Halleluyah! Enti kitai “ngaku enggau mulut kita, ‘Jesus endang Tuhan,’ lalu arap enggau ati kita, Allah Taala udah ngangkat ka iya ari mati, kita deka idup” (Rome 10:9) lalu “ngelengka ka dosa kita” (Mark 1:4,15), lalu Roh Kudus deka diau dalam ati kitai – ati kitai dituchi ka Jesus enggau darah-Iya. Kitai ulih ngereja jako enggau pengawa Iya laban Roh Kudus Iya diau ba ati kitai: rindu ka Allah Taala enggau pengabis ati ngau rindu ka orang bukai asai rindu ka diri empu. Ati kitai deka ngemansut ka buah roh di badas: “pengerindu, pengaga, pemaik, pengeliat ati, penelap, pemadas, penalok, pemaroh ati enggau runding ti ulih nagang tuboh diri” (Galatia 5:22).

Aku nemu, kadang-kadang pengawa kitai dipeda orang enda badas tang iya pansut ari ati ti badas. Pengawa nya enda salah, baka nuan enda besembiang Hari Minggu kebuah nuan enda tau enda ngintu orang ti sakit, tauka nuan bula laban nuan deka nyelamat ka orang lain ari kena bunoh (bacha Joshua 2). Ukai pengawa di luar ti berat agi guna (tang tu ukai alasan kitai ngaga penyalah ngau dosa), tang ati kitai dalam nyin. Nya alai anang tusah ati enti enda nuchi jari, tang minta Allah Taala nuchi ati kitai. Tuhan Jesus madah ka penemu ti bendar lalu nulak penemu ti ngakal. Kati ko gaya penemu nuan?

Trima kasih Tuhan Jesus laban Roh Kudus Nuan diau dalam ati aku.
Tuchi ka ati aku ari semoa penyai. Asoh rurus awakka samoa jako
enggau perangai ti pansut ari ati aku rurus serta tuchi mega. Amen.

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Timothy, the Law of God is Very Good and Useful (1 Timothy 1:8-9)

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient…
(1 Timothy 1:8-9, ESV)

Be clear, the apostle Paul is not speaking against the law here. He is against those who using the law improperly. He emphasizes the goodness of the law even in Romans 7:7-12: “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! ...the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” If you’re familiar or have read letters of Paul to Galatians and Romans (or read thru the New Testament), you’ll realise that there were those who would seek to dilute the doctrine of salvation by grace alone by making the law as part of salvation or a rule of life for the Christians. It seems that our human nature want to “do something” to merit salvation. I assure you, this is true whether it be Jewish law-keeping in Timothy’s time or whether it be the salvation-by-works of the ‘Christian’ cults and major religions of the world today. The God of the Bible will have none of this! Salvation is by God’s grace alone through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and based upon the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. God’s grace + nothing = our salvation!

But know this too: “the law is good, if one uses it lawfully” (v.8). Paul then tell Timothy the proper use of the law and its purpose. Simply put, the law is made for unrighteous people. I once watched a documentary on how to make padlock on YouTube. I was fascinated by the mechanical engineering and many details that went into the making of padlocks. There are varieties of padlocks manufactured for specific use for different needs. Some are for shops and businesses, some for private homes and vehicles, and so on and so forth. Now a thought came to me as I recalled the documentary: “Padlocks are needed because there are thieves and trespassers.  If there were no law-breakers, padlock factories would be out of business!” If all men were good men then there is no need for locks on doors, either to keep men in or out. The facts that there are crimes mean men are trustworthy and lawless. We need laws today even more than ever before. The law was not made for righteous men but for unrighteous.

As for salvation, the law is useless; but as for Christian living, the law is useful. I don’t want to be like hyper-grace teachers who say that the law is no longer necessary and is only useful as shadows and types that point us to Christ. Nor I want to be the legalists who overstate the role of the law and put Christians in bondage. All I’m saying is, like Paul to Timothy, that the “law is good.” It was Martin Luther who said, “The first duty of the gospel preacher is to declare God’s Law and to show the nature of sin because it will act as a school master and bring him to everlasting life which is in Jesus Christ.” It was John Wesley who said, “Before I preach love, mercy and grace, I must preach sin, Law and judgment.” It was Charles Spurgeon who said, “They will never accept grace until they tremble before a just and holy Law.” It was John Wycliffe who said, “The highest service to which a man may attain on earth is to preach the Law of God.” John Stott wrote, “We cannot come to Christ to be justified until we’ve first been to Moses to be condemned.  Once we have gone to Moses and acknowledged our sin, guilt and condemnation, we must not stay there, we must leave Moses and go to Christ.”


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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Jesus' Leadership #20 With or Without Someone Else, Just Do It

With or without someone else. A leader must be so committed to a project or plan that he is willing to do it with or without someone else. Young David did not turn to see if the troops were following him when he went out to meet the giant Goliath. He was not even a king but merely a shepherd boy at the time he took on the giant. He became king after he went out alone.

Jesus was committed to healing, teaching and preaching regardless of whether his disciples came along. He would have done the calling before him with or without Peter and John. Once when Jesus send the Twelve apostles to proclaimed the good news of the Kingdom of God, he, I assumes was doing ministry all alone (see Mark 6:7 and 6:30). Jesus often “made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side” so that he can minister to the people without them before “he went up on the mountain to pray” alone (see Mark 6:45-47). Either his disciples was with him or not, he still have compassion for the people. Either people believe in him or not, he still preached the Kingdom of God. Jesus could fulfilled his calling with or without others. He is able, he can do it, but of course – he won’t.

Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of late president of America Franklin D. Roosevelt, was one of the greatest leaders of her time, personally supported a number of students financially. I once read an article that said a young man remembered getting cheque for $75 a month, made and signed by Eleanor Roosevelt on her personal account. He said he received those checks for years, even after she ceased to be the First Lady. It would been much easier for her to use government funds or to refer to some giant scholarship committee, maybe even ask for sponsors on behalf of the First Lady. However, she was personally committed to education and supporting students she felt were worthy. She supported more than 25 students out of her personal funds. She was willing to help the students with or without someone else.

What commitment are you willing to make happen with or without someone else?
Oh, it would be better if you can do it with others… but if they can’t or don’t, you just do it!

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Timothy, Stay Away From Those Who Swerved from the Simplicity That Is In Christ (1 Timothy 1:6-7)

Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions
(1 Timothy 1:6-7,

[Read previous articles on 1 Timothy to get the context and background of these verses]. “Certain persons,” Paul writes first in verse 3 then here in verse 6 are not named. No doubt, these people are self-appointed teachers of verse 3 who were teaching “different doctrine” or “other doctrine.” They have “swerving” (Some Bibles translated “having strayed” or “having deviated”), completely missing the mark when it comes to sound doctrine. Paul says they have turned aside.

I read one commentary, the writer explains that this is a medical term which means “to turn or twist.” Like twisting your ankle. This wasn’t something you laughed about. In my own experience, twisting ankle causes me to scream in pain. It brought tears to my eyes. Such painful experience! You had experienced it too, right? This is what these false teachers were doing to the body of Christ. This was no “mere trifling in splitting theological hairs” as some say. It was a serious departure from sound doctrine. Painful and seriously dangerous. The result was “wandered away into vain discussion,” meaning a lot of words that didn’t say anything or lead anyway. Theological debates here and there, bla bla bla. How many times I have listened to the empty preaching of some high-educated preacher who, as Vance Havney says, practised “the art of almost saying something.

These false teachers who had influenced Timothy’s church at Ephesus professed to be specialists and experts. They “desiring to be teachers of the law” claiming to be experts in the Old Testament law. Although they presented themselves as those who have authorities, they actually didn’t know what they were talking about. They were “without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.” Their teaching led in circles and went nowhere, but what they stated they did so with great force and confidence.

They know not what they say or what kind of things they are of which they speak so confidently. Just because someone shouting and stomping in the pulpit and goes through all sorts of gestures when preaching doesn’t mean he or she is saying much or preaching the truth. Or just because someone so confidently claiming themselves a Calvinist or Arminian in Facebook and quoting famous saying of reformers and preachers of old, it doesn’t mean he or she is a true follower of Christ. It’s sound doctrine that counts! The false teachers had swerved from the simplicity that is in Christ. H.A. Ironside writes, “It is ever the object of the Devil to obscure the truth and get Christians occupied with something that will hide the glorious face of the Lord Jesus Christ and becloud the truth regarding His finished work.” Again, it’s sound doctrine that counts!

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Timothy, Sound Doctrine will Produce: Sacrificial Love, Godly Conscience, and Unhypocritical Faith (1 Timothy 1:5)

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart
and a good conscience and sincere faith

(1 Timothy 1:5,

In 1 Timothy 1:3-4, the apostle Paul writes against “different doctrine.” He warned Timothy and the church of Ephesus to rejects false doctrines and stay away from meaningless myths and endless genealogies. Now Paul is calling their attentions instead to sound doctrine or more accurately, the product of sound doctrine. The “aim” or “end” here is the goal. Thus, as we preach and teach and live God’s Word, it will produce these results:

#1 “Love that issues from a pure heart…” as you know, there are three Greek words for love. First, eros has to do with sensual passion, sexual involvement (our word erotic is from this). Secondly, philo, meaning ‘affection, human feeling or tenderness.’ We live in a society which can’t seem to tell the difference between these two and can’t seem to move from first to the second. Thirdly, is agapao and refers to divine love, love which is measured by sacrifice (remember Jesus). It is the main word in John 3:16. This is the word which is used here. Sound doctrine produces God’s love in our hearts. This love comes from a “pure heart,” a heart that has been cleansed and made pure by the blood of Christ.

#2 “…a good conscience…” Let your conscience be your guide,’ someone advise. Ever hear that? For many, this is the rule of life (‘Ikut gerak hati atau nanuri kamu’). Good advice? Not necessary, not always. You see, your conscience can be influenced. Or let me put it this way: Your conscience acts on the basis of the knowledge it has. In the Old Testament, when the pagan Canaanites worship their gods, they would sacrifice their babies into the fire. Their consciences would have hurt them if they had not done it. However, child sacrifice is wrong! Their consciences were wrong! They had been feed the wrong information, indoctrinated. “A good conscience” here is one which has been purified by the blood of Christ from “dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14). It is now give guidance to the believers like us based upon the right information in the light of God’s Word as applied by the Holy Spirit.

#3 Finally, sound doctrine will produce “…sincere faith.” In another word, the result is unhypocritical faith. How much the testimony of Christ has been hurt because of people who professed a faith they did not possess. Their lives – words and actions – have denied what their lip professed. In contrast, when a sinner genuinely comes to Christ and believes the “sound doctrine” of the Scripture, he or she no longer has to ‘play act’ (meaning hypocrite) at being a Christian. He or she now has an unhypocritical faith, sincere faith! 

Is your kind of Christianity produces love which is measured by sacrifice (pure heart)?
Is your conscience cleansed by Christ’s blood and based on God’s Word (good conscience)?
Is your faith is unhypocritical faith (sincere faith)?
Sound doctrine will produces all of the above. Examine your life.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Timothy, Stop Those Liars Who Teach Different Doctrine (2 Timothy 1;3-4)

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith
(1 Timothy 1:3-4, ESV)

When I first read 1 and 2 Timothy, I thought that Timothy was a senior pastor. I was wrong. Timothy is not to be thought of in the same capacity as modern-day pastor. The church at Ephesus already had elders who were in charge of the work there (read Acts 19:17-38). Timothy was rather Paul’s personal representative to give direction and instruction to the church at Ephesus and surrounding churches (when I read the New Testament, it seems like there are at least two churches at Ephesus). So, one of the main reasons the apostle Paul wanted Timothy to stay in Ephesus was to counteract the teaching of those who were teaching “different doctrine” or “other doctrine.” These individuals are not named as are in 1 Timothy 1:20 but are simply referred to as “certain persons.”

In Acts 20:18-31, Paul had warned the Ephesian elders: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.” So here, Timothy is to warn them again that they are to stop these false teachers (“fierce wolves”) to “not to teach any different doctrine” (same words used in Galatians 1:6-7). Warn and stop them Timothy!

For the child of God – especially, Bible teachers – faithfulness to the doctrine of the Word of God is not optional. This “different doctrine” didn’t and won’t bring sinners to salvation or edify the believers. It only sparkled curiosity and people pursue for “myths” and “endless genealogies.” Historically, the Jews have been guilty of allegorizing much of the Old Testament, adding stories and taking some of the genealogical lists in the Old Testament and adding names with symbolic meanings (Google Jewish Mythology). I have a Good News Bible with Deuterocanonical or Apocrypha books in it such as the story of the prophet Daniel, Bel and the Dragon! A bunch of myths! How many false cults and heresies have been started in our day by exactly the same means (the Bible taught God the Mother? Lucifer is Jesus’s brother? Muhammad is the seal of the Old and New Testament prophets?). People are fascinated by some new, wild speculations and yet remain ignorant of the Gospel of the saving grace of God.

 All such nonsenses only lead people to more and more questions and devotions. Distracted and majoring in minor things. They do not result in the “stewardship from God that is by faith” or “godly edifying which is in faith” (KJV). Rather than being occupied with Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word, they are occupied with various side issues. Paul says that we have been made stewards of the mysteries of God and we are required to be found faithful to that stewardship (read 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, I remember Steve Green’s song Find Us Faithful). The “different doctrine” in Ephesus and the curious myths of the Bible today must be put to stop!

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Anang Semina Deka Dikumbai Orang Kudus Tang Ngelengka ka Ajar Allah Taala (Mark 7:9-13)

Lalu ko Jesus nampong jako iya, ‘Kita pintar bendar, kebuah kita enda nerima adat Allah Taala, awak ka kita ulih ngemansang ka ajar kita empu. Ko ajar Moses, ‘Bebasa ka apai indai kita,’ lalu ‘sebarang sapa nyebut utai jai pasal apai tauka indai iya, enda tau enda kena bunoh.’ Tang kita ngumbai enti orang bisi utai ti tau dikena nulong apai tauka indai iya, ‘Tu Piring’ (reti nya tu enggi Allah Taala), nya alai iya tau enda iboh nulong apai tauka indai iya. Ngena jalai nya kita enda iboh ka ajar Allah Taala lalu nitih ka penemu ti di-ajar kita ngagai orang bukai. Agi mayoh utai bukai ti baka nya digaga kita
(Mark 7:9-13, Berita Manah Ka Rebak Baru)

Jesus nyaut sida orang Parisi: “Kita ngelengka ka pesan Allah Taala, lalu nitih ka utai ti di-ajar mensia” (Mark 7:8). Ditu Jesus meri chunto sida ngajar adat mensia lebih besai agi ari pesan Allah Taala. Ko Iya, “Kita pintar bendar…” Tu ukai jako muji sida tang tu jako ngelese ka sida. Sida ngumbai sida pintar? Paul udah nulis: “Utai ti dikumbai dunya tu bepenemu nya nadai guna sakali di moa Allah Taala” (1Korint 3:19). Bisi kebuah sida nambah ka pesan Allah Taala, meri undang-undang ti mayoh, undang-undang ti berat ngagai orang – sida deka “ngemansang ka ajar” sida empu: adat mensia. Awak ka orang betuan ka sida ukai Allah Taala. Awak ka sida bepengaroh ngau bisi kuasa kena ngekang orang mayoh.

Ko jako Allah Taala diberi ngagai Moses: “Bebasa ka apai indai kita… sebarang sapa nyebut utai jai pasal apai tauka indai iya, enda tau enda kena bunoh.” Tang sida orang Parisi ngau bala pengajar Adat udah ngaga undang-undang kediri ti bingkok awak ka sida enda iboh meri utai ngagai apai indai sida. Ko sida, “Aku enda ulih nulong apai indai laban semoa utai aku udah enggi Allah Taala, nyadi Piring (tauka korban).” “Semua utai diserah kena ngereja pengawa Allah Taala”, ko sida, munyi baka orang Kudus. Laban sida orang ti bepengaroh ba rumah Allah, sida tau mega ngena utainya kena diri empu. “Tu Piring” ko sida awak ka orang ngumbai sida orang kudus, orang alim. Tang ti ke-amai iya sida enggai nulong apai indai. Sida deka ngena utai tauka duit sida kena dirik empu aja. Sida ngelengka pesan besai iya nya “Nuan enda tau enda rindu ka orang bukai” (Mark 12:31) nyadi rindu ka diri empu” aja.

Orang Parisi mina peduli ngau meda utai ti di-luar aja (Mark 7:6-8). Tuhan Jesus – Guru ti Badas – deka meda ati kitai orang Kristian. Pengerindu Allah Taala enda bepanggai enggau utai ti di-luar baka jari ti kamah tauka enda (Mark 7:1-5), tang Iya meda ati kitai kudus tauka bedosa. Maya tu mayoh orang nyangka pengarap orang Kristian tu semina utai ti di-luar aja baka undang-undang grija ngau Adat mensia (bisi ngagai grija ari Minggu ka enda? Ngaga tanda regang ka enda? Bisi meri ngagai grija ka enda?). Tang pengarap kitai tu semoa iya terlebih dulu ari dalam ati kitai. (Bisi pengarap ngagai Allah Taala ka enda? Roh Kudus bisi tinggal dalam ati ka enda? Dosa udah diberesi enggau darah tuchi Jesus ka enda?). “Aku enda ngira mensia ngena chara mensia,” ko TUHAN, “Mensia meda gamal, tang Aku meda ati” (1 Samuel 16:7).

O Tuhan Jesus, aku enggai dikumbai orang Kudus tang ati aku jauh ari Nuan.
La aku merisa ati aku: Bisi pengasih Nuan tauka nadai?
Ngereja ka ajar Nuan tauka ngelengka ka iya?
Nitih pesan Allah Taala tauka agi bepegai ba ajar mensia?
Perisa ati aku Tuhan, tuchi ka meh iya ngena darah tuchi Nuan. Tu sampi aku. Amen.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Timothy, Remember These 3 Important Words: Grace, Mercy, Peace (1 Timothy 1:1-2)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Saviour and of Christ Jesus our hope,
To Timothy, my true child in the faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord
(1 Timothy 1:1-2,

As was the custom of the day, the writer opened the letter with his signature – Paul. I remember, when I wrote letters to my crush from the secondary school I used to end every letter with a signature. That’s how we do it. That’s what we taught to do. But not during Paul’s time. Anyway, knowing that this letter – 1 Timothy – was to have wide circulation and important, Paul doesn’t introduce to Timothy as his friend or mentor in the faith. But he officially identifies himself as “an apostle of Christ Jesus.” I bet Timothy knew that, but I think this letter is for us too – the Church and we Christians as individuals.

The word “apostle” simply means “one who is sent away” or “sending away” or “messenger.” What’s the different between disciple and apostle, you might ask? Well, we can argue at great length but put it simply: Every apostle was a disciple, but not every disciple was an apostle. The famous Twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:1-4; then without Judas Iscariot in Acts 2:14) and Paul, who was later added (Acts 14:14) was personally chosen by the Lord Jesus (but how about “apostles” in 1 Corinthians 12:28? Maybe next time we discuss about it). So, when Paul used an official title “an apostle of Christ Jesus”, he uses it here to establish an official relationship. Like saying to Timothy, “I’m writing this not as mere friend or elder to you, but as an apostle.” And noticed this, Paul wrote “Christ Jesus” and not “Jesus Christ” because – I interprets – Paul first knowing Jesus personally as a divine Risen Christ (Acts 9) not as human Jesus.

Paul give further authority to his calling by emphasizing that his appointment as an apostle was not of his own doing or self-appointed as many critics claimed. In nearly every letter (epistle) he emphasizes this appointment was “by the will of God.” Here he says it is “by command of God our Saviour and of Christ Jesus our hope.” This was equal to an official statement of the day, the same as saying “by the order of.” Paul knew he was called to be an apostle by the Almighty God and he did not take the calling lightly. May it be so with every child of God, no matter how high or low your and my calling may be, there are no unimportant children in the family of God.

Then see how Paul greeted Timothy – greets us. “Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” Have you ever noticed that these three sweet words are always in this order in the greetings of the New Testament? Read your Bible again! Here how I see it: No one can have peace until first of all he or she has experienced the grace and mercy of God. And mercy follow grace because it is based on the grace of God. We deserve no mercy and find no peace apart from God’s grace! Oh yes! Yes, may those who seek and longing for true peace in their lives may know Jesus Christ, the source of God’s grace (1 Timothy 1:14).

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God's Outlaw: The Story of William Tyndale

God’s Outlaw: The Story of William Tyndale (1986)

Who is William Tyndale [1494-1536]? He is the translator of the first English New Testament! Most of the English Bible translations today owe (of course to God the Supreme first) to Tyndale, and thus, to know him is to know the Story of the Bible. This movie (produced in 1986! So, forget about graphic and film quality, just focus on contents ya) set in the colourful and dangerous days of King Henry VIII when men were burned, racked, and maimed for lesser crimes than that of smuggling Bibles – especially Martin Luther’s translations – into England. The movie opens with a young child reciting The Lord’s Prayer in English and thus her parents were taken to jailed and killed for teaching their children to pray in English instead of Latin.

Once when someone said to Tyndale, “We are better to be without God’s laws than the Pope’s.” He replied, “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!” When Tyndale set out to provide the first printed New Testament in English (based on Erasmus's Greek Bible) he was forced to defy the king, the Roman Catholic pope, and all other authorities. Thomas Moore, his archenemy (but a bit soft in the movie) once said about Tyndale translation: “not worthy to be called Christ's testament, but either Tyndale's own testament or the testament of his master Antichrist."

Compelled to flee from England, he continued with his work of translating the Scriptures while hiding out in several cities in Germany, Holland and Belgium – always trying to keep a step ahead of the agents who were sent from England to arrest him. For the rest of the story you got to read Tyndale’s biography. I suggest for a start read 1) Heroes of Faith: William Tynadale, and 2) God’s Outlaw by Brian Edwards and/or watch this movie. You’ll appreciate your Bible – free-to-own-Bible! – more.

Tyndale was betrayed by his friend Henry Phillips, thus in 1536 he was arrested and was tried and convicted of heresy and treason and put to death by being strangled and burned at the stake. In the movie, his last words before his death were “Lord, open the king of England's eyes.” Just 3 years later Henry VIII published his English ‘Great Bible’ based on Tyndale’s work. His work formed the basis of all subsequent English translations of the Bible, including the King James Version of 1611. William Tyndale wrote: “I perceived how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except the Scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue.” His dreams came true but not without a cost. So, what it cost you to not read the Bible?

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