Week of April 3, 2011
As a follower of Jesus it is good to be considered special or chosen by God. Jesus teaches us that all that is required is to "BELIEVE" in Him to have eternal life and yet some Christians suggest it is even easier and all that is necessary is God's grace. As we believe in Jesus and what Jesus taught, Jesus will lead us to God. Following other manmade religious teachings may be why Jesus says only a "FEW" will make it to eternal life. How can we be part of that special few? Some of Jesus' teachings are difficult to "UNDERSTAND" for various reasons. People who write commentaries or explanations of Jesus' teachings may avoid some teachings or try to give logical explanations that sound good. The best way to understand what is in the bible is to use the bible if at all possible to understand what is recorded in the bible. When Jesus' words originally spoken in Hebrew were recorded in Greek there was no Hebrew-Greek dictionary available. The best source for understanding how to translate the Hebrew words into Greek was the Hebrew bible (aka The Old Testament) that was translated into Greek, called the Septuagint. When Jesus says, "For many are called, but few are chosen", the word "called" is also translated as "invited" or "summoned". The word "chosen" is usually translated "few are chosen". A popular explanation of this verse is that many are invited but few accept the invitation1.
The Greek word eklektos, which is, translated "chosen", when we check it in the Septuagint and refer to the original Hebrew word for better understanding; we find eklektos is the Greek translation of many different Hebrew words. For example, in Genesis 41:2 the Hebrew word bari, translated eklektos, refers to the "choice" cows; in Judges 20:16 the Hebrew word bachuwr, also translated eklektos, refers to "select" men or soldiers; Isaiah 22:7 the Hebrew word mibchar, also translated eklektos, refers to the "most beautiful" or "nicest" valleys; Isaiah 43:20 the Hebrew word bachiyr, also translated eklektos, refers to God's "chosen" people. There is no doubt that Jesus was saying many are "called" but few are "choice, special, extra nice" or "chosen".
The question is as a follower of Jesus does being choice, special or chosen mean a predetermined selection that precludes others from being in that category. Peter was called and frequently put his foot in his mouth but in time became more special and was a main leader in the early church. Judas Iscariot was called but became less special as he betrayed Jesus. Many are called or drawn to Jesus and yet never seem to serve Jesus and never become a special follower. Some never make it past the initial drawee stage before they fall away. Others, who are involved in following Jesus, may get extra education like a Bible School, may be active in their church socially and yet are never active in being obedient to God. To be one of God's chosen people does not come by birth. I met a young man recently who introduced himself by bragging that his father is a bishop. God has children not grandchildren and what parents or other relatives did is not an issue. Jesus told some religious people who were proud of being descendents of Abraham, "If you were really Abraham's children, you would do the things that Abraham did". Being special or chosen appears to result from our actions and our relationship with God. We enter into a special category as we "obey" God or do what God wants "on earth as it is in heaven". Jesus tells us that because of "God's chosen people" (referred to as "elect" in some translations - also from eklektos) the days in the end time will be shortened. Apparently becoming special has benefits to those around us. Perhaps the clearest description of becoming special or chosen is when Jesus tells us, "those who hear My words and believe in Him who sent Me have eternal life. They will not be judged, but have already passed from death to life". Jesus is very clear that to hear and to believe are actions that means obeying and doing and when we obey and do what Jesus and God say we will have eternal life2.
1. Jn 3:16; Mt 7:14; 13:13-19 (NI); 22:14 (NKJ)
2. Jn 8:39 (IC); Mt 7:21; 24:22 (TL); Mt 6:10; Jn 5:24 (TE)
note: click here for bible verse and translation abbreviations
A Psalm for reflection "So God brought His people out with joy. He brought out His chosen ones with singing." Ps 105:43 (IC)
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Understanding the Teaching: What I share in the teaching is what I believe God wants me to share. All the direct quotes from God are highlighted in royal purple. Of course the words of Jesus are in red. Rather than follow some made up doctrine, remember that Jesus said that every thing He said (Jn 12:49) and everything He did (Jn 14:31) comes from God. All teachings and all opinions should be supported by what we learn from God or Jesus (see the scripture referred to in the footnote).
MARRIAGE WORKSHOP MOMENT
To refresh what you have learned in our Workshop or entice you to experience our Workshop
"Remember, all marriages can be better, if you use what you learned."
One of the first things that is overlooked in marriages is having fun. Too busy, children, work etc. can crowd out fun time together. In marriage you will have conflicts but that is not what attracted you to each other in the beginning. Fun is important to martial happiness. Have a weekly date night. So you enjoy date, be sure and have your weekly couples meeting before, using the Speaker Listener Technique. This should help you get issues and problems out of the way so your time together on your date can be more enjoyable. Your date can be as simple as a walk in the park or walking in the mall window-shopping. Do something different. Go skiing, water or snow depending on the weather. One suggestion Allen age 10 had for a good marriage: "you got to find someone who likes the same stuff. Like if you like sports, she should like that you like sports and she should keep the chips and dip coming." I do Marathons and my wife walks on treadmills. We have done treadmills side by side at the gym. We have shared by her going with me to out of town Marathons and she helps by driving me home, like from Memphis and Kansas City. After 26.2 miles, it is wonderful to have driving help. Our Marathon trips are like having a two-day date. There are many ways to share and have fun together
The Better Half "When your partner won't support your efforts to make your marriage better" Without your spouse's support to improve your marriage, you can still pray daily for God's will to be done in each of your lives and your marriage ("all things are possible with God", Mk 10:27 NI). You can encourage having fun together on your own. Suggest and encourage things you both like to do or to get things started suggest things your spouse likes to do. Remember the things you did to have fun when you first got together. In marriage you will have conflicts but that is not what attracted you to each other in the beginning. Fun is important to martial happiness. Work at it!
A Humor one liner: "My wife and I had words, but I didn't get to use mine." (not something that happens when you use the material in the Marriage Workshop)
Hi Followers of Jesus, ·
Jesus says, "GOD SENT ME ONLY TO THE LOST SHEEP, THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL." Mt 15:24 (IC)
JESUS SPOKE HEBREW
Jesus is a Hebrew speaking Israeli Jew born in Israel to an Israeli mother who was an observant Jew (Lk 2:4-41). Although Jesus said He was the "THE SON OF GOD", some Israelites referred to Him as "THE KING OF ISRAEL" (Jn 10:36; 12:13). Jesus said God sent Him only to "TH
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