May 2005 Newsletter and Article on Pentecost
Commentary for May 1, 2005 — Pentecost as Primary School Instruction
The “May 2005 Newsletter” and Article are online. The Article this month is titled “The Teachings of Pentecost.” While there are significant (and several) teachings associated with Pentecost, it is always important to bear in mind the relative importance and nature of the teaching.
It is a teaching for children. The teachings of the holy days are the ABCs of God’s teaching to Israel. They do not even rank or rate when compared to the ABCs of the Gospel. If you want that information, see the free online book of the same title at http://www.askelm.com/abc/index.asp.
In the Book of Galatians the apostle Paul notes that the formerly pagan Galatians were turning to the teachings of the “elements,” spiritual beings that gave the Law of God to the Israelites. Continuing on from earlier in chapter 3, Paul was discussing the Law of Moses, which included the Jewish festivals, which were “schoolmasters” for them (Galatians 3:24–25). The Galatians were getting caught up in observing those “days,” and Paul would not have them do it. It was a backward step for them. It was infantilism of the worst kind; so extremely immature that Paul was somewhat disgusted with them:
“But now, after that you have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain. ”
Even the more mature Colossian church fell for a similar but more sophisticated form of legalism. As a result Paul became even more direct and specific. In Colossians chapter 2, Paul used imperatives (almost commands) with the twice-repeated phrase “Let no man ...”:
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping [religion or ritual] of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind. ”
Paul is stating directly, your reward is at stake. As explained in Dr. Martin’s book Essentials of New Testament Doctrine, you will lose a greater reward if you adhere to things that are for young children, those that require a schoolmaster. Your reward (not your salvation) is based on your deeds and works. If you wish to receive an elementary-level reward, God will grant it to you, then perform elementary-level deeds and works. If you wish to advance to more and better “schooling” — and to greater reward — God will grant that desire. He wants you to have the full knowledge of His truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
None of this depends upon worldly wisdom or knowledge. The knowledge and wisdom you need will be supplied by God according to His grace. God knows your heart. It can be done at any age, at any time, in any manner, and in any order. You should not need a schoolmaster of days, moons, or sabbaths, or the Old Covenant Laws to teach you about what has been fulfilled by Christ. Learning about them is sufficient. You gain no “points” with God by “doing” them.
Accept and understand the teachings of the Law of God, the Mosaic Law, but none of them are necessary for you to do. Learn from them, and then move on to understand and put into practice the greater teachings of the Law of Christ (John 1:17, 15:12; Romans 8:2, 10:4; 1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 2:16, 3:13, 17, 24, 6:2; and Philippians 3:9), which is the reality of the mere shadow that the Law of Moses teaches.
Shadows are created by the light which comes direct from Christ, the Word of God, the express Image of the Father, our elder brother (Acts 26:23; 1 John 1:7; 2 Corinthians 4:4, 6; Ephesians 5:14; 2 Timothy 1:10), currently through the medium of the Bible, directly from His mind to your mind. Yes, you have access to the thinking and the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:13–16).
The new ASK Website homepage will appear in a few days, with the exact roll-out date unknown. As always the content of the ASK website is primary. The appearance and convenience of the website, though very important, is secondary. It is vital that the content be updated and available. It is also important, though less so, that the website be easy to navigate.
With more than 300 major web documents filled with textual material, the ASK site is a major responsibility of our webmaster in whose capable hands we have placed this resource that blesses people around the world. We are thankful to God for his service and for God’s provision of him to us. At times overworked, he has never let us down.
We are also thankful to God for the existence of the Internet (with apologies to Al Gore) which allows God (and us) to reach people quickly and easily with teaching material that opens up His Word as never before. With the mass of garbage, filth, and drivel on the Internet, you have available to you a resource in the ASK website that we hope you highly prize, and more importantly, use extensively to its fullest measure.
Many, many questions that we receive at ASK can be answered simply by using the Search capability (particularly the “Advance Search” feature) with its full capability. It may take some of you a bit of time, trying different things, different words, different methods, of searching, but we are encouraged to study (2 Timothy 2:15), and seek out God and His Word (Matthew 6:33; Luke 12:31) and particularly what Paul encourages us to do in the Book of Colossians:
“If you then be risen with Christ,seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God.For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.”
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
This is God’s promise to you. In the meantime do what God asks of you. In the Greek, the two verbs “seek” and “set” are imperatives, almost direct commands. Study, seek, and set your affections toward proper things. Never stop studying. Never stop seeking God and the things that are above. Never stop setting your affections toward the proper goal.
Use all the tools available for you to do the work that needs to be done. The ASK Search engine is a marvelous tool that can enhance your ability to find information you need to know — fast. A bit of time spent learning will yield great results. And as always, the purpose is to get you into your Bible, to read and learn what God says to you now, today, and what will occur to you in the future.
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