The Key - RR274N26a
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
We have loved the habitation of Thy house and the place where Thy honor dwelleth. I was glad when they said unto me let us go into the house of the Lord, let us pray.
Our most good and gracious God and heavenly Father we thank You for the privilege that we have in gathering in Your name as your children to look at Your word to us. We pray that Your grace would be with us this morning as it has been in the past. We thank You for your so great salvation and Your goodness to us each day. We thank You for Your care for us, we thank You that you have given us meaning and purpose and hope, we thank You that our whole lives, our entire thinking can be shaped by our understanding of who You are and what You expect of us. We pray that You would bless this time in Your word. We pray that You would be with our families, we pray that You would encourage them, encourage our children to know and to love You and to serve you every day of their lives. We pray that You would protect them from all harm. We pray for Thy church everywhere that seeks to be faithful to You, encourage them in their faithfulness, we think especially of those who are persecuted in Your names sake. We pray that You would encourage them and encourage those who are even now offering them aid. We pray that You would send Your bible to our churches, to our country and to our world. We pray that Your spirit would work in our midst. We pray that You would encourage us when we see so much that seems to be discouraging. We pray that You would give us grace this day as we seek to understand Your word better and to apply it to our lives. We ask this in Christ our Savior’s name, Amen.
Our scripture this morning is First Corinthians 16:1-11. First Corinthians 16:1-11.
“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
4 And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.
5 Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia.
6 And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go.
7 For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.
8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.
9 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
10 Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.
11 Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.”
Reading Paul is different from reading the rest of...
Reading Paul is different from reading the rest of the New Testament. Paul’s writings are immensely charged emotionally as well as intellectually. He expresses himself in a way that is more reminiscent of the Old Testament. When you read the prophets of the Old Testament we find that it is quite an experience because the men gave so free expression of passionate feelings. Not many people ever read the book of Jeremiah all at one sitting. It would be a draining emotional experience. The grief of the man, his blunt expression of what he suffered, what he went through, it’s painful to read. Painful to take on in one dose. And the same is true of all the prophets, major and minor. In the New Testament the men do not express themselves in the same highly charged way. You can read for example the beautiful letter of John, his first letter or second and third and be profoundly moved but there is not much of John as an emotional person, a solemn and deeply involved in what he is doing and hurt by what he sees, the other New Testament writers are not comparable to Paul in that regard. Now Paul in all his letters in the last chapter gives space to things personal. The little odds and ends of council, news, and also a remembrance of persons. Again, this is unlike say, John, or James. Paul was, is, as far as the New Testament is concerned a class by himself. He is more like an Old Testament prophet in the way he expresses himself. Now Paul in First Corinthians 1-15 corrects and rebukes the Corinthian church at great length, their sins are very specifically recited, prompt action is required. When one would expect that Paul would have let the matter rest, he ticks them off in no uncertain terms, but instead because there is a famine in Judea and the near desperate conditions in Jerusalem, what Paul does instead is to require the Corinthians to give generously to the help of Jerusalem believers. He doesn’t say ‘I punished you enough, it’ll be enough to suffer what I’ve required of you and to do what I’ve required, to face the humiliation and shame publicly that I’ve imposed upon you’ no, now he says I’m asking of you, I’m requiring of you, that you will help those that are suffering of famine in Judea. Now this was customary in the New Testament. [00:09:36]
Consider the fact...
Consider the fact: that after the New Testament canon closed the early church underwent very, very grave persecution. Not always all over the Roman Empire, usually concentrated in one part of it. And what the church did then was to summon the believers in the rest of the Empire to do everything they could to alleviate the sufferings of those in that particular area. This continues in the church, maybe not as much as we’d like but it continues. I was very interested to read that the famine in the Sudan is very severe. Bad weather conditions and what not have brought about the severe famine. Well, also the destruction of crops by the Muslims to the north. Well, Peter Hammins appeals for help have finally affected some of the Christians in this country and elsewhere and so help is being rushed to the Sudan. And in many areas in order to get by enemy lines carried in by hand or on the back or head by natives from other parts of Africa. What Paul is doing here is a precedent that is required by biblical law and it was practiced by the Jewish community. Paul says and he is clear cut that he is giving orders to the churches of Galatea and he likewise so orders the Corinthians. Orders. He doesn’t say there are five believers suffering out there and I’m not going to upset you by ordering you to help them, I’m just going to ask. Won’t you be kind enough to do so. He orders it of them as their duty. The premise of ordering them he states clearly in Ephesians 4:25: “For we are members one of another.” This rests also on Ephesians 5:30: “For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” Being one with Jesus Christ the redeemer, they are one with one another, members one of another. [00:13:22]
They are members of His new humanity...
They are members of His new humanity. This means caring concern one for another, materially and spiritually. One consequence of this in church history has been the massive outpouring of funds to meet the needs of suffering Christians. At least before World War One it was very, very intense and it continues today. Paul expects the Corinthians to give readily and freely. He speaks in advance of their liberality. Very early the church in its history manifested this liberality so that Paul in writing to a wayward church still expects a generous outpouring of gifts. And that’s very important to note. It isn’t the only weak or wayward church that Paul appeals to in his lifetime and they all gave. This was due to their training those that were Jewish converts in the Old Testament and its law. Paul says he is ready to go to Jerusalem together with their gifts. To make known to the Jewish believers that this comes from their gentile brethren. Statist charity was very prominent in the New Testament; the people of Rome of course lived off charity, the majority of them, freely provided by Rome and housing, everything you can think of. The great deal of construction in major cities of Roman Empire was statist, Roman construction was tax money and as against this here comes the early church saying no. Our needs we meet. People see, Paul sees every evidence to believe the Christians were continuing to do what the Jewish believers had did and then some. Paul plans to come to Corinth again when he passes through Macedonia. In fact, he hopes to spend some time there with them. Perhaps to enter in Corinth and gain the assistance of the Macedonians was the balance of his journey. Rather his journey depends on God’s calling. For the present he plans to stay at Ephesus until Pentecost. [00:17:12]
Now again we see an aspect of the New Testament...
Now again we see an aspect of the New Testament. Paul does not expect anyone but the church to pay for what they get. Or what their fellow believers should get. When he goes somewhere to a particular church he expects them to pay and to give him funds to go on to the next point, if he needs money to get there and it is a place he has not visited previously. Paul planned to stay in Ephesus till Pentecost he says, because a great door is opened unto me. And there are many adversaries. Paul was a man of great and remarkable talents. A study of his vocabulary, just his vocabulary, tells us of a sharp awareness of problems and evils in the Roman world. His was a remarkable and inspired grasp of the history of his time, of the problems within Rome and the sharp and very, very hard line between the Roman order and the kingdom of God. Just studying Paul’s words and how he uses them tells us volumes about Rome. Things he could not write openly he makes clear he knows because of his vocabulary and the words he uses. Some scholars have tried to make of Paul the real founder of Christianity which is a very absurd view. They’re trying to denigrate Jesus Christ when they say so. But Paul was prepared by God to see the fullness of the meaning of Christ, the turning work and of his life. Of the kingdom of God. No one else saw things as Paul did. His importance in the history of Revelation is very great and fully in line with the law and the prophets so that the opposition of the leaders of Judaism was a natural one. Paul saw the line of division with an intense clarity. He separated Christ and Christianity from Judaism and from Paganism. [00:20:34]
Paul turns now the gospel of Timothy his prot...
Paul turns now the gospel of Timothy his protégé. He insists that Timothy’s coming be without fear. In other words, because you’re angry with me don’t take it out on my young protégé Timothy. Let his coming be without fear. Treat him with respect; because his closeness to Paul some might seek to take action against Timothy for Paul’s sake. Now Paul response is [unknown] by saying: he, timothy worketh the work of the Lord as I also do. He may be young but what he is doing is a great as work as I’m doing because he’s faithful to his Lord. Instead of separating Timothy from himself Paul ties him very clearly to himself so that any offense against Timothy would be one against Paul as well. Let no man therefore despise him but conduct him forth in peace that he may come unto me for I look to him for the brethren. Paul makes clear that any fault finding with Timothy would be seen as an attack on himself. That’s a good way of warning them; I’ll get even with you if you take it out on Timothy so behave yourselves. Just because he is young do not mistreat him. Paul’s greatness is the sheer extent of his grasp of the meaning of Jesus Christ, to his work and to his kingdom and he’s telling them: the fullness of my faith, Timothy shares. It was not his originality that makes Paul great but his faithfulness to the whole of the revelation that preceded him and was given to him. The hatred of Paul by unbelieving scholars is as a result very great because Paul’s focus compares an awareness of the whole of the biblical revelation. When you read Paul you have to know all of the Old and New Testament to get its full import. [00:24:02]
Thus, in Second Corinthians ...
Thus, in Second Corinthians 5:17-21 Paul summarizes what and who Jesus Christ is. His definition is a classic statement of biblical faith. Evangelicals [unknown] without Paul or his Calvinism. Not because Paul invented them but because he so sharply and clearly defined them. Precisely because Paul understands so fully the meaning of Jesus Christ, his humility and reverence in dealing with Christ is so marked. Jesus is the Lord from and of glory and to know him is to have the key to meaning and to being. So Paul’s casual words in the last chapter although it is a part of his formality of greeting people and tossing the last council to them are always important because they are so telling, so totally pointed to sharpen their awareness of the faith and of the commandments he gives them. Paul in all his writings shines forth. His greatness, his radical faithfulness are remarkable. Let us pray.
Our Lord and our God we give thanks unto Thee for Thy word. We thank Thee that Thou hast through Paul so clearly spoken to us. Has made known Thy so great salvation, has made known to do those things which Thou hast required. We pray our Father that we may grow in grace and may be under, like Timothy, to grow like an apostle. Hearing his word and rejoicing in it and staying close to his word that like him we may be close to Jesus Christ our Lord. In His name we pray, Amen. [00:27:25]
Are there any questions about our lesson? Yes?...
Are there any questions about our lesson? Yes?
[Question] Verse two is often used today as proof of the transfer of the Sabbath of the Old Testament era to the New Testament era.
[Rushdoony] Yes, I’m glad that you brought that up. It is very clearly the first day of the week. Which we observe as the Lord’s Day, not the Jewish Sabbath.
[Same man] The Seventh Day Adventists and others will say that we’re not faithful to the Old Testament.
[Rushdoony] The Jewish Sabbath was celebrated as a memorial to the day of Passover as I point out before it was not on Saturday. It was the seventh day of the week. Well, when you look at the Hebrew calendar it was a twelve month of thirty days each which meant that the Jewish calendar was five days short of 365 days that make up every year. So what they do? At the end of every six months they had two extra holy days thrown in and at the end of the next six months another three to round out the calendar. Well, now if we look at a calendar with that knowledge in mind you find that the seventh day changes every six months. Just as [unknown] continued to be on the same date but on a different day of the week so the Hebrew Sabbath was always on the same date but a different day of the week. If you read the early chapters of Leviticus carefully you find that it was specified that is to be the Sabbath on the seventh or the first month and the fourteenth and the twenty first and twenty eighth and so on, so it is always identical as far as the day of the week was concerned, as it is with us. It’s on the day of the week and not the date of the month. It’s a simple fact but it’s important to understand it to realize the difference between the two. The Jews did not worship on the seventh day, or Saturday, until well after Christianity was established and the Christian Sabbath was being very widely observed and then a few centuries after Christ they decided they would have to switch to Saturday to avoid continual conflict and that way the weekend was one day Jewish and the next day the Christian Sabbath. [00:31:58]
It is interesting that in the early church there were...
It is interesting that in the early church there were Christians who like the Adventists were concerned with, well maybe we should observe the Jewish Sabbath, maybe it is still the Lord’s Day. But at least they were convinced that the first day of the week was the day referred to here in First Corinthians 16:2 and elsewhere throughout the New Testament as the Lord’s Day. So that people placated by going to the synagogue and to the church on Sunday but after all the church put a stop to that. Yes?
[Question] Was the corruption for the believers in Jerusalem in anticipation of the fall of Jerusalem?
[Rushdoony] No, a famine. It was a great famine that hit that area, before the fall of Jerusalem Judea in various ways was judged and the very serious famine was a devastating one. And it is of importance that it was Christians throughout the world, no doubt the Jewish believers also helped in their own way through their synagogues, but the church sent a great deal of money for the Christians in Judea and there are references to such corruptions several times in the following letters. Now, those of you who are old enough to remember World War One and the twenties, early twenties, perhaps you can recall how many, many special collections were taken, not in the church but you were given an envelope or coin box or something, you took it home and you were to bring it back a month later and people did so very faithfully. The results were remarkable, a tremendous outpouring of funds for relief all over the world. We have forgotten how devastating World War One was to Christians throughout the Middle East, in Russia, in Central Europe, in Germany and in other parts of the world so that there was a very grim necessity and the churches in America in particular responded in a remarkable way. Up until not too many years ago and certainly through the thirties even non-Christian writers would refer to that outpouring as a remarkable fact. It was so great and so generous. [00:36:12]
Are there any other questions?...
Are there any other questions?
Well if there are no further questions let us conclude with prayer.
Our Lord and our God we give thanks unto Thee for all Thy mercies and blessings. We thank Thee that our times are in Thy hands who dost all things well. For Thou art mindful of our problems and needs then we ourselves can be. And so we cast ourselves upon Thee knowing Thou carest for us. Minister unto us in Thy grace, mercy and wisdom. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, Bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.