Divine Duo

Did you ever see the Dynamic Duo – otherwise known as Batman & Robin? It first aired on T.V. from 1966-1968. Sometimes Batman would get captured and Robin would have to save him, but most of time, it was Batman that came to the rescue of Robin. This was done to emphasize the point – they worked best together. It just didn’t seem right if the two of them were not fighting along side each other. You can’t have one without the other and still have a Dynamic Duo.The apostle Paul also wanted to etch this theme in the minds of the Christians in Crete – you can’t have one without the other. The one difference between the Dynamic Duo and the Divine Duo is that Batman can be a superhero all by himself, but the two elements of the Divine Duo never operates separately.

In the last post I explored the first part of chapter one, verse one –“servant hood & apostleship.” The second part of verse one explores theme of the knowledge of the truth and godliness. This is the Divine Duo. This theme is one of the themes that help us understand the whole Book of Titus.

Christianity is not a religion of head knowledge only. The purpose of learning is to obey. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” This helped the believers in Crete avoid false teachers; but this was written for our edification as well. When we are evaluating a Christian leader, the question is not just how much he knows, but how much he grows. Paul doesn’t only admonish us to examine our leaders, but to examine ourselves – does your biblical/theological knowledge match your biblical/theological maturity?

Brian L. Spivey D.O.C.

More Than My Hair Was Cut Last Night!

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Spiritual Lessons Learned at the ‘black barbershop’

I went to see my barber late last night.  It is not a “traditional black” barbershop, but it has many of the same elements – except it is physically and morally cleaner.  I was really hoping the dietary laws in the OT would come up again (see my previous post with the picture of the lobster), but when it did, it didn’t turn out the way I expected.

I awkwardly brought up the issue by saying, “Tyrone (pseudo name), if we can just get you to enjoy your seafood without the guilt we will be all right.”  He answered, “I love my seafood.”  “I know,” I said.  “But the last time you said you loved all kinds of seafood even though the Bible tells us we shouldn’t eat it.  He said, “The Bible does say that about shell fish.”  Just when I was about to play ‘Superman’ and save the day, another voice said, “Yes that is true, but what did God tell Peter in a dream?”

And then I thought to myself, who said that!?  Oh, I know that voice.

It was the man who comes into this shop regularly.  Actually, I’ve seen him three times before.  The barber called him “REV.”  He would say, “Hey Rev. how is it going?”  When he walked into the shop, the conversations got cleaner, and some people sat up straighter in their seats. But I was successful in avoiding this “Rev.”

I know it sounds bad, one Rev. avoiding another Rev. But in my lifetime, I’ve come in contact with three Rev’s in the black barbershop: the one who used to be the number runner; the one who drove the big Cadillac and took everyone’s money; and the one who made all the ladies uncomfortable and the husbands and/or boyfriends mad when he came into the shop.  No, I had already ‘pre-assessed’ this guy.  He was probably just another ‘Reverend Bishop Charlatan’ — a democratic, social gospel, Bible-rejecter, who is probably a mason, and striving to become the next ‘bishop’ in the capital district; no, I didn’t want any parts of him.  But here he was expositing Scripture with relative ease and no shame right in the barbershop!

I was in the barber chair, but my Afro was not the only thing being cut down so I could look pleasing in the sight of all – my pride was getting the same treatment, so that I could look pleasing to One.

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What happened?  How did I get here?  Obviously, I must have forgotten some spiritual truth, several actually.

Earlier that day I was reading a theological book written by Michael Barrett (I plan to write a book review on this blog when I’m done with the book). He explained that the concept of righteousness could be stative or fientive.  I applied it to something with which I was familiar – grammar.  Stative is like a being verb, “He is tall.”  Fientive is like an action verb, “He runs.”  I understood this perfectly, I thought.  Jesus fulfilled all righteousness (fientive), because Jesus is righteousness (stative). The Bible teaches that I have become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).

That’s fine, but I forgot that Christ’s Righteousness was imputed to my account, not infused inside of me.   The heart of man is deceitfully above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it (Jeremiah 17:9).  My wicked flesh (Romans 7:18-20) led me down a path that convinced me that I was higher than my brother in Christ.

I repented and confessed my sin to God.

Rev. was clearly greater.  Jesus said so Himself, “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” (Mark 10:43).  Thank you, Rev. for the lesson in humility; thank you Tyrone for the fresh cut – now I look more pleasing to my wife and children; and thank you God for the ‘fresh cut’ – now I look more pleasing to You.

 

Brian L. Spivey

What is the Book of Leviticus All About?

Most people I know who have tried to read the Bible from cover to cover started from the beginning.  They get through Genesis, and enjoy most of the Exodus, but lose interest when they get to the book of Leviticus.  What is the book all about anyway?  It can be summed up in one word – worship.

In the 9th chapter of Leviticus, we read that Moses and Aaron kept the word that God commanded about how to worship Him.  “Aaron lifted up his hands towards the people and blessed them… and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people.  And the fire came out… and consumed the burnt offering” (Verses 22, 24).  In the next chapter, the fire of the Lord came from heaven again, but this time, instead of consuming the burnt offering, it consumed Nadab and Abihu – Aaron’s sons.  Nadab and Abihu did not keep God’s Word.  What can we conclude about the Lord from this passage?

If this was an isolated event in Scripture, than any conclusion drawn from Leviticus 9 could be dismissed as speculative at best.  But we see throughout Scripture, that God is serious about how He is to be worshipped.  Those who did not keep God’s word were dealt with harshly – King Saul, Uzzah, Ananias and Sapphira.  And who had the last word about worship and keeping God’s Word?  Jesus did.

The apostle John described Jesus as the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire.  This Holy One told the individuals in the church at Philadelphia that because some have kept His Word, He intended to make them a pillar in the temple of God.  Jesus ends the ultimate worship book with these words, “Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” (Revelation 22:7).

Those of you who have tried to read the Bible from cover to cover, and were arrested by the content in the book of Leviticus, please go back and try again.  Use this key to unlock the book: God determines what is holy and unholy.  He determines what is acceptable and what is an abomination.  And don’t forget, the major theme of Leviticus is worship.

Brian L. Spivey

The Bible is God’s Word

What Scripture says, God says; for, in a manner comparable only to the deep mystery of the Incarnation, the Bible is both fully human and fully divine. So all its manifold contents — histories, prophecies, poems, songs, wisdom writings, sermons, statistics, letters, and whatever else — should be received as from God, and all that Bible writers teach should be revered as God’s authoritative instruction. Christians [indeed, all men] should be grateful to God for the gift of his written word, and conscientious in basing their faith and life entirely and exclusively on it. Otherwise we cannot ever honor or please him as he calls us to do.

~ J. I. Packer, Concise Theology (IVP 1993, p. 5; emphasis added)

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