CBE: New Testament, 2 Peter and Jude

Making good progress, we move on to Peter’s second letter and Jude’s letter tomorrow. Peter’s second letter was written around AD 65 while Peter was imprisoned by the emperor Nero in Rome. Some Theologians believe that it was written to strengthen Jude’s letter: addressing doctrines that refute Jesus’ second coming, godly living, resurrection of the dead, and judgement. With historic and scriptural references he presents an exhortation to holiness, love, faith and patience. My favourite line being:

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

We will discuss who he was; who his audiences were; possible reasons behind his writing; and other questions drawn from our weekly agenda.

This week we are reading pages 359-368 so join us if you can, or meet with friends and family.

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Community Bible Experience operates like a Reading Club…

Participants agree a weekly reading plan, then every Friday we meet in a relaxed fashion for an hour to discuss the following simple questions:

  • What’s something you noticed for the first time?
  • What questions did you have?
  • Was there anything that bothered you?
  • What did you learn about loving God?
  • What did you learn about loving others?

Afterwards, we enjoy light refreshments while we catchup, pray, challenge, and encourage each other.

We recommend a copy of The Books of The Bible by Biblica because of it’s contemporary design and translation, and we set ourselves a weekly target to read eleven pages.

  • (7:00 – 8:00)pm on Fridays
  • 52 Arcadian Avenue, Bexley, Kent DA5 1JW

If you need help with setting one up in your home, community space, church or perhaps offices; please get in touch!

Spiritual Intelligence: The Inkhorn Of Life

Then He called out in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, “Let those who have charge over the city draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand.” And suddenly six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his battle-ax in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen and had a writer’s inkhorn at his side. They went in and stood beside the bronze altar.

Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; and the Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.”

To the others He said in my hearing, “Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were before the temple. Then He said to them, “Defile the temple, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!” And they went out and killed in the city.

The more I study the holy writ, the more I get the impression that God is very clinical in His operations. He is a holy God; whose chief guiding principles are love, order and equity.

Good morning friends. These traits (although to a lesser degree) can also be found in the people He partners with over the course of history. For instance, He gave Noah the exact measurement and details of the ark; He gave Moses precise details of the ark of the covenant; He gave Joshua clear strategy for the campaign to dispossess and claim the promised land; He gave Jeremiah dates of the captivity and return from exile, He gave Daniel indicators and time stamps for future events… Even though they staggered in faith sometime, I get the feeling that these people where the best in their time for His missions. He said concerning Abraham:

For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

With that in mind, let’s have another look at our opening scriptures. First, a quick timeline of events; the prophets had warned, mercy had been exhausted, and it was time for judgement to run its course. And in the spirit of equity; judgement will begin in His house first. Even then there had to be accountability, so a witness was nominated (the man with the Inkhorn); with clear instructions to mark the foreheads of those that were not at ease with the status quo. Those that cried unto The Lord day and night in prayer for Justice for the poor, widows, oppressed; those that stood up and spoke against the ills of their time; those that denied themselves any part in the worship of the gods of this world and the fleeting pleasure they had to offer. Finally, their time of vindication had come.

In closing this thought, let’s consider a parable that links seamlessly with our opening verses by Jesus:

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

The last sentence is worth pondering upon.

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~ Sabali

Spiritual Intelligence: The Gathering

He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people: “Gather My saints together to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.” Let the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is Judge. Selah

This prophetic psalm highlights God’s position as the judge of all. This call is for the saints (those that have made a covenant by sacrifice). This call is for the called out ones; it’s a call for the church.

Good morning friends. In the Old Testament’s legal system, in order for the death sentence to be passed, their needs to be two or three witnesses. The patriarch emphatically declared in his written work:

he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness.

Physical death is only cessation of our body; our spirit continues existence in sleep mode until the day of judgement. While alive, we can also experience spiritual death through sin and rebellion against God; this affects the harmony between our spirit and God’s, until the process of realignment through repentance. To strengthen this argument, Paul writes to friends in Rome:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This principle of witness or testimony is embedded all through scriptures, affirming God’s edicts, decrees, verdict and judgement on the affairs of humankind. This also strengthens the authenticity of biblical texts, and its prophetic credentials. So, in line with this principle, let’s look at two New Testament testimonies or perhaps witness statement.

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth in the spirit of fatherhood, amidst a culture of sin and rebellion:

This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” I have told you before, and foretell as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare

And Peter also made this profound statement to friends in Jerusalem, indicating that the time is upon us:

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

The call is upon us dear friends, Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock”. The call for the gathering of the saints for judgement; for without judgement, there will be no rewards or punishment.

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~ Sabali