Posts Tagged ‘ Nothing New ’

Nothing New: The Church’s Foundation: Part 4: Legalists

I am currently the Youth Pastor for The Church Next Door in Prescott Valley, AZ. On Sunday, August 11, 2019, I took over teaching the adult Sunday School class (the foundation of why we learn from history) before the regular service. (If you find yourself in North Central Arizona, specifically the Prescott Valley area, come join in from 8:45 to 9:45 AM, and then stay for the singing and sermon at 10!)

The second and third lessons were combined in the post two weeks ago, with a look at when the Church was founded and the various forms of leadership Jesus dealt with. Previous was a look at how he rebuked those in leadership.

Again, here are my notes:

Nothing New: The Importance of Church History

Lesson 5: Christ and the Church’s Foundation – Modern Comparisons

The leadership in the time of Jesus included the entirely secular yet pagan Roman Empire, the hyper-religious Pharisees, the super-compromised Sadducees, the fastidious Essenes, and the rebellious Zealots.

Briefly, how do we see nothing new in our leadership?

Modern comparisons:

  • The Divided leadership (remember that there can be bleed-over from group to group):
    • Pharisees – Got a lot right, but added a lot.
      • Legalism – Follow our rules our way, or you are a heathen
        • Matthew 15:1-9 (quoting Isaiah 29:13)
        • Colossians 2:4-10
      • Expected a Messiah to come, but they were willing to work with the government.
        • Many expected two messiahs: conquering king and reforming high priest
          • Think Ezra and Nehemiah as precursors
      • Very similar to Post-millennial Christians and wanting the religious leadership in charge.
      • Modern equivalents: Roman Catholic, some Lutheran, believers in “Federal Vision” (the Church runs the government), New Apostolic Reformation and their 7 Hills/Mountains

Nothing New: The Church’s Foundation: Part 2


I am currently the Youth Pastor for The Church Next Door in Prescott Valley, AZ. On Sunday, August 11, 2019, I took over teaching the adult Sunday School class (the foundation of why we learn from history) before the regular service. (If you find yourself in North Central Arizona, specifically the Prescott Valley area, come join in from 8:45 to 9:45 AM, and then stay for the singing and sermon at 10!)

The second and third lessons were combined in the post last week, with a look at when the Church was founded and the various forms of leadership Jesus dealt with.

Again, here are my notes:

Nothing New: The Importance of Church History

Lesson 3: Christ and the Church’s Foundation – His Rebukes

The leadership in the time of Jesus included the entirely secular yet pagan Roman Empire, the hyper-religious Pharisees, the super-compromised Sadducees, the fastidious Essenes, and the rebellious Zealots.

Briefly, how did Jesus confront each of them?

Jesus clearly took issue with everyone:

  • Pagan Romans did not know what they worshiped, but they believed this life was worth leaving behind.
    • He called out their sinfulness and incorrect worship.
    • Matthew 16:18 may have taken place at one of the “Gates of Hell” popular with pagans and Jews alike
      • Jesus’ Church would prevail over death and pagan beliefs, meaning the Roman idea that death was preferable to life is directly refuted.
    • Likewise, when the Canaanite woman pleads with Jesus in Matthew 15 to heal her daughter, Jesus rebukes her that He came for the faithful.
      • Her humility in accepting that she is outside of the nation of Israel is a rebuke to Roman ideas that you can believe whatever you want. It is those who believe in Christ alone that find peace and eternal life.
  • The Divided leadership:
    • Pharisees – Were simultaneously too strict and not strict enough in their interpretations.
      • See Matthew 23.
      • See Matthew 5-7
    • Sadducees – Denied everything Christ was about while using His Scriptures.
      • Just about anything Jesus ever said to the Sadducees was a rebuke.
      • They can be included in Matthew 5-7 and 23.
    • Essenes – Largely cut themselves off from society instead of interacting with it to change it.
      • See Matthew 28:18-20
    • Zealots – Took devotion to the wrong extremes.
      • See John 18:36
    • Look at Matthew 21:12-16, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19:45-48, John 2:13-22 – Jesus clears the Temple Courts
      • This was a handy rebuke of all of them:
        • The Sadducees most obviously allowed selling to happen in the courts
        • The Pharisees either allowed it and/or promoted it
        • The Essenes essentially ignored it
        • The Zealots liked Jesus’ actions, of course, but they were so focused on fighting off the pagans while neglecting the House of God
  • Read the Seven Letters from Revelation 2-3:
    • Notice the similarities of the churches with the leadership in Jesus’ time
    • Notice similarities to today’s churches

Groundhog Day, again …

While there may be nothing new under the sun, one constant we can trust is God’s wisdom. Get a taste at Proverbial Thought!

As I type this, the world has been reminded time and again about what groundhogs across the United States have said about the coming of Spring (or the extension of Winter). While the first official day of spring is March 20 (which happens to be six weeks from February 2nd), a lot of people are really wondering if there is going to be six weeks more of snow and cold or if it will come to an end soon.

What has been the primary mode for people reminding each other on social media of this grand revealing by a groundhog of the start of Spring?

Groundhog Day (1993) Poster

Groundhog Day (1993) poster, from IMDb.com

Talking about Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day.

The basic premise of this film is that a bitter man (played by Bill Murray) keeps waking up on February 2nd, the same day, over and over again. It is not until he learns to appreciate life that he can break the cycle.

The Bible touches on this, as well:

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9, ESV

The Bible gives similar, albeit more focused, advice for breaking the cycle of repeating the same things over and over:

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

But this life is not the end. As Proverbs 1:7 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” so we need the full story.

This little story out of Acts 16 (vv. 24-34) demonstrates where the fear of the Lord should lead us:

Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.