Posts Tagged ‘ Nothing New ’

Nothing New: The Church’s Foundation: Part 4: Essene and Heard


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 7: 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.
    • Sadducees – The compromised
    • Essenes – The Preservation of Scripture
      • Mainly felt like they had to separate from corrupt society.
        • Essentially lived in communes (Yeah, kinda like hippies, but also very little like hippies.)
        • Not completely absent: Still had people living in town
          • Could help with supply runs, news of events, keep tabs on society.
        • Their main goal was the preservation of the Torah, other important writings, and godliness.
          • Think of Qumran, the place of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These were those people!
      • Messiah – Oh, he was coming soon!
        • Probably understood better than most what the Messiah was going to be like, expecting more of a great religious leader.
          • Most closely associated with Pre-Millennialism today.
          • Most likely played a large role in creating copies of the gospels and letters of the New Testament.
          • Probably disappeared as a sect because most believed their Messiah had come and obeyed the Great Commission
      • See Mark 14:12-16: Was this man possibly an Essene disciple that Jesus planned with to avoid confrontation with the Pharisees and Sadducees? (Also, people living in Jerusalem were required to share space with pilgrims during the Passover, so it could just be some “random guy” and Jesus used foreknowledge to tell Peter and John what to look for.)
      • Modern comparisons:
        • Obviously Monks, much of the Catholic priesthood and nuns
        • Many evangelical churches/denominations obviously fit this description of being largely separated from though still amongst society.
        • Some mainline denominations match up, especially those that have split over compromises with society
          • i.e. Anglican Church North America splitting from the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada (the breaking straw being the ordination of practicing homosexuals and allowing for gay marriage)
        • Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Churches and the like
          • Obviously more extreme, being King James Only-ists: all other translations/versions are satanic and lead to corruption.
          • The most extreme examples of this would be Westboro Baptist Church (basically the Phelps family) and its spiritual successor Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, AZ (pastored by Steven Anderson)
        • For a different extreme:
        • New Apostolic Reformation and other ultra-/super-charismatic churches and movements
          • Yes, they are under this list, too. Stay tuned for more!
          • They definitely separate themselves out as different.
            • The Seven Mountain Mandate demands they work toward “reclaiming” the seven major areas of society until the whole world is under Christ’s authority. So, separate but only in how they do things.
          • Also copy scripture, but typically by making drastic changes.
            • The most recent example is probably The Passion Translation. It is not really a translation, more of an untrustworthy paraphrase that makes some drastic changes. (Still in progress: only has the Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs, and the New Testament.)
        • Most cults that separate and add to Scripture
          • These are the crazy people who obviously get brainwashed/do the brainwashing and often lead to dangerous and even deadly practices.



Nothing New: The Church’s Foundation: Part 4: Sad Realities

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 6: 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.
    • Sadducees – The compromised
      • Basically only used the Torah/Five Books of Moses
      • Messiah – Essentially, did not care
        • Maybe it was a real person, maybe it was Israel, maybe it was whoever was in charge.
          • The government could handle everything.
          • As long as they were in charge, more or less, of what the people believed, they were okay.
      • Resurrection?
        • Not a thing. This life is basically it.
        • Essentially, they were Deists
      • See Mark 12:18-27
      • Modern comparisons:
        • Much of this will come back up with Gnosticism
        • Functionally, atheists and agnostics, which leads to …
        • Science-ism – The belief that we can know/learn everything about the physical universe from science. No god needed.
        • Union Theological Seminary (ultra-left in every way)
        • Liberal denominations/churches – Spectrum, may be any to all of the following:
          • Inerrancy – Ideas/thoughts in the Bible are inerrant, if that
          • Lifestyle: Nothing inherently wrong with homosexuality, transgenderism, or most other ways of living (usually in committed, monogamous relationships … usually …)
          • Believe good people go to heaven. (For rebuttal, see Romans 3:23 and John 6:44-66 & 14:6)
          • God, if he or she exists, is all about love and freedom. Sin is at worst done away with, at best not real.
          • Science and the government are in essence more compelling than scripture, because our understanding has evolved over time. (Just like us)
        • New Apostolic Reformation and other ultra-/super-charismatic churches and movements
          • Yes, they are under this list, too. Watch the next two lists for Essenes and Zealots, as well!
          • We know more things from special revelation through modern apostles and prophets, even those who occasionally get it wrong.
            • Yes, even things that contradict Scripture.
          • Redeeming the things of the world and the occult for Christ.
            • Yes, even the things Scripture specifically calls wicked/evil/abominations
        • Many who attend church, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, or whatever. (So-called “Carnal Christians” and “Chreasters”, those who only attend on the holidays)
          • The people who attend church to be good, get that checkmark, or for family/friends, but they are just like anyone else who does not attend church.

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.