Thursday, March 27, 2014

DAY 676 - Be Disciples, Not Dogs (請按此處收聼廣東話Cantonese podcast click here)

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                               Today's Reading: Philippians 3:1-6

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Please click this link to read Philippians 3:1-6

Bible Study

     Paul uses very strong language in this passage to warn those young Christians not being pulled by those false teachers to emphasize the physical identity as in circumcision. Disciples of Christ do not need circumcision anymore. Paul names those people who insists on doing circumcision as "dogs", "evil doers" and "those who mutilate the flesh". Why? 

Bishop N.T. Wright says ( ) :
     Paul's warning against the 'flesh' in this passage has a very specific target.  In Galatia, just a few years before, the churches he founded had almost at once been infiltrated by Jewish Christians. Paul was himself, of course, a Jewish Christian, but these ones, unlike him, were insisting that Gentile converts to Christianity had only come half way.  They now needed to take on the Jewish law as well.  Otherwise they remained Gentile outsiders, 'dogs'  as some Jews referred to them.(Dogs in the ancient world were mostly wild and verminous, not often family pets.)
     The warning begins with a three times repeated 'look out!' His descriptions of what to 'look out' for are heavily ironic.  Watch out for the dogs.  Nor are they 'dogs' in the sense many Jews meant it, i.e. Gentiles.  They are the 'dogs' who are insisting on ethnic purity for the people of God…
     His counter-claim is equally strong.  'The circumcision - that's us!'  In other words, if you want to know who really should have the title that belongs to God's covenant people - well, here they are.  Jews and Gentiles alike who worship God in spirit, who take their pride in King Jesus and who refuse to trust in 'flesh' at all.  

N.T. Wright. Paul for Everyone:The Prison Letters. Louisville,KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p.116-117.

     Circumcision is no longer a problem to Christians now, but are there similar things, like tradition, way of doing things in the former ways or anything we are still clinging to so that we become 'dogs' and not faithful and anointed disciples of Jesus? 
Let's have a time to be still and give the Holy Spirit space to speak through the passage we have just read. Offer this time up to Jesus as you listen to him, while listening to "Gabriel's Oboe":

Spiritual Journal

    The title I heard from Jesus today is: Be disciples, not dogs 

    The message I got from Jesus today is a warning to all of us in case we become 'dogs'  and yet we do not know. Worse, thinking that you are protecting your home church but in reality destroying your own church, just like those Pharisees.

    How can we know whether we are 'dogs' or true disciples of Christ? Not difficult, go back to Philippians 2:25:

I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need,

    If we are 'dogs'  then we won't have that brothers and sisters relationship ministering to each others' need. We don't want to be fellow workers. Of course not fellow soldiers, but to fire at the back of our fellow soldiers. And, we won't be willing to be sent as messengers delivering Jesus' commands and comfort to minister each other's need.

    That's what I heard from Jesus today. Do you agree?
    Let's wake up! Love one another and to be fellow workers and fellows soldiers fighting a good fight for Jesus! 

Dear Lord Jesus,
Lead us to march on as your obedient soldiers to fight a good fight for you and to be true fellow workers to build up our home church to be a loving home with you as our Lord and King. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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