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September 2008

 
 

pastor's page

September 2008

Septembrie 7, 2008

Cina Domnului este expresia iubirii divine şi a suferinţei Mântuitorului de dragul oamenilor, pentru a-i scoate de sub mânia lui Dumnezeu. La început nu a existat suferinţă în creaţie, deoarece Creatorul a făcut-o ,,foarte bună" (Gen. 1:31). După ce a intrat păcatul în creaţie, a intrat şi suferinţa, sub forma conflictelor, durerilor, bolilor şi morţii fizice (Gen. 3:15-19). Scopul venirii Mântuitorului în lumea noastră a fost să elibereze oamenii din păcat, moarte spirituală şi moarte veşnică, însă această regenerare spirituală nu elimină suferinţa din viaţa umană.

Într-un moment de adâncă suferinţă a Mântuitorului, când, purtând crucea spre locul răstignirii, femeile evlavioase Îi plângeau de milă, El le-a spus: ,,Nu Mă plângeţi pe Mine, ci pângeţi-vă pe voi însevă şi pe copiii voştri... Căci dacă se fac aceste lucruri copacului verde, ce se va face celui uscat?" (Luca 23:28,31). Povara suferinţei a fost totdeauna prezentă în poporul lui Dumnezeu. Cea mai mare problemă însă nu a fost suferinţa în sine, ci spaima că suferinţa este trimisă de Dumnezeu, un Dumnezeu plin de dragoste, care în mod inexplicabil îşi găseşte plăcerea în suferinţa copiilor Săi.

Folosind metoda identificării, noi deosebim oamenii buni de oamenii răi sau prietenii de duşmani prin binele sau răul pe care ni-l fac. Folosind aceeaşi metodă a identificării, cum se împacă dragostea lui Dumnezeu cu suferinţa la care îi supune pe copiii Săi? Suferinţa vine de la Dumnezeu sau este permisă de Dumnezeu? Pentru a afla răspunsul la această întrebare, este bine să ne reamintim de faptul că voia lui Dumnezeu este de două feluri: directoare şi permisivă. Voia Lui este directoare atunci când El, în calitate de Creator şi Domn al creaţiei, decide să facă un lucru şi nimeni nu-I poate sta împotrivă. Voia Lui este permisivă atunci când nu El decide, ci doar permite. Spre exemplu, Dumnezeu a decis ca Balaam să nu blesteme poporul evreu la cererea lui Balaac, dar din cauza insistenţei profetului motivat financiar, Dumnezeu i-a permis să acţioneze. A urmat multă suferinţă şi un măgar a trebuit să-l oprească de la acţiunea lui de neascultare.

În general, suferinţa copiilor lui Dumnezeu nu poate fi explicată, ci doar acceptată prin credinţă (Rom. 8:28) sau neacceptată prin cârtire (Mat. 13:21). Nici un copil nu se îndoieşte de dragostea tatălui său, chiar şi atunci când îl duce la spital pentru o operaţie dureroasă. Sunt şi situaiţi când suferinţa are scopuri explicabile. Uneori suferinţa este o consecinţă a păcatului (Luca 13:1-5), alteori suferinţa este o metodă să corecteze viaţa poporului Său (Jud. 2:22-3:6). Câteodată suferinţa este un mijloc prin care oamenii sunt încercaţi şi curăţiţi (Iacov 1:3). Domnul Isus a suferit în Săptămâna Patimilor pentru păcatele şi bolile oamenilor. Chinurile Mântuitorului ne oferă o nou semnificaţie a suferinţei, datorită scopului substitutiv pe care l-a avut. Această suferinţă înlocuitoare ne arată cum Unul poate să sufere în locul tuturor şi în calitate de reprezentant al tuturor. De aceea, El este prezentat de scriitorii V.T. ca Robul care suferă. Când Saul din Tars se converteşte, primul lucru pe care Dumnezeu îl face este să-i arate cât va suferi din pricina Numelui Său. Cei mai mulţi dintre apostoli au suferit mult şi au murit ca martiri, acelaşi lucru întâmplându-se cu mulţi creştini din generaţiile care au urmat până astăzi.

Aşadar, suferinţa are un nou sens pentru membrii trupului lui Isus, care se bucură să împărtăşească suferinţele Lui (Rom. 8:17; 2 Cor. 1:5). Crucea suferinţei prezente se împleteşte cu gloria veşniciei ce va să vină, aşa cum s-a întâmplat şi la Mântuitorul Isus. Cina Domnului este un moment de contemplare şi de acceptare a suferinţelor Lui.

September 14, 2008

Life in general and human relations in particular involve covenants. A covenant is a commitment, an oath, and a solemn promise between two parties. The covenant is a conditional understanding which offers and forces both parties involved in it. There are covenants between people, and covenants between man and God. Any kind of relationship outside a covenant is established only on temporary affection or interest, not having an official, divine, juridical base. It does not force the two parties in any way. Such a relationship is vulnerable, most of the time accidental, unsure and, usually, brings about frustration and deceived expectations.

The difference between marriage and adultery is made by the covenant of marriage. The difference between religion and spiritual relationship with God is made by the covenant of baptism in water. Just a s a child cannot be responsible to make a covenant of marriage, similarily, a child cannot be responsible to make a covenant with God through baptism in water. Many people say that the marriage license is not important, that it is not this that keeps the two married. But if these people were honest with themselves, why don`t they throw away the ownership title when they buy a car or a house, for, as they say, it is not that important and it is not the one that makes them owners.

The role of the covenant is to condition, to regulate, and to protect the relationship. Surely, any covenant can be broken, but the person doing so has to suffer the consequences that this covenant prescribes. The covenant is important, it protects us, it gives us peace and joy. One good example is the fact that we stop on red at the traffic light and we drive on green. How unsure would any intersection be without a traffic light or another method of regulating yielding rights!

Any covenant has a visible conventional sign. The visible sign of the covenant of marriage is the ring. The conventional sign of the covenant of baptism in water is the actual baptism. The initiation, terms, and clauses of a covenant between people are set by people, by authorities. The initiation, terms, and clauses of a covenant between people and God are set by God. He had the initiative and He set the terms and the clauses of the covenant between Him and the first couple in Eden, Adam and Eve. The visible conventional sign was spiritual life. When the first people broke the covenant, betraying God, they died spiritually, became naked, scared, lacking peace and joy, running and hiding from the Creator. God exiled them from Eden forever.

Breaking the covenant has severe consequences, but keeping it brings protection, it offers, regulates, conditions. There is not safe relationship without a covenant. Please do not get this the wrong way, but I want to ask you: do you have the covenant of marriage or you live in adultery? Do you have the covenant of baptism in water, or you live in religion? God`s covenant with Noah was an eternal protection from flood and its conventional and visible sign was the rainbow. Abraham`s covenant was blessing, a country and heirs, and its visible sign was circumcision. The covenant with Savior Jesus was the salvation of man and the sign was His blood. If the other covenants were between man and God, this one is between Got the Father and God the Son. Its purpose is man`s salvation by entering into a faith covenant with Jesus, through repentance of sin. The visible sign of the covenant is baptism in water. There is no salvation outside the covenant through baptism in water.

My dear friend, are you under the protection of divine covenant or not?

September 21, 2008

Sometimes in life, people experiment a painful feeling of inner nakedness. Most of the times, this is the expression of failure, of betrayal, or of unfullfilment in certain aspects of life. Nakedness can be a matter of the soul, of the reason, of the body, or of the spirit. The first humans in Eden, Adam and Eve, knew what spiritual nakedness means, along with its immediate consequences, thats is, afective and physical nakedness. This experience forever changed their lives and their spiritual relationship with God.

For a man who is faithful to God, there is no greater failure than spiritual nakedness. This signals, in the best case scenario, the presence of sin, and in the worst case scenario, it is a sign of spiritual death. Generally, sin brings about spiritual nakedness and, when it is not confessed and abandoned, it also brings spiritual death. Learnig from the experience of spiritual nakedness that the first people had in Eden and of other people in the Bible, we can underline several methods of identification.

Spiritual nakedness, similar to cancer or to other serious deseases, can be cured only if it is identified in a beginning stage. In Adam`s case, the method of identifying spiritual nakedness was his own consciousness. In this case, the initiative of identification belonged to Adam, because the consciousness can identify the presence of sin only in the case of a spiritual person who lives with God. If identifying sin does not lead to confession with repentance and abandoning of sin, the voice of conscience fades away, the sin will be repeated, becoming a life style (behavioral automatism, vice, obsession) and thus the conscience is put asleep. In concusion, the consciousness functions only in a regenerated person, only in a Christian who lives his spiritual life in a real way. We notice the fact that in Adam`s case, the spiritual nakedness was manifested with physical nakedness as well. A Christian`s conscience depends on the knowledge of God`s will and on his state of sanctification.

Besides the method of personal conscinousness, in the Bible we read about the method of divine revelation. But in this case, the initiative belongs to God, because the consciousness is asleep in the unconfessed and unabandoned sin. King Asa starts his reign with God and ends up alone. Towards the ends of his reign, a prophet comes to him, bringing a divine revelation, rebuking him for his sinfulness. The consciousness functions only within a Christian who lives righteously. Otherwise, it becomes insensitive and inert. A second example is offered by king David who is rebuked by another prophet sent by God. His counscience reprimanded him for his sin, but instead of repentance, he commited a second sin to cover the first, and then another and another. The Christian who does not repent, confessing his sin to the Lord and then abandoning it, will surely die spiritually, living peacefully all along, because his consciousness will not rebuke him. Saul of Tarsus, although very religious, was heading towards Damascus accompanied by a squad of soldiers. God surprizes him by uncovering his spiritual nakedness which had been maked by traditional beliefs and religious activity. Saul`s conscience did not function according to the Bible, because his spiritual point of reference was national and religious tradition. Not only did he not share in the principles that the Savior had brought, but he also contributed to the martyrdom of Steven, and the very purpose of his mission in Siria was anihilating the Christian movement.

My dear friend, you might be following the Lord for many years now and you are glad that your consciousness does not reprimand you for any of the things you do. Allow me to respectfully ask you: is your consciouness awake, is it connected to the Bible, is it enlightened by the Holy Spirt? A good opinion about yourself is an alarming fact. If you lost the voice of conscience, you lost everything.

September 28, 2008

Marriage was God`s first institution established on earth as the foundation of every society. Mankind turned away from God and this unhappy decision had dramatical consequences mostly upon the family. Most young people are educated in the spirit of the world, thus having an incorrect opinion about family. This stops them from getting married or, if they do get married, they do it with no knowledge or faith towards the principles of the Creator. Throughout the years, 10 wrong teachings about family were spread out by the media and they now influence the young generation more that both the Church and the Bible:

1. Men have greater benefits from marriage than women do. In fact, this mentality is a product of feminism, which does not want to let the woman take care for anyone else but herself.

2. Children contribute to the unity of the spouses. It is not the child who helps the parents, but the parents who help the child. Love for the spouse is not a consequence of the children`s presence.

3. The key of success for a marriag is luck. The truth is that luck comes from repentance, from choices made according to God`s will and from a family life lived with responsibility, love, patience and much wisdom.

4. The more education a woman becomes, the less likely is she to get married. The intention of feminism and modernism is to discourage marriage, stating that only uneducated woman get married. But marriage, rest, nutrition... are for all women.

5. The couples who live together before marriage have a chance to test how compatible they are with one another. Sexual relationships before marriage are sinful and God will not bless such a marriage. If we look at the statistics of the families who divorce, we will realize that most of them had sexual relationships of some kind before marriage.

6. People should not expect to have marriages for life, like there used to be in the past, because we live in a much more intense time. If life`s intensity has such a great influence, than this should change either everything or nothing - food, drink, sleep... marriage. It is shameful for the educated generation of today to not reach the performance of having lifetime marriages, like past generations.

7. Marriage makes you more prone to violence than being single. It is a dishonest statement to associate marriage with violence. A normal marriage is made with normal people and it is founded on love, forgiveness, kindness, patience and more than anything else, a strong desire for the well being and the happiness of the other.

8. Married people have a less satisfactory sexul life than unmarried people. An adventure can be characterized by enthusiasm and passion, but never by love.

9. Living together is like marriage, as it is not the ,,piece of paper” that holds the family together. The title of a car or of a house does not make them belong to you and yet we do not buy them without these papers.

10. Divorce is a solution for any unhappy marriage. The definition of marriage is happiness, and divorce is the worst of the solutions.

If you fear God, stay away from these myths, and fight against them. They dishonor the Creator`s name and word by hurting God`s institution on earth - the family. Witjhout families, there is nothing left - no children, no parents, no love, happiness, protection. A family is much more than living together or having affairs. It is God`s institution and He will protect it to the end.