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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Romans 1

Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
Rom 1:2 which he promised afore through his prophets in the holy scriptures,
Rom 1:3 concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,
Rom 1:4 who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; even Jesus Christ our Lord,
Rom 1:5 through whom we received grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name's sake;
Rom 1:6 among whom are ye also called to be Jesus Christ's:
Rom 1:7 to all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the first seven verses of the book of Romans we see Paul introducing himself and in doing so he explains his qualification and his reason for service. In like manor I'd like to introduce myself as I begin this series on the Book of Romans.

I am Bill Taylor, former Specialist Fifth Class of the Killer Spades, Bravo Company of the Two. Two Ninth Assault Helicopter Battalion, the First Air Cavalry Division, U.S. Army. I was first called of God in November of 1966, the night my best friend took an 81mm mortar in the chest. I ceased resisting my LORD's call January the first of 1990 and have been faithful since that day.

Recently, I have been accused of acting like a fifteen to seventeen year old angry young man by a gentleman, who, from his picture, appears to be quite a bit younger than I. The reason for his remarks are because, while I take a great deal of patients with New Christians, I lack the same patients with those that refuse the meat of the Word and continue to suck the bottle for milk. Much the same as an unnamed preacher friend of mine, I want people, after five years or less in the Word to put on their Big Boy Panties and to grow in the faith. You might find these words harsh but God has not called anyone to feast eternally on the milk of the Word.

I will seek to go all the way through the Book of Romans, as when Paul wrote this letter to the Roman Believers, he wrote what has come to be known as The Christian Manifesto. Neither being Paul nor Jesus I am certain to not cover every point, I'm still in the process of growth myself. Please feel free to email me or to post on the Internet any amendments you believe to be helpful.

Rom 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world.
Rom 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of his Son, how unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers
Rom 1:10 making request, if by any means now at length I may be prospered by the will of God to come unto you.
Rom 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;
Rom 1:12 that is, that I with you may be comforted in you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine.
Rom 1:13 And I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you (and was hindered hitherto), that I might have some fruit in you also, even as in the rest of the Gentiles.
Rom 1:14 I am debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.
Rom 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome.
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Rom 1:17 For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith.

Here, as in all of Paul's letters we see him offering up a prayer, this is such a valid demonstration of the behavior suitable for a Christian. Today, far to often, the world rules in our church assemblies and in our daily lives. My family prays before meals and we pray for others where-ever we might be and repeatedly we have been spoken to about doing so. The world is watching us and they notice when we act like our leader, Jesus.

Now, there is a final section to Romans 1 and because I have grown in my faith to the point that I believe every word of the scriptures and yet, still live in this Time/Space Continuum, I am often accosted by Christians for being cruel.

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness;
Rom 1:19 because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them.
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse:
Rom 1:21 because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened.
Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
Rom 1:24 Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves:
Rom 1:25 for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature:
Rom 1:27 and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due.
Rom 1:28 And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
Rom 1:29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Rom 1:30 backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Rom 1:31 without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful:
Rom 1:32 who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them. (ASV)

The Bible used by Jesus, Peter, Paul, John and the others did not include the books of the New Testament and if we will pay attention as we read, those of us that do, we will notice that the New Testament in our modern day copy of the scriptures is commenting on how to apply the Old Testament, the Bible Jesus used, to our lives. The same is certainly true here.

It is stupid for me to need to be careful of quoting or seeking to apply this passage or any other passage to Christian life, but that is exactly where I find myself. A careful reading of the 613 Mosaic Laws or of this commentary on them proves that any Law Breaker, lacking the forgiveness of our LORD deserves death. But each time the LORD puts it on my heart I am reviled and called cruel, mean and unforgiving. The reason... I have just condemned the homosexuals to Hell.

Never mind the Fornicator, the Rapist, the Murderer, the Thief and on and on, I have attacked the favored sinner of the day. There are a multitude of excuses, offered up as reasons for sin, they are all lies according to the Word of God. I need not give my personal, childhood history here, the Bible records that God said so and that is he end of it, we are to avoid all and say it again 'all' manor of sin.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Be Holy

1 John 4:16 God is love.

I have seen the above taught over and over and while the statement is true, not only is there a good deal more to the passage, there is a great deal more to God than just love. God hates sin (Proverbs 6:16-19) and that is an area that the, quote, unquote, Christian of today refuses to study. In 2 Timothy 2:15 we are taught that we are to put forth the effort to learn the Word of God for ourselves, we are to study to show ourselves approved. The modern day Christian, a.k.a. New Testament Christian, is being sold a bill of goods with no delivery due.

The Bible Jesus taught from was and is the Old Testament and yet there are heretical teachers that teach people that all they need learn is the New Testament. I've said many times, the New testament is the best commentary ever written on the Bible but if you only read the commentary it is like reading a comic book version of Gone With the Wind instead of the Book. They are both correct but you can never get the details straight from either one of them. A failing grade on a book report is not fatal, a failure at Christianity is!

Consider for a moment the fate of Jesus. Jesus had His beard snatched out by the handful, was blind-folded and beaten by soldiers with their fists, was crowned with a crown made of thorns that I'm taught were over an inch long and it was driven into the skull, he was given thirty-nine lashes with a Cat-o-Nine tails and then nailed to the cross with square nails. Jesus is the Son of God and yet the Father sent Him, knowing all these and more would be done to His Son. God the Father did not hate His own Son but there are seven things He does hate. If God will send His Son into this torture, to give you and I salvation, do you really believe He will wink at your unrepentant sin?

I understand that people are hesitant to name any teachings heretical and God does not expect us to do that, He has done it for us and all we need do is to learn the scriptures. The big issue of the day is Homosexuality and the truth is that as long as they refuse to repent in this life, they will go to Hell for it. But that is such a convenient distraction! Satan must be tickled to no end with himself. Liars will also burn in Hell! Lying and sexual relations outside of marriage are the people's wine of today and
Christians no longer are outraged by that behavior, God is though.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:7 we learn that we have not been called out of the world to commit sin but that we have been called to live a holy life. Can a man or a woman do such a thing? Yes, but not by ourselves, we need the indwelling of the Holy Spirit for such a life. Holy, in one respect means to be set apart to God. In another scripture we learn we are to live holy because God is holy and while we might fail we are expected to get up and let God remove the dust of our failure and to begin anew.

My prayer is that every person that will read this message, given to me by God, will repent and renew their effort to follow God. But whatever you do, read the Old Testament.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Basics

Heb 5:11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.  
Heb 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Heb 5:13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

My blog is titled Basic Christianity because I believe that it is impossible to go forward with any degree of success without being grounded in the basics. As a military man I spent two months being trained to engage an enemy and to remain alive through the conflict. And then, like an Infantryman I was sent to AIT, Advanced Individual Training, to learn my specialty. Even though my life expectancy was 3 minutes and thirty seconds in combat, the Army expected me to expect to survive. They had grounded me in the basics and for the next six years I was repeatedly run back through those principals by repeated Field Maneuvers at scheduled and at unknown times, in the middle of the night and, just, whenever. During the thirty months I spent flying in a helicopter in Vietnam, those basics saved my life and the lives of the men under me many times.

A Christian, a follower of Christ, is likewise trained and has chosen to live in this manor. Living, now, with the final stage of MS and once more looking death, square in the face, I go to Sunday services, both, to teach and to be taught. And then, as I live out the week, save Wednesday night, I encounter lost men and Christ Followers in need of teaching.

When I was two years in the faith and forty-seven years of age, God called me to teach. I had heard the sermons and had read the passages of stricter judgment for teachers and I did not want to seek that job at all. But, as it should be, God had His way! I began to teach the Primaries Class at Church and there could be no better class for a forty-seven year old Baby Christian! I learned more than my students probably did. I'm certainly not saying that God did not work through me because in my second year of teaching my entire class was saved before June. But the point is that God taught me to teach the basics of Christianity. The very principals by which every man and woman is saved.

Today, my class is titled "The Grumpy Old Men and I'm still teaching the "Basics” of the Christian faith. Just as I could not survive in hand to hand combat without basic skills, neither can I be an effective teacher without the basics of my faith.

Today there are many false teachers and almost everyone seems to fear naming them as such. But there are a multitude of false teachers in this world today and some of them are dangerous like Jim Jones and David Koresh and others just lust after the money like Benny Hinn. The problem is that, by and large, these men are never important enough to become nationally known so we never hear of them. But they plague the Baby Christians and they will destroy their faith where it is possible. Joni Erickson Tada was almost one of those that were lead astray by these false teachers. Joni is a quadriplegic and was told that the only reason she could not be healed was because her faith was not strong enough.

It is a very popular teaching today that every person can be healed of any disease if they just believe. The problem with that teaching lies directly within the Basics of Christianity. If this teaching is true there should never be a Christian that dies and yet all of the disciples of Christ are dead including Paul who was stoned and left for dead, beaten with rods, received 39 lashes three times, ship wrecked and bitten by a viper. Paul is, by far, the best example of the errancy of this teaching. God healed Paul, right up until it was time for Paul to go to Heaven, then he died.

Others, like Joni and myself, God has chosen to glorify Himself by working through us in spite of our weakness. Does that mean there is no Healing Ministry that is genuine? Certainly not! There are two women in my church that engage in that very ministry. They are both poor, by the world's standard, and yet they do not go on tour or get on the radio and television demanding that people send them a million dollars. They just quietly perform their ministry and seek only to glorify God.

When we remember to stick to the basics we can be successful at anything God wants us to do because we learn to put ourselves out of the way and to allow God to work through us.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Heb 9:27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,
Heb 9:28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

The quote above is from the Translation of the Bible that I have come to love to read. The NASB is as close as one can get to a word for word translation in the English language, I'm taught. Word for word translations, rather than idea for idea translations, pull no punches, they just give the facts, as close as possible to what God has left for our study and inspiration.

This week a Student Doctor 0f Neurology had the task of informing me that they were pulling away from any attempts to heal my, previously Remitting, Recurring Multiple Scleroses and were moving into the Maintenance Mode to keep me comfortable as I die. It was a great opportunity to witness and that is just what I did. I smiled, she looked distressed, and I told her I was on my way to Heaven and that only this shell would die and that I would just be transformed. That made the rest of the hour long encounter go so smoothly and she looked so relieved.

As a soldier in Vietnam I was not a Christian and I came face to face with death. I had to learn that for those thirty months I was a dead man walking and that just as we said many time every day, “It don't matter!” You cannot find your best friend blown into so many pieces that you cannot count nor recover all of them without deciding to either make them pay or to become completely useless. And if they could do that to Hienen, I knew they could do that to me. That was another reason to make them pay and being in control, to some extent of other men's lives I could not morn for more than a couple of hours, somebody else might get killed by my negligence.

When I decided I was dead and it didn't matter it set me up for a difficult culture shock when I arrived home alive. It took me the better part of eight years to wake up and stop fighting things when I was awake. Forty some years later the ghosts has, mostly, been put to rest at night with a miracle drug. But I digress.

Every man must die the first death where we shed this earthly body and transform into eternity. My last real hero, Ed Freeman, mostly known to folks like me as sir, passed this year and that broke my heart but I know where He is and that is a comfort beyond any imagination. “Snake,” so called because he could fly a helicopter lower than Snake Manure went to Heaven and so am I when this shell gets to tired to push on further.

It is a sweet hope that we Christians hold for a truth. Hope, the normal or lost man's term becomes reality for the saved man when the Holy Spirit indwells us at salvation. Every Christian knows that they were born to die the first death so that they might enter into the Kingdom. I will post this in several places on the net in the hope that one dying might read it and ask Jesus to forgive their sins and give to them eternal life, just as He did for me.

It's a simple thing, if you believe that Jesus died for your sins all you need do is to call out to Him for forgiveness and He will save you from Hell and the bottomless pit. (Rom. 10:9, 10)