In the heart of Hebrew history, there existed a ritual that is fraught with New Testament meaning. It was the practice of anointing a king or a high priest. In the ceremony, oil was literally poured upon the head of the person in symbolism of the filling, covering, empowering of that person by the Holy Spirit to fulfill the office to which he was installed.
Of course, as many things were, this was a shadow, type, picture of the One Whom God would both send and anoint to be the ultimate Prophet, High Priest and King. In the Hebrew language the word for “anoint” is “Messiah.” Therefore, the believing Jews looked for their Messiah (anointed one) to come. In the New Testament times, the primary written language was Koine Greek. The word in that language for “anointed” is “Christos” or in transliteration: “Christ.” Now the person anointed of God in the New Testament is Jesus, the only begotten Son of God. His anointing was not in oil but in the reality that oil symbolized: Holy Spirit. That occurred at Jesus baptism as He and John moved to fulfill all righteousness.
Moreover, Jesus is the head of His body, the church. Since the Head is anointed, (Christ) it is appropriate that the body also be anointed (Christ). That anointing of the body occurred at Pentecost, Acts 2. In that anointing, the body received energetic power and gifts to perform the commission given to it by the Head. The church exploded with true growth, but God was not preparing it for a megachurch, but for its demise through immediate proliferation in Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the earth. It was destined for an effective scattering in a few days. Therefore, those that were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word.
A powerful church then came to exist in Antioch. Teachers such as Barnabas, Paul, and others were a part of it. It was there that the disciples were first called “Christians.” Some say this was a term spoken by locals in contempt of who these people were, and what they were doing. There simply is no proof at all of such an allegation. On the other hand, the locals knew Greek very well. They applied this term to them because they recognized that they were ministering in the name of, and in the Spirit of Jesus the Anointed (Christ).
While to the locals it may have been primarily the works of the church by which the name was applied; to the church it was the things that made them a church by which the name was rightfully applicable. That is, they were born-again people; baptized people, church-body people; dedicated people to the teaching of Jesus. They were indeed Christians (Christ-i-ans) (anointed ones). Any other application of that term today is nothing more than a corruption of it. It does not apply to all the saved today anymore than it applied to all the saved in Old Testament times. It is a term that is uniquely applied to the true members of the anointed body of Jesus: His church: anointed in Spirit and Truth: Christians, in the uncorrupted meaning of the term.
Category Archives: Commentary
Don’t be so worried about
getting out of trouble
getting into righteousness
Parson to Person
1939, (my birth year) Hollywood produced a box office bonanza with
the all-time classic movie, GONE WITH THE WIND. It depicted a labor
intensive way of life. Of course, in 1939 the nation was only about
seventy years away from the Civil War, so, those times were still on
the mind of older citizens (much like WWII remains on older minds
today). In addition to those times, there are also many things and
ways that have fallen to the chapters of history, especially with the
vaunted progress of the 20th Century. I write briefly about one of
those ways of life: that of the now largely extinct
Well over a half century ago, my pastoral ministry was initiated in the cotton and bean fields of northeast Arkansas. Most folk in the area were known as sharecroppers. Like the aforementioned movie, this, too, is a way of life largely gone with the wind.
Sharecroppers lived in someone else’s house on someone else’s land. In varying agreements, they worked the land for the land owner, and shared a percentage of the crops produced. It was not much of a way to get ahead in life, but it was a way to sustain life. Most of the houses provided were substandard, and largely without indoor plumbing. My wife and I spent one memorable winter night with a family in that environment. To stay warm, we slept under so many quilts that it was virtually impossible to turn over. However, though poor, the people were sweet, kind, and loving. They loved the Lord, and they loved my young wife and me. It was such a joy to be considered their pastor, although a neophyte in every sense of the word.
Years have come and gone, and I am, as they were: a sharecropper. But, the sharecropping presently experienced is being accomplished in an agreement with God, the true land owner. Paul taught in I Cor. 3:9, “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” We plant and water, but He gives the increase. It is He who has given to us this laboring ministry of reconciliation, and He teaches us all in Psalm 126:6, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Formerly, due to weather or pestilence, crops might fail, leaving the farming sharecropper in dire straits financially. But one may be sure that sharecropping with God brings a guaranteed successful harvest to the rejoicing of everyone involved. Since all are tenants and not owners, they are sharecropping for someone. But soon the window of time for sharecropping on this terrestrial ball will also pass away. It is but for a season. Consequently, it is so very important to choose wisely with whom you partner in the sharecropping venture of life.
I don’t really know why the following thoughts came into my head this morning, but I want to share them. We live in a world, in a nation (to a great degree), and in a society of fools. Now, before you call me names and accuse me of judging others, just ready what follows. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). And, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 53:1). Twice in His Word in the Psalms God has said, “If you do not believe in me, Sir, Madam, you are a fool.” You see, in our world today there are those who say that because we believe in, trust in God we are fools. But, long before the world said, “You are fools for believing in God,” God said to the unbelieving world, “You are fools for not believing in Me.” This is not the “am not, are too” arguing of children. This is the Creator of the universe speaking to His creation which has suddenly decided, “I can operate on my own. I do not need God.” So, if you wonder why the world seems out of order and full of chaos today, it is because mankind, for the most part, has decided that he can govern himself better than his Creator can.
Parson to Person
IT’S A COLLECTIVE ANIMAL WORLD
The English language has some wonderfully anthropomorphic collective nouns for the various groups of animals. We are all familiar with a Herd of cattle; a Flock of chickens; a School of fish, and a Gaggle of geese. However, less widely known is a Pride of lions; a Murder of crows (as well as their cousins the rooks and ravens); an Exaltation of doves, and, presumably because they look so wise, a Parliament of owls. Now consider a group of Baboons. They are the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive, and least intelligent of all primates. And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons? Believe it or not ……. a Congress! Is it not weird how their descriptions parallel? I guess that pretty much explains a lot of the things that come out of Washington! It seems more prominent today than it did years ago.
IT’S A FRUITCAKE WORLD
Well, as the clock struck the midnight hour, officially ending the day, it was much as other days except a few times in recent years those days were supposed to be the end of the world, the return of Jesus, etc. Of course those things did not occur, nor were there many who thought they would, but in retrospect I just need to say: so much for the fruitcakes that know more than Jesus knows (according to them). The world has not ended…..the age is not over…..the rapture has not occurred. Did I think it would? Certainly not on the day designated. Has this sort of thing happened before? Yep! Will it happen again? Yep! Why anyone would pay any attention to it at all underscores biblical ignorance. Well, at least the fruitcakes are proving themselves to be false prophets according to Deut. 18:18-22. Maybe that alone is a good thing.
IT’S AN EDUCATED-BEYOND-INTELLIGENCE WORLD
intellectual scholar was once described in homespun wisdom as being
“educated beyond his intelligence.” Of course, there is humor in
the description, but beyond that, it seems there is also some
sobering truth. It occasionally appears that the more a few folks are
educated, the more they appear to be ignorant of what is truly
important in life.
On the other hand, those hearing the words of the truly wise man, Solomon, will have their feet firmly established in true wisdom. He said, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7. Doubtless, the wise man had encountered a few fools in his day, but it is also obvious that he had listened well to his father, King David, who described those who deny their maker in favor of preposterous theories in these words, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God…” Psalm 14:1. The practicality of truth over theory shines so brightly that those who turn from it really do give cause to wonder if they have not been educated beyond their intelligence!
When it comes to Salvation in Christ
The Father thought it! The Holy Ghost brought it and the Son bought it! While I was taught it and while I sought it the devil fought it but by the grace of God I caught it!! To the Lord my God be the glory for saving me after I heard the Old Gospel Story!!! (Junior Parker)
is an old saying that perception perpetrated long enough becomes
reality. That principle often dominates in the world of ideas. One
tuned in to news of current events, even occasionally, will hear much
in the political arena of ideas about our country being a democracy.
That simply is not true. The United States of America as a political
system is a Constitutional Republic! There is a difference. It is an
The diffusion of power in a nation has always been a problem to freedom loving people. The world has had more than its fill of monarchies, oligarchies, democracies, communism, socialism, fascism, and dozens of aberrations of those forms. The wise founders of this nation wrestled in the world of ideas about how to fashion a government of, by, and for the people to insure the maximum freedom to individuals, and limited, but sufficient powers to government. Their wrestling and their wisdom paid off big time! In outspoken disdain for democracies with their consistent failures, and obvious disdain for monarchies and oligarchies, a new and far better form of government was hammered out that is under siege today more than most people realize.
Listen, listen. It is not “Constitutional Republic” that rolls off the tongue of would be rulers. Rather it is “Democracy” that one hears. Moreover that is repeated often and purposefully. When the thought pattern of democracy is ingrained enough, the tenants of a republic are set aside. When government becomes the expression of the majority vote of individuals, all the safeguards of the constitution are negated. It is a case of perception becoming reality.
Resistance to this infringement on the best form of government the world has ever known depends upon education and testimony. It really is incumbent upon every citizen to know what kind of government constitutes his homeland. It really is incumbent upon every citizen to discern error from truth and speak out about it. This nation is a nation of states all of whom have rights, and all of whom ratified the United States Constitution under which unparalleled freedom is enjoyed. It is the Electoral College that affords all of the states undeniable rights in selecting the executive branch leader of the nation. It is the Constitution of the United States of America that guarantees freedom of speech, religion, the right to bear arms, etc. Let it be proudly announced that we pledge allegiance not to a democracy, but the republic for which the flag stands. May it ever remain within the crafted confines of freedom until the absolute best ever form of government is initiated by the King of kings.
she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he,
and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not,
neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD,
which he spake by Elijah.” I Kings 17: 15-16.
From the pages of antiquity comes an unusual, arresting story that the Lord Jesus would use hundreds of years later. It would offer the Pharisees, and all future generations an opportunity to rethink their spiritual position.
Now, as then, there are those who feel that they have God franchised; that if He does anything, He will either consult with, or work through them. While this writer has profound respect for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, it remains possible for a church to become just as the ancient Pharisees were in this regard.
So, jumping in thought from the ancient days to the ministry of Jesus, we hear him saying in confrontation with the Pharisees: “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.” Luke 4:25-26. This so infuriated the good folks in the synagogue at Nazareth that they sought to cast Jesus off a mountain. (What kind of righteousness is that?)
Things have not changed over the years. When people are thinking, believing, or doing wrong, and then confronted with truth, they have two options: Accept it and change or retain error and become angry. Blessed are those who do the former.
But, the ancient Pharisees were so much like many modern religionists. They were so steeped in traditions, many of which supplanted the very Word of God, that they became blinded to opportunities around them, and the magnificent, awesome possibilities afforded to those who simply trust and do with childlike faith. How we should pray that our minds and hearts should be more as parachutes, and less like concrete.
So, just why did God bypass His people of covenant to bring such a blessing, and marvelous story into the Word with someone estranged from that covenant? Maybe it was for the very purpose that Jesus used it hundreds of years later. Also, He doubtlessly knew this common, human failure was not restricted to the Jews, but would afflict His people down through the centuries. By it, a wonderful goad was created for His people of all time.
Sometimes great blessings in harmony with the Word lie just outside the box of long held traditions. Then, let no power succeed in leaving one fearful or derelict to explore the principles of the eternal Word. THINK!
responsibility does a Christian have in the use of his money? May he
actually worship God with it? This is an oft asked question,
especially in lessons and discussions of stewardship. It is asked
because there are tangential extremes that invariably get thrown into
the verbal mix. There is acceptable worship of God with money, but
money is never a substitute for what worship should include.
In Old Testament times, God demanded a tenth of one’s increase, even the first fruits of man, beast, the field, the orchards, and the vineyards. Wealth or lack thereof was not taken into consideration, except in the offerings in which the poor could offer birds instead of beasts.
Under the New Testament era of grace, God’s people have not received less, but more responsibility, all within the realm of maturity rather than demand.
But modern times have produced their own extremities. On one hand, some would have us to always study to boycott companies that sell what we need when those companies then use their money wrongly. I do not accept that responsibility unless the evil is blatant. I cannot be responsible for what others do with their money. I have enough trouble governing my own decisions.
On the other hand, one should be aware of his responsibility to use money wisely. It is hard to claim that there is no money for God’s work when one is spending God’s money ( yes, your money is God’s money that you would not have unless He blessed you with the health and ability to earn it) for alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and other vices that are a blight on society. Moreover, what does the widow who gave her last two mites to the work of God say to us? Anything???
Furthermore, it is not the religious super-structural programs, but the local, New Testament Churches that should be the object of our concern in wise stewardship. After all it is not the tele-evangelist; the cooperative programs; or self-styled religious programs that visit you in the hospital, conduct funerals, deliver God’s messages in sermon, song, Bible study, and in property maintenance commensurate to worship services. It is the local church which provides these ministries. It is worthy of the support of all its members. Maintaining it is giving to God and accepted as such. Personally, I am careful how I spend my money, and more careful how and where I give it, because I am convicted that is how the Word teaches me to be.
known by children and adults, alike, is the Bible story of Zacchaeus
and the sycamore tree, related in Luke 19. Here it is recorded that
Jesus entered and passed through Jericho, a singular event for
Now Zacchaeus was a man small of stature, and the fame of Jesus had already spread abroad. A crowd gathered along the street as many, including Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus. But it was obvious that something had to be done if short Zacchaeus were to succeed.
So, Zacchaeus climbed a nearby sycamore tree, enabling him to see over the crowd, thus achieving his objective. But this would be no normal day for the little man. As Jesus passed that way, He paused and commanded that Zacchaeus come down. Not only did Zacchaeus get to see Jesus, he had the unthinkable blessing of entertaining Him in his home.
There are some important things to note about this historic event that are applicable to men everywhere in this precious age of grace. 1.) A desire to see Jesus was in the heart of Zacchaeus. 2.) He did what he could do in climbing the tree in order to see Him. 3.) He responded to the call of the Master to come down and meet Him personally. 4.) He had a penitent attitude not only toward God, but also toward his fellowmen whom he may have dealt with deceitfully in the past. 5.) He gladly received Jesus into his home, gaining an awesome, unimaginable blessing for time and eternity. In summation, these five things that graced the life of a little Jewish man some 2,000 years ago are the same ones that have graced the lives of millions of ensuing believers. Furthermore, they are those which will still grace the lives of Holy Spirit convicted seekers of the Master and His righteousness.
Truly, it is God Who puts a desire in a person’s heart and mind to want to see Jesus. It is He who calls for men to come down out of their perch and meet the Master, not high in a tree, but low on bended knee. It is He Who graces men with a penitent attitude, and changes life so that it may be lived honestly and separately unto the Lord. Furthermore, it is God who causes us to want to have Him as the Head of our home. It is so true that in His presence is fullness of joy, and the more we learn of Him and His Holy Word, the more we see Jesus in our heart of hearts. Zacchaeus is one of “whomsoever” that Jesus is calling to “come down.” He would abide at your house! Blessed are those who are listening, and responding! They will see Jesus first hand as he is!