The story of the two bad guys, called thieves, maybe criminals or just poor homeless people trying to survive in a hard world. The gospels record the story of two theives are crucified and died with Jesus Christ during the same execution day. The trio hangs from the nails, ropes, and wood the Romans used to affix humans to wooden crosses, trees, scaffolds and anything handy in time of war. Two have been tried and convicted by Roman law to die by the cruel mode of ending human life in an especially painful, degrading manner of crucifixion. The place of execution and Judea saw 30K+ according to Josephus, a Roman historian of the era. The trials of Jesus before the execution were jokes. Neither Pilate or the Jewish puppet ruler said Jesus was guilty of a crime against the state or people. The Jews wanted Jesus dead because of the blasphemy of claiming to be the “I AM” When the Jews heard that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah/Almighty God of Isaiah https://www.biblehub.com/isaiah/9-6.htm they plotted the death and fulfilled every prophecy concerning the sacrifice on the Cross of the lamb of God.
Jesus, of course, has all power from the Father and way back then on the cross had the power to forgive the sins (and raise the dead) of this poor man on a Roman cross alongside Him on that day of infamy when the Jews gave up their King for Rome.
Was the other thief saved? He saw Jesus (or he was blind). Did he believe? We don’t know. I would never place God in a box and tell him what he can or not do? An exception of God’s grace and great mercy does nothing for your own belief or actions. James wrote of faith, deeds, actions or “works”
What are your deeds? belief? Do you “Do the Work of God” plus show up for nose and nickel count at set time and place. Jesus said to obey his commands, no he was not teaching the big ten. Jesus, healed, cared for, fed the hungering, freed the captives of sin. Follow Jesus. Love your neighbors, forgive your enemies
We believe the Bible to be inspired, the only reliable, authoritative Word of God. Is it a statement of many creeds, what does that mean? We believe that the original author’s writings as written and the word of God as delivered to the Apostles. We as Paul advises reject any and all latter day, all after 125AD or any so-called revelations, creeds, councils, edicts or any man-made doctrines in conflict with the Word. All traditions, rituals, rules, laws and /or new revelations by angels or Man in conflict or division from the original follow Jesus and Love God commands is Anathema. Home Church Locations online. This includes any judgment, rule in place, banishment, shunning or umbrage taken by any follower for another over music or sounds is anti-Christ and anti-love. Here is an example of “House Church” in San Francisco.
• We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
• We believe in the deity and humanity of Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His present rule as Head of the Church.
• We believe in the salvation through God’s grace of all who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ alone.
• We believe in the indwelling presence and transforming power of the Holy Spirit, by which the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
• We believe in the future personal return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of both the repentant and unrepentant who will be judged by Jesus with justice and mercy; for those who are repentant unto the resurrection of eternal life and those who are unrepentant unto eternal condemnation.
• We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ with equality across racial, gender and class differences.s as much as possible
We must repent, Jesus said so many times. Peter said “Repent and be converted” We can’t repent if we are unable to do so because of pride.. Repentance in the New Testament was a restoration, a recompense of a wrong, example of the tax collector, Jesus gave several commands, parables to explain repentance. Paul gives us the commentary via the Holy Spirit in 2 Corinthians 5 “Ministry of Reconciliation” Do you feel our God will trick or place “Catch 22” situations as traps for us?
So many divided denominations and daughters of the whore of Babylon teach an infant baptism gives life long salvation. Even the cart and horse story makes more sense. Jesus alone saves us by faith in His work,
Many are sincere people, some are considered Saints by their church or denomination. Many like to have titles and wear ranks we do not find in the new agreement where Jesus washes sinful men’s dirty feet to teach humility to his closest followers who were arguing non-essentials. Satan uses our friends, our leaders, our families to divide us. We must realize that tradition must be analyzed and measured against the actual truth. Or our truth is in the hands of people who believe there is no truth. Heretics bend the truth or I should say hide the lie with just enough truth just enough so the lie does not smell so bad. As Jesus called the “Whitewashed walls” of his day. We have them today. Article on the early church and baptism
What if you were born into a tribe that had no connection with the world? What if you were introduced to Jesus by the Gospel of John? What if you heard Peter speak live, like Acts 2? What if the copy of the original author’s letters was translated into the language you use today? No additional writing, comments, commentary notes of explanations devised by councils, doctors or reverends are known by you at this time. You and I have Pauls’ letters with his commentary, plus all the disciples, ones that knew Jesus in the flesh and walked with him like his brother James, in the letters they wrote to the Ekklesia to confirm the commands of Jesus to His followers.
We have wonderful tools of technology to use today to discover what the early followers of the Way did in daily life. By studying the history of the world at the time of the Apostles we find that people died young from many childhood diseases, people dealt with many things we Americans, unless we visit a third world will not see because of our healthcare and standard of living is so much better than what was available even 100 years ago. Imagine a world where food is your main concern. No promise of healthcare, freedom, safety or your next meal. If you followed Jesus you would be an outlaw or worse until the rise of the anti-Christ and the social-political mother church in 300-400 ce.
The Roman world functioned because of conquest, slaves, and wars on weaker tribes. The moral law was summed up in the “Gold Rule, He who has the Gold rules! ” The Jewish Nation at that time was in turmoil, God had left town over disgust of the religious leader’s neglect of the widow and orphans. The desecration of the Temple was least of the sins of the leaders and rulers. Jewish warriors became terrorist to the Roman occupation army after throwing off the Syrian/Greek invaders in the time of the “Hammer”. The system in place when Jesus became flesh to be the new King was political/religious and very corrupt. The Roman leadership was despicable during this period.
The country of Israel was in rebellion to Roman rule, the Jewish kings were puppets. The religious rulers were desperate to hold onto power and control of the people via the Temple. God had left the sanctuary way back, some say before Babylon captivity when the temple of Solomon was destroyed by the invaders. God had moved out way back when the covenant was broken by the Jews. Now the only hope for anyone is the Messiah, Jesus the Christ!
Where was the Church? The Ekklesia that Jesus built? Where is it? We can read the writing of the early followers before the age of the Apostles was done and the second-hand information begins. Many of these common people wrote of the “Ekklesia” and the heresies that began to creep into the gatherings. Just as today, men seek power, control to gain wealth, and rule over others. The Anti-Christ is diametrically opposed to everything our Savior is. Jesus never used the word “church” as in building or denomination. Jesus used buildings and shelter as often as hillsides and boats. His “Church” is where he is loved and obeyed. I would love to go for a boat ride or fishing with Jesus, have breakfast of the beach and enjoy the day. If that is not Church then what is missing? No traditions, please. I can invent my own BS cult or religion as good as any fool can.
What if somewhere in the history we got the ekklesia wrong? What if the mission was simple? The commands, few, easy to follow? The orders direct from Jesus with no other mediator, lawyer, doctor, reverend, father or angel/demon that has the authority to change the smallest letter of His everlasting Word. What if every move of the Apostles, every word preached by the elders and deacons, every word that was spoken and recorded by the early Church is filtered and refined by the Fire of Jesus’ Word. What if the “One another’s” of Jesus’ teaching is followed with the best of your ability? What else is required? Morning formation? Rules and rituals, temples, altars, tithes, Control? Power? Might as well join a country club as belonging to a religion. You will have more fun on weekends. What you have to ask is; The Gospel is solid our Faith is “Once and for all delivered unto the Saints” I believe this statement? yes or no
When one loves Jesus with a passion from the heart that is so intense the obedience is unquestioned for it is complete in Jesus and the disciple. We become one with the Father, our worship is Spirit. How can our heart be bound by space-time or death if Christ is our focus?
Whatever it takes to have peace is what God wants for his child that is the warrior. Semper Fi
When I was married a year after the war I began to reflect on my faith. My father became a very smart man during the 4 years I served in the Marines. To please, my father and mother, I attended the little country church with them along with Jean, ever faithful to me, followed the path laid before us. Using the light we had at the time we felt called to the service of Christ and like a dutiful monk of the 11th century off to learn and study at the feet of the masters. I used the GI bill to attend a bible preacher college near Atlanta. At that time called Atlanta Christian College. I felt myself among honest men and silly kids being the odd vet in a room of freshmen boys and girls. I do not recall any vets in class or any vets in the many professors that came and went. There were women in classes but they were husband hunting among the future pastors and music directors of churches of the tribes they ran with. A few older pastors and Evangelists mentored us during this time. We became involved in the innercity ministry of the “Big Fish” Jim Vernon and the “Jesus Place “ Jim and his family had begun to meet the needs of the “least of these ” on the drug-riddled streets of 1970s Atlanta. I worked on Jim’s old vehicles and a van he liked, cause he could get his growing family of future evangelists on the streets with him in various roles. We fed hippies, runaways, druggies, pagans, Wiccans, and the growing homeless community of 10th to 14thstreet in the darkest part of Atlanta. All the big churches had moved away to the burbs, and old neighborhoods were being overhauled or gentrified. After college, where I loved the study of the New Testament and hated the regular academic classes. I CLEEPEd most of those or just did not take them. I started working a regular job in my craft as a mechanic/technician, while teaching, preaching, pastoring a new group or small church. Now 50 yrs later I am amazed at what we believed and why. I am ashamed of how our prejudices and egos kept us from fellowship with all our brothers and sisters. The silly traditions we divide over, the names, the titles, and other physical things. The rules and rituals we have made our standards are often based on some old covenant scripture and some new age doctrine of men. I learned a lot more with Jim and some of the other mentoring preachers. Prof. Denver Sizemore and others impressed me with humble, careful explanations of the New Testament. What I learned was awesome to know. Before someone boils the oil for my fire to burn the heretic, let me remind our listeners we served in the Church on King St in the Carrollton projects. We were the token whites to show that the downtown white church was doing what they could in 1970s America. Today both congregations have repented and embraced freedom. But now I am deeply ashamed to have bought into the corporate church model of all mainstream protestant denominations. We made worship a form and forgot that the least of these, our brothers and sisters in many places lost because the box we built does not fit the package God sends. You can find a doctor of divinity, reverend, pope, professor or guru to tell you it is ok Jesus said you can marry your dog and all is forgiven!” Bravo Sierra!! You personally have to repent and obey. For a follower of Christ not to point out sin in a brother or sister in the “Ekklesia” is an error in the Elders and the other Priests of God’s house to bear. Overlooking sin among staff and fans or followers that claim to be “Of one mind” with you is a bitter error that will wound a body of believers. Of course, this must be done in love and that takes a relationship to be Agape Love & built on. Splits over race, hate, social issues, politics, and war have divided the many divisions into clicks or social clubs for the “Church going fan” as Francis Chan calls them, “Fans on gameday” Mere belief is not good enough to motivate fans to obedience by overcoming fear, ego, tradition, superstition or religion. Unless you are nailed to the cross, fixing to die, Jesus has somethings he wants you to do in his plan before you pass. We are all at some place where God still wants us. He has not brought you or me this far to destroy us. Where are you with the 50+- commands? This is the sin of the tithe. (nothing wrong with giving whatever you want) The tithe gives the affluent a charity and write off, supports their “Church” and affirms their lifestyle. The tithe adds a burden to the poor by placing a middleman of staff or albatross of the building between the gift and the person needing the blessing. The tithe limits the blessings and says you don’t want to know just spend it. Many times I saw the poor of our “Church” go without staples for their family to give the tithe to support wealthy staff plus give gifts to poorer families, while richer members gave to many things in great benevolence or were misers in their hearts. Either way a man can not out give God but the health, wealth and happy daze here and now is another Bravo Sierra. The Ekklesia of Jesus gives and shares within the Church and to other like-minded brothers and sisters. Read what Jesus said about the widow. Read how many times Jesus says he will judge the “Ekklesia” by works or deeds in the letters to the Churches. Revelations to John by Jesus. Jesus loves your kidney too! Have you read https://www.biblestudytools.com/revelation/2-23-compare.html about what God does with the “Reins of the heart”?
I was impossible with learning Greek but learned enough to understand a Greek New Testament translation and tools to do just that one thing. Translate the original author’s writings as far back as we can reach, and that is way back now days compared to the information available to the printers KJV of 1611. Today we have zillions of pages of the documents the followers of Jesus wrote during the period of pre 70 AD fall of Isreal’s Temple never to rise and the beginning of controversy, contradiction with traditions, post apostle councils and the man-made doctrine as the social political and religious world mixed in the East/West of the Medditerain Empires. I have stopped giving much weight to any writing of men or angels after 125-150 CE/AD. I give no weight or any due to doctrine, rules, rituals, reverends, cardinals, Arch anything other than God’s own Holy Arch Angels, Bishops of rank above a servant, Popes, Kings of earth in God’s laws only if man’s law is contrary, Buildings that masquerade as God’s house while the hungry are cold, babies are murdered, women and children that have dedicated their lives to God are molested by the shepherds of the flock, they trusted, and these wolves are protected by the “Pontificus Maximus” from man’s law.
Where this study has taken me is to my roots. The core belief that I need a mediator, a savior as powerful as the God of the old testament, the “IAM” of the burning bush. Only Jesus claims to be the only Way, the Truth and the Life.
During my 18-19th year on the planet I was in a place off a road described as “Street without Joy” and near the site of the famous stand of the dumbass leadership that placed marines, sailors, airmen, and troopers in harms way just so Johnson, Westy, Bob McNamara, and later Nixon could prove they had some balls at Khe Sanh. We defended a patch of beautiful tropical mountain ranges from an enemy we could not find unless he wished to be found. We trapped him with bombs and our allies, the brothers of the NVA and VC would let them go in the cowardice of the lame leaders of the ARVN. We poured millions of US gold backed dollars into a third world war at a level that by now we could have purchased a rice paddy, water bull, bamboo hut or houseboat sampan or both for every Asian we slaughtered by fault or proxy or direct intervention into their Buddhist belief system by helping the recycling process at an industrial level in our “Monroe Doctrine” and NATO agreements. We know where all the flowers have gone. We lost the best and brightest in our season of war, death, and destruction. Our smart, our rich may have bought a deferment or lucked out as they bent fate by their position in our culture. Some in a noble quest or Quixote like may have joined as many did to save the world from the red peril, or protect American virgins from foreign pillagers and fight ancestors of the yellow peril we have fought with so often and will again.
My job was varied. The Marines trained me as mos 2531, a field radio operator. When I was to be assigned overseas to the fleet they sent a few of us to mess duty and then to truck driver school. I got a military driver license up to 6×6 5 ton. During Operation Dewey Canyon I was told to guard and escort a Chaplin to a firebase as there were many casualties. I found the Father, a Navy Lt Cmdr. His utes all clean and untouched by the invasive red dust that underlies the valleys in the dry season, and turns to red clinging mud in the wet monsoon season. This was January 1969 and it was the season to kill and die young.
The hillside of the firebase was torn, the top of the mountain shaved off by explosives and like a few hundred others was nameless unless some gallant feat of arms awarded a firebase or obscure scene of a fight a name for history it would never have a name. The dark slick body bags were already laid out with the new dead in them, as soon as our chopper landed it took off with wounded that were queued up for a ticket home or patch up and back again. Trash and empty ammo boxes, c ration cans, littered the red clay and exposed rock. Smoke from small fires around the perimeter filled in where the fog met the top and fog made the place surreal. Our foes have a few bodies in the wire and these are fresh dead, flies crawling in the blown open flesh, smelling of blood and burned flesh. The serious Marine wounded were removed in the dark of the early morning by gunships bringing in ammo and fresh fodder for Mars. All the young and restless of this generation that saw a hope or chance or just a get out of town/nest/marriage/jail ticket in service to the nation or escape to a cooler frying pan or softer burning fire. The quick and the dead are evident. On this hill with rifle fire still cracking across the valley. I follow the Chaplin to some of the bodies, the good father walks around like he is at a Sunday dinner on the ground. He is smiling and handing out some hard candy and small bibles. I am supposed to unzip the bags and check for the tags each Marine is handed to wear on the chain around the neck and in the boot lace in combat. When the tag reads Catholic I am to call the padre over to give the soul forgiveness. I try to pray over each of them and can’t. I unzip your bag, yes yours, I signal to him. The priest touches the marines forehead just above the eyebrow line and dabs a spot of oil on the skin of the dead marine. The priest says a recited prayer and I am reminded of the song by the Animals, “Sky Pilot, how high can you fly?” There is a folded letter, bloodstained crumpled in the pocket of your jacket. I can see the address and today believe it is somewhere in Massachusetts. I pray we and your brothers will meet in the presence of God soon where we will be accountable for our lives to Jesus. Massachusetts, religion, war and this earth won’t matter.
I last saw you all tall and handsome at the prom, of course with the best looking girl. You were at the dance with her too, I saw you in the gym, you danced so close the teacher broke you up and you left with the girl. Now you lay in a foreign land soon to be in the cold, cold ground. The prowess you displayed on the ball field of youthful dreams is a moot point now as your muscled frame turns to putrid flesh. I watch as the padre touches your tanned face and I want to comb your hair out of your forehead. I see you are a Corporal and maybe you are allowed to grow long hair than a boot, still, it is way shorter than the back home Jodies that are taking your girl, job and car while you are here. You look to be asleep awaiting a lover’s caress and not the too little, too late watch care of a priest. We walked the earth as warrior kings but now we are no longer proud of our battles won for they are of no value in the “Big Picture”. You will look really good in your blues when the honor guard delivers the flag to your mom. They will fire the salute and go on to the next of the 58K+ and more as Satan tracks us down and destroys us with our due for sin in this body of pain. We all ate the slice of “American Pie” I will never forget your tanned youthful face, now marbled by cold and grey under the youthful blond stubble, your eyes were closed as you were asleep, your hands folded, dirty and cold white. Forever you will be the young Marine I think of when I pray to God and question Him, Why?
If we could skip your young death, if we were able to meet, if I could talk to you I would ask, Do you know Jesus? Do you love Jesus? You loved us enough to give your last full measure for our lost cause and your brothers. I would introduce you to the Jesus I know today, the forgiving, loving God of second chances. The God above all ritual, rules, and BS made up by men to control and manipulate people for power and money. I will continue to pray that our life is not in vain, that you and all my friends that lost so much in that war can know Jesus and forgive all our enemies, first ourselves and everyone else that has wronged us. Semper Fi!
Most issues with the meaning of life, God and what are we to do are answered with pendulum swings from the extreme pharisaic rule keeper to the liberal side with all that pc stuff. A Pendulum swing goes extreme, over to the side and leaves no doubt we have broken the agreement with God. In an effort to avoid the blade we run to one side or the other. From one extreme to another. Two truths opposed to each other are either true on one side or the other. Diametrically opposed truths cannot exist in the real world we live in. Math teachers tell me there is only one correct answer for a proper question. How many times must God say something to be clearly heard?
How many people handle snakes for a worship service? I don’t but I have known people that do or did as some are passed on. I am not afraid of snakes I just don’t think God wants us to handle dangerous pets or play with fire to prove our love and obedience for our Savior. I do believe we must give up our lives to Jesus, not in foolish, stupid stuff but poured out as an offering with nothing in our will, ego, conscience or actions holding back. A disciple obeys out of love for the master. A slave responds to the whip.
How much obedience must you do to be saved? Oh! Are we saved by Faith Alone “Sola Fida”? You say the Theif on the cross did nothing but believe that Jesus could save. You are right and if you are ever nailed to a cross to soon die a gruesome death God will know your heart and give you perfect justice. What would the Theif do if he was removed from the cross as was a friend of Josephus? and let’s say he was removed before He got past the point of no return in that he survived the agony and pain of the cross. Let’s imagine he meets Jesus a few days or weeks later and talks with him. What will Jesus tell him about being a disciple? Will Jesus ask the Thief to “Fulfill all righteousness”? What would be an answer to a “Good conscience toward God?” What would Peter say to the lost? Something new and improved to meet current liberal views? Why not just be a Mormon, they are good people, great family values. Of course, the Mormons, Muslims or LDS don’t believe in Jesus as “The very image of God” or the “Word become flesh” or “Mighty God” of the old covenant. Do you? Then obey Jesus in His commandments. “His commands are easy His burden(Yoke) is light” Which ones do you skip because of family, friends, tradition, ego, pride?
Some pride themselves on what they obey or not do because it is in the Bible. Of course they mix the covenants and combine or ignore what they deem important or irrevelent. Most of these resemble social clubs with rules, rituals and leadership you will not find in the New Covenant.
Paul wrote this to the followers that were being told they must follow some of the old covenant rules and rituals in the Churches of Galatia. Paul said the same things in the letter circulated in the Churches of Phrygia
Col 2:6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised byChrist, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
If one reads the two letters and has prayerful focus on where Paul shows disdain and worthless value for the works of the Law, Jewish customs and even Abraham’s covenant! One comes away with these questions.
If we keep the “Royal Law” do we need more or any other? To do so seems to me to be telling Jesus we don’t need Him or His Grace. If I must show up on a special “holy” time to meet God, cough up some cash, sign the guest list or be a member and watch the show. If I must keep a sabbath, tithe or some rule/ritual then I am a lawbreaker of the worst sort because I can’t keep up the act without hypocrisy and deceit to my conscience.