You may notice this black Friday the signs around that say clean your hands. They provide wipes at Walmart for the carts. If you enter the hospital they have wipes and foam dispensers all around urging you to clean your hands. The importance of clean hands is so that the diseases that touch your hands, shielded by your skin, may not be used to infect you and others when placed upon other objects that enter the mouth and eyes. Clean your hands, is the message for today as you bump and rub against strangers in the mall and in various stores. Do it now and do it often. There is however another set of hands that need cleansing and it is your life.
Your life is like a vapor of smoke. Imagine squeezing the trigger of a water bottle and counting the seconds that you see the mist in front of you. Speedily the mist is no longer there. It is gone, however not so gone that its non-existent only changed. The brevity of life should make someone really consider the work of ones hands. Who stands after life ceases? Is it the wealthy individual or the one who seeks to be poor as a sign of humility? Is it the one who offers their time and money for the weak who ascends to the hill of the Lord? It is one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false (Psalm 24:4). The individual who has the Lord as his shield and the grace and mercy of God as their defense will stand when all is over. This individual lives his/her life in such a way that is dictated by the Holy word of God. So while you clean your hands with anti-bacterial soap do not forgot your life also needs cleansing by the blood of Jesus Christ and his guidance you should always seek.
I simply put off the flesh by immersing myself in the things of God. I minimize my exposure to the dangers of the computer, ungodly programs on television, phone applications, magazines, video games, and certain friendships and stores. I know that my outside temptations are one dimension and dealing with internal temptations is another. So the first thing I do in the morning is shut myself in the room with my computer and listen to Christian worship music. I listen until I am only thinking about God and the things he has done for me. I listen until all is quiet in my mind and I am able to focus on my word. Then I begin reading scripture. I keep reading until I literally start praying and then after prayer I meditate on the things read and prayed.
I seek to change things that are revealed to me in prayer and scripture reading. It may be gossip has entered my conversation. I am literally speaking too much and the inevitable gossip arises, because I do not have that much to say and sometimes I talk a lot. So I ask the Lord to forgive me and identify this pattern in my life and God convicts me in my conversation if I am going down the path of gossip. Gossip is now put off and now I seek to put off more things. I do this, with all that is revealed, because I love God, I humble myself to his authority and simply stop. It works wonders because more and more people trust me with their words as they will not hear them from someone else. I have put off a conversation that is ungodly and now have put on a conversation which is that of God’s gospel. I move in this manner from one issue to the next in hopes that while I preach unto others I myself will not be a castaway (1 Corinthians 9:27).
The first most important reason for doing good exegesis is the Bible’s command for it. The scriptural reference for the biblical command for good exegesis is found in 2 Timothy 2:15 written in the 21st Century KJV “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” This admonition is a result of the mission given by God for preachers and teachers to subvert hearers to the gospel of Jesus Christ and not things which vainly puff up the minds of the hearers.
Jesus leaving words where “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).” The preaching of the gospel is of most importance and rightly dividing the word for the subverting of hearers is extremely important. I recall one day while my friend and I were witnessing on division street in Biloxi Mississippi, him badgering this one guy about the gospel of Jesus Christ and he went into arguing and the situation escalated and I was angry, because I recalled the scripture in Titus 3:9-11“But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.”
We spent considerable time with someone who was not worthy of our time and took this time away from someone who would have been more profitable to preach to. Notice how Jesus spends quick moments with the Pharisees and considerable time with the people he healed, delivered and set free, like the multitudes at the mount.
The second most important reason for doing good exegesis is the nature of the Bible demands it. Recorded in the instructor notes “Peter tells us himself that Paul’s letter “contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). A verse that I struggled with personally and not something I taught was Romans 13:8 “Own no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” I do not like debt. Many individuals say they do not like debt yet they have no trouble sleeping with $2000 dollars’ worth of credit card debt. The amount mentioned is not a lot but I had this amount and it disrupted my sleep. I used the above verse to mean that I was living in sin with this debt over my shoulders. Did I pay the requested amount every month? Yes I did with a little extra, but it still bothered me. The Holy Spirit convicted me about the verse that my interpretation was in error, so I began looking into what others had gleaned from this verse. I found many hold to the view I held as this appears to be the best interpretation looking at the text out of context and literally.
Good exegesis showed me that the text refers to paying government taxes and that the obligation of a contract is what is required in this passage and that the debt of love is so high that the payoff compared to what Christ did on the cross is not possible while on the earth. This gave me peace at night and the power of condemnation was broken and I was no longer imprisoned by incorrect understanding. As the instructors notes mention “misunderstanding the Bible can be damaging to your own faith, and others whom you teach and or influenced by your ministry.” So because the text is filled with things hard to understand we should take seriously our study of the contents in the original language as well as use other English translations of the Bible, so that while we preach to others we may save ourselves and those who hear us.
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