Jesus heart’s desire that Christians are one worldwide.
NKJV (John 17: 20-23) 20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
In the previous article we have discussed Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 15: 36-18: 22) and his stay of 1.5 years as tentmaker and gospel preacher in Corinth.
Also some parts of Paul’s later letter to the communities in Corinth were discussed.
How did it go on with the missionary journeys of Paul?
During the third missionary journey (Acts 18: 23-21: 17), the apostle Paul traveled from Antioch in Syria to Cilicia, Galatia and Phrygia and spent about 2 years and 3 months in Ephesus. (Acts 19: 8-10)
Later on, Paul stayed in Rome for about 2 years, in house arrest. (Acts 28:30)
The theme of this article is the Christian behavior of women, the humiliation in the house communities, the persecution and what kind of distinction can be made in unbelievers.
- Women in the Christian communities
Some women supported the first Christian communities in an excellent manner, such as Phoebe:
NKJV (Romans 16: 1-2) 1 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.
Febe is called by Paul a servant or diacones (Greek – diaconon).
A real pillar for the community.
What does Scripture write about the tasks of men and women?
The first humans
NKJV (Genesis 1:27) 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him (Adam); male and female He created them.
Adam was created in the image of our Heavenly Father.
He would receive a helper, who would suit him:
ESV (Genesis 2:18, 21-24) 18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”….21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
The first woman was taken out of the man, after which they could become one flesh or unity together. As a unity, the man was supposed to support the woman and as a counterpart, the woman was supposed to support the man. Only the tasks differed. That all changed after the sins of the first humans:
NKJV (Genesis 3: 13, 16-17) 13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”….16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” 17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.
From then on, the desire of the woman would go to her husband who would rule her, something that was not intended.
The man would have to toil from then on, to grow the food.
Paul cited in the 1st letter to Corinth, that the woman was taken from the man:
NKJV (1 Corinthians 11: 8-11) 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.
Both man and woman are not independent as a unity, but together in the Lord. (Verse 11) In the Christian community, the man certainly cannot rule over his wife:
ESV (Titus 2: 5) 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
The word submissive has a different meaning in this time than in the 1st century. Paul indicates here, that husband and wife have to work together as a team, whereby the man is responsible for God’s will being done and that the woman has to assist him in this.
The man must bear responsibilities and discuss these as the head of the family. The woman is certainly not a slave to the man, but she is much more of a teammate, the woman complements him:
NKJV (1 Timothy 2: 11-15) 11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.
A woman must be in silence according to Paul, silence in the sense of the teaching work, not teaching men in the Christian community (1 Corinthians 14: 34-35).
Women must accept that the elders have been appointed from the beginning to teach in the community (Titus 1: 5-9) and to give guidance. (1 Tim.5: 17-18)
Also servants or deacons must be honorable:
NKJV (1 Timothy 3: 8-9) 8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given too much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
It will happen again in the last days that sons and daughters will prophesy, as also happened after Pentecost, after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit:
NKJV (Acts 2: 16-20) 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
Judging the prophecies is for the other members in the community, speaking about these for the elders:
NKJV (1 Corinthians 14: 29-31) 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.
The sign of authority on the head of the woman
Paul hastens to explain, that it cannot be the case that women can never perform the tasks of elders and servants, especially when there is a lack of competent men.
When a woman teaches men, or prays or prophesies in the Christian community, she must cover her head with something as acceptance of the man’s authority set by God. (1 Cor. 11: 9-15)
So women are allowed to speak with covered head under certain conditions within the Christian community:
NKJV (1 Corinthians 11: 3-7) 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. 6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.
The head of each person is carried by his body and the body carries out what seems wise to the head. In that comparison, the Christian communities are also the body:
NKJV (Romans 12: 4-5) 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Christ is the head of the Christian community, responsible for the community.
The man is the head of the Christian family, responsible for the family.
Like the Christ loves the community, also men need to love their women:
NKJV (Ephesians 5:25) 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
Does it then have added value to be head?
NKJV (Galatians 3:28) 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
The most important thing is to be one, together in Christ.
After the inclusion in heaven, there will no longer be any difference between men and women:
KJV (Luke 20: 33-36) 33 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife. 34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
After Israel had entered the land of Canaan by Joshua, Israel was ruled by judges. When the judge Ehud died, something remarkable happened:
NKJV (Judges 4: 1-2) 1 When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. 2 So the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth Hagoyim..
The Canaanites with their king Jabin oppressed the Jews for 20 years by force.
His army commander was Sisera. In those days, the married judge Deborah was in charge of Israel. She was blessed by God and a prophetess:
NKJV (Judges 4: 4-5) 4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5 And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
Deborah remained faithful to her God YHWH while the Israelites fell into idolatry.
She called – from the Israelites – Barak with the message to fight against Sisera with ten thousand men and overcome him: (Judges 4: 6-7)
NKJV (Judges 4: 8-9) 8 And Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!” 9 So she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.
The confidence that Barak and the other men had in Deborah was very large, because they knew she was a faithful woman who had God’s blessing. God had chosen her.
Deborah went along with Barak (and his ten thousand men) in the fight against Sisera:
NKJV (Judges 4: 15-16) 15 And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot. 16 But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth Hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left.
The fled Sisera was afterwards killed by the courageous woman Jael. (Judges 4:21)
The oppression of the Israelites was over:
NKJV (Judges 4: 23-24) 23 So on that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan in the presence of the children of Israel. 24 And the hand of the children of Israel grew stronger and stronger against Jabin king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.
Deborah sang a song about this brave battle: (Judges chapter 5)
NKJV (Judges 5: 1,7,31) 1 Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day… . 7 Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, Until I, Deborah, arose, Arose a mother in Israel….. 31 “Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Lord! But let those who love Him be like the sun When it comes out in full strength.” So the land had rest for forty years.
Deborah was not a proud woman, but steadfast and had no doubt in her faith.
In her song she sang about God’s powerful and righteous deeds.
She was an example for the community and not just for the women.
Women can serve God (YHWH) and His son Jesus excellently.
But it is clear that both man and woman are created differently by God. They are created with different qualities, gifts and talents to complement each other.
That must also be the case in the community. Man and woman have to complement each other with their own gifts and talents.
When the apostles started their missionary journeys, there were many women who had a large share in the gospel work and in the teaching of their children and those interested, such as:
Dorcas or Tabitha from Joppa, Acts 9:36
Lydia the seller of purple from Thyatira, Acts 16:14
Aquila and Priscilla who taught Apollos in Ephesus, Acts 18:26
The four daughters of Philip – the evangelist – who were prophetesses, Acts 21: 8-9
The aforementioned Phoebe at Cenchrea (port of Corinth), Romans 16: 1
Euodia and Syntyche at Philippi, Philippians 4: 2-3
Tryfena, Tryfosa and Persis in Rome, Romans 16:12
- Parting off to certain Christians in the house communities
When should we parting off to baptized Christians in the Christian community:
That is the last thing we want, yet Scripture gives three clear examples here:
- Antichrists, baptized Christians who have turned away, against the Christ
NKJV (1 John 2: 18-19) 18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
NKJV (2 John 1: 7-11) 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. 9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.
Antichrists, baptized Christians who testify against the Christ, are an abomination to Christians. Do not receive them in your house and do not greet them.
- Deceivers, false prophets and false teachers who teach pernicious teachings
NKJV (Matthew 24:24) 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
NKJV (Acts 20: 29-30) 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
NKJV (Romans 16:17) 17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
NKJV (2 Timothy 3: 5) 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
NKJV (2 Peter 2: 1-2) 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.
NKJV (1 Timothy 4: 1) 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
NKJV (1 Timothy 6: 3-5) 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.
NKJV (Titus 3: 10-11) 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.
Give a deceiver or false teacher twice an admonition to repent. Deceivers – from among yourselves – are unacceptable to Christians and turn away from this kind of people. Baptized deceivers or false prophets have a resemblance to antichrists, do not receive them in your house and do not greet them.
- Sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a reviler, a drunkard or a swindler
CSB(1 Corinthians 5: 1-2,6-7,11-13) 1 It is widely reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and the kind of sexual immorality that is not even condoned among the Gentiles-a man is living with his father’s wife. 2 And you are inflated with pride, instead of filled with grief so that he who has committed this act might be removed from among you…..6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast permeates the whole batch of dough? 7 Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, since you are unleavened. For Christ our Passover has been sacrificed….11 But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a reviler, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. 12 For what is it to me to judge outsiders? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But God judges outsiders. Put away the evil person from among yourselves.
NKJV (1 Timothy 1: 19-20) 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Unbaptized persons must be explained, that Christians in a Christian community must be honorable married and that cohabitation cannot be a basis to be baptized.
A baptized Christian who has become sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a reviler, a drunkard or a swindler must be removed from the honorable Christian community. With such a person, one should not even use a meal: (see 1 Corinthians 5:11 above)
NKJV (1 Timothy 5:20) 20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.
A Christian can repent of his actions, regret and suffer. Then this repentant Christian must be taken up again by the Christian community:
NKJV (2 Corinthians 2: 5-8) 5 But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent–not to be too severe. 6 This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, 7 so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. 8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.
Always realize that we are all sinful people:
NKJV (1 John 1: 8) 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
The Christian way of life in justice is not the path of ‘making the easy choices’:
NKJV (Matthew 7:13) 13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
- The foretold persecution
How is it possible that church communities are not concerned or aware of the worldwide Christian persecution?
The Christian persecution has never been so large.
Why are Christians in oppression not protected by the church communities?
The foretold war against Christians – with the corresponding persecutions – has started worldwide, such as the current genocide in the Middle East and Nigeria, mainly by Muslims.
Gods and goddesses were worshiped in the holy places in Arabia, as with the Kaaba in Mecca. The Kaaba, a black stone, was originally dedicated to the god Hoebal.
According to researchers Sjoberg and Hall, the ancient Sumerians worshiped the moon god Allah – the god of the rising moon – one of the gods in Mecca. (Mark Hall, A Study of the Sumerian Moon god, Sin, PhD., 1985, University of Pennsylvania)
The Qur’an confirms that their god Allah has no son.
(see for Islam also: https://www.dojc.nl/?p=6810&lang=en 3. Worship of the ‘image’)
In Abu Dhabi, in the presence of the great-imam of Al-Azhar (Islam), the pope formally signed a document entitled ‘The Human Fraternity Document’, stating that all religions are wanted by God, in His wisdom.
It is this kind of fornication that the Israeli people were repeatedly punished for.
As an excuse, church communities sometimes come up with the parable of the merciful Samaritan to be good to the neighbors. (Luke 10: 25-37)
But to be good to others may never mean, to treat your own fellow believers not properly:
NKJV (Galatians 6:10) 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
NKJV (1 Timothy 5: 8) 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Every Christian hates it, when his house is broken into:
NKJV (Luke 12:39) 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
Because which Christian does not lock his door before the night, or who wants his house to be an open invitation?
If the occurrence of theft is recognized in these days, why not the preventive protection of our dear children and brothers and sisters worldwide?
The demonic attack on our children and unborn children has erupted in full force.
In the previous article, we have already indicated that young children are encouraged to become transgender, gender reassignments. Now, the arrows are aimed again at unborn children.
These demons want to destroy the Christian family and the Christian faith as a basis:
NKJV (Revelation 16:14) 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
The murder on unborn children is something horrible.
With exception rules, one wants to apply abortion until just before giving birth.
An entire industry has emerged to ‘harvest’ and use parts of fetuses.
It can be compared with the sacrificing of children to the Baal Molech.
In the Scriptures is spoken of various Baals, as their ‘worshiped lord’ or ‘idol’.
The Baal Molech, Moloch or Milkom was originally a Canaanite idol, but became later the Ammonite idol, to where children were sacrificed to. The Israelites (Jeremiah 32: 5) and the Israelite kings were also guilty of this. (1 Kings 11: 5-7, 2 Kings 16: 2-3, 21: 5-7)
Child sacrifices are horrible and are expressly and repeatedly prohibited in Scripture:
NKJV (Genesis 9: 6) 6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.
NKJV (Leviticus 18:21) 21 And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.
NKJV (Jeremiah 32:35) 35 And they built the high places of Baal which are in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.’
And then our up growing Christian youth.
Many parents are too busy with their social life and do not see that a large part of our (Christian) youngsters are almost continuously online on social media:
We have already written once, that – according to a doctor’s advice – the smartphone of children should stay out of the bedroom. (see: https://www.dojc.nl/?p=4861&lang=en)
We cannot do much about what happens in the world. However, Christian parents can do their best to protect their children and unborn children as much as possible.
- What distinction is there in unbelievers
A large group of unbelievers will be persons who have never tasted the pure Christianity.
A group with a very limited or no knowledge of Scripture.
But there are also pronounced unbelievers:
An agnostic is someone who believes that a supreme being, like God, cannot be proved, but according to him there is also no proof that a supreme being, like God, does not exist. That is why an agnostic keeps the options open.
An Agnost makes a clear distinction between believing and knowing for sure.
Usually, the agnostic is a humanist, a way of life based on dignity and freedom.
The atheist does not believe in the existence of a god or gods. It is impossible for him that a god exists. The atheist puts people at the center and notes that there are many subjects that we do not yet understand, or perhaps never can understand.
The final round of preaching work will begin soon.
The two prophets will turn water into blood, stop it from raining and will hit the earth with all kinds of plagues. (Rev. 11: 6)
These witnesses will prophesy and lead the last worldwide preaching work. (Matt. 24:14)
How should Christians deal with unbelievers?
It is now the time to set up Christian communities in unity.
We need to bend the conversation to evangelism at encounters with family, friends, in supermarkets, at markets, etc.
But never confrontational evangelism, if people clearly do not want to listen or react wrongly, then it stops. Do not throw your pearls before the swine. (Matthew 7: 6)
Do you want to lead a life in anonymity, sometimes coming together with a Christian community and subsequently die?
And have missed all the challenges, or have led an incomplete and unfulfilled life?
Now make contact in your environment with people you know and bring the conversation – without confronting – to the wonderful examples of loving your neighbor where Jesus spoke about.
About the promise of an eternal life on a new (paradise) earth, in unity and love.
Just do it, set up a house community and go study the Gospels together or study other suitable articles like on this site the parts about ‘the promised Messiah’.
And if you do not dare to take the lead yourself, ask another Christian to do so.
Saturate your life with a precious bond of unity and experience the power and blessings of it, blessings that will last forever.
Do not doubt, do now what seems to be impossible, but what is certainly possible.
The beginning of the foretold woes has already begun (Matthew 24: 7-8), the two witnesses prophecy will – with no doubt – soon be fulfilled. (Revelation 11: 1-14)
Are you ready for Christian unity in individual diversity and in hospitality?
We all have our mistakes, what we should not have said, done where we are not proud of. Nobody is perfect, we all need Jesus sacrifice. Go do it now!
NKJV (James 1:22) 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.