Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Week in Review

Are you a Coat Maker (part 4)?
South Suburban Church of God
May 17, 2009

Interceding Coat Maker

(Not interfering)Acts 9:36-41

In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, "Please come at once!" Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive.

What is interesting to me about this scripture is what Tabitha’s works did in the lives of the individual and then how that resulted in her rescue. Tabitha interceded on behalf of the widows. A widow represents a woman without any covering, no protection. The widow did not have her husband to take care of her and if Tabitha was taking care of them, they had no children to provide for them either. They were all alone. Yet, Tabitha provided them with a covering. And when this woman that had provided for others died, they quickly sought help, they turned to Peter one that had walked with Jesus. And he came and spoke life back into this woman, this coat maker, and this woman that intercedes.

What does this tell us today? There are some people that are without family. I’m not talking about physical family, but those that are on the outside of the spiritual family of God. They are uncovered and have no protection. They are in need of help. That is where you and I come in. Are we willing to make some covering and intercede on behalf of those outside the family? What happens when we are willing to give of ourselves and intercede for someone else is God often times use those same individuals that you intercede for, to intercede on your behalf. That is what God calls us all to be, interceding coat makers. Tabitha was willing to give of herself for these woman that found themselves without help. How often are we willing to intercede on behalf of others that we do not expect anything from? Oh we do things for those that we think will be able to pay us back or give us something, but what about those unable to give in return (so we think).

The beauty of this story is when Tabitha had died, the people rallied to present to Peter on her defense of why it was important for him to see about her. Did you know sometimes because you are willing to intercede on behalf of others, that when you find yourself in some situations that seem as if they will take the very “life” from you, others are petitioning on your behalf? They are saying to God, look at what she’s done for me? She’s shown me love when no one else did. He’s taken care of my needs when others turned their back on me, God see about his needs, her needs. And what does God do, he hears and answers and calls you back from that place of darkness that had you engulfed. That is why God is looking for you and I to be interceding coat makers one for the other, both for those within the family of God and those that find themselves outside of the safety, the covering of God.Today, I’ve told you about the wrong kind of coat makers and the right ones. But I cannot end without telling you this vital message. You and I cannot become the right kind of coat makers in ourselves or by our own power. How do we become the right kind of coat makers?(come back next week for the next installment)

The Week in Review

Challenges of Christian Theology
Written by Minister Jewel D. Williams

When individuals see the word theology, it may invoke the thought of biblical truths only available to a select group of people, not necessarily something that should concern the average man or women. However, every person has some belief about God, either that he exists and is worthy of ones obedience or that he does not exist, or some belief in between. Theology is relevant for all men as it helps individuals to understand God’s revelation of himself to mankind. Christian theology faces challenges as it tries to express biblical truth in a systematic way. A few challenges facing Christian theology today are ignorance of the word by believers, cultural influences, and unbelief in the accuracy of the Bible. How Christian theology combats these negative effects ensures the stability of the believer’s walk before the Lord.

In order to understand the challenges that theology faces, one must first comprehend the purpose of theology. In the book, Christian Theology: An Introduction, the author, Alister E. McGrath defines theology in this way, “The word ‘theology’ is easily broken down into two Greek words: theos (God) and logos (word). ‘Theology’ is thus discourse about God, in much the same way as ‘biology’ is discourse about life (Greek: bios). If there is only one God, and if that God happens to be the ‘God of the Christians’ (to borrow a phrase from the second-century writer Tertullian), then the nature and scope of theology are relatively well defined: theology is reflection upon the God whom Christians worship and adore.” (137). McGrath makes an observation that Christianity was introduced to a polytheistic world, where the belief in many gods was commonplace.

So theology had to distinguish the God of the Christians from the gods of the world. This is still true for today. Today, theology has to help individuals discern biblical truth against cults, and false doctrines. McGrath states, “Part of the task of the earliest Christian writers appears to have been to distinguish the Christian god from other gods in the religious marketplace…Theology was thus understood as systematic analysis of the nature, purposes, and activity of God. At its heart lay the belief that it was an attempt, however inadequate, to speak about a divine being, distinct from humans” (137-138).

Theology then, must attempt to speak about the truth of God for current generation, so that individuals can be equipped to stand against the detrimental influences of their time. Ignorance of the word of God by believers is one of those challenges that theology must address. Part of this ignorance is in the lack of study by the believer.

On the website,, the author Dr. Robert D. Luginbill in an article titled, Read Your Bible: Protection against Cults – A Basic Christian Right and Responsibility states, “If we are to follow Christ and His teachings, we must learn about Him and about them. Our indoctrination or ‘discipleship’ in the truth must thus come from two sources: 1) reading the Bible for ourselves, and 2) accepting the authority of legitimate, prepared Bible teachers. But even (and perhaps especially) in regard to this second source for learning about Christ and His teaching, all correct teaching is ultimately and fundamentally derived from the Bible.
But how are we, as believers, to evaluate the correctness of what we are taught unless we make it a daily habit to go to the source of truth itself, for ourselves?” (3). The individual believer may feel intimidated by such words as doctrine, theology and the like because they seem to indicate one must have a “degree” to be able to understand such things. This may cause individuals to simply wait for others to tell them what is correct, instead of trying to test thoughts, or ideas against biblical truth. Part of this problem is due to poor instruction of both the individual believer and the teachers responsible for teaching the doctrine. This has caused individuals to see the Bible as irrelevant for today’s situations.

In the book, The Future of Christian Education – Educating Congregations, the author Charles R. Foster states, “For many young and older people the Bible has become irrelevant to their quest for meaning and purpose. The problem, however, is not the irrelevance of the Bible. It is the irrelevance of the ways we teach from the Bible…Part of the responsibility for the diminishment of hope must be traced to flaws in the educational ministries of our congregations. Church education no longer provides an adequate structure for communicating hope” (25, 120). Theology must be able to present the truth in a way that the average person can understand and incorporate into every day life. Theology also must be usable for the educating of teachers (Pastors, preachers, ministers, CE workers) who are given the responsibility of teaching the members of the body (come back next week for the next installment).