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Soli Deo Gloria is the writing and teaching ministry of Baruch Maoz in Israel. Baruch is engaged in writing original commentaries on the Bible, and theological and practical works in Hebrew. Some of his books are available in English. His critique of the Messianic movement, Come Let Us Reason Together: The Unity of Jews and Gentiles in the Church, has been published by P&R, and his Devotional Commentary, Malachi: A Prophet in Times of Distress by Crossbooks. Both are available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Shepherd Press is now preparing to print his Devotional Commentary Jonah: A Prophet on the Run.

Baruch is also engaged in writing (in Hebrew) a commentary on Romans and Micah, futher books in the Devotional Commentary series, an Introduction to Systematic Theology, editing a modern translation of the Bible into Modern Hebrew and writing other expositional and theological books. In the pipeline are also books on church life and structure, How to Preach and Listen to Sermons, and daily Christian disiplines. To date, Baruch is the only author writing Christian literature n Hebrew.

Baruch and Bracha are Israeli Jewish Christians who have served in Israel for 5 decades now. Between April 1974 and December 2006 Baruch served with Christian Witness to , most of that time as Israel Field Leader. Betwen May 1975 and December 2008 he served as Pastor of Grace and Truth Christian Congregation in Rishon LeTsion, Israel. Our website reflects the experiences gained in the course of that time.

Our monthly newsletter, MaozNews, is available for the asking, with back-issues to be found on this website (Baruch's Writings/News From Israel). To subscribe, click address at the bottom of this page.

Baruch's Musings


“Eschatology thus has finally to do not with the best that can be hoped for from and in this world, but with a new world that will be brought into being only when God wills and acts to do so… 

The world’s possibility is not within but external to its actuality. And its being is external to its futurity. Yet the possibility certainly does not remain abstract form the actual … it is of the essence of a true hope to draw us out of a self-indulgent inertia and to empower us for action in the world … [as we take into account] the possibilities of the living God in the teeth of the nothingness and impossibilities of history and nature … to enable his creatures to transcend their actuality… 

God draws us, by faith, out of the patterns of sin and death which mark our past and present, towards his own promised future of which the resurrection is both the sign and the pledge … 

The focus of Christian hope upon a transcendent source of possibility is one which transforms the present … Confident in the knowledge that we shall not be forced to rely on our own resources in doing so, and set free form the otherwise crushing burden of responsibility for the ultimate outcomes … We live, in other words, in a present that is shaped by the future rather than the past, in the power of what we might call the future-made-present” 

Richard Bauckham and Trevor Hart in their article THE SHAPE OF TIME” published in THE FUTURE AS GOD’S GIFT (EXPLORATIONS IN CONTEMPORARY THEOLOGY), Edited by Alistair I. McFadyen, Marcel Sarot and Anthony Thisleton, T & T Clark, Edinburgh, 2000, pp 7-71.

God is glorious energy; he is never passive. 
He is the Ultimate Actor; he is never acted upon. 
He is self-determining; he is never determined. 
Quite simply: he is God, worthy of worship, of all adoration.
The whole earth is full of his glory.

Grace is the means by which God has chosen to glorify himself. Grace is the ground of our salvation, the grounds on which the church was formed and the grounds on which we are to conduct church life to the praise of his glorious grace. 

THAT is what makes church life so important, and THAT is what makes how we do church so important. Truly biblical church life focuses on God and his glory. That is the purpose for which the world was created. We must be characterized, like the Colossians, by a love for all the consecrated ones. Race, culture, color, social standing, language, doctrinal preference – these and many other distinctions must not be allowed to divide the church. All who are consecrated by God for himself are our brothers and sisters, and we must actively love them by coming alongside them, living with them, serving and worshipping God together.

Is our love as bold and as inclusive? Do we really put God in Christ first as we formulate our choices, particularly with regard to church life? Do we seek to love or be loved, to honor God or be cuddled? Do we seek to give, to forbear, to forgive and encourage, or are we busy measuring churches but how much they give us? Does our church draw us closer to God or to ourselves? Is the preaching in our churches focused on glorifying God or meeting human expectations? These are fundamental questions we must ask ourselves in this selfish, me-first generation that has lost so much of the power of the Gospel because it has lost so much of God in its strivings and aspirations.

April 17

I hope "friends" and "followers" have enjoyed the selections from my commentary on Colossians as it was being written and am grateful for the many "likes' and warm responses received.

The process of writing on Colossians is now complete. There will be no more postings from that source. Previous postings are available here, on FaceBook as well as on mys website www.themaozweb.com I am now engaged in trasnlating the NT epistles into limited vocabulary modern Hebrew and on my (Hebrew) commentary on Romans. Your prayers are earnestly sought.

If you have benefited from these selections, you might find similar profit in my devotional Commentary on MALACHI (Crossbooks) or JONAH (Shepherd Press) or the work on the primacy of Christ and the unity of the church (COME LET US REASON TOGETHER, Presbyterian and Reformed). 

You can further assist by promoting the distribution of those books. Buy them as presents, recommend them to friends and to church booktables, write reviews on the Amazon and the Barnes & Noble websites. I need your help: I have no extensive publicity programs and limited means of promotion. Proceeds are used for the composition and production of other books of similar vein.

Thank you in advance.

We approach Easter, when we are reminded once again that the God who made the world out of nothing and brought life out of death is the Lord and Maker of our future. That future is not contingent on our resources, limited and corrupted as they are; all the resources for the future are found in him who holds both finitude and infinitude in his hand, who's will is not limited by anything outside of himself, who's power is limited by nothing but his will. Christ is risen. Glory!

More from Colossians, April 14 2014:

After Mark comes "Jesus, who has been named Justus." Nothing is known of Justus apart from what is written here. He, Mark and Aristarchus were Jewish Christians (those of the circumcision) whom Paul described as his "only fellow-workers in the kingdom of God from among the circumcised, who became a comfort to me." The note of sadness in the apostle’s voice is evident. He was human. He longed like all of us for understanding, recognition, appreciation and friendship. 

He felt very much alone because of his commitment to the evangelization of the Gentiles and the unity of the church. Still, he was willing to pay the price so long as he could continue in the work to which Christ had called him through the Holy Spirit, "to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15). What is more, he was shown in advance "how much he must suffer for the sake of my name" (Acts 9:16), yet he took on the task committed to him.

Recalling that Paul wrote to the Colossian Christians while in detention in Rome, the fact that only these three stood by Paul and shared his labors at that time speaks poorly for the brethren who made up the church in Rome. Their proximity only served to enhance Paul’s sense of loneliness. God forbid that we be like them.

The servants of God are called to tread a painful path. Loneliness is but one aspect of the pain they must endure. Such men are often considered, much as we tend to consider Paul, to be above the emotional wear and tear that normal humans experience. They are thought of as never afraid, never offended, never in need of a sympathetic hand of understanding and comfort. Not a few collapse under the burden of such a calling, especially if they were taught to expect the opposite, and if they do not know how to derive strength from the Lord. Paul sensed the hurt. But he persisted because he lived and breathed, preached and suffered for the Son of God, who loved him and gave himself for him. Paul was dead to the world, not in the sense that it had no appeal to him, but in the sense that he loved Christ more.

We should not think those who serve us are beyond human feelings. Leadership is a lonely calling, requiring tremendous emotional sacrifice. Let’s be sensitive to those who serve us and support them as best we can. Let’s seek to be their comfort and encouragement rather than add to their burdens. When they stumble, let’s be quick to help them back onto their feet. Above all, let’s pray much for them.

More from Colossians, April 13 2014:

Angels neither wed nor are given in marriage. We marry because we’re not angels (Ah! If only we remembered that, we’d be spared many a disappointment). Marriage is a challenging, edifying, sanctifying, humbling experience in which we can learn the validity of much of what Paul has to say in this portion of God’s word. As much can be said of church life and of life in society. 

Bearing one another means forgiving each other if anyone has a complaint against anyone. One would wish the if here expressed doubt. It does not. Human reality makes it clear: we often offend one another and, at least as often, have complaints one against another. If here is the if of contingency meaning, “when” or, if you wish, “since you will undoubtedly have complaints the one against the other…” 

There is not a human relationship in which any one of the partners never has a complaint against another, this injunction is extremely valuable. A forgiving attitude is necessary to those who have been forgiven. Remember our Lord’s warning: "the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 

"But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 

"Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (Matt. 18:23-35).

How should forgiveness be granted? Paul does not leave us with the question; he says, just as the Lord forgave you, you forgive as well. The Gospel teaches us to treat one another as God has treated us. He sought us when we did not seek him. He prepared the grounds for our forgiveness although he certainly had a well-established grievance against us. He wooed us with his kindness, without sacrificing his justice. He firmly but lovingly brought us to the bar of his justice and showed us our guilt, and then he moved us by his tender, mighty mercies and the gracious promises of the Gospel to turn to him and be forgiven. When we repented, he laid no further demands on us but to love him sincerely. Since then we have failed repeatedly, but he continues to forgive with a liberality that transcends imagination. Just as the Lord forgave you, you forgive as well.

More from Colossians, April 13 2014:

As a community they were being remade into the image of the Creator. No individual can by himself reflect the fullness of the infinite glory of God. All of redeemed humanity cannot do that, let alone any individual. John heard no solos sung in heaven, no individual performances. What he saw was a congregation so large it could not be numbered. 

The more united the church is, the more effectively it can reflect the image of Christ and the more effectively it can serve for the formation of that glorious image in each individual Christian. We need one another to serve God in Christ as we ought. The new man is you and me, the Pastor and the Elder, the Deacon and the Evangelist, the old and the young, the wise and the foolish, the strong and the weak, together in Christ.

In this new man former distinctions have no place of any kind. Their foundations have been removed by the death and resurrection of Christ. There is no place for Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave freeman … but Christ is everything (all) and in all. That’s it. That’s the point Paul has been making. Christ is everything. He is all and in all. 

If you have him, you need no more. There is no advantage to being a Jew and none in becoming or acting like one. 

If you lack him, you have nothing, regardless of whatever pretensions may be attached to what you have. Nothing else matters. No demiurge, no tradition however sanctified by years and adorned by Rabbis, no angel, no abstinence and no indulgence could ever match him, let alone add to his completed achievements. Jesus did it all. Jesus is doing it all by his Spirit. In the context of the church, the Colossians are no longer to be viewed as Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman. They have been circumcised. They have been freed. They have been elevated. They have been united with Christ and, in him, are equal one to another. 

If the Colossians but focus on Christ, they have in him all they need in an abundance that passes all comprehension and exceeds every holy aspiration. For that reason there is no room in Christ for social or racial distinctions, no room for a spiritual elite.

More from Colossians, April 13 2014:

What they are to have is glory. This is a repeated theme in Paul’s letter and an important aspect of salvation as Paul would have us understand it. The apostle will make further reference to this glory in verses 4 and 10 of this chapter, and has already made reference to it in 1:27. 

In his other letters we learn that glory honor, immortality and peace await those who seek to do good (Rom. 2:7, 10), whereas sinning leads to a corruption of the divine image in man (Rom. 3:23), in which man was created (I Cor. 11:7). Our hope is to be brought by grace to share again in the glory of that image (Rom. 5:2, 8:21, 15:7, I Thess. 2:12, II Thess. 2:14, II Tim. 2:10), stupendous though it is (Rom. 8:18, II Cor. 4:17, II Tim. 4:8). It is for this purpose the elect have been prepared (Rom. 9:23) and which is to be realized in the coming of Christ (Col. 3:4) and the resurrection (Rom. 8:18-21, 29, I Cor. 15:23), and which is presently being worked in us by the Spirit (I Cor. 15:39, II Cor. 3:18). That is how God has chosen to glorify his Son as Savior, redeemer and Messiah (II Thess. 1:10, 12. See also Rom. 8:29).

It really is quite a thought: Man was created in the image of God. That image was scarred and distorted by sin. It is to be renewed and enhanced as the ultimate of our salvation: we shall be glorified in and by him, bear his image and become a source of heavenly amazement. Beatified with his beauty, made holy with his holiness, clothed with his righteousness and granted an eternal share in his majestic, happy perfections – with an important difference: our beauty is granted; his is inherent. Ours is contingent; his is eternal. Ours is by grace, his is by nature.

In light of these statements, we can better understand Paul when he says, whenever the Christ, our life, is manifested, then also you with him will be manifested in glory. Glory is not to be had by any other means that by the Christ, who is our life. It is not to be had in its fullness at any other time but whenever the Christ … is manifested. It is not the reward of human endeavor, man reaching out to obtain. Any who obtain glory will be manifested in glory (note the passive). It is not to be had except with him and contingent on his being glorified.

The Christ of God is the essence of our life, because apart from him we are lost in sin and in darkness, without God and without hope in the world. With him we are alive toward God and, as a result, very much alive to life as it ought to be, to holiness, to spirituality, to the Law and to the love of God. Because he lives, we too are alive, to overflowing.

More from Colossians, April 11 2014:

"I say this so that no one will mislead you with persuasive talk." Obviously, some were seeking to "mislead" them. Whether or not they succeeded is open to question, but Paul clearly identified a danger in the verbal abilities of the heretics. People tend to be impressed by talent. They are more easily swayed by oratory than by content. 

In these days of sound bites and superficial thinking, when culture is more influenced by what it sees on television than what it hears, the danger is all the greater. We should tune our hearts to our minds, and our minds to testing words, sentences, whole messages if we wish to protect ourselves from bad influences. It is not without reason that Jesus’ primary activity, like that of the prophets, was teaching rather than miracle working. For the same reason God gave us his revelation in words rather than pictures. The Faith of the Bible is a faith that demands, encourages and enhances thinking.

Man was made for community and is never healthy when lacking the give and take, the embrace and challenge involved in living in the company of others. Modern-day individualism, with its virtual communities, so amenable to manipulation and so unlike real human camaraderie, has lost sight of the value of community. Our nuclear families, single-parent homes, TV children, these smartphone and tablet kids, in danger of losing the art of inter-personal communication, are all a far cry from true human community. Churches and families in Christ need to recapture this vision, and call society back to its moorings. They need to cultivate a biblical understanding and practice of community.

Paul was engaged in a struggle for the Colossians, comfort and encouragement. He wanted them to experience the full richness of church life rather than withdraw into a purportedly elite ghetto such as the heretics were seeking to establish. Their comfort had to do with their being linked together by love, a love that (as he reminded the Corinthians in I Cor. 13 under very similar circumstances) does not vaunt itself over others nor seek to compete with them. Rather, it labors for their welfare. 

Love draws people together, and Christians are to love all men, especially those who belong to the household of faith, regardless of any other factor. 
The concept of a linkage between Christians is very apropos. There is no merging. Jews do not cease to be Jews, freemen to be freemen or women to be women. Every link maintains its distinct identity, while each is firmly connected to another. 

Love is the connection. If we loved more, we would argue less, criticize far less and give more of ourselves. If we loved more sincerely, churches would not split, Pastors would not be run off of their turf and individual congregants would not be neglected. All would grow together in grace and in the knowledge of God.


Each year, my wife and I visit the US to see our family and visit churches interested in Gospel work in Israel, concerned over the Messianic Movement or simply open to hearing of another effort for the Gospel. Where relevant, I have been leading two-day expository seminars to study a biblical book in 4-6 sessions (books done so far are Jonah, Micah, Malachi, Romans, Galatians,Ephesians.) July 10-14 are still available in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. If you are interested in booking me during this time please write by return through languageservice4u@gmail.com


More from Colossians, April 7 2014:

"If in fact you continue steadfast in the Faith." 

In these days of new fads and fashions in which a constant hankering after something new has become a way of life, Paul’s if is highly relevant. Every two or three years the church stumbles over a new discovery: if only it was more contemporary, or more seeker-friendly, more evangelistic, or more family-orientated, more this or that or the other, it would become an amazing success. 

As a result, today’s church is running after its’ tail, spinning endlessly and getting nowhere. It has lost sight of the Gospel. It no longer believes that the message is, in and of itself, the power of God. Sometimes it gives the impression that God is altogether out of the equation, expect to bless us with riches, pleasure and happiness. 

The church has become so much like the world that is has no message and there is precious little reason for anyone to be attracted to it. But its’ duty is as clear as it is simple: "continue steadfast in the Faith." The rest is in the hands of God.

Give me that old-time religion,
Give me that old-time religion,
Give me that old-time religion,
It's good enough for me!

More from Colossians, April 7 2014:

"Whom we proclaim," says Paul, warning every person, Jew or Gentile, pleasant or difficult, wise or foolish, Charismatic or Reformed, Baptist or Presbyterian (Paul has individuals in mind). 

Paul had commended the Colossians for their inclusive love. He had also pointed to God’s ultimate purpose to gather everything in Christ. Like the Colossians, like God, Paul loved all of God’s consecrated ones and labored to ensure that they all continue in Christ and are subject to him in every way. To that end they must be focused on Christ.

There is an important tool to be use for this purpose, apart from which the purpose cannot be achieved: instruction. So, Paul continues to describe his strenuous efforts on the part of every individual in Christ by pointing at the means: "and teaching every person with a full measure of wisdom," carefully, gently, persistently, taking into account their ability to understand and realizing that ability had to do with more than just intellectual comprehension, "so as to present every person mature in Christ."


Paul does not tire of the phrase "every person." He wants to drive it home through repetition. All without distinction are to be the object of Gospel mercies. For that reason, every single one is to be the object of apostolic love and, to the extent that apostolic example has anything to teach us, every individual in Christ must be the object of our love and care. The spiritual health of every person in Christ should be the object of our sincere and loving striving.

That is the goal: the maturity of each individual for the welfare of the whole. No church is healthier than its weakest member. The commonly applied selective process by which churches rid themselves of the more difficult people, of those who differ, of the unkind, the immature and the unwise is contrary to the standard Paul here presents. Churches should care – sincerely and sacrificially – for every single individual who lays legitimate claim to saving faith in Christ.

Paul’s description of his efforts is quite striking. He teaches, with a focus on every individual, not only with a full measure of wisdom but by way of strenuous wrestling. The term Paul uses includes indicates an agonizing struggle, a wrestling match in which contestants lay hold of each other in close proximity, feel each other’s body heat, smell each other’s perspiration and exert themselves maximally, seeking a moment of opportunity to win the match. Paul engaged with each individual to an extent and in a spirit that could only be described in terms such of such exertions. What a picture of pastoral concern!

More from Colossians, April 2 2014:

Paul describes how God made the Colossians fit for such an inheritance: "the Father rescued us from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love." We were under "the authority of the darkness" until the Father rescued us. Note that Paul moves from "you" to us. He too partook of these saving blessings.

"The authority of darkness" is the realm where sin and Satan rule., to which realm mankind has been delivered because of the sin of Adam. Darkness is the opposite of the light in which the consecrated ones partake of the inheritance. As servants of darkness, we could only do what darkness commanded us to do, enjoying only those questionable liberties darkness allowed us. Nor could we save ourselves. But the Father could, and did. Not only so, but he has and "transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love."

In Romans Paul describes the same situation under different terms. Due to the sin of Adam, we were made subject to sin. We became its’ servants, obliged to do its bidding. Due to the righteousness of Christ – his perfect life on our behalf, his atoning death and resurrection – we are free from the guilt of Adam’s sin and therefore from its consequences. 

The apostle hints at the same imagery in his letter to the Romans when he says there that, in Christ, "we have the redemption." We are "free from the law of sinning and dying." Christ has made us free, and he has done that so we can serve God "in newness of spirit" by "fulfilling the righteousness of the law" in our daily conduct. "Sin has no authority over us". We are the children of God, subject to grace, and "if children, then heirs and joint heirs with Christ." "We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

Redemption speaks of the freeing of those once enslaved. Slavery was a status in Rome. Slaves could redeem themselves and achieve the status of freemen, but no sinner can redeem himself from the bondage of sin. The redemption we have is from God. As a result, our chains are broken. Our hearts are free. We have redemption. We do not have to sin. We do not have to obey the lusts of our bodies. We can lead holy, godly, spiritually minded lives, tend to the cultivation of our walk with God and grow in knowledge of him. We are longer under the authority of darkness; we have been transferred. We have been brought into "the kingdom of the Son of his love."

In a very real sense, the kingdom of God has come and we have entered into it. There is, or course, a sense in which the kingdom is yet future. Its’ fullest realization is yet to be. But what will be is founded on the basis of what has already come to be in Christ. The future is in fundamental continuity with the present. Eschatology is nothing less than salvation realized, in other words, Christology in full bloom. That’s is our inheritance, and it is yet to be realized in full (3:4).

Redemption, the forgiveness of sins is a gloriously full salvation, the product of the work of a gloriously full and capable savior. Forgiveness of sins, salvation, is equal to freedom from sin and submission to the lordship of Christ.

H. C. G. Moule on Colossians:

“The new voices at Colossae would have many things to discourse upon; and among these many things would be Jesus Christ. Be he would not be the magnetic Centre of their discourses. They would not gravitate to Him, and be as if they could never have done with setting forth his holy greatness greatness, and his vital necessity, and his ‘all-sufficiency in all things.’ 

His dying love would not set the speakers’ hearts and words on fire, nor would they dilate upon his rising power, and the double blessing of His presence, for his disciples upon the Throne, and His disciples in the heart. The wonder of His incarnation would be little spoken of, and the solemn joy of the hope of His Return as little. The favourite topics of conversation and of preaching would be of a very different kind. 

Circumcisions, a calendar of obligatory holidays, a code of ceremonial abstinence, a philosophy of unseen powers, and secret ways and rules for approach to them in adoration; these would be the congenial and really characteristic themes of this ‘other Gospel’.

“Now this, as we know, (thanks under God to our Colossian Epistle among other oracles of the Truth), is exactly unlike the authentic Gospel. What is the Gospel of the New Testament, or rather of the whole Scriptures, as the New Testament unfolds the hidden glories of the Old? It is not this thing, or that, and the other; it is our Lord Jesus Christ. It is ‘the proclamation of Jesus Christ’.


“No surer test, according to the Holy Scriptures, can be applied to anything claiming to be Christian that this: Where does it put Jesus Christ. Is He something in it, or is He all? Is He the Sun of the true solar system, so that every planet gets its place and its light form him? Or is He at best a sort Ptolomaic sun, rolling together with other luminaries around an earthly centre – whether that centre take the form of an observance, a constitution, or a philosophy?”

Today, Israel's highly popular former Prime Minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert, has been found guilty of corruption. He joins a long and shameful list of senior Israelis whom the courts have found guilty of crimes. These include an extensive row of mayors who accepted bribes, a former President now in jail for repeated rape, a former Minister of Justice declared guilty of indecent behavior, a Chief of Police found guilty of corruption, senior police officers, rabbis, city engineers and prominent entertainment celebrities.

I hang my head in shame in view of the corruption that has seeped into the fabric of our society. I thrill at the thought that the Israeli police and judicial systems have proven once again that no one is above the law. 

I hang my head in shame over those whose cases were dismissed merely for lack of sufficient evidence, and of unrepentant felons who, after waiting for the required time, have returned to our House of Legislature. This is a sad day in our history. When will morality become a consideration at the ballot box? 

I thrill at the thought that the Day is coming when the King of Truth and of Justice will be loved, worshipped and obeyed by all nations.

Even so, Lord Jesus, come.

 



Have you benefited from these selections from Colossians? Buy my devotional commentaries on Jonah and Malachi and my book on the sufficiency of Christ and the unity of the Church (Come Let Us Reason Together). All are available from Barnes & Noble and from Amazon. Help us get the word out: recommend these books to friends and to your church bookstall. Thank you, Baruch


More from Colossians (by way of Summary), March 31 2014;

Spirituality means living as God would have us live, and doing so willingly because we love God. God is an eternal fellowship of persons. Man, created in the image of God, must live in harmonious fellowship with others. Solitary confinement leads to derangement precisely because this is so. That is why salvation is not exclusively framed in terms of individuals but of communities – churches, families and nations. 

The whole world is in view, all creation (the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and shall see my glory,‘’ Isa. 66:18. Creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God, Rom. 8:12). 

Spirituality, then, has to do with how we relate to others, and eschatology has to do with the world adoring God in Christ and submitting to his service. Christians cannot be Christians in isolation; they must live out their salvation in the various spheres of society and in relation to creation doing exactly that: adoring God in Christ and submitting to his service.

More from Colossians Three, March 27 2014:

Churches (and Christian families) should be praying communities. This is so obvious that Paul does not exhort the Colossians to pray; instead he says, continue in your prayers, obviously assuming that they pray as a matter of course. Prayer should be the natural, frequent activity of church life. Be alert [as you pray], Paul exhorts. Don’t let your thoughts wander, and be ready to turn anything you hear into a subject for prayer. Often, when an individual prays in public, those who hear him simply wait until it is time to say “amen”, without really entering into the content of his prayer. Be alert means that we not only listen carefully to the contents of the prayer being offered, but that we engage our hearts and our minds in it as well. Contrary to the practice of some, there is room for an occasional “amen,” “yes Lord” and “hallelujah” as we are led in prayer.

Did you notice the term just used “as we are LED in prayer.” If one is leading, others are expected to follow. That is the very least of what I think Paul meant when he called on the Colossians to be alert as they continued to pray. One led, but all prayed; one voiced the praise, confession and requests of all, while all identified with the prayer presented by sharing in it.

Prayer should always involve giving thanks. Praise and gratitude are the inevitable consequence of understanding the Gospel. There is so much for which we ought to be thankful. God loads us daily with benefits seen and unseen. He watches over us with tender care. He has done so much for us by revealing himself to us, drawing us to himself and – need I spell it all out? “Count your blessings. Name them one by one, and it will surprise you [to see] what the Lord has done.”

We are too quick to submit our requests, too selfish to be as grateful as we ought to be. Once we’ve met the required standard of verbal gratitude and praise, we hurry to the real business of prayer, which we consider to be submitting our requests before God. Christian prayer should always be engaged in honest thankfulness. Nothing we have has been deserved; it is all a gift of grace. The food we ate, the air we breath, the soil on which we walk, the world in which we live, the rain and the sunshine – these are more are all gifts of God. We should be thankful.

Next Paul seeks the support of the Colossians. Praying also together with us that God would open to us a door for the message. Although an apostle, he did not consider himself one of the elite, the perfected ones. He needed the prayerful support of the least of God’s saints.

And what is his concern? Aunt Emma’s thyroid or Uncle Jim’s back pain? Bill’s search for employment, Corrie’s troubled pregnancy or Jacky’s choice of a college? These all are, of course, important topics. They affect our lives deeply. But Paul’s concerns are for issues that affect our lives even more deeply than that. Pray, Paul says, that God would open to us a door for the message. Don’t focus so much on your needs or on matters related to earthly things. Lift you eyes and look beyond your needs and those of the circle of your friends and family. Think of the Gospel. Think of the glory of God, of the extension of his kingdom, of the salvation of souls and of the health of the church. Pray that God would open to us a door for the message.

Paul now moves from the general to the somewhat more particular, from principle to practice. In the next few verses the apostle addresses specific areas of life, showing how the Colossians are to carry out his exhortation to to do all in the name of Jesus, giving God thank through him. In the first five verses of the next chapter Paul continues to speak of the spheres in which the principles of the Gospel are to be lived out, so they properly belong to the verses we are about to study in Chapter Three. I’m not sure there was any valid logic in the present chapter division any more than there was between Chapters Two and Three. For convenience, we will follow the pattern established by the chapter division, but it is important to note the connection between those verses and these which now follow.

The first sphere Paul addresses is the fundamental social context – the family. Human society cannot exist where family life is degraded. The family is the context in which, even in the Garden of Eden, man was able to find and to give the kind of constructive companionship that he needs. Wives: be submissive to your husbands as is consonant to being in the Lord. Paul’s view of marriage was quite non-modern and, lest we excuse ourselves on those grounds we would do to remind ourselves that they were also contrary to the common views of their time. We’ve already seen what Paul had to say about slavery, for example. His instructions tor and husbands are not the product of his time and culture; they are given under inspiration by the Spirit of God and, however contra-cultural they may be, are binding by virtue of their divine source.

Paul instructed married women to be submissive to their husbands. The biblical requirement is that wives should accept the leadership of their husbands, and that they should do so in a dignified manner. There should be no contentions, no nagging until one’s desire is met. Submission, however, is more than than. Submission is an expression of a woman’s acceptance of the order God has established; it does not make man better, or wiser; it simply resolves the issue of whom should lead the home. Even in a framework of two there are likely to be disagreements and contrasting viewpoints. Not proceeding until there is unanimity accords each side veto power and can easily paralyze function. God has determined, and legislated through the apostle, that the final word rests with the head of the household, who in turn is to answer to God for his decision.

Note that Paul does not instruct husbands to impose their authority over the wives. A wife should never bring her husband to the place in which he is justified in thinking that the only way to resolve a disagreement is for him to impose his will. Husbands’ on the other hand, should not be too ready to assert their authority and should avoid doing so too often. Wives are commanded to be submissive to their husbands; husbands are not instructed to suppress their wives.

There are areas in which husbands must accord their wives freedom of conscience and freedom of maneuver, without thinking that by so doing they are allowing their wives more leeway than it right. A husband who keeps tight control of the family finances and does not allow his wife the latitude to make day to do decisions with regard to the family budget is overbearing. A husband who demands that his wife inform him of every individual she meets, of every conversation she has and every detail of her routine is suppressing her. 

Husbands are to give their wives ample space (and ample reason, as we shall see) for them to choose to accept their leadership. They are not to impose it. Marriage is not a dictatorship, is is a covenant of grace and of mutual edification. Feminism is right on when it insists that women are equal to men in value. It is dead wrong when it seeks to obliterate the differences between men and women or to deny their respective, differing roles. Men are to lead, women to follow. This is God’s order and as is consonant to being in the Lord means that men and women accept their respective roles and seek to fulfill them with loving obedience to the Lord.

It also means that women are to not to follow their husbands into sin, nor to be forced to sin on the grounds of a husband’s authority. They must submit to leadership only as is consonant to being in the Lord. We learn, then, that there is room for disagreement between spouses. Women and men are to think for themselves, draw their own conclusions and embrace what they each believe to be true. Women are not to follow their spouses blindly, or gullibly. They are as much created in the image of God as are men, and as responsible before their Lord as their husbands.

Here too, Jesus is to be preeminent. Women are to relate to their husbands as is consonant to being in the Lord. Their every action is to be an expression of their love for and obedience to the Lord.

Husbands also have a duty within the family context: husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. One would have expected such a requirement to be made of wives – after all, are they not best known for their sacrificial love to the family? That may well be the reason why Paul calls upon the husbands to love their wives.

What does it mean to love one’s wife? What does it mean to love? God so laved that he gave (John 3:16). To love is to emulate God, to exemplify the Gospel. To love is to give, above all to give of oneself and husbands are to give of themselves to their wives. Sacrifice is not only a mother and a wife’s duty, it is no less a duty of husband’s (and fathers). To love is to value. The sacrifices love makes are an expression of the value attached to those for whom sacrifice is made. 

Husbands are to value their wives, respect them, nurture them, bear with them the sweet-heavy burden of running a household and bringing up children. It will not do to come home after work, change into our slippers and collapse into the couch with a book, the Bible or a newspaper. There are chores to do, dishes to wash, garbage to take out, children to play with, read to and educate. You might have had a hard day at the office, but did you listen when you came home and said, “Hi honey, how’s your day been?” Do you think of suggesting that she go out with her friends this evening while you babysit? And how about, “Honey, I really appreciate all the hard work you put into being a wife and a Mom. In appreciation, I’d like to take you out tonight?”

To love means to care, to be sensitive, to support. It means providing your wife with opportunities to cultivate her gifts and to grow as a person. Look for a moment at the woman described in Proverbs 31. This amazing woman manages the family finances, including investments, plans for the future, preparing for any eventuality while caring for the present and reaching out to those in need beyond the family circle. She does not have to run to hubby over every little detail but has the freedom to make decisions (presumably, within a given framework). To no small extent, her husband’s success is the fruit of her prowess. She is firm and dignified, wise and kind. 

Today we often vacillate between foolish male machoism and equally foolish gender indifference. On the one hand men are encouraged to be cowboy-like, never expressing affection, emotionally detached. They rope and brand the cows, fight the Indians and tame the horses while the women slave in the house and make sure they're pretty with their “man” comes home’ slings his pistol on the chair and sits down to gobble his food, wiping his heavy moustache with his sleeve. “Yes, Ma'am, No Ma'am, ” but women are not cherished, they’re used. On the other hand, men are expected to do everything but give birth and suckle, at times even to stay at home while the woman pursues her more lucrative career. Such “men” aren't men – they’re males but hardly men. 

Loving means protecting, and you have to be strong to be able to protect your wife because there will be many things that will threaten her: the changes involved in marriage, missing her parents, siblings and friends, financial responsibilities, the monthly period, bearing a child, gaining weight, suckling, sleepless nights, having to cope with the children, clean the house, shop and cook for the family, entertain guests, support her husband, discipline the children (Let’s see how unfazed YOU are after a solid day with the kids), look nice for church, turn the lights off, do the laundry, paint the hallway, tend the garden… and be pleasant when his majesty Mr. Breadwinner comes home from work. There will be times when she will be tired beyond words, and if you’re not sensitive you’ll never notice. Loving means that you make a point of noticing, and that you respond lovingly, protectively when there is need.

I know I don't hug my wife enough. I don’t tell her as often as I should that I love her. Even as I write, Bracha is out buying shoes. I should have offered to go with her. It’s not that I'd enjoy going from shop to shop, trying on an endless array of shoes, and finally returning to the first shop to make a purchase; it’s that Bracha would enjoy me showing more interest in her and in what she is doing.

Loving is the way to earn the right to be followed. Loving is the moral basis of a husband’s leadership role. I need to do better. Do you?


Did you notice that little phrase at the and of what Paul had to say to husbands? Love your wives and do not be bitter against them. Do not allow a root of bitterness to develop between you, gnaw at your relationship and destroy it. If there is an issue to discuss, do not let the sun set on your anger. Talk it over, pray together about it. You may not come to agree, but manage your disagreements as befits Christians. Love your wives, give them space and lead, above all, by example. Win them by your love and remember: there is no room in the family for the kind of elitism to which the Colossian Christians were encouraged to aspire.

Next come the children: children, obey your parents in every way because this is what much pleases the Lord. The children’s chief duty toward their parents has to do with obedience. Parents should not bribe their children into doing what they are told, nor should they be terrified into do so. They should be taught that obedience is their duty before God. Parents are not always right (and we’ll discuss a point or two in this relation soon), but they are always to be obeyed in every way, that is to say, not only by doing what they are

The Recent MaozNews

2013-04-12   17:55:23

 

MaozNews No. 75  April 2014 

to access, click below

 

A Jebusite Fortress from David's Era - archaeology in Israel

John Meshullam, a Jewish Christian Entrepreneur in Jerusalem

Ministry and Family News

 

 

 

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Baruch and Bracha are engaged in their 2013 tour of the US, in the course of which they expect to be driving through Oregon, Montana, North or South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisianna, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Washington State.

Baruch is available for ministry in most of these states, He is prepared to preach, report on the scene in Israel, or offer an expository seminar on a biblical book. If your church is interested, please write to languageservice4u@gmail.com

 

Breaking News

One possible scenario of the present stalemate is a premeditated collapse of the Palestinian Authority. Some of the consequences are described.

What does Algeria’s election mean for Israel?

www.jpost.com
The country has not become a hub of anti-Israel terrorism, but the newly-re-elected President Bouteflika is neither an Anwar Sadat nor a King Hussein.
 
 
www.ynetnews.com   
News: The heads of the four 'theaters' in the Military Intelligence research division talk to Ynet about the challenges and threats facing Israel.

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Each year, my wife and I visit the US to see our family and visit churches interested in Gospel work in Israel, concerned over the Messianic Movement or simply open to hearing of another effort for the Gospel. Where relevant, I have been leading two-day expository seminars to study a biblical book in 4-6 sessions (books done so far are Jonah, Micah, Malachi, Romans, Galatians,Ephesians.) July 10-14 are still available in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. If you are interested in booking me during this time please write by return through languageservice4u@gmail.com

 

April 7, 2014

Israeli System gives Virtual Sight to the Blind

 

 April 4, 2014

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4506139,00.html 

 

 The elite Iranian force behind Arms Transfers

 

A Disturbing Trend: 


Israeli officer proposes to girlfriend at Florida gala:

 

Israel's Technion ranked one of the 100 top Universities - Hebrew U. not far behind:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.578215

In seizing Gaza-bound missiles, Israel prevented a game-changer:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.578156

Secular Judaism is still Heart of Zionism

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4493444,00.html

 
Testimonials

I have deep respect and love for Baruch Maoz, and the work that he is carrying on in Israel, despite obstacles and opposition. He has been a dear friend for many years. I’ll never forget doing a conference for him in Israel several years ago. I pray that God may use his sound theology, helpful preaching, excellent books, and numerous gifts for the conversion and spiritual maturation of thousands of Israelis and for the abundant glory of God. Rev. Joel R. Beeke, Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation, Author

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Baruch Maoz has been a minister of the gospel, author, publisher, and voice for believers in the land of Israel for four decades. I have seen firsthand the fruit of his ministry and I cannot recommend it too highly. Baruch’s preaching, teaching, and writing ministry should be supported by all who care about the gospel and its impact in Israel and beyond! Pastor Jerry Marcellino, Audubon Drive Bible Church, Federation of reformed Evangelicals – Laurel, Mississippi

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Knowing and embracing our Lord’s clear directive to bring the Gospel to the “Jew first” I, along with BPC have been extraordinarily blessed to work in partnership with the effective biblical and faithful ministry of Baruch Maoz. His ministry of evangelism, discipleship, along with his strategic and insightful writing/translation projects, only enhance my opportunity to recommend him and his ministry. Rev. Harry Reeder, Senior Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA), Birmingham AL

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Tom Ascol of the Founders Movement writes: "Baruch and Bracha Maoz serve in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Baruch has served as a pastor, publisher, author and church reformer in his homeland of Israel. He has ministered several times with our Grace Baptist Church family in Cape Coral and our people have come to love Bracha and him dearly. I highly recommend his and his ministry to any church that values expositional preaching and the gospel of God's grace." Dr. Thomas Ascol, Grace Baptist Church (SBC), Founders Movement, Cape Coral FL

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