From one end of Scripture to the other, Yahweh instructs His people to take care of the widows, the fatherless, and strangers.
A situation when you may be able to help an orphan is when a person becomes a new believer. If you know someone who gets saved, and you don’t see that someone is taking them into relationships that amount to family connections, help them find someone who will care for them and pray with them and mentor them into their ministry.
If they are like over 90% of new believers, they will not find enough professional servants of God to connect with them at that level, and will wander away. Every believer has potential of being part of the family that should receive and take responsibility for raising new children of God.
If all they find is a pew and programs, they are orphans.
He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation;
because by Him everything was created,
in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.
He is also the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
so that He might come to have first place in everything.
For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself
by making peace through the blood of His cross—
whether things on earth or things in heaven.
(Colossians 1:13-20 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)
In the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke, Jesus is quoted as telling His disciples that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit, like John had baptized with water. When this happened, He told them that they would receive power.
The recipients of this promise were much more effective with the power they received than we have been with TV, radio, internet, studies, courses, degrees, certifications, denominations, international ministries, translations, and our most generous gifts to evangelists at reaching what was their world.
Then, Constantine and the political leaders who hijacked the church introduced other types of power, and replaced the power of the Holy Spirit with the power of fear and the control of information. Further developments included the introduction of much misinformation.
The “new way” of being believers, which doesn’t require being submerged in the Holy Spirit, filled with Him, empowered by Him, doesn’t work as well. If you haven’t had some experience of having who you were drowned in Who He is, ask Him for it until you get it. You will receive power.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely.
And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23,24 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)
In 1 Samuel 23:1-14, the story is related of Yahweh instructing David and his 400 man army to go to a village called Keilah, to save them from Philistia. They were obedient, and they delivered the people of Keilah from the Philistines.
When Saul heard that David was in Keilah, he sent all the soldiers he could gather to kill David. David inquired of Yahweh whether it was safe to stay in the walled city. His response was that the people would hand David over to Saul. My guess is that Yahweh knew before He sent David to protect them that they would have a greater fear of Saul than a desire to bless David, but He still sent His servant to bless them.
That is typical of the sacrifice He made of His Son as a Servant. The difference develops when David was allowed to leave, but Jesus was required to stay and be tortured to death. Even for the sake of those who were sent by the same spirit that ruled Saul, believing that they could destroy Him, because He was a threat to their rule.
Don’t expect everyone you bless to appreciate it. Don’t expect to be honored by the people your God calls you to serve. Serve Him. Bless Him. Be honored by Him (Psalm 91:14-16.)
When I was a child, my father had about 600 chickens that he kept so that he could sell their eggs. They were not free range, but caged in pairs. When he was a child, his family had chickens free around their home. There were places built for them to roost, where their eggs could be gathered, but they were free to find food wherever they could.
One thing he told me was an advantage to having them in small groups in cages was the prevention of “pecking parties.” These could kill almost an entire yard flock of birds. They happened when one bird saw a bit of blood on another bird, which could happen as two birds struggled over a bug or other food.
Nearby chickens, seeing the blood, would peck at it, making the injury worse. The commotion could quickly escalate into further injuries on other birds, and further involvement drawn by the increase of blood. The mob mentality would prevail until the strongest or fastest were left in a situation of stalemate.
This happens among humans perhaps more often, and sometimes just as brutally. We citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven are called to defend the injured, though. We are empowered to protect, to heal, to bring peace. Even when the injured have attacked us.
1 Corinthians 13 is informative to people who are members of the Church with regard to what their treatment of each other looks like. The last verse of chapter 12 describes chapter 13 as “a more excellent way…”
Around 650 AD, Muslims finally prevailed in their attempts to conquer Persia. Their “evangelism” then included an invitation to become servants of Mohammad’s allah, or to be infidels subjected to a tax called jizya, or to be enslaved, or to be killed. Descendants of Persia still don’t consider themselves to be Arabs, and have their own version of Islam, setting them at odds with many Arabic Muslims.
For about 25 years leading up to 1978, Iran (part of what was Persia) was ruled by a king (“shah”) who led the nation to prosperity and freedom that was unmatched in the Middle East. He was displaced by a coup that seems to have been created by his socialist/communist enemies, and his government was replaced by a dictatorship ruled by Muslim clerics. There is currently brewing in the nation an apparent revolution, whose cries include “We don’t want an Islamic Republic.”
After World War II, Japan’s leadership requested through General Douglas MacArthur that the Church would send missionaries to their people to introduce them to Jesus. The church’s response was predominantly “That is too dangerous.” Japan is currently one of the most difficult nations in which to attempt church planting.
Pray that the Kingdom of God will invade any governmental vacuum that appears in Iran, as Godly people give leadership under His guidance. Pray that the Church of Jesus will invade any vacuum that an uprising against Islamic oppression might create.
Paul wrote to the Galatian congregations that if they encountered a person who had failed, whether intentionally or just through weakness, by implication of the word used to describe the error, the spiritual among them should restore the person, being humbled by their own weaknesses and iniquities:
Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you won’t be tempted also.
(Galatians 6:1 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)
The word translated “restore” in that place is also used in a blessing near the end of Hebrews. There, it is translated, “equip,” (or “perfect” according to footnote)”: Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—with the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip [perfect] you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
(Hebrews 13:20-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)
I infer from that context that restoring failures means a bit more than letting people keep coming to our meetings…
Here are a few denominational descriptions of baptism:
Baptist: It is not entirely necessary for salvation. By immersion only. Baptisms of other churches accepted if done by immersion. Infants are not baptized. Candidates must first believe.
Roman: By pouring, sprinkling or immersion. Baptisms of other churches accepted when performed as Catholic Church prescribes. Necessary for salvation. Infants are baptized.
Eastern: By immersion for the remission of sins and entrance into church. Essential to salvation. Must be performed by one holding proper priesthood authority. Required of all 8 years & older. Infants are not baptized.
Methodist: By sprinkling, pouring, or immersion. Is only an outward sign of one’s entrance into the church. Baptisms of other churches accepted. Not necessary to salvation. Infants are baptized.
A few questions I have:
- If baptism is symbolic, what does being baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire by Jesus really accomplish?
- If it has to be done by ordained clergy, who was doing it before there were any ordained clergy?
- If it really does change something to be baptized as a believer, what does it change?
An extensive study on baptism is on Page 2 of my website: Being Baptized.
Paul brought up the idea of testing ourselves to be sure we are “in the faith.” John was very clear in his statement in what we call his first epistle: “We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. The one who does not love remains in death.”
(1 John 3:14,15 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)
It is easier to tell if children get saved than it is when adults do, sometimes. The easiest way to check it out is to observe the new lives for the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23).
Children become willing servants when they become believers. Adults should, but they have usually built up enough pride to keep them from showing their salvation with the evidence of becoming humble and serving people. Adults who are already humble, and those who know that they had to be forgiven much are usually exceptions that are easy to spot.