The Way of Christ Ministries

Pray without ceasing – 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Leave the Pig Pen Behind

In the gospel of Luke we find a story about a son who had taken his inheritance from the family and went away to a far land.  While there he wasted the inheritance on unwise and questionable living.  Much like many of us do when we first leave home.  When he had run out of money, there was a famine in the land and he was caught with no money, no job, and no way to come home.  Stranded in the this foreign land he took a job as a servant to an unrighteous man who took advantage of him.  After some time of this the young man, out of desperation decided to swallow his pride and return home.

The time away had beaten the young man in more than one way.  His heart was broken and his life was in shambles.  He had no hope, he only wanted to get home and beg his father for mercy and help.  I can think of times in my life when I had ruined all the opportunities that youth had given me, and squandered my money and eventually was left with nothing but burned bridges.  Shamefully I turned to family for help.  Not knowing if they would help, but desperately needing it.

Some of you are very familiar with this story, but I want to concentrate on this one aspect.  When the father saw the young man in the distance, he ran to him.  Then he called his servants and told them to put a robe on him, and a ring on his finger.  This is what I want us to see.  The son had travelled a far way.  His previous job had him living with pigs, and eating the leftovers of what the pigs did not eat.  He was malnourished, unclean, smelling.  Yet his father loved him anyway.  His father did not say, “Oh my, go get a bath, and put on some perfume before you hug me!”  No his father instead ran to him, and kissed him passionately over and over again.

This is the love that God has for us.  He loved us before we were cleansed.  We did not have to clean ourselves up and be presentable before he embraced us.  A lot of Christians will tell you that God loves me just the way I am, and that is true.  He does love us, just the way we are.  But if we look closer at this parable, we see that his father loved his son so much that he did not let him remain unclean.  This is the way our heavenly Father also loves us.  He loves us so much that he cannot leave us in the mire and stench that Jesus saved us from.  He renews our minds and transforms us into his image.

Psalm 3:3 says, “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap”.  In other places in scripture it describes how the Lord brought the writer out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set his feet upon a rock making his footsteps firm (Psalm 40:2).  The Lord wants better for us than to just be saved from hell.  He wants us to be what we were meant to be in Him.

Romans 8:37 explains how that we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. We are more than victorious, more than vanquishers, more than subjugators. Christians need to study scripture and awaken to the truths that God has given us.  We do not need to be sheepish and tied to the things that kept us bound before.  When the son in this story had returned home to his father’s embrace, he had also left the pig pen behind.  He was not living in that filth anymore.  -Amen

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Matthew 6: 26-34 Am I the Lord of Your Life?

Matthew 6:26-34

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  So why do you worry about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? Or What shall we drink? Or What shall we wear?  For after these things the Gentiles seek.  For you heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.   Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

I was headed home from church Wednesday evening at about 9 pm.  As I turned down the dimly lit road that leads to my house something caught my eye.  I slowed down to a halt and flicked up my high beams.  There was a field rabbit in the middle of the road.  His eyes stood there a moment and then he turned and desperately hopped away, trying to escape the beams of light that gave away his position.  I slowly proceeded behind him until he jumped off the road.  I remember just seeing him there was a pleasant surprise and I began to think of how God must be trying to tell me something.  Then suddenly something else caught my attention.

There just ahead at the edge of my headlights we two glowing objects.  Once again I slowed down and the familiar form of a young opossum came into view.  I stopped the car and we watched one another for a few moments, then he feeling it was safe, crossed the road in front of me and disappeared into the brush.  Then like a small voice I heard Matthew 6:26 in my mind, “Look at the birds of the air,” or the rabbits in the fields and the possums in the bushes. Do you see how I have cared for them? Can you see how I am caring for you?

I know you are wondering, wow where did he get this from seeing two different kinds of potential roadkill on a dark road?  But you see just a few weeks ago I was trying to wade out of that area in flood waters that were up to my chest.  I had my wife, son, two dogs, and a cat that I had to get safely out of our flooded home and to a place where they could be safe and get dry, and have some food, and a place to sleep.  I did not know what laid ahead for the future.  I did not know what tomorrow was going to bring.  The only thing I knew then and it is what I still know is Matthew 6:26-34.

It is amazing to me that the Lord knew me before I was even born, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jeremiah 1.5).  In Palm 139 David even says that the Lord not only knows us but has an intimate knowledge of us. “You have searched me and known me!  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.  You search out y path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.  Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.”  You see the Lord not only know us before we were born, but he also stays in complete knowledge of what we do, how we do it, and why we do it.  He supports us, and protects us in all circumstances.  He provides for us under all conditions.  He is not surprised by what we do, or where we are, or what happens in our lives.  Knowing all of this about us and our life, he still chose to save us.

For those of us who have already believed on his son, Jesus Christ, he has already blessed us with all spiritual blessings.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” (Ephesians 1:3-4)  You see this is our joy!  We praise God for what he has already done!  We already have ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS!  This is not of our own doing but just the complete love of God towards us.

This is how much more important that we are then the birds of the air!  We worry so much about things that we don’t need to.  We allow our joy to be stifled by the cares and concerns of this world.  What is going to happen to my house?  How am I going to get to work?  What will I wear?  What am I going to eat?  All the while the Lord is saying, “Be still, let me be God”. ” Am I the Lord?” “Am I the Lord of YOUR life?  If you have trusted me for salvation, Can’t you trust me with everything else?”

This is what I saw when I saw the rabbit and then the opossum.  I saw the Lord showing me that he took care of those two critters that were somewhere fighting to survive in the same waters that my family and I was trying to survive in.  They were alright.  They were being provided for.  So were we, thanks to the Lord of our life and the God of the universe who cares enough to know what my need is and provide for it.  That makes me feel confident it Him.

Behold, God is my helper… (Psalm 54.4)

In the 4th verse of Psalm 54 it reads, “Behold, God is mine helper:  the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.”  The simplicity of this verse overwhelms my heart.  This Psalm was penned out concerning the occasion when the men of Judah betrayed David to Saul.  They did this twice, the first is recorded in 1 Samuel 23.19 and the second in 1 Samuel 26.1.  While this is often used as an archetype to Judas betraying Jesus, today I want to discuss the portion that just deals with God being our helper.

Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4 storm that entered the Texas coasts centered on Rockport in August 25, 2017.  It has so far gone down in history as one the 2nd largest natural disaster in U.S. history.  It has so far been estimated that the cost in damages in Texas and Louisiana alone is 180 billion. Hurricane Harvey is only topped by Hurricane Katrina from 2005 that caused an estimated 108-250 billion dollars in damage in Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. It affected millions of people from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

On September 14, 2017 the Washington Post reported that Texas Officials put the Death Toll for Hurricane Harvey at 82.  Hurricane Harvey made landfall three separate times across a three day period and caused over two feet of rain to fall in some areas in less than a 24 hour period.  This broke National Record Rainfall levels for a Single Tropical Storm, by dropping an unprecedented 51.88 inches in Cedar Bayou, located in the Greater Houston Area. The total effect of Harvey on people’s lives will be felt for decades.

I, my neighbors, and my family and friends know the effect of this storm 1st hand.  At around 1 am we awoke with water coming into the house.  Within minutes my wife, oldest son, 2 dogs, a cat, and myself were all piled in my bed with water up to the windows.  I remember later that morning posting on Facebook the lyric from a song along with a picture taken of the water from on top of my bed, “Even if you don’t… my hope is you alone… give me strength to say… it is well with my soul!”  I will spare you the tale of how we made it out to dry land, with the exception of saying that I know of one of my neighbors who did not make it out alive, and that I was amazed at the provisions that the Lord made for retrieving us to safety.

Since we have begun the slow process of recovery.  I can surely say that God is my helper.  We have had such an outpouring of love and compassion towards us and our neighbors that I have been quite speechless in taking it all in.  Even now as I recount how neighbors reached out to help neighbors in blow up mattresses, canoes, small boats and anything that would float.  Strangers opened their homes, gave up their clothes, and food in support of those who needed it.  Sure I lost everything I had.  We had vehicles that were paid off years ago that were destroyed, my son had to move out, my home I just bought earlier this year is ruined.  But through everything God has been my helper.

He has been faithful.  He has provided us a place to sleep and rest.  He had provided us food.  He has provided us clothing.  He has provided us with transportation.  He has provided us with financial assistance as we have needed it.  The relationship between me, my wife, and our Lord has all been strengthened.  You see I, and my family have willingly submitted everything to God.  There is such a release in knowing that we can trust Him to provide for all out future needs.

We know this because looking back over the past year, I can actually see where He has prepared us for this event.  In teachings received throughout the year from our Pastor, to people that have been put into our lives, to the financial and physical healing He has performed in our family this past year.  Even events where certain people were removed from our lives, that if they were still with us during the storm they might not have survived and thus relieved us from that burden of guilt.

So he has been faithful in our past.  He has been faithful now in the provisions I shared with you already.  So we can have confidence that He will remain to be faithful.  He is our provider.  Not only, that He will make it so that we can also assist others.  We held church services from my home for all our neighbors.  Yes all walls torn out and with free A/C and heating provided by, you guessed it, God himself… LOL.  We look forward to seeing how God is going to move in our community, and how He is going to restore our lives.  I’m not only confident in Him, I am excited! – Amen

What Are We Doing With the Great Commission?

The spreading of the gospel is what created the church (Col. 1.5-6), and the primary message of the church is the gospel (1 Cor. 15.1-3).  By saying that, the spreading of the gospel is the primary message of the church, it is meant that we begin with the process of telling others the truth of Christ and salvation.  Salvation in Christ is not only believing, but accepting.  Accepting the Salvation offered through Jesus Christ means you HAVE BECOME A DISCIPLE.  Disciples MAKE disciples. This is what evangelism is, the start of that process.

Probably the most powerful verse in evangelism is what we call the great commission.  In this Jesus meets with his 12 disciples on a mountain and gives them one last bit of encouragement and a command.

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”  (Matthew 28.19-20).

A successful business has a business plan, and in that plan covers the vision and the goal for the business.  The Great Commission is that for the church.  It gives us our mission: What we are called to do; Our Vision: Where we hope to go; Our Plan: How we will get there: and Our Response:  What we need to do. We are told to “go”.  We should be a reaching church, ever expanding our message.  If you study things in nature, they are always growing, or they are dying.  If a tree stops growing then it rots from the inside-out.  This is the condition we see allot of local churches in today.

Jesus said, “As the Father sent Me, so I send you (John 20.21). This was God’s plan from the very beginning.  From the Old Testament on into the New Testament God demonstrated his plan of repentance and salvation through the word of mouth shared by men to men (mankind to mankind).  This spreading of the Word of God came through prophets, teachers, scribes, kings, Apostles and, finally, disciples.  In Acts 1.8 scripture tells us that we are to be witnesses of Jesus, starting in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.  We read in the gospel of Mark that we are to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16.15).

We are not to be idle and wait for people to come to us.  We are to actively take the gospel to all nations, all peoples, all tongues.  This means we should reach out not only to foreign missions, but in our very neighborhoods.  We reach them by preaching, and teaching.  We have to teach them about the love of God and the salvation in Jesus Christ.  We have to proclaim what is acceptable to the Lord God.  We have to teach them how to apply these lessons in their life.  We are to baptize them in accordance to the profession of their belief in Christ.  Immediately we get them in an outward expression of faith, showing others that they are disciples of Christ Jesus.  Evangelism is never an end of means.  Evangelism is a starting point for the new convert.

Evangelism is part of a continuing cycle of growth in the Christian and in the local Church.  Evangelism is a beginning in once sense and the process is a continuing of growth in the other. Like a tree that grows from a single seed, it puts out roots, stretches for the sky, bathes in the Sun and grows up and puts out more seeds that are carried by the winds to new locations. Christians should focus everything in their lives to keeping the gospel message at the center of our mental, spiritual, and emotional life.  This is achieved through deliberate, prayer rooted in Christ, Spirit led, lovingly felt, fervent Personal Evangelism.

One of the deacons shared a story in my Sunday school class on Personal Evangelism.  He told of how a woman had come in to the church just before the service and asked for money for food.  One of the members went out and talked with the couple and believed that their situation was sincere.  The member gave them some money and told them that after they had eaten to come back to the church and join the service.  While that was a good and noble thing to do, it was a wasted opportunity.  What would have been so wrong with two or more members missing service and going with that couple, buying their meal or even some groceries and then sitting with them right then and sharing Christ? That would be keeping the gospel the center in the situation.  If we look at the examples of Jesus and the Apostles in the New Testament we see that they met the immediate need, but they also went further to identify the real spiritual need and offer a solution.  Yes we are to care for the widows, and orphans, and the poor and needy, but we need to care for their spiritual needs as well as the physical, medical, and financial needs.  We do this by sharing everything we know about Christ.

Evangelism is probably the best way to keep the message of the saving grace of Jesus Christ a reality in our lives.  If we are actively evangelizing and concentrating on spreading the gospel it is less likely we will be distracted by the world.  Having gospel conversations with unbelievers builds up our knowledge and confidence in the scriptures.  Being intellectually challenged drives us to seek a deeper understanding of Christ in the scriptures, in history, and in science.  We get to learn more about God’s character, his holiness and judgments, we gain a deeper understanding of how God works in man.  We have to think through how to explain all these concepts to different types of audiences.  This gives us better tools to study and trace God’s truths in scripture and see the evidence in life itself.

Soldiers are taught tasks and skills then immediately are made to go and teach other soldiers these newly learned skills.  This makes them learn the tasks and skill development on a deeper level than they would have ever know in just listening to lectures.  Philemon 1.6 says “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”  Knowing and explaining the gospel to someone who does not understand it or believe in it is different than having an academic understanding.  This process of personal evangelism enlightens the one teaching as well as the one receiving.   Brian Parks in his 9Marks Journal gives 6 Benefits of Evangelism fir Disciples:

  1. Evangelism helps keep the gospel central in our lives and churches
  2. Evangelism deepens our understanding of the most fundamental truths of Scripture
  3. Properly motivated evangelism grows our love for God and neighbor
  4. Evangelism prompts unexpected questions and objections from non-Christians, which can deepen our faith
  5. Evangelism protects us from mistakenly assuming that those around us are saved.
  6. Evangelism increases the likelihood of being persecuted for the gospel which leads to our growth

(“Six Benefits of Evangelism for Discipleship.” 9Marks, www.9marks.org/article/journalsix-benefits-evangelism-discipleship/.)

Evangelism by individual members has a direct effect on church growth.  If we look in the book of Acts there are several examples of how the local churches grew after a short period of active evangelism by its members.  Acts 11:19-26 tells us of how, that after persecution in Jerusalem, some believers went to Antioch and began telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus and how the hand of the Lord was with them and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.  It goes further to say that believers in Christ were first call Christians at Antioch.  The strength of the evangelism effort has a direct relation to the growth of the church.  The local church and its membership should be a vibrant and dynamic reality in the local community.

The early churches demonstrated a recognition of needs in the local area, and even in other distant churches.  Each member of the community was concerned about the welfare of the whole and the individual above themselves.  Resources were shared and this created a social-economic system the benefitted all those around the church area.  The effects of evangelism made it possible for these churches to grow and have a positive effect on their neighbors, their civil governments, and eventually the whole country and even the world.  The church is responsible for the widespread use of the tablet form of writing, what we call a book today.  The church is responsible for the advent of schools, hospitals, and vocational centers, for rehabilitation centers and even the Constitution of the United States, the freedom from slavery instituted in Britain and the U.S. came from church movements.  The “Ivy League” schools were originally schools of Biblical Study.  Personal Evangelism has had a great effect on the world.

Christian organizations supply food and clothing to poor, war torn communities all over the world.  Christian legal teams fight slavery, sexual trafficking, Christian and Jewish persecution, and abortion not only in the United States, but in places like Africa, Iraq, Israel and all across Europe.  Without evangelism efforts these Christian churches would not have the resources to send missionaries to local neighborhoods, much less to the foreign mission field.  God provides for these missionaries from the harvest of the evangelism effort.  The building up of the local churches and the resources that they share are affected by the evangelist efforts put forward in their own communities.  With all the good that we do in our neighborhood and in the world around us we must not forget that these are by-products of the spread of the gospel.  Evangelism is for making changes in people’s lives.

Remember back to Matthew 28:20, Jesus commanded that we are to teach the nations “all that I have commanded”, and to “observe all that I have commanded.”  The command is not just to have them confess Christ, but to teach them to be obedient to what Jesus has commanded.  Remember the Lord prefers obedience over sacrifice.  He must be worshiped in Spirit and in Truth.  Those who obey His commandments demonstrate the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Faith that saves has the sign of obedience.  Scripture tells us that we should not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of the mind.  The renewing of the mind is accomplished by the Spirit of God by the study of scripture and fellowship with Christ.  Is this what we are doing?

“How do we usually read this scripture, which is familiarly called The Great Commission? Ordinarily we read it like this, “Go ye therefore, but if you don’t want to go, you can sing in the choir as a substitute and let someone else go for you, teaching all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Other people read it like this, “Go ye therefore, but if you don’t want to go, you can teach a Sunday School class on Sunday morning as a substitute for going and let someone else go for you teaching all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Or, sometimes folks read it like this, “Go ye therefore, but if you are afraid to go or don’t want to go, you can paint on the church building as a substitute and let someone else go for you teaching all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” There’s just one thing wrong with all these various renditions of the scripture as the church members ordinarily read it; it’s not in the Bible. No matter what you say when you get out your Bible, you m7ill still read Jesus saying to you, “go YE therefore and teach all nations.” It does not say anything about if you do not want to go or are afraid to go. It simply says, “GO!” I’m afraid that we in the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ of America have not been going like Jesus Christ told us to go.” (“God’s Plan for World Evangelism.” Sermon 15a)

The sad thing is that most modern Christians have never won a soul to Christ.  In fact most church going Christians do not even try to share their faith, or even invite friends or family to their church for fear of rejection of ridicule.  The danger in this is that Jesus said that whoever is ashamed of me in from of men, him I will be ashamed of in front of my Father.  Many churches don’t even get out in their local cities and perform a corporate level of evangelism.  There is virtually no effort to train or hold church members accountable to participate in Sunday school recruitment or youth development or recruitment programs.  The lack of identifiable leadership in evangelism is often used as an excuse by the members of the congregation to avoid their obligation to share the gospel. The result is that local churches are closing their doors all over the United States.  Members are disenfranchised and quit.  They lack the vision and without a vision they eventually give up and die. The following statistics were released in 1993 from Michael Parrott of Spokane, WA.

EVANGELISTIC STATISTICS

Ninety-five percent of all Christians have never won a soul to Christ.
Eighty percent of all Christians do not consistently witness for Christ.
Less than two percent are involved in the ministry of evangelism.
Seventy-one percent do not give toward the financing of the great Commission.

One particular denomination did a survey on its leadership ministries. The results are as follows:

  • 63% of the leadership in this denomination, including deacons and elders, have not led one stranger to Jesus in the last two years through the method of “Go Ye” evangelism.
  • 49% of the leadership ministries spend zero time in an average week ministering outside of the church.
  • 89% of the leadership ministries have zero time reserved on their list of weekly priorities for going out to evangelize.
  • 99% of the leadership ministries believe that every Christian, including leadership, has been commanded to preach the gospel to a lost world.
  • 97% believe that if the leadership had a greater conviction and involvement in evangelism, that it would be an example for the church to follow.
  • 96% of the leadership believe their churches would have grown faster if they would have been more involved in evangelism.

Because of this, our results in evangelism have been mediocre, at best.

(“Street Level Evangelism, Where is the Space for the Local Evangelist,” by Michael Parrott, Acts Evangelism, Spokane, WA, 1993, pp. 9-11.)

We should constantly analyze ourselves with regards to the “Great Commission”.  Are we effectively reaching our neighbors? Are we teaching those we reach?  Are we seeing lives changed because of the gospel message we proclaim?  What are we that we should not be doing?  What are we NOT doing that we should be doing to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ? The uppermost desire for every Christian should be to bring someone to Christ.  You can do the personal work that you are called to do as an individual Christian.  You can work and win a soul to Christ.  All it took was one man crying in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord!”  Jesus started by getting one disciple.  Then one disciple got another. All it takes is one person in your neighborhood to proclaim the gospel of Christ.

 

References

“Southern Baptist Convention.” Southern Baptist Convention The Baptist Faith and Message. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2017.

Foundations: An Overview of Systematic Theolog. Perf. R. C. Sproul. Series 11: Three In Persons. Right Now Media, n.d. Web. 28 July 2017.

Coleman, Robert Emerson, and Billy Graham. The Master Plan of Evangelism. Revell, 2008.

“God’s Plan of Salvation.” Bible.org, bible.org/article/gods-plan-salvation.

  1. C. Ryle, Practical Religion (Darlington: Evangelical, 2001), 73

Lindsey, Art, PhD. “The Priesthood of All Believers.” Institute for Faith, Works and Economics (2013): Print.PDF

The Biblical Evangelist, biblicalevangelist.org/index.php?id. 4 August 2017

Steele, David N., et al. The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, Documented. P & R Publications, 2004.

Zagzebski, Linda. “Foreknowledge and Free Will.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, 13 Apr. 2017, plato.stanford.edu/entries/free-will-foreknowledge/.

“Ezekiel 3:19 Commentary – John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible.” Bible Study Tools,

“Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry.” Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry, II, no. 2, 2014. FALL, doi:The Gospel and Evangelism. www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/ezekiel-3-19.html.

“Six Benefits of Evangelism for Discipleship.” 9Marks, www.9marks.org/article/journalsix-benefits-evangelism-discipleship/.

Unknown. “God’s Plan for World Evangelism.” Sermon 15a, www.white-fields.org/uploads/1/5/7/7/15776806/my_favorite_missionary_sermons_sermon_15a.pdf.

“Street Level Evangelism, Where is the Space for the Local Evangelist,” by Michael Parrott, Acts Evangelism, Spokane, WA, 1993, pp. 9-11.

Study into 1 John Chapter 2

I thought I would re-share this nice study on 1st John. It is very observant and tidy. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Young Adults Bible Study

1 John 2:1-29 is the focus of this week’s study. Below is a copy from the KJV from which I use. Study guide and notes begins after.

1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even…

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John 7:41-43 Hath Not the Scripture Said?

 

“Others said, This is the Christ.  But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?  Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?  So there was a division among the people of him.” (John 7:41-43)

I sat in a church as a guest a few weeks back and they had a guest speaker.  The guest speaker started off saying how he could encourage the members of the church on how they could have confidence in their bible.  I did not have a real problem with this, however; it became evident that he had some issues against the Authorized Version of the Bible.  This is what most of us know as the King James Version of the Bible.  Now I know that there are allot of differences between the versions of the Bible and I have my own view of which one is best.  However, I did not understand how telling someone NOT to read a version of the Bible that has lasted for over 400 years and had such a great impact on the English speaking world would be productive.

So in light of that I thought that I would share my own ideas on why we can have trust in the scriptures.  No there are not allot of dates and scripture textual comparisons, instead, I am looking from the perspective that the scripture is consistent.  There are allot of people who say that the Bible contradicts itself, and this is one of the main arguments used against new Christians who are bold enough in their zeal to try to evangelize.  This lie has been told so many times that many Christians have assumed that it is true.  I will use this scripture as an example of how a lack of study, and proper context can be misleading.

There is an estimated 400 plus prophecies concerning Christ in the Old Testament.  (Associates for Biblical Research. Website. http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2012/07/27/400-Prophecies-of-Christ-in-the-Old-Testament.aspx#Article)

  • 117 prophecies, appearances, or foreshadowing of Christ in the Law
  • 144 Prophecies, appearances, or foreshadowing of Christ in the Writings
  • 153 Prophecies, appearances, or foreshadowing of Christ in the Prophets

So does the Bible contradict itself?  Are the Old and New Testament in disagreement with one another?  The confusion caused by this lie has gone on since the book of Genesis.  Even Satan tricked Eve with misleading the message of the Word of God. This though process as we will discover is not a new phenomenon.  This belief comes from a lack of knowledge of Scripture.

  • Some Scripture can be ambiguous.
  • Some Scripture can be symbolic and require dedicated study.
  • But some Scripture just takes a little research to gain understanding.
  • Some Scripture is written so plain that it cannot be missed if it is read in context with other Scripture.
  • All Scripture should be read and studied with an attitude of prayer and direction of the Holy Spirit.
  • “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Scripture tells us and most readily accept that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth yet Jesus chose the Galilean fishing village of Capernaum as His home base during His ministry. However, for those who were closet to the time period, they did not know all the circumstances of Jesus’ early childhood, that we are privileged to.

Capernaum comes from two words:  Kaphar Nachum (Village of Nahum), though it does not refer to the prophet Nahum. We don’t read about this village in the Old Testament because it simply did not exist in the time period of the Old Testament.  Capernaum first appeared during the 2nd century BC.

Why did Jesus privilege Capernaum as His ministry base?  There has been allot of speculation.  Different scholars and historians have tried to have relevant reasons for Jesus centering his ministry in this reagion.

  • Some might say because Capernaum is where he successfully called the following disciples:
    • Peter
    • James
    • John
    • Andrew
    • Matthew

 

  • Others might say because Capernaum offered a seaside escape from the hostility and drama of urban Jerusalem.  But even in Capernaum, a town of about 1,500 people, Jesus would withdraw “by boat to a secluded place by Himself.”(Matthew 14:13; Mark 1:35–37)

 

While these are some good reasons and may have contributed to the reasoning of Jesus, there is one that is already recorded hundreds of years prior.  The restoration of the Kingdom of David would be set to begin in this rejected area.  Israel would be redeemed to her King and her God. The real reason that Jesus chose to begin His ministry in Capernaum is that it fulfilled prophecy and set the stage for the physical and spiritual restoration of Israel and all nations of the world.

Eight centuries before the incarnation of Jesus the Messiah, God allowed the empire of Assyria to capture and take into captivity the ten tribes of northern Israel, whose land included the Upper and Lower Galilee. God had warned His people for centuries and even up to their final days that if they did not repent, then this would be the judgement they would receive.  They would be chastised by God for their disobedience. God warned them through a prophet named Hosea.  Hosea 11:1-6 reads:

 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.

I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.

I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.

He shall not return into the land of Egypt, and the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.

And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels.  (Hosea 11:1–6)

By 724 BC, Assyria had captured northern Israel.  This invasion brought a massive change of populace.  The influx of Gentiles repopulated the region, bringing with them their culture of pagan idols, rituals, and customs.  This changed the Israelis and their way of life.  This was recorded in 2 Kings.

“The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria [the capital of Northern Israel] in place of the sons of Israel.  So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities.”  (2 Kings 17:24)

For this reason, the region took on the name Galil ha’Goyim (Galilee of the Nations or Galilee of the Gentiles). These Gentiles incorporated Jewish customs into their own pagan practices, developing a range of superstitions and false doctrines. However, evidence suggests that by the time of Jesus’ arrival, many parts of Galilee had regained its Jewish identity.

Jesus’s choice of Galilee as His home base caused a stumbling block for those who looked to Scripture for Messiah, because they were ignorant.  They said,

“Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?  Has not the Scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”  (John 7:41–42)

  • These people did not understand thatJesus was, indeed, born in Bethlehem of Judea, where David lived (Micah 5:2; Luke 2:4–20).
  • He then had to flee to Egypt to escape to avoid death from the State
  • After the death of King Herod Jesus returned and His family was directed to Nazareth, located in the Lower Galilee
  • Jesus grew up in Nazareth (Matthew 2:13–23; paralleled in Hosea 11:1, 5).
  • Later Jesus moved to Upper Galilee, in Capernaum.

It is from Capernaum that Jesus would begin the work of restoring this once contemptible land to glory, as Isaiah prophesied: Isaiah 9:1-2 says:

 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. (Isaiah 9:1-2)

This is what Matthew is referencing when he records:

And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,  The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;  The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. (Matthew 4:13-16)

Isaiah said that this glory comes from a “great light” Just so that there would be no confusion as to who or what will be the source of this “great light” in Galilee, Isaiah tells us just a few verses later how to identify it: Continuing from Isaiah 9 at verse 6.

 “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon His shoulders; and He is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Everlasting, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6)

Jesus himself said that He (Jesus ) is the light, the way, and the truth!

700 years after Isaiah’s prophecies we find that Jesus has arrived.  He has been baptized (by immersion) by John the Baptist, then he was taken into the wilderness for trails and testings (put through the fire), and now enters Nazareth to declare His arrival as Messiah (Luke 4:16–21; Isaiah 61:1–2).

During this time, John the Baptist had been immersing people for the remission of their sins, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”  (Matthew 3:2) Jesus had begun recruiting his early disciples and started his missionary journey in Nazareth. But while in Nazareth, Jesus learned that John had been arrested.

The apostle Matthew tells us that when Jesus heard this news, “He left Nazareth and made His home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled. …”  (Matthew 4:13–14; see Isaiah 9:1–2)

Matthew wants us to know that Jesus came to this ancient land that God took away from the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali (due to their disobedience) because he wants us to understand that restoration has now arrived, as Isaiah prophesied.  That restoration is in Jesus.

Matthew tells us that Jesus entered Capernaum proclaiming, just as John the Baptist — “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

  • The Kingdom of God- Has Arrived
  • Jesus being there is in the direct fulfillment of prophecy
  • There is no error in Scripture
  • There is only error in human thought
  • John the Baptist declared, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
  • Jesus the Messiah declared, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
  • Christian you should be declaring, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

 

There, in the spiritual darkness of Galilee, Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  (John 8:12; also Luke 2:29–32)

Jesus declared he was indeed the messiah, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives,  And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;” (Isaiah 61:1)

Jesus backed up His claim Messiah by performing glorious acts of physical and spiritual restoration before the people of Galilee.  Some examples are:

  • Jesus healed a woman with an issue of blood
  • Raised the dead daughter of Jairus
  • Healed a nobleman’s son
  • Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law
  • Jesus multiplied a handful of bread and fish to feed four thousand (Matthew 15:29–39) and five thousand (Luke 9:10–17).
  • Jesus expelled a legion of demons from a tormented man (Mark 5:1–20).
  • Jesus walked on water (Matthew 14:22–33) and calmed a raging sea (Mark 4:35–41), restoring and strengthening His disciples’ faith in Him.

These people whom Jesus touched in some way in Galilee believed in His identity as Messiah and did not at all take offense at Him.  Because of that, they were greatly blessed.  The message that God has told us from Genesis to Revelation is still the same. God is always reaching out to you and me and even to Israel and the whole world to restore us back to Himself. The message of the Bible is – “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 

After His baptism, Jesus came to the land of Zebulun and Naphtali in the Galilee where God’s wrath against Israel’s disobedience first manifested in exile, as prophesied by Isaiah, and He is coming again to complete the physical and spiritual restoration of David’s kingdom for both Jew and Gentile, as prophesied:

“And I will set up one shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even My servant David; He shall feed them, and He shall be their shepherd.  And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them.”  (Ezekiel 34:23–24)

You see the scripture can be trusted.  The Old and New Testament support one another and edify one another.  What we need to do is get serious with our study.  If we truly believe that God exists, and that Jesus is his Son and He has paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, then what are we doing?  When the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus the voice of God said, this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased, -LISTEN TO HIM.

 

Self-Study of Scriptures Fulfilled by Jesus.

Scripture Prophecy Fulfillment

 

1. Gen. 3:15 Seed of a woman (virgin birth) Galatians 4:4-5Matthew 1:18
2. Gen. 3:15 He will bruise Satan’s head Hebrews 2:141John 3:8
3. Gen. 3:15 Christ’s heel would be bruised with nails on the cross Matthew 27:35Luke 24:39-40
4. Gen. 5:24 The bodily ascension to heaven illustrated Mark 16:19, Rev. 12:5
5. Gen. 9:26, 27 The God of Shem will be the Son of Shem Luke 3:23-36
6. Gen. 12:3 Seed of Abraham will bless all nations Galatians 3:8Acts 3:2526
7. Gen. 12:7 The Promise made to Abraham’s Seed Galatians 3:16
8. Gen. 14:18 A priest after the order of Melchizedek Hebrews 6:20
9. Gen. 14:18 King of Peace and Righteousness Hebrews 7:2
10. Gen. 14:18 The Last Supper foreshadowed Matthew 26:26-29
11. Gen. 17:19 Seed of Isaac (Gen. 21:12) Romans 9:7
12. Gen. 22:8 The Lamb of God promised John 1:29
13. Gen. 22:18 As Isaac’s seed, will bless all nations Galatians 3:16
14. Gen. 26:2-5 The Seed of Isaac promised as the Redeemer Hebrews 11:18
15. Gen. 28:12 The Bridge to heaven John 1:51
16. Gen. 28:14 The Seed of Jacob Luke 3:34
17. Gen. 49:10 The time of His coming Luke 2:1-7; Galatians 4:4
18. Gen. 49:10 The Seed of Judah Luke 3:33
19. Gen. 49:10 Called Shiloh or One Sent John 17:3
20. Gen. 49:10 Messiah to come before Judah lost identity John 11:47-52
21. Gen. 49:10 Unto Him shall the obedience of the people be John 10:16
22. Ex. 3:13-15 The Great “I AM” John 4:268:58
23. Ex. 12:3-6 The Lamb presented to Israel 4 days before Passover Mark 11:7-11
24. Ex. 12:5 A Lamb without blemish Hebrews 9:141Peter 1:19
25. Ex. 12:13 The blood of the Lamb saves from wrath Romans 5:8
26. Ex. 12:21-27 Christ is our Passover 1Corinthians 5:7
27. Ex. 12:46 Not a bone of the Lamb to be broken John 19:31-36
28. Ex. 15:2 His exaltation predicted as Yeshua Acts 7:5556
29. Ex. 15:11 His Character-Holiness Luke 1:35Acts 4:27
30. Ex. 17:6 The Spiritual Rock of Israel 1Corinthians 10:4
31. Ex. 33:19 His Character-Merciful Luke 1:72
32. Lev. 1:2-9 His sacrifice a sweet smelling savor unto God Ephesians 5:2
33. Lev. 14:11 The leper cleansed-Sign to priesthood Luke 5:12-14Acts 6:7
34. Lev. 16:15-17 Prefigures Christ’s once-for-all death Hebrews 9:7-14
35. Lev. 16:27 Suffering outside the Camp Matthew 27:33Heb. 13:1112
36. Lev. 17:11 The Blood-the life of the flesh Matthew 26:28Mark 10:45
37. Lev. 17:11 It is the blood that makes atonement Rom. 3:23-241John 1:7
38. Lev. 23:36-37 The Drink-offering: “If any man thirst” John 7:37
39. Num. 9:12 Not a bone of Him broken John 19:31-36
40. Num. 21:9 The serpent on a pole-Christ lifted up John 3:14-1812:32
41. Num. 24:17 Time: “I shall see him, but not now.” John 1:14Galatians 4:4
42. Deut. 18:15 “This is of a truth that prophet.” John 6:14
43. Deut. 18:15-16 “Had ye believed Moses, ye would believe me.” John 5:45-47
44. Deut. 18:18 Sent by the Father to speak His word John 8:2829
45. Deut. 18:19 Whoever will not hear must bear his sin Acts 3:22-23
46. Deut. 21:23 Cursed is he that hangs on a tree Galatians 3:10-13
47. Joshua 5:14-15 The Captain of our salvation Hebrews 2:10
48. Ruth 4:4-10 Christ, our kinsman, has redeemed us Ephesians 1:3-7
49. 1 Sam. 2:35 A Faithful Priest Heb. 2:173:1-367:24-25
50. 1 Sam. 2:10 Shall be an anointed King to the Lord Mt. 28:18John 12:15
51. 2 Sam. 7:12 David’s Seed Matthew 1:1
52. 2 Sam. 7:13 His Kingdom is everlasting 2Peter 1:11
53. 2 Sam. 7:14 The Son of God Luke 1:32Romans 1:3-4
54. 2 Sam. 7:16 David’s house established forever Luke 3:31Rev. 22:16
55. 2 Ki. 2:11 The bodily ascension to heaven illustrated Luke 24:51
56. 1 Chr. 17:11 David’s Seed Matthew 1:19:27
57. 1 Chr. 17:12-13 To reign on David’s throne forever Luke 1:3233
58. 1 Chr. 17:13 “I will be His Father, He…my Son.” Hebrews 1:5
59. Job 9:32-33 Mediator between man and God 1 Timothy 2:5
60. Job 19:23-27 The Resurrection predicted John 5:24-29
61. Psa. 2:1-3 The enmity of kings foreordained Acts 4:25-28
62. Psa. 2:2 To own the title, Anointed (Christ) John 1:41Acts 2:36
63. Psa. 2:6 His Character-Holiness John 8:46Revelation 3:7
64. Psa. 2:6 To own the title King Matthew 2:2
65. Psa. 2:7 Declared the Beloved Son Matthew 3:17Romans 1:4
66. Psa. 2:78 The Crucifixion and Resurrection intimated Acts 13:29-33
67. Psa. 2:89 Rule the nations with a rod of iron Rev. 2:2712:519:15
68. Psa. 2:12 Life comes through faith in Him John 20:31
69. Psa. 8:2 The mouths of babes perfect His praise Matthew 21:16
70. Psa. 8:56 His humiliation and exaltation Hebrews 2:5-9
71. Psa. 9:7-10 Judge the world in righteousness Acts 17:31
72. Psa. 16:10 Was not to see corruption Acts 2:3113:35
73. Psa. 16:9-11 Was to arise from the dead John 20:9
74. Psa. 17:15 The resurrection predicted Luke 24:6
75. Psa. 18:2-3 The horn of salvation Luke 1:69-71
76. Psa. 22:1 Forsaken because of sins of others 2 Corinthians 5:21
77. Psa. 22:1 “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46
78. Psa. 22:2 Darkness upon Calvary for three hours Matthew 27:45
79. Psa. 22:7 They shoot out the lip and shake the head Matthew 27:39-44
80. Psa. 22:8 “He trusted in God, let Him deliver Him” Matthew 27:43
81. Psa. 22:9-10 Born the Saviour Luke 2:7
82. Psa. 22:12-13 They seek His death John 19:6
83. Psa. 22:14 His blood poured out when they pierced His side John 19:34
84. Psa. 22:1415 Suffered agony on Calvary Mark 15:34-37
85. Psa. 22:15 He thirsted John 19:28
86. Psa. 22:16 They pierced His hands and His feet John 19:343720:27
87. Psa. 22:1718 Stripped Him before the stares of men Luke 23:3435
88. Psa. 22:18 They parted His garments John 19:2324
89. Psa. 22:2021 He committed Himself to God Luke 23:46
90. Psa. 22:2021 Satanic power bruising the Redeemer’s heel Hebrews 2:14
91. Psa. 22:22 His Resurrection declared John 20:17
92. Psa. 22:27-28 He shall be the governor of the nations Colossians 1:16
93. Psa. 22:31 “It is finished” John 19:30Heb. 10:10121418
94. Psa. 23:1 “I am the Good Shepherd” John 10:111Peter 2:25
95. Psa. 24:3 His exaltation predicted Acts 1:11Philippians 2:9
96. Psa. 30:3 His resurrection predicted Acts 2:32
97. Psa. 31:5 “Into thy hands I commit my spirit” Luke 23:46
98. Psa. 31:11 His acquaintances fled from Him Mark 14:50
99. Psa. 31:13 They took counsel to put Him to death Mt. 27:1John 11:53
100. Psa. 31:1415 “He trusted in God, let Him deliver him” Matthew 27:43
101. Psa. 34:20 Not a bone of Him broken John 19:31-36
102. Psa. 35:11 False witnesses rose up against Him Matthew 26:59
103. Psa. 35:19 He was hated without a cause John 15:25
104. Psa. 38:11 His friends stood afar off Luke 23:49
105. Psa. 38:12 Enemies try to entangle Him by craft Mark 14:1Mt. 22:15
106. Psa. 38:12-13 Silent before His accusers Matthew 27:12-14
107. Psa. 38:20 He went about doing good Acts 10:38
108. Psa. 40:2-5 The joy of His resurrection predicted John 20:20
109. Psa. 40:6-8 His delight-the will of the Father John 4:34Heb. 10:5-10
110. Psa. 40:9 He was to preach the Righteousness in Israel Matthew 4:17
111. Psa. 40:14 Confronted by adversaries in the Garden John 18:4-6
112. Psa. 41:9 Betrayed by a familiar friend John 13:18
113. Psa. 45:2 Words of Grace come from His lips John 1:17Luke 4:22
114. Psa. 45:6 To own the title, God or Elohim Hebrews 1:8
115. Psa. 45:7 A special anointing by the Holy Spirit Mt. 3:16Heb. 1:9
116. Psa. 45:78 Called the Christ (Messiah or Anointed) Luke 2:11
117. Psa. 45:17 His name remembered forever Ephesians 1:20-21Heb. 1:8
118. Psa. 55:12-14 Betrayed by a friend, not an enemy John 13:18
119. Psa. 55:15 Unrepentant death of the Betrayer Matthew 27:3-5Acts 1:16-19
120. Psa. 68:18 To give gifts to men Ephesians 4:7-16
121. Psa. 68:18 Ascended into Heaven Luke 24:51
122. Psa. 69:4 Hated without a cause John 15:25
123. Psa. 69:8 A stranger to own brethren John 1:117:5
124. Psa. 69:9 Zealous for the Lord’s House John 2:17
125. Psa. 69:14-20 Messiah’s anguish of soul before crucifixion Matthew 26:36-45
126. Psa. 69:20 “My soul is exceeding sorrowful.” Matthew 26:38
127. Psa. 69:21 Given vinegar in thirst Matthew 27:34
128. Psa. 69:26 The Saviour given and smitten by God John 17:418:11
129. Psa. 72:1011 Great persons were to visit Him Matthew 2:1-11
130. Psa. 72:16 The corn of wheat to fall into the Ground John 12:24-25
131. Psa. 72:17 Belief on His name will produce offspring John 1:1213
132. Psa. 72:17 All nations shall be blessed by Him Galatians 3:8
133. Psa. 72:17 All nations shall call Him blessed John 12:13Rev. 5:8-12
134. Psa. 78:1-2 He would teach in parables Matthew 13:34-35
135. Psa. 78:2 To speak the Wisdom of God with authority Matthew 7:29
136. Psa. 80:17 The Man of God’s right hand Mark 14:61-62
137. Psa. 88 The Suffering and Reproach of Calvary Matthew 27:26-50
138. Psa. 88:8 They stood afar off and watched Luke 23:49
139. Psa. 89:27 Firstborn Colossians 1:1518
140. Psa. 89:27 Emmanuel to be higher than earthly kings Luke 1:3233
141. Psa. 89:35-37 David’s Seed, throne, kingdom endure forever Luke 1:3233
142. Psa. 89:36-37 His character-Faithfulness Revelation 1:519:11
143. Psa. 90:2 He is from everlasting (Micah 5:2) John 1:1
144. Psa. 91:1112 Identified as Messianic; used to tempt Christ Luke 4:1011
145. Psa. 97:9 His exaltation predicted Acts 1:11Ephesians 1:20
146. Psa. 100:5 His character-Goodness Matthew 19:1617
147. Psa. 102:1-11 The Suffering and Reproach of Calvary John 19:16-30
148. Psa. 102:25-27 Messiah is the Preexistent Son Hebrews 1:10-12
149. Psa. 109:25 Ridiculed Matthew 27:39
150. Psa. 110:1 Son of David Matthew 22:42-43
151. Psa. 110:1 To ascend to the right-hand of the Father Mark 16:19
152. Psa. 110:1 David’s son called Lord Matthew 22:4445
153. Psa. 110:4 A priest after Melchizedek’s order Hebrews 6:20
154. Psa. 112:4 His character-Compassionate, Gracious, et al Matthew 9:36
155. Psa. 118:1718 Messiah’s Resurrection assured Luke 24:5-71Cor. 15:20
156. Psa. 118:2223 The rejected stone is Head of the corner Matthew 21:4243
157. Psa. 118:26 The Blessed One presented to Israel Matthew 21:9
158. Psa. 118:26 To come while Temple standing Matthew 21:12-15
159. Psa. 132:11 The Seed of David (the fruit of His Body) Luke 1:32Act 2:30
160. Psa. 129:3 He was scourged Matthew 27:26
161. Psa. 138:1-6 The supremacy of David’s Seed amazes kings Matthew 2:2-6
162. Psa. 147:36 The earthly ministry of Christ described Luke 4:18
163. Prov. 1:23 He will send the Spirit of God John 16:7
164. Prov. 8:23 Foreordained from everlasting Rev. 13:81Peter 1:19-20
165. Song. 5:16 The altogether lovely One John 1:17
166. Isa. 2:3 He shall teach all nations John 4:25
167. Isa. 2:4 He shall judge among the nations John 5:22
168. Isa. 6:1 When Isaiah saw His glory John 12:40-41
169. Isa. 6:8 The One Sent by God John 12:38-45
170. Isa. 6:9-10 Parables fall on deaf ears Matthew 13:13-15
171. Isa. 6:9-12 Blinded to Christ and deaf to His words Acts 28:23-29
172. Isa. 7:14 To be born of a virgin Luke 1:35
173. Isa. 7:14 To be Emmanuel-God with us Matthew 1:18-231Tim. 3:16
174. Isa. 8:8 Called Emmanuel Matthew 28:20
175. Isa. 8:14 A stone of stumbling, a Rock of offense 1Peter 2:8
176. Isa. 9:12 His ministry to begin in Galilee Matthew 4:12-17
177. Isa. 9:6 A child born-Humanity Luke 1:31
178. Isa. 9:6 A Son given-Deity Luke 1:32John 1:141Tim. 3:16
179. Isa. 9:6 Declared to be the Son of God with power Romans 1:34
180. Isa. 9:6 The Wonderful One, Peleh Luke 4:22
181. Isa. 9:6 The Counsellor, Yaatz Matthew 13:54
182. Isa. 9:6 The Mighty God, El Gibor 1Cor. 1:24Titus 2:13
183. Isa. 9:6 The Everlasting Father, Avi Adth John 8:5810:30
184. Isa. 9:6 The Prince of Peace, Sar Shalom John 16:33
185. Isa. 9:7 Inherits the throne of David Luke 1:32
186. Isa. 9:7 His Character-Just John 5:30
187. Isa. 9:7 No end to his Government, Throne, and kingdom Luke 1:33
188. Isa. 11:1 Called a Nazarene-the Branch, Netzer Matthew 2:23
189. Isa. 11:1 A rod out of Jesse-Son of Jesse Luke 3:2332
190. Isa. 11:2 Anointed One by the Spirit Matthew 3:1617Acts 10:38
191. Isa. 11:2 His Character-Wisdom, Knowledge, et al Colossians 2:3
192. Isa. 11:3 He would know their thoughts Luke 6:8John 2:25
193. Isa. 11:4 Judge in righteousness Acts 17:31
194. Isa. 11:4 Judges with the sword of His mouth Rev. 2:1619:1115
195. Isa. 11:5 Character: Righteous & Faithful Rev. 19:11
196. Isa. 11:10 The Gentiles seek Him John 12:18-21
197. Isa. 12:2 Called Jesus-Yeshua Matthew 1:21
198. Isa. 22:22 The One given all authority to govern Revelation 3:7
199. Isa. 25:8 The Resurrection predicted 1Corinthians 15:54
200. Isa. 26:19 His power of Resurrection predicted Matthew 27:50-54
201. Isa. 28:16 The Messiah is the precious corner stone Acts 4:1112
202. Isa. 28:16 The Sure Foundation 1Corinthians 3:11Mt. 16:18
203. Isa. 29:13 He indicated hypocritical obedience to His Word Matthew 15:7-9
204. Isa. 29:14 The wise are confounded by the Word 1Corinthians 1:18-31
205. Isa. 32:2 A Refuge-A man shall be a hiding place Matthew 23:37
206. Isa. 35:4 He will come and save you Matthew 1:21
207. Isa. 35:5-6 To have a ministry of miracles Matthew 11:2-6
208. Isa. 40:34 Preceded by forerunner John 1:23
209. Isa. 40:9 “Behold your God.” John 1:3619:14
210. Isa. 40:10. He will come to reward Revelation 22:12
211. Isa. 40:11 A shepherd-compassionate life-giver John 10:10-18
212. Isa. 42:1-4 The Servant-as a faithful, patient redeemer Matthew 12:18-21
213. Isa. 42:2 Meek and lowly Matthew 11:28-30
214. Isa. 42:3 He brings hope for the hopeless Mt. 12:14-21John 4:1-54
215. Isa. 42:4 The nations shall wait on His teachings John 12:20-26
216. Isa. 42:6 The Light (salvation) of the Gentiles Luke 2:32
217. Isa. 42:16 His is a worldwide compassion Matthew 28:1920
218. Isa. 42:7 Blind eyes opened. John 9:25-38
219. Isa. 43:11 He is the only Saviour. Acts 4:12
220. Isa. 44:3 He will send the Spirit of God John 16:713
221. Isa. 45:21-25 He is Lord and Saviour Philippians 3:20Titus 2:13
222. Isa. 45:23 He will be the Judge John 5:22Romans 14:11
223. Isa. 46:910 Declares things not yet done John 13:19
224. Isa. 48:12 The First and the Last John 1:30Revelation 1:817
225. Isa. 48:1617 He came as a Teacher John 3:2
226. Isa. 49:1 Called from the womb-His humanity Matthew 1:18
227. Isa. 49:5 A Servant from the womb. Luke 1:31Philippians 2:7
228. Isa. 49:6 He will restore Israel Acts 3:19-2115:16-17
229. Isa. 49:6 He is Salvation for Israel Luke 2:29-32
230. Isa. 49:6 He is the Light of the Gentiles John 8:12Acts 13:47
231. Isa. 49:6 He is Salvation unto the ends of the earth Acts 15:7-18
232. Isa. 49:7 He is despised of the Nation John 1:118:48-49, 19:14-15
233. Isa. 50:3 Heaven is clothed in black at His humiliation Luke 23:4445
234. Isa. 50:4 He is a learned counselor for the weary Matthew 7:2911:2829
235. Isa. 50:5 The Servant bound willingly to obedience Matthew 26:39
236. Isa. 50:6 “I gave my back to the smiters.” Matthew 27:26
237. Isa. 50:6 He was smitten on the cheeks Matthew 26:67
238. Isa. 50:6 He was spat upon Matthew 27:30
239. Isa. 52:7 Published good tidings upon mountains Matthew 5:1215:2928:16
240. Isa. 52:13 The Servant exalted Acts 1:8-11Eph. 1:19-22Php. 2:5-9
241. Isa. 52:14 The Servant shockingly abused Luke 18:31-34Mt. 26:6768
242. Isa. 52:15 Nations startled by message of the Servant Luke 18:31-34Mt. 26:6768
243. Isa. 52:15 His blood shed sprinkles nations Hebrews 9:13-14Rev. 1:5
244. Isa. 53:1 His people would not believe Him John 12:37-38
245. Isa. 53:2 Appearance of an ordinary man Philippians 2:6-8
246. Isa. 53:3 Despised Luke 4:28-29
247. Isa. 53:3 Rejected Matthew 27:21-23
248. Isa. 53:3 Great sorrow and grief Matthew 26:37-38Luke 19:41Heb. 4:15
249. Isa. 53:3 Men hide from being associated with Him Mark 14:50-52
250. Isa. 53:4 He would have a healing ministry Matthew 8:16-17
251. Isa. 53:4 Thought to be cursed by God Matthew 26:6627:41-43
252. Isa. 53:5 Bears penalty for mankind’s iniquities 2Cor. 5:21Heb. 2:9
253. Isa. 53:5 His sacrifice provides peace between man and God Colossians 1:20
254. Isa. 53:5 His sacrifice would heal man of sin 1Peter 2:24
255. Isa. 53:6 He would be the sin-bearer for all mankind 1John 2:24:10
256. Isa. 53:6 God’s will that He bear sin for all mankind Galatians 1:4
257. Isa. 53:7 Oppressed and afflicted Matthew 27:27-31
258. Isa. 53:7 Silent before his accusers Matthew 27:12-14
259. Isa. 53:7 Sacrificial lamb John 1:291Peter 1:18-19
260. Isa. 53:8 Confined and persecuted Matthew 26:47-7527:1-31
261. Isa. 53:8 He would be judged John 18:13-22
262. Isa. 53:8 Killed Matthew 27:35
263. Isa. 53:8 Dies for the sins of the world 1John 2:2
264. Isa. 53:9 Buried in a rich man’s grave Matthew 27:57
265. Isa. 53:9 Innocent and had done no violence Luke 23:41John 18:38
266. Isa. 53:9 No deceit in his mouth 1Peter 2:22
267. Isa. 53:10 God’s will that He die for mankind John 18:11
268. Isa. 53:10 An offering for sin Matthew 20:28Galatians 3:13
269. Isa. 53:10 Resurrected and live forever Romans 6:9
270. Isa. 53:10 He would prosper John 17:1-5
271. Isa. 53:11 God fully satisfied with His suffering John 12:27
272. Isa. 53:11 God’s servant would justify man Romans 5:8-918-19
273. Isa. 53:11 The sin-bearer for all mankind Hebrews 9:28
274. Isa. 53:12 Exalted by God because of his sacrifice Matthew 28:18
275. Isa. 53:12 He would give up his life to save mankind Luke 23:46
276. Isa. 53:12 Numbered with the transgressors Mark 15:27-28Luke 22:37
277. Isa. 53:12 Sin-bearer for all mankind 1Peter 2:24
278. Isa. 53:12 Intercede to God in behalf of mankind Luke 23:34Rom. 8:34
279. Isa. 55:3 Resurrected by God Acts 13:34
280. Isa. 55:4 A witness John 18:37
281. Isa. 55:4 He is a leader and commander Hebrews 2:10
282. Isa. 55:5 God would glorify Him Acts 3:13
283. Isa. 59:16a Intercessor between man and God Matthew 10:32
284. Isa. 59:16b He would come to provide salvation John 6:40
285. Isa. 59:20 He would come to Zion as their Redeemer Luke 2:38
286. Isa. 60:1-3 He would shew light to the Gentiles Acts 26:23
287. Isa. 61:1 The Spirit of God upon him Matthew 3:16-17
288. Isa. 61:1 The Messiah would preach the good news Luke 4:16-21
289. Isa. 61:1 Provide freedom from the bondage of sin John 8:31-36
290. Isa. 61:1-2 Proclaim a period of grace Galatians 4:4-5
291. Jer. 11:21 Conspiracy to kill Jesus John 7:1, Matthew 21:38
292. Jer. 23:5-6 Descendant of David Luke 3:23-31
293. Jer. 23:5-6 The Messiah would be both God and Man John 13:131Ti 3:16
294. Jer. 31:22 Born of a virgin Matthew 1:18-20
295. Jer. 31:31 The Messiah would be the new covenant Matthew 26:28
296. Jer. 33:14-15 Descendant of David Luke 3:23-31
297. Eze.34:23-24 Descendant of David Matthew 1:1
298. Eze.37:24-25 Descendant of David Luke 1:31-33
299. Dan. 2:44-45 The Stone that shall break the kingdoms Matthew 21:44
300. Dan. 7:13-14 He would ascend into heaven Acts 1:9-11
301. Dan. 7:13-14 Highly exalted Ephesians 1:20-22
302. Dan. 7:13-14 His dominion would be everlasting Luke 1:31-33
303. Dan. 9:24 To make an end to sins Galatians 1:3-5
304. Dan. 9:24 To make reconciliation for iniquity Romans 5:102Cor. 5:18-21
305. Dan. 9:24 He would be holy Luke 1:35
306. Dan. 9:25 His announcement John 12:12-13
307. Dan. 9:26 Cut off Matthew 16:2121:38-39
308. Dan. 9:26 Die for the sins of the world Hebrews 2:9
309. Dan. 9:26 Killed before the destruction of the temple Matthew 27:50-51
310. Dan. 10:5-6 Messiah in a glorified state Revelation 1:13-16
311. Hos. 11:1 He would be called out of Egypt Matthew 2:15
312. Hos. 13:14 He would defeat death 1Corinthians 15:55-57
313. Joel 2:32 Offer salvation to all mankind Romans 10:9-13
314. Jonah 1:17 Death and resurrection of Christ Matthew 12:4016:4
315. Mic. 5:2 Born in Bethlehem Matthew 2:1-6
316. Mic. 5:2 Ruler in Israel Luke 1:33
317. Mic. 5:2 From everlasting John 8:58
318. Hag. 2:6-9 He would visit the second Temple Luke 2:27-32
319. Hag. 2:23 Descendant of Zerubbabel Luke 2:27-32
320. Zech. 3:8 God’s servant John 17:4
321. Zech. 6:12-13 Priest and King Hebrews 8:1
322. Zech. 9:9 Greeted with rejoicing in Jerusalem Matthew 21:8-10
323. Zech. 9:9 Beheld as King John 12:12-13
324. Zech. 9:9 The Messiah would be just John 5:30
325. Zech. 9:9 The Messiah would bring salvation Luke 19:10
326. Zech. 9:9 The Messiah would be humble Matthew 11:29
327. Zech. 9:9 Presented to Jerusalem riding on a donkey Matthew 21:6-9
328. Zech. 10:4 The cornerstone Ephesians 2:20
329. Zech. 11:4-6 At His coming, Israel to have unfit leaders Matthew 23:1-4
330. Zech. 11:4-6 Rejection causes God to remove His protection Luke 19:41-44
331. Zech. 11:4-6 Rejected in favor of another king John 19:13-15
332. Zech. 11:7 Ministry to “poor,” the believing remnant Matthew 9:35-36
333. Zech. 11:8 Unbelief forces Messiah to reject them Matthew 23:33
334. Zech. 11:8 Despised Matthew 27:20
335. Zech. 11:9 Stops ministering to those who rejected Him Matthew 13:10-11
336. Zech. 11:10-11 Rejection causes God to remove protection Luke 19:41-44
337. Zech. 11:10-11 The Messiah would be God John 14:7
338. Zech. 11:12-13 Betrayed for thirty pieces of silver Matthew 26:14-15
339. Zech. 11:12-13 Rejected Matthew 26:14-15
340. Zech. 11:12-13 Thirty pieces of silver cast in the house of the Lord Matthew 27:3-5
341. Zech. 11:12-13 The Messiah would be God John 12:45
342. Zech. 12:10 The Messiah’s body would be pierced John 19:34-37
343. Zech. 12:10 The Messiah would be both God and man John 10:30
344. Zech. 12:10 The Messiah would be rejected John 1:11
345. Zech. 13:7 God’s will He die for mankind John 18:11
346. Zech. 13: A violent death Mark 14:27
347. Zech. 13:7 Both God and man John 14:9
348. Zech. 13:7 Israel scattered as a result of rejecting Him Matthew 26:31-56
349. Zech. 14:4 He would return to the Mt. of Olives Acts 1:11-12
350. Mal. 3:1 Messenger to prepare the way for Messiah Mark 1:1-8
351. Mal. 3:1 Sudden appearance at the temple Mark 11:15-16
352. Mal. 3:1 Messenger of the new covenant Luke 4:43
353. Mal. 3:6 The God who changes not Hebrews 13:8
354. Mal. 4:5 Forerunner in spirit of Elijah Mt. 3:1-311:10-1417:11-13
355. Mal. 4:6 Forerunner would turn many to righteousness Luke 1:16-17

Psalm 16.1-11 – I Shall Not Be Moved

 

Psalm 16.1-11 – I Shall Not Be Moved

How do most of us complete this sentence? “The key to happiness is _______________________”.  What do you thing that happiness is?  Where does it come from?  What about joy?  Is joy based upon out “happiness”?  Is it possible to go through trying circumstances and to still have genuine joy?

In Psalm 16 we see a very personal song.  The author uses the terms “my”, “I” and “me” twenty-three different times and in 10 of the 11 verses of this Psalm.  Some of the terms he use are:

  • I put my trust (v1)
  • Will I not offer (v4)
  • I have a goodly inheritance (v5)
  • I will bless the Lord (v6)
  • My heart is glad (v9)

The singer of this song is truly appreciative of what the Lord has done in their life.  The poet is genuinely appreciative of what the Lord still is doing in their life, and they author knows and rejoices in the knowledge what the Lord will do in their life and in the generations to come.

In our lives we will have troubles, and sorrows.  We will have loved ones who will pass away.  We will have friends who abandon us.  We may fall ill from sickness or disease.  Some may have terrible accidents caused by someone else’s foolishness that will maim us for life.

Bearing the Cross of Jesus has it’s own troubles outside of these things mentioned that happens just as a matter of life.  Rejection, ridicule, social ostracizing are things that all Christians encounter at some point in their walk with Christ.  Some lose jobs and fall on financial hardships from sharing their testimony.  Some suffer more severe repercussions.  Some are imprisoned, beaten, and tortured for years.  Some are executed and suffer acid attack, burnings, hangings, and even crucifixion themselves.

Yet joy is not an emotion.  Joy is a command.  Philippians 4.4 tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always”.  Then the Apostle Paul tells us why, in our rejoicing in adversity, as well as in celebrations, we show to “all men” that the Lord is at hand, He is very present in our time of need. Psalm 5.11 explains, “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.  For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield.”

Seeking joy is not small thing.  God wants us to be happy, but he also knows that only place that we can find happiness and true joy is in his presence.  So he commands us to seek him.  In verse 1 of Psalm 16 David prayed, “Preserve me…. O God!  David knew he was in need and knew who could help him.  He went straight to the source.  He immediately took his need to the ONE who cared, and had the authority to do something about his plight.  David right away put his trust in the Lord, God!  Then he restated his faith in verse 2 and even went further to declare that “my goodness extendeth not to thee”.  David is simply acknowledging that he has not good outside of God.

David acknowledges to God,

 

  • I have done NOTHING for your favor!
  • Still my soul calls out to you!
  • I have commanded my soul to submit to you!
  • I am at your great mercy!

In verse 3-4 David draws a contrast in what He knows about the differences between those who trust in God and those who don’t.  Those who follow after other gods will have their sorrows multiplied.  Those other gods cannot deliver them out of their troubles.  Listen if money is what you put your trust in, it will burn up!  When I use to be a practicing alcoholic, when payday came around and I went to the bar and bought rounds for everyone in the bar, and threw my money around like I was some kind of a big shot.  I have all kinds of friends.  People called me “brother”, and said things like, “Man I love you”, “If you ever need someone, call on me”.  But you know when the money ran out.  So did my friends.  Those who supposedly loved me were gone.  The ones who said that I could count on them, even after I went broke buying them drink after drink, couldn’t even spare the cash to get me a bottle of water to sooth my thirst.  Friends your other gods will abandon you, because they are NOT real!

In contrast David tells us, those who server the Living God, those who trust in Jesus, will never be abandoned.  He won’t leave you thirsting for water in your time of need, because He is the living water!  Amen!  The God of Heaven, the Creator of all that is seen and unseen has given me an inheritance.  You know what that means?  That means that I will NEVER be without!  The One true God who made all of the splendor of the universe has given me pleasant places to dwell.  He has a place with many mansions, and He has prepared a place form me!  I know this because he said so.  I also know this because every single day he gives me the things I need.  Like David it is not because of anything that I have done, it is not because I have been a good man.  I did not earn His favor.  He just loves me.  He has always loved me from the foundations of the earth.  You know he has always loved you, from before you were formed in the womb?  It is true.  He said it.

The Psalmist goes on to say that He is joyful, that we can be joyful because we can rest in the assurance of who God IS!  David said that the Lord:

  • Gives counsel (wisdom)
  • Gives instructions (Correction)
  • Will never leave us alone (Protection)
  • Show us the way (Guidance)
  • Gives us everlasting pleasures in Him (Rewards Us)

It is the Lord who sustains us.  When we acknowledge Him as our Lord, when we submit to Him and choose to follow Him as our God, the one True God sustains us.  He sets hi seal on us through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, and keeps us to the day of redemption.  It is not our doing at all.  This is where our joy comes from.  Amen!

Remember this and apply it to your heart…

“I have set the Lord always before me:  because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.  Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” Psalm 11.8-9

It Shall Prosper

 

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:11

I heard a story about a minister by the name of Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892).  For those who do not know who this man was, he was and still is a world renowned Baptist preacher whose sermons and quotes are still used as a reference or verbatim in many pulpits even today.  He was a Methodist that converted to Baptist and still held to his Calvinist theology.  He once remarked, “I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist, but if I am asked what is my creed, I reply, ‘It is Jesus Christ.’”

So as the story goes, Spurgeon was to speak at the Crystal Palace in London and the venue had an expectation of over 20,000.  Days before the event Spurgeon and some of the staff went to check the acoustics in the Crystal Palace, so that they could place the pulpit in the optimal position to carry his voice with the best reception throughout the room.

Spurgeon got behind the pulpit and bellowed out one verse, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the son of the world!” (John 1:29).  This is the statement John the Baptist exclaimed when he saw the Spirit of God descend on Jesus and remained on Jesus.  Spurgeon’s sound test carried all though the structure and reached ears of one of the workers in an adjacent gallery.

The worker was immediately overtaken with conviction, and not know what to do, left and went home.  After a while the conviction grew so intense that the worker repented of his lifestyle and accepted Jesus as his savior.  With just those simple words of Scripture, the Holy Spirit went to work in this man’s conscience.  Spurgeon, unknowingly had planted a seed in the man’s heart.  The Spirit of God moved on the man’s heart and grew that seed into a spiritual harvest.

We tend to think that we have to have all the right words to say, or the right way to say it, that we have to be clever in our delivery.  We sometimes feel that we don’t even know what we should say.  Well, sometimes we should just get out of the way and do what the Lord told us to do, Preach the Word, and let Him do the rest.  The responsibility of saving someone’s soul is not ours.  Jesus already saved their soul.  Our responsibility it to just bear witness to the Truth. Peter said that “he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.” (Acts 10:42).

When Peter proclaimed Jesus Christ to Cornelius in Acts 10.36-48, Peter did not even get to finish his sermon before the Holy Spirit fell on ALL that was there.  The Scripture that Peter shared and the testimony he gave concerning Jesus was used by the Spirit to convict Cornelius and his guests, all at the same time.  We should therefore concentrate on sharing of the scripture, and communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our own lives and in scripture.  We should focus on Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2.2)

1 John 1:1-4 What Have Your Heard?

1 John 1:1-4 What Have You Heard?

  1. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
  2. (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
  3. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
  4. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

John was so overwhelmed with the importance of his message that he dispensed with normal salutations and introductions what would normally arrive in such a letter. During the time of the writing of this epistle the church was being influenced with by the acceptance of Gnosticism.

The Gnostics were marked with a philosophy that had a variety of views, one such basic view is that the spirit is good and matter is inherently evil, and the two constantly war against one another.  So then the one who is more knowledgeable or of a strong enough will, could overcome the weaknesses of the flesh. As a result Gnosticism held two major thoughts on Christ.

Docetic Gnosticism held that the humanity of Christ was ethereal, and that he only appeared to have a body. That is that Jesus was just a phantom force, which appeared and had no real physical substance.

Cerinthus Gnosticism held that the man Jesus, the son of Joseph and Mary was not the “Christ” until is was bestowed upon him at his baptism and then the Spirit empowered his ministry, and then it left him before the crucifixion.

Now you may ask, who cares if they believed this?  What does it matter?  Well either view of Jesus in this manner removes the incarnation of Christ, and the atonement of his sacrifice.  The word “incarnation” simply means “the act of being made flesh”.  In other words, Jesus was indeed the Son of God and became man through his divine intervention and as such remained both God and man.

The Gospel of John puts it this way.  “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1).

If Jesus was not “Christ” from before his birth, through his death, and resurrection then he would have been just a man.  As a man, he could not have escaped the original sin of Adam. Jesus could not have brought atonement because he would have had sin.  It doesn’t matter how enlightened he may have been.  Knowledge does not relieve us of sin, knowledge exposes sin.

You see Adam (man) was created by God.  In fact man was singled out from all of God’s creation to be made in the likeness of God.  As part of this likeness of God man was created with a free will.  When man was created and set in the world he was given dominion over all the earth and man was without sin.  In fact when God finished creation He looked at it and said that it was “good”.

But man rebelled against God, of his own free will, and then sin entered into man, and a curse has since followed man.  Now that man was in sin and darkness, he was separated from God, because God is pure and righteous.  His presence would destroy man.  Romans 5:12 tells us, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered in to the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”.

So you see a man cannot save man, because he is already tainted with sin.  Only God can save man, through a sinless sacrifice that would only be made once, one that could cover all of man’s sin, past, present and future.  There could only be one way to bridge the gap between man (creation) and God (Creator), God would have to provide the sacrifice.  This shows the necessity of God becoming man.

God had compassion on man.  God in his grace, had a plan to redeem man, from the very beginning.

The whole bible from beginning to end is a revelation of God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ.  In Genesis 3:15 God tells the serpent that deceived Adam and Eve into rebellion that, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

This is the first prophecy concerning the salvation that would come through Jesus.  There are over 300 prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus in his short life here on earth, and there are still more prophecies yet to be fulfilled upon his return.

The author of this letter claims to be an eye witness to the ministry of Christ.  This makes the author and authority on who Jesus is and what he is doing. We must not ever forget the importance of having a witness.  John is telling his readers of this epistle that the things that they have been taught concerning Jesus is the truth and has been witnesses by them.  The witnesses are in what they have heard, both in the scriptures and in the words of Jesus.

  • Your testimony of what Jesus has done in your life is your witness of the truth of Jesus.
  • No one else can stand up and proclaim what you have seen and what you have heard from God.
  • No one else can explain how the love of Jesus has changed your heart.
  • No one else can explain the release of the guilt and the shame that you have suffered.

There is an old saying that people love to use.  “Who are you to judge me?” This is a true statement.  Who are you?  To many Christians get saved and in their enthusiasm to have others convert, forget that they were once lost and in rebellion.  They forget that it took someone who in genuine concern reached out and connected with them.

And you know how they did that?

  • They shared who they were, and who they are now.
  • They shared how Jesus made that difference and they shared the love that was given to them – freely.

It does not matter how much time we spend in church, Sunday school, or in memorizing bible scriptures.  It doesn’t even matter if we speak in tongues, or if we can heal others at a touch.  What matters is if we can reach out in love.  We have to love others enough to overcome the fear and insecurity of sharing our testimony.

Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one to another.” (John 13:35).  He also said that I speak that which I have heard of the father.  Jesus led by example.

He didn’t talk about things he didn’t know.

  • He talked about things of heaven.
  • He explained the things that pertained to the Kingdom of God.
  • He gave examples and illustrations.
  • He testified of things he knew, that he had seen, and he had heard.

How?

  • Because he is God.
  • He existed before creation.
  • He was the creator.

So what do you know? What have you seen?  What have you heard?

You know the truth

  • Jesus is the Son of God
  • Jesus is faithful
  • Jesus loves you
  • Jesus forgave you
  • Jesus provided atonement for you
  • Jesus released you from your bondage
  • From sexual immortality
  • From lies
  • From disease
  • From the bondage of sin
  • Jesus gave you a choice again
  • You are no longer a slave
  • You have eternal life

These are the things that are in your testimony.  Henry Clay Trumbull (1830-1903) is considered one of God’s pioneers in soul-winning evangelism.  In fact he wrote the first books ever devoted strictly to the principles of personal evangelism.  He was a renowned expositor of scripture, missionary, organizer and lecturer.  He was the editor of the Civil War era publication. “The Sunday School Times”.  He was the author of 38 books in total.  He lectured at Yale University and traveled relentlessly spreading and teaching the gospel.  Yet here is what he said concerning personal evangelism.

“Looking back upon my work in all these years I can see more direct results of good through my individual efforts with individuals that I can know of through all my spoken words to thousands upon thousands of persons in religious assemblies, or all my written words on the pages of periodicals or of books.  Reaching one person at a time is the BEST way of reaching all the world in time.”

When Jesus said no man lights a candle and puts it under a table, but he puts in on top of the table so that all who enter the house can see the light, he was talking about you.  You are the light of Christ!  Don’t put it under a table and hide it!  Tell somebody what Jesus has done for you. –Amen!

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A Portrait of the Last Days

Eschatology is the study of the last things, often referred to as end times, or last days, and even as “the day of the Lord.”  These terms are often used interchangeably, even though context and perspective should dictate otherwise.  For instance, when we talk about the “last days” what are we actually referring to?  When we ask if we are living in the last days, do we mean are we in the last days for Israel, the Church, or the end of mankind?  We must differentiate what we are talking about when we discuss the last days with scriptural context.  When referring to these terms we need to determine whether the Bible is speaking of the last days as relating to Israel, or of the end times in reference to the church (Hitchcock, Mark. The End).  Understand that everything in the Bible is to teach that Jesus has come to fulfill the Old Testament promises and that Jesus is the promised Messiah sent from God the Father. (Luke 1:30-33) The prophets (John 1:29), scriptures, Apostles, and even the angels (Luke 2:10-11), demons (Mark 1:24), and God Himself (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5;Luke 3:22; Mark 9:7) bore witness that Jesus came to the earth, died for our sin, and was resurrected, ascended to his Father, and that he will come again to judge both the living and the dead.

The timeline of the return of Christ is discussed in several portions of the bible, both in the Old Testament and the New.  By using the book of the Revelation of John we can get the general flow of the timeline to be in this manner.  Revelation 1-3 covers the Church here on earth. The rapture of the Church then happens as covered in 1 Thessalonians 4.  The book of Revelation switches back and forth between events in heaven and events on earth.  Once the church is raptured then the 7 years of tribulation occurs on earth, depicted in Revelation 6-18, and the Judgement seat of Christ and Marriage of the Lamb occur in heaven as shown in Revelation 4-5;19:1-10. Then the Lord, “the Word of God” returns to establish his kingdom on earth (Revelation 19:11-21), at this time Satan is bound for 1000 years (Revelation 20:1-3).  Once the 1000 years has been completed, Satan will be loosed from the pit and will cause the nations to war against the Lamb, and this will bring the final judgement of God (Revelation 20:7-15). The Revelation of John the Apostle ends with the Lord establishing a new heavens and a new earth, and establishing his kingdom for ever (Revelation 21-22).

John Macarthur explains concerning the reading of Revelation,

“The book of Revelation is the ultimate action thriller. Anyone who loves a great novel will certainly love this book.  It contains drama, suspense, mystery, and horror.  It tells of rebellion, unprecedented economic collapse, and the ultimate war of human history.  Revelation is a book of astounding drama and horror, but also of hope and joy.  It culminates with a happy ending, as sin and death are banished forever (21:4; 22:3).”(John MacArthur Explains the Book of Revelation.2007).

What has become known as “The Olivet Discourse” is considered to be a concise outline of the end times.  This discussion was held by Jesus on Mount Olivet with just four of his disciples: Peter, James, John, and Andrew.  This discussion took place shortly after Jesus had made a remark to the disciples concerning the eventual destruction of the temple at Jerusalem. The disciples were concerned with what would be the sign of the destruction of the temple and the return of the Lord.  They could not imagine the destruction of the temple and the return of the Lord as separate events (Zechariah 14:1-11). The sermon is recorded in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21; and addresses specifically the seven years of tribulation prior to the Lords return.  In this revelation, Jesus gave 8 signs that would increase in intensity and frequency, “as birth pains”, as the time of His return grew closer.

The signs are: wars; famines; earthquakes (Mathew 24:7); persecution (Mathew 24:9); false prophets (Mathew 24:5; 11); apostasy (Mathew 24:10); lawlessness (Mathew 24:12); and worldwide preaching of the gospel, and “then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24.14).  All of these signs have been fulfilled and are continuing to be fulfilled.  Jesus said that these signs would be like birth pains growing in frequency and intensity.  So that even as when a woman is in labor you can tell that she is about to give birth because her contractions are getting stronger and closer together and the slowly get in more and more pain, then you know the baby is in the birth canal.  So we can see that as the time of Christ’s return gets closer we will see more intensity and frequency in the signs listed above.  Still Jesus does say that these signs are “just the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). Then Jesus mentions a final indication that the time is right for his return.  This sign is so significant that he warns that when this sign is seen, that those who witness it should flee and hide in the mountains.  They who witness this final sign should be so flee so urgently that they should not even go back into their house to get their coat!  “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand. Then let them which be in Judea flea into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:” (Matthew 24:15-17).

The book of Daniel covers what is commonly referred to as the 70 weeks of Daniel and is considered the “Backbone of Bible Prophecy” and “God’s Prophetic Clock”.  The 70 week time period covers an expanse of 490 years.  The 490 years is a countdown to the fulfillment of the promises of God concerning the nation of Israel.  The church is not directly included in this timeline.  Mark Hitchcock explains in his book, The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days, that the 70 weeks have six divine goals in their purpose, as listed here:

  • To finish the transgression
  • To make an end of sin
  • To make atonement for iniquity
  • To bring in everlasting righteousness
  • To seal up the vision and the prophecy
  • To anoint the Most Holy Place

The clock of Daniel started ticking in 444BC when Artaxerxes, King of Persia, allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild (Nehemiah 2:1-8).  Xerxes allowed Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem with written letters of authorization for safe passage and use of the king’s forests for supplies to rebuild Jerusalem.  Then 483 years transpired between the actions of Nehemiah 2:1-8 and the coming of Jesus as the Messiah in AD 33 (Luke 19:28-44).  This means that the first 69 weeks prophesied in Daniel have already occurred (Daniel 9:25).  There is only one week in remaining, the 70th Week of Daniel.  This is the final week, or period of 7 years.

We are now living in what is called “The Church Age”, or the “Age of Grace”.  The prophetic clock for Israel has been halted for almost 2000 years, since the fulfillment of the killing of the Messiah for our sins (Isaiah 53; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 5:6-8) and the destruction of the Temple (Matthew 24; Daniel 9:26).  The church age was established to give a time for Grace to abound.  The church, the body of Christ, are here to be a light to the lost, by our manner of living and to show the testimony of God’s grace.  In this way God is glorified. (Matthew 5:13-16).  The Lord has paused the timeline, for our benefit.  He is has not abandoned the world, or thrown in the towel.  He is demonstrating patience and love to us because he does not want anyone to die in their sin, but to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

The church looks forward to the rapture of the church.  Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 we should be ready because in an instant the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed and be made immortal.  We will be brought up and glorified in Christ.

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have not hope.  For it we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descent from heaven with shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

If all we had to go by on the rapture were these two references, it would be enough to understand that: (1) we cannot inherit the kingdom of God in these “earth suits”, because they are mortal and corrupted. (2) the rapture is concerned only with the church and is only the 1st phase in the line of events that leads to the return of Jesus as Lord, and (3) this is solely dependent on the grace and will of God Himself.  The rapture of the church is the next great event that will occur in bible prophecy.  Jesus will return and claim his bride.  “The ‘Marriage of the Lamb,’ as described in Rev. 19:1-10, will take place in heaven, during the time of the awful ‘Wrath of God’ being poured out upon the Earth.” (Sharrit. 1978). That is to say that the church will be raptured up by Christ prior to the tribulation, and the marriage of the Lamb will take place in heaven while the 70th week of Daniels prophecy continues on earth.

The 70 Weeks are for Israel’s benefit, so that they can repent and accept Jesus as the Messiah.  The prophet Daniel continues on in his vision.  The final antichrist will come on the scene, and he will make a peace treaty with many for one week.  This is the final week, the 70th week of Daniel (Daniel 9:27).  Then halfway through the peace period, the antichrist will break the peace.  He will double-cross Israel and sacrilege the temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 13:14-15). The Antichrist will proclaim himself as God (Danial 11:36; 12:11).  This marks the final 3 ½ years of the tribulation.

During this time, since the church will have already been removed in the rapture, God will send two witnesses. These two witnesses will be responsible to preach and prepare the way of the Lord.  They will be given miraculous powers and have the authority and ability to call down fire from heaven and to cause it to not rain. Their miracles will be similar to those of Moses and Elijah (John the Baptist), who also appeared, to minister to Jesus, in the account of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain recorded in Matthew 17.  Jesus tells us that Elijah had already come to clear the way for his (Jesus’) coming.  Malachi 3.1 declares, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, who ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.”  Elijah is the Lords profit. Jesus declared that there has been no greater profit in history, which is to say that there has been no prophet with a more important purpose than John the Baptist.  The reference to the messenger of the covenant could only be Moses who brought the law down from Mt Sanai, Moses and Abraham are the most influential prophets in Judaism. Moses however, is the messenger of the covenant. These two Elijah and Moses will be given their unique message and extraordinary powers in order to reach out to the nation of Israel for a last chance to accept Jesus as Lord, prior to his return.  Their time will be brief and they will eventually be martyred and put on display in the streets of Jerusalem.  After 31/2 days there will be a major earthquake, a sign from God, and the two witnesses will be raised from the dead and ascend into heaven.  This earthquake will cause great destruction in Israel and kill many inhabitants, but those who remain will believe and give glory to God (Revelation 11).

This time period is also known as the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 7:21).He will then begin to persecute all those who refuse to accept his lordship. The intensity of the persecutions is so intense that nothing like it has ever been seen on the face of the earth since time began, and there will never be anything like it again; it will be un-parallel in human existence (Matthew 24:21).  Jacob is Israel, he had 12 sons and God made him change his name to Israel (Genesis 32:28), the descendants of Jacob (Israel) are the Jews.  The passages referring to this period as Jacob’s trouble refer to this being an Israeli plight.  This period of tribulation is targeted at Israel and his descendants. This is necessary because if we continue to read the passage it tells us “But he shall be saved out of it.”  The great tribulation results in salvation for Israel.

“Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.  But thou, Beth-lehem Eph’ra-tah, though thou be little among the thousands of Juda, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting.  Therefore will he give them up, unto the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.  And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide; for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.” (Micah 5:1-5)

At the end of the 70th week God will kill the antichrist and bind Satan in the bottomless pit for 1000 years (Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:20).  Jesus will rule from the throne of David as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Isaiah chapter 11 gives a view of what the millennial kingdom will be like.  There will be a time of peace, which only the Lord Jesus could bring.  The whole earth will be blessed through the Lord dwelling in Israel.  “Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion.  For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the Lord. Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people.  I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.” (Zechariah 2:10-11).  Isaiah continues to describe this period with peace towards man and all of creation. Even predatory animals like lions and bears will be at peace with one another and with man, just as it was in the beginning.  Once this time has been fulfilled, then Satan will be set free for a short period of time.

When Satan is released he gets busy with the task of deceiving the nations, and leads them in a rebellion against Jesus.  This culminates in the battle of Armageddon.  When the armies of Satan are arrayed out against the armies of the Lord fire comes down from heaven and destroys the complete army of the deceiver.  Once the armies of the nations who rebelled are destroyed, Satan is thrown into the lake of fire, where the beast and the false prophet were cast into.

Then the judgment of all the wicked before the throne of God occurs, and everyone whose name is not found in the Book of Life will be cast in to the lake of fire just like the devil and his demons.  “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Revelation 20:11-12).  There won’t be any place to hide.  It won’t matter how rich and poor you were in life, it won’t matter how influential you were in this life.  Everyone will be judged by the same standards.  First, did you believe and follow Jesus?  If you did not, then you will be judged by the very Word of God you rejected.  What now?  All of this being true, should we not have an urgency about the work to which we have been called?

Jesus warned us that he would return when we did not expect it. “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man (the return of Jesus) be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered in to the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:37-39).  Christians can look forward to this return with great anticipation, and can be encouraged knowing that the things that they suffer through and endure for Christ’s sake are being noted and will be rewarded, not just now in this life, but in the kingdom to come.

We also have a grave responsibility as stewards of this knowledge.  As we look around us we know that the world political climate is growing more unstable by the moment.  The spread of persecution against the church and the Hebrew people has grown exponentially since the turn of the Century.  While our capacity to reach civilizations all over the world for Christ through television, radio, social media, and the ease of modern day travel has increased the actual mission in the field and financial support for such missions has declined.  Churches report baptizing and serving fewer members than ever in recent history indicate an apostasy (2 Timothy 3).  The last days are characterized in the bible by “lawlessness” or “iniquity or iniquities”.  We have kicked God out of our Governments, schools, and even most of our churches.  In the United States, as of June 8, 2017 there have been an estimated 405,471 abortions performed since 1973. (“Number of Abortions – Abortion Counters.” Number of Abortions in US & Worldwide – Number of Abortions since 1973. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2017).  Homosexuality and Transgendered tendencies are not only accepted, but expected.

Those who speak out against this abomination are ridiculed fined and even suffer loss of jobs and imprisonment, even here in the United States.  Everyone has freedom of speech except those who proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is the way it was before the flood of Noah’s Ark.  God was sorry that he even made man (Genesis 6:6). We all know someone who needs to know the truth.  We all know someone who needs to turn and repent before it is too late, before we are taken away in the rapture and they then have to face the wrath of God.  Being stewards of the knowledge of the Word of God gives us an awesome responsibility to reach out to those who walk in ignorance.  Our boldness does not come from arrogance, but from love and understanding of the peril that our loved ones are in imminent danger and are out of time. Jesus could come right now.  As John said. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”(Revelation 22:20)

 

References

Hitchcock, Mark. The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days. Ed. Adan Graber`. Illinois: Tyndale House, 2012. Print.

Sharrit, John T. Soon Coming World-shaking Events. Phoenix, AZ: Christian Missionary Society, 1978. Print.

Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1989. Print. Ephesians-Revelation.

MacArthur, John. Because the Time Is Near: John MacArthur Explains the Book of Revelation. Chicago: Moody, 2007. Print.

“Number of Abortions – Abortion Counters.” Number of Abortions in US & Worldwide – Number of Abortions since 1973. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2017.