Thursday, February 20, 2014

Goliath's Head





www.amazon.com GOLIATH'S HEAD

The themes of the story are well known, but the details are easily overlooked. Why did David cut off Goliath’s head? Why does 2 Samuel 21:19 say that a man named Elhanan killed Goliath? What happened to Goliath’s sword? Why did Jesse send cheese with young David? Most important, what is this story really about? 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Why Is The Blood Of Jesus Important?

1. Atonement: “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.” Rom. 3:25 The Ark of the covenant’s top was called: Atonement Seat. (Put the blood. God’s throne)


2. Justified (Forgiven): “Since we have now been justified by his blood , how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!” Rom. 5:9 (Completely righteous.)

3. Redemption: “In him we have redemption through his blood , the forgiveness of sins” Eph. 1:7  Redeemed, means: We have a restored worth. That which marred us has been taken away.

4. Near: “now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” Eph. 2:13 (Esp. Gentiles, were far from God’s family, house. Brought in)

5. Reconcile: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood , shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:19-20 (Fullness: GOD did it! Who did that? God!)

6. Precious (valuable): “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 (Means: He took on flesh and blood. Unlike any other human. Valauable! God became man. Can’t buy that!)

7. Purifies: “the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 (Pictured in Baptism)

8. Freed: “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood” Rev. 1:5
Steven Spielberg Prince of Egypt, showed the people marking doors. Script had God say: “When I see the mark upon the doorframe, I will pass by.” Religious leaders said: No. That’s wrong. You have to say: Blood! “When I see the blood.” “The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Ex. 12:13 Like the Hebrews, we are set free. Our sins forgiven. Taken to the sea, now go through the desert, we look toward Canaan.
9. Purchased: (Song sung by elders) “with your blood you purchased men for God” Rev. 5:9  You belong to God because he bought you. Paid full price.

10. Victory: “For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” rev. 12:10-11

In Revelation 19, John says: I saw a white horse, rider called Faithful and true. Eyes like blazing fire, on head many crowns. Name: King of Kings, Lord of Lords. The armies of heaven follow. He comes wearing a robe dipped in blood.  “Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” Rev. 19:15-16

The blood on his robe is not his own. It is the blood of the nations. Picture of judgment. You can come to him through his blood. Or, on that final day: He will crush unbelievers like you crush grapes.  When grapes are are crushed in a winepress, they get on the edge of the robe ofthe one trampeling.  That is how the judgment will be.  The blood of the wicked will be on his robe.

Blood will be spilt: 2 options:  He can pay with his blood to make us friends with God. We can pay with our own blood to make ourselves enemies of God.  Only a fool would shed his own blood to eternally be an enemy of God.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Human Reasons For The Murder Of Jesus

The death of Jesus was the plan and will of God.  It was his choice to send his son to die as a sacrifice.  His motive was to save the world.  However, the people who put Jesus to death did not execute his murder in order to save the world!  They had a very different agenda.  Here are four reasons for the murder of Jesus:


1. He made himself equal with God.

"So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God." John 5:16-18

2. He said the kingdom would be taken from them, given to Gentiles.

"When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet." Matt. 21:45-46

3. He raised Lazarus from the dead. (John 11:53)

"Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.


"What are we accomplishing?" they asked. "Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."


49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish."


51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life." John 11:45-53

4. He attacked the temple.

"On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: "'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.'"  18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching." Mark 11:15-18

The Message of Revelation

“Revelation reminds us that we do not belong to this world and must not be seduced by what it values.” Craig Keener p.43 (NIV Application Commentary)


This is Keener's list from the NIV Application Commentary.
1. God is awesomely majestic, sovereign in our troubles.
2. Jesus’ sacrifice as the Lamb ultimately brings complete deliverance for those who trust him.
3. That god’s judgments on the world are often to serve notice on the world that God will avenge his people.
4. God is just. Regardless of how things appear in the short run, sin does not go unpunished.
5. God can accomplish his purpose through a small and persecuted remnant.
6. Worship leads us from grief over our sufferings to God’s eternal purposes.
7. That proclaiming Christ invites persecution. Jesus is worth dying for.
8. A radical contrast exists between God’s kingdom (exemplified in the bride, the New Jerusalem( and the world’s values *exemplified in the prostitute, Babylon)
9. The hope God has prepared for us far exceeds any present sufferings.
10. That God and the church ultimately include representatives of all people.

Interesting Aspects of Revelation

Here are some quick notes on things worthy of further study in the book of Revelation.  Drawing primarily from G.K. Beale.

1. Babylon:  After A.D. 70, Jewish Literature called Rome “Babylon.” (Ezra 3:1-2, 28-31 / Baruch 10:1-3, 11:1, 67:7 / Sibylline Oracles.) Because Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem/Temple like Babylon.

2. The significance of numbers:  Most agree these numbers are symbolic: 3, 4, 7, 12 (and their multiples).

*SEVEN: A number of completeness.
  • 7 days of creation.
  • 7 fold vengeance for killing Cain, Gen. 4:15 / 24. Ps. 79:12
  • The book is addressed to 7 church’s. Seven beatitudes.
  • 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 bowls.
  • The word “Spirit” is used 14 times. (2x7)
  • The name “Christ” appears seven times. Name Jesus appears 14 times.
  • “The Lamb” is used of Christ 28 times.  (4x7)
*FOUR: also a number of completeness. (Worldwide)  Especially connoting something universal or world wide.
  • Earths four corners. –Four winds. (5:13, creatures in four sectors of the cosmos offer a fourfold doxology)
  • Fourfold formula: “every tribe, tongue, people, and nation.” 5:9, 7:9
  • Certain names of God and Christ repeated in fours and seven.  “The one who lives forever and ever” is applied to God four times. (4:9, 4:10, 10:6, 15:7)
  • The seven spirits are mentioned four times.
  • The allusion to Exodus 19:16 (Lightening, sounds and thunders) appears four times.
*TWELVE: Represents completeness. Idea: Unity in diversity. One nation, Israel, 12 tribes.

*The number 666 has to do with judgment.  The sixth element of each series of seals, trumpets and bowls focuses only on judgment of imperfect humanity. / Babylon is mentioned only six times.

*EIGHT: Important to the structure of the book  “Jesus” in Greek add up to 888. Number of Resurrection. God created the world in 7 days. New creation began on an 8th day.

3. Inverted Uses:
Sometimes the old testament meaning is reversed: Bowing down:
“This is what the LORD says: "The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and those tall Sabeans — they will come over to you and will be yours; they will trudge behind you, coming over to you in chains. They will bow down before you and plead with you, saying, 'Surely God is with you, and there is no other; there is no other god.'" Isa. 45:14 Gentiles bow/confess: God is with you.

“I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars — I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.” Rev. 3:9 Jewish hope is turned upside down. Jewish persecutors of Christians must bow down.

4. Solecisms: Incorrect use of words. (Accent)
This is awesome, but I'm not sharp on it. “While John is writing Greek, he is thinking Hebrew.” (Charles)  A significant number of irregularities occur in the midst of OT allusions.  Most of the solecisms are disagreements in: Case, number, gender or person (1st, 3rd).
“A number of expressions appear irregular because John is carrying over the exact grammatical forms of the allusions, often from various versions of the Greek OT and sometimes from the Hebrew. He does not change the OT grammatical form to fit the immediate syntactical context in Revelation, so the OT expression sticks out like a sore thumb. This creates syntactical dissonance.” (Beale)

Background: Historical Context Of Revelation

A great persecution had broken out against the church. Emperor Worship was a growing threat to Christians.  Though Jews were exempt from having to worship the emperor, Christians were not.

The Roman Emperor's claimed to be gods.  Caligula seemed to actually believe it!  He went mad demanding the sun rise.

While Nero is often see as the primary enemy of the church, he focused mostly on Christians in Rome.  It is later emperors who would expand the persecution to include all of the Roman world.

1. Domitian: Demanded he be addressed as “Supreme Lord and God.”  Domitian “was called master and god by all Greeks and barbarians, but was in reality an evil demon.” (Dio Chrysostom, Greek oritor, philosopher, writer, historian)
A person refusing to worship the emperor could be denied the right to buy or sell in market. Entrance into trade unions. Exile, torture, property confiscated, death. Flogged, fed to lions in the Coliseum, beheaded, crucified.

2. Evidence of the persecution reflected in Christian writings:
1 Clement 1:1, “the sudden and repeated calamities and reverse that has befallen us.”
Ch. 7, Clement compares the earlier martyrdom's of Peter and Paul by Romans, as well as the persecution of “a vast multitude of the elect” “through many indignities and tortures” “We are in the same arena, and the same struggle is before us.” 7:1
Domitian executed the aristocrat Flavius Clemens and banished his wife Flavia Domitilla because of “atheism.”

3. At Ephesus Domitian set up a colossal statue.

4. Rome hated Christians. Christianity was unnoticed by the Romans for several decades.

Reasons for the persecution:
  • Christian Missionary Zeal. Roman Government tolerated religion of the conquered provinces.  Conquered people could place an image of their deity in the Hall of God’s. So long as the religion did not try to proselyte. But Christians inspired an entire missionary movement!  Christians were seen as wild fanatics because of their enthusiasm.
  • Christianity was an exclusive religion.  Christians refused: Mingle with ungodly. Go to idol temples. Have idols in homes.  Rome already upset with Jews. Christians were seen as worse than Jews.
  • Christians were accused of all manner of evil.  Known to hold secret services at night. Spoke of eating flesh, drinking blood. Called atheist because they did not recognize the "gods."
  • Christians refused to go to war. Two reasons according to Tertullian:  –Part of the oath and initiation of the soldiers included service to idols of the State.  –Required to wear idolatrous insignia on their uniforms.  –Christ had taken the sword from them and given them a way of peace.  (I know that's 3)
  • Christians were primarily poor and outcast. They were looked down upon by the ‘respectable.”
  • Christians refused to worship the emperor.  All others would have been tolerated if they had given in on this point.
5. The author is in exile on Patmos.
“I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” Rev. 1:9 Suffering: thlipsis (thlip'-sis); pressure : Same word as Revelation 7:14

6. Antipas was recently martyred for the faith. (Rev. 2:13)
According to Christian tradition, John the Apostle ordained Antipas as bishop of the Pergamon during the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian. Antipas was martyred in ca. 92 AD by burning in a brazen bull-shaped altar used for casting out demons worshiped by the local population.”

7. There is economic persecution:
“I know your afflictions and your poverty — yet you are rich!” Rev. 2:9

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Interpretations of Revelation

Here is a brief list of some of the main interpretative approaches to Revelation.  Each interpretation has groups within itself. 

1. Futurist: Dispensational pre-tribulation pre-millennial.

  • Dispensational: God works differnetly under different times. Dispensation: Law. Dispensation: Apostles. Dispensation: Church. Dispensation: Israel
  • Views Rev. 3-22 as still future to John and to us.
  • Sometimes called: Literal view. Mountains thrown into sea, 100 pound hale stones. Say: Never seen that before. . . that must be future.
  • Holding this view: left behind series. Robert Thomas, Masters seminary.  John Walvoord, Charles Ryre, J. Dwight Pentecost, Norman Geisler, Charles Feinberg. Pastors: Jak Van Impe, John Hagee.  Many more.  It is easily the most popular view at the present time.
Concerns:
The original audience did not read it this way. Not contextual.  If I tell you about a great whore, sits on seven hills -- Anyone first century is going to say: That’s Rome!
It is not the historical view of the church. The church for years has discussed the millennium. Only since 1830 has the rapture device been used.
“Dispensationalism is associated with J.N. Darby (1800-1882) and his followers. It was largely popularized through the notes of the Scofield Reference Bible, but a more current form of dispensationalism appears in the notes of the Ryrie Study Bible. Hal Lindsey’s hugely successful book, the Late Great Planet Earth, served to keep the movement in the mainstream of evangelicalism in the late 1960's and early 1970's. The movement has experienced a revival through the immensely successful Left Behind series of novels written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.” –Kim R.
2. Historic PreMillennialism. 
  • The coming of Jesus marks the beginning of a new age. (Doesn’t have a rapture)
  • There would be an earthly kingdom of God after the return.
  • Draws its name from the fact many early church fathers held this view: Irenaeus (140-203) : Disciple of Polycarp, disciple of John. / Justin Martyr (100-165) / Papias (80-155)
3. Preterist Interpretation. Virtually everything in Revelation is in the Past.
This view is held by Ray Summers. Popular in the 50's. (Ray Summers, worthy is the lamb)
“I do not believe that any interpretation of Revelation can be correct if it was meaningless and if it failed to bring practical help and comfort to those who first received the book.” Worthy Is Lamb, p. vii
Heavy emphasis on the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Nero. Describing past events even for John.  Preterest give us good history. However, nothing is left to anticipate if all of the book has been fulfilled.  So while due respect should be given to this view, and the context should always be sought, Revelation remains a prophetic book to this day.

4. Continuous Historical Interpretation:
Symbolic of history of the church to the end.  Forecast, in symbols, the history of the church.   So if you’re in the reformation, read about a Great whore drunk on the blood of the saints. . . who is it?! Wycliffe, Luther, immediately say: That’s roman Catholic Church! Dr. DA Carson notes that Calvin, never wrote a commentary on Revelation. Said: He was too good an exegete to say Catholic Church was Babylon. Too good a reformer to turn others away from that view
Problem: History does not line up with it neatly. You have to either force text, force history.

5. Symbolic interpretation. (Abstract interpretation) Everything is symbolic.
You are to look for the moral of each analogy. It has no reference for the 1st Century church.
Church is ages. . . works nicely ends with Laeodocea. Love grown cold.
“You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' Rev. 3:17 Works well in the west. How about church in China? Iran? Iraq? They are not rich. Love is not cold.
*Applied literally to a church. *The situation applies to us. Churches are not ages, they’re situations.

6. Post Millennialism: Jesus comes back after the millennium to judge the world, raise the dead.
  • Through the preaching of the gospel, H.S., Christianity will grow.
  • Christian influence brings about peace and economic well being.
  • Large numbers of Jews come to faith in Christ.
  • End of this mil. age, period of great Apostasy.
  • After the mil., Christ returns. *Problem: assumes things get better. (Died off after WW1)
7. Amillennialism: Present millennial age manifest in the present reign of Jesus Christ in heaven.
From Christ leaving to his second coming, you have millennium in heaven.  Satan is bound by the preaching of the Gospel.  This was first given systematic expression by Augustine in famous: City of God.

Some convictions:
"No one view is the magic key to complete interpretation of Revelation." --DA Carson
1. Look first at how early church would have seen it. Since they were the original audience, we should always seek to understand how they would have seen these symbols.
2. Revelation does not concern itself with a western timeline.  It is not a book to be charted!  Often the book moves in circles, repeating concepts, as much as a western linear timeline.
3. Revelation includes elements of the futurist view. There is yet a future: Coming of Christ. Reign of Christ. Judgment: Both man, earth. New Heaven. New Earth.

Characteristic's Of Apocalyptic Literature

Jews had a lot of Apocalyptic literature: 1st Enoch, Book of Jubilees, Book of Abraham.  “Apocalypse is a Greek word meaning "revelation"
  • Proto-Apocalyptic: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Zechariah.
  • Apocalyptic: Daniel. Daniel is a “matured and classic” example. (N.T., Matthew 24, mark 13, 2 thess. 2, Revelation.)
1. It is usually revealed by an angel. Messenger. (Here, Jesus will be the messenger)
2. Disclosure through a dream of vision.  As Daniel after long fasting stands by the river, a heavenly being appears to him, and the revelation follows (Daniel 10:2ff). John, in the New Testament Revelation (1:9ff), has a like experience, told in very similar words.
3. Future oriented.
4. Usually mystery involved. He will tell you something, then reveal the meaning later.  Deals with hidden information.
5. Monsters / unusual creatures. Beasts, dragon.
6. Mystical Symbolism. Take something you know, and apply it to something else.  We all know what a key is. What does it mean when Jesus holds the key to death? Is it literally a key, or is there a message?  Symbols were used in such a way that the reader knew what they were.  Horns are always going to refer to Kings or Kingdoms.
7. Revelation: The Prophet sees from God’s perspective.
8. Sharp black and white issues. Satan is bad. Dragon is bad. Woman is good. Mark of the beast bad. Plagues are righteous. Clear about: Who’s in, who’s out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Difficult Parable: The Gate Crasher



In a series of parables meant to show Israel's rejection of the Messiah, Jesus adds an interesting twist to one. It is a complete surprise to the reader, and probably the first century listener! Look at the first part of the parable:
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Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying:
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Matthew 22:1-11
"The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. "Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.' .
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"But they paid no attention and went off — one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
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"Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
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This is pretty straightforward! Israel rejects the King, even kills the Son. The enraged king sends his army and destroys the city. This is exactly what happened. Israel murdered Messiah, and judgment was brought in A.D. 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem.
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But Israel's rejection results in the Gentiles being invited in to the banquet. To a banquet not prepared for them! to a banquet meant for another people. God invites us in to covenant friendship, relationship with Him.
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But then the parable gets more interesting. The plot thickens!
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Matt 22:11-14
"But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless.
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"Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
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"For many are invited, but few are chosen."
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So a man comes to the wedding, dragged in off the street. . . and whala! he is thrown out for wearing the wrong clothes? On the surface it seems incredibly arrogant, mean of the master to throw the poor party goer out. After all, he didn't get up that morning planning ot go to a banquet, did he? He was just dragged in. So why is the master upset about this guys clothes?
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As people entered the banquet, they would have been given robes to wear. But this man thought what he had was good enough.
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This is a parable for the Gentiles! They are not to reject the righteous commands of God. The robe represent righteousness. Rejecting the robe is a symbol of a gentile who wants to be saved, but does not want to obey God. They want salvation, but not lordship.
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"I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness," Isa. 61:10
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This guy thinks he can be saved, but say: No thank you to the robe of righteousness. Glory of God. Friendship with God. I want to party, live like I want. I don’t want to know God. I don’t want righteousness. I don’t need: God’s people. Faith. Goodness.
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"Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." Rev. 19:7-8
Every bride wants to look nice on her wedding day. She puts on the best she has. What are we to say about Christians who accept Christ, but do not want to put the wedding garments on. Are they really his?.
God’s response to this attitude: throw him out. He warns the Gentiles -- Don’t you be like Israel. If you come to God, but say no thank you to obedience, then your faith is dead.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Upon This Rock


"And I tell you that you are Peter (little rock), and on this rock (big) I will build my church" 16:18
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God’s church gives me a place of belonging. Through the Church, God is making us a people.
I will build my "church": ekklesia. The called out ones.
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Picture:
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1. The rock of the church is Yeshua, Jesus.
Jesus question is strange: Who do men say I am? You wouldn't ask your friends that! Peter’s response displays confidence in a flaky generation. Some say he is John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, a prophet. When it gets personal, Peter answers with rock solid sureness. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."16:16
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Jesus response with excietment. "Blessed are you" 16:17 You are blessed to know who Jesus is!
"for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven." 16:17 Inspiration on the spot. God filled the mind of Peter. He’s thinking God’s thoughts.
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Jesus has always existed in fellowship with God. They are the first community. From the trinity we get: Love, submission, respect. The doctrine that Jesus is Fully man/Fully God is: "hypostatic union." Union of both natures.
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2. The foundation of the church:
Law, Psalms, Prophets, Apostles Teaching. No longer foreigners, aliens... fellows citizens God’s hosuehold. "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone." Eph. 2:19-20 Christ is CORNER STONE.
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3. The keys of the kingdom:
"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 16:19
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He describes two things the church will do:
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He gives us the KEYS to the Kingdom. Keys: Picture of bringing people into the gate. To us he says: I give you keys to the kingdom. I think the keys are evangelism.
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He says we will bind and loose with authority. This is discipleship. We will bind people to God’s word. In some area’s we will set people free. Your church is to help you get lose from the world. Bind you to God’s Word. Free from: Addiction. Co-dependance. Anger. Immorality. Pride. Gossip. BIND: To God’s Word.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Sign Of Jonah

The Pharisees twice asked for a sign, and twice were told that they would get no sign but the sign of "Jonah." He said, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah . 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Matthew 12:39-40
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They say: give us a sign! We hear when you were born, there was a star. Bring back that star! Moses gave Pharaoh signs. But Jesus says, the only sign you'll get is that of Jonah.
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Basics: Jonah was in the fish 3 days, he came out. Jesus will be in the earth 3 days, come out alive.
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I think Jonah actually died. Jesus used him as a picture of death! It doesn't look like he had a happy death. Or, to put it more bluntly, it looks like Jonah saw hell.
"From the depths of the grave I called for help: Jonah 2:2
"I said, 'I have been banished from your sight" Jonah 2:4
"To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever." Jonah 2:6
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Then there is a resurrection:
(Banished): "yet I will look again toward your holy temple." Jonah 2:4
(roots mtns) "But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God." Jonah 2:6
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A favorite objection to the Bible is the book of Jonah. They say: If he’d been in that fish 3 days, he would have died; as if death isn’t a problem for God! Jonah didn’t get swallowed and God say: uh-oh. Now what? God could resurrect him. And Jesus seems to hin that is exactly what happened.
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Why does the resurrection matter?
This really isn't about Jonah so much, it's about Jesus' resurrection. Jonah is just a sign! Why is the resurrection so important?
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1. It is a safe place to stake my faith. Resurrections separates Christianity from all other religions. There is tangible, provable evidence. It is grounded in a historical event.
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2. Christ lives to raise me from the dead.
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3. My heart can be God’s home. The resurrected Christ lives in me. He’s right there! His resurrected presence is in the Christian. He can I’ve you peace as soon as you ask. Take away anger. Give you strength. He actually, physically, lives in you.

Evidence Of Salvation

1. Eagerness for Christ return. (1 John 3:2-3) (Annie would look at the sky: maybe tonight!)
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2. Spiritual discernment. (1 John 4:2-3) A Christian would not call the work of God Satan.
Careful about how you speak about God’s Church... any church.
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3. Love others. "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love" 1Jn 4:8
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4. By obeying God. "This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands." 1 John 5:2
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5. Grief over sin. "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him." 1 John 5:8
When someone sins, and there is no grief, no turning, no tears... a sign of unrepentance.
The fact that your sins upset you, bother, grieve you: Sign you’re a child of God.
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6. Clarity about the person of Jesus Matthew 12:41-42
Jesus: Men Ninevah will stand at judgment condemn you; they repented! Now one greater than Jonah is here. Queen of south will condemn you, she repented at Solomon’s wisdom, I’m greater than Sol! (People have repented with much less evidence than you have)
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7. Jesus gives a forgotten evidence of salvation: MY MOUTH! My words. We never give much consideringa to this as a proof of salvation. Jesus says that these snakes, brood of vipers, can't say anything good because their hearts are evil. "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." Matthew 12:34 Men will give account at judgment for every careless word. Matthew 12:36
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Go tot he doctor, stick out your tongue. By looking at your tongue he can determin your health. God does the same thing! What you say tells the condition of your heart. Mouth says what the heart coughs up. If our words are out of control, immature, ugly, then that is true of the heart.
If our words are: Pornographic -- heart is pornographic. Foul. Dirty. Hurtful. Vindictive. Critical.
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After a verbal assault someone will say, "That wasn’t like me." Jesus says it was just like you!
"The tongue also is a fire" James 3:6 Do you know any verbal arsonist? Your words can burn: Relationships, marriage, friendship, reputation, career,

Monday, August 30, 2010

Blasphemy Of The Holy Spirit

"when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons."
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 "Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house. 30 "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." Matthew 12:24-32

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Blasphemy in the Old Testament:
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Blasphemy is to take that which is Holy and dishonor it. In O.T. no Sacrifice or atonement for it.
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In Leviticus 24 there is a fight in the Hebrew camp. A Half Egyptian/Hebrew curses The Name. They take him to Moses and ask, what do we do? Moses goes to God, who gives this instruction: Everyone who heard him, lay hands on him and the community is to stone him.
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Numbers defined blasphamy this way: "'anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or alien, blasphemes the LORD, and that person must be cut off from his people. Because he has despised the LORD's word and broken his commands, that person must surely be cut off; his guilt remains on him.'" Num. 15:30-31
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Blasphemy is the conscious denouncing and rejection of God. It is defiant irreverence.
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Blaspheme of Holy Spirit:
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The Work of the Holy Spirit:
1. Glorify Christ.

2. Empower believers.
3. Convict of Sin.
4. Seal believer for day of redemption.
5. Draw us to Christ.
The Holy Spirit has been called the "hound of heaven." He will show us our need for Jesus.
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When the Holy Spirit begins to convict of sin, we get in a tug of war with God. Some people never give in to the Spirit's prompting. In fact, their heart gets hard! In the Old Testament, blasphemy cost you’re your life on earth. Jesus now reveals that if you reject the one the H.S. has anointed, that has an eternal consequence.
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Now this Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is not a one time quick event. It is not a slip of the tongue, casual ooops now you damned to hell. (Pharaoh took a year!)
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In short, Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is to harden your heart to the Spirit's prompting to repent and turn to Christ.
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Beetle Juice!
The Pharisees hardened themselves against God’s Messiah; called him demon possessed!
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By Beelzebul: Baal Zaub (greek: Lord of the flies). This was a Philistine god worshiped in Ekron.
In 2 Kings 1 we are told about King Ahaziah fell through the lattice upper room and was severely injured. Sent messengers to Ekron inquire of Baal Zebub see if he’ll recover. Elijah intercepted the army and asked, Is there no God is Israel? Fire came down and destroyed them. This happened twice, killing over a hundred men. Anyway, the god they were going to inquire of was Beelzebul!
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The Pharisees are accusing Jesus of being this false god: baal-zub. They’re hearts are so hard, they’ve called Jesus the work of Satan. That’s a hard heart!

3 Kinds Of People I Need

"Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward" 10:41
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What is a prophet’s reward? Knowing God! The Word of God! Relationship with God. There are some people who bring you closer to God. We are wise to stay near them. Jesus also says: Be one of them!
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3 Kinds of people I need in my life:
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1. Prophets: People I can learn from. Prophets are people who speak truth. They’ll teach you how to get near God. Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah were not popular because they spoke the truth. But thsoe near them were greatly blessed! These are peoople like: Preachers / Teachers. / Expositors. They will ground you in truth. They know the path and serve as trail guides.
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2. Righteous Person: People I can mimic. "anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward." Matthew 10:42 What is a righteous mans reward? A clean conscience! These are people who may not be a "teacher" -- but a really good husband. You say: I’m going to watch how you do that husband thing! Watch righteous people in life, and them memic them.
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3. Little Ones: People I can serve. "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." Matthew 10:42 Why little? Because they are in need. One of the great things about church: It’s a place where the hurting come. God puts them in our face to minister to. Weak come. Children come.
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Interesting, you need twice as much in coming as you have out-going. (You need prophets and righteous people). Ministry is voerflow.
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Note the promise, "He will certainly not lose his reward..." Matthew 10:42 You’ll lose your car, money, house... when you serve God, it lasts forever!

How Can We Acknowledge Christ

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven" Matthew 10:32-33
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The reason we are to "acknowledge" Christ is certainly as a sign of our own commitment and courage. We are not to be ashsamed of Jesus. Also, we are not to remain silent because the salvation of those who know us is on the line!
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Silence on who Jesus is and what he is done for us is cruel! Spiritual cowardess is unkind, unloving. In fact, it is a betrayal of both the Lord and those w love.
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Some ways we affirm Christ:
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1. By being baptized. We identify with the crucifixion of Jesus personally in Baptism.
"all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." Rom. 6:3-4
Baptism shows people what Jesus did. It says: His story, is my story!
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2. By speaking about him!
"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes" Rom. 1:16
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3. By living a transformed life. Words are not enough. Bible study not enough.
"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:39 Can I tell you something that’s life changing: Death! Die to self, let Christ live in you. Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow him. If you take up a cross, you die to yourself. Die to this world. Your very "self" is crucified. Only once we are dead will the Resurrected Christ begin living in us. His life continues, ours decreases.
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"I am: crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." Gal. 2:20
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Think about how life changing the command to "Take up your cross..." really is. See, people carrying a cross act different. Hard to be cool, prideful, or mean or hostile or unforgiving when you're carrying a cross! It's a very humbling thing. Carrying the cross makes us more gentle, loving, kind. The cross is a picture of love. More humble. Gentle. Loving.

Worthy Of Jesus

"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Matthew 10:37
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This is Hebrew Hyperbole -- exaggeration meant to make you stop and think! Exactly what does he mean? The Bible tells us to love our father and mother. He is teaching us that the closest human ties cannot rival your love for Jesus.
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This is a claim to deity. He is saying: You must worship me. Love me above all others. Deuteronomy: You must love the Lord your god with all your mind, strength, soul. If you are going to follow Christ, then he is the only approval you need to seek.
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Jesus is saying: Once I make you a new creation, don’t try and fit into other people’s molds to make them happy. Don’t change yourself for them.
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1. I must want to please Christ more than I want to please my family.
You cannot follow Christ and worship the opinions: Friends, family, peers, superiors.
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2. I must serve Christ even if others reject me; even family.

Parable Of The Dragnet

Remember dragnet? Joe Friday, "Just the facts." Well, this isn't that kind of dragnet! Jesus is using a fishing parable here. Though the police term "dragnet" comes from the world of fishing.
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"Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away." Matthew 13:47-48
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A dragnet was a net 750-1,000 ft long! It was 25 ft high. A dragnet had sinkers that would drop the net down, making a huge wall. This took team work! dragged to shore. Separate good/bad fish.


2nd Coming is like a huge net: covers the earth and everyone is caught in it. Can you see it? A Dragnet is drawn across the earth! Point: everyone will be accountable. There will be a separating -- Righteous and wicked. When Christ comes, do you want to be counted among the unGodly or the Godly?
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1. The punishment for the wicked: "This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 13:49-50 (Also described hell that way)
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Forecast for the wicked: Stormy. Bad. Warm. Notice that Jesus shows us what kind of a palce hell is:
–Place of Separation: Separated: taken from God, thrown out.
–Place of physical punishment: Fire. Physically painful.
–Place of emotional torment: Weeping: Something devastating has happened.
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2. Reward for the righteous. This is from the parable of the wheat and the tares
"Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear." Matthew 13:43 Do you have an "ear" to hear? Do you have spiritual ears, connected spiritual eyes: This world is not all there is.
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Forecast for the righteous: Awesome! Literally, shiny. Glowing. Radiant. Luminous.
Shine like the sun. . .
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I was watching the film The Family Man. Nicholas Cage plays a busy business man, lives for work. An angel gives him a glimpse of what life could have been like if he’d focused on: Wife, kids. It changes everything. If God gave you a glimpse of the Kingdom, what do you think he’d show you? Pearly gates? Mansion? Gold streets? Throne? – I think he'd show you You. He woudl show you, You: Forgiven. YOuw ith no weight of guilt. You with no sin. You serving God in His Strength. You living up to God’s plan.

Parable of Leaven

He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough." Matt. 13:33
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Many think this is a negative parable of the Kingdom. That is, that leaven is always evil in the Bible. So it represents corruption in the church. We should note that the Kingdom and the Church are not synonymous. The church is part of the Kingdom, but it is not all there is of the Kingdom. I think we should view the parable in a positive light, as I think it is a natural reading of the text.
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Also note two verses in Leviticus, which allow for leaven (yeast) sacrifices. Yeast isn't always bad in the Bible! It's only to be purified of at certain times; but the rest of the year it can be eaten. It can even be offered to God as a sacrifice! Note:
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"Along with his fellowship offering of thanksgiving he is to present an offering with cakes of bread made with yeast. 14 He is to bring one of each kind as an offering, a contribution to the LORD; it belongs to the priest who sprinkles the blood of the fellowship offerings" Lev. 7:13-14 (Also see 23:17)
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Note some positive uses of leaven:
1. Works its way through dough. World is a loaf bread. Kingdom work through it.
2. Small, just a pinch.
3. Unstoppable.
4. Good, sweetens.
5. Represents flesh. The flesh is redeemed in th Kingdom.
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Point of the parable: that which is very small will: Fill the earth, sweeten the earth. Change the world!
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Where the Gospel is lived out, the culture around is cahnged. For instance, the vikings were fierce plunderers. They erroized coastlands of Europe. In fact, the word Berserk comes from their fighting men who were called berserkers. In 120 A.D. Christianity came under Kin Olav. Blood sacrifices, black magic, setting out of infants, slavery and polygamy were outlawed. This is a direct result of Christianity!
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Christians would make contributions to: Medicine, Science, Law, Government, Art, Music.
Science: Louis Pasture, Conpericus, Galileo, I.Newton.
Phil: Soren Kirkregard, Karl Barth. Dercertes.
Writers: J.R.R. Tolken. C.S Lewis
Musicians: Johann Bach.
Cartoons, Charlie Brown, Shultz.
Even fast food has been touched by Christianity! Take a look at the bottom of an In N Out cup sometime. Their wrappers and cups all have Bible verses hidden on them. (Is there a better example of leaven? !)

Parable of the mustard seed

"He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." Matthew 13:31-32
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1. Something very small is going to become huge. He starts with 12, but it will reach to the ends of the earth. That 12 by the time of Pentecost had become 120. Which is small, when considering the crowds Jesus ministered to. But that 120 would fill the earth!
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2. It’s growth is unusual. A mustard seed becomes a bush. But this seed becomes a tree. Beyond expectation.
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3. Birds: Represent gentiles. The world will find safety in the arms of God’s Kingdom. Jesus is saying: My Kingdom will fill the earth, it will be a blessing to the Gentiles!
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4. Empires are often referred to as trees.
cf: Assyria, Ezek 17:22-23 ,
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In Daniel 4, the King has a dream in which he sees a great tree that birds take refuge in. But the tree is cut down. Daniel says: The tree is you. God will cut you down! After he tried to burn 3 guys. Saw Son of God in the fire. Now the Son of God stands on earth and says: My kingdom will be greater than his!
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Babylon, Assyria and every other nation would take its stand on earth; but God would cut it down. Only the Kingdom of God will fill the earth forever like a great tree.

Parable of the wheat and tares

Jesus told the parable of a man who sowed wheat in his field. But while he slept, an enemy sowed weeds. When the wheat began to grow, the servants noted that weeds were also growing among them. The master commanded they not pull the weeds until harvest time.
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1. Sower: Jesus.
2. Field: World.
3. Good seed: Sons of the kingdom. People of God.
4. Weeds: Wicked people.

5. Enemy: Devil.
6. Harvest: End of the age.
7. Harvesters: Angels.
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"As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil." 13:40-41.
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A tare is a poisonous weed, looks just like wheat. It doesn’t bear fruit. Kill you. Enemy would take heads of darnells and sprinkle it in your field. Can’t just harvest. It's a pain because you now have to go through the entire field and separate bad from good.
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Two notes from this parable:
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1. Satan is at work right beside us. He plants weeds. These are people don’t plan to repent, change or follow God. They want to live like the world - run church like business - act crass. How do you spot them? This isn’t hard to figure out! Give them time, they don’t produce fruit. They don't grow or mature or sweeten. They show no interest in Godliness or getting better. Holiness still repulses them.
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2. God will deal with evil. I’m glad I’m not the judge! At the end of time, a righteous judge will deal with wickedness. He will determine who is saved and who is not. I'm glad I don't have to decide if you're saved!
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The parable explains evil: Not immediate judgment. He puts up with it. They’re a problem, a thorn. Then on the Great Day he will deal with evil.

Parables: Opening our eyes

Sometimes God opened people’s eyes to spiritual things:
1. He showed the Babylonian King the fourth man in the fire!
2. He showed Isaiah the throne of God.
3. He showed Stephen that Jesus was standing at the right hand of God.
4. He showed Jacob the ladder. (That one might not count, since it was a vision/dream more than a revelation of something already there but just not seen with the naked eye).
5. He showed Baalam's donkey the angel of the Lord.
6. He showed Elisha chariots of fire surrounding the enemy.
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There are things you can see only when God opens your eyes to them. Jesus used parables to open our eyes to the Kingdom of God. Isaiah: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world." 13:35
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The parables were mysteries in the sense that they showed us things not revealed fully in the Old Testament.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Saints Will Judge Angels?

I've been teaching through 1 Corinthians on Wednesday nights. I have always found 1 Corinthians 6 interesting because of this verse:
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"Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!" 6:2-3
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Unless we had that verse, it is not something we would know. It is not mentioned in any other section of Scripture. Jews had taken Daniel 7:22 to mean that saints would judge at the end times -- but a literal rendering looks to me like Daniel is saying that judgment will be rendered in favor of the saints (saints look passive -- they are not doing the judging).
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But Paul clearly say the saints will judge -- both angels and the world! of course, traditional understanding is that we will in some way actually take part in the judgment; and perhaps even the judgment of demons.
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Perhaps "judge" is in the sense of ruling. ie: Samson, Gideon, Deborah, were all judges ruling on the earth under God's leadership. Could Paul be simply reminding us that on the new earth, we will judge (rule) over the earth and even the angels?
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David Guzick writes: The destiny of redeemed men and women, to one day be higher than the angels, and to even sit in judgment of them, must have been a source of great annoyance to a certain high angel in heaven. He did not want to service an inferior creature now, and did not want to have that inferior creature one day be raised up higher than even he. So, he has rebelled against God, and is determined to keep as much of humanity as possible from even sitting in judgment of himself. We can imagine the perverse, proud pleasure Satan takes over every soul that goes to hell: "They won’t sit in judgment over me."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How could Jesus pay for eternity?

Adrian Rogers said: How could Jesus in that period of time have suffered an eternity of hell? The reason is this: He being infinite suffered in a finite period of time what we being, what we being finite would suffer in an infinite period of time. The eternities were compressed upon Jesus. The sins of the world were distilled upon Jesus.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why Was Jesus Baptized?

Why did Jesus have any need to be baptized? The quick answer is, he was baptized in preparation for ministry.

1. He was Baptized like a priest preparing for service.
Baptism had at it roots leviticus 16:4,24. Priest preparing to do sacrifices would bathe. Huge pools outside the temple existed so that hte priest could prepare for ministry. The priest would put on clean garments. They were the be ritually clean before doing the work of the High Priest. This tradition later became immersion that people practiced to show repentance. Like a priest entering the temple to do work is washed, Christ is Baptized before doing the work/ministry. (Lev. 16:4-24) Note Jesus words: "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Matthew 3:15

2. Jesus was moving from private life, preparation, to public ministry. Before conquering the promised land, Joshua had to go through the Jordan. The sea parted for him and he set up 12 stones, symbolic of 12 tribes. Jesus comes to the Jordan. He is about to make war on Satan. Like Joshua, he will take the land and conquer the enemy. True conqueror has come. For Jesus, the sea does not part, the heavens part before him.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

His Winnowing Fork Is In His Hand

"His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Matthew 3:12

Winnowing fork is like a pitchfork (Rake). You use it to separate wheat from chaff.

We picture the devil with a pitchfork. We think Satan pushes people into hell. We give Satan authority that belongs to Christ. At the end of time, he will separate the righteous from the unGodly. John could not judge the heart -- He could baptize. Christ, however, will rightly judge the hearts of men.

Only God can know if you’re the real deal.

The Ax Is At The Root

"The ax is already at the root of the trees"

An interesting verse, since John says the ax is at the "Root." Usually you cut down a tree at the trunk, thus leaving a stump. Who cuts down a tree by the roots? Only god!

At the root is to give the idea that judgment is already at hand, and the one who deals with sin will cut straight to the source of the problem.

Undealt With Sin

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Matthew 3:7-12

Why is John angry when he sees Pharisees and religious leaders come to where he is baptizing? Because as the crowds "confess" their sins and get baptized, the religious leaders aren't a bit interested in confessing sins or repenting. They are wtuck in sin, unwilling change.

Pharisees thought they were too good to have to go to the judgment seat, Sadducees didn’t even believe there would an afterlife – Came to debate theology.

That is the picture of what you don’t want to be. Stubborn religion stuck in the mires of sin. They were unwilling to repent.

What happens when we don’t deal with sin? Effects of undealt with sin:
1. Unable to move forward with God. Spiritually stuck. Stagnant. Bible doesn’t pop.
2. Heart becomes hard. More we sin, the easier that sin is. H.S. has to go greater lengths to convict.
3. Wears down our spiritual shock value. Previously unthinkable behavior doesn’t seem so bad.
Judas began simply stealing from the money bag.
4. Loss of joy. (David: Restore to me the joy) (Christian cannot live in sin and enjoy it.)
5. Become superstitions: Every bad thing that happens: God is punishing me!
6. Start to act hyper-spiritual. Make up rules. (Gnat Camel)

Friday, January 8, 2010

He Shall Be Called A Nazerene

Why does it say: So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene." 2:23 This is a problem verse, since that exact quote isn't in the Old Testament. So what does Matthew mean "so was fulfilled what was said through the prophets. . ."

1.This is the only time Matthew says "prophets" plural. He is not referring to one prophecy, but a picture drawn by more than one prophet.

2. In Hebrew, the word "branch" is netzer, actually only three consonantal letters: NZR.
The town NaZaReth contains the same three primary letters. In Aramaic Netzer and Nazareth sound similiar. Matthew is saying that his living in Nazerath points us back to the prophets, wh said he would be called the "nzr" or "branch."

3. Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zechariahall prophesied that a messiah would come who would be called: The Branch.

Isa 4:2
2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel.

Isa 11:1
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

Jer 23:5
5 "The days are coming," declares the LORD,"when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch ,a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.

Jer 33:15
15 "'In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line;he will do what is just and right in the land.

Zech 3:8
I am going to bring my servant, the Branch

Zech 6:12
this is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Here is the man whose name is the Branch , and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD.

The Voice In Ramah

"Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 18 "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." Matthew 2:16-18

Fulfilled literally means: "to fill up." Like a cup spilling over.

"A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." 2:18
1. Rachel once said: Give me children or I’ll die! (Gen 30:1)
2. Ramah is where Jews were assembled to be taken to Babylon.
3. Rachel is pictured weeping as her precious children are taken from her.
4. Herod kills children, once again Rachel’s children are taken away. He is quoting Jeremiah 31:15.
5. Next verses Jer 31:16-17, God speaks and says: Stop weeping! I’ll bring child back.

Flight To Egypt

"take the child and his mother and escape [flee] to Egypt" 2:13

"Flee" pheugo (to flee): We get our word fugitive. That’s what they became! Fugitives. The family probably traveled about 175 miles. To decrease the chance of being noticed, Joseph left by night.

Where in Egypt did they flee to? Alexander the Great established a sanctuary for Jews in an Egyptian city he named after himself: Alexandria. This city was the home of Jewish philosopher and historian Philo. It is also where the Septuagint (Greek O.T.) was translated.

Consider that God even used Alexander the Great to prepare the way for his Son.

Out Of Egypt I Called My Son

"So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." Matthew 2:14-15

Matthew quotes Hosea 11:1. "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son."

Out of Egypt I called my son: A new exodus is about to take place. Thus, it is right to note the Exodus, that "out of Egypt" God's Son will come. As Moses lead the children out of Egypt into the promised land, at his birth Jesus will lead his people out of sin into the promised land.

Sometimes Jesus is called a "new Moses." No! He’s the "TRUE" Moses. (Moses is a shadow of Yeshua.) Jesus is the true: Liberator. Set slaves free. Law Giver. Bread Giver. Mediator.

"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves" Col. 1:13 As God reached down and rescued the Hebrews, he has rescued us from a dominion of darkness. A dungeon. Dark world.

Is it an accident Matthew quotes Hosea? No! (Hosea is told to take as his wife a prostitute, adulterous woman, and love her.) God was telling Hosea -- I’ll teach you to know my heart. The message of Hosea is: I will not give up on my people.

Temptation To Trust Herod

In difficult times, tt is tempting to to trust the world, government. The problem with the world is that it is flakey. You cannot rely long term on the world. King Herod typifies this.

Herod at first seemed like a very trustworthy king. In times of severe economic hardship, Herod gave back tax money. During the famine of 25 B.C., Herod melted down gold objects in palace to buy food for poor. He Built theaters, race tracks, and in19 B.C. he began rebuilding the temple.

However, he was jealous and afraid for his position. Had High Priest Aristobulus (bro in law) drowned. Pretended to week at the funeral. Came near his death, arrested distinguished citizens of Jerusalem, ordered they be killed the moment he died. That way, he assumed, there would be weeping at his death. However, when he died the soldiers did not kill the prisioners, but set them free. . . thus there was celebration at his death!

Note some Dangers of Trials:

1. We feel free to sin. Compromise. God owes us a little. Yes, committing adultery, look at all I’ve gone through. God’s got to give me some slack. Isn’t my character – Trials reveal our character.

2. We are likely to quit. Throw in the towel. Give up.

3. We can become self centered. World begins revolve around our hurts, mistreatment. Negative.

4. We begin to base our decisions on fear instead of faith.

5. We are tempted to trust the wrong thing. Herod. Trusting God alone requires we have faith that God actually cares about our problems.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Matthew's Genealogy

The Gospel of In this genealogy Matthew is not waking step by step, he’s leaping across mountain tops. What I like is how he connects the story: Abraham, David, Exile – he just keeps going. Right out of the Bible to their own day. He’s saying: We’re part of this story.
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In this genealogy, Matthew identifies two key things:
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1. Matthew identifies his virgin birth.
"Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus." 1:16
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Of whom is feminine pronoun. making it clear Jesus was born of Mary, not Joseph.
was born is passive. That means it happened to Mary. The births are always active in this genealogy -- except Jesus. Abraham begot to Isaac. But in 1:16, God acted upon Mary put Jesus in womb. Thus he is the only begotten of the Father.
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2. Matthew identifies him as the true King of Israel.
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"and Jesse the father of King David." 1:6 Not just "father of David... father of KING David 22 Times Matthew uses the term: KING. Wants to show Jesus is the King of the Jews.
God promised David: he would always have a son on the throne of Israel. Jesus reigns for ever. At the time of Jesus’ birth, Herod is king of Israel. But he’s not a son of David (Edomite). Not the rightful heir. Why he’s scared of Jesus. The heir has come and might take his throne.
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Why 14 generations in Matthew 1:17?
Abraham – David. David – Exile. Exile – Christ.
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Perhaps for ease in memorization. More probably, it points toward David.
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Jews practiced Gematria, the practice of counting numerical value for letters. The numerical value of the Hebrew consonants of David is 14: DWD 4+6+4.
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In effect, Matthew says it 3 times. "david, david, david."
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David is the 14th entry in the list.
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3. Rahab.
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There are four women listed: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba (Uriah’s wife) – 5th woman: Mary. Notice the second woman listed, Rahab. She was a prostitute -- a Caananite from Jericho. Think of how she must had felt of pass a man on the street, a man she knew intimately, and see him with is wife. To see the security he offers his wife, and realize that she had just been used. To have men walk by and pretend they didn’t know her. In her community she was: Despised. Abused. Hated. Used. Mocked.
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The Hebrews came, gave her dignity. Husband. A family.
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Rahab had a son. What do you think she taught that boy? To care about the outcast. So later, when he looks out in the field, he sees a poor woman working -- what do you think he thought of? His mother! And so he showed compassion on Ruth. I think Rahab taught Boaz to hace compassion on the outcast, and thus the love story of Ruth is made possible.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Spurgeon Quote

I do not come into this pulpit hoping that perhaps somebody will of his own free will return to Christ. My hope lies in another quarter. I hope that my Master will lay hold of some of them and say, "You are mine, and you shall be mine. I claim you for myself." My hope arises from the freeness of grace, and not from the freedom of the will.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Spurgeon Quote

He that reads his Bible to find fault with it will soon discover that the Bible finds fault with him.
- C.H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Criswell -- The Infallibility Of Scripture

“If [we] are true to that expression of faith (the infallibility of Scripture) we shall live. If we repudiate it, we shall die. God will remove our lampstand….There is no exception in this judgment….”
--W.A. Criswell

Monday, October 5, 2009

3 Things Every Believer Needs To Be Reminded Of, Part 3

III. The reality of suffering.
"In this you greatly rejoice, [you can’t greatly rejoice in something you might lose] though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." 1 peter 1:6-7

Christians in Asia Minor are being persecuted. Early on Romans saw Christianity as frenge Jews. But now they are being persecuted as athiest because they refuse to recognize the Roman Gods.

*Modern myth: If you’re a Christian, God will make you wealthy.
*Lie: if I am faithful, I’ll suffer less.

Truth is: If you measure Godliness by success you are unprepared for the reality of suffering for Christ. Peter remidns us:

1. Trials are temporary. See your trial in the light of eternity.
"for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials" V.6
In heaven we will vaguely remember those things called: Problems. Remember Stephen, being stoned, looked up and saw Jesus. Hebrews says: Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus.

2. Trials occur for a purpose.
"In this your rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials." 1:6 ESV
Note: "If necessary": GK: dei (die): Necessary. Peter says: it is necessary, planned, that you will suffer! When you go through a trial, you don’t need to know why. You do need to know: God is in charge. He is on the throne.

Most people come to Christ in a trial. God alerts us to our need because something hurt us, and we realize: I need God! Trials prove our need for a savior.

3. Trials deepen our confidence. (Prove us.)
"These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine" 1 Peter 1:7

How do you know who the phonies are? Christ came, would everyone who claimed to be Christain be taken? Some claim the gospel, but never converted. Trials are the proof of your faith.

Jesus said that not all the seed really takes root:
"The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away." Matt. 13:20-21

"of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire" 1 Peter 1:7
Gold perishes when refined by fire, the faith will endure the fire of persecution and will be proved genuine. Also, these people were losing their gold. Losing their possessions. Peter says: You’ve got something better than gold! That is a real faith in Jesus Christ. Do you believe? Yes. How much? Would you suffer for it? Trials do not prove us to God. They give us confidence.

Scot McKnight: "I recently spent some time with a young athlete who had some rough experiences at his local high school with his former friends. As a senior he had a track record of drinking and drugs but was converted to Christ. His conversion made a sudden and immediate impact on his life, so much that he found himself on an island. After games, he was no longer invited to parties; during games, he was no longer given the same opportunities to shoot the basketball; and in the hallways at school, he was no longer a hit with either the girls or his friends. He came to me for consolation. I explained that at least part of this was suffering and that he needed to guard against retaliatory speech and bitter attitudes. He began to see, in a painful way, that commitment to Christ can involve suffering."
 
 
4. Trials keep us from falling in love with the world.

They result in a deeper praise for God. "[Trials] may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." 1 Peter 1:7

–Praise: When we see our savior coming, we will shout with joy.
–Glory: How do trials cause us to glorify God? We hunger for him more.
–Honor: We will say: There was a purpose for it.

Trials keep us turning to faith. Trials are tangable things. People. Cars. Sickness. You look at life and you say: There has to be more. You dig deeper, you find something you deeply love.
"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 8-9
–This is written to us!
–The goal of our faith: Salvation of our souls. It’s more. Knowing Jesus who we have not seen.

3 Things Every Believer Needs To Be Reminded Of, Part 2

II. The security of our salvation.
"and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1:4-5

Are you truly saved, or are you saved with an astrix. Can you lose it? How do we know we are eternally secure?

1. We are children of God. New birth. The idea of an "inheritance."
"an inheritance that can never perish" V.4
–Imperishable: Death can’t touch it.
–Spoil: Sin can’t touch it.

2. Salvation doesn’t get old.
It was powerful when I asked Jesus into my heart. . . but that was a long time ago.
"Never perish, spoil or fade" V.4

–FADE: Time can’t touch it!

If you were writing a song, you’d say: When we’ve been there, then thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun."

F.H. Beare put it beautifully: "The inheritance is untouched by death, unstained by evil, unimpaired bytime."

3. Our salvation is kept in heaven.
When I take my kids to the movies, I hold the tickets. I know they'll lose them. If it was up to you to keep your salvation, you’d lose it.

4. God’s Power shields our salvation.
"who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time" V.5
We come by faith. God does the protecting.

So why is the doctrine of eternal security under attack? Because satan wants us to fear. Feel rejected. Also, some church’s use it as a means of control. A major problem today is confusion about the Scripture.

A common verse people get confused about is in Hebrews 6.
"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace." Heb. 6:4-6

this is a hypothetical situation: What IF a person could lose their salvation? Note the authors answer: if salvation could be lost, then it could not be regained. The idea would be: Once saved, then lost -- forever lost. But that is not what the Bible teaches.

Christians need to be reminded of the safety we have found in Christ. Our salvation does not get old, worn out or stained by sin. We are safe in Christ.

3 Things Every Believer Needs To Be Reminded Of, Part 1

1 Peter 1:3-12

V.1-10 are 1 massive run-on sentence.
McKnight: "Peter’s grammar is wonderfully elegant as well as profoundly expressive of the grandeur of his subject: Salvation."

He goes from thought to thought:
1. Praise expressed. V.3-5
2. Digression on joy despite suffering. V.6-7
3. Digression on love and joy in anticipation of the end. V.8-9
4. Digression on the prophetic search for salvation. V.10-12

I. The centrality of the Resurrection.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" 1:3

He starts out like a Jewish prayer. (Blessed art thou...)

What does the resurrection do:

1. The resurrection makes new birth possible.
"New Birth" GK: "anagennao": to beget or bear again. God is the active worker here: "he has given us new birth" It is the gift of life. Spiritual life this time. (First physical life)

Tom Nelson: "It is as if we came from the womb of God."

You are saved because of the resurrection. New Birth gives us a change of status with God: Not children of devil, of God.

Life has to come from somewhere! A parent gives life to their children. Jesus was resurrected, thus giving us spiritual life out of his own life.

2. The resurrection gives us hope. Our hope is living because our hope is a person.
"new birth into a living hope" 1:3

Hope is your excited anticipation of the future. We say "Hope" we use it: Maybe, maybe not. Hope it rains? Not how the Bible uses HOPE. A confident unchanging expectation of something that will occur. The Coming of Christ is the Blessed Hope. It is a fact. It is going to happen.
Our hope is not based on something we have done. It is based on a person who died for our sin. Our hope is a person.

3. The N.T. sees the redemption act as: Death, Burial, Resurrection.
In the Scriptures, the priest would enter the Holy of Holies with bells. They needed to know he was alive, because their redemption was staked on this guy. Our mediator is alive and well.

This (the Resurrection) is central to Christian teaching! Once a year Christianity celebrates this thing called: Easter. A reminder: Whatever you’ve been preaching – get back to the resurrection!

In the area of apologetics, we’re making the wrong argument! We’re staking our claim in the wrong place. Saw ben Steins movie. "Expelled." About allowing intellegent design to be taught. This is where Christians are staking their hope these days. We can prove the world is created. It’s so observable it doesn’t need to be proven! Doesn’t change anyone. Need to recenter our thinking. The Bible does not argue creation. It assumes creation.

We should instead focus our energy on the apologetics of the Resurrection. If Jesus really rose from the dead, it has life changing consequences for us.

A friend asked me. "Do you ever doubt?" yes "What do you do?" When I doubt I study the resurrection. Because the Resurrection proves: God has answers I never imagined. If God can raise the dead, then I don't have a problem with a world wide flood or Jonah.

Gary Habermass: "The resurrection is a rock that can bear the weight of Christianity."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Creed Or Confession ?

This is important to Baptist Life.

In his book, "The Baptist Heritage" Leon McBeth explains:

"A confession designates what people do believe; a creed what they must believe. A confession is voluntary and serves to inform, educate and inspire. A creed is required and serves to disicipline and exclude. A confession offers guidelines under the authority o Scripture; a creed tends to become binding authority, in subtle ways displacing the Bible." p.686-687

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Unusual Descriptions Of The Disciple

Normal titles: "Christian." "Disciple." "Follower." Peter calls us some strange things:

I. Strangers.
"To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia" 1 Peter 1:1

These are covenant terms for the Jews. Since the 500-600 B.C., the Jew were the dispersion. Called "The dia-spora." Israel considered themselves aliens and strangers. Cast out. We are now in the covenant people of God. From the cross on, God has taken Gentile and Jew and brought us together. We stand in this world as God’s people.

That’s how we are to see ourselves in relationship to the world. We don’t belong. We’re aliens. Alien: "Para-Apo-dimos." (Para: along side of. Like a para church group) (Apo: Away from.) (dimos: the people democracy) –Away from my people. I’m along side of it. I’m not part of the world. I’m away from my people. Aliens.

You and I are Christians. America is where we are at. We are not where we belong. Like Joseph, who could have had his own pyramid. He said: Get me out of here! Don’t belong.

Dispersion: Diaspora. "To sow seed." Though we’re scattered, we are to sow seed. When stephen was stoned, the Christains were scattered, and immediately Philip starts preaching where he goes.

An Alien and a Dispersed one is not expected to fit in to the world where they are.

II. Chosen.
"who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood" 1 Peter 1:2

See the Trinities work: Chosen by the foreknowledge of the father. Sanctified by the Spirit. Obedient to Jesus (Lord: Adoni). / Saved by Jesus.

Chosen for what? Two things:

  • Chosen for OBEDIENCE!
    "Who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father... for obedience to Jesus Christ"
  • Chosen for SALVATION.
    "Who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the father... for... sprinkling by his blood."
    "Foreknowledge": GK: Prognosis: forethought.
    The Mystery: That we must repent and turn to him. Yet: He chose us. To deny the mystery, you’ll lose your mind. The idea that God chooses some people to go to hell: "Double Predestination." The Bible never talks about this.

"Sprinkling by his blood"
Not a Christian because you tried to emulate Jesus. Must be blood. In the Old Testament, if you touched something dead you became dead – had to be cleansed. Considered dead also. Offering of the Red Heffer. No yoke had ever set. Place hands on the Hefer, pronounce guilty, burn it to ashes. It was rendered as a sin offering. Took water, ashes put ash in the water. Hissop, touch it in the water, he would sprinkle it toward you. In that which God provides for you, one drop of one bit of that fountain – the hem of your garment, you are clean. Clean by the application of what God does.

We have been "sprinkled" (Perfect tense): Never needs to do again.

The Spirit carries this out. "through the sanctifying work of the Spirit"
"Sanctifying" hagiasmos (hag-ee-as-mos'). Work of the Spirit on going work of salvation.

III. Rich.
"Grace and peace be yours in abundance." 1 Peter 1:2
(Abundance: Fullest measure)
Grace in fullest measure: There is nothing more that this God can do for you than he has already done. He has given the best of heaven. God can do no more than raise his son from the dead. God can do no more than to take enemies and make them children.