04 July 2020

Devotional Notes Romans 2

B1 What does this mean?
C1 God’s Judgment Is Righteous
D1 We must be careful when passing judgment. We must be aware that we often are guilty of the same sin. We must test. We cannot tolerate everything people do. JFB commentary has: The Jew under like condemnation with the Gentile. From those without, the apostle now turns to those within the pale of revealed religion, the self-righteous Jews, who looked down upon the uncovenanted heathen as beyond the pale of God’s mercies, within which they deemed themselves secure, however inconsistent their life may be. Alas! what multitudes wrap themselves up in like fatal confidence, who occupy the corresponding position in the Christian Church!
D2 Judging, etc. must be according to truth, that is, reality. It also must agree with Scripture, which is the only source of 100% truth.
D3 Verse 4, God's goodness towards us is so that we will repent and believe in Jesus. This goodness is expressed by God's kindness, forbearance, and longsuffering.
D4 If one does not repent, then it often to even greater sin, and greater sin leads to an increase in God's wrath.
D5 Verses 5-11 shows that choices and actions lead to consequences of relationship with God. God's judges all fairly. A Jew may think he is better than all, but this is not true. A Jew gets judged according to the same standards as non-Jews.
D6 Verses 14-15 show Jews have a written law and non-Jews have an unwritten law. All know that lying is wrong, murder is wrong, etc.
C2 The Spiritual Problem of the Jew
D1 A religious Jew has many advantages, but advantages bring greater responsibility.
D2 Ignorance is not an excuse, for all will be judged.
D3 Verses 28-29 show who is a true Jew. It is a heart matter, not just physical and DNA matter.
C3 Questions
D1 Is it wrong to judge? When is it wrong or right?
D2 By whose standard do we use to judge? Why?
D3 What is God’s judgment based on?
D4 How do people become stubborn?
D5 Why is self-seeking and rejecting truth dangerous?
D6 Does God show favoritism? How are we to understand each individual?
B2 How do I apply this to my life? The importance of truth.

03 July 2020

Devotional Notes Romans 1

B1 What does this mean?
C1 Salutation & Purpose
D1 Paul is an Apostle chosen and commissioned by Jesus Christ.
D2 Jesus Christ meets all the OT prophecy identifiers of Messiah especially so by His resurrection.
D3 Paul is to preach, and people are to repent.
C2Paul’s Desire to See the Believers in Rome
D1 Does Gospel (Good News) of or about His Son (God's Son, Jesus)? Most likely of, for it is the Good News that Jesus preached.
D2 Paul's purpose in desiring to visit them is to grow both his and their faith.
D3 Note Paul's evangelistic desire.
C3 Paul States His Boldness in the Good News
D1 Salvation is given to the one who believes that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and His message.
D2 It is an ability brought by God's grace alone in opening our hearts and minds to be freed in order to believe.
C4 The Downward Path of Sinful Humanity
D1 All are sinners by nature. This has been passed down from Adam.
D2 God initiates salvation by giving grace to understand the Gospel. He frees our will. With our will being freed, we need to believe. The decision is ours.
D3 Most refuse to believe, so they continue their descent into sin and incurring a greater punishment.
D4 Note how people suppress the truth. It is “in unrighteousness,” that is, they show their suppression of truth by doing unrighteousness.
D5 God reveals His character. People understand these truths. Most reject them.
D6 Verse 21, people refuse to give God the credit for what He has done and is doing. They also are not thankful for what He has done and is doing.
D7 Note that the punishment for sin is God allowing them to sin even more.
C5 Questions
D1 What are some proofs that Jesus is the promised Messiah?
D2 Is Christianity reasonable? Why?
D3 Why is the resurrection so important?
D4 How does “everyone know God?”
D5 Why does God punish sin by allowing a person to sin more?
D6 Does anyone HAVE TO sin?
D7 What is the solution?
B2 How do I apply this to my life? Repent and believe.

01 July 2020

1 Timothy 4:6-10

B2 Remind brethren
C1 These instructions are primarily for the pastors/leaders but should be applied to all brothers and sisters. Most pastors/leaders do not.
D1 Timothy must remind them, that is, bring them up occasionally to refresh their memory.
D2 Good teachers do not teach something one time. They review it from time to time as necessary.
D3 Timothy must nourish himself as well. We need to be nourished in
E1 Words of faith, that is,
F1 Matthew 4:4 NLT But Jesus told him, "No! The Scriptures say, 'People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
F2 Psalm 1:1-3 NLT Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 2 But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. 3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
E2 Good teaching
F1 Luke 24:27 NLT Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
F2 God is the Teacher of all teachers, the greatest, the best. This verse prophesies but the character trait is reality: Isaiah 2:3 NLT People from many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob's God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths." For the LORD's teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem.
E3 Consistently
F1 Hebrews 13:8 NLT Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
F2 Malachi 3:6 NLT I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.
F3 Attitude—I need to do this. I will do this.
F4 Dedication—I will do this every day.
F5 Habit—I will do this as a habit without fail, except in an emergency.
F6 Help—I will seek God’s help and wisdom.
F7 Others—I will teach and be taught by others.
F8 Expect—I expect God to teach me through Scriptures.
F9 Application—I will live what I’m taught.
E4 Barclay writes: It tells us how to face the task of teaching. Timothy is told that he must feed his life on the words of faith. No man can give out without taking in. He who would teach must be continually learning. It is the reverse of the truth that when a man becomes a teacher he ceases to be a learner; he must daily know Jesus Christ better before he can bring him to others.
C2 In doing so, we are being pleasing servants of the Lord Jesus.
D1 We remind ourselves and our fellow believers of these things. W
D2 We must not do the things of verse 7.
D3 The method is to remind ourselves through Bible reading, Bible study, prayer, and fellowship (with God and believers).
D4 We have to be open and listen when our fellow believers remind us.
C3 We have to be nourished in the faith. This is knowing the Gospel and Biblical doctrine.
C4 We have to follow them carefully. We do not follow them to be saved or to be better Christians than someone else. We do follow them because we want to be good servants of Jesus Christ.
C5 We are not to follow crude myths or old wives’ stories. These are not doctrine. They are religious myths and stories. None of them are something Christians need to believe.
C6 We need to be in training for living a godly life.
D1 We must know the Bible.
D2 We must know what we believe.
D3 We must know how to live a Christian life.
D4 We must be able to answer questions challenging our faith (apologetics).
C7 Physical exercise is OK but will not enhance our faith. Some of the same points of being a better athlete can be applied to learning God’s ways.
C8 We need to be ready for living tomorrow with God’s standards stronger in us then today.
C9 Believing that Jesus is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe is offensive to many people. The Gospel is offensive. Jesus is offensive. A Christian life is offensive to many. God’s standards are offensive to many. See also 1 John 4:14, Isaiah 45:22, 1 Timothy 2:4, Acts 2:21, 2 Peter 3:9.
B3 Applications
C1 Christians are different. Saving faith is different. Jesus is different. Jesus suffered, so will we.
C2 God gives us grace and strength for whatever we face.
C3 We need to be taught and to teach each other.
C4 We need to encourage each other in the faith.
C5 We need to pray for each other.
B4 Questions
C1 What is the relationship between being a great athlete and a great Christian?
C2 Why does the pastor/leader have to learn and teach?
C3 What is the importance of consistency in the Christian faith?
C4 Why do we have to emphasize knowing the Bible, knowing what we believe, knowing what the Christian life and worldview is, and knowing how to defend the faith (apologetics)?

30 June 2020

A Few Thoughts About Deception

Deception
B1 Defined:
C1 the act of causing someone to believe an untruth, or the state of being so deceived. (Source)
C2 For better or worse, here is a Wikipedia article on Deception.
D3 Why Do People Lie? (non-Christian but gives a nice summary).
B2 Effects of deception
C1 A classic on deception is Propaganda by Edward Bernays (PDF).
C2 Effects as abuse, control (no freedom), stealing, pain, even death.
What God teaches
B1 A solemn warning: Matthew 24:4 WEL Jesus answering said to them, “Beware that no one deceives you.
B2 God’s comment on Jeremiah living in a society of liars: Jeremiah 9:6 NIV You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me," declares the LORD.
B3 Lies disguised as smooth and flattering speech: Romans 16:18 GW People like these are not serving Christ our Lord. They are serving their own desires. By their smooth talk and flattering words they deceive unsuspecting people.
B4 A person’s source of deception: Jeremiah 17:9 GNB Who can understand the human heart? There is nothing else so deceitful; it is too sick to be healed.
B5 As punishment, God will send deception. Since they do and want deception, God gives to them. They reject truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 EMTV And because of this, God will send them strong delusion, in order for them to believe the lie.
B6 People can lie with persuasive arguments: Colossians 2:1-4 EMTV For I want you to know how great a struggle I have concerning you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being joined together in love, and to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to a full knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 Now this I say lest anyone may deceive you with persuasive words.
B7 Some find joy in deception (just because they can): Proverbs 26:19 LEB so is a man who deceives his neighbor, but says "Am I not joking?
B8 The way a person looks, dresses, acts, etc. can be deceiving: Proverbs 31:30 LEB Charm is deceit and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears Yahweh shall be praised.
B9 Yes, trusted religious leaders can lie: Matthew 24:11 NASB Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.
B10 A person’s countenance can be deceptive: Proverbs 26:26 NKJV Though his hatred is covered by deceit, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.
B11 Often deception comes from ignorance: Matthew 22:29 EMTV Jesus answered and said to them, "You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.
B12 The time may come when lies are so rampant, we are not to trust our neighbor. Jeremiah 9:3-5 NLT My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot out lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth. They only go from bad to worse. They do not know me," says the LORD. 4 "Beware of your neighbor! Don't even trust your brother! For brother takes advantage of brother, and friend slanders friend. 5 They all fool and defraud each other; no one tells the truth. With practiced tongues they tell lies; they wear themselves out with all their sinning.
B13 Sin deceives then hardens the heart. The hardening happens because the evil is believed so strongly. Hebrews 3:13 EMTV but encourage yourselves every day, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
B14 Contrast Jesus who never lied. He still never lies, which is why we understand, read, and study the Bible in its plain, normal sense. 1 Peter 2:22 EMTV Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.
B15 A denial of reality—I am a good person. 1 John 1:8 EMTV If we claim that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
B16 It is good to be a little skeptical: Proverbs 14:8 NLT The prudent understand where they are going, but fools deceive themselves.
B17 Employment lying. This be might the quality of work, the amount of work, or the amount of time it took to work: Proverbs 11:18 NIV A wicked person earns deceptive wages, but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.
B18 There are many spiritual ways of deception: Jeremiah 29:8 NIV Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have.
B19 A cheating merchant is a liar/deceiver. He lies in the amount bought or in the price: Proverbs 20:17 NIV Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.
B20 Deception to hurt, manipulate, defraud. The defraud can be in finance, sex, adoration, control, etc. Jeremiah 9:8 NIV Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully. With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors, but in their hearts they set traps for them.
B21 Some people believe themselves to be spiritually safe by reading a Bible verse and agreeing with it but not living it. James 1:22 EMTV But become doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
B22 The people we associate with affect us. This would include groups, organizations, memberships. 1 Corinthians 15:33 EMTV Do not be deceived: "Evil associations corrupts good habits.
B23 Deny the deity of Jesus Christ: 2 John 1:7 EMTV Because many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and the antichrist.

The method
B1 Teach the truth for a while, say 6-9 months.
B2 After that slowly bring in one falsity.
B3 When that lie has been accepted, introduce another falsity.
B4 Slowly change the definitions from common definitions to a very specialized definition.
B5 Act very holy at all times.
B6 Be very friendly.
B7 Note those who believe your every word and make them your “best” friends. Marginalize the others.
B8 Bring in “big name” speakers who believe like you do. Then promote their books.
B9 Discourage people from checking out if what you say is true. Accuse them of being divisive.
B10 Slowly change the rules, constitute, by laws, etc. to give you more authority and power.
Avoidance
B1 Know what truth is:
B2 Be a little skeptical.
B3 Study truth.
B4 Believe truth.
B5 Practice truth.
B6 Pray for God to keep us in truth: Proverbs 30:8 ISV Keep deception and lies far away from me, and give me neither poverty nor wealth. Feed me with food that I need for today.
B7 Teach the truth to others: Ephesians 4:11-13 ISV And it is he who gifted some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, and still others to be pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints, to do the work of ministry, and to build up the body of the Messiah 13 until all of us are united in the faith and in the full knowledge of God's Son, and until we attain mature adulthood and the full standard of development in the Messiah.

Sources:

29 June 2020

1 Timothy 4:1-5

B1 Warning of Apostasy
C1 This is for the latter times
D1 End of the church age
D2 Just before the Tribulation. The Tribulation period itself is one of complete apostasy of government, religion, and society. Only God can save.
D3 Society falls apart
D4 Like the days of Noah and the times of Sodom and Gomorrah
E1 The sins of society are NOT any special sins.
E2 They are the breaking of God’s Commandments as summarized in the 10 Commandments.
E3 Every law is broken in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds.
E4 Truth changes from the correspondence theory (reality) to the Narcissistic theory (what I say is truth, is truth).
E5 Genesis 15:16 NRSV And they shall come back here in the fourth generation; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete."
F1 Punishment does happen. We don’t know when.
F2 God is very patient. He wants all to repent. 2 Peter 3:9 NIV The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
C2 Characteristics of those times
D1 Depart from the faith—leaving the Gospel and doctrine as taught by the Lord Jesus and the Apostles.
E1 Steps in apostasy
F1 Truth is the first thing to be changed.
F2 Then Bible interpretation becomes everything except the plain, normal sense.
F3 Then the Gospel is corrupted or neglected. Works or something else become necessary.
F4 Then the doctrine of God, the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are changed.
F5 Christianity departs from evidence and a reasonable faith to one of experience and mysticism.
E2 Becoming deceived
F1 The method: charisma, philosophy, empty deceit. Colossians 2:8 AMPC See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men's ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah).
F2 Comes from spiritual ignorance: Matthew 22:29 NRSV Jesus answered them, "You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.
F3 True sets one free from deception. We must start with truth/reality. John 8:31-32 WEL Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, “If you continue in my teaching, you are truly my disciples, 32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
D2 Liars are rampant.
E1 These teachings come from liars whose consciences are seared. They just don’t care anymore about God’s truth in its plain, normal sense.
E2 The devil, hating God, uses lies for his teaching. God, loving truth, uses truth to teach the truth.
E3 Claim to be spokes-persons for God. Jeremiah 14:14-15 GNB But the LORD replied, "The prophets are telling lies in my name; I did not send them, nor did I give them any orders or speak one word to them. The visions they talk about have not come from me; their predictions are worthless things that they have imagined. 15 I, the LORD, tell you what I am going to do to those prophets whom I did not send but who speak in my name and say war and starvation will not strike this land—I will kill them in war and by starvation.
E4 Use the same words and terminology with different meanings/definitions.
D3 A seared conscience is one in which truth is suppressed and pushed aside.
E1 Romans 1:18 NIV The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
E2 Often we believe false teachers because we become deceived and sear our conscience as well.
F1 James 1:22 NIV Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
F2 Sometimes we think everything is wonderful, we are strong Christians, and we have arrived at spiritual maturity. But, in reality, we are in terrible shape. Revelation 3:17-18 GNB You say, 'I am rich and well off; I have all I need.' But you do not know how miserable and pitiful you are! You are poor, naked, and blind. 18 I advise you, then, to buy gold from me, pure gold, in order to be rich. Buy also white clothing to dress yourself and cover up your shameful nakedness. Buy also some ointment to put on your eyes, so that you may see.
E3 We need to live a life in truth/reality.
F1 Psalm 86:11 NKJV Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.
G1 God loves to teach.
G2 We must acknowledge our ignorance and need to be taught.
G3 Just being taught by God (reading and studying the Scriptures) is not enough. We must live it continually and in private and public.
G4 Walk is our daily life.
G5 Unite as in undivided motives, attitudes, thoughts, words, and deeds.
G6 Our heart is the core of our being. We are not to be hypocrites.
F2 1 John 1:6 ISV If we claim that we have fellowship with him but keep living in darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth.
F3 James 1:23-25 GW If someone listens to God's word but doesn't do what it says, he is like a person who looks at his face in a mirror, 24 studies his features, goes away, and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 However, the person who continues to study God's perfect teachings that make people free and who remains committed to them will be blessed. People like that don't merely listen and forget; they actually do what God's teachings say.
D4 Turning to seducing spirits and teachings of demons. Leaving truth.
E1 Lifestyle is determined by whatever a person decides.
E2 The plain, normal sense of Scripture becomes changed to one of “spiritual interpretation.” Doctrine and messages come from meeting God(?) in The Silence. The people are deceived to think it is Yahweh who gives these messages, but the messages come from the false. 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 CSB For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
D5 Lies and hypocrisy
E1 What these false teachers say and do are not the same.
E2 They love to cover up and hide what they really believe and do.
E3 Many fake pastors hide various abuses and financial documents from the faithful.
D6 Conscience seared—people do all these evil things and do not feel any guilt.
D7 Forbid marriage.
D8 Teach the necessity to avoid certain foods.
E1 This refers to foods not related to health, but to progress spiritually. Some teach that Christians must follow the dietary laws outlined in the Old Testament. If someone wants to follow those laws, so be it, but if they teach it is spiritually necessarily for the Christian, it is false teaching. I am a Christian not a Jew. God bless the Jews.
E2 The truth is Christians can eat. The reason? God created these foods to be partaken with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. So, if a teacher teaches the necessity of not eating something for spiritual reasons, they are teaching lies. Beware! We have been warned.
E3 These foods are spoken by the Holy Spirit to be good and not to be refused. We are to be thankful for them, when we eat any food.
E4 These foods are sanctified.
F1 Because God said so.
F2 Because of prayer.
E5 We can also worship on Sunday or any other day: Colossians 2:16-17 WEL So then don't let anyone condemn you in food, drink, religious festivals, new moon, or the Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of things to come, but the real substance is Christ.
E5 A link about Torah observance by Jews for Jesus.
C3 Resources:
D1 Last Days Apostasy of the Church Andy Woods This is a 6-part series.
C4 Questions
D1 How is a person deceived?
D2 What makes the last days a time of greater deception?
D3 How can we avoid deception?
D4 What is our standard for living the Christian life?

24 June 2020

1 Timothy 3:14-16

B3 Reasons for church conduct
C1 Paul wants to come, see them, fellowship with them, teach them, but until then, he wishes for Pastor Timothy to know the importance of Christian conduct. This is how we live our Christian life.
C2 God’s household
D1 This is God’s family. This is Christians (people who have believed).
E1 Ephesians 2:19 CSB So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God's household.
E2 God is the Father, for we are born again. John 1:12 NIV Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
E3 God’s family has rules. Here are a few:
F1 Romans 12:1-2 NIV Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
F5 Hebrews 13:5 NIV Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.
F6 Consider this list. Galatians 5:18-26
D2 We learn from this that our fellow Christians are family members with us. We are together as a family in God’s family.
C3 We are not together for a similar purpose, reason, or goal, but we are together as a family. Our father is God the Father. Our brother is Jesus, God the Son. Our comforter and guide is God the Holy Spirit.
C4 The church is to be the light in this world in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds. We are to honor God by obeying His rules in the New Testament.
C5 Our religion is a mystery to the unsaved. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary on mystery: In New Testament usage, a mystery is not a puzzle or a secret that leaves people in ignorance, but a truth that God reveals. It usually refers to something that people normally would not know, but that God in his grace makes known to them (Eph 3:4-5; Col 1:26; Rev 17:7). The truths concerning salvation through Jesus Christ are mysteries in this sense. People could not work them out by themselves, but God who planned salvation from eternity reveals them (Rom 16:25-26; 1Ti 3:9, 16).
C6 The Lord Jesus was revealed in the flesh. He is the God/man.
D1 Many translations foul this Scripture. Wilbur Pickering PhD states in his Bible notes: Instead of 'God', 1% of the Greek manuscripts read 'who', and most modern versions follow this 1%. But 'who' is nonsensical (in the context), so most of them take evasive action: NEB and NASB have “he who”; Phillips has “the one”; NRSV, Jerusalem, TEV and NIV render “he.” Berkley actually has “who!” In the Greek Text the relative pronoun has no antecedent, so it is a grammatical 'impossibility', besides being a stupidity—what is so mysterious about someone being manifested in flesh? All human beings have bodies. The pronoun can be accounted for as an easy transcriptional error, a simple copying mistake, so why not stay with the 98.5%? “God was manifested in flesh”—now there you have a mystery!
D2 Jesus is 100% man and 100% God. This is the faith. See the Athanasian Creed.
D3 Justified in the Spirit. Jesus has been vindicated as sinless.
E1 Romans 1:3-4 ESV concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
E2 Hebrews 9:14 CSB how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works so that we can serve the living God?
1 Timothy 3:16 (F B Meyer. Our Daily Homily)
Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness.
It is more than likely that this is a fragment of one of the earliest hymns of the Church. In her hymns, and maintenance of the ordinances, she thus becomes the pillar and ground of the truth. The words “mystery of godliness” are probably a general heading which is further unfolded and expanded in the six following sentences, which may have been sung antiphonally:—
God was manifest in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit. Seen of angels, Preached unto the Gentiles. Believed on in the world, Received up into glory.”
The Extremes of Manifestation. — The Eternal Word was manifested in the flesh. But it was not simply a physical manifestation; we cannot forget the descent of the Holy Spirit at his baptism, or the authentication of his words which the Spirit gave in signs and wonders, and convinced hearts, and converted lives.
The Extremes of Created Intelligence. — Angels worship Him; and Gentiles, sunk in heathen darkness, hear the story of his wondrous love. Jesus is the centre of all worlds: from heaven’s bright spaces they come to Him on the one hand; from earth’s dark sins they come on the other. In Him meet angels and men.
The Extremes of Space. — Glory is above: “He was received up into glory.” The world is but a speck, a mote in the beam of eternity. How great the space between the two! But the feet of our Emmanuel have trodden its low pavement, and He has now taken to Himself his former glory. Like Jacob’s ladder, He links earth with the throne of God.
B4 Applications
C1 There are to be pastors, deacons, and deaconesses.
C2 There are requirements in order to be one. Being a great business person or leader in society counts for nothing in God’s church.
C3 We must be consistent in our thoughts, desires, words, and deeds.
C4 We are a family. We are to love and live as a family. The house we live in is God’s house. This is not referring to communal living.
B5 Questions
C1 What is Christian conduct?
C2 What is the importance of consistency in the faith?
C3 What is mysterious about Christianity to non-Christians?
C4 What is the importance of “God with us?”
C5 How can God be manifest in the flesh?

21 June 2020

A Few Thoughts About Father’s Day

Isaiah 38:19 GW Those who are living praise you as I do today. Fathers make your faithfulness known to their children.

The setting:
B1 Hezekiah was sick and dying. It was a sickness that leads to death.
B2 Hezekiah had no heir to the throne of Israel.
B3 The prophet Isaiah is delegated by God to give this message to Hezekiah, “The LORD tells you that you are to put everything in order because you will not recover. Get ready to die.”
B4 Hezekiah’s prayer to be healed.
B5 God promises to heal Hezekiah.
B6 God’s promises to Hezekiah.
Other translations of our verse:
B1 Isaiah 38:19 MKJV The living, the living, he shall praise You, as I do this day; the father shall make Your truth known to the sons.
B2 Isaiah 38:19 AB (a Septuagint version) The living shall bless You, as I also do; for from this day shall I beget children, who shall declare Your righteousness.
Some points:
B1 Hezekiah is as good as dead.
B2 He states that if he was dead that he could not praise God for answered prayer like those living on earth.
B3 He speaks that he will have children whom he can teach to fear and praise God.
Some applications:
B1 Fathers
C1 Love:
D1 In love and truth: 1 John 3:18 EMTV My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
D2 Does not provoke to anger: Ephesians 6:4 EMTV And fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.
D3 Everything done in love: 1 Corinthians 16:14 EMTV Let all that you do be done in love.
C2 Have compassion/pity: Psalms 103:13 HCSB As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
C3 Teach: Proverbs 1:8 GW My son, listen to your father's discipline, and do not neglect your mother's teachings.
C4 Encourage: 1 Thessalonians 2:11 EMTV as indeed you know how each one of you, as a father to his own children, we exhorted, and comforted you, and imploring you.
B2 God
C1 Loves:
D1 Greater love than any: John 3:16 EMTV For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
D2 Does not provoke anger. He calms: Psalms 46:9-10 CEV God brings wars to an end all over the world. He breaks the arrows, shatters the spears, and burns the shields. 10 Our God says, "Calm down, and learn that I am God! All nations on earth will honor me."
D3 In love and truth: 1 John 3:18 EMTV My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
C2 Has compassion/pity: Psalms 103:13 HCSB As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
C3 Teaches: John 5:20 EMTV For the Father loves the Son, and shows to Him all things which He Himself does; and greater works than these He will show Him, so that you may marvel.
C4 Concern for, so seeks for: Matthew 18:12-14 EMTV What do you think? If a certain man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains, and go and search for the one gone astray? 13 And if he happens to find it, assuredly I say to you that he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which did not go astray. 14 Thus it is not the will before your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
C5 Gives:
D1 Time/fellowship: 2 Corinthians 6:16 GW Can God's temple contain false gods? Clearly, we are the temple of the living God. As God said, "I will live and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people."
D2 Listening: Psalm 10:17 CEV You listen to the longings of those who suffer. You offer them hope, and you pay attention to their cries for help.
D3 GOOD gifts: Matthew 7:9-11 EMTV Or what man is there among you who, if his son should ask for bread, will give him a stone? And if he should ask for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, by how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Finally,
B1 We need to emulate God.
B2 God is the perfect Father.
B3 We need to study God’s relationships with His people.
Questions:
B1 How can I know how to be a good father?
B2 How important is spending time with our children important?
B3 What are the best ways to teach our children?
B4 How do we teach our children good character traits (as God has) and to avoid evil character traits?

Benjamin Watson video on Father’s Day 2020 (this is a Facebook video; you probably need to log in to view it):