02 December 2020

A Few Thoughts about Suppressing Truth

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.

B1 Suppress

C1 The Greek word is κατέχω katéchō. It means to prevent free movement. This movement is bound and held down. It also means to repress (Wuest).

C2 The truth is deliberately being held down, repressed, and prevented from being acknowledged and revealed.

C3 In our passage, it is the truth about God. It can be applied to all truth, for example, a person’s sins, fraudulent science, false prophets, false teachers, false pastors (who don’t want to be exposed), etc.

C4 An example of telling the truth and suppressing it. John 8:45-46 NRSV But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?

B2 Where do lies come from?

C1 From the devil. The first liar evidently is the devil. John 8:44 NRSV You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

C2 From the human heart. The heart is the soul, the immaterial part of every human.

D1 Luke 6:45 NIV A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

D2 Matthew 15:18-20 NKJV But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 "These are [the things] which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man."

B3 Why do they do this?

C1 Why Do People Lie?

C2 Love evil. Psalm 52:3 NLT You love evil more than good and lies more than truth.

C3 Love darkness, that is, repression, suppression, covering up truth. John 3:19 NLT And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.

C4 Hate light, that is, truth being exposed. John 3:20 NLT All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. Vincent’s Word Studies notes on John 3:20-21: There the plural is used: doeth evil things; evil being represented by a number of bad works. Here the singular, the truth, or truth; truth being regarded as one, and “including in a supreme unity all right deeds.” There is also to be noted the different words for doing in these two verses: doeth evil (πράσσων); doeth truth (ποιῶν). The latter verb contemplates the object and end of action; the former the means, with the idea of continuity and repetition. Πράσσων is the practice, while ποιῶν may be the doing once for all.

C5 Have a sin nature that all humans are born with. Psalms 58:3 NLT These wicked people are born sinners; even from birth they have lied and gone their own way.

B4 What is the danger of suppressing the truth?

C1 More apt to believe lies.

C2 Searing the conscious. It will be easier to lie and not feel guilty.

C3 Justifying evil actions.

C4 Substitute subjective opinions as the standard of truth.

C5 All the above increases sin. Note the downhill motion of sin in Romans 1.

D1 Realization of truth. The Holy Spirit opens all hearts and minds to understand some facts about God. Compare 1 Corinthians 2:18-20 and John 16:8-11.

E1 Romans 1:19 NLT They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.

E2 Acts 16:14 NIV One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.

E3 2 Corinthians 4:6 NLT For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

D2 Taught truth. God teaches them truth. (Romans 1:19-20). This includes

E1 God’s existence

E2 God’s eternal power which includes

F1 Omnipotence

F2 Power in ability

F3 Aseity (no beginning or end of existence. He is existent of Himself)

F4 Eternity (always existing)

E3 Power as the source of life

E4 Power in wisdom (omnisapience)

E5 Power in knowledge (omniscience)

E6 Power and authority as creator, king, judge, etc.

E7 Jesus’s ministry which showed authority over demons, weather, sickness, death, trick questions, temptations, etc.

E8 Power and authority to forgive sins and recreate a person’s heart (soul) when they believe. Compare Luke 18:13 and 2 Corinthians 5:17.

E9 Godhead which refers to what we call the Trinity. Compare John 1:1 and John 1:14, etc.

D3 Suppress truth (Romans 1:18)

D4 Refuse to give God credit for what He has done (creation and providence for example). (Romans 1:21)

E1 Also, not giving thanks for all He has done, is doing, and will do.

E2 Compare Acts 14:17 NLT but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts.

D5 Empty imaginations to dream up things which bring about all goodness and creation, yet excludes Jesus as being that creator. (Romans 1:21)

D6 Foolishness leads the heart to be darkened. It is a punishment and result of rejection. (Romans 1:21). This was the reason for parables (Mark 4:12)

D7 Self arrogance when dealing with possible solutions to problems and questions. They do not accept Bible truth but do accept other suggestions (Romans 1:22). Compare Isaiah 44:9-20.

D8 Choose and make gods (Romans 1:23). This would include gods of science, philosophy, etc. Compare Acts 17:29 and Galatians 4:8.

D9 God gives them up, delivers, and takes truth away from them (Romans 1:24). These rejecters start worshiping fleshly desires. Compare: Romans 1:24 GW For this reason God allowed their lusts to control them. As a result, they dishonor their bodies by sexual perversion with each other.

D10 Romans 1:25 has the following effects from suppressing truth—to believe falsehood and to worship and serve the creature (pantheism). This is a type of spiritual blindness.

D11 Believe and practice all types of sex (Romans 1:26-27). God gives them up these sins. Giving them over to these sins is punishment resulting in even greater deceptions. Psalms 81:12 NLT So I let them follow their own stubborn desires, living according to their own ideas.

D12 The idea of God is still in their mind but thinking about God causes mental and emotional distress (Romans 1:28). Isaiah 30:11 GNB Get out of our way and stop blocking our path. We don't want to hear about your holy God of Israel.

D13 Next down the ladder of sin is that their lives become nothing but selfish (egotism), resulting in a long list of evil, hurtful attitudes, and evil actions. Compare the NLT: Romans 1:29-31 NLT Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.

D14 Finally, they realize God’s disapproval, yet give God the finger and do what they want, encourage others to join them, and have no concern for the future (Romans 1:32). Compare

E1 2 Thessalonians 2:12 NLT Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.

E2 Isaiah 57:20-21 GW But the wicked are like the churning sea. It isn't quiet, and its water throws up mud and slime. 21 There is no peace for the wicked," says my God.

E3 Revelation 22:12-15 Phillips “See, I come quickly! I carry my reward with me, and repay every man according to his deeds. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the Beginning and the End. Happy are those who wash their robes, for they have the right to the tree of life and the freedom of the gates of the city. Shut out from the city shall be the depraved, the sorcerers, the impure, the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practises a lie!

B5 What is the solution?

C1 Recognize truth. Thoughts, desires, words, and deeds are either truth or lie. A part lie is a lie. Saying true words to deceive is a lie. A standard is needed to help us. That standard is God, the Creator.

D1 1 John 2:21 NRSV I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and you know that no lie comes from the truth.

D2 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

C2 Expose lies. Ephesians 5:11 NRSV Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

C3 Tell the truth and practice the truth. The more we tell the truth, the more we will tell the truth. Zechariah 8:16 NLT But this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace.

C4 Note the comparison. We are to recognize lies, avoid lies, speak the truth, and do truth in the spirit of love. Ephesians 4:14-15 GNB Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent. 15 Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head.

C5 Realize that all lies sometime and somewhere will be exposed. Proverbs 12:19 NLT Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.

C6 We are to guide and help each other back to truth. James 5:19-20 NLT My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

C6 Seek for pastors and teachers that tell and teach truth. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 NLT For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

John 14:6 NRSV Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

01 December 2020

A Few Thoughts about Praying for Jesus’s Return

Revelation 22:20 NLT He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

2 Peter 3:12a ...waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God…

As Christians we don’t pray for the death of the wicked. Ezekiel 33:11 NLT As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?

As Christians we want Yeshua Messiah to come and

B1 Destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8 NLT But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.

B2 Destroy death. Hebrews 2:14-15 ESV Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

B3 Punish those who refuse to believe and have caused suffering to believers. 2 Thessalonians 1:4-6 NLT We proudly tell God's other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. 5 And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. 6 In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you.

B4 Bring His kingdom of peace. Isaiah 9:7 NIV Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

B5 Save us from the evils and curse of this present world. Hebrews 9:28 NRSV so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

B6 Creating a new body that does not decay, have pain, sorrow, etc. Philippians 3:20-21 NRSV But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.

30 November 2020

A Few Thoughts about Altruism

Definitions

B1 Altruism is unselfish concern for the well-being of others (Source)

B2 The opposite is egoism which is the tendency to evaluate everything in relation to one's own interests; self-centeredness (Source)

The Scriptures teach us to be altruistic (unselfishly devoted to the welfare of others).

B1 Proverbs 19:17 WEB He who has pity on the poor lends to Yahweh; he will reward him. The NLT has Proverbs 19:17 NLT If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD—and he will repay you!

C1 Several translations have lend to the poor as if the passage is only about money or goods.

C2 The Hebrew word is חָנַן chânan. It means to be gracious, to show pity, to give graciously, etc. It is frequently translated mercy or gracious.

C3 Some examples

D1 2 Kings 1:13-14 GNB Once more the king sent an officer with fifty men. He went up the hill, fell on his knees in front of Elijah, and pleaded, "Man of God, be merciful to me and my men. Spare our lives! 14 The two other officers and their men were killed by fire from heaven; but please be merciful to me!"

D2 2 Kings 13:23 NLT But the LORD was gracious and merciful to the people of Israel, and they were not totally destroyed. He pitied them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And to this day he still has not completely destroyed them or banished them from his presence.

D3 Psalms 37:21 ESV The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives.

B2 Luke 10:35 NLT The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.

If we can supply and are aware of the need, then we must help. If we cannot supply or are not aware, then we cannot. Dorcas (Tabitha) was able, aware, and willing. Acts 9:36, 39 NIV In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. ... 39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

There are sometimes greater needs than material needs. Some of these are time (to listen), assistance (think elderly), helping the single parent, the pastor, the local church, etc. A common need today is to assist with those alone because of social isolation.

We can do this.

29 November 2020

A Few Thoughts about Being Vexed

2 Peter 2:7-8 KJV And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

Vexed

B1 English (Source)

  1. To irritate; to make angry by little provocations

  2. To plague; to torment; to harass; to afflict.

  3. To disturb; to disquiet; to agitate.

B2 Greek (Source)

C1 καταπονέω kataponéō

C2 It means to tire down with toil, exhaust with labor; hence, to afflict or oppress with evils; to make trouble for; to treat roughly

C3 It is used 2 times in the New Testament

D1 Acts 7:24 WEL Seeing one of them suffer, he defended [him], avenged him who was harassed, and fatally hit the Egyptian.

D2 2 Peter 2:7-8 NLT But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. 8 Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day.

There are other verses describing how Christians grieve at the increase of sin.

B1 Ezekiel 9:4 NLT He said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.”

B2 Philippians 3:18 NLT For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ.

Much of this comes from a different worldview and mission in life.

B1 Contrast in actions: Galatians 5:19-25 EMTV Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are: adultery, fornication, immorality, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envies, murders, drinking bouts, revelries, and the like; which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control—against such things there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

B2 Life mission is different, also

C1 Christian

D1 Fellowship with God, which includes prayer, Bible reading, assembling with one another, etc. 1 John 1:3 GNB92 What we have seen and heard we announce to you also, so that you will join with us in the fellowship that we have with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

D2 Serve Jesus, which is outlined in Scripture.

E1 John 12:26 EMTV And if anyone serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant shall be also. If anyone serve Me, him My Father will honor.

E2 Bare fruit of the spirit as seen in our Galatians passage above. (John 15:8)

E3 Be obviously a Christian with a corresponding life and words in private and public. Matthew 5:16 EMTV Thus let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works, and they may glorify your Father who is in heaven. Light has no darkness thus signifying purity, truth, honesty, and the communicable character traits exemplified by the life of the Lord Jesus. See here for example.

D3 Christians should write their own personal mission and life statement. For one example: My mission is to preach and live the Gospel, defend the faith (apologetics), and serve God every moment of my life. (This is mine).

C2 Non-Christian

D1 Some choose fellowship with demons: 1 Corinthians 10:20-21 NRSV No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

D2 Some love doing evil things (things contrary to the 10 Commandments, for an example), love lies, etc. John 8:44 NLT For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

D3 Some choose to love their life in this world, rather than focusing on the next. John 12:25 NLT Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.

D4 Some choose to love lies.

E1 2 Thessalonians 2:10 NLT He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.

E2 Revelation 22:15 NLT Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.

D5 Some choose to love money. 1 Timothy 6:10 NLT For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

D6 Some choose themselves to supremely love. 2 Timothy 3:2 NLT For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.

How to keep our focus on being steadfast and faithful

B1 God’s promises

C1 Never abandon us. Hebrews 13:5 GNB Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, "I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.

C2 Never stop loving us. Romans 8:38-39 GNB For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, 39 neither the world above nor the world below—there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.

C3 Never stop helping us. John 16:7 GNB But I am telling you the truth: it is better for you that I go away, because if I do not go, the Helper will not come to you. But if I do go away, then I will send him to you.

C4 Never cancel His promise to come for us. John 14:3 NLT When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

C5 Never stop protecting us. Jude 1:24-25 NLT Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

C6 He will protect us. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 NLT But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.

C7 He will provide a way out of temptation. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

C8 He will grant us faith. Philippians 4:7 NRSV And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

C9 He will remember His mercy. Psalms 40:11 GNB LORD, I know you will never stop being merciful to me. Your love and loyalty will always keep me safe.

C10 He will always recognize our service, even if no one else does. Psalms 40:11 GNB LORD, I know you will never stop being merciful to me. Your love and loyalty will always keep me safe.

C11 He cannot lie. Hebrews 6:18 NLT So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.

C12 He has given us hope. Hebrews 6:19 NLT This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

C13 He will help us in our prayers. Romans 8:26 NLT And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

C14 Jesus prays for us. Romans 8:34 NLT Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

C15 He has given us joy. 1 Peter 1:8 NLT You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.

C16 He has given us truth. John 8:32 NLT And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

C17 He has given us a standard of truth. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

C18 He has justified us and given us peace with God. Romans 5:1 NIV Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

C19 He allows us to make mistakes and suffer trials for a purpose. Romans 5:3-4 NLT We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

C20 He has given us a family of fellow believers to help and encourage each other. Mark 10:28-30 NLT Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said. 29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.

None of us are perfect. There are many trials, as Jesus has warned us.

We have hope of help, fellowship, and promises of deliverance. Yeshua is always our Messiah.

28 November 2020

A Few Thoughts about Choices

Proverbs 14:12 MKJV There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end of it is the ways of death.

Our decisions seem so correct, but…

Our foolish or wrong decisions rarely lead to physical death. The Hebrew word for death is מָוֶת mâveth. This word means poetically personified death (Psalm 49:14), things that kill (Psalm 7:13), death compared to physical sleep (Psalm 13:3), a place of death as Sheol (Isaiah 38:18 and Proverbs 7:27), fatal disease (Jeremiah 15:2), and destruction (Proverbs 11:19, Proverbs 12:28, Exodus 10:15-17 (regarding the plagues of destruction)), etc. So here, it does not necessary mean physical, though it can be), but usually poor outcomes, hurt feelings, depression, loss of money, loss of joy, setbacks, others hurt, etc.

Many times, our choices result in foolish and hurtful things.

So, what do we do?

Proverbs 2:11 NLT Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe. (Most translations have discretion or similar. The Hebrew word in the good sense is defined as sagacity (Strong)).

Wisdom and wise choices are related. God has good, perfect, and complete wisdom (omnisapience). His choices are based on wisdom, love, and holiness.

B1 Proverbs 3:21 ESV My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion.

B2 Proverbs 8:12 ESV I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion.

B3 Romans 8:28 ESV And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

B4 Isaiah 28:29 GNB All this wisdom comes from the LORD Almighty. The plans God makes are wise, and they always succeed.

B5 James 3:17 GNB But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy.

We need to make our choices by

B1 Knowing what God commands what we must or must not do. Example: Ephesians 5:3-4 NLT Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.

B2 Knowing His principles for applications of what we must do or must not do. Consider the teachings from the book of Proverbs.

B3 Knowing examples of successful and unsuccessful choices.

C1 Good choice. Learning wisdom. Luke 10:38-42 GNB As Jesus and his disciples went on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him in her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the feet of the Lord and listened to his teaching. 40 Martha was upset over all the work she had to do, so she came and said, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!" 41 The Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha! You are worried and troubled over so many things, 42 but just one is needed. Mary has chosen the right thing, and it will not be taken away from her."

C2 Bad choice. Food and the immediate over God’s blessing. Genesis 25:29-34 ESV Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

We need to ask God for help (James 1:5).

We need to wait (if we can, for impulsive choices frequently are poor choices), we need counsel from those who have made similar decisions, and we must practice doing God’s rules (to recognize wisdom from foolishness.

We need to study God’s wisdom, be taught God’s wisdom, and be tested (God does test us).

B1 Be a student.

C1 Old Testament: Romans 15:4 GNB Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us, in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement which the Scriptures give us.

C2 2 Timothy 3:16-17 GNB All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, 17 so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed.

C3 Colossians 3:16 NRSV Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.

B2 Be taught. Psalms 119:130 LITV The entering of Your Word gives light, giving discernment to the simple.

B3 Be tested. Philip had been taught already but the teaching and deeds of the Lord Jesus. John 6:5-7 NLT Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!

Be Humble

B1 We need to acknowledge that we made a poor choice.

B2 We need to ask forgiveness if it violates a law.

B3 We need to repay what might have been lost by others.

B4 We need to remember our mistake, error, poor choice, etc. so we don’t do it again and warn others.

B5 We need to believe we are forgiven, for God says so.

Remember

B1 Learn from mistakes: Proverbs 26:11 GNB A fool doing some stupid thing a second time is like a dog going back to its vomit.

B2 Don’t brood over past mistakes: Philippians 3:13 ICB Brothers, I know that I have not yet reached that goal. But there is one thing I always do: I forget the things that are past. I try as hard as I can to reach the goal that is before me.

B3 We may fail, but we must continue. Proverbs 24:16 LEB For seven times the righteous will fall, but he will rise, but the wicked will be overthrown by calamity.

B4 The more we learn from Scriptures, the more we can avoid poor choices. We learn, we apply, we sense a poor choice. Proverbs 14:16 NLT The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.

B5 God does help us. Psalms 54:4 GW God is my helper! The Lord is the provider for my life.

B6 We must have an attitude that today we must live a Christian life: Ephesians 5:15-17 GW So then, be very careful how you live. Don't live like foolish people but like wise people. 16 Make the most of your opportunities because these are evil days. 17 So don't be foolish, but understand what the Lord wants.

B7 The Scriptures are our truth and wisdom. The more we know; the more we can make a wise choice. Psalms 119:105 GNB Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path.

27 November 2020

Questions Answered—John 10:26

Calvinists believe this passage teaches that people are sheep before they believe.

B1 John Piper, “We believe because we are God’s chosen sheep, not vice versa” (Piper, 5 Points, 54).

B2 A. W. Pink, the elect “are ‘sheep’ before they believe, yea, before they are born” (Pink, Sovereignty of God, 338).


Answer:

B1 Passage with immediate context: John 10:22-29

B2 Our passage: John 10:25-26 ESV Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.

B3 Sheep in John 10:26 are the people of Israel

C1 Psalms 74:1 ESV A Maskil of Asaph. O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?

C2 Psalms 79:13 BBE So we your people, and the sheep of your flock, will give you glory for ever: we will go on praising you through all generations.

C3 Ezekiel 34:30-31 ESV And they shall know that I am the LORD their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Lord GOD. 31 And you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord GOD.

B4 The sheep are Israel. Jesus is ministering to Israel (Matthew 10:5-6 and Matthew 15:23-28). Jesus is addressing two distinct types of sheep. My sheep are those who have already believed in Yeshua as Messiah. The other group of sheep do not; they have rejected Jesus.

B5 Jesus is in His third year of ministry. [Johannine Chronology Andreas Köstenberger]

B6 Jesus has been preaching, teaching, living, and doing miracles for over 2 years to these people. He has shown authority over weather, demons, sickness, and dead. Jesus has authenticated that He is Messiah [What are some of the credentials of the Messiah]. Some believed; most rejected. People reject the Gospel for two reasons—pride (for example, “I’m a good person” and/or love of sinful pleasures.

B7 Nothing is implied that God has decreed one set to believe and one to reject the Gospel. Jesus specifically states, “You do not believe.” Jesus did not state, “You are unable to believe.”

B8 All sheep are lost sheep in their natural state. Jesus seeks them. Matthew 10:6 ESV but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

B9 Jesus wants to draw all people to Himself. Most reject nevertheless and to their sorrow. John 12:32 ESV And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.

Those having a similar view.

B1 Ben Henshaw, “Various Thoughts on the Use of John 6 and Related Passages from John’s Gospel to Support Calvinism

B2 John 10:26 – Does Jesus Choose who will be His Sheep?


Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

25 November 2020

A Few Thoughts about Thanksgiving in 2020

In the midst of COVID-19 and the “reset” (PM Justin Trudeau), how do Christians respond?

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NET in everything give thanks. For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

How can anyone give thanks in everything?

We have a Messiah.

We have a hope.

We have a future.

We have a salvation.

We have a constant friend.

We have a family.

We have a fellowship.

We have a forgiveness.

We have a promise.

We have a life.

We have a helper.

We have a peace.

We have a song.

We have truth.

We have a worldview.

We have a lifestyle.

We have an armor.

We have a King.

We have a gift.

We have a history.


In prison, still sing: Acts 16:25 EMTV Now about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

We can all have a thankful attitude with God’s help. John 15:5 GW I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit. But you can't produce anything without me.

What do we do? We must, by God’s grace, actively apply this advice. Philippians 4:8 NLT And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

None of us are perfect in this for sure. We need to remember this Philippians 4:4-7 NLT Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

God does give strength. Philippians 4:13 NLT For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Yahweh, who is the greatest of all counselors, has given us the Psalms to help us. We can speak freely to Him (Hebrews 4:16 MKJV Therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.)

First an article: 5 Things the Psalms of Lament Teach Us About Emotions.

A few Psalms:

B1 Psalm 13

B2 Psalm 10

B3 Psalm 69

B4 Psalm 143

Pray

B1 Think about the ways God has helped you, then pray.

B2 Pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering.

B3 Pray for yourself.

B4 Pray for the Lord Jesus to come. “Come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20 ESV He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

24 November 2020

A Few Thoughts about Provoking God

Genesis 15:16 BSB In the fourth generation your descendants will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.

Background

B1 Amorites:

C1 Their ancestor was one of the sons of Canaan (Genesis 10:15-16).

C2 Their country consisted of Syria and Israel (Deuteronomy 1:7 and Deuteronomy 1:19-20).

C3 Their most famous kings were Sihon and Og (Deuteronomy 31:4).

C4 The Amorites were defeated by Israel under Joshua (Joshua 10:10 and Joshua 11:8).

C5 They either died out or blended into Israel (1 Kings 9:20-21 and Amos 2:10).

C6 Their culture was

D1 Less wicked than King Manasseh of Judah. 2 Kings 21:10-11 NLT Then the LORD said through his servants the prophets: 11 King Manasseh of Judah has done many detestable things. He is even more wicked than the Amorites, who lived in this land before Israel. He has caused the people of Judah to sin with his idols.

D2 For King Manasseh’s actions, see 2 Kings 21:6-7, 11, 16-17. You can read 2 Kings chapter 21.

B2 A generation is from when a man has his first born and that son has his first born. In Abraham’s time this was typically 100 years. See Jamieson, Faussett, Brown commentary on this verse, notes on this passage in NIV Study Bible Notes, and compare Genesis 15:13. For more Bible verses and a map about the Amorites, see here.

Punishment for sin

B1 Romans 13:13 NLT Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don't participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy.

B2 Galatians 5:19-21 WEB Now the deeds of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s Kingdom.

Provoking

B1 Provoking is making God angry repeatedly. Provoking God or people is evil. See Exodus 23:21 (don’t provoke God), Colossians 3:21 (don’t provoke children), 1 Corinthians 13:5 (don’t provoke spouse). We are to provoke (urge) to good works (Hebrews 10:24).

B2 Deuteronomy 9:8 BSB At Horeb you provoked the LORD, and He was angry enough to destroy you. See Lange: The censure is sharp. There is no concealment of the sins of the people, especially of its ingratitude and rebellion.

God’s patience and message to repent often spreads over many years and decades even centuries.

B1 Exodus 34:6-7 NLT The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, "Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. 7 I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations."

B2 Nahum 1:3 LEB Yahweh is slow to anger but great in power; he will certainly not allow the guilty to go unpunished. He marches in storm wind and in gale; storm clouds are the dust of his feet.

B3 The time varies—approximately 120 years for Noah’s generation (1 Peter 3:20) and 40 years for Israel in the wilderness before those 20 and older (Numbers 14:29) at the onset died (Acts 13:18). Other times for many, many years, yet their actions eventually become so evil that God punishes. Compare Nineveh in Jonah’s day (Jonah 3) with Nahum’s time (Nahum 3), which was approximately 150 years.

B4 God’s motive: 2 Peter 3:9 LEB The Lord is not delaying the promise, as some consider slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

B5 The end of patience: Revelation 2:20-21 LEB But I have against you that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, the one who calls herself a prophetess, and teaches and deceives my slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 And I have given her time in order to repent, and she did not want to repent from her sexual immorality.

God warns all. Compare Romans 1:18-32.

God does judge and sentence

B1 Judge

C1 1 Peter 4:17 GNB The time has come for judgment to begin, and God's own people are the first to be judged. If it starts with us, how will it end with those who do not believe the Good News from God?

C2 Read Psalm 75.

C3 Some are so evil that they accumulate God’s wrath: Romans 2:5 NLT But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.

B2 Sentence

C1 Darkness. There is NO light.

D1 Matthew 25:30 NRSV As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

D2 2 Peter 2:17 NRSV These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the deepest darkness has been reserved.

C2 Pain by fire: Mark 9:47 NRSV And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell.

C3 The severity is according to what people have done. The greater the evil and amount of evil, the greater the punishment. Matthew 16:27 NRSV For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.

C4 Eternally suffering the pain of fire: Revelation 20:15 NRSV and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

C5 Never ending Matthew 25:46 NRSV And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

C6 Shame and contempt: Daniel 12:2 NRSV Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

C7 Described as second death, that is, a never ending and final death: Revelation 21:8 GW But cowardly, unfaithful, and detestable people, murderers, sexual sinners, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will find themselves in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

B3 Result? Some are weepers who wished they had repented and placed their faith into the Lord Jesus, and some are gnashers who curse God for eternity. Matthew 8:12 NLT But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Ways of provoking God

B1 Disbelief which results in disobedience—Numbers 32:9-13

B2 Doing evil things—Deuteronomy 31:29

B3 Stealing then covering it up as Achan—Joshua 7:1

B4 Disobedience, even with good intentions, as Uzzah did—2 Samuel 6:6-7 (compare Leviticus 10:1-3, Acts 5:1-11, and Numbers 4:15 (only Kohathites could carry the Ark. It is doubtful that Uzzah was either))

B5 Encouraging others to worship a false god. We must be careful to define God and His character traits correctly, too. See 1 Kings 15:30.

B6 Refusing God’s call to salvation. See Isaiah 65:1-5, Acts 13:46, Psalm 81:11-13, and John 3:19.

B7 Not giving God credit for all He does and not being thankful—Romans 1:21.

B8 So a summary would be disbelief, reject and refusal of God, His plan, His ways, His worldview, His salvation, also disobedience, deliberately being disobedient, refusing to repent, etc.

B9 Sometime and in some place, nations, governments, leaders, businesses, and people provoke God. The time of repentance is over. It is judgment time. Let us ourselves be sure we have our faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and pray for all who have not.

B10 Come, Lord Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15:58 NRSV Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

2 Peter 3:17-18 NRSV You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

John 14:16-17 NRSV And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

Jude 1:24-25 NRSV Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

23 November 2020

A Few Thoughts about John 14:15

John 14:15 ESV If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Judas has left Jesus and his fellow apostles. He has joined with satan and turned against the Lord Jesus.

Jesus brings His farewell message to His followers. This is recorded in John 13:31-John 16:33.

In John 13:31-16:33, the Lord Jesus uses the word love 19 times. 18 times it is the Greek word ἀγαπάω agapáō, which is the highest love. It is a choosing to love and loyalty. 1 time it is the Greek word φιλέω philéō, which means personal affection and personal attachment.

Jesus teaches them that if they really love Him, they will keep His commandments.

The Greek word for keep is τηρέω tēréō. It means to guard in the sense of

B1 Some thoughts

C1 Wuest Word Studies: Keep" is tēreō, "to keep by guarding, to guard by exercising watchful cafe." It speaks of guarding something which is in one’s possession.

C2 Examples:

D1 John 17:12 CSB While I was with them, I was protecting them by your name that you have given me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled. [Emphasis added. The word guarded is φυλάσσω phylássō, which means be on guard (literally of figuratively); by implication, to preserve, obey, avoid].

D2 John 17:15 CSB I am not praying that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

B2 In a sense, there is the idea of conforming our lives in body, soul, and spirit to do His commandments in love and loyalty for Him.

The Greek word for commandments is ἐντολή entolḗ. It means

B1 generally, a charge, injunction, order, command [Source is Greek Lexicon Of The New Testament, Abbott-Smith].

B2 From TDNTa

C1 entolḗ in the General Usage of the Greek and Hellenistic World. The meaning is “command,” “commission,” a. as the command of a king or official, b. as the instruction of a teacher, c. as a commission, and d. as authorization.

C2 Keeping Christ’s entolaí is a mark of love for Christ (Jn. 14:15, 21). If we love him, we both “have” and “keep” them. In view of the basis, the plural entolaí is not legalistic. The many commands are summed up in the one command of love, which comes to expression in the multiple spheres of the obedient life. In the light of Jn. 15:10 “task” or “commission” might also be embraced by entolḗ, but tereín tás entolás means “keeping the commandments,” not “fulfilling a commission.” Comparison of the disciples’ keeping of the commandments with the Son’s doing of the Father’s work shows that a personal relationship is involved, especially in view of the common abiding in love. [Source is TDNTa]

B3 Commandment is the verbal or written desire of an authority and backed by that authority. Law is the sum of verbal or written commands. Command is to one person or more depending on the context, while law is for all those under that authority. It is the set of commands.

Some thoughts

B1 Robertson: Continued love prevents disobedience.

B2 Adam Clarke: Do not be afflicted at the thought of my being separated from you: the most solid proof ye can give of your attachment to and affection for me is to keep my commandments. This I shall receive as a greater proof of your affection than your tears.

B3 One of the proofs that we are a believer is to conform, do, keep, observe the commandments and rules of the Lord Jesus. One of the purposes of 1 John is for us to examine our lives to see if we are in the faith. We cannot be sinless but can be blameless. If we sin, we confess and with God’s help do not sin again. We often do but we must ask forgiveness again. 1 John 5:1-3 NRSV Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

B4 This might seem impossible, but the Lord Jesus reveals something: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever (John 14:1 ESV). [Emphasis added]. Jesus was the helper while ministering on earth. He now intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:23-25 ESV The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them). The Holy Spirit is our helper now. He encourages, reminds, gives strength to resist, protects, etc. Note, too, that He will be with us forever. God’s grace never ends. We need grace every moment of our life. See Hebrews 4:16, 2 Corinthians 12:9-12, James 4:6, and John 1:16.

John 14:15 ESV If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

B1 With God’s help our love will be seen in what we do.

B2 The standard of these doings is Jesus’s commands.

B3 We are loyal to God because of love, not force, bullying, gun, sword, fist, abuse, threats, etc.

B4 To John there is only one test of love and that is obedience. It was by his obedience that Jesus showed his love of God; and it is by our obedience that we must show our love of Jesus. C. K. Barrett says: "John never allowed love to devolve into a sentiment or emotion. Its expression is always moral and is revealed in obedience." We know all too well how there are those who protest their love in words but who, at the same time, bring pain and heartbreak to those whom they claim to love. There are children and young people who say that they love their parents, and who yet cause them grief and anxiety. There are husbands who say they love their wives and wives who say they love their husbands, and who yet, by their inconsiderateness and their irritability and their thoughtless unkindness bring pain the one to the other. To Jesus real love is not an easy thing. It is shown only in true obedience. [Source Barclay Daily Bible Study. Be cautious].

B5 Let us be joyful, be encouraging to each other, be helping each other, be faithful and steadfast until the end utilizing God’s good grace. Colossians 3:12 NLT Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

We grow by reading, studying, and living the Scriptures: 2 Peter 3:18 GNB But continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, now and forever! Amen.

We are to be a light to the world of God’s best ways for living. Ephesians 5:8-9 GNB You yourselves used to be in the darkness, but since you have become the Lord's people, you are in the light. So you must live like people who belong to the light, 9 for it is the light that brings a rich harvest of every kind of goodness, righteousness, and truth.

Pray: Psalms 86:6 ESV Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.


Thank you, Lord, for your blessings and help. Give us strength to live for you.