The KEY to Computers

I have a small confession to make: I love working with computers!!!  In 1984, the chemist I worked for (Rodger Smith, who really was a genius) introduced me to them, helped me learn about them, and even went so far as to come to my home when I had a problem!!!  Since that time, I have spent literally thousands and thousands of hours in front of a monitor (believe it or not, my first computer used a small television set) and have both loved and hated every minute of it!!!  Only thing is... computers are NOT HUMAN and can not replace human contact or moral behavior.  They just run programs.  Whether it be DOS, Windows or even my beloved Ubuntu, computers just run programs.  If I should ever forget that, I run the danger of being desensitized, and its a short trip from there to begin to think without the natural affection we human beings have.  Its interesting to me that the lack of natural affection is listed in the following passage taken from Paul's letter to the Romans...

Romans, Chapter 1

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,  19 because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them.  20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse. 21 Because, knowing God, they didn’t glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened. 

  22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,  23 and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.  24 Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves,  25 who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 

  26  For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For their women changed the natural function into that which is against nature.  27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural function of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men doing what is inappropriate with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty of their error.  28 Even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting;  29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, malice; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil habits, secret slanderers,  30 backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, unforgiving, unmerciful;  32 who, knowing the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them. 

Computers are fine, but they can never replace the humanity imparted by God through the blessed writings in the Bible!!!  You can't change your life by hitting the ESCAPE KEY!!!  And we should all remember that there really is no substitute for a life without God!!!  If you have a few extra moments, read the Roman passage above and ask yourself if you find yourself acting like this.  If you do, then all is not lost; you have begun the process of change by thinking.  Next step, some GOOD NEWS...

Romans, Chapter 1

  1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the Good News of God,  2 which he promised before through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,  3 concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,  5 through whom we received grace and apostleship, for obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name’s sake;  6 among whom you are also called to belong to Jesus Christ;  7 to all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

  8  First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world.  9 For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the Good News of his Son, how unceasingly I make mention of you always in my prayers,  10 requesting, if by any means now at last I may be prospered by the will of God to come to you.  11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, to the end that you may be established;  12 that is, that I with you may be encouraged in you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine. 

  13  Now I don’t desire to have you unaware, brothers, that I often planned to come to you, and was hindered so far, that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.  14 I am debtor both to Greeks and to foreigners, both to the wise and to the foolish.  15 So, as much as is in me, I am eager to preach the Good News to you also who are in Rome.  16 For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek.  17 For in it is revealed God’s righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by faith.”  

Next step... Read the book of Romans, chapters two through six.

Last step... Obey!!!

Bible Reading, Feb. 23

Feb. 23
Exodus 4

Exo 4:1 Moses answered, "But, behold, they will not believe me, nor listen to my voice; for they will say, 'Yahweh has not appeared to you.' "
Exo 4:2 Yahweh said to him, "What is that in your hand?" He said, "A rod."
Exo 4:3 He said, "Throw it on the ground." He threw it on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses ran away from it.
Exo 4:4 Yahweh said to Moses, "Put forth your hand, and take it by the tail." He put forth his hand, and laid hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand.
Exo 4:5 "That they may believe that Yahweh, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you."
Exo 4:6 Yahweh said furthermore to him, "Now put your hand inside your cloak." He put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as white as snow.
Exo 4:7 He said, "Put your hand inside your cloak again." He put his hand inside his cloak again, and when he took it out of his cloak, behold, it had turned again as his other flesh.
Exo 4:8 "It will happen, if they will neither believe you nor listen to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.
Exo 4:9 It will happen, if they will not believe even these two signs, neither listen to your voice, that you shall take of the water of the river, and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take out of the river will become blood on the dry land."
Exo 4:10 Moses said to Yahweh, "Oh, Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before now, nor since you have spoken to your servant; for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue."
Exo 4:11 Yahweh said to him, "Who made man's mouth? Or who makes one mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Isn't it I, Yahweh?
Exo 4:12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall speak."
Exo 4:13 He said, "Oh, Lord, please send someone else."
Exo 4:14 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Moses, and he said, "What about Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Also, behold, he comes forth to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.
Exo 4:15 You shall speak to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with your mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do.
Exo 4:16 He will be your spokesman to the people; and it will happen, that he will be to you a mouth, and you will be to him as God.
Exo 4:17 You shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs."
Exo 4:18 Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, "Please let me go and return to my brothers who are in Egypt, and see whether they are still alive." Jethro said to Moses, "Go in peace."
Exo 4:19 Yahweh said to Moses in Midian, "Go, return into Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead."
Exo 4:20 Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. Moses took God's rod in his hand.
Exo 4:21 Yahweh said to Moses, "When you go back into Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your hand, but I will harden his heart and he will not let the people go.
Exo 4:22 You shall tell Pharaoh, 'Thus says Yahweh, Israel is my son, my firstborn,
Exo 4:23 and I have said to you, "Let my son go, that he may serve me;" and you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.' "
Exo 4:24 It happened on the way at a lodging place, that Yahweh met him and wanted to kill him.
Exo 4:25 Then Zipporah took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet; and she said, "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me."
Exo 4:26 So he let him alone. Then she said, "You are a bridegroom of blood," because of the circumcision.
Exo 4:27 Yahweh said to Aaron, "Go into the wilderness to meet Moses." He went, and met him on God's mountain, and kissed him.
Exo 4:28 Moses told Aaron all the words of Yahweh with which he had sent him, and all the signs with which he had instructed him.
Exo 4:29 Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel.
Exo 4:30 Aaron spoke all the words which Yahweh had spoken to Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.
Exo 4:31 The people believed, and when they heard that Yahweh had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.



People are becoming fed up with "organized religion." There are any number of reasons for this. Some people just don't want to be told what to do, so when the scriptures are read that demands our submission to His will, it becomes repugnant to them and they choose to reject "religion" because it doesn't "agree with them." Others are turned off by the fact that there is so much "religious confusion" in the world that they don't know what to believe. This has resulted in an attitude that says that it doesn't really matter what you believe, just as long as you are sincere. Paul proved this to be unfounded reasoning when he confessed that "...I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth" (Acts 26:9) and then later said, "...but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." (1 Tim. 1:13)
One thing you could say about Paul was that he was true to what he believed and he didn't try to be something that he was not. This brings us to what is probably the greatest "turn-off" to people; the hypocrisy that runs rampant in modern-day "religion." I have personally known of several who could no longer stand to see the hypocrisy among those who claimed to be "righteous," so they quit attending the worship services where they had once been a member. I can remember one person who disassociated himself from anything "religious" to the point of becoming agnostic - all because he was personally hurt so badly by a preacher who demanded conformity to God's law, but who put himself above the law of God by committing adultery with his wife. In my feeble efforts over the years to persuade these people, there is little that I have been able to say to them to bring them any comfort or to win their hearts to the Lord. What do you say to people who have been crushed by the influence of hypocrisy and don't want to see or hear any more?
After Peter pointed out that "prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet. 1:21), he was quick to point out that such was not a guarantor of an absence of error in the world. However, error would come through unfaithful men. Peter said that even during the former days of the prophets, "...there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction." (2 Pet. 2:1)
Jesus warned those of His day to "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." (Mt. 7:15) This is the epitome of hypocrisy, and it is nowhere so obvious and so repulsive than among those who pass themselves off as "religious."
As powerful as God's word is, the negative influence of Satan in the lives of those who play into his hand is lethal. His greatest ally against truth and righteousness is the hypocrite. Peter continued his warning on this matter by saying that, "...many will follow their (the false teacher's) destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed." (2 Pet. 2:2) Let me emphasize Peter's observation about the negative influence of hypocrisy; "the way of truth" ends up being "evil spoken of" by those who can only see the hypocrisy.
God's word is truth (Jn. 17:17), it is powerful, described as being "...sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit..." (Heb. 4:12) and its influence in a dark world of sin is the impetus that can prick the hearts of men to repent (Acts 2:37) and walk in a new direction in Christ. Paul proclaimed this "gospel" (or good news) to be "...the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes..." (Rom. 1:16). But in spite of the powerful nature of the gospel to bring someone to the Lord, it only takes one hypocrite to negate all of the good that was once realized in the life of one who once believed.
Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for the damage done by their hypocrisy. He said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte (convert), and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves." (Mt. 23:15) He also rebuked them for their "traditions" that flew in the face of God and negated the influence of the scriptures for good; "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" (Mt. 15:7-9)
Yes, it is sad but true - anyone who is looking for hypocrisy in the church can find it. Paul recognized this to be true and warned the young preacher, Timothy, by using this illustration; "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor." (2 Tim. 2:20) In my house you will find some fine china that was given to Nancy and I when we married. You will also find a mixed array of "cheap" dishes and bowls. Paul's illustration does not speak of the value of the differing vessels, but that in God's house, you will find those who are faithful to Him and those who are not. Some of those who are not, often still try to appear that they are. This is hypocrisy. Disgusting? Yes. Reality? Yes, and for any church to disclaim that such does not exist is in itself hypocrisy.
Does this mean that God's people are to just accept the inevitable and say, "Oh well, that's just the way it is." ? No! That's what the church at Corinth did. Rather than being remorseful over the blatant sexual immorality of one of their members, Paul said that they were "...puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you." (1 Cor. 5:2) When churches fail to "deal with" such sin, their failure is a passive act of hypocrisy. What comfort can be given to those who are fed up with the hypocrisy they see in "religion?" Only this reassurance; "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God." (1 Pet. 4:17) and "...all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." (Heb. 4:13)

- Gary V. Womack - November 2004

Where is Man? by Jim McGuiggan

Where is Man?

I'm one of those who thinks that, in the final analysis, all suffering must be brought and laid at the feet of God who is responsible for it. This doesn't mean that humanity doesn't have its hand in the matter. Suffering and pain in and of itself isn't evil, as Luke Timothy Johnston has observed. Vicious muggers and surgeons both wield cutting knives but their intention makes the difference between what's evil and what is good. Given a certain setting it might be an act of mercy to inflict even death. (This shouldn't be hard to believe since we're hearing more and more these days about "mercy killings". We're even hearing from some that it is immoral not to take some lives.)
I have no statistics to quote but I'm content with the view that the vast bulk of all suffering in the world is the immediate result of humans mistreating humans. Non-believers aren't able to call that "sin" but the Christian can and must and as soon as we say "sin" we've introduced into the whole picture an element that changes the nature of the whole picture. This change, which brings God into it, might make the picture much more complex but it fills it with hope and possibilities. Especially since God is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Still, humans are abusing one another and those who have the power (little or much) are characteristically corrupt and corrupt much of what they come into contact with. Scriptures make it clear that in their view God gives power to leaders and governments so that they might see to it that his creation goods are shared with the needy (see Daniel 2:37; 4:27; Romans 13:1-7). Beyond government power there is the responsibility of individuals to ease the suffering and loss of the hurting and anyone who choose to ignore this is asking Christ to stamp Matthew 25 on their foreheads. The Old Testament is saturated with teaching that the poor and needy are to be taken care of by those who have been blessed (see Deuteronomy 15; Leviticus 19:9-10 and elsewhere).
A cartoon has two people talking. One says something like, "I was thinking of asking God what he was doing about all the suffering and the needy people in the world." His friend says, "And why don't you?" The sensitive one said, "I'm afraid of him asking me what I'm going to do."
We're strange. On the one hand we urge people to dump God and depend on the "brotherhood of man" and then we jump on God because he allows the "brotherhood of man" to work all this abuse. You understand it isn't only non-believers who do it but we rebuke God for doing nothing (as if we knew he was "doing nothing") and sit around doing nothing but clucking our tongues at the hurt of people. What's more, we rebuke God on a "moral" basis. That is, it's "wrong" for God to do nothing though it's all right for us to gorge and save. In Sophie's Choice, do you remember? In light of the horrors, after the question, "Where is God?" comes the question, "Where is man?"
Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

Weinberg and moral evil by Jim McGuiggan

Weinberg and moral evil

 An essay by the utterly brilliant physicist, Steven Weinberg, called A Designer Universe? is readily available. The physics material in it will have to be judged by his peers but once he wanders from there, all in all, it's a pretty poor piece of work.
 The online version doesn't have the bracketed phrase but other sources give it as part of his delivery in 1999 in Washington D.C. Here's what he says. "[Religion is an insult to human dignity.] With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." You know right away he didn't get that from physics; and while, when he speaks in the realm of science the world must stop to listen, it's obvious from that remark that sheer nonsense can come out of just about anyone's mouth. (For a physicist he seems very emotional and rather cavalier in his judgements. Don't you think so? Hmmm.)
With him there is no good religion or bad religion—religion is an insult to human dignity. One of science's great achievements, he later says, is to enable people not to be religious so he says he doesn't want constructive dialogue with religious people.
He speaks of morally evil behaviour though he knows that "morals," like everything else in the universe as he sees it, from the simplest particle to his own complex brain, exists as the result of and is under the inflexible control of forces and "laws" that know nothing about virtue or value or moral standards. There is no freedom in the universe as understood by this militant unbeliever. In the same piece/speech he won't even allow for Einstein's Spinozan pantheism though he tells his listeners/readers that if they choose to think in that way they're "free to do so." But he doesn't believe they are "free" to do so. He believes that contrary to all appearances that "freedom" is an illusion. We might say to him, using his own terms, that we don't know why he would use the term "freedom" except as "a protective coloration."
You can't get "choice" or "ought" out of chemistry or gravitation; you can't get "good" or "evil" or "morality" out of the primitive "soup" or the gases that spewed out the human race and all that's around us. You can only get what is not what "should be".
As you read him, you'd think that he thinks that his "thinking" about the universe transcends all the forces and gases that he says spawned the galaxies and us along with them. He speaks as though he stands outside the mass of mindless whirling forces and physical laws; he has forgotten or depends on our forgetting that he is no more or less than the tiniest part of the whole mindless march of "matter" and that what we call "thought" is no more "free" than an apple is to rise rather than fall. He might hope that we'll be fooled by human complexity and "brilliance" that distinguishes us from a salamander or a fungus. We have such control over our environment, changing it to suit our needs or defeating it when it is an obstacle—surely we must be "free". In Weinberg's world that's all illusion. The simplest creatures control and sometimes overcome their environments but they have no "freedom". Ask him, he'll tell you so! All the while we hear him speak he's bewitching us with our conviction that he is a free thinker of free thoughts. We think that of him but his doctrine doesn't allow us to think that of him. Jean Paul Sartre saw with clarity what atheists must accept—there is no right or wrong, good or evil is only what is. The universe is mindless and without purpose and so it is amoral. Weinberg's use of these words is a great verbal scam; it is "protective coloration" that keeps him (rationally speaking) from having to stand speechless in the presence of unfathomable evil.
He hides behind the fact that we can do things a fungus can't—like work with abstract propositions, for example—but we're not to suppose that Weinberg believes we're "free"—intelligence is only "matter" that is more complex than other forms but it is no less the product of mindless atoms and chance. We are complex enough to be self-conscious but "self-consciousness" is only one of the countless things spewed out by the forces and gases of which Steinberg's brain and a pebble on the beach are but two illustrations.
That's why Sartre thought it so absurd. A mindless dance by omnipotent matter accidentally produces a creature that is self-conscious and in time it will dance back around and obliterate him. The famous mathematician and philosopher, Bertrand Russell (Stratonician atheist), took the same view. What they held is the logic of Weinberg's theories but he either lacks the boldness of Sartre or the vision of Russell.
Oh well.

Principles Of Evangelism - II (10:11-42)

                                                          THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW

                Principles Of Evangelism - II (10:11-42)


1. In our previous study, we began looking at the instructions Jesus
   gave in charging His apostles with "The Limited Commission"...
   a. In which He sent them to preach to the house of Israel - Mt 10:
   b. To prepare the way for Jesus to come to them personally - cf.
      Mt 10:23; 11:1; Lk 10:1

2. In that study, we observed five "Principles Of Evangelism"...
   a. Utilize the power of synergy
   b. Employ the practice of specialization
   c. Proclaim the word of God
   d. Offer our services freely
   e. Support those willing to work
   -- Principles that were utilized by the early church with great
      success, and worthy of our emulation today

3. In this study, we shall consider the rest of Jesus words in giving
   "The Limited Commission"...
   a. Gleaning at least five more "Principles of Evangelism"
   b. Noticing principles applied by the early church and applicable
      today as well

[Beginning with Mt 10:11-15, we find Jesus telling His apostles...]


      1. Those who were both hospitable and willing to listen - Mt 10:
      2. But they were to "shake off the dust from your feet" when
         leaving a city that would not receive them or hear their words
         - Mt 10:14
      3. It would be more tolerable in the day of judgment for Sodom
         and Gomorrah than for such people - Mt 10:15

      1. We are not to "cast your pearls before swine" - Mt 7:6
      2. People judge themselves unworthy of the gospel by their lack
         of interest
         a. Paul was willing to preach again if people were interested
            - Ac 13:42-44
         b. But when people rejected the gospel, he turned elsewhere
            - Ac 13:45-46

      1. We are to preach the gospel to every creature - Mk 16:15
         a. But once people display lack of interest, we are not
            obligated to keep trying
         b. Rather than "cast our pearls" before those who don't
            appreciate it, we should move on to someone else
      2. Admittedly, there is room for judgment...
         a. As to how long we try to reach someone before going on
         b. Some may not show much interest at first, but do later on
      3. But at some point, there may be other souls who need the
         gospel more than our friends, family and neighbors who show no

[Another principle of evangelism we do well to remember is to...]


      1. Jesus was sending them as sheep in the midst of wolves - Mt
      2. He gave them a picture of what to expect - Mt 10:17-23
      3. As His disciples, they should expect treatment similar to what
         He had received - Mt 10:24-25

      1. Jesus later reminded His apostles they would be hated by the
         world - Jn 15:18-20
      2. The apostles would later tell the disciples of persecution to
         come - Ac 14:22; 1Th 3:4; 2Ti 3:12
      3. But the disciples were prepared to react in the proper way
         a. To rejoice that they were worthy to suffer in Christ's name
            - Mt 5:10-12
         b. To rejoice knowing that trials can make them better - Ro 5:

      1. Don't expect everyone to gladly receive your message of
         salvation in Christ
      2. Rather, expect some to be offended and angry...
         a. For many don't like to be told they are sinners, in need of
         b. They may become defensive when told repentance is necessary
         c. You might lose friends, be ostracized, and in some places,
            physically abused
      3. But being forewarned is forearmed, able to respond in the
         proper way
         a. Blessing those who curse you, praying for those who despise
            you - Mt 5:44
         b. Rejoicing for the good that can come out of persecution
            - Jm 1:2-4

[Evangelism is often short-circuited when met with resistance;
anticipating persecution is an important principle that will help us
to not lose heart.  Closely related to this is another principle of


      1. They were not to fear those who would resist them - Mt 10:
      2. They were not to fear those who could kill them - Mt 10:28
      3. They were to fear God if they desired to be free from the fear
         of men
         a. For God had the power to destroy both body and soul - Mt
         b. But God also knew everything about them and valued them
            highly - Mt 10:29-31
      4. Confessing Jesus before men would ensure their being confessed
         before God - Mt 10:32-33

      1. Fear of rejection often hinders many evangelistic efforts
         a. We want to be accepted by friends, family, neighbors
         b. We don't want to be turned away from them
         -- But they are not the ones who will judge us in the last
      2. Paul reminds us that pleasing God rather than man is what
         makes one a servant of Christ - Ga 1:10

      1. Christians need to have a healthy reverence for God - Php 2:12
      2. When we revere God more than we fear man, the fear of
         rejection will not hinder our efforts to teach others
         a. We will stop trying to please others, and seek to please
         b. We will seek His favor, rather than the favor of men
      3. With the proper fear of God, we will not rest until we are
         doing something in the area of evangelism, for that is His
         will for us!

[Fearing God over fearing men is a matter of keeping our priorities
straight.  Along the same vein is the next principle of evangelism that
Jesus taught...]


      1. Jesus described the kind of conflicts that would often arise
         - Mt 10:34-36
         a. His coming and the gospel of the kingdom would often divide
            family members
         b. The members of one's own household might become enemies
      2. To be worthy, they must love Him more than family and self
         - Mt 10:37-39
         a. They must be willing to take up their cross and follow Him
         b. They must be willing to lose their life in service to Him
            to truly find their life

      1. A cost Jesus encouraged all to count before becoming His
         disciples - Lk 14:25-33
      2. A cost Jesus reminded one disciple who sought to put family
         first - Mt 8:21-22

      1. Service to God is hindered by allowing family and personal
         interests to come first
         a. You see this in how some put relatives and family before
            the church
         b. We have a responsibility to our families (1Ti 5:8), but we
            must not let that get in the way of serving Jesus
      2. Evangelism, especially foreign evangelism, will never be what
         it should be as long as we allow family and personal
         considerations hold us back
         a. Think of the early Christians, who "went everywhere
            preaching the word" - Ac 8:4
         b. Likely there were children, parents, and others saying
            "Don't go"; but neither persecution nor family ties kept
            them from spreading the Word!

[We come to the last point, which ties in with the last point of the
previous lesson (Support those willing to work)...]


      1. For in receiving them, they receive Christ and God who sent
         Him - Mt 10:40
      2. They would share in the rewards of the prophets and righteous
         men they supported - Mt 10:41
      3. Even a cup of cold water would not go unnoticed - Mt 10:42

      1. Back when David and his men were pursuing the Amalekites
         - 1Sa 30:9-10,18-25
         a. When some had to be left with the supplies while others
            fought the enemy
         b. David decreed that all should share alike - both those at
            the base, and those at the front
      2. Thus those who support have fellowship in both the work and
         reward of those they support!

      1. Never underestimate the role of supporting those who go ("How
         shall they preach unless they are sent?") - cf. Ro 10:14-15
      2. If you cannot go or teach yourself, then do what you can to
         support those who can
      3. Take comfort in knowing:
         a. It is Christ you are serving, not just a servant of Christ!
         b. You can receive a prophet's reward without necessarily
            being a prophet!


1. In summation, here are ten "Principles Of Evangelism" found in "The
   Limited Commission"...
   a. Utilize the power of synergy           f. Be selective
   b. Employ the practice of specialization  g. Anticipate persecution
   c. Proclaim the word of God               h. Fear God, not man
   d. Offer our services freely              i. Put the Lord first
   e. Support those willing to work          j. Supporters share in the

2. As we attempt to fulfill "The Great Commission" (Mt 28:19)...
   a. Can we improve on the principles taught by our Savior?
   b. Did not the early Christians implement them as they went forth
      with the gospel?

As preachers or simply disciples, as churches or as individuals,
success in evangelism can only be increased by remembering what our
Lord told His twelve apostles before He sent them out to preach the
good news of the kingdom...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

eXTReMe Tracker 

Principles Of Evangelism - I (10:5-10)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                 Principles Of Evangelism - I (10:5-10)


1. In Mt 28:19-20, Jesus gave what is commonly called "The Great
   a. In which His apostles were charged to make disciples of all the
   b. A charge which still holds true today for His church

2. As we seek to carry out "The Great Commission" today...
   a. What principles should govern our efforts?
   b. Has the Lord provided any advice or counsel as to how we might
      best go about the work of evangelism?

3. In Mt 10:5-42, we find what is commonly called "The Limited
   a. A charge given to the apostles during the earthly ministry of
      Jesus - Mt 10:1-5
   b. So-called because He limited their work to the house of Israel 
      - Mt 10:5-6
   c. In which the Lord gave instructions to govern them as they sought
      to carry out their work

4. From the instructions of Jesus, we can glean some "Principles Of
   a. Principles that helped them also carry out "The Great Commission"
   b. Principles that can help us be more successful in evangelism

[In this lesson and one to follow, I want to point out at least ten 
principles that Jesus applied in sending out His apostles.  They are 
principles that I believe can prove successful today.  The first one 


      1. As evident from Mark's account - cf. Mt 10:5a with Mk 6:7
      2. A practice continued...
         a. When Jesus sent out the seventy - Lk 10:1
         b. When the Spirit sent out Paul and Barnabas - Ac 13:2
         c. When Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways - Ac 15:

      1. Synergy:  "The working together of two things (muscles or 
         drugs for example) to produce an effect greater than the sum
         of their individual effects"
      2. Two or more preachers working together can do more than by 
         working separately
         a. They encourage one another, and help each other - cf. Ec 4:9-10
         b. A plurality of witnesses lend credibility to their story 
            - cf. Jn 8:17

      1. The practice of two or more preachers working together should
         be encouraged
         a. Especially in foreign fields or difficult areas
         b. Through the principle of synergy they can be effective in
            one area more quickly, and then move on to the next
         c. This is better than preachers working alone, struggling for
            years by themselves
      2. Small congregations in the same area might need to ask 
         themselves which is better...
         a. Trying to maintain two struggling works
         b. Or perhaps becoming one in order to grow faster, swarming
            later into two separate and larger congregations
      3. In one's own personal evangelism...
         a. Seek out a companion in the congregation with similar 
         b. Go together in visiting, teaching home studies, etc.

[Perhaps much of the slow growth in evangelism today is a failure to
appreciate the principle of synergy which was applied by the Lord and
the early church.  Another principle to consider is...]


      1. Which is why this is called "The Limited Commission" - Mt 10:
         a. Circumstances limited the arena in which they were to go
         b. E.g., their mission was to prepare people for Jesus' 
            coming, and their time was limited - Mt 10:23; cf. Lk 10:
      2. Later, in carrying out "The Great Commission", the apostles
         had their individual "focus groups"
         a. Peter focused on the circumcised (Jews), while Paul focused
            on the uncircumcised (Gentiles) - Ga 2:7-9
         b. Paul also focused on going where others had not gone - Ro 15:20

      1. Specialization
         a. The act of specializing; making something suitable for a
            special purpose
         b. The special line of work you have adopted as your career
      2. Certain skills, backgrounds, circumstances, etc., may make us
         more suitable to a certain area of endeavor
         a. We need to appreciate the diversity of function - Ro 12:3-5
         b. We should not hesitate to focus in our area of expertise or
            opportunity - Ro 12:6-8

      1. Preachers may choose to focus on certain areas or groups of
         a. Based upon their background, ethnicity, or personal skills
         b. Some may be well-suited for foreign work, others for local
            work; some may be well-suited for holding gospel meetings,
            others may be better at personal work
         c. Time is limited, none can do it all
            1) We should not expect every preacher to be alike
            2) We should appreciate those who focus on their particular
               "mission field"
      2. As a congregation...
         a. It's focus may depend upon several factors
            1) The make up of its members and their abilities
            2) The community in which the church is located
         b. While the congregation should try to reach all, it might
            focus on certain areas for which it is well-suited
            1) E.g., senior citizens or young people
            2) E.g., the affluent or poor
            3) E.g., certain ethnic groups as opposed to others
      3. In one's own personal evangelism...
         a. You might concentrate on your peer group
         b. You might focus on a particular type of evangelism for
            which you are well-suited

[Certainly we should not specialize to the point that we refuse to help
those who come our way; but there is value in utilizing one's strengths
and circumstances, being selective in the direction we go.  The next 
principle is most essential...]


      1. In "The Limited Commission", the subject was the kingdom of
         heaven - Mt 10:7
      2. In "The Great Commission", it was expanded to include the 
         gospel of Christ - Mk 16:15
         a. So Philip the evangelist preached when he went to Samaria 
            - Ac 8:12
         b. So Paul preached in synagogues and from house to house 
            - Ac 19:8; 20:18-21,25; 28:23,30-31

      1. It should always be the Word of God, the Gospel:
         a. Which is God's power unto salvation - Ro 1:16
         b. Able to save the souls of those who receive meekly - Jm 1:21
      2. As Paul instructed Timothy:  "Preach the word!" - 2Ti 4:1-5 
      1. Preachers need to avoid things...
         a. Which entertain, rather than provide sound doctrine
         b. Based more upon the ideas of men, rather than the Word of
         -- Text based, expository preaching can help keep preachers in
            the Word
      2. Churches should consider what message they are presenting to
         the lost...
         a. Is it the gospel of health and wealth, or the gospel of 
         b. Are we calling for people to become just church members, or
            disciples of Jesus?
      3. In one's own evangelism...
         a. Do not get sidetracked on various issues
         b. While many subjects may have their place, they may be 
            "second principles" rather than "first principles"
         c. The lost need to know the gospel of Jesus Christ and His
            kingdom, first and foremost!

[The next principle is also taken from the words of Jesus to His 
disciples in "The Limited Commission"...]


      1. They were empowered to cast out demons and heal the sick - Mt 10:1
         a. Such signs were for the purpose of confirming their message
         b. As explained later - cf. Mk 16:17-20; He 2:3-4
      2. They were to offer this service freely - Mt 10:8

      1. We preach a gospel of salvation offered as a gift - Ro 6:23
      2. Jesus certainly gave Himself freely, that we might be rich 
         - 2Co 8:9
      3. To charge people for the message we preach would be 
         incongruous to the spirit of the message
         a. Do we want them to take our message of sacrificial love and
            the gift of salvation seriously?
         b. Then what we have to offer the lost should be without 

      1. Preachers have to be careful
         a. They do have a right for support (see next point)
         b. But they should not seek to get rich through their ministry
            1) It is one thing to charge for the cost of producing
            2) It is another to charge above expenses with the view of
               making money
         c. One sign of a false teacher or prophet is to exploit others
            by engaging in "covetous practices" - cf. 2Pe 2:3,14
      2. Churches should also consider what they offer the community
         a. E.g., services such as television and radio programs, audio
            tapes, videos, Bible correspondence courses, etc.
         b. Congregations which offer such things freely...
            1) Display the spirit of the gospel
            2) Avoid the appearance of "being interested only in 
               people's money"
      3. In one's own evangelism...
         a. Offer your message freely
         b. What gifts or abilities to serve you might have, offer 
            without cost
         c. By the grace of God you are what you are, follow the 
            example of Jesus and His apostles in offering themselves
            freely to the lost

[At the same time, there is another principle of evangelism which 
relates to when one might receive support for their labor...]


      1. For which reason they were not to take anything - Mt 10:9-10
      2. They could be supported by those who willing to provide for
         them - cf. Lk 10:7-8

      1. As expounded upon by Paul in 1Co 4:4-14
         a. The right to forego secular work in order to serve in
            spiritual matters
         b. The right to receive carnal things in return for spiritual
         c. A principle taught in the Law, and by Christ Himself
      2. Applied to elders who rule well - 1Ti 5:17-18
      3. A practice encouraged by John many years later - 3Jn 5-8

      1. Preachers may rightly receive support for their labors
         a. It allows them to concentrate their efforts in matters of
            the gospel
         b. Of course, this support should come from those who are
            Christians, and should not be a means of accumulating 
            wealth (see previous point)
      2. Churches have an important role in such support
         a. Churches can provide support of preachers - 2Co 11:8-9
         b. Much foreign evangelism goes undone today, not because
            preachers are unwilling to go, but because churches have
            not been willing to send and support - cf. Ro 10:15
      3. In one's own efforts...
         a. There is nothing limiting an individual from helping to 
            support preachers
         b. While one might help support a local congregation's effort
            to send and support, one can also help through direct 


1. Here are "The Principles Of Evangelism" we have gleaned so far from
   our Lord's instructions in giving "The Limited Commission"...
   a. Utilize the power of synergy
   b. Employ the practice of specialization
   c. Proclaim the word of God
   d. Offer our services freely
   e. Support those willing to work

2. As we saw, these principles were later employed by the early 
   a. Which may help explain the rapid spread of the gospel in the 
      first century
   b. Which can still be useful to the Lord's church today
   -- Could it be that failure to implement any of these may be reasons
      why the church is not growing like it did then?

In our next lesson, we shall examine yet another five principles of 
evangelism from the instructions Jesus gave to His apostles...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

eXTReMe Tracker 

The Twelve Apostles (10:1-4) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                      The Twelve Apostles (10:1-4)


1. Upon what is your faith in Jesus Christ based?
   a. His miracles?
   b. His teachings?
   c. His resurrection from the dead?

2. In reality, our faith is based upon the words of the apostles of
   Jesus Christ...
   a. Apart from their gospels and letters, we know virtually nothing
      about Him
   b. They are the ones who tell us about His life, miracles, and

3. Jesus acknowledged that our faith in Him would depend upon their 
   a. As indicated in His prayer for us - Jn 17:20
   b. The Lord expected us to believe in Him through their word

4. Who are these men upon which our faith is based?
   a. What does the Bible and history tell us about them?
   b. Are they credible witnesses that we should believe?
   c. What is their role in the church of our Lord?

5. In Mt 10:1-4, we find the names of the twelve apostles...
   a. Matthew lists their names as they were sent on "The Limited
      Commission" - Mt 10:5-7
   b. While Mark and Luke records their names when they were actually
      appointed as apostles - cf. Mk 3:13-19; Lk 6:13-16
[In this lesson I wish to focus our attention on "The Twelve Apostles",
upon whom our faith is based, for whom we should be so grateful.  Let's
start by taking a closer look at...]


      1. Simon, who is called Peter
         a. Introduced to Jesus by his brother, Andrew - Jn 1:40-41
         b. Given the name Cephas (Peter) by Jesus - Jn 1:42
         c. A fisherman, called to follow Jesus along with Andrew 
            - Mt 4:18-20
         d. Known for being impetuous; for example:
            1) When Jesus walked on the sea - Mt 14:25-29
            2) When Jesus foretold His death and resurrection - Mt 16:
            3) When Jesus foretold of some who would stumble - Mt 26:
            4) When Jesus was arrested in the garden - Jn 18:10-11
         e. Known for his failures; for example:
            1) Doubting when walking to Jesus on the sea - Mt 14:30-31
            2) Denying the Lord three times - Mt 26:69-75
            3) Leading himself and others into hypocrisy - Ga 2:11-13
         f. But eventually living up to meaning of his given name (a 
            1) Restored by Jesus after His resurrection - Jn 21:15-19
            2) Directing the selection to replace Judas Iscariot - Ac 1:15-26
            3) Preaching the first gospel sermon on the day of
               Pentecost - Ac 2:14-41
            4) Instrumental in the church at Jerusalem during its early
               years - Ac 3-6; cf. Ga 1:18; 2:1-10
            5) The first to proclaim the gospel to the Gentiles - Ac
               10-11; 15:6-11
      2. Andrew, brother of Simon
         a. A disciple of John the Baptist, he was one of Jesus' first
            disciples - Jn 1:35-40
         b. He led his brother Simon (Peter) to Jesus - Jn 1:41-42
         c. A fisherman, called to follow Jesus along with Simon - Mt 4:18-20
         d. He introduced some Greeks to Jesus - Jn 12:20-22
      3. James the son of Zebedee
         a. Brother of John - Mt 10:2
         b. A fisherman, called to follow Jesus along with John - Mt 4:
         c. Perhaps because of fiery temperment (evidenced in Lk 9:
            52-54), he and his brother were called "Sons of Thunder"
            by Jesus - Mk 3:17
         d. While seeking glory, they were promised suffering - Mk 10:
         e. Indeed, James was the first of the apostles to be killed 
            - Ac 12:1-2
      4. John, brother of James
         a. Called along with his brother, James - Mt 4:21-22
         b. Along with brother and father, they were partners with 
            Peter - Lk 5:10
         c. Like his brother, he appeared quick to judge others - cf. 
            Lk 9:49,54
         d. But he became "the beloved disciple whom Jesus loved"
            1) Who sat next to Jesus during the Last Supper - Jn 13:23
            2) Who was given charge to care for Jesus' mother - Jn 19:
            3) Who was among the first to see the empty tomb - Jn 20:
            4) Who recognized Jesus following the resurrection - Jn 21:
            5) Who made a veiled reference to himself as the author of
               the Gospel of John - Jn 21:20-24
      -- Of these four, Peter, James and John became "the inner circle"
         of Jesus' disciples.  These three were present when Jesus 
         raised Jairus' daughter (Mk 5:37), witnessed the 
         transfiguration (Mt 17:1), and were summoned by Christ for 
         support during His agony in Gethsemane (Mt 26:36-37).

      5. Philip
         a. Called by Jesus, the day after He met Peter and Andrew - Jn 1:43
         b. From Bethsaida, home of Peter and Andrew - Jn 1:44
         c. He led Nathaniel to Jesus - Jn 1:45-46
         d. He with Andrew brought the inquiring Greeks to Jesus - Jn 12:21-22
         e. He was the one who asked Jesus, "Show us the Father" - Jn 14:8-9
      6. Bartholomew
         a. He is traditionally considered to be Nathanael, because he
            is connected to Philip in the lists of the apostles in the
            Gospels - Mt 10:2-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16
         b. If so, then he was introduced to Jesus by Philip - Jn 1:
         c. And was praised by Jesus as having no guile - Jn 1:47-51
         d. He lived in Cana, and saw Jesus after the resurrection - Jn 21:1-14
      7. Thomas
         a. He was also called The Twin (Didymus) - Jn 20:24
         b. At one point he was willing to die for Jesus - Jn 11:16
         c. After the resurrection, he required empirical evidence
            before he would believe that Jesus was alive - Jn 20:24-25
         d. A week later, such evidence was provided - Jn 20:26-28
      8. Matthew the tax collector
         a. Also known as Levi - Mt 9:9; Mk 2:14; Lk 5:27
         b. Called the son of Alphaeus, leading some to think he was
            related to James the son of Alphaeus - Mk 2:14; 10:3
         c. Called to follow Jesus from his tax office, and later gave
            a feast at his home in honor of Jesus - Mt 9:9-13
      9. James the son of Alphaeus
         a. He may be "James the Less", son of Mary (who witnessed 
            Jesus' death, sought to prepare Him for burial, and found
            the tomb empty) - Mk 15:40; 16:1
         b. Other than in the lists of apostles, he is not mentioned
            elsewhere in Scripture
     10. Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus
         a. Evidently the same as "Judas, not Iscariot" (Jn 14:22) and
            "Judas, brother of James" - Lk 6:16; Ac 1:13
         b. He is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture
     11. Simon the Cananite (Cananaean)
         a. Also called "the Zealot" - Lk 6:15; Ac 1:13
         b. As such he had been a member of a radical party seeking to
            destroy Roman rule
     12. Matthias, who replaced Judas Iscariot the betrayer
         a. Judas, of course, would later betray Jesus and hang himself
            - Mt 26:14-16,47-50; 27:3-10
         b. In his place, Matthias was chosen - Ac 1:15-26
         c. He had evidently been with Jesus from His baptism until His
            ascension - cf. Ac 1:21-22

[What an amazing and diverse collection of men upon which to trust the
continuation of His mission!  Men with personal failings, from opposite
ends of the political spectrum.  Yet Jesus took this band of men, 
worked with them for three years, and through them turned the world
upside down! Let's now consider what is revealed in Scripture about...]


      1. Jesus had shown Himself alive through various proofs - Ac 1:
      2. Jesus commissioned them to testify concerning Him - Ac 1:8
      3. Peter explained that the apostles were to be witnesses for the
         resurrection - Ac 1:21-22
      4. Thus they testified again and again - Ac 2:32; 3:15; 4:33; 5:
         30-32; 10:39-41; 13:29-31
      -- The apostles served the important role of providing historical
         and legal proof that Jesus arose from the dead, so that our
         faith in Him might rest on a solid basis!

      1. Jesus did not reveal all during His earthly ministry - Jn 16:
      2. The Holy Spirit would reveal all the truth, working through
         the apostles - Jn 16:13-14; cf. 14:25-26
      3. Thus the apostles' doctrine became the authority for the 
         church, as commissioned by Jesus - Mt 28:20; Ac 2:42
      4. This doctrine they preserved in their writings - e.g., 2Pe 3:
      -- Through His apostles, Jesus continues to instruct His church
         as we continue stedfastly in their teachings!

      1. The church is built upon the foundation of the apostles, with
         Christ as the corner-stone - Ep 2:19-22
         a. Their eyewitness testimony is the basis of our faith
         b. Their teaching is basis of our doctrine and practice
      2. Their names are even depicted as written on the foundation for
         the New Jerusalem, which is the Lamb's bride (the church) 
         - Re 21:9-10,14

[To such a small and simple group of men Jesus entrusted the future of
His church!  Was His trust well-founded?  Well, consider what we know
from Scripture and tradition concerning...]


      1. They were commanded to make disciples of all the nations - Mt 28:19
         a. We read of the early work of the apostles in Jerusalem, 
            Judea and Samaria in the book of Acts
         b. We can also read Peter's letters to those througout Asia
            Minor (Turkey)
      2. From sources outside the Bible, we are told:
         a. Peter is thought to have travelled to Rome, and possibly
            Babylon - cf. 1Pe 5:13
         b. Andrew is said to have preached in Bithynia, Scythia,
            Greece, and among the Parthians
         c. James the brother of John is said to have preached in
            India and Spain before he was beheaded by Herod
         d. John, brother of James, spent time in Patmos, later in
            Ephesus, and is thought by some to have established the
            churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia,
            Laodicea, and Thyatira
         e. Philip ministered in Phrygia
         f. Bartholomew is said to have taken the gospel of Matthew
            to India
         g. Thomas is also thought to have travelled to India
         h. Matthew is said to have preached 15 years in Palestine,
            and then went to Ethiopia, Macedonia, Syria, Persia,
            Parthia and Medea
         i. James the son of Alphaeus - little is known of any work
            outside Jerusalem
         j. Thaddaeus is said to preached in Syria and Edessa
         k. Simon the Zealot is said to have preached the gospel in
            Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain
         l. Matthias is thought to have gone to Damascus
         -- While much of the above is not known for sure, it does seem
            to coincide with Paul's statements concerning the spread of
            the gospel - Ro 10:14-18; Col 1:23

      1. The apostles suffered much for the Lord
         a. As He warned them - Jn 15:18-20
         b. As Paul described in 1Co 4:9-13
      2. But they did more than suffer discomfort, in most cases they
         gave their lives
         a. Peter - crucified upside down in Rome
         b. Andrew - imprisoned in Greece, then crucified on a cross,
            the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground
            (from which came the term, St. Andrew's Cross)
         c. James - beheaded by Herod - Ac 12:1-2
         d. John - the only apostle thought to avoid a violent death
         e. Philip - scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards
         f. Bartholomew - said to have been placed into a sack and 
            thrown into the sea, some say he was crucified
         g. Thomas - thrust through with a spear in India
         h. Matthew - said by some to have died a natural death, by
            others that he died in Ethiopia, being slain with a halberd
            (pike fitted with an axhead) in the city of Nadabah
         i. James the son of Alphaeus - stoned by the Jews for 
            preaching Christ
         j. Thaddaeus - unknown
         k. Simon the Zealot - suffered martyrdom under Trajan; some
            think crucified in Britain
         l. Matthias - said to have been stoned and then beheaded


1. Do we appreciate the significance of the "supreme sacrifice" these
   men made?
   a. Their willingness to suffer and die strengthens the credibility
      of their testimony
   b. And what is that testimony?   That Jesus died for our sins and 
      rose from the grave!
   -- They were not motivated by money or power; they were compelled by
      events they could never deny having seen and heard!

2. Through "The Twelve Apostles", we see the power of faith in Christ,
   a. Judgmental disciples into apostles of love (e.g., John)
   a. Political enemies into beloved brethren! (e.g., Matthew and Simon
      the Zealot)
   b. Cowards who denied Jesus into confessors who died for Him (e.g.,

3. In "The Twelve Apostles", we have the basis for faith in Christ,
   a. The foundation of our faith in Christ through their testimony
   b. The foundation of our belief and practice through their writings

May we who are "built on the foundation of the apostles" (Ep 2:20),
never forget these 12 humble disciples who faithfully answered the call
of their Lord.  May their example inspire us to greater faithfulness in
our service to Christ!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

eXTReMe Tracker