From Mark Copeland... The Purpose Of The Commandment (1 Timothy 1:5)

                     "THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                  The Purpose Of The Commandment (1:5)


1. The idea of "commandment-keeping" is not a popular one among many
   people today...
   a. Some equate it with what they call "legalism"
   b. Others look at keeping any kind of commandment as an unpleasant
      1) Perhaps a carry-over from childhood?
      2) Where they feel like they were constantly being "commanded" to
         do things?

2. Yet keeping the commandments of God should not be looked upon by
   Christians in this way...

   "Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart,
   [from] a good conscience, and from] sincere faith," (1Ti 1:5)

3. What is the purpose or goal of any commandment from God...?
   a. Is it only to enjoin blind obedience?
   b. Or is there a noble purpose behind the commands?

[Our text (1Ti 1:5) suggests the latter, so let's examine what Paul
reveals about "The Purpose Of The Commandment"...]


      1. Which is as far as some go with the Word of God!
         a. They study it, discuss it, debate it, defend it
         b. In Bible class, conversations, publications, etc.
      2. Unless they obey it, all is in vain!
         a. They fail to fulfill its ultimate purpose:  to produce love!
         b. Their religion is a vain religion, not a pure religion - Ja
         c. "The purpose of all revelation and the test of all religion
            is character and conduct." - MacLaren

      1. Both love for God and love for man - cf. Mt 22:35-40
      2. Concerning our love for God
         a. It begins with, but goes beyond adoration, praise and
         b. True love for God is realized when we keep His commands
            - 1Jn 5:3; Jn 14:15,21
      3. Concerning our love for man
         a. It begins with, but goes beyond any active good will or
            affection we might have
         b. True love for man is also realized when we keep God's
            commands - 1Jn 5:2

[So the goal of any command of God is love.  Not just any love, but a
love that springs forth from a good source...]


      1. 'Pure' can also be translated 'clean', suggesting that which is
         from impurities
      2. To love with such a heart requires purification, which comes
         obedience to the truth - 1Pe 1:22-23
      3. Have our souls been purified by obeying the truth?  If not...
         a. We will be plagued by spiritual impurities (e.g., greed,
            covetousness, envy, pride)
         b. We will be unable to love God and man as we should
      4. Those with 'pure hearts' are the ones who will be truly blessed
         - Mt 5:8

      1. 'Conscience' is defined as "that process of thought which
         distinguishes what it considers morally good or bad, commending
         the good, condemning the bad, and so prompting to do the
         former, and to avoid the latter." - Vine
      2. The love God desires is that which comes from a person with a
         'good conscience'
         a. To have a 'good' conscience, it must be properly set
            1) Like a clock, it is accurate only when properly set
            2) Otherwise it might lead us astray - e.g., Ac 23:1; cf.
            3) A good conscience is one that is set according to God's
         b. To have a 'good' conscience, it must be properly cleansed
            1) For no matter who we are, we are sinners!
               a) God says so - Ro 3:23
               b) So does our conscience - Ro 2:14-15
               c) Any who deny this have 'rejected' or 'seared' their
                  conscience - cf. 1Ti 1:19; 4:2
            2) What can 'cleanse' our conscience?
               a) Not any OT sacrifice or worship - He 9:9-10
               b) Rather, the blood of Christ - He 9:14
      3. Only with a conscience 'cleansed' from dead works can we
         a. Love both God and man
         b. Love with a pure heart and good conscience!

      1. Some translations use 'unfeigned' instead of 'sincere' (ASV,
      2. It is translated elsewhere as 'without hypocrisy' (Ro 12:9) or
         'genuine' (2Ti 1:5)
      3. The word 'faith' involves two interrelated concepts:
         a. A strong conviction in that which is believed
         b. A strong trust in the object believed
      4. A 'sincere faith' would be:
         a. A true, honest to God, conviction
         b. A true-hearted trust in God and Jesus
      5. This kind of faith comes only from the Word of God - cf. Ro 10:17; Jn 20:30-31
      6. Without such faith, the love God desires is not possible!


1. What kind of religion do you have...?
   a. One that consists in little more than religious talk?
   b. Or one that produces genuine love for God and man, manifested in

2. If you desire the religion that pleases God, it must be the kind that
   expresses itself in love:

   "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails
   anything, but faith working through love." (Ga 5:6)

3. Yet that kind of love comes "from a pure heart, from a good
   conscience, and from sincere faith"...
   a. Which is the goal of every command of God
   b. Who dare says that keeping the commandments of God are not

Are you willing to let the commands of God create in you "love from a
pure heart, from a good conscience and from sincere faith"...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading December 24

Bible Reading  

December 24

The World English Bible

Dec. 24
Habakkuk 1-3

Hab 1:1 The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw.
Hab 1:2 Yahweh, how long will I cry, and you will not hear? I cry out to you "Violence!" and will you not save?
Hab 1:3 Why do you show me iniquity, and look at perversity? For destruction and violence are before me. There is strife, and contention rises up.
Hab 1:4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth; for the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice goes forth perverted.
Hab 1:5 "Look among the nations, watch, and wonder marvelously; for I am working a work in your days, which you will not believe though it is told you.
Hab 1:6 For, behold, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, that march through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs.
Hab 1:7 They are feared and dreaded. Their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves.
Hab 1:8 Their horses also are swifter than leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves. Their horsemen press proudly on. Yes, their horsemen come from afar. They fly as an eagle that hurries to devour.
Hab 1:9 All of them come for violence. Their hordes face the desert. He gathers prisoners like sand.
Hab 1:10 Yes, he scoffs at kings, and princes are a derision to him. He laughs at every stronghold, for he builds up an earthen ramp, and takes it.
Hab 1:11 Then he sweeps by like the wind, and goes on. He is indeed guilty, whose strength is his god."
Hab 1:12 Aren't you from everlasting, Yahweh my God, my Holy One? We will not die. Yahweh, you have appointed him for judgment. You, Rock, have established him to punish.
Hab 1:13 You who have purer eyes than to see evil, and who cannot look on perversity, why do you tolerate those who deal treacherously, and keep silent when the wicked swallows up the man who is more righteous than he,
Hab 1:14 and make men like the fish of the sea, like the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?
Hab 1:15 He takes up all of them with the hook. He catches them in his net, and gathers them in his dragnet. Therefore he rejoices and is glad.
Hab 1:16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net, and burns incense to his dragnet, because by them his life is luxurious, and his food is good.
Hab 1:17 Will he therefore continually empty his net, and kill the nations without mercy?
Hab 2:1 I will stand at my watch, and set myself on the ramparts, and will look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.
Hab 2:2 Yahweh answered me, "Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he who runs may read it.
Hab 2:3 For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it hurries toward the end, and won't prove false. Though it takes time, wait for it; because it will surely come. It won't delay.
Hab 2:4 Behold, his soul is puffed up. It is not upright in him, but the righteous will live by his faith.
Hab 2:5 Yes, moreover, wine is treacherous. A haughty man who doesn't stay at home, who enlarges his desire as Sheol, and he is like death, and can't be satisfied, but gathers to himself all nations, and heaps to himself all peoples.
Hab 2:6 Won't all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, 'Woe to him who increases that which is not his, and who enriches himself by extortion! How long?'
Hab 2:7 Won't your debtors rise up suddenly, and wake up those who make you tremble, and you will be their victim?
Hab 2:8 Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples will plunder you, because of men's blood, and for the violence done to the land, to the city and to all who dwell in it.
Hab 2:9 Woe to him who gets an evil gain for his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the hand of evil!
Hab 2:10 You have devised shame to your house, by cutting off many peoples, and have sinned against your soul.
Hab 2:11 For the stone will cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the woodwork will answer it.
Hab 2:12 Woe to him who builds a town with blood, and establishes a city by iniquity!
Hab 2:13 Behold, isn't it of Yahweh of Armies that the peoples labor for the fire, and the nations weary themselves for vanity?
Hab 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea.
Hab 2:15 "Woe to him who gives his neighbor drink, pouring your inflaming wine until they are drunk, so that you may gaze at their naked bodies!
Hab 2:16 You are filled with shame, and not glory. You will also drink, and be exposed! The cup of Yahweh's right hand will come around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.
Hab 2:17 For the violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and the destruction of the animals, which made them afraid; because of men's blood, and for the violence done to the land, to every city and to those who dwell in them.
Hab 2:18 "What value does the engraved image have, that its maker has engraved it; the molten image, even the teacher of lies, that he who fashions its form trusts in it, to make mute idols?
Hab 2:19 Woe to him who says to the wood, 'Awake!' or to the mute stone, 'Arise!' Shall this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in its midst.
Hab 2:20 But Yahweh is in his holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before him!"
Hab 3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk, the prophet, set to victorious music.
Hab 3:2 Yahweh, I have heard of your fame. I stand in awe of your deeds, Yahweh. Renew your work in the midst of the years. In the midst of the years make it known. In wrath, you remember mercy.
Hab 3:3 God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and his praise filled the earth.
Hab 3:4 His splendor is like the sunrise. Rays shine from his hand, where his power is hidden.
Hab 3:5 Plague went before him, and pestilence followed his feet.
Hab 3:6 He stood, and shook the earth. He looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains were crumbled. The age-old hills collapsed. His ways are eternal.
Hab 3:7 I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction. The dwellings of the land of Midian trembled.
Hab 3:8 Was Yahweh displeased with the rivers? Was your anger against the rivers, or your wrath against the sea, that you rode on your horses, on your chariots of salvation?
Hab 3:9 You uncovered your bow. You called for your sworn arrows. Selah. You split the earth with rivers.
Hab 3:10 The mountains saw you, and were afraid. The storm of waters passed by. The deep roared and lifted up its hands on high.
Hab 3:11 The sun and moon stood still in the sky, at the light of your arrows as they went, at the shining of your glittering spear.
Hab 3:12 You marched through the land in wrath. You threshed the nations in anger.
Hab 3:13 You went forth for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the land of wickedness. You stripped them head to foot. Selah.
Hab 3:14 You pierced the heads of his warriors with their own spears. They came as a whirlwind to scatter me, gloating as if to devour the wretched in secret.
Hab 3:15 You trampled the sea with your horses, churning mighty waters.
Hab 3:16 I heard, and my body trembled. My lips quivered at the voice. Rottenness enters into my bones, and I tremble in my place, because I must wait quietly for the day of trouble, for the coming up of the people who invade us.
Hab 3:17 For though the fig tree doesn't flourish, nor fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive fails, the fields yield no food; the flocks are cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls:
Hab 3:18 yet I will rejoice in Yahweh. I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
Hab 3:19 Yahweh, the Lord, is my strength. He makes my feet like deer's feet, and enables me to go in high places. For the music director, on my stringed instruments.

Dec. 24
Revelation 9, 10

Rev 9:1 The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from the sky which had fallen to the earth. The key to the pit of the abyss was given to him.
Rev 9:2 He opened the pit of the abyss, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke from a burning furnace. The sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke from the pit.
Rev 9:3 Then out of the smoke came forth locusts on the earth, and power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
Rev 9:4 They were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those people who don't have God's seal on their foreheads.
Rev 9:5 They were given power not to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion, when it strikes a person.
Rev 9:6 In those days people will seek death, and will in no way find it. They will desire to die, and death will flee from them.
Rev 9:7 The shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared for war. On their heads were something like golden crowns, and their faces were like people's faces.
Rev 9:8 They had hair like women's hair, and their teeth were like those of lions.
Rev 9:9 They had breastplates, like breastplates of iron. The sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, or of many horses rushing to war.
Rev 9:10 They have tails like those of scorpions, and stings. In their tails they have power to harm men for five months.
Rev 9:11 They have over them as king the angel of the abyss. His name in Hebrew is "Abaddon," but in Greek, he has the name "Apollyon."
Rev 9:12 The first woe is past. Behold, there are still two woes coming after this.
Rev 9:13 The sixth angel sounded. I heard a voice from the horns of the golden altar which is before God,
Rev 9:14 saying to the sixth angel who had one trumpet, "Free the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates!"
Rev 9:15 The four angels were freed who had been prepared for that hour and day and month and year, so that they might kill one third of mankind.
Rev 9:16 The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million. I heard the number of them.
Rev 9:17 Thus I saw the horses in the vision, and those who sat on them, having breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of lions. Out of their mouths proceed fire, smoke, and sulfur.
Rev 9:18 By these three plagues were one third of mankind killed: by the fire, the smoke, and the sulfur, which proceeded out of their mouths.
Rev 9:19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths, and in their tails. For their tails are like serpents, and have heads, and with them they harm.
Rev 9:20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed with these plagues, didn't repent of the works of their hands, that they wouldn't worship demons, and the idols of gold, and of silver, and of brass, and of stone, and of wood; which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk.
Rev 9:21 They didn't repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their sexual immorality, nor of their thefts.

Rev 10:1 I saw a mighty angel coming down out of the sky, clothed with a cloud. A rainbow was on his head. His face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.
Rev 10:2 He had in his hand a little open book. He set his right foot on the sea, and his left on the land.
Rev 10:3 He cried with a loud voice, as a lion roars. When he cried, the seven thunders uttered their voices.
Rev 10:4 When the seven thunders sounded, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from the sky saying, "Seal up the things which the seven thunders said, and don't write them."
Rev 10:5 The angel who I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to the sky,
Rev 10:6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there will no longer be delay,
Rev 10:7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as he declared to his servants, the prophets.
Rev 10:8 The voice which I heard from heaven, again speaking with me, said, "Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land."
Rev 10:9 I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. He said to me, "Take it, and eat it up. It will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey."
Rev 10:10 I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up. It was as sweet as honey in my mouth. When I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter.
Rev 10:11 They told me, "You must prophesy again over many peoples, nations, languages, and kings."

From Gary... Seeing beauty become reality

Thank you, Bruce Arnold, for sending me this picture entitled" Stairway to the heavens"!!!  It is beautiful and reminds me of northern skies in up-state New York on a dark night!!!   Today, being Christmas eve, there will undoubtedly be many people thinking about God and Jesus (that is- the baby Jesus).  So, with that in mind, here is a passage that seems appropriate to the season...

Luke, Chapter 2
 1 Now in those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. 2 This was the first enrollment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  3 All went to enroll themselves, everyone to his own city.  4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David;  5 to enroll himself with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him as wife, being pregnant. 

  6  While they were there, the day had come for her to give birth.  7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a feeding trough, because there was no room for them in the inn.  8 There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock.  9 Behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  10 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people.  11 For there is born to you, this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  12 This is the sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding trough.”  13 Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army praising God, and saying, 
  14 “Glory to God in the highest,
on earth peace, good will toward men.”

  15  When the angels went away from them into the sky, the shepherds said one to another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem, now, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 They came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby was lying in the feeding trough.  17 When they saw it, they publicized widely the saying which was spoken to them about this child.  18 All who heard it wondered at the things which were spoken to them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart.  20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, just as it was told them.

The shepherds were given a sign and they rejoiced over it.  That baby grew up to be someone who had a special task- to save us all!!!  It is to this aspect of Jesus' life that I would like us all to focus on.  You see, Jesus really did fullfill  the message of peace that the angels proclaimed. He really is our "stairway to heaven". Think about that one the next time you venture out into the night and view the beauty above!!!