From Jim McGuiggan... Political and Religious Correctness

Political and Religious Correctness

It would appear that everyone wants to be gracious (or at least, polite) and with that as now established fashion, doctrine becomes irrelevant or close to it.

Of course we have those who seem to live for debate—for them every disagreement is a life or death matter; it must be so, don’t you see, because that’s what gives them the opportunity to show the brilliance of their logic as they prove with geometrical certainty that one seemingly small error leads to another and that to another until the entire gospel edifice is at stake. These people have not vanished from the earth—far from it. In fact though their number may be smaller than decades ago their voice is even shriller and their logic is even more sharply honed. The widespread feeling that doctrine doesn’t matter at all feeds this class and often creates it because, though we might not bother to act on it, in our bones we all believe that ideas have consequences and that what we believe matters. For some, then, what we believe is the only thing that matters—and so extremists are born and nurtured.

Over against those among us who live to debate there are those who insist: “The only thing that matters is attitude, lifestyle and sincerity; oh, and yes, faith in Jesus as the Christ, God’s Son. Given these, the rest is a matter of fine-tuning at most or a tedious waste of good time and energy.” You hear this kind of talk everywhere.

Nobody believes it in science or medicine, systems of justice, social questions (abortion, embryonic research and such) or even, so it appears, in politics. Passionate people in their thousands gather to shout fiercely that so-and-so must not be allowed to get to be president or prime minister, that such-and-such a group mustn’t be allowed to gain power. These thousands don’t profess to have all the answers to all the major questions but they work on the proposition that “the truth is out there” and we should work toward it for the good of all (especially for our own good).

But in religion everything is pretty much a matter of what each individual thinks and ignorance, even chosen ignorance, even flat refusal to hear what the Bible seems clearly to say, must be accepted and acceptable. I almost said “excused,” but that would suggest that there’s something wrong with an individual asserting his “autonomy”. The one “wrong” in today’s climate, is daring to require people to believe certain truths if they are indeed to be Christians. But a fine-spirited and socially useful agnostic, whatever else he is—as he will tell you himself—is not a Christian.

Less radically but just as forthrightly we’re told that we mustn’t bind creedal views on anyone; we mustn’t insist that they believe this or submit to that if they already “believe in Jesus as Saviour.” To do otherwise, we’re told, is said to nullify God’s grace. All that’s required is faith in Jesus and the rest, while some of it will need to be worked out because it generates serious pastoral concerns and hinders a good reading of the biblical witness—the rest has nothing to do with a person’s salvation in Jesus.

As proof of this we have Paul, enraged by conservative Jews at Antioch. These people were binding the Torah on Gentile converts and Paul blisteringly condemned it as worthy of anathema (Galatians 1—2). We’re to learn from this, we’re told, not to bind anything on anyone except faith in Jesus for that alone is essential.

But scripture and life aren’t that simple and in the very texts used to say we should bind nothing on people but faith in Jesus as Saviour Paul called a curse down on these who would propagate the view just mentioned because it was false to the core.

Still, the people he called down destruction on were people who passionately believed in Jesus as Saviour so it would appear that even those who have faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord can take a theological position that earns heaven’s anathema. To put it much too crassly, in essence, Paul said to people who had passionate faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour: “Believe the gospel I preached to you or be damned!”
He thought that a particular view of Christ’s work nullified the death of Jesus (Galatians 2:21).

An increasing number of preachers who should know better are now saying that requiring believers to be baptized “into Christ” is an “add on”—the very thing that we mustn’t do. The very thing, they tell us, that Paul forbids us to do in Galatians 1—2.

The Paul who wrote such scathing words against believers in Jesus had himself been baptized unto forgiveness of sins (Acts 22:16) and in Galatians itself (3:26-27) he speaks of union with Christ in terms of a believer baptism. He doesn’t appear to think a faith union with Christ that’s entered in baptism is an “add on” requirement. Over and over again some people tell us that to call for baptism as the NT way to take on us Jesus’ name is adding “creedal requirements” in addition to “salvation by faith”.

But if that were true Paul threatens believers in Jesus with divine excommunication in chapters 1 & 2 and then in 3:26-27 does what he curses them for.

Maybe it’s best just to take the texts at face value and believe that Paul, in chapters 1 & 2, was denouncing what God had not called for, what God had in fact excluded, and that in 3:26-27 he simply took for granted what God had called for (called for it in Paul and everyone else).

A few years back a man, whom I judge was as weary as we all are at times with too much debating and too little warm, eager obedience, wrote a book calling us all to be more open in our fellowship with evangelical churches of whatever hue since ignorance is prevalent in all churches.

A reviewer trenchantly reminded the author that since it's true that ignorance prevails in all the churches the author had no good reason to limit fellowship in Christ to “evangelicals”. Why not include the fringe groups that believe in Jesus as Saviour though they hold fundamental error about Jesus, his person, his work and his purpose? 

Many people belong to this church or that simply because it was good enough for their parents (or the Queen of England) and it’s good enough for them. Churches often stand apart from each other for evil reasons (bitterness, arrogance, stubbornness, personality clashes or thwarted ambitions) but sometimes standing apart is inevitable because, in the end, we must call it as we see it and we don’t all see it alike. God knows how to judge the character and depth of error even when we can't so we should happily leave that to him while we proclaim what the Bible seems clearly to teach with passion and graciousness.

If because we’re shaped by the Hebrew—Christian scriptures we oppose homosexuality as an acceptable behaviourable choice we’re often accused of being homophobic. Sometimes when we criticize Jewish views we’re said to be anti-Semitic or when we castigate the greed often generated by the free-market we’re said to be Communist or dangerously Socialist. We exclude some people from a place in the NT elect for one reason or another and we’re called sectarian, hardhearted and graceless. Choose your own illustration. Accusations like this get us nowhere and they certainly don’t nurture courtesy and fairness. Maybe we’ll just have to stand our ground, call it as we see it while, by God’s grace, we continue in a spirit of obedience to pursue truth as it’s found in Jesus. Meanwhile we’ll continue the dialogue praying for movement in whatever direction it needs to come from or head to.

But don’t you get weary of what appears to be the fad of recantation and long for bold proclamation? Don’t you grow tired of the “niceness” that appears to want to please the religious consumer and wish for men and women who take a stand on what the scriptures say with plainness? Isn't "religious correctness" sometimes as sickening as political "correctness"?

From Mark Copeland... The Supremacy Of Jesus Over Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6)

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

               The Supremacy Of Jesus Over Moses (3:1-6)


1. We have seen that the writer to the Hebrews sought to encourage 
   faithfulness to Jesus by illustrating His superiority...
   a. Over prophets - He 1:1-3
   b. Over angels - He 1:4-2:18
   -- Both of which were very important to the Jewish people

2. Highly revered also by the Hebrews was Moses...
   a. The author of the first five books of the Old Testament
   b. The deliverer, who led them out of Egyptian bondage and to the 
      promised land
   c. The Law-giver, through whom God revealed so much of the Jewish 

3. If the writer was to be successful in encouraging his brethren to 
   remain faithful to Jesus...
   a. He would have to compare Jesus with Moses
   b. He would have to illustrate "The Supremacy Of Jesus Over Moses"
   -- This he does, especially in He 3:1-6, which serves as the text 
      of our study

[In the first verse, we note the...]


      1. The readers are described as:
         a. "holy brethren"
            1) I.e., brethren who are sanctified, set apart for a holy
            2) Cf. what was written in He 2:10-11
            3) It is to the brethren of Christ that these things are 
               being written!
         b. "partakers of the heavenly calling"
            1) They had come to share in the call from heaven
            2) This "calling" was the call of the gospel
               a) For that is how God calls us - 2Th 2:13-14
               b) It is a call to glory - 2Th 2:14; 1Th 2:12
      2. Clearly the original recipients were Christians!
         a. Some commentators try to reason that they were not, because
            of the warnings found throughout this epistle
         b. But it is evident they were, which is why we need to give 
            earnest heed to the warnings!

      1. How is Jesus an "apostle"?
         a. The word means "one sent"
         b. Just as Moses was sent by God, so was Jesus, as foretold by
            Moses and the prophets that followed! - Ac 3:22-26; cf. 
            Jn 7:16
      2. How is Jesus a "high priest"?
         a. That is one of the important themes of this epistle
            1) Introduced in He 2:17
            2) Expounded upon in detail later in He 4:14-7:28
         b. He has made "propitiation" (an appeasing sacrifice) for our
            sins, through offering Himself on the cross - He 7:26-27
         c. He continues to intercede on our behalf - He 7:24-25
      -- Thus Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest "of our confession"
         (i.e., whom we confess as Christians)

[As we now note the actual comparison  of Jesus with Moses, we are told


      1. Jesus was faithful to the One who appointed Him - cf. Jn 17:4
      2. Moses likewise was faithful - cf. He 11:24-29; Num 12:6-8

      1. Jesus is worthy of more glory, just as one who builds a house
         has more honor than the house itself
         a. Jesus is the builder
         b. Moses is part of the house itself
         -- Implying that what Moses did was in service to the work of
            the Son!
      2. Once again the author declares the deity of the Son as the 
         Creator of all things - cf. He 1:2c,10; 3:4

[The comparison continues as we note that...]


      1. We have already seen that issue is not one of faithfulness 
         - Num 12:6-8
      2. Moses' task was to testify of things to come, which he did 
         faithfully - e.g., Deut 18:15-19; cf. Lk 24:44

      1. Moses was simply a servant IN the house, Jesus is the Son OVER
         the house
      2. Not only did Jesus do the work He was sent to do (Jn 17:4),
         but He was given authority over all the things of God - cf. 
         Mt 28:18; Jn 3:35; Ep 1:22


1. How is Jesus superior to Moses?
   a. Not in faithfulness, but in person and service
   b. Moses was a servant in the house of God; Jesus is the builder of
      the house, and serves as the Son over the house!
   -- Indeed, Moses points us forward to Jesus (cf. Deut 18:15-19); for
      one to forsake Jesus in an attempt to go back to Moses alone is 
      to frustrate the desire of Moses himself!

2. Speaking of the house of God, of which Jesus is the builder and over
   which He presides...
   a. The writer to the Hebrews affirms that "we" are the house of 
      1) Speaking of the church, which is the house of God - 1 Tim 3:15
      2) In Christ, we are now "members of the household of God", and
         together with the faithful saints of old (including Moses) we 
         are now "fellow-citizens" in the commonwealth of Israel! 
         - cf. Ep 2:11-22
   b. Yet our status as the "house" is conditional!
      1) "whose house we are IF we hold fast...." - He 3:6
      2) We must hold fast "the confidence and the rejoicing of the 
         hope firm to the end."

Therefore the need for steadfastness, and the reason this epistle is 
filled with exhortations to that end!  Indeed, the next exhortation 
begins in verse 7, which we shall examine in our next lesson ("A
Warning From The Wilderness").

Is your faith wavering?  Then heed the words of this epistle and...

      "consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession,
      Christ Jesus".

As you contemplate His person and His ministry, it should help you hold
fast to your confession of faith!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading February 28

Feb. 28
Exodus 9

Exo 9:1 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh, and tell him, 'This is what Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, says: "Let my people go, that they may serve me.
Exo 9:2 For if you refuse to let them go, and hold them still,
Exo 9:3 behold, the hand of Yahweh is on your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks with a very grievous pestilence.
Exo 9:4 Yahweh will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt; and there shall nothing die of all that belongs to the children of Israel." ' "
Exo 9:5 Yahweh appointed a set time, saying, "Tomorrow Yahweh shall do this thing in the land."
Exo 9:6 Yahweh did that thing on the next day; and all the livestock of Egypt died, but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died.
Exo 9:7 Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not so much as one of the livestock of the Israelites dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was stubborn, and he didn't let the people go.
Exo 9:8 Yahweh said to Moses and to Aaron, "Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh.
Exo 9:9 It shall become small dust over all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with boils on man and on animal, throughout all the land of Egypt."
Exo 9:10 They took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward the sky; and it became a boil breaking forth with boils on man and on animal.
Exo 9:11 The magicians couldn't stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boils were on the magicians, and on all the Egyptians.
Exo 9:12 Yahweh hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he didn't listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken to Moses.
Exo 9:13 Yahweh said to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and tell him, 'This is what Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, says: "Let my people go, that they may serve me.
Exo 9:14 For this time I will send all my plagues against your heart, against your officials, and against your people; that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth.
Exo 9:15 For now I would have put forth my hand, and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth;
Exo 9:16 but indeed for this cause I have made you stand: to show you my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth;
Exo 9:17 as you still exalt yourself against my people, that you won't let them go.
Exo 9:18 Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as has not been in Egypt since the day it was founded even until now.
Exo 9:19 Now therefore command that all of your livestock and all that you have in the field be brought into shelter. Every man and animal that is found in the field, and isn't brought home, the hail shall come down on them, and they shall die." ' "
Exo 9:20 Those who feared the word of Yahweh among the servants of Pharaoh made their servants and their livestock flee into the houses.
Exo 9:21 Whoever didn't regard the word of Yahweh left his servants and his livestock in the field.
Exo 9:22 Yahweh said to Moses, "Stretch forth your hand toward the sky, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man, and on animal, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt."
Exo 9:23 Moses stretched forth his rod toward the heavens, and Yahweh sent thunder, hail, and lightning flashed down to the earth. Yahweh rained hail on the land of Egypt.
Exo 9:24 So there was very severe hail, and lightning mixed with the hail, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
Exo 9:25 The hail struck throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and animal; and the hail struck every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field.
Exo 9:26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail.
Exo 9:27 Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "I have sinned this time. Yahweh is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.
Exo 9:28 Pray to Yahweh; for there has been enough of mighty thunderings and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer."
Exo 9:29 Moses said to him, "As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands to Yahweh. The thunders shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that you may know that the earth is Yahweh's.
Exo 9:30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you don't yet fear Yahweh God."
Exo 9:31 The flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom.
Exo 9:32 But the wheat and the spelt were not struck, for they had not grown up.
Exo 9:33 Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands to Yahweh; and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured on the earth.
Exo 9:34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
Exo 9:35 The heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he didn't let the children of Israel go, just as Yahweh had spoken through Moses.

Feb. 29
Exodus 10

Exo 10:1 Yahweh said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I may show these my signs in the midst of them,
Exo 10:2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your son's son, what things I have done to Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that you may know that I am Yahweh."
Exo 10:3 Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and said to him, "This is what Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, says: 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me.
Exo 10:4 Or else, if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country,
Exo 10:5 and they shall cover the surface of the earth, so that one won't be able to see the earth. They shall eat the residue of that which has escaped, which remains to you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which grows for you out of the field.
Exo 10:6 Your houses shall be filled, and the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; as neither your fathers nor your fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that they were on the earth to this day.' " He turned, and went out from Pharaoh.
Exo 10:7 Pharaoh's servants said to him, "How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve Yahweh, their God. Don't you yet know that Egypt is destroyed?"
Exo 10:8 Moses and Aaron were brought again to Pharaoh, and he said to them, "Go, serve Yahweh your God; but who are those who will go?"
Exo 10:9 Moses said, "We will go with our young and with our old; with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast to Yahweh."
Exo 10:10 He said to them, "Yahweh be with you if I will let you go with your little ones! See, evil is clearly before your faces.
Exo 10:11 Not so! Go now you who are men, and serve Yahweh; for that is what you desire!" They were driven out from Pharaoh's presence.
Exo 10:12 Yahweh said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up on the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail has left."
Exo 10:13 Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and Yahweh brought an east wind on the land all that day, and all the night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.
Exo 10:14 The locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the borders of Egypt. They were very grievous. Before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.
Exo 10:15 For they covered the surface of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened, and they ate every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. There remained nothing green, either tree or herb of the field, through all the land of Egypt.
Exo 10:16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and he said, "I have sinned against Yahweh your God, and against you.
Exo 10:17 Now therefore please forgive my sin again, and pray to Yahweh your God, that he may also take away from me this death."
Exo 10:18 He went out from Pharaoh, and prayed to Yahweh.
Exo 10:19 Yahweh turned an exceeding strong west wind, which took up the locusts, and drove them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust in all the borders of Egypt.
Exo 10:20 But Yahweh hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he didn't let the children of Israel go.
Exo 10:21 Yahweh said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt."
Exo 10:22 Moses stretched forth his hand toward the sky, and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days.
Exo 10:23 They didn't see one another, neither did anyone rise from his place for three days; but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
Exo 10:24 Pharaoh called to Moses, and said, "Go, serve Yahweh. Only let your flocks and your herds stay behind. Let your little ones also go with you."
Exo 10:25 Moses said, "You must also give into our hand sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to Yahweh our God.
Exo 10:26 Our livestock also shall go with us. There shall not a hoof be left behind, for of it we must take to serve Yahweh our God; and we don't know with what we must serve Yahweh, until we come there."
Exo 10:27 But Yahweh hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he wouldn't let them go.
Exo 10:28 Pharaoh said to him, "Get away from me! Be careful to see my face no more; for in the day you see my face you shall die!"
Exo 10:29 Moses said, "You have spoken well. I will see your face again no more."

Feb. 28, 29
Mark 2

Mar 2:1 When he entered again into Capernaum after some days, it was heard that he was in the house.
Mar 2:2 Immediately many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even around the door; and he spoke the word to them.
Mar 2:3 Four people came, carrying a paralytic to him.
Mar 2:4 When they could not come near to him for the crowd, they removed the roof where he was. When they had broken it up, they let down the mat that the paralytic was lying on.
Mar 2:5 Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you."
Mar 2:6 But there were some of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
Mar 2:7 "Why does this man speak blasphemies like that? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
Mar 2:8 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you reason these things in your hearts?
Mar 2:9 Which is easier, to tell the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven;' or to say, 'Arise, and take up your bed, and walk?'
Mar 2:10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -he said to the paralytic-
Mar 2:11 "I tell you, arise, take up your mat, and go to your house."
Mar 2:12 He arose, and immediately took up the mat, and went out in front of them all; so that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
Mar 2:13 He went out again by the seaside. All the multitude came to him, and he taught them.
Mar 2:14 As he passed by, he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he arose and followed him.
Mar 2:15 It happened, that he was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners sat down with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many, and they followed him.
Mar 2:16 The scribes and the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, "Why is it that he eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?"
Mar 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Mar 2:18 John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, and they came and asked him, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples don't fast?"
Mar 2:19 Jesus said to them, "Can the groomsmen fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they can't fast.
Mar 2:20 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then will they fast in that day.
Mar 2:21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, or else the patch shrinks and the new tears away from the old, and a worse hole is made.
Mar 2:22 No one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the skins, and the wine pours out, and the skins will be destroyed; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins."
Mar 2:23 It happened that he was going on the Sabbath day through the grain fields, and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of grain.
Mar 2:24 The Pharisees said to him, "Behold, why do they do that which is not lawful on the Sabbath day?"
Mar 2:25 He said to them, "Did you never read what David did, when he had need, and was hungry-he, and those who were with him?
Mar 2:26 How he entered into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the show bread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and gave also to those who were with him?"
Mar 2:27 He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
Mar 2:28 Therefore the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath."

From Gary... You say... God says...

I remember being a young boy and helpless in the face of tyranny; but God helped me. Then as a young man, not yet 21, with three small children, I felt overwhelmed by responsibility, but God made a way. Then, in my early 50's, when faced with godless opposition in the workplace, a friend said to me- "Gary, it seems that everyone who is against you fails." Now, I am old and faced with all the problems of advancing years.  Yet, somehow, I have never felt more blessed in my life. So, when I look at the chart, I can see my own doubts, fears, concerns and yes, downright stupidity in stark contrast with the plain truth from God. So, as I continue to advance along my continuum of being, I find solace in the following passage from the Scriptures...

Luke, Chapter 1
 5  There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the priestly division of Abijah. He had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.  6 They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.  7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years.  8 Now while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his division,  9 according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to enter into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.  10 The whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 

  11  An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.  12 Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.  13 But the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zacharias, because your request has been heard, and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.  14 You will have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth.  15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.  16 He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord, their God.  17 He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to prepare a people prepared for the Lord.” 

  18  Zacharias said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” 
  19  The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.

Later on in the book of Luke, Zacharias was disciplined for his unbelief by being unable to speak until he pleased God by naming his son John.  But, his son (John the Baptist) was one very special blessing to a very aged couple!!!  Who says that just because someone is old that God cannot work through them? If it can happen to Zacharias, it can happen to me- and more importantly- IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!!!  Over and over God has worked in my life and will continue to do so- if you can not say that, then do whatever it takes to seek and obey God!!!  A good place to START would be to review the chart and determine this very day to take God more seriously!!!  Make no mistake, long before you read this, I will be doing the same thing!!!


From Jim McGuiggan... STUBBORN OUNCES


You say the little efforts that I make
Will do no good;
They never will prevail
To tip the hovering scale
Where justice hangs in balance.
I don’t think
I ever thought they would.
But I am prejudiced beyond debate
In favour of my right to choose which side
Shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight.
Bonaro Overtsreet  

When we self-confessed sinners [self-confessed because God has opened our eyes] oppose “the world” [1 John 2:15-17] and its powerful allies and attempt to set prisoners free we’re not making a futile, pointless gesture and much less are we appealing to the goodness of a “world” that enslaves and crushes, a “world” that is the Glorious God’s enemy.

We align ourselves with God—clay pots, fragile and vulnerable, with no claim to moral superiority—and offer ourselves as God’s instruments to promote and bring to fulfillment God’s glorious enterprise in Jesus Christ. It's in people like us that God invests the gospel treasure that an impoverished and oppressed humanity needs so desperately. That's all the NT elect have to offer—a Message, good news. Nothing else! Not medical advances or social reforms or scientific breakthroughs however fine they might be. We offer nothing but the wisdom and power and righteousness of God embodied in the Lord Jesus and we do it in the humiliation of preaching [1 Corinthians 1:18, 21-25].

That can’t be a blunder and it can’t be an act of blind stupidity for God himself would have it that way. The now glorified Lord Jesus chooses again the way of humiliation as he did in his pre-exalted ministry.

Our eyes are fixed on God’s self-disclosure in and as Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ who is himself the justification for the very existence of humans! Who is himself the embodiment of God’s eternal war against all that enslaves and narrows and robs and humiliates.

Our stubborn ounces are thrown onto his scale and because of Him we’ll discover one day that they weighed as much as worlds!

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

From Mark Copeland... Advantages Of Jesus' Humanity (Hebrews 2:5-18)

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

                 Advantages Of Jesus' Humanity (2:5-18)


1. Following his warning against drifting (He 2:1-4), the writer of
   Hebrews continues to illustrate Jesus' superiority to angels...
   a. In the first chapter the emphasis was on Jesus' deity
   b. Now the focus is on Jesus' humanity

2. One can imagine the sort of objections that could be raised about
   Jesus' humanity...
   a. When Jesus became flesh, didn't that make Him lower than the
   b. How then can it be said that He is superior to angels?

3. The response is that Jesus' humanity provided several advantages...
   a. In regaining man's lost dominion
   b. In bringing many sons to glory
   c. In disarming Satan, and delivering us from the fear of death
   d. In becoming a sympathetic high priest

[Yes, becoming flesh did not prove to be a handicap or a mark of
inferiority; rather, it served to make Him "perfect"!  To see how,
let's note how Jesus' humanity first...]


      1. At the beginning, man was given dominion over God's creation
         - Gen 1:26-28
      2. David marveled that God set man over His works - Ps 8:4-6
         a. Even though man was made "a little lower than the angels"
         b. Yet God "crowned him with glory and honor"!

      1. As is rather evident:  "But now we do not yet see all things
         put under him." - He 2:8
      2. As a result of The Fall, man lost his dominion

      1. Jesus was "made a little lower than the angels"; i.e., He
         became a man!
      2. Because of His suffering of death, He was "crowned with glory
         and honor"!
         a. What man once had and lost...Jesus has regained!
         b. Those who are in Him share in that rule, both now and in
            the future!
            1) Seated at the right hand of God, Christ rules over all
               - cf. Ep 1:20-22
            2) Those in Christ sit together with Him - cf. Ep 2:4-6
            3) Especially so, when we pass from this life to the
               next... - cf. Re 2:26-27; 3:21

[Such dominion, both now and in "the world to come", was never given
to angels (He 2:5). Man had it and lost it. Becoming a man and
suffering death enabled Jesus to regain that dominion for man!

By the same suffering and death, Jesus was able to "taste death for
everyone" (He 2:9). By the grace of God, then, His humanity also...]


      1. God gave Jesus the task...
         a. To bring many sons to glory (to restore man to his position
            of glory and honor)
         b. To be the "author" (captain, pioneer, leader) of man's
      2. His sufferings in the flesh made Jesus "perfect" for the task!
         a. This is not to imply that Jesus was imperfect when He was
            on the earth
         b. The word "perfect" means to be "complete, effective,
         c. To be complete and effective as our Savior and High Priest,
            Jesus' sufferings were necessary - cf. He 2:18

      1. Even though He is the One who "sanctifies", and they are
         "being sanctified"
      2. His humanity (and suffering) makes them "all of one"
      3. Such identity with man makes Jesus proud to call us
         "brethren"! - He 2:12-13

[The idea of Jesus as the One whose suffering in the flesh makes Him
the perfect author of our salvation, and not ashamed to call us
brethren, is expanded even further in the remaining verses of the
chapter.  Here we see that the humanity of Jesus...]

     DEATH (2:14-16)

      1. Through His own death and resurrection, Jesus "destroyed" the
         a. The devil is still very active - cf. 1Pe 5:8-9
         b. But though he once "had" (past tense) the power of death,
            no more! - cf. Re 1:18
      2. His power greatly weakened by Jesus' victory over death, Satan
         will be destroyed for all time at the time of our own
         resurrection! - cf. Re 20:10-12

      1. A fear that keeps many in bondage throughout their lifetime
      2. But the faithful Christian need not fear death!- cf. Ro 8:
         37-39; 1Co 3:21-23; Php 2:21
      3. Thus it is to the "seed of Abraham" (faithful Christians, cf.
         Ga 3:29), and not to "angels" that Jesus has given such aid!
         - He 2:16

[Finally, partaking of flesh and blood, suffering and dying on the


      1. In coming to this world, Jesus was "made like His brethren"
      2. He became like man "in all things"
      3. This equipped Him for the role of a merciful and faithful high
         a. "In things pertaining to God"
         b. "To make propitiation for the sins of the people"
         c. We read later that the role of high priest involved
            offering gifts and sacrifices for sin - He 5:1

      1. He too has suffered, and been tempted, though we learn later
         He remained without sin - He 4:15
      2. Such suffering makes Him compassionate - cf. He 5:2
      3. Therefore those who come to Him can expect to receive mercy
         and grace in time of need! - cf. He 4:16


1. What angel has accomplished such things as...
   a. Regain man's lost dominion?
   b. Bring many sons to glory?
   c. Disarm Satan, and deliver us from the fear of death?
   d. Become a sympathetic high priest?

2. All these things (and certainly much more) Jesus has done by virtue
   of becoming man...
   a. Yes, He became "a little lower than the angels"
   b. But in so doing, even His humanity makes Him far superior to

3. With the first two chapters we see the superiority of Jesus...
   a. Over the prophets, as God's perfect spokesman
   b. Over the angels, by virtue of His deity and His humanity
   -- Why should we ever want to turn our back on such a Savior?

We have also seen that Jesus, who was tempted, who has suffered and
tasted death for everyone, is not ashamed to call us "brethren".  Are
we ashamed to call Him "Lord"?  Are we willing to serve Him as Lord?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011