From Jim McGuiggan... Samson and Agonistes

Samson and Agonistes

I don’t know how to express the balance and I certainly haven’t found it in practice. I think the difficulty is real and enduring because the situation is complex. Despite the claims of the gurus and popular writers some things just aren’t easy to unravel! [Don’t you get sick of the endless river of advice books that are a mile wide and an inch deep?]

How much time should I spend mulling over my sins? How much time should I spend mulling over and lamenting my sinfulness? If we take Paul’s advice and forget the things that are behind will we too quickly rise from our mourning and too cheerfully press on? If we spend too much time in the last half of Romans 7 (I’m not pretending to give what I think is its thrust) will we be too introspective? There’s David who inwardly grinds his bones over his sin and irritable Job who wants to know why God would make such a big deal over his sin (presuming, in the first place, that he had done something wrong)—which of these two has the right stress?

In Milton’s Samson & Agonistes the fallen man is approached by his father Manoah who tells Samson that he is trying to negotiate his freedom. Samson will have none of it because he brought all his trouble on himself and deserves what he is getting—his mind is on his terrible wrongs. His father thinks the sinner has his blind eyes too much on himself (the offender) and how bad he is, rather than on the God he has offended. Might Samson now be guilty of the sin of pride by being,
               Over-just and self-displeased
               For self-offence more than for God offended.

Was he being too just in refusing to accept forgiveness? Was he more offended at himself than he was offended for God? There’s something too holy about a man (or woman) that keeps insisting that he can’t forgive himself. I wouldn’t presume to say there aren’t exceptions to the rule, but who do they think they are, God? Should we think that they see their sin more truly than the Holy Father sees it? Does their holiness surpass his so that somehow, while he might be willing to forgive, they think it unforgivable? Do we take it more seriously than God does? And even in relation to one another, when we have sinned against one another, is there not the temptation to choose to live without forgiveness rather that be under obligation to the generous grace of the one we’ve offended?

And—maybe I’m making too much out of all this—if we’re slow to humbly and gladly accept forgiveness are we not saying that we’re content to have the gulf between us? Does that not show that we think little of the relationship we will not have restored by forgiveness? If the one we’ve offended is willing, eager, anxious even, to have the matter dealt with and out of the way so that the relationship can deepen and purify what am I saying when I turn down the offer of free forgiveness?

Ah, yes, that may be the case in other situations, but my sin—it is special, not like the sin of others. It’s the worst possible and resists even the tenderest affection and the most generous heart.

Hmmm...maybe we need to take ourselves less seriously.

               Once in a saintly passion
               I cried in deepest grief.
               O God, my heart is filled with guile
               Of sinners I’m the chief.
               Then stood my guardian angel
               And whispered from behind,
               ‘Vanity, my little man,
               You’re nothing of the kind.’

But if they’re doing wrong who will not forgive themselves, what are they doing that bully people into thinking they’re unforgivable? That make it nearly impossible for self-scalded sinners to believe they should expect forgiveness? That make it excruciatingly difficult for sinners to ask for forgiveness?

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

by Paul A. Phillips, M.S. ... Robert G. Ingersoll: The Great Agnostic


 Robert G. Ingersoll: The Great Agnostic

by  Paul A. Phillips, M.S.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) was one of the most famous orators and agnostics of the latter nineteenth century in America, and his writings and speeches still are quoted today. Who was this self-proclaimed agnostic? What were the fundamentals of his beliefs?
Robert Ingersoll was the son of a circuit preacher. He was reared with his two brothers in a very strict home under stern parental discipline. While many blamed his agnosticism on this strict upbringing, Ingersoll himself denied it. He said that he did not remember when he believed the Bible and the doctrine of eternal punishment, but “I have a dim recollection of hating Jehovah when I was exceedingly small” (Farrell, 1900, 8:17).
Being the son of a minister, young Robert heard hundreds of sermons as he was growing up. At the age of seven, he heard the first sermon that would leave its mark on him. After preaching from the text of the rich man and Lazarus, the preacher concluded with the scene of the rich man in torment crying out to Father Abraham. Ingersoll said he “understood for the first time the dogma of eternal pain,” and concluded, “For me, on that day, the flames of hell were quenched” (Farrell, 4:16-17). The doctrine of eternal punishment was the catalyst that caused him to change his religious views, and it was the idea against which he fought so ardently the rest of his life.
Before Ingersoll achieved national prominence, he was known only in his state of Illinois as a politician, lawyer, and orator. Following two political defeats, and after serving briefly in the Civil War as a volunteer colonel in the Union Army, he left the political arena for several years. It was his dramatic “Plumed Knight” nominating speech for James Blaine as the Republican candidate for President in 1876 that thrust him into the national spotlight as a politician and orator.
Ingersoll did not believe the Bible to be of divine origin. He regarded the Bible in the same way he did all other ancient volumes—that is, he believed “there is some truth, a great deal of error, considerable barbarism and a most plentiful lack of good sense” (Farrell, 8:1). When asked if he kept a Bible at home, Ingersoll declared he did, and produced a leather-bound volume inscribed “The Inspired Book.” Upon opening, it was discovered to be Shakespeare. He then retrieved another volume and presented it as his family’s prayer book. It was a bound copy of works by the poet Robert Burns (Cramer, 1952, p. 28). This was all the religion Ingersoll wanted. Ingersoll had given up on the Old Testament because of its “mistakes, its absurdities, its ignorance and its cruelty,” and he gave up the New because “it vouched for the truth of the Old” (Farrell, 4:36) and introduced the “frightful doctrine of eternal pain” (Farrell, 6:5,15).
To Ingersoll, any religion based on the Bible was fear (Farrell, 4:479-483). Real religion and real worship, he maintained, were manifested by doing useful things, increasing knowledge, and developing the brain. Science was the real redeemer and savior of the world, and the trinity he worshiped was reason, observation, and experience. When asked about the kind of God he espoused, he responded that the idea of an infinite Being outside nature was inconceivable. To Ingersoll, pantheism was the closest explanation for his doctrine (Farrell, 8:56-57). Matter, intelligence, and force were eternal, he said, and he knew of nothing outside nature.
Probably the most famous speech Ingersoll ever made was the oration at the funeral of his brother Ebon. Some have even thought that his deep sorrow revealed a change in his religious views, especially in the phrase, “In the night of death hope sees a star and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing” (Farrell, 12:391). Responding to this, he said that he never willingly destroyed hope, not knowing whether man is immortal or not. Hope was not born of any religion or creed, he contended, but of human affection (Ingersoll, 1926, pp. 34-48). The necessity of death always was regrettable to Ingersoll, but it was not the cause for fear. At worst, he believed it was no more than a pleasant sleep, and at best it meant a future life with family and friends. He was certain there was no hell.
Robert Green Ingersoll, arguably one of the greatest orators this country ever produced—with his golden tongue and proficiency at persuasion—was also one of the greatest adversaries of God and Christianity in his time.


Cramer, C.H. (1952), Royal Bob: The Life of Robert G. Ingersoll (New York: Bobbs-Merrill)
Farrell, Clinton P., ed. (1900), The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll (New York: C.P. Farrell).
Ingersoll, R.G. (1926), Complete Lectures of Col. Robert G. Ingersoll (Chicag, IL: Regan Publishing).
Lewis, Joseph (1983), Ingersoll the Magnificent (Austin, TX: American Atheist Press).

From Mark Copeland... Tumult In Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-10)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                   Tumult In Thessalonica (17:1-10)


1. Following their release from prison in Philippi, Paul and Silas...
   a. Departed from the city and made their way through Amphipolis and
   b. Arriving in Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews
      - Ac 17:1

2. Thessalonica as a city...
   a. Was named in 315 B.C. after the half-sister of Alexander the Great
   b. That served as the capital of Macedonia (northern Greece) after
      146 B.C.
   c. Along with Corinth, one of the two most important commercial
      centers in Greece
   -- Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary

3. Paul immediately found a synagogue of the Jews...
   a. As was his custom, to evangelize Jews - Ac 17:1-3; cf. Ac 9:20;
      13:5,14; 14:1; 19:8
   b. Where he was successful in persuading some, along with a great
      multitude of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women
      - Ac 17:4

[But as seen before (cf. Ac 13:45), Jews that were envious led a 
resistance against the efforts of Paul and Silas, resulting in an uproar
or tumult in the city...]


      1. Stirred up by unbelieving Jews 
      2. Who gathered evil men in the marketplace
      3. Creating a mob that set the city in an uproar
      4. Attacking the house of Jason (where Paul and Silas had been
         staying) - Ac 17:5,7

      1. The mob did not find Paul and Silas at Jason's house
      2. They dragged Jason and some of the brethren to the rulers
         (politarchs) of the city
      3. The charges that the mob made - Ac 17:6-7
         a. Paul and Silas:  "These who have turned the world upside down
            have come here too."
         b. Jason:  "Jason has harbored them"
         c. All of them:  "these are all acting contrary to the decrees
            of Caesar, saying there is another king--Jesus." - cf. Ac 16:21
      4. The crowd and the rulers (politarchs) were troubled by these
         charges - Ac 17:8
      5. Jason and the brethren with him were released - Ac 17:9
         a. Only after taking (money as) security from them
         b. Probably with the stipulation Paul and Silas leave town

[The brethren sent Paul and Silas to Berea by night (Ac 17:10).  One
might think such an inauspicious start bode ill for the gospel and the
church in Thessalonica.  Not so!  Within a year or so Paul wrote his
first epistle to the church at Thessalonica, where we can read about...]


      1. He endeavored to see the Thessalonian brethren with great desire
         - 1Th 2:17
      2. He was hindered by Satan (the security imposed by the 
         government?) - 1Th 2:18
      3. He sent Timothy from Athens to establish and encourage them
         - 1Th 3:1-4
      4. He was concerned that his labor with might have been in vain
         - 1Th 3:5

      1. He brought Paul good news of their faith and love! - 1Th 3:6
      2. Their memory of him was good; they wanted to see him as well! 
         - 1Th 3:6
      3. Their faith comforted Paul in his own affliction and distress!
         - 1Th 3:7
      4. Their steadfastness in the faith gave Paul life and gratitude!
         - 1Th 3:8-10

      1. With work of faith, labor of love, patience of hope - 1Th 1:1-3
      2. With evidence of their election by God - 1Th 1:4
      3. Having received the Word in much affliction, with joy of the
         Holy Spirit - 1Th 1:5-6
      4. Serving as examples to all believers in Macedonia, Achaia - 1Th 1:7
      5. Trumpeting the Word throughout Macedonia, Achaia, everywhere! 
         - 1Th 1:8
      6. Paul could not go somewhere without their reputation preceding
         him! - 1Th 1:9-10


1. As Paul relates in the second chapter of 1st Thessalonians...
   a. His coming to them had not been in vain - 1Th 2:1
   b. Despite his persecution in Philippi, the conflict in Thessalonica
      - 1Th 2:2

2. Why did the "Tumult In Thessalonica" fail to hinder the establishment
   of the church...?
   a. Because of Paul's conduct as a preacher of the Word - 1Th 2:3-12
   b. Because of the Thessalonians' reception of the Word despite
      persecution - 1Th 2:13-16

Wherever faithful gospel preachers proclaim the Word to people willing
to accept the Word of God, not even Satan with all his forces can
prevent the establishment and spread of the church of Christ...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2013

Acts 9:20 (NKJV)

20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.

From Gary... Bible Reading June 21

Bible Reading  

June 21

The World English Bible
June 21
2 Samuel 4-6

2Sa 4:1 When Ishbosheth, Saul's son, heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands became feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled.
2Sa 4:2 Ishbosheth, Saul's son, had two men who were captains of bands: the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin (for Beeroth also is reckoned to Benjamin:
2Sa 4:3 and the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and have lived as foreigners there until this day).
2Sa 4:4 Now Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son who was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the news came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel; and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.
2Sa 4:5 The sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, went, and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, as he took his rest at noon.
2Sa 4:6 They came there into the midst of the house, as though they would have fetched wheat; and they struck him in the body: and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped.
2Sa 4:7 Now when they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, they struck him, and killed him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and went by the way of the Arabah all night.
2Sa 4:8 They brought the head of Ishbosheth to David to Hebron, and said to the king, Behold, the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life; and Yahweh has avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed.
2Sa 4:9 David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, As Yahweh lives, who has redeemed my soul out of all adversity,
2Sa 4:10 when one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good news, I took hold of him, and killed him in Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news.
2Sa 4:11 How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house on his bed, shall I not now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth?
2Sa 4:12 David commanded his young men, and they killed them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up beside the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, and buried it in the grave of Abner in Hebron.
2Sa 5:1 Then came all the tribes of Israel to David to Hebron, and spoke, saying, Behold, we are your bone and your flesh.
2Sa 5:2 In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel: and Yahweh said to you, You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.
2Sa 5:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a covenant with them in Hebron before Yahweh: and they anointed David king over Israel.
2Sa 5:4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.
2Sa 5:5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah.
2Sa 5:6 The king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, Unless you take away the blind and the lame, you shall not come in here; thinking, David can't come in here.
2Sa 5:7 Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion; the same is the city of David.
2Sa 5:8 David said on that day, Whoever strikes the Jebusites, let him get up to the watercourse, and strike the lame and the blind, who are hated of David's soul. Therefore they say, There are the blind and the lame; he can't come into the house.
2Sa 5:9 David lived in the stronghold, and called it the city of David. David built around from Millo and inward.
2Sa 5:10 David grew greater and greater; for Yahweh, the God of Armies, was with him.
2Sa 5:11 Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons; and they built David a house.
2Sa 5:12 David perceived that Yahweh had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel's sake.
2Sa 5:13 David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron; and there were yet sons and daughters born to David.
2Sa 5:14 These are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon,
2Sa 5:15 and Ibhar, and Elishua, and Nepheg, and Japhia,
2Sa 5:16 and Elishama, and Eliada, and Eliphelet.
2Sa 5:17 When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down to the stronghold.
2Sa 5:18 Now the Philistines had come and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
2Sa 5:19 David inquired of Yahweh, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? will you deliver them into my hand? Yahweh said to David, Go up; for I will certainly deliver the Philistines into your hand.
2Sa 5:20 David came to Baal Perazim, and David struck them there; and he said, Yahweh has broken my enemies before me, like the breach of waters. Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.
2Sa 5:21 They left their images there; and David and his men took them away.
2Sa 5:22 The Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
2Sa 5:23 When David inquired of Yahweh, he said, You shall not go up: make a circuit behind them, and come on them over against the mulberry trees.
2Sa 5:24 It shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then you shall stir yourself up; for then Yahweh has gone out before you to strike the army of the Philistines.
2Sa 5:25 David did so, as Yahweh commanded him, and struck the Philistines from Geba until you come to Gezer.
2Sa 6:1 David again gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.
2Sa 6:2 David arose, and went with all the people who were with him, from Baale Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, even the name of Yahweh of Armies who sits above the cherubim.
2Sa 6:3 They set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in the hill: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart.
2Sa 6:4 They brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was in the hill, with the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark.
2Sa 6:5 David and all the house of Israel played before Yahweh with all manner of instruments made of fir wood, and with harps, and with stringed instruments, and with tambourines, and with castanets, and with cymbals.
2Sa 6:6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the cattle stumbled.
2Sa 6:7 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Uzzah; and God struck him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.
2Sa 6:8 David was displeased, because Yahweh had broken forth on Uzzah; and he called that place Perez Uzzah, to this day.
2Sa 6:9 David was afraid of Yahweh that day; and he said, How shall the ark of Yahweh come to me?
2Sa 6:10 So David would not remove the ark of Yahweh to him into the city of David; but David carried it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.
2Sa 6:11 The ark of Yahweh remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite three months: and Yahweh blessed Obed-Edom, and all his house.
2Sa 6:12 It was told king David, saying, Yahweh has blessed the house of Obed-Edom, and all that pertains to him, because of the ark of God. David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom into the city of David with joy.
2Sa 6:13 It was so, that, when those who bore the ark of Yahweh had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened calf.
2Sa 6:14 David danced before Yahweh with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
2Sa 6:15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of Yahweh with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.
2Sa 6:16 It was so, as the ark of Yahweh came into the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out at the window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before Yahweh; and she despised him in her heart.
2Sa 6:17 They brought in the ark of Yahweh, and set it in its place, in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before Yahweh.
2Sa 6:18 When David had made an end of offering the burnt offering and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of Yahweh of Armies.
2Sa 6:19 He dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, both to men and women, to everyone a cake of bread, and a portion of flesh, and a cake of raisins. So all the people departed everyone to his house.
2Sa 6:20 Then David returned to bless his household. Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel today, who uncovered himself today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!
2Sa 6:21 David said to Michal, It was before Yahweh, who chose me above your father, and above all his house, to appoint me prince over the people of Yahweh, over Israel: therefore will I play before Yahweh.
2Sa 6:22 I will be yet more vile than this, and will be base in my own sight: but of the handmaids of whom you have spoken, they shall honor me.
2Sa 6:23 Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

Jun. 21, 22
John 19

Joh 19:1 So Pilate then took Jesus, and flogged him.
Joh 19:2 The soldiers twisted thorns into a crown, and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple garment.
Joh 19:3 They kept saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and they kept slapping him.
Joh 19:4 Then Pilate went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I bring him out to you, that you may know that I find no basis for a charge against him."
Joh 19:5 Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. Pilate said to them, "Behold, the man!"
Joh 19:6 When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw him, they shouted, saying, "Crucify! Crucify!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves, and crucify him, for I find no basis for a charge against him."
Joh 19:7 The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God."
Joh 19:8 When therefore Pilate heard this saying, he was more afraid.
Joh 19:9 He entered into the Praetorium again, and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave him no answer.
Joh 19:10 Pilate therefore said to him, "Aren't you speaking to me? Don't you know that I have power to release you, and have power to crucify you?"
Joh 19:11 Jesus answered, "You would have no power at all against me, unless it were given to you from above. Therefore he who delivered me to you has greater sin."
Joh 19:12 At this, Pilate was seeking to release him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you release this man, you aren't Caesar's friend! Everyone who makes himself a king speaks against Caesar!"
Joh 19:13 When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called "The Pavement," but in Hebrew, "Gabbatha."
Joh 19:14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, at about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!"
Joh 19:15 They cried out, "Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!"
Joh 19:16 So then he delivered him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led him away.
Joh 19:17 He went out, bearing his cross, to the place called "The Place of a Skull," which is called in Hebrew, "Golgotha,"
Joh 19:18 where they crucified him, and with him two others, on either side one, and Jesus in the middle.
Joh 19:19 Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross. There was written, "JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS."
Joh 19:20 Therefore many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.
Joh 19:21 The chief priests of the Jews therefore said to Pilate, "Don't write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'he said, I am King of the Jews.' "
Joh 19:22 Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
Joh 19:23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
Joh 19:24 Then they said to one another, "Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to decide whose it will be," that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which says, "They parted my garments among them. For my cloak they cast lots." Therefore the soldiers did these things.
Joh 19:25 But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
Joh 19:26 Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son!"
Joh 19:27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home.
Joh 19:28 After this, Jesus, seeing that all things were now finished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I am thirsty."
Joh 19:29 Now a vessel full of vinegar was set there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop, and held it at his mouth.
Joh 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished." He bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.
Joh 19:31 Therefore the Jews, because it was the Preparation Day, so that the bodies wouldn't remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a special one), asked of Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
Joh 19:32 Therefore the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who was crucified with him;
Joh 19:33 but when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was already dead, they didn't break his legs.
Joh 19:34 However one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
Joh 19:35 He who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, that you may believe.
Joh 19:36 For these things happened, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, "A bone of him will not be broken."
Joh 19:37 Again another Scripture says, "They will look on him whom they pierced."
Joh 19:38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away Jesus' body. Pilate gave him permission. He came therefore and took away his body.
Joh 19:39 Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred Roman pounds.
Joh 19:40 So they took Jesus' body, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.
Joh 19:41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb in which no man had ever yet been laid.
Joh 19:42 Then because of the Jews' Preparation Day (for the tomb was near at hand) they laid Jesus there.

From Gary... Do you get it?


Every single (sentient) adult person I have met has problems; there are no exceptions!!! Some people deny them, others play the "blame game" and some even manage to laugh at them.  I admit, sometimes I don't handle the difficulties in life well, but as time goes on, I manage to be able to laugh at life more and more.  And the most scary of all problems is death.  How do we handle that?  In Corinth, some were falsely teaching that the resurrection from the dead had already taken place; I can only imagine the stir that might cause.  Paul handles this well in chapter 15 (I know it is long and involved, but it really is worth reading)...

1 Corinthians, Chapter 15 (NASB)
 1Co 15:1  Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,
1Co 15:2  by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
1Co 15:3  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
1Co 15:4  and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
1Co 15:5  and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
1Co 15:6  After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
1Co 15:7  then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;
1Co 15:8  and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
1Co 15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1Co 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
1Co 15:11  Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
1Co 15:12  Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
1Co 15:13  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;
1Co 15:14  and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.
1Co 15:15  Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.
1Co 15:16  For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;
1Co 15:17  and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
1Co 15:18  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
1Co 15:19  If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
1Co 15:20  But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
1Co 15:21  For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
1Co 15:23  But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,
1Co 15:24  then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
1Co 15:25  For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
1Co 15:26  The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
1Co 15:27  For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.
1Co 15:28  When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
1Co 15:29  Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?
1Co 15:30  Why are we also in danger every hour?
1Co 15:31  I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
1Co 15:32  If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE.
1Co 15:33  Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals."
1Co 15:34  Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
1Co 15:35  But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?"
1Co 15:36  You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies;
1Co 15:37  and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.
1Co 15:38  But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.
1Co 15:39  All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.
1Co 15:40  There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.
1Co 15:41  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
1Co 15:42  So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;
1Co 15:43  it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
1Co 15:44  it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
1Co 15:45  So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
1Co 15:46  However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.
1Co 15:47  The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.
1Co 15:48  As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
1Co 15:49  Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50  Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
1Co 15:51  Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,
1Co 15:52  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
1Co 15:53  For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1Co 15:54  But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.

1Co 15:56  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;
1Co 15:57  but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

For the Christian, death is not something to be feared.  It means a change from morality to immortality- and what is to be dreaded in a worldly sense is to be embraced in a spiritual victory!!!  Dark or Gallows humor has its place, but seriously- so do the results of death (Heaven or Hell).  Christian; rejoice!!! Not a Christian- well, it is time to stop being humorous and start being serious- do something about your condition BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!!!!!!


From Jim McGuiggan... Pip, Joe & Confessing Sin

Pip, Joe & Confessing Sin

In Great Expectations, Pip, under awful threat from the convict Abel Magwitch, had stolen his sister's beer, pork pie and her husband Joe's file. Later the convict claimed that he had personally stolen the beer, pie and file and that got Pip off the hook. But the child's conscience troubled him, though he confessed he felt very little trouble about hiding the truth from his sister (who was harsh with the boy). It was Joe, trusting, kind Joe, from whom he was keeping the truth and that greatly hurt Pip and he wished he could tell him. He was afraid for several reasons. It wasn't simply a question of possible punishment but as he said himself: "I did not [tell Joe], and for the reason that I mistrusted that if I did, he would think me worse than I was. The fear of losing Joe's confidence and of thenceforth sitting in the chimney-corner at night staring drearily at my for ever lost companion and friend, tied my tongue."

What tied his tongue was not that he made light of what he did because he did not make light of it; it was fear of lost love and fear of isolation and loneliness.

There can be no doubt whatever that many of us fear to confess our wrongs for fear of punishment or for loss of reputation or fear of something more plainly self-serving; so we hide the truth and on occasion are capable of lying to cover the truth. I suppose (though I'm not sure of it) that that is the most popular reason to hide our wrongs—fear of loss or punishment. But like much else in life, there are complexities that should be recognized. (I notice that when I'm not in the mood or if I'm irritated or have suffered loss in the process that I'm not especially interested in being reminded of life's complexities.)

Take the case of our friend Pip. It's clear that he feared loss—he admits to it. But it isn't the kind of "fear" that often attacks us. His fear is real enough but it's a fear that exists because a genuine love exists for Joe. His fear wasn't that of a beating or the loss of standing with a stranger or of being taken away by the police—his fear was the loss of a friend. It wasn't a fear that Joe would spread his shame across half of England for if anyone would have kept the news to himself it would have been Joe who dearly loved Pip and knew that the child just as dearly loved him. No, Joe would protect him to the death. He weighed the telling of the story and the easing of his conscience against the possible loss of the one that was dearest in life to him.
(And think what it would have cost Joe if he had lost Pip.)

Whatever we are to make of such motivation and whatever we are to say about withholding truth it would serve us (and others) well to avoid oversimplification. We tend to that. Those that are good with a hammer, the proverb says, think every problem is a nail. I'm content to believe that confession under some circumstances is not only desirable but essential but life has a way of sometimes showing that simple solutions simply don't work.

It may well be that we that have sinned greatly do hide our wrongs for reasons that are less than honourable; but if there are grounds for "reasonable doubt" maybe we ought to grant a more charitable conclusion. I suppose the least we can do is ask ourselves, "What other possible reasons are there that might have led him/her to hide his/her wrong?"

"Yes, yes, but in the end it doesn't matter greatly. Those that sin should be aware that there are consequences to sin and they often fall on the innocent." This is indeed true. And maybe with that we should dismiss the whole question and insist that all who sin should simply blab out their confession no matter the consequences.


But then on the other hand...

by Eric Lyons, M.Min. ... Science, Common Sense, and Genesis 1:1


Science, Common Sense, and Genesis 1:1

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The most fundamental question that a person can (and should) ask is: “Where did the Universe and everything in it (including myself) come from?” Before a person seeks answers to questions such as, “Why am I here?” or “Where am I going?” he first needs to know from whence he came? It is fitting that the only God-inspired book in the world—the Bible—answers this very question in its opening statement: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, emp. added). In the subsequent verses, man is informed that not only did God create the heavens and the earth, but He made everything in the heavens and on the Earth (Genesis 1:2-31; cf. Exodus 20:11). According to Scripture, everything that exists in the physical Universe ultimately came from an eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, infinite Creator (Genesis 17:1; 18:14; Psalm 139; 90:2).

The theory that atheistic evolutionists have advanced for several decades now, which supposedly best explains our existence from a purely naturalistic perspective, is known as the Big Bang. It has circulated via science textbooks all over the world. One of the leading publishers of science curricula for many years has been Prentice Hall. In their 1992 General Science textbook, titled A Voyage of Discovery, they included the following section on “The Birth and Death of the Universe”:
How was the universe born and how will it end? Most astronomers believe that about 18 to 20 billion years ago all the matter in the universe was concentrated into one very dense, very hot region that may have been much smaller than a period on this page. For some unknown reason, this region exploded. This explosion is called the big bang. One result of the big bang was the formation of galaxies, all racing away from one another (Hurd, et al., p. 61, emp. in orig.).
Since 1992 the “birth of the Universe” has been shaved substantially (from 18 to 20 billion years ago to 12 to 15 billion years ago—see Biggs, et al., 2003, p. 159), but the theory is more or less the same. Ask an atheist how the Universe came to be and you likely will hear that “it all started with a big bang.”

So which is it? Did everything in the physical Universe come into existence via the supernatural or the natural? Was it caused by a purely naturalistic Big Bang or an infinite Mighty God? How did Earth get here? How did the other seven planets in our Solar System come into being? Whence came the Milky Way and the billions of other galaxies in the Universe? How did the multiplied quadrillions of stars (some of which are hundreds of times bigger than the Sun) come into existence? Although atheistic, evolutionary scientists are fond of ridiculing Genesis 1:1 as being unreasonable and unscientific, the fact is, Scripture’s explanation for ultimate origins is both sensible and scientific.

First, a study of the material Universe reveals that all physical effects must have adequate causes that precede the effects (a truism known as the Law of Cause and Effect). One drop of rain does not flood an entire city, a paper airplane cannot carry an astronaut to the Moon, nor can a fire extinguisher cool the Sun. But what about the effect of the Universe itself? What was its cause? Was the gargantuan Universe caused by an explosion of a minute ball of matter or by an omnipotent Creator? Just as easily as one can know that a paper airplane is unable to transport an astronaut to the Moon, he can know that naturalistic explanations (e.g., Big Bang theory) are not adequate causes for the Universe. But God is.

Second, from what we observe in nature, matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed. Scientists refer to this fact as the First Law of Thermodynamics. Evolutionists allege that the Universe began with the explosion of a ball of matter several billion years ago, yet they never have provided a reasonable explanation for the cause of the “original” ball of matter. An attempt was made a few years ago in the April 28, 2007 issue of New Scientist magazine titled “The Beginning: What Triggered the Big Bang?” Notice the last line of the featured article: “[T]he quest to understand the origin of the universe seems destined to continue until we can answer a deeper question: why is there anything at all instead of nothing?” (194[2601]:33, emp. added). The fact is, a logical, naturalistic explanation for the origin of the “original” ball of matter that supposedly led to the Universe does not exist. It cannot exist so long as the First Law of Thermodynamics is true (i.e., in nature matter/energy cannot create itself).

Third, since the physical Universe exists, and yet it could not have created itself, then the Universe is either eternal or something/someone outside of the Universe must have created it. Relatively few scientists propose that the Universe is eternal. In fact, there would be no point in attempting to explain the “beginning” of the Universe if atheists believed it always existed. What’s more, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that matter and energy become less usable over time, has led most scientists to conclude that the Universe has not always existed (else we would be out of usable energy; see Miller, 2007). But, if matter is not eternal, and it cannot create itself, then the only logical conclusion is that something/someone outside of nature (i.e., supernatural) caused the Universe and everything in it. Christians call this Someone, “the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 40:28).

Finally, not only do the scientific Laws of Thermodynamics and the Law of Cause and Effect support the truth of Genesis 1:1, so also does the fact that design demands a designer. Just as sure as a painting demands a painter and a law a law-giver, the orderly, law-abiding, picturesque heavens and Earth demand, not a random, mindless, unexplained explosion (when have explosions ever caused order and design?), but an intelligent Designer. As the psalmist wrote: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (19:1). What’s more, “the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Indeed, both the heavens and the Earth testify day after day and night after night to anyone and everyone who will listen (Psalm 19:2-4) that “He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).

Naturalistic explanations for the Universe and its laws leave an explanatory void that only a supernatural Being (i.e., God) can fill. If man will only open his eyes and ears, he will discover what both Heaven and Earth reveal: that “the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Rather, “God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, emp. added).


Biggs, Alton, et al. (2003), Science (New York: McGraw-Hill).

Hurd, Dean, George Mathias, and Susan Johnson, eds. (1992), General Science: A Voyage of Discovery (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall).

Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,” Reason & Revelation, 27[4]:25-31, April, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.

“The Universe Before Ours” (2007), New Scientist, 194[2601]:28-33, April 28.

From Mark Copeland... The Conversion Of The Jailer (Acts 16:25-40)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

               The Conversion Of The Jailer (16:25-40)


1. In Ac 16:25-40, we have another example of conversion...
   a. Commonly called "The Conversion Of The Jailer"
   b. Which included the conversion of his household

2. In Ac 16:30 we find a familiar passage...
   a. In which Paul is confronted by the Philippian jailer
   b. Who asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

3. This is a very important question...
   a. Salvation from sin is our greatest need - cf. Ro 6:23
   b. The answer must be according to the Word of God

4. The answer given is often limited to what is mentioned in Ac 16:31...
   a. Without consideration of all that is said in the context
   b. Without noting what is taught elsewhere in the Scriptures

[If one were to ask today, "What Must I Do To Be Saved?", how should we
reply?  Shall we limit our response to the words of Ac 16:31?  Well,
consider first of all...]


      1. Yet Jesus wanted repentance to be preached in His name - Lk 24:46-47
      2. And so the apostles often preached the need to repent of sins
         a. As Peter did in his first two sermons - Ac 2:37-38; 3:19
         b. As did Paul in his sermon in Athens - Ac 17:30-31
      -- Shall we conclude that repentance is not necessary because it is
         not mentioned in the conversion of the Philippian jailer?

      1. Yet Jesus taught of the necessity of confessing Him before
         others - Mt 10:32-33
      2. And so the apostles often mentioned the importance of confessing
         a. Confessing with the mouth the Lord Jesus leads to salvation 
            - Ro 10:9-10
         b. Confessing that Jesus is the Son of God leads to abiding in
            God - 1Jn 4:15
      -- Shall we conclude that confession is not necessary because it is
         not mentioned in the conversion of the Philippian jailor?

[We would be mishandling the Scriptures to suggest because repentance
and confession are not mentioned in Ac 16:31 that they are not necessary
to salvation.  But now let's consider...]


      1. The jailer was told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ - Ac 16:31
      2. This is consistent with what Jesus Himself taught
         a. Believing in the Son is key to having eternal life - Jn 3:36
         b. Unless we believe in Him, we will die in our sins - Jn 8:24
      3. And so the apostles often proclaimed the importance of faith in
         a. That one might have life in His name - Jn 20:30-31
         b. That believing with the heart leads to righteousness - Ro 10:9-10
      -- Faith in Christ is imperative to salvation, because of what the
         Bible says about it

      1. We notice that the jailor and his family were baptized 
         immediately - Ac 16:33
      2. Similar to what we read elsewhere in other cases of conversion
         a. The 3000 baptized on the day of Pentecost - Ac 2:41
         b. The Ethiopian eunuch was baptized as soon as he saw water
            - Ac 8:35-38
         c. Paul encouraged not to delay - Ac 22:16
      3. Why were they baptized immediately, even when it was after
         midnight? - cf. Ac 16:25,33
         a. Peter said it was for the remission of sins - Ac 2:38
         b. Paul was told it was to wash away sins - Ac 22:16
         c. Paul later wrote that it was a cutting away of the body of
            sins - Col 2:11-13
         d. Peter later wrote that it saves us through the resurrection
            of Christ - 1Pe 3:21
      -- When one sees what is revealed about baptism in the New 
         Testament, we can understand why it was received as soon as 
         possible by those who heard the gospel

         1. Some appeal to the mention of "household" to infer infants 
            were included in the baptism
      2. Yet the text states that:
         a. Paul "spoke the word of the Lord...to all who were in his
            house", implying that all were able to listen and understand
            what was said - Ac 16:32
         b. The jailer rejoiced, "having believed in God with all his
            household"; i.e., everyone believed, implying the ability of
            all to believe what they heard - Ac 16:34
      3. There is nothing here to preclude what we have already concluded
         as necessary requirements to be a subject qualified for baptism:
         a. Repentance - Ac 2:38
         b. Whole-hearted faith - Ac 8:37
      -- Infants are incapable of faith and repentance, and nothing in 
         the text implies that infants were in the household of the 


1. Why does Paul only mention faith in answer to the question in Ac 16:31...?
   a. Because the answer takes into consideration one's spiritual state
      or condition
   b. For the jailor, he first needed to be told to believe in Jesus
   c. For the 3000 on Pentecost, they already believed by the time they
      asked their question, so faith is not even mentioned (but implied
      nonetheless) - cf. Ac 2:36-37

2. What answer should we give to those who ask today, "What must I do to
   be saved?"...
   a. Our answer depends upon what the spiritual state or condition the
      person is in
   b. If they have yet to believe in Jesus, then the need to believe in
      Him - Ac 16:30
   c. If they believe in Jesus, then the need to repent, confess, and be
      baptized for the remission of their sins - Ac 2:38; 22:16; Ro 10:9-10; Ga 3:26-27

3. Our answer should entail all found in the Word of the Lord...
   a. Paul proceeded to speak the word of the Lord to the jailor and his
      family - Ac 16:32
   b. Such evidently included the need to be baptized immediately - Ac 16:33

A proper answer to "What must I do to be saved?" will take into 
consideration both the spiritual state of the inquirer and all that
that the Word of God reveals on the subject.  

Have you responded to what the Bible teaches regarding salvation in

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2013