10/31/14

From Jim McGuiggan.... A walnut in God's hand


A walnut in God's hand

When we say God is "glorious" I'm sure we characteristically think of his majesty, his supremacy, his omnipotence and any or all of the things that express his difference from and superiority over his creation. That makes sense—why wouldn't it? It makes sense especially since we can find that sort of speech throughout the Bible even where the term "glorious" is not used.

But God's glory is not to be confined to certain attributes or characteristics that we normally speak of when we're thinking of power. The Christian must insist on what the complete biblical witness tells us—there is no limit to God's power but the glory of God is to be seen also in how he exercises that power and the purposes for which he exercises it. We're not especially impressed with, and we certainly don't admire, a human who has massive powers if he/she doesn't use them for the good of others. We may well be astonished at the physical power of a weightlifter but if we knew him well as a person we might judge him to be a poor human regardless of his great strength. To concede that God has limitless power only assures us and leads to praise and admire him because we know from the "big picture" that his power serves his infinite and holy generosity. We're unafraid of a God with limitless power when we know what he thinks of power (Philippians 2:5) and when he comes to us in and as Jesus Christ exercising that power for human salvation.

The glory of God's power brings condemnation on unbridled wickedness (Genesis 6—7, for example) but that same glorious power brings rescue to the oppressed and justice to the defenceless. We see this with special clarity in the book of Ezekiel when God repeatedly brings judgment and rescue and says he is doing it, "for my name's sake" and so that people might know him. A patient reading of the whole of Ezekiel 20 (and elsewhere) makes this very clear. Even the Genesis flood is in service of God's redeeming purpose.

John 12:23-33 thrillingly makes it clear that God glorifies himself in the cross of our Lord Jesus and in the meaning and consequences of that cross. The glory of God is the glory of God! But, astonishingly, the glory of God is that he is a God of holy love and generosity, a God who is not self-absorbed, so we find him eternally purposing to share his joy-filled life with the human family even though it costs him dearly to do it!

So, insist on proclaiming that God created us to glorify himself but don't say or imply, choke before you say or imply, that God's self-glorification is a form of vanity and self-centredness or the divine need to flex his divine muscles. A man or woman who builds an empire sheerly for his/her own aggrandisement is ugly. God needs none of that! In the mystic's vision God stands with a tiny, nut-sized thing in his hand and when she asked him what it was God said it was all created things. God isn't impressed (as we should be) with his limitless power but he rejoices, exults and is filled with delight in blessing and saving his human family.

This is the glory of God!


On Whom did the Tongues of Fire Rest? by Kyle Butt, M.A.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1256

On Whom did the Tongues of Fire Rest?

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

Just before Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection, He commanded His apostles “not to depart from Jerusalem” until they had received the promised gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-8). During their wait, they assembled with many of the women and other disciples who had followed the Lord during His earthly ministry. Peter (who emerged as the leader of this early gathering), when assembled with over 120 of the disciples, proposed that a new apostle be picked to take the place of Judas (Acts 1:15-26). The new apostle, chosen by casting lots, was named Matthias, “and was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:26). All these events are recorded in Acts 1. At the beginning of Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came upon certain people, and appeared as divided tongues of fire on their heads. The question arises: on whom did the Holy Spirit come?
Many have answered that the Holy Spirit came upon all the disciples that were gathered together in Acts 1:15 (about 120). According to this idea, the Holy Spirit came not only upon the apostles on the Day of Pentecost, but also empowered others with the very same powers given to the apostles. Those who reach such a conclusion, do so because they assume that, in Acts 2:1, the statement, “they were all with one accord in one place,” refers to the 120 disciples. Upon further investigation, however, this conclusion can be seen to be inaccurate. In truth, only the apostles received the miraculous “baptism of the Holy Spirit” on the Day of Pentecost.
It is important to a proper understanding of the Bible to remember that the chapter and verse divisions in our present-day Bibles were not in the original texts, but were added many hundreds of years after the original autographs of the Bible were written. The chapter division between Acts 1:26 and Acts 2 often causes a misunderstanding. Some assume that the events in Acts 2:1-4 must go all the way back to Acts 1:15. If we remove the chapter division, however, this problem is easily resolved. Acts 1:26 and 2:1, without the division, read as follows: “And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles. Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”
When these verses are combined, as they are in the original text, it is easy to see that the ones who were “with one accord in one place” were the apostles. The pronoun “they” in Acts 2:1 does not refer to the 120 disciples, but to the immediate antecedent—the apostles. This fact is illustrated further by the fact that, in Acts 2:14, the Bible records that Peter was “standing up with the eleven,” and in 2:37 the text mentions that the audience spoke to “Peter and the rest of the apostles.” Further, in Acts 1:2,4, it was the apostles whom Jesus commanded to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit had come upon them.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit that was accomplished on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 was not a phenomenon that came upon hundreds of disciples, but only upon the apostles (see Miller, 2003). They were the only ones who had the tongues of fire on their heads. Many modern-day religious people who claim to work miracles believe that they have been given the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”—like the 120 disciples. An accurate understanding of the Bible, however, shows that the promise of Holy Spirit baptism was given only to the apostles. And, while it is true that the Holy Spirit dwells in every true Christian (1 John 3:24), it is not true that such is accompanied by miraculous powers. Today, the evidence of the Spirit in Christians is not the ability to speak in tongues or work miracles, but the presence in their lives of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 2:22-23).

REFERENCES

Miller, Dave (2003), “Modern-day Miracles, Tongue-speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2572.

From Mark Copeland.... The Itinerant Ministry Of Jesus (4:23-25)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

               The Itinerant Ministry Of Jesus (4:23-25)

INTRODUCTION

1. Jesus started His public ministry by moving to Capernaum - Mt 4:
   12-17
   a. A city on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee
   b. A fulfillment of the prophecy in Isa 9:1-2
   c. From which He began to preach His message of the kingdom

2. But Jesus' work was not what you might call a "located ministry"...
   a. He did not stay in one place
   b. Where people might easily come to see and hear Him

3. His ministry was an "itinerant ministry"...
   a. He traveled from place to place
   b. If people wanted to hear Him more than once, they had to follow
      Him

[In our text, Mt 4:23-25, we find a summary of "The Itinerant Ministry
Of Jesus."  In this study, let's begin by taking a look at...]

I. THE NATURE OF JESUS' ITINERANT MINISTRY

   A. HE DID NOT STAY IN ONE PLACE LONG...
      1. He "went about all Galilee" - Mt 4:23
      2. He went about "teaching in their synagogues" - Mt 4:23
      3. Luke records an example: in the synagogue at Nazareth - Lk 4:
         14-30
      4. But as mentioned by both Mark and Luke, Jesus felt compelled
         to keep moving - Mk 1:35-39; Lk 4:42-44

   B. HE PROCLAIMED THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM...
      1. His preaching involved "good news" about the kingdom - Mt 4:
         23; cf. Mk 1:14
      2. As recorded by Mark, this "good news" included the following:
         a. "The time is fulfilled" - the time foretold by the
             prophets, cf. Dan 2:44
         b. "The kingdom of God is at hand" - the kingdom foretold by
            the prophets, cf. Dan 2:44; Lk 1:32-33

   C. HE HEALED ALL KINDS OF SICKNESS AND DISEASE...
      1. He healed people afflicted with various diseases and torments
         - Mt 4:23-24
      2. Including the demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics 
         - Mt 4:24
      3. Both Mark and Luke provide more detail at this point in their
         gospels
         a. Casting out an unclean spirit - Mk 1:21-28; Lk 4:31-37
         b. Healing Peter's mother-in-law - Mk 1:29-30; Lk 4:38-39
         c. Healing many after a Sabbath sunset - Mk 1:32-34; Lk 4:
            40-41
         -- Matthew records these events after The Sermon On The Mount
            in his gospel

   D. HIS FAME SPREAD...
      1. Throughout all Syria, the region to the north of Galilee 
         - Mt 4:24
      2. Evidently throughout Decapolis, Judea, and beyond the Jordan,
         regions to the south and east - Mt 4:25
      3. The healing of a leper forced him to stay in deserted places 
         - Mk 1:45

   E. GREAT MULTITUDES FOLLOWED HIM...
      1. From Galilee and regions all around - Mt 4:25
      2. Mark says they came to Him from every direction - Mk 1:45
      3. They came to hear Him, and to be healed by Him - Lk 5:15

II. OBSERVATIONS REGARDING JESUS' ITINERANT MINISTRY

   A. EVERYONE NEEDS TO HEAR THE GOSPEL...
      1. Jesus' concern was not just for those in his town of Capernaum
         a. Compelled to preach the gospel in other cities, He went
            about "all Galilee"
         b. He later sent His disciples to preach throughout all the
            cities of Israel
         c. He finally commissioned to them to preach to every person,
            making disciples "of all the nations" - Mk 16:16; Mt 28:19
      2. It has been said, "No one has the right to hear the gospel
         twice, before everyone has heard it once"
         a. This statement reflects a sentiment worth remembering
         b. Once the gospel has been shared, we are not under 
            obligation to repeat it again and again to one not 
            interested
         c. If those who hear are not interested, they have judged 
            themselves unworthy of eternal life - e.g., Ac 13:44-47
         d. As long as there are souls who have not heard, we do not
            always have the luxury of "spoon-feeding" the spiritually
            indifferent in an attempt to reach them!
      3. Similarly, churches may not always have the luxury to hold on
         to their evangelists
         a. Some are like the people who tried to keep Jesus from
            leaving them - Lk 4:42
         b. But having received the word, they need to appreciate the
            need for others to hear - Lk 4:43
         c. Especially today, when we have Bibles to teach us, we can
            more liberal with letting evangelists do their work of 
            evangelizing! - cf. Ro 10:14-15

   B. THE PURPOSE OF THE HEALING MIRACLES...
      1. Certainly they were an expression of Jesus' compassion 
         - Mt 14:14; 20:29-34
      2. Such miracles were also confirmation of prophecy - Mt 8:16-17
         a. They were recorded that we might believe - Jn 20:30-31
         b. They were intended to confirm who Jesus was - cf. Jn 5:36
      3. In a similar way, the miracles done by His followers was for
         the purpose of confirming their message as being from God 
         - cf. Mk 16:19-20; He 2:3-4
         a. Their purpose was not to make Christians "healthy and 
            wealthy"
         b. Their purpose was not for personal benefit; e.g., Paul did
            not heal Timothy of his stomach ailments and frequent 
            infirmities, prescribing medicinal treatment instead
            - 1Ti 5:23
      -- The primary purpose of such miracles, as always, was to 
         confirm God's messengers; in this case, confirming Jesus to be
         the Son of God! - cf. Ac 2:22

   C. AUTHENTIC MIRACLES CAN'T BE KEPT SECRET...
      1. Jesus' reputation quickly spread throughout the region
      2. Even His enemies had to admit His miracles were real - Jn 11:
         47
      3. Such was true with the miracles performed by the apostles 
         - Ac 4:14-16
      4. If one could truly heal today as Jesus and His apostles did...
         a. It would be on every TV network
         b. None would deny it, especially Christians who question the
            validity of what is often claimed to be miraculous today!
      -- The more you study the miracles of the Bible, the easier it is
         see that those who claim to do miracles today are either 
         sincerely mistaken or deliberate deceivers!

   D. FOLLOWING JESUS REQUIRES EFFORT ON OUR PART...
      1. The multitudes who wanted to hear and see Jesus had to follow
         Him where He went
         a. It required leaving their homes, probably at great expense
         b. It was probably very inconvenient, especially when sick and
            disabled!
      2. Following Jesus today requires some effort also!
         a. Time and energy must be expended to learn and grow in the
            teachings of Christ
         b. It may not always be convenient to utilize opportunities to
            learn more about Jesus
      -- The next time you stay home because of some physical
         inconvenience, think of those souls who followed Jesus on His
         itinerant travels!

CONCLUSION

1. Many Christians have often thought how wonderful it must have been
   to see Jesus on earth during His public ministry...
   a. To see the miracles, to witness the healings
   b. To hear His sermons proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom
   b. To sit at His feet, listening to His gracious words of 
      instruction

2. In reality, it may not have been as easy as one might think...
   a. You would have had to leave home for an extended period of time
   b. Contending with the multitudes, it might have difficult to even
      get close to Jesus
   -- I wonder if many Christians today would have made the effort!

3. As we think of "The Itinerant Ministry Of Jesus", I hope we will
   remember...
   a. The importance of spreading the gospel of the kingdom today
   b. The compassion our Lord had for the sick and oppressed
   c. The effort we should be willing to make to follow the Lord

4. Perhaps most importantly, to realize...
   a. That once you have heard the gospel of the kingdom, no one is
      obligated to repeat it to you again and again
   b. That having heard it once, you may never have the opportunity to
      hear it again!

It is _your_ responsibility to heed the call to repent and accept the
good news concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.  Have you?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Discipling Ministry Of Jesus (Matthew 4:18-22)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

               The Discipling Ministry Of Jesus (4:18-22)

INTRODUCTION

1. We saw where the public ministry of Jesus involved "preaching"...
   a. Proclaiming the need to repent, for the kingdom of heaven was at
      hand - Mt 4:17
   b. Taking this message to synagogues throughout the land - Mt 4:23

2. His ministry was not limited to preaching; it also involved
   "discipling"...
   a. In which He called select individuals to follow Him
   b. Creating His own group of "disciples"
      1) Just as John had his disciples - Mt 9:14
      2) Even the Pharisees had their disciples - Mt 22:15-16

3. We read of Jesus calling His first disciples in our text...
   a. The call of Peter and Andrew - Mt 4:18-20
   b. The call of James and John - Mt 4:21-22

4. Throughout His public ministry...
   a. Jesus would call others to become His disciples - cf. Mt 9:9
   b. Jesus would spend much time with His disciples
   c. Jesus would end His time on earth with a command for them to make
      more disciples - Mt 28:19-20

[Such an important subject to our Lord naturally raises some questions.
For example...]

I. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BECOME JESUS' DISCIPLE?

   A. THE WORD "DISCIPLE"...
      1. The word "disciple" literally means a learner
      2. According to Vine's Expository Dictionary Of New Testament
         Words, it denotes "one who follows another's teaching"
      3. But a disciple was not only a learner, he was also an adherent
      4. For this reason disciples were spoken of as imitators of their
         teachers
      -- When Jesus told Peter, Andrew, James, and John to "Follow Me"
         (Mt 4:19), it meant more than to just physically follow Him!
 
   B. THE GOAL IN BECOMING HIS DISCIPLE...
      1. Stated by Jesus on this occasion:  "I will make you fishers of
         men"
         a. Just as they had worked in going after fish, now they would
            be going after men!
         b. As indicated in the Great Commission, they would be making
            more disciples - Mt 28:19
      2. Stated by Jesus on another occasion:  to be like their teacher
         a. Those perfectly trained will be like their teacher - Lk 6:
            40
         b. Just as Christ sought to save men and make them disciples,
            so His disciples were to seek and save the lost

[A disciple of Jesus, then, is one who desires to imitate Jesus.  Since
He was concerned for the lost, His disciples would be also!  Another
question...]

II. HOW DOES ONE BECOME JESUS' DISCIPLE?

   A. JESUS SAID "FOLLOW ME"...
      1. This command He gave to His future disciples - Mt 4:19; 9:9
         a. They would spend three years following Jesus around 
            Palestine
         b. During that time they would listen to what He said, observe
            what He did
         c. Eventually they would be told to carry on His work - Mt 28:
            19-20
         d. Their success was related to this time spent with Jesus 
            - cf. Ac 4:13
      2. To be a disciple of Jesus, then, requires that one:
         a. Follow Him
         b. Spend time with Him
         c. Carry on His work
      -- But how can we do this when He is no longer with us on earth?
   
   B. JESUS SAID "ABIDE IN MY WORD"...
      1. This He said to those who believed in Him - Jn 8:31
         a. By learning and observing what He taught, they would truly
            be His disciples
         b. As Jesus would say later, future disciples would be made as
            they were taught "to observe all things that I have
            commanded you" - Mt 28:20
         c. It would begin with baptism, for He had just commanded His
            disciples to make disciples by baptizing them - Mt 28:19;
            cf. Mk 16:16; Ac 2:38
      2. To be a disciple of Jesus, then, requires that one:
         a. Be baptized (having repented and confessed one's faith in
            Jesus)
         b. Follow Jesus by doing what He taught His first disciples
            (the apostles)
      -- By continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine (i.e., 
         their gospels and epistles), we can be Jesus' disciples today!
         - cf. Ac 2:41-42

[To follow Jesus by abiding in His word implies some degree of effort
and cost.  This leads to our next question...]
   
III. WHAT DOES IT COST TO BECOME JESUS' DISCIPLE?

   A. HIS FIRST DISCIPLES LEFT "ALL" TO FOLLOW JESUS...
      1. They left their business and family - Mt 4:20-22
      2. As Peter would say later:  "we have left all and followed You"
         - Mt 19:27

   B. JESUS EXPECTED THE SAME OF OTHER DISCIPLES...
      1. That He must come before family - Mt 10:37; Lk 9:59-62; 14:
         25-26
      2. That one must be willing to suffer hardship - Mt 10:38; Lk 9:
         57-58; 14:27
      3. Simply put, to forsake all to follow Him - Lk 14:33

   C. JESUS EXPECTS THE SAME OF HIS DISCIPLES TODAY...
      1. To seek first the kingdom of God - Mt 6:33
      2. As illustrated in The Parable Of The Great Supper, family and
         business cannot come before accepting the call of the gospel!
         - Lk 14:15-24

CONCLUSION

1. In calling people to repent, Jesus was also calling people to become
   His disciples...
   a. But like John the Baptist before Him, Jesus expected that people
      "bear fruits worthy of repentance" - cf. Mt 3:8
   b. As He would say later, "By this My Father is glorified, that you
      bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." - Jn 15:8

2. For those willing to accept His call, along with the cost, there is
   promise of great blessings...
   a. As Jesus told Peter - Mk 10:28-30
   b. As Paul would encourage the Christians at Corinth - 1Co 15:58

3. Have we accepted the call and responsibility of discipleship, or do
   we just "go to church"?
   a. Which comes first, our families, our businesses, or Jesus Christ
      and His kingdom?
   b. Are we busy building our lives, enjoying our retirement, while
      the Lord's church suffers?
   c. Do we spend more time on fishing and other forms of recreation,
      than we do on fishing for men?
   -- How we answer such questions reveals much as to whether we are
      truly the disciples of Jesus!

May we all be open to the call of Jesus:

           "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland.... The Preaching Ministry Of Jesus (Matthew 4:12-17)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

               The Preaching Ministry Of Jesus (4:12-17)

INTRODUCTION

1. In Mt 4:12-17, we read of Jesus' public ministry in Galilee...
   a. Which followed the imprisonment of John the Baptist - Mt 4:12
   b. Which began at Capernaum, on the edge of the Sea of Galilee 
      - Mt 4:13
   c. Which fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah - Mt 4:14-16; Isa 9:1,2

2. His public ministry involved "preaching"...
   a. "From that time Jesus began to preach..." - Mt 4:17
   b. Compare also Mt 4:23, "Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in
      their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom..."

3. The word "preach" (Gr., kerux) means "to herald, to proclaim"...
   a. But what was the message Jesus was proclaiming?
   b. Is it a message that should be proclaimed today?

[In this study our focus will be on Mt 4:17, as we seek to understand
the message proclaimed by Jesus during His public ministry.  From this
verse we learn first that...]

I. JESUS PREACHED REPENTANCE

   A. HE CALLED UPON PEOPLE TO REPENT...
      1. Just as John the Baptist did - Mt 3:2
      2. As Jesus would say later:  "For I did not come to call the 
         righteous, but sinners, to repentance." - Mt 9:13

   B. WHAT DOES "REPENT" MEAN?
      1. Many people have misconceptions concerning repentance
         a. E.g., that repentance is "sorrow"
            1) But repentance is an outcome of sorrow - cf. 2Co 7:9-10
            2) Sorrow leads to repentance; sorrow itself is not
               repentance!
         b. E.g., that repentance is "a changed life"
            1) Thinking that repentance is a converted life
            2) But repentance and conversion are two separate things 
               - cf. Ac 3:19
               a) Peter says "Repent therefore and be converted"
               b) If repentance means the same as conversion, then 
                  Peter was redundant
      2. W. E. Vine defines "repentance" as:
         a. A "change of mind"
         b. That which "involves both a turning from sin and a turning
            to God"
      3. Repentance is thus "a change of mind" in which we DECIDE to
         "turn from sin and turn to God"
         a. Which is preceded by sorrow
         b. And followed by a changed life
      -- Jesus was therefore calling upon people to change their minds
         regarding sin, because of what He taught about the kingdom
         (more on that shortly)

   C. DOES REPENTANCE NEED TO BE PROCLAIMED TODAY?
      1. Most certainly!
         a. Repentance is to be preached in Jesus' name to all nations
            - Lk 24:46-47
         b. God now calls men everywhere to repent - Ac 17:30
         c. Thus Paul preached to both Jews and Gentiles that they 
            should repent - Ac 26:20
      2. Wherever there is sin, the message of repentance needs to be
         proclaimed!
         a. People need to be told to "change their minds" (repent)
         b. They need "turn to God, and do works befitting repentance"
            - cf. Ac 26:20; Mt 3:8
      -- Any gospel preaching that does not include a clarion call to
         repent is not the true gospel!

[In calling people to repent, Jesus proclaimed why they needed to 
change their minds and turn from sin to God: "for the kingdom of heaven
is at hand".  This leads to our next point...]

II. JESUS PREACHED THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

   A. THIS WAS A MAJOR THEME OF HIS PREACHING...
      1. Just as it was with John the Baptist - Mt 3:2
      2. It was the focus of His itinerant ministry - Mt 4:23
         a. The theme of His Sermon on the Mount - Mt 5:3,10,19-20; 
            6:33; 7:21
         b. The theme of many of His parables - e.g., Mt 13:24,31,33,
            44,45,47
      3. It was the theme of the Limited Commission - Mt 10:7
      -- During this time, the kingdom of heaven was "at hand" (drawing
         near)

   B. WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?
      1. It is the same thing as "the kingdom of God"
         a. Some try to make a distinction (e.g., Scofield Reference 
            Bible)
         b. But a quick comparison of the gospels indicate the terms
            refer to the same thing
            1) Cf. Mt 4:17 with Mk 1:14-15
            2) Cf. Mt 5:3 with Lk 6:20
            3) Cf. Mt 13:31 with Mk 4:30-31
         c. Matthew used the expression "kingdom of heaven" almost 
            exclusively, while the other gospel writers used the phrase
            "kingdom of God"
         d. It may be that since Matthew wrote his gospel to the Jews,
            he chose to use the phrase "kingdom of heaven"...
            1) Because of the Jews' reluctance to use the name of God
               (out of reverence)
            2) Because of the Jews' misconception of the coming kingdom
               a) Many anticipated a physical kingdom
               b) The expression "heaven" (literally, "heavens") would
                  emphasize a spiritual kingdom
      2. The "kingdom of heaven" involves four inter-related concepts
         a. God's kingship, rule, or recognized sovereignty
            1) The term "kingdom" as used by the Jews often stressed
               the abstract idea of rule or dominion, not a 
               geographical area surrounded by physical boundaries
            2) It is used this way by Jesus in Mt 6:10 - "Your KINGDOM
               come; Your WILL  be done..." (note the connection 
               between kingdom and will)
               -- Thus, the "kingdom of heaven" would involve the rule
                  of heaven in the hearts of men
         b. This rule of heaven is spiritual in nature
            1) It is not a physical kingdom - cf. Jn 18:36
            2) But one that is spiritual - cf. Ro 14:17
         c. Its visible manifestation today is in the form of the
            Lord's church
            1) For the church is that community of souls in whose
               hearts God is recognized as Sovereign
            2) That the church constitutes the kingdom of God on earth,
               consider:
               a) How the term "church" and "kingdom" were used
                  interchangeably - Mt 16:18
               b) Comments made to those who were in the church - Col 1:
                  13; 1Th 2:12
               c) The description of those in the churches of Asia
                  - Re 1:4,6,9
         d. It has a future element as well as a present one
            1) Its future aspect is spoken of by Jesus, Paul, Peter 
               - Mt 25:34; 1Co 15:50; 2Ti 4:18; 2Pe 1:10-11
            2) Peter described the coming of its future state in 2 Pe 3:10-13
      3. Thus the "kingdom of heaven" today is both present and future
         a. In the present sense...
            1) It is found wherever the sovereignty of God is accepted
               in the hearts of men
            2) It is a spiritual kingdom, for God rules in the hearts
               of men
            3) Its outward manifestation today is the Lord's church
            4) This rule or kingdom of God was "inaugurated" on the Day
               of Pentecost (Ac 2)
         b. In the future sense...
            1) The rule or kingdom of God will be "culminated" with the
               coming of the Lord
            2) It will involve that "news heaven and a new earth in 
               which righteousness dwells", described by Peter and John
               - 2Pe 3; Re 21-22
            3) It will be experienced only by those in the church who
               are submitting to God's will today! - cf. Mt 7:21-23;
               2Pe 3:13-14

   C. DOES THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN NEED TO BE PROCLAIMED TODAY?
      1. Most certainly!
         a. Philip "preached the things concerning the kingdom of God"
            - Ac 8:12
         b. The apostle Paul in his preaching and teaching:
            1) Spoke of the challenges in entering the kingdom in the
               future sense - Ac 14:22
            2) Reasoned and persuaded with people concerning the 
               kingdom - Ac 19:8
            3) Had gone among the Ephesians, "preaching the kingdom of
               God" - Ac 20:25
            4) Solemnly testified of the kingdom of God to the Jews in
               Rome - Ac 28:23
         c. In his epistles, Paul wrote of:
            1) The nature of the kingdom - Ro 14:17
            2) Those who will not inherit the kingdom - 1Co 6:9-10;
               Ga 5:21; Ep 5:5
            3) Jesus giving the kingdom to God when He returns - 1Co 15:24-26
            4) How flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom - 1Co 15:50
            5) How we are now in the kingdom - Col 1:13
            6) His companions as fellow workers for the kingdom - Col 4:
               11
            7) How we might be counted worthy of the kingdom - 2Th 1:5
            8) God calling us into His kingdom and glory - 2Th 2:12
            9) Jesus judging us at His appearing and His kingdom - 2 Ti 4:1
           10) The Lord preserving him for His heavenly kingdom - 2 Ti 4:18
         d. The Hebrew writer referred to our receiving a kingdom which
            can't be shaken - He 12:28
         e. James described the faithful poor as "heirs of the kingdom"
            - Jm 2:5
         f. Peter wrote of how we might have an abundant entrance into
            the everlasting kingdom of our Lord - 2Pe 1:10-11
         g. John described himself as a brother and companion in the
            kingdom of Jesus Christ - Re 1:9
      2. There is a slight difference in our message, however...
         a. John the Baptist, Jesus, His disciples in the Limited 
            Commission...all proclaimed the kingdom "at hand" (drawing
            near)
            1) For the rule of God as foretold by the prophets was 
               about to be manifested - cf. Mk 1:14-15
            2) During Jesus' earthly ministry that kingdom (reign) was
               yet future
            -- That was the "good news" (gospel) of the kingdom then:
               it was near!
         b. However, after the ascension of Christ, the preaching of
            the kingdom proclaimed it both present and future
            1) The rule of God is now being fully manifested in the
               person of Jesus Christ - cf. Mt 28:18; Ep 1:20-22; 1 Pe 3:22
            2) Those who "gladly receive" the message can be added by
               the Lord Himself to His church or kingdom (i.e., the 
               community of believers who submit to His authority) 
               - cf. Ac 2:36-41,47; Col 1:13; Re 1:9
            3) Those who persevere to the end can inherit the heavenly
               and everlasting kingdom of our Lord - Ac 14:22; 2Pe 1:
               10-11
            -- This is the "good news" (gospel) of the kingdom now:  it
               is both now and coming!

CONCLUSION

1. In "The Preaching Ministry Of Jesus", two themes permeated His
   message...
   a. The need to repent
   b. For the kingdom of heaven was at hand

2. As we fulfill the Great Commission today (Mt 28:18-20), our themes
   should be similar...
   a. The kingdom of heaven has come and is coming (implied in "All
      authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.")
   b. The need to repent (implied in "Make disciples of all the
      nations")

If you desire to experience the bliss of the everlasting kingdom of our
Lord and Savior, you must do the Father's Will (cf. Mt 7:21-23) and be
in the kingdom of His dear Son today (cf. Col 1:13).

Have you submitted to the gospel of the kingdom as proclaimed by our
Lord's apostles?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Temptation Of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                    The Temptation Of Jesus (4:1-11)

INTRODUCTION

1. One of the blessings of having Jesus as our Savior is His ability to
   comfort and aid those who  are tempted...
   a. This is because He too was tempted - He 2:18
   b. He is sympathetic, and can provide mercy and grace to help in
      time of need - He 4:14-16

2. One of His greatest periods of temptation was at the beginning of
   His public ministry...
   a. Immediately following His baptism by John - Mt 3:13-17
   b. Just prior to starting His preaching ministry - Mt 4:12-17

3. Studying "The Temptation Of Jesus" can be fruitful for several
   reasons...
   a. It reminds us that Jesus can understand our own temptations
   b. It reveals how we can be more successful in overcoming temptation

[With that in mind and using Mt 4:1-11 as our basic text, let's begin
with...]

I. THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS REVIEWED

   A. THE SETTING OF THE TEMPTATIONS...
      1. Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness - Mt 4:1
         a. The same Spirit which descended upon Him in bodily form as
            dove - Mt 3:16; Lk 3:22
         b. It was likely the wilderness of Judea, a desolate place
      2. To be tempted by the devil - Mt 4:1
         a. It appears that this challenge was initiated by the Spirit
         b. For it was the Spirit who led Jesus to the wilderness for
            this purpose
      3. Where Jesus fasted and was tempted for forty days - Mt 4:2
         a. His fasting is reminiscent of Moses and Elijah - Exo 34:28;
            1Ki 19:8
         b. Luke reveals that temptations occurred over the period of
            forty days - Lk 4:2
         c. Mark mentions wild beasts - Mk 1:13
      -- Thus it was after forty days of temptation that we find Satan
         approaching Jesus for a "climax" involving three particular
         temptations

   B. THE CLIMAX OF THE TEMPTATIONS...
      1. The first temptation - Mt 4:3-4
         a. Satan's appeal to the lust of the flesh
            1) Having fasted for forty days, Jesus was naturally hungry
            2) Challenging Jesus' identity, Satan appeals to His
               fleshly hunger: "command that these stones become bread"
         b. Jesus responds with Scripture
            1) Quoting Deut 8:3, "Man shall not live by bread alone..."
            2) There is more to life than just fulfilling physical 
               desires; man is dependent upon the Word of God to truly
               live!
      2. The second temptation - Mt 4:5-7
         a.  Satan appeals to the pride of life
            1) Again challenging Jesus' identity, Satan sets Jesus on
               the pinnacle of the temple, tells Him to "throw Yourself
               down"
            2) Quoting scriptures himself, using Ps 91:11,12
         b. Jesus responds with Scripture
            1) Deut 6:16, "You shall not tempt the LORD your God"
            2) While the passage Satan quoted is true, it would be an
               abuse of it to purposely test God
      2. The third temptation - Mt 4:8-10
         a. Satan appeals to the lust of the eyes
            1) Taking Jesus to high mountain and showing Him the 
               kingdoms of the world
            2) Offering to give Jesus all the kingdoms if He will 
               worship Satan
         b. Jesus responds with Scripture
            1) Deut 6:13, "You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him
               only you shall serve"
            2) Though offered a shortcut to receiving power over the
               nations, Jesus does not take the easy path - cf. Re 2:
               26-27; 3:21

   C. AT THE END OF THE TEMPTATIONS...
      1. Angels came and ministered to Jesus - Mt 3:11
         a. Exactly what they did is not mentioned
         b. Perhaps they provided bodily nourishment (Hendricksen)
      2. This would not be the last time Satan would seek to tempt 
         Jesus - cf. Lk 4:13; Mt 16:21-23
      
[With forty days of overcoming temptation behind Him, especially the
temptation of taking a short cut to His rule as the Messiah, Jesus was
now prepared to begin His public ministry.

What observations might one make regarding "The Temptation Of Jesus"?
Here are a few...]

II. OBSERVATIONS FROM THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS

   A. WE HAVE THE SAME ADVERSARY...
      1. Jesus was tempted by the devil, and so are we - 1Pe 5:8-9
      2. The devil now directs his attention towards the disciples of
         Christ - Re 12:17
      -- We should not treat him lightly, for the conflict is real! 
         - Ep 6:12

   B. WE HAVE SIMILAR TEMPTATIONS...
      1. The lust of the flesh - e.g., immorality, especially when 
         young
      2. The lust of the eyes - e.g., materialism, especially when 
         middle-aged
      3. The pride of life - e.g., pride and arrogance, especially when
         elderly
      -- These we must overcome, if we wish to have the love of the 
         Father - 1Jn 2:15-16

   C. WE HAVE THE SAME TOOLS TO OVERCOME...
      1. Jesus appealed to the Word of God, and so can we - cf. Ep 6:17
      2. Jesus had faith in the plan of God (victory through 
         suffering), we need a similar shield of faith - Ep 6:16; cf.
         He 10:35-39
      3. Jesus undoubtedly prayed, for He taught us to use prayer in
         overcoming temptation - Mt 26:41
      -- The Word of God, faith, and prayer...against these the devil
         has no chance!

   D. WE HAVE SIMILAR BLESSINGS WHEN WE OVERCOME...
      1. Jesus was administered to by angels, angels will carry us home
         - cf. Lk 16:22
      2. Jesus received wonderful blessings when He ultimately overcame
         and ascended to heaven; He has promised similar blessings for
         us - cf. Re 2:10,26-27; 3:21

   E. WE CAN LEARN SOME IMPORTANT LESSONS...
      1. Material sustenance alone cannot truly satisfy, we need the
         spiritual sustenance from God's Word
      2. While we are to trust in the Lord, we should not foolishly
         tempt Him
      3. Scripture can easily be abused, as well as used - 2Pe 3:16
      4. The way to glory is not quick and easy, but long and hard 
         - Ac 14:22; Ro 2:7

CONCLUSION

1. But perhaps the greatest lesson to glean from "The Temptation Of
   Jesus" is that we have a Savior who in all things was made like
   us...
   a. That He might be our merciful and faithful High Priest - He 2:17
   b. That having suffered, being tempted, He can aid us who are
      tempted - He 2:18
   c. That He might be sympathetic, providing mercy and grace to help
      in time of need - He 4:15-16

2. Are you burdened with temptations?
   a. Look to Jesus as your example in learning how to overcome
      temptation in your life!
   b. Look to Jesus as your High Priest when you need to approach God
      in prayer and receive mercy and grace for those times when you
      succumbed to temptation!

As in all things, look to Jesus, as the writer to Hebrews exhorts us...

   "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who 
   for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising
   the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of
   God.

   For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against
   Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls."

                                   - He 12:2-3

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading October 31



Bible Reading  

October 31

The World English Bible


Oct. 31
Isaiah 17-20

Isa 17:1 The burden of Damascus: "Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.
Isa 17:2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken. They will be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.
Isa 17:3 The fortress shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria. They will be as the glory of the children of Israel," says Yahweh of Armies.
Isa 17:4 "It will happen in that day that the glory of Jacob will be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh will become lean.
Isa 17:5 It will be like when the harvester gathers the wheat, and his arm reaps the grain. Yes, it will be like when one gleans grain in the valley of Rephaim.
Isa 17:6 Yet gleanings will be left there, like the shaking of an olive tree, two or three olives in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outermost branches of a fruitful tree," says Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Isa 17:7 In that day, people will look to their Maker, and their eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel.
Isa 17:8 They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands; neither shall they respect that which their fingers have made, either the Asherim, or the incense altars.
Isa 17:9 In that day, their strong cities will be like the forsaken places in the woods and on the mountain top, which were forsaken from before the children of Israel; and it will be a desolation.
Isa 17:10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not remembered the rock of your strength. Therefore you plant pleasant plants, and set out foreign seedlings.
Isa 17:11 In the day of your planting, you hedge it in. In the morning, you make your seed blossom, but the harvest flees away in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow.
Isa 17:12 Ah, the uproar of many peoples, who roar like the roaring of the seas; and the rushing of nations, that rush like the rushing of mighty waters!
Isa 17:13 The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters: but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far off, and will be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like the whirling dust before the storm.
Isa 17:14 At evening, behold, terror! Before the morning, they are no more. This is the portion of those who plunder us, and the lot of those who rob us.
Isa 18:1 Ah, the land of the rustling of wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia;
Isa 18:2 that sends ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of papyrus on the waters, saying, "Go, you swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people awesome from their beginning onward, a nation that measures out and treads down, whose land the rivers divide!"
Isa 18:3 All you inhabitants of the world, and you dwellers on the earth, when a banner is lifted up on the mountains, look! When the trumpet is blown, listen!
Isa 18:4 For Yahweh said to me, "I will be still, and I will see in my dwelling place, like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest."
Isa 18:5 For before the harvest, when the blossom is over, and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and he will cut down and take away the spreading branches.
Isa 18:6 They will be left together for the ravenous birds of the mountains, and for the animals of the earth. The ravenous birds will summer on them, and all the animals of the earth will winter on them.
Isa 18:7 In that time, a present will be brought to Yahweh of Armies from a people tall and smooth, even from a people awesome from their beginning onward, a nation that measures out and treads down, whose land the rivers divide, to the place of the name of Yahweh of Armies, Mount Zion.
Isa 19:1 The burden of Egypt: "Behold, Yahweh rides on a swift cloud, and comes to Egypt. The idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence; and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst.
Isa 19:2 I will stir up the Egyptians against the Egyptians, and they will fight everyone against his brother, and everyone against his neighbor; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.
Isa 19:3 The spirit of Egypt will fail in its midst. I will destroy its counsel. They will seek the idols, the charmers, those who have familiar spirits, and the wizards.
Isa 19:4 I will give over the Egyptians into the hand of a cruel lord. A fierce king will rule over them," says the Lord, Yahweh of Armies.
Isa 19:5 The waters will fail from the sea, and the river will be wasted and become dry.
Isa 19:6 The rivers will become foul. The streams of Egypt will be diminished and dried up. The reeds and flags will wither away.
Isa 19:7 The meadows by the Nile, by the brink of the Nile, and all the sown fields of the Nile, will become dry, be driven away, and be no more.
Isa 19:8 The fishermen will lament, and all those who fish in the Nile will mourn, and those who spread nets on the waters will languish.
Isa 19:9 Moreover those who work in combed flax, and those who weave white cloth, will be confounded.
Isa 19:10 The pillars will be broken in pieces. All those who work for hire will be grieved in soul.
Isa 19:11 The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish. The counsel of the wisest counselors of Pharaoh has become stupid. How do you say to Pharaoh, "I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?"
Isa 19:12 Where then are your wise men? Let them tell you now; and let them know what Yahweh of Armies has purposed concerning Egypt.
Isa 19:13 The princes of Zoan have become fools. The princes of Memphis are deceived. They have caused Egypt to go astray, who are the cornerstone of her tribes.
Isa 19:14 Yahweh has mixed a spirit of perverseness in the midst of her; and they have caused Egypt to go astray in all of its works, like a drunken man staggers in his vomit.
Isa 19:15 Neither shall there be for Egypt any work, which head or tail, palm branch or rush, may do.
Isa 19:16 In that day the Egyptians will be like women. They will tremble and fear because of the shaking of the hand of Yahweh of Armies, which he shakes over them.
Isa 19:17 The land of Judah will become a terror to Egypt. Everyone to whom mention is made of it will be afraid, because of the plans of Yahweh of Armies, which he determines against it.
Isa 19:18 In that day, there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan, and swear to Yahweh of Armies. One will be called "The city of destruction."
Isa 19:19 In that day, there will be an altar to Yahweh in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to Yahweh at its border.
Isa 19:20 It will be for a sign and for a witness to Yahweh of Armies in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to Yahweh because of oppressors, and he will send them a savior and a defender, and he will deliver them.
Isa 19:21 Yahweh will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know Yahweh in that day. Yes, they will worship with sacrifice and offering, and will vow a vow to Yahweh, and will perform it.
Isa 19:22 Yahweh will strike Egypt, striking and healing. They will return to Yahweh, and he will be entreated by them, and will heal them.
Isa 19:23 In that day there will be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria; and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
Isa 19:24 In that day, Israel will be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth;
Isa 19:25 because Yahweh of Armies has blessed them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance."
Isa 20:1 In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and took it;
Isa 20:2 at that time Yahweh spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, "Go, and loosen the sackcloth from off your waist, and take your shoes from off your feet." He did so, walking naked and barefoot.
Isa 20:3 Yahweh said, "As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder concerning Egypt and concerning Ethiopia,
Isa 20:4 so the king of Assyria will lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Ethiopia, young and old, naked and barefoot, and with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.
Isa 20:5 They will be dismayed and confounded, because of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory.
Isa 20:6 The inhabitants of this coast land will say in that day, 'Behold, this is our expectation, where we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria. And we, how will we escape?' "

 
Oct. 31
2 Thessalonians 3

2Th 3:1 Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, even as also with you;
2Th 3:2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and evil men; for not all have faith.
2Th 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you, and guard you from the evil one.
2Th 3:4 We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you both do and will do the things we command.
2Th 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ.
2Th 3:6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks in rebellion, and not after the tradition which they received from us.
2Th 3:7 For you know how you ought to imitate us. For we didn't behave ourselves rebelliously among you,
2Th 3:8 neither did we eat bread from anyone's hand without paying for it, but in labor and travail worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you;
2Th 3:9 not because we don't have the right, but to make ourselves an example to you, that you should imitate us.
2Th 3:10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: "If anyone will not work, neither let him eat."
2Th 3:11 For we hear of some who walk among you in rebellion, who don't work at all, but are busybodies.
2Th 3:12 Now those who are that way, we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
2Th 3:13 But you, brothers, don't be weary in doing well.
2Th 3:14 If any man doesn't obey our word in this letter, note that man, that you have no company with him, to the end that he may be ashamed.
2Th 3:15 Don't count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
2Th 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with you all.
2Th 3:17 The greeting of me, Paul, with my own hand, which is the sign in every letter: this is how I write.
2Th 3:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.