From Steve Singleton... What are the most important Old Testament themes?

What are the most important Old Testament themes?

The major themes of the Old Testament surely include God, man, sin, righteousness, grace, covenant, law, atonement, and  holiness. A final theme we will examine is  the Messiah. Nearly everyone would agree that these ten themes are among the most important. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
  1. God From its opening verse, the Old Testament affirms the following important truths about God: Regarding time he is timeless, regarding power he is limitless, and regarding knowledge he is infinite; He is one and not two or more, He is creator not creature, and He is both loving and holy. These characteristics, and many more besides, define who God is, and lie at the heart of the Old Testament revelation of him. He is primarily revealed, however, not in abstractions or propositions, but in relationship with human beings.       
  2. Man In contrast with God, human beings are limited: they have a beginning and are mortal, they have only limited power and knowledge, and they are certainly not always loving and holy. To be sure, the history of humankind has some heroism and stories of noble thoughts and deeds, but it documents the sad history of failed potential, squandered opportunities, and perverted purposes. The original pair of human beings comes into existence in relationship with God, objects of his grace and love and reflections of His likeness. Unfortunately, however, they give up their standing with the Lord. In the name of independence, they become slaves to sin, in need of deliverance. The progress of their descendants reaches the climax when Genesis 6 says, “Every inclination of the heart of man is only evil all the time.” 
  3. Sin The Old Testament reveals the nature of sin primarily in narrative form–in other words by telling the story of what happened to real people. Human beings were created in a sinless state, even as even now they are born into the world pure and innocent. Sinfulness is abnormal for human beings; it is out of alignment with what God designed us to be and to do. Since we bear the image of God, sin is whatever contradicts God’s own nature. Because God is true, lies are sin. Because God is holy, defilement is sin. Because God is love, hatred is sin. Because God is unity, division is sin, and so on. This is best expressed in Leviticus 19:1, where God says, “You must be holy, for I am holy.” All through Leviticus, the moral precepts announced are tied again and again to the affirmation, “I am the Lord.” Doing what is right and experiencing the blessing God brings with it is what the Old Testament means by knowing that God is the Lord (see statements in Ezekiel over and over).
  4. Righteousness If sin is rebelling against reflecting God’s nature in our lives, then righteousness is living in harmony with that nature. It is maintaining a relationship of trusting obedience with God. Righteousness involves faith, but it also bursts forth from the loyal heart into faithfulness in one’s walk. The Old Testament describes the righteous person as being devoted to God in with your heart, your soul, and your strength. A right relationship with other human beings accompanies this right relationship with God. The Old Testament portrays the righteous person as treating others as they would want to be treated, with acting toward them as God would act. 
  5. Grace Some have gotten the impression that the reader of the Bible does not encounter grace in the Old Testament, that it only becomes a primary emphasis in the New Testament. This impression is a false one, dispelled by nearly every Old Testament book. God’s graciousness to human beings begins with the first couple and continues as a constant theme in the Old Testament symphony. He is “abounding in steadfast love” and willing to forgive to a thousand generations. Again and again He reveals His great patience and His tender mercy toward sinners. Unfortunately, some have only focused on passages in which He reveals wrath against sinners, a counterpoint melody to be sure, but one that always plays out in the context of covenant love and faithfulness.
  6. Covenant The sovereign, almighty, transcendent Creator-God is willing to stoop to enter into agreements with human beings. These agreements are called covenants, and they provide much of the framework on which the Old Testament unfolds. The major covenants of the Old Testament include the ones with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses (and all of Israel), Aaron & Levi, and David. Each of these covenants involves promises God makes and expectations He has for the subjects of the covenant. The Old Testament also looks forward to a New Covenant, which is what the New Testament is all about. 
  7. Law The covenant God made with the nation of Israel is called the Law (or the Law of Moses). In the Law, God rehearses the saving acts by which He has placed the nation of Israel in His debt and then challenges them to agree to live in relationship with Him, experiencing the blessings that attend that relationship. Of course, He also warns them of the curses they will bring upon themselves if they break the covenant. Basic to the Law are the Ten Commandments, which lay out the fundamentals of living in harmony with God and with other humans.
  8. Atonement Under that same covenant with Israel, God provided a means of gaining forgiveness through a system of animal sacrifices. These offerings were a way the believer had of removing offences and pleading to God for a renewal of the close relationship the sin made impossible. According to the Old Testament, atonement was only possible through the shedding of the blood of a perfect sacrifice. This laid the groundwork for the New Covenant’s eternal sacrifice of the Perfect Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. 
  9. Holiness According to the Old Testament, to be holy means to be dedicated to God. Holiness is a part of God’s nature and is imparted by Him to human beings in a right relationship with him. God intends for all human beings to be holy all of the time. Sin, however, defiles us and puts us in need of atonement so that we can be holy once more.
  10. Messiah The Old Testament anticipates the coming of the Holy One of God who would have a miraculous conception, live a perfect life, serve as the ideal human being, and then voluntarily offer up Himself as the once-for-all sin offering so that human beings could be restored to God and made holy again. Over a period spanning more than 1,000 years, inspired prophets foretold aspects of the life of this Holy One. The accumulation of their predictions paints a perfect portrait of the birth, life, character, death, and even resurrection of Jesus Christ. Several of these Old Testament prophecies describe him as “the Anointed One” (Hebrew: Meshiach), or “the Messiah,” in keeping with the practice in Old Testament times of pouring olive oil on the head of a person specially appointed by God to accomplish His purposes. 

Want to go deeper?

The following are recommended to help you look deeper into the themes of the Old Testament.
Recommended for purchase:

Scott J. Hafemann & Paul R. House, eds. Central Themes in Biblical Theology (2007) Covers seven themes in both Old & New Testament.

Carl Davis. The Name and Way of the Lord: Old Testament Themes, New Testament Christology (2007)  slightly altered version of author’s dissertation.

Online resources:

Many thanks to brother Steve Singleton, for allowing me to post from his website, deeperstudy.com.

From Ben Fronczek... Serving The Enemy – Another Tool of the Devil (Part 3)

Serving The Enemy – Another Tool of the Devil (Part 3)

Serving the Enemy    (part3)
By Ben Fronczek

Story of Benedict Arnold

He was a troubled boy, but when war began to break out against the British when while in his mid 20’s, he jumped right in and got permission from the leaders in Massachusetts to lead an attack on the British garrisons at Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga. He knew that their canons would be useful in fighting the British as they were entering the Revolutionary War. On the way he met up with Ethan Allen and the fierce Green Mountain Boys and they took the strongholds.

George Washington saw something in this young man and so he was given the commission of Colonel. He was later given the mission to try to take the British stronghold in Quebec. It was an extremely difficult mission because of the time of year, and small pox, and he simply did not have enough men.  They failed their attempt to take Quebec, and this young man himself was shot in the leg.  But because of his zeal and bravery, Washington made him a Brigadier General and then later a Major General after taking Montreal and Danbury.

He served for another five years in one battle after another including a dangerous assault against the center of the British line at Saratoga where he was wounded in the leg again, and he had to have it removed.   It was said that no General was more imaginative than he, no field officer more daring, no soldier more courageous.

But even though this young man fought so heroically, he was not a happy man. He always felt that he deserved more than what he was being compensated for. He thought that he deserved a higher rank and more recognition, with expensive tastes, he thought that he deserved more financial compensation.  He eventually became bitter and resentful. After all he did, and the battles he fought he eventually made a decision to turn his back on our new country, and help the enemy.

He promised the British Commander that he would turn over West Point along with it’s 3000 defenders for a price (20,000 Sterling or well over a million dollars in today’s currency). It was agreed upon and though the plan was foiled, today no one remembers all the heroic campaigns he went on before that foolish act. He is only remembered as one of our nation’s most infamous traitors. His name, Benedict Arnold.

What does this story have to do with my lesson today? Much!

In the past two lessons we’ve looked at the dastardly work of the devil:

In the 1st lesson I talked about how devil is a thief, how he sets out to rob us:
. He out to rob us of our relationship with God
. He is also out to rob us of our relationship we have with one another
. And he also wants to rob us of our peace and confidence.

And our last we looked at one of the tools which he uses to rob us, and that is temptation. 

As I mentioned, if you are breathing, you will be tempted, so we should not be surprised when these temptations come our way, rather we are to ready and be prepared to stand.

And the lesson today is still closely linked to the last two, regarding the way that the evil one uses sin to destroy us, and rob us of our relationship with God and others. 

It happens when we start serving the enemy, when we start doing the devil’s bidding, sometime without even being aware of what we are doing.

And you may be thinking to yourself, ‘I’d never do such a thing! I love the Lord.’

But I am here to show you today that good folks have unwittingly found themselves in this predicament, and they were serving the wrong master.

There are numerous examples in the Bible of people who for one reason or another turned and did the enemy’s bidding:

We don’t have enough time to look at all these individuals but lets consider a few in the New Testament:

- The Pharisees:  To the average Jew during Jesus’ time though that the Pharisees and teachers of the law were ‘the’ holy men of their day. But Jesus could see into their heart, HE could see the motive behind what they were doing.   Consider: Matthew 23:13-15;   and  John 8:42-47   (Click on verses to read) 

You see, even though many perceived them as holy godly men, they were actually doing the enemies bidding, wanting to kill Jesus the Messiah and destroy His work, which is the very work of God

- There was Judas, one of Jesus’ closest companions for 3 years, who like Benedict Arnold betrayed his Lord for a pocket full of silver.

- There was the young man Saul, who I truly believe loved God and loved his religion. As a matter of fact, he went after anyone who he thought was trying to undermine the Jewish faith.
But he did not fully understand who Jesus was and why some put faith in Him. So when Stephen was stoned to death because of this new found faith, he stood there and approve of his death. After that he personally started to seek out and try to destroy the followers of Christ; even going so far as to get permission from High priest and Jewish council giving him permission to arrest men and women for being a Christian.

And then he met the Lord on the way to Damascus. (Acts 9:1-19, and 22:1-10.) We read in Acts 9, that did not eat for three days until Ananias came and restored his sight and then Baptized him, washing away his sins.

I can’t help but believe that Saul, who we know as Paul couldn’t eat for those three because he was grieving and sickened because of the fact that he without knowing or realizing it, he was serving the enemy, not God. After that he went on to serve Jesus faithfully.

- Later we read where brethren, church members, who because of their actions,  were not glorifying our Lord, rather they were serving the enemy. For example, in the letter of I Corinthians, Paul had to address many things that were going on in that young church.
In chapter 1:10-17, he addresses their division and schisms in that church.
Some in the church wanted to follow this one, others wanted to follow   someone else. They were destroying unity within that church.

Did you ever hear the phrase, divide and conquer?  One way to destroy a church is do just that; splinter it into factions. They were serving the enemy’s agenda and probably did not even realize it .

In that letter Paul goes on talk about other things that were they were do that was hurting the church as well as the cause of Christ

- A man in the church was fornicating with his stepmother and the church wasn’t doing anything about it.

- He also writes that they had lawsuits and were suing one another.

- Some were having affairs with prostitutes.

- They were also letting their worship get out of hand, speaking out of turn, and celebrating the Lord’s supper in an improper manner

- Some were even teaching that there wasn’t going to be resurrection, trying to undermine the very hope of those early Christians.

Brethren, that church was a mess. And in that letter Paul does his best to address all these problems hoping that they would get back on the right track…Because they weren’t serving God by doing these things, they were serving the enemy and helping him destroy that church.
It’s hard to believe that we’d ever consider serving the enemy, the devil, who is trying to rob us of our relationship with God, and trying to rob us of the relationship we have with one another, and trying to rob us of our peace of mind and confidence.

Yet what happens when we start gossiping about one another, or when we refuse to make things right with brothers and sisters when we wrong them,

…or when we refuse to forgive,

…or when we’re the one behind a schism in the church.

…or when we cause another to stumble.

…or when we don’t feel like coming to church to encourage those one another.

…or when we refuse to reach out to the lost, those without Jesus around us…

Brethren we’re not serving our great and awesome God, we’re serving the enemy and become a tool in his hands.

So what do we do to prevent ourselves from falling into this insidious trap of serving the wrong master?

First realize it’s exactly what Satan wants you to do.   
…He wants you to do his bidding.  He wants you to raise havoc and cause turmoil in your home, and in the church.  He wants you to hurt, or even ignore brethren in the church. He want you disobey the Lord Commands and teach error.   So we have to be on the alert.

And that’s why we need to put on the armor of God, because if we do so Paul wrote there in Ephesians  6:10-18  that we will be able to take our stand against the devil’s schemes.

I also believe we need to examine our heart condition. The greatest command in all the Bible is to Love – Love God and love one another.

When you truly put God first in your life, when you love Him that much, you’ll study His word not because you have to, but rather because you’ll want to. You will do your best to understand the one you love and His will for you.

When our commander and chief says ‘don’t do that’, you won’t – because you love Him. If He says to do something, you’ll do it – because you love Him. If He says go, you’ll go – because you love Him.   I believe a goal of our life should be to develop a love for Him ilike that. It has to be more than just lip service, rather our love for Him should motivate and drive us to glorify Him.

And secondly, we need to really learn how to love one another 

….so that we don’t hurt, or abuse one another. You may appear to be the greatest Christian in NY, you may have the Bible memorized, but if you don’t master how to love, how to seek the highest good of those around you, you’ll never come to understand what God want and expect of you.

That was Paul’s answer to that Corinthian church that was so divided and troubled.

Some of you may consider  I Corinthians 13:1-8a   one of Paul’s most familiar compositions, but many don’t realize that it was really the answer or solution to their problems in that ancient church, and our churches today   READ


Brethren, don’t let Satan use you. Don’t become his pawn or a tool in his hand.
We constantly need to be examining and asking  ourselves are my actions and words helping or hurting the cause of Christ.

Is what I said to sister so and so something that is going to hurt or help her.  By doing this or that, am I hurting or helping the reputation of this church.  Can my words and actions be seen as serving our Lord, or are they serving the enemy?

And if we realize we are in error, we need to make it right, make it right with the Lord, and make thing right with one another. And by doing so, you will not only feel better, you will also be giving Satan a blow

Benedict Arnold died a miserable man,  He had to live with the fact that he was a traitor. And Judas couldn’t even do that he couldn’t even live with knowing that he was a traitor, so he went out and hanged himself.

But what I think is sadder is those who are serving the enemy without even realizing it; feeling angry miserable and not even know why. Don’t let Satan use you. Jesus came that you may have joy and peace in your life and to set you free like what He did for Paul; so claim what He died to give you.

For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566

From Jim McGuiggan... Baptism and Union with Christ

Baptism and Union with Christ

1. The first piece in this brief look at baptism said that baptism bears a powerful witness to the central truths of the Christian faith—the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and because this is true, it's very hard to understand why professing Christians would dismiss baptism as of little importance or as something we can take or leave. The second piece said that, whatever modern believers did, the New Testament treats baptism as a matter of great importance. It does this by the space it devotes to the subject and by linking it with the fundamentals of the Christian faith. The second piece also showed that the New Testament consistently links baptism with faith and never speaks of it apart from faith. It does this by repeatedly linking the words themselves and (as Beasley-Murray reminds us) by telling us that what is offered to faith is given in baptism. This third piece will take a closer look at the way baptism is linked to foundational truths of the Christian faith.

2. The apostolic preaching and teaching offered to its hearers all the blessings of God. But those blessings were offered in Jesus Christ. Those who gladly received this message were anxious to enter into union with the Christ. This they did by faith, said Paul in Galatians 3:26-27 when they were baptized into Christ. “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ.” The text speaks of faith, baptism, entrance into and clothing with Christ.

3. Romans 6:3-7 tells the same truth from another angle. (See the comments later for the Roman context.) These people had been “baptized into Christ” (6:3). This union with Christ is focused in their union with his death ("baptized into his death”—6:4). And they were baptized into his death “in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead...we too may live a new life” (6:4). Their union with Christ meant union with his death and resurrection but how does this text say they experienced that union? It says they were baptized into Christ. They were baptized into his death. They were baptized into his death that they might share his resurrection. To allow the text to speak its own message we need to allow the words to mean what they obviously mean. Union with Christ is offered to faith in baptism.

4. Colossians 2:11-13 speaks of a ‘circumcision’ which takes place “in Christ”. If false teachers were saying they had to be circumcised in their flesh (see Colossians 2:16-17), Paul is making it clear that “in Christ” they have already been “circumcised” with the circumcision that really matters. Not the one where physical flesh is cut away but one in which the “body of sin” is cut away. This forgiveness and newness is found “in Christ” (three times in verses 9-11). And how and when is that new life found in Christ? This is what the text tells us: “Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” (2:12) Like the Galatian and Roman disciples, the union of the Colossians with Christ involved their union with his death and resurrection in baptism by faith. In baptism—buried with him. In baptism—raised with him. And what led them to be buried with him that they might be raised with him? It was their faith in God who raised Jesus Christ (2:12). The Colossians experienced unity with Christ “in baptism by faith”.


5. There is only one who saves—God through Jesus Christ. There is no saving power in any human response (whether that is faith, baptism or honourable deeds). The apostles knew this! The Christ knew this! So when we read of faith, repentance or baptism linked with forgiveness or salvation we know there is nothing “meritorious” in them. There is no “legal heresy” taught by the Scriptures (“so much salvation for so much goodness”) but there is no conflict between salvation by pure grace and saying “yes” to that gift on God’s terms. Time and time again the NT explicitly links baptism with forgiveness. (If we find it linked with “union with Christ” we know it must be linked to forgiveness since if we reject union with him we suffer complete loss.)

6. People who wanted to have their sins forgiven were told “repent and be baptized...in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven” (Acts 2:37-39). They didn’t debate it, they gladly obeyed what they were told (2:41). When the persecutor Saul (Paul, the apostle) wanted to have his sins washed away in Christ, he was told: “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash away your sins calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). He didn't argue either, he just got up and was baptized (Acts 9:18). And we need to remember that this is the apostle who laid such a stress on salvation by pure grace as a free gift (Ephesians 2:6,8-9). Later, he re-baptized about twelve men because their first baptism was invalid (Acts 19:1-5). The Ephesian church to which Paul wrote so plainly about salvation by grace apart from “works” began with men who were baptized a second time by an apostle who had been baptized to have his sins washed away by the gracious Lord Jesus Christ. To deny that the New Testament links the wholly gracious forgiveness of sins with the ordinance of baptism is to deny what the New Testament expressly says again and again.


7. Christ came to heal; to bring peace and harmony between God and people and between people and people. We who believed and were baptized were brought into one Body with all that that means. We’ve made its history ours, its friends and enemies ours, its Lord ours. And we’ve come from all nations and every social level. Galatians 3:26-28 sees Jews and Greeks, slaves and free, women and men all baptized by faith into union with Jesus Christ who came to destroy all elitism without killing the joys of our various cultures. Baptism is an act of judgment, done in the name of the Prince of Peace, against all that divides!

8. The chaotic city of Ephesus (Acts 19:13-41) saw a little church begin when some humble and brave believers said “yes” to the “one faith” about the “one Lord” and were baptized with 'one baptism' into “one Body” guided to “one hope” by “one Spirit” under “one God and Father” (see Ephesians 4:3-5 and Acts 19:1-5). That church learned of the reconciling power of Jesus Christ which brought Jews and Gentiles together as one through and in his body (Ephesians 2:11-22).

9. Baptism, with faith in Christ as its motivating principle, is a confession and a commitment which all humans are privileged to make— “Whatever our backgrounds or condition, we need and trust ourselves to the One who died and rose again to save us.” It brings people of all nations together under God who was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 5:19).


10. Critics of Paul's gospel were saying, “If God gets more glory by forgiving more sin we ought to sin more and get him more glory” (Rom 5:20-6:1). In dealing with that heresy Paul reminds them of what baptism means. He said Christians can’t possibly live in sin because they had been:
·            Baptized into Christ (6:3) who came to destroy sin and deliver them from it;
·            Baptized into his death (6:3) which was a death aimed at destroying sin and
          severing Christ's connection with it;
·            Buried with Christ through baptism into death so that like Christ they would
          live a new life (6:4 with 6:5-8,10,11,14); 

From Mark Copeland... The Grace Of God That Brings Salvation ( Titus 2:11-15)

                         "THE EPISTLE TO TITUS"

            The Grace Of God That Brings Salvation (2:11-15)


1. The doctrine of grace is a wonderful concept...
   a. Grace means "goodwill, loving-kindness, favor" (Thayer)
   b. A popular definition is "unmerited favor"

2. The Bible clearly teaches that we are saved by grace...
   a. We are justified freely by God's grace through the redemption in
      Christ - Ro 3:24
   b. God's gift is salvation by grace through faith, not of works - Ep
      2:8-9; cf. Tit 3:4-7

3. Yet some misunderstand and abuse the concept of grace...
   a. Believing that grace allows one to sin without consequence
   b. Which Paul and Jude sought to counter in their writings - cf. Ro
      6:1-2; Jude 3-4

[In Tit 2:11-15, we read about "The Grace Of God That Brings Salvation",
and how it certainly does not permit license (freedom to sin).  As we
consider our text more closely, note first that God's grace...]


      1. Kept secret since the world began - Ro 16:25
      2. Which had been hidden from ages and from generations - Col 1:
      3. God's plan for redeeming man had been a mystery, even to angels
         - cf. 1Pe 1:10-12

      1. Starting with the teaching of Christ Himself - Mt 13:10-11,
      2. Continued with the preaching of the apostles - Ep 3:3-5
      3. Now made known to all nations - Ep 3:8-9; Ro 16:25-26

[The grace of God that brings salvation, unlike Gnosticism which shrouds
itself in privileged secrecy, is good news that God intends for every
one to hear.  Not just to hear, but also to heed...]


      1. Teaching us to say "No!" to ungodliness (asebeia)
         a. Impiety toward God, ungodliness, lack of reverence - TCWD
         b. Wickedness in general, neglect or violation of duty toward
            God, our neighbor or ourselves, joined with and springing
            from impiety toward God - ibid.
      2. Teaching us to deny worldly lusts (kosmikos epithumia)
         a. Improper desires pertaining to this life - the desire of
            wealth, pleasure, honor, sensual indulgence - Barnes
         b. Such passions as the people of this world are prone to
            - ibid.
      3. For one cannot love the Father if they love such things in the
         world - 1Jn 2:15-17
         a. Grace is certainly not license to sin!
         b. It calls us to love the Father, which should affect the way
            we live

      1. To live soberly (sophronos)
         a. With sound mind, soberly, temperately, discreetly - Thayer
         b. As conduct becoming older men (temperate), young women
            (sober), young men (sober minded) - Tit 2:2,4,6
      2. To live righteously (dikaios)
         a. Justly, conformable to justice; honestly, without injuring
            anyone - TCWD
         b. This refers to the proper performance of our duties to our
            fellow-men - Barnes
         c. Perhaps best summed up in the "Golden Rule" - Mt 7:12
      3. To live godly (eusebos)
         a. Piously, godly - Thayer
         b. In a godly manner, according to the Word of God, and
            agreeably to the will of God; and in all godly exercises,
            both public and private, and to the glory of God - Gill
      4. Notice how these three virtues point inward, outward and
         a. "Soberly," that is, with self-restraint, in relation to
            one's self
         b. "Righteously" or justly, in relation to our neighbor
         c. "Godly" or piously, in relation to God (not merely amiably
            and justly, but something higher, godly, with love and
            reverence toward God) - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown

      1. An evil age, from which Christ died to save us - Ga 1:4
      2. In which we now live - in the world, but not of the world - cf.
         Jn 17:14-16

      1. Awaiting with anticipation the return of Jesus Christ! - cf.
         1Co 1:7; Php 3:20-21
      2. Described here as "our great God and Savior" (asserting the
         deity of Christ) - Tit 2:13

[Thus the grace of God teaches us how to live in this world, all the
while preparing and looking for the world to come!  Of course, this
wonderful grace of God that has appeared to all men...]


      1. Redeem (lutroo) - to redeem, liberate by payment of ransom
         - Thayer
      2. From every lawless deed (anomia) - the condition of without
         law, because ignorant of it or because of violating it;
         contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness - Thayer
      3. Jesus died to liberate us from the guilt of lawlessness, by
         offering His precious blood as compensation - 1Pe 1:18-19

      1. Purify (katharizo) - to make clean, to purify from wickedness
         - Thayer
      2. For every good work (kalos) - works that are "beautiful,
         handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious,
         useful, suitable, commendable, admirable" - Thayer
      3. This He accomplishes through the washing of regeneration and
         renewal of the Holy Spirit (an allusion to baptism) - Tit 3:4-5;
         cf. Jn 3:3-5

      1. Special (periousios) -  It refers to God's chosen people in
         whom He has a special interest, one which exceeds His common
         concern for mankind in general. Thus the phrase should better
         be translated, 'His treasured people' - TCWD
      2. Zealous (zelotes) -  A zealot, one zealous for or eagerly
         desirous of something - TCWD
      3. In particular, as stressed in this epistle, zealous for good
         works! - Tit 2:14; cf. 3:1,8,14
      4. Though when all is said and done, our works have not saved us
         by their own merit - cf. Lk 17:10


1. Concerning such things Titus was to speak to his brethren - Tit 2:15
   a. Exhorting and rebuking with all authority
   b. Letting no one to despise him
   c. Certainly such should be equally emphasized in our preaching today

2. What then is the proper response to God's grace...?
   a. It does not preclude obedience - cf. He 5:9
   b. It does not include works of merit - cf. Tit 3:5

3. It begins with faith, repentance, and baptism...
   a. Faith in Jesus who gave Himself for us - Ro 3:24-26
   b. Repentance for sin, which God commands of all - Ac 17:30-31
   c. Baptism into Christ, in which we experience a renewal - Ro 6:1-4;
      cf. Tit 3:4-8

4. But then God's grace teaches us to...
   a. Deny ungodliness and worldly lusts
   b. Live soberly, righteously, and godly
   c. Be zealous for every good work

What has been our response to the grace of God?  To excuse continuing in
a life of sin, or a serious effort to live a life of holiness to the

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading February 17

Bible Reading   

February 17

The World English Bible

Feb. 17
Genesis 48

Gen 48:1 It happened after these things, that someone said to Joseph, "Behold, your father is sick." He took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
Gen 48:2 Someone told Jacob, and said, "Behold, your son Joseph comes to you," and Israel strengthened himself, and sat on the bed.
Gen 48:3 Jacob said to Joseph, "God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
Gen 48:4 and said to me, 'Behold, I will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your seed after you for an everlasting possession.'
Gen 48:5 Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you into Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh, even as Reuben and Simeon, will be mine.
Gen 48:6 Your issue, who you become the father of after them, will be yours. They will be called after the name of their brothers in their inheritance.
Gen 48:7 As for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when there was still some distance to come to Ephrath, and I buried her there in the way to Ephrath (the same is Bethlehem)."
Gen 48:8 Israel saw Joseph's sons, and said, "Who are these?"
Gen 48:9 Joseph said to his father, "They are my sons, whom God has given me here." He said, "Please bring them to me, and I will bless them."
Gen 48:10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he couldn't see. He brought them near to him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.
Gen 48:11 Israel said to Joseph, "I didn't think I would see your face, and behold, God has let me see your seed also."
Gen 48:12 Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.
Gen 48:13 Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near to him.
Gen 48:14 Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn.
Gen 48:15 He blessed Joseph, and said, "The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day,
Gen 48:16 the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads, and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac. Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth."
Gen 48:17 When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him. He held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head.
Gen 48:18 Joseph said to his father, "Not so, my father; for this is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head."
Gen 48:19 His father refused, and said, "I know, my son, I know. He also will become a people, and he also will be great. However, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his seed will become a multitude of nations."
Gen 48:20 He blessed them that day, saying, "In you will Israel bless, saying, 'God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh' " He set Ephraim before Manasseh.
Gen 48:21 Israel said to Joseph, "Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you, and bring you again to the land of your fathers.
Gen 48:22 Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow."

From Gary... TODAY

Life can be difficult, this we know is true, but how you decide to look at things is entirely up to you. If you are filled with junk, its junk you're going to see- so fill your life with good things and live on happily. But, you say- "that's impossible", I've far to much too do- I just can't seem to live that way - I just don't know- WHAT TO DO???  Well, listen to a twelve year old, try doing this and see- that rainbows are the answer, not negativity.

Which reminds me of...

Philippians, Chapter 4
 8  Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.

Today, TODAY, I am going to think positive things and forget about the negative!!!  Today, not tomorrow- I am going to pursue just one of my smallest dreams. Today, the world is going to begin to change for me. It will happen; I BELIEVE IT!!!


Because, TODAY, I am going to think about Philippians 4:8 (above) and look for rainbows- whether it rains or NOT!!!