From Mark Copeland... The Conversion Of The Samaritans (Acts 8:4-13)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

               The Conversion Of The Samaritans (8:4-13)


1. We have seen that preaching the gospel was not without controversy...
   a. Some took issue with the message of Christ's resurrection - Ac 4:1-3
   b. Persecution became progressively worse - Ac 4:21; 5:40; 7:54-60
   c. Stephen's death led to the dispersal of many Christians from
      Jerusalem - Ac 8:1-3

2. But as Christians were scattered abroad, so was the gospel...!
   a. Christians went everywhere, "preaching the word" - Ac 8:4
   b. Among them was Philip, one of the seven selected in chapter six
      - Ac 6:5; 8:5
   c. His evangelistic efforts involved the Samaritans and the Ethiopian
      eunuch - Ac 8:4-40

[In this study, we shall examine "The Conversion Of The Samaritans". 
They were the offspring of inter-marriages at the time of Assyrian
captivity (2Ki 17:24-41) and disdained by most Jews (Jn 4:9)...]


      1. He preached Christ to them - Ac 8:5
      2. They heeded the things he spoke - Ac 8:6
      3. Having heard and seen the miracles which he did - Ac 8:6
      4. Such as casting out unclean spirits, healing the paralyzed and
         lame - Ac 8:7
      5. Leading to great joy in the city - Ac 8:8

      1. A sorcerer, who had astonished the people, claiming to be great
         - Ac 8:9
      2. Of whom all had said, "This man is the great power of God - Ac 8:10
      3. Astonishing them with his sorceries for a long time - Ac 8:11
      1. As he preached the kingdom of God and the name of Christ - Ac 8:12 
      2. They believed and were baptized, both men and women - Ac 8:12
      3. Even Simon also believed and was baptized - Ac 8:13
      4. Who continued with Philip, amazed at the miracles and signs he
         did - Ac 8:13

[This is the first gospel preaching to those not fully Jews.  Let's
therefore take a closer look at...]


      1. The gospel message preached by Philip
         a. We are told that he preached "Christ" - Ac 8:5
            1) This undoubtedly included Christ's death, resurrection
            2) The same things Peter preached about Christ in chapters
               2 and 3
         b. We are told that he preached "the things concerning the
            kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ" - Ac 8:12
            1) What things concerning "the kingdom of God"?
               a) John, Jesus, and the apostles had earlier taught the
                  kingdom was "at hand" - cf. Mt 3:1; 4:17; 10:7
               b) Later, Paul and John wrote of the kingdom as present
                  - Col 1:13; Re 1:9
               c) The expression "kingdom of God" literally means the
                  "reign of God"
               d) It is likely that Philip spoke of the rule and reign
                  of God now present in the Person of His Son Jesus 
                  Christ - cf. Mt 28:18; Ac 2:36; 5:31
            2) What things concerning "the name of Jesus Christ"?
               a) Likely that repentance and remission of sins were now
                  being proclaimed in His name - Lk 24:47
               b) It clearly included what Jesus commanded - Mk 16:15-16
      2. The response of the Samaritans
         a. They "heeded the things spoken by Philip"; this implies
            obedience - Ac 8:6; cf. He 5:9
         b. They "believed" and "were baptized" - Ac 8:12
         c. Like Peter, Philip faithfully fulfilled the Lord's great
            commission - Mk 16:15-16
         d. Heeding the things spoken by Philip therefore included
            baptism - cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16

      1. Was Simon truly converted?
         a. Many deny that he was, because of what happened afterward
         b. But Luke (inspired by the Holy Spirit) says Simon "also
            believed" - Ac 8:13
         c. Simon believed just as the others did
         d. Therefore his faith was as real as the rest of the
         e. While there may be fanciful traditions concerning Simon
            outside of the Bible, the indication of Scripture is that his
            conversion was real
      2. Simon is an example of how fallen Christians can be restored
         a. He was later told to "repent" and "pray" - Ac 8:22
         b. When a Christian sins, therefore, he needs not to be
            baptized again, but to repent and pray, confessing his sins 
            - cf. 1Jn 1:9
         c. Simon reveals how quickly Christians can be overtaken in
            sin, but also how they can obtain forgiveness and be 


1. The conversion of the Samaritans (including Simon) is simple and
   a. When Christ is preached and heeded - Ac 8:5-6
   b. People will believe and be baptized - Ac 8:12-13

2. Their conversion is as simple and direct as the commission under
   which Philip preached...
   a. Jesus commanded His apostles to preach faith and baptism - Mk 16:15-16
   b. Philip fulfilled that great commission regarding the Samaritans 
      - Ac 8:12-13

How about you?  Have you believed and been baptized?  If so but you then
strayed from the faith, have you repented and prayed like Peter later
told Simon to do?  

In either case, do not delay to "heed" the commands of the gospel...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

From Jim McGuiggan... Sin-bearing and sacrifice

Sin-bearing and sacrifice

Leviticus 10:17 (NIV) says, “Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the sanctuary area? It is most holy; it was given to you to take away the guilt of the community by making atonement for them before the Lord.” Numbers 18:1 (NIV) says, “The Lord said to Aaron, ‘You, your sons and your father’s family are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the priesthood.” The RSV and numerous other versions give “bear iniquity” for the italicized phrases in both passages. In Hebrew it’s the same phrase.

The two passages are helpful because they offer insight on the matter of “bearing iniquity”. If a person is said to “bear his iniquity” it means he takes the consequences of his own sins on his own shoulders and deals with it however is appropriate. That makes sense. But Leviticus 10:17 and Numbers 18:1 show us that it’s possible for someone (in these cases a priest) to bear the iniquity of someone else. How does that work?

Well, in the texts above Aaron and his sons are given the responsibility to bear the sins of the people, whether it’s sin in general or sins against the tabernacle itself. There is nothing to suggest that the sins of the people are transferred to the priests so that the priests become guilty. No, to bear their iniquity means to make atonement for them. The NIV makes that clear by adding the word “by” which explains how the priests “take away” the guilt of the people. The priests “bear the iniquity” of the transgressor by doing for him what he cannot do for himself, “by making atonement for them.”

Every time we read of a priest making atonement for someone, that priest is “bearing sin” for the transgressor. But it has nothing to do with the transference of guilt. The whole process beginning with the sinner coming with his sacrifice, giving it to the priest who handles the sacrifice on behalf of the sinner in offering it to God—that whole process is “making atonement”. It isn’t a question of transferring sin at all. The sin isn’t transferred it is forgiven because it is atoned. The person who atones for the sinner is the priest (Leviticus 10:17 and everywhere else). The place of atonement is the altar (or the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur) and the atoning sacrifice is the offering itself.

The thrust of this short piece is to make the point that “bearing iniquity” is something the priest does for the sinner that he can’t do for himself. And that there is nothing in his “bearing their sin” that involves the transference of the sinner’s sin to the priest. The priest doesn’t become the sinner. He doesn’t even pretend that he’s the sinner. Nor does the priest become sinful as he makes atonement.

We have the priest, the sinner and the sacrifice. The sacrifice is always spotless (or atonement can’t be made). The priest is the sinner’s representative who does for the sinner what the sinner can’t do for himself. (This is the way in which the priest bears the sinner’s sin.) The sinner is always the sinner but he becomes a forgiven sinner when the priest on the sinner’s behalf bears his sin to the place of sacrifice (compare 1 Peter 2:24).

But is it not true that the sacrifice bears the sinner’s sin? No doubt, but whether or not that is true this is true: the priest is expressly said to bear the sinner’s sin. All that the priests did on Israel’s behalf is brought to focus on the Day of Atonement (see Leviticus 16) when the High Priest, fully garbed as Israel’s representative, enters the Holy of Holies with the twelve stones on his breastplate representing the twelve tribes of Israel. There he goes, doing for them what they can’t do for themselves, bearing their iniquity and making atonement.

From Dave Miller, Ph.D. .... The Euthyphro Dilemma


The Euthyphro Dilemma

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.


 What do atheists mean when they speak of the “Euthyphro Dilemma” as a means to discredit theism?


The so-called Euthyphro Dilemma has its genesis in Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro in which Socrates and Euthyphro discuss the nature of piety: “Is the pious  loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” (2008). Over time, philosophers have sharpened the salient point of the dilemma by presenting it in a modified form. The world-renowned late atheist philosopher Antony G.N. Flew worded the argument this way: “Are the things which are good good because God approves of those things, or is it the case that God approves of those things which are good because they are good?” (Warren and Flew, 1977, p. 26). By this thorny contention, the atheist hopes to dismiss the notion of God by placing the theist in an untenable dilemma.
On the one hand, if an action is right simply because God approves it, then morality would be the product of the arbitrary will of God, which He could just as easily alter. Instead of saying that lying and murder are wrong, He could just as well have said they are right—and that divine intention would make them so. On the other hand, if God approves of an action because it is inherently good, then an objective standard exists outside of God that He merely acknowledges. Such a law would therefore be above and higher than God. By the Euthyphro Dilemma, atheists think they have demonstrated that good is either above or beneath God and thereby proof that God is not God (see Figure 1).
Figure 1:
The Euthyphro Dilemma
Figure 2: Reality
But this dilemma is impotent in that it fails to take into account the nature, being, and character of the perfect God of the Bible who is eternal and infinite in all of His attributes. Goodness, like all God’s other attributes, flows from His very being as the Ultimate Good (see Figure 2). Good is neither above nor below God (cf. Mark 10:18; 1 John 4:8; Psalm 33:5). God’s attributes and God’s will are inseparable. The alternatives posed by the atheist do not pose a proper dilemma.


Plato (2008), Euthyphro, trans. Benjamin Jowett, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1642/1642-h/1642-h.htm.
Warren, Thomas and Antony G.N. Flew (1977), The Warren-Flew Debate on the Existence of God (Ramer, TN: National Christian Press), info@nationalchristianpress.net.

From Gary... Bible Reading May 19

Bible Reading 

May 19

The World English Bible

May 19
Joshua 19, 20

Jos 19:1 The second lot came out for Simeon, even for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families. Their inheritance was in the midst of the inheritance of the children of Judah.
Jos 19:2 They had for their inheritance Beersheba (or Sheba), Moladah,
Jos 19:3 Hazar Shual, Balah, Ezem,
Jos 19:4 Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah,
Jos 19:5 Ziklag, Beth Marcaboth, Hazar Susah,
Jos 19:6 Beth Lebaoth, and Sharuhen; thirteen cities with their villages;
Jos 19:7 Ain, Rimmon, Ether, and Ashan; four cities with their villages;
Jos 19:8 and all the villages that were around these cities to Baalath Beer, Ramah of the South. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families.
Jos 19:9 Out of the part of the children of Judah was the inheritance of the children of Simeon; for the portion of the children of Judah was too much for them. Therefore the children of Simeon had inheritance in the midst of their inheritance.
Jos 19:10 The third lot came up for the children of Zebulun according to their families. The border of their inheritance was to Sarid.
Jos 19:11 Their border went up westward, even to Maralah, and reached to Dabbesheth. It reached to the brook that is before Jokneam.
Jos 19:12 It turned from Sarid eastward toward the sunrise to the border of Chisloth Tabor. It went out to Daberath, and went up to Japhia.
Jos 19:13 From there it passed along eastward to Gath Hepher, to Ethkazin; and it went out at Rimmon which stretches to Neah.
Jos 19:14 The border turned around it on the north to Hannathon; and it ended at the valley of Iphtah El;
Jos 19:15 Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah, and Bethlehem: twelve cities with their villages.
Jos 19:16 This is the inheritance of the children of Zebulun according to their families, these cities with their villages.
Jos 19:17 The fourth lot came out for Issachar, even for the children of Issachar according to their families.
Jos 19:18 Their border was to Jezreel, Chesulloth, Shunem,
Jos 19:19 Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath,
Jos 19:20 Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez,
Jos 19:21 Remeth, Engannim, En Haddah, and Beth Pazzez.
Jos 19:22 The border reached to Tabor, Shahazumah, and Beth Shemesh. Their border ended at the Jordan: sixteen cities with their villages.
Jos 19:23 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Issachar according to their families, the cities with their villages.
Jos 19:24 The fifth lot came out for the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families.
Jos 19:25 Their border was Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph,
Jos 19:26 Allammelech, Amad, Mishal. It reached to Carmel westward, and to Shihorlibnath.
Jos 19:27 It turned toward the sunrise to Beth Dagon, and reached to Zebulun, and to the valley of Iphtah El northward to Beth Emek and Neiel. It went out to Cabul on the left hand,
Jos 19:28 and Ebron, Rehob, Hammon, and Kanah, even to great Sidon.
Jos 19:29 The border turned to Ramah, to the fortified city of Tyre; and the border turned to Hosah. It ended at the sea by the region of Achzib;
Jos 19:30 Ummah also, and Aphek, and Rehob: twenty-two cities with their villages.
Jos 19:31 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families, these cities with their villages.
Jos 19:32 The sixth lot came out for the children of Naphtali, even for the children of Naphtali according to their families.
Jos 19:33 Their border was from Heleph, from the oak in Zaanannim, Adaminekeb, and Jabneel, to Lakkum. It ended at the Jordan.
Jos 19:34 The border turned westward to Aznoth Tabor, and went out from there to Hukkok. It reached to Zebulun on the south, and reached to Asher on the west, and to Judah at the Jordan toward the sunrise.
Jos 19:35 The fortified cities were Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Chinnereth,
Jos 19:36 Adamah, Ramah, Hazor,
Jos 19:37 Kedesh, Edrei, En Hazor,
Jos 19:38 Iron, Migdal El, Horem, Beth Anath, and Beth Shemesh; nineteen cities with their villages.
Jos 19:39 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their families, the cities with their villages.
Jos 19:40 The seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families.
Jos 19:41 The border of their inheritance was Zorah, Eshtaol, Irshemesh,
Jos 19:42 Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah,
Jos 19:43 Elon, Timnah, Ekron,
Jos 19:44 Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath,
Jos 19:45 Jehud, Bene Berak, Gath Rimmon,
Jos 19:46 Me Jarkon, and Rakkon, with the border over against Joppa.
Jos 19:47 The border of the children of Dan went out beyond them; for the children of Dan went up and fought against Leshem, and took it, and struck it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it, and lived therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father.
Jos 19:48 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families, these cities with their villages.
Jos 19:49 So they made an end of distributing the land for inheritance by its borders. The children of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua the son of Nun in the midst of them.
Jos 19:50 According to the commandment of Yahweh, they gave him the city which he asked, even Timnathserah in the hill country of Ephraim; and he built the city, and lived there.
Jos 19:51 These are the inheritances, which Eleazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers' houses of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance by lot in Shiloh before Yahweh, at the door of the Tent of Meeting. So they made an end of dividing the land.
Jos 20:1 Yahweh spoke to Joshua, saying,
Jos 20:2 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'Assign the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you by Moses,
Jos 20:3 that the manslayer who kills any person accidentally or unintentionally may flee there. They shall be to you for a refuge from the avenger of blood.
Jos 20:4 He shall flee to one of those cities, and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city, and declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city. They shall take him into the city with them, and give him a place, that he may live among them.
Jos 20:5 If the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver up the manslayer into his hand; because he struck his neighbor unintentionally, and didn't hate him before.
Jos 20:6 He shall dwell in that city until he stands before the congregation for judgment, until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days. Then the manslayer shall return, and come to his own city, and to his own house, to the city he fled from.' "
Jos 20:7 They set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba (the same is Hebron) in the hill country of Judah.
Jos 20:8 Beyond the Jordan at Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness in the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh.
Jos 20:9 These were the appointed cities for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger who sojourns among them, that whoever kills any person unintentionally might flee there, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stands before the congregation.

From Gary... What is both near and far simultaneously?

How high do you have to be before you have reached HIGH?  And, how do we perceive what is HIGH in the first place???  As I viewed this picture today, I realized that HIGH is just a matter of perspective!!!  There is something about this picture that is very intriguing to me- its narrowness. That constriction in width accentuates this mountain's height and makes an already high object seem extraordinarily far away.  So much so that I began to wonder what could possibly be on such a distant peak?  Humm... Could God possibly dwell there? Consider this...

Psalm 139 (NASB)
Psa 139:1  For the choir director. A Psalm of David. O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
Psa 139:2  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.
Psa 139:3  You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Psa 139:4  Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
Psa 139:5  You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.
Psa 139:6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

Psa 139:7  Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
Psa 139:8  If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
Psa 139:9  If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Psa 139:10  Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
Psa 139:11  If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,"
Psa 139:12  Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.

Psa 139:13  For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb.
Psa 139:14  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
Psa 139:15  My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Psa 139:16  Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
Psa 139:17  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Yes, even there!!! From the depths of my being, to the remotest parts of the Earth- God is nearby!!!  I do not understand the how or the why, but I believe it is true because the Bible tells me so. Nothing is hidden from the ALMIGHTY- ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!! 

Gary- remember this the next time you are tempted to commit sin and then-- look both without and within to find help from above!!!  Humm... the title Jehovah Jireh comes to mind... (Genesis 22:14)