From Jim McGuiggan... God doesn't want to forgive!

God doesn't want to forgive!

Mark 4:10-12 has the apostles asking Jesus about his parables and he says, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, 'They may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven.' "

What are we to make of that? The surface and shallow reading of the text would say that Jesus didn't want them to repent because he didn't want them to be forgiven and that's why he taught in parables. There are those who take just that view and don't mind saying so. Their claim is that before he created humankind God determined that the entire human family (after Adam) would be born morally and spiritually blind and deaf and incapable of turning to God. Out of the entire human family, we're told, God decreed that he would work a moral miracle on a tiny minority and not only would they be able to turn to God they would be unable to resist turning to God. The rest would remain morally and spiritually incapable of wanting to repent and therefore incapable of wanting to be forgiven. This text is used to support that awful doctrine.

Whatever else we are to say about that doctrine and how it uses this text, at least we have a clear picture: God doesn't want these people to repent because he doesn't want to forgive them. Make up your mind to this: the doctrine insists that before he made them God ordained them to be sinners and didn't want them to turn from sin because he didn't want to forgive them!

But if the doctrine were true Jesus would be making no sense. On a sheerly surface reading Jesus thinks his teaching in parables is what disables these outsiders. If the above doctrine were true, even if Jesus had spelled out the truth in baby-language with full explanation for every phrase, these people still couldn't have heard him because God ordained them incapable of it even before he made them. Jesus might as well have been talking to a stone wall. Parables or no parables they were born incapable of receiving truth and they were born that way because God purposed before he created them that they would be born that way.

The OT text Jesus works with here is Isaiah 6:9-10 and it is addressed to a nation that has chosen its treachery and its wickedness and has no intention of turning from it. 6:9 is laced with irony and we know that because God is commanding them to sin! God is commanding them to sin! [The speech is in command form—J.A Alexander.] Jesus in Matthew 23:32 scathes the worst kind of Pharisees and says, "Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers." On the surface we have Jesus ordering these men to sin (he uses an imperative) when it's clear that no such thing is happening. He knows what they will do because he knows them and though it saddens him without limit (23:37) he says to them, "Well, get on with it then!" God commands no man to sin! James won't even allow us to believe that God tempts men to sin (James 1:13) so you know Isaiah 6:9 is God speaking to a people bent on wickedness and he's saying something like, "Go ahead! Ruin yourself!"

When Zechariah sums up the past history of his people under the prophets before the fall of Jerusalem he says they stubbornly stopped their ears and hardened their hearts and wouldn't listen (Zechariah 7:7-11).

There is nothing in these texts (Mark 4 or Isaiah 6) about eternal reprobation and election for they are both dealing with people who have chosen to reject the word of God that called them to obedience. It's the case that when God sends a word to a sinner or a sinful people to repent or to obey in some matter that God knows how they will react and yet he sends the command. In sending the command God provokes a moral crisis in the one to whom the command is sent and for that reason the result is laid at God's feet. "Let my people go!" he said to Pharaoh even though he knew Pharaoh would refuse. But Pharaoh's refusal was Pharaoh's choice and not God's choice for Pharaoh. God has the sovereign and moral right to demand that Pharaoh obey even though he knows Pharaoh will refuse and that God will use his refusal to serves his own good purposes.

But no case of hardening in scripture refers to a pre-creation purpose of God. Hardening has nothing to do with eternal reprobation and election. God hardens only sinful nations or individuals that have freely chosen to be sinful.

Every good gift comes from the Holy Father and those who are blessed with faithful hearts have been blessed by him and all who those who hear the gospel of the kingdom and are "outside" are "outside" because they would have it so and not because God doesn't want to forgive them!

Notice in Mark 4:11 that Jesus said to those on the outside "everything is said in parables." The fact is that that wasn't literally the case—you only have to read the Gospels to see he wasn't speaking literally. He might well have been saying, "With hearts like theirs even plain speech isn't clear."

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

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

What Must I Know to Be Saved? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


What Must I Know to Be Saved?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The question frequently is asked by those who are contemplating becoming a child of God, “How much do I have to know in order to become a Christian?” Some feel like they have to know every detail in the Bible before taking action to get rid of sin in their lives. Others believe they need every question “under the Sun” answered before becoming a Christian. Some want to know about the origin of the races. Others want to know whether or not there is life on other planets. The Bible, however, never indicates that for one to become a Christian, he has to know every detail about every book in the Bible, or that a person has to be able to answer every question that arises. But what, if anything, is necessary for a person to know before becoming a disciple of Christ?
First, an individual contemplating his spiritual life must understand that the reason there is even something for him to do is because he has sinned. Everyone who has reached the level of mental maturity (sometimes referred to as “the age of accountability”) so that he or she understands what sin is (cf. 1 John 3:4; 5:17), has sinned (Romans 3:10,23; 1 John 1:8). [The one exception, of course, was Jesus—1 Peter 2:22.] Sin is that which separates man from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). For a person to be saved, he first must have knowledge that he is a sinner, and as such stands in a lost condition. One of the reasons Jesus condemned certain Jewish priests, elders, and sects was because they did not admit their sinfulness after hearing the preaching of John the baptizer (Matthew 21:31-32)—though the tax collectors and harlots (i.e., sinners) did acknowledge their sin, and believed.
Second, the one who aspires to become a Christian must know something about Jesus—the One Who came to save us from our sins (Luke 19:10; John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8). A person does not have to know every one of Jesus’ parables, or be able to quote the Sermon on the Mount, but he must know that Jesus is the Son of God Who died and was raised so that all men might have their sins forgiven and live eternally with Him in heaven (Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:9). In other words, before becoming a Christian, a person must have heard the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Finally, the individual who aspires to become a child of God must realize there is something for him to do (cf. Acts 2:38; 16:30; 8:36). If one understands that the Bible says he must believe that Jesus is the Son of God (John 8:24), repent of his sins (Luke 13:3,5), confess that Jesus is God’s Son (Romans 10:10), and be baptized for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:38), he or she then possesses enough knowledge to put on Christ in baptism (Galatians 3:27) and become a Christian, being added by God to the church that Christ established (Acts 2:47; Matthew 16:18; Romans 16:16).
Contrary to the belief of some, a person who desires to become a Christian does not have to know the whole Bible thoroughly before he takes action. Nor is there a need to have every question imaginable answered. The Ethiopian eunuch heard one Christ-centered lesson from Philip before asking, “What hinders me from being baptized” (Acts 8:35-36)? The three thousand on Pentecost heard only one Gospel sermon before accepting the grace of God and obeying the plan of salvation (Acts 2:41). They did not wait around for years, thinking they were not knowledgeable enough to be followers of Christ. Rather, they were convinced of their sins (Acts 2:37), heard the Gospel, believed it, and obeyed it. It is after one becomes a Christian that God commands us a person to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18), and to continue to study the Word in order to teach others (Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 3:15).

From Mark Copeland... The Way Which They Call A Sect (Acts 24:14)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                The Way Which They Call A Sect (24:14)


1. We live in a religiously divided world...
   a. There are various world religions (Judaism, Islam, Christianity, 
      Hinduism, Buddhism)
   b. Each of those religions have many divisions within themselves
   c. Among so-called "Christianity" there are more than 38,000

2. New Testament Christians are opposed to denominationalism...
   a. Because Jesus prayed for unity among believers - Jn 17:20-23
   b. Because Paul condemned religious division - 1Co 1:10-13

[Yet despite efforts to be simply Christians, non-denominational in any
sense of the word, the world in which we live wants to define and
categorize every group of Christians as a denomination.  

When we disdain denominationalism and yet are viewed as a denomination,
what can we do?  Perhaps we can learn from how the apostle Paul handled
a similar situation in his day...]


      1. Paul was accused of being "a ringleader of the sect of the
         Nazarenes" - Ac 24:5
      2. In the beginning, many Gentiles and Jews considered Christians a
         sect of Judaism
      3. They were called "Nazarenes" by enemies because they followed 
         Jesus of Nazareth
      4. It was not a label the Christians used to describe themselves
      5. They considered themselves the promised fulfillment of Judaism,
         not another branch of it

      1. Collectively, followers of Jesus Christ were called by various
         a. The church of Christ, the church of God - Ro 16:16; 1Co 1:2
         b. The body of Christ, the kingdom of Christ - Ep 1:22,23; Col 1:13
         c. The temple of God, the bride of Christ - 1Co 3:16; Re 19:7-8
         -- Note that not one of these terms was used as some exclusive,
            official name   
      2. In the early days of the church, they were also known as people
         of "The Way"
         a. Saul of Tarsus persecuted those of "the Way" - Ac 9:2; 22:4
         b. Others spoke evil of "the Way" - Ac 19:9
         c. At Ephesus there was a riot about "the Way" - Ac 19:23
         d. Paul confessed to worship God according to "the Way" - Ac 24:14
         e. Felix the governor gained accurate knowledge about "the Way"
            - Ac 24:22
         -- Likely called "The Way" because they followed Jesus as the 
            Way - Jn 14:6

      1. It is interesting how Paul responded to being called a "sect" 
         - Ac 24:5
      2. He acknowledged that what his accusers called a sect was how he
         worshiped God - Ac 24:14
      3. Yet he did not feel it necessary to explain to those with a
         sectarian mindset how he was not a member of a sect
      4. Instead, he used the opportunity to confess his faith in the
         Scriptures and hope in God concerning the resurrection - Ac 24:14-16
      5. In other words, he focused his response on the gospel of Christ,
         rather than on their misconceptions about Christians being a 
         sect of Judaism

[Perhaps Paul's response can offer guidance on how Christians who are
non-denominational can respond to those who want to label us as a 


      1. There are thousand of churches of Christ around the world -
         Ro 16:16
      2. They are made up of disciples of Jesus, and are simply 
         Christians - Ac 11:26
      3. The congregations are autonomous and independent of one another
         - Ac 20:28; 1Pe 5:1-2
      4. They abide in the apostles' doctrine, using the New Testament as
         their guide in matters of worship, work, and organization - Ac 2:42
      5. Their goal is to abide in the doctrine of Christ, the faith once
         for all delivered to the saints - 2Jn 1:9; Jude 1:3
      6. Yet many in denominational churches view such churches as simply
         another denomination; e.g., the "Church of Christ" denomination
      7. This concerns many Christians, who do not want to be viewed as
         another denomination

      1. As indicated above there, there are various terms, not one
         exclusive name
      2. The expression "Church of God" is scriptural, but not expedient
         a. Sadly, more than 200 denominations use the term "Church of 
         b. Churches that use this expression are more than likely
      3. The expression "Church of Christ" has long been both scriptural
         and expedient
         a. It is often used by denominations to refer to the universal
         b. Churches that use this expression are more than likely
      4. But more and more, "Church of Christ" is used in a 
         denominational sense
         a. Certainly by those who are in a denomination themselves
         b. But also by churches of Christ who have adopted a 
            denominational mindset
      5. Thus today, many if not most say the "Church of Christ" is
         another denomination
      1. Some suggest churches use other designations to avoid being
         a. E.g., having the church sign say "Christians Meet Here"
         b. E.g., identifying ourselves simply as "The Church" (cf. The
            Church at Birmingham)
      2. Not that such would be unscriptural, but is it expedient?
         a. Like the sign of the fish in the first century, the term
            "Church of Christ" is still a more likely way to find New 
            Testament churches
         b. How long before people viewed us the "Christians Meet Here"
             denomination, or "The Church" denomination?
         c. In a world with a denominational mind-set, it is virtually 
            impossible not to be called or thought of as a denomination
      3. Why not consider the response of Paul in our text? - Ac 24:14
         a. He did not consider it necessary to explain how he was not a
            member of a sect
         b. Instead, he used the opportunity to proclaim his faith and 
            hope in God
         c. In fact, do we ever find Paul or others preaching about the 
            church in Acts?
         d. Instead, they proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ and the 
            proper response
         e. Once people obeyed the gospel, they received instructions as
            to what they were now as members of the body of Christ (i.e.,
            the church) - cf. Mt 28:20
         f. It is in the epistles that Christians learned about the
            identity, the work, the worship, and the organization of the


1. Living in a world filled with people with a denominational mindset...
   a. We need not worry so much about them viewing us another 
   b. Changing names (scriptural or otherwise) is not likely to make
      much difference

2. Our concern should be proclaiming the gospel of Christ and the kingdom
   of God...
   a. Calling people to respond to the gospel by submitting to the rule 
      of God in their lives
   b. Following up with apostolic teaching on the nature and design of 
      the Lord's church
   c. Making sure we understand that what others may call a denomination
      is truly the fulfillment of what Jesus meant when He said "I will 
      build My Church" - Mt 16:18

To paraphrase (actually, rephrase) the apostle Paul...

"But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a
denomination, so I serve Jesus Christ, believing all things which are
written in the Old and New Testaments."

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2013

From Gary... Bible Reading July 28

Bible Reading 

July 28

The World English Bible
July 28
2 chronicles 16-18

2Ch 16:1 In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not allow anyone to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.
2Ch 16:2 Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of Yahweh and of the king's house, and sent to Ben Hadad king of Syria, who lived at Damascus, saying,
2Ch 16:3 There is a league between me and you, as there was between my father and your father: behold, I have sent you silver and gold; go, break your league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.
2Ch 16:4 Ben Hadad listened to king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they struck Ijon, and Dan, and Abel Maim, and all the storage cities of Naphtali.
2Ch 16:5 It happened, when Baasha heard of it, that he left off building Ramah, and let his work cease.
2Ch 16:6 Then Asa the king took all Judah; and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and its timber, with which Baasha had built; and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah.
2Ch 16:7 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him, Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on Yahweh your God, therefore is the army of the king of Syria escaped out of your hand.
2Ch 16:8 Weren't the Ethiopians and the Lubim a huge army, with chariots and horsemen exceeding many? yet, because you relyed on Yahweh, he delivered them into your hand.
2Ch 16:9 For the eyes of Yahweh run back and forth throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein you have done foolishly; for from henceforth you shall have wars.
2Ch 16:10 Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in the prison; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. Asa oppressed some of the people at the same time.
2Ch 16:11 Behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
2Ch 16:12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet; his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he didn't seek Yahweh, but to the physicians.
2Ch 16:13 Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.
2Ch 16:14 They buried him in his own tombs, which he had dug out for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odors and various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumers' art: and they made a very great burning for him.
2Ch 17:1 Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place, and strengthened himself against Israel.
2Ch 17:2 He placed forces in all the fortified cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken.
2Ch 17:3 Yahweh was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and didn't seek the Baals,
2Ch 17:4 but sought to the God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.
2Ch 17:5 Therefore Yahweh established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat tribute; and he had riches and honor in abundance.
2Ch 17:6 His heart was lifted up in the ways of Yahweh: and furthermore he took away the high places and the Asherim out of Judah.
2Ch 17:7 Also in the third year of his reign he sent his princes, even Ben Hail, and Obadiah, and Zechariah, and Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah;
2Ch 17:8 and with them the Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, the Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, the priests.
2Ch 17:9 They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of Yahweh with them; and they went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught among the people.
2Ch 17:10 The fear of Yahweh fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat.
2Ch 17:11 Some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and silver for tribute; the Arabians also brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred male goats.
2Ch 17:12 Jehoshaphat grew great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles and cities of store.
2Ch 17:13 He had many works in the cities of Judah; and men of war, mighty men of valor, in Jerusalem.
2Ch 17:14 This was the numbering of them according to their fathers' houses: Of Judah, the captains of thousands: Adnah the captain, and with him mighty men of valor three hundred thousand;
2Ch 17:15 and next to him Jehohanan the captain, and with him two hundred eighty thousand;
2Ch 17:16 and next to him Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself to Yahweh; and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valor.
2Ch 17:17 Of Benjamin: Eliada a mighty man of valor, and with him two hundred thousand armed with bow and shield;
2Ch 17:18 and next to him Jehozabad and with him one hundred eighty thousand ready prepared for war.
2Ch 17:19 These were those who waited on the king, besides those whom the king put in the fortified cities throughout all Judah.
2Ch 18:1 Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance; and he joined affinity with Ahab.
2Ch 18:2 After certain years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. Ahab killed sheep and cattle for him in abundance, and for the people who were with him, and moved him to go up with him to Ramoth Gilead.
2Ch 18:3 Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Will you go with me to Ramoth Gilead? He answered him, I am as you are, and my people as your people; and we will be with you in the war.
2Ch 18:4 Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, Please inquire first for the word of Yahweh.
2Ch 18:5 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, Shall we go to Ramoth Gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? They said, Go up; for God will deliver it into the hand of the king.
2Ch 18:6 But Jehoshaphat said, Isn't there here a prophet of Yahweh besides, that we may inquire of him?
2Ch 18:7 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of Yahweh: but I hate him; for he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. Jehoshaphat said, Don't let the king say so.
2Ch 18:8 Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Get quickly Micaiah the son of Imla.
2Ch 18:9 Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, arrayed in their robes, and they were sitting in an open place at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them.
2Ch 18:10 Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron, and said, Thus says Yahweh, With these you shall push the Syrians, until they be consumed.
2Ch 18:11 All the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth Gilead, and prosper; for Yahweh will deliver it into the hand of the king.
2Ch 18:12 The messenger who went to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one mouth: let your word therefore, Please be like one of theirs, and speak good.
2Ch 18:13 Micaiah said, As Yahweh lives, what my God says, that will I speak.
2Ch 18:14 When he was come to the king, the king said to him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth Gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? He said, Go up, and prosper; and they shall be delivered into your hand.
2Ch 18:15 The king said to him, How many times shall I adjure you that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of Yahweh?
2Ch 18:16 He said, I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and Yahweh said, These have no master; let them return every man to his house in peace.
2Ch 18:17 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Didn't I tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?
2Ch 18:18 Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of Yahweh: I saw Yahweh sitting on his throne, and all the army of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.
2Ch 18:19 Yahweh said, 'Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth Gilead?' One spoke saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner.
2Ch 18:20 There came forth a spirit, and stood before Yahweh, and said, 'I will entice him.' Yahweh said to him, 'How?'
2Ch 18:21 He said, 'I will go forth, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' He said, 'You shall entice him, and shall prevail also: go forth, and do so.'
2Ch 18:22 Now therefore, behold, Yahweh has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets; and Yahweh has spoken evil concerning you."
2Ch 18:23 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and struck Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of Yahweh from me to speak to you?
2Ch 18:24 Micaiah said, Behold, you shall see on that day, when you shall go into an inner chamber to hide yourself.
2Ch 18:25 The king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son;
2Ch 18:26 and say, Thus says the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace.
2Ch 18:27 Micaiah said, If you return at all in peace, Yahweh has not spoken by me. He said, Hear, you peoples, all of you.
2Ch 18:28 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead.
2Ch 18:29 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and go into the battle; but you put on your robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went into the battle.
2Ch 18:30 Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.
2Ch 18:31 It happened, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they turned about to fight against him: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and Yahweh helped him; and God moved them to depart from him.
2Ch 18:32 It happened, when the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.
2Ch 18:33 A certain man drew his bow at a venture, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of the armor. Therefore he said to the driver of the chariot, Turn your hand, and carry me out of the army; for I am sore wounded.
2Ch 18:34 The battle increased that day: however the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even; and about the time of the going down of the sun he died.
Jul. 28, 29
Acts 17

Act 17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.
Act 17:2 Paul, as was his custom, went in to them, and for three Sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
Act 17:3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ."
Act 17:4 Some of them were persuaded, and joined Paul and Silas, of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and not a few of the chief women.
Act 17:5 But the unpersuaded Jews took along some wicked men from the marketplace, and gathering a crowd, set the city in an uproar. Assaulting the house of Jason, they sought to bring them out to the people.
Act 17:6 When they didn't find them, they dragged Jason and certain brothers before the rulers of the city, crying, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here also,
Act 17:7 whom Jason has received. These all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus!"
Act 17:8 The multitude and the rulers of the city were troubled when they heard these things.
Act 17:9 When they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.
Act 17:10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea. When they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue.
Act 17:11 Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
Act 17:12 Many of them therefore believed; also of the prominent Greek women, and not a few men.
Act 17:13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Beroea also, they came there likewise, agitating the multitudes.
Act 17:14 Then the brothers immediately sent out Paul to go as far as to the sea, and Silas and Timothy still stayed there.
Act 17:15 But those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens. Receiving a commandment to Silas and Timothy that they should come to him very quickly, they departed.
Act 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw the city full of idols.
Act 17:17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who met him.
Act 17:18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also were conversing with him. Some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Others said, "He seems to be advocating foreign deities," because he preached Jesus and the resurrection.
Act 17:19 They took hold of him, and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by you?
Act 17:20 For you bring certain strange things to our ears. We want to know therefore what these things mean."
Act 17:21 Now all the Athenians and the strangers living there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing.
Act 17:22 Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus, and said, "You men of Athens, I perceive that you are very religious in all things.
Act 17:23 For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I announce to you.
Act 17:24 The God who made the world and all things in it, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, doesn't dwell in temples made with hands,
Act 17:25 neither is he served by men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself gives to all life and breath, and all things.
Act 17:26 He made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the surface of the earth, having determined appointed seasons, and the boundaries of their dwellings,
Act 17:27 that they should seek the Lord, if perhaps they might reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
Act 17:28 'For in him we live, and move, and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also his offspring.'
Act 17:29 Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold, or silver, or stone, engraved by art and design of man.
Act 17:30 The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked. But now he commands that all people everywhere should repent,
Act 17:31 because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; of which he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead."
Act 17:32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, "We want to hear you again concerning this."
Act 17:33 Thus Paul went out from among them.
Act 17:34 But certain men joined with him, and believed, among whom also was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

From Gary... A little madness in the morning...


Not since Victor Borge have I seen such showmanship (showwomanship; is that a word ?)!!!  And with mostly classical music, no less!!!  So, my morning was brightened by some comedy, some talent and some surprise.  Then I thought of Solomon and how his indulgences (in excess) ruined his relationship with God. How is foreign wives enticed him away from the God of Heaven. And then there are these verses...

Ecclesiastes 2:1-2 NASB
(1)  I said to myself, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself." And behold, it too was futility.
(2)  I said of laughter, "It is madness," and of pleasure, "What does it accomplish?"
Take some time and view the link above, I did (twice)!!!  But, remember that pleasure is only one aspect of life and not its end; that is reserved for the Almighty!!!  And perhaps sometime you might just want to investigate the work of Victor Borge-- just don't laugh too much (because then you may just wonder if Solomon's madness has become yours)!!!!