From Jim McGuiggan... Earth's witness against hidden crimes

Earth's witness against hidden crimes

Pip, who had shown himself fickle and self-serving for so long before the eyes of people who had been good to him but who couldn't help noticing his character flaws, was now trying manfully to right great wrongs and was balancing a number of things that had to come together if he was to manage the complex situation. At a critical moment and in an isolated place he was captured by Orlick, a long time enemy, and the drunken man swore he was going to end Pip's life. Not only would he kill him, but since they were at a limekiln he would dispose of Pip entirely so that absolutely nothing of him would be found.

Having every reason to believe he was right on the brink of destruction Pip's mind raced through all the letters he had written, arrangements and promises he had made to make things right. Finally, when he had purposed to do what was right in the face of great danger and loss to himself, he was about to vanish and no one would know where he went.

I can't read this section in Great Expectations without thinking of the great wrongs of the ages. I can't help but think of the countless thousands of nameless men, women and children who were hurried to mass graves by heartless brutes, of vanished children taken by unknown predators and lie where no one knows and the voiceless millions in past generations that went down to unmarked graves with no one to speak for them. The vanished people! Taken in the night and hidden in the rivers and seas, in dark tunnels and deep pits or in weed-covered ditches. The hidden people; dragged to lime pits and ploughed under in fields or herded off to secret prisons—all out of sight. The powerful of all the ages, of all the countries, of all the cities and towns and villages, who used and use that power to treat people like animals, butchering their bodies and minds—these will meet God one day! (Does the thought of this not show this "give me ALL my 'rights' right now" spirit in a different light?)

There is a day coming when all wrongs will be righted! Prophets of OT and NT speak of judgment when slayers will run to the rocks and caves and mountains—anywhere in creation—and beg to be hidden (Revelation 6:16 and Isaiah 2:10-21) but the creation will not heed them. As surely as the ground cried out with the blood of Abel in it so will the earth uncover all its dead and refuse to hide the ruthless and brutal. It will give up its dead; those the brutal and heartless were sure were gone forever, and those silent rivers and seas and rocks and fields that the ruthless used as secret graves will witness against them. As surely as the land vomited out the impenitent transgressors (Leviticus 18:25, 28) so will it refuse to be a refuge on that day for those sly and cruel gutless wonders who make mortar out of human bones. Nina Simone (and others) sings this truth for us in the traditional: Sinnerman.

O Sinnerman where you gonna run to?
Sinnerman where you gonna run to?
Where you gonna run to
All on that day.
Well I run to the rocks
Please hide me
I run to the rocks
Please hide me
I run to the rocks, please hide me Lord
All on that day
But the rock cried out I can't hide you
The rock cried out I can't hide you
The rock cried out I ain't gonna hide you
All on that day.
So I run to the river it was bleedin'
I run to the sea it was bleedin'
I run to the sea it was bleedin
All on that day.
So I run to the river it was boilin'
I run to the sea it was boilin'
I run to the sea it was boilin'
All on that day.
So I run to the Lord
Please hide me Lord
Don't you see me prayin'
Don't you see me down here prayin'
But the Lord said go to the Devil
The Lord said go to the Devil
He said go to the Devil
All on that day.

The Judge of all the earth will do right! He will do right not only in regard to the predators; he will do right about their voiceless and defenceless prey.
Think noble things of God!

Was Peter the First Pope? by Moisés Pinedo


Was Peter the First Pope?

by  Moisés Pinedo

Many advocates of petrine tradition will argue that Peter was appointed the “first pope.” Consider some of the arguments that are presented in favor of this assertion.

Argument #1: Peter received the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16:19).

With this statement Catholicism argues that Peter was granted supreme power or authority over the church. Although the context in Matthew supports no such interpretation, people of various religions agree that Peter was granted “something special” that was given to no other apostle. This “something” has often been misinterpreted.
We need to understand what “kingdom of heaven” means. Some people have suggested that it refers to heaven itself, and thus, they have represented Peter as the one who allows or prevents access into the eternal reward. But this interpretation is inconceivable since it finds itself in clear opposition to the context of this passage. Reading Matthew 16:18, we understand that the subject under discussion is not heaven itself, but the church. Therefore, Jesus spoke of the church as being the kingdom of heaven. This is shown not only in the context of Matthew 16:18, but it also is taught in many other passages throughout the New Testament (e.g., Mark 9:1; Colossians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; Hebrews 12:28).
Further, we need to understand the nature of the “keys” given to Peter. H. Leo Boles wrote, “To use the keys was to open the door or give the terms of entrance into the kingdom of God” (1952, p. 348). In other words, because of Peter’s confession about Jesus (Matthew 16:16), Jesus gave him the privilege of being the first man to tell lost souls how to become Christians and thus become part of the Lord’s church. Barnes put it this way:
When the Saviour says, therefore, he will give to Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, he means that he will make him the instrument of opening the door of faith to the world—the first to preach the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles (2005a, p. 171, italics in orig.).
There is no doubt that the “keys” represent the opportunities Peter would have to welcome the world, for the very first time, to the Christian age and to the kingdom of heaven—the church.
Also, we need to know when Peter used the “keys.” Jesus’ declaration was in a prophetic form. Peter would have the opportunity to open the doors of the church in the future. The Bible clearly shows us the fulfillment of this prophecy in Acts 2. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit like the other apostles (2:4), stood and gave the first recorded Gospel sermon after the resurrection of Jesus (2:14-38). It was at that moment when Jesus’ words were fulfilled. Because of the preaching of Peter and the other apostles, 3,000 Jews (cf. 2:5) were baptized into Christ and entered through the open doors of the church (2:41-47). However, the church would be composed not only of Jews, but also Gentiles. Acts 10 tells us that Peter opened the doors of the church to the Gentiles, in the same way he opened the doors of the church to the Jews. This was the “special something” given to Peter because of his confession—the privilege of being the first to preach the Gospel (after the resurrection of Christ) to both the Jews and the Gentiles.
Peter opened the doors of the church, and since then the doors of the church have remained open. Only Peter received this privilege. Jesus said, “I will give you [Peter] the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19, emp. added). There are no individuals, such as popes, opening and closing the doors of the church.

Argument #2: Peter received the power of binding and loosing (Matthew 16:19).

With this argument Catholicism affirms two things concerning Peter: (1) that he received the authority to forgive sins; and (2) that Jesus considered anything Peter would do with His church as approved, authoritative, and good. In other words, Jesus gave him the gift of “infallibility.”
In order to analyze what Jesus said about Peter, we must take into account that the context of Matthew 16:19 is linked to the subject of the church, and not to the forgiveness of sins or the concession of some kind of infallibility about doctrinal matters. A biblical text that can help us understand Matthew 16:19 is Matthew 18:18, where Jesus made the same promise to all His apostles. He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Of this text, Boles has noted, “This is the same thought as in Matt. 16:19. This shows that it has a broader application than that of the discipline of an erring brother. The Holy Spirit would guide the apostles in their instruction to the erring brother and the church” (1952, p. 377, emp. added). In His declaration in Matthew 16:19, Jesus affirmed that the conditions of the Christian system that Peter and the other apostles would expound already had been required by Heaven.
The Greek grammar of these verses sheds more light on the meaning of Jesus’ statement. A.T. Robertson noted that “[t]he passive perfect future occurs in the N.T. only in the periphrastic form in such examples as Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18” (1934, p. 361). Therefore, the text should read, “whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.” By saying this, Jesus declared that resolutions made on Earth were subject to decisions made in heaven. The apostles would preach in accordance with what was already bound or loosed in heaven. This was based not on the infallibility of a man, but on the infallibility of the Holy Spirit promised to the apostles in the first century (John 16:13; cf. Matthew 10:19-20). Today we have the inspired, infallible teachings of the Holy Spirit recorded for us in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Jesus never established Peter as a pope. The titles “Pope,” “Universal Bishop,” “Earthly Head of the Church,” “Pontiff,” and others never came from the mouth of Jesus to describe Peter. Regardless of the privileges given to Peter, his authority and rights were the same authority and rights given to the other apostles of the Lord (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:1-5; 12:28; 2 Corinthians 11:5; 12:11; Galatians 2:8).


If Peter was not the first pope, then the question becomes, “Who was Peter?” Was he equal to the other apostles, or did he deserve a position of supremacy among the others? The arguments that establish Peter’s identity may be presented as follows.

Argument #1: Peter was only a man.

Although this declaration is obvious to many, sometimes its implications are overlooked. When Cornelius lay prostrate before Peter (cf. Acts 10:25), he told him, “Stand up; I too am just a man” (Acts 10:26, NASB). With this statement Peter implied three very important points: (a) that he was “too...a man”—that is to say, a man just like Cornelius; (b) that he was “a man”—that is to say, just like all men; and (c) that he was “just a man”—that is to say that he was not God, and ultimately was unworthy of worship. Peter, with all humility, understood that his human nature prevented him from accepting worship. On the other hand, the pope, being just a man like Peter, expects men to bow before him, kiss his feet, and revere him, thus receiving worship that does not belong to him. What a difference between Peter and his alleged successors! Not even God’s angels allow men to show adoration by kneeling before them (Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9). One can only be astonished at the tremendous audacity of one who usurps the place that belongs only to God!

Argument #2: Peter was an apostle with the same authority and rights as the other apostles.

On one occasion, the apostles of the Lord were arguing about who was the greatest among them (Luke 22:24), so Jesus told them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them.... But not so among you” (Luke 22:25-26, emp. added; cf. Matthew 18:1-5; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 9:46-48). Jesus never would have made this comment if Peter had more authority and rights than the other apostles as Catholicism suggests. In fact, if Peter was to be considered more honorable than the other apostles, this would have been the opportune time to clarify this point to the rest of the apostles who were “hungry for another’s glory.” However, Jesus assured them that this would not be the case among His apostles.
On another occasion, the mother of John and James came before Jesus with them, asking Him to allow her two sons to sit by Him in His kingdom, one on the right and the other on the left (Matthew 20:20-21). Jesus pointed out that they did not know what they were asking (Matthew 20:22), and added, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them.... Yet it shall not be so among you” (Matthew 20:25-26, emp. added). If Jesus considered Peter as greater than the other disciples, He could have clarified the issue immediately by telling Zebedee’s wife and sons that they were asking for an honor already given to Peter. But, He did not do that. Today it seems that many religious people want to make it so, and exalt Peter above the other apostles, in spite of what Jesus said.
Many Catholics try to justify their claim that Peter was the first pope by affirming that he was the greatest of the apostles. They declare that Peter was greater because: (1) he always is mentioned first in the lists of the apostles (e.g., Matthew 10:2; Mark 3:16; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13); (2) he was the apostle who recognized Jesus as Lord in Matthew 16:16; and (3) Jesus told him to care for His sheep (John 21:15-19). Are these arguments sufficient for establishing the papacy or supremacy for Peter? No. Consider the case for any other apostle. For example, it could be said that John was the “greatest” of the apostles because: (1) in the Bible he is referred to as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 21:20,24); (2) he rested on Jesus’ bosom just before His arrest (John 13:25; 21:20)—certainly a posture that suggests a close relationship; and (3) Jesus charged him with the responsibility of caring for His mother (John 19:26-27). Does this mean that we also should consider John as a pope? If not, should we consider Peter as a pope when all of the apostles had the same authority and their own privileges? Indeed, Jesus gave all of His disciples, not just Peter, authority (Matthew 28:19-20).
Finally, consider the words of Paul. He said: “[F]or in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing” (2 Corinthians 12:11). From this verse, we conclude that Paul was inferior to none of the apostles, and that Peter was neither lesser nor greater than Paul.

Argument #3: Peter was an apostle who had the same power as the other apostles.

Some religious people have spread the myth that Peter possessed more miraculous power than the other apostles, and that, therefore, he was greater than the rest. Yet, Matthew 17:14-21 presents the account of an epileptic boy who was brought to the disciples of Jesus (including Peter), but they could not heal him. If Peter had a power that was “more effective” than the other apostles’ power, he should have been able to perform this miracle. However, the boy was healed only after he was taken to Jesus. Jesus then reprimanded all the apostles for their lack of faith.
Near the end of His ministry, Jesus promised all of His disciples that “he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do” (John 14:12). In Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit came with power, He empowered not only Peter, but also the rest of the apostles (vss. 1-4). This is confirmed when we read that “fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles” (Acts 2:43, emp. added). There is no doubt that the apostle Peter was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, but that power also was manifested in the rest of the apostles and was never grounds for considering one apostle as being superior to another.

Argument #4: Peter was a man who made mistakes.

Peter committed many mistakes just as any other person. The New Testament records that he: (a) doubted Jesus (Matthew 14:28-31); (b) acted impulsively against his fellow man (John 18:10-11); (c) denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-18,25-27); (d) was overwhelmed by his failure (John 21:3); and (e) acted hypocritically before the church (Galatians 2:11-21; Paul “withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed”—a confrontation that would have been considered insolent if Peter was the “head of the church”). We should not belittle Peter, but we must understand that Peter, like all servants of God, had his faults and should never be considered greater than the other apostles, or any other Christian (cf. Matthew 11:11).


Neither Jesus, nor the apostles, nor the early Christians considered Peter as superior to the other apostles. He was simply a man privileged to be part of the apostolic ministry and a member of the body of Christ, which is the church. There is only one Head of the church, and that Head is Jesus Christ, not Peter (Ephesians 1:20-22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18; et al.).


Barnes, Albert (2005), Notes on the New Testament: Matthew and Mark (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Boles, H. Leo (1952), The Gospel According to Matthew (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Robertson, A.T. (1934), A Grammar of The Greek New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press).

From Mark Copeland... Saul Of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-19; 22:6-16; 26:12-18)

                   "CONVERSIONS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS"

               Saul Of Tarsus (9:1-19; 22:6-16; 26:12-18)


1. From the conversion of "The Ethiopian Eunuch", we now turn our
   attention to what is perhaps the most famous of conversions in the
   New Testament...
   a. The conversion of Saul of Tarsus, chief persecutor of the early
      church - Ac 8:1,3; 9:1-2
   b. Who became Paul the apostle (Ac 13:9), a recipient himself of
      much persecution for the cause of Christ - cf. 2Co 11:23-28
   -- Whose conversion stands as a powerful testimony to the 
      resurrection of Jesus Christ

2. There are actually three records of his conversion in The Book of
   a. Ac 9:1-19 - where Luke describes it as it happened
   b. Ac 22:6-16 - where Paul recounts his conversion before a large
   c. Ac 26:12-18 - where Paul defends himself before King Agrippa

3. From the example of the conversion of "Saul of Tarsus"...
   a. We find not only a powerful testimony to the resurrection of 
      Jesus Christ
   b. But also more evidence concerning the nature of conversions as
      they are revealed in The Book of Acts

4. For example...
   a. When was Saul (Paul) saved?
      1) Was it on the road to Damascus, when the Lord appeared to him?
      2) Or was it in Damascus, at some point after he arrived there?
   b. How was Saul (Paul) saved?
      1) Through saying a sinner's prayer?
      2) Or by being baptized?

[Such questions can be answered by a careful consideration of Biblical
evidence. Let's begin with a review of the evidence provided by all 
three accounts of Saul's conversion...]

      1. To persecute more Christians - Ac 9:1-2; 22:4-5; 26:9-11
      2. When a light shone around him from heaven - Ac 9:3; 22:6; 
      3. When a voice began to speak to him in Hebrew...
         a. Identifying itself as the voice of Jesus - Ac 9:4-5; 
            22:7-9; 26:14-15
         b. Jesus then tells Saul...
            1) Why He has appeared to him - Ac 26:16-18
            2) To go on to Damascus, where...
               a) He will be told "what you must do" - Ac 9:6
               b) He will be told "all things which are appointed for
                  you to do" - Ac 22:10
      1. Led by the hand, having been blinded by the light - Ac 9:8;
      2. For three days, he neither eats nor drinks - Ac 9:9
      1. The Lord appears to Ananias in a vision, and tells him to go
         to Saul - Ac 9:10-16
      2. Ananias goes to Saul, and...
         a. Has his sight restored - Ac 9:17-18a; 22:12-13
         b. Is told why the Lord appeared to him and how he will be a
            witness of what he has seen - Ac 22:14-15
         c. Is told to be baptized and wash away his sins, calling upon
            the name of the Lord - Ac 22:16; cf. 9:18b

      1. Preaching immediately in Damascus - Ac 9:20
      2. And later in Jerusalem, Judea, and to the Gentiles - Ac 26:
[As mentioned previously, the conversion of Saul is a powerful 
testimony to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  What other reasonable
explanation can be given for the drastic change from "chief persecutor"
of the Christian faith to "chief proclamator" of the Christian faith?

But the conversion of Saul is also valuable for the insights we can
glean into the process of conversion.  With that in mind, allow me to


      1. It is often stated that Saul was saved on the road to Damascus
         a. When the Lord appeared to him
         b. That his conversion took place at that moment
      2. Saul was not saved until after he arrived in Damascus
         a. Note that while on the road, the Lord said it would be in
            Damascus where he would be told "what you must do" - Ac 9:6
         b. In Damascus, Ananias told him to "wash away your sins" 
            - Ac 22:16
            1) At that point, Saul was still in his sins!
            2) I.e., he was still not saved!
      -- While in one sense he was indeed "converted" on the road (his
         view of Jesus certainly changed), conversion in the sense of
         salvation did not occur until after he arrived in Damascus

      1. From the statement of Ananias in Ac 22:16 (to wash away his
         sins), we learn that:
         a. Saul was not saved by virtue of the vision on the road
         b. Saul was not saved by virtue of the prayers and fasting he
            had offered for three days - cf. Ac 9:9,11
      2. Saul was saved when his sins were "washed away" - Ac 22:16
         a. Which occurred after spending three days in Damascus
         b. Which occurred when he was baptized to wash away his sins!
         -- This concurs with what Peter said about the purpose of
            baptism in Ac 2:38

      1. After quoting Joel who wrote of calling upon the name of the
         Lord to be saved (Ac 2:21), Peter told his crowd to be 
         baptized - Ac 2:38
      2. Now Ananias commands Saul to be baptized, "calling upon the
         name of the Lord" - Ac 22:16
      3. As Peter wrote, baptism saves us, and is an appeal for a clear
         conscience - 1Pe 3:21
      4. In baptism, then...
         a. We are "calling upon the name of the Lord"
         b. We are appealing to God by the authority of His Son Jesus
            to forgive our sins
      5. While we can certainly pray as we are being baptized, baptism
         itself is a prayer (an appeal) to God for a clear conscience!

1. From the conversion of Saul we learn that one is not saved by...
   a. Visions of the Lord (who could have a vision more impressive than
   b. Saying the sinner's prayer (Saul had been praying and fasting for
      three days!)

2. In keeping with what we have seen already, one is saved when...
   a. They are baptized for the remission of their sins - Ac 2:38
   b. They are baptized to have their sins "washed away" - Ac 22:16

3. Of course, we learn from Paul's discourse in Romans 6 that the 
   simple rite of baptism is efficacious because in baptism...
   a. We are baptized into Christ's death - Ro 6:3-4
   b. We are united with Christ in the likeness of His death - Ro 6:5
   c. We are crucified with Christ, and our body of sin is done away 
      - Ro 6:6
   d. We die to sin, and are therefore freed from sin - Ro 6:7
   -- Of course, such baptism is conditioned upon faith and God's 
      working - Ac 8:36-37; Col 2:12

4. In his commentary on Ro 6:3, Martin Luther wrote:

   "Baptism has been instituted that it should lead us to the
   blessings (of this death) and through such death to eternal
   life. Therefore IT IS NECESSARY that we should be baptized
   into Jesus Christ and His death." (Commentary On Romans, 
   Kregel Publications, p. 101)

And so we say, as did Ananias, to anyone who has yet to be baptized for
the remission of their sins...

   "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash 
   away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord."

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40)

                   "CONVERSIONS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                     The Ethiopian Eunuch (8:26-40)


1. The conversions we have noted so far have involved large numbers of
   a. The 3000 at Pentecost - Ac 2:1-41
   b. The 2000 on Solomon's Porch - Ac 3:1-4:4
   c. The multitudes in Samaria - Ac 8:5-13

2. In each case, the gospel message was basically the same...
   a. Christ is proclaimed
   b. Responses called for included faith, repentance and baptism

3. Now we have the opportunity to examine the conversion of just one 
   a. A queen's treasurer, a eunuch from Ethiopia
   b. A very religious man, who had traveled a great distance to 
      worship God

4. With the account of the conversion of "The Ethiopian Eunuch"...
   a. We not only have the opportunity to confirm what we have already
   b. We can also glean a few more points regarding Biblical 

[Let's start with a reading and review of the basic facts related to
this conversion...]


      1. An angel of the Lord tells Philip to go toward Gaza - Ac 8:26
      2. On the way there is a man sitting in his chariot - Ac 8:27-28
         a. A eunuch of Ethiopia, in charge of the treasury of Queen 
         b. Returning home from having gone to worship in Jerusalem
         c. Reading from the prophet Isaiah
      3. The Spirit tells Philip to overtake the chariot - Ac 8:29

      1. Hearing the eunuch reading Isaiah, Philip asks if he 
         understands - Ac 8:30
      2. The eunuch asks Philip to help him - Ac 8:31-34
         a. He expresses a need for someone to guide him, and invites 
            Philip to sit with him
         b. The scripture under consideration is Isa 53:7-8
            1) Which speaks of one led as a sheep to the slaughter
            2) Which describes one whose life is taken from the earth
         c. The eunuch asks if Isaiah was speaking of himself, or of 
            someone else
      3. Beginning with that Scripture, Philip preaches Jesus to him 
         - Ac 8:35

      1. The eunuch expresses a desire to be baptized - Ac 8:36-37
         a. Seeing some water along the way, he wonders what would 
            hinder him from being baptized
         b. Philip replies that if he believes with all his heart, he
         c. The eunuch confesses his faith in Jesus as the Son of God
      2. Philip baptizes the eunuch - Ac 8:38-40
         a. Stopping the chariot, both Philip and the eunuch go down 
            into the water
         b. Philip then baptizes him
         c. When they come up out of the water, the Spirit catches 
            Philip away
         d. Though seeing Philip no more, the eunuch goes on his way
         e. Philip is found at Azotus, and continues preaching in the
            cities until he arrives at Caesarea

[One might properly wonder why the Spirit saw it fit to lead Luke to
spend so much time describing the conversion of just one person.  
Clearly there must be important lessons or principles that we can glean
from this historical account.

With that in mind, let me offer..]


      1. The Ethiopian eunuch was a very religious man
         a. He had traveled a great distance to worship in Jerusalem
         b. He was reading from the Scriptures when Philip found him
      2. In fact, most examples of conversions involved very devout 
         a. The 3000 at Pentecost, who had traveled to observe the 
            feast day
         b. Later, we will study the conversions of such people as:
            1) Paul, the Pharisee zealous for the Law
            2) Cornelius, the devout Gentile who feared God and prayed
            3) Lydia, a woman who met every Sabbath to pray with others
      3. From this we can glean the following...
         a. Just because one is religious does not mean they are saved!
         b. Religious people are often good prospects for the gospel!
            1) They already fear God and respect His authority
            2) As such, they simply need to be shown "the way of God
               more accurately" - cf. Ac 18:26
         c. Those who are truly seeking God's will, will one day have
            an opportunity to hear the gospel and obey it!
      -- This does not discount the fact that rank sinners are often 
         receptive (cf. the Corinthians, 1Co 6:9-11), but good people
         are usually more open to the Word
      1. From Isaiah's "quotation" (Isa 52:13-53:11), we know it 
         involves teaching:
         a. How Jesus died for our sins - cf. 1Co 15:1-3
         b. How Jesus has been exalted by God - cf. Ac 2:36; 3:13; 
      2. From the Eunuch's "question" (Ac 8:36), we know it includes
         a. The importance of baptism
            1) Why did the eunuch ask, "What hinders me from being 
            2) Perhaps because Philip told him...
               a) What the Lord had said - Mk 16:15-16
               b) The purpose of baptism, as expressed by Peter and 
                  Paul - Ac 2:38; Ro 6:3-4; 1Pe 3:21
            -- As we have seen and will see, baptism is the expected
               response when one believes in Jesus
         b. The immediacy of baptism
            1) Why did the eunuch asked to be baptized right then
               ("See, here is water.")?
            2) Perhaps because baptism's purpose is such that one does
               not want to delay
               a) It is "for the remission of sins" - Ac 2:38
               b) It is to have one's sins "washed away" - Ac 22:16
               c) It is an appeal for a clear conscience - 1Pe 3:21
            -- Indeed, in every example of conversion found in Acts,
               people were baptized immediately, after just one lesson!
      3. From Philip's "qualification" (Ac 8:37), we know it requires
         a. The necessity of faith in Jesus
            1) One must believe in Jesus as the Son of God - Jn 8:24;
            2) Without faith, God won't do His work in our baptism
               - cf. Col 2:12
         b. The necessity of whole-heartedness in our faith
            1) God has always required whole-heartedness - cf. Mt 22:37
            2) Without it, even those saved are in danger of falling
               away - cf. He 3:12-14
         -- Unless "you believe with all your heart", you are not a
            proper subject for baptism!

      1. We see that baptism involves water
         a. When the eunuch was baptized...
            1) "...both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water"
               - Ac 8:38
            2) "...he baptized him" - Ac 8:38
            3) "...they came up out of the water" - Ac 8:39
         b. Later, we see the same truth expressed by Peter - cf. Ac 10:47-48
      2. We see that baptism involves a burial in water
         a. Both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water - Ac 8:38
            1) If sprinkling satisfies the meaning of baptism, it seems
               strange that Philip would need to go down into the water
            2) Why get wet, when all he needed to do was get a handful
               of water?
         b. Baptism means "to immerse", and such requires the baptizer
            to get in the water with the one being baptized
         c. Later, Paul describes baptism as a "burial" - cf. Ro 6:3-4;
            Col 2:12
      3. We see that baptism is NOT a public confession of one's faith
         a. Some say that the purpose of baptism is to publicly confess
            one's faith in Christ
            1) Especially those who deny that baptism is for the 
               remission of sins
            2) Seeking to provide a reason for baptism, they offer this
               as an alternative
            3) But the Bible nowhere says this is the purpose for 
         b. If the purpose of baptism is to publicly confess one's 
            1) Why did Philip baptize the eunuch?
               a) There was no one else around to witness the baptism
               b) They were all alone in the desert
            2) Why didn't Philip answer the eunuch's question 
               a) He wanted to know what would hinder him from being 
               b) If baptism is a public confession of one's faith, we
                  would expect Philip to say he must wait until they 
                  get to town, find a church, etc.
         c. But the purpose of baptism is such that it can be done...
            1) In public or in private
            2) With thousands present, or with just the one doing the
         -- Later, we will see that the conversion of the Philippian 
            Jailor also involved a baptism in relative privacy


1. With the conversion of "The Ethiopian Eunuch", we are impressed 
   with the simplicity of salvation...
   a. With a simple presentation of the gospel, one can be saved after
      just one lesson
   b. Whether it is preached to large crowds or to just one person, the
      gospel is indeed God's power to save! - cf. Ro 1:16

2. When the gospel of Jesus is truly preached...
   a. The death of Jesus for our sins will be stressed
   b. The importance of baptism as commanded by Jesus will be mentioned
      as well
      1) Such that people will want to know "what hinders me from being
      2) Such that people will want to baptized immediately
   c. The purpose of baptism will be properly understood, knowing that
      one can be baptized in private just as well as in public
   d. The necessity for a whole-hearted faith in Jesus will be 
      emphasized, otherwise one simply gets wet in baptism!

Was your conversion anything like that of "The Ethiopian Eunuch"? When
someone "preached Jesus" to you, were you compelled to ask:

 "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" - Acts 8:36

If not, have you considered why not?  Could it be that the gospel of 
Jesus Christ was not shared with you in its fullness...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Samaritans (Acts 8:4-25)

                   "CONVERSIONS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                        The Samaritans (8:4-25)


1. With the preaching of the gospel and its reception by many, the 
   Lord's church grew rapidly in Jerusalem...
   a. 3000 souls were added after the first gospel sermon - Ac 2:41
   b. Following the second sermon, the number grew to about 5000
      - Ac 4:4

2. What was the gospel message that sparked the conversion of so many?
   a. One that centered on Jesus Christ, proclaiming His death, 
      resurrection, exaltation, and eventual return!
   b. A message that expected the following response from those who 
      1) Faith in Jesus as both Lord and Christ - e.g., Ac 2:36
      2) Repentance from sin - e.g., Ac 2:38; 3:19
      3) Turning to God, with baptism for the remission of sins as the
         first step - e.g., Ac 2:38,41; 3:19

3. Preaching this message was not without controversy...
   a. Some took issue with the message of Christ's resurrection 
      - Ac 4:1-3
   b. Persecution against the church in Jerusalem became progressively
      1) Peter and John were at first simply threatened - Ac 4:21
      2) Soon after all the apostles were beaten - Ac 5:40
      3) Then Steven was stoned to death - Ac 6:8-7:60
   c. Steven's death led to widespread persecution, and the dispersal 
      of many Christians from Jerusalem - Ac 8:1-3

4. But as Christians were scattered abroad, so was the gospel!
   a. The Christians went everywhere, "preaching the word" - Ac 8:4
   b. Among those was the evangelist Philip, whose preaching provides
      us with two examples of conversion
      1) "The Samaritans" - Ac 8:4-25
      2) "The Ethiopian Eunuch" - Ac 8:26-40

[In this study, we shall examine "The Samaritans", whose example of
conversion and follow-up is one of the more challenging ones found in
the Acts...]


      1. He preached Christ to them - Ac 8:5
      2. Multitudes heeded the things he spoke - Ac 8:6a-12
         a. Having heard and seen the miracles which he did
            1) Such as casting out unclean spirits, healing the
               paralyzed and lame
            2) Though previously they had been impressed by a sorcerer
               named Simon
         b. They believed Philip as he preached about the kingdom of
            God and the name of Jesus Christ
         c. They were baptized, both men and women
      3. Even Simon the sorcerer was converted - Ac 8:13
         a. He too believed and was baptized
         b. He continued with Philip, amazed at the miracles and signs
            Philip was doing

      1. The apostles sent Peter and John upon hearing of the
         conversion of the Samaritans - Ac 8:14
      2. Peter and John imparted the Spirit to the Samaritans - Ac 8:
         a. While the Samaritans had been baptized, they had not
            received the Spirit
         b. Through prayer and the laying on of the apostles' hands,
            they received the Spirit
      3. This power to impart the Spirit became a stumblingblock for
         Simon - Ac 8:18-24
         a. He sought to buy the ability to impart the Spirit - Ac 8:
         b. Peter rebukes him strongly, and calls upon him to repent
            - Ac 8:20-23
         c. Simon asks Peter to pray for him - Ac 8:24
      4. Peter and John preached the gospel in many villages in Samaria
         on their return to Jerusalem - Ac 8:25

[The example of the Samaritans' is really quite remarkable, and for 
several reasons. This is the first preaching of the gospel to those not
fully Jews (Samaritans were half-breeds, and disdained by most Jews; 
cf. Jn 4:9). But also because of the questions that are raised, some
of which I hope to address as I offer...]


      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) I.e., the same things Peter preached about Christ in 
               Acts 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
               -- As the expression "kingdom of God" literally means 
                  the "reign of God", 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) Most likely that repentance and remission of sins 
                  were now being proclaimed in His name - Lk 24:47
               b) And from the response of the Samaritans, we conclude
                  that included whatever Jesus commanded - cf. Ac 8:12
                  with Mk 16:16
      2. The response of the Samaritans
         a. Note first that they "heeded the things spoken by Philip",
            implying obedience on their part - Ac 8:6; cf. He 5:9
         b. Later we are told that they "believed" and "were baptized"
            - Ac 8:12
            1) Like Peter, Philip faithfully fulfilled the Lord's 
               commission - Mk 16:15-16
            2) Heeding the things spoken by Philip therefore included

      1. Was Simon truly converted?
         a. Many deny that he was, because of what happened afterward
         b. But Luke (the author) says Simon "also believed"
            1) I.e., he believed just as the others did
            2) Therefore his faith was just as real as the rest of the
         c. While there may be many fanciful traditions concerning 
            Simon outside of the Bible, the indication of Scripture is
            that his conversion was sincere
      2. Simon is an example of how fallen Christians can be restored
         a. He was 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
      -- Simon reveals how quickly Christians can be overtaken in sin,
         but also how they can obtain forgiveness and be restored!

      1. Many questions are raised by what we read...
         a. Why is it that the Samaritan's received baptism by Philip,
            but not the Spirit?
         b. What does it mean "that they might receive the Holy 
         c. What did the apostles have that Philip did not?
         -- The challenge is to reconcile what we read here with what
            is revealed elsewhere
      2. As I seek to understand this passage, the following 
         observations are made...
         a. Whatever Luke meant to "receive the Holy Spirit"...
            1) It required the apostles' laying on of hands
               a) Philip could not impart it, making it necessary for
                  the apostles to come
               b) Simon could see that it was through the apostles' 
                  laying on of hands the Spirit was given - Ac 8:18
            2) It was something visible or audible
               a) It caught Simon's attention, who sought to buy the 
                  ability to impart it
               b) It was clearly something miraculous (perhaps speaking
                  in tongues)
            -- But was it actually the Spirit Himself, or something the
               Spirit gives?
         b. Elsewhere we learn that one receives the Spirit upon 
            obedience to the Gospel
            1) As indicated in Ac 2:38; 5:32; 1Co 12:13; Ep 1:13-14;
               Ga 4:6
            2) Whose indwelling is necessary to being a Christian - Ro 8:9-11
            -- Since the Samaritans had been baptized (Ac 8:12,16), I
               believe it is fair to assume that they had received the
               Spirit Himself as any Christian would
      3. Therefore I offer the following explanation...
         a. The expression "receive the Holy Spirit" is a metonymy for
            receiving a miraculous gift from the Spirit
            1) Metonymy - A figure of speech in which one word or 
               phrase is substituted for another with which it is 
               closely associated
            2) E.g., as in Washington for the United States government
               or of the sword for military power
            -- What the Samaritans had not received, then, were any 
               miraculous spiritual gifts that the Spirit bestowed 
               - cf. 1Co 12:1-11
         b. The apostles had the ability to impart spiritual gifts
            1) Paul hoped to impart such a gift to the Romans - Ro 1:11
            2) He had imparted such a gift to Timothy - 2Ti 1:6
         c. The ability to impart spiritual gifts was limited to the 
            apostles, which explains:
            1) Why Philip could perform miracles, but not pass the 
               ability on to others
               a) The apostles had laid hands on him earlier - Ac 6:5-6
               b) Like Steven, Philip could then do miracles - Ac 6:7;
            2) Why it was necessary for Peter and John to come
               a) If spiritual gifts came simply by praying, why send 
                  for Peter and John?
               b) It took an apostle for the spiritual gifts to be 
         d. It was this ability to impart spiritual gifts that Simon 
            wanted to buy!
            1) He was not content to receive a spiritual gift
            2) He wanted that apostolic ability to impart spiritual
               gifts! - Ac 8:19


1. The conversion of the Samaritans is simple and straightforward...
   a. We learn that when Christ is preached, believed, and heeded,
      people will be baptized - cf. Ac 8:5-6,12
   b. What we read in verse 12 is as simple and direct as the
      commission under which Philip preached:

      "But when they believed Philip as he preached the things
      concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ,
      both men and women were baptized." - Ac 8:12

      "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved" - Mk 16:16

2. The follow-up of the Samaritans may be challenging...
   a. It has been described as one of the most extraordinary passages
      in Acts
      1) It has been used to teach all sorts of conflicting doctrine
         related to confirmation, sanctification, and spiritual gifts
      2) We must be careful not to draw conclusions that are contrary
         to the rest of the Scriptures
   b. But we can still glean important lessons concerning conversion
      1) Conversion requires that one "heed" (obey) the Word of God
      2) Such obedience involves believing and being baptized
      3) Conversion does not remove the temptation to sin
      4) When we fall, restoration does not require re-baptism, but
         repentance and prayer

In our next study, we shall follow Philip as he is led by the Spirit to
teach just one individual, a queen's treasurer who is on his way home
from a journey to Jerusalem...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The 2000 At Solomon's Porch (Acts 3:1-4:4)

                   "CONVERSIONS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                 The 2000 At Solomon's Porch (3:1-4:4)


1. In our previous lesson, we considered the conversion of "The 3000 On
   a. Precipitated by the outpouring of the Spirit - Ac 2:1-21
   b. Where Peter proclaimed the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus
      - Ac 2:22-36
   c. In which 3000 souls responded to the gospel commands to repent
      and be baptized - Ac 2:37-41

2. The next example of conversion in Acts is one often overlooked...
   a. Many charts listing examples of conversions in the Book of Acts
      do not include it
   b. Perhaps because little is said about those converted, other than
      "many of those who heard the word believed" - cf. Ac 4:4

3. But since our purpose includes looking at the sermons which led 
   people to Christ, we should certainly consider...
   a. Peter's second gospel sermon, proclaimed on Solomon's Porch in 
      the temple court
   b. A sermon that led 2000 more people to believe in Jesus Christ! 
      - cf. Ac 4:4

[As we did in the previous study, let's begin with...]


      1. Christians had been gathering daily in the temple - Ac 2:46
      2. Peter and John arrived at the "hour of prayer, the ninth hour"
         (3 p.m.)

      1. Who was left daily at the gate of the temple called
         "Beautiful" - Ac 3:2-3
         a. To ask alms from the people entering the temple
         b. Who asked Peter and John for alms
      2. Peter healed him in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth 
         - Ac 3:4-8
         a. The lame man expected alms
         b. But Peter offered him something much better than silver or
         c. The miracle was immediate and total!

   C. A CROWD HAD GATHERED - Ac 3:9-11
      1. Drawn by the scene of the man walking, praising God; one they
         knew had been lame from birth - Ac 3:9-10
      2. Amazed and wondering, they gathered in the porch called 
         Solomon's - Ac 3:11

[The similarity to the events in Acts 2 are apparent. A miraculous 
event occurs, it attracts the attention of the people.  As before,
Peter uses the opportunity to proclaim Jesus...]


      1. Peter explains the true source of the miracle - Ac 3:12-16
         a. It was not by the power or godliness of Peter and John 
         b. It was through faith in the One whom the people killed!
            1) God's Servant, Jesus...
               a) Whom the God of their fathers had glorified!
               b) Whom they had delivered up and denied in the presence
                  of Pilate!
               -- Calling Jesus God's "Servant" may be an allusion to
                  Isa 52:13-53:12
            2) The Holy One, The Just, The Prince of Life...
               a) Whom they denied, asking for a murderer to be 
                  released in his stead!
               b) Whom God raised from the dead, as seen by witnesses!
               -- Calling Jesus by these terms emphasized His true 
                  person and power
         c. It was through faith in His name that the lame man was 
            healed; note, however...
            1) It was Peter and John's faith in Jesus, not the lame 
               man's faith
            2) For the lame man had not expected a miracle, but silver
               or gold
      2. Peter acknowledges their ignorance, but still calls upon them
         to repent - Ac 3:17-26
         a. He recognizes that they and their rulers acted in ignorance
         b. That what happened was...
            1) Foretold through God's prophets
            2) Fulfilling God's predetermined plan - cf. Ac 2:23
         c. Yet ignorance is no excuse, so they must "repent and be
            converted" - Ac 3:19
         d. Several reasons to so respond are given - Ac 3:19-26
            1) That "your sins may be blotted out"
               a) Alluding to the ancient practice of erasing mistakes
                  made on papyrus
               b) I.e., another way to describe the remission of sins
                  through Jesus' blood
            2) That "times of refreshing may come from the presence of
               the Lord"
               a) Here is a positive counterpart to the remission of 
                  sins (Stott)
               b) God provides more than just remission of sins, but
                  refreshment for our spirits (Stott)
            3) That God "may send Jesus Christ" (a reference to His 
               second coming)
               a) Who was preached to them before (via the prophets)
               b) Whom heaven must receive until the times of 
                  restoration of all things (of which the prophets of 
                  God had also spoken)
                  1] As an example of the prophets who had spoken, 
                     Moses is quoted
                  2] Others since Samuel have likewise told of these 
            4) They were "sons of the prophets, and of the covenant"
               God made with their fathers
               a) A covenant made with Abraham, to bless the world in 
                  his seed
               b) A promise fulfilled by God through His Servant Jesus,
                  Whom He raised
                  1] Who was sent by God to bless them
                  2] To bless them by turning them away from their sins

      1. A negative response by the religious leaders - Ac 4:1-3
         a. They were greatly disturbed, because in preaching Jesus, 
            Peter preached the resurrection of the dead
         b. The Sadducees in particular denied the idea of a bodily 
            resurrection - Ac 23:6-9
         c. So they had Peter and John placed in custody for trial the
            next day
      2. A positive response by many who heard - Ac 4:4
         a. Many who heard the word "believed"
         b. As many as two thousand men accepted the preaching of 

[The power of the gospel to convict the hearts of men continues to be 
seen, though with some the effect appears to be a hardening of their 
hearts.  As we focus on the sermon and its response, what can we glean
from this example of conversion?]


      1. Again we note the Christ-centeredness of Peter's preaching
         a. As in his sermon on Pentecost
         b. While explaining the miracle, he directs their attention to
            Jesus, not the sign
      2. Again Peter's main theme is the resurrection and exaltation of
         Jesus - Ac 3:13-15
         a. The One they killed, God raised from the dead
         b. The One they killed, God has glorified
      3. Yet Peter also introduces a new element...
         a. The coming of Jesus from heaven!
         b. Jesus is coming again! - Ac 3:20-21
      4. The sermon's climax is the call to "repent therefore, and be
         converted" - Ac 3:19
         a. From this we learn that repentance and conversion are not
            same thing
            1) Otherwise, Peter was redundant
            2) I.e., he would have been saying "repent and repent"
         b. Repent (metanoeo) means "a change of mind"
            1) True repentance is brought on by "godly sorrow" - 2 Co 7:9
            2) Such repentance then leads one to "salvation" - 2Co 7:10
            -- Thus they were being called to change their minds 
               regarding Jesus and their sinful ways
         c. What is meant by "be converted"?
            1) The NKJV and KJV suggest a passive act, but the Greek is
               aorist active imperative, implying there is something we
               must do
               a) The key idea is to "turn" or "return"
               b) The NIV has "turn to God" and the NASB has "return"
               -- But how does one turn to God?
            2) Compare Peter's word's Ac 3:19 with Ac 2:38
               a) "Repent" (Ac 2:38) and "Repent" (Ac 3:19)
               b) "Be baptized" (Ac 2:38) and "Be converted" (Ac 3:19)
            3) Could Peter be referring to baptism when he says "be 
               a) When one submits to baptism, they so do with an 
                  appeal for a clear conscience - cf. 1Pe 3:21
               b) In baptism they are calling upon the name of the Lord
                  - Ac 22:16
            -- Therefore I believe the call to "turn" likely involved
      5. The blessings promised are similar to those found in the first
         a. There is the forgiveness of sins...
            1) Described as the "remission of sins" in the first 
               sermon - Ac 2:38
            2) Described now as having one's sins "blotted out" - Ac 3:19
         b. There is the positive counterpart to the remission of
            1) Described as "the gift of the Holy Spirit" in the first
               sermon - Ac 2:38-39
            2) Described now as "the times of refreshing...from the
               presence of the Lord" - Ac 3:19
            3) I understand Peter to refer to the same thing...
               a) I.e., the Spirit as a gift to the Christian - Ac 5:
                  32; Ga 4:6; Ep 1:13-14
               b) Whom Jesus promised as a refreshing blessing - Jn 7:
                  37-39; cf. also Jn 4:10-14
      6. In this sermon we find a warning
         a. In the first sermon Peter pleaded with the people to "be
            saved from this perverse generation" - Ac 2:40
         b. Now we find a reason why, with Moses' prophecy: "every soul
            who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed
            from among the people" - Ac 3:23

      1. As mentioned in the introduction, little is said, other than 
         many "believed" - Ac 4:4
      2. Are we to conclude from this that was all they did?
         a. Did they not also "repent"?
         b. Did they not also "turn"?
      3. I think it fair to conclude that the term "believed" 
         encompassed more than simply an acceptance of the facts that 
         had been proclaimed
         a. That it involved a complete reception of the message 
         b. That it included an obedience to whatever conditions had 
            been proclaimed by the apostles (such as repentance, 
            turning, baptism)
         c. That just as faith was not explicitly mentioned in the
            first sermon, but is fairly inferred, so also with baptism

      1. When preaching the gospel...
         a. We must not lose the Christ-centeredness of our focus
            1) That includes preaching his death, resurrection and 
            2) That Jesus provides more than just the forgiveness of 
               sin; but as the Prince of Life, He is the source of 
               every spiritual blessing from above - cf. Ep 1:3
            3) That preaching Christ includes preaching His return from
               heaven, for He is coming again!
         b. The clarion call of the gospel is one of repentance!
            1) Faith and baptism are certainly important even essential
            2) Yet repentance was an important theme of preaching by:
               a) John the Baptist - Mt 3:1-2
               b) Jesus - Mt 4:17; Lk 13:3,5
               -- And now by the apostles - Ac 2:38; 3:19; cf. Lk 24:
                  47; Ac 20:21
      2. When people respond to the gospel, we should expect to see...
         a. A change of mind (repentance), brought about by "godly 
            sorrow" - cf. 2Co 7:9-10
         b. A change of life, as they "turn" from their sins and "turn"
            to God - cf. 2Co 7:11
            1) Implied by the word "converted" (turn)
            2) A process that involves their baptism into Christ, in 
               which they die to sin and rise to walk in newness of 
               life - cf. Ro 6:3-7
         -- All of which can be summarized as having "believed"!


1. With this example of conversion, Peter continues to fulfill the 
   commission of his Lord...
   a. To preach the gospel - Mk 16:15-16
   b. To preach repentance and remission of sins in His name - Lk 24:47

2. We saw that not all responded in the same way...
   a. Yes, 2000 heard the word and believed
   b. But some religious people with their preconceived ideas were 
      resistant to the gospel
   -- Sadly, many people today reject the apostolic preaching of the 
      gospel for similar reasons

I pray that such is not the case with you; that as we study the 
preaching of the apostles and responses to it, your heart will be open
to the Word of God.  Especially to this key verse in our study:

   "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted
   out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of
   the Lord" (Ac 3:19)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011