From Gary... Bible Reading August 16

Bible Reading   

August 16

The World English Bible

Aug. 16
Job 1-4

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God, and turned away from evil.
Job 1:2 There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.
Job 1:3 His possessions also were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the children of the east.
Job 1:4 His sons went and held a feast in the house of each one on his birthday; and they sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
Job 1:5 It was so, when the days of their feasting had run their course, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned, and renounced God in their hearts." Job did so continually.
Job 1:6 Now it happened on the day when the God's sons came to present themselves before Yahweh, that Satan also came among them.
Job 1:7 Yahweh said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Then Satan answered Yahweh, and said, "From going back and forth in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."
Job 1:8 Yahweh said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant, Job? For there is none like him in the earth, a blameless and an upright man, one who fears God, and turns away from evil."
Job 1:9 Then Satan answered Yahweh, and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing?
Job 1:10 Haven't you made a hedge around him, and around his house, and around all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
Job 1:11 But put forth your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will renounce you to your face."
Job 1:12 Yahweh said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power. Only on himself don't put forth your hand." So Satan went forth from the presence of Yahweh.
Job 1:13 It fell on a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house,
Job 1:14 that there came a messenger to Job, and said, "The oxen were plowing, and the donkeys feeding beside them,
Job 1:15 and the Sabeans attacked, and took them away. Yes, they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
Job 1:16 While he was still speaking, there also came another, and said, "The fire of God has fallen from the sky, and has burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
Job 1:17 While he was still speaking, there came also another, and said, "The Chaldeans made three bands, and swept down on the camels, and have taken them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you."
Job 1:18 While he was still speaking, there came also another, and said, "Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house,
Job 1:19 and behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young men, and they are dead. I alone have escaped to tell you."
Job 1:20 Then Job arose, and tore his robe, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshiped.
Job 1:21 He said, "Naked I came out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. Yahweh gave, and Yahweh has taken away. Blessed be the name of Yahweh."
Job 1:22 In all this, Job did not sin, nor charge God with wrongdoing.
Job 2:1 Again it happened on the day when the God's sons came to present themselves before Yahweh, that Satan came also among them to present himself before Yahweh.
Job 2:2 Yahweh said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered Yahweh, and said, "From going back and forth in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."
Job 2:3 Yahweh said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? For there is none like him in the earth, a blameless and an upright man, one who fears God, and turns away from evil. He still maintains his integrity, although you incited me against him, to ruin him without cause."
Job 2:4 Satan answered Yahweh, and said, "Skin for skin. Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.
Job 2:5 But put forth your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will renounce you to your face."
Job 2:6 Yahweh said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand. Only spare his life."
Job 2:7 So Satan went forth from the presence of Yahweh, and struck Job with painful sores from the sole of his foot to his head.
Job 2:8 He took for himself a potsherd to scrape himself with, and he sat among the ashes.
Job 2:9 Then his wife said to him, "Do you still maintain your integrity? Renounce God, and die."
Job 2:10 But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Job didn't sin with his lips.
Job 2:11 Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that had come on him, they each came from his own place: Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, and they made an appointment together to come to sympathize with him and to comfort him.
Job 2:12 When they lifted up their eyes from a distance, and didn't recognize him, they raised their voices, and wept; and they each tore his robe, and sprinkled dust on their heads toward the sky.
Job 2:13 So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.

Job 3:1 After this Job opened his mouth, and cursed the day of his birth.
Job 3:2 Job answered:
Job 3:3 "Let the day perish in which I was born, the night which said, 'There is a boy conceived.'
Job 3:4 Let that day be darkness. Don't let God from above seek for it, neither let the light shine on it.
Job 3:5 Let darkness and the shadow of death claim it for their own. Let a cloud dwell on it. Let all that makes black the day terrify it.
Job 3:6 As for that night, let thick darkness seize on it. Let it not rejoice among the days of the year. Let it not come into the number of the months.
Job 3:7 Behold, let that night be barren. Let no joyful voice come therein.
Job 3:8 Let them curse it who curse the day, who are ready to rouse up leviathan.
Job 3:9 Let the stars of its twilight be dark. Let it look for light, but have none, neither let it see the eyelids of the morning,
Job 3:10 because it didn't shut up the doors of my mother's womb, nor did it hide trouble from my eyes.
Job 3:11 "Why didn't I die from the womb? Why didn't I give up the spirit when my mother bore me?
Job 3:12 Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breast, that I should suck?
Job 3:13 For now should I have lain down and been quiet. I should have slept, then I would have been at rest,
Job 3:14 with kings and counselors of the earth, who built up waste places for themselves;
Job 3:15 or with princes who had gold, who filled their houses with silver:
Job 3:16 or as a hidden untimely birth I had not been, as infants who never saw light.
Job 3:17 There the wicked cease from troubling. There the weary are at rest.
Job 3:18 There the prisoners are at ease together. They don't hear the voice of the taskmaster.
Job 3:19 The small and the great are there. The servant is free from his master.
Job 3:20 "Why is light given to him who is in misery, life to the bitter in soul,
Job 3:21 Who long for death, but it doesn't come; and dig for it more than for hidden treasures,
Job 3:22 who rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave?
Job 3:23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, whom God has hedged in?
Job 3:24 For my sighing comes before I eat. My groanings are poured out like water.
Job 3:25 For the thing which I fear comes on me, That which I am afraid of comes to me.
Job 3:26 I am not at ease, neither am I quiet, neither have I rest; but trouble comes."
Job 4:1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered,
Job 4:2 "If someone ventures to talk with you, will you be grieved? But who can withhold himself from speaking?
Job 4:3 Behold, you have instructed many, you have strengthened the weak hands.
Job 4:4 Your words have supported him who was falling, You have made firm the feeble knees.
Job 4:5 But now it is come to you, and you faint. It touches you, and you are troubled.
Job 4:6 Isn't your piety your confidence? Isn't the integrity of your ways your hope?
Job 4:7 "Remember, now, whoever perished, being innocent? Or where were the upright cut off?
Job 4:8 According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity, and sow trouble, reap the same.
Job 4:9 By the breath of God they perish. By the blast of his anger are they consumed.
Job 4:10 The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, the teeth of the young lions, are broken.
Job 4:11 The old lion perishes for lack of prey. The cubs of the lioness are scattered abroad.
Job 4:12 "Now a thing was secretly brought to me. My ear received a whisper of it.
Job 4:13 In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men,
Job 4:14 fear came on me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake.
Job 4:15 Then a spirit passed before my face. The hair of my flesh stood up.
Job 4:16 It stood still, but I couldn't discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes. Silence, then I heard a voice, saying,
Job 4:17 'Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker?
Job 4:18 Behold, he puts no trust in his servants. He charges his angels with error.
Job 4:19 How much more, those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before the moth!
Job 4:20 Between morning and evening they are destroyed. They perish forever without any regarding it.
Job 4:21 Isn't their tent cord plucked up within them? They die, and that without wisdom.'

From Jim McGuiggan.... The Image of God (2)

The Image of God (2)

 What does it mean that God created Man (that is, humanity—male and female) in his image? Genesis 1:26-27 you remember, says, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule...So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

Since most of us don’t perceive of God as having a fleshly body we immediately exclude the human’s physical body from the image. We tell ourselves something like, "Well, God doesn’t have a body so when he made us in his image he couldn’t have been thinking about our body. We need to look for something about us that is like something God has." From there some of us concluded that we’re in the image of God because we "reason". God reasons, so do we—there’s the image. Others decided it was our "choosing" capacity that imaged God. Many of us have concluded that as well as a body "we have ‘a non-material spirit’ and it is our ‘spirit’ (or soul) that reflects the likeness of God. Others go for our "moral" capacity—we’re like God in that so it isn’t our rational or willing/choosing ability and such like—it’s our capacity to have moral fellowship with God.

All of these have at least one thing in common—it’s a part of the human that is in the image of God. Some things are excluded. Our fleshly bodies, for example, our mortality, our need for food and water. As we begin to list these things we realise that it isn’t an entire human that is made in the image of God—it is some piece or pieces of a human. So that (to over-simplify the matter), 

it’s as though God said, "I’ll make humans and I’ll make a part of them in my image."
That isn’t what he said.

If we imagine Adam (and later Eve) opening his eyes, newly created, it is Adam and not a part of him that is in the image of God. God could point to him and say, "He is in my image."
Should we conclude then that God has a mortal body and parts? Should we conclude that every constituent element that makes up a human images something in God? I don’t think so.

I don’t think the image of God in man deals with what he is made of. Following people like Edmund Jacob and J.D Smart I think we should see the meaning of the phrase "in the image of God" as functional and relational.

As ancient kings would put up lifeless images that represented them in different locations that reminded the citizens of the glory and dominion of their king so God created a living Man to represent Him wherever humans went. God created humans with a destiny and a mission—they were created to reflect God and in the Genesis 1 context, they were created to reflect God in their exercise of dominion.

The entire chapter (whatever else it was meant to teach us) teaches us that God exercised his sovereignty to bless, to make to flourish, to generate harmony and completeness. If the Man lived with that commission in mind he would be fulfilling his role as one in the image of God and expressing the glory of God.

If this is the direction we should go then we would be able to look at the entire human (not bits of him or aspects of him) as "in the image of God." His entire person (body, soul and spirit, so to speak) was to be taken up in living and reflecting God’s likeness. We wouldn’t be required to say that God has a mortal body since "the image" has nothing to do with substance or what the man is made of. We would look at how he lived out his life and, say, in the unique case of Jesus Christ, we would say, "he is imaging/reflecting God."

The Unique Church by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Unique Church

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

On Thursday night, April 21, 1938, in a public discussion in Little Rock, Arkansas, before an immediate crowd of 1,000 people and a radio audience of thousands more, N.B. Hardeman engaged the famed debater Ben Bogard on the subject: “The Establishment of the Church.” On that occasion, Hardeman articulated an extremely significant truth about the church of Christ when he stated: “The kingdom, friends, has always existed.… It existed in Purpose, in the mind of God; it existed next in Promise, as delivered unto the patriarchs, and it existed in Prophecy; and then it existed in Preparation; and last of all, when the New Testament went into effect, it existed in Perfection” (1938, p. 178, italics in orig.). More than sixty years have come and gone since that insightful observation. But it remains an accurate expression of biblical truth. Before Adam and Eve inhabited the Garden of Eden together; before the skies, seas, and land were populated by birds, fish, and animals; before the Sun, Moon, and stars were situated in the Universe; and before our planet Earth was but a dark, watery, formless mass—God purposed to bring into being the church of Christ.
Indeed, Scripture describes this divine intention as “eternal.” Central to the great purposes of God from eternity has been, not only the sending of His Son as an atonement for sin, but the creation of the church of Christ—the blood-bought body of Jesus and living organism of the redeemed. Listen to Paul’s affirmation: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-11). It is difficult for human beings to fathom “eternal.” There are times when the notion of “everlasting” is abbreviated—like Jonah 2:6 where Jonah said he was in the fish’s stomach “forever.” It must have seemed like it to him. So the word can be used in an abbreviated way. In Philemon 15, Paul said Onesimus would be with Philemon aionion—“forever when he returns to you.” But the context limits the meaning to just until he dies.
But when we speak of deity (e.g., Psalm 90:1-2) or the church, we are talking about everlasting, eternal, forever. Hebrews 12:28 asserts confidently: “Wherefore we, receiving a kingdom which...” will someday end? No! Rather, “a kingdom that is unshakable,” destined to be around forever—an eternal institution. No wonder Daniel was informed: “The saints of the most high shall take the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever” (Daniel 7:18). With that grand purpose in mind, God gradually began foreshadowing through promise and prophecy the eventual accomplishment of that purpose.
Some 750 years before Christ came to Earth, Isaiah announced the eventual establishment of the “Lord’s house” in the “last days” in Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:1-4). At about the same time, Micah enunciated essentially the same facts (Micah 4:1-3). Some 500 years before Christ, Daniel declared to a pagan king that during the days of the Roman kings, the God of heaven would set up a kingdom that would never be destroyed (Daniel 2:44). He also stated that the “Son of man” would pass through the clouds, come to the ancient of days, and be given an indestructible kingdom (Daniel 7:13-14). Thus, the church, which existed initially in purpose in the mind of God, now existed in promise and prophecy in the utterances of His spokesmen.
With the appearance of John the baptizer and Jesus on the Earth, the church of Christ entered a new phase of existence. Now, more than ever before, the kingdom was presented with a sense of immediacy, nearness, and urgent expectation. Now, God’s emissaries actively prepared for its imminent appearance. John exclaimed: “[T]he kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Jesus echoed His harbinger with precisely the same point: “[T]he kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). As John made preparations for the Lord (Matthew 3:3; 11:10; Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1), so the Lord made preparations for the kingdom. He announced His intention personally to establish His church (Matthew 16:18). He declared that it would occur during the lifetime of His earthly contemporaries (Mark 9:1).
Just prior to His departure from Earth, Jesus further noted that the apostles would be witnesses of His death and resurrection, and would preach repentance and remission of sins in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. He would even send the promise of the Father upon them, which would entail being “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:46-49). This power was to be equated with Holy Spirit immersion (Acts 1:4-5,8).
Now that the kingdom had existed in purpose, promise, and prophecy, and in preparation, the time had come for the church to come forth in perfection. After urging the apostles to “tarry in Jerusalem,” Jesus ascended into a cloud and was ushered into heaven. The apostles returned to Jerusalem and for ten days awaited the fulfillment of the Savior’s words.
Then it happened. With stunning splendor, after centuries of eager anticipation (1 Peter 1:10-12), God poured out His Spirit upon the Twelve on the first Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection (Acts 2). This miraculous outpouring enabled these one dozen “ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20) to present a stirring defense of Christ’s resurrection, convicting some in the audience with the guilt of the crucifixion. Peter then simultaneously detailed the conditions of forgiveness and the terms of entrance into the kingdom of Christ. These terms consisted of being pricked in the heart, repenting of sins, and being immersed in water (Acts 2:37-38).
The church of Christ was now perfected into existence on the Earth, consisting of approximately 3,000 members—all of Jewish descent. From this moment forward, the kingdom of Christ on the Earth was a reality. To its Jewish citizenry, were added the first Gentile converts in Acts 10, when those of the household of Cornelius obeyed the same terms of entrance that their Jewish counterparts had obeyed some ten to fifteen years earlier. By the cross, Christ had made “in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body” (Ephesians 2:15-16).
This “one body” is totally unique, and is unlike any other entity on the face of the Earth. She is distinguished by several unique and exclusive characteristics:
First, she wears the name of her head, owner, and savior—Christ (Daniel 7:14; Matthew 16:18; Romans 16:16; Ephesians 1:23; 4:12; Revelation 11:15). Her members wear the divinely bestowed name of “Christian” (Isaiah 62:1-2; Acts 11:26; 1 Peter 4:16).
Second, her organization was arranged by God to consist of Jesus as head, elders/pastors/bishops as the earthly overseers or managers, deacons as the designated workers/ministers, evangelists as the proclaimers of the good news, teachers as instructors in the faith, and all the other members, who are active in serving the Lord (Acts 6:1-3; 14:23; 20:17,28; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
Third, her unique mission consists of bringing glory to God (1 Corinthians 6:20). As Peter explained: “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11). This task is accomplished by disseminating the Gospel of Christ to the human race (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 8:4; Romans 10:14; Philippians 2:15-16; Hebrews 5:12-14); by endeavoring to keep Christians faithful (Romans 14:19; 15:1-3; Ephesians 4:12; Jude 20-24); and by manifesting a benevolent lifestyle (Matthew 25:31-46; Galatians 6:10; James 2:1-17). In short, every member of the church is to strive for complete conformity to the will of Christ (Matthew 22:37-38; 2 Corinthians 5:9; 10:5; Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Fourth, her entrance requirements are unlike any other entity on the face of the Earth. The individual who is struck with the heinousness of sin, recognizing the purpose of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice through His death upon the cross, comes to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and the New Testament as the only authentic expression of His will. This belief leads him to repent of his sins, to orally confess Jesus as the Christ, and to be baptized in water, with the understanding that as he rises from the waters of baptism, he is forgiven of sin and added to the church by Christ (Mark 16:16; Hebrews 11:6; Acts 2:38,47; Romans 6:1-6; 10:9-10). These terms of entrance were given by Jesus to the apostles, who declared them on the occasion of the establishment of the church (Matthew 16:19; Acts 2).
Fifth, her instruction manual is likewise exclusive and unique. The Bible, consisting of both Old and New Testaments, constitutes her one and only authentic and authoritative guide (Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:15; Acts 17:11; 2 Peter 3:16). These 66 books, written by some 40 men over a period of 1,600 years, are actually the product of the Holy Spirit, Who empowered the writers to pen only what God wanted written (2 Samuel 23:2; 1 Corinthians 2:9-13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:20-21). The Bible is thus verbally inspired of God, inerrant, and all-sufficient.
Many other characteristics of the church of Christ could be cited. But these five are sufficient to show that the church is easily identifiable and not to be confused with any other religious group. It was inevitable that people would deviate from the simple guidelines given in Scripture (1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Peter 2:1-2). The result has been the formulation of unbiblical doctrines, unscriptural practices, and unauthorized churches (Matthew 15:9,13; 2 John 9-11).
The Scriptures make clear that God never has and never will sanction such a state of affairs. The only hope of any individual is to be in the one true church living faithfully to God’s desires. Many in our day are working overtime to obscure and blur the distinction between the New Testament church and the manmade, counterfeit churches that exist in abundance. They seem oblivious to the fact that no denominations are ever found in the Bible. Many people do not seem even to be aware of the fact that the Bible describes a single church—Christ’s church.
Yet anyone who cares to consult the inspired guidebook can see that the church described in the Bible is easily identifiable today. The matter may be easily determined upon the basis of two criteria. First, can one know how to become a Christian? If so, then the church can be identified, i.e., those who have obeyed the one and only Gospel plan of salvation. Second, can one know how to live the Christian life faithfully and obediently before God? If so, one can identify those who continue to constitute the saved body, the church.
In light of these simple truths, no legitimate claim may be made by denominational bodies to consider themselves as churches of Christ. The pluralistic mindset that has permeated our thinking has prodded us to be more accepting of other viewpoints and to “lighten up” in our opposition to false religion. For some years now, we have been goaded and prodded into feeling guilty about claiming certainty about anything, let alone biblical truth. But the truth continues to be that denominations are manmade divisions, unmitigated departures from the faith.
Denominationalism is about the best thing Satan has come up with to subvert the truth of the Bible and to bring otherwise religious people under his influence. The world religions, as well as those who embrace humanistic philosophies like atheism, by definition, have rejected the one true God and have capitulated to Satan. So where do you suppose Satan is going to focus the brunt of his assault upon the Earth? The more he is able to muddy the waters and to obscure the certainty of the truth, the more chance he has of luring people into his clutches.
We are at a moment in history when Satan is making great inroads into the church, and scoring impressive victories against the cause of Christ. As the book of Judges records a cyclical pattern among God’s people of apostasy, punishment, repentance, faithfulness, and then back into apostasy, we are at the point in history where apostasy holds sway. This periodic purging process seems to be an inevitable recurrence. What God would have us to do is to stand confidently and courageously upon His will, unmoved and unintimidated by the overwhelming forces that pressure us to succumb. In this fashion, the justice of God will be made evident at the Judgment and, in the meantime, impetus is given to the redeemed to strengthen themselves in the struggle to stay loyal to the Master. Every possible soul must be “snatched out of the fire” (Jude 23).
While the Lord would have us to demonstrate concern and compassion for the lost denominational world, He also would have us exercise discretion in the extent to which we fellowship and affiliate with such groups. Regardless of the fashionable sentiments prevalent among some in our day, the Bible still delineates God’s disapproval of the righteous associating with error and false religion. When we become proud of our ability to mingle with denominationalism—manifesting acceptance and tolerance of their unbiblical beliefs—we are guilty of the very attitude that Paul condemned in 1 Corinthians 5:2, that Jesus condemned in Revelation 2:15-16, and that John condemned in 2 John 11.
We need to return to the Old Testament, and learn afresh the lessons that Israel failed repeatedly to learn. We need to stand at Elijah’s side and breath deeply his spirit of confrontation as he boldly distinguished between true and false religion (1 Kings 18:17-40). We need to follow Phinehas into the tent and learn to identify with his jealous intolerance of disobedience and defiance to the will of God (Numbers 25:1-15). We need to step across the line to stand at Moses’ side and witness the calm fury with which he sought to expunge sin (Exodus 32:25-28). We need to identify ourselves with the young king Josiah and feel the same sense of horror and tearful concern as we watch him burn, break, desecrate, destroy, cut down, stamp, and slay everything and everyone who represented unauthorized religious practice (2 Kings 22 and 23).
Perhaps once we have honestly filled our minds with these inspired accounts, and allowed these truths to penetrate and permeate our being, we will possess the proper frame of mind to view denominationalism, and all other alternatives to the one church, in the same way that God views them. Maybe then we will perceive counterfeit churches and rival religions with the depth of righteous anger and displeasure that God perceives them. Until then, we will be gripped by an unconcerned, blasé, live-and-let-live mentality that will allow Satan to proceed with his subversion of humanity. If we do not stand up and proclaim the distinctiveness of the one true church of Christ, nobody else will, and we will lose our souls along with them. If Noah had not been comfortable with standing in a minute minority in an effort to stem the tide, the tide would have swept him away in the Flood along with the rest.
Do you love the church for which Jesus shed His blood? Do you? Do you love the body of Christ deeply enough to temper your concern for the lost with a righteous regard for the purity and loyalty of that body? Rather than obscure the reality and identity of the unique church of Christ, we would do well to take note of the clearly defined borders of the kingdom, that we might be able to give our attention to bringing in those on the outside. Fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness is not the answer; teaching and exposing them is (Ephesians 5:11).
If we would truly fathom that the church of Christ is distinctive, exclusive, and unique; if we would truly view fraternization with the denominations as traitorous; if we would love the genuine body of Christ with the same fervency and jealousy with which Jesus loves her; then we would be in a position to proclaim with Paul: “Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end” (Ephesians 3:21).


Hardeman, N.B. and Ben M. Bogard (1938), The Hardeman-Bogard Debate (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).

From Mark Copeland... The Goodness Of God (Romans 2:4-11)

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS"

                      The Goodness Of God (2:4-11)


1. Many people live their lives with little regard to the goodness of
   a. Unaware of how gracious God has been and is willing to be toward
   b. Unaware of how their neglect will one day come back to haunt them

2. Have you given much thought to the goodness of God...?
   a. The many blessings He bestows?
   b. The consequences if you fail to respond properly?

[One passage of Scripture that ought to give us pause is the one written
in Ro 2:4-11, in which Paul expounds upon "The Goodness Of God."  From
verse 4, we can glean some things about...]


      1. He is rich in grace - Ep 1:7
      2. He is rich in mercy - Ep 2:4
      3. He is rich in supplying need - Php 4:19
      4. He is rich in giving things to enjoy - 1Ti 6:17
      5. He is rich in the strength He provides the Christian - Ep 3:

      1. "Forbearance" (anoche) means "a holding back" - ISBE
      2. We see God's forbearance...
         a. In the days of Israel - cf. Ps 78:38
         b. In our present day (since the fullness of God's wrath has
            yet to come)

      1. "Longsuffering" (makrothumia) describes "a slowness in avenging
         wrath" - Strong's
      2. We see God suffering long...
         a. In the days of Noah, prior to the flood - cf. 1Pe 3:20
         b. In our present day, prior to the day of judgment - cf. 2 Pe 3:9-15a

[The Psalmist summarizes well the nature of God's goodness:  "But You, O
Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and
abundant in mercy and truth." (Ps 86:15).  As we return to our text in
Romans, we are told of...]


      1. God's goodness is intended to cause man to repent - Ro 2:4
      2. Based on Paul's description of repentance elsewhere, God's
         goodness should produce...
         a. Godly sorrow which leads to repentance - cf. 2Co 7:9-10
         b. A change of mind (the actual meaning of metanoia,
            repentance) - Strong's
         c. A turn from sin to God (as evidence of repentance) - cf.
            2Co 7:10-11

      1. As just described, an indication of true repentance - cf. 2 Co 7:11
      2. As later described in our text, it should lead to doing good...
         a. With patient continuance - Ro 2:7a
            1) Where God was longsuffering (makrothumia) before
            2) We are to do good patiently (hupomone) now - cf. Lk 8:15
         b. Seeking glory, honor, immortality - Ro 2:7b
            1) Glory and honor that will come at the revelation of Jesus
               Christ - cf. 1Pe 1:7; 2Co 4:16-18
            2) Immortality (incorruption) that will be given at the same
               time - 1Co 15:51-54

[Thus  "eternal life" will be given to those who are properly motivated
by God's goodness to repent and do good (Ro 2:7).  But what of those who
spurn the riches of God's goodness...?]


      1. For they despise God's goodness - Ro 2:4
      2. For they evidently are insensitive and unappreciative  of God's
         goodness - Ro 2:5
      3. For they remain impenitent in their heart - Ro 2:5

      1. The wrath of God's righteous judgment - cf. Ro 2:5
      2. A day of wrath involving indignation, tribulation, and anguish
         - Ro 2:8-9a
      3. A vivid description of which is found in 2Th 1:7-9


1. Such is the end of one who does not properly respond to God's
   a. Especially as that manifested through the gospel of Jesus
   b. Which Paul will expound upon later in this epistle to the Romans

2. As we close, be careful to note:  there is no partiality with God!
   - Ro 2:9-11
   a. Those who do evil will be punished
   b. Those who do good will be blessed

Have you allowed "The Goodness Of God" to lead you to repentance,
especially that repentance called for in the proclamation of the gospel?
- cf. Ac 2:36-39; 3:19; 17:30-31

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Too much of a good thing...?

Ascetically pleasing; the Guggenheim museum in New York City has the distinction of being the most photographed place in the world (or at least, is my sources say). To my way of thinking, it is just a huge coffee cup, though.  Aside from the building, I would hazard to say that there are many fine things in there- things that most people would really treasure to own.  But collecting things has a danger associated with it- greed!!!  With that thought in mind, another quickly followed...

1 John 2:15-17 NASB
(15)  Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
(16)  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
(17)  The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

Its nice to have a few nice things, but take notice if you begin to want them too much- that can be very dangerous!!!  Like John said "Do not love the world nor the things in the world.".  But, I keep thinking about that building... and then I noticed the following picture...

From now on, I think I will limit myself to 40 ounces of the stuff.  Well, Maybe!!!