9/22/14

From Jim McGuiggan... SHOW HIM YOUR HANDS


SHOW HIM YOUR HANDS

Like millions of other believers I'm big on doctrine! I'm big on truth. Arthur Holmes is right: all truth is God's truth and it doesn't matter if it's truth about biology, botany, celestial mechanics or the brain capacity of a salamander. Like millions of other believers I hold that the truth of and about God as it has come to its climax and fulfillment in the person and work of the Lord Jesus is what gives all the others truths their place and worth. So I'm for "getting it right" and that calls for commitment to and study of the biblical witness which is not about itself but about God who superintended the production of the Bible. It's a complex business—Bible study I mean—and that means we need wise men and women, gifted by God, to help us. It's important that we get the non-negotiables right. It was right in the middle of a doctrinal presentation that Paul said, "Bad companions corrupt good morals." So there's a fundamental need to get a correct if not exhaustive grasp of the non-negotiables that are the indispensables of the Story of God. I get that! I see that! But I see this also—our commitment to Jesus-like behavior is part of the calling to which God calls people who will make up his NT elect who will by their very existence, doctrine and adoring of that doctrine bear witness to God and his eternal purpose for and love of the human family.

I mentioned this in a little book called Jesus: Hero of Thy Soul. Mary was barely more than a child when the parents split, the father vanished and the mother died. She was left to raise her brothers and sisters. When she should have been making daisy chains she was washing clothes, when she should have been pushing a swing she was scrubbing floors, when she was making food she should have been served food. She slept too little, ate too little, worried too much and died exhausted and guilt-ridden. Dear God, she was just a child. She was afraid to meet God because she was sure she hadn't done enough to please him and didn; to know what she'd say to him when the time came to meet him. Can you credit that?

One of her little brothers who sat stroking her trembling hands said to her, "You could show him your hands."

I don't know what that boy's theology was or what it became but he was on the right track with some aspects of the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. I can't abide a religion that dismisses all this with immediate warnings about "salvation by works". Bless me, who doesn't know that salvation is by the holy generosity of God as it was/is expressed in Jesus?

Listen to Mary's little brother and hear the voice of Jesus in it and think of Acts 10:38-39 

The Book of Mormon and the Ancient Evidence by Dewayne Bryant, M.A.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=975

The Book of Mormon and the Ancient Evidence

by  Dewayne Bryant, M.A.

Mormonism began in 1820, when Joseph Smith, Jr. purportedly received a vision of two heavenly beings claiming that all churches had become corrupted and that their creeds were abominations. Smith’s divinely ordained duty was to restore the one true church. He claimed three years later an angel, named Moroni, paid him a visit, showing him the location of gold plates containing the true, eternal gospel. Written in “reformed Egyptian” hieroglyphs, this golden book contained the Book of Mormon, which Smith translated with a pair of magic spectacles. Seven years later in 1830, the Mormon church became a recognized entity for the first time.
The Mormons are a growing group which many people have labeled a “Christian denomination.” This is the longstanding position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), and continues to be promoted today (Hickenbotham, 1995, p. 5). Unfortunately, Mormonism bears the hallmarks of a manmade religion, one of which is the reinvention and reinterpretation of an existing religion. Mormonism takes Christianity and reinterprets it. Mormonism’s divergences from true Christianity include: Jesus being Lucifer’s spiritual brother, the denial of the Trinity, and the belief that the faithful will one day become gods. The God of Mormonism is not the one true god of the Universe, but merely one god among many.
Smith once called the Book of Mormon “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion” (Smith, 1902, 4:461). In the introduction of the Book of Mormon, Smith states that it is “the record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas,” which also contains “the fullness of the everlasting gospel.” Any religion centered on a scriptural foundation stands or falls on the accuracy of its sacred text. While the Bible has a wealth of evidence supporting its historical, chronological, and geographical accuracy, the Book of Mormon has been heavily criticized for its inaccuracies. Is the Book of Mormon divine revelation, or is it simply the invention of a gifted storyteller?
One of the problems that plagues the Mormon scriptures is the anachronistic portrayal of various animals in the New World. The most problematic is the portrayal of horses in the Americas in the Book of Mormon, where they appear frequently prior to the age of exploration (1 Nephi 18:25, et al.). Anthropologists are in near-universal agreement that horses had become extinct in the Americas until European explorers reintroduced them to the continent. Scientists have found evidence of horses in the Americas prior to and after the period of time covered by the Book of Mormon, but not during. In addition to a lack of fossil evidence, Bruce MacFaden says, "Their extinction is…suggested by the fact that no horses are known to have been depicted in pre-Columbian art…. Horses were reintroduced into the New World by the Spanish explorers during the sixteenth century" (MacFaden, 1992, p. 3). Janey Dohner notes that the horse was reintroduced to North America by Columbus on his second voyage, while Hernando de Soto reintroduced them to South America in 1539 (Dohner, 2001, p. 313).
Mormon author Diane Wirth dismisses this criticism and points to what she considers evidence of the presence of horses, although her best examples consist of a handful of poorly executed relief carvings and petroglyphs (Wirth, 1986, pp. 52-55). Wirth defends her point by drawing a parallel between the lack of evidence, particularly bone evidence, of horses in the Americas with the lack of evidence of lions in Palestine. She notes: “Today there are no so-called archaeological remains of lions in the land of Israel. Apparently not a bone has been left. Therefore, a lack of skeletal remains of an animal in a particular area does not necessarily mean that the animal was never there” (p. 56). Wirth is correct. If one were to rely purely on skeletal evidence, the existence of lions in Palestine would be nearly impossible to prove. But archaeologists have also discovered numerous reliefs depicting kings hunting lions, lion-shaped artifacts, and numerous references to lions in ancient texts. There is a wealth of evidence attesting to the existence of lions in ancient Israel. There is absolutely no parallel for the existence of horses in America prior to European exploration. This is not to say that the Book of Mormon is wrong because of a lack of evidence--which would be an argument from silence. Rather, it is simply to note that there is an inexplicable lack of evidence where it would be reasonably expected.
The lack of evidence of horses has prompted a shift in tactics on the part of Mormon apologists, who claim that the settlers in the New World would have called some other animal a “horse,” most likely the tapir. Tapirs have toes rather than hoofs and are pig-like in appearance, including a short, thick neck and stubby tail. They are also smaller than horses. It is highly unlikely that one could have been mistaken for the other--and if the Book of Mormon was inspired, such mistakes would not have been made.
Steel was also unknown in the New World prior to the arrival of European explorers, yet the Book of Mormon mentions the use of both iron and steel (2 Nephi 5:15; Ether 7:9). A particularly noteworthy reference concerns a military leader named Laban, who is described as having a steel sword with a gold hilt (1 Nephi 4:9). While New World peoples did have metallurgy, it lagged behind the technological developments in the ancient Near East. Studying evidence from South America, Purdue University archaeologist Kevin J. Vaughn notes: “Even though ancient Andean people smelted some metals, such as copper, they never smelted iron like they did in the Old World.... Metals were used for a variety of tools in the Old World, such as weapons, while in the Americas, metals were used as prestige goods for the wealthy elite” (Purdue University, 2008). People in the New World did make use of copper and precious metals like gold and silver, but scientists believe ironworking did not emerge until about A.D. 800.
Moroni supposedly showed Smith the location of gold plates, upon which were written the text of the Book of Mormon. Smith claimed it was written in “Reformed Egyptian.” The only problem here is that this language does not exist. “Reformed Egyptian” is not a language found in the ancient world. Ancient Egyptian had numerous dialects (Archaic, Old, Middle, Late, Demotic, and Coptic), but a “reformed” dialect was not one of them. Smith may have chosen Egyptian as his text because he was unaware that French scholar Jean Francois Champollion had recently deciphered the language (the first translation of the Rosetta Stone was not published until 1822). Until that time, hieroglyphs were mysterious and unknown. Although it is speculative to say, Smith may have thought that the language was unreadable and would remain so, and therefore believed his grand story would never be proven false.
Modern Egyptology has discredited Mormon scriptures such as the Book of Abraham, which depicts the patriarch’s journey to Egypt. His travels include nearly being sacrificed by an evil priest and later being honored by the pharaoh. The book was published with three facsimiles taken from an ancient papyrus, which was lost. Far from being inspired scripture, the Book of Abraham was shown to be a fraud years later when the papyrus was rediscovered. The book is based on a funerary papyrus depicting several scenes from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. In Facsimiles Nos. 1 and 3, Smith misidentifies virtually everything depicted in these scenes, demonstrating his attempts were nothing more than uneducated guesswork. He had virtually no familiarity with Hebrew or Egyptian names, and seemed to have made up names that sounded sufficiently biblical to be believable (although many of his spellings are impossible in biblical Hebrew, which exposes them as inventions as well). He guessed at the names of the pagan deities, getting every one of them incorrect. For instance, in Facsimile 1 he misidentified the deities on the canopic jars (which held the internal organs of the deceased) in the scene (from left to right) as Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, and Korash. The gods should have been identified as Qebesenuef, Duamutef, Hapi, and Imseti. It is not likely that he even knew that the objects depicted were canopic jars. He likely thought of them as idols, since he misidentified the scene as sacrificial rather than funerary in nature.
Why do so many Mormons maintain belief in these scriptures when they are so obviously false? As Charles Larson notes in his book …By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri, “[M]any Mormons are relatively uninformed of any controversy concerning the validity of the Book of Abraham; or if they become aware controversy exists, will tend to fall back on the trust they have in their system, and avoid further investigation” (Larsen, 1985, p. 161). The real problem is that the Mormon faith stresses belief even in the face of contradictory evidence. Some have advised their fellow Mormons to simply fall back on their faith. This is a key part of the Mormon belief system: believe in the Mormon scriptures and you will know them to be true–the sheep will recognize the voice of the shepherd. [NOTE: Of course, such an anti-logic stance contradicts the nature of God; see Miller, 2011.]
In addition to linguistic and historical evidence, the sciences have not been kind to Mormon beliefs. From the field of archaeology, nothing in the Book of Mormon has ever been discovered, though Smith painted a picture of vast civilizations with major urban centers and populations ranging in the millions (the Jaredites are a people group who lost two million soldiers in one war). At one point, some members of the LDS church claimed that the Smithsonian Institute had used the Book of Mormon as a scientific guide for locating archaeological sites. The Smithsonian adamantly denied this was the case in 1986. The National Geographic Society did the same in 1982. Similar claims issued by the LDS church prompted Mormon anthropologist Dee Green to say, “The first myth we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists,” even conceding that 20 years of research “left us empty-handed” (Green, 1969, pp. 77-78).
Another area of concern is the origin story of the Native American Indians, who are claimed to be descendants of the Lamanites. According to Mormon doctrine, these Jewish migrants supposedly traveled to the Americas in ancient times. These travelers “are the principal ancestors of the American Indians,” according to the introduction to the Book of Mormon. In an essay titled, “Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy, and Genetics,” anthropologist Thomas Murphy challenges this idea, stating:
So far, DNA research lends no support to the traditional Mormon beliefs about the origins of Native Americans. Instead, genetic data have confirmed that migrations from Asia are the primary source of American Indian origins. This research has substantiated already-existing archaeological, cultural, linguistic, and biological evidence (Murphy, 2002, p. 48).
Murphy was nearly excommunicated in 2003 by the president of the Lynwood LDS Stake for his work [NOTE: a stake is the rough equivalent of a diocese in the Roman Catholic Church.] Only popular support for Murphy prevented Latimer from following through with the excommunication (Kennedy, 2003). Latimer postponed the disciplinary hearing indefinitely, in part, for fear of negative publicity.
Murphy is not alone. Two Mormon biologists, D. Jeffrey Meldrum and Trent D. Stephens of Idaho State University, agree with Murphy’s conclusions. In the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, both men agreed in the article “Who are the Children of Lehi?” that
the data accumulated to date indicate that 99.6 percent of Native American genetic markers studied so far exhibit Siberian connections…. There has been little if any evidence seriously considered by the mainstream, scientific community that would indicate a Middle East origin, or any other source of origin, for the majority of contemporary Native Americans (Meldrum and Stephens, 2003, p. 41).
In an issue of Dialogue, the oldest independent journal for Mormon studies (that is, not owned or operated by the LDS Church), Yale anthropologist Michael D. Coe, who specializes in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica studies, summarizes some of the most troubling issues:
There is an inherent improbability in specific items that are mentioned in the Book of Mormon as having been brought to the New World by Jaredites and/or Nephites. Among these are the horse...the chariot, wheat, barley, and metallurgy (true metallurgy based upon smelting and casting being no earlier in Mesoamerica than about 800 A.D.). The picture of this hemisphere between 2,000 B.C. and A.D. 421 presented in the book has little to do with the early Indian cultures as we know them, in spite of much wishful thinking.
There is also little doubt in the minds of non-Mormon scholars that Joseph Smith had no ability whatsoever to read “Reformed Egyptian” or any other kind of hieroglyphs. The papyri translated as the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price are, in the opinion of qualified Egyptologists, a series of fragments of the Egyptian “Book of the Dead,” something which Smith could not have known since Champollion’s decipherment of the Egyptian script had not yet been published (Coe, 1973, p. 42).
These are just a few problems besetting the Mormon church. If the Book of Mormon is the “most correct” book ever written, why does it contain so many mistakes? Why so many contradictions with history, archaeology, and ancient languages? Scientists, historians, archaeologists, and linguists have exposed the Mormon scriptures as the invention of a marvelously fertile imagination. So marvelous, in fact, that it has taken a century and a half to prove it conclusively false. Convincing though it was to Smith’s contemporaries, this grand old story has proven to be no match for scientific investigation. [For additional analysis of the Book of Mormon, see Miller, 2009.]

REFERENCES

Coe, Michael D. (1973), “Mormons and Archaeology: An Outside View,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 8[2]:40-48, Summer.
Dohner, Janet Vorwald (2001), The Encyclopedia of Historic and Endangered Livestock and Poultry Breeds (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).
Green, Dee F. (1969), “Book of Mormon Archaeology: The Myths and the Alternatives,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 8[2]:77-78, Summer.
Hickenbotham, Michael W. (1995), Answering Challenging Mormon Questions (Bountiful, UT: Horizons).
Kennedy, John W. (2003), “Mormon Scholar Under Fire,” Christianity Today, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/march/14.24.html.
Larsen, Charles M. (1985), …By his Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri (Grand Rapids, MI: Institute for Religious Research).
MacFaden, Bruce J. (1992), Fossil Horses: Systematics, Paleobiology, and Evolution of the Family Equidae (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Meldrum, D. Jeffrey and Trent D. Stephens (2003), “Who are the Children of Lehi?” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 12[1]:38-51.
Miller, Dave (2009), "Is The Book of Mormon From God? Parts I and II," Reason & Revelation, 29[9]:66-71,73-79, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=617.
Miller, Dave (2011), "Is Christianity Logical? (Part I)," Reason & Revelation, 31[6]:50-59, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=977.
Murphy, Thomas W. (2002), “Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy, and Genetics” in American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon, ed. Dan Vogel and Brent Lee Metcalfe (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books), pp. 47-77.
Purdue University (2008), “Archaeologist ‘Strikes Gold’ with Finds of Ancient Nasca Iron Ore Mine in Peru,” February 3, http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2008/01/080129125405.htm.
Smith, Joseph, Jr. (1902), History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B.H. Roberts (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), second edition.
Wirth, Diane E. (1986), A Challenge to the Critics: Scholarly Evidences of the Book of Mormon (Bountiful, UT: Horizons).

From Mark Copeland... The New Birth (John 3:1-21)

                    "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                         The New Birth (3:1-21)

INTRODUCTION

1. A commonly used phrase is "born again Christian"...
   a. Often in the context of distinguishing between Christians who are
      "born again" and those not
   b. Which is a really an incorrect distinction, for all true
      Christians have been "born again"
   -- But what does it mean to be "born again"?

2. The Bible uses the expression "born again" only a few times...
   a. Jesus in His conversation with Nicodemus - Jn 3:3,5,7
   b. Peter in his first epistle - 1Pe 1:3,23
   -- Although the idea of being "born" of God is used many times 
      - e.g., Jn 1:13; 1Jn 5:1

[In His discussion with Nicodemus, Jesus reveals much about being "born
again."  With His comments as the basis of our study, let's examine what
the Bible reveals about "The New Birth".  After we are introduced to
Nicodemus (cf. also Jn 7:50; 19:39), we observe Jesus emphasizing...]

I. THE NECESSITY OF THE NEW BIRTH (1-3)

   A. NECESSARY TO SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD...
      1. Unless one is born again, he cannot see (enter) the kingdom 
         - cf. Jn 1:3,5,7
      2. What is the kingdom of God?  In brief...
         a. The rule and reign of God in the person of Christ - cf. Mt 28:18; Ac 2:36; Re 1:4
         b. A spiritual kingdom not of this world - cf. Jn 18:36; Lk 17:
            20-21
         c. A kingdom made up of faithful subjects (i.e., the church) 
            - cf. Col 1:13; Re 1:6,9
         d. A kingdom both present and future - cf. Mt 13:41-43; 1Co 15:24-26
      -- Do you wish to be in the kingdom now and hereafter?  You must
         be born again!

   B. NECESSARY TO BE SAVED...
      1. To be in the kingdom is to be saved from the powers of darkness
         - cf. Col 1:13
      2. Salvation requires a rebirth, a regeneration - cf. Tit 3:5
      -- Do you wish to be saved from your sins?  You must be born
         again!

[Nicodemus is confused, assuming that Jesus has in mind a physical
birth.  So Jesus explains...]

II. THE NATURE OF THE NEW BIRTH (4-5)

   A. INVOLVES BOTH WATER AND THE SPIRIT...
      1. Note carefully:  one birth involving two elements - water and
         the Spirit
         a. Not two births (born of water and born of the Spirit)
         b. But one birth (born of water and the Spirit)
      2. Compare Paul's description - cf. Tit 3:5
         a. A washing of regeneration (water)
         b. And renewing of the Holy Spirit (Spirit)
      3. An obvious reference to baptism
         a. "There can be no doubt, on any honest interpretation of the
            words, that gennethenai ek hudatos (born of water) refers to
            the token or outward sign of baptism, gennethenai ek
            pneumatos (born of Spirit) to the thing signified, or inward
            grace of the Holy Spirit.  All attempts to get rid of these
            two plain facts have sprung from doctrinal prejudices, by
            which the views of expositors have been warped." - Alford
            (Greek Testament)
         b. "By water, here, is evidently signified baptism." - Albert
            Barnes
         c. "Baptism by water, into the Christian faith, was necessary
            to every Jew and Gentile that entered into the kingdom of
            the Messiah." - Adam Clarke
         d. "There is not any one Christian writer of any antiquity in
            any language but what understands it of baptism....I believe
            Calvin was the first that ever denied this place to mean
            baptism.  He gives it another interpretation, which he
            confesses to be new." - William Wall (History of Infant
            Baptism)
      -- The new birth occurs when one is baptized, for in that simple
         act of faith they are born not only of the water out of which
         they arise, but also born of the Spirit (regenerated) by the
         working of God at that moment - cf. Col 2:12-13
   
   B. INVOLVES THE WORD OF GOD...
      1. One is born again by the Word - 1Pe 1:23
         a. The incorruptible Word that is preached - cf. 1Pe 1:25
         b. The instrument through which the Spirit convicts the sinner
            - cf. Jn 16:7; Ep 6:17
         c. Which includes the command to be baptized - cf. Mk 16:16; Ac 2:38; 22:16
      2. Jesus sanctifies and cleanses His church by the washing of
         water by the word - Ep 5:26
         a. The "washing of water" is another allusion to baptism 
            - Jameison, Fausset, Brown
         b. Yet baptism must be administered in conjunction with the
            Word of God to be of benefit
      -- The new birth involves several elements (water, Spirit, Word of
         God), all coming together when one responds to the gospel in
         baptism - e.g., Ac 2:37-39

[While there is evidence that one is born of water as they rise from the
watery grave of baptism, the evidence of their being born of the Spirit
comes later...]

III. THE EVIDENCE OF THE NEW BIRTH (6-8)

   A. SEEN BY THE EFFECT OF THE SPIRIT...
      1. We should expect that what the Spirit produces is spirit (i.e.,
         spiritual) - Jn 3:6
      2. Like the wind (the same Greek word as Spirit), we do not see
         the Spirit itself but the effect that it produces
      -- Has one been truly born of the Spirit (i.e., born again)?  With
         time there should be clear evidence that a change has occurred 
         - e.g., 1Jn 3:14

   B. SEEN BY THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT...
      1. Paul describes the fruit (evidence) of the Spirit - Ga 5:22-23
      2. Which comes not only being born of the Spirit, but walking in
         the Spirit - Ga 5:16,25
      -- Where the fruit does not appear, either there was never any
         rebirth or one is walking after the flesh, not the Spirit! 
         - cf. Ga 5:17

[As the discussion continues (Jn 3:9-13), it soon turns into a
discourse (Jn 3:14-21), the latter in which Jesus describes...]

IV. THE BASIS FOR THE NEW BIRTH (14-18)

   A. THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST...
      1. Jesus compares His eventual crucifixion to Moses' lifting up of
         the serpent - Jn 3:14; Num 21:4-9
      2. So people would be saved from perishing by believing in Jesus 
         - Jn 3:15
      -- Without redemption from sin, regeneration would be meaningless;
         the new birth provides both! - cf. Ac 22:16; Tit 3:5

   B. THE LOVE OF GOD...
      1. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that
         those who believe might have everlasting life (i.e., enter the
         kingdom of God) - Jn 3:16
      2. God does not want anyone to perish or be condemned, but to be
         saved - Jn 3:16b-17
      -- God's love for man is what makes Christ's sacrifice and the new
         birth possible! - cf. 1Jn 4:9-10

   C. THE FAITH OF MAN...
      1. Those who believe in Jesus will not perish, but have
         everlasting life - Jn 3:15-16
      2. They will not be condemned, unlike those who do not believe 
         - Jn 3:18
      -- The new birth requires faith in Jesus; without faith, being
         born of water is meaningless, and born of the Spirit impossible
         - cf. Mk 16:16; Jn 8:24; Ac 8:36-37

[Christ's sacrifice and God's love, in cooperation with man's faith,
makes the new birth possible.  Yet many remain condemned for lack of
faith in Jesus.  Why?  Jesus offers one reason for...]

V. THE REJECTION OF THE NEW BIRTH (19-21)

   A. MANY LOVE DARKNESS MORE THAN LIGHT...
      1. Light (Jesus) has come into the world - Jn 3:19a; 1:5,9; 8:12
      2. There are those who love the darkness instead, because of their
         evil deeds - Jn 3:19b
      -- Their love for things of the world cause them to reject the
         light of Jesus - e.g. Lk 16:14

   B. MANY DO NOT WANT TO BE EXPOSED BY THE LIGHT...
      1. They know that coming to Jesus will expose their evil deeds 
         - Jn 3:20; cf. Ep 5:13
      2. But those willing to obey (does the truth), do not fear the
         light - Jn 3:21
      -- Unwilling to give up their evil deeds, they are unwilling to
         submit to the new birth which acknowledges one's sinfulness and
         requires repentance - e.g., Ac 2:36-38

CONCLUSION

1. In His conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus reveals much about being
   born again...
   a. The necessity of the new birth (one cannot be a Christian unless
      "born again")
   b. The nature of the new birth (a birth involving both water and the
      Spirit, i.e., baptism)
   c. The evidence of the new birth (observable by its effects, i.e.,
      the fruit of the Spirit)
   d. The basis of the new birth (Christ's sacrifice, God's love, man's
      faith)
   e. The rejection of the new birth (why many refuse to submit to it)

2. What about you?  Have you been born again...?
   a. Born of water and the Spirit (i.e., a washing of regeneration and
      renewing of the Holy Spirit)?
   b. Born through the Word of God (i.e., by responding to the gospel
      message)?
   c. Responding to God's love and Christ's sacrifice by expressing your
      faith in baptism?

Remember the words of Jesus...

   "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does
   not believe will be condemned." (Mk 16:16)

   "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'"
                                                          (Jn 3:7)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading September 22


Bible Reading  

September 22

The World English Bible


Sept. 22
Psalms 92-94

Psa 92:1 It is a good thing to give thanks to Yahweh, to sing praises to your name, Most High;
Psa 92:2 to proclaim your loving kindness in the morning, and your faithfulness every night,
Psa 92:3 with the ten-stringed lute, with the harp, and with the melody of the lyre.
Psa 92:4 For you, Yahweh, have made me glad through your work. I will triumph in the works of your hands.
Psa 92:5 How great are your works, Yahweh! Your thoughts are very deep.
Psa 92:6 A senseless man doesn't know, neither does a fool understand this:
Psa 92:7 though the wicked spring up as the grass, and all the evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.
Psa 92:8 But you, Yahweh, are on high forevermore.
Psa 92:9 For, behold, your enemies, Yahweh, for, behold, your enemies shall perish. All the evildoers will be scattered.
Psa 92:10 But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox. I am anointed with fresh oil.
Psa 92:11 My eye has also seen my enemies. My ears have heard of the wicked enemies who rise up against me.
Psa 92:12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree. He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Psa 92:13 They are planted in Yahweh's house. They will flourish in our God's courts.
Psa 92:14 They will still bring forth fruit in old age. They will be full of sap and green,
Psa 92:15 to show that Yahweh is upright. He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Psa 93:1 Yahweh reigns! He is clothed with majesty! Yahweh is armed with strength. The world also is established. It can't be moved.
Psa 93:2 Your throne is established from long ago. You are from everlasting.
Psa 93:3 The floods have lifted up, Yahweh, the floods have lifted up their voice. The floods lift up their waves.
Psa 93:4 Above the voices of many waters, the mighty breakers of the sea, Yahweh on high is mighty.
Psa 93:5 Your statutes stand firm. Holiness adorns your house, Yahweh, forevermore.
Psa 94:1 Yahweh, you God to whom vengeance belongs, you God to whom vengeance belongs, shine forth.
Psa 94:2 Rise up, you judge of the earth. Pay back the proud what they deserve.
Psa 94:3 Yahweh, how long will the wicked, how long will the wicked triumph?
Psa 94:4 They pour out arrogant words. All the evildoers boast.
Psa 94:5 They break your people in pieces, Yahweh, and afflict your heritage.
Psa 94:6 They kill the widow and the alien, and murder the fatherless.
Psa 94:7 They say, "Yah will not see, neither will Jacob's God consider."
Psa 94:8 Consider, you senseless among the people; you fools, when will you be wise?
Psa 94:9 He who implanted the ear, won't he hear? He who formed the eye, won't he see?
Psa 94:10 He who disciplines the nations, won't he punish? He who teaches man knows.
Psa 94:11 Yahweh knows the thoughts of man, that they are futile.
Psa 94:12 Blessed is the man whom you discipline, Yah, and teach out of your law;
Psa 94:13 that you may give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit is dug for the wicked.
Psa 94:14 For Yahweh won't reject his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.
Psa 94:15 For judgment will return to righteousness. All the upright in heart shall follow it.
Psa 94:16 Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will stand up for me against the evildoers?
Psa 94:17 Unless Yahweh had been my help, my soul would have soon lived in silence.
Psa 94:18 When I said, "My foot is slipping!" Your loving kindness, Yahweh, held me up.
Psa 94:19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me, your comforts delight my soul.
Psa 94:20 Shall the throne of wickedness have fellowship with you, which brings about mischief by statute?
Psa 94:21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.
Psa 94:22 But Yahweh has been my high tower, my God, the rock of my refuge.
Psa 94:23 He has brought on them their own iniquity, and will cut them off in their own wickedness. Yahweh, our God, will cut them off.


Sept. 22
2 Corinthians 2

2Co 2:1 But I determined this for myself, that I would not come to you again in sorrow.
2Co 2:2 For if I make you sorry, then who will make me glad but he who is made sorry by me?
2Co 2:3 And I wrote this very thing to you, so that, when I came, I wouldn't have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy would be shared by all of you.
2Co 2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears, not that you should be made sorry, but that you might know the love that I have so abundantly for you.
2Co 2:5 But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow, not to me, but in part (that I not press too heavily) to you all.
2Co 2:6 Sufficient to such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the many;
2Co 2:7 so that on the contrary you should rather forgive him and comfort him, lest by any means such a one should be swallowed up with his excessive sorrow.
2Co 2:8 Therefore I beg you to confirm your love toward him.
2Co 2:9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might know the proof of you, whether you are obedient in all things.
2Co 2:10 Now I also forgive whomever you forgive anything. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ,
2Co 2:11 that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.
2Co 2:12 Now when I came to Troas for the Good News of Christ, and when a door was opened to me in the Lord,
2Co 2:13 I had no relief for my spirit, because I didn't find Titus, my brother, but taking my leave of them, I went out into Macedonia.
2Co 2:14 Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and reveals through us the sweet aroma of his knowledge in every place.
2Co 2:15 For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God, in those who are saved, and in those who perish;
2Co 2:16 to the one a stench from death to death; to the other a sweet aroma from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
2Co 2:17 For we are not as so many, peddling the word of God. But as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, we speak in Christ.


From Gary... The life-line



You have heard it from me before- I really dislike heights!!!  So, with that in mind, I could never imagine myself on that wire; even with that life-line!!!!  But, in a way we all walk a tight-wire, because we all live in this world.  The worst of among us at least do what they can to keep out of jail. Some of us try to be "Good persons", while others do the best we can to be genuine disciples of Jesus Christ.  It is to this last classification of people that I refer to today and also to the two passages of Scripture from the book of 1st John...

1 John 1:5-7 NASB
(5)  This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
(6)  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
(7)  but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
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.

What does it mean to follow Jesus? How exactly do we do that in a world that is so full of evil? Well, the answer seems to be that, to quote Larry Shatzer... "We do the best we can, with what we have, where we are now". Now, that may not be an exact quote, but it at least gets the idea across. What we can NOT DO is to walk (that is to make a lifestyle of..) in sin. And we overcome our tendencies to sin by God's help.  In a way, we walk daily with a life-line (and his name is Jesus).  He intercedes for us and helps us to gradually walk more and more in light and NOT DARKNESS!!! This formally begins with our conversion and continues afterward - because we LOVE GOD and wish to please HIM and NOT ourselves!!!   Today, take a few minutes for a little introspection- ask yourself...  Am I doing anything that I really should not be doing as a Christian? And if the answer should be a "yes"; then change. Remember, you have a life-line in case you should fall!!!!