9/27/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Approved or Tolerated?


Approved or Tolerated?

The Bible doesn’t supply and doesn’t pretend that it supplies every answer to every moral question we can raise. But it reveals God and comes to its greatest height when it reveals God in and as Jesus Christ. It does this in numerous rich ways and having done it the Bible urges us to work on that basis in answer to the question, "How then shall we live?" It provides the groundwork by which we can learn to "think theologically".

Leviticus 19 tells Israel to leave the edges of their fields for the poor but doesn’t define what constitutes an "edge". How are they to obey the call if they don’t know what an "edge" is? He concludes numerous verses with the motivational phrase, "I am the Lord your God!" But that’s more than motivation. It teaches them how to think of an "edge". Not with a measuring line or a dictionary. They will know what an "edge" means when they know who their Lord is. He’s the one that "brought you out of the land of Egypt." Bearing that in mind, when they come to harvesting they’ll not quibble and get as near to the edge of their property as possible. The issue isn’t settled by lexicons and logic, it’s by one’s experience with God and how that shapes our response to the neighbor.

It’s clear that the Bible tolerates things and we are seduced into thinking that that means those things are approved. To think this might not be sheer hardness of heart but it’s certainly ignorance. Pharisees saw "divorce for any cause" as approved and Jesus showed it was only tolerated and regulated. The notion that polygamy was approved in the OT is false—it was tolerated. And slavery is tolerated in both the OT and NT but it’s never approved. (More needs to be said about "slavery" and what the word means in numerous OT texts.) Concubinage is tolerated in the OT but never approved.

But since we in the West are not troubled with polygamy and concubinage we can shrug at all that. Now "slavery"—that’s another matter. It wasn’t very long ago that Western nations were using the OT to approve of slavery. (Let me repeat: in the OT, all "slavery" is not slavery.)
I want to make it clear that it simply isn’t enough to quote verses in support of our claims and conclude we have a right to practice the same or something similar.

Pharisees could quote Deuteronomy 24:1-5 and look back on fifteen hundred years of history and practice to support their divorcing their wives for what so often were trivial reasons. Jesus condemned their hearts and their behavior as "adulterous". I had a 20th century Western man argue with me his right to have more than one wife because the OT regulated (rather than outlawed) polygamy. It must have been okay because it was "regulated," he insisted.

The same thing is done to defend and support "our friend" the booze industry. Because people in the Bible daily drank intoxicating wine and because God is said to give wine as a gift to humans it’s immediately assumed that that means he would be pleased with our supporting the booze industry. [I won’t enter the discussion here about the generic nature of the biblical words rendered "wine" and "strong drink" or "beer". Another time perhaps.] But the very idea that naturally fermented wine or beer or "strong drink [as the Hebrew term is translated in English] is anything like the wines and beers or spirits the booze industry sells—that’s nonsense!

It doesn’t matter to me that tens of thousands of people can support the booze industry and themselves not get overwhelmed. Good for them! If they were all that mattered I suppose the matter wouldn't be worth discussing. But hundreds of millions of people—drinkers and those they affect—are put through purgatory by what the booze industry sells. There isn’t another "respectable" business under heaven that does the damage to a countless host of our struggling fellow-humans that comes anywhere near the ruin the booze industry generates.

We boycott all kinds of companies (from fur companies to soap to sauce) if we think they’re hurting animals or poor people in "sweat shops" and then we do what? We support and defend the worst plague on earth. And all because they drank intoxicating wine in the Bible and because Jesus made gallons and gallons of it [so we're told]. Well, there's more to it than that, isn' there! We prize our "freedom".

One of these days if we’re "lucky" we’ll come to see that the booze industry is against all we’re for and for all we’re against!

To interpret the Bible in the spirit of the Story as a whole requires more than lexicons, grammars and other exegetical tools. I understand for personal reasons that we don't always live up to what we know—my life has been littered with failures—and that's tragic. But our failure to live up to the best we know mustn't be used to lower the loving response to God that we see and hear in scripture.

God's heart, his purpose and his love for the human family seen climatically in the Lord Jesus is the best hermeneutical tool available to us [see Ephesians 5:1-2; Romans 15:1-3]. Each Christian will have to work this out within his/her own heart. But surely:

"I have the right..." [real or imagined] is not to be and will not be the last word about a host of things to those among us who reflect the heart and mind of God better than the rest of us.

The Assumption of Mary by Moisés Pinedo

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2696

The Assumption of Mary

by  Moisés Pinedo

The “Assumption of Mary” is one of Catholicism’s newest dogmas. Proclaimed by Pope Pius XII in 1950, in the papal bull Munificentissimus Deus, it is one of the most ambiguous, changeable, and confusing teachings of Catholicism. In fact, nobody can say exactly what Mary’s condition or circumstances were prior to her “assumption.” Soon after the introduction of this new doctrine, serious disagreement arose between Mariologists and Pius XII over whether or not Mary died, was resurrected, and then ascended to heaven, or simply ascended to heaven without dying. In spite of the Catholic claim that the pope speaks with “infallibility,” there is not yet consensus concerning the details of this dogma. Therefore, its advocates have taken the liberty of adjusting the details to better fit their developing ideas and traditions, and to make it more attractive to believers.
Although you may find many versions of Mary’s alleged assumption into heaven, one common idea, supported by Catholic tradition, is represented by the following description:
One day, when Mary, according to her custom, had gone to “the holy tomb of our Lord” to burn incense and pray, the archangel Gabriel announces her approaching death, and informs her that, in answer to her request, she shall “go to the heavenly places to her Son, into the true and everlasting life.” On her return home she prays, and all the Apostles—those who are already dead and those still alive—are gathered to her bedside at Bethlehem.... [T]he Apostles, carrying the couch on which “the Lady, the mother of God,” lay, are borne on a cloud to Jerusalem. Here Christ appears to her, and in answer to her request, declares: “Rejoice and be glad, for all grace is given to thee by My Father in heaven, and by Me, and by the Holy Ghost....” Then, while the Apostles sing a hymn, Mary falls asleep. She is laid in a tomb in Gethsemane; for three days an angel-choir is heard glorifying God, and when they are silent, all know that “her spotless and precious body has been transferred to Paradise” (Hastings, 1906, 1:683).
Many Catholics believe that Mary died before going to heaven (see “Did Mary Die?,” 1997, p. 11), but others consider her death an open question (see Mischewski, 2005). They have advocated that
Concerning Mary’s death the dogma is non-committal. It only says: “when the course of her earthly life was completed.”... As it stands now both opinions are acceptable and accepted: Mary’s death, resurrection and glorification as well as glorification at the end of her life without death (Roten, 2006, emp. added).
This doctrine is so “flexible” that it can work either way. However, this produces a dilemma since it is said that
the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus, clearly and repeatedly refers to the death of the Virgin Mary. In no less than seven separate paragraphs this Apostolic Constitution refers, in one way or another, to the death of the Virgin Mary (Conte, 2006).
It is interesting that, according to some Catholics, the declaration of a supposedly infallible pope can be interpreted in two completely opposite ways. So, who has the final word concerning this and other Catholic topics? Who can say, with any degree of confidence, what one should believe?
The very fact that interpretations of this doctrine are so “flexible” makes it unreliable and incredible. In contrast, the Bible is very clear about those who left behind their earthly existence without experiencing death. Enoch “was taken away so that he did not see death” (Hebrews 11:5; cf. Genesis 5:24). Of Elijah, the Bible says that a “chariot of fire” took him without him seeing death (2 Kings 2:11). Equally clear details are given about Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Acts 1:9). There is neither ambiguity nor the slightest hint that these historical facts are open to various interpretations.
A second reason why we should reject this Catholic dogma is its opposition to statements of Christ Himself. Speaking to Nicodemus, Jesus said: “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man” (John 3:13, emp. added). This includes everyone who has died, as well as those who were taken by the Lord and did not taste death. Again, Jesus taught that those who die go to a place called hades—a place of waiting for the Final Judgment (Revelation 20:13-15) that is independent from heaven and hell (Luke 16:19-23). In John 14:3, Jesus promised His disciples, “And if I go [to heaven] and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” When the time comes for His return, Jesus will keep His promise and open the doors of heaven for all those who have obeyed Him (cf. Matthew 25:31-46). But, since He has not yet returned, we conclude from the Scriptures that none of His disciples have been taken to heaven, not even Mary.
A third reason why we should reject the dogma of Mary’s assumption is its opposition to other related biblical doctrines. Concerning the Second Coming of Christ, Paul wrote that the resurrection of the dead will occur “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52, emp. added). In contrast, the doctrine of Mary’s assumption into heaven implies that she has already undergone a transformation of her body into a glorious state. It should be obvious that it is impossible to reconcile the Catholic tradition of Mary’s assumption with the biblical doctrine of resurrection.
A fourth reason to reject this doctrine is that the New Testament does not record the ascension of Mary. Some Catholics have proposed that it is implied by the Bible since Mary’s death is not recorded. This reasoning fails to acknowledge that the Bible does not record the deaths of many people, including John, Mark, Paul, and even Pilate. Does this mean that these people (and many others whose deaths are not recorded in the Bible) ascended to heaven? To argue in this way is to argue from the silence of Scripture. To establish a historical, biblical truth, we should turn our attention from what the Bible writers did not record, to what they did record.
By the time the New Testament books were written, the alleged Assumption of Mary would have occurred. However, not one New Testament writer gives even a hint of this event’s occurrence. If this doctrine is so important (as Catholicism claims), why was it excluded from the New Testament? If Jesus promised that the apostles were going to be guided into all truth and were going to declare all of the truth of God (John 16:13), why did they not record this “significant truth” about Mary? If the Bible records the “ascensions” of Enoch and Elijah, why does it not also record Mary’s? The simple answer is that the “Assumption of Mary” never occurred; it was created by minds focused on traditions, not truth.
The papal bull of 1950 further declared that “if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined [the “Assumption of Mary”—MP], let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith” (Munificentissimus Deus, 45, emp. added). But if this dogma is so important—to the point that those who do not believe it are condemned—how do Catholic clergy and theologians explain the fact that most mainstream Catholics lived for approximately 1,400 years in ignorance of this dogma? Were the Catholics, including the popes, who lived before its declaration by Pius XII (1950), saved in their ignorance of the “Assumption”? If they did not need this “truth” for salvation prior to 1950, why do they need it now?
There is no doubt that Mary was a special woman, but just like every other human being, she lived in a world regulated by an established principle that affects all of us: “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, emp. added). Mary, at the end of her earthly journey, crossed the path from life to death and met all those who “sleep” in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). Like them, and us, she is waiting for the Final Judgment, when the doors of heaven will open for all those who have done the will of the Father (Matthew 25:31-46).

REFERENCES

Conte, Ronald L. (2006), “A Summary of the Doctrine of the Dormition,” [On-line], URL: http://www.catholicplanet.com/CMA/dormition-summary.htm.
Hastings, James, ed. (1906), A Dictionary of Christ and the Apostles (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons).
Mischewski, Dean (2005), “The Assumption of Mary into Heaven,” [On-line], URL: http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mischedj/ct_assumption.html.
“Did Mary Die?” (1997), Catholic News, August 13, [On-line], URL: http://www.catholic.org.sg/cn/wordpress/?p=1791&page=1.
Munificentissimus Deus (1950), [On-line], URL: http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P12MUNIF.HTM.
Roten, Johann (2006), “What about Mary’s Death?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.catholicweb.com/media_index.cfm?fuseaction=view_article&partnerid=48&article_id=2768.

From Mark Copeland... All Should Honor The Son (John 5:16-30)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                   All Should Honor The Son (5:16-30)

INTRODUCTION

1. The ministry of Jesus was not without controversy...
   a. One reason was because He healed on the Sabbath - Jn 5:16
   b. Another reason was because He made Himself equal with God - Jn 5:17-18
   -- Prompting the Jews to seek to kill Him

2. Yet He they sought to kill, they should have honored - Jn 5:22-23
   a. Even as one should honor the Father
   b. For failing to honor the Son, they did not honor the Father who
      sent Him
   -- Indeed, all should honor the Son!

[Do we honor the Son today?  Truly honor the Son?  We certainly should,
and in our text we note several reasons why Jesus should be held high in
our estimation of Him...]

I. WHY WE SHOULD HONOR THE SON

   A. THE SON WILL RAISE THE DEAD...
      1. Among the "greater works" Jesus would do included raising the
         dead! - Jn 5:20-21
      2. We have record of Jesus raising three people from the dead
         a. The daughter of Jairus - Mk 5:21-43
         b. The son of the widow of Nain - Lk 7:11-17
         c. The brother of Mary and Martha, Lazarus - Jn 11:1-44
      3. One day, Jesus will raise all from the dead! - Jn 5:28-29
         a. Those who have done good, to the resurrection of life
         b. Those who have done evil, to the resurrection of
            condemnation
      -- Just as in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive!
         - cf. 1Co 15:22

   B. THE SON WILL JUDGE THE WORLD...
      1. The Father has committed judgment to His Son - Jn 5:22
         a. Jesus has authority to execute judgment, because He is the
            Son of Man - Jn 5:27
         b. Jesus will exercise righteous judgment, because He seeks the
            Father's will - Jn 5:30
      2. One day, Jesus will judge all mankind! - cf. Ac 10:42; 17:31
         a. His words will judge us in the Last Day - Jn 12:48
         b. We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ - Ro 14:10; 2Co 5:10
      -- Knowing we will one day stand before the Judge, should we not
         honor Him now?

   C. THE SON OFFERS EVERLASTING LIFE...
      1. To those who hear His Words, and believes in the Father who
         sent Him - Jn 5:24
         a. They shall not come into judgment (i.e., condemnation)
         b. They shall pass from death (spiritual) to life (eternal)
      2. The time for this offer is now ("the hour is coming, and now
         is") - Jn 5:25
         a. When those who are dead (spiritually) will hear the voice of
            the Son of God (via the gospel)
         b. Those who hear (obey) will live (be saved)
      3. The Son has power to give life - Jn 5:26
         a. Because the Father has life in Himself
         b. And the Father has granted the Son to have life in Himself
      -- That Jesus offers the gift of everlasting life is certainly
         reason to honor Him!

[Many other reasons to honor the Son could be given, but these certainly
suffice.  How should we honor Him?  From our text, we can glean at least
three ways...]

II. HOW WE SHOULD HONOR THE SON

   A. BY HEARING HIS VOICE NOW...
      1. One day, we will hear His voice - cf. Jn 5:28-29
         a. Whether alive or dead
         b. Whether we want to or not
         c. Either to a resurrection of life, or to a resurrection of
            condemnation
      2. How much better that day will be, if we hear His voice now
         - cf. Jn 5:24-25
         a. We can have everlasting life!
         b. We will not come into judgment (condemnation)!
         c. We can pass from death to life!
      -- Will we honor the Son by listening to His words of life?

   B. BY OBEYING HIS VOICE NOW...
      1. It is not enough to simply "hear" His Words
         a. We must be "doers" of His Words - Mt 7:24-27
         b. Otherwise, why bother to call Him "Lord"? - Lk 6:46
         c. Only by abiding in His word are we truly His disciples - Jn 8:31
      2. Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all obey Him - cf.
         He 5:9
         a. Obeying His call to believe in Him - Jn 8:24
         b. Obeying His call to repent of sins - Lk 13:3
         c. Obeying His call to confess Him before others - Mt 10:32-33
         d. Obeying His call to be baptized - Mt 28:19; Mk 16:16
         e. Obeying His call to remain faithful - Re 2:10
      -- Will we honor the Son by heeding His voice now, today?

   C. BY SEEKING THE FATHER'S WILL NOW...
      1. Jesus sought His Father's will in all that He did - Jn 5:30
         a. His "food" was to do the Father's will - Jn 4:34
         b. He came down from heaven to do the Father's will - Jn 6:38
         c. He glorified the Father by doing the work He was given to do
            - Jn 17:4
      2. Jesus wants us to do His Father's will
         a. Otherwise we will not enter the kingdom of heaven - Mt 7:
            21-23
         b. Otherwise we will not be part of His family - Mt 12:46-50
      -- We can best honor the Son by emulating His example in doing the
         Father's will!

CONCLUSION

1. All should honor the Son today...
   a. He is certainly worthy of honor - cf. Re 5:12
   b. Just as the Father (He who sits on the throne) is worthy - cf. Re 5:13

2. All will honor the Son one day...
   a. By responding to His voice at the resurrection - Jn 5:28-29
   b. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess - Ro 14:10-11;
      Php 2:9-11

For those willing to honor Him today by heeding His voice, they will be
honored together with Him in That Day! - cf. 2Th 1:10-12

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading September 27



Bible Reading   

September 27

The World English Bible


Sept. 27
Psalms 109-111

Psa 109:1 God of my praise, don't remain silent,
Psa 109:2 for they have opened the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of deceit against me. They have spoken to me with a lying tongue.
Psa 109:3 They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause.
Psa 109:4 In return for my love, they are my adversaries; but I am in prayer.
Psa 109:5 They have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
Psa 109:6 Set a wicked man over him. Let an adversary stand at his right hand.
Psa 109:7 When he is judged, let him come forth guilty. Let his prayer be turned into sin.
Psa 109:8 Let his days be few. Let another take his office.
Psa 109:9 Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.
Psa 109:10 Let his children be wandering beggars. Let them be sought from their ruins.
Psa 109:11 Let the creditor seize all that he has. Let strangers plunder the fruit of his labor.
Psa 109:12 Let there be none to extend kindness to him, neither let there be any to have pity on his fatherless children.
Psa 109:13 Let his posterity be cut off. In the generation following let their name be blotted out.
Psa 109:14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered by Yahweh. Don't let the sin of his mother be blotted out.
Psa 109:15 Let them be before Yahweh continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth;
Psa 109:16 because he didn't remember to show kindness, but persecuted the poor and needy man, the broken in heart, to kill them.
Psa 109:17 Yes, he loved cursing, and it came to him. He didn't delight in blessing, and it was far from him.
Psa 109:18 He clothed himself also with cursing as with his garment. It came into his inward parts like water, like oil into his bones.
Psa 109:19 Let it be to him as the clothing with which he covers himself, for the belt that is always around him.
Psa 109:20 This is the reward of my adversaries from Yahweh, of those who speak evil against my soul.
Psa 109:21 But deal with me, Yahweh the Lord, for your name's sake, because your loving kindness is good, deliver me;
Psa 109:22 for I am poor and needy. My heart is wounded within me.
Psa 109:23 I fade away like an evening shadow. I am shaken off like a locust.
Psa 109:24 My knees are weak through fasting. My body is thin and lacks fat.
Psa 109:25 I have also become a reproach to them. When they see me, they shake their head.
Psa 109:26 Help me, Yahweh, my God. Save me according to your loving kindness;
Psa 109:27 that they may know that this is your hand; that you, Yahweh, have done it.
Psa 109:28 They may curse, but you bless. When they arise, they will be shamed, but your servant shall rejoice.
Psa 109:29 Let my adversaries be clothed with dishonor. Let them cover themselves with their own shame as with a robe.
Psa 109:30 I will give great thanks to Yahweh with my mouth. Yes, I will praise him among the multitude.
Psa 109:31 For he will stand at the right hand of the needy, to save him from those who judge his soul.

Psa 110:1 Yahweh says to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool for your feet."
Psa 110:2 Yahweh will send forth the rod of your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of your enemies.
Psa 110:3 Your people offer themselves willingly in the day of your power, in holy array. Out of the womb of the morning, you have the dew of your youth.
Psa 110:4 Yahweh has sworn, and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek."
Psa 110:5 The Lord is at your right hand. He will crush kings in the day of his wrath.
Psa 110:6 He will judge among the nations. He will heap up dead bodies. He will crush the ruler of the whole earth.
Psa 110:7 He will drink of the brook in the way; therefore he will lift up his head.

Psa 111:1 Praise Yah! I will give thanks to Yahweh with my whole heart, in the council of the upright, and in the congregation.
Psa 111:2 Yahweh's works are great, pondered by all those who delight in them.
Psa 111:3 His work is honor and majesty. His righteousness endures forever.
Psa 111:4 He has caused his wonderful works to be remembered. Yahweh is gracious and merciful.
Psa 111:5 He has given food to those who fear him. He always remembers his covenant.
Psa 111:6 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.
Psa 111:7 The works of his hands are truth and justice. All his precepts are sure.
Psa 111:8 They are established forever and ever. They are done in truth and uprightness.
Psa 111:9 He has sent redemption to his people. He has ordained his covenant forever. His name is holy and awesome!
Psa 111:10 The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom. All those who do his work have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!
 
Sept. 27
2 Corinthians 7

2Co 7:1 Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2Co 7:2 Open your hearts to us. We wronged no one. We corrupted no one. We took advantage of no one.
2Co 7:3 I say this not to condemn you, for I have said before, that you are in our hearts to die together and live together.
2Co 7:4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you. Great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I overflow with joy in all our affliction.
2Co 7:5 For even when we had come into Macedonia, our flesh had no relief, but we were afflicted on every side. Fightings were outside. Fear was inside.
2Co 7:6 Nevertheless, he who comforts the lowly, God, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
2Co 7:7 and not by his coming only, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, while he told us of your longing, your mourning, and your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced still more.
2Co 7:8 For though I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it. For I see that my letter made you sorry, though just for a while.
2Co 7:9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss by us in nothing.
2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world works death.
2Co 7:11 For behold, this same thing, that you were made sorry in a godly way, what earnest care it worked in you. Yes, what defense, indignation, fear, longing, zeal, and vengeance! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be pure in the matter.
2Co 7:12 So although I wrote to you, I wrote not for his cause that did the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered the wrong, but that your earnest care for us might be revealed in you in the sight of God.
2Co 7:13 Therefore we have been comforted. In our comfort we rejoiced the more exceedingly for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.
2Co 7:14 For if in anything I have boasted to him on your behalf, I was not disappointed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, so our glorying also which I made before Titus was found to be truth.
2Co 7:15 His affection is more abundantly toward you, while he remembers all of your obedience, how with fear and trembling you received him.
2Co 7:16 I rejoice that in everything I am of good courage concerning you.


From Gary.... The god of delusion



What delusion?  What could the author of this definition possibly be referring to?  And, if so, would it be a rare thing or something quite common?  Now, because this doesn't specifically say what the delusion might be, I admit to being speculative here, but since most of the world is Gentile (as opposed to being Jewish) then perhaps a sermon directed to them might hold a clue or two...

Acts 17:16-34 NASB
(16)  Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols.
(17)  So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.
(18)  And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, "What would this idle babbler wish to say?" Others, "He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,"--because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

(19)  And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?
(20)  "For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean."
(21)  (Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)
(22)  So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects.
(23)  "For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.
(24)  "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;
(25)  nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;
(26)  and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,
(27)  that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
(28)  for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.'
(29)  "Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.
(30)  "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,
(31)  because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."
(32)  Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, "We shall hear you again concerning this."
(33)  So Paul went out of their midst.
(34)  But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.


Humm, this passage makes me wonder still... what could a common delusion be?  Well, for openers, there is idolatry.  We don't see temples like those in Athens today, but people make their own, don't they? Perhaps not made of stone, but idols of the heart, like work, a spouse or a hobby of some sort. Something that controls everything in their life.  Surely, we all have met the person who is all about work, work, work- haven't we?  And then there would be those who live their lives devoted to themselves and THEY MAKE THEIR WISHES A god.  This sort would never want a creator to intervene with their life, would they?  Or how about the religious person, who believes what they do because of the influence of some tradition or authority figure and refuses to submit to the God of the Bible? Then, there are those who simply refuse to believe that Jesus rose from the dead and in spite of this FACT, they still refuse to obey HIM!!!  Lastly, there are those who live like there is no tomorrow and would simply say that when we die we are nothing but dust and there is no life after life.

To all these and those with a myriad of other delusions, let me simply say- WAKE UP!!!  Jesus did raise from the dead, God will judge us someday and prepare for it by obeying the Gospel of God, today!!!  Begin by opening your Bible and allowing truth to permeate your mind and will; the unlimited nature of eternity with God is within your grasp- the rest is up to you!!!!