His name was Levi but most New Testament readers know him better as Matthew. He was a tax-collecter. Rome had set up a system of "client kings". It offered its approval and military support to this king or that if the king would agree to raise taxes for Rome's needs [the client king got his cut, of course]. Rome would assess how much they wanted from a kingdom and the client king would give that to Rome. It didn't matter how much he could wring out of his people so long as he could give to Rome what they asked.

The Jewish people had two reasons to despise the tax-collectors—Rome and the Herodian family with whom Rome had made the agreement.

We're not to think of tax-collectors as poor little things who were mistreated; we get a better view of them as a class when we think of those who collaborated with the Nazis in France or Belgium or Holland. Tax-collectors must have been emotionally and socially tough to take such a place in the midst of their own people. Don't you think they would have had to harden themselves to work for the hated and abusive authorities? Would they not be resentful and bitter and tough when every day they were despised, jeered at, isolated and passed by in silence? And if they had wives and children would they not have to steel themselves against the pain their loved ones would surely feel in such a society?

That's the man who was sitting at his place when Jesus walked up to him. Imagine this. There he stands looking in silence at him, those big brown eyes searching Matthew while Matthew looks up at him every now and then with a "Well, what do you want?"

Then Jesus says: "Leave all that and follow me!"

I'm going to take it that Matthew knew something of the one who spoke to him. It cannot have been that just anyone—the local butcher, for example—came and said that to him.

It would be nice [though not needed] to have Matthew tell us about that moment. "There he stood looking at me, saying nothing for what seemed like a lifetime and then, those words..."
Surely some critic saw and heard it all and as soon as Jesus said, "Leave all that and come and follow me," he ran off to tell his friends. "Guess who the new prophet asked to follow him!" They might guess this one or that and the informant would say, "No, no, better than that! Guess again!" When they'd exhausted their list of pious people who loved Israel and hated the Herod family he'd say, "No, it was 'old money-bags' himself. Matthew the tax-collector." And he might have  added, "It'll be a cold day in you know where when that happens." They'd all have a good laugh at the prophet's naivete but their laughing and jeering and gossiping would stop and astonishment would take their place when the word got around that Matthew had got up and done it! The capacity for it was there all along and only Jesus had the love to see it and the goodness and power to harness it!

All the hatred, all the sneering, all the isolation and intimidation couldn't turn him from his tax-gathering table, couldn't melt his hardness or strengthen him to finally join the oppressed against his ruthless masters—the world powers. But one long look at this Jesus, one strong sweet appeal from him and Matthew strode out of one world and into another, said a once-for-all goodbye to a way of life and never looked back.

When I think of such a dramatic turn around all sorts of questions swirl around in my mind—questions I have no satisfying answers to. Now and then when I think of it, it makes me half wish I had had Matthew's experience and felt the dramatic urge. I was never a great kid but my coming to the Lord Jesus, my entering the waters of baptism and taking his name upon me as my Lord and Savior was almost a quiet and steady process—as it is with most of us. I love that too but the drama of Matthew's conversion [and many like him down the centuries] thrills me as it must thrill you.

Every coming to the Lord Jesus has its drama even if it isn't obvious. It's more than [not less than] a personal u-turn. Worlds collide and empires clash on such occasions. People by God's grace throw off the shackles and throw ourselves into an adventure that knows no end. Once again, in each conversion, the Story of God as told in the person of Jesus Christ is re-told and re-enacted in a faith-filled baptism and it culminates in the rehearsal of His resurrection to new life and a new world [Romans 6:3-7]. 

Such conversions are an ongoing witness to the presence of God's saving power and the present existence of a new creation.

People are called to and made for adventure when Jesus comes calling and transforming them with truth about a new world, about a new creation. 

In the days of the sailing ships, sailors who had sailed with Drake would come back and tell stories of what it was like to sail with such a captain. They'd tell tales not of balmy days in safe lagoons and gentle breezes. They'd tell of storms, raging seas and battles with giant waves; they whip off their shirts and show scars they'd got as a result of battle with sea monsters and jagged rocks, they'd show calloused hands that rowed for half a day and then another half and then another until exhausted but successful in bringing their ship into contact with a friendly wind that would fill the sails. Farm boys—barefoot farm boys, eyes wide with the longing for adventure, boys who'd never seen the sea would shrug off their harnesses, leave their ploughs lying in the fields and run off to another life—to another world!

That same Jesus is walking the earth today, stopping here and there and looking long at women and men, boys and girls, then saying, "Come and follow me and I will show you what you were made for." And then and there, even the same life setting, will become new and shot through with adventure! 

The “Problem” with Miracles by Kyle Butt, M.A.


The “Problem” with Miracles

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

Using empirical data, some have decided what is and is not possible in this world, and miracles like the ones recorded in the New Testament do not fall into their “possible” category. Since they never have seen anyone rise from the dead or be healed instantaneously of a terminal disease, and since no scientific experiments can be carried out today that would verify the truthfulness of these miracles, then they assume that the miracles reportedly performed by Jesus must have some natural explanations. In an essay titled “Why I Don’t Buy the Resurrection,” Richard Carrier embodied the gist of this argument in the following statement:
No amount of argument can convince me to trust a 2000-year-old second-hand report, over what I see, myself, directly, here and now, with my own eyes. If I observe facts which entail that I will cease to exist when I die, then the Jesus story can never override that observation, being infinitely weaker as a proof. And yet all the evidence before my senses confirms my mortality…. A 2000 year-old second-hand tale from the backwaters of an illiterate and ignorant land can never overpower these facts. I see no one returning to life after their brain has completely died from lack of oxygen. I have had no conversations with spirits of the dead. What I see is quite the opposite of everything this tall tale claims. How can it command more respect than my own two eyes? It cannot (2000).
Although this argument at first may seem plausible, it runs into two insurmountable difficulties. First, there are things that took place in the past that no one alive today has seen or ever will see, yet they must be accepted as fact. The origin of life on this planet provides a good example. Regardless of whether a person believes in evolution or creation, he must admit that some things happened in the past that are not still happening today, or at least that have not been witnessed. To the evolutionists, I pose the question, “Have you ever personally used your five senses to establish that a nonliving thing can give rise to a living thing?” Of course, the evolutionist must admit that he never has seen such happen, in spite of all the origin-of-life experiments in the last fifty years. Does that mean that he does not accept the idea that life came from nonliving matter, just because he never has witnessed it personally? Of course not. Instead, we are asked to look at all the “evidence,” such as the geologic column and the fossil record, that he believes leads to such a conclusion. Yet the hard fact remains, no one alive today has ever seen life come from something nonliving.
Following the same line of reasoning, those who believe in creation freely admit that the creation of life on this planet is something that has not been witnessed by anyone alive today. It was a unique act that happened once, cannot be duplicated by experiment, and cannot be detected currently by the human senses. As with the evolutionist, the creationist asks us to look at the evidence such as the fossil record, the laws of thermodynamics, and the Law of Biogenesis, which he believes leads to the conclusion that life was created some time in the distant past by an intelligent Creator. Yet, before we drift too far from our discussion of a miracle such as the resurrection, let me remind you that this brief paragraph concerning creation and evolution is inserted only to prove one point—everyone must admit that he or she accepts some ideas and notions without having inspected them personally using the five senses.
Second, it is intellectual bigotry to assume that the first century people did not understand the laws of nature enough to differentiate between an actual miracle and other occurrences with natural explanations. We must not fall into the trap of thinking that the first-century onlookers did not know that rising from the dead or being healed of leprosy was unnatural. As C.S. Lewis explained:
But there is one thing often said about our ancestors which we must not say. We must not say “They believed in miracles because they did not know the Laws of Nature.” This is nonsense. When St. Joseph discovered that his bride was pregnant, he “was minded to put her away.” He knew enough about biology for that….When the disciples saw Christ walking on the water they were frightened; they would not have been frightened unless they had known the Laws of Nature and known that this was an exception (1970, p. 26).
The apostle Paul underlined this point in Romans 1:4 when he stated that Jesus Christ was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” The entire point of the resurrection was, and is, that it was not naturally or scientifically repeatable and that it proved his deity. As the blind man healed by Jesus so accurately stated, “Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing” (John 9:32-33).


Lewis, C.S. (1970), God in the Dock, ed. Walter Hooper (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Carrier, Richard (2000), [On-line], URL: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/1b.html.

From Mark Copeland... The Truth Shall Make You Free (John8:31-36)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                The Truth Shall Make You Free (8:31-36)


1. One of the better known statements of Jesus is this:  "And you shall
   know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (Jn 8:32)

2. Today this popular statement is often used in a political context...
   a. Referring to freedom from political oppression
   b. Extolling the value of the free press, and freedom of expression

3. While such are notable virtues, Jesus had something else in mind...
   a. Freedom from something more serious than political oppression
   b. Truth that comes from only one source

[Let's examine the context in which Jesus' statement is found (i.e., Jn
8:31-36).  From a careful reading of it we first note...]


      1. The Jews misconstrued Jesus - Jn 8:33
         a. They claimed to have never been in bondage (i.e., political
         b. An odd claim in view of the present Roman occupation, and
            past Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian captivities!
      2. Jesus explains the context of His statement - Jn 8:34-36
         a. He is talking about the slavery of sin
         b. He offers freedom from the bondage of sin

      1. There is the guilt of sin
         a. A guilt shared by everyone - Ro 3:23; 1Jn 1:8
         b. Even if one has committed only one sin (if such were
            possible!) - Jm 2:10-11
      2. There is the power of sin
         a. Jesus describes how committing sin makes one a slave to sin
            - Jn 8:34
         b. Paul illustrated the dilemma of one in bondage to the power
            of sin - Ro 7:14-24

[More oppressive than any kind physical slavery is the spiritual slavery
that comes from being a sinner!  While man may legislate political
freedom, only Jesus provides freedom from the bondage of sin.  How He
does this can be seen as we now examine...]


      1. The truth of which Jesus speaks is His own word or doctrine
         - Jn 8:31-32
      2. Which offers freedom from the bondage of sin
         a. From the guilt of sin through the blood of Christ - cf. Mt 26:28; Ep 1:7
         b. From the power of sin through the Spirit of God - cf. Ro 8:

      1. To be His disciples indeed - Jn 8:31; cf. Lk 6:46
      2. To be set free from sin - Ro 6:17-18; cf. He 5:9

      1. In which we are crucified with Christ - Ro 6:3-4a,6a
      2. In which we die to sin, thus freed from sin - Ro 6:6b,7,11a
         a. Its guilt removed by the blood of Jesus - Ac 2:38; 22:16
         b. Its power weakened by the gift of the Holy Spirit - Ac 2:38;
            Ep 3:16
      3. In which we rise to newness of life, free now to serve God - Ro 6:4c,11b-14,17-18
         a. With the aid of the continual cleansing of Jesus' blood
            - 1Jn 1:9
         b. With the aid of the Spirit in putting to death the deeds of
            the body - Ro 8:12-13

      1. As stated by Jesus - Jn 8:31
      2. As reiterated by John - 2Jn 9


1. Perhaps we can now better appreciate the significance of the Great
   a. To make disciples by baptizing them - Mt 28:19
   b. To make disciples by teaching them to observe all that Christ
      commanded them - Mt 28:20

2. For in carrying out the Great Commission into all the world...
   a. We offer the truth that really makes one free!
   b. Freedom from sin, the burden which truly oppresses mankind!

Are you under the heavy burden of sin, both it's guilt and it's power?
Then respond to the Savior's tender invitation:

   "Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will
   give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am
   gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
   For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Mt 11:28-30)

Accept His call to discipleship ("take My yoke...learn from Me"),
remembering His promise in our text:

   "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."
                                                      (Jn 8:36)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Light Of The World (John 8:12)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                     The Light Of The World (8:12)


1. The gospel of John records at least seven remarkable claims by
   a. "I am the bread of life" - Jn 6:48
   b. "I am the light of the world" - Jn 8:12
   c. "I am the door" - Jn 10:9
   d. "I am the good shepherd" - Jn 10:11
   e. "I am the resurrection and the life" - Jn 11:25
   f. "I am the way, the truth, and the life" - Jn 14:6
   g. "I am the vine" - Jn 15:5

2. In making such statements, Jesus reveals much...
   a. About the world around us, and the lives we live
   b. About Himself, and what He has to offer to us

3. In this study, we will focus our attention on His claim to be "The
   Light Of The World"...
   a. As recorded in Jn 8:12... "I am the light of the world. He who
      follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of
   b. Made by Jesus in the treasury of the temple (part of the Court of
      Women) - cf. Jn 8:20
   c. In which there were "two colossal golden lamp stands, on which
      hung a multitude of lamps, lighted after the evening sacrifice
      (probably every evening during the feast of tabernacles),
      diffusing their brilliancy, it is said, over all the city"
      - Jameison, Fausset, and Brown

[As we examine the words of Jesus, we notice what is implied about the
world in which we live...]


      1. Used metaphorically to symbolize distress, mourning,
         perplexity, ignorance and death - Isa 9:1-2; Job 5:14; 12:
         24-25; 10:21; 17:13
      2. Used figuratively of moral depravity - cf. Jn 3:19; Ro 13:
         12-13; Ep 5:11

      1. Seen in the news (terrorism, war, oppression, sexual abuse,
      2. Viewed in the media (pornography, filthy language)
      3. Experienced in life (adultery, physical and verbal abuse, false
      4. As described by the apostle Paul, many walk in darkness...
         - cf. Ep 4:17-19
         a. In the futility of their minds
         b. Darkened in their understanding
         c. Alienated from the life of God
         d. Ignorant because of the blindness of their heart
         e. Past feeling, given over to lewdness
         f. Working all uncleanness with greediness

[While there may be varying degrees of darkness in which people find
themselves, if they live in the world they must contend with darkness.
To those in darkness, Jesus offers hope...]


      1. A claim made elsewhere in the gospel
         a. In the prologue - Jn 1:4-9
         b. By Jesus on other occasions - Jn 9:5; 12:35,46
      2. He is the light, not a light
         a. Indicating that He alone provides the true light
         b. Even as He alone provides the true and living way - cf. Jn 14:6
      3. As the light, Jesus is the source of life - Jn 8:12c
         a. The abundant life (with peace, joy, love) - Jn 10:10; cf. Jn 14:27; 15:10,11
         b. The eternal life (including the resurrection) - Jn 11:25;
      4. We must be wary of those who proclaim to offer "light"
         a. Some may be servants of Satan - cf. 2Co 11:13-15
         b. At best, one can only reflect what light Jesus has already

      1. Not for the Jews only, but for Gentiles (the nations) as well
         a. As foretold by the prophets - cf. Isa 49:6; 60:1-3
         b. As commanded of His apostles - cf. Ac 26:15-18
      2. Available to all who believe, not an elect few
         a. To everyone who believes in Jesus - Jn 12:46
         b. To those who follow Jesus - Jn 8:12b

[How wonderful to know that in a world of darkness, we can have the
light of life through Jesus Christ, the light of the world!  Yet we
should reiterate that He is truly the light...]


      1. Note the connection between following Jesus and being a
         a. The word "disciple" means a follower, a learner
         b. Only those who follow Him will have the light of life
         c. Therefore only those who become His disciples will walk in
            His light
      2. How one becomes a disciple (or follower) of Jesus
         a. It begins with faith - Jn 12:46
         b. It includes baptism - cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:16

      1. Only by abiding in His Word...
         a. Are we truly His disciples (followers) - Jn 8:31
         b. Do we truly have Christ - cf. 2Jn 9
      2. As we abide in His words, we not only walk in light, we become
         a. Reflecting the light of Christ - cf. Php 2:15-16
         b. Proving what is acceptable, exposing that which is not - cf.
            Ep 5:8-14
         c. The light of the world, bringing glory to our Father in
            heaven - cf. Mt 5:14-16


1. Are you confused, stumbling in a morass of darkness, making a mess of
   your life...?
   a. Come to Jesus, the light of the world
   b. Follow Him, who will give you the light of life

2. You can become a light to others walking in darkness...
   a. As you reflect the light of Christ in your own life
   b. As you abide in His teachings, and follow His doctrine

In a world of darkness, let us walk in the light of Him who leads us to
both the abundant life and eternal life...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Promise Of The Spirit (John 7:37-39)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                  The Promise Of The Spirit (7:37-39)


1. During the Feast Of Tabernacles, there was a daily ceremony involving
   a. Each day, the priests and the people would joyfully make their way
      to the pool of Siloam
   b. Using a golden pitcher, water was drawn, taken back to the temple,
      and poured on the altar of burnt offering
   c. The words of Isa 12:3 were then sung:  "Therefore with joy you
      will draw water from the wells of salvation."

2. On such an occasion Jesus used the opportunity to extend a wonderful
   a. Inviting those who thirst to come to Him and drink - Jn 7:37
   b. Those who believe in Him will have "rivers of living water" flow
      from their hearts - Jn 7:38

3. The apostle John explains that this promise concerns the Holy
   Spirit... - Jn 7:39
   a. Whom those who believe would receive
   b. Who had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified

[What else might we glean from the Scriptures concerning this promise of
the Spirit?  Let's first take a closer look at...]


      1. A promise foretold by the Scriptures - Jn 7:38; cf. Isa 44:3;
         a. "The reference is not to any single passage, but to the
            spirit of the Scripture, notably such passages as Isa 55:1;
            58:11; Ps 36:8-9." - B. W. Johnson
         b. "...referring not to any particular passage, but to such as
            Isa 58:11; Joel 3:18; Zec 14:8; Ezek 47:1-12; in most of
            which the idea is that of waters issuing from beneath the
            temple, to which our Lord compares Himself and those who
            believe in Him." - Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
      2. A promise that makes one a blessing to others - Jn 7:38
         a. "out of his heart will flow rivers of living water"
         b. "When a man turns himself to the Lord, he shall be as a
            fountain filled with living water, and his streams shall
            flow to all the nations and tribes of men" - Kuinoel
         c. "...those who are Christians shall diffuse large, and
            liberal, and constant blessings on their fellowmen" - Barnes
      3. A promise offered to believers - Jn 7:39
         a. Not to those who have yet to believe
         b. Which is why I do not believe it refers to the ministry of
            the Spirit through the Word alone, for such occurs even on
            those who do not believe - e.g., Jn 16:8
         c. Note this observation by Robert Milligan:
            1) "He manifestly refers in this passage to something which
               had hitherto been enjoyed by no one, and which could be
               enjoyed by none until after that he himself was
               glorified." - Robert Milligan, Scheme of Redemption,
            2) "This, it would seem, could not have reference to the
               mediate agency of the Spirit, through the written word
               and the ordinary workings of God's providence; for
               through these media the Spirit had always operated on the
               minds of both Jews and Patriarchs." - ibid.
            3) "Christ is speaking here of what is peculiar to his own
               personal reign and administration." - ibid.
      4. A promise extended to all believers - Jn 7:39
         a. Not just to select disciples with special tasks, such as
            apostles and prophets
         b. Which is why I do not believe it refers to miraculous
            manifestations of the Spirit, such as the gifts of the
            Spirit, for not all Christians had such; note also:
            1) This promise of the Spirit had not yet been given
            2) Yet miraculous manifestations of the Spirit had been
               experienced prior to the glorification of Jesus - e.g.,
               Lk 1:41,67
      5. A promise given after Jesus was "glorified" - Jn 7:39
         a. I.e., after His resurrection and ascension to heaven
         b. "The first and second chapters of the Book of Acts is the
            best comment upon this passage. When Jesus ascended to the
            right hand of the Father and was glorified, he sent forth
            the Spirit upon his apostles on the day of Pentecost, and
            the apostles in turn promised the gift of the Spirit to all
            who would believe, repent, and be baptized." - J. W.
            McGarvey (Fourfold Gospel)

      1. We conclude that it refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit
         a. Promised to all who repent and are baptized - cf. Ac 2:38-39
         b. Given to all who obey - cf. Ac 5:32
         c. Imbibed by all who are baptized - cf. 1Co 12:13
         d. Sent into our hearts because we are God's children - cf. Ga 4:6
      2. We conclude that it refers to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit
         a. Who indwells all that belong to Christ - cf. Ro 8:9-10
         b. Making their bodies a temple of the Spirit - cf. 1Co 6:19

[That this promise refers to the gift or indwelling of the Spirit given
to all Christians becomes more apparent as we now focus our attention


      1. Remember what Jesus said of those who receive the Spirit - Jn 7:38
         a. "out of his heart will flow rivers of living water"
         b. I.e., they will become a blessing to others; note again:
            1) "When a man turns himself to the Lord, he shall be as a
               fountain filled with living water, and his streams shall
               flow to all the nations and tribes of men" - Kuinoel
            2) "...those who are Christians shall diffuse large, and
               liberal, and constant blessings on their fellowmen"
               - Barnes
      2. Especially when they bear the fruit of the Spirit in their
         lives- Ga 5:22-23
         a. Such as love, joy, peace
         b. Such as longsuffering, kindness, goodness
         c. Such as gentleness, faithfulness, self-control
      -- Bearing such fruit of the Spirit, they bless the lives of

      1. The fruit of the Spirit becomes possible with the aid of the
         a. Who helps us to put to death the deeds of the body - Ro 8:
            12-13; cf. Col 3:5-8
         b. Who enables us to be filled with joy and peace, abounding in
            hope - Ro 15:13
      2. For the Spirit is God's instrumental agent to strengthen the
         a. Strengthening with might through the Spirit in the inner man
            - Ep 3:16
         b. With a power working in us - Ep 3:20
   -- We are able to be a blessing to others, with the aid of the Spirit
      working in us!

[Jesus therefore offers us the opportunity to be blessed by the Spirit's
indwelling, so we can be useful in blessing the lives of those around
us.  But to ensure that we receive this blessing of the Spirit, let's be
careful to consider...]


      1. By believing in Jesus Christ
         a. The need to believe emphasized twice in our text - Jn 7:
         b. For faith is necessary to receive "life in His name" - cf.
            Jn 20:31
      2. By repenting of our sins
         a. The gift of the Spirit promised to those who repent - Ac 2:
         b. Those who repent will experience "times of refreshing" (what
            could be more refreshing than "rivers of living water"?)
            - cf. Ac 3:19
      3. By being baptized for the remission of our sins
         a. Those baptized are promised the gift of the Spirit - Ac 2:
         b. They are made to drink into one Spirit - cf. 1Co 12:13
      -- As Peter put it, God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey
         Him - Ac 5:32

      1. By singing psalms, hymns, spiritual songs
         a. We are to be filled with the Spirit - Ep 5:18
         b. Which we can do by singing - Ep 5:19
      2. By studying the Word of God
         a. Which is the sword of the Spirit - Ep 6:17
         b. The means by which the Spirit teaches and instructs the
            Christian, for it contains the revelation of God given by
            the Spirit to inspired men who wrote it for our benefit- cf.
            1Co 2:9-13; Ep 3:5-7
      3. By praying, making requests regarding the Spirit
         a. That God would fill one with all joy and peace in believing,
            abounding in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit - Ro 15:13
         b. That God would strengthen one with might through His Spirit
            in the inner man - Ep 3:16
      4. By turning away from sin
         a. Lest they grieve the Spirit - cf. Ep 4:29-31
         b. Lest they quench the Spirit - cf. 1Th 5:19


1. What a wonderful promise Jesus offers in our text...
   a. The Holy Spirit to those who believe in Him
   b. A refreshing drink that can become rivers of living water
      1) First refreshing our souls
      2) Then refreshing the souls around us by His impact on our lives

2. How sad if we quench the Spirit Who is intended to quench our
   a. By failing to obey the Lord
   b. By failing to grow in the Lord

May our attitude and heart's felt desire be similar to that of the
Samaritan woman, when Jesus spoke to her at Jacob's well...

   "Jesus answered and said to her, 'Whoever drinks of this water
   will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall
   give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him
   will become in him a fountain of water springing up into
   everlasting life.' The woman said to Him, 'Sir, give me this
   water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.'" (Jn 4:13-15)

Are you willing to say to Jesus, "Sir, give me this water, that I may
not thirst" by coming to Him in faithful obedience...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Proof Is In The Pudding (John 7:17)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                   The Proof Is In The Pudding (7:17)


1. The evidence for Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, is manifold...
   a. The testimony of John the Baptist - Jn 5:33; e.g., 1:29,34
   b. The works (miracles) that Jesus did - Jn 5:36; e.g., 2:11; 20:
   c. The testimony of God Himself - Jn 5:37; e.g., Mt 3:16-17; 17:5
   d. The testimony of the OT scriptures - Jn 5:39; e.g., Isa 9:6-7
   e. His resurrection from the dead, attested to by eyewitnesses - Ro 1:4; e.g., Jn 20:24-29

2. Jesus offered another proof that He is from God...
   a. It came at a time when many questioned who He was - Jn 7:12-15
   b. If you are willing to do God's will, you will know His doctrine is
      from God - Jn 7:16-17

3. Jesus' claim is akin to well-known proverb...
   a. "The proof of the pudding is in the eating"
   b. As stated more often, "The proof is in the pudding"

[This is a remarkable claim by Jesus, certainly worthy of closer


      1. There must first be a willing heart
         a. A good and noble heart - cf. Lk 8:15
         b. A heart willing to hear and examine carefully - cf. Ac 17:11
         c. A humble heart, one that fears God - cf. Ps 25:9,12
      2. There must then be obedience from the heart
         a. Such as found in the Christians at Rome - Ro 6:17
         b. The kind of obedience that must be in all aspects of our
            service - Ep 6:6; Col 3:23
      -- "Those who would test the divinity of the doctrine of Christ
         can not do so by rendering a mere mechanical obedience to his
         teaching. A willing, heartfelt obedience is essential to a true
         knowledge of his doctrine. Such a disposition makes a good and
         honest heart in which the seeds of his kingdom must inevitably
         grow." - J. W. McGarvey

      1. They will know that Jesus' teaching comes from above - cf. Jn 12:49
      2. They will know that His teaching is everlasting life - cf. Jn 12:50
      -- "He shall have evidence, in the very attempt to do the will of
         God, of the truth of the doctrine." - Barnes

[What kind of evidence does one receive?  The answer may be put in the
words of Isaiah, "The work of righteousness will be peace, And the
effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever." (Isa 32:17)
Consider therefore the...]


      1. Jesus offered such peace to His disciples - Jn 14:27; 16:33
      2. As we do the Father's will as taught by Jesus, we experience
         such peace:
         a. As the result of our justification in Christ - Ro 5:1
         b. As the prayer for faithful Christians - Ro 15:13; 2Th 3:16
         c. As the fruit of the Spirit in the lives of Christians - Ga 5:22
         d. As the response to prayer - Php 4:6-7
      -- Such peace, when experienced, confirms Jesus' doctrine as being
         from God

      1. Jesus offered assurance to His disciples - Jn 14:27b; 16:33
      2. As we do the Father's will as taught by Jesus, we experience
         such assurance:
         a. As when we love the brethren in deed and truth - cf. 1Jn 3:
         b. As expressed by Paul - cf. 2Ti 1:12; also Ro 8:38-39
      -- Such assurance, when experienced, confirms Jesus' doctrine as
         being from God

[B. W. Johnson expressed it this way:  "He who in his heart says, "Thy
will be done, give me light and I will walk in it," will find that
Christ is just the teacher demanded by his soul, and that the gospel
meets his soul's want. Jesus will so meet the wants of his soul that he
will be satisfied and will know the doctrine, that it comes from him who
made the soul." (People's New Testament)  Yet, we should note...]


      1. It is not evidence that Jesus' doctrine is not from God
         a. We may have not done the Father's will yet
         b. We may have not done the Father's will from the heart
      2. It may not be evidence that we failed to truly do the Father's
         will at one time
         a. Our faith may yet be weak, needing to grow
         b. Our faith may have become hardened by the deceitfulness of
            sin - He 3:12-14

      1. We should not trust in that evidence alone
         a. Many believed they are saved because of their feelings
         b. They might construe such as the ultimate proof of salvation
      2. The heart can easily be deceived
         a. There are ways that seem right, but may lead to death - Pro 16:25
         b. It is not in man to direct his footsteps - Jer 10:23
      3. We must always be open to the Word of God
         a. Let the Word of God produce the feelings (faith, then
         b. Don't let one's feelings reject the Word of God (not
            feelings, then faith)


1. The proof that is in the pudding is somewhat subjective, but it is
   a. Proof that can further confirm a faith based upon more objective
   b. Proof that if lacking should be a sign our faith needs work (i.e.,

2. It is a diligent faith willing to do the will of God that produces a
   full assurance...

   "And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the
   full assurance of hope until the end," (He 6:11)

Are you willing to do the Father's will from the heart?  The blessings
of peace, assurance, and confirmation that Jesus' doctrine is truly from
God, awaits those who obey His will...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary.... Bible Reading October 4

Bible Reading  

October 4

The World English Bible

Oct. 4
Psalms 131-134

Psa 131:1 Yahweh, my heart isn't haughty, nor my eyes lofty; nor do I concern myself with great matters, or things too wonderful for me.
Psa 131:2 Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Psa 131:3 Israel, hope in Yahweh, from this time forth and forevermore.
Psa 132:1 Yahweh, remember David and all his affliction,
Psa 132:2 how he swore to Yahweh, and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:
Psa 132:3 "Surely I will not come into the structure of my house, nor go up into my bed;
Psa 132:4 I will not give sleep to my eyes, or slumber to my eyelids;
Psa 132:5 until I find out a place for Yahweh, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob."
Psa 132:6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah. We found it in the field of Jaar:
Psa 132:7 "We will go into his dwelling place. We will worship at his footstool.
Psa 132:8 Arise, Yahweh, into your resting place; you, and the ark of your strength.
Psa 132:9 Let your priest be clothed with righteousness. Let your saints shout for joy!"
Psa 132:10 For your servant David's sake, don't turn away the face of your anointed one.
Psa 132:11 Yahweh has sworn to David in truth. He will not turn from it: "I will set the fruit of your body on your throne.
Psa 132:12 If your children will keep my covenant, my testimony that I will teach them, their children also will sit on your throne forevermore."
Psa 132:13 For Yahweh has chosen Zion. He has desired it for his habitation.
Psa 132:14 "This is my resting place forever. Here I will live, for I have desired it.
Psa 132:15 I will abundantly bless her provision. I will satisfy her poor with bread.
Psa 132:16 Her priests I will also clothe with salvation. Her saints will shout aloud for joy.
Psa 132:17 There I will make the horn of David to bud. I have ordained a lamp for my anointed.
Psa 132:18 I will clothe his enemies with shame, but on himself, his crown will be resplendent."
Psa 133:1 See how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to live together in unity!
Psa 133:2 It is like the precious oil on the head, that ran down on the beard, even Aaron's beard; that came down on the edge of his robes;
Psa 133:3 like the dew of Hermon, that comes down on the hills of Zion: for there Yahweh gives the blessing, even life forevermore.
Psa 134:1 Look! Praise Yahweh, all you servants of Yahweh, who stand by night in Yahweh's house!
Psa 134:2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary. Praise Yahweh!
Psa 134:3 May Yahweh bless you from Zion; even he who made heaven and earth.

Oct. 4
Galatians 1

Gal 1:1 Paul, an apostle (not from men, neither through man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead),
Gal 1:2 and all the brothers who are with me, to the assemblies of Galatia:
Gal 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ,
Gal 1:4 who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father--
Gal 1:5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Gal 1:6 I marvel that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different "good news";
Gal 1:7 and there isn't another "good news." Only there are some who trouble you, and want to pervert the Good News of Christ.
Gal 1:8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any "good news" other than that which we preached to you, let him be cursed.
Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so I now say again: if any man preaches to you any "good news" other than that which you received, let him be cursed.
Gal 1:10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? For if I were still pleasing men, I wouldn't be a servant of Christ.
Gal 1:11 But I make known to you, brothers, concerning the Good News which was preached by me, that it is not according to man.
Gal 1:12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.
Gal 1:13 For you have heard of my way of living in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the assembly of God, and ravaged it.
Gal 1:14 I advanced in the Jews' religion beyond many of my own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
Gal 1:15 But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me through his grace,
Gal 1:16 to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I didn't immediately confer with flesh and blood,
Gal 1:17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia. Then I returned to Damascus.
Gal 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days.
Gal 1:19 But of the other apostles I saw no one, except James, the Lord's brother.
Gal 1:20 Now about the things which I write to you, behold, before God, I'm not lying.
Gal 1:21 Then I came to the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
Gal 1:22 I was still unknown by face to the assemblies of Judea which were in Christ,
Gal 1:23 but they only heard: "He who once persecuted us now preaches the faith that he once tried to destroy."
Gal 1:24 And they glorified God in me.

From Gary... There is a reason

We live in a wide, wide world. Yesterday, this came to my mind as I happened to be looking at the statistics for actually who accesses my blog.  While The United States, followed by Russia are the top ones over the past eight years, the Ukraine has been increasing to the point that now some days it actually has more "hits" than the US and Russia COMBINED!!! Why, I wonder? Well, perhaps it is because of the turmoil that has befallen them. And today, when I saw this sign I thought of their hardships and wanted to let them know that I am praying for them. So, the following passage seemed appropriate....

1 Peter 4:12-19 NASB
(12)  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;
(13)  but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
(14)  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
(15)  Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;
(16)  but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
(17)  For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
(19)  Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

Please pay special attention to verse 16 and 19!!! Is it a coincidence that over the past few years that the Ukraine has been going back to the Bible and that now they are having problems? Satan will do everything he can to keep you from the Word of God, but be strong- HE WILL LOSE; GOD ALWAYS WINS IN THE END!!!  My love to all who love the God of Heaven!!!

Your Friend always,

Gary Rose