I don't know what's going on down in Houston but I know God does! I hear preaching people are going to have to submit what they say to government scrutiny [soon the rank and file might well have to do the same]. 

What's new? Is this not part of the history of faith filled believers [OT & NT]?
Should we protest this nonsense? Why not—isn't this a democracy?
Should we panic about it? Why? Didn't our now resurrected, triumphant and glorified Lord Jesus leave us an example that we should follow in his steps? 

Didn't he say it should be no surprise if "the world" [corrupt officialdom and anti-God, anti-life structures] hates his followers since it hated him? 

Didn't they stand him in front of religious and political leaders in that ugly way of scrutinizing?

Should we tell God about all that's happening? Why not—isn't that prayer?
Should we pretend we're pleased that blind leaders lead the blind into national and cultural ditches or that in some parts of the world brutal leaders torment those that are the salt of the earth?

Why should we?

But we can all easily recall that sly/ignorant political bosses told a man to quit praying or else and he went on praying

—as usual. Lions or no lions!

We can all easily recall that "a supreme court" ordered some fellows to quit preaching what they were preaching and even beat them up a bit. These believers instead of whimpering about loss of "rights" said: "The decision to obey you or God is a no-brainer to us—it should be a no-brainer to you also. We'll continue to preach—we can't help it."

You'll remember who they talked to when they got back home and among their own. You'll remember how they viewed the beating. You'll remember that they said to God: "We see your hand in all of this and glad to participate in Jesus Christ."

I'd hate it down into my gut if authorities were tormenting my children and dear friends but if it was because they were holding fast to the gospel of the glorious God I'd be comforted with a comfort that is not available to the millions who are tormented and know no gospel that could comfort them.

God bless all those throughout the world that gospel in a costly way and in that way become the aroma of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Holy One, we pray that you empower such brothers and sisters and give them reason to rejoice knowing what they're doing in your name for for the untold but watching millions.

Of Fish and Tombs by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


Of Fish and Tombs

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

Among critics of the Bible there are few stories discussed more often than that of Jonah and the great fish (Jonah 1:17). This account has been ridiculed perhaps as frequently as any in the Bible. It is too difficult, critics allege, to believe that a man could be swallowed by such a fish, and then emerge alive and well three days later. In reality, however, the problem with this account is not the fact that a fish could swallow a man. While in the past it was suggested that no fish had a gullet large enough to allow it to swallow a man, today scientists acknowledge that the sperm whale, which inhabits the Mediterranean Sea, is capable of swallowing an object as large as, or larger than, a man (see Scheffer, 1969, pp. 82-87). The whale shark and other great marine animals can do like wise. Nor is the problem a dispute over whether a man could live for approximately 72 hours inside such an animal. Accounts of that actually happening have been documented (see Rimmer, 1936, pp. 188-189).
Even though fish exist with a gullet large enough to swallow a man, and even though it has been documented that a man can live three days inside such a fish, these matters actually are beside the point. Why so? They are irrelevant because the text acknowledges that God’s miraculous powers were at work in the life of Jonah. Jonah 1:17 specifically states that God “prepared a great fish” to swallow Jonah. Jonah 2:10 notes that God “spake unto the fish and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” The critics’ ridicule is directed at the account of Jonah because it is miraculous, not because of the size of a fish’s gullet or the life span of a man inside a fish. What we are dealing with here is a clear-cut case of antisupernatural bias.
The real question is this: Is supernaturalism credible? If God exists, then miracles are possible. If there was a creation by God, then supernaturalism is credible, because God could choose to intervene in His creation at any time. If Christ was raised from the dead, then supernaturalism not only is possible, but proven. Ultimately, then, the rejection of supernaturalism is the rejection of Christ. This may mean little to the hardened atheist, or to the religious modernist who attacks the account in Jonah as nothing more than a myth and who long ago gave up any real belief in the deity of Christ. But what should be the Christian’s response?
First, let us note that the account in Jonah is presented as authentic history, detailing the conversion of multitudes of people in a real city—the great Assyrian city of Nineveh (Jonah 3:5). Jonah is discussed as a real prophet in 2 Kings 14:25. The entire record of Jonah was accepted by ancient Jewish historians and commentators—all of whom were much closer geographically and chronologically than modern-day atheists or liberals. Second, the most compelling reason for accepting the record of Jonah is that it was accepted by Christ Himself. Notice that in Luke 11:32 Christ commented on the fact that “the men of Nineveh...repented at the preaching of Jonah.” With respect to the miracle of the great fish, Jesus said: “For as Jonah was three days in the belly of the fish, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). Thus, the Lord Himself appropriated Jonah’s miraculous preservation and restoration as a type and prophecy of His own death, burial, and resurrection.
This leaves the Christian with three options. (1) Jesus was mistaken, and simply unaware of His error in regard to Jonah. Jonah really did not spend three days in the belly of a great fish, even though Christ said that he did. (2) Jesus lied about the matter. He knew that the events recorded never took place, but He still employed the account “as if ” it actually had taken place, in order to effect a comparison with His own situation. (3) Jesus told the truth regarding the matter; the events recorded in the book of Jonah really did occur, and as such, were used appropriately by the Lord in reference to His own impending death and the circumstances surrounding it.
Jonah and Jesus stand or fall together. One may not repudiate the account of Jonah, as if it were some kind of unimportant fairy tale, and then advocate the truthfulness of the deity of Christ at the same time. Jesus’ testimony was that the events surrounding Jonah in his day and time were as literal, and as historical, as the events of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection would be in His. The evidence that attends the latter attests to the fact of the former.
Were it not for the antagonism of atheism, and the compromise of religious modernism, the story of Jonah would be accepted at face value, just as Jesus accepted it. Those of us who respect Christ and His testimony will acknowledge, and defend, what Christ acknowledged and defended. To do anything less impugns the deity of our Lord, and that is something we must not take lightly.


Rimmer, Harry (1936), The Harmony of Science and Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), pp. 188-189.
Scheffer, Victor B. (1969), The Year of the Whale (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons), pp. 82-87.

From Mark Copeland... The Influence Of The Kingdom (Matthew 5:13-16)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                 The Influence Of The Kingdom (5:13-16)


1. In "The Beatitudes" (Mt 5:3-12), we saw...
   a. The character of those who would be citizens of the kingdom
   b. The blessedness of the citizens described

2. In the final beatitude, Jesus implied the attitude the world would
   often display towards the citizens of the kingdom - Mt 5:10-12
   a. The world would revile and persecute those in the kingdom
   b. The world would say all kinds of evil against them falsely for
      His sake
   c. The world would persecute them just as it persecuted the prophets
      before them
   -- Thus the influence of the world upon the kingdom would often be
      one of persecution

3. Jesus then proceeded to describe the opposite...
   a. The influence of the kingdom upon the world
   b. The impact the kingdom was designed to have upon those in the

[He uses two metaphors in doing so. The first, in Mt 5:13, involves the
figure of salt...]


      1. It is white, enhances flavor, preserves, etc.
      2. Based on the context, it is probably salt's ability to enhance
         flavor to which Jesus refers in his illustration
         a. Notice: "...but if the salt loses its flavor..."
         b. Salt has the ability to give flavor to that which is 
            otherwise bland
         c. Job mentioned this ability in Job 6:6

      1. Jesus depicts the relationship of the citizens of the kingdom
         to the world as one of:
         a. Making the world palatable (bearable) to God, and possibly
            to others as well
         b. Perhaps making it possible for God to continue to bear with
            this world and its "distasteful" wickedness
      2. The idea that the "righteous few" can make it is easier for
         God to forbear the many wicked is illustrated:
         a. In Abraham's conversation with God over Sodom - Gen 18:
         b. In God's dealing with Jerusalem - Jer 5:1
      -- So from God's point of view, the citizens of the kingdom give
         the world what good "flavor" it has!

      1. With pure salt...
         a. It actually never loses its flavor
         b. But when mixed with impurities salt can lose its ability to
            enhance flavor
      2. We too might lose our ability to be a "flavoring agent" for 
         the world...
         a. By allowing "impurities" into our lives - 1Co 15:33
         b. Therefore, we need to keep ourselves from sin - Ep 5:3-7

      1. How are we going to be "seasoned"? (impurities prevent us from
         being useful)
      2. We will be thrown out!
         a. Is Jesus teaching the possibility of losing our salvation?
         b. He certainly does elsewhere! - Mt 13:40-43; Re 3:15-16

[First of all, then, we are told of the relationship of the kingdom to
the world FROM GOD'S POINT OF VIEW: "You are the salt of the earth."

In Mt 5:14-16, we find Jesus teaching concerning those in the kingdom
as to their PRIMARY FUNCTION in the world...]


      1. They are "lights" in a dark world - Php 2:14-15
      2. Their purpose:  to proclaim the praises of God! - 1Pe 2:9;
         Ep 5:8b-9

      1. Only in the Lord - Ep 5:8a
      2. Christ is the "true" or "original" light - Jn 8:12
      3. Citizens of the kingdom are simply "luminaries" reflecting The
         One True Light, just as the moon reflects the sun - 2Co 4:6

      1. They must be visible
         a. Implied by Jesus in His use of a "city" and a "lampstand"
            as metaphors
         b. Jesus therefore expects His followers to be seen by the
            world - e.g., Jn 13:35; 17:21
      2. They must radiate (give light)
         a. This principle conveyed by the idea of the lamp
            1) Designed to shine on a lampstand
            2) Not put under a basket
         b. This principle explicitly stated in "let your light SO
            SHINE before men"
      -- The purpose of such visible radiation:  so men may glorify the
         Father in heaven - e.g., 1Pe 2:11-12; 2Co 9:12-13


1. The influence and impact that the citizens of the kingdom are to
   have on the world can be simply stated...
   a. "You are the salt of the earth"
   b. "You are the light of the world"

2. Why make the effort to be salt and light?  Because of He who is 
   described as "your Father who is in heaven"!
   a. An expression which should remind us that God is both:
      1) Tender (He is our "Father"; a term of tenderness)
      2) Majestic (He is "in heaven")
   b. Such a Majestic Being, willing to be our Father, makes Him:
      1) Worthy to be pleased!
      2) And worthy to be praised!

3. We who claim to be the children of God, citizens of the kingdom, are
   a. Pleasing to our Father (by being "the salt of the earth")?
   b. Praising Him (by being "the light of the world")?

If not, then may the prayer of David in Ps 51:10-15 become our own:

   Create in me a clean heart, O God, 
      And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

   Do not cast me away from Your presence,
      And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

   Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
      And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

   Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
      And sinners shall be converted to You.

   Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed,
      O God, The God of my salvation,
      And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.

   O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Beatitudes - II (Matthew 5:3-12)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                      The Beatitudes - II (5:3-12)


1. At the beginning of "The Sermon On The Mount," we find that section
   of Scripture commonly referred to as "The Beatitudes" - Mt 3:3-12
   a. The word "beatitude" means "supreme blessedness or happiness"
   b. We find Jesus discussing the blessedness of those who possess
      certain qualities

2. As suggested in the previously lesson, it is as though Jesus was
   answering two questions people might have been asking:
   a. Who will be the citizens of "the kingdom of heaven"?
   b. What benefits do they receive?

3. In our previous study, we looked at the "The Beatitudes" from the
   viewpoint of the question:  "Who will be the citizens of the
   a. We saw that their character would involve eight inter-related
   b. We saw that they would be poor in spirit, mourning for their 
      sins, meek, hungering for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart,
      peacemakers, and willing to suffer persecution

4. In this study, we shall look at "The Beatitudes" from the viewpoint
   of the question:  "What  benefits do they receive?"
   a. Is the kingdom of heaven worth the effort to develop such 
      qualities of character?
   b. Is the kingdom of heaven worth whatever persecution we might

[I believe the answer is a resounding "Yes!"  This becomes apparent as
we take time to consider the blessedness of the citizens of the 


      1. It is the first word of the sermon
         a. Just as it is the first word of the Psalms - Ps 1:1
         b. Just as it is found in the beginning words of Revelation 
            - Re 1:3
      2. It is used nine times in nine verses (which is why this 
         section is called "The Beatitudes")

      1. It can literally mean, "how very happy!" is the one described
      2. We can also infer this from Mt 5:12
         a. "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad..."
         b. Or as found in Luke:  "Rejoice in that day and leap for
            joy!" - Lk 6:23

[The benefit of being in the kingdom of heaven is the condition of 
blessedness, a state of true happiness!  To understand why, let's now
look at...]


      1. As defined in a previous lesson (cf. Mt 4:17), those who 
         receive the kingdom...
         a. Are under the kingly rule of God
         b. Are in a spiritual kingdom
            1) Which today involves being in the "church," the present
               manifestation of the "kingdom of heaven" - Mt 16:18;
               Col 1:13; Re 1:9
            2) Which will involve the "new heavens and new earth" in 
               the kingdom's future and eternal manifestation - Mt 25:
               34; 2Pe 1:10,11; 3:13; Re 21-22
      2. Note that the first (5:3) and last (5:10) beatitudes include
         this expression...
         a. Which I take to imply that the blessings in between 
            likewise apply to those in the kingdom
         b. Just as the kingdom is both present and future, we shall
            observe that the blessings described involve both present
            and future

      1. This is in reference to those who mourn over their sins and
         spiritual poverty
      2. They are comforted even now - 2Co 1:3-5
      3. They shall be comforted in the future - Re 21:1-4

      1. In one sense, they inherit it now
         a. As a result of putting the kingdom of God first - Mt 6:33;
            Mk 10:29-30
         b. Though they may have less than some who are wicked, God
            enables them to enjoy it more! - Ec 5:19-6:2
         c. This explanation seems to be consistent with the context of
            Psalms 37, from which the phrase was taken - Ps 37:1-11,
      2. But in another sense, there yet remains a promise concerning a
         "new earth" for those in the kingdom now - 2Pe 3:10-13

      1. That is, with the righteousness which we so desperately need,
         found only in Christ - Php 3:8-9
      2. Received presently, through the precious blood of Christ 
         - Ro 5:9
      3. Received in fullness when adorned in the white linen of 
         righteousness in preparation for the marriage of the Lamb 
         - Re 19:5-9

      1. Those in the kingdom enjoy the forgiveness of sins now through
         the blood of Jesus - Re 1:5-6
      2. They shall also be shown mercy in the future by escaping the
         righteous wrath of God in the Day of  Judgment - Ro 5:9

      1. Presently, citizens of the kingdom can see God through their
         Lord Jesus Christ - Jn 14:6-7
      2. But in the future, we shall see him face to face - Re 21:3;

      1. Even now we are called the sons of God - 1Jn 3:1-2
      2. How much more so, in the future! - Re 21:5-7


1. Perhaps we can better understand why those in "the kingdom of 
   heaven" are truly called "Blessed", for while...
   a. Poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
   b. Mourning for their sins, they shall be comforted!
   c. Meek in their relation to God and man, they shall inherit the
   d. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness, they shall be filled!
   e. Merciful to others, they shall obtain mercy!
   f. Pure in heart, they shall see God!
   g. Makers of peace, they shall be called sons of God!
   h. Persecuted for righteousness' sake, theirs is the kingdom of

2. Certainly the benefits of the kingdom outweigh anything this world
   has to offer, or any persecution it might inflict!
   a. For there are blessings now "in this life"
   b. And there are blessings "in the age to come" - Mk 10:28-30

2. But the "blessedness" of the citizens is only for those who have the
   "characteristics" of the citizens in ever-increasing measure...
   a. Do we have the qualities described in "The Beatitudes"?
   b. If not, do not the blessings described in "The Beatitudes"
      encourage us to develop such qualities?

May this sermon of Jesus motivate us to examine our attitudes, to see
if there is not room for improvement in our relationships with both God
and our fellow man!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Beatitudes - I (Matthew 5:3-12)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                      The Beatitudes - I (5:3-12)


1. As we begin to take a closer look at "The Sermon On The Mount," we
   notice first that section known as "The Beatitudes" - Mt 3:3-12
   a. The word "beatitude" means "supreme blessedness or happiness"
   b. We find Jesus discussing the blessedness of those who possess
      certain qualities

2. It is as though Jesus was answering two questions people might have
   been asking:
   a. Who will be the citizens of "the kingdom of heaven"?
   b. What benefits do they receive?

3. My treatment of this passage will be somewhat different than normal
   a. Most examine each beatitude in detail before going on to the next
   b. But I will look at the entire section in an overall fashion twice
      1) Looking at it from two different perspectives
      2) Taking two lessons to do so

4. In this lesson, let's consider "The Beatitudes" from the viewpoint
   of the question:

                  "Who will be the citizens of the kingdom?"

[In other words, what is the character required of the citizens of the


      1. Only those who have all of the qualities described will truly
         be citizens of the kingdom
      2. For it should be evident that some may be...
         a. "Poor in spirit," but do not "hunger and thirst after 
         b. "Mournful," but are not "pure in heart"
         c. "Meek," but are not "peacemakers"
         d. "Persecuted," but not "for righteousness' sake"

      1. It takes all of these qualities, working in conjunction with
         one another
      2. In this the passage is similar to 2Pe 1:5-11
         a. Where various qualities are also listed
         b. Where each are needed in conjunction to one another ("add
            to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge...")
      3. Only then can one have "an entrance will be supplied to you
         abundantly into the everlasting kingdom"

[How the qualities are inter-related becomes apparent as we consider 


      1. "To be poor in spirit is to have a humble opinion of
         ourselves; to be sensible that we are sinners, and have no
         righteousness of our own; to be willing to be saved only by
         the rich grace and mercy of God" (Barnes)
      2. I.e., convicted of one's own spiritual poverty
         a. Exemplified by the tax collector in Lk 18:13
         b. Such people God will accept into His good favor - Isa 57:
            15; 66:1-2
      3. The opposite of "poor in spirit" would be "proud of heart,"
         and those who are such are more like:
         a. The Pharisee in Lk 18:9-14
         b. The Laodiceans in Re 3:17-19

   B. THEY "MOURN"...
      1. But do so in a specific sense:  over one's own spiritual 
         poverty, one' sinfulness
      2. Like David did after his adultery with Bathsheba - Ps 51:3-4
      3. Note the relationship between these first two characteristics
         a. Unless one is first "poor in spirit"
         b. They will not "mourn" over their spiritual poverty

   C. THEY ARE "MEEK"...
      1. This means gentle, easy to be entreated
         a. They would rather suffer injury than inflict it
         b. Not out of weakness, but out of humility, realizing one's
            own poverty of spirit, one's own sinfulness
      2. A good example of meekness is Moses
         a. He was certainly not a weak or timid man - Exo 32:19-20;
         b. But when personally attacked, he was very humble - Num 12:1-3

      1. They look for the righteousness which will meet:
         a. Their spiritual poverty
         b. Their mourning over the same
      2. To "hunger and thirst" suggests not a half-hearted search, but
         one exemplified by:
         a. David in Ps 42:1-2; 19:12-14
         b. Paul in Php 3:7-15a

      1. Loving towards those in misery (e.g., the "Good Samaritan")
      2. Possessing a forgiving spirit toward those who sin against
         them (Hendricksen)
         a. As Jesus had toward those crucifying Him - Lk 23:34
         b. As Stephen had toward those stoning him - Ac 7:60
      3. Jesus stressed this characteristic on several occasions...
         a. Later in this sermon, in teaching on prayer - Mt 6:14-15
         b. In His parable of "The Unforgiving Servant" - Mt 18:21-35
      4. This virtue grows "out of our personal experience of the mercy
         of God." (Lenski)

      1. Defined as "singleness of heart, the honesty which has no
         hidden motive, no selfish interest, and is true and open in
         all things." (Lenski)
      2. Refers to one who is sincere, honest, without hypocrisy
      3. That such a quality is necessary to see God, see Ps 24:3-4

      1. They devote their lives to making peace by following the
         Prince of Peace
         a. Making effort to be at peace with all men - Ro 12:18-21
         b. Helping others to be at peace with God by proclaiming the
            gospel of peace - cf. Ro 5:1; Ep 6:15
      2. "At peace with God and thus themselves filled with sweet
         peace, they live in peace, if possible, with all men and work
         to keep and to make peace where peace is threatened or lost.
         Theirs is the work of true Christians who follow in the
         footsteps of the Prince of Peace." (Lenski)

      1. "The tense and voice of the verb (passive perfect) may be
         regarded as permissive:
         a. "Who have allowed themselves to be persecuted, or have
            endured persecution"
         b. "The idea is that they did not flee from it but willingly
            submitted to when it came to them." (LENSKI)
      2. In what way, is explained in verse 11, and includes being:
         a. Reviled or reproached
         b. Persecuted
         c. Slandered falsely
            -- All for Jesus' sake
      3. That such persecution would often afflict those who are
         citizens of the kingdom, see Ac 14:21-22; Php 1:29-30; 2Ti 3:12


1. Such are the characteristics of those who will be citizens of the
   kingdom of heaven:
   a. They are poor in spirit (realizing their sinfulness)
   b. Thus they mourn (for their sins)
   c. Thus they are meek (gentle toward God and others)
   d. Thus they hunger and thirst for righteousness (which they 
      desperately need)
   e. Thus they are merciful (for they know they need mercy)
   f. Thus they are pure in heart (seeking to please God with 
      singleness of heart)
   g. Thus they are peacemakers (making peace with others, having found
      peace with God)
   h. Thus they are persecuted for the kingdom of heaven (misunderstood
      by the proud and arrogant who are still in their sins)
   -- Eight graces, all inter-related and working together to produce
      the right kind of character

2. Such is the character of the citizens of the kingdom of heaven...
   a. Involving eight graces, all inter-related
   b. Working together to produce the right kind of character

3. Is the kingdom of heaven worth whatever effort might be involved in
   developing this kind of  character?
   a. We shall see the answer to this question in our next study.
   b. As we view "The Beatitudes" from the viewpoint of another

         "What benefits do the citizens of the kingdom receive?"

But if you are poor in spirit, mourning for your sins, hungering for
the righteousness that God provides only in Christ, what are you 
waiting for?  As Ananias told Saul of Tarsus:

     "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash
     away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Ac 22:16)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Introduction To The Sermon On The Mount (Matthew 5:1-2)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

            Introduction To The Sermon On The Mount (5:1-2)


1. In Matthew 5-7, we have recorded the most famous sermon that has
   ever been preached...
   a. Commonly referred to as "The Sermon On The Mount"
   b. It has touched more hearts, and in turn has sparked more sermons
      than any other

2. In Mt 5:1-2, the setting for the sermon is given...
   a. He saw the multitudes that were following Him - Mt 4:25
   b. He therefore ascended a mountain
      1) Many believe this refers to a natural amphitheater between the
         "Horns of Hattin", on a slope that arises above Capernaum
         (Believers' Study Bible)
      2) This may be the same occasion as "The Sermon On The Plain" 
         - cf. Lk 6:17-49
   c. When His disciples came to Him, He sat down and began to speak
      1) It was common to speak while sitting, rather than standing as
         we do today
      2) Cf. Mt 13:1-2; Jn 8:2

3. What is Jesus talking about in this sermon?
   a. What is the main "THEME?"
   b. What is the "CONTENT" of this sermon?

[In this study we shall introduce "The Sermon On The Mount" by seeking
to answer these two questions.  To begin, let's determine...]


      1. In Mt 3:1-3, we read of the preaching of John the Baptist
         a. Who was sent to prepare the way of the Lord
         b. The theme of his preaching concerned "the kingdom of 
      2. In Mt 4, we read of the beginning of Jesus' ministry
         a. After His temptation, Jesus preaches a message similar to
            John's - Mt 4:17
         b. His preaching in Galilee pertained to the "gospel of the
            kingdom" - Mt 4:23
      -- Could Jesus' theme be "the kingdom of heaven"?

      1. "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:3
      2. "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:10
      3. "...shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:19
      4. "...shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:19
      5. "...will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:20
      6. "Your kingdom come" - Mt 6:10
      7. "But seek first the kingdom of God" - Mt 6:33
      8. ". . . shall enter the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 7:21
      -- Isn't Jesus talking about "the kingdom of heaven"?

[Both the setting and His repeated use a particular phrase should lead
us to conclude that the "theme" of Jesus' sermon on the mount is:


With this in mind, let's briefly consider the "content" of the sermon
as I offer the following outline...]


      1. Their character and blessedness - Mt 5:3-12
         a. Qualities to be found in those who will be citizens of this
         b. The blessings enjoyed by these citizens
      2. Their relation to the world - Mt 5:13-16
         a. They are the salt of the earth
         b. They are the light of the world

      1. In contrast to the "traditional interpretations and
         applications" of the Law - Mt 5:17-48
         a. Jesus has not come to destroy or show disrespect to the Law
            1) It will not pass away until it is fulfilled
            2) Those who violate it teach contrary to it (while it
               exists) will be least in the kingdom
         b. Jesus does require that the righteousness of those in the
            kingdom exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and 
         c. He illustrates by a series of contrasts concerning:
            1) Murder and anger
            2) Adultery
            3) Divorce
            4) The swearing of oaths
            5) The taking of revenge
            6) The treatment of enemies
            -- In each case His teaching is consistent with the Law,
               but not the traditional interpretations and applications
               of the Law
      2. With respect to man's relation to God - Mt 6:1-33
         a. Charitable deeds
         b. Prayer
         c. Fasting
         d. Materialism
         e. Anxiety
      3. With respect to man's relation to man - Mt 7:1-12
         a. Judging others
         b. Asking, seeking, knocking
         c. The golden rule
      1. The "beginning" of the way - Mt 7:13-14
         a. It will be narrow and difficult
         b. Not many will find it
      2. The "progress" along the way - Mt 7:15-20
         a. Beware of false prophets who are wolves in sheep's clothing
         b. You will know them by their fruits
      3. The "end" of the way - Mt 7:21-27
         a. In which "sayers" will be contrasted with "doers"
         b. In which "hearers" will be contrasted with "doers"


1. In view of its content, we can appreciate why this sermon has been
   a. The Magna Carta of His Kingdom
   b. The Manifesto of the King

2. Our next study will begin a look at the sermon in closer detail...
   a. With the first of two lessons on "The Beatitudes" - Mt 5:3-12
   b. In which we examine the character and blessedness of those who
      are citizens of the kingdom of heaven

Have you responded to the exhortation to enter the kingdom?  Remember
the words of our Lord to Nicodemus...

   Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you,
   unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

   Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old?
   Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"

   Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is 
   born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."

                                         (Jn 3:3-5)

Have you been born again of water and the Spirit?  - cf. Mk 16:16; Ac 2:38

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading November 1

Bible Reading 

November 1

The World English Bible

Nov. 1
Isaiah 21-24

Isa 21:1 The burden of the wilderness of the sea. As whirlwinds in the South sweep through, it comes from the wilderness, from an awesome land.
Isa 21:2 A grievous vision is declared to me. The treacherous man deals treacherously, and the destroyer destroys. Go up, Elam; attack! I have stopped all of Media's sighing.
Isa 21:3 Therefore my thighs are filled with anguish. Pains have taken hold on me, like the pains of a woman in labor. I am in so much pain that I can't hear. I so am dismayed that I can't see.
Isa 21:4 My heart flutters. Horror has frightened me. The twilight that I desired has been turned into trembling for me.
Isa 21:5 They prepare the table. They set the watch. They eat. They drink. Rise up, you princes, oil the shield!
Isa 21:6 For the Lord said to me, "Go, set a watchman. Let him declare what he sees.
Isa 21:7 When he sees a troop, horsemen in pairs, a troop of donkeys, a troop of camels, he shall listen diligently with great attentiveness."
Isa 21:8 He cried like a lion: "Lord, I stand continually on the watchtower in the daytime, and every night I stay at my post.
Isa 21:9 Behold, here comes a troop of men, horsemen in pairs." He answered, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon; and all the engraved images of her gods are broken to the ground.
Isa 21:10 You are my threshing, and the grain of my floor!" That which I have heard from Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, I have declared to you.
Isa 21:11 The burden of Dumah. One calls to me out of Seir, "Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?"
Isa 21:12 The watchman said, "The morning comes, and also the night. If you will inquire, inquire. Come back again."
Isa 21:13 The burden on Arabia. In the forest in Arabia you will lodge, you caravans of Dedanites.
Isa 21:14 They brought water to him who was thirsty. The inhabitants of the land of Tema met the fugitives with their bread.
Isa 21:15 For they fled away from the swords, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the heat of battle.
Isa 21:16 For the Lord said to me, "Within a year, as a worker bound by contract would count it, all the glory of Kedar will fail,
Isa 21:17 and the residue of the number of the archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, will be few; for Yahweh, the God of Israel, has spoken it."
Isa 22:1 The burden of the valley of vision. What ails you now, that you have all gone up to the housetops?
Isa 22:2 You that are full of shouting, a tumultuous city, a joyous town; your slain are not slain with the sword, neither are they dead in battle.
Isa 22:3 All your rulers fled away together. They were bound by the archers. All who were found by you were bound together. They fled far away.
Isa 22:4 Therefore I said, "Look away from me. I will weep bitterly. Don't labor to comfort me for the destruction of the daughter of my people.
Isa 22:5 For it is a day of confusion, and of treading down, and of perplexity, from the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, in the valley of vision; a breaking down of the walls, and a crying to the mountains."
Isa 22:6 Elam carried his quiver, with chariots of men and horsemen; and Kir uncovered the shield.
Isa 22:7 It happened that your choicest valleys were full of chariots, and the horsemen set themselves in array at the gate.
Isa 22:8 He took away the covering of Judah; and you looked in that day to the armor in the house of the forest.
Isa 22:9 You saw the breaches of the city of David, that they were many; and you gathered together the waters of the lower pool.
Isa 22:10 You numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall.
Isa 22:11 You also made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you didn't look to him who had done this, neither did you have respect for him who purposed it long ago.
Isa 22:12 In that day, the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, called to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to dressing in sackcloth:
Isa 22:13 and behold, joy and gladness, killing cattle and killing sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we will die."
Isa 22:14 Yahweh of Armies revealed himself in my ears, "Surely this iniquity will not be forgiven you until you die," says the Lord, Yahweh of Armies.
Isa 22:15 Thus says the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, "Go, get yourself to this treasurer, even to Shebna, who is over the house, and say,
Isa 22:16 'What are you doing here? Who has you here, that you have dug out a tomb here?' Cutting himself out a tomb on high, chiseling a habitation for himself in the rock!"
Isa 22:17 Behold, Yahweh will overcome you and hurl you away violently. Yes, he will grasp you firmly.
Isa 22:18 He will surely wind you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a large country. There you will die, and there the chariots of your glory will be, you shame of your lord's house.
Isa 22:19 I will thrust you from your office. You will be pulled down from your station.
Isa 22:20 It will happen in that day that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah,
Isa 22:21 and I will clothe him with your robe, and strengthen him with your belt. I will commit your government into his hand; and he will be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
Isa 22:22 I will lay the key of the house of David on his shoulder. He will open, and no one will shut. He will shut, and no one will open.
Isa 22:23 I will fasten him like a nail in a sure place. He will be for a throne of glory to his father's house.
Isa 22:24 They will hang on him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the issue, every small vessel, from the cups even to all the pitchers.
Isa 22:25 "In that day," says Yahweh of Armies, "the nail that was fastened in a sure place will give way. It will be cut down, and fall. The burden that was on it will be cut off, for Yahweh has spoken it."
Isa 23:1 The burden of Tyre. Howl, you ships of Tarshish! For it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in. From the land of Kittim it is revealed to them.
Isa 23:2 Be still, you inhabitants of the coast, you whom the merchants of Sidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished.
Isa 23:3 On great waters, the seed of the Shihor, the harvest of the Nile, was her revenue. She was the market of nations.
Isa 23:4 Be ashamed, Sidon; for the sea has spoken, the stronghold of the sea, saying, "I have not travailed, nor brought forth, neither have I nourished young men, nor brought up virgins."
Isa 23:5 When the report comes to Egypt, they will be in anguish at the report of Tyre.
Isa 23:6 Pass over to Tarshish! Wail, you inhabitants of the coast!
Isa 23:7 Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days, whose feet carried her far away to travel?
Isa 23:8 Who has planned this against Tyre, the giver of crowns, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honorable of the earth?
Isa 23:9 Yahweh of Armies has planned it, to stain the pride of all glory, to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth.
Isa 23:10 Pass through your land like the Nile, daughter of Tarshish. There is no restraint any more.
Isa 23:11 He has stretched out his hand over the sea. He has shaken the kingdoms. Yahweh has ordered the destruction of Canaan's strongholds.
Isa 23:12 He said, "You shall rejoice no more, you oppressed virgin daughter of Sidon. Arise, pass over to Kittim. Even there you will have no rest."
Isa 23:13 Behold, the land of the Chaldeans. This people was not. The Assyrians founded it for those who dwell in the wilderness. They set up their towers. They overthrew its palaces. They made it a ruin.
Isa 23:14 Howl, you ships of Tarshish, for your stronghold is laid waste!
Isa 23:15 It will come to pass in that day that Tyre will be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king. After the end of seventy years it will be to Tyre like in the song of the prostitute.
Isa 23:16 Take a harp; go about the city, you prostitute that has been forgotten. Make sweet melody. Sing many songs, that you may be remembered.
Isa 23:17 It will happen after the end of seventy years that Yahweh will visit Tyre, and she shall return to her wages, and will play the prostitute with all the kingdoms of the world on the surface of the earth.
Isa 23:18 Her merchandise and her wages will be holiness to Yahweh. It will not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise will be for those who dwell before Yahweh, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing.
Isa 24:1 Behold, Yahweh makes the earth empty, makes it waste, turns it upside down, and scatters its inhabitants.
Isa 24:2 It will be as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the creditor, so with the debtor; as with the taker of interest, so with the giver of interest.
Isa 24:3 The earth will be utterly emptied and utterly laid waste; for Yahweh has spoken this word.
Isa 24:4 The earth mourns and fades away. The world languishes and fades away. The lofty people of the earth languish.
Isa 24:5 The earth also is polluted under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant.
Isa 24:6 Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell therein are found guilty. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.
Isa 24:7 The new wine mourns. The vine languishes. All the merry-hearted sigh.
Isa 24:8 The mirth of tambourines ceases. The sound of those who rejoice ends. The joy of the harp ceases.
Isa 24:9 They will not drink wine with a song. Strong drink will be bitter to those who drink it.
Isa 24:10 The confused city is broken down. Every house is shut up, that no man may come in.
Isa 24:11 There is a crying in the streets because of the wine. All joy is darkened. The mirth of the land is gone.
Isa 24:12 The city is left in desolation, and the gate is struck with destruction.
Isa 24:13 For it will be so in the midst of the earth among the peoples, as the shaking of an olive tree, as the gleanings when the vintage is done.
Isa 24:14 These shall lift up their voice. They will shout for the majesty of Yahweh. They cry aloud from the sea.
Isa 24:15 Therefore glorify Yahweh in the east, even the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea!
Isa 24:16 From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs. Glory to the righteous! But I said, "I pine away! I pine away! woe is me!" The treacherous have dealt treacherously. Yes, the treacherous have dealt very treacherously.
Isa 24:17 Fear, the pit, and the snare, are on you who inhabitant the earth.
Isa 24:18 It will happen that he who flees from the noise of the fear will fall into the pit; and he who comes up out of the midst of the pit will be taken in the snare; for the windows on high are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble.
Isa 24:19 The earth is utterly broken. The earth is torn apart. The earth is shaken violently.
Isa 24:20 The earth will stagger like a drunken man, and will sway back and forth like a hammock. Its disobedience will be heavy on it, and it will fall and not rise again.
Isa 24:21 It shall happen in that day that Yahweh will punish the army of the high ones on high, and the kings of the earth on the earth.
Isa 24:22 They shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison; and after many days shall they be visited.
Isa 24:23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed; for Yahweh of Armies will reign on Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem; and before his elders will be glory.

Nov. 1
1 Timothy 1

1Ti 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and Christ Jesus our hope;
1Ti 1:2 to Timothy, my true child in faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
1Ti 1:3 As I urged you when I was going into Macedonia, stay at Ephesus that you might command certain men not to teach a different doctrine,
1Ti 1:4 neither to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which cause disputes, rather than God's stewardship, which is in faith--
1Ti 1:5 but the goal of this command is love, out of a pure heart and a good conscience and unfeigned faith;
1Ti 1:6 from which things some, having missed the mark, have turned aside to vain talking;
1Ti 1:7 desiring to be teachers of the law, though they understand neither what they say, nor about what they strongly affirm.
1Ti 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man uses it lawfully,
1Ti 1:9 as knowing this, that law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
1Ti 1:10 for the sexually immoral, for homosexuals, for slave-traders, for liars, for perjurers, and for any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine;
1Ti 1:11 according to the Good News of the glory of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
1Ti 1:12 And I thank him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he counted me faithful, appointing me to service;
1Ti 1:13 although I was before a blasphemer, a persecutor, and insolent. However, I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
1Ti 1:14 The grace of our Lord abounded exceedingly with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
1Ti 1:15 The saying is faithful and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
1Ti 1:16 However, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first, Jesus Christ might display all his patience, for an example of those who were going to believe in him for eternal life.
1Ti 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
1Ti 1:18 This instruction I commit to you, my child Timothy, according to the prophecies which led the way to you, that by them you may wage the good warfare;
1Ti 1:19 holding faith and a good conscience; which some having thrust away made a shipwreck concerning the faith;
1Ti 1:20 of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I delivered to Satan, that they might be taught not to blaspheme.