11/5/14

From Jim McGuiggan... GOD, WORLDS & NEW CREATION

GOD, WORLDS & NEW CREATION

This piece is repetitive but I won't apologize for that. It might be more helpful this way. 

We see a man leisurely passing by on a bicycle. What’s he doing? Well, obviously, he’s riding a bike. True, but that’s he doing? He’s going somewhere. True, but what’s he doing? He’s taking exercise. True, but what’s he doing? [He had cardiac bypass surgery 4 weeks earlier.] He’s following his doctor’s advice. True, but that’s he doing? [He has a wife and children who adore him and urge him to take gentle exercise.] He’s pleasing the family he loves and easing their concerns.  These numerous related purposes are part of what he is physically doing.

By cycling he is carrying out a multi-faceted purpose and that purpose cannot be severed from his cycling.

As it’s laid out in the biblical witness the first thing we’ll think about is God as creator.  Then we’ll think of him as redeemer (see Psalm 136 and Genesis 1 & 2 with 3:14-15 understood in light of Romans 16:20 and Revelation 12:1-5).

To allow us to reflect on it the notion of redemption must follow the notion of creation since without someone to redeem there can be no redemption.

Time-bound humans learn and know things in the process of time but God is beyond/outside of time and its limits. For him all things are “present”. Humans, of course, think of the past, present and future because that’s how they experience life; but God is already “in the future” [that is, our future].

All of this means what? It means God doesn’t “come to know” some things; he already knows all that is knowable and he knows it all at the same time. This in turn would have to mean that he knew when he created us that we would “fall” and that he would move to redeem us.

It’s the case that God is the Creator but unless the creation is understood on his terms and lived in within the parameters of his purpose, in a real sense it is no longer his “creation”.

We’re not to think that God created without knowing why he was creating. We can’t have God saying to himself, “I think I’ll make something!” and having created a universe then wondering why he did it. He created to display his glory, he created to share his joy-filled fellowship in the trinity, and so forth. What he made and why he made it are two aspects of one creative act of God.  

His purpose in making is part of the making.

God had Israel build a temple and he purposed it to be a house of prayer and when Israel responded in faithfulness to God the temple was just that. But Israel turned the temple into a place where shameful things occurred and the OT prophets tell us that God left it for it was no longer a home to him. Jesus said they had turned it into a den of thieves.

Understand that the temple building was the same building that God built but now as a result of the corruption of the prophets, priests, kings and general public it was something else. It was a place where thieves and idolaters gathered. Because what he had created for a glorious and blessed purpose was now a center of evil and misrepresented Him, God brought judgment on it. [The same is true of the land of promise and was/is true of the entire planet.]
The creation was to be the theater of God’s glory but corrupted humans turned it into a theater of their shame and wickedness.  It was now a “world” constructed by the sinful minds and plans of humans. 

[See 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4 as illustrations of this use of “world”. From this point on when I mean the corrupt reality I’ll use “world” with inverted commas.]

Such a “world” is now God's world [creation] seen with different eyes and different hearts; it’s a corrupt and corrupting “world” that’s no longer sees God's world [creation] as God meant it to be seen—it’s now a different “world”.
But note: this "world" remains the world God created, with all its structures, authorities and forces and elements, including humans. We have corrupted ourselves and everything we come in contact with.

That different “world” is divided up into kingdoms and empires, some more powerful than others and some more oppressive than others. Wherever these kingdoms are located the people live under the dictation of the powerful. The general public live under the tyrants’ skies, drink from their water and are subject to their taxes, policies and such. Note how this is expressed in Daniel 2:37-38. These kingdoms are localized expressions of the one corrupt “world” with the satanic forces shaping them. They are corrupt “worlds” within the one corrupt and all-encompassing "world”.

In Moses' day and experience one of those localized “worlds” was shaped and governed by a corrupt and corrupting Egyptian faith and coercive power, it was a “world” where oppression of the aliens was thought to be the wise and right thing to do [Exodus 1:8-11]. Or it was a Babylonian or a Persian “world” or a Greek world or Roman “world”.

Let me say it again. All of these “worlds” are sinful restructurings of the world God created. When God created the world he made trees, rivers, land, seas, mountains, crops, sunshine, rain and such. He also made humans and social structures, authorities and the like and purposed them to function his way and for his overarching purpose. When we sinfully restructured the world God made, it became a different “world”. Nothing happened to the molecules of the planet or the things on it; nothing happened to the atoms of which space and everything else is made. But we corrupted and corrupting humans saw [and see] these created things as instruments of our sinfulness. We used them to oppress, blackmail, control and threaten the powerless and the voiceless, just as we do today. 

To the degree that we the sinful human family are able, we have made the creation [ourselves included] a fellow servant with us of the world-spirit. It is that “world” that God is opposed to.

“We’re you angry with the trees, the rivers, the mountains, Lord?” Habakkuk 3:8-11 asks when the prophet speaks of God redemptive march through history as he ruined Egypt and Midian. No, in these judgments God is stamping his judgment on “the world” created [structured] by oppressive nations/governments. “This ‘world’ is not my world,” God says, as he sets his hand against it. See Numbers 33:4 and Exodus 12:12 and again below.

God’s judgment against Egypt certainly falls on all the Egyptian people and even those who disagree with government views and policies experience the pain and loss. But God’s judgment on Egypt was not simply against a specific individual [Pharaoh] or individuals [his immediate cronies in the palace and priesthood]—it’s against an entire “world order”. It's against an empire which embodies the anti-God, anti-holiness and anti-life satanic spirit, a "world" led by Pharaoh.

God doesn’t simply want that Pharaoh dead—he wants to pass sentence of an evil "world". That evil “world” is Pharaoh’s “world”—he is the controller and representative of it and people must live in it in the ways that he determines. [Do see the description of the authority God gave to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2:37-38.] But this “world”, of which Pharaoh is the visible lord, is inspired by the demonic and satanic so that Pharaoh is the servant of the world-spirit. He is “a god” under the “god of this world” [compare John 12:31 and 2 Corinthians 4:4]. When God brings Pharaoh down his purpose is to bring down Pharaoh’s “world” and God shows this by “attacking” its heavens, sun, earth, river, cattle, governing bodies and their firstborn who would carry on that line.

This is a “world” shaped by gods created by humans who have rejected the one true God and live in opposition to God’s overarching purpose [see Genesis 12:1-3; 22:17-18]; it is the world that God has created but it is a world hijacked by the world-spirit. In this “world” multiple gods are believed to bring blessings and render judgment when they’re angry. These gods [the earth god, the sun god, the wilderness god, the moon god, the god of wisdom, the god of the river, the god of darkness, the god of calamity, the god that gave life and the god of crops and health and hope and so forth]—these gods were said to have created and to sustain the world. This is the “world” and the only “world” known by the Egyptians and Pharaoh and his palace supporters controlled it.
They don’t know the world as Yahweh’s world!

This is the “world” that God brought down! The judgment was no loveless act against Egypt though the Egyptians felt the pain. Fundamentally, it was God against the gods [Exodus 12:12; 15:11; 18:11; Numbers 33:4 and elsewhere]. He wasn’t angry with the cattle or the physical creation or the children of the Egyptians—he was against the “world” in which these people lived.

In these Exodus texts God teaches us the he will not live at peace with such "worlds"—he will make war against them and bring them down. The language of Genesis 1 & 2 is the language of creation and the language of judgment is presented in the form of “uncreation”. See this in passages like Isaiah 13 & 14 [against Babylon], Isaiah 34 [against Edom and other nations], Zephaniah 1, Jeremiah 4:3, 14: 22-26 [against Judah]. In the description of these judgments it is not the creation itself that is attacked—it is the "world" of the Babylonians or the Judeans or in Revelation 21 the "world" of the Romans.

God’s world is his creation viewed by his eyes and for his purposes. There is only one creation, don't you know, but how it is perceived gives it a different nature [note again the remarks above about the temple]. When the Lord Jesus returns, his already existing view of creation, which is the Holy One's view of it, will be visibly and publicly restored and the structures, the authorities and powers will all be dedicated to the service of the Lord God and the knowledge and glory of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

When Jesus, speaking of his “hour” of the crucifixion, speaks of the judgment of “the world” [John 12:31-32] it is that satanic view and use of God’s creation he has in mind. He isn't talking about the planet being judged!

When Paul says that Jesus in self-giving love, in accordance with the Father’s will, brought us forgiveness that he might deliver us “from this present evil world [aion, here the equivalent of kosmos]” he’s speaking of the demonic view, shape and use of God’s creation—Galatians 1:3-4, KJV.

When Paul speaks in Galatians 6:14 about “the world” being crucified by Jesus he is speaking of the satanic restructuring of God’s creation.

When Peter speaks of the dismantling of the world it is “the world” of the wicked he is speaking about [2 Peter 2:5; 3:6-12]. In crucifying the "world" Jesus is doing in a final and universal way what God had been doing in the judgments of former ages when he brought down individual "worlds".

Babylon, Persia and the rest were powers/authorities God raised up [see Daniel 7:2 where God works on the seas that stand for the clashing nations --and Isaiah 17:12-13]. They were given authority to serve God for the benefit of his creatures but they corrupted themselves and God brought them down. He ended their "worlds". 

When such passages are followed by a new heaven and a new earth we’re not to think of a literal destruction of the planet followed by a literal new creation of a planet earth and a heaven. See Isaiah 65 & 66; 2 Peter 2 & 3 and Revelation 21-22 as illustrations of the point. 

The new heaven and earth speech in scripture follows the speech of "uncreation," which is the speech used to describe the destruction of evil empires and powers. In "new creation" speech we hear of the restoration of the structures and elements that make this creation God’s world again under his righteous reign.

Every “world” that God dismantles throughout the ages is an assurance that no tyranny or oppression or lie lives forever. The judgment on that “world” is not just a judgment on a particular individual but on the “world” that that individual helps construct and rules over in the spirit of the satanic powers.
In Jesus Christ the satanic and demonic powers have been defeated, the planet/creation is now fully understood by one of us—a human, who is God being a human. Jesus sees creation as it should be seen, governs it how it should be governed [with the Holy Father's overarching purpose in mind] and is bringing it all to a glorious fulfillment in a coming day.

With Jesus a “new creation” has begun, the evil "world" has been crucified and all those who are in him are NOW a part of a new creation. That new creation that now exists by virtue of Jesus killing “the world” and becoming Lord of All will one day be seen and understood and lived in as the blessed, immortal Lord Jesus already sees, understands and reigns over it. We will share his reign with him if indeed we suffer with him [Romans 8:16-17 and what follows all the way to verse 31]. 

The glory of those who are his Body is to conform to his personal experience [Romans 8:29]suffering and then glory follows!

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

No Joking Matter by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1640

No Joking Matter

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

I love being a Christian. I love thinking about, talking about, and singing about Christ and His church. I love to laugh and have fun with God’s people. I enjoy cutting up with my colleagues. I love to interact with non-Christians. I enjoy clean jokes (and find myself occasionally telling ones that are not as humorous as I once thought). Christians can kindly tease about our favorite football team’s most recent loss or our most embarrassing moments. Indeed, there is “a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). After all, “A merry heart does good, like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).
As enjoyable as it is to joke around and have fun, and as appropriate as it may be to break the ice with an amusing story, Christians must be careful that we don’t make light and joke around about serious, spiritual, eternally important things, especially when such remarks are unnecessarily offensive. Such inappropriate words at inappropriate times can have very unfortunate consequences.
I was 17 years old, playing summer-league baseball in Oklahoma, when I had the opportunity to visit and worship with a church one Sunday morning a few hours from home. I had the privilege that day to be accompanied by two friends who were not members of the Lord’s church. They had graciously come with me because I needed a ride to worship, and they volunteered to drive me and stay with me until the close of the worship service. Only a few minutes after walking into the building, however, the mood was severely darkened when a member of that church greeted us with a joke about some individuals he knew from our hometown who were of a different religion—with the emphasis being on their religion. It just so happened, the two individuals with me that morning were of that same religious persuasion.
Needless to say, my friends were highly offended by such a greeting from someone who called himself a Christian. And, sadly, they did not get over the insensitive “welcome” very quickly. In fact, it seems they have never gotten over it. Nearly 20 years later I ran into one of these men while visiting family back in Oklahoma. One of the first things he said to me was: “So-and-so was just talking the other day about that time you invited us to come to church with you and that guy greeted us by jokingly condemning our religion.”
By no means am I suggesting that Christians should not unashamedly teach the truth, or that we should not defend the faith whenever given the opportunity. Nor am I suggesting that I have always said things the right ways at the right times. (I’ve certainly failed miserably on this account more times than I like to remember.) What I do know is that God has instructed us to teach “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). He has commanded us to defend the faith “with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). Paul taught the saints in Colosse: “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (4:6). Similarly, the wise man taught: “The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool shall swallow him up” (Ecclesiastes 10:12).
We should never be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16); we should never pass up an opportunity to teach the Word of God—but may God help us to do so with “all longsuffering” (2 Timothy 4:2, NKJV), and “with great patience” (NASB). Remember, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

From Mark Copeland... Prayer That Pleases God (Matthew 6:5-15)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                    Prayer That Pleases God (6:5-15)

INTRODUCTION

1. A wonderful privilege enjoyed by the children of God is prayer...
   a. Through prayer we can receive mercy and grace to help in time of
      need - He 4:14-16
   b. Through prayer we can find peace that guards our hearts and mind
      - Php 4:6-7

2. But the privilege of prayer assumes God will heed our prayers...
   a. Not all prayers are acceptable to God - cf. Pr 28:9
   b. Indeed, God does not hear the prayers of all men - cf. Isa 59:
      1-2; 1Pe 3:12
   c. Jesus described the prayer of one man which did not please God
      - Lk 18:9-14

3. Do we know what qualifies as "Prayer That Pleases God"?
   a. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus had much to say about prayer
   b. Especially the kind of prayer which finds favor in God's sight

[In this study, let's take a look at Mt 6:5-15, where Jesus taught
His disciples regarding prayer.  First, we find Jesus telling us...]

I. WHAT "NOT" TO DO IN REGARDS TO PRAYER

   A. DO NOT BE LIKE THE HYPOCRITES...
      1. Who love to pray...
         a. Standing in the synagogues
         b. On the corners of the streets
      2. This they do "that they may be seen of men" - Mt 6:5

   B. "THEY HAVE THEIR REWARD..."
      1. That is, they are indeed seen by men
      2. But that is the extent of their reward (the praise of men)
      3. They have no reward or blessing from God!

   C. JESUS IS NOT CONDEMNING ALL PUBLIC PRAYING...
      1. Evident from the fact that He Himself prayed in public - Mt 11:25; Jn 11:41
      2. As did Paul - Ac 27:35

[The emphasis is the same as stated in Mt 6:1, "do not do your [deeds
of righteousness] before men, TO BE SEEN BY THEM."

How, then, are we to pray as to be heard by God?]

II. PRAYER THAT PLEASES GOD

   A. OFFERED "TO BE SEEN OF GOD," NOT MEN...
      1. This is the main idea of "praying in secret" - Mt 6:6
      2. "The sincere and humble worshiper, one who is not interested
         in making a public display for the sake of enhancing his
         prestige, will find the secluded nook or den to be most
         appropriate for his devotions." (unknown)
      3. The person who prays much in secret is praying to be seen of
         God, not men!

   B. OFFERED "TO BE HEARD OF GOD," NOT MEN...
      1. Avoiding the use of "vain repetitions" - Mt 6:7
         a. As was often practiced by the heathen religions
         b. "The heathen tried to tire out their gods with such endless
            prayers. Mere formulas were repeated over and over again;
            the Jews had such prayer formulas, Catholics also have
            them in the form of their rosary." (Lenski)
      2. This is not condemning all repetition, but "vain" (insincere,
         useless) repetition
         a. Jesus repeated Himself in prayer at Gethsemane - Mt 26:
            36-44
         b. Paul repeated his requests concerning his "thorn in the
            flesh" - 2Co 12:7-8
      3. Since "your Father knows the things you have need of before
         you ask Him," prayers to be heard by God do not have to be
         filled with superfluous words
         a. Have you ever noted the brevity of prayers recorded in the
            Scriptures?
         b. God is not swayed the by quantity of words, but by the
            quality of the heart!

   C. OFFERED ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN...
      1. The phrase "in this manner" suggests that this prayer...
         a. Is a pattern for praying
         b. Not a liturgical exercise as sometimes practiced
      2. The pattern of proper prayer:
         a. First, simplicity
            1) Notice the word "therefore"
               a) It connects what follows with what was said before
               b) Jesus' pattern for prayer is an "illustration" in
                  contrast to the "many words" used by the heathen
            2) In the prayer itself, note the brevity of words
         b. Then, in its content, proper prayer includes...
            1) Reverence for God and His "Name" (i.e., His being and
               character) - Mt 6:9
            2) Prayer for the progress of God's Kingdom and His Will on
               the earth - Mt 6:10
            3) Asking for physical necessities - Mt 6:11
            4) Also, our spiritual needs
               a) Forgiveness of sins - Mt 6:12
               b) Protection and deliverance from evil - Mt 6:13
            5) Praising God - Mt 6:13

   D. OFFERED WITH A MERCIFUL SPIRIT...
      1. As indicated in the pattern prayer itself - Mt 6:12,14-15
      2. Otherwise, we cannot expect mercy for ourselves - cf. Mt 18:
         21-23; Jm 2:13
      3. This must be very important to Jesus, for this is the only
         part of the pattern upon which He elaborates!

CONCLUSION

1. This is not the only occasion in which Jesus taught on prayer...
   a. Later, His disciples would ask Him to teach them to pray - Lk 11:
      1-4
   b. He taught them about the importance of persistence, faith and
      humility in prayer - Lk 11:5-13; 18:1-14

2. But in this sermon Jesus sought to stress prayer that is designed...
   a. To be seen by God, not man
   b. To be heard by God, not man
   -- Who knows better what kind of prayer that is, than He who now
      sits at the right hand of God!

If we believe that God hears prayer (Ps 65:2) and that He is a
rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (He 11:6), then let's be sure
we offer the kind of "Prayer That Pleases God"!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Charity That Pleases God (Matthew 6:1-4)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                    Charity That Pleases God (6:1-4)

INTRODUCTION

1. Are you a charitable person?
   a. If so, are you sure that your charity is pleasing to God?
   b. Were you aware that some forms of charity actually displease God?

2. In Jesus' day, there were religious people who were extremely 
   charitable...
   a. The Pharisees, for example, would give ten percent to God - e.g.,
      Lk 18:11-12
   b. They tithed even the smallest of seeds - Lk 11:42
   -- But as indicated in these two cases, not all charity or giving
      pleased God

3. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus taught His disciples to have a
   righteousness which exceeded that of the Pharisees - Mt 5:20
   a. Jesus first contrasted the "righteousness of the kingdom" with
      what the scribes and Pharisees were teaching
   b. He then contrasted what He expected of His disciples with what
      the scribes and Pharisees were practicing

[In Mt 6:1-4, we find the first of several examples concerning the
practice of righteousness.  In it, we learn about "Charity That Pleases
God."   Note first what Jesus taught about...]

I. THE BASIC PRINCIPLE GOVERNING ACTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (1)

   A. CONCERNING THIS VERSE...
      1. Some manuscripts, upon which the KJV and NKJV are based, have
         the Greek word eleemosunen
         a. Translated "alms", or "charitable deeds"
         b. Which would make this verse refer specifically to 
            almsgiving, or charitable deeds
      2. Older manuscripts, upon which the ASV and NASV are based, have
         the Greek word dikaiosunen
         a. Translated "righteousness"
         b. Which would make verse one speaking in general terms, 
            establishing the principle to be applied to ALL acts of 
            righteousness
      -- Textual support seems strongest for dikaiosunen, making verse
         one an introductory statement concerning all righteous acts

   B. THE BASIC PRINCIPLE...
      1. Stated simply:  we are not to do acts of righteousness to be
         seen of men - Mt 6:1a
         a. Note:  It is NOT to completely avoid ANY practice of 
            righteousness before men - cf. Mt 5:16
         b. Rather, it is to avoid doing them JUST TO BE SEEN OF MEN
      2. Therefore, it is proper to do good works before men...
         a. When we are trying to secure praise for GOD
         b. But not when we are trying to secure praise for OURSELVES!

   C. CONSEQUENCES OF IGNORING THIS BASIC PRINCIPLE...
      1. If, in the innermost being of your heart, you do not mean to
         please and glorify God, He will not reward you!
      2. What reward you may have (cf. Mt 6:2,5,16) will be limited to
         the praise of men

[Let's now consider how Jesus applies this to the matter of charitable
deeds...]

II. CONCERNING CHARITABLE DEEDS (2-4)

   A. WHAT "NOT" TO DO...
      1. Don't be like the "hypocrites" (literally, "actors") - Mt 6:2a
         a. Who sound trumpets in the synagogues and streets
         b. Who are looking to be honored by men
      2. "They have their reward" - Mt 6:2b
         a. They receive exactly (and only) what they wanted:  the 
            praise of men
         b. But remember verse one...
            1) They have no reward from the Father in heaven
            2) Neither in the present or in the future!

   B. CHARITY THAT PLEASES GOD...
      1. "Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing"
         - Mt 6:3
         a. This involves avoiding not only the praise of others, but
            self praise as well
         b. Some thoughts by others on what this metaphor means:
            1) "The right [hand], [represents] me with my good deed;
               the left, me with my good opinion about my deed." 
               (Lenksi)
            2) "The expression probably refers to the fact that as much
               as possible a person must keep his voluntary 
               contribution a secret not only to others but even to
               himself; that is, he should forget about it, instead of
               saying in his heart, `What a good man, woman, boy, girl,
               am I!'" (Hendricksen)
         c. How can one develop the ability to give in this way?
            1) Perhaps by giving so often it becomes "second nature"
            2) So that you do it without much thought (just as with 
               anything you do often)
      2. Note: Jesus is not condemning public giving per se - cf. Ac 2:
         44-45; 4:34-37
         a. He is condemning the spirit which seeks publicity
         b. He is teaching "secret-giving" in the sense of "secret to
            one's self"
         c. "The true Christian cares not how much men hear of his
            public charities, nor how little they hear of his private
            ones." (Toplady)

   C. THE REWARD FOR CHARITY THAT PLEASES GOD...
      1. "Your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you 
         openly." - Mt 6:4
      2. The reward may be experienced to some degree in this life - Psa 41:1-3
      3. Without a doubt it will be experienced on the day of judgment
         a. For every secret thing will be made known - Ec 12:14
         b. We will experience the benefit of the good we have done 
            - 2Co 5:10
   
CONCLUSION

1. Christians who have been blessed materially have been given a charge
   to be "rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share" - 1 Ti 6:17-19

2. But if we desire that our charity will indeed store up "a good
   foundation for the time to come"...
   a. We must be sure to practice "Charity That Pleases God"
   b. We must learn to give, not to be seen of men, but to glorify God
   c. We must learn to give without self-praise for what we are doing

Do our charitable deeds exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees in
Jesus' day, not only in quantity, but in the quality of our giving? May
the Lord keep us free from the giving of hypocrites!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Acting Like Our Father (Matthew 5:43-48)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                    Acting Like Our Father (5:43-48)

INTRODUCTION

1. When Jesus spoke about "Responding To Evil", He laid down two 
   principles:
   a. Do not resist an evil person - Mt 5:39a
   b. Respond to evil by doing good - Mt 5:39b-42

2. This is certainly a challenging task Jesus put before His 
   disciples...
   a. It is tempting to respond to evil in kind
   b. Especially when the mistreatment comes from an enemy!

3. But in the text for this lesson (Mt 5:43-48)...
   a. We find Jesus teaching concerning the treatment of our enemies
   b. We are told why we ought to act in the manner described in Mt 5:
      38-42

[Keeping in mind the context of the sermon on the mount, let's first
compare...]

I. THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION

   A. THE LAW DID NOT SAY "HATE YOUR ENEMY"...
      1. It did teach to "love your neighbor as yourself" - Lev 19:18
      2. But it also taught kindness was to be shown to your enemy
         - Exo 23:4-5; Pr 25:21-22

   B. THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION HAD MISAPPLIED THE LAW...
      1. Though it did enjoin the command to "love your neighbor"...
      2. It inferred from this command one had the right to "hate your 
         enemy" - Mt 5:43
         a. "This phrase is not in Leviticus 19:18, but is a rabbinical
            inference which Jesus repudiates bluntly. The Talmud says
            nothing of love to enemies." (Word Pictures In The New
            Testament, Vol. I, Robertson)
         b. "The rabbis corrupted Lev. 19:18, which sums up the Law of
            Israel, by adding `and hate your enemy.'  By thus tampering
            with Scripture, they  intended to define their neighbors to
            include only Jews and to exclude Samaritans and Gentiles."
            (Believers' Study Bible)
         
[Having noted the difference between what the Law actually taught and
the wrong interpretation given by the scribes and Pharisees, let's now
consider what Jesus taught on...]

II. HOW TO TREAT OUR ENEMIES

   A. JESUS REQUIRES THAT WE...
      1. "Love" our enemies
         a. Not hate them
         b. Rather, show "active good will" towards them
      2. "Bless" those who curse us
         a. They may speak evil of us
         b. But in response we are to speak kindly of them
      3. "Do good" to those who hate us
         a. They may either ignore us or do evil things to us
         b. Yet we are to treat them kindly in either case
      4. "Pray" for those who spitefully use us and persecute us
         a. Notice, we are to pray FOR them, not just about them
         b. I.e., pray for their well-being, salvation, etc.

   B. THIS IS AN EXPANSION OF THE PRINCIPLES IN VERSES 39-42...
      1. Don't seek vengeance!
      2. Don't resist an evil person!
      3. Instead, react by manifesting aggressive love!

[Why should we respond to our enemies in this way?  Jesus goes on to
provide...]

III. REASONS TO REACT IN THIS WAY

   A. "THAT YOU MAY BE SONS OF YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN"...
      1. That is, to demonstrate ourselves to be truly His children! 
         - Mt 5:45a
      2. What is our Father like?
         a. He gives material blessings to both the evil and the good,
            both the righteous and the unrighteous - Mt 5:45b
         b. He is kind to the unthankful and evil - Lk 6:35-36
         c. He offered His Son while we were yet sinners and enemies! 
            - Ro 5:8,10
         d. He loved us before we loved Him - 1Jn 4:10
      3. As taught elsewhere, we are to imitate our Heavenly Father 
         - 1Jn 4:11; Ep 4:31-5:2

   B. TO BE DIFFERENT THAN "TAX-COLLECTORS"...
      1. In Jesus' day, they were despised by the Jews, because they
         made themselves rich by collecting taxes from their fellow-men
         for the Roman government
      2. And yet, these tax-collectors would...
         a. Love those who loved them
         b. Greet cordially those who greeted them
      3. We are no different if our love is limited to our "brethren" 
         or "friends"! - Mt 5:46-47

   C. TO BE "PERFECT" AS OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT...
      1. The word "perfect" means "brought to completion, full-grown,
         lacking nothing"
      2. In this context, it has reference to the matter of showing 
         love and mercy; note the parallel passage:
         a. "Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is
            merciful." - Lk 6:36
         b. "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in
            heaven is perfect." - Mt 5:48
      3. When we display love and mercy to our enemies...
         a. We are "complete," "full-grown" in demonstrating love
         b. Just like our Father when He shows kindness to evil and
            unthankful men!

CONCLUSION

1. If we really want to be...
   a. "sons of your Father in heaven"
   b. "perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect"

2. It is imperative that we be influenced...
   a. More by the teachings and example of the Son of God
   b. Than by the attitudes and example of the "tax-collectors"!

Are you "Acting Like Our Father" who is in heaven?  Or do you emulate
the most carnal people around us?  May the "sayings" (cf. Mt 7:28) of
our Lord provoke us to consider the proper way to respond to our 
enemies and to any who might abuse us!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading November 5


Bible Reading  

November 5

The World English Bible


Nov. 5
Isaiah 37-40

Isa 37:1 It happened, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into Yahweh's house.
Isa 37:2 He sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz.
Isa 37:3 They said to him, "Thus says Hezekiah, 'This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of rejection; for the children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring forth.
Isa 37:4 It may be Yahweh your God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master has sent to defy the living God, and will rebuke the words which Yahweh your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.' "
Isa 37:5 So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.
Isa 37:6 Isaiah said to them, "Tell your master, 'Thus says Yahweh, "Don't be afraid of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.
Isa 37:7 Behold, I will put a spirit in him and he will hear news, and will return to his own land. I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land." ' "
Isa 37:8 So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah, for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish.
Isa 37:9 He heard news concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, "He has come out to fight against you." When he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,
Isa 37:10 "Thus you shall speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, 'Don't let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, "Jerusalem won't be given into the hand of the king of Assyria."
Isa 37:11 Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly. Shall you be delivered?
Isa 37:12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them, which my fathers have destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the children of Eden who were in Telassar?
Isa 37:13 Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah?' "
Isa 37:14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it. Then Hezekiah went up to Yahweh's house, and spread it before Yahweh.
Isa 37:15 Hezekiah prayed to Yahweh, saying,
Isa 37:16 "Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, who is enthroned among the cherubim, you are the God, even you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.
Isa 37:17 Turn your ear, Yahweh, and hear. Open your eyes, Yahweh, and behold. Hear all of the words of Sennacherib, who has sent to defy the living God.
Isa 37:18 Truly, Yahweh, the kings of Assyria have destroyed all the countries and their land,
Isa 37:19 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone; therefore they have destroyed them.
Isa 37:20 Now therefore, Yahweh our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you are Yahweh, even you only."
Isa 37:21 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, 'Because you have prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria,
Isa 37:22 this is the word which Yahweh has spoken concerning him. The virgin daughter of Zion has despised you and ridiculed you. The daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head at you.
Isa 37:23 Whom have you defied and blasphemed? Against whom have you exalted your voice and lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel.
Isa 37:24 By your servants, have you defied the Lord, and have said, "With the multitude of my chariots I have come up to the height of the mountains, to the innermost parts of Lebanon. I will cut down its tall cedars and its choice fir trees. I will enter into its farthest height, the forest of its fruitful field.
Isa 37:25 I have dug and drunk water, and with the sole of my feet I will dry up all the rivers of Egypt."
Isa 37:26 Have you not heard how I have done it long ago, and formed it in ancient times? Now I have brought it to pass, that it should be yours to destroy fortified cities, turning them into ruinous heaps.
Isa 37:27 Therefore their inhabitants had little power. They were dismayed and confounded. They were like the grass of the field, and like the green herb, like the grass on the housetops, and like a field before its crop has grown.
Isa 37:28 But I know your sitting down, your going out, your coming in, and your raging against me.
Isa 37:29 Because of your raging against me, and because your arrogance has come up into my ears, therefore will I put my hook in your nose and my bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way by which you came.
Isa 37:30 This shall be the sign to you. You will eat this year that which grows of itself, and in the second year that which springs from the same; and in the third year sow and reap and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit.
Isa 37:31 The remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah will again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.
Isa 37:32 For out of Jerusalem a remnant will go forth, and survivors will escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of Yahweh of Armies will perform this.'
Isa 37:33 Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning the king of Assyria, 'He will not come to this city, nor shoot an arrow there, neither will he come before it with shield, nor cast up a mound against it.
Isa 37:34 By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come to this city,' says Yahweh.
Isa 37:35 'For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake, and for my servant David's sake.' "
Isa 37:36 The angel of Yahweh went out and struck one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the camp of the Assyrians. When men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.
Isa 37:37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, went away, returned to Nineveh, and stayed there.
Isa 37:38 It happened, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons struck him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Esar Haddon his son reigned in his place.
Isa 38:1 In those days was Hezekiah sick and near death. Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him, and said to him, "Thus says Yahweh, 'Set your house in order, for you will die, and not live.' "
Isa 38:2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to Yahweh,
Isa 38:3 and said, "Remember now, Yahweh, I beg you, how I have walked before you in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in your sight." Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Isa 38:4 Then the word of Yahweh came to Isaiah, saying,
Isa 38:5 "Go, and tell Hezekiah, 'Thus says Yahweh, the God of David your father, "I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.
Isa 38:6 I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city.
Isa 38:7 This shall be the sign to you from Yahweh, that Yahweh will do this thing that he has spoken.
Isa 38:8 Behold, I will cause the shadow on the sundial, which has gone down on the sundial of Ahaz with the sun, to return backward ten steps. So the sun returned ten steps on the sundial on which it had gone down." ' "
Isa 38:9 The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and had recovered of his sickness.
Isa 38:10 I said, "In the middle of my life I go into the gates of Sheol. I am deprived of the residue of my years."
Isa 38:11 I said, "I won't see Yah, Yah in the land of the living. I will see man no more with the inhabitants of the world.
Isa 38:12 My dwelling is removed, and is carried away from me like a shepherd's tent. I have rolled up, like a weaver, my life. He will cut me off from the loom. From day even to night you will make an end of me.
Isa 38:13 I waited patiently until morning. He breaks all my bones like a lion. From day even to night you will make an end of me.
Isa 38:14 I chattered like a swallow or a crane. I moaned like a dove. My eyes weaken looking upward. Lord, I am oppressed. Be my security."
Isa 38:15 What will I say? He has both spoken to me, and himself has done it. I will walk carefully all my years because of the anguish of my soul.
Isa 38:16 Lord, men live by these things; and my spirit finds life in all of them: you restore me, and cause me to live.
Isa 38:17 Behold, for peace I had great anguish, but you have in love for my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption; for you have cast all my sins behind your back.
Isa 38:18 For Sheol can't praise you. Death can't celebrate you. Those who go down into the pit can't hope for your truth.
Isa 38:19 The living, the living, he shall praise you, as I do this day. The father shall make known your truth to the children.
Isa 38:20 Yahweh will save me. Therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of Yahweh.
Isa 38:21 Now Isaiah had said, "Let them take a cake of figs, and lay it for a poultice on the boil, and he shall recover."
Isa 38:22 Hezekiah also had said, "What is the sign that I will go up to the house of Yahweh?"
Isa 39:1 At that time, Merodach Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah; for he heard that he had been sick, and had recovered.
Isa 39:2 Hezekiah was pleased with them, and showed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, the spices, and the precious oil, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures. There was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah didn't show them.
Isa 39:3 Then Isaiah the prophet came to king Hezekiah, and asked him, "What did these men say? Where did they come from to you?" Hezekiah said, "They have come from a country far from me, even from Babylon."
Isa 39:4 Then he asked, "What have they seen in your house?" Hezekiah answered, "They have seen all that is in my house. There is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them."
Isa 39:5 Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of Yahweh of Armies:
Isa 39:6 'Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried to Babylon. Nothing will be left,' says Yahweh.
Isa 39:7 'They will take away your sons who will issue from you, whom you shall father, and they will be eunuchs in the king of Babylon's palace.' "
Isa 39:8 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "Yahweh's word which you have spoken is good." He said moreover, "For there will be peace and truth in my days."
Isa 40:1 "Comfort, comfort my people," says your God.
Isa 40:2 "Speak comfortably to Jerusalem; and call out to her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received of Yahweh's hand double for all her sins."
Isa 40:3 The voice of one who calls out, "Prepare the way of Yahweh in the wilderness! Make a level highway in the desert for our God.
Isa 40:4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The uneven shall be made level, and the rough places a plain.
Isa 40:5 The glory of Yahweh shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it."
Isa 40:6 The voice of one saying, "Cry!" One said, "What shall I cry?" "All flesh is like grass, and all its glory is like the flower of the field.
Isa 40:7 The grass withers, the flower fades, because Yahweh's breath blows on it. Surely the people are like grass.
Isa 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever."
Isa 40:9 You who tell good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who tell good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength. Lift it up. Don't be afraid. Say to the cities of Judah, "Behold, your God!"
Isa 40:10 Behold, the Lord Yahweh will come as a mighty one, and his arm will rule for him. Behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.
Isa 40:11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom. He will gently lead those who have their young.
Isa 40:12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and marked off the sky with his span, and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
Isa 40:13 Who has directed the Spirit of Yahweh, or has taught him as his counselor?
Isa 40:14 Who did he take counsel with, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?
Isa 40:15 Behold, the nations are like a drop in a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on a balance. Behold, he lifts up the islands like a very little thing.
Isa 40:16 Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its animals sufficient for a burnt offering.
Isa 40:17 All the nations are like nothing before him. They are regarded by him as less than nothing, and vanity.
Isa 40:18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to him?
Isa 40:19 A workman has cast an image, and the goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts silver chains for it.
Isa 40:20 He who is too impoverished for such an offering chooses a tree that will not rot. He seeks a skillful workman to set up an engraved image for him that will not be moved.
Isa 40:21 Haven't you known? Haven't you heard, yet? Haven't you been told from the beginning? Haven't you understood from the foundations of the earth?
Isa 40:22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in;
Isa 40:23 who brings princes to nothing; who makes the judges of the earth like meaningless.
Isa 40:24 They are planted scarcely. They are sown scarcely. Their stock has scarcely taken root in the ground. He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the whirlwind takes them away as stubble.
Isa 40:25 "To whom then will you liken me? Who is my equal?" says the Holy One.
Isa 40:26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these, who brings out their army by number. He calls them all by name. by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power, Not one is lacking.
Isa 40:27 Why do you say, Jacob, and speak, Israel, "My way is hidden from Yahweh, and the justice due me is disregarded by my God?"
Isa 40:28 Haven't you known? Haven't you heard? The everlasting God, Yahweh, The Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn't faint. He isn't weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
Isa 40:29 He gives power to the weak. He increases the strength of him who has no might.
Isa 40:30 Even the youths faint and get weary, and the young men utterly fall;
Isa 40:31 But those who wait for Yahweh will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run, and not be weary. They will walk, and not faint.

 
Nov. 5
1 Timothy 5

1Ti 5:1 Don't rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father; the younger men as brothers;
1Ti 5:2 the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, in all purity.
1Ti 5:3 Honor widows who are widows indeed.
1Ti 5:4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them learn first to show piety towards their own family, and to repay their parents, for this is acceptable in the sight of God.
1Ti 5:5 Now she who is a widow indeed, and desolate, has her hope set on God, and continues in petitions and prayers night and day.
1Ti 5:6 But she who gives herself to pleasure is dead while she lives.
1Ti 5:7 Also command these things, that they may be without reproach.
1Ti 5:8 But if anyone doesn't provide for his own, and especially his own household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.
1Ti 5:9 Let no one be enrolled as a widow under sixty years old, having been the wife of one man,
1Ti 5:10 being approved by good works, if she has brought up children, if she has been hospitable to strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, and if she has diligently followed every good work.
1Ti 5:11 But refuse younger widows, for when they have grown wanton against Christ, they desire to marry;
1Ti 5:12 having condemnation, because they have rejected their first pledge.
1Ti 5:13 Besides, they also learn to be idle, going about from house to house. Not only idle, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.
1Ti 5:14 I desire therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children, rule the household, and give no occasion to the adversary for reviling.
1Ti 5:15 For already some have turned aside after Satan.
1Ti 5:16 If any man or woman who believes has widows, let them relieve them, and don't let the assembly be burdened; that it might relieve those who are widows indeed.
1Ti 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and in teaching.
1Ti 5:18 For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle the ox when it treads out the grain." And, "The laborer is worthy of his wages."
1Ti 5:19 Don't receive an accusation against an elder, except at the word of two or three witnesses.
1Ti 5:20 Those who sin, reprove in the sight of all, that the rest also may be in fear.
1Ti 5:21 I command you in the sight of God, and Christ Jesus, and the chosen angels, that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing by partiality.
1Ti 5:22 Lay hands hastily on no one, neither be a participant in other men's sins. Keep yourself pure.
1Ti 5:23 Be no longer a drinker of water only, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities.
1Ti 5:24 Some men's sins are evident, preceding them to judgment, and some also follow later.
1Ti 5:25 In the same way also there are good works that are obvious, and those that are otherwise can't be hidden.