11/11/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Luke 12:13-21, Poor rich fool


Luke 12:13-21, Poor rich fool

The story must have circulated that a farmer not far from Christ’s old home in Nazareth had made it big. Talk about a tycoon, about a richly blessed man, his old ample barns weren’t big enough—he had to build new ones. It half sounds like he took early retirement when he had completed his year’s work because he said, "Well, you have enough to keep you going for years so relax and take your ease." But the very day he retired—that night—he died, and people would have gone around saying how well he had done and how much he had left behind, so much more than even they had imagined. He had possessions by the trainload. Mercedes Benz vehicles in the garages, money bulging from bags shoved into cupboards and under beds, hand-made suits hanging in closets, hand-made shoes by the score under the beds, watches, big-name spectacles and George Clooney shades, Japanese cameras, and the like, scattered everywhere. Now that’s livin’!

Christ knew him well, stopped by his grave, glanced in the direction of his barns and before walking away he murmured, "Aahhh, fool!" We’re not to think that Christ begrudged him the blessings his Father had poured out on him. To Christ it was a sad spectacle and plainly stupid that a whole human life should be thrown away for so little. Something had happened to the man. Somewhere along the way he had confused possessions with life and somewhere along the way he got the impression that God’s gifts to him were only for him.

It isn’t only farmers that get confused. Singers, songwriters, movie makers and stars, politicians and policemen, judges and church-building preachers, university heads and world-travellers, authors and television personalities, doctors and the mass of us that claw our way in life toward independence and security—we miss the point too.

"Made it, Ma, top of the world!" says James Cagney in the movie White Heat, as he explodes the world under him. 

I genuinely do think it tragic to imagine Christ with that awful honest sadness of his, looking at our graves, eyelids with a flicker of deep disappointment, whispering "fool". Calling us fools not because we had been rich or famous or that we were handsome or talented or beautiful—no, not because we were any of those, but because we were nothing toward God and toward others because we were something toward God.

This is fierce and piercing truth he tells. But what of those who don’t know what we know, haven’t heard as much as we have heard, haven’t had their eyes opened as we have had ours opened? They’ll come before God and they’ll be dealt with in a way that is righteous because no one gets a bad deal from God. But those of us that have heard and have received the call of God loud and clear—we’ve received something awful as well as something glorious. When God comes into our lives, hoarding and self-obsession is sinful stupidity! To invite this God and this Christ into our lives and continue to think that we can worship and serve ourselves is moronic. Poor fools. Poor rich fools.

Moral Relativism or Scriptural Absolutes? by A.P. Staff

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=920

Moral Relativism or Scriptural Absolutes?

by  A.P. Staff

In our post-modern age, the philosophy of total indulgence in sensual pleasures has become the societal norm. Television, movies, video games, and books espouse moral relativism (which teaches that there is no absolute system of morals or ethics). Television shows such as Friends teach that lying, stealing, and sexual promiscuity are normal and ethically acceptable—as long as you get what you want. “Just do it!” is the catchphrase of a popular, and therefore fashionably desirable, shoe marketed primarily to teenagers and college students. With this kind of pressure from the entertainment and fashion industries, it is easy to see why moral relativism is such a prevalent way of thinking. The results, though, are evident in the decadence of humanity in our post-modern world. Legalized murders bear new and acceptable names such as “abortion” and “euthanasia”; sexual perversions enjoy favored status; lying, stealing, and cheating are fully acceptable under our new “enlightened” way of relativistic thinking—get whatever you can, however you can, whenever you can, because life is short and you only go around once.
However, this idea is not confined just to contemporary society. Moral and ethical relativism has spread even into the realm of Christianity, causing faithful men and women to question scriptural absolutes and abandon clear biblical teachings. The Christian exegesis has shifted from “the Bible says,” to “I just feel this in my heart and therefore know it to be true.” Elders no longer execute scripturally mandated discipline, preachers cease to teach the truth and preach only what is commonly acceptable, and those who teach moral and scriptural absolutism are branded as legalistic, judgemental, and narrow-minded.
If this is the case, then the inspired writers themselves were legalistic, judgemental, and narrow-minded, because absolutism is clearly taught throughout the Bible! Paul wrote:
[F]or when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them… (Romans 2:14-15, emp. added).
The Gentiles did the things required by God’s law, not because they had received any specific written code, as the Jews had, but because there exists an absolute system of morals and ethics. God established this system, which has continued from the Creation until now. God’s absolutes cannot be superseded by man’s will without drastic consequences, as the world around us bears witness. This same principle of moral absoluteness is seen in scripture, because the Bible contains definite teachings that are not open to man’s personal feeling and interpretation:
And we have the word of prophecy made more sure; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:19-21, emp. added).
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:21-23).
When God speaks, it is not for man to interpret via his own feelings what God has said. There is an absolute system of teaching, just as there is an absolute set of morals—both are defined by God, and as such are not open to post modernism’s relativistic way of thinking. Perhaps the most sobering thought in this is that by these absolutes we are judged and by these absolutes we are either confirmed or condemned. It is not by our own feelings, but by what God has established from the beginning in the form of moral and biblical absolutes.
In a time when the world around us says, “Just do it,” those of us who are Christians should not be swept away by moral or scriptural relativism. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yea and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8), and as imitators of Christ, we should continue to teach absolutes that are the same yesterday, today, and forever.

From Mark Copeland... They Beheld His Majesty (Matthew 17:1-9)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                    They Beheld His Majesty (17:1-9)

INTRODUCTION

1. What a blessing it must have been, spending time with Christ during
   His earthly ministry...
   a. To hear His teaching, spoken with the voice of authority - Mt 7:
      28-29
   b. To witness His miracles, which manifested His glory - Jn 2:11

2. Among those blessed to be with Jesus, three men especially so:
   Peter, James and John...
   a. They accompanied Jesus on the mount of transfiguration - Mt 17:
      1-2
   b. Peter would later write of that experience on the mount - 2Pe 1:
      16-18
      1) He says they were "eyewitnesses of His majesty"
      2) That Jesus received "honor and glory" from God the Father
   -- What an experience this must have been for these three fishermen
      from Galilee!

3. The setting that led up to this event was as follows...
   a. Jesus had just made two amazing statements:
      1) He would come in glory and reward each one according to his
         works - Mt 16:27
      2) As supporting evidence, some would not taste death before they
         saw...
         a) "the Son of Man coming in His kingdom" - Mt 16:28
         b) "the kingdom of God come with power" - Mk 9:1
         c) "the kingdom of God" - Lk 9:27
   b. The gospel writers then connect these sayings with the event
      about to occur:
      1) Matthew and Mark record "and after six days..." - Mk 17:1;
         Mk 9:2
      2) Luke writes "about eight days" ("the Jewish equivalent of
         `about a week later'." - Wiersbe) - Lk 9:28
      3) Luke adds "after these sayings", clearly tying the event to
         what had just been said

[What happened on the mount?  Simply put, "They Beheld His Majesty".
What was the significance of this event?  To answer this question, 
let's take a closer look and note first of all..]

I. THEY BEHELD THE MAJESTY OF HIS PERSON

   A. EVIDENCED BY HIS TRANSFIGURATION...
      1. He was "transfigured" - Mt 17:2; Mk 9:2
         a. Gr.., metamorphoo, met-am-or-fo'-o
         b. Meaning to change, transfigure, transform
      2. This change affected His face and clothing
         a. His face shone like the sun - Mt 17:2 (Luke says the 
            appearance of His face was altered - Lk 9:29)
         b. His clothes became as white as the light - Mt 17:2
            1) Shining, exceedingly white, like snow, more than any
               launderer can whiten them - Mk 9:3
            2) White and glistening - Lk 9:29
      -- Peter later wrote that what he saw was His "majesty" (2Pe 1:
         16); the effulgence of His glory likely represented His 
         deity as the Son of God - cf. He 1:1-3

   B. EVIDENCED BY THE PRESENCE OF MOSES AND ELIJAH...
      1. They were talking with Jesus - Mt 17:3; Mk 9:4
         a. They also appeared in glory - Lk 9:31a
         b. Discussing with Jesus about His coming death in Jerusalem 
            - Lk 9:31b
         c. Peter, James, and John had been sleeping, but awoke to see
            Jesus in His glory, and talking with Moses and Elijah - Lk 9:32
         d. Moses and Elijah then began to depart - Lk 9:33
      2. That Moses and Elijah would appear with Jesus was not lost on
         Peter - Mt 17:4
         a. Moses and Elijah were the epitome of the Law and the
            Prophets
         b. Peter wanted to build three tabernacles, one each for 
            Jesus, Moses and Elijah
      -- Jesus had evidently been elevated to the same level as Moses
         and Elijah in Peter's mind!

[But Peter was soon to learn that Jesus was above Moses and Elijah,
especially in regards to His authority!  As we continue, therefore, we
note that...]

II. THEY BEHELD THE MAJESTY OF HIS COMING KINGDOM

   A. EVIDENCED BY THE VOICE FROM HEAVEN...
      1. While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed
         them - Mt 17:5
      2. Peter, James, and John, fearfully entered the cloud - Lk 9:34
      3. A voice came out of the cloud:  "This is My beloved Son, in
         whom I am well pleased, Hear Him!" - Mt 17:5; cf. 3:16-17
         a. This terrified the disciples - Mt 17:6
         b. Jesus then sought to comfort them - Mt 17:7
      4. The command, "Hear Him!"...
         a. Implies that God would begin to speak through His Son, not
            the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah) - cf. He 1:1-2
         b. That the rule and reign of God would be exercised through
            His Son, as He would be given all authority in heaven and
            earth - cf. Mt 28:18
      5. Of course, this rule and reign (i.e., Christ's kingdom) would
         begin after Christ suffered (i.e., His death) and entered into
         glory (i.e., His ascension) - cf. Lk 24:26
         a. Which explains why He told them to tell no one the vision
            until after His resurrection - Mt 17:9
         b. What they had witnessed was a foretaste, a foreshadowing of
            His coming glory and rule in His kingdom!

   B. EVIDENCED BY THE ABSENCE OF MOSES AND ELIJAH...
      1. After hearing the voice, and lifting up their eyes, only Jesus
         was present - Mt 17:8; Mk 9:8
      2. Perhaps symbolizing what the voice clearly declared:  that
         Jesus was the one they were to hear, not Moses and Elijah who
         likely represented the Law and the Prophets

CONCLUSION

1. Truly "They Beheld His Majesty"...
   a. They beheld the majesty of His person
      1) Transfigured before them
      2) Exalted even above Moses and Elijah
   b. They beheld the majesty of His coming kingdom
      1) Acknowledged from heaven as God's beloved Son
      2) The One whom all should heed, for all authority would be given
         to Him

2. What is the significance of this event?
   a. It may be the fulfillment Jesus' statement recorded in Mt 16:28;
      Mk 9:1; Lk 9:27
      1) That some would see the Son of Man "coming" in His kingdom
      2) That some would see the kingdom of God "present" with power
      3) That some would see the kingdom of God (i.e., His rule or 
         reign)
   b. If such is the case, what they saw was a foretaste of His kingdom
      or rule...
      1) Which would not be fully exercised until after His death and
         resurrection - cf. Ep 1:20-23; 1Pe 3:22
      2) Which would include that day in which He will judge the world!
         - cf. Ac 17:30-31; Mt 16:27

3. In any case, all of the events at the mount contributed to giving
   Jesus what Peter later described as "honor" and "glory" from the
   Father - 2Pe 1:17
   a. The glorious transfiguration of Christ
   b. The presence (and their subsequent absence) of Moses and Elijah
   c. The voice from heaven, acknowledging Christ as God's Son

4. What does God desire of us today?  
   a. Not tabernacles or temples erected in the memory of His Son
   b. But for us to simply obey what God said at the mount: "Hear Him!"

If we desire to add to the honor and glory that Jesus so richly 
deserves, and to one day behold His majesty in heaven, then let be
careful to heed what He himself said regarding His authority:

   "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go
   therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them
   in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
   teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;
   and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." 
                                                      - Mt 28:18-20

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Value Of A Soul (Matthew 16:26)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                      The Value Of A Soul (16:26)

INTRODUCTION

1. After telling His disciples and others nearby the cost of being His
   disciple, Jesus asked...

   "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and
   loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his
   soul?" - Mk 8:36-37

2. In these words of Jesus we are reminded of the value of the soul...
   a. It is the most valuable possession one has
   b. All the wealth and power one might gain is not worth the price of
      one's soul!

3. It is a lesson we do well to remember, and so in this study we shall
   examine three questions...
   a. Does the Bible teach that man has a soul?
   b. Why is one's soul so valuable?
   c. What will one give in exchange for his or her soul?

[Because of error taught by some, it is important to provide a Bible
answer to the first question...]

I. DOES MAN HAVE A SOUL?

   A. SOME TEACH OTHERWISE...
      1. Such as members of the Watchtower Society (i.e., "Jehovah's
         Witnesses")
      2. Who say man "is" a soul, not "has" a soul
      3. The controversy revolves around the multi-faceted use of the
         words for "soul"
         a. The Hebrew is "nephesh", and at times it may refer to:
            1) Animal life - Gen 1:20-21 ("living")
            2) The person - Num 31:19 ("killed any person")
            3) The body - Num 6:6 ("a dead body")
            4) Something distinguished from the body - Isa 10:18 ("soul
               and body")
            5) Breath - Job 41:21 (referring to Leviathan)
         b. The Greek word is "psuche", and at times it may refer to:
            1) The person - 1Pe 3:20 ("eight souls saved by water")
            2) Life itself - Jn 13:38 ("lay down your life")
            3) Something distinguished from the spirit - He 4:12 ("soul
               and spirit")
            4) Something distinguished from the body - 1Th 5:23
               ("spirit and soul and body")
            5) That which exists after the body is dissolved - Mt 10:28
               ("kill the body but not the soul")
         -- Those who deny that man "has" a soul fail to consider that
            words may have many different meanings and applications

   B. THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT MAN EXISTS AFTER DEATH...
      1. In the teaching of Jesus
         a. Man is both body and soul, and the soul can survive murder
            by a fellow man - cf. Mt 10:28
         b. The story of Lazarus and the rich man - cf. Lk 16:22-23
            1) Some say this is only a parable
            2) Even if it is (which is highly unlikely), parables were
               "true to life" stories, not fantasy!
         c. His promise to the thief on the cross - Lk 23:42-43
      2. In the teaching of Paul
         a. There is "the inner man" that can renewed, even while "the
            outer man" decays - 2Co 4:16-18
         b. One can be with the Lord, while absent from the body - 2 Co 5:6-8
         c. There is a part of man that can be "out of the body" - 2 Co 12:3
         d. One can be dead, yet still be with Christ - Php 1:23
         e. Reference is made to the "spirits of just men" - He 12:
            22-23
      3. The teaching of Peter
         a. He wrote of those who are "dead, but live in the spirit"
            - 1Pe 4:6
         b. He described the body as a tabernacle to be put off...if
            the body is a tabernacle (dwelling place), what dwells in
            it? - 2Pe 1:13-14
         c. The unjust are under punishment, just like some angels
            - 2Pe 2:4,9-10
      4. John, in the Revelation given to him, saw "souls of those
         slain", and they were capable of crying out with loud voices,
         and being comforted - Re 6:9-11
      -- There is also much material in the OT

[So while one may say in the right context that man "is" a soul, we
must also be willing to say that the Bible teaches man "has" a soul.
Now let's consider the next question...]

II. WHY IS THE SOUL OF MAN SO VALUABLE?

   A. IT IS MADE IN GOD'S IMAGE...
      1. Man was created in the image of God - Gen 1:26-27
         a. Yet God does not have a physical body like ours - Jn 4:24;
            Lk 24:39
         b. Therefore it must be our soul, or spirit, that is in God's
            image
      2. This is what enable us to comprehend abstract concepts as:
         a. Life, death, eternity
         b. Things of beauty
         c. A moral sense of ought, right and wrong, good and evil
         -- Making us more than just animal creatures - cf. Ps 8:3-8

   B. IT IS THAT PART OVER WHICH WE HAVE MUCH CONTROL...
      1. The body is mostly the result of genetics
         a. We might be able to change a little through exercise,
            plastic surgery, etc.
         b. But we cannot stop the eventual aging and dying process
      2. The soul, however, is different...
         a. Despite one's genetics, there is much that can be changed
         b. By cooperating with God, we can change attitudes,
            dispositions, character - Ro 12:1-2; Ga 5:21-22; Col 3:12-15

   C. IT DOES NOT CEASE TO EXIST AT DEATH...
      1. The body dies, and soon returns back to the dust
         a. The soul, or spirit, returns back to God - Ec 12:7
         b. Awaiting the resurrection of the body - cf. 1Co 15:35-58
      2. After which comes the Judgment - He 9:27; 2Co 5:10
         a. The soul, in its resurrected body, will bear the brunt of
            that Judgment
         b. Either eternal life, honor, glory, and immortality - Ro 2:7
         c. Or indignation, wrath, tribulation, and anguish - Ro 2:8-9
      -- Which is why we need to evaluate all things (possessions,
         decisions, actions) from an eternal perspective, from the
         soul's viewpoint - Mt 10:28; 16:26

   D. THE COST REQUIRED TO REDEEM IT...
      1. What price was required to redeem our souls from the wrath of
         God's judgment?
      2. Nothing less than the blood of the Son of God! - 1Pe 1:18-19
      -- Even if we cannot fully comprehend why Jesus had to die, we
         should able to see that the souls of men must be extremely
         valuable if His death was necessary

[So the Bible teaches that the soul is more valuable than the whole
world!  And yet, many people "sell their souls" for what surely are
petty bargains...]

III. WHAT WILL ONE GIVE IN EXCHANGE FOR HIS SOUL?

   A. WHAT IT MEANS TO EXCHANGE SOMETHING FOR YOUR SOUL...
      1. The word "exchange" pictures a business transaction in which
         one is bartering for something else
      2. "Barter" means "to trade or exchange one commodity for
         another"
      -- Thus it means to trade your soul for something else

   B. THINGS FOR WHICH PEOPLE TRADE THEIR SOULS...
      1. For some people, it is earthly riches and fame
         a. In their quest for riches, they neglect their service to
            God - 1Ti 6:10
         b. Yet they have traded their souls for that which is
            corruptible and can be stolen - Mt 6:19-21
      2. For others, it is the "passing pleasures of sin"
         a. Like the young man tempted by the harlot - Pr 5:1-14
            1) In a moment's passion, lives are destroyed (AIDS,
               unwanted pregnancies)
            2) Marriages and families are ruined
         b. Young people like Joseph, Moses, and Daniel should inspire
            us to make the right choices - cf. Gen 39:7-9; He 11:24-25;
            Dan 1:8
      3. Then others allow their souls to be sold for some convenient
         false doctrine
         a. Of which we need to beware - Col 2:8,18
         b. For the devil is a master at this - 2Co 11:13-15
         c. Through our own lack of Bible study, we can lose the most
            valuable thing we have! - cf. Hos 4:6
      4. Finally, many will trade their souls through simple laziness!
         a. They will not use the opportunities the Lord has given them
            - cf. Mt 25:24-30
         b. They fail to apply the diligence necessary to grow
            spiritually - cf. 2Pe 1:5-11

CONCLUSION

1. How valuable is your soul...?
   a. Think of what the rich man in Hades would tell you - cf. Lk 16:
      22-24
   b. Think of what the souls of the redeemed would say to you - cf.
      Re 7:13-17
   c. Think of what God has done to save your soul! - Jn 3:16

2. It matters not what else you do in this life, if you do not save
   your own soul, you have been a complete failure...
   a. You might gather about you great riches and fame, and leave
      thousands of friends to mourn your departing, but if you have not
      saved your soul, you have been a miserable failure!
   b. On the other hand, you may die in a charity home for the poor,
      and be buried in a potter's field without a single friend to
      mourn, but if you saved your soul, your life was a marvelous
      success!

3. You can't afford to lose your soul, for if you lose it, you lose
   all...
   a. To the faithful will be given the place of eternal rest
      1) There will be no pain, sickness, or death there
      2) It is the inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that
         fades not away
      3) It is that city built by the living God
   b. On the other hand, there is the place of eternal punishment
      1) It is where the wicked will be tormented day and night forever
      2) It is where you will bemoan your great foolishness for having
         sold your soul for such petty things!

4. Dear friends and brethren, you don't have to lose your soul...
   a. Humbly submit yourself to the will of God
   b. Let His Word guide you, and let no man beguile you of your reward
   c. Overcome temptations, and suffer for His cause with rejoicing
   -- If you do these things, you will save your soul, and heaven will
      be yours, because God who cannot lie, has promised it!

Note:  The main idea and several thoughts from this lesson were taken
from a lesson by David Riggs.  The URL for his web site of sermons is:
http://www.public.usit.net/driggs/outlines.htm

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... I Will Build My Church (Matthew 16:13-20)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                   I Will Build My Church (16:13-20)

INTRODUCTION

1. In Mt 16:13-17, Jesus questioned His disciples concerning His
   identity...
   a. He asked who others thought He was
   b. He then asked who they thought He was
   c. Peter responded: "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."
   d. Jesus commended Peter, stating that his confession of faith was
      based upon what the Father Himself had revealed - Mt 16:17

2. Jesus then used this opportunity to speak of His church - Mt 16:
   18-19
   a. He promised to build His church
   b. He mentioned the foundation upon which it would be built
   c. He described the ultimate victory of His church
   d. He spoke of great authority that would be given

3. This passage naturally raises several questions...
   a. What is this "church" Jesus promised to build?
   b. What is the "foundation" upon which it would be built?
   c. How would "the gates of Hades" not prevail against it?
   d. What "authority" was given by Jesus, and to whom?

[Anyone who believes in Jesus should have a vital interest in the
answers to these questions.  So let's begin by noting first of all...]

I. THE CHURCH JESUS BUILT

   A. THE CHURCH DEFINED...
      1. The Greek word is ekklesia, meaning "an assembly, a
         congregation"
      2. It is used in the Bible most often in two senses:
         a. The church "universal" - the whole assembly of people who
            are saved, both living and dead
         b. The church "local" - a company of saved people in a
            geographical area who work and worship together as a local
            congregation
      3. In our text, Jesus is using the word "church" in its universal
         sense

   B. THE CHURCH CHARACTERIZED...
      1. It is called "the body of Christ" - Ep 1:22-23
      2. It is called "the household of God" - 1Ti 3:15
      3. It is called "the temple of God" - Ep 2:19-22; 1Pe 2:5
      4. It is called "the kingdom of Christ" - Col 1:13; cf. Re 1:9
      5. It is called "the bride of Christ" - 2Co 11:2; cf. Re 19:
         6-9; 21:2
      -- Each of these expressions emphasize some blessing or 
         responsibility we have as those who have been called out of
         the world into this spiritual assembly of God's people

   C. THE CHURCH ESTABLISHED...
      1. It is evident that the church was not established at the time
         Jesus spoke...
         a. He said "I WILL build My church..." - Mt 16:18
         b. He told His disciples not to tell anyone that He was the
            Christ (a fact certainly related to the establishment of 
            His church!) - Mt 16:20
      2. The church is mentioned after Jesus' resurrection...
         a. The Lord was adding people to the church - Ac 2:47
         b. From that time forward, the church is spoken of as being in
            existence
      3. It is fair to conclude that the church began on the day of
         Pentecost...
         a. When the Spirit was poured out on the apostles - Ac 2:1-21
         b. When Peter preached the first gospel sermon - Ac 2:22-40
         c. When thousands were saved, and the Lord added them to His
            church - Ac 2:41,47

   D. THE CHURCH VISIBLE...
      1. The church "universal" is a spiritual body of people
         a. Known only by the Lord Himself - cf. Ac 2:47; 2Ti 2:19;
            Jn 10:14
         b. There is no earthly organization, headquarters, etc., for
            the church universal
         c. Any attempt to organize and activate the church "universal"
            results only in denominationalism
      2. The church "local" is the only visible sign of the church
         a. Local churches are made up of Christians in geographical
            areas who work and worship together as a unit - cf. Ac 8:1;
            13:1; 14:21-23,27
         b. With their frequent assembling, it is easy to identify a
            local church - cf. 1Co 1:2; 11:17-18; 14:23

[The church Jesus built, then, is that great gathering of people who
respond to the gospel in faith and obedience (cf. Ac 2:41).  Wherever
faithful disciples of Christ assemble to work and worship as a local
congregation, a church of Christ is found (cf. Ro 16:16).  As we return
to our text, we next consider...]

II. THE FOUNDATION OF HIS CHURCH

   A. MANY PASSAGES PROCLAIM JESUS AS THE "CORNERSTONE"...
      1. As foretold by Isaiah - Isa 28:16
      2. As proclaimed by Peter - Ac 4:11-12; 1Pe 2:6-8
      3. As taught by Paul - 1Co 3:11; Ep 2:20

   B. BUT IS JESUS THE "ROCK" IN MATTHEW 16:18?
      1. Some believe the "rock" is Peter, as the first pope
         a. This is the claim of the Roman catholic church
         b. This idea was first raised only after various bishops began
            claiming universal authority over the church, hundreds of
            years after the church began
         c. Even if Peter is the "rock" in this passage, there is no
            Biblical basis for the idea that the church was built upon
            Peter alone
      2. Some think the "rock" may be Peter, but with scriptural 
         limitations
         a. I.e., the church would be built upon Peter, but not solely
            upon him
            1) Jesus Christ is the cornerstone, the primary foundation
               - cf. Ep 2:20; 1Pe 2:6
            2) But one may also speak of the church built upon the
               apostles (including Peter) as the church's foundation,
               in a secondary sense - cf. Ep 2:20; Re 21:14
         b. That Jesus may be referring to what we learn later to be
            true, that upon Peter (along with the other apostles and
            Christ Himself) Jesus would build His church
      3. Jesus might be referring to the principle of divine revelation
         working through His apostles, like Peter...
         a. Jesus had just praised Peter for his confession, which was
            the result of divine revelation - Mt 16:16-17
         b. Jesus went on to say how Peter would possess the keys of
            the kingdom and the power of binding and loosing, all 
            related to the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the
            apostles - cf. Mt 16:19; Jn 16:12-13; 20:22-23
         -- If so, then Jesus is making the point that His church,
            while established through the work of men like Peter and
            the apostles, would be built on a solid foundation since
            they would be led by divine revelation
      4. A strong possibility is that the "rock" is the confession
         Peter just made...
         a. I.e., the truth of the confession:  "You are the Christ,
            the Son of the Living God"
         b. Just as Simon had been called "a rock" (Gr., petros), so
            the church would be established on a solid "rock" (Gr.,
            petra) or fact:  that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the
            Living God"!

[Whatever the "rock" in Mt 16:18, the church is built upon the strong
foundation of Christ Himself and His apostles (Ep 2:20). At this point,
let's skip ahead to what we learn about...]

III. THE AUTHORITY OF HIS CHURCH

   A. AUTHORITY WAS PROMISED TO THE APOSTLES...
      1. To Peter was promised "the keys of the kingdom" - Mt 16:19
         a. The figure of "keys" suggest the ability to allow entrance
            into the kingdom
         b. Peter exercised this ability through preaching the gospel,
            as he did on the day of Pentecost - Ac 2:17-41
      2. To the apostles was promised the power "to bind" and "to 
         loose"
         a. To Peter in this passage - Mt 16:19
         b. To the rest of the disciples was promised similar power 
            - Mt 18:18
         -- Of course, presumed in all this would be the guidance of
            the Spirit, promised to lead the apostles into all the
            truth - Jn 16:12-13

   B. THE EARLY CHURCH RECOGNIZED THIS AUTHORITY...
      1. They "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine..." 
         - Ac 2:42
      2. Christians were commended for their acceptance of the 
         apostles' doctrine - 1Co 11:2; 1Th 2:13
      3. They were exhorted to receive the apostles' teaching - 1Co 14:37; 2Th 2:15

[The Lord's church today, then, is wherever there are souls who have
been saved and who continue to abide in the apostles' doctrine.  For
those who remain faithful to the Lord and His apostles, they can look
forward to...]

IV. THE ULTIMATE VICTORY OF HIS CHURCH

   A. THE "GATES OF HADES" WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT...
      1. The phrase "gates of Hades" has been variously interpreted as:
         a. The powers of death (i.e., death itself)
         b. The forces of hell (whatever forces Satan might bring to
            bear)
      2. In either case, the "gates of Hades" have not prevailed!
         a. Death did not prevent Jesus from building His church
         b. The forces of Satan have not succeeded in destroying His
            church

   B. WE CAN SHARE IN THE ULTIMATE VICTORY OF HIS CHURCH...
      1. By putting on the armor of God - Ep 6:10-13
      2. By steadfastly resisting our adversary, the devil - 1Pe 5:
         8-10
      3. Nothing, not even death itself, can prevent us from being
         "more than conquerors" - Ro 8:35-39
      4. The glory of this ultimate victory is beautifully portrayed in
         the visions of the Revelation - e.g., Re 7:9-17

CONCLUSION

1. Do we desire to participate in this glorious victory of Jesus'
   church?
   a. Then we must first be saved - Ac 2:38-41,47
   b. We must also abide steadfastly in Jesus' doctrine, which is also
      the apostles' doctrine - Jn 8:31; Ac 2:42; 1Th 2:13; 2Th 2:
      13-15
   c. We must remain faithful until death - Re 2:10

2. Through God's grace and our faithful obedience, we can be privileged
   to be a part of that church...
   a. Which Jesus built as promised
   b. Which shall withstand whatever "the gates of Hades" might throw
      against it

Don't you want to be a part of the church of Christ?  May the words of
Jesus in Mt 16:18-19 encourage us to be satisfied with nothing less!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading November 11



Bible Reading   

November 11

The World English Bible


 
Nov 11
Isaiah 61-63
Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is on me; because Yahweh has anointed me to preach good news to the humble. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to those who are bound;
Isa 61:2 to proclaim the year of Yahweh's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
Isa 61:3 to appoint to those who mourn in Zion, to give to them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Yahweh, that he may be glorified.
Isa 61:4 They shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
Isa 61:5 Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
Isa 61:6 But you shall be named the priests of Yahweh; men will call you the ministers of our God: you will eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you will boast yourselves.
Isa 61:7 Instead of your shame you shall have double; and instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be to them.
Isa 61:8 "For I, Yahweh, love justice, I hate robbery with iniquity; and I will give them their recompense in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Isa 61:9 Their seed shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which Yahweh has blessed."
Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in Yahweh, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isa 61:11 For as the earth brings forth its bud, and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord Yahweh will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
Isa 62:1 For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her righteousness go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns.
Isa 62:2 The nations shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of Yahweh shall name.
Isa 62:3 You shall also be a crown of beauty in the hand of Yahweh, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
Isa 62:4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall your land any more be termed Desolate: but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for Yahweh delights in you, and your land shall be married.
Isa 62:5 For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons shall marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you.
Isa 62:6 I have set watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day nor night: you who call on Yahweh, take no rest,
Isa 62:7 and give him no rest, until he establishes, and until he makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
Isa 62:8 Yahweh has sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, "Surely I will no more give your grain to be food for your enemies; and foreigners shall not drink your new wine, for which you have labored:
Isa 62:9 but those who have garnered it shall eat it, and praise Yahweh; and those who have gathered it shall drink it in the courts of my sanctuary."
Isa 62:10 Go through, go through the gates; prepare you the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a banner for the peoples.
Isa 62:11 Behold, Yahweh has proclaimed to the end of the earth, "Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your salvation comes. Behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.' "
Isa 62:12 They shall call them The holy people, The redeemed of Yahweh: and you shall be called Sought out, A city not forsaken.
Isa 63:1 Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this who is glorious in his clothing, marching in the greatness of his strength? "It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save."
Isa 63:2 Why are you red in your clothing, and your garments like him who treads in the wine vat?
Isa 63:3 "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the peoples there was no man with me: yes, I trod them in my anger, and trampled them in my wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on my garments, and I have stained all my clothing.
Isa 63:4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
Isa 63:5 I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore my own arm brought salvation to me; and my wrath, it upheld me.
Isa 63:6 I trod down the peoples in my anger, and made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth."
Isa 63:7 I will make mention of the loving kindnesses of Yahweh, and the praises of Yahweh, according to all that Yahweh has bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he has bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses.
Isa 63:8 For he said, "Surely, they are my people, children who will not deal falsely:" so he was their Savior.
Isa 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bore them, and carried them all the days of old.
Isa 63:10 But they rebelled, and grieved his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.
Isa 63:11 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses and his people, saying, Where is he who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? where is he who put his holy Spirit in the midst of them?
Isa 63:12 who caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses? who divided the waters before them, to make himself an everlasting name?
Isa 63:13 who led them through the depths, as a horse in the wilderness, so that they didn't stumble?
Isa 63:14 As the livestock that go down into the valley, the Spirit of Yahweh caused them to rest; so did you lead your people, to make yourself a glorious name.
Isa 63:15 Look down from heaven, and see from the habitation of your holiness and of your glory: where are your zeal and your mighty acts? the yearning of your heart and your compassion is restrained toward me.
Isa 63:16 For you are our Father, though Abraham doesn't know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us: you, Yahweh, are our Father; our Redeemer from everlasting is your name.
Isa 63:17 O Yahweh, why do you make us to err from your ways, and harden our heart from your fear? Return for your servants' sake, the tribes of your inheritance.
Isa 63:18 Your holy people possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down your sanctuary.
Isa 63:19 We are become as they over whom you never bear rule, as those who were not called by your name.

 
Nov. 11
Titus 1

Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's chosen ones, and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,
Tit 1:2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who can't lie, promised before time began;
Tit 1:3 but in his own time revealed his word in the message with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior;
Tit 1:4 to Titus, my true child according to a common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
Tit 1:5 I left you in Crete for this reason, that you would set in order the things that were lacking, and appoint elders in every city, as I directed you;
Tit 1:6 if anyone is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, who are not accused of loose or unruly behavior.
Tit 1:7 For the overseer must be blameless, as God's steward; not self-pleasing, not easily angered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain;
Tit 1:8 but given to hospitality, as a lover of good, sober minded, fair, holy, self-controlled;
Tit 1:9 holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict those who contradict him.
Tit 1:10 For there are also many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,
Tit 1:11 whose mouths must be stopped; men who overthrow whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for dishonest gain's sake.
Tit 1:12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and idle gluttons."
Tit 1:13 This testimony is true. For this cause, reprove them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,
Tit 1:14 not paying attention to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.
Tit 1:15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.
Tit 1:16 They profess that they know God, but by their works they deny him, being abominable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work.



From Gary... The choice of....

Beauty is skin deep, but sin extends to the remotest portions of the heart.  Don't be fooled by a pretty face- wait 60 years and look hard; you just won't find it!!!  However, their is a cure for deep down ugliness and it comes from God....

Proverbs, Chapter 2 (World English Bible)
 1 My son, if you will receive my words,
and store up my commandments within you;
  2 So as to turn your ear to wisdom,
and apply your heart to understanding;
  3 Yes, if you call out for discernment,
and lift up your voice for understanding;
  4 If you seek her as silver,
and search for her as for hidden treasures:
  5 then you will understand the fear of Yahweh,
and find the knowledge of God.
  6 For Yahweh gives wisdom.
Out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.

  7 He lays up sound wisdom for the upright.
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity;
  8 that he may guard the paths of justice,
and preserve the way of his saints.
  9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
equity and every good path.

  10 For wisdom will enter into your heart.
Knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

  11 Discretion will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you,
  12 to deliver you from the way of evil,
from the men who speak perverse things;
  13 who forsake the paths of uprightness,
to walk in the ways of darkness;
  14 who rejoice to do evil,
and delight in the perverseness of evil;
  15 who are crooked in their ways,
and wayward in their paths:


Evil may appear in many forms; one of them is the deceptive external beauty of youth.  Sin may seem like "fun", but it kills!!!  We all grow older and some of us may even attain to "old age", but the person who knows God will delight in the light of God and not in the blackness of evil.  You choose.