From Jim McGuiggan... Luke 2:8-20: Don't be afraid

Luke 2:8-20: Don't be afraid

In Luke 2:8-20 the pastures are filled with sheep, the sky is filled with angelic glory and the shepherd hearts are filled with fear. And why wouldn’t they be afraid? Would you yawn your way through such an experience? But the angel of the Lord said, "Don’t be afraid." I wasn’t there but I know as sure as Sunday follows Saturday that he wasn’t yelling at them or bullying them into peace. Whatever his tone it wasn’t peevish and born out of impatience. It was assurance he was giving and not an order! No parent with a grain of sense would scream "enjoy yourself!" at the children thinking that that would enable them to do it. Yelling "live!" at a corpse doesn't work! 

The fear of the shepherds turned to joy when they heard the message the angel had to bring and when they checked it out at the stable. "Don’t be afraid because..." The reasons for their fear were dealt with in a message of assurance!

Some poor souls are born fearful, they are too high-strung. They don’t need a special occasion to make them tremble. They were born trembling and their social and family environments made the world an awful place. They aren’t one of the "beautiful people" or the "life and soul of the party" types so they’re forever hovering around on the outside of the circle, barely in touch and barely noticed. And as yet they aren’t able to tell those lovely stories about being "the kid that was never picked to play" but then things changed. For them nothing has yet changed and the deep fear that they never will is getting deeper! No one came along to kiss them and turn them from a frog into a prince and for them the beautiful song Somewhere over the Rainbow still ends with heartache and "why can’t I?"

And heartfelt religion doesn’t help them because the kind of religion they get is a ceaseless stream of moralizing, and "let’s all do better" and "let’s make his church grow" and "let’s get involved in the church’s programs" and "let’s give more money" and "let’s..." And it’s precisely because they take their religion seriously that these fearful people are even more afraid. Others are able to shrug and let the preacher babble on but not these people! They’re afraid not to take everything he says seriously but for more reasons than they know they can’t get up for the many challenges the vibrant ministers hand out. And then there are the fear-filled preachers...

Some fools among us mistake their fearlessness for faith. And more stupidly they somehow think they’re self-made! They never knew fear and came out of the womb ready to take on the world and when they came to Christ the assurance he offered only added to the calm that was already theirs as a result of genetic or neural circuitry, early life’s experiences or whatever. And because they were gifted and shaped into world-beaters they tend to think everyone should be the same. But they’re not the same! Those who are so well put together inside know no fear of rejection or failure, they career through life laughing at trouble and finding adventure in everything. Because they know no fear, or because when it comes they have the inner strength to shove it aside they’re tempted to look down on the fearful. For the brave among us the fear of the fearful is easily viewed as failure to be a true Christian and passages like Revelation 21:8 are brought in to threaten the fearful with hell. "God hasn't given us the spirit of fear," the fearful are told; but then nobody's claiming that he did but that doesn't change the fact that many of us are troubled by irrational fears! Keep feeding us something that will control fear and finally obliterate it.

You can’t make fearful people fearless by screaming at them or scorning them or threatening them with dire punishments because they're fearful. And it isn’t courage that leads us to savage such people—it’s stupidity and arrogance. If a man is brawling with a life-threatening cancer we rightly sympathize with him and speak encouragement and assurance to him. If a poor soul is brawling with paralysis through fear we demand that she heal herself! Who would choose to live the torment some of these people endure? Would you tell me that? But if we think we can’t help them then in God’s name let’s get out of the way and let others have a shot at it! I know people like us are a real burden and sometimes we're viewed as a real pain in the neck; that makes sense but Jesus took us in.

I don’t say all fear is of the same kind or that it runs equally deep in everyone’s experience and I’m sure that the help offered must be tailored depending on the person and his or her situation. I believe that what Christ said about the poor is true. In a world shaped like this "you will always have the poor with you" and in a world like this we’ll always have the fearful. I don’t know enough to heal all my own fears much less those of every one else but I know we need to dive into the massive truths of gospel that is brought to us in Jesus Christ. I know that we need to talk to people about their destiny as individuals and why they are in the world at all. I know that the God that came to us in Jesus Christ is a Father to us all and that the thought of him should strike joy into longing hearts. And I know that we need to restructure our whole thinking about suffering in the world and show it to be redemptive. However we speak or sing or behave it should be to echo the uplifting message of the angel to the shepherds, "Don’t be afraid because..." In God's name continue to give us reasons rather than your ranting.

Making Sense of Baptism by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Making Sense of Baptism

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

One reason why some religious people do not feel that baptism in water is a prerequisite for salvation is because “it doesn’t make any sense.” Why would God demand that a sinner be immersed in water in order to receive the abundant amount of heavenly blessings found “in Christ” (cf. Galatians 3:27; Acts 2:38; Acts 8:34-40; 2 Timothy 2:10; Colossians 1:14)? “The necessity of baptism seems so arbitrary,” they say. “The need to confess faith in Jesus as the Son of God makes good sense. It also is logical to repent of one’s sins. But what good is baptism? What meaning does it have? And why should getting wet physically, make one clean spiritually?”
First, regardless of whether God’s instructions seem sensible to us or not, God expects His orders to be obeyed. One of the many lessons that a person learns from studying the Old Testament is that God oftentimes gave commands that seemed somewhat illogical to man. Not long after the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, God commanded Moses to strike a rock in order to receive water (Exodus 17:1-7). Although digging a well would seem to be the more reasonable thing to do, God wanted Moses to strike a rock with his rod before receiving water from the rock. Forty years later, as the Israelites began their conquest of Canaan, Jehovah instructed the Israelites to march around the city of Jericho one time a day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day in order to conquer the city (Joshua 6:1-5). God said of the Israelites: “It shall come to pass,” on the seventh day, “when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat” (6:5). The idea of an army defeating an enemy simply by walking around a city, yelling, and blowing horns, seems irrational. It makes no sense to the average person. Yet, this is what God demanded of His people if they wanted to be victorious. A few hundred years later, Elisha, a prophet from God, instructed a leprous man named Naaman to “wash in the Jordan seven times” in order to be cleansed of his disease (2 Kings 5:10). Considering the waters of the Jordan had no healing power, this command made little sense to Naaman then, and may not be very sensible to some Bible readers today. Why would God want a leper to dip himself in a river? And why seven times? What medicinal power did the river have? Why not simply have the prophet say to Naaman, “Your faith has made you well”?
Today, if a sinner wants to receive “the victory through…Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57), the Scriptures are clear: in addition to confessing faith in Christ and repenting of his sins (John 8:24; Romans 10:9-10; Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38), he must be baptized (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21). For people to reject the command to be immersed in water simply because they feel that baptism and eternal salvation are totally unrelated, is as wrong as it would have been for Moses, the Israelites, and Naaman to reject God’s commands years ago (cf. Isaiah 55:8-9).
The truth of the matter is, however, one’s immersion into water is not the “illogical instruction” some have made it out to be. God’s plan to save man, and the conditions upon which salvation is accepted (including baptism), were in the mind of God “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). God always has known of this plan “which He accomplished in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:11). To speak of baptism as some flippant, fly-by-night ritual insults the eternal plan of God. It is meaningful, first, because God says it is. And second, if one truly takes the time to observe some of the passages that discuss baptism, he will have a better understanding of its significance. God never intended for a person to think that the power to forgive sins is in the water, any more than He expected Naaman to believe the power to cleanse his leprosy was in the Jordan River. In fact, the apostle Peter was very clear about this matter when he wrote that baptism is “not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God” (1 Peter 3:21).
Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia, saying, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27, emp. added). When this passage is coupled with Romans 6:3ff., one learns that by being baptized into Christ, we are baptized into His death.
Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin (Romans 6:3-7).
Rather than asking, “Why baptism?,” perhaps we should ask, “Why not?” What other act would so fitly represent the complete ending of a life of sin? In his comments on Romans 6, R.L. Whiteside observed:
In being buried in baptism there is a likeness of his death; so also there is a likeness of his resurrection in our being raised from baptism to a new life. Hence, in being baptized we are united with him in the likeness of this death and resurrection. We are therefore, partakers with him in death, and also in being raised to a new life. Jesus was buried and arose to a new life; we are buried in baptism and arise to a new life. These verses show the act of baptism, and also its spiritual value (1988, p. 132).
It is in the act of baptism that the cross is actualized for the sinner, and brought to have individual significance (Riley, 2000, p. 72). Every time a person becomes a Christian, a sinner dies (“being buried with him in baptism”—Colossians 2:12), and is raised up a saint “through faith in the working of God, who raised Him [Jesus] from the dead” (Colossians 2:12).
Truly, baptism “makes sense” (perfect sense) when we take the time to focus on the One Who gave both His life for us, and the mode of baptism to begin our new life with Him (Matthew 28:18-20). Similar to how Noah’s new life, in a new world, began after having been transported from a world of sin by water (1 Peter 3:21; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17), the sinner is carried by water into the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. This submissive act ushers us out of the world and into a relationship with God.


Riley, Tom (2000), Dying to Live Again (Webb City, MO: Covenant Publishing).
Whiteside, Robertson L. (1988), Paul’s Letter to the Saints at Rome (Bowling Green, KY: Guardian of Truth Foundation), reprint.

From Mark Copeland... The Betrayal Of Jesus (Matthew 26:47-50)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                    The Betrayal Of Jesus (26:47-50)


1. Certainly one of the saddest moments in the life of Jesus was His
   betrayal by Judas...
   a. One of Jesus' closest disciples, even one of His twelve apostles
      - Mt 26:47-50
   b. Who had been privileged to a part of Jesus' ministry here on
      earth - Ac 1:17

2. What led Judas to betray his Lord and Savior?  How could one who had
   been with Jesus...
   a. Seen His miracles
   b. Heard His teachings
   ...betray Him with a kiss?

3. What about us, who claim to be Jesus' disciples today?
   a. Could we be guilty of betraying Jesus in some way?
   b. Are there things that misled Judas that could have a similar
      effect on us?

[What might we learn from "The Betrayal Of Jesus"?  Lest we follow the
same path of Judas, let's reflect for a few moments on what we can
glean from the Scriptures...]


      1. As already mentioned, he was one of the apostles - Mt 10:2-4
      2. He was among those whom Jesus loved - Jn 13:1
      3. Yet as prophesied, Jesus was betrayed by "a familiar friend" 
         - Ps 41:9

      1. Just being His disciples is no assurance we could not betray
      2. Like several of the churches in Asia Minor, we could...
         a. Leave our first love - Re 2:4-5
         b. Begin to tolerate false doctrine - Re 2:14-16
         c. Permit false teachers to spread their doctrines - Re 2:20
         d. Fail to perfect our works, and not be watchful - Re 3:1-3
         e. Become lukewarm - Re 3:15-16
      3. Yes, we can betray Jesus by denying Him who bought us - 2 Pe 2:1

[Therefore we need to heed Jesus' admonition to be "faithful unto
death" (Re 2:10), and not assume that close proximity to Jesus in the
past guarantees faithfulness in the future.]


      1. He often pilfered from the money box - Jn 12:4-6
      2. The opportunity to make money led him to betray Jesus - Mt 26:

      1. The deceitfulness of riches can render us unfruitful - Mt 13:
      2. The desire for riches and the love of money can lead us to
         stray from the faith and drown in destruction and perdition
         - 1Ti 6:9-10
      3. The Laodiceans' preoccupation with wealth made them lukewarm
         - Re 3:16-17

[Could we be guilty of betraying Jesus by our desire for riches,
letting such things take precedent over our service to God and His


      1. He could have simply pointed...perhaps by kissing he sought to
         soften the blow of betrayal - Mt 26:48-49
      2. Jesus noted the obvious contradiction - Lk 22:47-48

      1. Many people are very emotional in their religion
         a. As displayed in their worship
         b. Believing it to be evidence of being "Spirit-filled"
      2. Yet emotions alone are not a reliable guide
         a. They can easily mislead us - cf. Pr 16:25; Jer 10:23; 17:9
         b. They are often present in the unstable believer - Mt 13:
      3. This is not to discount the place and value of emotions
         a. We are to love God with all our heart and with all our mind
          - Mt 22:37-38
         b. The Spirit does produce fruit in our lives that affects our
            emotions - Ga 5:22-23
         b. But we must keep them in the proper order:
            1) Our emotions must come from faith, not faith coming from
            2) Otherwise we are led by emotionalism, not faith
            -- And true faith comes from the Word of God - Ro 10:17;
               Jn 20:30-31

[If we believe that displays of affection in our religion can make up
for our failure to heed God's Word, we deceive ourselves and betray
Jesus in the process!]


      1. He evidently didn't think Jesus would be condemned - Mt 27:3-4
      2. This has prompted some to think that Judas was motivated by
         more than money
         a. That perhaps his betrayal would force Jesus to act, show
            His true power
         b. That in such a way it would demonstrate who Jesus truly was

      1. Thinking our service is acceptable, when it is not - Mt 7:
      2. Thinking we can improve on God's way, when we can't know what
         He wants unless He reveals it - Isa 55:8-9
      3. We need to head the Preacher's advice - cf. Ec 5:1-2
         a. Come to hear and do what He says
         b. Not presume to know what pleases God and offer what we
            think is best

[In our zeal, we may be guilty of acting on mistaken knowledge (cf. Ro
10:1-3).  Dare we possibly betray Jesus by presuming we know what is
according to His will and plan?]


      1. He was overcome with grief - Mt 27:3
      2. He took the wrong course of action and hung himself - Mt 27:5

      1. There are two kinds of sorrow - 2Co 7:10
         a. Sorrow of the world that produces death
         b. Godly sorrow that produces repentance
         -- The first is sorrow where one is preoccupied with self; the
            other is sorrow due to sinning against God
      2. It is natural to be sorrowful for our sins
         a. But we should not wallow in our grief
         b. But repent, as did Peter who denied Christ
      3. Paul provides another example of one who did not let his sins
         of the past hinder his service in the present
         a. He focused on God's grace which gave him another chance 
            - 1Co 15:9-10
         b. He directed his attention on striving for the upward call
            of God - Php 3:12-14


1. While Jesus was betrayed by all these things, let's not forget the
   influence of Satan...
   a. Satan used Judas to betray Jesus - Lk 22:3-4
   b. Satan put it in Judas' heart to betray Jesus - Jn 13:2
   -- For this reason Jesus referred to Judas as "a devil" - Jn 6:70-71

2. Yet how did Satan influence Judas?  By some of the very things we've
   a. Through his love of money
   b. Through his emotionalism
   c. Through his mistaken ideas
   d. Through his preoccupation with self
   -- Even Peter was influenced by Satan through some of these things
      (cf. Mt 16:23)

And so while we may decry the treachery of Judas, we should humbly
learn from his mistakes, taking to heart the words of Peter:

   "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks
   about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist
   him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings
   are experienced by your brotherhood in the world."
                                                    - 1Pe 5:9-10

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Garden Of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                  The Garden Of Gethsemane (26:36-46)


1. The last supper of Jesus with His disciples was finished...
   a. He predicted the betrayal by Judas - Mt 26:21-25
   b. He observed the Passover, instituting the Lord's Supper - Mt 26:
   b. He then foretold Peter's denial of Him, as they made their way to
      the Mount of Olives - Mt 26:31-35

2. Jesus and His disciples then came to a place called Gethsemane...
   a. A garden outside the city, across the Kidron brook and on the
      Mount of Olives
   b. It's name means "olive press", and was possibly a remote walled
   c. A place where Jesus often went with His disciples - Jn 18:1-2

3. Note the contrast between the Garden of Eden, and the Garden of
   a. In the first garden, the first man fell by yielding to temptation
   b. In the second garden, the Second Man (cf. 1Co 15:47) conquered
      by yielding to the will of God

[Yes, "The Garden Of Gethsemane" was a place of victory for Jesus (and
consequently for us as well).  But the victory did not come easy, as we
notice first of all that...]


      1. He went to pray, accompanied only by Peter, James, and John 
         - Mt 26:36-37
      2. Before He began praying, He was "deeply distressed" - Mt 26:37
      3. Mark records that He was "troubled and deeply distressed" - Mk 14:33
      4. Later, Luke records that He was "in agony", and His sweat
         became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground 
         - Lk 22:44
      5. He was likely troubled for He knew that His hour had come 
         - cf. Jn 12:27
         a. He knew what was imminent, for He had told His disciples
            three times - Mt 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19
         b. There was not only physical pain to endure, but also the
            burden of our sins and separation from His Father as He
            bore our sins on the cross! - cf. Isa 53:6; Mt 27:46

      1. He described Himself as "exceedingly sorrowful, even to death"
         - Mt 26:38
      2. The writer of Hebrews refers to His "vehement cries and tears"
         - He 5:7
      3. Again, His grief and sorrow was partly due to the fact that He
         was taking upon Himself our own griefs and sorrows! - cf. Isa 53:4-5

      1. He wanted His closest disciples to watch with Him - Mt 26:
         a. Those who had been with Him from the beginning - Mt 4:18-22
         b. Those who were privy to one of His greatest miracles - Mk 5:37-43
         c. Those who saw Him transfigured on the mountain - Mt 17:1-2
         d. Including the disciple "whom He loved" - Jn 13:23; 19:26;
            20:2; 21:7,20,24
      2. Yet after each episode of praying, He found them sleeping - Mt 26:40-41,43,45
         a. When He desired fellowship for comfort, there was none to
            be found
         b. The Psalmist foretold this would happen - cf. Ps 69:20

[Alone in His distress and sorrow, our Lord found "The Garden Of
Gethsemane" to be a place of great suffering for Him.  Then something
happened.  Before He left to face the mob led by Judas to arrest Him,
Jesus found that...]


      1. The agony in His prayer is:
         a. Seen by His posture:  "He...fell on His face" - Mt 26:39
         b. Heard in His words:  "O My Father, if it is possible, let
            this cup pass from Me" - Mt 26:39,42,44
      2. It was "godly fear" Jesus expressed, and for such His prayer
         was heard - He 5:7
         a. Not that the cup (of suffering) was removed
         b. But that He would be able to drink it

      1. As evidenced by His words:
         a. "Not as I will, but as You will." - Mt 26:39
         b. "if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it,
            Your will be done." - Mt 26:42
      2. When man first said "My will, not Thine be done..."
         a. It opened the flood gate of sin
         b. It turned man out of the Paradise of God
      3. But when Jesus said "Not as I will, but as You will..."
         a. Victory over sin and access to the Tree of Life became
         b. For it prepared Jesus to go to the cross to make it 

      1. Jesus received an answer to His prayer - cf. Lk 22:43
         a. Not the answer He requested (let this cup pass from Me)
         b. But strength from an angel!
      2. Like the apostle Paul would pray later - cf. 2Co 12:7-10
         a. Asking the Lord to remove his thorn in the flesh
         b. Receiving an answer different than requested, but more than
            sufficient to meet the need!

      1. Strengthened, Jesus was ready to face the hour at hand - Mt 26:45
      2. He was ready to meet His betrayer and those with him - Mt 26:


1. So "The Garden Of Gethsemane" was a place of both suffering and
   a. Jesus entered the garden suffering
   b. He left the garden strengthened in His resolve

2. Notice what turned the place of suffering into a place of strength:
   a. Prayer that is fervent and persistent
   b. Prayer in which one submits to the will of God
   c. Prayer in which one is strengthened
   d. Prayer that enables one to face the cup of life given them

3. There will be times when we must enter our "Garden of Gethsemane"...
   a. Times of distress, sorrow, loneliness
   b. But such times can also be a time of comfort and strength
   -- Provided we spend them in prayer, and be willing to accept the
      Father's will

Jesus found prayer to be the key for turning a garden of suffering into
a garden of strength.  As Christians we have a similar blessing in

   "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and
   supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known
   to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
   will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." - Php 4:6-7

May we never neglect to utilize this wonderful gift, especially since
we now have Jesus Himself to intercede on our behalf!

   "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed
   through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast
   our confession.  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot
   sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted
   as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to
   the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace
   to help in time of need." - He 4:14-16

   "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who
   come to God through Him, since He always lives to make
   intercession for them." - He 7:25

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Lord's Supper (Matthew 26:26-30)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                      The Lord's Supper (26:26-30)


1. During His last week, Jesus observed the Passover for the last
   a. The Passover was a Jewish feast, observed annually - Deut 16:1-8
   b. Commemorating Israel's deliverance from Egypt - Exo 12:1-28,43-49

2. This last Passover was very special to Jesus - Lk 22:14-15
   a. His knew His death was imminent ("before I suffer")
   b. He was with those he loved - Jn 13:1 ("He loved them to the end")

3. On this occasion Jesus instituted what we call the Lord's Supper...
   a. Read our text - Mt 26:26-30
   b. As recorded by Luke, Jesus wanted His disciples to do this in His
      memory - Lk 22:19

4. The importance of properly observing the Lord's Supper should not be
   a. The church at Corinth was guilty of abusing it - 1Co 11:20-22
   b. Such misuse has serious consequences - 1Co 11:27,29

[That we might observe the Supper properly, to receive its blessings
rather than condemnation, let's use this opportunity to review what is
revealed about the purpose and observance of "The Lord's Supper"...]


      1. Note Paul's account as given by the Lord Himself - 1Co 11:
         a. We eat the bread in memory of His body
         b. We drink the cup (fruit of the vine) in memory of His blood
      2. We therefore commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross
         - Mt 26:28
         a. Whose death make the new covenant possible - He 9:16
         b. Whose blood was shed for the remission of sins - Ep 1:7
      -- As the Passover was a memorial commemorating Israel's
         deliverance from Egypt through the blood of the lambs on the
         door post, so the Supper is a memorial of our Lord's death who
         makes our deliverance from the bondage of sin possible

      1. We proclaim our faith in the efficacy of the Lord's death
         - 1Co 11:26a
         a. That His death was indeed for our sins
         b. If we didn't believe it, why keep the Supper?
      2. We also proclaim our faith in the Lord's return - 1Co 11:26b
         a. For it is to be done "till He comes"
         b. If we don't believe He is coming, then why keep the Supper?
      -- Thus the Lord's Supper looks forward as well as backward, and
         will ever be observed by His disciples who trust in His
         redemption and anticipate His return!

      1. A fellowship or sharing in the blood of Christ - 1Co 10:16a
         a. As we partake, we commune with the blood of Christ
         b. Perhaps in the sense of reinforcing blessings we enjoy
            through the blood of Christ - cf. 1Jn 1:7,9
      2. A fellowship or sharing in the body of Christ - 1Co 10:16b-17
         a. As we partake, we commune with the body of Christ
         b. Perhaps in the sense of reinforcing fellowship together in
            the body of Christ (i.e., the church), as we break bread

["The Lord's Supper", which is also called "Communion" and "Breaking of
Bread" (cf. 1Co 10:16; Ac 2:42; 20:7) certainly has great significance
and should not be taken lightly.  We should therefore consider what the
Scriptures reveal about...]


      1. That is, "in a worthy manner" (NKJV) - 1Co 11:27,29
         a. The KJV says "worthily", which some have misunderstood
         b. It is an adverb, describing how we take it, not whether we
            are worthy (none are truly worthy)
      2. With respect for the supreme price Jesus paid for our sins
         a. Cf. the cruel torture and humiliation of His physical body
         b. Cf. the spiritual anguish suffered as the Son of God bore
            the punishment for our sins ("My God, My God, Why have You
            forsaken Me?" - Mt 27:46)
      3. Failure to observe with proper reverence brings condemnation
         - 1Co 11:27,29
         a. One will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord
         b. One will eat and drink judgment to himself
      -- To make light of this memorial puts one in the same category
         as those who mocked Him as He hung on the cross!

      1. Such as reflecting upon one's spiritual condition - 1Co 11:28
      2. Are we living in a manner that shows appreciation for His
         a. By accepting the grace of God in our lives? - 2Co 5:18-6:1
         b. By living for Jesus who died for us? - 2Co 5:14-15; Ga 2:20
      3. Or are we by willful sinning, guilty of having:
         a. "trampled the Son of God underfoot"?
         b. "counted the blood by which [we were] sanctified a common
         c. "insulted the Spirit of grace"? - cf. He 10:26-29
      4. Do we, by refusing to repent of our sins, "crucify again for
         themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an shame"? - cf. He 6:4-6
      -- In one sense, the Supper is a very private matter between a
         Christian and his or her God; a time to reflect the past and
         to resolve for the future

      1. There is ample indication the Supper is designed to be a
         communal meal
         a. The disciples "came together" to break bread - Ac 20:7
         b. When they came together, they were to "wait for one
            another" - 1Co 11:33
         c. Partaking together of "one bread", they demonstrate they
            are "one bread and one body" - 1Co 10:16
         -- We commune not just with the Lord, but with one another
      2. For this reason I personally question such practices as:
         a. Observing the Supper by one's self when camping or
         b. Observing the Supper on Sunday night when just one or a
            couple of people in the congregation are partaking
         c. Taking the elements to the sick or shut-in who were unable
            to assemble
         -- While such issues may fall in the realm of "opinion", let's
            not forget that the Supper builds fellowship with one
            another as well as with the Lord!

      1. The Biblical evidence is that it was done weekly...
         a. Christians came together on the first day of the week to
            "break bread" - Ac 20:7
         b. Other indications of a weekly observance:
            1) The church at Corinth was coming together to eat the
               Lord's Supper, though they were abusing it - cf. 1Co 11:17-22
            2) Instructions concerning the collection suggest their
               coming together was on the first day of the week - cf.
               1Co 16:1-2
         c. Following the divinely approved example of Christians in
            the Bible, we know God approves of a weekly observance on
            the first day of the week
      2. The earliest historical evidence outside the Bible confirms
         the day and frequency...
         a. The Didache (ca. 95 A.D.) indicates Christians were to come
            together on the first day of the week to break bread
            - Didache 14:1
         b. Justin Martyr (ca. 150 A.D.) records how Christians
            assembled on Sunday and partook of the Supper - Apology I,
      3. Some believe that a weekly observance diminishes the
         importance of the Supper
         a. Which is why some do it monthly, quarterly, or annually
         b. But does the frequent practice of:
            1) Assembling diminishing its value and importance?
            2) Singing praises and offering prayers devalue their
            3) Preaching and studying God's Word decrease their
               significance to our lives?
      -- Our spiritual lives are dependent upon the value and benefits
         of our Lord's death on the cross; a weekly observance of the
         memorial helps us to live appreciatively and accordingly!


1. "The Lord's Supper" is a very special memorial of His death for our
   a. Instituted by Jesus Himself, He asked His disciples to do it in
      His memory
   b. Jesus told His disciples that He would not eat of the elements
      again until:
      1) "...that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's
         kingdom." - Mt 26:29
      2) "...that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." - Mk 14:25
      3) "...it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." - Lk 22:16
      4) "...the kingdom of God shall come." - Lk 22:18
   c. There are two plausible explanations for what Jesus means:
      1) Some think it refers to Jesus having fellowship with us as we
         observe the Lord's Supper in the church, which is His kingdom
         - cf. 1Co 10:16-17
      2) Others propose that it refers to the special communion we will
         have with Jesus in His Father's kingdom, spoken often in terms
         of a heavenly feast - cf. Isa 25:6-8; Mt 8:11; 22:2-14; Lk 14:15-24; Re 19:9

2. The first Christians "continued steadfastly" in its observance...
   a. Just as they did in the apostles' doctrine, fellowship and prayer
      - Ac 2:42
   b. Coming together on the first day of the week for that very
      purpose - Ac 20:7

3. Christians today should never lose sight of its significance...
   a. A constant reminder of the sacrifice Jesus paid for our sins
   b. A communion or sharing of the body and blood of the Lord
   c. A time for self-examination and re-dedication of our service to
      the Lord
   d. A means for building fellowship with one another in the body of

May such thoughts encourage us to never neglect opportunities we have
to observe the Lord's Supper, but to continue steadfastly and in so
doing "proclaim the Lord's death till He comes."

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading November 17

Bible Reading  

November 17

The World English Bible

Nov. 17
Jeremiah 18-21
Jer 18:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying,
Jer 18:2 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear my words.
Jer 18:3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and behold, he was making a work on the wheels.
Jer 18:4 When the vessel that he made of the clay was marred in the hand of the potter, he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
Jer 18:5 Then the word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Jer 18:6 House of Israel, can't I do with you as this potter? says Yahweh. Behold, as the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.
Jer 18:7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up and to break down and to destroy it;
Jer 18:8 if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do to them.
Jer 18:9 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
Jer 18:10 if they do that which is evil in my sight, that they not obey my voice, then I will repent of the good, with which I said I would benefit them.
Jer 18:11 Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus says Yahweh: Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return you now everyone from his evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.
Jer 18:12 But they say, It is in vain; for we will walk after our own devices, and we will do everyone after the stubbornness of his evil heart.
Jer 18:13 Therefore thus says Yahweh: Ask you now among the nations, who has heard such things; the virgin of Israel has done a very horrible thing.
Jer 18:14 Shall the snow of Lebanon fail from the rock of the field? or shall the cold waters that flow down from afar be dried up?
Jer 18:15 For my people have forgotten me, they have burned incense to false gods; and they have been made to stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths, to walk in byways, in a way not built up;
Jer 18:16 to make their land an astonishment, and a perpetual hissing; everyone who passes thereby shall be astonished, and shake his head.
Jer 18:17 I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will show them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.
Jer 18:18 Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us strike him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.
Jer 18:19 Give heed to me, Yahweh, and listen to the voice of those who contend with me.
Jer 18:20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have dug a pit for my soul. Remember how I stood before you to speak good for them, to turn away your wrath from them.
Jer 18:21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and give them over to the power of the sword; and let their wives become childless, and widows; and let their men be slain of death, and their young men struck of the sword in battle.
Jer 18:22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, when you shall bring a troop suddenly on them; for they have dug a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet.
Jer 18:23 Yet, Yahweh, you know all their counsel against me to kill me; don't forgive their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from your sight; but let them be overthrown before you; deal you with them in the time of your anger.
Jer 19:1 Thus said Yahweh, Go, and buy a potter's earthen bottle, and take of the elders of the people, and of the elders of the priests;
Jer 19:2 and go forth to the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the gate Harsith, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell you;
Jer 19:3 and say, Hear you the word of Yahweh, kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem: thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, Behold, I will bring evil on this place, which whoever hears, his ears shall tingle.
Jer 19:4 Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it to other gods, that they didn't know, they and their fathers and the kings of Judah; and have filled this place with the blood of innocents,
Jer 19:5 and have built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons in the fire for burnt offerings to Baal; which I didn't command, nor spoke it, neither came it into my mind:
Jer 19:6 therefore, behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that this place shall no more be called Topheth, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of Slaughter.
Jer 19:7 I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life: and their dead bodies will I give to be food for the birds of the sky, and for the animals of the earth.
Jer 19:8 I will make this city an astonishment, and a hissing; everyone who passes thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all its plagues.
Jer 19:9 I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters; and they shall eat everyone the flesh of his friend, in the siege and in the distress, with which their enemies, and those who seek their life, shall distress them.
Jer 19:10 Then you shall break the bottle in the sight of the men who go with you,
Jer 19:11 and shall tell them, Thus says Yahweh of Armies: Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter's vessel, that can't be made whole again; and they shall bury in Topheth, until there be no place to bury.
Jer 19:12 Thus will I do to this place, says Yahweh, and to its inhabitants, even making this city as Topheth:
Jer 19:13 and the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, which are defiled, shall be as the place of Topheth, even all the houses on whose roofs they have burned incense to all the army of the sky, and have poured out drink offerings to other gods.
Jer 19:14 Then came Jeremiah from Topheth, where Yahweh had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of Yahweh's house, and said to all the people:
Jer 19:15 Thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, Behold, I will bring on this city and on all its towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it; because they have made their neck stiff, that they may not hear my words.
Jer 20:1 Now Pashhur, the son of Immer the priest, who was chief officer in the house of Yahweh, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things.
Jer 20:2 Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the upper gate of Benjamin, which was in the house of Yahweh.
Jer 20:3 It happened on the next day, that Pashhur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah to him, Yahweh has not called your name Pashhur, but Magormissabib.
Jer 20:4 For thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself, and to all your friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes shall see it; and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive to Babylon, and shall kill them with the sword.
Jer 20:5 Moreover I will give all the riches of this city, and all its gains, and all the precious things of it, yes, all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies; and they shall make them a prey, and take them, and carry them to Babylon.
Jer 20:6 You, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house shall go into captivity; and you shall come to Babylon, and there you shall die, and there you shall be buried, you, and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied falsely.
Jer 20:7 Yahweh, you have persuaded me, and I was persuaded; you are stronger than I, and have prevailed: I am become a laughing-stock all the day, every one mocks me.
Jer 20:8 For as often as I speak, I cry out; I cry, Violence and destruction! because the word of Yahweh is made a reproach to me, and a derision, all the day.
Jer 20:9 If I say, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name, then there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with forbearing, and I can't contain.
Jer 20:10 For I have heard the defaming of many, terror on every side. Denounce, and we will denounce him, say all my familiar friends, those who watch for my fall; peradventure he will be persuaded, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.
Jer 20:11 But Yahweh is with me as an awesome mighty one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail; they shall be utterly disappointed, because they have not dealt wisely, even with an everlasting dishonor which shall never be forgotten.
Jer 20:12 But, Yahweh of Armies, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance on them; for to you have I revealed my cause.
Jer 20:13 Sing to Yahweh, praise you Yahweh; for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hand of evildoers.
Jer 20:14 Cursed be the day in which I was born: don't let the day in which my mother bore me be blessed.
Jer 20:15 Cursed be the man who brought news to my father, saying, A boy is born to you; making him very glad.
Jer 20:16 Let that man be as the cities which Yahweh overthrew, and didn't repent: and let him hear a cry in the morning, and shouting at noontime;
Jer 20:17 because he didn't kill me from the womb; and so my mother would have been my grave, and her womb always great.
Jer 20:18 Why came I forth out of the womb to see labor and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?
Jer 21:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, when king Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur the son of Malchijah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, saying,
Jer 21:2 Please inquire of Yahweh for us; for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon makes war against us: peradventure Yahweh will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us.
Jer 21:3 Then said Jeremiah to them, You shall tell Zedekiah:
Jer 21:4 Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, with which you fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans who besiege you, without the walls; and I will gather them into the midst of this city.
Jer 21:5 I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation.
Jer 21:6 I will strike the inhabitants of this city, both man and animal: they shall die of a great pestilence.
Jer 21:7 Afterward, says Yahweh, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, even such as are left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life: and he shall strike them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy.
Jer 21:8 To this people you shall say, Thus says Yahweh: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.
Jer 21:9 He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he who goes out, and passes over to the Chaldeans who besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be to him for a prey.
Jer 21:10 For I have set my face on this city for evil, and not for good, says Yahweh: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.
Jer 21:11 Touching the house of the king of Judah, hear you the word of Yahweh:
Jer 21:12 House of David, thus says Yahweh, Execute justice in the morning, and deliver him who is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn so that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
Jer 21:13 Behold, I am against you, O inhabitant of the valley, and of the rock of the plain, says Yahweh; you that say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations?
Jer 21:14 I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, says Yahweh; and I will kindle a fire in her forest, and it shall devour all that is around her. 

Nov. 17
Hebrews 3

Heb 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus;
Heb 3:2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, as also was Moses in all his house.
Heb 3:3 For he has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who built the house has more honor than the house.
Heb 3:4 For every house is built by someone; but he who built all things is God.
Heb 3:5 Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken,
Heb 3:6 but Christ is faithful as a Son over his house; whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the glorying of our hope firm to the end.
Heb 3:7 Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you will hear his voice,
Heb 3:8 don't harden your hearts, as in the provocation, like as in the day of the trial in the wilderness,
Heb 3:9 where your fathers tested me by proving me, and saw my works for forty years.
Heb 3:10 Therefore I was displeased with that generation, and said, 'They always err in their heart, but they didn't know my ways;'
Heb 3:11 as I swore in my wrath, 'They will not enter into my rest.' "
Heb 3:12 Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God;
Heb 3:13 but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called "today;" lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Heb 3:14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm to the end:
Heb 3:15 while it is said, "Today if you will hear his voice, don't harden your hearts, as in the rebellion."
Heb 3:16 For who, when they heard, rebelled? No, didn't all those who came out of Egypt by Moses?
Heb 3:17 With whom was he displeased forty years? Wasn't it with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?
Heb 3:18 To whom did he swear that they wouldn't enter into his rest, but to those who were disobedient?
Heb 3:19 We see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief.