From Jim McGuiggan... Exodus 3:14, I AM WHO I AM

Exodus 3:14, I AM WHO I AM

A serious young Christian wrestles to integrate the "many faces" of God (the one true God that we’ve come to know in and as Jesus Christ). He isn’t alone in his wrestling. The rest of us who are equally serious do plenty of that ourselves. There is no getting to the bottom of the mystery of God. We can pile up all the words on top of one another until they’re higher than the Matterhorn and the depth and mystery of God still eludes us. We call him things like omnipotent, omniscient, sovereign, gracious, loving, majestic, omnipresent and so forth—all true I’m sure; but he’s bigger and grander and deeper and more elusive than all our words. A prophet who knew God intimately said, "You are a God that hides yourself!" Of course he was right! But God doesn’t even have to deliberately conceal himself in order to be beyond our grasp.

Moses wanted to know who’d he’d say sent him when Israel asked and God said, maybe even a bit dryly, "Tell them that I AM WHO I AM sent you." We can get from I AM WHO I AM to Yahweh because they’re linguistically/verbally connected, but we can get nowhere with either one of them. God gave him a name but clearly he was withholding a name from him. No one knows how to render the Hebrew phrase. We just say things like I AM WHAT I AM or I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE to keep from saying nothing. Scholars give us educated guesses at the linguistic options and from there they guess even more about what their linguistic guesses mean.

I say we don’t know what God said, but that’s an overstatement. He didn’t leave us utterly ignorant. One thing we’re sure of is this: Moses wasn’t to go to Israel and say GOOD LUCK SENT ME!

Nevertheless, God will not be boxed in. He won’t give us a name that we can memorise and then pigeonhole him. "Oh, yes, well you know there’s Osiris and Zeus and Molech and Bel and then there’s ‘Yahweh’." No verbal sound captures God. No series of sounds, no theology contains all of him. No Christology can lock Jesus Christ in with even its wise pronouncements—like God he breaks through all the verbal boundaries. Even my Ethel’s too mysterious to be summed up in any biography I might write. Persons are bigger and vaster than our mental constructs no matter how accurate they are in their way.

Will God continue to puzzle and mesmerise us? Will he always be showing us his "back parts" while telling us "you can’t see my face"? (Exodus 33:20-23) Will the temple always be filled with smoke at his presence? See  Yes—he’s beyond us! It is with good reason that Paul, when he had finished spilling out his Romans 9—11 was suddenly seized by it and poured out his awe and adoration (11:33-36).

But our inability to grasp God fully is not just an intellectual thing—it’s a moral and spiritual affair. We don’t see him well because we’re not pure enough to see him well. It’s hard to think God’s thoughts after him when our own thoughts are so unlike his. Our sinfulness has affected our capacity to judge well. We think because we can still use our brains to work out mathematical problems or grasp cosmological theories or understand that 2+2 = 4 that our rational capacity and the way we use it are unaffected by sin. Sin has hurt us! "How can you believe?" Christ said to them, "when you seek the glory of men and not God!" He didn’t have in mind their ability to handle abstract truths or empirical realities. He said (Matthew 16:1-4), "You can understand the weather patterns but because you are evil you’re completely ignorant of your spiritual peril and who is speaking to you."

If texts look like they’re saying things we don’t want to be true our vested interests will suppress them.

We don’t have to build idols and fall down and worship them to be idolaters. We can build a verbal picture of God, a picture we draw from pieces taken from here and there in the Bible. We can build a verbal picture of God and fall down and worship that. It will be God built in our own inner image and he’ll come out looking like us—with all our likes and dislikes. We’ll tell him what he can or cannot do or look like. We’ll tell him, as ancients (and many moderns) have done, that he can’t come dragging a cross. But when the Holy Father laid the cross on the Holy Son of God he defied our labels and our idolatrous worship that would tell him what he can or cannot do as he works to bless us.

For while we are reverently agnostic about much that God is he has made it clear to us that he has made an eternal commitment to his creation—the human family included. That eternal commitment and purpose arose from his holy love and came to a throbbing completion in Jesus Christ. He will never turn from that commitment because he cannot be faithless to himself. Those of us that have been privileged to be called to be his witnesses in Jesus Christ have come to trust him—for all our dithering and our fumbling—that he is holy love "embodied" in a God that has shown himself in and as Jesus Christ.

He is no destroyer! If we will not trust that his wrath and chastisement on the human family is the form his redeeming love takes, because he thinks it is appropriate, then it’s because we know less of him that he has given us to understand. It is humility to confess that we do not know what we do not know. It is not humility to say we don't know the truth that God has explicitly brought to our attention. It is not humility—it may be idolatry!

Lessons Learned in the Practice of Law: The Truth by Kevin Cain, J.D.


Lessons Learned in the Practice of Law: The Truth

by  Kevin Cain, J.D.

“I object, your Honor. Hearsay!” Whether on television, the movies, or in real life, nearly all of us have heard these words. I know from experience in talking with jurors that people often wonder, “What is the attorney trying to hide by keeping this testimony from the jury?” All of the 50 states have rules that exclude “hearsay” evidence, including the Federal Rules of Evidence. In essence, the hearsay rule excludes evidence of a statement made by someone who is not present at trial (Fed. R. Evid. 801, 802). For example, the hearsay rule would exclude testimony of what was overheard by another person after an accident took place. If I try to testify about what someone else said at the scene of an accident, a hearsay objection will likely be asserted.
The purpose of this rule is not to suppress the truth, but to safeguard the reliability of the testimony that is considered by the jury. Because an attorney cannot cross-examine, look into the eyes, or administer the oath to the absent witness who purportedly made the statement, courts deem these second-hand statements unreliable, and therefore, inadmissible (California v. Green, 1970). To make this rule even more complicated, there are statements that are excluded from being deemed hearsay; and there are exceptions that, even though the testimony is hearsay, the exception makes it admissible (Fed. R. Evid. 801(d); 803 (listing 24 exceptions), 804, 807). Therefore, what evidence is deemed reliable and, ultimately admissible, may have more to do with the ability of the attorney to navigate these rules of evidence as opposed to what the truth really is. On many occasions I have observed clients express frustration over the fact that the truth did not come out at trial because of the evidence excluded by the judge. At the end of the day, we simply want the jury to know what the truth is so they can make an informed decision and get it right.
But what is the truth? Where did Anna Nicole Smith really want to be buried? Where was O.J. on the night of June 12, 1994? Did Barry Bonds know that he was taking steroids? Did Coach Tressel know about his players’ misconduct? These are the kinds of questions that jurors must answer, and they simply want to know the truth.
“What is truth?” That was the question asked of Jesus by Pilate, and, ironically, it was asked in the context of a trial (John 18:38). Jesus is on trial, and He and Pilate are having a private deposition. The Jews have asked for Roman permission to put Jesus to death, knowing that they cannot legally do this themselves under Roman law (John 18:28-32). In response to this request, Pilate takes Jesus into his palace and privately cross-examines Him (John 18:33).
Pilate asks Jesus if He is the king of the Jews (John 18:33).  Jesus responds by asking if Pilate came up with that question on his own or was he told this by others (John 18:34).  Pilate responds defensively, as if he were the one on trial, and says, “Am I a Jew? It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” (John 18:35). Jesus now answers the question, and declares that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). Pilate, believing he has a smoking gun, declares, “You are a king, then” (John 18:37). Jesus answers that He is a king, and He was born for the purpose of testifying to the truth (John 18:37). It is at this point that Pilate asks the eternally important question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). John does not record that Jesus answered this question (John 18:38). Pilate’s response to this silence is to go to the mob and declare, “I find no fault in him” (John 18:38). Is it possible that Jesus did not answer this profound question because the answer was literally staring Pilate in the face? It was this same Jesus who proclaimed earlier in His ministry, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Hours before this sham trial, Jesus had been praying in the garden (John 17). In that prayer, Jesus expressed the sentiment, “Sanctify them through your truth, your word is truth” (John 17:17). God’s Word, the Bible, is truth. That truth was personified in the body and life of Jesus, and Jesus is called the Word (John 1:1,14). Moreover, Jesus called Himself the truth (John 14:6). Therefore, we cannot separate truth from God’s Word from Jesus Himself. They are one and the same.
The author John makes a final point about truth that must not escape our attention. We can know the truth. “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). As jurors who are listening to the testimony of the life, death, burial, resurrection, and teaching of Jesus, we are told that the truth is something we can know. It is not some gray, amorphous, intangible thing floating around out there that we can never presume to understand. We may never know the truth about where a suspect was on the night his wife was murdered, but we can know the truth of God’s holy Word. It is reliable and understandable.
Just pause for a moment and consider the many passages that emphasize that we can know and understand God’s Word. God implored the people of Isaiah’s day, “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). The saints at Berea “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). We are to “test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Moreover, we are commanded to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). John instructs us to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). When Jesus referred to the book of Daniel, the verse concludes by stating, “Let the reader understand” (Matthew 24:15).
When the lawyer asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus responded by asking the lawyer how he read or interpreted the law (Luke 10:25-26). After the lawyer answered, Jesus stated, “You have answered correctly” (Luke 10:27-28). Surely if a lawyer could understand the Bible, anyone can. These passages are merely illustrative of the absolute fact that men and women can come to the truth, investigate and reason over the truth, and understand the truth.
Some may quickly turn and say, “But doesn’t the Bible itself admit that Scripture is difficult to understand?” The questioner is likely alluding to 2 Peter 3:16, wherein Peter, referring to Paul’s writings, states that there are “some things hard to understand.” First, notice that in 2 Peter 3:16 there are some things that are hard to understand, but not impossible to understand. More importantly, these things are not hard to understand because they contain concepts too deep for mankind to fathom and comprehend. Rather, this verse explicitly states that Paul’s writings are hard to understand because some come to God’s Word with a degree of ignorance and lack of maturity that cause them to twist not only Paul’s inspired writings, but all the Scripture. “He [Paul] writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). In other words, we can understand the Bible if we do not come with unhealthy predispositions and if we are willing to be taught. We can understand God’s Word if we approach it with good and honest hearts—hearts ready to accept and humbly obey God’s Word regardless of the consequences (Luke 8:15).
The issue with all Scripture is not whether we can understand it—the issue is whether we are willing to do it. When Jesus proclaimed some very basic principles of marriage as it relates to the subject of divorce and remarriage (Matthew 19:1-9), His disciples responded that this teaching was so harsh that it would be better for some not to marry (Matthew 19:10). Notice that the disciples did not say, “This teaching on divorce and remarriage is hard to comprehend so we should all just keep our opinions to ourselves.” No, they fully understood this hard saying—not because it was hard to understand, but because it was hard to live.
When Jesus spoke of the level of absolute commitment of His disciples in metaphorical terms of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus, His disciples responded, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” (John 6:60). This was not a concept that could not be understood, it was simply a concept that required great sacrifice, great commitment, and great humility. As such, upon hearing this teaching, most disciples turned and never followed Jesus again (John 6:66). This would explain why Jesus immediately asked, “Does this offend you?” (John 6:61). This was not the first time that Jesus’ teachings were clearly understood, and caused others to be offended. When Jesus taught in his hometown, the people were offended (Matthew 13:57). The Pharisees were offended at the simple teaching of Jesus when he proclaimed that what makes a man unclean is determined by what comes out of that person, not that which goes in (Matthew 15:12). All of the apostles were offended because of Jesus on the night He was betrayed (Matthew 26:31). Jesus did not offend others because His teaching and doctrine were not clear. Rather, Jesus offended people in His lifetime because people understood what He taught, and did not like what Jesus had to say.
There is not a single instance in the Bible where someone exhibits such bold dishonesty by trying to argue that they disobeyed God because they were confused or could not understand what God had commanded. Adam blamed his wife (Genesis 3:12), Aaron blamed the people (Exodus 32:22), the Israelites blamed difficult circumstances (Numbers 13:31). But nowhere in the Bible does anyone have the gall to offer the immature excuse, “I simply could not understand what you meant, God.”
We can know the truth. We can know the truth about God, in spite of the fact that many in the world do not believe in the existence of the God of the Bible. We can know the truth about God’s teaching on divorce and remarriage—it may be hard to apply, but the teaching is clear.  We can know the truth about baptism—it may cause others to be offended because they themselves are not baptized, but that does not change the truth and our ability to know it.  Is this to say that we can know all things and claim to have knowledge parallel to God’s? Absolutely not. The Bible is clear that there are many matters we will never comprehend.  That was part of God’s response to Job (Job 38-40). However, the Bible plainly teaches that while there are matters beyond our comprehension, there are things that God has revealed to us that we can understand. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). It would surely be impossible to follow that which we cannot understand. Notice that the Israelites had the ability to “follow all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). We can understand every word, every sentence, every thought, and every precept that God has revealed to us. We call those words, sentences, thoughts, and precepts the holy Word of God—the Bible.
We can know God’s Word—the truth. God has given us His Word so that we can make informed decisions in life based on the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.


California v. Green, 399 U.S. 149, 158 (1970).
Fed. R. Evid. 801, 802, 803, 804, 807.

From Mark Copeland... The Temptation Of Jesus (Mark 1:12-13)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                   The Temptation Of Jesus (1:12-13)


1. A blessing of Jesus as Savior is His ability to comfort and aid those
   who are tempted...
   a. This is because He too was tempted - He 2:18
   b. He is sympathetic, and can provide mercy and grace to help in time
      of need - He 4:14-16

2. One of His greatest periods of temptation was at the beginning of His
   public ministry...
   a. Immediately following His baptism by John - Mk 1:9-11
   b. Just prior to beginning His preaching ministry - Mk 1:14-15

3. Studying "The Temptation Of Jesus" can be fruitful for several
   a. It reminds us that Jesus can understand our own temptations
   b. It reveals how we can be more successful in overcoming temptation

[With that in mind and using Mk 1:12-13 as our basic text, let's begin


      1. The Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness - Mk 1:12
         a. It appears this challenge was initiated by the Spirit
         b. The same Spirit who descended upon Him in bodily form as
            dove - Mk 1:10; Lk 3:22
         c. It was likely the wilderness of Judea, a very desolate place
      2. Where he was for forty days - Mk 1:13
         a. During which he fasted, like Moses and Elijah - cf. Mt 4:2;
            Exo 34:28; 1Ki 19:18
         b. During which he was tempted - cf. Lk 4:2
      3. Tempted by Satan - Mk 1:13
         a. Mark uses the term "Satan" (lit., adversary)
         b. Matthew and Luke use the term "devil" (lit., accuser,
      4. Mark alone mentions the presence of "wild beasts" - Mk 1:13
         a. Animals known to inhabit the area include hyenas, jackals,
            panthers, and lions
         b. Not known is whether they were a source of comfort or trial
            for Jesus (I suspect the latter)
      -- For forty days, Jesus experienced desolation, deprivation, and

      1. Mark does not record the climax of Satan's temptations at the
         end of forty days
      2. Both Matthew and Luke do, which we briefly summarize:
         a. Satan's appeal to the lust of the flesh - Mt 4:3-4
         b. Satan's appeal to the pride of life - Mt 4:5-7
         c. Satan's appeal to lust of the eyes - Mt 4:8-10
      3. With each temptation, Jesus responds "It is written..." - Mt 4:
      -- With the aid of Scripture, Jesus was victorious over Satan!

      1. Angels ministered to Jesus - Mk 1:13
         a. Exactly what they did is not mentioned
         b. Perhaps they provided bodily nourishment (Hendriksen)
      2. This would not be the last time
         a. That Satan would tempt Jesus - cf. Lk 4:13; Mt 16:21-23
         b. That angels would minister to Jesus - cf. Lk 22:43
      -- After tribulation came consolation!

[With forty days of overcoming temptation behind Him, Jesus was now
prepared to begin His public ministry.  What application might we draw
regarding "The Temptation Of Jesus"...?]


      1. Jesus was tempted by the devil, and so are we - 1Pe 5:8-9
      2. The devil now directs his attention towards the disciples of
         Christ - cf. Re 12:17
      -- We should not treat him lightly, for the conflict is real! - Ep 6:12

      1. The lust of the flesh - e.g., immorality, especially when young
      2. The lust of the eyes - e.g., materialism, especially when
      3. The pride of life - e.g., pride and arrogance, especially when
      -- These we must overcome, if we wish to have the love of the
         Father - 1Jn 2:15-16

      1. Jesus appealed to the Word of God, and so can we - cf. Ep 6:17
      2. Jesus had faith in the plan of God (victory through suffering),
         we need a similar shield of faith - Ep 6:16; cf. He 10:35-39
      3. Jesus undoubtedly prayed, He taught the use of prayer to
         overcome temptation - Mt 26:41
      -- The Word of God, faith, and prayer...against these the devil
         has no chance!

      1. Jesus was administered to by angels, angels will carry us home
         - cf. Lk 16:22
      2. Jesus received wonderful blessings when He ultimately overcame
         and ascended to heaven; He has promised similar blessings for
         us - cf. Re 2:10,26-27; 3:21
      -- Angels will minister to us, as heirs of salvation! - He 1:14

      1. Material food alone cannot satisfy, we need spiritual food from
         God's Word
      2. While we are to trust in the Lord, we should not foolishly
         tempt Him
      3. Scripture can easily be abused, as well as used - cf. 2Pe 3:16
      4. The way to glory is not quick and easy, but long and hard - cf.
         Ac 14:22; Ro 2:7
      -- The Temptation of Jesus teaches much about serving God!


1. Perhaps the greatest lesson from "The Temptation Of Jesus" is that we
   have a Savior who in all things was made like us...
   a. That He might be our merciful and faithful High Priest - He 2:17
   b. That having suffered, being tempted, He can aid us who are tempted
      - He 2:18
   c. That He might be sympathetic, providing mercy and grace to help in
      time of need - He 4:15-16

2. Are you burdened with temptations...?
   a. Look to Jesus as your example in learning how to overcome
      temptation in your life!
   b. Look to Jesus as your High Priest when you need to approach God in
      prayer and receive mercy and grace for those times when you
      succumbed to temptation!

As in all things, look to Jesus, as the writer to Hebrews exhorts us...

   "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who
   for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising
   the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

   "For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against
   Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls."

                                                      - He 12:2-3

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Baptism Of Jesus (Matthew 1:9-11)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                     The Baptism Of Jesus (1:9-11)


1. The baptism of Jesus by John served a significant role in both of
   their ministries...
   a. It came at the height of John's ministry, after which it began to
   b. It served as the beginning of Jesus' ministry, which soon overtook
      the ministry of John

2. The baptism of Jesus has often raised two questions...
   a. Why was He baptized?
   b. Does His baptism reveal the purpose for Christian baptism?

[This study will answer these questions, first by reviewing Mark's
account of the baptism of Jesus...]


      1. From Nazareth of Galilee -  Mk 1:9a
      2. Located halfway between the Mediterranean coast and the
         southern tip of the Sea of Galilee
      3. Where Jesus grew up - cf. Lk 2:39-52
      -- About a hundred mile journey to where John was baptizing

      1. In the Jordan river - Mk 1:9b
      2. In Bethabara (Bethany) on the east side of the Jordan - cf. Jn 1:28-29
      -- The Greek word (baptizo) indicates that the baptism involved

      1. Immediately, just as Jesus comes up from the water - Mk 1:10a
      2. He saw the heavens parting ("being torn open", ESV) - Mk 1:10b
      3. The Spirit descends like a dove - Mk 1:10c; cf. Lk 3:22 ("in
         bodily form like a dove")
      -- Thus the Holy Spirit bears His testimony of Jesus

      1. As a voice from heaven - Mk 1:11a
      2. Proclaiming:  "You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well
         pleased" - Mk 1:11b
      -- Thus the Father bears His testimony of Jesus

[With such visual and audible effects, the baptism of Jesus was
certainly a significant event!  It naturally raises several


      1. Not for the same reason other people were being baptized by
         a. Theirs was a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins
            - Mk 1:4
         b. They were confessing their sins - Mk 1:5
         c. Jesus was without sin - He 4:15
      2. Jesus said it was "to fulfill all righteousness" - cf. Mt 3:15
         a. It was God's counsel that people be baptized of John - cf.
            Lk 7:29-30
         b. Jesus was willing to set the right example by doing the
            Father's will, something He delighted to do - cf. Ps 40:
            7-8; Jn 4:34; 8:29
      3. It also served to introduce Him to John and Israel
         a. John had been proclaiming that He was coming - Mk 1:7
         b. John had been told that the Spirit coming upon Jesus would
            be a sign - cf. Jn 1:29-34
      -- He was baptized to do God's will, and to publicly identify Him
         to Israel

      1. Many refer to Jesus' baptism to explain the purpose of
         Christian baptism
         a. That baptism has nothing to do with the remission of sins
         b. That baptism is but a public profession of one's faith
         c. That baptism publicly identifies our relation to Christ,
            just as His baptism publicly introduced Him to Israel
      2. However, there is no Biblical connection made between Jesus'
         baptism and our own
         a. Christian baptism is for the remission of sins - Ac 2:38;
         b. Christian baptism is a union with Christ in His death - Ro 6:3-7
         c. Christian baptism was often administered in relative privacy
            - Ac 8:35-38; 16:25-34
      -- No Biblical writer suggests that we are baptized for the same
         reason as Jesus

      1. They certainly bear testimony as to who Jesus is
         a. As the Spirit would do later, via the works Jesus did - Mt 12:28
         b. As the Father would do later, on another occasion - Mt 17:5
      2. They also bear testimony to the nature of the Godhead
         a. I.e., three distinct persons in One God
         b. Though One in substance, there is a distinction to be made
            between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - cf. also Mt 28:
            19; 2Co 13:14; Ep 2:18
      -- Thus we see the unity of the Godhead implied in the baptism of


1. With the baptism of Jesus...
   a. He was formally introduced to John, and by him to Israel
   b. The Father and the Spirit audibly and visually confirmed Him as
      the Son of God
   c. Jesus demonstrated His desire to serve and "fulfill all

2. The baptism of Jesus is certainly significant to Christians...
   a. Not that we are to be baptized for the same reason as He
   b. But certainly in confirming that He was the Messiah
   c. And displaying the attitude that should be true of all His
      disciples ("I have come to do my Father's will")

Jesus did not need baptism because He was without sin; He was baptized
because it was the Father's will for man at that time.  Should we who
are sinners dare hesitate to do the Father's will regarding baptism for
the remission of sins today...? - Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38; 22:16

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Preaching Of John The Baptist (Mark 1:1-8)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

               The Preaching Of John The Baptist (1:1-8)


1. The Gospel Of Mark begins with the work of John the Baptist...
   a. Which was foretold by Old Testament prophets - Mk 1:2-3
   b. Which proved to be very successful - Mk 1:5
   c. Which was cut short by his imprisonment - Mk 1:14

2. Though John's work was short-lived, it was clearly important...
   a. Each of the four gospels preface Jesus' ministry with that of
   b. Mark described it as "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus
      Christ..." - Mk 1:1

[To understand the message and ministry of Jesus Christ, we must start
with the one sent to "prepare the way of the Lord".  In this study we
shall begin by observing what we can regarding...]


      1. To fulfill the prophecy of Malachi - Mk 1:2
         a. As the Lord's messenger to prepare His way - Mal 3:1a
         b. Also concerning the sending of Elijah - cf. Mal 4:5-6; Mt 17:10-13
      2. To fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah - Mk 1:3
         a. Which was to "prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths
            straight" - Isa 40:3
         b. I.e., to prepare people for the coming of the Messiah
      -- John's purpose was to "make ready a people prepared for the

      1. He came baptizing in the wilderness - Mk 1:4
         a. The wilderness of Judea - Mt 3:1
         b. Baptizing in the Jordan River - Mt 3:6
         c. In Bethabara (Bethany) on the east side of the Jordan - Jn 1:28
         d. Later, in Aenon near Salim (west side of Jordan), where
            there was much water - Jn 3:23
      2. He preached a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins
         - Mk 1:4
         a. A baptism of repentance, literally "a change of mind"
            1) Prompted by godly sorrow - 2 Co 7:10
            2) Followed by a zealous desire to do right - cf. 2 Co 7:11
         b. A baptism for the remission of sins
            1) That sins might be forgiven (ultimately through Christ's
               death - He 9:15)
            2) Similar to what Christ and His apostles taught - Mk 16:
               15-16; Ac 2:38; 22:16
      -- John's message called for repentance and baptism for the
         remission of sins

      1. All of Judea, Jerusalem, etc., went to him - Mk 1:5a
      2. They were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins
         - Mk 1:5b
      -- John's success may have also included the thief on the cross
         - cf. Lk 23:39-43

      1. Clothed with camel's hair and a leather belt - Mk 1:6a
      2. Diet of locusts and wild honey - Mk 1:6b
      3. John came "in the spirit and power of Elijah" - cf. 2 Kin 1:8;
         Lk 1:17
      -- John's lifestyle reflected the seriousness and sternness of his
         message (Erdman)

      1. One mightier than he is coming - Mk 1:7
         a. Whose sandal strap he was not worthy to stoop down and loose
         b. Note John's humility and attitude of servitude
      2. Who will baptize them with the Holy Spirit - Mk 1:8
         a. Yes, John did indeed baptize with water with repentance
         b. But one (Jesus) was coming to baptize with the Holy Spirit!
      3. This refers to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit
         a. Promised also by Jesus; fulfilled at Pentecost - cf. Ac 1:
            4-5; 2:1-4,16-17,33
         b. With lasting effects for all who come to Christ - cf. Ti 3:
            4-6; 1 Co 12:13
      -- John's promise bespoke of greater blessings to come!

[The preaching of John the Baptist was well received by those in Judea
and Jerusalem.  Those who received his message were well prepared for
the coming of the Lord.  But I have often wondered...]


      1. Required people to go into the wilderness to hear him? - Mk 1:
      2. Dressed and ate like an eccentric hermit ("he has a demon!")?
         - Mk 1:6; cf. Mt 11:18
      3.  Called religious people coming to be baptized a "brood of
          vipers"? - cf. Mt 3:7
      -- Would we have given heed to such a "harsh hermit"?

      1. We balk at traveling some distance to study God's Word!
         a. As when we live far from the church building
         b. Or making the effort to attend both services on Sunday, plus
            the midweek study
         c. Or going to gospel meetings at other congregations
         d. What will the Queen of Sheba say of us? - cf. Mt 12:42
      2. We tend to judge people by the clothes they wear!
         a. Both young and old are quick to judge by one's appearance
         b. We need to remember God's perspective - 1 Sa 16:7
         c. Partiality based on appearance makes one a judge with evil
            thoughts - Ja 2:1-4
      3. We get upset or offended when a preacher points out our faults!
         a. Some would have preachers to never preach negative sermons
         b. But Jesus demonstrated that occasions sometimes call it
            - cf. Mt 23:13-15
      -- If these things are true of us today, would we have heeded John


1. The preaching of John the Baptist had an important purpose...
   a. To "prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight"
   b. This he did by emphasizing repentance and baptism

2. Because of John, people were more likely to heed the call of Jesus...
   a. To repent of their sins - cf. Mk 1:15
   b. To believe the gospel and be baptized - cf. Mk 16:15-16

3. John's manner of life and style of preaching should not be
   a. For many turn the message of Jesus Christ into a form of
   b. John reminds us of the need to bear fruits in keeping with true

As Jesus would say later, "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do
not do the things which I say?" (Lk 6:46).   Are we showing true
acceptance of Jesus as Lord by doing the things He says...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading November 21

Bible Reading   
November 21

The World English Bible

Nov. 21
Jeremiah 34-37

Jer 34:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his dominion, and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of it, saying:
Jer 34:2 Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, Go, and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire:
Jer 34:3 and you shall not escape out of his hand, but shall surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and your eyes shall see the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with you mouth to mouth, and you shall go to Babylon.
Jer 34:4 Yet hear the word of Yahweh, O Zedekiah king of Judah: thus says Yahweh concerning you, You shall not die by the sword;
Jer 34:5 you shall die in peace; and with the burnings of your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so shall they make a burning for you; and they shall lament you, saying, Ah Lord! for I have spoken the word, says Yahweh.
Jer 34:6 Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem,
Jer 34:7 when the king of Babylon's army was fighting against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish and against Azekah; for these alone remained of the cities of Judah as fortified cities.
Jer 34:8 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty to them;
Jer 34:9 that every man should let his male servant, and every man his female servant, who is a Hebrew or a Hebrewess, go free; that none should make bondservants of them, to wit, of a Jew his brother.
Jer 34:10 All the princes and all the people obeyed, who had entered into the covenant, that everyone should let his male servant, and everyone his female servant, go free, that none should make bondservants of them any more; they obeyed, and let them go:
Jer 34:11 but afterwards they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids.
Jer 34:12 Therefore the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying,
Jer 34:13 Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying,
Jer 34:14 At the end of seven years you shall let go every man his brother who is a Hebrew, who has been sold to you, and has served you six years, you shall let him go free from you: but your fathers didn't listen to me, neither inclined their ear.
Jer 34:15 You were now turned, and had done that which is right in my eyes, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor; and you had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name:
Jer 34:16 but you turned and profaned my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom you had let go free at their pleasure, to return; and you brought them into subjection, to be to you for servants and for handmaids.
Jer 34:17 Therefore thus says Yahweh: you have not listened to me, to proclaim liberty, every man to his brother, and every man to his neighbor: behold, I proclaim to you a liberty, says Yahweh, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be tossed back and forth among all the kingdoms of the earth.
Jer 34:18 I will give the men who have transgressed my covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between its parts;
Jer 34:19 the princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, who passed between the parts of the calf;
Jer 34:20 I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life; and their dead bodies shall be for food to the birds of the sky, and to the animals of the earth.
Jer 34:21 Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, who have gone away from you.
Jer 34:22 Behold, I will command, says Yahweh, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.
Jer 35:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying,
Jer 35:2 Go to the house of the Rechabites, and speak to them, and bring them into the house of Yahweh, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.
Jer 35:3 Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, and his brothers, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites;
Jer 35:4 and I brought them into the house of Yahweh, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan the son of Igdaliah, the man of God, which was by the chamber of the princes, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the threshold.
Jer 35:5 I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites bowls full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, Drink you wine.
Jer 35:6 But they said, We will drink no wine; for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, You shall drink no wine, neither you, nor your sons, forever:
Jer 35:7 neither shall you build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any; but all your days you shall dwell in tents; that you may live many days in the land in which you sojourn.
Jer 35:8 We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters;
Jer 35:9 nor to build houses for us to dwell in; neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed:
Jer 35:10 but we have lived in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us.
Jer 35:11 But it happened, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army of the Syrians; so we dwell at Jerusalem.
Jer 35:12 Then came the word of Yahweh to Jeremiah, saying,
Jer 35:13 Thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel: Go, and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will you not receive instruction to listen to my words? says Yahweh.
Jer 35:14 The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons, not to drink wine, are performed; and to this day they drink none, for they obey their father's commandment: but I have spoken to you, rising up early and speaking; and you have not listened to me.
Jer 35:15 I have sent also to you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return you now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and don't go after other gods to serve them, and you shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but you have not inclined your ear, nor listened to me.
Jer 35:16 Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father which he commanded them, but this people has not listened to me;
Jer 35:17 therefore thus says Yahweh, the God of Armies, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken to them, but they have not heard; and I have called to them, but they have not answered.
Jer 35:18 Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, Thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according to all that he commanded you;
Jer 35:19 therefore thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me forever.
Jer 36:1 It happened in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, that this word came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying,
Jer 36:2 Take a scroll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, even to this day.
Jer 36:3 It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do to them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.
Jer 36:4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of Yahweh, which he had spoken to him, on a scroll of a book.
Jer 36:5 Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I can't go into the house of Yahweh:
Jer 36:6 therefore go you, and read in the scroll, which you have written from my mouth, the words of Yahweh in the ears of the people in Yahweh's house on the fast day; and also you shall read them in the ears of all Judah who come out of their cities.
Jer 36:7 It may be they will present their supplication before Yahweh, and will return everyone from his evil way; for great is the anger and the wrath that Yahweh has pronounced against this people.
Jer 36:8 Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of Yahweh in Yahweh's house.
Jer 36:9 Now it happened in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month, that all the people in Jerusalem, and all the people who came from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem, proclaimed a fast before Yahweh.
Jer 36:10 Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of Yahweh, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan, the scribe, in the upper court, at the entry of the new gate of Yahweh's house, in the ears of all the people.
Jer 36:11 When Micaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of Yahweh,
Jer 36:12 he went down into the king's house, into the scribe's chamber: and behold, all the princes were sitting there, to wit, Elishama the scribe, and Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the princes.
Jer 36:13 Then Micaiah declared to them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people.
Jer 36:14 Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, to Baruch, saying, Take in your hand the scroll in which you have read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand, and came to them.
Jer 36:15 They said to him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears.
Jer 36:16 Now it happened, when they had heard all the words, they turned in fear one toward another, and said to Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words.
Jer 36:17 They asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How did you write all these words at his mouth?
Jer 36:18 Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words to me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.
Jer 36:19 Then said the princes to Baruch, Go, hide you, you and Jeremiah; and let no man know where you are.
Jer 36:20 They went in to the king into the court; but they had laid up the scroll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe; and they told all the words in the ears of the king.
Jer 36:21 So the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll; and he took it out of the chamber of Elishama the scribe. Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes who stood beside the king.
Jer 36:22 Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month: and there was a fire in the brazier burning before him.
Jer 36:23 It happened, when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, that the king cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier.
Jer 36:24 They were not afraid, nor tore their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants who heard all these words.
Jer 36:25 Moreover Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the scroll; but he would not hear them.
Jer 36:26 The king commanded Jerahmeel the king's son, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet; but Yahweh hid them.
Jer 36:27 Then the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the scroll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying,
Jer 36:28 Take again another scroll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first scroll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned.
Jer 36:29 Concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah you shall say, Thus says Yahweh: You have burned this scroll, saying, Why have you written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from there man and animal?
Jer 36:30 Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: He shall have none to sit on the throne of David; and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost.
Jer 36:31 I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring on them, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and on the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them, but they didn't listen.
Jer 36:32 Then took Jeremiah another scroll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire; and there were added besides to them many like words.
Jer 37:1 Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned as king, instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah.
Jer 37:2 But neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, did listen to the words of Yahweh, which he spoke by the prophet Jeremiah.
Jer 37:3 Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now to Yahweh our God for us.
Jer 37:4 Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people; for they had not put him into prison.
Jer 37:5 Pharaoh's army was come forth out of Egypt; and when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news of them, they broke up from Jerusalem.
Jer 37:6 Then came the word of Yahweh to the prophet Jeremiah, saying,
Jer 37:7 Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, You shall tell the king of Judah, who sent you to me to inquire of me: Behold, Pharaoh's army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land.
Jer 37:8 The Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city; and they shall take it, and burn it with fire.
Jer 37:9 Thus says Yahweh, Don't deceive yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us; for they shall not depart.
Jer 37:10 For though you had struck the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yes would they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.
Jer 37:11 It happened that, when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh's army,
Jer 37:12 then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to receive his portion there, in the midst of the people.
Jer 37:13 When he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the guard was there, whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he laid hold on Jeremiah the prophet, saying, You are falling away to the Chaldeans.
Jer 37:14 Then said Jeremiah, It is false; I am not falling away to the Chaldeans. But he didn't listen to him; so Irijah laid hold on Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes.
Jer 37:15 The princes were angry with Jeremiah, and struck him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe; for they had made that the prison.
Jer 37:16 When Jeremiah was come into the dungeon house, and into the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days;
Jer 37:17 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and fetched him: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from Yahweh? Jeremiah said, There is. He said also, You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.
Jer 37:18 Moreover Jeremiah said to king Zedekiah, Wherein have I sinned against you, or against your servants, or against this people, that you have put me in prison?
Jer 37:19 Where now are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land?
Jer 37:20 Now please hear, my lord the king: please let my supplication be presented before you, that you not cause me to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there.
Jer 37:21 Then Zedekiah the king commanded, and they committed Jeremiah into the court of the guard; and they gave him daily a loaf of bread out of the bakers' street, until all the bread in the city was spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.
Nov. 21
Hebrews 7

Heb 7:1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
Heb 7:2 to whom also Abraham divided a tenth part of all (being first, by interpretation, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace;
Heb 7:3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God), remains a priest continually.
Heb 7:4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth out of the best spoils.
Heb 7:5 They indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest's office have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brothers, though these have come out of the body of Abraham,
Heb 7:6 but he whose genealogy is not counted from them has accepted tithes from Abraham, and has blessed him who has the promises.
Heb 7:7 But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater.
Heb 7:8 Here people who die receive tithes, but there one receives tithes of whom it is testified that he lives.
Heb 7:9 We can say that through Abraham even Levi, who receives tithes, has paid tithes,
Heb 7:10 for he was yet in the body of his father when Melchizedek met him.
Heb 7:11 Now if there was perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people have received the law), what further need was there for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
Heb 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is of necessity a change made also in the law.
Heb 7:13 For he of whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar.
Heb 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord has sprung out of Judah, about which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.
Heb 7:15 This is yet more abundantly evident, if after the likeness of Melchizedek there arises another priest,
Heb 7:16 who has been made, not after the law of a fleshly commandment, but after the power of an endless life:
Heb 7:17 for it is testified, "You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."
Heb 7:18 For there is an annulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and uselessness
Heb 7:19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
Heb 7:20 Inasmuch as he was not made priest without the taking of an oath
Heb 7:21 (for they indeed have been made priests without an oath), but he with an oath by him that says of him, "The Lord swore and will not change his mind, 'You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.' "
Heb 7:22 By so much, Jesus has become the collateral of a better covenant.
Heb 7:23 Many, indeed, have been made priests, because they are hindered from continuing by death.
Heb 7:24 But he, because he lives forever, has his priesthood unchangeable.
Heb 7:25 Therefore he is also able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, seeing that he lives forever to make intercession for them.
Heb 7:26 For such a high priest was fitting for us: holy, guiltless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
Heb 7:27 who doesn't need, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices daily, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. For he did this once for all, when he offered up himself.
Heb 7:28 For the law appoints men as high priests who have weakness, but the word of the oath which came after the law appoints a Son forever who has been perfected.