From Jim McGuiggan... Baptized in the Holy Spirit

Baptized in the Holy Spirit

Joe has several related questions in connection with the "gift of the Holy Spirit". Do people get "the baptism of the Holy Spirit"? What’s the difference between "the gift of the Holy Spirit" in Acts 2:38 and receiving the Holy Spirit in Acts 8:14-19 and 19:1-7? This issue soon becomes complex because of its richness. There’s also a lot of scholarly debate about it. But however the scholars debate the entire matter some things seem clear enough to the rest of us.
The Baptist described Jesus as the one who would "baptize" people in the Spirit (John 1, Matthew 3 and Mark 1). The act of Christ that is described by the phrase "he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit" is Christ’s act of giving the Holy Spirit to the new covenant community, which is constituted the body of Christ. That initial act of giving the Spirit to the church on Pentecost is Christ’s baptizing the church with the Spirit.
At the time Christ did that there was a visible and miraculous demonstration that he had sent the Spirit to the New Testament church (see Acts 2:33 along with 2:1-22). The miracles were the evidence that Jesus had indeed been exalted and that he was initiating a new people that would be indwelled by Christ’s Spirit (the Holy Spirit). Of course the miracles were more than evidence but they certainly functioned that way here. But the miraculous signs (the wind, fire-like signs and peasants that spoke in foreign languages they hadn’t learned) were things that accompanied the giving of the Spirit of Christ to the church of Christ. We’re not to confuse Christ’s giving the Spirit and the miraculous gifts that act as proof that he had done so.
The "gift of the Spirit" which those who repented and were baptized received (Acts 2:28-39 and 5:32) is the gift of the Spirit to the New Covenant community. Each person that became part of that community through repentance and baptism in the name of Christ became a sharer of the Spirit that was given to the church. But—and this is an important but—an individual as an independent and free standing unit did not receive the Spirit as his or her own "personal indweller". The Spirit indwells the body and those who are parts of the body of Christ all equally share in the presence of Christ’s Spirit. But not one of them has the Spirit independent of other members of the body of Christ. The Spirit is a single gift given to the family of which every member is a part and therefore a partaker. There is one Holy Spirit (Spirit of Christ) who indwells the one body of Christ. Each Christian is not an independent body of Christ. Each Christian is a part of the one body of Christ and the one Holy Spirit indwells in us as a single body. The indwelling Christ (who indwells by his Holy Spirit) who was exaltated by the Holy Father fulfilled the OT promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell the new people of God.
The Holy Spirit gave miraculous powers to the church as he saw fit (see this developed in 1 Corinthians 12). Not every individual believer received miraculous power but the miraculous powers (and all other gifts) were given to the body so that every member of it would benefit (read 1 Corinthians 12). People in Acts 8 believed on Jesus Christ and were baptized into union with him and that made them part of the body of Christ and partakers of his Holy Spirit. But they had not experienced the miraculous powers the Holy Spirit imparted to various believers. So when the apostles came to Samaria, knowing that these people were part of the NT church they recognized them publicly as such by laying their hands on them and imparting miraculous powers to some of them.
In Acts 19 Paul meets people he believes are Christians. The text doesn’t explicitly say he thought them to be Christians but I think a surface reading clearly implies that. Since he thinks they are Christians he would know that they are part of the body of Christ which is indwelled by his Spirit. So when he asked if they had received the Spirit since they believed he wasn’t asking them if they were sharers in what all Christians share just by being Christ’s. He wouldn’t ask them such a question. That would go without saying. If he thought they were Christians he would just as soon ask if they had received forgiveness since they believed as ask them if they had been made partakers of the Spirit.
No, he was asking if they had received a share in the miraculous power that the Spirit distributed within the body of Christ for the building up of the body and the work of the ministry. Their response showed that their faith was defective, therefore their baptism was defective, so he re-baptized them into the name of Christ. This made them part of the body of Christ in which the Spirit dwells so they automatically became partakers of the gift of the Spirit that was common to all who are in Christ. Paul then laid hands on them and they received miraculous power from that indwelling Spirit. The miraculous power was not common to all who were in Christ—see again Acts 8 and the Samaritan situation.
But Acts 8 and 19 say the people received the Spirit; it doesn’t say they received the power of the Spirit. This is true but it’s clear (to me anyway) that we have a metonymical use of the word Spirit in these texts. The Spirit is mentioned when something he gives is intended. Maybe a comparison of Matthew 7:11 and Luke 11:13 helps here.
Those who in trust and repentance are baptized into Christ become part of his body which is indwelled by his Spirit (the Holy Spirit) so that every Christian shares in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). Just by definition a Christian is part of the Spirit-indwelled body of Christ! But not every Christian is given miraculous powers. What is missing in the Samaritan experience is the public witness that these "half-castes" were indeed received by God in Christ. That’s where the miraculous powers mediated by apostolic hands came in.
Something similar happened in Acts 10 (though "the similarities are different"). The Samaritans had already been baptized by Philip and were acknowledged by him as part of the new covenant people and the Jerusalem church sent Peter and John to check it out. The uncircumcised Gentiles in Acts 10 were something else. The Jewish believers would have refused the Gentiles the privilege of baptism and entrance into the body of Christ in which the Holy Spirit dwelled. There was no chance that anyone would have laid hands on these people so God directly "laid hands on them" and gave them a share in the power of the eschatological Spirit. Peter then insisted that these Gentiles had the right to be part of the NT church so he baptized them in Christ’s name. (It’s interesting that he didn’t use the presence of the Spirit to prove these people didn’t need to be baptized, which is what some modern people do. He argued the privilege and commanded them to be baptized. See the whole story in Acts 10 and 11.)
This whole discussion has nothing to do with "measures" of the Spirit. It has all to do with Christ giving the new people of God the Holy Spirit to indwell them as God’s new elect. He did that on Pentecost day. He "baptized them in the Holy Spirit." All who come to Christ share in that gift that he poured out on the church on its birthday. The Holy Spirit then gave to the church all kinds of gifts (as he continues to do) but there were times when it was of critical importance that he make his presence known by miracles and miraculous gifts.
Christ gave the whole Spirit to the whole body. The Spirit gave gifts to that body as he saw fit (1 Corinthians 12). You might want to connect with The Spirit Old and New. I also have a discussion of "baptized in the Spirit" in a little book of mine on 1 Corinthians.

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com

"This Is the Law and the Prophets" by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


"This Is the Law and the Prophets"

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Most people who are familiar with the Bible would agree that Matthew chapters 5-7, often referred to as the Sermon on the Mount, contain some of the most memorable sayings in the world. Jesus’ list of beatitudes (5:3-12), His instruction to “do to others what you would have them do to you” (7:12, NIV), and His parable of the wise man and the foolish man (7:24-27) often are recalled even by those who rarely (if ever) read the Bible. When people implement these principles and rules that Jesus taught nearly 2,000 years ago, individuals grow stronger, families become more united, and society becomes a better place in which to live.
Sadly, however, the most famous “sermon” in the world also has become one of the most misunderstood and most abused sermons ever delivered. “Judge not, that you be not judged” (7:1) is quoted to “prove” that we never can judge anyone at anytime (cf. John 7:24). The narrow and difficult way to heaven that few will find often is discounted by the idea that nearly everyone will have eternal life (7:13-14). And millions of people have changed Jesus’ statement, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven” (7:21), to “Just accept Jesus into your heart and you will be saved.”
Another misconception of the Sermon on the Mount revolves around some of the contrasts Jesus made. Six times in Matthew 5 it is recorded that Jesus contrasted what “was said” to what “I say.” Many believe that Jesus was contrasting the old law of Moses (what “was said”) with the new law of Christ (what “I say”). Whereas Jesus taught that it was wrong to be angry with a brother without a cause (5:22-26), many contend that the old law taught only murder as being wrong and not the emotions (such as anger) that lead to murder (5:21). Supposedly the law of Christ went a step further than the Law of Moses. According to this line of thinking, the old law taught individuals to take personal retribution on those who wronged them (5:38) and to hate their enemies (5:43), while the new law taught to resist retaliation (5:39-42) and to love your enemies (5:44). In contrasting the Law of Moses and the righteousness of the kingdom that Jesus would require, the point frequently is made that the old law was concerned only with the actions of man, whereas the new law is concerned about the heart of man.
The first problem with this line of thinking is that Jesus never said He was contrasting His teachings with the old law. Instead, Jesus made statements such as: (1) “you have heard that it was said to those of old” (5:21,27); (2) “furthermore it has been said” (5:31); (3) “again you have heard that it was said to those of old” (5:33); and (4) “you have heard that it was said” (5:38,43). If Jesus were referring to what Moses had commanded in the old law itself, likely a different wording would have been used. For example, at other times, when Jesus definitely was referring to what the law actually said, He made such statements as “it is written” (Matthew 4:4,7,10) and “Moses commanded” (Matthew 8:4). [Notice that these phrases occur in the chapters immediately before and after the Sermon on the Mount.] Instead of using phrases like these to show that He was referring to the Law of Moses, Jesus repeatedly spoke about what “was said.” He never mentioned who said it, only that it had been said.
Another dilemma that arises when one teaches that Jesus merely was contrasting the old law with the new law is that Jesus referred to some statements that simply are not to be found in the Old Testament. For instance, in Matthew 5:21 He said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,’ and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.” The phrase “and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment” is found nowhere in the Old Testament. Likewise, when Jesus stated, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ ” He could not have been quoting from the old law because the old law never said to “hate your enemy.”
So what was Jesus doing if He was not contrasting the old law with the new law? The answer to this question is found in the immediate context of this passage where Jesus stated: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets, I did not come to destroy but to fulfill…. I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17,20). The comparisons Jesus made throughout the rest of the chapter were between the traditional/oral interpretation and application of the Law of Moses (not the revealed written Law of Moses) and the righteousness of the kingdom that Jesus would require of His disciples (under the new law). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expounded the real meaning of the original law as it was intended. He applied it correctly, and “the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29). The scribes and Pharisees had failed in their attempts to explain the law correctly, whereas Jesus explained and applied its real meaning and exposed the error of the “learned.” This point is illustrated perfectly by one of Jesus’ statements recorded in chapter 7: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the prophets” (v.12, emp. added). Jesus was not instituting a new commandment; rather He was explaining that doing “to others what you would have them do to you” is a summary expression of all that the Old Testament required (Barnes).
Although many people in the religious world teach that in His oft’-quoted sermon Jesus simply was contrasting the old law with the new law, the context indicates that Jesus actually was reacting, not to the law itself, but to the way the law had been misinterpreted and abused. The Old Testament did not encourage or allow a person to be angry with his brother without a cause or to covet another’s wife (cf. Proverbs 6:18; Exodus 20:17), but, sadly, many of the Jews had interpreted the law in such a way. In His masterful explanation of the law, Jesus exposed the error of the scribes and Pharisees and preached the righteousness demanded of those who wish to enter the kingdom of heaven. Even though we no longer are under the old law today (Hebrews 8:7-13; Colossians 2:14; etc.), what a blessing it is read it (cf. Romans 15:4) and to learn from the Master’s perfect interpretation of it. Like Ezra and others from long ago, Jesus “gave the sense [of the law], and helped them to understand the reading” (cf. Nehemiah 8:8).


Barnes, Albert (1997), Barnes’ Notes (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

From Mark Copeland... Jesus Condemned And Mocked (Mark 15:2-20)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                  Jesus Condemned And Mocked (15:2-20)


1. As mentioned previously, Jesus faced two trials prior to His
   a. The ecclesiastical trial, in three stages
      1) The preliminary hearing before Annas - cf. Jn 18:12-14,19-24
      2) The midnight trial before Caiaphas and the council 
         - Mk 14:53-65
      3) The morning consultation of the council - Mk 15:1
   b. The civil trial, also in three stages
      1) Before Pilate, the Roman governor - Mk 15:2-5
      2) Before Herod, the tetrarch over Galilee - cf. Lk 23:6-12
      3) Before Pilate again - Mk 15:6-15

2. We turn our attention to events related to the civil trial as found
   in Mark’s gospel...
   a. Jesus before Pilate - Mk 15:2-15
   b. Jesus mocked by Roman soldiers - Mk 15:16-20

[Beginning with Mk 15:2, let’s direct our attention to the details of
the trial, starting with...]


      1. Pontius Pilate, the 5th Roman governor of Judea (26-36 A.D.) - Mk 15:2
      2. Often harsh, Jewish sources charge him with greed and cruelty - cf. Lk 13:1

      1. Who had plotted to kill Jesus, and sent to arrest Him - Mk 14:1,43
      2. Who had tried Jesus at the home of Caiaphas - Mk 14:53
      3. Who had delivered Jesus to Pilate - Mk 15:1-3

      1. The prisoner released in Jesus’ stead - Mk 15:6-15
      2. A rebel guilty of murder, and a robber - Mk 15:7; cf. Jn 18:40

      1. A crowd who had gathered to ask for the release of a prisoner - Mk 15:8
      2. Prompted by the chief priests to clamor for Barabbas instead of Jesus - Mk 15:11
      3. Eventually crying out, "Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!" - Mk 15:13-14

      1. Who mocked Jesus (see below) - Mk 15:16-20
      2. Who ultimately crucified Him - Mk 15:20

[With such a review of those present during the civil trial before
Pilate, let’s now consider...]


      1. He perverts the nation - Lk 23:2
      2. He forbids to pay taxes to Caesar - Lk 23:2; yet cf. Lk 20:22-25
      3. He claims to be Christ, a King - Lk 23:2
      4. He stirs up the people, teaching throughout Judea and Galilee - Lk 23:5

      1. Who asked Jesus, "Are You the King of the Jews?" - Mk 15:2
         a. To which Jesus admitted - Mk 15:2
         b. Though His kingdom was spiritual - cf. Jn 18:36-38
      2. Who marveled at Jesus’ silence regarding the other charges - Mk 15:3-5
      3. Who ascertained that it was envy that motivated the chief
         priests - Mk 15:10
      4. Who did not think Jesus was guilty of death - Mk 15:14; cf. Lk 23:13-15
      5. Whose wife wanted him to release Jesus - cf. Mt 27:19
      6. Who finally sought to gratify the crowd, to avoid a tumult - Mk 15:15; Mt 27:24

[Though Pilate considered Jesus innocent, pressured by the crowd he
initiated actions that would lead to the crucifixion.  Such actions
included terrible abuse, which we will now survey...]


      1. By the instructions of Pilate - Mk 15:15; Jn 19:1
      2. This involved being "tied to a post and beaten with a leather
         whip that was interwoven with pieces of bone and metal, which
         tore through skin and tissue, often exposing bones and
         intestines. In many cases, the flogging itself was fatal."
         - ESVSB

      1. By soldiers who led Jesus to the hall called Praetorium - Mk 15:16
      2. Who clothed Him with purple and a twisted crown of thorns on
         His head - Mk 15:17
      3. Who saluted Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" - Mk 15:18
      4. Who struck Him on the head with a reed - Mk 15:19
      5. Who spat on Him - Mk 15:19
      6. Who mockingly worshiped Him - Mk 15:19
      7. Who stripped Him and put back on Him His clothes - Mk 15:20


1. Again, the barbarous injustice at Jesus’ trials is evident...
   a. The false charges and physical abuse
   b. A cowardly governor acquiescing to a manipulated crowd

2. But lest we forget, this was in keeping with God’s Divine
   a. Which Jesus acknowledged in His predictions and prayers - Mk 8:31-33; 14:36
   b. Which Peter proclaimed in his first sermon on Pentecost - Ac 2:22-24

All in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa 53:4-12).  Shall we not
respond accordingly...? - Ac 8:30-38

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Gary.... Bible Reading January 31

Bible Reading  

January 31

The World English Bible

Jan. 31
Genesis 31

Gen 31:1 He heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, "Jacob has taken away all that was our father's. From that which was our father's, has he gotten all this wealth."
Gen 31:2 Jacob saw the expression on Laban's face, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
Gen 31:3 Yahweh said to Jacob, "Return to the land of your fathers, and to your relatives, and I will be with you."
Gen 31:4 Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field to his flock,
Gen 31:5 and said to them, "I see the expression on your father's face, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with me.
Gen 31:6 You know that I have served your father with all of my strength.
Gen 31:7 Your father has deceived me, and changed my wages ten times, but God didn't allow him to hurt me.
Gen 31:8 If he said this, 'The speckled will be your wages,' then all the flock bore speckled. If he said this, 'The streaked will be your wages,' then all the flock bore streaked.
Gen 31:9 Thus God has taken away your father's livestock, and given them to me.
Gen 31:10 It happened during mating season that I lifted up my eyes, and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which leaped on the flock were streaked, speckled, and grizzled.
Gen 31:11 The angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob,' and I said, 'Here I am.'
Gen 31:12 He said, 'Now lift up your eyes, and behold, all the male goats which leap on the flock are streaked, speckled, and grizzled, for I have seen all that Laban does to you.
Gen 31:13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you vowed a vow to me. Now arise, get out from this land, and return to the land of your birth.' "
Gen 31:14 Rachel and Leah answered him, "Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?
Gen 31:15 Aren't we accounted by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and has also quite devoured our money.
Gen 31:16 For all the riches which God has taken away from our father, that is ours and our children's. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do."
Gen 31:17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives on the camels,
Gen 31:18 and he took away all his livestock, and all his possessions which he had gathered, including the livestock which he had gained in Paddan Aram, to go to Isaac his father, to the land of Canaan.
Gen 31:19 Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep: and Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father's.
Gen 31:20 Jacob deceived Laban the Syrian, in that he didn't tell him that he was running away.
Gen 31:21 So he fled with all that he had. He rose up, passed over the River, and set his face toward the mountain of Gilead.
Gen 31:22 Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled.
Gen 31:23 He took his relatives with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey. He overtook him in the mountain of Gilead.
Gen 31:24 God came to Laban, the Syrian, in a dream of the night, and said to him, "Take heed to yourself that you don't speak to Jacob either good or bad."
Gen 31:25 Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountain, and Laban with his relatives encamped in the mountain of Gilead.
Gen 31:26 Laban said to Jacob, "What have you done, that you have deceived me, and carried away my daughters like captives of the sword?
Gen 31:27 Why did you flee secretly, and deceive me, and didn't tell me, that I might have sent you away with mirth and with songs, with tambourine and with harp;
Gen 31:28 and didn't allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Now have you done foolishly.
Gen 31:29 It is in the power of my hand to hurt you, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, 'Take heed to yourself that you don't speak to Jacob either good or bad.'
Gen 31:30 Now, you want to be gone, because you greatly longed for your father's house, but why have you stolen my gods?"
Gen 31:31 Jacob answered Laban, "Because I was afraid, for I said, 'Lest you should take your daughters from me by force.'
Gen 31:32 Anyone you find your gods with shall not live. Before our relatives, discern what is yours with me, and take it." For Jacob didn't know that Rachel had stolen them.
Gen 31:33 Laban went into Jacob's tent, into Leah's tent, and into the tent of the two female servants; but he didn't find them. He went out of Leah's tent, and entered into Rachel's tent.
Gen 31:34 Now Rachel had taken the teraphim, put them in the camel's saddle, and sat on them. Laban felt about all the tent, but didn't find them.
Gen 31:35 She said to her father, "Don't let my lord be angry that I can't rise up before you; for the manner of women is on me." He searched, but didn't find the teraphim.
Gen 31:36 Jacob was angry, and argued with Laban. Jacob answered Laban, "What is my trespass? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued after me?
Gen 31:37 Now that you have felt around in all my stuff, what have you found of all your household stuff? Set it here before my relatives and your relatives, that they may judge between us two.
Gen 31:38 These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not cast their young, and I haven't eaten the rams of your flocks.
Gen 31:39 That which was torn of animals, I didn't bring to you. I bore its loss. Of my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night.
Gen 31:40 This was my situation: in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep fled from my eyes.
Gen 31:41 These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times.
Gen 31:42 Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night."
Gen 31:43 Laban answered Jacob, "The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine: and what can I do this day to these my daughters, or to their children whom they have borne?
Gen 31:44 Now come, let us make a covenant, you and I; and let it be for a witness between me and you."
Gen 31:45 Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar.
Gen 31:46 Jacob said to his relatives, "Gather stones." They took stones, and made a heap. They ate there by the heap.
Gen 31:47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed.
Gen 31:48 Laban said, "This heap is witness between me and you this day." Therefore it was named Galeed
Gen 31:49 and Mizpah, for he said, "Yahweh watch between me and you, when we are absent one from another.
Gen 31:50 If you afflict my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, no man is with us; behold, God is witness between me and you."
Gen 31:51 Laban said to Jacob, "See this heap, and see the pillar, which I have set between me and you.
Gen 31:52 May this heap be a witness, and the pillar be a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and that you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, for harm.
Gen 31:53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us." Then Jacob swore by the fear of his father, Isaac.
Gen 31:54 Jacob offered a sacrifice in the mountain, and called his relatives to eat bread. They ate bread, and stayed all night in the mountain.

Gen 31:55 Early in the morning, Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them. Laban departed and returned to his place.

 Jan. 31 and Feb. 1
Matthew 16

Mat 16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing him, asked him to show them a sign from heaven.
Mat 16:2 But he answered them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.'
Mat 16:3 In the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but you can't discern the signs of the times!
Mat 16:4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and there will be no sign given to it, except the sign of the prophet Jonah." He left them, and departed.
Mat 16:5 The disciples came to the other side and had forgotten to take bread.
Mat 16:6 Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
Mat 16:7 They reasoned among themselves, saying, "We brought no bread."
Mat 16:8 Jesus, perceiving it, said, "Why do you reason among yourselves, you of little faith, 'because you have brought no bread?'
Mat 16:9 Don't you yet perceive, neither remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up?
Mat 16:10 Nor the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up?
Mat 16:11 How is it that you don't perceive that I didn't speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
Mat 16:12 Then they understood that he didn't tell them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Mat 16:13 Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"
Mat 16:14 They said, "Some say John the Baptizer, some, Elijah, and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
Mat 16:15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Mat 16:16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Mat 16:17 Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 16:18 I also tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
Mat 16:19 I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven; and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven."
Mat 16:20 Then he commanded the disciples that they should tell no one that he is Jesus the Christ.
Mat 16:21 From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.
Mat 16:22 Peter took him aside, and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This will never be done to you."
Mat 16:23 But he turned, and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men."
Mat 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mat 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
Mat 16:26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?
Mat 16:27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds.
Mat 16:28 Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste of death, until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom." 

From Gary... Building UP!!!

Recently, I was introduced to a show on the Animal Planet channel called Tree-house Masters.  I especially like the host's humor, but, hey, that's just me. One thing is for sure, the show is quite creative and I wouldn't mind living in one (if I could afford it).  These things made me think of the assembly of God's people and what we do (or don't do) in building them up. 

1 Corinthians, Chapter 3
  1 Brothers, I couldn’t speak to you as to spiritual, but as to fleshly, as to babies in Christ.  2 I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you weren’t yet ready. Indeed, not even now are you ready,  3 for you are still fleshly. For insofar as there is jealousy, strife, and factions among you, aren’t you fleshly, and don’t you walk in the ways of men?  4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you fleshly?  5 Who then is Apollos, and who is Paul, but servants through whom you believed; and each as the Lord gave to him?  6 I planted. Apollos watered. But God gave the increase.  7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.  8 Now he who plants and he who waters are the same, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.  9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s farming, God’s building.  10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another builds on it. But let each man be careful how he builds on it.


2 Corinthians, Chapter 13
10 For this cause I write these things while absent, that I may not deal sharply when present, according to the authority which the Lord gave me for building up, and not for tearing down. 

By the looks of things, the picture is of a restaurant, but since I don't speak an oriental language, maybe it says: Christians meet here!!!  One can only hope. If by some chance this really is a church building, I am quite sure that they are doing everything they can to encourage each other grow in both spirituality and knowledge and service.  Sounds like building up, doesn't it.  Along with this, it probably does not mean build your church in a tree!!! 


From Jim McGuiggan... What about demons?

What about demons?

As you'd expect there's a mass of material on angels and demons and much of it is a rehearsal of what ancients believed and wrote. It must all be taken into account because it does (and should) affect how we read the scriptures but most of us don't have the time, energy, interest or ability to weigh the evidence with any degree of expertise. And while it's obvious that some of the background is important, in various ways, it's also clear that much of it is as fatuous as our own modern stuff. (The kind of stuff you see in the rash of television shows about ghosts, demons, angels and the like as well as some religious books that claim to be echoing the biblical witness and aren't.)
Demons are said to be “unclean spirits” (Matthew 10:1 and Mark 3:15 ). Angels are “spirits” also and some of them are said to be allies of Satan (Matthew 25:41 and Revelation 12:7). We call angels “angels” not because they're “made of” a certain kind of “stuff” or substance but because they are messengers and presumably they were all originally servants of God. The word “demon” was used in ancient Greek to speak of what was supernatural, a god or goddess, something divine or the spirit or essence of someone. It could be either good or bad. But when we come to the New Testament the central thrust is this: a demon is an evil spirit that expresses opposition to God and his reign and often shows that opposition (in the Gospels especially) by injuring humans. Angels can be good or evil but in the Old and New Testaments demons are invariably evil.
Where do they get their power? What is true of angels is true of demons. As the crucifixion of Christ is at one and the same time God's holy work and man's sinful act so demonic activity is at one and the same time their satanic work and God's redemptive activity. If you ask me how human hurt carried out by evil beings can be God at work redeeming I'll ask you to read again what I've said earlier [in these pieces] on Assyria and others. If God can use Nebuchadnezzar, Asshurbanipal and the Pharaohs of Egypt for redemptive purposes he can use Stalin, Hitler and demonic beings.The sinful choice remains with the humans and demonic forces. That God uses their sin for good purposes is no glory to them.
There's little point about being impatient with statements like this because it's the truth whether we like it or not. Until we come to terms with the truth that God sustains the existence of evil beings as well as good beings we'll have no peace. Evil beings are evil beings because they choose to be and God holds them responsible for their evil but in the meantime he keeps them alive and uses them to serve his holy and redemptive purposes. Have you seen the fearful passages like 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 and 1 Kings 22:19-23 where Micaiah describes in a picture the truth he tells in 22:23? Whatever we are to make of them it would be a mistake not to take them seriously and it would be a mistake not to allow God to claim he is behind it.
Then there's that startling text in Psalm 78:49 (LK 77:49) where the Greek text has God sending against Egypt a band of “evil angels”. This should warn us that an angel may be called “evil” either because he is himself intending to be sinful or that it is called “evil” because it brings calamity (see the NIV and RSV). A satanic angel would be malicious in intent so that his act from his standpoint is evil. Nevertheless he might be furthering the will of God so that from God's angle the event is holy and righteous because that's God's motive and purpose. See above on 2 Corinthians 12:7 and other texts.
think demons are personal beings that are part of the rebellious forces that seek God's hurt by spreading their malice and error throughout the creation. [This conviction needs to be tested.] I think that at the time when God became incarnate in Jesus Christ God gave [and "allowed"] demons added power to underscore the arrival of God's reign in Christ. The tangible entrance of demons into human affairs matched God's tangible entrance into human affairs. I think God did this to demonstrate in public his reign over the invisible powers that work their evil to humanity's loss. God at his most vulnerable (in weakness) confronted the unclean and destructive forces at their most powerful and dismissed them with a word (compare Matthew 8:16 and elsewhere).
I think it's clear enough that the Old Testament knows nothing quite like “demon possession” as it's seen in the Gospels. There is talk of demon worship as it is seen in the worship of gods and idols (Deuteronomy 32:17; Leviticus 17:7; Psalm 96:5 (LXX, 95:5 and “demons”). While demons are still a force to be reckoned with after the personal ministry of Christ two things need to be said about it. One, there is not the same intensity about the subject, that is, it doesn't jump out at you from everywhere as it does in the Gospels. Two, the miraculous and healing activity of the apostles and early church was seen as an immediate continuation of the ministry of the risen and glorified Lord (compare Acts 1:1; 2:33 ; 3:6 and elsewhere). I say that to make the point that the public confrontation between the vulnerable Lord and the powerful demons was still being seen. And I say that to say that it would appear that “demonic possession” was less visible and less “in your face” as time passed.
And what was demon “possession”? Demon possession was a starker exhibition of the influence of demonic beings/forces in human affairs. They've always been around but they haven't always been as visibly oppressive as they were during the personal ministry of Jesus. Paul insisted there was only one God and that gods are non-existent but he did say that to worship idols and non-existent gods was to fall in line with demons (1 Corinthians 8:5-6 and 10:19-21). To do that was to eat at a table with demons, though he isn't suggesting that demons became visible there or that the worshipers consciously meant to eat with demons. Lies and unholiness brought them into contact with demons but it wasn't marked and visible as it was in the Gospel records.
So what was demon possession? It might mean that demons actually entered into the bodies of the victims or it might mean that so powerful was their influence on them that they took over their bodies and minds without actually getting inside their bodies. Satan entered Judas but there's no compelling reason to think he took up residence in him or entered into his body the way we would enter a room.
Is demon possession possible today? If we mean do demons literally enter the bodies of people today and live in them I don't know they ever did; but I don't think the answer matters a lot. If evil beings can influence us to do evil things while literally outside us then it doesn't matter if they can get inside our skin.
I think the stark and visible manifestation of demonic forces was a passing phase of their activity confined to the period when God visibly showed himself in weakness. Has Christ defeated demons? Utterly and eternally! See Colossians 2:15 on the defeat of the powers.
But are there not texts that seem to plainly say that demons actually became embodied in people (see especially Mark 5:8-13 and the use of words like “in” and “out”)? Yes, there are texts that look that way and it may be that we are to understand them literally but words like “in” or “under” or “into” often function not as spatial realities but relational realities.
Christ's followers are said to be “in” God and God “in” them. God is said to “dwell in” them, but I'm not sure that we're supposed to think that the triune God has literally taken up bodily residence in each one of them. Penitent believers are said to be baptized “into” Christ but I'm sure we aren't to think they literally take up bodily residence in him. (I'm acquainted with the truth about a “corporate” Christ but that's another discussion and another area.)
Here's what I think. At some time in the past there was a sinful rebellion against God in the world beyond the human. Spirit beings revolted against the Holy God and so we had angelic beings and demons headed up by Satan. That moral infection which permeated them was brought to humans and they eagerly embraced it and have been spreading it ever since. This human rebellion has the same quality as the super-natural rebellion and finds its inspiration and model there; hence it is demonic and satanic. Their demonic models trigger the hurt and loss that humans experience (though the guilt is ours and ours alone--demons and wicked angels have their own problems).
When humans reject God and follow evil they are esteeming Satan and demons above and against God (compare 1 Corinthians 10:18-21). When they reject truth and embrace palatable error they embrace doctrines of demons (see 1 Timothy 4:1 and compare 1 John 4:1-6).
I think that a tangible entrance of demons into human affairs matched God's tangible entrance into human affairs. I think God did this to demonstrate in public his reign over the invisible powers that work their evil to humanity's loss. I don't believe that the demons came and went simply on their own accord and I think their visibility in the Gospels was a God-ordained and stark manifestation to signal the arrival of God's reign in Jesus Christ. That's what I think!
I think that those who take it on themselves to speak like oracles about the presence of demons in people need to realize what a very serious injury they may be doing to people already drowning in the moral struggle. Already vulnerable people can be driven over the moral edge if they think they are controlled by demons. And sinners can be led to despair and others can be led to place the blame for their sin where it doesn't belong.
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

“Christianity Could Not Possibly Be True” by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


“Christianity Could Not Possibly Be True”

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

What did atheistic author Mike Davis allege was the “smoking gun” that proved to him once and for all that “Christianity could not possibly be true”? What “sealed the issue” and led him to believe “Jesus was wrong...and no more deserving of our belief than any other guy”? When did the case against the Bible and Christianity become “closed”? In chapter one of his book, The Atheist’s Introduction to the New Testament: How the Bible Undermines the Basic Teachings of Christianity, Davis explained that Matthew 24:34 was the deciding factor.
In Matthew 24:34, Jesus stated: “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” According to Davis, since “Jesus tells his listeners that the judgment day will come before the generation he’s speaking to passes away,” and since that generation passed away 1,900 years ago, Jesus “could not have been divine” and the Bible is “untrustworthy” (2008, pp. 1-2). In actuality, what Davis confesses ultimately “proved” to him that the Bible and Jesus are unreliable is nothing more than a misinterpretation of Scripture. Jesus was not mistaken in His comments in Matthew 24:34—Jesus’ generation did not pass away prior to witnessing the things Jesus foretold in Matthew 24:4-34. But, Jesus did not foretell in those verses what Davis assumes He foretold. Davis and many others believe that, prior to verse 34, Jesus was describing events that would take place shortly before Judgment Day at the end of time. The fact of the matter is, however, Jesus was prophesying about the coming destruction upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and not the final Judgment.
When the disciples went to show Jesus the temple buildings (Matthew 24:1), Jesus said, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (24:2). Later, when Jesus was on the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked Him three questions, beginning with “when will these things be?” (24:3). In verses 4-34, Jesus revealed several signs that would indicate Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem, including the temple, was near. [NOTE: “The fall of the Hebrew system is set forth in the sort of apocalyptic nomenclature that is characteristic of Old Testament literature, e.g., when the prophets pictorially portray the overthrow of Jehovah’s enemies (cf. Isaiah 13:10-11; 34:2ff; Ezekiel 32:7-8)” (Jackson, n.d.); cf. Matthew 24:29-31; see Miller, 2003.] In verses 35-51 (and all of chapter 25), Jesus answered the disciples’ last two questions: “what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). To summarize, in Matthew 24:4-34 Jesus foretold of the coming destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, while in 24:35-25:46 He commented on His future return and final Judgment of the world.
How sad it is that so many atheists and skeptics believe they have disproven the Bible and Christianity, when, in reality, they have simply twisted the biblical text to mean something God never intended (cf. 2 Peter 3:16). The fact that Mike Davis highlights Matthew 24:34 as the verse that once and for all proved to him the Bible is unreliable should tell us something about the extreme weakness of the skeptic’s case against Christianity.


Davis, Mike (2008), The Atheist’s Introduction to the New Testament (Outskirts Press: Denver, CO).
Jackson, Wayne (no date), “A Study of Matthew 24,” http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/19-a-study-of-matthew-24.
Miller, Dave (2003), “There Will Be No Signs!” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1838.