From Jim McGuiggan... The Nature of New Testament Faith (1)

The Nature of New Testament Faith (1)

Heartless obedience may be grovelling, it may be legalism, it may be self-serving, it may even be an expression of arrogant self-sufficiency--it may be a lot of things but it isn't what God wants.

The full-bodied teaching about obedience in the scriptures is a complex of truths and to treat it as if it had only one face is a serious misunderstanding of the matter. Obedience shouldn't be reduced to "complying with God's commandments" because it's much more than that.

Some of us that stress salvation by grace feel we must sever any link between obedience and salvation. We think if we say, "You must obey to be saved" that grace is denied and that God is robbed of the glory he so richly deserves. These same people insist that we must have faith if we're to be saved but they don't think that that robs God of his glory. They're right of course. The apostle who stressed the grace of God most in his writings is the one who stressed the need for faith if we're to be saved (see Ephesians 2:8; Romans 5:1 and elsewhere). Paul didn't think that requiring faith undermined grace because faith confesses and relies on grace.

Those of us that say faith is required for salvation and deny that obedience is required for salvation miss the faith-nature of New Testament obedience. Paul calls New Testament obedience "the obedience of faith" (Romans 1:5 and 16:26) and it's that obedience that he says is "unto life" (Romans 6:16). It's that obedience and not another kind of obedience that is "unto righteousness".

Those of us that stress the gracious nature of salvation are wearied when we hear people stress "the human part" in salvation. This is probably a bad phrase since it easily degenerates into the notion that there are two Saviours--God and man. There is only one Saviour--the God who has shown himself to us in and as Jesus Christ.

It's right that we who stress grace should correct a perverse understanding of the nature of obedience but the New Testament's view of obedience is not perverse. We are to hear and teach the word of God on the matter of obedience without fear that rich teaching on obedience will deprive God of glory. Correcting a perverse view of obedience is one thing; denying the New Testament teaching about obedience is something else.

It's right to be concerned that God get all the glory for saving us but it might be that an unwise stress on grace that sidelines obedience is depriving God of the glory he so richly deserves. Holy obedience brings God glory just as surely as the confession that trust makes. There was a time when Saul relied on sacrifice and God rebuked him for not giving obedience (see 1 Samuel 15:22). In this he denied God glory. A stress on salvation by grace that empties our relationship with God of its ethical nature may create the kind of people that "wish God well" in his endeavours and go on their own way rejoicing. This would not only be a perverse view of God's grace it would be a perverse view of obedience.

Hearing God in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Hearing God in the Twenty-First Century

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In the Garden of Eden, God spoke directly to Adam, commanding him to refrain from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). Centuries later, “the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision” while he dwelt in the land of Canaan (Genesis 15:1). The patriarch Jacob received a message from Jehovah via the “Angel of God,” Who spoke to him in a dream (Genesis 31:11). The Lord spoke directly to Moses at the burning bush on Mount Horeb (Exodus 3-4). The angel Gabriel brought messages from God to Zacharias, who was dwelling in Jerusalem (Luke 1:11-21), and to Mary, the mother of Jesus, who lived in Nazareth (Luke 1:26-33). Even Saul, who was on his way to Damascus to imprison any Jewish Christians he might find, received a “heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19; cf. Acts 9). A list of God’s appearances and messages to men seems almost endless. No Bible believer can dispute the fact that God has revealed messages to men countless times, either directly or through avenues other than written revelation.
The question often asked today is, “How do we hear God now?” Does He still communicate to people through dreams and visions like He did in biblical times? Should we expect Him to call upon us directly at any moment to do some great work, like Saul was called to do? Will God send an angel to me to disclose more revelation than what is given in the Bible? Or, similar to how Eli instructed Samuel, should I “go lie down” and wait on Jehovah to reveal some message to me (1 Samuel 3:9-10). In view of the fact that for millennia God communicated to people either directly or through avenues other than written revelation, why do some today claim that God communicates to man only via the Bible? Just how is it that we “hear God” today?
According to Hebrews 1:1-2, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2, emp. added). In another contrast between the prophets of old (namely, Moses and Elijah) and Jesus, God instructed Peter, James, and John, saying, “This [Jesus] is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:5, emp. added). Jesus informed His listeners on one occasion of the reason we must “listen” to Him: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48, emp. added). For one to be pleasing to God, he must learn and obey the words of Jesus.
But how do we “hear” Jesus? According to the New Testament, people come to know Jesus and His words by way of the of the apostles’ teachings. Consider the following line of reasoning from the Scriptures.
  • The night of Jesus’ betrayal, He prayed to the Father, saying, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21, emp. added). The “their” of verse 20 refers to those for whom Jesus was praying in the preceding verses (17:6-19)—the apostles. Jesus prayed for the unity of future believers, which He stated would be based upon the apostles’ “word.”
  • On that same night, Jesus told the apostles: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me” (John 13:20, emp. added). After Jesus’ resurrection, and before His ascension into heaven, Jesus told these same disciples: “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). To receive the apostles’ teachings, then, was to receive Jesus.
But how do we receive the apostles’ doctrine today? Since all of the apostles are dead, via what method do the apostles speak to us in the twenty-first century? Paul answered this question in Ephesians 3:1-5.
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets (emp. added).
Today, a person can understand “the mystery of Christ” through the written revelation of men like the apostle Paul, who received the Truth “through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12).
Still, some ask: “Haven’t other men who have lived through the centuries, even into the twenty-first century, been inspired by God to reveal His message?” Actually, the Bible indicates that all Truth necessary for salvation was revealed during the lifetime of the apostles. The night before Jesus’ crucifixion, He promised His apostles that after His departure from them, the Spirit would come and guide them “into all truth” (John 16:13), teaching them “all things,” and bringing to their remembrance “all things” that Jesus taught them (John 14:26). After His crucifixion and resurrection (but before He ascended into heaven), Jesus then commanded these same disciples to “make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20, emp. added). The “faith…was once for all delivered to the saints” in the first century (Jude 3), so that since that time Christians have had “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).
Hearing God’s will in the twenty-first century is as easy as picking up the providentially preserved Bible and reading what Jesus’ “apostles and prophets” recorded for our benefit. God’s revelation thoroughly equips us for every good work (cf. 2 Timothy 3:17), so that no modern-day messages, dreams, or visions are needed. Nearly two thousand years ago, God revealed “all truth” to the apostles and prophets, who recorded it “by inspiration.” This “truth” is the standard by which all people are to live. And anyone teaching a contrary message will suffer eternally (cf. Galatians 1:8-9).

From Mark Copeland... The Cup And The Baptism (Mark 10:35-40)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                   The Cup And The Baptism (10:35-40)


1. On the way to Jerusalem shortly before His arrest, Jesus received an
   unusual request...
   a. From James and John, together with their mother - Mk 10:35; Mt 20:20
   b. For Jesus to do whatever they ask! - Mk 10:35
   c. In particular, the honor of sitting by Him in His glory (kingdom)
      - Mk 10:36-37; Mt 20:21

2. Jesus' response was two-fold...
   a. First, about drinking His cup and being baptized with His baptism
      - Mk 10:38-39
   b. Second, their request was not His to grant, but His Father's - Mk 10:40; Mt 20:23

[In this study we shall focus on the cup and the baptism to which Jesus
referred, which is generally understood to be the cup or baptism...]


      1. To drink a cup
         a. Metaphorically, to get one's fill
         b. Either of good (Ps 23:5) or of ill (Ps 75:7-8)
         c. Jesus' cup was one of suffering - cf. Mk 14:36; Jn 18:11
      2. To be baptized
         a. Figuratively, to be overwhelmed
         b. In this case, with calamity - cf. Ps 69:2,15
         c. Jesus' baptism was one of  suffering - cf. Lk 12:50
      3. Compare the NLT:  "...Are you able to drink from the bitter cup
         of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized
         with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?"
      -- The cup and the baptism refers to suffering Jesus and His
         disciples would experience

      1. By the apostles
         a. Foretold by Jesus - Mk 10:39; Jn 15:20-21
         b. Experienced by James (martyrdom) - Ac 12:2
         c. Experienced by John (exile) - Re 1:9
         d. Experienced by the apostles in general - 1Co 4:9-13
         e. Experienced by the apostle Paul in particular - 2Co 11:23-28
      2. By disciples today
         a. Many believers in Christ continue to suffer much
            1) In Muslim and Hindu nations
            2) In communist nations like China and North Korea
         b. In the USA and other western countries there are forms of
            1) Christians and their faith are often ridiculed
            2) Many are rejected by co-workers, neighbors, friends, even
      -- We ourselves may one day have to receive the cup and the
         baptism of suffering

[Having considered how cup and baptism are used in our text to refer to
suffering, perhaps it would be appropriate to consider how they are also
used in a different context.  There is the cup and baptism...]


      1. There is a cup which we bless - 1Co 10:16
      2. The fruit of the vine in the Lord's Supper - 1Co 11:23-29
      3. Which represents Jesus' blood of the new covenant - 1Co 11:25;
         Mt 26:27-28
      4. Which we drink in memory of Him, proclaiming His death - 1Co 11:25-26
      5. Thus participating in the blood of Christ - 1Co 10:16
      -- The cup we bless, is a blessing for those who partake!

      1. There is a baptism commanded for all by Christ - Mt 28:19; Mk 16:15-16
      2. For the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit - Ac 2:38-39
      3. Where penitent believers are commanded to be immersed in water
         - Ac 8:35-38; 10:47-48
      4. Where sins are washed away as we appeal to the Lord - Ac 22:16;
         1Pe 3:21
      5. Where we are buried into Christ's death, raised to newness of
         life - Ro 6:3-7
      6. Where we put on Christ, becoming children of God through faith
         - Ga 3:26-27
      7. Where we undergo the working of God and the Holy Spirit - Col2:12-13; Tit 3:4-7
      -- This baptism is a blessing for all who submit in faith and


1. Jesus foretold that James and John would...
   a. Drink the cup of suffering
   b. Be baptized with the baptism of suffering

2. But suffering did not happen before they...
   a. Experienced the baptism of blessing in being saved
   b. Partook weekly of the cup of blessing in remaining saved

To prepare ourselves for whatever cup or baptism of suffering we might
experience for Christ...

   * Let us be sure that we have submitted to the baptism of blessing
     in faith and repentance!

   * Let us be sure that we drink the cup of blessing weekly as
     faithfully as we can!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading January 1

Bible Reading   

January 1

The World English Bible

Jan. 1
Genesis 1

Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Gen 1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep. God's Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters.
Gen 1:3 God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
Gen 1:4 God saw the light, and saw that it was good. God divided the light from the darkness.
Gen 1:5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. There was evening and there was morning, one day.
Gen 1:6 God said, "Let there be an expanse in the middle of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters."
Gen 1:7 God made the expanse, and divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
Gen 1:8 God called the expanse sky. There was evening and there was morning, a second day.
Gen 1:9 God said, "Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear;" and it was so.
Gen 1:10 God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas. God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:11 God said, "Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with its seed in it, on the earth;" and it was so.
Gen 1:12 The earth brought forth grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with its seed in it, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
Gen 1:14 God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of sky to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years;
Gen 1:15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of sky to give light on the earth;" and it was so.
Gen 1:16 God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He also made the stars.
Gen 1:17 God set them in the expanse of sky to give light to the earth,
Gen 1:18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
Gen 1:20 God said, "Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of sky."
Gen 1:21 God created the large sea creatures, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind. God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:22 God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."
Gen 1:23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
Gen 1:24 God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, livestock, creeping things, and animals of the earth after their kind;" and it was so.
Gen 1:25 God made the animals of the earth after their kind, and the livestock after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind. God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:26 God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
Gen 1:27 God created man in his own image. In God's image he created him; male and female he created them.
Gen 1:28 God blessed them. God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
Gen 1:29 God said, "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food.
Gen 1:30 To every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food;" and it was so.
Gen 1:31 God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. There was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

Jan. 1, 2
Matthew 1

Mat 1:1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Mat 1:2 Abraham became the father of Isaac. Isaac became the father of Jacob. Jacob became the father of Judah and his brothers.
Mat 1:3 Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron. Hezron became the father of Ram.
Mat 1:4 Ram became the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon. Nahshon became the father of Salmon.
Mat 1:5 Salmon became the father of Boaz by Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed by Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse.
Mat 1:6 Jesse became the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.
Mat 1:7 Solomon became the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam became the father of Abijah. Abijah became the father of Asa.
Mat 1:8 Asa became the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat became the father of Joram. Joram became the father of Uzziah.
Mat 1:9 Uzziah became the father of Jotham. Jotham became the father of Ahaz. Ahaz became the father of Hezekiah.
Mat 1:10 Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh. Manasseh became the father of Amon. Amon became the father of Josiah.
Mat 1:11 Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the exile to Babylon.
Mat 1:12 After the exile to Babylon, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel became the father of Zerubbabel.
Mat 1:13 Zerubbabel became the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim. Eliakim became the father of Azor.
Mat 1:14 Azor became the father of Sadoc. Sadoc became the father of Achim. Achim became the father of Eliud.
Mat 1:15 Eliud became the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan. Matthan became the father of Jacob.
Mat 1:16 Jacob became the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, from whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
Mat 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the exile to Babylon fourteen generations; and from the carrying away to Babylon to the Christ, fourteen generations.
Mat 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was like this; for after his mother, Mary, was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
Mat 1:19 Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, intended to put her away secretly.
Mat 1:20 But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, don't be afraid to take to yourself Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
Mat 1:21 She shall bring forth a son. You shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins."
Mat 1:22 Now all this has happened, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,
Mat 1:23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son. They shall call his name Immanuel;" which is, being interpreted, "God with us."
Mat 1:24 Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife to himself;
Mat 1:25 and didn't know her sexually until she had brought forth her firstborn son. He named him Jesus.

From Gary.. Mrs. Gorbacheiv- bring down that wall!!!

It is not fun when couples fight; but to carry it over to the next day...

Ephesians, Chapter 4
26 “Be angry, and don’t sin.” Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath,  27 neither give place to the devil.

The consequences of multi-day confrontations can only please Satan. Don't let it happen. Make peace!!! You know, you can learn a lot from an animal.