2/13/15

From Jim McGuiggan... JESUS AND THE MOB




JESUS AND THE MOB

In John 7:49 there's this: "This rabble that does not know the law—they're accursed."   See.
You have that text and then you have this one, Matthew 14:14, "When he went ashore he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick."
There lies the difference between Jesus and the brass-necked leaders. It isn't the only difference and if you isolate it it's not even the main difference but it is a profound difference.
Jesus saw the mob and when he  saw them he  felt something and he  did something.
In a multitude of 5,000 plus (Matthew 14:21) there must have been a lot of mixed motives, promises unkept, grudges harboured, self-serving, uncleanness and cruelty. Surely there was and if it was there Christ could see it for he knew people. And yet, when he looked, "he had compassion on them and healed their sick." (Matthew 14:14 and 9:36)
Tell me how can I be holy as he is holy? Help me to lift up my eyes and see better, purer, cleaner things. But help me to be holy like him and still look on people with all the marks of unholiness written on their faces and see them as needy people. What a wonder he is that he can look on the sinful and feel what they feel and long to do them good. [Dear God, I need to know this truth is for me. It must be. I can't live withoout it.] 
There is a chasm fixed between us and Christ that we cannot bridge; his holiness simply out-distances our most fervent imaginings but is the chasm anywhere wider than it is at this point where he is able to look at sinners this way? It has nothing to do with miraculous power; it has nothing to do with his being able to feed thousands with little or nothing. It has all to do with his unutterable holiness looking on sinners and wanting to do them good, wanting to heal their sick, wanting to lift them out of their gloom and hurt.
So there he stands looking at them with those big eyes of his. Missing nothing! Seeing all! And while knowing and seeing all he feels his huge heart swelling with pity at these sheep without a shepherd. So he healed their sick. I don't doubt that some there looked at him, fevered and crippled children in their arms, chins stuck out in some desperate look of rebellion: "How can you see us like this and not do something about it?" I'm sure others showed their desperation with "please" written all over them. There they were, here we are with our awful needs stark and obvious to his holy eyes, masses of us clamouring for attention. People with little interest in him until our crying needs drive us out of ourselves and away from our useless schemes and shallow prayers. And still he  looks, and still he feels compassion and still he  offers rich, wise and desperately needed healing.
Holy Christ! Astonishing Christ who makes it forever clear that true holiness isn't a firewall against fellowship; who makes it forever clear that true holiness is love's raging fire that burns down all that would come between us and his Holy Father who  sees and  feels and does.
And is Matthew 9:36 and 14:14 written there to taunt us? Did that occasion and that crowd exhaust God's good will toward us in Jesus Christ? After that did God say goodbye to the human family? Was it only that crowd he saw as shepherdless sheep, harrassed and in awful need? No, it's written there so we'll know he won't forget us—he's committed to us all and one day all who care that he cares will eternally discover that Matthew's words were for them. Read them and laugh!
©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.

What Happened to the Body? by Brad Bromling, D.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=10&article=1120

What Happened to the Body?
by Brad Bromling, D.Min.

Q.Christianity is based in its entirety on the claim that Jesus arose from the dead. Is there any actual evidence to support such a claim?
A.
The unexpected happened. He told them it would; He even told them how. They simply refused to believe. Thursday, Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem with His friends; Friday, He was dead. His battered, lifeless body was removed from the cross and carried away. Friday night it was there—undisturbed. All day Saturday it was there—under guard. Sunday dawned. The tomb was empty. What happened to the body?
Jesus Christ met death face-to-face, and defeated it. The tomb was empty Sunday morning because Jesus was alive. Tombs are for the dead—not the living. By His resurrection, every claim Jesus made regarding His deity was confirmed “with power” (Romans 1:4). He not only kept His word that He would be raised, but He fulfilled a thousand-year-old prophecy by David (cf. Psalm 16:1-2; Acts 2:24-36).
In an age devoid of active miracles, people often wonder if such a claim can be proved. The answer is “yes!” A compelling case for the resurrection can be made from the information contained in the Gospel records. This article will present some of that material, and will answer common alternative theories employed to explain away the resurrection.

THE EMPTY TOMB

If Jesus was raised, His tomb had to be emptied. His bodily resurrection is indefensible if He remained in the tomb even one hour of day four. If the tomb was occupied Monday, Jesus is less than divine, and there is no hope in Him as Savior. This makes the witness of the tomb all-important.
Before discussing the evidence from the tomb, however, two preliminary points call for attention. First, was Jesus placed in a tomb? The Bible is clear on this point. His interment was witnessed by at least four individuals. Joseph of Arimathea received permission from Pilate to bury Jesus (Mark 15:43-45). He and Nicodemus hurriedly prepared and entombed the Lord’s body (John 19:38). Their activities were observed by Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph (Mark 15:46-47). Then, on the next day, the chief priests and Pharisees requested of Pilate that a guard be provided for the tomb (Matthew 27:62-65). They necessarily believed Jesus’ body remained there at the time of their request. This request was granted and a guard was sent. It is inconceivable that Pilate (who was responsible for maintaining the body of Jesus) would have sealed and set watch over a tomb that he did not believe was occupied. Hence, at least four people saw Jesus’ body in the tomb on Friday. The Jews, Pilate, and the guards acknowledged its presence on Saturday.
Second, Jesus was not buried in just any tomb; it was a new tomb. This is significant when one remembers that a dead man was once miraculously revived when his body was placed into the tomb that contained Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:21). Instead, Jesus was put into a tomb “in which no one had yet been laid” (John 19:41). The Lord’s resurrection was a unique event that could not be attributed to such a factor.
With these facts established, consider how the tomb offers powerful evidence of the Lord’s resurrection. First, it was impossible for Jesus to escape from the tomb without being detected. This is seen in various ways.
  • All four of the Gospel records explicitly declare that the Lord was dead prior to entering the tomb (Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:44-45; Luke 23:46; John 19:32-34).
  • The tomb was cut out of solid rock (Matthew 27:60). Tombs, like caskets, generally are not equipped with back doors!
  • The cave opening was blocked by a massive stone (Matthew 27:60).
  • The stone was affixed with a seal, and watched by soldiers (Matthew 27:66).
Obviously, it was impossible for Jesus to leave that tomb (apart from the resurrection miracle), let alone to do so without detection.
Second, the tomb did not contain the body of Jesus after the dawning of Sunday. This evidence is gleaned from those on both sides of the issue.
  • The empty tomb was seen by at least six of Jesus’ followers: Mary Magdalene (Matthew 28:1-10), Mary (the mother of James) and Salome (Mark 16:1-8), Joanna (Luke 24:10), and Peter and John (John 20:2-8).
  • The empty tomb was probably seen by at least a few Roman guards (Matthew 28:2,11-15).
  • That the tomb was empty was not denied by the antagonistic Jews (they merely attempted to explain why it was empty).
  • That the tomb was empty was loudly proclaimed on the day of Pentecost in the presence of literally thousands of Jews who most certainly would have denied it if they could (Acts 2:24-36).

WHO MOVED THE STONE?

One of the tomb’s most impressive features was the immense stone that acted as its door. Matthew used the Greek phrase lithon megan to describe the stone (27:60). This two-word combination is the source of our modern term, “megalith” (i.e., large stone). Mark and Luke report that the four women who came to the tomb wondered who would move the stone for them (Mark 16:2-4; Luke 24:10). Mark calls the stone “very large.” How large is “very large”? While we may never know, it is safe to assume that four women could move a fairly large stone without help; yet, apparently the force needed to move this stone exceeded their combined strength (Mark 16:3). If these women didn’t move it, who did? Can we rationally conclude that it was moved by a brutally beaten, crucified, and allegedly dead man? The record indicates that an angel of the Lord was dispatched from heaven to accomplish the task (Matthew 28:2).
Someone might contend that the stone could not have been too heavy since Joseph rolled it in place by himself (Matthew 27:60). But this is only partially correct. The stones used for this purpose often were set in a sloping groove with the low point in front of the tomb’s opening. While it may have taken many men to move and scotch the stone up and away from the doorway prior to burial, one man easily could have removed the block and allowed gravity to draw the stone down the slope into its proper resting position. Also, it is possible that the stone was set in place by a number of men under the direction of Joseph. After all, when we say that Alexander conquered the world, we do not mean that he did so without the aid of an army!
Moreover, the stone was not just nudged aside to allow a single man to slip through, but it actually was moved completely away from the tomb (John 20:1). The moving of the great stone by the angel was an event of such magnitude that Matthew tells us the soldiers “shook for fear of him, and became as dead men” (28:4). It is no wonder they left their post and returned to the city to make a report to the chief priests! Adding to their fear of this supernatural sighting was the fact that the tomb they were guarding was opened and empty. Perhaps they reasoned that if the Jews knew the circumstances, they would not press charges against them for losing custody of the body.
The impressive evidence from the tomb and stone may be summarized as follows. On Friday, at least four witnesses saw Jesus’ dead body placed into a previously empty tomb. The tomb was sealed with a stone too large for four women to move. Jesus’ presence in the tomb was acknowledged by friend and enemy alike on Saturday, when the stone was affixed with a Roman seal (McDowell, 1981, p. 59). On Sunday the stone had been moved and Jesus’ body was gone!

WHY BRIBE THE GUARDS?

The Jews’ primary effort to prevent the disciples of Jesus from making any resurrection claims for their Master served as one of the strongest evidences supporting those claims. Matthew recounts the incident:
The next day, after the Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together before Pilate, saying, “Sir, we remember that the deceiver said, I will arise after three days. Command therefore that the tomb be made secure until the third day to guard against his disciples stealing the body and saying, He has been raised from the dead. The last deception will be worse than the first.” Pilate replied to them, “Take guards and go and make the tomb as secure as you can.” They departed and secured the tomb, sealing the stone, and stationing the guards (Matthew 27:62-66; McCord, 1988).
Although they did not believe Christ, the Jews realized the importance of His words. The passage implies that the Jews were obtaining a Roman guard. Some scholars contend that Pilate told the Jews to take their own temple guard for the task. This seems unlikely. In the Greek, the phrase, “Take a guard” is in the imperative. It was a “curt permission” to take guards (Robertson, 1930, 1:239). Why would the Jews approach Pilate to request a Jewish guard? If they used their own guard, they would have been open to criticisms should the body turn up missing. Why would the temple guard fear Pilate’s reaction (Matthew 28:14)? It seems more probable that the Jews wanted a Roman guard to prevent Jesus’ disciples from stealing their Lord’s body.
As noted above, the guards were terrified when the angel moved the giant stone away from the tomb. They left their post and some of them returned to the city to report the incredible event. No doubt fearful of what would become of them, they went to the Jews (to plead for help?). The record continues:
When they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, “Tell them, His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept. And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day (Matthew 28:12-15).
The guards were left with an empty tomb, and the Jews were faced with a dilemma. They had to deal with not just an empty tomb, but also eyewitness accounts (from neutral witnesses) of the resurrection of Jesus. What could they do? Three options were possible: they could accept the testimony and believe in the One they crucified; they could complain to Pilate about his incompetent soldiers; or, they could enact a cover-up. They were not yet willing to accept this Jesus as the Messiah. If they complained to Pilate, he might either believe or slay the soldiers. If he believed them, the Jews would be defeated. If he slew them, the Jews would be left with an inexplicably empty tomb. There was really only one option for them—a cover-up. So they bought a false report and circulated it in all directions. However, contrary to their desire, everywhere that false report traveled, so went one important fact—the tomb was empty!

ALTERNATIVE THEORIES

Some persist in doubt. They reject the possibility of Christ’s resurrection and offer various explanations for the data.

The Swoon Theory

Some have suggested that Jesus did not actually die. He just fainted (“swooned”) and merely seemed to be dead. Thinking He was dead, His friends buried Him according to custom. After resting upon that cold stone slab, the Lord’s body naturally revived; thus revived, He moved the stone and exited the tomb (carefully avoiding being spotted by the guards). This view is utterly without foundation and collapses after even the most cursory glance at the evidence.
First, the body was acknowledged as dead by all parties involved. The Romans (who were experts at crucifixion) saw He was already dead and did not need to have His legs broken (John 19:33). Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus had died so quickly, and investigated the matter (Mark 15:44-45). The followers of Jesus knew He was dead, for they began to prepare Him for burial, and even anticipated the coming of Sunday so they could finish the job. The Jews were sure He was dead, otherwise they would not have been so concerned with keeping His disciples from stealing His body (Matthew 27:62-66).
Second, no one who has been scourged, nailed to and hung upon a cross for six hours, and has had a spear pierce his side, is going to wake up capable of rolling away a stone that four women could not move!
Third, if this theory were true, the Jews would have been more successful claiming that Jesus had only swooned than in manufacturing an excuse for the empty tomb.
Fourth, where is Jesus now? The divine record has Him appearing for only forty days after His alleged swoon—what of the rest of His life?
Fifth, can any clear-thinking person really believe that the apostles lived persecuted lives and died as martyrs for a cause they knew to be false, or that Jesus would have been so cruel as to be the cause of such (either directly or indirectly)? Everything we know of Jesus mitigates against this thought.

The Wrong Tomb Theory

Some suggest that although Jesus was actually dead and buried, His followers accidentally went to another tomb that was empty. This theory hardly deserves mention; it defies nearly every detail of the resurrection narratives and leads to the absurd conclusion that not only His friends, but His enemies, and the Roman soldiers all went to the wrong tomb. On the contrary, the Gospel records mention that the interred body was seen by at least four people. How long would it take before someone recognized the mistake? After all, Joseph of Arimathea surely knew how to locate his own tomb, and easily could have corrected this error. Finally, Paul told of more than five hundred witnesses who did not see the empty tomb, but who had seen the risen Lord (1 Corinthians 15:6).

Friends Stole the Body

The most common theory suggests that Jesus’ friends stole His body while the guards slept. This was the story circulating when Matthew wrote his history (Matthew 28:15). But, where is the evidence that the guards slept? How could the disciples have moved the stone and kept from waking the guards? Why would the Jews have paid the guards to say the very thing that they tried to avoid in the first place? The whole reason the Pharisees asked Pilate to grant them a guard was to keep the disciples from stealing the body!
This view implies that the disciples knowingly devoted their lives to a falsehood. But, J.P. Moreland points out, “the disciples had nothing to gain by lying and starting a new religion. They faced hardship, ridicule, hostility, and martyrs’ deaths. In light of this, they could have never sustained such unwavering motivation if they knew what they were preaching was a lie” (1987, pp. 171-172).

Enemies Stole the Body

Some might aver that Jesus’ body was stolen by the Jews to keep the disciples from doing so. Hence, they took the body and hired a guard to watch an already vacant tomb. But this is ridiculous. If they stole the body, why did they not expose the disciples’ lie? Instead, they maintained the unprovable position that it was really the disciples who took the body. They never produced the body. What did they have to gain by concealing the most powerful evidence conceivable against the resurrection? Imagine how devastating it would have been for the disciples, had the Jews paraded Jesus’ rotting corpse before the many thousands on Pentecost. Such an act would have strangled the infant church in its crib.

God Stole the Body

One of the most unusual theories regarding the resurrection of Jesus was penned by Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses:
Our Lord’s human body was, however, supernaturally removed from the tomb; because had it remained there it would have been an insurmountable obstacle to the faith of the disciples, who were not yet instructed in spiritual things—for “the spirit was not yet given.” (John 7:39.) We know nothing about what became of it, except that it did not decay or corrupt. (Acts 2:27,31.) Whether it was dissolved into gases or whether it is still preserved somewhere as the grand memorial of God’s love, of Christ’s obedience, and of our redemption, no one knows (1912, 2:129).
Obvious problems with this theory are numerous. Not only does it deny the plain teachings of Scripture, but it implies that the disciples’ faith in the resurrection was based upon a falsehood. In other words, they believed the Lord was raised, and had irrefutable proof of it—when in fact He wasn’t. This makes God guilty of deliberate deception.

The Hallucination Theory

Another alternative theory is that the disciples never actually saw the Lord’s risen body—they only imagined they did. However, the biggest hindrance to this view is that many of these eyewitnesses were not easily convinced. Thomas was hardly alone in his skepticism concerning the resurrection. When the women went to the tomb on Sunday they found it empty. Their first reaction was one of bewilderment, not belief (Luke 24:4). Remember the disciples’ reaction to Mary’s incredible report? They had been with Jesus and had no doubt heard Him say many times that He would rise again, and yet Mark wrote: “And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe” (Mark 16:11). Jesus later rebuked them for this unbelief (Mark 16:14). They should have expected His resurrection, but obviously they did not. Jesus was also disappointed in the two disciples from Emmaus for failing to believe in the resurrection claims (Luke 24:25). Even at nightfall of the resurrection day the disciples were still doubting (Luke 24:38). The point is this: at first, these witnesses were unwilling to accept the fact of the resurrection.
Had they been predisposed to believe the reports of the resurrection, we might wonder if they simply believed what they wanted to about the matter. On the contrary, here were people who initially were skeptical and required evidence for belief. If they had believed all along that they would see the Lord alive again, then isolated hallucinations might have taken place among the mentally unstable disciples (if there were any). But, hallucinations do not occur in people of stable mental condition (unless artificially induced). Regardless, the empty tomb remains unexplained by this theory.

CONCLUSION: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESURRECTION

If compelled by the evidence to believe the resurrection, what is its relevance? First, the resurrection is the strongest single argument for the deity of Jesus (Romans 1:4). If He was raised from the dead as David prophesied, and as He so often promised, then He must have been deity! If He was not raised, then David spoke of another, and Jesus was a liar.
Second, the resurrection is the foundational principle upon which Christianity is built. Paul linked the reality of salvation to the fact of the resurrection; refute that fact, and Christians are a truly pathetic lot (1 Corinthians 15). Christianity is either the one true religion of the one true God, or it is a farce—the reality of the resurrection determines which.
Third, the fact of the resurrection is the greatest source of genuine hope available in this transient and confusing world. If Christ was raised, Christians will be raised (1 Corinthians 15). Since Christ was raised, He took away the power of death. His resurrection made it possible for Him to keep His promise to prepare a heavenly home for the faithful (John 14:1-4). No one fact offers more hope or assurance than does the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

REFERENCES

McCord, Hugo (1988), McCord’s New Testament Translation of the Everlasting Gospel (Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman College).
McDowell, Josh (1981), The Resurrection Factor (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers).
Moreland, J.P. (1987), Scaling the Secular City (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Robertson, A.T. (1930), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Russell, Charles Taze (1889), Studies in the Scriptures (New York: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society).

From Mark Copeland... What About Cornelius And His Household?


                              "BAPTISM"

                What About Cornelius And His Household?

INTRODUCTION

1. At this point we are considering objections to the idea that baptism is...
   a. For the remission of sins
   b. Therefore necessary for salvation

2. In the previous study we examined the salvation of the thief on 
the cross, noting that...
   a. He was saved before the command to be baptized into Christ's
      death was given
   b. He was saved before the new covenant became of force
   -- Which makes his example of salvation irrelevant to the issue of
      baptism

3. Another objection concerns Cornelius and his household, which be summarized like this:
   a. The Spirit came upon Cornelius and his family before they were baptized
   b. The Spirit falling upon them was evidence that they were saved
   c. Therefore they were saved before baptism, making it not essential to salvation

4. Is this a proper conclusion to reach?
   a. Does the evidence in Acts support such a conclusion?
   b. Did Peter and the others conclude that the Spirit falling upon
      the Gentiles was for the purpose of saving them, and therefore 
      they were saved before baptism?

5. There are important questions that must be answered as we consider
   the events of this conversion:
   a. Exactly when did the Spirit fall upon Cornelius and his household?
   b. What was the purpose of the Spirit falling upon them?

[As we consider the objection, "What About Cornelius And His
Household?", let's first take a close look at...]

I. THE ACTUAL SEQUENCE OF EVENTS IN THIS CONVERSION

   A. THE ANGEL APPEARS TO CORNELIUS...
      1. Cornelius, a centurion, is a very religious man - Ac 10:1-2
      2. The angel appears to him - Ac 10:3-6
         a. With an announcement that his prayers and alms have been noticed by God
         b. With instructions to send for Peter; please note: 
            1) The angel said, "He will tell you what you must do."
               - Ac 10:6
            2) As Peter later recounted, "...who will tell you words by
               which you and all your household will be saved." 
               - Ac 11:14
            -- NOTE WELL:  Cornelius would not be saved until he heard
               words telling him what to do!
      3. Cornelius then sends two servants and a devout soldier to Peter - Ac 10:7-8
   
   B. PETER HAS A VISION...
      1. While the three men are traveling toward Peter, he has a 
         vision - Ac 10:9-16; 11:4-10
         a. It involves a sheet descending from heaven, containing all sorts of creatures
         b. A voice tells Peter to "kill and eat"
         c. Peter objects, for he has never eaten anything common or unclean
         d. The voice tells him, "What God has cleansed you must not call common."
      2. Three times the vision is repeated

   C. THE SPIRIT TELLS PETER TO GO WITH THE MESSENGERS...
      1. The men from Cornelius arrive as Peter contemplates the vision
         - Ac 10:17-18; 11:11
      2. The Spirit tells Peter to go, "doubting nothing, for I have 
         sent them" - Ac 10:19-20; 11:12
      3. Peter receives the men and takes six with him as they go to
         Cornelius - Ac 10:21-23; 11:12

   D. PETER ARRIVES AT CORNELIUS' HOUSE...
      1. Cornelius has gathered his family and close friends - Ac 10:24
      2. Peter deflects an attempt by Cornelius to worship him - Ac 10:25-26
      3. Peter explains his presence is a violation of Jewish custom,
         but now understands "I should not call any man common or 
         unclean" - Ac 10:27-28
      4. Asked by Peter to explain why he was called, Cornelius 
         recounts the appearance and instructions of the angel - Ac 10:
         29-32; 11:13-14
      5. Cornelius and his household were ready "to hear all things 
         commanded you by God" - Ac 10:33

   E. AS PETER BEGINS TO SPEAK, THE SPIRIT FALLS UPON THE LISTENERS...
      1. At this point, carefully note the actual sequence of events
      2. Luke's record gives attention to the sermon first, and then
         the Spirit coming upon the Gentiles - cf. Ac 10:34-44
         a. But Luke also says that "WHILE Peter was still speaking...
            the Holy Spirit fell"
         b. From this we do not know exactly when the Spirit fell
         c. It could have been at the beginning, in the middle, toward
            the end, of his sermon
      3. Peter, however, explained what happened "in order from the 
         beginning" - Ac 11:4
         a. He describes the events as they happened
         b. He says "AS I BEGAN TO SPEAK, the Holy Spirit fell upon 
            them" - Ac 11:15
         -- NOTE WELL:  We learn from Peter that the Spirit actually
            came upon the Gentiles at the BEGINNING of the sermon!
      4. With the Spirit falling upon the Gentiles, they began speaking
         with tongues, which amazed Peter and his Jewish companions 
         - Ac 10:45-46; cf. Ac 2:4,6,8,11

   F. PETER'S SERMON TO THE HOUSEHOLD OF CORNELIUS...
      1. He begins with a full perception that God shows no partiality
         - Ac 10:34-35
         a. A perception started with the vision of the sheet and unclean beasts
         b. A perception continued with the Spirit's instruction to go with the messengers
         c. A perception made clear with the Spirit falling upon the Gentiles - Ac 11:15-17
      2. Peter then proceeds to proclaim Jesus Christ - Ac 10:36-43
         a. As Lord who was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power 
            - Ac 10:36-38
         b. Who was killed, but then raised from the dead and seen by
            eyewitnesses who knew Him well - Ac 10:39-41
         c. Who has commanded the apostles to proclaim Him as ordained
            by God to be the Judge of the living and dead - Ac 10:42
         d. Through Whom remission of sins is offered to those who
            believe - Ac 10:43
   
   G. PETER COMMANDS THEM TO BE BAPTIZED...
      1. How could anyone forbid water to those who had received the
         Spirit just as the apostles did? - Ac 10:47; cf. 11:17-18
      2. So Cornelius and his household were commanded to be baptized
         in the name of the Lord - Ac 10:48

[The events surrounding this conversion are certainly remarkable.  They
evidently were intended to convey important truths.  But our purpose in
this study is to answer these questions:

   * At what point were Cornelius and his household saved?

   * If not to save them, what was the purpose of the Spirit falling
     upon Cornelius and his household?

Let's now answer the first question...]

II. THE POINT AT WHICH CORNELIUS WAS SAVED

   A. REMEMBER WHAT CORNELIUS WAS TOLD...
      1. Peter would tell him "what you must do." - Ac 10:6
      2. Peter would tell him "words by which you...shall be saved."
         - Ac 11:14

   B. YET THE SPIRIT FELL UPON HIM BEFORE HE HEARD...
      1. As Peter said, the Spirit fell upon them "as I began to speak"
      2. It wasn't until the end of his sermon and afterward that Peter
         told them the "words by which you...shall be saved."

   C. CORNELIUS WAS SAVED AFTER HE HEARD...
      1. The "words" by which he would be saved (i.e., the sermon)
      2. What he was told to do
         a. Such as to believe - cf. Ac 10:43
         b. Such as to be baptized, as commanded in Ac 10:48
      -- Until he heard the words, and obeyed what he was told, he was
         not saved!

[Since Cornelius and his family were not saved until they heard the 
"words" by which they would be saved, and told what they "must do", the
Spirit falling upon them did not saved them, for it came upon them
BEFORE they heard the "words" and were told what to do!

But why did the Spirit come upon them, if not to save them?  Consider
what actually was...]

III. THE PURPOSE OF THE SPIRIT FALLING UPON CORNELIUS

   A. THE PURPOSE CAN BE GLEANED FROM THE FOLLOWING...
      1. The effect it had on the Jewish brethren who were present, and Peter's response - Ac 10:45-47
      2. The reaction of the Jewish brethren in Jerusalem when Peter
         told them what happened - Ac 11:17-18
      3. Peter's explanation at the council held later in Jerusalem - Ac 15:7-11

   B. THE PURPOSE WAS TO SHOW JEWISH BRETHREN...
      1. That God was no respecter of persons - Ac 10:34-35
      2. That God was willing to grant them opportunity to repent and
         have life - Ac 11:18
      3. That Gentiles could be saved in the same way as Jews...
         a. By faith, repentance, and baptism - Ac 15:9,11; cf. 2:38
            with 10:48
         b. Which faith comes through hearing the word of God - Ro 10:
            17

CONCLUSION

1. While miraculous events surrounded the conversion of Cornelius and
   his family, their salvation was no different from what we see in
   other cases of conversion...
   a. They heard the gospel of Jesus Christ
   b. They were taught to believe and be baptized
   -- Thus they were saved "in the same manner" as all those 
      previously - cf. Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38; 8:12

2. The purpose of the Spirit falling upon them...
   a. Was not to show one could be saved without baptism
   b. But to show that Gentiles were no longer to be considered 
      "common" or "unclean", and could be granted the same 
      opportunities to hear the gospel and be saved by it!

3. One might also ask...
   a. When the Spirit came upon Balaam to prophesy concerning Israel,
      did it save him? - Num 24:2
   b. When the Spirit came upon Saul to prophesy, did it save him? 
      - 1Sa 19:20-24
   c. When Caiaphas prophesied, was he saved? - Jn 11:49-52
   -- The purpose of the Spirit coming upon a person may vary, and one
      should not assume that one filled with the Spirit at any given 
      time is thereby being saved by the Spirit!

Those of us not descended from Israel can rejoice in what God revealed
with the conversion of Cornelius and his household.  As properly
concluded by the Jewish brethren in Jerusalem:

   "...God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."
                                              (Ac 11:16)

And when carefully noted, they were saved "in the same manner" (cf. Ac
15:9-11) as all others, having their hearts purified through faith
when they heard and obeyed the word of God!


Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Mark Copeland... What About The Thief On The Cross?


                              "BAPTISM"

                   What About The Thief On The Cross?

INTRODUCTION

1. In this series we have already examined baptism...
   a. In the preaching of the apostles
   b. In the teaching of Paul
   c. In the teaching of Peter

2. The conclusion drawn from such sources was that baptism is...
   a. For the remissions of sins - cf. Ac 2:38
   b. Therefore necessary for salvation - cf. Ac 22:16; 1Pe 3:21
   -- Which certainly seems consistent with Jesus' own words in 
Mk 16:15-16

3. But invariably someone will say:  "What about the thief on the
   cross?" - Lk 23:39-43
   a. This is the most popular objection to the necessity of baptism
   b. Despite all that is revealed about the purpose of baptism in the
      Bible!

4. The objection can be summarized like this:
   a. The thief on the cross was not baptized
   b. The thief was saved
   c. Therefore, baptism is not essential to salvation!

5. Is such reasoning valid?
   a. Might there be something the objector is failing to take into
      consideration?
   b. A significant fact that renders the salvation of the thief 
      irrelevant to the issue?

[As we take a closer look at the objection, "What About The Thief On
The Cross?", let's me first emphasize that...]

I. THE THIEF WAS SAVED

   A. JESUS CERTAINLY HAD THE POWER TO SAVE HIM...
      1. While on earth, Jesus had the authority to forgive sins
      2. He exercised this authority on several occasions
         a. For the paralytic - Lk 5:18-26
         b. For the sinful woman - Lk 7:36-50

   B. JESUS CLEARLY OFFERED HIM SALVATION...
      1. The thief asked:  "Lord, remember me when You come into Your
         kingdom." - Lk 23:42
      2. Jesus replied:  "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be
         with Me in Paradise." - Lk 23:43
      -- None can doubt that Jesus promised him salvation!

[Yet the question remains:  Is the salvation of the thief relevant to
the issue?  Consider that...]

II. THE THIEF WAS SAVED BEFORE BAPTISM WAS COMMANDED

   A. THE BAPTISM UNDER DISCUSSION...
      1. Was commanded AFTER Jesus died and arose - Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:
         15-16
      2. Was a baptism into Jesus' death - Ro 6:3-4
      -- How could the thief been baptized into Jesus' death, when 
         Jesus had not yet died?

   B. THE THIEF WAS NEVER SUBJECT TO THIS BAPTISM...
      1. It was commanded AFTER he died!
      2. Just like Adam, Noah, Moses, etc.
         a. None of these were baptized
         b. But they all lived before the death of Jesus
         c. And like the thief, were never commanded to be baptized!
      3. Yes, there was the baptism of John - Mk 1:4-5
         a. But that was preparing people for the coming of Christ
         b. And it was designed to be replaced by baptism into Christ
            and His death - cf. Ac 19:4-5
      -- One might use the thief on the cross to say John's baptism was
         not necessary, but the argument can't be made regarding the
         baptism which Christ later commanded!

[The thief on the cross died BEFORE Jesus gave His commandment in Mt 28
and Mk 16.  Since we live AFTER Jesus commanded baptism, how can we 
use the example of the thief to say it is not necessary?  In a similar
vein...]

III. THE THIEF WAS SAVED BEFORE THE NEW COVENANT BEGAN

   A. THERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT COVENANTS...
      1. There was a covenant between God and Israel - Deut 5:2-3
         a. It governed all Israelites, such as Moses, David, Isaiah,
            Daniel, the thief on the cross, etc.
         b. It never commanded people to be baptized!
         c. It came to an end when Jesus died on the cross - cf. Ep 2:
            14-16; Col 2:14
      2. There is the new covenant that is now in force - cf. He 8:6-7
         a. Of which Jesus spoke when He instituted the Lord's Supper 
            - Mt 26:28
         b. Which came into force when Jesus died - He 9:15-17

   B. WE NOW LIVE UNDER THE NEW COVENANT...
      1. We must submit to Christ's authority as expressed after His death
         a. An authority delegated to His apostles - cf. Mt 28:18-20;
            Jn 13:20
         b. Who clearly commanded baptism! - cf. Ac 2:38; 10:48; 22:16
      2. How can we appeal to the example of one who lived under the 
         old covenant?
         a. Can we appeal to the example of David? (of course not)
         b. Can we appeal to the example of Isaiah? (of course not)
         -- Nor should we appeal to the example of the thief, who lived
            and died before the new covenant became of force!
      3. We must heed what Jesus and His apostles taught AFTER the new covenant began!

CONCLUSION

1. Yes, the thief was saved on the cross without baptism
   a. For which we should be thankful
   b. For which we should give God praise for His wonderful grace

2. But the thief's example is irrelevant to the issue of baptism...
   a. He died before Christ ever issued the command to be baptized into His death!
   b. He lived under the old covenant, which did not require baptism into Christ!

3. The thief on the cross would be relevant IF...
   a. You lived BEFORE the command to be baptized into Christ was given
   b. You lived under the OLD covenant
   c. You were in the presence of Christ and he told YOU "Assuredly, I
      SAY TO YOU, today YOU will be with Me in Paradise."

4. But here are the FACTS...
   a. You live AFTER the command to be baptized has been given
   b. You live under the NEW covenant, in which baptism has a crucial role
   c. Christ has commanded YOU (and ALL) through His apostles to be 
      baptized - Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38; 10:48; 22:16

Rather than depending upon an example of salvation that is nothing 
similar to our situation today, base your faith and assurance of 
salvation on the many examples of salvation that were recorded in the
book of Acts for our benefit.  

Heed the preaching and teaching of Christ and His apostles directed 
toward YOU!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Gary... Bible Reading February 13



Bible Reading 

February 13

The World English Bible

Feb. 13
Genesis 44

Gen 44:1 He commanded the steward of his house, saying, "Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth.
Gen 44:2 Put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, with his grain money." He did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.
Gen 44:3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys.
Gen 44:4 When they had gone out of the city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said to his steward, "Up, follow after the men. When you overtake them, ask them, 'Why have you rewarded evil for good?
Gen 44:5 Isn't this that from which my lord drinks, and by which he indeed divines? You have done evil in so doing.' "
Gen 44:6 He overtook them, and he spoke these words to them.
Gen 44:7 They said to him, "Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants that they should do such a thing!
Gen 44:8 Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks' mouths, we brought again to you out of the land of Canaan. How then should we steal silver or gold out of your lord's house?
Gen 44:9 With whoever of your servants it be found, let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondservants."
Gen 44:10 He said, "Now also let it be according to your words: he with whom it is found will be my bondservant; and you will be blameless."
Gen 44:11 Then they hurried, and every man took his sack down to the ground, and every man opened his sack.
Gen 44:12 He searched, beginning with the eldest, and ending at the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin's sack.
Gen 44:13 Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey, and returned to the city.
Gen 44:14 Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house, and he was still there. They fell on the ground before him.
Gen 44:15 Joseph said to them, "What deed is this that you have done? Don't you know that such a man as I can indeed divine?"
Gen 44:16 Judah said, "What will we tell my lord? What will we speak? Or how will we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants. Behold, we are my lord's bondservants, both we, and he also in whose hand the cup is found."
Gen 44:17 He said, "Far be it from me that I should do so. The man in whose hand the cup is found, he will be my bondservant; but as for you, go up in peace to your father."
Gen 44:18 Then Judah came near to him, and said, "Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord's ears, and don't let your anger burn against your servant; for you are even as Pharaoh.
Gen 44:19 My lord asked his servants, saying, 'Have you a father, or a brother?'
Gen 44:20 We said to my lord, 'We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother; and his father loves him.'
Gen 44:21 You said to your servants, 'Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.'
Gen 44:22 We said to my lord, 'The boy can't leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.'
Gen 44:23 You said to your servants, 'Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will see my face no more.'
Gen 44:24 It happened when we came up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord.
Gen 44:25 Our father said, 'Go again, buy us a little food.'
Gen 44:26 We said, 'We can't go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down: for we may not see the man's face, unless our youngest brother is with us.'
Gen 44:27 Your servant, my father, said to us, 'You know that my wife bore me two sons:
Gen 44:28 and the one went out from me, and I said, "Surely he is torn in pieces;" and I haven't seen him since.
Gen 44:29 If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.'
Gen 44:30 Now therefore when I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the boy's life;
Gen 44:31 it will happen, when he sees that the boy is no more, that he will die. Your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant, our father, with sorrow to Sheol.
Gen 44:32 For your servant became collateral for the boy to my father, saying, 'If I don't bring him to you, then I will bear the blame to my father forever.'
Gen 44:33 Now therefore, please let your servant stay instead of the boy, a bondservant to my lord; and let the boy go up with his brothers.

Gen 44:34 For how will I go up to my father, if the boy isn't with me?--lest I see the evil that will come on my father."

 

From Gary... Smile!!!


In a world that is so full of troubles- Smile every day. Why? For a couple of reasons: 1 It just feels good! 2. Because God has blessed us. I know, sometimes it doesn't feel that way, with so much visible evil about us. Nevertheless, WE ARE BLESSED.  Please read the following...

1 Peter, Chapter 1 (WEB)
 1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the chosen ones who are living as foreigners in the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,  2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with his blood: Grace to you and peace be multiplied. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy became our father again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  4 to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that doesn’t fade away, reserved in Heaven for you,  5 who by the power of God are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been put to grief in various trials,  7 that the proof of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes even though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ—  8 whom not having known you love; in whom, though now you don’t see him, yet believing, you rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory—  9 receiving the result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets sought and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,  11 searching for who or what kind of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, pointed to, when he predicted the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that would follow them.  12 To them it was revealed, that not to themselves, but to you, they ministered these things, which now have been announced to you through those who preached the Good News to you by the Holy Spirit sent out from heaven; which things angels desire to look into. 

Having problems- rejoice, because you are BLESSED!!! No one ever said it is easy to be a Christian, but no matter what- Smile!!! Smile when you are having problems, suffering- no matter what!!! OK, right about now you are probably thinking I am a little bit crazy to say such things, but remember that there are all sorts of smiles, including the one that knows something that others don't.  Besides...