6/9/15

From Mark Copeland... "EQUIPPING THE SAINTS FOR MINISTRY" The Practical Necessity





                  "EQUIPPING THE SAINTS FOR MINISTRY"

                        The Practical Necessity

INTRODUCTION

1. In our previous lesson, we made the following observations...
   a. That Christ gave "gifts" to His Church - Ep 4:7-10
   b. That such "gifts" included such functions as "evangelist,
      pastors, teachers" - Ep 4:11
   c. That the goal of those so employed is to "equip the saints for
      ministry" - Ep 4:12-16
   d. That the Lord is still building His Church, opening doors for
      those prepared to serve - Ac 14:27; 1Co 16:9; Col 2:12; Col 4:3
   e. That if we desire the Lord to open doors for us, we must be
      prepared to serve, both as individuals and as a congregation
      - 2Ti 2:20-21; Re 3:8

2. Thus we have "The Providential Necessity" to be concerned about
   equipping the saints for ministry
   a. This needs to be a concern we have as individuals
   b. And it should be a concern we have as a local congregation

3. Before proceeding further, I thought it might serve well to describe
   what I call "The Practical Necessity" for equipping the saints for
   ministry

[In other words, from a practical viewpoint, any congregation that
wishes to grow must give serious consideration to "Equipping The Saints
For Ministry".

To understand what I mean, consider the challenge of maintaining
consistent church growth...]

I. THE "REVOLVING DOOR" SYNDROME

   A. MANY CHURCHES HAVE LITTLE TROUBLE GAINING MEMBERS...
      1. Some are very diligent in spreading the gospel, and people are
         obedient to the Lord
      2. Others are blessed to live in growing areas, and Christians
         look for a church when they move in to the area

   B. BUT MOST CHURCHES HAVE TROUBLE KEEPING MEMBERS...
      1. They lose members about as fast as they get them
         a. New converts become weak in the faith, and drift away
         b. Christians new to the area attend for awhile, and then look elsewhere
      2. It has been well documented that many churches cannot break
         beyond the "75 barrier" or the "200 barrier"
         a. Both barriers are related to "group dynamics" (principles
            that affect people's ability to relate to one another in a
            particular group)
         b. But the problem basically boils down to this:  growth does
            not continue, because people are not being assimilated into
            the "family life" of the congregation

[Some people do not really care about church growth, being happy to
maintain the "status quo."  But we are talking about souls here, not
numbers, and any true Christian will have a concern on what can be done
to add souls to the body of Christ!

The solution to the "revolving door syndrome" actually has several
different elements.  But in keeping with our theme of "equipping the
saints for ministry", let me focus on one essential element...]

II. INVOLVEMENT OF EVERY MEMBER

   A. THE IMPORTANCE OF EVERY MEMBER INVOLVEMENT...
      1. In his book WHY CHURCHES GROW, Flavil R. Yeakley emphasized
         the importance of every member getting involved in some way or another...
      2. "The more involved a person becomes in the work of the
         congregation, the more important the congregation becomes in
         his life. It logically follows, therefore, that a congregation
         which offers people many opportunities for involvement would
         be more successful in attracting and keeping converts than
         would a congregation which offers few opportunities for
         involvement." (p. 40)
      3. "Total evangelism includes more than reaching the lost. It
         also includes involving the members in the work of the local
         congregation. If a congregation does not use its members it
         loses them...the congregations with the highest drop-out rate
         were the congregations with the lowest involvement level."
         (p. 113-114)
      4. "If a congregation can maintain a high involvement level, its
         conversion rate will be higher, its drop-out rate will be
         lower, and thus its net growth rate will be higher." (p. 44,
         45)

   B. THE CHALLENGE OF INVOLVING MEMBERS...
      1. Yeakley also addressed the challenge a congregation faces to
         involve every member, especially when it starts to grow...
      2. "In general, the larger the congregation the lower the
         involvement level...Why does the involvement level tend to
         decrease as size increases?...The problem with the larger
         congregations is that they have not been able to increase the
         number of task assignments fast enough to keep pace with their
         expanding membership." (p. 41, 42, 43)
      3. "Actually, the real problem was not always the ACTUAL roles-
         to-members ratio, but was sometimes the PERCEIVED roles-to-
         member ratio. In other words, a larger congregation might
         actually have more than enough specific task assignments to go
         around, but the members might not be aware of the many ways in
         which they could get involved." (p. 43)
      4. "If a congregation has a good actual roles-to-member ratio but
         a low perceived roles-to-members ratio, the problem is one of
         communication...A congregation can have a high involvement
         level no matter how large it becomes--if:
         a. that congregation will do the necessary organizational work
            so as to have a high actual roles-to-member ratio
         b. the congregation's leaders will communicate in the right
            way so as to have a high perceived roles-to-members ratio
      5. So the challenge is not just to have something for people to
         do, but letting them know what is available to do!

CONCLUSION

1. Thus "Equipping The Saints For Ministry" is a practical necessity as
   well as a providential one

2. If we want the Lord to open doors for us so we can be used by Him to
   reach lost souls, we must equip ourselves to be of service (the
   PROVIDENTIAL NECESSITY)

3. If we want those who come our way to feel that this congregation is
   important to them and vice versa, we must provide opportunity for
   every member to be able to serve! (the PRACTICAL NECESSITY)

4. Indeed, if we desire growth in the body of Christ, EVERY member must
   be doing his or her part, if the body of Christ is going to grow as
   it should! - cf. Ep 4:16

Having emphasized in these first two lessons the NEED for "Equipping
The Saints For Ministry", our next study will focus on the diversity of
function in the body of Christ.

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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Don't Worry, Be Happy by Kyle Butt, M.A.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=854

Don't Worry, Be Happy

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

It certainly would not single-handedly prove the Bible’s inspiration if we could show that it is filled with practical advice that is time-tested and true. However, it would add considerable weight to the overall case of biblical inspiration if several such pieces of proverbial wisdom could be discovered. One of those can be found in Matthew 6:25, a passage in which Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”
Worry has consistently been one of society’s most plaguing problems. It has caused countless costs in the healthcare profession. It has crippled the effectiveness of Christians. Worry has retarded growth in family, led to the premature deaths of loved ones, destroyed businesses, and separated souls from God. Surely, worry can’t be that destructive, some might say. However, in an amazing book titledNone of These Diseases, medical doctors S.I. McMillen and David E. Stern brought to light the fact that worrying and stress do cause major problems.
On pages 175-177 of their book, they included a partial list of conditions that are caused or worsened by worry and stress. Among those are infertility, suicide, lung cancer, breast cancer (or cancer of many types), anorexia, heart attacks, and strokes.
The negative effects of worry on the human body have been known for many years. The Great Physician’s prescription for a worry-free life was, and is, “just what the doctor ordered” for good health—physical, emotional, and spiritual.

REFERENCE

McMillen, S.I. and David Stern (2000), None of These Diseases (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell), third edition.

Computer Puts Evolution In “Jeopardy” by Kyle Butt, M.A.




http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3736

Computer Puts Evolution In “Jeopardy”

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Science fiction writers have been portraying the face-off between computers and humans for years. Ever so often, what once was science fiction becomes a reality. Such is the case with the upcoming television showdown between the two most-winning contestants from the popular game show “Jeopardy” and a new supercomputer named Watson (Fitzgerald and Martin, 2011).

On February 14-16, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter will be challenged by the latest in computing technology. The humans in the contest are certainly no slouches. Jennings won 74 “Jeopardy” games in a row. And he and Rutter combined to amass over 3.3 million dollars in prize money. Their challenger, Watson, an IBM supercomputer named after the founder of the company, can store the equivalent of over 200 million pages of information, is “the size of 10 refrigerators,” and is the “result of four years of work by IBM researchers around the globe.” In a practice round with the human champions, Watson outscored its opponents $4,000 to Jennings’ $3,400 and Rutter’s $1,200.

As enjoyable as contests like these are to watch, they bring to light a very serious truth that needs to be underscored. Would any person who was thinking correctly look at a supercomputer like Watson and conclude it did not have an intelligent designer (or several) behind its construction? To suggest such would be absurd. And yet it challenges brilliant humans, who are much less physically bulky, and who have proved their mental prowess repeatedly on “Jeopardy.” Does it make sense to suggest that Watson was the product of thousands of man-hours of IBM’s most brilliant researchers across the globe, but the human contestants were the products of blind chance and random evolutionary processes that lacked any type of intelligence and had no goal in mind? Certainly not. If Watson is the product of intelligence, then the IBM technicians who built it and the “Jeopardy” champions competing against it must have been designed by an even more impressive Super-intellect. As Hebrews 3:4 says, “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.” One could express that sentiment in another way and just as truly state that every computer is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. Supercomputer Watson adds one more piece of evidence that puts the theory of evolution in “Jeopardy!”

REFERENCE

Fitzgerald, Jim and David Martin (2011), “Computer Could Make 2 ‘Jeopardy!’ Champs Deep Blue,” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110114/ap_on_hi_te/us_man_vs_machine/print, January 14.

Another “Dragon” Discovered by Eric Lyons, M.Min.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=1442

Another “Dragon” Discovered

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Some people just don’t get the connection—between dinosaurs and dragons, that is. So much of the world, and sadly many Christians, have become so entranced with the vast ages of evolutionary time, that few consider the clear connection between human history and the fossil record.
For millennia, people have told stories of seeing and interacting with large reptilian creatures with elongated bodies, serpentine necks, horned or crested heads, sharp teeth, lengthy tails, and stout bodies, with or without membranous wings. These stories, called dragon legends, “have been with humanity since the dawn of recorded history” (“The Spread...,” 1981, 89:103), and are, as famed 20th-century evolutionist Carl Sagan admitted, “a worldwide phenomenon” (1977, p. 150, emp. added).
Thousands of years prior to the 19th century A.D. (when humans began locating, excavating, and reassembling dinosaur fossils, and when the term “dinosaur” was actually coined), humans had been describing dinosaurs; only they referred to them as “dragons” (see Lyons, 2007). Interestingly, when a nearly complete dinosaur skull was excavated in South Dakota in 2003, the long, knobby skull appeared so similar to ancient descriptions and paintings of certain “legendary” dragons, the dinosaur actually was named Dracorex, meaning “dragon king” (see Bakker, et al., 2006).
The news agency Reuters has now reported that paleontologists in Poland have unearthed the fossilized remains of another dinosaur. The animal is believed to have been over 16 feet long with two-inch teeth. Dr. Tomasz Sulej of the Polish Science Academy stated: “This is a completely new type of dinosaur” (Baczynska, 2008). It is so new to science, in fact, that a scientific name has yet to be given to the animal. In the meantime, however, scientists have given the animal a working name: “Dragon” (Baczynska, 2008).
In the past five years, fossils from two different dinosaurs have been excavated. Researchers so readily recognize the similarities between these two dinosaurs and dragons that they have given one the scientific name Dracorex (“dragon king”), and the other the working name Dragon. When will evolutionary scientists take the next logical step and ask from whence came descriptions of dragons? If humans never lived with dinosaurs, historical descriptions of dragons, many of which sound just like dinosaurs, should not exist (cf. Job 41). But they do exist, and have for millennia. In truth, dragon legends, or should we call them “dinosaur descriptions,” are exactly what one would expect to find if humans and dinosaurs once cohabited the Earth, just as Scripture teaches (Genesis 1:24-28; Exodus 20:11).

REFERENCES

Bakker, Robert, et al. (2006), “Dracorex Hogwartsia, N. Gen., N. Sp., A Spiked, Flat-headed Pachycephalosaurid Dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation of South Dakota,”New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Bulletin 35, [On-line], URL:http://www.childrensmuseum.org/dinosphere/draco_rex/dracorex_hogwartsia.pdf.
Baczynska, Gabriela (2008), “Ancestor of T-Rex Dinosaur Unearthed in Poland,” Reuters, [On-line],URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSL148207720080802?sp=true.
Lyons, Eric (2007), “Historical Support for the Coexistence of Dinosaurs and Humans—Parts I & II,”Reason & Revelation, 27:65-71,73-79, September-October.
Sagan, Carl (1977), The Dragons of Eden (New York: Random House).
“The Spread of Dragon Myths” (1981), Science Digest, 89:103, May.

Are All Divorced Persons Eligible to Remarry? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=1182

Are All Divorced Persons Eligible to Remarry?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

American civilization is experiencing significant moral decay. “Traditional American values,” i.e., values that were drawn from the Bible, are being jettisoned by a sizable portion of the nation’s citizenry. This spiritual and social deterioration is nowhere more evident than in the breakdown and dissolution of the family. Divorce rates have consistently climbed to higher and higher levels. The marriage relationship no longer commands the respect it once did. This God-ordained institution, though originally intended to be held in honor and sanctity, has been significantly undermined and cheapened.
The religious response to this situation generally has been accommodative, as many within the church find their own families adversely affected by divorce. They have been intimidated by two factors: (1) the large numbers of divorced people; and (2) the emotional trauma associated with divorce. “Rethinking” their understanding of Bible teaching, they have decided to relax the high standards that God enjoined. The various viewpoints now available to those who wish to justify their marital decisions are legion.
The clear teaching of the Bible is that God wants one man for one woman for life (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6). The only exception to this foundational premise was articulated by Jesus when He said a person is permitted to divorce the original mate only for the specific reason of that mate’s sexual infidelity. Then and only then may the innocent mate form a second marriage with an eligible partner (Matthew 19:9). Consequently, the primary thrust of Scripture as it pertains to marriage is “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16). In fact, He permits it on only one ground.
This divine aversion to divorce refers specifically to divorce that occurs between two people who arescripturally married. Men and women who marry for the first time in their youth should so conduct themselves that they remain together. God does not want that first marriage to dissolve. He hates it when these couples unscripturally dissolve their scriptural marriage. Unscriptural divorce is the kind of divorcing that God hates.
However, not all divorce is contrary to God’s will. Jesus said an individual has permission to divorce the mate that commits fornication (Matthew 19:9). So divorce for that innocent marriage partner is not sinful. In Ezra’s day, exiled Jews had formed illicit marriages and were required to sever those marriages (Ezra 10:3,11). Divorce in that instance was likewise not sinful. John the baptizer informed Herod that when he married Herodias, he was sinning, and would have to dissolve the marriage (Mark 6:17-18). Divorce in that case was not sinful. When Paul identified several Corinthian Christians as having previously been adulterers (1 Corinthians 6:9), the putting away (i.e., divorce) that would have been necessary to end their adultery in order to be “washed” and “sanctified” (1 Corinthians 6:11) would not have been sinful. (The same principle would have applied equally to all other forms of fornication mentioned in the context—including homosexuality). These scriptural examples show that not all divorce is wrong in God’s sight.
On the other hand, much of the divorcing that is occurring today is contrary to the will of God. Any person who divorces their scriptural spouse for any reason, other than fornication, is sinning in so doing. They sin when they divorce! They sin on at least two counts. First, they sin because they have divorced for some reason other than fornication. Second, they sin because they violated the vows they took when they married (i.e., “until death do us part”).
In this divorced condition (i.e., having divorced for some reason other than fornication), the individual has placed himself in a predicament that comes under additional divine restrictions. Paul pinpointed those restrictions in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 where he insisted that scripturally married couples ought not to divorce. However, should their marriage break up unscripturally, both are to remain unmarried. Some feel this verse does not refer to a technical divorce but merely to a separation. Either way, their breakup (whether by separation or divorce) is contrary to God’s will, and neither of the two is eligible to marry someone else.
People are permitted to participate in marriage only insofar as God says they are eligible to do so. The Hebrews writer insisted that marriage (and the sexual relationship that accompanies marriage) is to be undertaken honorably—i.e., in accordance with God’s regulations. To engage in marriage (and the sexual relations that accompany marriage) out of harmony with God’s regulations is to be guilty of fornication and adultery (Hebrews 13:4). Fornication, by definition, refers to illicit sexual intercourse. Adultery is one type of fornication, and refers to the sexual relations between a man and a woman, at least one of whom has prior marital responsibilities. Adultery, by definition, derives its meaning on the basis of a person’s prior marital connections.
A person does not have to be married in order to please God and go to heaven. All a person has to be is a Christian. He does not have to be an elder, a deacon, or a preacher. He or she does not have to be a father, or a mother, or a parent. These are relationships and roles that God designed to be helpful to the human condition. However, not everyone qualifies to fill these roles, and people can go to heaven without ever occupying these roles. So it is with marriage. All people must meet God’s designated prerequisites before marriage may be had in honor. God nowhere promises anyone unlimited access to the marriage relationship.
Notice, then, that in view of God’s regulations, three categories of divorced persons are ineligible to remarry: (1) the person who committed fornication and was divorced for that act by his or her spouse (Matthew 19:9a); (2) the person who was unscripturally divorced (i.e., put away for some reason other than fornication) by a spouse (Matthew 19:9b); and (3) the person who was deserted by an unbelieving spouse (1 Corinthians 7:12-15). In these three instances, the divorced person is ineligible to remarry. Putting the entire matter positively, the only divorced person who is eligible in God’s sight to remarry (while the former mate is still living—Romans 7:3) is the person who divorced his/her original mate for that mate’s sexual unfaithfulness.
Many people feel that such strict limitations are out of harmony with the grace, love, and forgiveness of God. They believe that such high standards make divorce the “unpardonable sin.” But this conclusion does not follow. People can be forgiven of mistakes they make in the realm of divorce and remarriage. Forgiveness is not the issue. The issue is: can they remain in whatever marriage relationship they choose? Can they so sin that they forfeit their right to participate in a future marriage relationship? Jesus made the answers to these questions clear in His discussion in Matthew 19:1-12. All people who divorce their scriptural mates for any reason except fornication continue to commit adultery when they remarry.
However, do we have any indication elsewhere in Scripture that people can so sin that they forfeittheir privilege to participate in a state, condition, or relationship that they previously enjoyed—even though they may be forgiven? As a matter of fact, the Bible is replete with such instances! Adam and Eve violated God’s word and were responsible for introducing sin into the Universe. One consequence of their sin was that they were expelled from Eden. Could they be forgiven? Yes! Could they ever return to the garden? No! Their expulsion was permanent. They had so sinned that they forfeited the privilege of enjoying that previous status.
Esau was guilty of profanity when he sold his birthright (Hebrews 12:16). Could he be forgiven for this mistake? Yes! Could he regain his birthright? No, “though he sought it diligently with tears” (Hebrews 12:17)!
Virtually the entire adult population of the nation of Israel sinned when they refused to obey God by proceeding with a military assault against the land of Canaan (Numbers 14:11-12). Could they be forgiven? Yes, and they were (Numbers 14:19-20). Were they then permitted to enter into the Promised Land? Absolutely not! They were doomed to wander in the desert for forty years (Numbers 14:33-34).
Moses allowed himself to be goaded into disobedience on one occasion by the incessant complaining of the nation committed to his keeping (Numbers 20:7-12). Could Moses be forgiven? Yes! In heaven, we will sing the song of Moses and the Lamb (Revelation 15:3)! But was Moses permitted to enter into the Promised Land? No. He was banned permanently from that privilege due to his own sinful choice (Deuteronomy 32:51-52).
Eli failed to manage his family properly, and so brought down upon himself lasting tragedies (1 Samuel 3:11-14). Though Saul acknowledged his own sin, his disobedience evoked God’s permanent rejection of him as king (1 Samuel 15:11,23,26,28). Samuel never visited Saul again. David’s sin, though forgiven, brought several negative consequences that could not be altered (2 Samuel 12:11-14). Solomon’s sin resulted in personal calamity and the division of the nation (1 Kings 11-12).
These biblical examples demonstrate that sin produces lasting consequences, despite the availability of God’s grace and forgiveness. If biblical history teaches us anything, it teaches that people cannot sin and then expect to have things the way they were before. More often than not, much suffering comes upon those who violate God’s will, making it impossible for them to enjoy past privileges—though they can be forgiven and have the hope of heaven.
Many people feel that God would be unkind, unfair, or overly harsh if He did not permit divorced and remarried couples to stay together, regardless of their previous marital choices. Undoubtedly, these same people would feel that God was unfair to Adam and Eve for ejecting them from the garden, making it impossible for them to enjoy the condition that they once sustained! That would mean that God was unfair and harsh toward the Israelites as well as Moses! Such thinking betrays an inaccurate and unscriptural grasp of the nature and person of God. It reflects a failure to possess a healthy fear of God (Exodus 20:5; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Luke 12:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Hebrews 10:31; 12:29; Revelation 6:16-17).
God elevated the marriage relationship to a high plane when, at the beginning of the human race, He laid down the strict standards that govern marriage (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6). Many apparently feel that they have a right to be married regardless of their previous conduct. They feel that God’s high standards ought to be adjusted in order for them to exercise their “right.” Yet, the Bible teaches that the institution of marriage was founded by God to provide cohesion and orientation in life. Unlike one’s spiritual marriage (i.e., to Christ), which will proceed right on into eternity, human marriage is for this life alone (Matthew 22:30). Therefore, marriage is not a right; it is a privilege. People must conform to God’s marriage rules in order for marriage to serve its earthly purpose. Failure to comply neutralizes the ability of the marriage institution to do what it was divinely designed to do. Failure to comply with God’s “directions for use” causes us to forfeit our opportunity to participate in the institution. We must remember: Father knows best.

From Jim McGuiggan... JESUS AND PSALM 22 (4)

JESUS AND PSALM 22 (4)

Here’s the thing, if Jesus always did what pleased his Holy Father and if he never pleased him more than when he wholeheartedly went to the cross for the world’s salvation; if he knew his Father would never leave him even though his closest friends would; if he knew that God was reconciling the world to himself at the cross, if Gethsemane was the defining moment when all emotional debate ended, if his rebuke of Peter’s swordplay and his refusal of a legion of angels to keep him from the cross—if all that’s true—and more—what’s he doing with Psalm 22:1 on his lips as he chooses to do what he’s doing?
[I confess I can make nothing of the view that says Jesus agreed to save the world by being forsaken by God and then has him groaning and asking why God has forsaken him.]
We might conclude that for all his commitment, all his assurance that God was right there with him (Acts 2:25) and despite his unwavering trust (Acts 2:25) that the agony of the experience dragged the words from his mouth. That he choked with the pain of it can be true no matter how we explain his “why?” It isn’t hard to understand that people gladly do self-sacrificing things while screaming in agony—we’ve come across that in life in countless stories or personal experiences.
The cry, then, would not be a question though it has the interrogative form. It would not even be a plea or a prayer so much as it would be a way of bringing God into the intensity of the experience. It need not be a search for understanding—it might well be a way to give verbal vent to the pain.
Some among us (God bless them) who have undergone sore years without a moment’s doubt or recrimination against God have still said the equivalent of “why?” Their “Why me?” or “Why her?” are not accusations or even a plea for specific explanation—they’re a way of telling God how heart-wrenching the experience is!
That might be the complete explanation! All that I said in the earlier pieces about the psalmist’s thinking might be incorrect—it might be making more of it than was there. It might be no more than what I’ve often done at a trivial level when a dressing I’d worked hard and long at to treat one of Ethel’s awkward pressure sores wouldn’t work and I’d snarl at it: “Arrrgh; why won’t you stay in place?” There is nothing logical or “rational” in that—it’s the verbal venting of frustration at the situation.
That explanation appeals to me because I know we do so much of that ourselves—but it isn’t enough.
The Bible doesn’t do a lot of psychological profiling or probing; we are the ones that fill in the blanks. We tell each other how Abraham must have felt as he made the trip to Moriah with Isaac or how Hannah must have felt when she took her little boy to the temple to live there rather than at home. This is no crime, of course, but it isn’t something the Bible does much of. The events around the cross are rehearsed to us with full theological intent and they’re not simply a rehearsal of “what happened”. I say all that to say that I don’t think either the psalmist or Jesus is merely expressing the depths of his pain.
The Gospel records call on numerous Psalms as well as other texts in the events that gathered round the cross. Psalms 22, 31, 34, 69 and others are involved.
My God, my God why have you forsaken me?
Father into your hands I commit my spirit.
Father forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.
Today you will be with me in Paradise.
I thirst.
It is finished!
Woman, behold your son; son behold your mother.
Each of these recorded sayings is more than the “personal feelings” of Jesus. They are words of defiant trust in the face of awful realities; they are words that express Jesus’ work as the Saviour of his people Israel (and others); they are the words of one who knows he is coming into his kingdom; they are the words of one who knows even in this awful hour that his God is able to perfect praise even in the dying ones; they are words that express his goodbye to his mother as he enters a new phase of service to God and the world (a topic for another time perhaps) and words that underline Sin’s spiteful opposition to the Righteous One.
He expresses his agonized trust and assurance in the words of righteous sufferers before him and gives the multitude a chance to see the presence of the Redeeming God in the midst of all this wreckage. In quoting Psalm 31:5, in connecting with Psalm 69:21 and giving the opening line of Psalm 22 he shows he is sharing the trouble of the righteous and he’s offering these people a way of interpreting what they’re seeing from an old and new perspective. To dismiss Jesus because he is in this situation would be to dismiss the righteous sufferers of their own history who spoke their trust and defiance in the face of similar treatment. [If Jesus was a fraud, so was David and what Jew would think that much less say it?]
What they were seeing was part of the truth of God and about God but there was more truth in it than what they were seeing. When Jesus quotes and alludes to specific verses we’re not to isolate the verses from their setting. The NT never does that—it always calls us to the soil out of which these specific verses rise. In quoting Psalm 22:1 Jesus is expressing his anguish (expressed every bit as dramatically in Gethsemane) but he’s telling his watchers—those that sobbed and those that jeered, those that wondered and those that despaired—he was telling his watchers: “As you look at all this, think Psalm 22!”
Did Jesus think he was the object of God’s wrath? Impossible! Was he God’s way of reconciling the world to himself? Absolutely! Did God cease to fellowship Jesus who was now fulfilling the Holy Father’s will? Never! Was he even as he dies the sinless, spotless, self-sacrificing Son declaring his ceaseless trust in and devotion to his Holy Father? Yessss! Was he the spotless Lamb of God that God himself provided? Yes; that’s what made his dying significant and made him the perfect sacrifice that dealt with sin.
Did God turn his face from Jesus in holy recoil, unable to look on him because he was somehow (in a certain kind of theology) polluted by sin or polluted by his connection with it? No! No!
God had no trouble with looking at sin-offerings without blemish and he had no trouble looking at this one that he himself provided! There was no sin here—there was only a sinless Lamb of God as a sin-offering which takes away the sin of the world.
What he quoted was the anguished opening sentence of an entire Psalm that his experience illustrates and alludes to again and again at Golgotha. If David thought God had abandoned him he didn’t reflect Jesus’ thinking—Jesus knew better! But Jesus felt his agony, felt his rejection, felt his loneliness, felt his thirst, felt the mockery, felt the nearness of death and the fact that no one else could deliver him out of all this and death as well. He felt all that but he was persuaded beyond debate that God was at his right hand so he could not be shaken (Psalm 16:7-11 and Acts 2:25-28).
Some have set up an atonement theory that requires God to be judicially hostile to Jesus and to turn from him because his eyes are too pure to look on sin (as if Habakkuk 1:13 had anything like that in view). Without the theory we don’t need to imagine God withdrawing his holy and loving fellowship and peace from Jesus.

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

From Gary.... Bible Reading June 9



Bible Reading   

June 9

The World English Bible


June 9
1 Samuel 11, 12

1Sa 11:1 Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabesh Gilead: and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve you.
1Sa 11:2 Nahash the Ammonite said to them, On this condition will I make it with you, that all your right eyes be put out; and I will lay it for a reproach on all Israel.
1Sa 11:3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, Give us seven days' respite, that we may send messengers to all the borders of Israel; and then, if there be none to save us, we will come out to you.
1Sa 11:4 Then came the messengers to Gibeah of Saul, and spoke these words in the ears of the people: and all the people lifted up their voice, and wept.
1Sa 11:5 Behold, Saul came following the oxen out of the field; and Saul said, What ails the people that they weep? They told him the words of the men of Jabesh.
1Sa 11:6 The Spirit of God came mightily on Saul when he heard those words, and his anger was kindled greatly.
1Sa 11:7 He took a yoke of oxen, and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the borders of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, Whoever doesn't come forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen. The dread of Yahweh fell on the people, and they came out as one man.
1Sa 11:8 He numbered them in Bezek; and the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand.
1Sa 11:9 They said to the messengers who came, Thus you shall tell the men of Jabesh Gilead, Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have deliverance. The messengers came and told the men of Jabesh; and they were glad.
1Sa 11:10 Therefore the men of Jabesh said, Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you shall do with us all that seems good to you.
1Sa 11:11 It was so on the next day, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch, and struck the Ammonites until the heat of the day: and it happened, that those who remained were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
1Sa 11:12 The people said to Samuel, Who is he who said, Shall Saul reign over us? bring the men, that we may put them to death.
1Sa 11:13 Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day; for today Yahweh has worked deliverance in Israel.
1Sa 11:14 Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there.
1Sa 11:15 All the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before Yahweh in Gilgal; and there they offered sacrifices of peace offerings before Yahweh; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.
1Sa 12:1 Samuel said to all Israel, Behold, I have listened to your voice in all that you said to me, and have made a king over you.
1Sa 12:2 Now, behold, the king walks before you; and I am old and gray-headed; and behold, my sons are with you: and I have walked before you from my youth to this day.
1Sa 12:3 Here I am: witness against me before Yahweh, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose donkey have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I taken a ransom to blind my eyes therewith? and I will restore it you.
1Sa 12:4 They said, You have not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither have you taken anything of any man's hand.
1Sa 12:5 He said to them, Yahweh is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand. They said, He is witness.
1Sa 12:6 Samuel said to the people, It is Yahweh who appointed Moses and Aaron, and that brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt.
1Sa 12:7 Now therefore stand still, that I may plead with you before Yahweh concerning all the righteous acts of Yahweh, which he did to you and to your fathers.
1Sa 12:8 When Jacob was come into Egypt, and your fathers cried to Yahweh, then Yahweh sent Moses and Aaron, who brought forth your fathers out of Egypt, and made them to dwell in this place.
1Sa 12:9 But they forgot Yahweh their God; and he sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the army of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab; and they fought against them.
1Sa 12:10 They cried to Yahweh, and said, We have sinned, because we have forsaken Yahweh, and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth: but now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve you.
1Sa 12:11 Yahweh sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you lived in safety.
1Sa 12:12 When you saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, you said to me, No, but a king shall reign over us; when Yahweh your God was your king.
1Sa 12:13 Now therefore see the king whom you have chosen, and whom you have asked for: and behold, Yahweh has set a king over you.
1Sa 12:14 If you will fear Yahweh, and serve him, and listen to his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of Yahweh, and both you and also the king who reigns over you are followers of Yahweh your God, well:
1Sa 12:15 but if you will not listen to the voice of Yahweh, but rebel against the commandment of Yahweh, then will the hand of Yahweh be against you, as it was against your fathers.
1Sa 12:16 Now therefore stand still and see this great thing, which Yahweh will do before your eyes.
1Sa 12:17 Isn't it wheat harvest today? I will call to Yahweh, that he may send thunder and rain; and you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of Yahweh, in asking for a king.
1Sa 12:18 So Samuel called to Yahweh; and Yahweh sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared Yahweh and Samuel.
1Sa 12:19 All the people said to Samuel, Pray for your servants to Yahweh your God, that we not die; for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.
1Sa 12:20 Samuel said to the people, "Don't be afraid; you have indeed done all this evil; yet don't turn aside from following Yahweh, but serve Yahweh with all your heart:
1Sa 12:21 and don't turn aside; for then would you go after vain things which can't profit nor deliver, for they are vain.
1Sa 12:22 For Yahweh will not forsake his people for his great name's sake, because it has pleased Yahweh to make you a people to himself.
1Sa 12:23 Moreover as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against Yahweh in ceasing to pray for you: but I will instruct you in the good and the right way.
1Sa 12:24 Only fear Yahweh, and serve him in truth with all your heart; for consider how great things he has done for you.
1Sa 12:25 But if you shall still do wickedly, you shall be consumed, both you and your king."

Jun. 9, 10
John 13

Joh 13:1 Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his time had come that he would depart from this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
Joh 13:2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him,
Joh 13:3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came forth from God, and was going to God,
Joh 13:4 arose from supper, and laid aside his outer garments. He took a towel, and wrapped a towel around his waist.
Joh 13:5 Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Joh 13:6 Then he came to Simon Peter. He said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?"
Joh 13:7 Jesus answered him, "You don't know what I am doing now, but you will understand later."
Joh 13:8 Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I don't wash you, you have no part with me."
Joh 13:9 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!"
Joh 13:10 Jesus said to him, "Someone who has bathed only needs to have his feet washed, but is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you."
Joh 13:11 For he knew him who would betray him, therefore he said, "You are not all clean."
Joh 13:12 So when he had washed their feet, put his outer garment back on, and sat down again, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?
Joh 13:13 You call me, 'Teacher' and 'Lord.' You say so correctly, for so I am.
Joh 13:14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
Joh 13:15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.
Joh 13:16 Most certainly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his lord, neither one who is sent greater than he who sent him.
Joh 13:17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Joh 13:18 I don't speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen. But that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.'
Joh 13:19 From now on, I tell you before it happens, that when it happens, you may believe that I am he.
Joh 13:20 Most certainly I tell you, he who receives whomever I send, receives me; and he who receives me, receives him who sent me."
Joh 13:21 When Jesus had said this, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, "Most certainly I tell you that one of you will betray me."
Joh 13:22 The disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom he spoke.
Joh 13:23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was at the table, leaning against Jesus' breast.
Joh 13:24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said to him, "Tell us who it is of whom he speaks."
Joh 13:25 He, leaning back, as he was, on Jesus' breast, asked him, "Lord, who is it?"
Joh 13:26 Jesus therefore answered, "It is he to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.
Joh 13:27 After the piece of bread, then Satan entered into him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly."
Joh 13:28 Now no man at the table knew why he said this to him.
Joh 13:29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus said to him, "Buy what things we need for the feast," or that he should give something to the poor.
Joh 13:30 Therefore, having received that morsel, he went out immediately. It was night.
Joh 13:31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.
Joh 13:32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him immediately.
Joh 13:33 Little children, I will be with you a little while longer. You will seek me, and as I said to the Jews, 'Where I am going, you can't come,' so now I tell you.
Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another.
Joh 13:35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Joh 13:36 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered, "Where I am going, you can't follow now, but you will follow afterwards."
Joh 13:37 Peter said to him, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."
Joh 13:38 Jesus answered him, "Will you lay down your life for me? Most certainly I tell you, the rooster won't crow until you have denied me three times. 



From Gary... The TEST

The Test


A test becomes The TEST

This morning, as a did my usual review of facebook, I came upon a test. It was one that was purported to be able to predict whether or not I would live another five years. When the results said that I would be around for that amount of time, I wasn't as happy as I thought I might be. Something bothered me.  Then, I remembered the Scriptures....

James, Chapter 4 (WEB)
 13  Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow let’s go into this city, and spend a year there, trade, and make a profit.”  14 Whereas you don’t know what your life will be like tomorrow. For what is your life? For you are a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.  15 For you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will both live, and do this or that.” 

Conclusion: The earthy test had been a waste of time, because although statistically it might be valid, in reality, its up to God how long I have upon the earth.

After a bit, it occurred to me that all of life is a test, both of the physical AND the spiritual. The physical is obvious to us all, but what about the SPIRITUAL TEST THAT IS FROM GOD????


I won't take The TEST, right NOW...


Acts, Chapter 24 (WEB)
 22  But Felix, having more exact knowledge concerning the Way, deferred them, saying, “When Lysias, the commanding officer, comes down, I will decide your case.”  23 He ordered the centurion that Paul should be kept in custody, and should have some privileges, and not to forbid any of his friends to serve him or to visit him.  24 But after some days, Felix came with Drusilla, his wife, who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was terrified, and answered, “Go your way for this time, and when it is convenient for me, I will summon you.” 

Felix thought he could put off a decision about Jesus, and he could for awhile.  But with each an every day, he came closer to his own death.  Sooner or later, we all must die.

Conclusion: Why put off the inevitable? Come to grips with reality, and do it NOW!!!!


I won't BELIEVE The TEST, NO MATTER WHAT!!!!



Romans, Chapter 1 (WEB)
13  Now I don’t desire to have you unaware, brothers, that I often planned to come to you, and was hindered so far, that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am debtor both to Greeks and to foreigners, both to the wise and to the foolish.  15 So, as much as is in me, I am eager to preach the Good News to you also who are in Rome.  16 For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek. 17 For in it is revealed God’s righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by faith.”  18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them.  20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse.  21 Because, knowing God, they didn’t glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened. 

Luke, Chapter 14 (WEB)
 16  But he said to him, “A certain man made a great supper, and he invited many people.   17  He sent out his servant at supper time to tell those who were invited, ‘Come, for everything is ready now.’   18 They all as one began to make excuses. 


“The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please have me excused.’ 

  19  “Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I must go try them out. Please have me excused.’ 

  20  “Another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I can’t come.’ 


Some people will just not believe in God- NO MATTER WHAT!!! Instead they will reason within themselves and deny the evidence and rationalize until they become "hardened of heart" and make up something that pleases and eases their conscience (if any remains).  Therefore, they become their own god, because they put their will above the creator of all things!!!

Conclusion: Stop with the excuses, already!!! God is God and you will never become equal to him!!! Stop trying to do this- seek HIM with a submissive attitude, and do it NOW!!!



I will try to pass The TEST!!!!



Romans, Chapter 6 (WEB)
12  Therefore don’t let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.  13 Neither present your members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  14 For sin will not have dominion over you. For you are not under law, but under grace.  15 What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? May it never be! 16 Don’t you know that to whom you present yourselves as servants to obedience, his servants you are whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?  17 But thanks be to God, that, whereas you were bondservants of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were delivered. 18 Being made free from sin, you became bondservants of righteousness. 

Acts, Chapter 17 (WEB)
 10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea. When they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. 


  11  Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.  12 Many of them therefore believed; also of the prominent Greek women, and not a few men.

The difference between the sinner and the saint is a matter of heart, mind and action. A saint is simply a person who has been made right with God by the sacrifice of Jesus in his stead. Be one!!!

Conclusion: Be a person with the right attitude towards God, study the Scriptures and do what God wants you to do to be right- and do it NOW!!!


Show me The TEST; I want to take it now!!!



Matthew, Chapter 16 (WEB)
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?” 

  14  They said, “Some say John the Baptizer, some, Elijah, and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 


  15  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 


  16  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 


  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.   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.   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.” 


Acts, Chapter 2 (WEB)
 36  “Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 

  37  Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brothers, what shall we do?” 


  38  Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”  40 With many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” 


Two passages, one common problem: Jesus!!! Sooner or later, we all will have to take The Test of what we will do about HIM!!!

Conclusion: Jesus is both Lord and Christ- Believe it, because its true!!!  Get right with HIM as soon as possible- your Spiritual well being depends upon it!!!

NOW, BEGIN!!!...