8/26/15

From Mark Copeland... "GIVE ME THE BIBLE" Why I Obey The Bible



                          "GIVE ME THE BIBLE"

                          Why I Obey The Bible

INTRODUCTION

1. In this series ("Give Me The Bible"), thus far we have explored...
   a. The Problem Of Biblical Illiteracy
   b. Why I Read The Bible
   c. Why I Believe The Bible
   d. Why I Love The Bible

2. But it does us no good to...
   a. Read the Bible
   b. Believe the Bible
   c. Love the Bible
   -- If we are unwilling to obey the Bible!

[To drive this point home, let's first take a close look at...]

I. THE NECESSITY OF OBEDIENCE

   A. AS TAUGHT BY JESUS...
      1. Necessary to enter the kingdom of heaven - Mt 7:21-23; Lk 6:46
         a. It is not enough to believe in Jesus as Lord
         b. Not even to do many things in His name
         c. We must do the will of His Father in heaven
         d. We must do what Jesus says!
      2. Necessary to qualify as good soil - Lk 8:15
         a. It is not enough to hear (read) the Word of God
         b. Not even to initially do what the Word says
         c. We must receive the Word with good and noble hearts
         d. We must bear fruit with patience!
      3. Necessary to be faithful disciples of Christ - Mt 28:18-20
         a. It is not enough to simply believe in Jesus
         b. Not even to be baptized into the name of the Father, Son,
            and Holy Spirit
         c. We must be disciples of Christ (i.e., adherents)
         d. We must observe (do) what He says!

   B. AS TAUGHT BY HIS APOSTLES...
      1. Necessary in order to be saved - He 5:9
         a. Jesus is the author (source) of eternal salvation
         b. But for those who obey Him!
      2. Necessary to avoid God's wrath - Ro 2:4-11
         a. The goodness of God is designed to lead one to repent
         b. The righteous judgment of God is coming, a day of wrath!
         c. Eternal life is for "those who keep on doing good" (NLT)
         d. Indignation and wrath is for those who do not obey the truth!
      3. Necessary to avoid eternal destruction - 1Pe 4:17; 2Th 1:7-9
         a. What will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel?
         b. Vengeance in the form of everlasting destruction!

[Of course, we must understand that obedience does not earn or merit
salvation (cf. Ep 2:8-9; Tit 3:4-7; Lk 17:10), but obedience is
necessary nonetheless.  Especially so when one considers...]

II. THE BLESSINGS OF OBEDIENCE

   A. AS TAUGHT BY JESUS...
      1. Enables one to withstand the storms of life - Mt 7:24-27
         a. It is not enough to hear the sayings of Jesus
         b. We must both hear and keep His says
         c. Only then will we be blessed to stand strong against the
            storms of life!
      2. Qualifies one to be in the family of God - Lk 8:21
         a. It is not enough to simply listen to the Word of God
         b. We must both hear and do it
         c. Only then will we blessed to be a member of the family of God!
      3. The key to blessedness (joy) - Jn 13:17
         a. It is not enough to know what Jesus teaches
         b. We must do what He teaches
         c. The blessedness (joy) of following Jesus is in the doing!

   B. AS TAUGHT BY HIS APOSTLES...
      1. Delivers from the bondage of sin - Ro 6:16-18
         a. We are slaves to that which we obey
         b. When one obeys from the heart the doctrine of God, they are
            set free from sin!
      2. Purifies one's soul - 1Pe 1:22-23
         a. Obeying the truth purifies our souls
         b. It leads to being born again by the Word of God
      3. Saves and blesses one's soul - Jm 1:21-25
         a. The Word has the potential to save our souls
         b. But we must doers, not hearers only
         c. Again, the blessedness (joy) is in the doing!

CONCLUSION

1. Why do I obey the Bible?  Because obedience is necessary...
   a. If we truly love Jesus  - Jn 14:15
   b. If we want Jesus and His Father to abide in us - Jn 14:21-24;15:10
   c. If we want to truly know the Lord and experience the love of God
      - 1Jn 2:3-5

2. Again, such obedience is not an effort to earn or merit salvation...
   a. Salvation is by grace through faith, not of works - Ep 2:8-9
   b. But grace does not preclude obedience done in faith - He 5:9
   c. We obey the Word of God, not to earn salvation, but to receive salvation!

As Jesus stated on one occasion:  "Blessed rather are those who hear the
word of God and keep it!" (Lk 11:28).  Are you keeping (obeying) the
Word of God in order to be blessed...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

Obviously Not the Bible by Kyle Butt, M.A.


https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=1489

Obviously Not the Bible

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

In the wake of the best-selling book, The Da Vinci Code, questions have arisen about certain “lost books” of the Bible. Many want to know why the books we find in the Bible are there, and why other books are not. The simple answer to such an inquiry is that the 66 books in the Bible can be proven to be inspired by God, while the others can be proven not to have come from God.
Numerous books allege to be part of the divine collection—books such as the Gospel of Nicodemus, the Infancy Gospels, the Protevangelion, 1 and 2 Clement, Shepherd of Hermes, and so on. Some of these apocryphal books claim to be “additions” to the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Others claim to be epistles from men like Barnabas or Paul. A brief look at a few selected passages in one of these writings quickly reveals a few of the more obvious reasons why these books did not make it into the biblical canon.
In the first Infancy Gospel, Jesus is portrayed as a young boy who does amazing things. On one occasion, while playing with some other boys, Jesus’ playfellows ran and hid from Him. Upon finding them hidden in a furnace, He turned them into goats. The women watching the scene begged Jesus to turn the goats back into boys, which Jesus promptly did (1 Infancy 17:10 in The Lost, 1979, p. 54). About two chapters later, 1 Infancy states: “Another time, when the Lord Jesus was coming home in the evening with Joseph, he met a boy, who ran so hard against him, that he threw him down; to whom the Lord Jesus said, As thou has thrown me down, so shalt thou fall, nor ever rise. And that moment the boy fell down and died” (1 Infancy 19:22-24 in The Lost, p. 57). Narratives such as these directly contradict the personality of Christ as presented in the canonical gospels, and are evidence of the lack of divine inspiration in such works.
Jesus did not turn his playmates into goats, nor kill boys who bumped into Him. Neither did God allow any pertinent books to be left out of the canon of Scripture. Truly, “all things that pertain to life and godliness” can be found in the 66 inspired books of the Bible.

REFERENCES

The Lost Books of the Bible (1979), (New York: Random House).

God's Mercy and Justice by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.


https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=960

God's Mercy and Justice

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

The inspired writers of the Bible recorded a remarkable amount of material about two characteristics of God: mercy and justice. These two qualities, at first glance, might seem contradictory. Can a gracious, merciful God punish people?
First, observe a portion of the biblical record of God’s mercy. Just after the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, Moses led them in a song of praise to God, which included this verse: “You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation” (Exodus 15:13, emp. added). It was not long after this that God gave the Israelites instructions to build the Ark of the Covenant, the lid of which was called the mercy seat. The mercy seat was made of pure gold, and was the place where God communicated with Moses (Exodus 25:22; 30:6). The Greek word used to name the mercy seat is hilasterion (Hebrews 9:5), a word that also is used to designate Jesus (Romans 3:25; McCord, 128[17]:527). In a sense, Jesus is the “mercy seat” for Christians—His merciful sacrifice and eternal presence allow us to communicate with the Father (see 1 John 2:1; Hebrews 7:27), and through Christ we receive God’s mercy (Isaiah 53:4-6; 1 Timothy 1:2; 1 Peter 1:3).
When revealing the Ten Commandments to Moses, God Himself proclaimed both His divine mercy and justice:
You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love me and keep My commandments (Exodus 20:4-7).
Just as God’s mercy continues to exist, the justice of God likewise is not limited to the long ago. God is still serious about people serving Him, and about the consequences for people who choose not to serve Him. It is fascinating and startling to study the numerous passages where God’s vengeance is under consideration. For example, Hebrews 10:30 records: “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ ” In Romans 12:19, Paul wrote: “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Our perfect God cannot allow sin to go unpunished (see Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:9). God always has been just—He punished Adam, for example, because sin has consequences (Genesis 2:17). Norman L. Bales observed of God’s punishing Adam: “Had He not done so, our relationship with Him would be as unpredictable as the relationship the ancient pagan people imagined they had with their numerous deities” (1989, p. 33). We can depend on God’s system of ethics because God has never treated the righteous and the wicked in the same way (p. 34).
Many sincerely ask: “How could a merciful God allow souls to be eternally lost?” Some people conclude that mercy and justice must be mutually exclusive characteristics of God, and, consequently, God never could exercise justice or wrath on anyone, because His mercy prevails. Their picture of God is skewed, because they picture Him as akin to a benevolent, grandfather who constantly gives generous gifts, but is extremely hesitant to discipline. In God’s dealings with humans, both mercy and justice are present, with the two characteristics balancing each other.
If God is truly good (and He is), then He cannot tolerate or overlook evil. He did not overlook the sin of Adam (Genesis 3:17-19), Cain (Genesis 4:11-13), Saul (1 Samuel 15:26), or David (2 Samuel 12:8-10), and He certainly will not overlook sin in the modern world. However, God has mercifully provided a way for sinners to escape His wrath: He sacrificed His spotless, sinless Son. Christ was the only One Who was qualified to be a sacrifice for sin, and because He never sinned, His pure blood can wash away our sins (Revelation 1:5; Hebrews 13:20), allowing us to stand justified before God on the Day of Judgment (Titus 3:7; Hebrews 10:19). However, we must take the necessary steps to appropriate that blood to our souls (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12).
The justice and mercy of God have never contradicted each other. In fact, our perfect Creator balances the two qualities masterfully. If that were not true, the psalmist would not have been able to proclaim, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face” (Psalm 89:14, emp. added).

REFERENCES

Bales, Norman L. (1989), How Do I Know I’m Saved?: A Study of God’s Grace (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate)
McCord, Hugo (1987), “The Mercy Seat,” Gospel Advocate, 128:527, September 3.

Controversial Collagen Confirmation Points to Creation by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=338

Controversial Collagen Confirmation Points to Creation

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Imagine watching an interview on television and hearing a blind, deaf, wrinkled, hunched-back, bedridden man claim that he was 130 years old. Although many would likely be skeptical of such a declaration, if ever there was a man in modern times to live 130 years on Earth, he surely would have looked as worn out as this man. Imagine, however, if a quick-witted, strong, marathon runner with fair skin, thick, dark hair, low blood pressure, high bone mineral density, good memory, etc., claimed to be 130 years old. What reasonable individual would believe such a claim? Virtually everyone would doubt the declaration, especially the doctors, who had found the man’s overall health to be comparable to that of a 20-year-old.
Now take a step into the world of evolutionary science. According to evolution’s assumption-based geologic timetable, since dinosaurs supposedly became extinct 65 million years ago, any dinosaur fossil found in the ground must be at least 65 million years old. But what if the fossils don’t “appear” to be that old? What if, when inspected by scientists, various dinosaur bones around the world were discovered with “highly fibrous,” “flexible,” and “resilient” bone tissue that “when stretched, returns to its original shape” (Schweitzer, et al., 2005, 307:1952,1953; Schweitzer, et al., 2007, 316:277)? What if proteins such as collagen were found, along with “haemoglobin, elastin and laminin, as well as cell-like structures resembling blood and bone cells” (Hecht, 2009)? Would evolutionists come to a similar conclusion as most everyone would about a marathon-running, 130-year-old? Apparently not.
In the last few years, scientists have reported unearthing a variety of dinosaur bones from around the world that contain intact protein fragments (see Lyons, 2007), including collagen, hemoglobin, elastin, and laminin. Amazingly, once the minerals are chemically stripped away from the apparent soft tissue, the researchers were even able to squeeze round, dark-red-to-deep-brown microscopic structures from the presumed dinosaur blood vessels (Perkins, 2005, 167[13]:195). However, since, according to evolutionist and Science writer Robert Service, “proteins in tissue normally degrade quickly after an animal dies,” the research by Dr. Mary Schweitzer and her colleagues has remained “controversial” and “contentious” (Service, 2009, 324[5927]:578; cf. Schweitzer, et al., 2005; Schweitzer, et al., 2007).
Since Schweitzer published her findings in 2005 and 2007 about “68-million-year-old” T. rex soft tissue, a much more thorough study has been done on an “80-million-year-old fossil from a duck-billed dinosaur” (Service, 2009, p. 578). What did researchers find? This time “Schweitzer and colleagues report finding an even larger number of protein fragments” (p. 578, emp. added). After using “chemicals to dissolve away the minerals,” scientists have seen what appears to be “a network of soft, transparent vessels, cells, and extracellular matrix” (p. 578). Biochemist Raghu Kalluri of Harvard Medical School independently confirmed the presence of “collagen, as well as laminin and elastin, two proteins found in blood vessels” (p. 578).
Any strong, marathon-running, dark-haired, fair-skinned, wrinkle-free, 20-year-old-looking, modern man who claims to be 130 years old would be discredited immediately. Science and common sense would demand that the 130-year date be rejected. But what about the dates evolutionists give us for these “young looking” dinosaur bones—bones with “miraculously preserved soft tissue” (Gebel, 2007)? Now that the once “controversial” and “contentious” dinosaur collagen has been confirmed, are evolutionists reconsidering the age of dinosaur fossils? Are evolutionists considering the possibility that dinosaurs may have lived hundreds or thousands of years ago rather than 65+ million years ago? Apparently not—at least not in their writings. Evolutionists are eerily silent about this blatant contradiction: how can dinosaur fossils reportedly 80 million years (or 29 billion 200 million days) old contain “collagen...haemoglobin, elastin, and laminin, as well as cell-like structures resembling blood and bone cells” (Hecht, 2009)? The problem is not with the dinosaur bones: repeated studies over the last four years have verified the presence of collagen. The problem is with the assumption-based evolutionary dating methods (see DeYoung, 2005). Hello! The bones are not 80 million years old!
[NOTE: For an outstanding treatment of the evidence that proves the co-existence of dinosaurs and humans, see The Dinosaur Delusion: Dismantling Evolution's Most Cherished Icon available from Apologetics Press.]

REFERENCES

DeYoung, Don (2005), Thousands...Not Billions (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Gebel, Erika (2007), “T. Rex May Be Close Relation to the Chicken,” Charleston Daily Mail, April 16, [On-line], URL: http://www.dailymail.com/story/Life/2007041620/T-Rex-may-be-close- relation-to-the-chicken/.
Hecht, Jeff (2009), “First Dino ‘Blood’ Extracted from Ancient Bone,” New Scientist, [On-line], URL: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17060-first-dino-blood-extracted-from-ancient-bone.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news.
Lyons, Eric (2007), “More Soft Dinosaur Tissue,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3518.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2008), The Dinosaur Delusion: Dismantling Evolution’s Most Cherished Icon (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Perkins, Sid (2005), “Old Softy: Tyrannosaurus Fossil Yields Flexible Tissue,” Science News, 167[13]:195, March 26, [On-line], URL: http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20050326/fob1.asp.
Service, Robert F. (2009), “‘Protein’ in 80-Million-Year-Old Fossil Bolsters Controversial T. rex Claim” Science, 324[5927]:578, May 1.
Schweitzer, Mary H., Jennifer L. Wittmeyer, John R. Horner, and Jan K. Toporski (2005), “Soft-Tissue Vessels and Cellular Preservation in Tyrannosaurus rex,” Science, 307:1952-1955, March 25.
Schweitzer, Mary, et al. (2007), “Analyses of Soft Tissue from Tyrannosaurus rex Suggest the Presence of Protein,” Science, 316:277-285, April 13.

Gay Birds and Bees: Is Homosexuality Really Unnatural? by Kyle Butt, M.A.


https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=2010

Gay Birds and Bees: Is Homosexuality Really Unnatural?

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

Every philosophy contains its own inherent logical implications. For instance, Charles Darwin once suggested: “There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties” (1898). If such a philosophy were adopted by a society, how would that civilization seek to explain the behavior of its members? One way would be to study the behaviors of animals and reason that since humans are little more than “complex” animals, bestial behaviors could be justified and accounted for based solely on the assertion that animals in the natural world perform them.
Justification of heinously immoral behavior based on an observance of such in the animal kingdom has become fashionable. Barbara Burke said humans can potentially justify murdering their babies because animals (such as pigs and dogs) often murder their offspring (1974, 185:653). Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer suggested that rape is an evolutionary by-product that can be explained based on behaviors in the animal kingdom (2000). The villainous Adolf Hilter justified his crimes in a 1933 speech in Nuremberg by comparing his atrocities to animal behavior. He stated: “Thus there results the subjection of a number of people under the will, often of only a few persons, a subjection based simply upon the right of the stronger, a right which, as we see in Nature, can be regarded as the sole conceivable right, because it is founded on reason” (see “The Einsatzgruppen Case,” 1998).
Following suit, the Oslo Natural History Museum recently opened the world’s first exhibit documenting cases of “homosexual” behavior in nature. The exhibit suggests that because animals such as penguins, parrots, beetles, whales, giraffes, and others display certain behaviors that could be construed as homosexual, then homosexuality among humans cannot be viewed as “unnatural.” One of the statements on the exhibit reads: “We may have opinions on a lot of things, but one thing is clear—homosexuality is found throughout the animal kingdom, it is not against nature” (Doyle, 2006).
In response to such thinking, several points need to be considered. Humans are not animals. There is no documented evidence verifying the false idea that humans evolved from lower organisms (see Harrub and Thompson, 2002). In fact, all observable evidence verifies that humans maintain a completely unique status in regard to their mental, emotional, and cognitive components (see “In the Image...,” 2001; Lyons and Thompson, 2002). To justify human behavior based on behavior observed in the animal world exhibits a grotesque ignorance of everything humans understand about morality. Ten percent of the diet of an adult Komodo dragon often consists of its cannibalizing young Komodo dragons. Would anyone be so irrationally disturbed as to suggest that because we see infant cannibalism in Komodo dragons it is a natural practice for humans that cannot be classified as “unnatural”? The ploy to justify homosexuality by suggesting that it is “natural” is little more than an attempt to cast aside all moral constraints and debase society to the point of mindless bestiality.
In truth, homosexuality is against nature, that is, the natural way that God designed humans to function. The inspired apostle Paul condemned homosexuality as a sin:
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due (Romans 1:26-27, emp. added).
Homosexuality goes against human nature in at least two fundamental ways. First, on a basic physical, anatomical level, homosexuality disregards the natural use of the sexual organs of men and women. Humans were designed to be sexually compatible in order to reproduce and bear offspring (see Genesis 1:28). If homosexuality were a natural, genetic occurrence (which it is not—see Harrub and Miller, 2004), the genes responsible for it would quickly disappear due to the inability of same sex couples to reproduce. Second, God designed men and women to be capable of a relationship in marriage unlike any other human relationship. When a man and a woman are joined together, they become “one-flesh,” a biblical phrase that describes the epitome of intimacy and compatibility (Genesis 2:23). God specifically designed Eve, and all future women, to be perfect helpers suitable for Adam, and subsequent men. And, while it is true that sinful humans often fail to achieve the intimacy and oneness designed by God, it is not because of faulty design, but of people’s sinful decisions. God designed men and women to be naturally compatible both physically and emotionally.
If human behavior can be justified based on the idea that it mimics animal behavior, then why not abolish all laws, allow stronger humans to kill the weaker ones, allow mothers to eat their babies, allow men to murder sexual rivals, allow women to murder and cannibalize their lovers after intercourse, and simply chalk such a deplorable situation up to “nature”? The logical consequences of such a philosophical justification are as obvious as they are ridiculous. God created humans, so He knows what is in accordance with human nature, and He has clearly stated that homosexuality is aberrant, unnatural, sinful behavior.

REFERENCES

Burke, Barbara (1974), “Infanticide,” Science, 185:653.
Darwin, Francis (1898), The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin (New York: D. Appleton).
Doyle, Alister (2006), Birds and Bees May Be Gay: Museum Exhibition, [On-line], URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061012/sc_nm/environment_homosexuality_ dc;_ylt=AhEiR4DtDaCUi1h7KCssWvms0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3ODdxdHBhBHNlYwM5NjQ-.
“The Einsatzgruppen Case” (1998), [On-line], URL: http://www.einsatzgruppenarchives.com/mt/ndsir.html.
Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2002), “Creationists Fight Back! A Review of U.S. News and World Report,” Reason & Revelation, 22[9]:65-71, September, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2094.
Harrub, Brad and Dave Miller (2004), “This is the Way God Made Me: A Scientific Examination of Homosexuality and the ‘Gay Gene,’” Reason & Revelation, 24[8]:73-79, August, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2553.
“In the Image and Likeness of God” (2001), [On-line]: URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/courses_pdf/hsc0203.pdf.
Lyons, Eric and Bert Thompson (2002), “In the Image and Likeness of God: Part 1,” Reason & Revelation, 22[3]:17-23, [On-line]: URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/123.
Thornhill, Randy and Craig T. Palmer (2000), A Natural History of Rape (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).

From Jim McGuiggan... The Lord of All Nations

The Lord of All Nations

Amos 1:3--2:3 shows us that God is not only the Lord of Israel and Judah, he is the Lord of all. Understandably most of the Old Testament material is addressed directly to Israel but the prophets have a significant number of oracles that are addressed to foreign nations also. And these are part of Israel's canonical scriptures because while they address the foreigners there is much for Israel to hear in these oracles.
These sections make it clear that if God will not tolerate impenitent evil in his own peculiarly covenanted people he certainly won't tolerate it in others. They also make it clear that God cares for the non-elect nations as well as his elect people. It matters to God how these nations behave themselves and while that might not seem to be a blessing that's how it should be seen. God isn't simply a judge; he is a Holy Father who has made all men and claims them all as his own (Exodus 19:5). He cares enough to judge them when they have gone headlong into sin but the judgement is an aspect of his care. Anyone who says he loves his boy but that it doesn't make the slightest difference to him that the young man is a moral reprobate--that person needs to think again about what love really means. We may love our children (as we have been loved) despite their evil ways but we don't love them because of their evil ways and our love seeks their redemption. There's no kindness so cruel as the kindness that leaves people wallowing in their moral mire without trying to help them out.
And in case we think that God's only interest in these other nations is to damn them for sin we need to pay attention to Amos 9:7 where God says, "Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?" It's true that God had covenanted himself peculiarly with Israel (3:2) but he gave other nations land to live in and was active in their history also (compare Acts 17:25-27). That's a temptation the elect always wrestle with (and often lose the match), they get to thinking they're the elite rather than the elect. Election is blessing, of course, but God also elects people as witnesses or a community of witness to the non-elect.
This opening oracle has the tone and content of a judgement. The Lord has roared from Jerusalem (1:2) and everywhere the ground trembles and withers. This isn't a sweet social message that's going out.
Imagine it's Friday and the crowds are getting their business done in the markets when Amos stands up in some central place and begins to speak judgement on Damascus for needless savagery (1:3-5). Wouldn't the gathering crowd nod enthusiastically? Then he hammers the Philistines for excesses in slavery (1:6-8), the Phoenicians for wholesale slave-trading and treachery (1:9-10), the Edomites for unchecked hatred against brothers (1:11-12), the Ammonites for unbridled cruelty just to gain territory and natural reserves (1:13-15) and the Moabites for bitter and malevolent insult which despised a nation by despising its king (2:1-3). You can imagine the crowd has swelled into hundreds and are they cheering by now? Every time an enemy was named the Israelites would have cheered like mad.
Then it was Judah's turn (2:4-5). For their idolatry and refusal to live by the torah they would come under God's judgement. At that there would have been dancing in the marketplace for the bitterness between Israel and Judah had been long and involved civil war (compare 2 Kings 14:8-14 and 2 Chronicles 25:5-24). How pleased they must have been with this new prophet.
Then it was Israel's turn (2:6-16). The cheering would have stopped and protest would have replaced the cheering. The speaker had gained their trust and approval and then delivered what he had especially come for because God had said (7:15), "Go prophesy to my people Israel." This Amos was no fool and he was no gutless court-preacher who spoke only pleasing things. All over the world there are voices raised against tribal and national hatreds, against treachery in the face of covenants, unbridled savagery and greed that seeks territorial expansion so that natural resources can be exploited. Here and there we find preachers who are willing to put their own security at risk (and the security of their families) by telling selfish and self-satisfied assemblies what they don't want to hear but direly need to hear. But these statesmen and ministers and concerned men and women, boys and girls have heard a lion roar somewhere and shepherds spring into action.

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

From Gary... Bible Reading August 26


Bible Reading  

August 26

The World English Bible



Aug. 26
Psalms 1-6

Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man who doesn't walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers;
Psa 1:2 but his delight is in Yahweh's law. On his law he meditates day and night.
Psa 1:3 He will be like a tree planted by the streams of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also does not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper.
Psa 1:4 The wicked are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Psa 1:5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
Psa 1:6 For Yahweh knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish.
Psa 2:1 Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot a vain thing?
Psa 2:2 The kings of the earth take a stand, and the rulers take counsel together, against Yahweh, and against his Anointed, saying,
Psa 2:3 "Let's break their bonds apart, and cast their cords from us."
Psa 2:4 He who sits in the heavens will laugh. The Lord will have them in derision.
Psa 2:5 Then he will speak to them in his anger, and terrify them in his wrath:
Psa 2:6 "Yet I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion."
Psa 2:7 I will tell of the decree. Yahweh said to me, "You are my son. Today I have become your father.
Psa 2:8 Ask of me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance, the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession.
Psa 2:9 You shall break them with a rod of iron. You shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."
Psa 2:10 Now therefore be wise, you kings. Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
Psa 2:11 Serve Yahweh with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Psa 2:12 Give sincere homage, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all those who take refuge in him.
Psa 3:1 Yahweh, how my adversaries have increased! Many are those who rise up against me.
Psa 3:2 Many there are who say of my soul, "There is no help for him in God." Selah.
Psa 3:3 But you, Yahweh, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
Psa 3:4 I cry to Yahweh with my voice, and he answers me out of his holy hill. Selah.
Psa 3:5 I laid myself down and slept. I awakened; for Yahweh sustains me.
Psa 3:6 I will not be afraid of tens of thousands of people who have set themselves against me on every side.
Psa 3:7 Arise, Yahweh! Save me, my God! For you have struck all of my enemies on the cheek bone. You have broken the teeth of the wicked.
Psa 3:8 Salvation belongs to Yahweh. Your blessing be on your people. Selah.
Psa 4:1 Answer me when I call, God of my righteousness. Give me relief from my distress. Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
Psa 4:2 You sons of men, how long shall my glory be turned into dishonor? Will you love vanity, and seek after falsehood? Selah.
Psa 4:3 But know that Yahweh has set apart for himself him who is godly: Yahweh will hear when I call to him.
Psa 4:4 Stand in awe, and don't sin. Search your own heart on your bed, and be still. Selah.
Psa 4:5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness. Put your trust in Yahweh.
Psa 4:6 Many say, "Who will show us any good?" Yahweh, let the light of your face shine on us.
Psa 4:7 You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and their new wine are increased.
Psa 4:8 In peace I will both lay myself down and sleep, for you, Yahweh alone, make me live in safety.
Psa 5:1 Give ear to my words, Yahweh. Consider my meditation.
Psa 5:2 Listen to the voice of my cry, my King and my God; for to you do I pray.
Psa 5:3 Yahweh, in the morning you shall hear my voice. In the morning I will lay my requests before you, and will watch expectantly.
Psa 5:4 For you are not a God who has pleasure in wickedness. Evil can't live with you.
Psa 5:5 The arrogant shall not stand in your sight. You hate all workers of iniquity.
Psa 5:6 You will destroy those who speak lies. Yahweh abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
Psa 5:7 But as for me, in the abundance of your loving kindness I will come into your house. I will bow toward your holy temple in reverence of you.
Psa 5:8 Lead me, Yahweh, in your righteousness because of my enemies. Make your way straight before my face.
Psa 5:9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth. Their heart is destruction. Their throat is an open tomb. They flatter with their tongue.
Psa 5:10 Hold them guilty, God. Let them fall by their own counsels; Thrust them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against you.
Psa 5:11 But let all those who take refuge in you rejoice, Let them always shout for joy, because you defend them. Let them also who love your name be joyful in you.
Psa 5:12 For you will bless the righteous. Yahweh, you will surround him with favor as with a shield.
Psa 6:1 Yahweh, don't rebuke me in your anger, neither discipline me in your wrath.
Psa 6:2 Have mercy on me, Yahweh, for I am faint. Yahweh, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
Psa 6:3 My soul is also in great anguish. But you, Yahweh--how long?
Psa 6:4 Return, Yahweh. Deliver my soul, and save me for your loving kindness' sake.
Psa 6:5 For in death there is no memory of you. In Sheol, who shall give you thanks?
Psa 6:6 I am weary with my groaning. Every night I flood my bed. I drench my couch with my tears.
Psa 6:7 My eye wastes away because of grief. It grows old because of all my adversaries.
Psa 6:8 Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity, for Yahweh has heard the voice of my weeping.
Psa 6:9 Yahweh has heard my supplication. Yahweh accepts my prayer.
Psa 6:10 May all my enemies be ashamed and dismayed. They shall turn back, they shall be disgraced suddenly.

 
Aug. 26
Romans 7

Rom 7:1 Or don't you know, brothers (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man for as long as he lives?
Rom 7:2 For the woman that has a husband is bound by law to the husband while he lives, but if the husband dies, she is discharged from the law of the husband.
Rom 7:3 So then if, while the husband lives, she is joined to another man, she would be called an adulteress. But if the husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she is joined to another man.
Rom 7:4 Therefore, my brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you would be joined to another, to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit to God.
Rom 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were through the law, worked in our members to bring forth fruit to death.
Rom 7:6 But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that in which we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.
Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? May it never be! However, I wouldn't have known sin, except through the law. For I wouldn't have known coveting, unless the law had said, "You shall not covet."
Rom 7:8 But sin, finding occasion through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of coveting. For apart from the law, sin is dead.
Rom 7:9 I was alive apart from the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
Rom 7:10 The commandment, which was for life, this I found to be for death;
Rom 7:11 for sin, finding occasion through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me.
Rom 7:12 Therefore the law indeed is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good.
Rom 7:13 Did then that which is good become death to me? May it never be! But sin, that it might be shown to be sin, by working death to me through that which is good; that through the commandment sin might become exceeding sinful.
Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold under sin.
Rom 7:15 For I don't know what I am doing. For I don't practice what I desire to do; but what I hate, that I do.
Rom 7:16 But if what I don't desire, that I do, I consent to the law that it is good.
Rom 7:17 So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwells in me.
Rom 7:18 For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing. For desire is present with me, but I don't find it doing that which is good.
Rom 7:19 For the good which I desire, I don't do; but the evil which I don't desire, that I practice.
Rom 7:20 But if what I don't desire, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwells in me.
Rom 7:21 I find then the law, that, to me, while I desire to do good, evil is present.
Rom 7:22 For I delight in God's law after the inward man,
Rom 7:23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members.
Rom 7:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will deliver me out of the body of this death?
Rom 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! So then with the mind, I myself serve God's law, but with the flesh, the sin's law.

From Gary... Life is like a camera

Life is short- just a "few" years ago I became a father and then a grandfather and perhaps in October I will become a great-grandfather. Time passes so quickly and I find myself looking at old photos more and more as the years pass by. And so, I found myself looking at the above picture this lovely morning.  I thought- how true!!!  Then I remembered that a passage from the book of Hebrews linked with this picture. After a bit of searching, I finally found it...

Hebrews, Chapter 12 (WEB)
  1 Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  2 looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

We do NOT live alone, others see us throughout our lives. God sees everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that we do. It seems reasonable that others in heaven do as well (perhaps verse 1 above MAY teach this). What I am sure is that this passage from Hebrews teaches is that we are to lay aside sin and look to Jesus for help.  I like the way the GodsWord translation puts the beginning of verse 2.

GodsWord, Chapter 12
 2 We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith... 

Its like we stop looking at all the things this world has to offer and picture Jesus (focus on Jesus, if you will).  And, like the picture above, we choose our shots (both what we do and what we make a priority) and start over when our life becomes "blurred" by sin. If we do things right, we will make a beautiful "picture show" in heaven. If not, well- I can only hope that Jesus will edit out the "bad pictures" (that is why he shed his blood, after all) and make us a movie worth watching.  

One more thing- 
its not the fancy camera that is important; it the amount of the light of God that you allow in that matters!!!