From Mark Copeland... "THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD" Summary: The Holy Spirit, Then And Now

                        "THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD"

                Summary:  The Holy Spirit, Then And Now


1. In this study we have discussed various aspects of the Holy Spirit...
   a. Why such a study is important   g. The gift of the Spirit
   b. The personality of the Spirit   h. The indwelling of the Spirit
   c. The deity of the Spirit         i. The leading of the Spirit
   d. The work of the Spirit          j. The fruit of the Spirit
   e. The promise of the Spirit       k. The gifts of the Spirit
   f. The baptism of the Spirit       l. The sins against the Spirit

2. The Holy Spirit is certainly a challenging subject of study...
   a. Which may explain the diversity of views that people have
   b. Which ought to encourage a sense of caution and humility

3. Yet it is a much needed study, for many people...
   a. Claim the Holy Spirit leads them in this way or that way
   b. Base their faith upon what they believe the Spirit tells them
   -- But when such people come up with contradictory beliefs, something
      is wrong!

4. Part of the difficulty may be a failure to distinguish between the
   work of the Spirit...
   a. His work that was temporary, unique to the beginning of the church
   b. His work that is age-lasting, continuing until Christ comes again

[In this final lesson, I wish to offer a summary with a focus on
illustrating this distinction....]


      1. Promised by God (via Joel) - Joel 2:28-29
      2. Promised by John the Baptist - Mt 3:11; Mk 1:8; Lk 3:16
      3. Promised by Jesus Himself - Ac 1:4-5
      -- The fulfillment of the promise occurs on Pentecost 
         - Ac 2:1-22,32-33

      1. As defined by John the Baptist - Mt 3:11-12
         a. To serve as a winnowing fan in the hand of the Lord
         b. Separating the wheat from the chaff, gathering the wheat
            into the barn
      2. As defined by Jesus to His apostles
         a. To guide them into all the truth - Jn 16:12-13
            1) By teaching them all things - Jn 14:26a
            2) By reminding them what Jesus told them - Jn 14:26b
            3) By bearing witness together with the apostles 
               - Jn 15:26-27
            -- This the Spirit did through signs and wonders, confirming
               the Word - Mk 16:17-20; He 2:3-4
         b. To convict the world - Jn 16:7-11
            1) Of sin - Jn 16:9  
            2) Of righteousness - Jn 16:10
            3) Of judgment - Jn 16:11
            -- This the Spirit did through the preaching of the gospel 
               - e.g., Ac 24:24-25

      1. The gift of the Spirit
         a. Promised to all who obey - Ac 2:38; 5:32
         b. More on this and related blessings in the next section
      2. The gifts of the Spirit
         a. Miraculous manifestations of the Spirit - 1Co 12:1,4-11
         b. Imparted by the laying on of the apostles' hands 
            - e.g., Ac 8:14-18; 19:1-7; Ro 1:11; 2Ti 1:6
         c. Enjoyed by some, but not all
            1) Not all could heal, speak in tongues - cf. 1Co 12:29-30
            2) Some were "ungifted" (NASB) - cf. 1Co 14:16,23
         d. For the benefit of all, not just the possessors of the gifts
            1) To reveal the truth - cf. 1Co 14:6
            2) To confirm the truth - cf. 1Co 14:22
         e. Temporary in their duration
            1) To cease when knowledge is complete - 1Co 13:8-12
            2) While faith, hope and love will remain - 1Co 13:13
      3. The anointing of the Spirit
         a. Spoken of by Paul in 2Co 1:21
         b. Also by John in 1 Jn 2:20,27
            1) Enabling one to know all things
            2) Not needing to be taught by anyone
         c. Likely referring to those who possessed the gifts of 
            the Spirit
      -- Many of these blessings were related to the process of
         revealing God's Word

[The promise, work, and blessings of the Holy Spirit had an amazing and
miraculous beginning.  While some of this proved temporary, much appears
to be age-lasting, continuing until Christ returns.  Our focus now turns
toward that which should be of special interest to us today...]

      1. Promised by Jesus - Jn 7:37-39
         a. To all who believe in Him
         b. A special dispensation of the Spirit, unlike any before;
            therefore different from...
            1) The miraculous workings of the Spirit
            2) The normal influences through the Word
      2. Promised by Peter - Ac 2:38-39; 5:32
         a. To all who repent and are baptized
         b. To those who obey God
      -- This promise of the Spirit relates to His indwelling and the
         accompanying blessings (see below)
      1. To convict the world through the gospel
         a. To convict them of sin, righteousness and judgment 
            - Jn 16:7-11
         b. Done through the gospel
            1) The instrument designed to produce faith 
               - Ro 10:17; Co 1:5-6
            2) God's power to save - Ro 1:16-17; 1Co 1:18; 1Th 2:13;
               He 4:12; Jm 1:21
      2. To regenerate those who respond
         a. Saving them through the washing of regeneration (baptism) 
            - Tit 3:4-6; Ac 22:16
         b. Causing them to be reborn, in conjunction with the Word 
            - 1Pe 1:22-23
      3. To sanctify those who are saved
         a. A process begun when washed and justified - 1Co 6:11
         b. A process that continues with the aid of the Word 
            - cf. Jn 17:17; Ac 20:32; 1Th 5:23; 2Ti 2:21
      -- This work of the Spirit is age-lasting, accomplished with the
         aid of blessings involving the Spirit (see next)

      1. The gift of the Spirit - Ac 2:38-39; 5:32
         a. Indwelling the Christian - Ro 8:9-11; 1Co 6:19
            1) Enabling us to overcome the flesh - Ro 8:12-13
            2) Strengthening us in the inner man 
               - Ep 3:16,20; Php 2:12-13; 4:13
            3) Interceding in our behalf - Ro 8:26-27
         b. Serving as a seal and an earnest
            1) A seal marking us as belonging to God 
               - Ep 1:13; 4:30;2Co 1:22
            2) An earnest or guarantee as a promise of our inheritance 
               - Ep 1:14; 2Co 1:22
      2. The fruit of the Spirit in our lives
         a. Leading those who walk in the Spirit - Ga 5:16-18; Ro 8:5-6
         b. Producing the graces of Christ-like conduct - Ga 5:22-26
         c. Engendering a deepening love for God as our Father- Ga 4:6;
            Ro 8:15-16
         d. Filling us with hope - Ro 15:13
      -- These blessings the Spirit provides both internally (via His
         indwelling) and externally (via the Word of God)


1. The Spirit's promise, work, and blessings at the beginning of the
   Christian age...
   a. Included the necessary process of revealing and confirming 
      God's Word
   b. Was accomplished by special offices (apostles, prophets) and gifts
      (signs, wonders)
   -- Once the Word was fully revealed, the miraculous manifestations
      came to an end

2. Yet the Spirit's promise, work, and blessings throughout the
   Christian age...
   a. Includes the important process of convicting, regenerating, and
      sanctifying souls
   b. Is accomplished by preaching the gospel, and the gift of the
      Spirit given to those who obey
   -- While not a miraculous manifestation, it is a Divine operation

3. Many challenge the notion that miraculous manifestations of the
   Spirit ceased when the Word was completely revealed and confirmed...
   a. But the burden of proof rests upon those who affirm that such
      gifts continue
   b. All they need to do is to demonstrate that they do indeed possess
      the gifts
   c. For such was the purpose of the gifts, to convince unbelievers! 
      - cf. 1Co 14:22
   -- When many Bible-believing disciples are not convinced such claims
      are real, what does that say about the validity of such "signs"?

4. But in reacting to many false claims about the Holy Spirit, we must
   be careful not to...
   a. Quench the Spirit by denying His work in our salvation
   b. Grieve the Spirit by failing to seek His aid in living holy lives
   -- If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit! 
      - cf. Ga 5:25

We close our study with these two benedictions by the apostle Paul:

   "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in
   believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy
   Spirit." - Ro 15:13

   "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and
   the communion of the Holy Spirit [be] with you all. Amen." 
   - 2Co 13:14

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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The Dead Sea Scrolls—Seeing The Evidence Upclose by Kyle Butt, M.A.


The Dead Sea Scrolls—Seeing The Evidence Upclose

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Small pieces of old, black papyrus might not sound very interesting. In fact, were you to see some of these nickel-sized jewels lying on the ground, you probably would think of them as pieces of trash, and simply leave them lying there (or else pick them up and put them in the trashcan). Even when they are displayed behind protective glass casing under regular lighting, they do not seem to be anything special. But when placed under infrared light, these treasures come alive. Dating back to about 150 B.C., these tiny pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls—exhibited in Huntsville, Alabama, at the Von Braun Civic Center during January 2003—certainly are a sight to see. Most of us talk about the extensive manuscript evidence that verifies the Bible’s accurate transmission over the many centuries of its existence, but talking about this evidence is altogether different from being two inches away from it.

For many years, the oldest manuscripts available for the Old Testament dated back only to aroundA.D. 980. Due to this very late date, some questioned the integrity of the Old Testament documents. If some of these documents were written as early as 1500 B.C., but the earliest copies we could locate dated from 980 A.D., then how could we be sure that the copies we possessed said the same things as those original documents? In 1947, however, the treasure trove of Dead Sea Scrolls was discovered. Amazingly, the scrolls dated from 250 B.C. to A.D. 68. Among the thousands of scrolls and fragments, every single book of the Old Testament is represented, except the book of Esther. On display in Huntsville was a small fragment of Isaiah 26:19-21 that reads as follows: “Your dead shall live again, and their bodies shall rise, shall awake...My people, enter your chambers and shut your doors…to punish the iniquity of the inhabitants of the earth....” The text of this fragment is virtually identical to the text of Isaiah that we have had since A.D. 980. In fact, when the scrolls were compared to the text we possess, all of the texts are virtually identical, with only a few minor alterations (primarily involving the spelling of names). The Dead Sea Scrolls proved to the world that the Old Testament had been correctly transmitted for centuries.
The exhibit also presented several manuscripts attesting to the accuracy of the New Testament documents. Among those is an amazingly well-preserved papyrus sheet on which was written a portion of Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians. Dating back to third century A.D., this ancient document, written in the Egyptian language known as Coptic, contains major portions of Colossians 3:21-4:15. This manuscript, combined with the thousands of others of its kind, proves that the New Testament documents were circulating far and wide within a very few years of their original composition.
In fact, the New Testament can boast of more manuscript evidence than any other ancient book in existence. Take, for instance, Homer’s Iliad. To date, those who search for ancient manuscripts have located about 643 pieces of Homer’s work. One of those pieces is on exhibit along with the biblical manuscripts. This tiny strip of papyrus, dating back to the third century A.D., contains a tiny fragment of Homer’s epic poem. And, with 643 manuscript pieces, Homer’s work is among the most well-attested of all ancient documents—until it is compared to the New Testament. As of 2004, scholars have found over 5,700 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, not to mention all those (like the piece of Colossians) written in other languages such as Coptic, Latin, Syriac, etc. In all, we have discovered at least 25,000 ancient written documents that attest to the New Testament’s accuracy, which surpasses every other ancient book by thousands of manuscripts.
Examining this type of ancient evidence firsthand impresses upon the mind the fact that the Word of God has been divinely preserved for thousands of years. As Jesus Christ put it almost two thousand years ago: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

Philip Pullman and The Golden Compass by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Philip Pullman and The Golden Compass

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

On December 7, 2007 theaters worldwide released the much anticipated movie The Golden Compass. The movie has generated a great deal of discussion, especially among Christians, because it is based upon Philip Pullman’s first novel in his controversial trilogy titled His Dark Materials. Critics contend that the trilogy is “anti-Christian” and “atheism for kids” (“Pullman Not...,” 2007), but Today onNBC and other media outlets contend that Pullman is “not promoting atheism” (“Pullman Not...,” 2007, emp. added). When interviewed on the Today show a month prior to the movie’s release and asked to respond to those who say The Golden Compass is anti-Christian, Pullman stated:
I always mistrust people who tell us how we should understand something. They know better than we do what the book means or what this means and how we should read it or whether we should read it or not. I don’t think that is democratic. I prefer to trust the reader. I prefer to trust what I call the democracy of reading. But everybody has the right to form their own opinions and read what they like and come to their own conclusions about it (“Pullman on...,” 2007).
If there ever was a politically correct statement, this was it. The question was, “What is your response that this book is anti-Christian?” Is it or isn’t it? Pullman evaded the question altogether and indirectly attacked his critics by painting them as untrustworthy know-it-alls.
Fortunately, Pullman elsewhere has addressed his thoughts concerning God and Christianity more directly, allowing the public to see beyond the politically correct answers he gave on the eve of The Golden Compass’s release in theaters. In 2001, he penned an article titled “The Republic of Heaven.” It appeared in The Horn Book Magazine—a bi-monthly journal of children’s and young adult literature (see “About Us,” 2007). Those familiar with Pullman’s trilogy know that his republic of Heaven represents the antithesis of the biblical, celestial heaven of Almighty God. The republic is the “here and now,” which supposedly is all there is, and is ruled by men, not by a King in Heaven. In addressing his “republic of Heaven,” Pullman wrote: “[W]e must find a way of believing that we are not subservient creatures dependent on the whim of some celestial monarch, but free citizens of the republic of Heaven” (2001). He pointed out early in the article that the children’s books he loves “are saying something important about the most important subject...which is the death of God and its consequences.” He continued: “I take it that there really is no God anymore; the old assumptions have all withered away. That’s my starting point: that the idea of God with which I was brought up is now perfectly incredible” (Pullman, 2001).
Despite Pullman’s attempt to skirt questions about the anti-God, humanistic ideologies in his writings, his anti-Christian sentiments as portrayed through his imagined republic are very clear. He hails a republic as the “antithesis” of a celestial realm ruled by God. “This world is where the things are that matter.... [T]his earth is our true home, and nowhere else is.” How do humans function in such a world? What about right and wrong? According to Pullman, “It’s no good to say, ‘X is good and Y is evil because God says they are’; the King is dead, and that argument won’t do for free citizens of the republic.... Satan; he’s dead, too. There’s no one responsible but us. Goodness and evil have always had a human origin” (2001, emp. added). Of course, Pullman’s ideology is also pro-evolution. In seeking to answer “Why does the world exist?” he contended that there is “overwhelmingly powerful evidence for evolution by natural selection. The neo-Darwinians tell us that the processes of life are blind and automatic; there has been no purpose in our coming here” (2001).
But, one might ask, are Pullman’s personal ideologies really played out in his books for young people? Pullman actually hinted that there is no better place to spread one’s ideas. He suggested:
[W]e need a story, because it’s no good persuading people to commit themselves to an idea on the grounds that it’s reasonable. How much effect would the Bible have had for generations and generations if it had just been a collection of laws and genealogies? What seized the mind and captured the heart were the stories it contains.
So if we are to see what a republic of Heaven might look like, we must look for evidence of it, as I’ve been suggesting, in the realm of stories. And one of the few places we can be certain of finding stories, these days, is in books that are read by children (2001, italics in orig.).
Pullman knows that a good story can impact the world—for good or bad. Sadly, the story of a great republic that he has been selling in His Dark Materials trilogy is anti-God, anti-Creation, and anti-Christianity. Perhaps the directors and producers of the movie The Golden Compass chose to downplay the deeper meaning of Pullman’s writings, but parents would be wise to pass on both the movie and the book on which it is based.


“About Us” (2007), The Horn Book Magazine, [On-line], URL: http://www.hbook.com/aboutus/.
“Pullman Not Promoting Atheism in ‘Golden Compass’” (2007), Today, [On-line], URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21595083/.
“Pullman on the ‘Compass’ Controversy,” (2007), Today, [On-line], URL: http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-us&brand= msnbc&tab=m5&rf=http: //www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21595083/ &fg=&from=00&vid=aba48491- 7d9b-41ff-9e1c-d65ead8d6c6e&playlist= videoByTag:mk:us:vs:0:tag:News _Editors%20Picks:ns:MSNVideo_Top_Cat:ps: 10:sd:-1:ind:1:ff:8A.
Pullman, Philip (2001), “The Republic of Heaven,” The Horn Book Magazine, 77:655-667, November/December, [On-line], URL: http://www.hbook.com/magazine/articles/2001/nov01_pullman.asp.

Dinosaur Mummy? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Dinosaur Mummy?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Recently, news organizations around the world announced that a “spectacular mummified dinosaur” was excavated in North Dakota. “While they call it a mummy,” however, “the dinosaur is not really preserved as King Tut was. The dinosaur body has been fossilized into stone” (“Spectacular... ,” 2007). Just like most dinosaur bones we find (but not all, see Lyons, 2007), the tissues of the hadrosaur from North Dakota had been replaced by minerals. What makes this newly reported dinosaur different than most fossils is that it “came complete with skin, ligaments, tendons and possibly some internal organs” (Spectacular... ”). In commenting on the skin, paleontologist Phillip Manning said: “Oh, the skin is wonderful... . There is depth and structure to the skin. The level of detail expressed in the skin is just breathtaking” (as quoted in “Spectacular... ”).
Scientists are enamored with how much of the hadrosaur from North Dakota fossilized, because the soft parts of animals normally are the first things to decompose. Skin rarely fossilizes. In those cases where it has, you can be sure that the animal was buried rapidly in sediments where chemical conditions favored fossilization rather than decomposition.
Many people wrongly conclude that fossilization takes millions of years. Fossil finds such as this dinosaur, however, point to a much more rapid mineralization process. The fact that fossils may “look old,” does not mean that they are old—and certainly not millions of years old.


Lyons, Eric (2007), “More Soft Dinosaur Tissue,” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3518.
“Spectacular Mummified Dinosaur Found in North Dakota” (2007), Fox News, [On-line], URL:http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,314606,00.html.

Legalism by Dave Miller, Ph.D.



by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One pervasive cultural phenomenon in American society is the predilection to be averse to law, restriction, and limitation. “Freedom” gradually has come to be conceptualized as freedom from restraint. Those who do not embrace a lax, casual, and open attitude toward moral value and ethical behavior are labeled “intolerant” and “mean-spirited.” Even within Christian circles, stressing the need to conform strictly to the will of God in all matters of faith and practice can cause one to be labeled as a “fundamentalist.” He is set aside as an immature and pharisaical misfit who simply has never “grown” to the point of grasping the true spirit of Jesus. He is “negative” and lacks “compassion.” And, yes, he is a “legalist.”
Listening carefully to the majority of those who fling about the term “legalistic,” it is soon apparent that they understand the term to refer to too much attention to legal detail. In the 1960s, Joseph Fletcher, the “Father of Situation Ethics,” pinpointed the popular notion of “legalism”:
In this ethical strategy the “situational variables” are taken into consideration, but the circumstances are always subordinated to predetermined general “laws” of morality. Legalistic ethics treats many of it rules idolatrously by making them into absolutes. In this kind of morality, properly labeled as legalism or law ethics, obedience to prefabricated “rules of conduct” is more important than freedom to make responsible decisions (1967, p. 31).
It would be difficult to underestimate the cataclysmic consequences of this depiction on the moral fiber of human civilization. Typical of the widespread misconception that “legalism” has to do with giving too much attention to complete obedience, is the illustration given by a preacher, college professor, and prominent marriage and family therapist in a university lecture titled “Getting Ahead: Taking Your Family With You:”
I found out when you’re dialing numbers...you have to dial about eighteen numbers to get started, and then you have to dial eighteen more—you know what I’m talking about? And if you miss, what? If you miss ONE—just ONE—you say ugly things to yourself, don’t you? Because you know you blew it again. It is amazing how legalistic the telephone company is (Faulkner, 1992, emp. added).
The very idea that obedience to God’s laws would one day be viewed as negative by those who profess adherence to Christianity, and then for this obedience to be denounced as “legalism,” is utterly incomprehensible. Such a posture should be expected to shake the very foundations of a nation’s standards of morality, stimulating a corresponding widespread relaxation of moral behavior. Yet is this not precisely what has happened to American civilization in the last forty years?
What exactly is “legalism” according to the Bible? Is “legalism” to be equated with too much concern for obedience? Is “legalism” equivalent to ardent determination to keep God’s commandments? One who possesses such a view would naturally tend to gloss over “details” of New Testament teaching, relegating to the realm of minimal importance various matters that he or she deems are not “weightier matters of the law.” In the words of one rather permissive preacher, “We don’t sweat the small stuff.”
It may be surprising to some to learn that the term “legalism” does not actually occur in the Bible. However, numerous extrabiblical words have been coined to describe biblical concepts (e.g., “providence”). In its classical, negative usage, “legalism” entails trusting one’s own goodness. Legalism pertains to one’s attitude about his own person (i.e., having an inflated sense of self-importance—Luke 18:11-12; Proverbs 25:27; Romans 12:3) and practice (i.e., thinking he or she canearn or merit salvation on the basis of performance—Luke 17:10; Romans 3:9-18,23; 11:35; 1 Corinthians 9:16). Legalism does not pertain to the propriety of the practices themselves. God always has condemned the person who is proud of his obedient actions, who trusts in his own goodness, and who expects to receive God’s grace on the basis of those actions (cf. Luke 18:9ff.; Romans 9:31ff.). But He always has commended the person who maintains absolute fidelity to the specifics of His commands (e.g., John 14:15; Romans 2:6-7,13; 6:16; Hebrews 5:9). The difference between the former and the latter is the attitude of the individual—a factor that only God is in a position to perceive (Luke 6:8). How presumptuous it is for one Christian to denounce another Christian simply on the basis that the latter exhibits meticulous loyalty to God’s Word—as if the former is able automatically to know his brother’s motive, and thus somehow read his mind. Purveyors of religious error oftenredefine otherwise good terms, placing their own spin on the word, and thereby subjecting unsuspecting listeners to their false doctrine. Those of a liberal persuasion have redefined “legalism” in such a fashion, shifting the meaning from the attitude of being self-righteous to the action of conscientious obedience to all of God’s Word.
As proof of this, consider the classic example of “legalism” in the New Testament: the Pharisees. Why may the Pharisees be classified as legalists? To answer that question, one must examine wherein Jesus found fault with the Pharisees. He reprimanded them for three central failings. First, they were guilty of hypocrisy. They pretended to be devoted, and went to great lengths to appear righteous, but they did not actually follow through with genuine, loving obedience to God (Matthew 23:4-7,25-28). Second, they gave attention to some biblical matters, but neglected others of greater importance (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42). Jesus referred to this tendency as straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel (Matthew 23:24). (Of course, He was not, thereby, advocating nor endorsing gnat-swallowing). Third, they misinterpreted Mosaic law (Matthew 5:17-48), and even went about binding and enforcing their fallacious interpretations, elevating these human traditions, laws, and doctrines to the level of scripture (Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13). Jesus repeatedly upbraided the Pharisees for these three spiritual maladies. But with these three shortcomings in mind, notice that the “legalism” of the Pharisees did not have to do with fervent attention to fulfilling the “letter of the law.” The Pharisees were not condemned because they were too zealous about strict obedience to God’s will. They were condemned because “they say, and do not” (Matthew 23:2).
As a matter of fact, God always has been vitally concerned that those who wish to be pleasing to Him give great care to obeying the details and particulars of His instructions (e.g., Leviticus 10:1-3; 2 Samuel 6:1-7; 1 Chronicles 15:12-13). Jesus even equated this crucial sensitivity to obedience withlove for Him (John 14:15; 15:14). Many who possess a flippant, blasé attitude toward rigid obedience, think that they are avoiding a “legalistic” syndrome, when they actually are demonstrating lax, weak spirituality and unfaithfulness.
“Faithfulness” is, by definition, obedient trust or loyal compliance with the stipulations of God’s will (James 2:17-26). “Righteousness” is, by definition, right doing (Acts 10:34-35; 1 John 3:7). Abraham understood this (Genesis 26:5; Hebrews 11:8). Moses understood this (Deuteronomy 4:2; 6:17; 10:12; 11:8,13,22,27-28). Joshua understood this (Joshua 23:6,11; 24:14-15). John understood this (1 John 5:3). So did Paul (Romans 6:16).
In reality, outcries of “legalism” can serve as a convenient smoke screen to justify departure from the faith, and to cloak an agenda that seeks to introduce unbiblical worship innovations into the body of Christ. Make no mistake: there are hypocrites in the church, as well as those with critical hearts whose demands for conformity arise out of self-righteous arrogance. But the major threat confronting the people of God today is the perennial problem of humanity: a stubborn, rebellious propensity for deviation/apostasy—i.e., an unwillingness to submit humbly to God’s directives (e.g., Genesis 4:7; 1 Samuel 15:22-23; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Micah 6:8; Matthew 7:13-14; Romans 3:10-12; 6:16; 10:21; 2 Thessalonians 1:8). That is precisely why, after rebuking the Pharisees for neglecting the “weightier matters of the law” (i.e., justice, mercy, faith, and the love of God; cf. John 5:42), Jesus reiterated: “These (i.e., the weightier matters—DM) you ought to have done, without leaving the others (i.e., the less weightier mattersDMundone” (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42, emp. added). This also is why Jesus declared: “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19-20). He meant that careful attention to all of God’s commandments—including those deemed “least”—demonstrates a conscientious regard for pleasing God. Whether under Judaism or in the kingdom of Christ, seeking to obey God with an humble attitude is paramount. Those who relegate some doctrinal matters to a status of “less importance” (e.g., worshipping God without human additions—like instrumental music, praise teams, choirs, and baby dedications), and who teach others to participate in these unscriptural innovations, thinking that God will not be “nit-picky” over such “minor” things, will find themselves facing eternal tragedy.
Yes, we must avoid “legalism.” A smug sense of superiority and spiritual self-sufficiency will cause a person to be lost eternally (e.g., Luke 18:9-14). But who would have imagined—who could have anticipated—that the day could come when God’s demand for obedience would be circumvented, derided, and set aside as “legalism”? Those who advance this viewpoint are, in actuality, advocating “illegalism”! We dare not mistake “legalism” for loving obedience to the will of God in every facet of our lives. Instead, we must carefully “do all those things which are commanded” (Luke 17:10), recalling Jesus’ words: “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). We must stake our lives upon the grace of God, but then we must love and obey Him, remembering that “this is love for God: that we keep his commandments” (1 John 5:3).


Faulkner, Paul (1992), “Getting Ahead: Taking Your Family With You” (Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman University Lectureship).
Fletcher, Joseph (1967), Moral Responsibility (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press.).

Did God Create Animals or Man First? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Did God Create Animals or Man First?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

After reading the first two chapters of the Bible, some skeptics, in an attempt to disprove the Bible’s inerrancy, have accused the writer of Genesis of erring in regard to the record of events occurring on day six of creation. While Genesis 1:24-27 plainly indicates that man was created after the animals, critics claim that Genesis 2:18-19 teaches that man was created before animals. They strongly assert that such language by the author of Genesis proves that the Bible is not divinely inspired.
Does Genesis two present a different creation order than Genesis one? Is there a reasonable explanation for the differences between the two chapters? Or is this to be recognized as a genuine contradiction?
Some Bible students resolve this alleged contradiction simply by explaining that the Hebrew verb translated “formed” could easily have been translated “had formed.” In his Exposition of Genesis, H.C. Leupold stated:
Without any emphasis on the sequence of acts the account here records the making of the various creatures and the bringing of them to man. That in reality they had been made prior to the creation of man is so entirely apparent from chapter one as not to require explanation. But the reminder that God had “molded” them makes obvious His power to bring them to man and so is quite appropriately mentioned here. It would not, in our estimation, be wrong to translate yatsar as a pluperfect in this instance: “He had molded.” The insistence of the critics upon a plain past is partly the result of the attempt to make chapters one and two clash at as many points as possible (1942, p. 130, emp. added).
Hebrew scholar Victor Hamilton agreed with Leupold’s assessment of Genesis 2:19 as he also recognized that “it is possible to translate formed as ‘had formed’ ” (1990, p. 176). Keil and Delitzsch stated in the first volume of their highly regarded Old Testament commentary that “our modern style for expressing the same thought [which the Holy Spirit, via Moses, intended to communicate—EL] would be simply this: ‘God brought to Adam the beasts which He had formed’ ” (1996, emp. added). Adding even more credence to this interpretation is the fact that the New International Version (NIV) renders the verb in verse 19, not as simple past tense, but as a pluperfect: “Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air” (emp. added). Although Genesis chapters one and two agree even when yatsar is translated simply “formed” (as we will notice in the remainder of this article), it is important to note that the four Hebrew scholars mentioned above and the translators of the NIV, all believe that it could (or should) be rendered “had formed.” And, as Leupold acknowledged, those who deny this possibility do so (at least partly) because of their insistence on making the two chapters disagree.
The main reason that skeptics do not see harmony in the events recorded in the first two chapters of the Bible is because they fail to realize that Genesis 1 and 2 serve different purposes. Chapter one (including 2:1-4) focuses on the order of the creation events; chapter two (actually 2:5-25) simply provides more detailed information about some of the events mentioned in chapter one. Chapter two never was meant to be a chronological regurgitation of chapter one, but instead serves its own unique purpose—i.e., to develop in detail the more important features of the creation account, especially the creation of man and his surroundings. As Kenneth Kitchen noted in his book, Ancient Orient and the Old Testament:
Genesis 1 mentions the creation of man as the last of a series, and without any details, whereas in Genesis 2 man is the center of interest and more specific details are given about him and his setting. Failure to recognize the complimentary nature of the subject—distinction between a skeleton outline of all creation on the one hand, and the concentration in detail on man and his immediate environment on the other, borders on obscurantism (1966, p. 117).
Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe summarized some of the differences in Genesis 1-2 in the following chart (1992, p. 35):
Genesis 1 Genesis 2
Chronological Order Topical Order
Outline Details
Creating Animals Naming Animals
The fact is, “Genesis 2 does not present a creation account at all but presupposes the completion of God’s work of creation as set forth in chapter 1.... [C]hapter 2 is built on the foundation of chapter 1 and represents no different tradition than the first chapter or discrepant account of the order of creation” (Archer, 1982, pp. 68-69). In short, Genesis chapters 1 and 2 are harmonious in every way. What may seem as a contradiction at first glance is essentially a more detailed account of chapter one. The text of Genesis 2:19 says nothing about the relative origins of man and beast in terms of chronology, but merely suggests that the animals were formed before being brought to man.
If one still rejects both the possibility of yatsar being translated “had formed,” and the explanation of the two chapters being worded differently because of the purposes they serve, a final response to the skeptics allegations is that the text never says that there were no animals created on the sixth day of creation after Adam. Although in my judgment it is very unlikely that God created a special group of animals to be named by Adam (after creating all others before the creation of man—Genesis 1:20-27), some commentators hold this view. After his comments concerning the translation of yastsar, Victor Hamilton indicated that the creatures mentioned in 2:19 refer “to the creation of a special group of animals brought before Adam for naming” (p. 176, emp. added). Hamilton believes that most all the animals on the Earth were created before Adam; however, those mentioned in 2:19 were created on day six after Adam for the purpose of being named. In U. Cassuto’s comments on Genesis 2 regarding the time Adam named the animals, he stated: “Of all the species of beasts and flying creatures that had been created and had spread over the face of the earth and the firmament of the heavens, the Lord God now formed particular specimens for the purpose of presenting them all before man in the midst of the Garden” (1961, p. 129, emp. added). Both of these long-time Bible students recognize that the text never says there were no animals created after Adam, but that all animals were created either on days five and six (before and possibly even after Adam was created). However unorthodox (or unlikely) this position may be, it does serve as another reason why skeptics have no foundation upon which to stand when they assert that a contradiction exists between Genesis 1:24-27 and 2:19.
Archer, Gleason L. (1982), An Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Cassuto, U. (1961), A Commentary on the Book of Genesis (Jerusalem: Magnes).
Geisler, Norman L. and Thomas A. Howe (1992), When Critics Ask (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books).
Hamilton, Victor P. (1990), The Book of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch (1996), Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament (Electronic Database: Biblesoft), new updated edition.
Kitchen, Kenneth (1966), Ancient Orient and Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Inter-Varsity Press).
Leupold, Herbert C. (1942), Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).



I don't know where I got the story of Susie and the goldfish bowl but I think it's a story of great compassion and gallantry. I wet the bed until I was fifteen years old, or thereabouts, and I have a soft spot for kids who go through that. [I need to say that millions feel compassionate without having to experience the same pain as others. Thank God. It's a wide fellowship of suffering, isn't it!]
You understand I've done shameful things in my life and now and then I've been shamed for no good reason and here I am—alive and well. These experiences aren't the end of the world; they only feel like it. I don't at all wish to make the pain that follows appear to be the worst that can happen to a boy or girl and, in any case, it's the entire incident I'm after.
Nine-year-old "Brad" is sitting at his desk, petrified! There's a puddle between his feet and the front of his pants are wet. He thinks his heart's going to stop! He wets the bed and that's shame enough but this is a whole different world—in fact, it's the end of the world. It happened without warning and almost completely without his feeling it happening—he simply froze in his seat. Once the news spread his life would be over. At best, the boys would pity him and the girls—would any of them ever speak to him again? Could he face anyone again--ever?
This is high drama and genuine trauma. Only an adult denies that this is one of those end-of-the-world experiences and while I've known a number of adults who would take it in their stride, the number's exceedingly small. All the others I'm acquainted with—I'm picturing faces as I write this—they'd die of embarrassment on the spot. It's irrational, I know, but there's "shame" and "guilt" attached to such events—can you believe it?
In Great Expectations young Pip, under threat of being roasted and having his liver eaten, had stolen a lovely pork pie from his ill-tempered sister and a file from his dear friend Joe, her husband. He was under secret orders to bring them to the marsh to this escaped and starving convict who had a leg-iron he wanted off. As he hurried with the stuff through the early morning mist every muffled noise was a ghostly voice whispering "thief". Sheep seemed to be huddled together discussing him and casting accusing glances at him as he slipped by in the damp and the dark. In the mist, all of a sudden, he came upon a herd of cattle with staring eyes and steam coming from their nostrils. All of them looking and saying, "Hello, young thief!" One of them, a black ox with a white cravat, fixed him with a long stare and to Pip's pounding conscience it had the air and the appearance of a clergyman. The boy heard himself pleading, "I couldn't help it, sir. It wasn't for myself I took it." Poor thing.
Brad saw his teacher head in his direction. She had a look that said to him he had been found out; though it may only have been his fear and sense of shame and guilt. In any case, in a moment or two the whole matter would become public!
Just then, Susie, who sits behind him, trips in the aisle, she's carrying a goldfish bowl and the entire bowl of water lands in Brad's lap.
"Love covered a multitude of sins."
All of a sudden, instead of being the object of ridicule he has everybody's sympathy. The teacher rushes to do everything for him that needs to be done while his clothes dry.
Susie tries to help but they give her the blues. "You've done enough!"
After school, at the bus-stop, Brad about to ask her…she hushes him and whispers, "I wet my pants once too."
You don't have to be a little girl to do such wonderful things. Even adults can and do them. These people both convict and inspire us.
Tomorrow, God enabling, I'll join a lot of people to engage in the Lord's Supper. I'll think of my genuine guilt and I'll feel ashamed (for I've been guilty and have reasons to feel ashamed) as my heart and mind rise to meet Him. I'll thank Him too for the covering. I'll think of all the "Susies" in the world and some who've been in my life who understood, who were kind and gallant and in love covered my acknowleded sin. Then I'll imagine that He smiles at my thoughts and says, "Yes that was me. I wear a lot of names and lots of disguises. One of these days I'll disguise myself as you and call myself Jim." 
Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

From Gary... Bible Reading November 11

Bible Reading  

November 11

The World English Bible

Nov 11
Isaiah 61-63
Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is on me; because Yahweh has anointed me to preach good news to the humble. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to those who are bound;
Isa 61:2 to proclaim the year of Yahweh's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
Isa 61:3 to appoint to those who mourn in Zion, to give to them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Yahweh, that he may be glorified.
Isa 61:4 They shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
Isa 61:5 Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
Isa 61:6 But you shall be named the priests of Yahweh; men will call you the ministers of our God: you will eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you will boast yourselves.
Isa 61:7 Instead of your shame you shall have double; and instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be to them.
Isa 61:8 "For I, Yahweh, love justice, I hate robbery with iniquity; and I will give them their recompense in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Isa 61:9 Their seed shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which Yahweh has blessed."
Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in Yahweh, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isa 61:11 For as the earth brings forth its bud, and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord Yahweh will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
Isa 62:1 For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her righteousness go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns.
Isa 62:2 The nations shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of Yahweh shall name.
Isa 62:3 You shall also be a crown of beauty in the hand of Yahweh, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
Isa 62:4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall your land any more be termed Desolate: but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for Yahweh delights in you, and your land shall be married.
Isa 62:5 For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons shall marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you.
Isa 62:6 I have set watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day nor night: you who call on Yahweh, take no rest,
Isa 62:7 and give him no rest, until he establishes, and until he makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
Isa 62:8 Yahweh has sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, "Surely I will no more give your grain to be food for your enemies; and foreigners shall not drink your new wine, for which you have labored:
Isa 62:9 but those who have garnered it shall eat it, and praise Yahweh; and those who have gathered it shall drink it in the courts of my sanctuary."
Isa 62:10 Go through, go through the gates; prepare you the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a banner for the peoples.
Isa 62:11 Behold, Yahweh has proclaimed to the end of the earth, "Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your salvation comes. Behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.' "
Isa 62:12 They shall call them The holy people, The redeemed of Yahweh: and you shall be called Sought out, A city not forsaken.
Isa 63:1 Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this who is glorious in his clothing, marching in the greatness of his strength? "It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save."
Isa 63:2 Why are you red in your clothing, and your garments like him who treads in the wine vat?
Isa 63:3 "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the peoples there was no man with me: yes, I trod them in my anger, and trampled them in my wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on my garments, and I have stained all my clothing.
Isa 63:4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
Isa 63:5 I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore my own arm brought salvation to me; and my wrath, it upheld me.
Isa 63:6 I trod down the peoples in my anger, and made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth."
Isa 63:7 I will make mention of the loving kindnesses of Yahweh, and the praises of Yahweh, according to all that Yahweh has bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he has bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses.
Isa 63:8 For he said, "Surely, they are my people, children who will not deal falsely:" so he was their Savior.
Isa 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bore them, and carried them all the days of old.
Isa 63:10 But they rebelled, and grieved his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.
Isa 63:11 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses and his people, saying, Where is he who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? where is he who put his holy Spirit in the midst of them?
Isa 63:12 who caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses? who divided the waters before them, to make himself an everlasting name?
Isa 63:13 who led them through the depths, as a horse in the wilderness, so that they didn't stumble?
Isa 63:14 As the livestock that go down into the valley, the Spirit of Yahweh caused them to rest; so did you lead your people, to make yourself a glorious name.
Isa 63:15 Look down from heaven, and see from the habitation of your holiness and of your glory: where are your zeal and your mighty acts? the yearning of your heart and your compassion is restrained toward me.
Isa 63:16 For you are our Father, though Abraham doesn't know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us: you, Yahweh, are our Father; our Redeemer from everlasting is your name.
Isa 63:17 O Yahweh, why do you make us to err from your ways, and harden our heart from your fear? Return for your servants' sake, the tribes of your inheritance.
Isa 63:18 Your holy people possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down your sanctuary.
Isa 63:19 We are become as they over whom you never bear rule, as those who were not called by your name.

Nov. 11
Titus 1

Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's chosen ones, and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,
Tit 1:2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who can't lie, promised before time began;
Tit 1:3 but in his own time revealed his word in the message with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior;
Tit 1:4 to Titus, my true child according to a common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
Tit 1:5 I left you in Crete for this reason, that you would set in order the things that were lacking, and appoint elders in every city, as I directed you;
Tit 1:6 if anyone is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, who are not accused of loose or unruly behavior.
Tit 1:7 For the overseer must be blameless, as God's steward; not self-pleasing, not easily angered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain;
Tit 1:8 but given to hospitality, as a lover of good, sober minded, fair, holy, self-controlled;
Tit 1:9 holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict those who contradict him.
Tit 1:10 For there are also many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,
Tit 1:11 whose mouths must be stopped; men who overthrow whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for dishonest gain's sake.
Tit 1:12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and idle gluttons."
Tit 1:13 This testimony is true. For this cause, reprove them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,
Tit 1:14 not paying attention to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.
Tit 1:15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.
Tit 1:16 They profess that they know God, but by their works they deny him, being abominable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work.