"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" The Challenge Of Following Jesus (8:18-22) INTRODUCTION 1. As Jesus went about His earthly ministry, He was often followed by large multitudes... a. Drawn by His teachings - Mt 7:28-8:1 b. Attracted by His miracles - Mt 8:16-18 2. Some of those who followed Him wanted to become His disciples... a. Willing to be taught by Jesus - e.g., Mt 5:1-2 b. Wanting to follow Jesus as their Lord and Master - e.g., Mt 8:19 3. Jesus would later command His apostles to make disciples of all the nations... a. As found in The Great Commission - Mt 28:19-20 b. Clearly Jesus wanted people to become His disciples 4. But Jesus never misled the multitudes... a. It would not be easy to be His disciple b. Following Him would be a challenge! 5. In our text for today's study (Mt 8:18-22), we find Jesus responding to two individuals regarding the matter of discipleship... a. "The hasty scribe" who wanted to become a disciple b. "The reluctant disciple" who needed to be reminded of what it meant to be a disciple [This passage should remind us of "The Challenge Of Following Jesus", taken seriously by all who would be His disciples. For instance, in the case of "the hasty scribe" we learn...] I. ONE MUST BE WILLING TO COUNT THE COST A. THE SCRIBE'S OFFER... 1. He expressed a willingness to follow Jesus anywhere - Mt 8:19 2. A commendable offer, but does he know what it means? B. THE MASTER'S REPLY... 1. Jesus informed the scribe that He was homeless - Mt 8:20 a. As an itinerant preacher, Jesus had no place to call home b. Many a night might be spent with no roof overhead 2. To follow Jesus at that time would mean to leave all a. As was necessary for Peter, Andrew, James, and John - Mt 4: 18-22 b. As was encouraged of the rich young ruler - Mt 19:21 C. ONE NEEDS TO COUNT THE COST BEFORE BECOMING A DISCIPLE... 1. As Jesus told the multitudes who followed Him - Lk 14:25-33 2. One does not have to become homeless to follow Jesus today, but we must still: a. Love Him more than family and life b. Forsake all by making Him the Lord and Ruler of our lives 3. In our zeal to win souls, do we neglect to tell people the cost of becoming a disciple of Jesus? a. The cost of observing all that Jesus commands? - Mt 28:20 b. A cost that might require a radical change in one's life? 1) E.g., quitting jobs that interfere with holy living 2) E.g., leaving friends who seek to lead one astray 3) E.g., changing lifestyles, or getting out of unlawful marriages c. That one's repentance is fundamental to the gospel message? - cf. Lk 24:46-47; Ac 2:38; 3:19; 17:30-31; 20:20-21 [When a person wants to follow Jesus, that is wonderful! But we should remind people there is a cost involved, one they need to consider before they commit. For those who are already disciples, we must not forget "The Challenge Of Following Jesus". In the case of "the reluctant disciple", we are reminded that...] II. WE MUST BE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE A. THE DISCIPLE'S REQUEST... 1. He desires to forego following Jesus in order to bury his father first - Mt 8:21 2. Sounds like a devoted son, what harm is there in his request? B. THE MASTER'S RESPONSE... 1. Jesus tells him to follow Him and let the dead bury their own dead - Mt 8:22 a. I.e., let the spiritually dead bury the physical dead b. Others could handle such familial tasks, his responsibility was to answer to a higher calling 2. Jesus often made it clear...to follow Him meant putting Him before family a. As we saw earlier - Lk 14:26 b. As He taught His disciples in preparing them for The Limited Commission - Mt 10:34-37 c. As He set the pattern on one occasion when His family was seeking Him - cf. Mt 12:46-50 C. WE NEED TO PAY THE PRICE OF BEING DISCIPLES... 1. As disciples, we are taught there may be a price to pay to remain faithful a. As Paul taught the new disciples on his first journey - Ac 14:21-22 b. As Paul wrote to Timothy at the end of his life - 2Ti 3: 10-12 2. Far too often, disciples today want to first "bury the dead", such as: a. Putting family responsibilities before the Lord 1) E.g., missing services to entertain visiting family or friends 2) Did not Jesus tell Martha some things take precedent over the desire to be a gracious host? - Lk 10:38-42 b. Accepting jobs when they know it will hinder their service to the Lord 1) E.g., occupations that are so demanding, one has little time or energy left 2) You might think them necessary to support family, but did not Jesus promise that God will provide if you put the kingdom first? - Mt 6:31-33 3. In our zeal to provide for our families, do we forget that we are disciples of Christ? a. There are many good and noble things that can be done in relation to kin and occupation b. But as disciples of Christ, we have a higher and more noble calling - 1Pe 2:9-10 1) As a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own special people 2) To proclaim the praises of God who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light c. If we can't "bury the dead" without neglecting our service to Jesus, then we must "let the dead bury the dead"! CONCLUSION 1. In many places, the Lord's church suffers through neglect... a. Attendance is sporadic b. Service rendered is minimal c. Discipleship is practiced only when convenient 2. There may be many reasons for this, but I suspect two head the list... a. Teaching the gospel without mention of the cost of discipleship b. Disciples who have forgotten there is a price to pay for following Jesus 3. In an age of "easy believism", do not forget "The Challenge Of Following Jesus"... a. Let "the hasty scribe" remind you to count the cost of becoming a disciple b. Let "the reluctant disciple" remind you of the need to pay the price of being a follower of Jesus! This is one of the paradoxes of Christianity: the salvation that Jesus offers is a free gift, but it comes at a high cost. Jesus truly "paid it all", so one cannot earn their salvation; but as our Savior and Lord He requires that we have the servant mentality: "So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, `We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'" (Lk 17:10) Have you counted the cost? Are you willing to pay the price? Both are required to follow Jesus!
"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" A Man Under Authority (8:5-13) INTRODUCTION 1. In Mt 8:5-13, we read of the healing of the centurion's servant... a. In which Jesus highly commends the centurion's faith b. Calling his faith greater than any He had found in Israel 2. This is not the only time we read of military personnel presented in a favorable light... a. There are several Biblical examples of soldiers b. Who were outstanding in their service to God [In our text, I believe we find why soldiers were often such notable examples of faith and service. Before we consider why, let's first review the examples of...] I. SOME NOTABLE SOLDIERS IN THE BIBLE A. JOSHUA AND CALEB... 1. These two men were soldiers who stand out a. They tried to persuade Israel to trust in God, and were threatened with death - Num 14:6-10 b. In the end, they were the only ones over twenty-one who left Egypt to enter the Promised Land - Num 14:26-32 2. Caleb was highly praised by God a. At the time he stood fast for the Lord - Num 14:24 b. At the time he received the land promised to him - Josh14:6-14 -- It is repeatedly emphasized that he "wholly followed the Lord God of Israel" 3. Joshua was similarly remarkable a. In his farewell address (at age 110), he takes his stand for the Lord - Josh 24:14-15 b. His influence over his family was great enough that he knew how they would choose B. CORNELIUS, THE FIRST GENTILE CONVERT... 1. His piety was remembered by the Lord - Ac 10:1-6 2. In responding to the vision... a. He immediately sent for Peter - Ac 10:7-8 b. He prepared an audience for Peter by gathering relatives and close friends - Ac 10:24 c. He was ready to hear whatever Peter had to say - Ac 10:33 3. Cornelius and his family were obedient as implied in Ac 10:48 C. THE PHILIPPIAN JAILER, THE FIRST EUROPEAN MALE CONVERT... 1. Like Cornelius, his conversion was immediate - Ac 16:30-34 2. His family likewise obeyed the gospel [These four Biblical examples remind me of military men I have known; men with similar dedication to the Lord, and success in influencing their families to follow them in their service to the Lord. Coincidence? I think not. What I see is a particular attitude toward authority, one found in the centurion of our text (cf. Mt 8:8-9). Consider what is involved with being...] II. A MAN UNDER AUTHORITY A. THE MILITARY TEACHES THE IMPORTANCE OF AUTHORITY... 1. Without a respected line of authority, chaos would develop a. It is impossible for a large group of individuals to function efficiently without a chain of command that is respected b. Instead of united, coordinated forces, it would be every man for himself! 2. Soldiers are taught to submit to authority immediately a. Delay can be disastrous on the battlefield, where speed can mean the difference between life or death, victory or defeat b. Questioning authority, balking at keeping commands, can easily result in one's own death and that of their comrades 3. Thus the military teaches both: a. How to submit to authority b. How to exercise authority over others -- As expressed by the centurion - Mt 8:8-9 B. KNOWING HOW TO "SUBMIT" TO AUTHORITY, MILITARY MEN... 1. Often obey the will of the Lord immediately upon hearing the gospel a. They realize that delay can be disastrous b. They would not hesitate to follow orders if their lives were in danger, why hesitate when their souls are in jeopardy? 2. Often follow the Lord with a "whole heart" a. They understand the need to submit to authority totally b. If it were just a game, one might be justified to be half- hearted, not taking things seriously c. But warfare, whether carnal or spiritual, requires complete devotion and total concentration to the task at hand! - cf. Ep 6:11-13 3. Often influence their entire families for the Lord a. By such careful submission to the will of the Lord, they set a notable example for their children b. Their children see that serving the Lord is serious business for their father; there must be something to it C. KNOWING HOW TO "EXERCISE" AUTHORITY, MILITARY MEN... 1. Often raise their children in subjection a. Obedient to their parents b. Eventually following parental in obedience to the Lord 2. This is not to say they are necessarily strict martinets, but they exercise authority... a. With firmness, making it advisable for a child to obey b. With wisdom, making it natural for a child to obey c. With love, making it with willingness for a child to obey 3. Often become elders to rule over the house of God - cf. 1 Ti3:4-5 a. Having demonstrated their ability to rule over the house of God b. By first exercising authority over their own household CONCLUSION 1. My purpose is not encourage you to enlist in the military... a. But to suggest we would do well to remember the examples of those in the military b. For we are to be a people under authority, the authority of Jesus Christ! 1) An authority over all things in heaven and on earth - Mt 28:18 2) An authority that demands that we do what He has commanded - Mt 28:19-20 2. In an aged marked by permissiveness, it behooves Christians to possess a military attitude regarding authority, for we are engaged in a spiritual warfare with Satan and his influences a. Not submitting to the authority of God with all haste... 1) Could mean the damnation of our own soul 2) And a bad example for our children b. Not exercising our authority as Christian parents... 1) May lead to our children taking the broad way that leads to destruction! 2) May result in delivering our children to Satan on a silver platter! 3. How much better... a. To be like Caleb, and "wholly serve the Lord God" b. To be like Joshua, and declare "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" -- Just as our nation says, "Uncle Sam Needs You!" so the Lord's church says, "The Lord Jesus Christ Needs You!" Is your faith like that of the centurion, who recognized the power of authority when he saw it? If you have not yet obeyed the gospel of Christ, or need to return to the Lord, follow the example of Cornelius and the Philippian jailer and act immediately! You might save not only yourself, but your children and friends as well!
Inspired Prediction is Proof of Bible Inspiration
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
Why would anyone believe that the Bible is the Word of God, having been transmitted through men who were supernaturally guided by God? Because the evidence so indicates. One of the proofs of Bible inspiration is predictive prophecy. Men committed to writing detailed predictions that pertained to events several hundred years into the future. One such example is the prophecy recalled by the writer of the book of Hebrews in which he quotes from Psalm 40. He places the words in the mouth of Jesus, applying the prediction to Jesus’ incarnation and sacrifice on the cross. His citation is taken from the Septuagint version rather than the original Hebrew:
Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: Sacrifice and offering You did not de-sire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, “Behold, I have come—in the volume of the book it is writ-ten of Me—to do Your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:5-7, emp. added).
The Bible teaches that Deity came to the Earth in human flesh in order to offer Himself as an atonement for the sins of the human race (Galatians 2:20; 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14; et al.). The book of Hebrews was written in the first century A.D. But the Psalms were written several hundred years before that, with Psalm 40, written presumably by David, a thousand years earlier. That means that a thousand years separates the prediction from the fulfillment. Even the most liberal treatment of the Psalms places their composition prior to the first century A.D. The Greek Bible is generally believed to have been completed in the third century B.C., which means the Psalms had to have been completed prior to that time.
But how detailed was this prediction? Did it contain vague generalities and ambiguous phrases that can be bent to refer to just about anything? By no means. Among the details of the prediction, observe that the passage represents God (the Father) as being responsible for preparing/providing a body for Jesus (the Son) to inhabit. This body would replace the animal sacrifices and offerings contained in the Old Testament economy for dealing with sin. Such predictions are hardly vague or ambiguous. In fact, they are extremely specific and complex.
One of the great marvels of the Christian religion is the virgin conception in which Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit, enabling her to conceive a child (Matthew 1:18-25). That child was Jesus Christ who vacated the heavenly realm temporarily to fulfill the magnificent, incomprehensi-ble purpose of sacrificing Himself for lost humanity (Philippians 2:6-8). A physical, fleshly body was necessary to accomplish this purpose. Hence, the need to be “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4; cf. Genesis 3:15) by which Deity could inhabit a human body. Observe that the physical body was genetically derived from David via his descendent Mary (Luke 3:23,31; Romans 1:3)—in ful-fillment of another predictive prophecy (1 Samuel 7:12). But Jesus Himself is not to be confused with His physical body. Jesus Himself preceded the preparation and formation of the physical body that He inhabited in first century Palestine. Jesus Himself has always existed since He is Deity and eternal (Colossians 1:16; 2:9). Jesus Himself participated in the creation of the Universe (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:17).
How in the world could any mere human have predicted, hundreds of years in advance, that a person would be born who, unlike all other humans ever born, was in fact God inhabiting a physi-cal body? No mere human could have predicted such an event. Hence, the Bible bears the attributes of a supernatural origin.
God Did Not Condone Rape
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
Militant atheists of the 21st century delight in accusing God of condoning the most heinous immoralities. They insist that the God of the Bible, especially of the Old Testament, was a murderous villain guilty of far worse than His human subjects. Richard Dawkins accused God of being a “misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully” (2006, p. 31).
One attempt that has been made to bolster these unfounded accusations is to suggest that in the Old Testament God condoned rape. Dan Barker commented: “If God told you to rape someone, would you do it? Some Christians, ignorant of biblical injunctions to rape, might answer, ‘God would never ask me to do that’” (Barker, 1992, p. 331, emp. added). If the honest truth seeker were to ask to see the “biblical injunctions to rape,” he would be struck by the fact that no such injunctions exist.
The passage that is most often used to “prove” that God condones rape is Numbers 31:25-40. In this passage, the young women who were taken captive after Moses destroyed the Midianites were divided between the Israelites and the priests. The priests were given responsibility for 32 of the women. Skeptics often suggest that these women were supplied so that the priests could abuse them sexually and rape them. But nothing could be further from the truth. The skeptic errs greatly in this regard either due to his ignorance of God’s instructions or willful dishonesty.
In Deuteronomy 21:10-14, Moses specifically stated what was to be done with female captives:
When you go out to war...and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her and would take her for your wife, then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife (emp. added).It is important to understand that God has never condoned any type of sexual activity outside of a lawful marriage. The only way that an Israelite would be morally justified in having sexual intercourse with a female captive was if he made her his wife, granting to her the rights and privileges due to a wife. Notice that the Israelite male could not “go in to her” (a euphemism for sexual intercourse) until she had observed a period of mourning and cleansing, and he could only “go in to her” with the intent of being her husband.
When the skeptics’ allegations about God condoning rape are demolished by the very clear instructions in Deuteronomy 21, the attack is usually shifted, and God is accused of being unjust for allowing war prisoners or slavery of any kind, regardless of whether or not rape was permitted. While these allegations about slavery have been dealt with decisively in other places (Butt, 2005a), it is important not to lose sight of the fact that shifting the argument to slavery is a red herring to draw attention away from the original accusation that God condoned rape.
For the skeptic to imply that God condoned rape, using Numbers 31, without mentioning Moses’ instructions in Deuteronomy 21, is unconscionable. It is simply another instance of dishonest propaganda designed to discredit God and the Bible. The irony of the skeptics’ position is that if atheism is true, the skeptic has no grounds upon which to claim that rape is morally wrong (Butt, 2005b). In fact, in my debate with Dan Barker, Barker admitted that fact, and stated that under certain circumstances, rape would be a moral obligation (Butt and Barker, 2009).
In reality, God’s ways and actions have always been fair, equitable, and just. But the errant thinking and self-contradiction of the skeptical worldview continues to show itself to be unjust in its criticism of God, and immoral in its practical application.
Butt, Kyle (2005a), “Defending the Bible’s Position on Slavery,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/368.
Butt, Kyle (2005b), “Rape and Evolution,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/306.
Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), The Butt/Barker Debate: Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Dawkins, Richard (2006), The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin).
Does Mary Intercede for Christians?
It has been argued that “Mary is the creature closest to God. Moreover, while Christ is the mediator of all grace between God and creation, Mary is the mediator of all grace between Christ and humanity. Consequently, Mary is a powerful intercessor for all who turn to her” (see Zoltan, 1994, emp. added). The Bible clearly teaches that Mary is not Deity and should not be worshipped as such (see Pinedo, 2009). If she is not Deity, is she the closest human being to Deity? Does she play an active role in heaven, interceding for individual Christians? Does she make intercession for us in prayer or have an effect on our salvation?
Mary is no closer to God than any other person, past or present.When referring to Deity, the Bible mentions only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; cf. Matthew 3:16-17; John 10:30; 17:21; Acts 5:3-4). Mary is never mentioned in that context. Further, the heaven where God and His angels reside (Deuteronomy 10:14; 26:15; 1 Kings 8:27,30) is not yet inhabited by human beings. Jesus said: “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man” (John 3:13, emp. added). These words represent the truth about all the people who have left this world (including Mary). No one is in heaven because heaven is reserved for all faithful servants of God since time began (cf. John 14:1-3). Not until after the Second Coming of Christ and the final Judgment will it become home for the faithful, both living and dead (Matthew 25:31-46;
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
The idea that Mary occupies a special place in heaven, close to the Son, is a tradition. It shows a lack of understanding concerning biblical teachings on the afterlife. In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus explained that the dead (saved and lost) go to a place called “hades” (16:23, Hebrew sheol)—a spiritual waiting place that separates the consolation of the righteous (referred to as “paradise,” cf. Luke 23:43) from the torment of the wicked. In hades, the righteous begin to taste part of the joy that awaits them in eternity, while the wicked begin to taste part of the suffering that awaits them. Hades is not the dwelling place of God; God dwells in heaven. Mary, along with Abraham and other faithful servants from the past, is waiting in hades until its dead are delivered up, when the Lord returns to judge each man and woman according to his or her works (Revelation 20:13). In this spiritual realm that precedes heaven, there is nothing that those who are there can do for those who are here (Luke 16:27-31).
The gift of intercession was not given to Mary.Catholics have given the title of “Intercessor for the Saints” to Mary, although nowhere in the Bible is it applied to her. “Intercession” means “seeking the presence and hearing of God on behalf of others” (Vine, 1966, 2:267). There are only two areas in which Christians need intercession: salvation and prayers. If Mary is now, or ever has been, involved as “Intercessor for the Saints,” there should be ample evidence in Scripture.
Concerning salvation, the apostle Peter clearly stated that “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, NASB). Of course, he was referring to Jesus Christ. Paul wrote: “[T]here is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). The Hebrews writer added: “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He [Jesus] always lives to make intercession for them” (7:25). Jesus is the one and only Mediator (Intercessor) between God and Man, and He lives to continually intercede for those who come to God.
But what about prayer? Does Mary intercede in the prayers of Christians? No, she does not. This intercession also belongs to Jesus. When teaching His disciples to pray to the Father (Matthew 6:9), Jesus did not teach them to pray to (or through) Mary. And yet, Catholicism created a prayer—the “Hail Mary”—to include the words “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death.” In John 14:13-14, Jesus declared: “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (cf. John 16:24). Jesus is the only One Who can mediate or intercede in our prayers, since “[a]ll things that the Father has are [His]” (John 16:15). If all things that the Father has are the Son’s, then what is left for Mary?
The prerogative of intercession supposedly given to Mary also is argued from the fact that she “interceded” before Jesus on behalf of a family at a wedding in Cana because the wine was running out during the celebration (John 2:2-3). This simple, solitary, tiny thread of argumentation, lost in a loom of confusion, has been misused extensively by the supporters of Marianism. By going to Jesus with a request for help, Mary was not intervening on behalf of anyone’s spiritual needs; she only reported the situation to Jesus. Moreover, consider Jesus’ response: “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me?” (John 2:4). With these words, He emphasized that Mary’s concerns did not dictate His actions. Whatever He did in Cana that day would be according to God’s will, not because of human or motherly influences or desires.
If the situation recorded in John chapter two establishes Mary as the “Intercessor of the Saints,” what should we conclude from Matthew 8:5-13 and other passages that tell of similar circumstances? In Matthew chapter eight, a centurion “interceded” before Jesus for his servant who was in bed, paralyzed, and greatly tormented. Seeing the centurion’s faith, Jesus performed a miracle and cured the sick servant. Should we consider this centurion as the “Intercessor for the Paralytics, the Sick, and the Tormented”? Should any paralytic, or anyone suffering from physical or mental illness, pray to this man of great faith, asking him to intercede with God on their behalf? [The Bible further condemns the act of invoking the dead (cf. Deuteronomy 18:10-13; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14; Isaiah 8:19).] Neither this centurion, nor Abraham, nor Mary, nor anyone else—living or dead—can intercede before the throne of God in favor of the faithful Christian, except Jesus Christ Himself.
Mary, like all men and women, needed intercession.In Luke 1:47, Mary raised her voice and declared: “My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (emp. added). If she had a Savior, then she needed salvation. And, if she needed salvation, then she also needed the only Intercessor of salvation—Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:25). Therefore, Mary’s condition was no different from every human being before or after her. She sinned (Romans 3:23), and she needed the only Intercessor who could make peace between her and God (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Colossians 1:20). Just as Jesus “interceded” on behalf of Mary before He died to make sure her physical needs were met (John 19:26-27), He interceded on her behalf to make sure her spiritual needs were met. Mary cannot intercede for any Christian since she, herself, needed intercession.
Finally, although Christians are commanded to pray for one another (1 Thessalonians 5:25; Hebrews 13:18; James 5:16), Jesus is our only Mediator in prayer. Through Him our prayers are answered.
Vine, W.E. (1966), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell).
Zoltan, Abraham (1994), “A Detailed Guide to Our Lady’s Rosary,” [On-line], URL: http://www.blessedtrinityorlando.org/rosary.html.
Did Jesus Lie to His Brothers?
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
Scripture repeatedly testifies that Jesus never sinned. The prophet Isaiah, speaking as if Jesus had already lived and died, said that the Savior “had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth” (53:9). The apostle Peter quoted from Isaiah in his first epistle (2:22), and added that Jesus was “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). Paul wrote to the Corinthians how Jesus “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). What’s more, according to Hebrews 4:15, Jesus “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). He was “pure” and “righteous” in the supreme sense (1 John 3:3; 2:1). Simply put, Jesus was perfect; He never transgressed God’s law.
If Jesus never sinned, and specifically never lied, some wonder why Jesus told his brothers, “I do not go up to this feast [the Feast of Tabernacles]” (John 7:8, NASB), if later, “when His brothers had gone...He Himself also went” (7:10, NASB)? Some allege that, in this instance, Jesus “broke his word” and “lied” (McKinsey, 2000, p. 787), and thus was not the Son of God as He claimed. What is the truth of the matter?
First of all, several early manuscripts of the gospel of John, including p66 and p75 (believed to be from as early as the late second and early third centuries), have Jesus saying, “I am not yet [oupo] going up to this feast,” rather than “I do not [ouk] go up to this feast.” Thus, it may be that the correct rendering is found in the KJV, NKJV, and NIV, rather than the ASV, NASB, and RSV.
Second, even if Jesus did say at one point to His brothers, “I do not go up to this feast,” but later He went, that still does not mean that He lied. Suppose a co-worker saw me leaving the office at 2:00 p.m. and asked me, “Are you going home?” and I said, “No,” but later went home that day at 5:00 p.m. Have I lied? Not at all. When I left the office at 2:00 p.m., I went to run a quick errand—I did not go home. When I departed the office at 5:00 p.m., however, I went home. “No” is often truthfully used in a time-sensitive manner. Simply because at 2:00 p.m. I said I was not going home, does not mean I could not go home at 5:00 p.m. My “no” meant “I’m not going home at the present.” Similarly, if Jesus used the term “not” [ouk] rather than “not yet” [oupo], He could just as easily been implying the same thing: “I am not going to the feast at the present.”
At the proper time, after Jesus “remained in Galilee” for a while (7:9), He did go to the feast. The proper time was not when his unbelieving brothers told Him to “depart” (John 7:5), but when the Son of God said it was time—a God-appointed time. Furthermore, His attendance at the feast was not for the purpose that His brothers envisioned (to show Himself to the world—7:3-4), rather Jesus went to the feast “not openly, but as it were in secret” (7:10, emp. added).
Just as we often say, “I am not going,” but mean “I am not going yet,” Jesus had every right to use that same kind of language. Although Jesus embodied truth (John 14:6) and always told the truth (1 Peter 2:22), He still used figures of speech and language men commonly understood—some even today.
Cause and Effect—Scientific Proof that God Exists
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
The Universe exists and is real. Every rational person must admit this point. If it did not exist, we would not be here to talk about it. So the question arises, “How did the Universe get here?” Did it create itself? If it did not create itself, it must have had a cause.
Let’s look at the law of cause and effect. As far as science knows, natural laws have no exceptions. This is definitely true of the law of cause and effect, which is the most universal and most certain of all laws. Simply put, the law of cause and effect states that every material effect must have an adequate cause that existed before the effect.
Material effects without adequate causes do not exist. Also, causes never occur after the effect. In addition, the effect never is greater than the cause. That is why scientists say that every material effect must have an adequate cause. The river did not turn muddy because the frog jumped in; the book did not fall off the table because the fly landed on it. These are not adequate causes. For whatever effects we see, we must present adequate causes.
Five-year-olds are wonderful at using the law of cause and effect. We can picture a small child asking: “Mommy, where do peaches come from?” His mother says that they come from peach trees. Then the child asks where the trees come from, and his mother explains that they come from peaches. You can see the cycle. Eventually the child wants to know how the first peach tree got here. He can see very well that it must have had a cause, and he wants to know what that cause was.
One thing is for sure: the Universe did not create itself! We know this for a scientific fact, because matter cannot create matter. If we take a rock that weighs 1 pound and do 50,000 experiments on it, we never will be able to produce more than 1 pound of rock. So, whatever caused the Universe could not have been material.
FROM NOTHING COMES NOTHINGI know that it is insulting to your intelligence to have to include this paragraph, but some people today are saying that the Universe evolved from nothing. However, if there ever had been a time when absolutely nothing existed, then there would be nothing now, because it always is true that nothing produces nothing. If something exists now, then something always has existed.
THE BIBLE SPEAKS ABOUT THE CAUSEThe Bible certainly is not silent about what caused the Universe. In the very first verse of the first chapter of the first book it says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth.” Acts 17:24 records: “God, who made the world and everything in it…He is Lord of heaven and earth.” Exodus 20:11 notes: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them.”
- God is undoubtedly an adequate cause, since He is all-powerful. In Genesis 17:1, God told Abraham “I am Almighty God.”
- He came before this material world, fulfilling the criteria that the cause must come before the effect. The psalmist wrote: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:2).
- And He definitely would instill within mankind the concept of morality, since He is a God of morals. Titus 1:2 says that He cannot lie.
WHY DOES GOD NOT HAVE A CAUSE?Hold on just a minute! If we contend that every material effect must have a cause, and we say that only God could have caused the Universe, then the obvious question is: “What caused God?” Doesn’t the law of cause and effect apply to God, too?
There is a single word in the law of cause and effect that helps provide the answer to this question—the word material. Every material effect must have a cause that existed before it. Scientists formulated the law of cause and effect based upon what they have observed while studying this Universe, which is made out of matter. No science experiment in the world can be performed on God, because He is an eternal spirit, not matter (John 4:24). Science is far from learning everything about this material world, and it is even farther from understanding the eternal nature of God. There had to be a First Cause, and God was (and is) the only One suitable for the job.
CONCLUSIONThe law of cause and effect is a well-established law that does not have any known exceptions. It was not conjured up from the creationists’ magic hat to prove the existence of God (although it does that quite well). The evidence is sufficient to show that this material Universe needs a non-material cause. That non-material Cause is God. If natural forces created the Universe, randomly selecting themselves, then morality in humans never could be explained. Why is this Universe here? Because “in the beginning, God….”
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
The town council of the city of Rome, Italy has passed some rather unusual laws recently. The most startling concerns the illegality of goldfish bowls. That’s right, goldfish bowls are now outlawed in Rome (“Rome Bans...,” 2005). Animal rights activists say the bowls are cruel. The council also passed a law requiring citizens to regularly exercise their dogs. Such pronouncements reflect significant erosion of the Christian worldview.
After creating the animals, God created the first human beings, setting them apart from the animal kingdom by creating humans in His own image (Genesis 1:27). Humans possess a soul—a spirit—that lives on after the death of the body (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Zechariah 12:1; Luke 16:22-31; Hebrews 12:9; James 2:26). Animals do not share this spiritual dimension in common with humans. Animals are not human, and are not to be regarded as such. The Bible speaks directly to the question of the relationship between humans and fish. Humans are to “have dominion (i.e., rule) over the fish of the sea” (Genesis 1:26,28; cf. Psalm 8:6-8)—which surely includes confining them to fishbowls! In fact, the Bible declares specifically that, among other things, “all the fish of the sea...are given into your hand...[and] shall be food for you” (Genesis 9:2-3, emp. added).
When humans stray away from God and the proper view of life and human existence provided in His inspired Word, they end up with distorted sensibilities (see Miller, 2004). They end up exchanging the truth of God for lies, and worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25).
“Rome Bans Goldfish Bowls” (2005), Reuters, October 26, [On-line], URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20051026/od_nm/italy_pets_dc;_ylt=ArSNdiSc xxeineP6q4Sq6Oys0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3NW1oMDRpBHNlYwM3NTc.
One Question, Three Different Answersby Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Three times in the book of Acts, Luke the physician recorded non-Christians asking what they needed to do to be saved, and three times a different answer was given. The heathen jailor from Philippi asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?,” and was told: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (16:30-31). The Jews on Pentecost asked the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?,” and were instructed to “repent and be baptized” (2:37-38). A few years later, Saul (later called Paul—Acts 13:9) asked Jesus, Who appeared to Saul on his way to Damascus, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” (9:6; 22:10). After being told to go into Damascus to find out what he “must do” to be saved, Ananias, the Lord’s servant, commanded Saul to “[a]rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (22:16). The question that many ask is: “Why are three different answers given to the same question?” Are these answers contradictory, or is there a logical explanation for their differences?
The reason that three different answers were given to the question of salvation is because on each occasion the questioners were at different “locations” on the road to salvation. The rationality of such answers can be illustrated by considering what a person is told in reference to his physical distance from a certain city. If a friend calls me to ask how far it is from his house in Jackson, Tennessee to my parents’ house in Neosho, Missouri, I would inform him that he is 475 miles from Neosho. If he calls me back the next day, notifying me that he is now in Little Rock, Arkansas, and asks about the distance to Neosho, I would give him a different answer. He now would be 260 miles from Neosho. If, later that evening, he called me one last time and asked how far Fort Smith is from Neosho, again I would give him a different answer—130 miles. No rational person would accuse me of contradicting myself, since each question was asked from a different reference point. Three different answers were given, but all three were correct. Likewise, the New Testament records three different answers given to the question, “What must I do to be saved,” because the sinners who asked these questions were at different places of understanding on the road to salvation.
The Philippian jailor was commanded to believe in Christ, because he had not yet heard and believed the saving message of Jesus (Acts 16:31-32; Romans 10:17). It would have been pointless for Paul and Silas to command the jailor to repent and/or be baptized when he had not yet even heard the Gospel. If today, a Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist, asked a Christian the same question the Philippian jailor asked Paul and Silas, the same answer would need to be given. Before ever teaching a Muslim about the essentiality of repentance and baptism, he first must express belief in Jesus as the Son of God. If this step (i.e., believing) is never taken on the road to salvation, the other steps are meaningless. [NOTE: The Bible reveals that after Paul and Silas “spoke the word of the Lord” to the jailor and his household, they believed and “immediately” were baptized (Acts 16:33). By implication, Paul and Silas must have taught the jailor and his family about the essentiality of baptism after stressing the need to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (cf. Acts 8:35-36,38). Question: If water baptism has nothing to do with salvation, then why were the jailor and his household immersed in water not long after midnight (cf. Acts 16:25,33)?]
The Jews on Pentecost had already heard Peter’s sermon when they asked their question about salvation (Acts 2:37). Peter knew that they already believed, and that such belief came from hearing the message he preached (cf. Romans 10:17). The Jews had passed the point of belief (being “pricked in their heart”), and were told to “repent and be baptized” in order to obtain salvation (cf. Mark 16:16).
Still, someone might wonder why Ananias told Saul neither to believe nor repent when he informed him about how to have his sins washed away. The reason: Saul already was a penitent believer in Christ by the time he came in contact with Ananias. Saul did not need to be told to believe or repent, since he had already done so. He knew the Lord existed, having spoken directly with Him on the road to Damascus, and he expressed a penitent attitude by praying to God and fasting for three days (Acts 9:9,11). At this point, Saul lacked only one thing: he needed to be baptized (Acts 22:16).
The reason these sinners were told three different things regarding salvation was because they were at different starting points when given the various answers. It is as if the jailor were in Jackson, Tennessee, the Jews on Pentecost in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Saul in Fort Smith. All wanted to go to the same place, but were at different starting points when they asked the question, “What must I do to be saved?” The unbeliever was told to believe. The believers were told to repent. And the penitent believer was told to be baptized. The three statements may be different, but they are not contradictory. For a person to become a child of God, he or she must do all three (see John 8:24; Luke 13:3,5; Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16).
What does God want me to do?People who heard the gospel on Pentecost cried out: “What should we do?” (Acts 2:37).
This is a good question -- also for Christians. Instead of doing what we want to do, we should continually ask ourselves: “What does God want me to do?”
How can we know what God wants us to do? Only through the holy Scriptures. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).
As we study the Scriptures we should ask ourselves, “What does God want me to do?”
The Scriptures are full of instructions for daily living. Jesus tells us to follow Him, to repent, to bear fruit, to be meek, to hunger for righteousness, to be merciful, to be pure in heart, to be peacemakers, to do good, not to call anyone a fool, not to commit adultery, not to look at a woman lustfully, not to divorce our spouses without a valid reason, not to swear, not to resist one who is evil, to go the second mile, to love our enemies, to be perfect like our Father, not to be religious for show, to forgive, not to lay up treasures on earth but in heaven, not to serve money, not to be anxious about physical needs, to seek God's kingdom and righteousness first, not to judge, to do to others as we want them to do to us, to do what He says and not just listen, to be wise as serpents and harmless of doves, to endure to the end, to be like Him, to preach the gospel, to mention just a few items from the first ten chapters of Matthew.
Let us examine just three of these points.
God wants me to follow Christ.
“And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men'” (Matthew 4:18, 19).
“Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, 'Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.' And Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.' Then another of His disciples said to Him, 'Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' But Jesus said to him, 'Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead'” (Matthew 8:19- 22).
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me'” (Matthew 16:24). “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:38).
“Jesus said to him, 'If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me'” (Matthew 19:21).
God wants me to be meek.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
To be meek is to be mild tempered, soft, gentle, humble, lowly, unpretentious, yielding, not easily provoked or irritated, enduring injury with patience and without resentment.
Is this the way we tend to be? Is this the way the world thinks people should be? The world tells us that we should be self-assertive, stand up for our rights, not allow others to get the best of us. But God wants me to be meek.
This is part of following Christ, for He said: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Meek is the best way to be. If we are self-assertive and aggressive, others will resist us and try to beat us down.
Meekness must be genuine. Some people appear meek as a lamb when all is going their way, but if something irritates them they begin to snarl and snap and growl like a vicious wolf.
Meekness can be learned. It is not how we tend to be. To have peace for our souls we must follow Christ and learn to be gentle and lowly in heart. Our glorious King came to us lowly, riding on a donkey (Matthew 21:5).
God wants me to be merciful.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
To be merciful is to have a kind, compassionate and forgiving attitude that overlooks injuries and does not give deserved punishment.
“But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:13).
Jesus refers to Hosea 6:4-6.
“O Ephraim, what shall I do to you?
O Judah, what shall I do to you?
For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud,
And like the early dew it goes away.
Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets,
I have slain them by the words of My mouth;
And your judgments are like light that goes forth.
For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,
And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”
A similar thought is found in Micah 6:6-8.
“With what shall I come before the Lord,
And bow myself before the High God?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
Ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?”
Jesus also referred to this principle when His disciples were condemned by the Pharisees for plucking grain on the Sabbath: “But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless” (Matthew 12:7).
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (Matthew 23:23,24).
God wants me to be merciful. “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).
What does God want me to do? I must continually study the Scriptures to find out. We have examined three things from the book of Matthew. Although sermons and group Bible studies are helpful, we must all spend time studying the Scriptures ourselves to learn all that God wants us to do.
God wants me to follow Christ, to be meek and to be merciful.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
Bible Reading November 30 (World English Bible)
Eze 13:1 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 13:2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say you to those who prophesy out of their own heart, Hear you the word of Yahweh:
Eze 13:3 Thus says the Lord Yahweh, Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
Eze 13:4 Israel, your prophets have been like foxes in the waste places.
Eze 13:5 You have not gone up into the gaps, neither built up the wall for the house of Israel, to stand in the battle in the day of Yahweh.
Eze 13:6 They have seen falsehood and lying divination, who say, Yahweh says; but Yahweh has not sent them: and they have made men to hope that the word would be confirmed.
Eze 13:7 Haven't you seen a false vision, and haven't you spoken a lying divination, in that you say, Yahweh says; but I have not spoken?
Eze 13:8 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Because you have spoken falsehood, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 13:9 My hand shall be against the prophets who see false visions, and who divine lies: they shall not be in the council of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and you shall know that I am the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 13:10 Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there is no peace; and when one builds up a wall, behold, they daub it with whitewash:
Eze 13:11 tell those who daub it with whitewash, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and you, great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall tear it.
Eze 13:12 Behold, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said to you, Where is the daubing with which you have daubed it?
Eze 13:13 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will even tear it with a stormy wind in my wrath; and there shall be an overflowing shower in my anger, and great hailstones in wrath to consume it.
Eze 13:14 So will I break down the wall that you have daubed with whitewash, and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation shall be uncovered; and it shall fall, and you shall be consumed in its midst: and you shall know that I am Yahweh.
Eze 13:15 Thus will I accomplish my wrath on the wall, and on those who have daubed it with whitewash; and I will tell you, The wall is no more, neither those who daubed it;
Eze 13:16 to wit, the prophets of Israel who prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 13:17 You, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy you against them,
Eze 13:18 and say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Woe to the women who sew pillows on all elbows, and make kerchiefs for the head of persons of every stature to hunt souls! Will you hunt the souls of my people, and save souls alive for yourselves?
Eze 13:19 You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to kill the souls who should not die, and to save the souls alive who should not live, by your lying to my people who listen to lies.
Eze 13:20 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I am against your pillows, with which you there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms; and I will let the souls go, even the souls who you hunt to make them fly.
Eze 13:21 Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and you shall know that I am Yahweh.
Eze 13:22 Because with lies you have grieved the heart of the righteous, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, and be saved alive:
Eze 13:23 Therefore you shall no more see false visions, nor practice divination. I will deliver my people out of your hand; and you shall know that I am Yahweh.
Eze 14:1 Then came certain of the elders of Israel to me, and sat before me.
Eze 14:2 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 14:3 Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them?
Eze 14:4 Therefore speak to them, and tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Every man of the house of Israel who takes his idols into his heart, and puts the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and comes to the prophet; I Yahweh will answer him therein according to the multitude of his idols;
Eze 14:5 that I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.
Eze 14:6 Therefore tell the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Return you, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
Eze 14:7 For everyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel, who separates himself from me, and takes his idols into his heart, and puts the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and comes to the prophet to inquire for himself of me; I Yahweh will answer him by myself:
Eze 14:8 and I will set my face against that man, and will make him an astonishment, for a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and you shall know that I am Yahweh.
Eze 14:9 If the prophet be deceived and speak a word, I, Yahweh, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand on him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.
Eze 14:10 They shall bear their iniquity: the iniquity of the prophet shall be even as the iniquity of him who seeks to him;
Eze 14:11 that the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither defile themselves any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 14:12 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 14:13 Son of man, when a land sins against me by committing a trespass, and I stretch out my hand on it, and break the staff of its bread, and send famine on it, and cut off from it man and animal;
Eze 14:14 though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 14:15 If I cause evil animals to pass through the land, and they ravage it, and it be made desolate, so that no man may pass through because of the animals;
Eze 14:16 though these three men were in it, as I live, says the Lord Yahweh, they should deliver neither sons nor daughters; they only should be delivered, but the land should be desolate.
Eze 14:17 Or if I bring a sword on that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off from it man and animal;
Eze 14:18 though these three men were in it, as I live, says the Lord Yahweh, they should deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only should be delivered themselves.
Eze 14:19 Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my wrath on it in blood, to cut off from it man and animal;
Eze 14:20 though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, says the Lord Yahweh, they should deliver neither son nor daughter; they should but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.
Eze 14:21 For thus says the Lord Yahweh: How much more when I send my four sore judgments on Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the evil animals, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and animal!
Eze 14:22 Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be carried forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth to you, and you shall see their way and their doings; and you shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought on Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought on it.
Eze 14:23 They shall comfort you, when you see their way and their doings; and you shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 15:1 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 15:2 Son of man, what is the vine tree more than any tree, the vine-branch which is among the trees of the forest?
Eze 15:3 Shall wood be taken of it to make any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon?
Eze 15:4 Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire has devoured both its ends, and its midst is burned: is it profitable for any work?
Eze 15:5 Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less, when the fire has devoured it, and it is burned, shall it yet be meet for any work!
Eze 15:6 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Eze 15:7 I will set my face against them; they shall go forth from the fire, but the fire shall devour them; and you shall know that I am Yahweh, when I set my face against them.
Eze 15:8 I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 16:1 Again the word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 16:2 Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations;
Eze 16:3 and say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh to Jerusalem: Your birth and your birth is of the land of the Canaanite; the Amorite was your father, and your mother was a Hittite.
Eze 16:4 As for your birth, in the day you were born your navel was not cut, neither were you washed in water to cleanse you; you weren't salted at all, nor swaddled at all.
Eze 16:5 No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you, to have compassion on you; but you were cast out in the open field, for that your person was abhorred, in the day that you were born.
Eze 16:6 When I passed by you, and saw you weltering in your blood, I said to you, Though you are in your blood, live; yes, I said to you, Though you are in your blood, live.
Eze 16:7 I caused you to multiply as that which grows in the field, and you increased and grew great, and you attained to excellent ornament; your breasts were fashioned, and your hair was grown; yet you were naked and bare.
Eze 16:8 Now when I passed by you, and looked at you, behold, your time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over you, and covered your nakedness: yes, I swore to you, and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord Yahweh, and you became mine.
Eze 16:9 Then washed I you with water; yes, I thoroughly washed away your blood from you, and I anointed you with oil.
Eze 16:10 I clothed you also with embroidered work, and shod you with sealskin, and I girded you about with fine linen, and covered you with silk.
Eze 16:11 I decked you with ornaments, and I put bracelets on your hands, and a chain on your neck.
Eze 16:12 I put a ring on your nose, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.
Eze 16:13 Thus you were decked with gold and silver; and your clothing was of fine linen, and silk, and embroidered work; you ate fine flour, and honey, and oil; and you were exceeding beautiful, and you prospered to royal estate.
Eze 16:14 Your renown went forth among the nations for your beauty; for it was perfect, through my majesty which I had put on you, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 16:15 But you did trust in your beauty, and played the prostitute because of your renown, and poured out your prostitution on everyone who passed by; his it was.
Eze 16:16 You took of your garments, and made for yourselves high places decked with various colors, and played the prostitute on them: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so.
Eze 16:17 You also took your beautiful jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself images of men, and played the prostitute with them;
Eze 16:18 and you took your embroidered garments, and covered them, and did set my oil and my incense before them.
Eze 16:19 My bread also which I gave you, fine flour, and oil, and honey, with which I fed you, you did even set it before them for a pleasant aroma; and thus it was, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 16:20 Moreover you have taken your sons and your daughters, whom you have borne to me, and these have you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your prostitution a small matter,
Eze 16:21 that you have slain my children, and delivered them up, in causing them to pass through the fire to them?
Eze 16:22 In all your abominations and your prostitution you have not remembered the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, and was weltering in your blood.
Eze 16:23 It is happen after all your wickedness, (woe, woe to you! says the Lord Yahweh),
Eze 16:24 that you have built to you a vaulted place, and have made you a lofty place in every street.
Eze 16:25 You have built your lofty place at the head of every way, and have made your beauty an abomination, and have opened your feet to everyone who passed by, and multiplied your prostitution.
Eze 16:26 You have also committed sexual immorality with the Egyptians, your neighbors, great of flesh; and have multiplied your prostitution, to provoke me to anger.
Eze 16:27 See therefore, I have stretched out my hand over you, and have diminished your ordinary food, and delivered you to the will of those who hate you, the daughters of the Philistines, who are ashamed of your lewd way.
Eze 16:28 You have played the prostitute also with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable; yes, you have played the prostitute with them, and yet you weren't satisfied.
Eze 16:29 You have moreover multiplied your prostitution to the land of merchants, to Chaldea; and yet you weren't satisfied with this.
Eze 16:30 How weak is your heart, says the Lord Yahweh, seeing you do all these things, the work of an impudent prostitute;
Eze 16:31 in that you build your vaulted place at the head of every way, and make your lofty place in every street, and have not been as a prostitute, in that you scorn pay.
Eze 16:32 A wife who commits adultery! who takes strangers instead of her husband!
Eze 16:33 They give gifts to all prostitutes; but you give your gifts to all your lovers, and bribe them, that they may come to you on every side for your prostitution.
Eze 16:34 You are different from other women in your prostitution, in that none follows you to play the prostitute; and whereas you give hire, and no hire is given to you, therefore you are different.
Eze 16:35 Therefore, prostitute, hear the word of Yahweh:
Eze 16:36 Thus says the Lord Yahweh, Because your filthiness was poured out, and your nakedness uncovered through your prostitution with your lovers; and because of all the idols of your abominations, and for the blood of your children, that you gave to them;
Eze 16:37 therefore see, I will gather all your lovers, with whom you have taken pleasure, and all those who you have loved, with all those who you have hated; I will even gather them against you on every side, and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness.
Eze 16:38 I will judge you, as women who break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will bring on you the blood of wrath and jealousy.
Eze 16:39 I will also give you into their hand, and they shall throw down your vaulted place, and break down your lofty places; and they shall strip you of your clothes, and take your beautiful jewels; and they shall leave you naked and bare.
Eze 16:40 They shall also bring up a company against you, and they shall stone you with stones, and thrust you through with their swords.
Eze 16:41 They shall burn your houses with fire, and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women; and I will cause you to cease from playing the prostitute, and you shall also give no hire any more.
Eze 16:42 So will I cause my wrath toward you to rest, and my jealousy shall depart from you, and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry.
Eze 16:43 Because you have not remembered the days of your youth, but have raged against me in all these things; therefore, behold, I also will bring your way on your head, says the Lord Yahweh: and you shall not commit this lewdness with all your abominations.
Eze 16:44 Behold, everyone who uses proverbs shall use this proverb against you, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter.
Eze 16:45 You are the daughter of your mother, who loathes her husband and her children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children: your mother was a Hittite, and your father an Amorite.
Eze 16:46 Your elder sister is Samaria, who dwells at your left hand, she and her daughters; and your younger sister, who dwells at your right hand, is Sodom and her daughters.
Eze 16:47 Yet have you not walked in their ways, nor done after their abominations; but, as if that were a very little thing, you were more corrupt than they in all your ways.
Eze 16:48 As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, Sodom your sister has not done, she nor her daughters, as you have done, you and your daughters.
Eze 16:49 Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, and prosperous ease was in her and in her daughters; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
Eze 16:50 They were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
Eze 16:51 Neither has Samaria committed half of your sins; but you have multiplied your abominations more than they, and have justified your sisters by all your abominations which you have done.
Eze 16:52 You also, bear you your own shame, in that you have given judgment for your sisters; through your sins that you have committed more abominable than they, they are more righteous that you: yes, be also confounded, and bear your shame, in that you have justified your sisters.
Eze 16:53 I will turn again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, and the captivity of your captives in the midst of them;
Eze 16:54 that you may bear your own shame, and may be ashamed because of all that you have done, in that you are a comfort to them.
Eze 16:55 Your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate; and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate; and you and your daughters shall return to your former estate.
Eze 16:56 For your sister Sodom was not mentioned by your mouth in the day of your pride,
Eze 16:57 before your wickedness was uncovered, as at the time of the reproach of the daughters of Syria, and of all who are around her, the daughters of the Philistines, who do despite to you all around.
Eze 16:58 You have borne your lewdness and your abominations, says Yahweh.
Eze 16:59 For thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will also deal with you as you have done, who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant.
Eze 16:60 Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish to you an everlasting covenant.
Eze 16:61 Then you shall remember your ways, and be ashamed, when you shall receive your sisters, your elder sisters and your younger; and I will give them to you for daughters, but not by your covenant.
Eze 16:62 I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall know that I am Yahweh;
Eze 16:63 that you may remember, and be confounded, and never open your mouth any more, because of your shame, when I have forgiven you all that you have done, says the Lord Yahweh.
Jas 3:1 Let not many of you be teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment.
Jas 3:2 For in many things we all stumble. If anyone doesn't stumble in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also.
Jas 3:3 Indeed, we put bits into the horses' mouths so that they may obey us, and we guide their whole body.
Jas 3:4 Behold, the ships also, though they are so big and are driven by fierce winds, are yet guided by a very small rudder, wherever the pilot desires.
Jas 3:5 So the tongue is also a little member, and boasts great things. See how a small fire can spread to a large forest!
Jas 3:6 And the tongue is a fire. The world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire by Gehenna.
Jas 3:7 For every kind of animal, bird, creeping thing, and thing in the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by mankind.
Jas 3:8 But nobody can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Jas 3:9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the image of God.
Jas 3:10 Out of the same mouth comes forth blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
Jas 3:11 Does a spring send out from the same opening fresh and bitter water?
Jas 3:12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, yield olives, or a vine figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh water.
Jas 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good conduct that his deeds are done in gentleness of wisdom.
Jas 3:14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, don't boast and don't lie against the truth.
Jas 3:15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic.
Jas 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there is confusion and every evil deed.
Jas 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
Jas 3:18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.