2/23/18

Top 10 Reasons Not to Be a Christian by Trevor Bowen

http://insearchoftruth.org/articles/top_10_reasons_not_to_be_a_christian.html

Top 10 Reasons Not to Be a Christian

Are you a Christian yet? If not, why not? Here are the top 10 reasons why some people delay in becoming a Christian, along with a brief response:
10. "A lot of Christians are hypocrites." - This is a true statement. Many Christians are hypocrites. This should not be too surprising, because there are bad apples in every basket. The standard to which God calls us should not be judged by a few bad apples. Besides, would you rather spend a few years, putting up with a few hypocrites in church, or spend eternity with all of them in hell? (Matthew 13:24-43)
9. "I am not good enough." - When one becomes a Christian, it is not because he, or she is good. In fact, we become Christians because we recognize that we are not good. We are sinners. The redemption of the Christian is based on grace and faith, not one's own righteousness (Romans 3:21-28). If it was based on righteousness, nobody would be a Christian, much less be saved (Romans 3:23; James 2:10-11).
8. "I do not know enough." - Do you believe there is a God? Do you believe that Jesus is His Son, who died on the cross to save us from our sins, and was resurrected to give us hope? Are you willing to accept Him as your Lord and Savior, to follow Him wherever He leads you? His commands are simple: After hearing the gospel, you must believe, repent from your sins, confess Him, and be immersed in water into His body (Romans 10:8-18; Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:26-27). The rest will come with time and diligence (I Peter 5:10; Hebrews 5:12-14). Trust Him.
7. "It is too hard." - Being a Christian is hard work. Before one becomes a Christian they should count the cost, and commit themselves to Christ, whatever the cost (Luke 9:57-62; 14:26-35). However, you should know that choosing not to be a Christian will produce a life that is even harder (Matthew 11:28-30). To help us, God has provided spiritual tools that enable us to grow as a Christian and overcome this life (II Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:10-18). These tools are only available to Christians (Ephesians 1:3). If we run away from the difficulties of being a Christian, we will run straight into a trapped life of ruin and misery, which will bring insurmountable and eternal difficulties.
6. "I am too wicked. God could not forgive me." - What have you done? Have you persecuted Christians? Forcing them to blaspheme their own Savior through slow and painful torture? Have you persecuted them to the point of death? If God can accept Saul, the persecutor of Jesus and Christians (I Timothy 1:13-16; Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-22), and if He can forgive those who crucified His own Son (Luke 23:33-34; Acts 2:36-47), then will He not readily accept you (Luke 15:1-32)? Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, including yours (I John 2:2; I Timothy 2:5-6).
5. "But, that means my family is going to hell!" - Once someone realizes the truth of his condemned state, it does not take long before he considers the fate of his loved ones. This realization often produces much worry and heartache. Such a person may allow this concern to overpower his desire to save himself. However, denying the truth will not change their true state before God (I Corinthians 4:1-5). The only real hope of saving your loved ones is to first become a Christian, and then you can reach out to them with the gospel. Ignoring the judgment to come does not make it go away. Turning a blind eye only makes condemnation inevitable (Romans 11:7-10).
4. "God is merciful. He would not condemn me." - God truly is merciful. He does not want any to be lost (II Peter 3:9). That is why He gave His Son to be sacrificed upon the cross, thereby giving us an opportunity to be saved (John 3:16). However, the Lord is also just, and He will one day return unexpectedly, as a "thief in the night" (I Thessalonians 5:1-3). Then the door of opportunity will be closed, and only those who are prepared will be saved (Matthew 25:1-13). At that time, He will be "revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." (II Thessalonians 1:7-8). This is God's promise and warning. Will you ignore the warning?
3. "I am a good, moral person. God would not condemn me." - On that last great day, there will be many surprised people, whom we might would consider good, moral people. Many might have even acknowledged Him as Lord (Matthew 7:21). Some might have gone so far as to have performed many great works in His name (Matthew 7:22). However, if they have not obeyed and performed according to the Lord's command, then Jesus will not recognize them, and they will be eternally condemned (Luke 13:23-27; Matthew 7:21-23). Are you obeying the Lord's command (Mark 16:15-16)?
2. "I'm not ready yet. Maybe tomorrow?" - Some people want to finish sowing their wild oats. Once they have had their full of sin and its pleasures, then they plan to offer their ragged life to God, just before they expire. Such people underestimate God. He will not be tricked, or mocked (Galatians 6:7-8). You will reap what you sow. In reality, the race is not to become a Christian before you die, but to repent before your heart becomes hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, unable to hear the word and repent (Hebrews 3:13; Luke 8:4-15).
1. Me, myself, and I - Few, if any, would readily admit this is the reason for delaying their conversion. However, at some point, all of the nine above reasons cease to be barriers, and they become excuses, masking their own selfish, stubborn rebellion as the true reason (Romans 1:18-32). However, such people will one day find themselves surrounded by all the selfish beings that ever lived, angels and people (Matthew 25:41-46). How effectively will you be able to serve yourself and find happiness in that realm of eternal evil, darkness, and suffering, where nothing good dwells?

Conclusion

If you are delaying becoming a Christian, then please answer the question, "Why?" What stands in your way between you and the Lord? Why will you not do what you know to be right? How do you know this is not your last chance before you either die or your conscience becomes so hardened that it can no longer be pricked by the truth? If something still stands in your way, please talk to me, or any Christian, about it. There is nothing worth losing your one and only eternal soul (Mark 8:34-38)!

Please feel free to send the author of this article any questions, concerns, or feedback that you may have.
Trevor Bowen

"THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS" Work Out Your Own Salvation (2:12-18) by Mark Copeland

                    "THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS"

                  Work Out Your Own Salvation (2:12-18)

INTRODUCTION

1. One of the things that interests me about Paul's writings is that he
   is intensely practical

2. He always relates...
   a. Doctrine and duty
   b. Creed and character
   c. Faith and life
   ...to him, these are inseparable!

3. So it is now, that having described the example of Christ, he bases
   upon that example his exhortation to earnest endeavor towards
   spiritual progress (Php 2:12-18)

4. In this passage, Paul exhorts Christians to "Work Out Your Own
   Salvation"; in this lesson, there are several observations I would
   like to make concerning what this involves

[First, consider that as you "Work Out Your Own Salvation" that...]

I. THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF OBEDIENCE (12a)

   A. THAT DONE ONLY IN THE PRESENCE OF OTHERS...
      1. This is a very common form of obedience
         a. Done only when others are around
         b. Because we fear what others might think if we don't behave a
            certain way
      2. Yet Paul did not want the Philippians' obedience to be of this
         sort
         a. For then it would only be what he calls elsewhere
            "eye-service" - cf. Col 3:22
         b. Their faith would then be an "environmental faith" (a faith
            which is active only if the environment is conducive to it)

   B. THAT DONE IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHERS...
      1. This is the proper form of obedience
         a. Done to please God, conscience, and no one else!
         b. This type of obedience remains faithful no matter what
            others do or think
      2. It is this type of obedience...
         a. That Paul hoped for in the lives of his beloved friends
         b. That we should render in our service to the Lord and His
            cause

[Secondly, we should also bear in mind that as you "Work Out Your Own
Salvation"...]

II. IT INVOLVES THE WORKING OF BOTH MAN AND GOD (12b-13)

   A. MAN HAS A ROLE TO PLAY IN HIS SALVATION...
      1. He must "work out" his salvation
         a. As Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost - Ac 2:40
         b. And also wrote later to Christians - 2Pe 1:10
         -- Therefore man is not totally passive (or helpless) when it
            comes to his salvation!
      2. He must also have "fear and trembling" in working out his
         salvation
         a. There is a place for the right kind of fear in the life of a
            Christian
            1) The "fear of the Lord" is the beginning of knowledge
               - Pr 1:7
            2) The "fear of the Lord" will cause one to hate evil
               - Pr 8:13
            3) The "fear of the Lord" will prolong life - Pr 10:27
            4) The "fear of the Lord" provides strong confidence and is
               a fountain of life - Pr 14:26-27
            5) The "fear of the Lord" prompts one to depart from evil
               - Pr 16:6
            6) The "fear of the Lord" leads to a satisfying life, and
               spares one from much evil - Pr 19:23
            7) The "fear of the Lord" is the way to riches, honor, and
               life! - Pr 22:4
         b. Prompted by the "fear of the Lord" to hate evil, depart from
            it, and turn to God where they will find wisdom, life and
            honor, they will also come to find that love which dispels
            any improper kind of "fear" - cf. 1Jn 4:17-18
         c. But many never experienced such love from God because they
            have not had the "fear and trembling" in the first place!

   B. BUT GOD IS ALSO VERY MUCH INVOLVED IN OUR SALVATION!
      1. Notice that Paul writes "for it is God who works in you"
         a. We are not alone in our efforts to serve God
         b. God is always there to help us along
      2. In what way does God "work" in us?  Paul identifies two ways:
         a. "to will" - God helps us in our desire and motivation to do
            His will
         b. "to do" - He works right along together with us!
      3. This does not deny that man is a free moral agent...
         a. Paul has already said to "work out your own salvation"
         b. But when we offer ourselves in service to God, He becomes
            our partner, our "co-pilot" - cf. He 13:20-21
            1) At our conversion, He begins a new work in us, and
               intends to complete it - cf. Php 1:6
            2) Through His indwelling Spirit and Son, He gives us
               whatever strength we need - Ep 3:16; Php 4:13
            3) So that, whatever we may become in the Lord, it is by His
               grace! - 1Co 15:10
         c. Unfortunately, many Christians hinder God's work in them by
            their lukewarm attitude (or is it their lack of faith in
            God?)!
         d. God can work (and is willing!), but only if we let Him!
      4. Knowing that God is at work IN us, this ought to provide
         further motivation to work OUT our salvation!

[As we read on, we learn that one is to "Work Out Your Own Salvation"...]

III. DOING SO WITHOUT MURMURING AND DISPUTING (14)

   A. MURMURING WAS THE DOWNFALL OF ISRAEL...
      1. Notice 1Co 10:10-12
      2. This can also be a problem among many Christians today whenever
         they face hardships
      3. But we are told that God is ever ready to help us (1Co 10:13),
          and that He is in us both to "will" and to "work"
         (Php 2:13), so why complain?
      4. Rather, rejoice for the opportunity such "tribulations" give us
         to develop spiritually! - Ro 5:3-5; Jm 1:2-4

   B. DISPUTING OFTEN FOLLOWS MURMURING...
      1. Those who murmur are likely to be the same ones who begin
         disputing with others
      2. All it accomplishes is ill will, and in many cases, unnecessary
         division
      3. Shall we dare destroy the unity for which Christ died on the
         cross to attain?

[We need to heed Paul's exhortation to "Work Out Your Own Salvation"...]

IV. SO YOU CAN SHINE AS LIGHTS IN THE WORLD (15-16)

   A. TO SHINE AS LIGHTS, WE MUST BE CHILDREN OF GOD WITHOUT FAULT...
      1. Which is possible only if we "become blameless and harmless"
      2. Which requires doing all things "without murmuring and
         disputing"
      3. Which can only happen if we allow God to "work in" us as we
         "work out" our own salvation; in other words...
         a. Allow God go forgive us in obedience to the gospel
         b. Allow God to strengthen us through His Word and prayer
         c. Allow God to change us in conformity to His Will

   B. TO SHINE AS LIGHTS, WE MUST BE "IN THE MIDST" OF CROOKED AND
      PERVERSE GENERATION...
      1. Lights are valuable only if they are used to dispel darkness
         - cf. Mt 5:14-15
      2. Though we are to "be separate" from the world (2Co 6:14-18),
         we must "not isolate" ourselves from it - cf. Jn 17:15,18; 1Co 5:9-11
      3. We must associate with those in the world in order to be a
         positive influence

   C. TO SHINE AS LIGHTS, WE MUST "HOLD FAST" THE WORD OF LIFE...
      1. Some translations read "hold forth"
      2. Certainly we should do both...
         a. "hold fast" the Word of life (by our study and obedience to
            it) - 2Ti 2:15
         b. "hold forth" the Word of life (by offering it to those in
            the world) - Mk 16:15
      3. In both ways, we are to be like "The Statue Of Liberty"
         a. Showing the way
         b. Offering hope to those in need

[Acting as "lights in the world", we bring great joy to those who taught
us the Word of God (16).

Finally, Paul writes that as you "Work Out Your Own Salvation", it
should include...]

V. REJOICING IN YOUR SACRIFICES (17-18)

   A. WE MAY BE CALLED UPON TO SACRIFICE OURSELVES...
      1. It may be in service to our own faith, or in the service of the
         faith of others
      2. It may be a sacrifice of time, energy, money, or even life
         itself
      3. But it is for a good cause, and this is how Paul viewed his
         possible execution for the cause of Christ

   B. SUCH SACRIFICES CAN BE AN OCCASION FOR GLADNESS AND REJOICING!
      1. This is how Paul viewed it
      2. For he knew his sacrifices were in the cause of saving others
      3. And he knew that their salvation would ultimately bring him
         greater joy at Christ's coming - cf. 1Th 2:19-20
      4. Does not the prospect of seeing each other in the presence of
         the Lord at His coming...
         a. Make any sacrifice for one another worthwhile?
         b. Constitute good reason to be glad and rejoice in sacrificial
            service?

CONCLUSION

1. Such are some of the things involved in the salvation God offers

2. Are they included in YOUR efforts to "Work Out Your Own Salvation"?

3. As someone has suggested:  "Work as though it all depended upon you,
   but pray as though it all depended upon God"

4. Indeed we should, for as we work out our salvation, it is God who is
   working in us!

Are you doing YOUR part?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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“Christianity Could Not Possibly Be True” by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=3518

“Christianity Could Not Possibly Be True”

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

What did atheistic author Mike Davis allege was the “smoking gun” that proved to him once and for all that “Christianity could not possibly be true”? What “sealed the issue” and led him to believe “Jesus was wrong...and no more deserving of our belief than any other guy”? When did the case against the Bible and Christianity become “closed”? In chapter one of his book, The Atheist’s Introduction to the New Testament: How the Bible Undermines the Basic Teachings of Christianity, Davis explained that Matthew 24:34 was the deciding factor.
In Matthew 24:34, Jesus stated: “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” According to Davis, since “Jesus tells his listeners that the judgment day will come before the generation he’s speaking to passes away,” and since that generation passed away 1,900 years ago, Jesus “could not have been divine” and the Bible is “untrustworthy” (2008, pp. 1-2). In actuality, what Davis confesses ultimately “proved” to him that the Bible and Jesus are unreliable is nothing more than a misinterpretation of Scripture. Jesus was not mistaken in His comments in Matthew 24:34—Jesus’ generation did not pass away prior to witnessing the things Jesus foretold in Matthew 24:4-34. But, Jesus did not foretell in those verses what Davis assumes He foretold. Davis and many others believe that, prior to verse 34, Jesus was describing events that would take place shortly before Judgment Day at the end of time. The fact of the matter is, however, Jesus was prophesying about the coming destruction upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and not the final Judgment.
When the disciples went to show Jesus the temple buildings (Matthew 24:1), Jesus said, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (24:2). Later, when Jesus was on the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked Him three questions, beginning with “when will these things be?” (24:3). In verses 4-34, Jesus revealed several signs that would indicate Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem, including the temple, was near. [NOTE: “The fall of the Hebrew system is set forth in the sort of apocalyptic nomenclature that is characteristic of Old Testament literature, e.g., when the prophets pictorially portray the overthrow of Jehovah’s enemies (cf. Isaiah 13:10-11; 34:2ff; Ezekiel 32:7-8)” (Jackson, n.d.); cf. Matthew 24:29-31; see Miller, 2003.] In verses 35-51 (and all of chapter 25), Jesus answered the disciples’ last two questions: “what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). To summarize, in Matthew 24:4-34 Jesus foretold of the coming destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, while in 24:35-25:46 He commented on His future return and final Judgment of the world.
How sad it is that so many atheists and skeptics believe they have disproven the Bible and Christianity, when, in reality, they have simply twisted the biblical text to mean something God never intended (cf. 2 Peter 3:16). The fact that Mike Davis highlights Matthew 24:34 as the verse that once and for all proved to him the Bible is unreliable should tell us something about the extreme weakness of the skeptic’s case against Christianity.

REFERENCES

Davis, Mike (2008), The Atheist’s Introduction to the New Testament (Outskirts Press: Denver, CO).
Jackson, Wayne (no date), “A Study of Matthew 24,” http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/19-a-study-of-matthew-24.
Miller, Dave (2003), “There Will Be No Signs!” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1838.

“The Man Upstairs” by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1611

“The Man Upstairs”

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Maybe you have been in a conversation when a person used the phrase “the Man upstairs.” In fact, it might be the case that you have used it yourself. Most people understand that this phrase is supposed to refer to God. The famous country singer Garth Brooks performed a song, titled “Unanswered Prayers,” in which he referred to God as “the Man upstairs.” Let’s consider some possible implications that this idea may contain.
There seems to be a human tendency to view God as “the Big Man,” or “the Man upstairs,” and attribute to Him human qualities. Most of the time, when a person uses such phrases, that person attributes to God more power than other men, and places God higher (upstairs) than other men, but still views God as some kind of giant, powerful Man. In fact, the Greek and Roman religions took the “Man upstairs” idea to its logical conclusion and attributed to their gods personalities and character flaws that were seen in mere men. The pagan deities lied, cheated, stole, consorted, and murdered like “little” humans, only their dastardly deeds were perceived to be on a cosmic scale.
In truth, the Bible paints a very different picture of God than is contained in the thought of “the Man upstairs.” The Bible repeatedly insists that God is not a man. In Numbers 23:19, in an inspired oracle, Balak stated: “God is not a man, that He should lie.” The prophet Isaiah wrote: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (55:8-9). The true God of heaven is nothing like the ancient pagan deities with their lies and hypocrisy. The God of heaven “cannot lie” (Titus 1: 2), nor can He even be tempted with evil (James 1:13). In fact, God is perfect in every way, “a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
While it is true that the Bible sometimes describes God with human traits (called anthropomorphisms), like having hands or eyes, it is not true that God is just a bigger, higher Man. He is altogether perfect, “Whose judgments are unsearchable and Whose ways are past finding out” (Romans 11:33). Let us always bear in mind as we approach our God in worship and prayer, that we are approaching the Perfect God of Heaven “to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).
[NOTE: Of course we understand that Jesus was called the Son of Man, and became a Man. Unlike other men, however, Jesus lived a perfect life and never sinned. This brief article is solely intended to encourage us not to view God as having the same character flaws, failings, and limitations as men and to refer to him in an accurate, reverent way.]

A Proclamation by Benjamin F. Prescott—A Day of Thanksgiving and Praise by AP Staff


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=5486

A Proclamation by Benjamin F. Prescott—A Day of Thanksgiving and Praise

by  AP Staff

Nov 29. 1877
THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION.
Our devout, courageous and self-sacrificing ancestors, more than two centuries and a half ago, acknowledging their dependence upon God, and wishing in some public manner to express their faith in His guidance and protection, set apart three days for a general thanksgiving to the Supreme Being who had safely brought them over an almost untried ocean, and protected them during a year of extreme trial and hardship. It has been the practice since that time to set apart one day in the Autumn of each year, to commemorate that pious custom established by the fathers. Revering their memory, and anxious to preserve and perpetuate their noble example which illustrated their faith and trust in God, I do, with the advice of the Executive Council, appoint Thursday, the 29th day of November, instant, as a day of public Thanksgiving and Praise throughout the State.
On this festal day, in this second year of the second century as a State and Nation, I earnestly recommend that the people refrain from the ordinary work of the week, and meet in their customary places of worship to render thanks to Him who has mercifully guided and guarded us through the year. The husbandman has been abundantly rewarded with bountiful crops, our people have not been visited with plague or pestilence; outbreaks and disastrous disturbance between workmen and their employers have been unknown, and peace and prosperity have reigned within our borders.
Let friends and families meet on this day to renew and strengthen their friendship, and let all of us render thanks to God who has guarded and protected us through the year, and to whom we must look for every blessing we enjoy, whether as a Nation, State or individual.
Given at the Council Chamber in Concord, this first day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-seven, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and second.
B. F. PRESCOTT.
By His Excellency the Governor, with the advice of the Council:
A. B. THOMPSON, Secretary of State.
95/12

Crazy In Love With God by Ben Fronczek




http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?p=409

Crazy In Love With God

Cornelius: The God-Fearing Gentile  (Part 1)
Acts 10
One of my favorite conversion stories in the Book of Acts is that of Cornelius.
But most of the time when we study Acts chapter 10 we seem to focused more on
Peter than on Cornelius. I thought it is quite interesting how God chose to use
Peter to be the first one to take the Gospel to the gentiles. But before he
could do that God had to help him overcome his ethnic and spiritual prejudices
so that he would accept Cornelius’ family and friends into the fellowship of
the Church.
Over the next couple of weeks
I would like to bring you a few lessons centered around this man. I would like to
talk more about Cornelius because he is truly an extraordinary man. He is a man
that is worthy of our admiration, and should be imitated in so many ways.
Read: Acts 10   (Click on the link to read)
So what is so special about Cornelius?
Even though he is a Roman and a gentile, we see that he is a Courageous man of Faith.
At first glance, one may not recognize this or even the many details that are provided here about Cornelius and his background. But in all reality, we can glean quite a bit of information from the facts presented in the very first few verses of Chapter 10.
First of all, his name – Cornelius – it tells us that he was Italian. This was a very common Italian name.  Secondly, we are told that he was a Roman soldier. Not only was Cornelius a soldier, he was a fairly high-ranking officer. He was a Centurion. #3 According to Roman custom, this tells us that he was over thirty years old because it took 12 to 16 years of military service to be eligible for promotion to such a rank. Furthermore, being a Centurion we know that Cornelius must have been somewhat intelligent ; a man who had to have shown administrative skills along with combat leadership.
Even with the rank of centurion, scholars tell us that there were many grades or levels.  Most centurions commanded about 100 men, but senior centurions commanded cohorts, or took senior staff roles in their legion.  (just like we have 1-5 star generals)
Many scholars believe that Cornelius was on the higher end of the ranking system of Centurions. I believe that the Scriptures lend support to that being the case in two ways: First, Cornelius had the authority, as we shall see in this passage, to dispatch a soldier on an obvious personal errand. A low ranking Centurion would never have had such authority. Secondly, Cornelius also enjoyed the presence of his family, in what appeared to be a really big house, a privilege granted only to those of the upper ranks.
Another thing we learn is that Cornelius was stationed at Caesarea, a coastal city about 60 miles Northwest of Jerusalem. Caesarea was the seat of Roman government in Palestine and Syria- a very important place. This is where the Roman governor was head-quartered. Some theorize that Cornelius’ Regiment – being entirely Italian – was responsible in part for the Roman governor’s security. At this time, Marcellus – Pontius Pilate’s successor – was governor.
We need to remember that Rome conquered the territories the New Testament calls Judea, Galilee and Samaria 60 years before the birth of Christ. The Jews therefore had a very negative opinion of the Romans.  Likewise their Roman masters, the Roman troops, did not particularly love their captives either, the Jews . So it is obvious that there is some real bad feeling between the Jews and the Romans; something the Peter and the early church had to overcome.
Because they were the conquerors, many Romans thought they were the superior civilization. They believed that they ruled the world because they alone were wise and powerful. They viewed most other people and their cultures as being inferior.
Many Roman soldiers and their officers shared that contempt for the peoples they conquered. Though officially prohibited, it was not uncommon for Roman troops to oppress the people they conquered and ruled over. There were cases where Roman soldiers were guilty of assaults and robberies. And in many cases, their officers, if they were not doing the same, would just turn a blind eye to such misdeeds.
But, what an amazing contrast we see here in Cornelius.
Cornelius seems devoid of this prejudice. It is evident that he did not look-down on the Jewish people. Rather than having ill feelings toward the Jewish race and their customs, he showed them courtesy and respect. As we shall see, he demonstrated this in many ways. However, his lack of arrogance and prejudice is most clearly apparent in him adopting the God of the conquered Jews.
We read that Cornelius was a believer and worshipper of the God of the Jews. He not only believe in Him, the text says he and his whole family were devout believers. He had obviously abandoned the gods of Rome and turned to the Lord, as the one true God.  I believe it is hard for us to totally appreciate Cornelius’ decision here.
All but the most educated Romans believed in many gods and goddesses. Serving and appeasing their multiple deities was a major element of Roman life. However, this was a bit of an obsession within the Roman military. Not honoring the gods, especially their god Mars, who was their god of war, was tantamount to treason. If they did not pay homage to Mars and if the other gods were not honored, they thought it would mean a defeat in battle.
Anywhere and everywhere the Roman Army went, they carried with them portable pagan shrines for worship and sacrifice. The Army’s religious rituals were extensive. And who do you suppose was responsible for ensuring that the troops were observing the necessary rites and ritual? The centurion.
Cornelius obviously rejected his cultural background. He courageously bucked the system by renouncing paganism and accepting the true Faith of the true God. That is impressive to me! Some of us have in a way done the same thing when we turned to the truth of the Gospel and away from traditional family religious beliefs. Sometimes it can cause some real problems.
Legend has it that a wealthy merchant traveling through the Mediterranean world was looking for the Pharisee and Apostle, Paul. He eventually met up with Timothy, who arranged a visit. Paul was, at the time, a prisoner in Rome. Entering the cell, the merchant was surprised to find a rather old man, physically frail, but whose serenity and magnetism challenged the visitor. They talked for hours. Finally the merchant left with Paul’s blessing. Outside the prison, the concerned man inquired, “What is the secret of this man’s power? I have never seen anything like it before.” “Did you not guess?” replied Timothy. “Paul is in love.” The merchant looked bewildered. “In love?” “Yes,” the merchant answered, “Paul is in love with Jesus Christ.” The merchant looked even more bewildered. “Is that all?” Smiling, Timothy replied, “Sir, that is everything!”
What man wouldn’t rush to his lover’s side if she were surrounded by thugs? What parent wouldn’t try to protect their children whom they love.  Our Love is a powerful ally, giving us strength when nothing else can. I believe Paul’s love for Jesus is what gave him the strength to do all that he did.
And I also believe that even though he was a gentile, Cornelius had somehow learned about our God and fell in love with Him. I am sure it changed his life in ways he never expected. The man that was trained to kill and conquer and protect the concerns of the Roman Empire in the name of his deified Caesar, and in the name of the Roman Gods was now acting more like a Christian than a Roman.
Did Cornelius understand the potential consequence of his actions, his change of loyalty? Of giving up his pagan Roman gods?   I cannot help but believe so.  Even though the great persecution of the church  by the Romans hadn’t begun yet, his change of loyalties I’m sure would have not set well with Rome.
So what lesson from all this can we take from this today?  It is simple yet powerful one: The more you love Jesus, the more you love God, and the closer the relationship you have with Him, and the more you commune with Him, the more He will change your life. And the more strength you will have. When it comes to doing things for God, you will be more courageous, more assertive, more accepting, less prejudice, even more generous.
Our increasing love for God will prompt us to do things we never thought possible. That’s what happened in this man, and God took notice of it and sends an angel to him with a message letting him know that God was pleased with him.
If you really, really love God, you will love….. the things of God; His people, His word, His way, His will, and He will begin to shine and work through you.
I don’t know how many times I’ve said it before, but Christianity is not just being religious; about going to church, and following a bunch of rules of what you can do and what you can’t do. I believe the very heart  of Christianity is having that close and intimate relationship with God,
with Jesus.

Maybe this all seems dull and uninteresting to you… going to church every week, doing the same things week after week, feeling obligated to pray and read the Bible…
Let me ask you this, do you think you have a relationship with God like Cornelius had?  It said that he was devoted, he prayed regularity, he went out of his was to show mercy and generosity even to his enemy.  And he wasn’t even a Christian…yet.  I believe he didn’t feel obligated, rather he was in love with our Lord!
My encouragement is this, first and foremost, do whatever it takes to fall in love with our Lord. Maybe you never did. Maybe you became a Christian because you wanted to go to heaven and not hell. Maybe you just felt obligated because you knew it was the right thing to do. I don’t think that’s enough.  And I think that’s why so many of us are weak, insecure, half committed, and sometimes afraid to step out on faith. It is because we are doing it for the wrong reason. Rather than doing something because we are crazy in love with God, we do it for a hundred other reasons.
You just may need to spend more time alone with Him, and talk to Him, or read from His word and about the things He did with other people. Realize that He wants to have that close relationship with you.  Listen to music and lessons on the radio or on your computer that moves your heart closer to Him. And it just may surprise you what will happen in your life.    

Will the Rich Get to Heaven?


https://biblicalproof.wordpress.com/2010/04/

Will the Rich Get to Heaven?


An interesting title for a very eye opening subject. Will the rich actually get to heaven or are they destined for hell. The rich dominate everything this world has to offer. They get the best health care. They get the best houses. They get the best automobiles. They get the best food. They have the world’s power in their hands. They even have the best seats in every church. They have whatever their souls desire. So, do they also get heaven as well?
There are quite a few scriptures that deal with wealth which do not give credence that the rich will ever enter in through heaven’s gates easily. Let us take a look at them, and let the bible tell us what riches will do for and to you. Solomon wrote about riches by saying this: Work not to be rich. (Prov. 23:4). Solomon was verily rich, but he didn’t work to get rich or did he ask to be rich. Abraham was rich, but he did not work to be rich. Riches were a gift to both these men. (Eccl. 5:19) Solomon later wrote that he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished. (Prov. 28:20). Consider these warnings about riches. (Prov. 1:19; Prov. 20:21; Prov. 28:11). Solomon prayed that he would not be rich or poor, but somewhere in between. He said feed me with food that is convenient for me. If I am poor I will steal, and if I am rich I will deny God. (Prov. 30:7-9).
The psalmist David wrote the the little a righteous man had was better than the riches of many wicked. (Ps 37:16)  In fact, the word rich and righteous have little in common. The rich man seeks only to gain more riches while a righteous man seeks only the righteousness of God. Later the same writer spoke on this vain when he said for us not to trust in riches if riches should come upon us. (Ps. 62:10) How often do people judge themselves so much better than the poor all because of their wealth. It is hard to resist such a thought or act.
In the new covenant Jesus comes warning very strongly about riches. Jesus said, how hardly will the rich enter into heaven. Camels will go through a needle’s eye before a rich man enters into heaven. (Mt. 19:24) The rich have their consolation right here on earth (Lk. 6:24) In the parable of the sower, Jesus explaining his parable to his disciples said that riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. (Mt. 13:21). Jesus told the rich ruler to give all his riches to the poor, and to take up his burden (cross) and follow him. That would be hard to do for any man, but Jesus required it of this rich man.  (Lk 18:20-22).
Jesus said quite a lot about rich people, but none more clearer and frightening was his story about the rich man and Lazarus. (luke 16:19-31) The rich man had only good things happen to him, and the righteous man was poor, sickly and of all things was a beggar. The rich man was sent directly to hell and the righteous man was sent to Abraham’s bosom (a waiting place for the righteous). The rich man begged for one drop of water, and  that Lazarus would be sent back to teach his brethren because they were destined to follow the rich man into hell. Abraham gave him neither water or messengers but a stern reprimand when he said, they have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. That even a risen dead man would not convince them otherwise. If this was not a wake-up call for the rich men and women of the world then nothing would be. Today, false messengers of God scoff at this as only a fable with not an ounce of truth to verify it. In other words, they are calling the Son of God, Jesus Christ an unmitigated liar.
The apostle Paul warned a young preacher named Timothy about riches affecting preachers. (1 timothy 6:3-9) How prophetic was this message for this day in time. How many preachers preach just for money. They seek the fortunes of this world, and not the world to come. Paul tells Timothy that preachers who preach for money will strive over words, and using misleading arguments to get lots of money in their own pockets. These preachers think that riches are godliness, and for true Christians to withdraw themselves from them. He tells Timothy that preachers having food and raiment should be contented because the rich fall into temptations and lusts that lead to their destruction. That the love of money is the root of all evil that causes a preacher to error from the faith, and not only preachers, but all men.
It was a lesson in preaching that Paul wrote to the Corinthians when he was speaking of the paying of preachers. Paul stated that though a preacher was worthy of hire, that he found it to be a hindrance to the preaching of the gospel. He stated that he preached the gospel without any charge of money. (1 Cor. 9:18)  A statement that most preachers will dare not utter from the pulpit or even in private. It was not that Paul condemned money being payed to preachers (1 Cor. 9:14), but rather that money can get in the way in the preaching of the gospel. A lesson that he also stated to the Thessalonians when he said that he worked night and day that he would not be an expense to any of them. (2 Thess. 3:8).
Such was the message that Jeremiah the prophet warned against when he said that the priests were ruling with their money and prophesying falsely. (Jer. 5:30-31). Such warning was even clearer, if that is possible, by Micah the prophet when he said their leaders, priests and prophets were using their abilities for money. (Mic. 3:11)
Greed and teaching God’s word do not go hand in hand. Jesus said of John the Baptist, what came you out to see? A man in expensive clothes? You see this in kings houses. (Lk 7:24-25) Elders were prohibited from leading if they were greedy for money. (1 Tim. 3:3) Peter warned that there would be false teachers out of greed who would exploit you and mislead you. (2 Pet 2:2-3)
James gave one of the most damning observations of riches when he told them to weep and howl for the miseries that were soon to come upon them. Riches that were gained by giving little to their workers. Wages that were due to the worker, but never given so that the rich would get even richer. A practice that led the poor to an early grave though the poor man does not resist them. (james 5:1-5). Do not rich men oppress you James wrote, yet you give them places in high regard in your worship services and poor men lowly places. (james 2:3-7).
The book of Revelations speaks of the kind of rich that doesn’t even know how poor they truly are. Not only poor are they, but wretched and blind and naked. (Rev. 3:17). The bible compared the word of God to gold and silver that is tried with fire seven times. (Ps 12:6) It compared a righteous man in the same manner. (Ps 66:10; Isa. 48:10; 1 Peter 1:7) ) There is a land of promise that was given to all the blessed saints of God that is rich in gold and silver and precious stones. A city of Gold where God is the light and one lives and abides forever. My hope is, and my desire to God would be, that you seek for that heavenly place that only comes by losing your life in this world and winning everlasting life with God Almighty. (Matt. 16:24-26) In the words of the Lord Jesus, you can not serve God and wealth. (Matt. 6:24)

WHY CAN’T HE LEAVE US ALONE? by Jim McGuiggan

WHY CAN’T HE LEAVE US ALONE?

Jesus is to blame. The Christ of the cross is to blame. If it weren’t for him I might be able to find some peace but he and his cross disturb me and won’t let me be content with what I see when I look within and around me. If your loved one is quadriplegic you know that in many ways he or she isn’t physically able to help you care for them and in some sense you adjust to the situation—you expect nothing and in that respect you aren’t disappointed. If you truly believe there’s nothing better to be hoped for in this world I suppose you might rage in your hopelessness or eat, drink (or starve) and die tomorrow; but if hope were dead would there not be some kind of resignation, a reluctant, numbed acceptance of things as they are? Maybe, but would that not be better than vainly hoping? Is that not what the old Greek story means to say in the story of Pandora’s “box”—when she opened the forbidden box everything in it escaped except…hope. And it became the source of torment to all because they could never be content with things as they are.
In an early essay Bertrand Russell said that because we know the truth of human existence—that it’s a pointless accident—we must face it and build a future on “unyielding despair.” Well, it’s into this world, with all its pain, loss, disappointment, loneliness, cruelty, entrenched evils and invincible selfishness that Jesus came, making claims and promising much.
In the first century he offended the Romans and their view of power and empire. He offended the Greeks and their view of God and wisdom. He offended the Jews and their view of God’s faithfulness and their place in his purposes. And he continues to scandalize us all to this day.
The people who care nothing for him—and never did—aren’t affected by him. The crass hedonists think life’s a one way ticket so, to the degree that they can manage it, they party the nights away. Maybe towards the end they think of “fire insurance” (though even that’s not of great concern now). The world can’t be made better—certainly not in their lifetimes—so why worry about it? Get what you can as quick as you can, throw a handful of coins in the direction of the world’s needy during a big public musical concert and get back to the usual partying.
Ignore the tiny churches with their inner squabbles. Or, listen for a while to their squabbles and discover how pathetic they are in the face of the world’s great needs and wrongs, and then go back to the partying. Not a bad philosophy that; a happy life and an endless sleep at the end.
The Jesus of the cross disturbs me in three general areas. There’s the state of the world and the church and my own personal situation.
Jesus is too stubbornly real and I can’t get away from him. Not that I’m trying to, you understand. I neither try to nor want to get away from him but being in his presence and listening to his kingly promises that are written in blood I become impatient with the chaotic, oppressive, confused, rebellious and cruel world. Why hasn’t his sovereignty transformed the world already? As sad-spoken Matthew Arnold said, in the beginning, the tide of faith was fully in and covered the earth like a garment. But now—it would appear—all we hear is the faint sound of its “melancholy long withdrawing roar” as it retreats and leaves bare the naked shingled shores of the world. Sometimes I sorely want the present King of Kings to show himself more powerfully—more powerfully, that is, in the more common understanding of power. I’d like him to obliterate all the oppressive structures of the world—structures that we have neither the desire to destroy nor the strength to do it, supposing we had the desire. And why would we desire it, aren’t we the ones that build them? The state of the world is completely contrary to the Christian’s claim that Jesus is Lord of Lords.
And when I look at the church as a whole and consider how pathetic and weak it is, how self-serving, as it fine-tunes its theology and gorges on rich truth while a world of Lazaruses starves. Not content to draw lines of fellowship in places where the heart of the gospel is attacked, many church leaders insist on keeping us all in separate pens based on the flimsiest differences and call it “defending the faith.” We pay our ministers to “stand for the truth” if they’re willing to stand for the truth that we pay them to stand for.
It’s much easier to believe the too-rich-to-be-fully-grasped doctrines of the person and work of Jesus Christ in and as whom God revealed himself than it is to believe in the church as it church-shops its way from one assembly to another. And as we shop our first question is not, “What is your gospel here?” it’s, “What programs do you have to suit me here?” At one end of the spectrum we have these primetime hucksters that ceaselessly beg for money to fund their programs (or other hidden things) and on the other there are churches that are offended if there’s talk about sharing our wealth. Time and money is spent on leadership agendas that usually have to do with “making our church grow.” Then there’s the “preaching” [?] that is nothing but a series on sessions filled with secular suggestions on how to fine-tune your marriage or raise nice kids or cultivate nice friends. This kind of “preaching” is done by secularists, agnostics and atheists every bit as well as preachers. It changes nothing that preachers throw in some Bible verses for religious coloration. The Lord Jesus is ignored in the “preaching” for months of suggestions that might be of some use socially.
And then there’s the personal, bitter disappointment with oneself. There are times when you think you see real progress and then like a bolt of lightning and a thunderclap events expose your heart—it’s seems as shriveled as ever it was even after years of longing for better. Just when you think you’ve experienced significant growth you’re brought face to face with outrageous meanness or corruption or bitterness that pours out of you. Then you understand what Dorothy Sayers was getting at when she wrote:
I am battered and broken and weary and out of heart,
I will not listen to talk of heroic things,
But be content to play some simple part,
Freed from preposterous, wild imaginings…
Men were not made to walk as priests and kings.
Thou liest, Christ, Thou liest; take it hence,
That mirror of strange glories; I am I;
What wouldst Thou make of me? O cruel pretense,
Drive me not mad so with the mockery
Of that most lovely, unattainable lie!

And for a while—a day, a week, a month, a year—you sulk and snarl and prowl. Then you see him! He’s always been there; you just didn’t notice during that wretched period. You see him looking at you with those big eyes of his, calm and compelling, and as he moves away he looks back and motions with his head, “You comin’?”
Why can’t he leave us alone?
Good question.
Here’s another.
Why can’t we who have met him leave him alone?

What must we do to be saved? by Roy Davison

http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/whatmustido.html
 
What must we do to be saved?
People at Capernaum asked Jesus: “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (John 6:28). A lawyer asked Him: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25). A rich young ruler asked Him: “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17). On Pentecost the people asked: “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). The Philippian jailor asked: “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).

What answers did these people receive from Jesus and His apostles?

A popular answer today, given by evangelicals, is: You do not have to do anything! I found the following quotations on the Internet: (1) “Salvation does not depend on what you do or don’t do”; (2) “Your salvation does not depend on what you do.”

Did Jesus teach that one does not have to do anything to be saved?

Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).

Thus, to enter God’s kingdom we must do the will of the Father. We must do what Jesus says.

Evangelicals contradict Jesus when they claim that salvation is not dependent on what one does.

What answers were receive when people asked: “What must I do?”

At Capernaum people asked: “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (John 6:28). Jesus replied: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:29).

The first thing one must do to be saved is to believe in Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Jesus then explains that believing or not-believing is related to what one does: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (John 3:19-21).

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Only through Christ can sinful man be saved: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11). Christ “died for all” (2 Corinthians 5:15). He “gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6). “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

Through the sacrifice of his Son, God has made salvation available to everyone. Whether one is saved or not depends on how one responds to God’s offer of salvation.

The first reply to “What must we do” is “Believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:29).

This faith must be confessed. Jesus said: “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32, 33).

And the lawyer then, what answer did he get when he asked Jesus: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25). When Jesus asked him to answer his own question, he said: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself’” (Luke 10:27). Jesus then said: “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). When the lawyer tried to excuse himself by asking, “And who is my neighbor?”, Jesus gave the example of the Good Samaritan and said, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:29-37).

What must we do to inherit eternal life? Faith is the first requirement, but faith without love is worthless: “Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).

What did Jesus reply to the rich young ruler when he asked, “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17).

First He said: “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17). To be saved, we must keep God’s commandments. This was true under the Old Covenant, and this is true under the New Covenant.

Jesus said: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21). “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10).

But keeping commandments is not enough. When the rich young ruler told Jesus he had kept the commandments, Jesus replied: “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22).

Although he kept the ten commandments, he lacked something. He had to repent and follow Jesus. Without repentance, no one can be saved.

Referring to people who had died because of their sins, Jesus said: “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:2, 3). And referring to others who had died in an accident, He said: “Do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4, 5).

To be saved we must discard everything that separates us from God, and follow Christ. Jesus says: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).

Is there something else that one must do? After Jesus died and rose, He told His followers: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15, 16).

In addition to faith, confession and repentance, one must also be baptized to be saved. That is what Jesus says.

Paul clarifies that baptism itself is a gift of God’s grace through which He gives us salvation. “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7). Through what does God save us? “Through the washing of regeneration.”

There is something wrong with the faith of those who teach: “Your salvation does not depend on what you do or don’t do.” They reject God’s gift of saving grace in baptism. They are unbelievers in the sense that they do not believe what Jesus says about salvation. They claim one can be saved by faith only, whereas Jesus says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). Nor do they believe the Holy Spirit speaking through James: “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20); “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). People who believe in salvation by faith only do not have a saving faith.

The apostles preached the same gospel Jesus preached.

When the Philippian jailor asked, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30), he was told: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household” (Acts 15:31-34).

Paul wrote: “With the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).

And what was Peter’s reply on the Day of Pentecost when the people asked, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

When the apostles were asked: “What must we do to be saved?” their reply was the same as that of Jesus. To be saved people must believe in Jesus, confess their faith, repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. To follow Christ they must deny themselves and learn to observe all things that He has commanded them (Matthew 28:20).

God loves you so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross to suffer the penalty for your sins. He offers you salvation as a free gift of His grace. Whether you are saved or not depends on your response. You can be saved if you believe in Christ, confess His name, repent of your sins and are baptized. This is the good news preached by Jesus and His apostles.

Roy Davison
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.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible Reading February 23-25 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading  February 23-25 
(World English Bible)


Feb. 23
Exodus 4

Exo 4:1 Moses answered, "But, behold, they will not believe me, nor listen to my voice; for they will say, 'Yahweh has not appeared to you.' "
Exo 4:2 Yahweh said to him, "What is that in your hand?" He said, "A rod."
Exo 4:3 He said, "Throw it on the ground." He threw it on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses ran away from it.
Exo 4:4 Yahweh said to Moses, "Put forth your hand, and take it by the tail." He put forth his hand, and laid hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand.
Exo 4:5 "That they may believe that Yahweh, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you."
Exo 4:6 Yahweh said furthermore to him, "Now put your hand inside your cloak." He put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as white as snow.
Exo 4:7 He said, "Put your hand inside your cloak again." He put his hand inside his cloak again, and when he took it out of his cloak, behold, it had turned again as his other flesh.
Exo 4:8 "It will happen, if they will neither believe you nor listen to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.
Exo 4:9 It will happen, if they will not believe even these two signs, neither listen to your voice, that you shall take of the water of the river, and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take out of the river will become blood on the dry land."
Exo 4:10 Moses said to Yahweh, "Oh, Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before now, nor since you have spoken to your servant; for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue."
Exo 4:11 Yahweh said to him, "Who made man's mouth? Or who makes one mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Isn't it I, Yahweh?
Exo 4:12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall speak."
Exo 4:13 He said, "Oh, Lord, please send someone else."
Exo 4:14 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Moses, and he said, "What about Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Also, behold, he comes forth to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.
Exo 4:15 You shall speak to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with your mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do.
Exo 4:16 He will be your spokesman to the people; and it will happen, that he will be to you a mouth, and you will be to him as God.
Exo 4:17 You shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs."
Exo 4:18 Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, "Please let me go and return to my brothers who are in Egypt, and see whether they are still alive." Jethro said to Moses, "Go in peace."
Exo 4:19 Yahweh said to Moses in Midian, "Go, return into Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead."
Exo 4:20 Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. Moses took God's rod in his hand.
Exo 4:21 Yahweh said to Moses, "When you go back into Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your hand, but I will harden his heart and he will not let the people go.
Exo 4:22 You shall tell Pharaoh, 'Thus says Yahweh, Israel is my son, my firstborn,
Exo 4:23 and I have said to you, "Let my son go, that he may serve me;" and you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.' "
Exo 4:24 It happened on the way at a lodging place, that Yahweh met him and wanted to kill him.
Exo 4:25 Then Zipporah took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet; and she said, "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me."
Exo 4:26 So he let him alone. Then she said, "You are a bridegroom of blood," because of the circumcision.
Exo 4:27 Yahweh said to Aaron, "Go into the wilderness to meet Moses." He went, and met him on God's mountain, and kissed him.
Exo 4:28 Moses told Aaron all the words of Yahweh with which he had sent him, and all the signs with which he had instructed him.
Exo 4:29 Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel.
Exo 4:30 Aaron spoke all the words which Yahweh had spoken to Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.
Exo 4:31 The people believed, and when they heard that Yahweh had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Feb. 24
Exodus 5

Exo 5:1 Afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said to Pharaoh, "This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, 'Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.' "
Exo 5:2 Pharaoh said, "Who is Yahweh, that I should listen to his voice to let Israel go? I don't know Yahweh, and moreover I will not let Israel go."
Exo 5:3 They said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Yahweh, our God, lest he fall on us with pestilence, or with the sword."
Exo 5:4 The king of Egypt said to them, "Why do you, Moses and Aaron, take the people from their work? Get back to your burdens!"
Exo 5:5 Pharaoh said, "Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens."
Exo 5:6 The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying,
Exo 5:7 "You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick, as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves.
Exo 5:8 The number of the bricks, which they made before, you require from them. You shall not diminish anything of it, for they are idle; therefore they cry, saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.'
Exo 5:9 Let heavier work be laid on the men, that they may labor therein; and don't let them pay any attention to lying words."
Exo 5:10 The taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spoke to the people, saying, This is what Pharaoh says: "I will not give you straw.
Exo 5:11 Go yourselves, get straw where you can find it, for nothing of your work shall be diminished."
Exo 5:12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw.
Exo 5:13 The taskmasters were urgent saying, "Fulfill your work quota daily, as when there was straw!"
Exo 5:14 The officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, "Why haven't you fulfilled your quota both yesterday and today, in making brick as before?"
Exo 5:15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, saying, "Why do you deal this way with your servants?
Exo 5:16 No straw is given to your servants, and they tell us, 'Make brick!' and behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people."
Exo 5:17 But he said, "You are idle! You are idle! Therefore you say, 'Let us go and sacrifice to Yahweh.'
Exo 5:18 Go therefore now, and work, for no straw shall be given to you, yet you shall deliver the same number of bricks!"
Exo 5:19 The officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble, when it was said, "You shall not diminish anything from your daily quota of bricks!"
Exo 5:20 They met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh:
Exo 5:21 and they said to them, "May Yahweh look at you, and judge, because you have made us a stench to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us."
Exo 5:22 Moses returned to Yahweh, and said, "Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Why is it that you have sent me?
Exo 5:23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people; neither have you delivered your people at all."

Feb. 25
Exodus 6

Exo 6:1 Yahweh said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh, for by a strong hand he shall let them go, and by a strong hand he shall drive them out of his land."
Exo 6:2 God spoke to Moses, and said to him, "I am Yahweh;
Exo 6:3 and I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name Yahweh I was not known to them.
Exo 6:4 I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their travels, in which they lived as aliens.
Exo 6:5 Moreover I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered my covenant.
Exo 6:6 Therefore tell the children of Israel, 'I am Yahweh, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments:
Exo 6:7 and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God; and you shall know that I am Yahweh your God, who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
Exo 6:8 I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it to you for a heritage: I am Yahweh.' "
Exo 6:9 Moses spoke so to the children of Israel, but they didn't listen to Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.
Exo 6:10 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 6:11 "Go in, speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land."
Exo 6:12 Moses spoke before Yahweh, saying, "Behold, the children of Israel haven't listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, who am of uncircumcised lips?"
Exo 6:13 Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a command to the children of Israel, and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
Exo 6:14 These are the heads of their fathers' houses. The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben.
Exo 6:15 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the families of Simeon.
Exo 6:16 These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari; and the years of the life of Levi were one hundred thirty-seven years.
Exo 6:17 The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, according to their families.
Exo 6:18 The sons of Kohath: Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel; and the years of the life of Kohath were one hundred thirty-three years.
Exo 6:19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their generations.
Exo 6:20 Amram took Jochebed his father's sister to himself as wife; and she bore him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were a hundred and thirty-seven years.
Exo 6:21 The sons of Izhar: Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri.
Exo 6:22 The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Sithri.
Exo 6:23 Aaron took Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, as his wife; and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
Exo 6:24 The sons of Korah: Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites.
Exo 6:25 Eleazar Aaron's son took one of the daughters of Putiel as his wife; and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites according to their families.
Exo 6:26 These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom Yahweh said, "Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies."
Exo 6:27 These are those who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt. These are that Moses and Aaron.
Exo 6:28 It happened on the day when Yahweh spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt,
Exo 6:29 that Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "I am Yahweh. Speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak to you."
Exo 6:30 Moses said before Yahweh, "Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh listen to me?" 

Feb. 22, 23
Matthew 27

Mat 27:1 Now when morning had come, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
Mat 27:2 and they bound him, and led him away, and delivered him up to Pontius Pilate, the governor.
Mat 27:3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that Jesus was condemned, felt remorse, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
Mat 27:4 saying, "I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? You see to it."
Mat 27:5 He threw down the pieces of silver in the sanctuary, and departed. He went away and hanged himself.
Mat 27:6 The chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, "It's not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood."
Mat 27:7 They took counsel, and bought the potter's field with them, to bury strangers in.
Mat 27:8 Therefore that field was called "The Field of Blood" to this day.
Mat 27:9 Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying, "They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him upon whom a price had been set, whom some of the children of Israel priced,
Mat 27:10 and they gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me."
Mat 27:11 Now Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus said to him, "So you say."
Mat 27:12 When he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
Mat 27:13 Then Pilate said to him, "Don't you hear how many things they testify against you?"
Mat 27:14 He gave him no answer, not even one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.
Mat 27:15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the multitude one prisoner, whom they desired.
Mat 27:16 They had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
Mat 27:17 When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus, who is called Christ?"
Mat 27:18 For he knew that because of envy they had delivered him up.
Mat 27:19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, "Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him."
Mat 27:20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitudes to ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
Mat 27:21 But the governor answered them, "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They said, "Barabbas!"
Mat 27:22 Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do to Jesus, who is called Christ?" They all said to him, "Let him be crucified!"
Mat 27:23 But the governor said, "Why? What evil has he done?" But they cried out exceedingly, saying, "Let him be crucified!"
Mat 27:24 So when Pilate saw that nothing was being gained, but rather that a disturbance was starting, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this righteous person. You see to it."
Mat 27:25 All the people answered, "May his blood be on us, and on our children!"
Mat 27:26 Then he released to them Barabbas, but Jesus he flogged and delivered to be crucified.
Mat 27:27 Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered the whole garrison together against him.
Mat 27:28 They stripped him, and put a scarlet robe on him.
Mat 27:29 They braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him, and mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
Mat 27:30 They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head.
Mat 27:31 When they had mocked him, they took the robe off of him, and put his clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.
Mat 27:32 As they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, and they compelled him to go with them, that he might carry his cross.
Mat 27:33 They came to a place called "Golgotha," that is to say, "The place of a skull."
Mat 27:34 They gave him sour wine to drink mixed with gall. When he had tasted it, he would not drink.
Mat 27:35 When they had crucified him, they divided his clothing among them, casting lots,
Mat 27:36 and they sat and watched him there.
Mat 27:37 They set up over his head the accusation against him written, "THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS."
Mat 27:38 Then there were two robbers crucified with him, one on his right hand and one on the left.
Mat 27:39 Those who passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads,
Mat 27:40 and saying, "You who destroy the temple, and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!"
Mat 27:41 Likewise the chief priests also mocking, with the scribes, the Pharisees, and the elders, said,
Mat 27:42 "He saved others, but he can't save himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.
Mat 27:43 He trusts in God. Let God deliver him now, if he wants him; for he said, 'I am the Son of God.' "
Mat 27:44 The robbers also who were crucified with him cast on him the same reproach.
Mat 27:45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.
Mat 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lima sabachthani?" That is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Mat 27:47 Some of them who stood there, when they heard it, said, "This man is calling Elijah."
Mat 27:48 Immediately one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him a drink.
Mat 27:49 The rest said, "Let him be. Let's see whether Elijah comes to save him."
Mat 27:50 Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit.
Mat 27:51 Behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split.
Mat 27:52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
Mat 27:53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, they entered into the holy city and appeared to many.
Mat 27:54 Now the centurion, and those who were with him watching Jesus, when they saw the earthquake, and the things that were done, feared exceedingly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God."
Mat 27:55 Many women were there watching from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, serving him.
Mat 27:56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
Mat 27:57 When evening had come, a rich man from Arimathaea, named Joseph, who himself was also Jesus' disciple came.
Mat 27:58 This man went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus' body. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given up.
Mat 27:59 Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
Mat 27:60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut out in the rock, and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed.
Mat 27:61 Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
Mat 27:62 Now on the next day, which was the day after the Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together to Pilate,
Mat 27:63 saying, "Sir, we remember what that deceiver said while he was still alive: 'After three days I will rise again.'
Mat 27:64 Command therefore that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest perhaps his disciples come at night and steal him away, and tell the people, 'He is risen from the dead;' and the last deception will be worse than the first."
Mat 27:65 Pilate said to them, "You have a guard. Go, make it as secure as you can."
Mat 27:66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone.

Feb. 24, 25
Matthew 28

Mat 28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
Mat 28:2 Behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from the sky, and came and rolled away the stone from the door, and sat on it.
Mat 28:3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
Mat 28:4 For fear of him, the guards shook, and became like dead men.
Mat 28:5 The angel answered the women, "Don't be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus, who has been crucified.
Mat 28:6 He is not here, for he has risen, just like he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was lying.
Mat 28:7 Go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has risen from the dead, and behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you will see him.' Behold, I have told you."
Mat 28:8 They departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring his disciples word.
Mat 28:9 As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" They came and took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.
Mat 28:10 Then Jesus said to them, "Don't be afraid. Go tell my brothers that they should go into Galilee, and there they will see me."
Mat 28:11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guards came into the city, and told the chief priests all the things that had happened.
Mat 28:12 When they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave a large amount of silver to the soldiers,
Mat 28:13 saying, "Say that his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.
Mat 28:14 If this comes to the governor's ears, we will persuade him and make you free of worry."
Mat 28:15 So they took the money and did as they were told. This saying was spread abroad among the Jews, and continues until this day.
Mat 28:16 But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had sent them.
Mat 28:17 When they saw him, they bowed down to him, but some doubted.
Mat 28:18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.
Mat 28:19 Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.