7/24/19

"THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PETER" Peter's Final Exhortations (3:14-18) by Mark Copeland


"THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PETER"

Peter's Final Exhortations (3:14-18)

INTRODUCTION

1. We come to the final section of this second epistle of Peter, a 
   letter in which...
   a. Peter has endeavored to "stir you up by way of reminder" 
      - 2Pe 1:13-15; 3:1-2
   b. Peter has exhorted those "who have obtained like precious faith":
      1) To be diligent in abounding in spiritual growth - 2Pe 1:5-11
      2) To heed the prophetic word made more sure - 2Pe 1:16-21
      2) To beware of false teachers that will lead many astray 
         - 2 Pe 2:1-22
      3) To not be deterred by scoffers of the Lord's coming - 2Pe 3:
         3-9
      4) To live holy lives in view of the coming Day of the Lord - 
         2Pe 3:10-13

2. As Peter draws his epistle to a close, it is evident that he is 
   filled with love toward his brethren...
   a. He calls them "beloved" in 2Pe 3:1,8
   b. And now in our text, he uses this "term of endearment" twice - 
      2Pe 3:14,17

3. With such love in his heart, Peter pens his final words...
   a. He knows that he will soon die - 2Pe 1:14
   b. As far as we know, he wrote no other epistle

4. This ought to give special significance to "Peter's Final 
   Exhortations" that we find in our text...
   a. Just as the final words of any dying man are significant, in that
      they reveal what is of greatest concern to that person
   b. What are the concerns of this aged apostle, who dearly loves his 
      brethren?

[In verse 14, we find first of all his exhortation to...]

I. BE DILIGENT TO BE FOUND IN PEACE, WITHOUT SPOT AND BLAMELESS (14)

   A. THIS IS YET ANOTHER CALL TO "DILIGENCE"...
      1. Found twice before - cf. 2Pe 1:5,10
      2. The word means "earnestness, zeal, sometimes with haste"
      3. There it was applied to growing spiritually

   B. DILIGENCE IN THIS TEXT PERTAINS TO LORD'S COMING...
      1. How will the Lord find us when He comes?
      2. Will he find us to be people of faith? -cf. Lk 18:8

   C. PETER DESIRES THAT THE LORD FIND US "IN PEACE, WITHOUT SPOT AND 
      BLAMELESS"
      1. "in peace" can refer to both...
         a. Our relationship with God - Ro 5:1
         b. Our relationship with man - 1Pe 3:11-12
         -- Focusing on our peace with God will help us have peace with
            man - Pr 16:7
      2. To be found by Jesus as "without spot and blameless"?  How can
         that be?
         a. Only through the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ - Ep 5:25-27
         b. Who redeems us from sin through His precious blood, as "of 
            a lamb without blemish and without spot" - 1Pe 1:18-19
         c. If we continue to walk in the light, we continue to enjoy 
            that precious blood - 1Jn 1:7

   D. DILIGENCE IN SUCH THINGS WILL BE DETERMINED BY WHERE WE SET OUR 
      AIM...
      1. "...looking forward to these things, be diligent...'
      2. It is only as we "look forward" can we hope to prepare for 
         what is to come - cf. 1Pe 1:13
      3. As we look for the grace that is to come, especially in 
         reference to the new heavens and a new earth (2Pe 3:13), we
         will find the motivation to "be diligent"

[Are you looking forward to the new heavens and a new earth in which 
righteousness dwells?  If not, you will not be diligent to be found 
ready when the Lord comes.

If you have allowed the lure of this world to distract your aim you 
because of the delay of our Lord's coming, then Peter's exhortation in
verse 15 speaks to you...]

II. REMEMBER, THE LONG-SUFFERING OF THE LORD IS SALVATION (15)
    
   A. DELAY OF THE LORD'S COMING IS NOT SLACKNESS...
      1. For time is irrelevant to God - 2Pe 3:8
      2. Rather, the Lord is willing to suffer long so that people 
         might repent - 2Pe 3:9

   B. GOD'S LONG-SUFFERING SHOULD BE SEEN AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO REPENT
      1. Every day, year, or century that our Lord does not return, 
         should be thought of as "the day of salvation" -  2Co 6:1-2
         a. The day for souls to obey Christ
         b. The day for erring Christians to return to their Lord
      2. Like Peter, Paul wrote of God's longsuffering and its 
         motivation to salvation - Ro 2:4

[Peter himself certainly took advantage of God's longsuffering to 
repent, not only when he denied Jesus, but also when he played the 
hypocrite and had to be rebuked by Paul (Ga 2:11-21).

Peter's repentance in the latter incident is evident by his description
of Paul ("our beloved brother Paul").  He clearly held no animosity 
toward Paul for what may have occurred at Antioch.

Shall we not likewise take advantage of God's longsuffering to "work 
out our salvation with fear and trembling"?  As we do so, let's be 
careful to heed the exhortation implied in verse 16...]

III. DON'T TWIST THE SCRIPTURES TO YOUR OWN DESTRUCTION (16)

   A. THE SCRIPTURES CAN BE A SOURCE OF MUCH GOOD...
      1. They can "save your souls" - Jm 1:21
      2. For they are given by inspiration of God - 2Ti 3:16-17
      2. Because of this, they are "living and powerful, and sharper
         than any two-edged sword" - He 4:12

   B. BUT THEY CAN ALSO BE ABUSED TO MUCH HARM...
      1. Just as a sword can be misused to the harm of the one wielding it
      2. Twisted, the Scriptures can even lead one "to their own destruction"!
      3. Those most susceptible to misusing the Word of God are...
         a. The "untaught"
            1) Armed with a little knowledge, they believe they are
               ready to "do battle"
            2) But "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing"
            3) Unless one has studied the context (both immediate and 
               remote) of a passage, it is so easy to misapply it
         b. The "unstable"
            1) This would be the "babe" in Christ, the immature
            2) Who seeks to "run" with the Scriptures before they have 
               even learned to "walk", often "stumbling" as a result
      4. Thus the need to heed not only Peter's warning, but Paul's
         admonition in 2Ti 2:14-18, where he gives the example of
         Hymenaeus and Philetus

[With such warnings, perhaps we may better appreciate James' 
admonition:  "...receive with meekness the implanted word." (Jm 1:21)

In passing, it is interesting to note that Peter places Paul's writings
on par with "the rest of the Scriptures", implying that Paul's writings
are to be considered as much a part of the canon as the Old Testament scriptures.

Finally, Peter concludes his epistle with two exhortations that 
summarize the content of his entire epistle...]

IV. SUMMARY EXHORTATIONS (17-18)

   A. BEWARE LEST YOU FALL, BEING LED AWAY BY ERROR...
      1. This verse (17) summarizes all that Peter was doing in 
         chapters two and three
      2. Peter's concern is in view of the very real danger of apostasy
         a. He has already described those:
            1) Who were guilty of "denying the Lord who bought them" 
               - 2Pe 2:1
            2) Who "have forsaken the right way and gone astray" 
               - 2 Pe 2:15
            3) Who having "escaped the pollutions of the world" are 
               "again entangled in them and overcome" - 2Pe 2:20
         b. He has just described those:
            1) Being "untaught and unstable..."
            2) "...twist the scriptures to their own destruction" - 
                2Pe 3:16
      3. Brethren, the danger of apostasy is very real, and so Peter 
         says "beware lest you also fall..."!

   B. GROW IN THE GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST...
      1. This verse (18) summarizes the main points of chapter one
      2. In which Peter had described:
         a. Blessings which come by the grace and knowledge of Jesus 
            Christ - 2Pe 1:1-4
         b. How one grows in the knowledge of Jesus Christ - 2Pe 1:5-11
         c. The need for frequent reminder, and to heed the testimony 
            of apostolic testimony and the prophetic word - 2Pe 1:12-21
      3. In this verse, then, is the key to avoiding apostasy:  "Grow!"
         a. Grow in the grace of Jesus Christ, by appreciating and 
            appropriating all of God's unmerited favor
         b. Grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ as defined by Peter 
            in chapter one, developing those Christ-like qualities he listed

CONCLUSION

1. Peter closes his second epistle with a simple yet heartfelt 
   expression of praise:

   "To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen"

2. It was not long after Peter penned these words that he "put off his 
   tent" (2Pe 1:14), and joined that great multitude described by 
   his fellow apostle John...

   "{9} After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude
   which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and
   tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed
   with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, {10} and crying
   out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who
   sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" - Re 7:9-10

3. Brethren, don't we desire to join that throng one day?  If so, then 
   let us heed these final words of Peter to his beloved brethren...
   a. Be diligent to be found in peace, without spot and blameless
   b. Remember, the longsuffering of the Lord is salvation
   c. Don't twist the Scriptures to your own destruction
   d. Beware lest you fall, being led away by error
   e. Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ

Are you using the longsuffering of the Lord to apply all diligence in 
growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord?  Have you even begun?  

If not, then heed the words of Peter in his first gospel sermon... 
- cf. Ac 2:36-39

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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There’s No Such Thing as a Naturalist by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5050


There’s No Such Thing as a Naturalist

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


The McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Termsdefines “natural science” as, “Collectively, the branches of science dealing with objectively measurable phenomena...” (2003, p. 1402). A naturalist, then, is a person who believes everything in the Universe must be able to be explained through purely naturalistic processes—with no supernatural help. Everything believed must be based on empirical evidence that is “measurable.” According to the National Academy of Sciences, “The statements of science must invoke only natural things and processes. The statements of science are those that emerge from the application of human intelligence to data obtained from observation and experiment” (Teaching About Evolution…, 1998, p. 42, emp. added). With this definition in place, any supernatural event from the past or the supernatural Entity that caused it is “off the table” as a possibility for scientific discussion (even if such a Being exists and such events happened—i.e., even if the truth is being ignored). There is no doubt that naturalists have hijacked modern science today in spite of the fact that many of the fathers of scientific disciplines were in fact supernaturalists (cf. Morris, 1990), and in spite of the mounds of evidence against naturalism (cf. Miller, 2013b). What is perhaps most ironic is the fact that naturalists actually believe in miracles, which are, by definition, supernatural occurrences.
For example, the empirical evidence indicates that the First Law of Thermodynamics is a natural law that governs, and has always governed, the Universe. “[M]atter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed” in nature (Jastrow, 1977, p. 32). One thermodynamics textbook, Fundamentals of Thermodynamics, says, “Many different experiments have been conducted on the first law, and every one thus far has verified it either directly or indirectly. The first law has never been disproved” (Borgnakke and Sonntag, 2009, p. 116). So, it would be unnatural (i.e., supernatural) for matter or energy to create itself. But the naturalist believes that that very thing happened in order for the Universe to exist. He believes in the miraculous. [NOTE: See Miller, 2013a for more on naturalism and the Laws of Thermodynamics.]
Another example: the laws of nature exist. Renowned naturalist, theoretical physicist, and cosmologist of Cambridge Universe, Stephen Hawking, said:
[T]he Universe is a machine governed by principles or laws—laws that can be understood by the human mind. I believe that the discovery of these laws has been humankind’s greatest achievement…. But what’s really important is that these physical laws, as well as being unchangeable, are universal. They apply not just to the flight of the ball, but to the motion of a planet and everything else in the Universe. Unlike laws made by humans, the laws of nature cannot ever be broken. That’s why they are so powerful (“Curiosity…,” 2011, emp. added).
The laws of nature exist and are crucial in science. The empirical evidence, however, indicates that laws of nature do not write themselves. In a roundtable discussion on the Discovery Channelresponding to Hawking’s presentation alleging that the Universe could create itself, naturalist and theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist of Arizona State University, Paul Davies, noted Hawking’s sidestep of the question of how the laws of nature could write themselves into existence. He said, “You need to know where those laws come from. That’s where the mystery lies—the laws” (“The Creation Question…,” 2011). It is a mystery to the naturalist answering how the laws of nature exist since the evidence indicates that they do not write themselves. So again, it would be unnatural (i.e., supernatural) for a law of science to write itself. But the naturalist must believe that that very thing happened in order for the Universe to exist. He believes in the miraculous. [NOTE: See Miller, 2012 for more on naturalism and the laws of science.]
Ironically, honest evolutionists have long admitted that naturalism seems to require miracles. Concerning abiogenesis (i.e., life coming from non-life in nature), the late, famous evolutionist Robert Jastrow said:
At present, science has no satisfactory answer to the question of the origin of life on the earth. Perhaps the appearance of life on the earth is a miracle. Scientists are reluctant to accept that view, but their choices are limited; either life was created on the earth by the will of a being outside the grasp of scientific understanding, or it evolved on our planet spontaneously, through chemical reactions occurring in nonliving matter lying on the surface of the planet. The first theory places the question of the origin of life beyond the reach of scientific inquiry. It is a statement of faith in the power of a Supreme Being not subject to the laws of science. The second theory is also an act of faith. The act of faith consists in assuming that the scientific view of the origin of life is correct, without having concrete evidence to support that belief (1977, pp. 62-63, emp. added).
Sir Francis Crick, who co-discovered the double-helix structure of the DNA molecule, conceded, “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going” (1981, p. 88, emp. added). In his classic text, The Immense Journey, the late evolutionary anthropologist, Loren Eiseley, said the following regarding the idea of spontaneous generation:
With the failure of these many efforts, science was left in the somewhat embarrassing position of having to postulate theories of living origins which it could not demonstrate. After having chided the theologian for his reliance on myth and miracle, science found itself in the unenviable position of having to create a mythology of its own: namely, the assumption that what, after long effort, could not be proved to take place today, had, in truth, taken place in the primeval past (1957, pp. 201-202, emp. added).
Bottom line: naturalists must believe in unnatural occurrences to explain the Universe. They believe in miracles. Question: doesn’t that make them supernaturalists, just like us—only without any evidence for their blind belief? While the Christian can point to, for example, the supernatural characteristics of the Bible (cf. Butt, 2007) and the classical arguments for the existence of God (cf. Lyons and Butt, 2014) as evidence for his beliefs, the naturalist must blindly and irrationally believe in natural miracles without a miracle worker. All the while, he diverts attention from the inadequacies of naturalism by claiming supernaturalists are the irrational ones. If it is the case that naturalism is actually just another form of supernaturalism, why are “naturalistic” theories exclusively being taught in schools in science classrooms? Should they not be removed from the classroom also, if all religious models are being removed due to their being supernatural models? In truth, if there is solid evidence for the Creation model, whether or not the model is supernatural, it makes sense that it should be left on the table of scientific discussion.

REFERENCES

Borgnakke, Claus and Richard E. Sonntag (2009), Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (Asia: John Wiley and Sons), seventh edition.
Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
“The Creation Question: A Curiosity Conversation” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.
Crick, Francis (1981), Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature (New York: Simon and Schuster).
“Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.
Eiseley, Loren (1957), The Immense Journey (New York: Random House).
Jastrow, Robert (1977), Until the Sun Dies (New York: W.W. Norton).
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2014), “7 Reasons to Believe in God,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5045.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms(2003), pub. M.D. Licker (New York: McGraw-Hill), sixth edition.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “The Laws of Science—by God,” Apologetics Press, https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=4545&topic=93.
Miller, Jeff (2013a), “Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2786&topic=93.
Miller, Jeff (2013b), Science vs. Evolution (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Morris, Henry M. (1990), Men of Science Men of God: Great Scientists Who Believed in the Bible (El Cajon, CA: Master Books), third printing.
Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (1998), National Academy of Sciences (Washington, DC: National Academy Press).

The Web At Work by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3794


The Web At Work

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Last week we received a call from a distraught mother whose 26-year-old son has turned to unbelief. She explained that he was raised understanding that God exists, but that due to material he viewed on YouTube, he had declared himself an agnostic/atheist. She related several of the questions that her son was having about evil, pain, and suffering, slavery and the Bible, and the alleged immorality of the God of the Old Testament. I assured her that we have answers to all of the questions that she mentioned and we would be more than happy to open up a dialogue with her son.
Out of curiosity, I asked her how she found our phone number. She said that one of the main issues her son was struggling with was his understanding of slavery and the Bible. She related that she went to the Internet, typed in slavery and the Bible and our Web site popped up. She went to the article and at the bottom found our contact information. Apparently, she had never before heard of Apologetics Press, but our article on the Bible and slavery pulled her to the site.
This is an excellent example of the importance of making sure the truth is presented on the Web. Error clutters the Web like old junk in an attic. There is no way to avoid its influence. But there are millions of honest-hearted truth seekers out there who are willing to do the work to wade through the garbage and find the truth. It is imperative that we as Christians take our mission of evangelism seriously and do our very best to ensure that the truth is presented in an attractive, concise, easily accessible format that truth seekers can obtain.
That is why we are so excited about what the Lord is doing through Apologetics Press on the Web. Last month (March 2011), we had over 700,000 page hits. That is almost twice the amount that we have received in any single month. Each month, we continue to add new articles, materials, and multimedia resources. Is there something you could do to help promote the site so that more people would have easier access to the truth? Could you encourage your congregation to link to the site? Could you send an e-mail to your friends with a link to the site and a brief paragraph encouraging them to check it out? We have the truth, let’s make it as easy as we can for those who are seeking it to find it.

The Value of Human Suffering by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=228


The Value of Human Suffering

by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


It has been said that there is no greater education than matriculating through the University of Hard Knocks. One thing is certain; many who have passed through the crucible of suffering will acknowledge that they have found themselves infinitely better for the experience—bitter though it may have been. Robert Browning Hamilton expressed this thought so wonderfully in verse:
I walked a mile with Pleasure
She chatted all the way,
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne’er a word said she;
But oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me!
Atheism, of course, alleges that the problem of human suffering represents one of the more formidable arguments against the existence of a powerful and loving God. It is not my intention to respond to that baseless argument here; I have addressed it elsewhere in detail (see Jackson, 1983). At this point, it will suffice simply to say at that God has, as an expression of His love (1 John 4:8), granted mankind free will (Joshua 24:15; cf. Isaiah 7:15). That free will enables human beings to make their own choices. Foolish choices can have devastating consequences (e.g., suffering). Thus, the responsibility for unwise choices is man’s, not God’s. The problem of human suffering is not irreconcilable with the love of a benevolent Creator. In this article, we will limit our discussion to the benefits that suffering can provide—if we are wise enough to learn the lessons.
First, suffering highlights the fact that we are frail human beings; that is to say, we are not God. Some, however, have no greater ambition than to be their own God. They are “autotheists”—self-gods. They imagine that they are accountable to no one higher than themselves. To borrow the words of the infidel poet, William Ernest Henley, they are the masters of their fate, and the captains of their souls! These rebels submit to no law save the self-imposed law of their own arrogant minds. But when we humans suffer, we are forced to focus upon our own weakness. There is no remedy within us (see Job 6:13). It is hard to be haughty when you are hurting. Pain can be humbling; it can slap smart-aleckness out of us, and open our hearts to greater vistas.
Second, suffering can draw our interests toward the true God. When one is in a state of anguish that offers little respite, the natural inclination is to turn toward a higher source for help. Only a deliberate and forced stubbornness can quench that urge. When we are hurting, the “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3) is waiting to help. Joe, a personal acquaintance of this writer, was taught the gospel of Christ and happily embraced it, being united with the Lord in baptism (Romans 6:3ff.). For a while, this likable gentleman in his mid-forties struggled to remain faithful against the powerful, negative influences of a family that had zero interest in spiritual matters. Finally, he drifted away from conscientious service. Then, Joe suffered a severe heart attack. He hastened back to the Savior and maintained a contented fidelity until, some months later, his spirit slipped quietly away into eternity. Suffering can get our attention! David once wrote: “In my distress I called upon Jehovah, and cried unto my God” (Psalm 18:6).
Third, suffering can assist us in seeing sin in all of its hideous gruesomeness. The Bible clearly teaches that this planet has been heir to suffering as a consequence of man’s sin. This principle is set forth clearly by Paul in his letter to the Roman saints. He affirmed that “through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death through sin, so that death passed to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). At the beginning of human history, sin, in a manner of speaking, was “crouching at the door” (see Genesis 4:7); when grandmother Eve (and subsequently her husband) opened that door, horrible effects were allowed to descend upon their offspring (Genesis 3:22). And so death—with all its attendant evils—entered the human environment as a result of man’s rebellion against his Creator. When we suffer, it ought to be a sober reminder of how terrible sin is. While we cannot escape the physical consequences of sin’s high price, we can refresh our souls in divine forgiveness. When that is done, life becomes immeasurably easier.
Fourth, suffering aids us in seeing the real worth of things. When one passes through the experience of intense suffering, and perhaps comes to the threshold of death, the entire world can take on new meaning. The singing of the birds is more vivid than it ever has been. A fresh spring day makes the soul ecstatic. Family and friends take on a new preciousness. Christopher Reeve, who starred as “Superman” in the movies, was involved in a life-threatening accident, and discovered that in real life he was not as invincible as the character he portrayed. In recent interviews, Mr. Reeve commented that since being paralyzed, he has discovered a new zest for life. Indeed, suffering can provide a sharper vision of life’s priorities. As the poet John Dryden expressed it: “We, by our suff’rings, learn to prize our bliss” (Astraea Redux). He that hath an ear, let him hear what suffering whispers to the soul.
Fifth, suffering prepares us to be compassionate to others. There is an old adage that says, “Do not judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.” I suggest another proverb: “One cannot comfort effectively until he has lain in the bed of suffering.” That may be a bit of an overstatement, but it contains a grain of truth. In the second chapter of Hebrews, the writer effectively argued that Jesus Christ, as our High Priest, is qualified to “succor” (ASV) or “aid” (NASV) those who are tempted. How is that so? Hear him: “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18, NKJV). The song lyric, “Are you weary? Are you heavyhearted? Tell it to Jesus; tell it to Jesus,” is wonderfully meaningful in light of this passage. It has been said that the difference between “sympathy” (from the Greek syn—with, and pathos—feeling) and “empathy” (en—in, and pathos) is that in the former instance one “feels with” (i.e., has feelings of tenderness for) those who suffer, whereas in “empathy” one almost is able to “get inside” the friend who suffers—because the one doing the comforting has been there!
Sixth, suffering sharpens our awareness that this Earth is not a permanent home. Peter sought to encourage early Christians (who were being persecuted) not to despair, by reminding them that they were but “sojourners and pilgrims” upon this Earth (1 Peter 2:11). The ancient patriarchs “confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” and so they looked for “a better country, that is a heavenly [one]” (Hebrews 11:13-16). Paul reminded us that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward” (Romans 8:18). It is not the will of God that men live upon this evil-plagued planet forever. We never will be “at home” until we are with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8), and suffering helps make us “home sick.” Henry Ward Beecher once said: “God washes the eyes by tears until they can behold the invisible land where tears shall come no more.”
Seventh, suffering enhances our ability to pray. Praying is an instinctive human response to severe hardship. But effective prayer is a learned exercise. On a certain occasion during His ministry, Jesus was praying. After He had finished, one of the disciples requested of Him: “Lord, teach us to pray, even as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). These Hebrew disciples had been praying all their lives; yet, they observed something in the intensity of Jesus’ prayers that sent them “back to school.” With Calvary ever looming before Him, Christ plumbed the depths of prayer. Note the following: “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44). A song suggests: “Pray when you’re happy; pray when in sorrow.” One should pray frequently, and in all moods; under the burden of suffering, however, one will learn how to pray as he never has prayed before.
Eighth, suffering tempers the soul and helps prepare it for eternity. Peter wrote:
[N]ow for a little while, if necessary, ye have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:6-7).
Just as precious metals are purified by the heat of fire, so life’s trials in general, and suffering for Christ in particular, build strength into the soul. Character does not happen by accident; rather, it is built! Out of the fires of suffering, the human spirit may emerge as precious as gold and as strong as steel.
Ninth, suffering nurtures the noblest virtues of which mankind is capable. Reflect for a moment upon the quality of courage. Civilizations universally perceive “courage” to be one of the prime traits of humanity, and, by way of contrast, cowardice is considered to be utterly reprehensible. Courage may be defined as the ability to act rationally in the face of fear. If, however, the human family were immune to hardship, danger, suffering, etc., there could be no “facing” it, hence, no courage. When we sit down to a delicious dinner with friends and loved ones on a balmy autumn evening, no courage is needed. Courage arises in the presence of danger. There are certain qualities that we simply cannot possess in the absence of hardship. Ralph Sockman wrote: “Without danger there would be no adventure. Without friction our cars would not start and our spirits would not soar. Without tears, eyes would not shine with the richest expressions” (1961, p. 66). And what of “patience”? John Chrysostom (347-407), one of the most influential figures among the “church fathers” of the post-apostolic period, described patience as “the mother of piety, fruit that never withers, a fortress that is never taken, a harbour that knows no storms” (as quoted in Barclay, 1974, p. 145). But could there ever be “patience” in the absence of difficulty?
Tenth, suffering separates the superficial from the stable. Paul cautioned the Corinthian saints against building up the church superficially. Some folks are of the “wood, hay, [and] stubble” variety, while others exhibit those qualities of “gold, silver [and] costly stones” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). Saints of the latter category endure; those of the former do not. Why so? It simply is because the two groups are tested by “fire” (hardships), and that testing fire separates quality converts from those who really are not serious about their Christian commitment. Jesus once spoke of those who receive the gospel impulsively, and, for a while endure. Eventually, though, “tribulation and persecution” arise, and rather quickly the superficial fade away (see Matthew 13:20-21).
And so, while no one actively seeks suffering in his life, honesty compels us to admit that hardships do have value—great value. Certainly, the existence of suffering is not a valid reason for rejecting the Creator.

REFERENCES

Barclay, William (1974), New Testament Words (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster).
Jackson, Wayne (1983), The Book of Job—Analyzed and Applied (Abilene, TX: Quality).
Sockman, Ralph (1961), The Meaning of Suffering (New York: Women’s Division, Christian Service Boards of Missions, The Methodist Church).

Teachings of Jesus (Part 19) Hypocrisy by Ben Fronczek

http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?p=1833

Teachings of Jesus (Part 19) Hypocrisy

How good are you at heeding warnings?
You may say that it depends on what the warning is and the one giving it.
If a child came up to you and warned you about the danger of talking on your cell phone while driving you might smile and not heed their warning as much as a police officer pounding on our door here telling us to get out because the building is on fire.
Some warnings seem somewhat insignificant while others can be life saving if we heed them. You will hear all kinds of warnings in life, but I don’t think there will ever be any as important as those that have to do with our spiritual well being and future, especially if they come from God Himself. But unfortunately we don’t heed them like we should.
In the Gospel of Luke chapter 12, and in the beginning of 13, Jesus continues to warn the people about some very important matters. There are at least seven things He warns them about. And rather than briefly mentioning them here this morning, I would rather take time over the next few weeks to talk about them more thoroughly. Why? Because they are things that the Son of God, Jesus, wants us to see, understand and warn us about.
Before we look at the first warning let me ask you this; ‘How many like or appreciate people who are phony or real hypocrites when in our presence.’ Most of us know what a hypocrite is. It is when one pretends to be someone or something that they really aren’t, usually for their own benefit. Really it’s a form of deception and fundamentally it’s a form of lying about one’s self. Sometimes it entails wanting or even demanding a certain behavior in others, that the hypocrite refuses to do himself. It’s like a diet and nutrition guru who teaches others good eating habits yet cheats himself by eating all kinds of junk food daily. Or like the politician who expects you and me to pay our taxes on time, yet cheats on or doesn’t even pay their own. (We don’t like that)
In the preceding context, at the end of Luke chapter 11, Jesus verbally slaps the Jewish Pharisees and teacher of the Law. You see, even though those guys wanted to come across as being holy and righteous, and the most religious Jews of their time, Jesus lets them all know that they are wicked, greedy, foolish, unmerciful, stingy, stifling, and overbearing.
He instead lets them know that they should be more generous, helpful, just and more loving.
In Matthews 23, we read where Jesus also warns the people about these Pharisees and teachers. Six times He calls them Hypocrites. He also calls them, ‘blind guides, a brood of vipers, He even said that they are like white washed tombs that look nice on the outside but are full of bead men’s bones.
And I can see why the final verse in Luke 11 says that’s when those men began to oppose He fiercely, and look for a way to trap Him in His words.
This sets the stage for warning that Jesus gives the people in Luke 12-13..
The first warning in 12:1 is, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
SINCE HYPOCRISY IS SOMETHING JESUS CONDEMNS I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT FOR US TO KNOW HOW TO KEEP IT OUT OF OUR LIVES? So today I have a few things that can help us.
1. First of all we need to recognizing what hypocrisy is — Jesus compared it to yeast or leaven — something every Jew would associate with sin & evil. During many of their holidays such as Passover, they had to get rid of all their yeast. Even the show bread that was placed in the temple each day was to be made without yeast.   Leaven or yeast has a pervasive effect and was therefore a good illustration of the influence of hypocrisy. In other words it has an effect on everything it comes in contact with. The Apostle Paul also used leaven to symbolize sin when in I Corinthian 5 he talked about sin in their church and how like yeast, sin if it is not dealt with, it will work through the whole batch of doe. Like yeast, hypocrisy starts very small but it’s effects can grow and spreads quickly. And once a person begins to pretend about who they are, that pretending can increases to a point where the person does not even know who they are anymore. They can get carried away with it and act like someone they are not and even demand things from others that they themselves will not do
One way to keep hypocrisy at bay is not to ignore it, but to uncover Hypocrisy for what it really is. To pretend in this manner is a lie — and to lie is to sin. And according to Rev 21:8 the eventual home of habitual liars will be the fiery lake of burning sulfur, called the 2nd death.
So #1 we need to recognize hypocrisy for what it is… and                              #2. is for us to realize that Hypocrisy is really foolish and futile…. No one can pretend forever. The mask will eventually come off.
Scripture says the lies of the hypocrite will one day be exposed
Luke 12:2-3 says, THERE IS NOTHING CONCEALED THAT WILL NOT BE DISCLOSED, OR HIDDEN THAT WILL NOT BE MADE KNOWN…”
And we must never forget that there is someone who is not fooled at all by our Oscar winning performances…. The Bible says in Hebrews 4:13, “NOTHING IN ALL CREATION IS HIDDEN FORM GOD’S SIGHT. EVERYTHING IS UNCOVERED AND LAID BARE BEFORE THE EYES OF HIM TO WHOM WE MUST GIVE AN ACCOUNT…” Pretending to be something we are not may fool some, but it never fools God – He knows exactly who you are. So its fool hardy to pretend in the 1st place Mnay people will see right through it as well..
#3. A 3rd way to keep hypocrisy out of our lives is for us to realize that fearing what other think of us and what they can do is nothing compare to what God will do if you do not act the way you should. 4-7 it says, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Jesus alludes to fear 5 times in these verses. And what He is teaching is that the basic reason for hypocrisy, or lying about one’s self, is a fear of others, what others think, and what they may do to you if they find out who you are and what you are really like. When we are afraid of what others think some simply choose to pretend to be something else to gain approval.
The Pharisees and Scribes in Jesus’ day were more concerned about their reputation than their character. They were more concerned about what people thought about them than what God knew about them.
Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
Jesus is basically saying that the remedy for hypocrisy is to ignore what people may say, think or do, rather we need to trust in, and fear God!
A healthy fear of God can help cure these kinds of fears.
The worst that any man can do is kill the body and after that he can do no more. But God can condemn your very soul to hell — He is the final judge. He can do to us what no one else can do. And I can’t think of anything worst than being rejected by Him and being cast out of His presence and into hell.
Therefore it is only more logical to fear God than anyone else. It’s more logical to be concerned about what God thinks about us and our behavior than what anyone else thinks about it.
But we also need to remember that God doesn’t really want to throw any of us into hell, He love us. We are His children. Jesus said that God cares and is mindful of every sparrow — we are of greater value to Him — so don’t worry about what others think.
HE goes on to say, “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.” Are you embarrassed when the topic of Jesus comes up in a conversation? We should be proud of who we are and not hide our identity of being a Christian; that is of course as long as you are not being a hypocrite, and your behavior is not Christ-like.
Jesus’ first warning here is to beware of the dangerous effect of hypocrisy – how it can fester and spread. We need to remember that it is a sin, and just as embarrassing as it is to be found out by others, remember that one day all mask will come off for all to see and the real you will be exposed.
We also need to remember that there is someone who knows everything about you…EVERYTHING… even how many hairs are on your head.
 Fear what He can do, and don’t worry about others think. Make a decision to be true to God, true to yourself and true to others.
This will help keep hypocrisy out of your lives.
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566
All comments can be emailed to: bfronzek@gmail.com

Let us pursue the knowledge of God “Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD” (Hosea 6:3). by Roy Davison

http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/know.html

Let us pursue the knowledge of God
“Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD” (Hosea 6:3).


To pursue is to resolutely strive for something even if it is difficult to obtain.
God placed people on earth “so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).

Through God’s creation we know that He exists.

The creation is solid evidence for the existence of God.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4).
“The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples see His glory” (Psalm 97:6).
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).
There is no excuse for anyone not to believe in God. Yet knowing God is much more than just knowing that He exists.

Through the Scriptures we know what God is like.

Knowing a person is different from knowing a fact. You know someone only if you are familiar with his characteristics, if you know what he is like. Effort is required to get to know anyone, so it is not strange that effort is required to know God.
God’s nature is revealed in the Scriptures. God reveals Himself to us as our Maker, our Sustainer, our Ruler, our Lawgiver, our Judge and our Savior. He is the source of life on earth and the source of eternal life. God reveals Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Yet knowing God is more than just knowing what He is like. Some things can be known about God through His creation. More can be known through His word. Most can be known through His Son.

Through His Son we can know God. 

To know someone well, one must have a personal relationship with that person. Likewise, we must have a personal relationship with God to know Him well. By sending His Son, the Father has made this possible! Before discussing this, let us examine some fundamentals.

We cannot know God through human wisdom alone.

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

God has made Himself known through testimony.

Paul did not use human wisdom when he declared “the testimony of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1). “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son” (1 John 5:9, 10).

We must be God-fearing truth-seekers to know God.

We must seek knowledge and be open to God’s testimony to find the knowledge of God.
“Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
And find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding”
(Proverbs 2:3-6).

Only those who love truth and seek knowledge accept God’s testimony and find the knowledge of God.
Paul speaks of certain people who are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). This is because they have insufficient respect for God: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). “For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who isgood in His sight” (Ecclesiastes 2:26).


Someone who hates knowledge cannot know God.

God does not listen to the prayers of people who hate knowledge: “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, they would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies” (Proverbs 1:28-31).
God said about Israel: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge” (Proverbs 1:22).

We may not reject the knowledge of God.

Deceitful people refuse to know God: “‘Your dwelling place is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know Me,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:6).
Just claiming to know God is not enough. Of certain people Paul wrote: “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (Titus 1:16).
Much evil emanates from a rejection of the knowledge of God: “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man - and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:21-25).
They who do not know God will be punished when Jesus is “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” (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8).

To be God’s people we must know God.

Under the New Covenant one cannot be a part of God’s people unless one knows God: “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
Under the Old Covenant, God’s people were a regular nation that included people who knew God and people who did not know God. The faithful encouraged the others to know God.
Under the New Covenant, God’s people are a spiritual nation consisting only of those who know God. “Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart” (Jeremiah 24:7).

In Christ we know God.

Jesus Christ has made God known: “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18).
If we are in the Son, we have a personal relationship with the Father: “We know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).
Being “in Christ” involves being an active member of His body, the church (Ephesians 1:22, 23). We are “baptized into Christ” (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27). “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13).
Paul explains that Christians have a personal relationship with the Father because the Spirit of His Son is in their hearts: “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Galatians 4:6, 7).

Our knowledge of God must increase.

Paul prayed that the Colossians might “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
Peter admonishes us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

Knowledge of God must be put into practice.

We can know God only if we love one another and keep His commandments: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3, 4). “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7, 8).

Pursue the knowledge of God.

Through God’s creation we know that He exists. Through the Scriptures we know what God is like. Through the Son we can have a personal relationship with God.
Although we must seek wisdom and knowledge in general to find the knowledge of God, we cannot know God through human wisdom alone. We must be God-fearing truth-seekers who accept God’s testimony. Someone who hates knowledge cannot know God. We may not reject the knowledge of God. They who do not know God will be punished. We must know God to be His people. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, has made Him known. In the Son we have a personal relationship with the Father through His Spirit within us. Our knowledge of God must increase and must be put into practice.
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2). Amen.

Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

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

Bible Reading July 24, 25 by Gary Rose


Bible Reading July 24, 25

World  English  Bible

July 24
2 Chronicles 4-6

2Ch 4:1 Then he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits its length, and twenty cubits its breadth, and ten cubits its height.
2Ch 4:2 Also he made the molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass; and its height was five cubits; and a line of thirty cubits encircled it.
2Ch 4:3 Under it was the likeness of oxen, which encircled it, for ten cubits, encircling the sea. The oxen were in two rows, cast when it was cast.
2Ch 4:4 It stood on twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set on them above, and all their hinder parts were inward.
2Ch 4:5 It was a handbreadth thick; and its brim was worked like the brim of a cup, like the flower of a lily: it received and held three thousand baths.
2Ch 4:6 He made also ten basins, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them; such things as belonged to the burnt offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in.
2Ch 4:7 He made the ten lampstands of gold according to the ordinance concerning them; and he set them in the temple, five on the right hand, and five on the left.
2Ch 4:8 He made also ten tables, and placed them in the temple, five on the right side, and five on the left. He made one hundred basins of gold.
2Ch 4:9 Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass.
2Ch 4:10 He set the sea on the right side of the house eastward, toward the south.
2Ch 4:11 Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the basins. So Huram made an end of doing the work that he did for king Solomon in the house of God:
2Ch 4:12 the two pillars, and the bowls, and the two capitals which were on the top of the pillars, and the two networks to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the top of the pillars,
2Ch 4:13 and the four hundred pomegranates for the two networks; two rows of pomegranates for each network, to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the pillars.
2Ch 4:14 He made also the bases, and the basins made he on the bases;
2Ch 4:15 one sea, and the twelve oxen under it.
2Ch 4:16 The pots also, and the shovels, and the forks, and all its vessels, did Huram his father make for king Solomon for the house of Yahweh of bright brass.
2Ch 4:17 In the plain of the Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredah.
2Ch 4:18 Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance: for the weight of the brass could not be found out.
2Ch 4:19 Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of God, the golden altar also, and the tables with the show bread on them;
2Ch 4:20 and the lampstands with their lamps, to burn according to the ordinance before the oracle, of pure gold;
2Ch 4:21 and the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs, of gold, and that perfect gold;
2Ch 4:22 and the snuffers, and the basins, and the spoons, and the fire pans, of pure gold: and as for the entry of the house, the inner doors of it for the most holy place, and the doors of the main hall of the temple were of gold.

2Ch 5:1 Thus all the work that Solomon did for the house of Yahweh was finished. Solomon brought in the things that David his father had dedicated, even the silver, and the gold, and all the vessels, and put them in the treasuries of the house of God.
2Ch 5:2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the princes of the fathers' houses of the children of Israel, to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of Yahweh out of the city of David, which is Zion.
2Ch 5:3 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves to the king at the feast, which was in the seventh month.
2Ch 5:4 All the elders of Israel came: and the Levites took up the ark;
2Ch 5:5 and they brought up the ark, and the Tent of Meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the Tent; these did the priests the Levites bring up.
2Ch 5:6 King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled to him, were before the ark, sacrificing sheep and cattle, that could not be counted nor numbered for multitude.
2Ch 5:7 The priests brought in the ark of the covenant of Yahweh to its place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim.
2Ch 5:8 For the cherubim spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and its poles above.
2Ch 5:9 The poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen outside: and there it is to this day.
2Ch 5:10 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put there at Horeb, when Yahweh made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.
2Ch 5:11 It happened, when the priests were come out of the holy place, (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, and did not keep their divisions;
2Ch 5:12 also the Levites who were the singers, all of them, even Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and their brothers, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them one hundred twenty priests sounding with trumpets;)
2Ch 5:13 it happened, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking Yahweh; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised Yahweh, saying, For he is good; for his loving kindness endures forever; that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of Yahweh,
2Ch 5:14 so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of Yahweh filled the house of God.

2Ch 6:1 Then spoke Solomon, Yahweh has said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
2Ch 6:2 But I have built you a house of habitation, and a place for you to dwell in forever.
2Ch 6:3 The king turned his face, and blessed all the assembly of Israel: and all the assembly of Israel stood.
2Ch 6:4 He said, Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel, who spoke with his mouth to David my father, and has with his hands fulfilled it, saying,
2Ch 6:5 Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build a house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be prince over my people Israel:
2Ch 6:6 but I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.
2Ch 6:7 Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel.
2Ch 6:8 But Yahweh said to David my father, Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart:
2Ch 6:9 nevertheless you shall not build the house; but your son who shall come forth out of your body, he shall build the house for my name.
2Ch 6:10 Yahweh has performed his word that he spoke; for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as Yahweh promised, and have built the house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel.
2Ch 6:11 There have I set the ark, in which is the covenant of Yahweh, which he made with the children of Israel.
2Ch 6:12 He stood before the altar of Yahweh in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands
2Ch 6:13 (for Solomon had made a bronze scaffold, five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and on it he stood, and kneeled down on his knees before all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven;)
2Ch 6:14 and he said, Yahweh, the God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven, or on earth; who keep covenant and loving kindness with your servants, who walk before you with all their heart;
2Ch 6:15 who have kept with your servant David my father that which you promised him: yes, you spoke with your mouth, and have fulfilled it with your hand, as it is this day.
2Ch 6:16 Now therefore, Yahweh, the God of Israel, keep with your servant David my father that which you have promised him, saying, There shall not fail you a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children take heed to their way, to walk in my law as you have walked before me.
2Ch 6:17 Now therefore, Yahweh, the God of Israel, let your word be verified, which you spoke to your servant David.
2Ch 6:18 But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens can't contain you; how much less this house which I have built!
2Ch 6:19 Yet have respect for the prayer of your servant, and to his supplication, Yahweh my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which your servant prays before you;
2Ch 6:20 that your eyes may be open toward this house day and night, even toward the place where you have said that you would put your name; to listen to the prayer which your servant shall pray toward this place.
2Ch 6:21 Listen to the petitions of your servant, and of your people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: yes, hear from your dwelling place, even from heaven; and when you hear, forgive.
2Ch 6:22 If a man sin against his neighbor, and an oath is laid on him to cause him to swear, and he comes and swears before your altar in this house;
2Ch 6:23 then hear from heaven, and do, and judge your servants, bringing retribution to the wicked, to bring his way on his own head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.
2Ch 6:24 If your people Israel be struck down before the enemy, because they have sinned against you, and shall turn again and confess your name, and pray and make supplication before you in this house;
2Ch 6:25 then hear from heaven, and forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them again to the land which you gave to them and to their fathers.
2Ch 6:26 When the sky is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against you; if they pray toward this place, and confess your name, and turn from their sin, when you afflict them:
2Ch 6:27 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of your servants, and of your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on your land, which you have given to your people for an inheritance.
2Ch 6:28 If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, locust or caterpillar; if their enemies besiege them in the land of their cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there be;
2Ch 6:29 whatever prayer and supplication be made by any man, or by all your people Israel, who shall know every man his own plague and his own sorrow, and shall spread forth his hands toward this house:
2Ch 6:30 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place and forgive, and render to every man according to all his ways, whose heart you know; (for you, even you only, know the hearts of the children of men;)
2Ch 6:31 that they may fear you, to walk in your ways, so long as they live in the land which you gave to our fathers.
2Ch 6:32 Moreover concerning the foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, when he shall come from a far country for your great name's sake, and your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm; when they shall come and pray toward this house:
2Ch 6:33 then hear from heaven, even from your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you for; that all the peoples of the earth may know your name, and fear you, as does your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by your name.
2Ch 6:34 If your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way you shall send them, and they pray to you toward this city which you have chosen, and the house which I have built for your name;
2Ch 6:35 then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
2Ch 6:36 If they sin against you (for there is no man who doesn't sin), and you are angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captive to a land far off or near;
2Ch 6:37 yet if they shall repent themselves in the land where they are carried captive, and turn again, and make supplication to you in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done perversely, and have dealt wickedly;
2Ch 6:38 if they return to you with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, where they have carried them captive, and pray toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, and the city which you have chosen, and toward the house which I have built for your name:
2Ch 6:39 then hear from heaven, even from your dwelling place, their prayer and their petitions, and maintain their cause, and forgive your people who have sinned against you.
2Ch 6:40 Now, my God, let, I beg you, your eyes be open, and let your ears be attentive, to the prayer that is made in this place.
2Ch 6:41 Now therefore arise, Yahweh God, into your resting place, you, and the ark of your strength: let your priests, Yahweh God, be clothed with salvation, and let your saints rejoice in goodness.
2Ch 6:42 Yahweh God, don't turn away the face of your anointed: remember your loving kindnesses to David your servant.

July 25
2 Chronicles 7-9

2Ch 7:1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of Yahweh filled the house.
2Ch 7:2 The priests could not enter into the house of Yahweh, because the glory of Yahweh filled Yahweh's house.
2Ch 7:3 All the children of Israel looked on, when the fire came down, and the glory of Yahweh was on the house; and they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped, and gave thanks to Yahweh, saying, For he is good; for his loving kindness endures for ever.
2Ch 7:4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before Yahweh.
2Ch 7:5 King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.
2Ch 7:6 The priests stood, according to their offices; the Levites also with instruments of music of Yahweh, which David the king had made to give thanks to Yahweh, (for his loving kindness endures for ever), when David praised by their ministry: and the priests sounded trumpets before them; and all Israel stood.
2Ch 7:7 Moreover Solomon made the middle of the court holy that was before the house of Yahweh; for there he offered the burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the bronze altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offering, and the meal offering, and the fat.
2Ch 7:8 So Solomon held the feast at that time seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly, from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt.
2Ch 7:9 On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.
2Ch 7:10 On the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the goodness that Yahweh had shown to David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.
2Ch 7:11 Thus Solomon finished the house of Yahweh, and the king's house: and he successfully completed all that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of Yahweh, and in his own house.
2Ch 7:12 Yahweh appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him, I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for a house of sacrifice.
2Ch 7:13 If I shut up the sky so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
2Ch 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2Ch 7:15 Now my eyes shall be open, and my ears attentive, to the prayer that is made in this place.
2Ch 7:16 For now have I chosen and made this house holy, that my name may be there forever; and my eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually.
2Ch 7:17 As for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep my statutes and my ordinances;
2Ch 7:18 then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, according as I covenanted with David your father, saying, There shall not fail you a man to be ruler in Israel.
2Ch 7:19 But if you turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;
2Ch 7:20 then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have made holy for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
2Ch 7:21 This house, which is so high, everyone who passes by it shall be astonished, and shall say, Why has Yahweh done thus to this land, and to this house?
2Ch 7:22 They shall answer, Because they abandoned Yahweh, the God of their fathers, who brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshiped them, and served them: therefore has he brought all this evil on them.

2Ch 8:1 It happened at the end of twenty years, in which Solomon had built the house of Yahweh, and his own house,
2Ch 8:2 that the cities which Huram had given to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there.
2Ch 8:3 Solomon went to Hamath Zobah, and prevailed against it.
2Ch 8:4 He built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the storage cities, which he built in Hamath.
2Ch 8:5 Also he built Beth Horon the upper, and Beth Horon the lower, fortified cities, with walls, gates, and bars;
2Ch 8:6 and Baalath, and all the storage cities that Solomon had, and all the cities for his chariots, and the cities for his horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build for his pleasure in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.
2Ch 8:7 As for all the people who were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, who were not of Israel;
2Ch 8:8 of their children who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel didn't consume, of them did Solomon conscripted forced labor to this day.
2Ch 8:9 But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work; but they were men of war, and chief of his captains, and rulers of his chariots and of his horsemen.
2Ch 8:10 These were the chief officers of king Solomon, even two-hundred fifty, who ruled over the people.
2Ch 8:11 Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David to the house that he had built for her; for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places where the ark of Yahweh has come are holy.
2Ch 8:12 Then Solomon offered burnt offerings to Yahweh on the altar of Yahweh, which he had built before the porch,
2Ch 8:13 even as the duty of every day required, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the Sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the set feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tents.
2Ch 8:14 He appointed, according to the ordinance of David his father, the divisions of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their offices, to praise, and to minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required; the doorkeepers also by their divisions at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded.
2Ch 8:15 They didn't depart from the commandment of the king to the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures.
2Ch 8:16 Now all the work of Solomon was prepared to the day of the foundation of the house of Yahweh, and until it was finished. So the house of Yahweh was completed.
2Ch 8:17 Then went Solomon to Ezion Geber, and to Eloth, on the seashore in the land of Edom.
2Ch 8:18 Huram sent him ships and servants who had knowledge of the sea by the hands of his servants; and they came with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and fetched from there four hundred fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.

2Ch 9:1 When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great train, and camels that bore spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she talked with him of all that was in her heart.
2Ch 9:2 Solomon told her all her questions; and there was not anything hid from Solomon which he didn't tell her.
2Ch 9:3 When the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built,
2Ch 9:4 and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their clothing, his cup bearers also, and their clothing, and his ascent by which he went up to the house of Yahweh; there was no more spirit in her.
2Ch 9:5 She said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in my own land of your acts, and of your wisdom.
2Ch 9:6 However I didn't believe their words, until I came, and my eyes had seen it; and behold, the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me: you exceed the fame that I heard.
2Ch 9:7 Happy are your men, and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you, and hear your wisdom.
2Ch 9:8 Blessed be Yahweh your God, who delighted in you, to set you on his throne, to be king for Yahweh your God: because your God loved Israel, to establish them forever, therefore made he you king over them, to do justice and righteousness.
2Ch 9:9 She gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, and spices in great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.
2Ch 9:10 The servants also of Huram, and the servants of Solomon, who brought gold from Ophir, brought algum trees and precious stones.
2Ch 9:11 The king made of the algum trees terraces for the house of Yahweh, and for the king's house, and harps and stringed instruments for the singers: and there were none like these seen before in the land of Judah.
2Ch 9:12 King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatever she asked, besides that which she had brought to the king. So she turned, and went to her own land, she and her servants.
2Ch 9:13 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,
2Ch 9:14 besides that which the traders and merchants brought: and all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.
2Ch 9:15 King Solomon made two hundred bucklers of beaten gold; six hundred shekels of beaten gold went to one buckler.
2Ch 9:16 he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three hundred shekels of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.
2Ch 9:17 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold.
2Ch 9:18 And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and stays on either side by the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the stays.
2Ch 9:19 Twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other on the six steps: there was nothing like it made in any kingdom.
2Ch 9:20 All king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold: silver was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.
2Ch 9:21 For the king had ships that went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram; once every three years came the ships of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.
2Ch 9:22 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.
2Ch 9:23 All the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.
2Ch 9:24 They brought every man his tribute, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and clothing, armor, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.
2Ch 9:25 Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, that he stationed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.
2Ch 9:26 He ruled over all the kings from the River even to the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt.
2Ch 9:27 The king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedars to be as the sycamore trees that are in the lowland, for abundance.
2Ch 9:28 They brought horses for Solomon out of Egypt, and out of all lands.
2Ch 9:29 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, aren't they written in the history of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat?
2Ch 9:30 Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years.
2Ch 9:31 Solomon slept with his fathers, and he was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.

Jul. 24, 25
Acts 15

Act 15:1 Some men came down from Judea and taught the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised after the custom of Moses, you can't be saved."
Act 15:2 Therefore when Paul and Barnabas had no small discord and discussion with them, they appointed Paul and Barnabas, and some others of them, to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question.
Act 15:3 They, being sent on their way by the assembly, passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles. They caused great joy to all the brothers.
Act 15:4 When they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the assembly and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all things that God had done with them.
Act 15:5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."
Act 15:6 The apostles and the elders were gathered together to see about this matter.
Act 15:7 When there had been much discussion, Peter rose up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that a good while ago God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the nations should hear the word of the Good News, and believe.
Act 15:8 God, who knows the heart, testified about them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just like he did to us.
Act 15:9 He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.
Act 15:10 Now therefore why do you tempt God, that you should put a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
Act 15:11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are."
Act 15:12 All the multitude kept silence, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul reporting what signs and wonders God had done among the nations through them.
Act 15:13 After they were silent, James answered, "Brothers, listen to me.
Act 15:14 Simeon has reported how God first visited the nations, to take out of them a people for his name.
Act 15:15 This agrees with the words of the prophets. As it is written,
Act 15:16 'After these things I will return. I will again build the tabernacle of David, which has fallen. I will again build its ruins. I will set it up,
Act 15:17 That the rest of men may seek after the Lord; All the Gentiles who are called by my name, Says the Lord, who does all these things.
Act 15:18 All his works are known to God from eternity.'
Act 15:19 "Therefore my judgment is that we don't trouble those from among the Gentiles who turn to God,
Act 15:20 but that we write to them that they abstain from the pollution of idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood.
Act 15:21 For Moses from generations of old has in every city those who preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath."
Act 15:22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole assembly, to choose men out of their company, and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, chief men among the brothers.
Act 15:23 They wrote these things by their hand: "The apostles, the elders, and the brothers, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: greetings.
Act 15:24 Because we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, 'You must be circumcised and keep the law,' to whom we gave no commandment;
Act 15:25 it seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose out men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
Act 15:26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Act 15:27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves will also tell you the same things by word of mouth.
Act 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay no greater burden on you than these necessary things:
Act 15:29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality, from which if you keep yourselves, it will be well with you. Farewell."
Act 15:30 So, when they were sent off, they came to Antioch. Having gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter.
Act 15:31 When they had read it, they rejoiced over the encouragement.
Act 15:32 Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged the brothers with many words, and strengthened them.
Act 15:33 After they had spent some time there, they were sent back with greetings from the brothers to the apostles.
Act 15:34 But it seemed good to Silas to stay there.
Act 15:35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
Act 15:36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let's return now and visit our brothers in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, to see how they are doing."
Act 15:37 Barnabas planned to take John, who was called Mark, with them also.
Act 15:38 But Paul didn't think that it was a good idea to take with them someone who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia, and didn't go with them to do the work.
Act 15:39 Then the contention grew so sharp that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed away to Cyprus,
Act 15:40 but Paul chose Silas, and went out, being commended by the brothers to the grace of God.
Act 15:41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the assemblies.