9/27/19

"THE EPISTLE OF JUDE" Called! Sanctified! And Preserved! (1-2) by Mark Copeland


 "THE EPISTLE OF JUDE"

Called! Sanctified! And Preserved! (1-2)

INTRODUCTION

1. In several passages throughout the New Testament, we find serious
   warnings about impending apostasy...
   a. Jesus warned that false prophets would arise, the love of many
      would grow cold, and only those who endure to the end would be
      saved - Mt 24:11-13
   b. Paul foretold of many disciples being drawn away - Ac 20:29-30
   c. Peter warned about the rise of false teachers, and how many would
      follow their destructive ways - 2Pe 2:1-3

2. But by the time the epistles of John and Jude were written, the
   danger was no longer impending, it was very much in existence...
   a. Antichrists were present, and false prophets were in the world
      - 1Jn 2:18; 4:1; 2Jn 7
   b. Jude was forced to change his original purpose to deal with the
      crisis - Jude 3-4

3. If the danger of apostasy was already present in the First Century A.D....
   a. We should not be surprised that the dangers exists in the
      twentieth century!
   b. We would do well to pay close heed to those epistles written to
      tell us how to deal with it

4. That makes The Epistle Of Jude especially relevant, and with this
   lesson we begin a series of expository sermons based upon its contents

5. In verses 1-2, Jude begins his letter in typical fashion:
   a. He identifies himself...
      1) As "a servant of Jesus Christ" and "brother of James"
      2) It is considered very likely that James was the brother of the
         Lord who had become prominent in the church at Jerusalem 
         - cf. Ga 1:16; 2:9
      3) This would mean Jude was also a brother to the Lord Jesus -
         cf. also Mt 13:54-56
      4) That Judas would describe himself as a servant of the Lord and
         not His brother is typical of the modesty shown by James as
         well - Jm 1:1
   b. He then addresses his original readers...
      1) No particular church or individuals are named
      2) They are simply "those who are called, sanctified by God the
         Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:"
      3) For this reason, the epistle of Jude has been categorized as a
         catholic, or general, epistle (like James, 1st & 2nd Peter,
         and 1st John)
   c. He concludes his salutation with a three-fold benediction:
      "Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you"

6. Before we go any further, the manner in which Jude addressed his
   readers is worthy of careful notice...
   a. Jude's purpose is to warn of those "ungodly men" who have crept in
   b. That a warning is necessary suggests a danger that is real: being
      led away from the faith
   c. Yet Jude uses terms in his address that some would say teaches
      the impossibility of apostasy (especially the phrase: "preserved
      in Jesus Christ")

[Therefore I would like for us to focus on the concepts suggested by
the three words in the title of our study:  "Called! Sanctified!  And
Preserved!"

Let's begin with the idea of Christians being...]

I. THOSE WHO ARE "CALLED"

   A. THOSE IN CHRIST HAVE BEEN "CALLED"...
      1. We have been called with "a holy calling" - 2Ti 1:9
      2. This calling was not according to our meritorious works
      3. It was according to God's own purpose and grace before time began

   B. THIS "CALL" CAME THROUGH THE GOSPEL...
      1. We became God's chosen and called through the means of the
         gospel - 2Th 2:13-14
      2. By having the gospel preached to "every creature", the call is
         made available to all - cf. Mk 16:15-16
         a. This is consistent with God's desire that "all men be
             saved" - 1Ti 2:3-4
         b. This is consistent with God's offer of His Son as "a ransom
            for all" - 1Ti 2:5-6
         c. This is consistent with the Lord's unwillingness that "any
            should perish", but that "all should come to repentance" - 2Pe 3:9

   C. OUR RESPONSIBILITY, HAVING ACCEPTED THE "CALL", IS TO MAKE OUR
      "CALLING AND ELECTION SURE"...
      1. This requires much diligence on our part - 2Pe 1:10-11
      2. Otherwise, we will be like the Israelites in the wilderness
         - He 3:12-19; 4:1-2,11
         a. All were called by God to enter the Promised Land of rest
         b. But most were unable to enter because of unbelief that led
            to lack of diligence!

[It is the need for faithful diligence that explains the many warnings
against apostasy found in the Scriptures.  It also helps to understand
why Jude felt it necessary to write his epistle!

Closely related to the concept of being "called", is the idea that by
God's grace we are also...]

II. "SANCTIFIED" BY GOD THE FATHER

   A. THE WORDS "SANCTIFY", "SANCTIFICATION"...
      1. Are translated from the Greek word "hagiazo" {hag-ee-ad'-zo}
      2. Which means to make holy, to set apart for a special purpose
      3. Therefore, God has set apart those who have been called - Jude 1

   B. THE PROCESS OF SANCTIFICATION...
      1. Is said to be the work of the Holy Spirit
         a. "sanctified by the Holy Spirit" - Ro 15:16
         b. "sanctified...by the Spirit of our God" - 1Co 6:11
         c. "sanctification by the Spirit" - 2Th 2:13
         d. "the sanctifying work of the Spirit" (NASV) - 1Pe 1:2
      2. Is also said to be the work of the Word of God
         a. "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth." - Jn 17:17
         b. "that He might sanctify...by the word" - Ep 5:26
      3. Since the Word of God is said to be the "sword of the Spirit"
         (Ep 6:17), the Word is evidently the instrument used by the
         Spirit to help bring about our sanctification

   C. THE PROGRESS OF SANCTIFICATION...
      1. Some people understand "sanctification" as "all at once" or
         "in two stages" (e.g., the Wesleyan concept of entire sanctification)
      2. The Biblical evidence suggests otherwise:
         a. The church at Corinth was made up of members...
            1) Who were "sanctified in Christ Jesus" - 1Co 1:2
            2) Who had been "sanctified" - 1Co 6:11
         b. Yet, many of these members were "babes in Christ" and
            "carnal" - 1Co 3:1-3
      3. As written to the Hebrews, those in Christ are "being
         sanctified" - He 2:11
         a. I.e., sanctification is an on-going process
         b. It begins at conversion, and continues as we grow in the faith
      4. As Paul prayed for the Thessalonians :  "may the God of peace
         Himself sanctify you completely" - 1Th 5:23

[Whether God does indeed complete the process of sanctification for
those who are called will be determined by whether or not we remain
"preserved in Christ Jesus". (Jude 1)

So let's take a closer look at what is involved with being...]

III. "PRESERVED" IN JESUS CHRIST

   A. THE MEANING OF THE WORD "PRESERVED"...
      1. It comes from the Greek word "tereo" {tay-reh'-o}
      2. Which means "to guard (from loss or injury)"
      3. It is used to describe that which is closely watched and guarded...
         a. Such as those disobedient angels who are awaiting the
            Judgment Day - Jude 6
         b. Such as the punishment awaiting "ungodly men" - Jude 13

   B. THIS WORD SPEAKS OF OUR WONDERFUL ASSURANCE IN CHRIST...
      1. We are being carefully "guarded" in Christ!
      2. Peter uses a different word (phroureo, froo-reh'-o) to express
         a similar idea - 1Pe 1:5
      3. Paul used yet another word (sozo, sode'-zo) to express his own
         confidence in God's preservation - 2Ti 4:18
      3. Indeed, Jesus reassured his disciples that no one could
         "snatch" them out of His hand - cf. Jn 10:27-29
      -- But does this mean that it is impossible to fall away?  Do we
         have no personal responsibility to remain "preserved in Jesus Christ"?

   C. THERE IS SOME PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY...
      1. Jude uses the same word for "preserved" in Jude 21: "keep yourselves..."
      2. This indicates that we must cooperate with God
         a. As Peter indicated, we are "kept by the power of God
            through faith" - 1Pe 1:5
            1) God provides the power to keep us safe
            2) But we must provide the faith
         b. Jesus' teaching on security is for those who are "believers"
            1) No one can "snatch" us away from God against our will
            2) But what if "believers" become "unbelievers"?
               a) Does the promise still apply if the conditions have changed?
               b) What if we choose to leave or jump out of God's
                  protective hand?
         c. That "believers" can become "unbelievers", and thereby in
            danger of losing one's salvation, is clearly taught in 
           He 3:12-19; 4:1-2,11
      3. Thus we are "preserved in Jesus Christ"...
         a. But remaining "preserved" involves personal responsibility!
         b. It requires that we "keep ourselves" in the love of God!

CONCLUSION

1. We who are in Christ are indeed richly blessed:
   a. We have been "called" by the gospel of Christ, to which call we
      responded when we obeyed the conditions of the gospel (faith,
      repentance, confession, and baptism)
   b. We have been "sanctified" or set apart for a holy purpose by God
      the Father, as He works upon us through His Holy Spirit in
      conjunction with His Holy Word
   c. On the basis of our faith, we are "preserved" in Jesus Christ
      unto eternal life

2. But dear brethren, forces of Satan are very much at work...
   a. They seek to undermine our faith in Christ
   b. They seek to harden our hearts, and to develop an evil heart of unbelief
   c. They seek to make us spiritually lazy, and not to maintain the
      diligence necessary to keep ourselves in the love of God

3. Yet God in His grace has preserved His Word to give us ample
   warning; shall we not heed the warnings found throughout His Word,
   such as those found in The Epistle of Jude?

And as we speak of giving heed...have you given heed to the call of the
gospel of Christ? - cf. Ac 2:36-38


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Does It Really Matter Who Wrote the Pentateuch? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.




Does It Really Matter Who Wrote the Pentateuch?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Since the “period of Enlightenment,” liberal scholars have been extremely critical of those who teach that Moses was the inspired human author of the first five books of the Bible. These critics teach that the Pentateuch was compiled from four original source documents—designated as J, E, D, and P—which supposedly were written at different times by a different author (or authors), and eventually were compiled as the Pentateuch by a redactor (editor) around 200 B.C. This theory, which wears various names (Graf-Wellhausen Theory, Documentary Hypothesis, JEDP Theory, etc.), has becoming increasingly popular through the years. Numerous commentaries, religious journals, and Web sites promote it. And many professors who teach religious courses espouse it. Undoubtedly, it is the champion among topics discussed in classes on a critical introduction to the Bible. In most “scholarly” circles, if one does not hold to the Documentary Hypothesis (or at least some form of it), he is considered fanatical and uneducated. In fact, we at Apologetics Press received an e-mail some time ago inquiring as to why we do not hold to this theory, since “it is accepted by almost all scholarly interpreters.” In his book The Darwin Wars, Andrew Brown mentioned an interview he had with the rabbi Jonathan Sacks, in which Dr. Sacks defended the proposition that Moses wrote or dictated the first five books of the Bible. Brown’s response was: “That is the most shocking thing I have ever heard an intellectual say” (1999, p. 167).
Since the theory that Moses did not write the Pentateuch has become so widely accepted by “intellectuals,” many Christians are “caving in” under pressure and declaring that “it doesn’t really matter who wrote the first five books of the Bible as long as we believe they are inspired.” This certainly is true of other books of the Bible, so why not the first five? We do not consider it a necessity to know whom God inspired to write the book of Job or the epistle of Hebrews. We do not draw lines of fellowship over who wrote 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles. Why, then, should the discussion of who penned the first five books of the Bible be any different? The difference is that the Bible is replete with references attributing these books to Moses.
Within the Pentateuch itself, one can read numerous times how Moses wrote the law of God.
“And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord” (Exodus 24:4).
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write these words…’ ” (Exodus 34:27).
“Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the Lord” (Numbers 33:2).
“So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests…” (Deuteronomy 31:9).
Bible writers throughout the Old Testament credited Moses with writing the Pentateuch (also known as the Torah or “the Law”). A plain statement of this commonly held conviction is expressed in Joshua 8:32: “There in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua copied on stones the law of Moses, which he [Moses—EL] had written” (NIV, emp. added). Notice also that 2 Chronicles 34:14 states: “...Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses” (emp. added; cf. Ezra 3:2; 6:18; Nehemiah 13:1; Malachi 4:4). As Josh McDowell noted in his book, More Evidence that Demands a Verdict, these verses “refer to an actual written ‘law of Moses,’ not simply an oral tradition” (1975, pp. 93-94).
The New Testament writers also showed no hesitation in affirming that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. John wrote: “The law was given through Moses” (John 1:17). Luke recorded of the resurrected Jesus: “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them [His disciples—EL] in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself ” (Luke 24:27). Referring to the Jewish practice of publicly reading the Law, James affirmed Mosaic authorship: “For Moses from generations of old hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath” (Acts 15:21). With this Paul concurred saying, “For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, ‘The man who does those things shall live by them’ ” (Romans 10:5, emp. added; cf. Leviticus 18:5). In 2 Corinthians 3:15 Paul also wrote: “Moses is read.” The phrase “Moses is read” is a clear example of the figure of speech known as metonymy (when authors are put for the works which they have produced). Today, we may ask someone if he has read Homer, Virgil, or Shakespeare, by which we mean to ask if he has read the writings of these men. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, one can read where Abraham spoke to the rich man concerning his five brothers saying, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:29). Were Moses and the Old Testament prophets still on Earth in the first century? No. The meaning is that the rich man’s brothers had the writings of Moses and the prophets.
Furthermore both Jesus’ disciples and His enemies recognized and accepted the books of Moses. After Philip was called to follow Jesus, he found his brother Nathanael and said, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45, emp. added). Notice also that New Testament Sadducees considered Moses as the author, saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother” (Mark 12:19, emp. added; cf. Deuteronomy 25:5).
A final reason that one must defend the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, instead of idly sitting by and claiming that “it doesn’t really matter who wrote it,” is because Jesus Himself claimed “the Law” came from Moses. In Mark 7:10 Jesus quoted from both Exodus 20 and 21, attributing the words to Moses. Later in the gospel of Mark, we read where Jesus asked the Sadducees, “Have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ ” (12:26, emp. added). But, perhaps the most convincing passage of all is found in John 5:46-47 where Jesus said: “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (emp. added; cf. Deuteronomy 18:15-18). The truth is, by claiming that Moses did not write the books of the Pentateuch, one essentially is claiming that Jesus is not God. As M.R. DeHaan explained in his book, Genesis and Evolution:
Prove that Moses did not write the books of the Pentateuch and you prove that Jesus was totally mistaken and not the infallible Son of God he claimed to be. Upon your faith in Moses as the writer of the five books attributed to him rests also your faith in Jesus as the Son of God. You cannot believe in Jesus Christ without believing what Moses wrote. You see, there is much more involved in denying the books of Moses than most people suppose (1982, p. 41).
Indeed, believing that Moses wrote the Torah is very important. It is not a trivial matter that we should discuss frivolously while suggesting that “it really doesn’t matter.” It matters because the deity of Christ and the integrity of the Bible writers are at stake!

REFERENCES

Brown, Andrew (1999), The Darwin Wars (New York: Simon and Schuster).
DeHaan, M.R. (1982), Genesis and Evolution (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
McDowell, Josh (1975), More Evidence that Demands a Verdict (San Bernardino, CA: Campus Crusade for Christ).

Does Inspiration Imply Dictation? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.



Does Inspiration Imply Dictation?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Sometimes honest and sincere people apparently believe that God dictated every jot, every tittle, and ever word in the Scriptures, thus making the Bible writers little more than mechanical robots that dutifully copied down the Scriptures—verse by verse, as it were. If God had dictated the Bible, however, the style and vocabulary of each book of the Bible would be the same throughout. Yet, a simple reading of the Scriptures proves that the mechanical dictation viewpoint is incorrect. The fact is, the personality and style of each author are evident in every book of the Bible. Paul’s writings are different from Peter’s, and John’s are different from Luke’s. At times, Bible writers even used different words to teach the same story or to give the same commands.

Take, for example, one of the differences between Mark’s gospel and Luke’s gospel. When writing about how difficult it is for a rich man to enter heaven, Mark said it is “easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye” (Mark 10:25). Mark uses the Greek word rhaphis (needle), which means a sewing needle. On the other hand, when Luke used the same analogy (Luke 18:25), he employed the Greek word belone, which frequently was used when speaking of a surgeon’s needle. The same principle is taught in both texts, yet different words are used. Luke was a doctor (Colossians 4:14), and so he used the kind of needle with which he was most familiar. Likewise, Mark used the term for a seamstress’s needle, most likely because that was the kind of needle he was most accustomed to seeing. Is this a contradiction? No. Two different personalities are reflected in the words, but the idea is the same. Although the concept may be somewhat difficult to understand, inspiration involves the selection of the exact words, yet allows room for the personality of the individual to be reflected in the writing. And while inspiration extends to every word of Scripture, it does not rule out either human personality or human personal interest. Simply put, when the Bible writers claimed inspiration (cf. 2 Peter 1:20-21 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17), they did not have mechanical dictation in mind.

The correct view is to understand that the Bible’s inspiration is verbal and plenary. This means that the Bible writers penned exactly what God wanted them to write, without errors or mistakes, yet with their own personalities evident in their writings. By “verbal,” we mean that every word in the Bible exists because God permitted it (via the direction of the Holy Spirit). King David clearly recognized the validity of this kind of inspiration when he said: “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2, emp. added). By “plenary,” we mean that each and every part of the Bible is inspired, without anything being omitted. (“Plenary” means full).

By employing the verbal and plenary view of inspiration, God ensured that the independent Bible writers penned only that which was correct and consistent with His will.

Does God Tempt People? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.



Does God Tempt People?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


In his February 12, 2009 debate with Kyle Butt, Dan Barker alleged that he “knows” the God of the Bible cannot exist because “there are mutually incompatible properties/characteristics of the God that’s in this book [the Bible—EL] that rule out the possibility of His existence.” Seven minutes and 54 seconds into his first speech, Barker cited James 1:13 and Genesis 22:1 as proof that the God of the Bible cannot exist. Since James 1:13 says: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (KJV), and Genesis 22:1 affirms that “God did tempt Abraham” (KJV) to sacrifice his son, Barker asserted that God is like a married bachelor or a square circle—He cannot logically exist.
If Genesis 22:1 actually taught that God really tempted Abraham to commit evil and sin, then the God of the Bible might be a “square circle,” i.e., a logical contradiction. But, the fact of the matter is, God did not tempt Abraham to commit evil. Barker formulated his argument based upon the King James Version and only one meaning of the Hebrew word (nissâ) found in Genesis 22:1. Although the word can mean “to tempt,” the first two meanings that Brown, Driver, and Briggs give for nissâ in their Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament is “to test, to try” (1993). Likewise, the Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (1997) defines the word simply “to test” (Jenni and Westermann, 1997, 2:741-742). The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament agrees that nissâ is best translated, whether in secular or theological contexts, as “testing” (Botterweck, et al., 1998, 9:443-455). For this reason, virtually all major translations in recent times, including the NKJV, NASB, ESV, NIV, and RSV, translate Genesis 22:1 using the term “tested,” not tempted.
When David put on the armor of King Saul prior to battling Goliath, the shepherd realized: “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested (nissâ) them” (1 Samuel 17:39, emp. added). Obviously, this testing had nothing to do with David “tempting” his armor; he simply had not tested or tried on Saul’s armor previously. God led Israel during 40 years of desert wanderings “to humble...and test” them (Deuteronomy 8:2, emp. added), not to tempt them to sin. Notice also the contrast in Exodus 20:20 between (1) God testing man and (2) trying to cause man to sin. After giving Israel the Ten Commandments, Moses said: “Do not fear; for God has come to test (nissâyou, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin” (Exodus 20:20, emp. added). If one were to use Barker’s reasoning that nissâ must mean “to tempt,” regardless of the context, then he would have to interpret Exodus 20:20 to mean that God tempted Israel to sin, so that they will not sin.
When a person interprets the Bible, or any other book, without recognizing that words have a variety of meanings and can be used in various senses, a rational interpretation is impossible. Many alleged Bible contradictions, including several of those that Dan Barker mentioned in the Butt/Barker Debate, are easily explained simply by acknowledging that words are used in a variety of ways. Is a word to be taken literally or figuratively? Must the term in one place mean the exact same thing when in another context, or may it have different meanings? If English-speaking Americans can intelligibly converse about running to the store in the 21st century by driving a car, or if we can easily communicate about parking on driveways, and driving on parkways, why do some people have such a difficult time understanding the various ways in which words were used in Bible times? Could it be that some Bible critics like Barker are simply predisposed to interpret Scripture unfairly? The evidence reveals that is exactly what is happening.
Rather then contradicting James 1:13, Genesis 22:1 actually corresponds perfectly with what James wrote near the beginning of his epistle: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (1:2-4, emp. added). By instructing Abraham to sacrifice his promised son (cf. Hebrews 11:17), God gave Abraham another opportunity to prove his loyalty to Him, while Abraham simultaneously used this trial to continue developing a more complete, mature faith.

REFERENCES

Botterweck, G. Johannes, Helmer Ringgren, and Heinz-Josef Fabry (1998), Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Brown, Francis, S.R. Driver, and Charles B. Briggs (1993), A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Jenni, Ernst and Claus Westerman (1997), Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).

Keys Promised to Peter by David Vaughn Elliott



Keys Promised to Peter
by David Vaughn Elliott

He who holds keys controls entry. Is Peter standing at the gates of heaven, deciding who enters? No, that is just sacrilegious joke material. Well then, will Peter be standing at the gates of a future millennium reign of Christ, deciding who enters? I never heard of any premillennialist teaching that. 

What, then, is Jesus telling Peter in Matthew 16:18,19? "I will build My church... I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven." Notice 1) In practically the same breath, with no hint of changing subjects, Jesus speaks of the church and the kingdom, apparently equating them. 2) Peter would use the keys to bind "on earth," thus it was to be done during his lifetime. 

Since Jesus does not fail, His promises amount to prophecy.  Thus this is a prophecy about the kingdom. The prophecy says that Peter will open the way into the kingdom and that he will make binding decrees regarding the kingdom. Even futurist-premillennialists apply this prophecy to Peter's earthly ministry beginning on the day of Pentecost. Thus they inadvertently confess that the church is the kingdom and that the kingdom of God began on the day of Pentecost in the year 30 A.D. 

Since Jesus promised Peter "the keys of the kingdom," it is no coincidence that Peter was the leading spokesman on the day of Pentecost. Keys open doors. Once open, others can enter. Thus, Christ designated Peter to unlock the doors, telling people how they could enter the kingdom: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). The doors of the kingdom have been open for 2000 years. Those who listen to the holder of the keys are privileged to enter. 

God speaks to man by Eugene C. Perry



God speaks to man


When God speaks we should be listening. We should by all means be tuned in, on the right wave length, to receive, assimilate and translate into obedient action whatever instruction or admonition God sends our way.
Although I do not claim to be an authority, I will make some observations on this subject. I cannot but have questions when I hear of the variety of strange messages men are claiming that they receive from God. Pilgrimages, mass suicides, polygamous marriages, “holy” wars, etc. have been proclaimed to be responses to divine messages.
We are forced to the conclusion that men often make plans, decide what they want to or think they should do, and then manage to convince themselves and announce that such was revealed to them as God’s will. The same process has, I fear, even been true regarding doctrines that relate to salvation, worship and Christian living.
There is a difference between being open and receptive to God’s communications and looking for and expecting his support for preconceived plans, ideas and concepts. Whatever the manner of communication, it is important that the message not be “wrested” to fit our agendas. When someone tells you that God spoke to them, that they heard his actual words, do you wonder why you never had such an experience?
Through the history of his dealings with humans, God has communicated in a variety of ways. Certainly, “what has been made” speaks to us of “his eternal power and divine nature” (Rom.1:20). He had a conversational relationship with Adam, Enoch and others. He spoke to and through patriarchs (fathers of families), prophets and chosen people. He communicated in visions, dreams and demonstrations. In considering this the writer of Hebrews began the letter, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,” (Heb.1:1). However, these former processes are contrasted with, “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,” (v.2a).
Since Jesus is not physically with us today, it appears that he has made provision for us to hear his message from others whom he chose for the purpose rather than in some mystical way, perhaps “better felt than told”. The inspired writer proceeds to point to the “binding” nature of the messages received “by angels” and uses this to warn us of the grave consequences of ignoring “such a great salvation,” (Heb.2:2,3), the message by his Son.
The message of God regarding our great salvation was spoken by Jesus himself, refreshed in the memories of his apostles by the Holy Spirit (Heb.2:3,4) and confirmed for us (its source established) by means of miracles. The New Testament scriptures have long been recognized as the end result of this process, written by those that heard Jesus and saw his great works and later were enabled to do similar works to establish what they spoke and wrote. This body of teaching, “the faith”, is described as “once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). Hence, it appears that we should not expect any new or different message from modern day theologians, scholars or “prophets”.
There are those who are seriously asking whether God is speaking to churches today through “theological voices” as he did through Paul and the other New Testament writers. Today’s scholars cannot be God’s messengers in the same way that the apostles were. They have not seen or heard Jesus nor has he promised them a Comforter to put his message in their minds.
On the individual, personal level, communication from God via the scriptures may seem too general and to God by prayer, too one-way. Because of this some claim that God actually responds verbally or, perhaps, in some still small voice. Others, having no direct message, feel that they do not experience God in an intimate way. Current literature on “Experiencing God” appears to be an attempt to respond to these feelings.
Some are urging us to practise “listening prayer”. Certainly, we should, while praying, let God know that we are open to his message and really do seek his response whether it is through scripture, circumstances or our brothers and sisters. It is not uncommon to hear, in a prayer, the request that God “guard, guide and direct us”. Yes, we need protection. Yes, we fumble around and are lost without his guidance and direction. God has taken care of much of this through the scriptures and our relationship with one another in his family.
God’s message is provided to and for the seeker. (John 7:17, Matt.7:7,8). Cornelius’ prayer resulted, not in God telling him what to do to be saved, but in his coming to this knowledge through God’s chosen agent (Acts 10). God’s medium today is the New Testament scriptures and not individual direct messages and not some modern day prophet speaking differently then those scriptures, either more or less.
We must tune in, - study with open minds and receptive hearts. Let us, first of all, be willing to receive and submit to the clear and obvious rather than look for less likely messages delivered in some other way.
God speaks to us today through Jesus and those he appointed. Let us tune in, be receptive and humbly obey.

Eugene C. Perry


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

Bible Reading September 27-29 by Gary Rose



Bible Reading September 27-29

World  English  Bible

Sept. 27
Psalms 109-111

Psa 109:1 God of my praise, don't remain silent,
Psa 109:2 for they have opened the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of deceit against me. They have spoken to me with a lying tongue.
Psa 109:3 They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause.
Psa 109:4 In return for my love, they are my adversaries; but I am in prayer.
Psa 109:5 They have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
Psa 109:6 Set a wicked man over him. Let an adversary stand at his right hand.
Psa 109:7 When he is judged, let him come forth guilty. Let his prayer be turned into sin.
Psa 109:8 Let his days be few. Let another take his office.
Psa 109:9 Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.
Psa 109:10 Let his children be wandering beggars. Let them be sought from their ruins.
Psa 109:11 Let the creditor seize all that he has. Let strangers plunder the fruit of his labor.
Psa 109:12 Let there be none to extend kindness to him, neither let there be any to have pity on his fatherless children.
Psa 109:13 Let his posterity be cut off. In the generation following let their name be blotted out.
Psa 109:14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered by Yahweh. Don't let the sin of his mother be blotted out.
Psa 109:15 Let them be before Yahweh continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth;
Psa 109:16 because he didn't remember to show kindness, but persecuted the poor and needy man, the broken in heart, to kill them.
Psa 109:17 Yes, he loved cursing, and it came to him. He didn't delight in blessing, and it was far from him.
Psa 109:18 He clothed himself also with cursing as with his garment. It came into his inward parts like water, like oil into his bones.
Psa 109:19 Let it be to him as the clothing with which he covers himself, for the belt that is always around him.
Psa 109:20 This is the reward of my adversaries from Yahweh, of those who speak evil against my soul.
Psa 109:21 But deal with me, Yahweh the Lord, for your name's sake, because your loving kindness is good, deliver me;
Psa 109:22 for I am poor and needy. My heart is wounded within me.
Psa 109:23 I fade away like an evening shadow. I am shaken off like a locust.
Psa 109:24 My knees are weak through fasting. My body is thin and lacks fat.
Psa 109:25 I have also become a reproach to them. When they see me, they shake their head.
Psa 109:26 Help me, Yahweh, my God. Save me according to your loving kindness;
Psa 109:27 that they may know that this is your hand; that you, Yahweh, have done it.
Psa 109:28 They may curse, but you bless. When they arise, they will be shamed, but your servant shall rejoice.
Psa 109:29 Let my adversaries be clothed with dishonor. Let them cover themselves with their own shame as with a robe.
Psa 109:30 I will give great thanks to Yahweh with my mouth. Yes, I will praise him among the multitude.
Psa 109:31 For he will stand at the right hand of the needy, to save him from those who judge his soul.

Psa 110:1 Yahweh says to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool for your feet."
Psa 110:2 Yahweh will send forth the rod of your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of your enemies.
Psa 110:3 Your people offer themselves willingly in the day of your power, in holy array. Out of the womb of the morning, you have the dew of your youth.
Psa 110:4 Yahweh has sworn, and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek."
Psa 110:5 The Lord is at your right hand. He will crush kings in the day of his wrath.
Psa 110:6 He will judge among the nations. He will heap up dead bodies. He will crush the ruler of the whole earth.
Psa 110:7 He will drink of the brook in the way; therefore he will lift up his head.

Psa 111:1 Praise Yah! I will give thanks to Yahweh with my whole heart, in the council of the upright, and in the congregation.
Psa 111:2 Yahweh's works are great, pondered by all those who delight in them.
Psa 111:3 His work is honor and majesty. His righteousness endures forever.
Psa 111:4 He has caused his wonderful works to be remembered. Yahweh is gracious and merciful.
Psa 111:5 He has given food to those who fear him. He always remembers his covenant.
Psa 111:6 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.
Psa 111:7 The works of his hands are truth and justice. All his precepts are sure.
Psa 111:8 They are established forever and ever. They are done in truth and uprightness.
Psa 111:9 He has sent redemption to his people. He has ordained his covenant forever. His name is holy and awesome!
Psa 111:10 The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom. All those who do his work have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

Sept. 28
Psalms 112-114

Psa 112:1 Praise Yah! Blessed is the man who fears Yahweh, who delights greatly in his commandments.
Psa 112:2 His seed will be mighty in the land. The generation of the upright will be blessed.
Psa 112:3 Wealth and riches are in his house. His righteousness endures forever.
Psa 112:4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright, gracious, merciful, and righteous.
Psa 112:5 It is well with the man who deals graciously and lends. He will maintain his cause in judgment.
Psa 112:6 For he will never be shaken. The righteous will be remembered forever.
Psa 112:7 He will not be afraid of evil news. His heart is steadfast, trusting in Yahweh.
Psa 112:8 His heart is established. He will not be afraid in the end when he sees his adversaries.
Psa 112:9 He has dispersed, he has given to the poor. His righteousness endures forever. His horn will be exalted with honor.
Psa 112:10 The wicked will see it, and be grieved. He shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away. The desire of the wicked will perish.

Psa 113:1 Praise Yah! Praise, you servants of Yahweh, praise the name of Yahweh.
Psa 113:2 Blessed be the name of Yahweh, from this time forth and forevermore.
Psa 113:3 From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, Yahweh's name is to be praised.
Psa 113:4 Yahweh is high above all nations, his glory above the heavens.
Psa 113:5 Who is like Yahweh, our God, who has his seat on high,
Psa 113:6 Who stoops down to see in heaven and in the earth?
Psa 113:7 He raises up the poor out of the dust. Lifts up the needy from the ash heap;
Psa 113:8 that he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.
Psa 113:9 He settles the barren woman in her home, as a joyful mother of children. Praise Yah!

Psa 114:1 When Israel went forth out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of foreign language;
Psa 114:2 Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
Psa 114:3 The sea saw it, and fled. The Jordan was driven back.
Psa 114:4 The mountains skipped like rams, the little hills like lambs.
Psa 114:5 What was it, you sea, that you fled? You Jordan, that you turned back?
Psa 114:6 You mountains, that you skipped like rams; you little hills, like lambs?
Psa 114:7 Tremble, you earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob,
Psa 114:8 who turned the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of waters.

Sept. 29
Psalms 115-117

Psa 115:1 Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to your name give glory, for your loving kindness, and for your truth's sake.
Psa 115:2 Why should the nations say, "Where is their God, now?"
Psa 115:3 But our God is in the heavens. He does whatever he pleases.
Psa 115:4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.
Psa 115:5 They have mouths, but they don't speak. They have eyes, but they don't see.
Psa 115:6 They have ears, but they don't hear. They have noses, but they don't smell.
Psa 115:7 They have hands, but they don't feel. They have feet, but they don't walk, neither do they speak through their throat.
Psa 115:8 Those who make them will be like them; yes, everyone who trusts in them.
Psa 115:9 Israel, trust in Yahweh! He is their help and their shield.
Psa 115:10 House of Aaron, trust in Yahweh! He is their help and their shield.
Psa 115:11 You who fear Yahweh, trust in Yahweh! He is their help and their shield.
Psa 115:12 Yahweh remembers us. He will bless us. He will bless the house of Israel. He will bless the house of Aaron.
Psa 115:13 He will bless those who fear Yahweh, both small and great.
Psa 115:14 May Yahweh increase you more and more, you and your children.
Psa 115:15 Blessed are you by Yahweh, who made heaven and earth.
Psa 115:16 The heavens are the heavens of Yahweh; but the earth has he given to the children of men.
Psa 115:17 The dead don't praise Yah, neither any who go down into silence;
Psa 115:18 But we will bless Yah, from this time forth and forevermore. Praise Yah!

Psa 116:1 I love Yahweh, because he listens to my voice, and my cries for mercy.
Psa 116:2 Because he has turned his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
Psa 116:3 The cords of death surrounded me, the pains of Sheol got a hold of me. I found trouble and sorrow.
Psa 116:4 Then I called on the name of Yahweh: "Yahweh, I beg you, deliver my soul."
Psa 116:5 Yahweh is Gracious and righteous. Yes, our God is merciful.
Psa 116:6 Yahweh preserves the simple. I was brought low, and he saved me.
Psa 116:7 Return to your rest, my soul, for Yahweh has dealt bountifully with you.
Psa 116:8 For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
Psa 116:9 I will walk before Yahweh in the land of the living.
Psa 116:10 I believed, therefore I said, "I was greatly afflicted."
Psa 116:11 I said in my haste, "All men are liars."
Psa 116:12 What will I give to Yahweh for all his benefits toward me?
Psa 116:13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of Yahweh.
Psa 116:14 I will pay my vows to Yahweh, yes, in the presence of all his people.
Psa 116:15 Precious in the sight of Yahweh is the death of his saints.
Psa 116:16 Yahweh, truly I am your servant. I am your servant, the son of your handmaid. You have freed me from my chains.
Psa 116:17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call on the name of Yahweh.
Psa 116:18 I will pay my vows to Yahweh, yes, in the presence of all his people,
Psa 116:19 in the courts of Yahweh's house, in the midst of you, Jerusalem. Praise Yah!

Psa 117:1 Praise Yahweh, all you nations! Extol him, all you peoples!
Psa 117:2 For his loving kindness is great toward us. Yahweh's faithfulness endures forever. Praise Yah!

Sept. 27

2 Corinthians 7

2Co 7:1 Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2Co 7:2 Open your hearts to us. We wronged no one. We corrupted no one. We took advantage of no one.
2Co 7:3 I say this not to condemn you, for I have said before, that you are in our hearts to die together and live together.
2Co 7:4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you. Great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I overflow with joy in all our affliction.
2Co 7:5 For even when we had come into Macedonia, our flesh had no relief, but we were afflicted on every side. Fightings were outside. Fear was inside.
2Co 7:6 Nevertheless, he who comforts the lowly, God, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
2Co 7:7 and not by his coming only, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, while he told us of your longing, your mourning, and your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced still more.
2Co 7:8 For though I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it. For I see that my letter made you sorry, though just for a while.
2Co 7:9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss by us in nothing.
2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world works death.
2Co 7:11 For behold, this same thing, that you were made sorry in a godly way, what earnest care it worked in you. Yes, what defense, indignation, fear, longing, zeal, and vengeance! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be pure in the matter.
2Co 7:12 So although I wrote to you, I wrote not for his cause that did the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered the wrong, but that your earnest care for us might be revealed in you in the sight of God.
2Co 7:13 Therefore we have been comforted. In our comfort we rejoiced the more exceedingly for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.
2Co 7:14 For if in anything I have boasted to him on your behalf, I was not disappointed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, so our glorying also which I made before Titus was found to be truth.
2Co 7:15 His affection is more abundantly toward you, while he remembers all of your obedience, how with fear and trembling you received him.
2Co 7:16 I rejoice that in everything I am of good courage concerning you.

Sept. 28
2 Corinthians 8

2Co 8:1 Moreover, brothers, we make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the assemblies of Macedonia;
2Co 8:2 how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality.
2Co 8:3 For according to their power, I testify, yes and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord,
2Co 8:4 begging us with much entreaty to receive this grace and the fellowship in the service to the saints.
2Co 8:5 This was not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God.
2Co 8:6 So we urged Titus, that as he made a beginning before, so he would also complete in you this grace.
2Co 8:7 But as you abound in everything, in faith, utterance, knowledge, all earnestness, and in your love to us, see that you also abound in this grace.
2Co 8:8 I speak not by way of commandment, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity also of your love.
2Co 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich.
2Co 8:10 I give a judgment in this: for this is expedient for you, who were the first to start a year ago, not only to do, but also to be willing.
2Co 8:11 But now complete the doing also, that as there was the readiness to be willing, so there may be the completion also out of your ability.
2Co 8:12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what you have, not according to what you don't have.
2Co 8:13 For this is not that others may be eased and you distressed,
2Co 8:14 but for equality. Your abundance at this present time supplies their lack, that their abundance also may become a supply for your lack; that there may be equality.
2Co 8:15 As it is written, "He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack."
2Co 8:16 But thanks be to God, who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus.
2Co 8:17 For he indeed accepted our exhortation, but being himself very earnest, he went out to you of his own accord.
2Co 8:18 We have sent together with him the brother whose praise in the Good News is known through all the assemblies.
2Co 8:19 Not only so, but who was also appointed by the assemblies to travel with us in this grace, which is served by us to the glory of the Lord himself, and to show our readiness.
2Co 8:20 We are avoiding this, that any man should blame us concerning this abundance which is administered by us.
2Co 8:21 Having regard for honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
2Co 8:22 We have sent with them our brother, whom we have many times proved earnest in many things, but now much more earnest, by reason of the great confidence which he has in you.
2Co 8:23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for you. As for our brothers, they are the apostles of the assemblies, the glory of Christ.
2Co 8:24 Therefore show the proof of your love to them in front of the assemblies, and of our boasting on your behalf.

Sept. 29
2 Corinthians 9

2Co 9:1 It is indeed unnecessary for me to write to you concerning the service to the saints,
2Co 9:2 for I know your readiness, of which I boast on your behalf to them of Macedonia, that Achaia has been prepared for a year past. Your zeal has stirred up very many of them.
2Co 9:3 But I have sent the brothers that our boasting on your behalf may not be in vain in this respect, that, just as I said, you may be prepared,
2Co 9:4 so that I won't by any means, if there come with me any of Macedonia and find you unprepared, we (to say nothing of you) should be disappointed in this confident boasting.
2Co 9:5 I thought it necessary therefore to entreat the brothers that they would go before to you, and arrange ahead of time the generous gift that you promised before, that the same might be ready as a matter of generosity, and not of greediness.
2Co 9:6 Remember this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
2Co 9:7 Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that you, always having all sufficiency in everything, may abound to every good work.
2Co 9:9 As it is written, "He has scattered abroad, he has given to the poor. His righteousness remains forever."
2Co 9:10 Now may he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;
2Co 9:11 you being enriched in everything to all liberality, which works through us thanksgiving to God.
2Co 9:12 For this service of giving that you perform not only makes up for lack among the saints, but abounds also through many givings of thanks to God;
2Co 9:13 seeing that through the proof given by this service, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the Good News of Christ, and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all;
2Co 9:14 while they themselves also, with supplication on your behalf, yearn for you by reason of the exceeding grace of God in you.
2Co 9:15 Now thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!