2/17/20

"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS" Amos - The Country Prophet (1:1-2:16) by Mark Copeland

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

                 Amos - The Country Prophet (1:1-2:16)

INTRODUCTION

1. In our survey of "The Minor Prophets", we have already considered...
   a. Obadiah, who prophesied of the judgment to befall Edom
   b. Joel, who proclaimed a locust plague as a harbinger of "the day of the Lord"
   c. Jonah, God's messenger to the Assyrian city of Nineveh

2. Our next prophet is Amos...
   a. A shepherd and gatherer of sycamore fruit called by God to prophesy 
       - Am 7:14-15
   b. Who proclaimed God's message concerning eight nations, with an 
      emphasis on the northern kingdom of Israel

3. His book is divided into three sections...
   a. A series of "oracles" concerning sin and judgment of eight nations (ch. 1-2)
   b. A series of "sermons" concerning the sin and judgment of Israel (ch. 3-6)
   c. A series of "visions" regarding the sin and judgment of Israel (ch. 7-9)

[This lesson will examine the first section, with a look at the
"oracles" Amos proclaimed against eight nations.  We begin with a
reading of Am 1:1-2, which serves as an...]

I. INTRODUCTION (1:1-2)

   A. THE MAN...
      1. NAME - Amos means "burden-bearer"
      2. HOME - The village of Tekoa
         a. 12 miles south of Jerusalem, 18 miles west of the Dead Sea
         b. Near the wilderness of Judea, a very rugged area
         -- So while he was Judah, he primarily prophesied against Israel in the north
      3. OCCUPATION - "a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit."(Am 7:14)
         a. An outdoorsman, accustomed to the wilds of nature, and of hard, honest toil
         b. It would be easy for him to have little sympathy for the 
            lazy and materialistic conduct of his northern kinsman
      4. CHARACTER
         a. Not known for his sympathy or warmth, but for his sense of
            justice and right
         b. "Not a sob is to be found in his book for the nation of
            wicked apostates, and there is only a sigh for the poor"  (Hailey)
         c. He is reminiscent of John the Baptist

   B. THE DATE...
      1. He prophesied in the days of:
         a. Uzziah, king of Judah
         b. Jeroboam II of Israel
      2. Two years before an earthquake
      3. While the actual date is unknown, 755 B.C. is often suggested

   C. THE PEOPLE...
      1. His audience is primarily the northern kingdom of Israel
      2. Conditions which characterized them at this time:
         a. Wealthy, enjoying great luxury
         b. Morally, religiously, and politically corrupt

   D. HIS MESSAGE...
      1. In Am 1:2, we see a vivid picture of the Lord as a lion
         whose roar to the north reaches all the way to Mt. Carmel
      2. This describes what God is doing through Amos, proclaiming a
         fiery message of condemnation and judgment against Israel and
         the surrounding nations
      3. "The people of Israel were now at the summit of worldly
         prosperity, but were rapidly filling up the measure of their
         sins. The mission of Amos was, therefore, rather to threaten
         than to console.  He rebukes, among other things, the
         corruption of their manners, which kept pace with their
         prosperity; he charges the great men with partiality as
         judges, and violence towards the poor; and he foretells, as a
         punishment from God, the captivity of the ten tribes in a
         foreign country..." - The Bible Handbook, Angus and Green

[With verse 2 as a good preview of the nature of Amos' prophecy, let's
now survey the first main section of the book of Amos...]

II. THE "ORACLES" OF SIN AND JUDGMENT UPON THE NATIONS (1:3-2:16)

   A. DAMASCUS - Am 1:3-5
      1. SIN - cruelty toward the inhabitants of Gilead (the tribes of Gad and Reuben)
      2. JUDGMENT - destruction and captivity
         a. Hazael was the murderer of Ben-Hadad I, and usurper of his
            throne - 2Ki 8:7-15
         b. Ben-Hadad II was the son of Hazel - cf. 2Ki 13:3,22-25
      3. FULFILLMENT - by the Assyrians - cf. 2Ki 16:1-9

   B. GAZA (PHILISTIA) - Am 1:6-8
      1. SIN - engaging in slave traffic
      2. JUDGMENT - total devastation
      3. FULFILLMENT - by the Assyrians

   C. TYRE - Am 1:9-10
      1. SIN - slave traffic; did not remember the covenant of 
         "brotherhood" (between Solomon and Hiram? - cf. 1Ki 5:12)
      2. JUDGMENT - destruction
      3. FULFILLMENT - started by Nebuchadnezzar; finished by Alexander
         the Great

   D. EDOM - Am 1:11-12
      1. SIN - cruelty to brethren - cf. Ob 1:10-12
      2. JUDGMENT - destruction upon Teman (capital) and Bozrah (another chief city)
      3. FULFILLMENT - by the Nabateans, ca 400 B.C.

   E. AMMON - Am 1:13-15
      1. SIN - murder of pregnant women in Gilead (the tribes of Gad and Reuben)
      2. JUDGMENT - destruction of Rabbah (capital) and captivity
      3. FULFILLMENT - by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon

   F. MOAB - Am 2:1-3
      1. SIN - burned the king of Edom's bones to lime
      2. JUDGMENT - destruction of the chief city of Kerioth
      3. FULFILLMENT - by the Babylonians

   G. JUDAH - Am 2:4-5
      1. SIN - apostasy from the Law
      2. JUDGMENT - Jerusalem (the capital) to be destroyed
      3. FULFILLMENT - by Nebuchadnezzar, 586 B.C.

   H. ISRAEL - Am 2:6-16
      1. SIN - several sins are listed...
         a. Social injustice (slave trade and abuse of the poor)
         b. Immorality (prostitution)
         c. Idolatry (worshipping other gods)
         d. Rebellion against God, who...
            a. Cast out the Amorites before them
            b. Delivered them from the land of Egypt
            c. Gave them prophets and Nazarites, whom they corrupted
         -- The effect of which weighed God down like a cart full of 
            sheaves - Am 2:13
      2. JUDGMENT - their inability to flee when destruction comes upon them
      3. FULFILLMENT - by the Assyrians in 722-721 B.C. - 2Ki 17:5-23

[It is apparent that the focus in this section is primarily upon the 
northern kingdom of Israel, even though Judah did not escape 
condemnation.  What lessons might we glean from these first two chapters...?]

III. LESSONS FROM THE "ORACLES" OF AMOS

   A. GOD HOLDS THE NATIONS OF MEN ACCOUNTABLE...
      1. He was not just concerned with His covenant people of Israel
      2. As we saw with Obadiah and Jonah, God judged the surrounding
         nations as well
      3  As Farrar says of Amos:  "His whole message centers in the 
         common prophetic conviction that God is the sole and righteous
         Governor of the world, judging the people righteously, and 
         when they rebel, dashing them to pieces like a potter's vessel."
      2. The same authority is given to Christ today! - cf. Mt 28:18; Re 1:5; 2:26-27

   B. APOSTASY AND CRUELTY TREATED ALIKE...
      1. God condemned:
         a. The heathens for their cruelty
         b. Judah and Israel for their apostasy from the Law
      2. But their judgments were basically the same!

   C. THE STANDARDS TO WHICH NATIONS WERE HELD ACCOUNTABLE...
      1. The heathen were judged for their violation of basic principles of righteousness
      2. The people of God were judged by their faithfulness to God's revealed Word!
      -- Akin to what we find Paul writing in Ro 2:12-15

CONCLUSION

1. In our next lesson we will continue our study of Amos...
   a. Looking at chapters 3-6, which concentrate on the sins and judgment of Israel
   b. Where more lessons can be gleaned for us to apply today

2. Having read the judgments God pronounced upon the eight nations...
   a. We are reminded that God is a righteous GOD
   b. One who holds men and nations accountable for their actions

Are we ready for that great Day of Judgment, in which we will one day 
be held accountable for our actions?  As Paul wrote:

   "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that
   each one may receive the things done in the body, according to
   what he has done, whether good or bad.  Knowing, therefore, the
   terror of the Lord, we persuade men..." (2Co 5:10-11a)

Are you willing to let the Word of God persuade you to do what is 
right?
  

Are All Sins Equal? by Kyle Butt, M.Div. Colton Scott


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2831

Are All Sins Equal?

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.
Colton Scott

At Apologetics Press, we receive numerous questions on various topics. One of the more commonly asked questions is, “Are all sins equal?” In order to answer such a question, we must go to the only definitive source that can speak with authority concerning sins: the Bible. When we do, we see that the answer depends upon the context in which the question is asked.
In one sense, the answer is, “Yes, sin is sin.” James 2:10-11 says: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.” From these verses, we see that any sin is enough to convict a person as a sinner. John said as much when he wrote: “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). So, even though cultures may view certain sins as more or less important than others, the Bible teaches that any deviation from God’s law is enough to keep an individual from the presence of the Lord if that sin is not forgiven.
This point is further underscored in the story of the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-27). The rich young ruler explained to Jesus that he had kept all of the commandments from the time of his youth. Jesus responded to him by saying, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” At these words, the young ruler left sorrowfully. Though he had kept all of the commandments save one, he was still living in sin, due to the fact that he valued his wealth more than his relationship with God. According to Jesus’ statement, the young man only lacked “one thing,” yet it was still enough to keep him from the presence of the Lord. So, in this context, all sins are the same.
However, the fact that any sin can condemn a person does not mean that all sins are judged the same, or have the same spiritual consequences. The Bible plainly states, in numerous places, that God considers some sins to be “greater,” or more evil than others. For instance, in Exodus 32:21, Moses asked Aaron: “What did this people do to you, that you brought so great a sin upon them?” Obviously, this is comparative language, indicating that Aaron’s sin was more evil, or had greater implications than some other sin. We see this concept carried over into the New Testament as well. In Matthew 5:19, Jesus said that whoever breaks “the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” Clearly, certain commandments were considered “least” and, by comparison, others must have been considered “greater.” The concept of “greater” commandments is found in Matthew 23:23. There Jesus chastised the Pharisees for “neglecting the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.” His point was very clear; the failure to tithe a tiny amount of spices was much less of a sin than the failure to administer justice and mercy to one’s fellow man.
Perhaps the most explicit demonstration of this principle is expressed in Jesus’ conversation with Pilate. In John 19:11, Jesus said to Pilate, “[T]he one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” His statement could not be more direct. The individual responsible for delivering Jesus over to Pilate had committed a sin greater than the sin committed by Pilate.
With this in mind, a person may wonder how all sins can cause a person to be lost, but some sins are judged to be greater than others. A simple illustration will suffice to make this situation clear. Suppose that a person borrows money from the bank to buy a $10,000 car. That person pays the bank back $9,000, but stops making payments on the car. What will happen? The bank will repossess the car, even though the person paid off all of the balance except $1,000. Any unpaid balance is enough to lose the car. Now suppose a person borrows $10,000 on a car and does not pay any of it back. What will happen? The bank will repossess the car. In these two cases, does one person have a greater debt than the other? Certainly, the one who still owes $10,000. But are both debts, even though they are of unequal value, enough to cost both borrowers their cars? Yes. [NOTE: At Apologetics Press we have answered related questions such, “Are There Degrees of Punishment and Reward?” (see Butt, et al., 2000), and “Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit—‘The Unpardonable Sin’” (Butt, 2003).]

CONCLUSION

We can see that the Bible explicitly and clearly tells how God views sins. Sins vary in terms of judgment and weight, yet any one sin is enough to cause a person to lose his or her soul if left unforgiven. In view of this truth, let us all strive to faithfully obey God so that the blood of His Son Jesus Christ can continually cleanse us from all of our sins, from the least to the greatest (1 John 1:7).

REFERENCES

Butt, Kyle and Alden Bass and Bert Thompson (2000), “Are There Degrees of Punishment and Reward?” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=212.
Butt, Kyle (2003), “Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit—‘The Unpardonable Sin,’” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1218.

Are All Divorced Persons Eligible to Remarry? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1182

Are All Divorced Persons Eligible to Remarry?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

American civilization is experiencing significant moral decay. “Traditional American values,” i.e., values that were drawn from the Bible, are being jettisoned by a sizable portion of the nation’s citizenry. This spiritual and social deterioration is nowhere more evident than in the breakdown and dissolution of the family. Divorce rates have consistently climbed to higher and higher levels. The marriage relationship no longer commands the respect it once did. This God-ordained institution, though originally intended to be held in honor and sanctity, has been significantly undermined and cheapened.
The religious response to this situation generally has been accommodative, as many within the church find their own families adversely affected by divorce. They have been intimidated by two factors: (1) the large numbers of divorced people; and (2) the emotional trauma associated with divorce. “Rethinking” their understanding of Bible teaching, they have decided to relax the high standards that God enjoined. The various viewpoints now available to those who wish to justify their marital decisions are legion.
The clear teaching of the Bible is that God wants one man for one woman for life (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6). The only exception to this foundational premise was articulated by Jesus when He said a person is permitted to divorce the original mate only for the specific reason of that mate’s sexual infidelity. Then and only then may the innocent mate form a second marriage with an eligible partner (Matthew 19:9). Consequently, the primary thrust of Scripture as it pertains to marriage is “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16). In fact, He permits it on only one ground.
This divine aversion to divorce refers specifically to divorce that occurs between two people who are scripturally married. Men and women who marry for the first time in their youth should so conduct themselves that they remain together. God does not want that first marriage to dissolve. He hates it when these couples unscripturally dissolve their scriptural marriage. Unscriptural divorce is the kind of divorcing that God hates.
However, not all divorce is contrary to God’s will. Jesus said an individual has permission to divorce the mate that commits fornication (Matthew 19:9). So divorce for that innocent marriage partner is not sinful. In Ezra’s day, exiled Jews had formed illicit marriages and were required to sever those marriages (Ezra 10:3,11). Divorce in that instance was likewise not sinful. John the baptizer informed Herod that when he married Herodias, he was sinning, and would have to dissolve the marriage (Mark 6:17-18). Divorce in that case was not sinful. When Paul identified several Corinthian Christians as having previously been adulterers (1 Corinthians 6:9), the putting away (i.e., divorce) that would have been necessary to end their adultery in order to be “washed” and “sanctified” (1 Corinthians 6:11) would not have been sinful. (The same principle would have applied equally to all other forms of fornication mentioned in the context—including homosexuality). These scriptural examples show that not all divorce is wrong in God’s sight.
On the other hand, much of the divorcing that is occurring today is contrary to the will of God. Any person who divorces their scriptural spouse for any reason, other than fornication, is sinning in so doing. They sin when they divorce! They sin on at least two counts. First, they sin because they have divorced for some reason other than fornication. Second, they sin because they violated the vows they took when they married (i.e., “until death do us part”).
In this divorced condition (i.e., having divorced for some reason other than fornication), the individual has placed himself in a predicament that comes under additional divine restrictions. Paul pinpointed those restrictions in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 where he insisted that scripturally married couples ought not to divorce. However, should their marriage break up unscripturally, both are to remain unmarried. Some feel this verse does not refer to a technical divorce but merely to a separation. Either way, their breakup (whether by separation or divorce) is contrary to God’s will, and neither of the two is eligible to marry someone else.
People are permitted to participate in marriage only insofar as God says they are eligible to do so. The Hebrews writer insisted that marriage (and the sexual relationship that accompanies marriage) is to be undertaken honorably—i.e., in accordance with God’s regulations. To engage in marriage (and the sexual relations that accompany marriage) out of harmony with God’s regulations is to be guilty of fornication and adultery (Hebrews 13:4). Fornication, by definition, refers to illicit sexual intercourse. Adultery is one type of fornication, and refers to the sexual relations between a man and a woman, at least one of whom has prior marital responsibilities. Adultery, by definition, derives its meaning on the basis of a person’s prior marital connections.
A person does not have to be married in order to please God and go to heaven. All a person has to be is a Christian. He does not have to be an elder, a deacon, or a preacher. He or she does not have to be a father, or a mother, or a parent. These are relationships and roles that God designed to be helpful to the human condition. However, not everyone qualifies to fill these roles, and people can go to heaven without ever occupying these roles. So it is with marriage. All people must meet God’s designated prerequisites before marriage may be had in honor. God nowhere promises anyone unlimited access to the marriage relationship.
Notice, then, that in view of God’s regulations, three categories of divorced persons are ineligible to remarry: (1) the person who committed fornication and was divorced for that act by his or her spouse (Matthew 19:9a); (2) the person who was unscripturally divorced (i.e., put away for some reason other than fornication) by a spouse (Matthew 19:9b); and (3) the person who was deserted by an unbelieving spouse (1 Corinthians 7:12-15). In these three instances, the divorced person is ineligible to remarry. Putting the entire matter positively, the only divorced person who is eligible in God’s sight to remarry (while the former mate is still living—Romans 7:3) is the person who divorced his/her original mate for that mate’s sexual unfaithfulness.
Many people feel that such strict limitations are out of harmony with the grace, love, and forgiveness of God. They believe that such high standards make divorce the “unpardonable sin.” But this conclusion does not follow. People can be forgiven of mistakes they make in the realm of divorce and remarriage. Forgiveness is not the issue. The issue is: can they remain in whatever marriage relationship they choose? Can they so sin that they forfeit their right to participate in a future marriage relationship? Jesus made the answers to these questions clear in His discussion in Matthew 19:1-12. All people who divorce their scriptural mates for any reason except fornication continue to commit adultery when they remarry.
However, do we have any indication elsewhere in Scripture that people can so sin that they forfeit their privilege to participate in a state, condition, or relationship that they previously enjoyed—even though they may be forgiven? As a matter of fact, the Bible is replete with such instances! Adam and Eve violated God’s word and were responsible for introducing sin into the Universe. One consequence of their sin was that they were expelled from Eden. Could they be forgiven? Yes! Could they ever return to the garden? No! Their expulsion was permanent. They had so sinned that they forfeited the privilege of enjoying that previous status.
Esau was guilty of profanity when he sold his birthright (Hebrews 12:16). Could he be forgiven for this mistake? Yes! Could he regain his birthright? No, “though he sought it diligently with tears” (Hebrews 12:17)!
Virtually the entire adult population of the nation of Israel sinned when they refused to obey God by proceeding with a military assault against the land of Canaan (Numbers 14:11-12). Could they be forgiven? Yes, and they were (Numbers 14:19-20). Were they then permitted to enter into the Promised Land? Absolutely not! They were doomed to wander in the desert for forty years (Numbers 14:33-34).
Moses allowed himself to be goaded into disobedience on one occasion by the incessant complaining of the nation committed to his keeping (Numbers 20:7-12). Could Moses be forgiven? Yes! In heaven, we will sing the song of Moses and the Lamb (Revelation 15:3)! But was Moses permitted to enter into the Promised Land? No. He was banned permanently from that privilege due to his own sinful choice (Deuteronomy 32:51-52).
Eli failed to manage his family properly, and so brought down upon himself lasting tragedies (1 Samuel 3:11-14). Though Saul acknowledged his own sin, his disobedience evoked God’s permanent rejection of him as king (1 Samuel 15:11,23,26,28). Samuel never visited Saul again. David’s sin, though forgiven, brought several negative consequences that could not be altered (2 Samuel 12:11-14). Solomon’s sin resulted in personal calamity and the division of the nation (1 Kings 11-12).
These biblical examples demonstrate that sin produces lasting consequences, despite the availability of God’s grace and forgiveness. If biblical history teaches us anything, it teaches that people cannot sin and then expect to have things the way they were before. More often than not, much suffering comes upon those who violate God’s will, making it impossible for them to enjoy past privileges—though they can be forgiven and have the hope of heaven.
Many people feel that God would be unkind, unfair, or overly harsh if He did not permit divorced and remarried couples to stay together, regardless of their previous marital choices. Undoubtedly, these same people would feel that God was unfair to Adam and Eve for ejecting them from the garden, making it impossible for them to enjoy the condition that they once sustained! That would mean that God was unfair and harsh toward the Israelites as well as Moses! Such thinking betrays an inaccurate and unscriptural grasp of the nature and person of God. It reflects a failure to possess a healthy fear of God (Exodus 20:5; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Luke 12:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Hebrews 10:31; 12:29; Revelation 6:16-17).
God elevated the marriage relationship to a high plane when, at the beginning of the human race, He laid down the strict standards that govern marriage (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6). Many apparently feel that they have a right to be married regardless of their previous conduct. They feel that God’s high standards ought to be adjusted in order for them to exercise their “right.” Yet, the Bible teaches that the institution of marriage was founded by God to provide cohesion and orientation in life. Unlike one’s spiritual marriage (i.e., to Christ), which will proceed right on into eternity, human marriage is for this life alone (Matthew 22:30). Therefore, marriage is not a right; it is a privilege. People must conform to God’s marriage rules in order for marriage to serve its earthly purpose. Failure to comply neutralizes the ability of the marriage institution to do what it was divinely designed to do. Failure to comply with God’s “directions for use” causes us to forfeit our opportunity to participate in the institution. We must remember: Father knows best.

Apologetics Is Evangelism by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=5424

Apologetics Is Evangelism

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

On occasion in our travels, we have heard well-meaning Christians say things like, “As non-profit organizations, apologetics organizations like you guys surely need support! We wish we could help. Apologetics is great, but we want to support mission efforts that are evangelistic—missions that teach the Gospel.” At the risk of sounding self-serving, we wish to gently respond to that line of reasoning—after all, ironically, it’s an apologetics issue.
Kyle Butt, one of our AP authors, said this about apologetics:
You walk up to the man on the street and tell him that Jesus Christ loves him and died so he could receive forgiveness of his sins. You explain that everyone should obey Jesus because He is the Son of God. The man wants to know how you know this information. You inform him that the Bible, the inspired Word of God, declares it to be true. He wants to know two things: (1) How can you prove that there is a God?; and (2) How can you prove that the Bible is His Word? He is not being belligerent or cantankerous; he simply wants some good evidence that would warrant the total overhaul of his life you are asking him to make.
It is now your responsibility to present solid, rational arguments that prove the things you have affirmed. You must defend the propositions you have presented. You are appointed for the defense of the Gospel (Philippians 1:17).1
Notice: apologetics is crucial to evangelism. When a person engages in apologetics, he is simultaneously evangelizing by exposing error and/or teaching truth.
Several times over the years I have been asked the question, sometimes even with indignance, “Why is your organization called ‘Apologetics’ Press? You have nothing to be apologetic for!” Just a few months ago, we received an e-mail that said, “I am leary of your name—Apologetics—I am a servant of the Living God and have no need to apologize for anything but I am seeking an answer….” Ironically, this individual was inadvertently requesting the very thing she thought she had no need for. The word “apologetics” is derived from the Greek word apologia, which means to give a defense or reply.2 Christians are commanded to “always be ready to apologian (give a defense) to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Apologetics Press, therefore, was founded to assist Christians in following that divine directive: to give a defense of New Testament Christianity—countering attacks by enemies of the cross and providing answers to those sincerely seeking evidence for Christianity.
Apologetics is an important aspect of the Christian’s walk. One does not have to read far in Scripture to find examples of God and His followers defending the truth through logical argumentation and reasoning from the evidence, or those who were supposed to be His followers failing to defend properly the truth and choosing instead to succumb to erroneous doctrines (starting with Adam and Eve). In fact, examples of apologetics are in nearly every chapter of Holy Writ, whether directly or indirectly. Jesus, Himself, was an apologist—the Master Apologist.3 Paul engaged in apologetics constantly throughout his ministry, as did other New Testament evangelists, defending the truth of Jesus’ messiahship, deity, and resurrection.4 In fact, it could be argued that apologetics is the primary mode of evangelism used in Scripture. If Christians are commanded by our Ruler to “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3), to “always be ready to give a defense” (1 Peter 3:15), and to “persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11), apologetics is central to implementing our Commander’s orders.
The bottom line is that apologetics is crucial in being able to reach others with the Gospel. False concepts must be countered and evidence provided in order to build a foundation for the obedient faith that saves. Regardless of whether or not we as Christians choose to support apologetics efforts, we should all be clear about the fact that God intends for all Christians to be apologists. It is our responsibility to prepare ourselves for that endeavor. Souls are at stake.

Endnotes

1 Kyle Butt (2001), “What is Apologetics?” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=826.
2 William Arndt, F.W. Gingrich, and Frederick W. Danker (1979), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press), second edition revised, p. 96.
3 Dave Miller (2011), “Jesus Was Rational,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=10&article =1245; Dave Miller (2011), “Is Christianity Logical? [Part I],” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3869.
4 Eric Lyons (2016), “Apologetics and the Growth of the Early Church,” Reason & Revelation, 36[6]:62-71, http://apologeticspress.org/pub_rar/36_6/1606w.pdf.


REFLECTIONS ON ROMANS (2) by Jim McGuiggan

http://theabidingword.com/logos/index.html

REFLECTIONS ON ROMANS (2)

 The Lord’s Commissioned witness tells his Story

Paul introduces his good news of God’s righteousness (faithfulness) in 1:1-17, which is good news for the whole of humanity (1:5, 13b-17).
Note that the word “gospel” occurs six times in these opening verses. Paul certainly used texts to explain and present his message but he preached “the gospel” rather than a host of verses.

The centrality of the “good news”
 
Why did Paul write the book of Romans? Scholars continue to debate that question and they come up with differing answers. Perhaps there is no one single reason for Romans. There certainly isn’t one that stands out so plainly that scholars can agree on it. That’s the trouble with and the beauty of rich literature. It carries our minds in so many directions that we find it hard to stay with one profound insight. This is especially true when the writer himself hasn’t offered a single purpose for writing. And even if a writer has a single purpose in mind, if the material is very rich he or she will be saying more than they consciously mean to say. This is because truths exist in a network of truth rather than standing in complete isolation from one another; so one truth leads to another. Humans, though individuals are not solitary beings; they are shaped by the community and culture they live in and experience life within the network of shared convictions and thought and speech patterns. I say a word that has many related uses and you experience one that I am not consciously thinking of.
In any case, it’s always helpful and sometimes critically important to discover the overall reason for the book. Just the same, sometimes we can understand how some of the pieces work together even if we can’t determine where it is going as a whole. Something like a jigsaw puzzle I suppose. We can piece together some of the sections and still not know what the whole is about. But if we can piece a significant number of pieces together we can get a sense of the kind of scene we’ll find in the end. We may adjust our educated “guess” but we’ll not be simply groping in sheer ignorance.
Paul introduces his good news of God’s righteousness (faithfulness) in 1:1-17, which is good news for the whole of humanity (1:5, 13b-17). He uses the word “gospel” 4 times in these opening verses that act as an introduction to the entire letter; that should affect how we view the book as a whole. However somber some of the parts of Romans are we need to remember that Paul sees himself as a preacher and teacher of “the gospel of God” (1:1) and it’s that good news he wants to bring to the Romans.

 The truth and authority of the “good news”

An inscription discovered in Priene in northern Turkey is dated 9 B.C. and it gives us an insight into what the word “gospel” means. Here’s a piece of what it says.
“Whereas the Providence which has ordered the whole of our life, showing concern and zeal, has ordained the most perfect consummation for human life by giving to it Augustus, by filling him with virtue for doing the work of a benefactor among men, and by sending in him, as it were, a saviour for us and those who come after us, to make war to cease, to create order everywhere and whereas the birthday of the God [Augustus] was the beginning for the world of the glad tidings that have come to men through him. Paulus Fabius Maximus, the proconsul of the province has devised a way of honoring Augustus.”
From this it’s clear that the “gospel” is glad tidings. It’s also clear that the gospel is an announcement, a proclamation rather than just an invitation to share the joy inherent in the good news. This inscription isn’t saying that Augustus is lord if only the people would let him into their hearts. It claims that the power that governs the universe had established Augustus as lord of the world and he is its instrument to bring peace and security to that world.
Individualism is such a part of our culture and religious decision is so stressed that we forget this aspect of the gospel.
When Paul preached Jesus as King he wasn’t inviting people to faith in a new religion, he was proclaiming a change in the entire creation because a new King had risen! Nothing is now to be seen in the same way. So he warns them as he approaches the gates of Rome, the world’s center of Caesar power, that he is coming with a gospel that is God’s power to save anyone who believes it!
Even the Roman historian Tacitus, quotes Calgacus, saying that Rome by force of arms created a desert and called it peace; but Paul insists that he was not on a destroying mission; he was coming with a gospel of salvation and life. It is this gospel he wants to lay before the Romans and see it bear fruit among them.

 Aspects of the gospel

He says it is the “gospel of God” (1:1). This phrase may mean it is a gospel that comes from God, a gospel that God himself makes known. It may also mean it is a gospel “about” God. There is no need to choose between these two because Paul might have had both in mind. Both are certainly true and it is important in the book of Romans to see that both are true.
The gospel isn’t about less) important things like the weather, or the economy of the Greco-Roman world or how to get along with our neighbors. The gospel is about God Himself and how He relates to His sinful creation as He works to bless a human family that still resists Him.. And the gospel comes from God Himself.
It isn’t good advice or a philosophy that Paul or others have dreamed up—it comes from God. All this means that the Romans (and we) should pay close attention to his message.
He says the gospel concerns God’s Son (1:1-4, 9) who is Jesus the Messiah (Christ). Paul insisted that God had made Himself and His purposes known in and as Jesus Christ in a way that never happened before.
When we think of the Son of God Paul insists that He had come to the world as a son of David’s line but that He was also marked out as God’s unique Son by His resurrection out from among the dead. The phrase “according to the spirit of holiness” suggests that there was more to Jesus than His “fleshly” (human) nature. Viewed from His “fleshly” side he is David’s son and viewed from His “spiritual” side He is God’s Son. Many scholars think we should understand that Christ was David’s son according to the flesh but that he was shown to be God’s Son by the Holy Spirit (“the spirit of holiness”).
That is, they think, and they may be correct, that here Paul isn’t speaking about the Godhood of Jesus but is particularly interested in His resurrection and glorification via the Holy Spirit.
He says the gospel is God’s power to save (1:16). We’re tempted to think of God’s “power” as merely “divine muscle” but it’s a mistake to think of it like that in this context and most others. Even when speaking about human power we know the difference between the power to move a huge stone and the power to “move” a person. A person “saved” in Paul’s sense means God brought that person back into relationship with himself and so saved him/her from sin and loss. This kind of “saving” isn’t done with “divine muscle.” Since God saves us in and by the crucified Christ it’s clear that he doesn’t bully us into life and doesn’t save us by force. To be saved by God’s “power” means God set himself the task and was able to complete it. The gospel, or good news, is the message that a faithful God did that very thing and that he did it through the crucified (and resurrected) Jesus Christ. There are some places naked powers or force can’t enter and one of them is the human heart. Paul comes to the most powerful city of the world armed with nothing but a GOSPEL about God.
He says the gospel is God’s power to save all who believe because in the gospel God’s righteousness (faithfulness) continues to be revealed (1:16-17). God’s righteousness is God’s covenant faithfulness. He keeps His commitments and when He created humanity He made a commitment to humanity. Despite our rebellion against Him He didn’t utterly destroy us He was faithful to his word and that’s part of what we mean when we say God is “righteous”. His faithfulness is to all people and not only those who are Jews. The gospel message that proclaims God’s faithfulness draws people to God in response to that faithfulness and they put their trust in Him. So the gospel is “from” faith (God’s faithfulness) “unto” faith (the faith of those who hear). The relationship between the righteous God and those who are declared righteous by faith is a dynamic one if salvation is to be experienced finally in glory. It isn’t just God keeping faith with man; it is man trusting himself to that God who keeps faith.
He says the gospel of God’s righteousness in Jesus Christ was promised in the Old Testament scriptures (1:2). Paul will make the point repeatedly that the Old Testament scriptures (including the covenant Torah itself) pointed to the gospel he was preaching about Jesus Christ, God’s Son (see also 3:21 with Acts 26:22-23).
So, in some senses Paul’s message might be surprising but the truth is, Israel had been given fair warning of how the good news would be worked out in Jesus the Messiah (see Luke 24:25-27,44-47). Many in Israel, eager to establish their own national connection with God missed what the Old Testament taught about God’s righteousness toward and for the whole human race (see Romans 9:30 -10:4 in light of 1:16). GENTILES were and are to take note.
In addition, the OT scriptures spoke of these glorious coming things as promises to Israel. Paul stresses again and again that the good news had special significance for Israel and then through them to Gentiles. But it’s “to the Jew first” [Romans 1:16; Acts 3:26; 13:46 and elsewhere].

GOD CAN SAVE WHOEVER HE WANTS TO by steve finnell

http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2017/04/god-can-save-whoever-he-wants-to-by.html

GOD CAN SAVE WHOEVER HE WANTS TO by steve finnell


Have you ever heard a preacher say, "God can save whoever He wants to?" The problem with that kind of preaching is it leaves questions unanswered. What about those that God says, He will not save? Did Jesus and the apostles teach God's terms for pardon and then say, "Of course, God can save whoever He wants to?" No, they did not.

John 8:24 "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (NKJV)

Jesus did follow with a modification by saying, "Of course, God can forgive anyone's sins that He chooses."

John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly , I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (NKJV)

Jesus did not say, "You must be immersed in water to enter the kingdom of God, however, God can save whoever he wants to."

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (NKJV)

Jesus did not modify John 14:6 by saying, "Of course, God the Father can provide as many ways to Himself as He wishes."

Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized  will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.(NKJV)

Jesus did not say, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved, however, God can save those who reject water baptism and do not believe, because God can save whoever He wants to."

Ephesians 5:1-5 Therefore be followers of God dear children.....5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.(NKJV)

The apostle Paul did not modify his position by saying,  "Christians can continually live an unrepentant sinful lifestyle, because God can offer an inheritance, in the kingdom of God, to whoever He wants.

Can Christians who sin be forgiven? Of course, but Christians have not been issued a license to sin.

The real question is, do men have the right to offer modifications to God's word where none exist?

NOTE: Did you ever hear a preacher preach the gospel terms for pardon and modify it by saying, "Of course, God can send anyone to hell that He wishes?"

What Is Your Life? by B. Johnson





http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Johnson/Edna/Elizabeth/1939/yourlife.html


What Is Your Life?
 
“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).
Poverty is a litmus test for a preacher and his wife. There is no doubt that some good-looking, charismatic preachers may be able to earn more than the average scientist or doctor, but this is far from the norm. These men may demand an unreasonable salary from large churches, while the average evangelist is earning less than the minimum wage for much harder work. Is the wife willing to live on the salary the poor preacher provides? Is the family able to live and pay bills and be self-respecting? When a couple is young and just beginning a work, who can know what the future holds? The very real possibility of poverty needs to be considered.
Preachers often are forced to move from place to place when they and the congregation do not agree. Breaking up housekeeping and moving to an unknown area can be traumatic. In fact, it can tear a family apart. Many times preachers’ wives or children may be emotionally unstable because they have no roots, no security. Preachers’ wives sometimes refuse to move from place to place which ultimately forces the preacher to find other employment. In those cases, the wife’s attitude toward this nomadic existence takes yet another preacher out of the pulpit.
I can vouch that selling a house and moving is a heartrending job. It is natural not to want to dig up roots. I knew I had to do it though, and I had to be able to just close my eyes and walk away. I finally have been able to say to our children, “Take what you really need and give the rest to the poor.” It is like watching what happens to your things after your own funeral. So much of what we have will be thrown away and I know it. It is not truly valuable to anyone but us, but we know we cannot be bound to material things and be pleasing to God. We need to remember that the important things are not material. This world is not our home.
“And (Job) said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:21-22).
Solomon said, “As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand (Ecc 5:15).”
When we consider what is really important in life, anything material is not it. Remember that we must be like those described in Matthew 25:34-46 to be pleasing to the lord.
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt 25:34-40).

Beth Johnson
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The King James Version.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible Reading February 17 & 18 by Gary Rose





Bible Reading February 17 & 18

World  English  Bible



Feb. 17
Genesis 48

Gen 48:1 It happened after these things, that someone said to Joseph, "Behold, your father is sick." He took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
Gen 48:2 Someone told Jacob, and said, "Behold, your son Joseph comes to you," and Israel strengthened himself, and sat on the bed.
Gen 48:3 Jacob said to Joseph, "God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
Gen 48:4 and said to me, 'Behold, I will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your seed after you for an everlasting possession.'
Gen 48:5 Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you into Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh, even as Reuben and Simeon, will be mine.
Gen 48:6 Your issue, who you become the father of after them, will be yours. They will be called after the name of their brothers in their inheritance.
Gen 48:7 As for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when there was still some distance to come to Ephrath, and I buried her there in the way to Ephrath (the same is Bethlehem)."
Gen 48:8 Israel saw Joseph's sons, and said, "Who are these?"
Gen 48:9 Joseph said to his father, "They are my sons, whom God has given me here." He said, "Please bring them to me, and I will bless them."
Gen 48:10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he couldn't see. He brought them near to him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.
Gen 48:11 Israel said to Joseph, "I didn't think I would see your face, and behold, God has let me see your seed also."
Gen 48:12 Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.
Gen 48:13 Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near to him.
Gen 48:14 Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn.
Gen 48:15 He blessed Joseph, and said, "The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day,
Gen 48:16 the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads, and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac. Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth."
Gen 48:17 When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him. He held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head.
Gen 48:18 Joseph said to his father, "Not so, my father; for this is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head."
Gen 48:19 His father refused, and said, "I know, my son, I know. He also will become a people, and he also will be great. However, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his seed will become a multitude of nations."
Gen 48:20 He blessed them that day, saying, "In you will Israel bless, saying, 'God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh' " He set Ephraim before Manasseh.
Gen 48:21 Israel said to Joseph, "Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you, and bring you again to the land of your fathers.
Gen 48:22 Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow."

Feb. 18
Genesis 49

Gen 49:1 Jacob called to his sons, and said: "Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which will happen to you in the days to come.
Gen 49:2 Assemble yourselves, and hear, you sons of Jacob. Listen to Israel, your father.
Gen 49:3 "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength; excelling in dignity, and excelling in power.
Gen 49:4 Boiling over as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father's bed, then defiled it. He went up to my couch.
Gen 49:5 "Simeon and Levi are brothers. Their swords are weapons of violence.
Gen 49:6 My soul, don't come into their council. My glory, don't be united to their assembly; for in their anger they killed men. In their self-will they hamstrung cattle.
Gen 49:7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel. I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
Gen 49:8 "Judah, your brothers will praise you. Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies. Your father's sons will bow down before you.
Gen 49:9 Judah is a lion's cub. From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down, he crouched as a lion, as a lioness. Who will rouse him up?
Gen 49:10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs. To him will the obedience of the peoples be.
Gen 49:11 Binding his foal to the vine, his donkey's colt to the choice vine; he has washed his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.
Gen 49:12 His eyes will be red with wine, his teeth white with milk.
Gen 49:13 "Zebulun will dwell at the haven of the sea. He will be for a haven of ships. His border will be on Sidon.
Gen 49:14 "Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between the saddlebags.
Gen 49:15 He saw a resting place, that it was good, the land, that it was pleasant. He bows his shoulder to the burden, and becomes a servant doing forced labor.
Gen 49:16 "Dan will judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.
Gen 49:17 Dan will be a serpent in the way, an adder in the path, That bites the horse's heels, so that his rider falls backward.
Gen 49:18 I have waited for your salvation, Yahweh.
Gen 49:19 "A troop will press on Gad, but he will press on their heel.
Gen 49:20 "Asher's food will be rich. He will yield royal dainties.
Gen 49:21 "Naphtali is a doe set free, who bears beautiful fawns.
Gen 49:22 "Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine by a spring. His branches run over the wall.
Gen 49:23 The archers have sorely grieved him, shot at him, and persecute him:
Gen 49:24 But his bow remained strong. The arms of his hands were made strong, by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, (from there is the shepherd, the stone of Israel),
Gen 49:25 even by the God of your father, who will help you; by the Almighty, who will bless you, with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb.
Gen 49:26 The blessings of your father have prevailed above the blessings of your ancestors, above the boundaries of the ancient hills. They will be on the head of Joseph, on the crown of the head of him who is separated from his brothers.
Gen 49:27 "Benjamin is a ravenous wolf. In the morning he will devour the prey. At evening he will divide the spoil."
Gen 49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father spoke to them and blessed them. He blessed everyone according to his blessing.
Gen 49:29 He instructed them, and said to them, "I am to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
Gen 49:30 in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite as a burial place.
Gen 49:31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah, his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah, his wife, and there I buried Leah:
Gen 49:32 the field and the cave that is therein, which was purchased from the children of Heth."
Gen 49:33 When Jacob made an end of charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the spirit, and was gathered to his people.



Feb. 17
Matthew 24

Mat 24:1 Jesus went out from the temple, and was going on his way. His disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple.
Mat 24:2 But he answered them, "You see all of these things, don't you? Most certainly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone on another, that will not be thrown down."
Mat 24:3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?"
Mat 24:4 Jesus answered them, "Be careful that no one leads you astray.
Mat 24:5 For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will lead many astray.
Mat 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you aren't troubled, for all this must happen, but the end is not yet.
Mat 24:7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines, plagues, and earthquakes in various places.
Mat 24:8 But all these things are the beginning of birth pains.
Mat 24:9 Then they will deliver you up to oppression, and will kill you. You will be hated by all of the nations for my name's sake.
Mat 24:10 Then many will stumble, and will deliver up one another, and will hate one another.
Mat 24:11 Many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray.
Mat 24:12 Because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of many will grow cold.
Mat 24:13 But he who endures to the end, the same will be saved.
Mat 24:14 This Good News of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Mat 24:15 "When, therefore, you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
Mat 24:16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Mat 24:17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take out things that are in his house.
Mat 24:18 Let him who is in the field not return back to get his clothes.
Mat 24:19 But woe to those who are with child and to nursing mothers in those days!
Mat 24:20 Pray that your flight will not be in the winter, nor on a Sabbath,
Mat 24:21 for then there will be great oppression, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever will be.
Mat 24:22 Unless those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved. But for the sake of the chosen ones, those days will be shortened.
Mat 24:23 "Then if any man tells you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or, 'There,' don't believe it.
Mat 24:24 For there will arise false christs, and false prophets, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones.
Mat 24:25 "Behold, I have told you beforehand.
Mat 24:26 If therefore they tell you, 'Behold, he is in the wilderness,' don't go out; 'Behold, he is in the inner chambers,' don't believe it.
Mat 24:27 For as the lightning flashes from the east, and is seen even to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Mat 24:28 For wherever the carcass is, there is where the vultures gather together.
Mat 24:29 But immediately after the oppression of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken;
Mat 24:30 and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
Mat 24:31 He will send out his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together his chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
Mat 24:32 "Now from the fig tree learn this parable. When its branch has now become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that the summer is near.
Mat 24:33 Even so you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Mat 24:34 Most certainly I tell you, this generation will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Mat 24:36 But no one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Mat 24:37 "As the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Mat 24:38 For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ship,
Mat 24:39 and they didn't know until the flood came, and took them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Mat 24:40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and one will be left;
Mat 24:41 two women grinding at the mill, one will be taken and one will be left.
Mat 24:42 Watch therefore, for you don't know in what hour your Lord comes.
Mat 24:43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.
Mat 24:44 Therefore also be ready, for in an hour that you don't expect, the Son of Man will come.
Mat 24:45 "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has set over his household, to give them their food in due season?
Mat 24:46 Blessed is that servant whom his lord finds doing so when he comes.
Mat 24:47 Most certainly I tell you that he will set him over all that he has.
Mat 24:48 But if that evil servant should say in his heart, 'My lord is delaying his coming,'
Mat 24:49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with the drunkards,
Mat 24:50 the lord of that servant will come in a day when he doesn't expect it, and in an hour when he doesn't know it,
Mat 24:51 and will cut him in pieces, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There is where the weeping and grinding of teeth will be.

Feb. 18
Matthew 25

Mat 25:1 "Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Mat 25:2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
Mat 25:3 Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them,
Mat 25:4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
Mat 25:5 Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
Mat 25:6 But at midnight there was a cry, 'Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!'
Mat 25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
Mat 25:8 The foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
Mat 25:9 But the wise answered, saying, 'What if there isn't enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'
Mat 25:10 While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.
Mat 25:11 Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us.'
Mat 25:12 But he answered, 'Most certainly I tell you, I don't know you.'
Mat 25:13 Watch therefore, for you don't know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
Mat 25:14 "For it is like a man, going into another country, who called his own servants, and entrusted his goods to them.
Mat 25:15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his own ability. Then he went on his journey.
Mat 25:16 Immediately he who received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.
Mat 25:17 In like manner he also who got the two gained another two.
Mat 25:18 But he who received the one went away and dug in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
Mat 25:19 "Now after a long time the lord of those servants came, and reconciled accounts with them.
Mat 25:20 He who received the five talents came and brought another five talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents. Behold, I have gained another five talents besides them.'
Mat 25:21 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
Mat 25:22 "He also who got the two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents. Behold, I have gained another two talents besides them.'
Mat 25:23 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
Mat 25:24 "He also who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter.
Mat 25:25 I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the earth. Behold, you have what is yours.'
Mat 25:26 "But his lord answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant. You knew that I reap where I didn't sow, and gather where I didn't scatter.
Mat 25:27 You ought therefore to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back my own with interest.
Mat 25:28 Take away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents.
Mat 25:29 For to everyone who has will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who doesn't have, even that which he has will be taken away.
Mat 25:30 Throw out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
Mat 25:31 "But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
Mat 25:32 Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
Mat 25:33 He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34 Then the King will tell those on his right hand, 'Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
Mat 25:35 for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in.
Mat 25:36 I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me.'
Mat 25:37 "Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink?
Mat 25:38 When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you?
Mat 25:39 When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?'
Mat 25:40 "The King will answer them, 'Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
Mat 25:41 Then he will say also to those on the left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels;
Mat 25:42 for I was hungry, and you didn't give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink;
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger, and you didn't take me in; naked, and you didn't clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn't visit me.'
Mat 25:44 "Then they will also answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn't help you?'
Mat 25:45 "Then he will answer them, saying, 'Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you didn't do it to one of the least of these, you didn't do it to me.'
Mat 25:46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."