"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS" Closing Prayer And Final Admonitions (5:23-28) by Mark Copeland


Closing Prayer And Final Admonitions (5:23-28)


1. In our study of First Thessalonians, we have seen that the epistle
   divides itself into two sections...
   a. Personal reflections (1-3)
      1) Regarding their condition - 1:1-10
      2) Regarding his conduct - 2:1-12
      3) Regarding his concern - 2:13-3:13
   b. Apostolic instructions (4-5)
      1) Walk in holiness - 4:1-8
      2) Walk in love - 4:9-10
      3) Walk in diligence - 4:11-12
      4) Walk in hope - 4:13-18
      5) Walk in light - 5:1-11
      6) Walk in obedience - 5:12-28

2. Mention is made of the Second Coming of Christ in every chapter, and
   so I offered "Holiness In View Of The Coming Of Christ" as the theme
   of the epistle

3. In the final verses of Paul's letter, we finds words that certainly
   fit in with such a theme...
   a. In the form of a closing prayer
   b. In the form of final admonitions

[While this prayer was offered in behalf of the Thessalonians, it
expresses what must be the sentiment that God has for all His children.
That being so, let's take a few moments to first reflect upon...]


      1. That is, "set apart for a holy purpose"
         a. As stated earlier, this is God's will for them - 1Th 4:3a
         b. Especially in regard to sexual purity - 1Th 4:3b-4
      2. By God Himself
         a. He who is described as the "God of peace" - cf. Php 4:9;
            He 13:20
         b. Which He does through the Word of God 
             - cf. Jn 17:17; Ac 20:32; 1Pe 1:22-23
      3. Completely
         a. Not just in part, but in whole
         b. As mentioned momentarily, in body, soul and spirit - 1 Th 5:23b
      -- Of course, we must cooperate with God if this prayer is to be
         answered in our lives - cf. 2Ti 2:19-22

      1. For which Paul prayed earlier in this epistle - 1Th 3:13
         a. To be blameless in holiness
         b. When?  As here in 5:23...at the coming of our Lord Jesus
      2. Preserved blameless, that is, without fault - cf. Jude 24
         a. Which Jesus makes possible through His death - Col 1:22
         b. Provided we remain faithful - Col 1:23
         c. God is faithful, and will uphold His end; will we uphold
            ours? - cf. 1Th 5:24
      3. Blameless not just in spirit, but in soul and body
         a. Often in the scriptures, the terms soul and spirit appear to
            be interchangeable, referring to that part of man which
            continues after death - cf. Mt 10:28; Re 6:9; 20:4; Ecc
            12:7; He 12:23
         b. They are also used to distinguish one from the other (He 4:12), in which case...
            1) Soul refers to the animal life, as distinguished from the
               mind or spirit
            2) Spirit refers to the immaterial part of man that
               continues after death
      -- God is faithful, and can be counted on to help us answer this
         prayer; but against we must cooperate with God - cf. Php 2:12-16

[To assist those who desire Paul's prayer to be answered in their lives,
we now notice...]


      1. Paul requested that they pray for him - 1Th 5:25
         a. Something he asked often of his brethren - e.g., Ro 15:30-
            33; Ep 6:18-20
         b. Especially that the gospel might have free course - cf. 2 Th 3:1; Col 4:3
      2. Certainly we should pray for one another as well
         a. When we sin - 1Jn 5:16-17
         b. When we are sick - Jm 5:14-16
         c. When we are serving the Lord - 2Th 3:1
      -- If the prayer of one righteous man avails much, how much more
         the prayers of many righteous!  Wouldn't we want the prayers of
         others on our behalf?

      1. Paul charged that they greet the brethren with a holy kiss
         - 1Th 5:26
         a. Something he did often in his epistles - e.g., Ro 16:16;
            1Co 16:20; 2Co 13:12
         b. Greeting one another with a kiss was a common practice
            1) In those days, and in many eastern countries today
            2) "The custom hence arose in the early Church of passing
               the kiss through the congregation at the holy communion
               [Justin Martyr, Apology, 1.65; Apostolic Constitutions,
               2.57], the men kissing the men, and the women the women,
               in the Lord. So in the Syrian Church each takes his
               neighbor's right hand and gives the salutation, 'Peace.'"
               - JFB
         c. The emphasis appears to be greeting each other in love, and
            in holiness
      2. Certainly we should have a deep love for one another
         a. It is a mark of discipleship - Jn 13:34-35
         b. It is a sign of true conversion - 1Jn 3:14
      -- Brethren who truly love one another will help each other stay
         on the straight and narrow, to remain sanctified and blameless
         in anticipation of the Lord's return!

      1. Paul charged that this epistle be read to all the brethren
         - 1Th 5:27
         a. As he did the letters to the Colossians and the Laodiceans
            - Col 4:16
         b. Believing in the Word of God to build them up and give them
            the inheritance among all those who are sanctified - Ac 20:
      2. We should not underestimate the importance of the Scriptures in
         our lives!
         a. The means by which God sanctifies us - Jn 17:17
         b. By which we are born again and have purified our souls
            - 1Pe 1:22-25
         c. By which God brought us forth, and will save our souls - Ja
      -- Just as Paul commended his brethren to the Word of God, so we
         need to be committed to the Word of God if we desire that
         inheritance promised to those who are sanctified!


1. Paul ends his epistle with a simple prayer:

   "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen." - 1Th 5:28

2. It is a prayer that we should all offer to one another...
   a. Do we not all need grace?
   b. Do we not all want the grace of the Lord in our lives?

3. It is a prayer that we can help fulfill in our own lives...
   a. By praying for one another fervently
   b. By loving one another in all purity
   c. By reading the scriptures diligently

4. Doing such things will also help fulfill the prayer for God...
   a. To sanctify us completely
   b. To preserve our spirit, soul, and body blameless at the coming of
      the Lord!

My prayer is that our study of this brief epistle has encouraged us to
always have "Holiness In View Of The Coming Of Christ."  Are you getting
ready for that great event...?

   "And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one
   another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish
   your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the
   coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints."  - 1Th 3:12-13

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Does “Laud” in Romans 15:11 Authorize Clapping in Worship? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Does “Laud” in Romans 15:11 Authorize Clapping in Worship?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

A recent contention that has surfaced among some Christians, in an effort to justify handclapping in worship to God, is the notion that the term in Romans 15:11 translated “laud” in both the KJV and NKJV includes the idea of handclapping. Never mind the fact that students of the Bible, scholars, and faithful Christians have been pouring over the text of the New Testament for nearly 2,000 years, with Romans 15:11 having been read and studied by thousands of individuals for centuries; and yet, through all those years, how many concluded that handclapping could be found in the verse? To ask is to answer. Even as proponents of instrumental music have imagined that psallo in Ephesians 5:19 includes a manmade, mechanical contraption, only recently has someone invented the novel notion that “laud” in Romans 15:11 includes handclapping.
Let’s be honest: can there be any doubt that someone had to be looking for a place in the New Testament to impose his bias on the text? Even as a person could read Ephesians 5:19 over and over and over for the rest of his/her life and never see any instrumental music in that verse, even so, reading Romans 15:11 would never lead an unprejudiced person to conclude that God encourages or endorses handclapping in worship. The heart that approaches God’s Word with an agenda—a predisposition to find what he or she wants to find—is by biblical definition a wicked heart (Job 13:7; Jeremiah 23:16; Isaiah 8:20). To then compound that sin by teaching and promotingthe concocted viewpoint is inexcusable and unconscionable. Corrupting the pure worship of the Almighty is deadly (Leviticus 10:1-3). Think of the innocent souls endangered by the wolves that advance their wild, unsubstantiated theories. Tragic. Sad, indeed.
The English term “laud” comes from the Latin word laudare (present active infinitive of laudō) meaning “to praise, commend, extol, honor, compliment.” This action is achieved orally with words. It has nothing to do with clapping. On the other hand, the English term “applaud” comes from the Latin word applaudere (from plaudō/plaudere), meaning “to strike, beat, clap.” Hence, “applaud” is defined as “to clap the hands (hit the palms of the hands together) as an expression of approval, appreciation, acclamation, etc.” (Lewis & Short, 1879). Conclusion: “laud” and “applaud” are separate and distinct Latin terms. They are not synonyms. (Interestingly, in Romans 15:11, Jerome’s Latin Vulgate had magnificate, to “magnify” or “extol”—et iterum laudate omnes gentes Dominum et magnificate eum omnes populi).
Of course, the Holy Spirit did not give us God’s Word in English or Latin. So we must go to the original languages to make certain we are grasping God’s intended meanings. The Greek term translated “laud Him” (NKJV) in Romans 15:11 is epainesatosan from epaineo meaning “to praise or commend.” The term occurs only six times in the New Testament, the other uses being Luke 16:8 and 1 Corinthians 11:2,17, and twice in vs. 22 (Moulton, et al., 1978, p. 351). In Luke, the master “commended” the unjust steward because he had acted shrewdly. In 1 Corinthians 11, the term is used to denote the “praise” (or lack of it) that Paul expressed toward the Corinthians—so translated all four times. Hence, in all six occurrences of the word, the idea of clapping is completely absent. Compare the following 20 English translations on Romans 15:11, where the word in question is indicated in bold type and underlined:
“Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people” (KJV).
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!” (NKJV).
“Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; And let all the peoples praise him” (ASV).
“Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him” (NASB).
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples” (NIV).
“Praise the Lord, all Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him” (RSV).
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him” (ESV).
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him” (NAB).
“Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and magnify him, all ye people” (Douay-Rheims).
“All Gentiles, praise the Lord; let all peoples praise him” (NEB).
“Praise the Lord, all you heathen, and let all nations sing his praises” (Goodspeed).
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the nations of the world do him honour” (Knox).
“All you nations, praise the Lord, and all the people should praise Him” (Beck).
“Let all the pagans praise the Lord, let all the peoples sing his praises” (Jerusalem Bible).
“Praise the Lord, all Gentiles; praise him, all peoples!” (TEV).
“Extol the Lord, all Gentiles, let all the peoples praise him” (Moffatt).
“Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles, and let all the nations extol Him” (Weymouth).
“Praise Adonai, all Gentiles! Let all peoples praise him!” (Jewish N.T.).
“Praise the Lord, all ye gentiles; and let all the people praise him” (Phillips).
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; and sing his praises, all you peoples” (Confraternity).
No known English translation translates Romans 15:11 with the word “clap.” Those who advocate such a meaning apparently think they know more about the original language than the hundreds of Greek scholars who produced our English translations.
Since Romans 15:11 is actually a quotation of Psalm 117:1, one must examine the underlying Hebrew term. That word is shahvach, which occurs eight times (in the Piel) in the Old Testament (Wigram, 1980, p. 1225). The Hebrew authorities (Davidson, 1848, p. 697; Gesenius, 1847, pp. 800-801; Holladay, 1971, p. 358; Brown, et al., 1906, p. 986) identify three meanings:
to soothe, calm, quiet, hush, or still, as in Psalm 89:10 (still the waves) and Proverbs 29:11 (calm one’s anger);
to pronounce happy, commend, or congratulate, as in Ecclesiastes 4:2;
to praise, laud, glorify, as in Psalm 63:4, 117:1, 145:4, 147:12, and  Ecclesiastes 8:15.
It is meaning #3 that underlies the quotation of Psalm 117:1 in Romans 15:11. Like its Greek counterpart, it bears no connection to the meaning “clap.” The Hebrew language had other words for clapping (e.g., tahka—Nahum 3:19; sahphak—Job 27:23; nahcah—2 Kings 11:12; mahchah—Psalm 98:8).
Since the Bible is its own best interpreter, simply turn to Psalm 63:3 where the term is translated “shall praise.” The verse says, “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.” Would those who insist that the word means “clap” contend that lips clap? That would be an interesting thing to see.
May God help us to be content with simple New Testament worship (John 4:23-24). May we seek to have God’s permission (authority) for everything we do in worship (Colossians 3:17). May we refrain from fleshly expressions that have their origin in human will (Colossians 2:23), human impulse (2 Samuel 6:6), and human pride (2 Chronicles 26:16). May we worship God—not to please ourselves—but to please Him (Galatians 1:10).


Brown, Francis, S.R. Driver, and Charles B. Briggs (1906), A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2004 reprint).
Davidson, Benjamin (1848), The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1970 reprint).
Gesenius, William (1847), Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979 reprint).
Holladay, William (1971), A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Lewis, Charlton T. and Charles Short (1879), A Latin Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
Moulton, W.F., A.S. Geden, and H.K. Moulton (1978), A Concordance to the Greek Testament (Edinburgh: T.&T. Clark), fifth edition.
Wigram, George V. (1980 reprint), The Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Do We Die to Sin Before Baptism or In Baptism? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Do We Die to Sin Before Baptism or In Baptism?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Do we die to sin before baptism or in baptism?


Sometimes this question is asked in an effort to discount the divinely ordained necessity of baptism for the remission of sins. The claim is made that if a person “dies to sin” before baptism, then that person is saved before baptism since “he who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:7). In truth, however, the expression found in Romans 6:6 (“our old man was crucified”) refers to the biblical doctrine of repentance—the “change of mind” that must occur within a person prior to baptism. Another metaphor used in Scripture to refer to the same change is seen in Hebrews 10:22 in the phrase “having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.” Since one cannot literally sprinkle anything on one’s heart/mind, this is a figurative expression that refers to a person changing his attitude about sin—cleansing his mind concerning the desire to practice sin. Hence, a person must “die to sin” in the sense that he has changed his thinking about sin and disobedience, making a mental commitment to cease sin. He dies to the love and practice of sin. As Paul explained to the Galatians: “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).
Observe, however, that while a person dies to sin at that moment in his own mind, he is not forgiven of sin by God at that point. Forgiveness occurs in the mind of Godwhen the penitent believer allows himself to be lowered into the watery grave of baptism. That is the moment we contact the blood of Christ which was shed in Christ’s death. Hence, Romans 6:3-4 explains that when we are baptized in water, we are baptized into Christ’s death—the contact point for forgiveness. Being “buried with Him through baptism into death” is the point at which we are cleansed of sin, thus enabling us to “walk in newness of life.” According to the sequence stipulated in the passage, we cannot have “newness of life” until after we come up out of the waters of baptism. While many within Christendom have come to reject the role of water in God’s scheme of redemption, the New Testament repeatedly affirms it (e.g., John 3:5,23; Acts 8:36,38-39; 10:47; Hebrews 10:22; 1 Peter 3:20-21). [NOTE: For a comparison of Romans 6 to the parallel teaching of Colossians 2 and 3, see: http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1232&topic=379.]

Do the "Household Baptisms" Justify Infant Baptism? by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.


Do the "Household Baptisms" Justify Infant Baptism?

by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

On occasion, advocates of infant baptism appeal to Acts 10, Acts 16, and 1 Corinthians 1 for proof that infant baptism is scriptural. Acts 10:24-48 relates the account of Cornelius and his “relatives and close friends” hearing the Gospel and being baptized. Acts 16 includes the accounts of two sets of baptisms: (1) the baptism of the members of Lydia’s family (verse 15); and (2) the baptism of the Philippian jailer and “all his family” (verse 33). Paul revealed that he baptized members of the household of Stephanas (1 Corinthians 1:16). These are the so-called “household baptisms” (see Coffman, 1977, p. 320; Mare, 1984, pp. 192-193). Proponents of infant baptism assume that there were children in Cornelius’ house, Lydia’s family, the jailer’s house, and Stephanas’ house, and that the infants were baptized. Since there is no mention of infants in any of these passages, those who use these passages to justify infant baptism base their claims upon two assumptions: (1) infants were present in the households; and (2) the contexts of Acts 10 and 16 allow for the baptism of infants as part of “household baptisms.”
In each example of “household baptism,” the people who were baptized were ones who had been taught what they needed to do in order to receive salvation (Acts 10:34-43; 16:14, 32; 1 Corinthians 1:16-18; 16:15-16). They were the people who could hear and understand the Word of God (Acts 10:44), believe (10:31-33), and devote themselves to the ministry of the saints (1 Corinthians 16:15). The absence of the noun “belief,” and the verb “believe,” in some of the conversion accounts, does not necessarily imply that the ones who were baptized did not, or could not, believe. Also, the context of the household conversions does not demand that any infants were baptized. Yet, some insist that infants must have been present in the “households,” and that the infants must have been baptized.
Lydia did not live in Philippi (she was from Thyatira, on the other side of the Aegean Sea). Since she was traveling, she probably did not bring her children with her, if she had any. Because oikos seems to denote “property” in this instance, it was probably Lydia’s servants who were baptized (Lydia certainly was wealthy enough to have servants; see Jackson, 2000, pp. 201-02; Lenski, 1944, p. 660). Notice also that, in the case of Lydia’s conversion, the evangelists spoke to a group of women who had “come together,” indicating that the members of Lydia’s household could have been found within that group of women (the very group who was praying and who heard Paul’s message; see Coffman, 1977, p. 313; Lenski, 1944, p. 659).
Some allege that Lydia’s family members were baptized, not because they believed, but only because they were in Lydia’s family, while Lydia herself did believe (e.g., Barnes, 1972, p. 241). This allegation rests on the fact that Acts 16:14-15 denotes Lydia’s belief, but does not specifically reveal that her family believed. The Bible clearly teaches, however, that belief must precede baptism (see Mark 16:16; Acts 8:37; Romans 10:10-11; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Ephesians 1:21), and that a sinner cannot be forgiven of sin based on the faith of another (Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:12; 1 Peter 2:7; 4:5; 1 John 3:23).
Furthermore, Acts 16:34 (part of the account of a “household baptism”) reports that the Philippian jailer’s family, at the time of the “household baptism,” was made up entirely of “believers” (excluding infants), and the accounts of both Cornelius’ and the jailer’s conversions specifically indicate that candidates for baptism were those who had “heard the word” (Acts 10:44,47). When inspired writers wrote about “hearing” the Word of God, “hearing” often denoted not only the recognition of audible sounds, of which infants are capable, but also understanding the message, of which infants are incapable (see Deuteronomy 5:1; Romans 10:17; Job 13:17; Luke 14:35). The contexts of Acts 10 and Acts 16 imply that meaning of the verb “hear” (akouo).
Some base their claim that infants of the jailer’s household were baptized, upon the assumption that there would not have been enough water in a jail to immerse adults. Thus, they say, sprinkling was the mode of baptism, which would have been appropriate for infant baptism. However, Acts 16 suggests that Paul and Silas were not in the jail at the time of the major part of the teaching and the baptism, because they had been “brought out”—likely out of the prison itself—and taken to a place where the prisoners’ stripes could be washed. It was at this place that the baptisms took place, so it is an imposition on the text to imply that Paul and Silas did not have access to enough water for immersion.
There are other examples of household conversions, whose contexts attest to the fact that, when “households” of people were baptized, infants were not baptized. When the inspired writers mentioned the so-called “household baptisms,” they said that all believers in the households were baptized. To assert otherwise is to put an unnecessary strain on the text, and to teach that which contradicts unambiguous, definitive Bible teaching (see Mark 16:16; Acts 8:37-38; Romans 10:10-11).


Barnes, Albert (1972 reprint), Notes on the New Testament: Acts (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Coffman, James Burton (1977), Commentary on Acts (Abilene, TX: ACU Press).
Jackson, Wayne (2000), The Acts of the Apostles: From Jerusalem to Rome(Stockton, CA: Courier Publications).
Lenski, Robert C.H. (1944), The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles(Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Mare, W. Harold (1984), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Corinthians, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

"Do All in the Name of the Lord" by Trevor Bowen


"Do All in the Name of the Lord" 


From this study, we will establish how the Bible teaches us to determine what God expects us to do and not to do, what is right and wrong.  The Biblical conclusion we will reach should sound appealing to our common sense.  From this study, we will find that any one of the following things will teach us that something is authorized, or right:
  1. A direct command from God to New Teatament Christians
  2. An  New Testament example approved in the Scriptures
  3. A Necessary Inference formed from Bible premises
This should seem sensible because it is how we justify actions at work, to our parents, to the law, or any other authoritative body.  But before we continue, let's examine exactly what is mean by the word 'authority' and other related terms.

What is "Authority?"

"What is really meant by 'authority', and 'in the name of the Lord'?"  These words and phrases are similar to terms used by lawyers and those that enforce the law.  If one has ' Bible authority' for some action, then he or she has Biblically-based justification for that action.  Similar to lawyers, we must study God's law to determine if we can justify everything that we do.  During an arrest, policemen may shout, "... in the name of the law!"  When they say this, they express that they are agents operating by the authority of the law.  However, they cannot bust through any door they wish, but only when they have this authority (search warrant, etc.).  Similarly, God instructs us to not act without His authority, which likewise limits our actions to those that are 'in the name of the Lord', or those done by the 'authority' of the Lord. 
Therefore, these words have become synonymous with the process of establishing what is right and wrong.  This idea is expressed in Colossians 3:17, and it is the verse from which the above phrase is taken.  It reads:
"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
So, how do we actually go about establishing a method for determining Biblical authority? 
It is often said that the Bible is its own best commentary. With this in mind, let us look through the pages of the Bible to determine how we can use it to establish right from wrong.  This may seem at first like circular reasoning, establishing a Biblically based way of determining Bible truths; however, there must be some beginning point to learning how to study the Bible.  Therefore, initially equipped with our common sense, we examine Biblical examples of Jesus and His apostles using Scripture.  Surely Jesus and His apostles knew how to use the Bible.  Moreover, from their examples, we should be able to determine a clear means of establishing Biblical authority. It is recommended that one have first studied the difference between the Old and New Testaments, since God binds only the New Testament upon us today.  This distinction will be assumed as given in the following Bible study.

Outline of Study

  1. Review: Must not act beyond our limits that God has authorized.
    1. Do not add to His Word or take away (Deuteronomy 4:2)
    2. Turn not to "right hand or to left" (Joshua 1:7)
    3. People transgressed by teaching doctrines of men as commandments of God (Matthew 15:3,9)
    4. People are accursed by God if teach anything different than gospel (Galatians 1:8,9)
    5. We are instructed to speak only as the oracles of God speak (I Peter 4:11)
    6. It is transgression to go beyond doctrine of Christ (II John 1:99)
    7. Do not add to His Word or take away (Revelation 22:18-19)
  2. Must possess attitudes appropriate for studying God's Holy Word
    1. Must put God's will before ours
      1. Desperately want truth (Matthew 5:67:7-11)
      2. This requires making conclusions from God's Word, not going to God's Word to support our conclusions
    2. We may be condemned already by our attitude.
      1. Let this never be said of us.
        1. Without love of truth (II Thessalonians 2:8-12)
        2. Forming conviction without investigation (Proverbs 18:13)
        3. Hardened heart, unable to recognize truth (Matthew 13:14-15)
      2. The Remedy - Sincere love of truth
        1. Study God's Word (II Timothy 2:15)
        2. Pray (James 1:5,25)
  3. Must understand that God's Word is written in human language.
    1. It speaks to us directly
    2. It uses examples to teach
    3. It provides bits of information from which we must infer conclusions
    4. It utilizes figures of speech
      1. Metaphor � Matthew 26:28Luke 13:32John 6:48-5810:9,1111:25
      2. Simile � Psalm 42:122:14,15
      3. Hyperbole � Psalm 22:6Matthew 5:41
    5. It uses figurative language - always denoted by context ("vision", "signified", etc.)
      1. Symbolism � Malachi 3:1Matthew 11:10-14Revelation 1:1
      2. Parables � Matthew 13:14-1734-35
  4. Must use the Bible as Christ did.
    1. As defense to temptation - Matthew 4:4-11
      1. Based on Example � compare v.4 to Deuteronomy 8:3
      2. Based on Necessary Inference � compare v.7 to Deuteronomy 6:16
      3. Based on Direct Command � compare v.10 to Deuteronomy 6:13
    2. General fulfillment of prophecy � Matthew 15:7-9
    3. Necessary Inference � John 10:34-36
    4. Necessary Inference � Matthew 19:4-6
    5. Specific fulfillment of prophecy � Matthew 21:42-46
    6. Necessary Inference � Matthew 22:23-33 and Luke 20:27-40
      1. Argument rested on tense of verb: "AM" instead of "WAS"
    7. Necessary Inference � Matthew 22:4-6
  5. Must use the Bible as the Apostles did.
    1. Instruction from prophecy � Acts 1:16-25
    2. Specific fulfillment of prophecy � Acts 2:14-21
    3. Necessary Inference � Acts 2:25-36
    4. Necessary Inference � Galatians 3:16
    5. Necessary Inference � Hebrews 7:1-19
    6. Direct Instruction � Hebrews 8:7-13
    7. Approved examples � Hebrews 11:4-12:1
  6. Must follow the examples of Jesus and the Apostles.
    1. Jesus � I Peter 2:21-24
    2. Apostles � Philippians 3:174:9II Thessalonians 3:7-9
  7. Must establish authority as the examples found in the best Bible commentary � the Bible.
    1. Direct Instruction or Commandment
    2. Approved Examples
    3. Necessary Inference
    4. Next:  General vs. Specific


    The best way to learn how to study and use the Bible is to examine how Jesus and His apostles used it.  From this, we discover that for something to be authorized, we must have either a direct instruction, approved example, or a necessary inference found in the New Testament.  Elsewhere, we also learned that it is essential to be careful that we do not stray from God's pattern.  Therefore, let us be diligent in study that we may be able to stand approved before God.  Having learned something of how to study from God's Word and to establish right from wrong, let us now complete this study by investigating the difference between general and specific authority.  Without being aware of this basic concept, we will be unable to proceed very far into a deeper knowledge of God's word.  The following study will be key in resolving many issues about the church and our personal lives that would have otherwise been unanswerable.
    Trevor Bowen

    Easter 2012 – How Much Do You Love HIM? by Ben Fronczek


    Easter 2012 How Much Do You Love HIM?
    Easter 2012  – How Much Do You Love HIM?                                              
    To begin with I just want you to know that this lesson will not be a traditional Easter sermon. I have to tell you that after reading a new book last month, my prayers life as well as how I view Christianity has changed a bit. Whether we realizes it or not, because we live in this great country as Christians, we are richly blessed. But I’ve also learned that most of us take our freedom of religion for granted and many don’t even see it as all that important. Most of us are so sheltered in this country, that we do not know what’s going on in other Christian circles around the world.
    For example, for many in this country Easter is one of those few days a year they go to church. It’s a holiday to buy a new dress and eat Easter goodies go to church and have a nice meal afterwards. But that’s not so for many other Christians around this planet.
    To begin with I have to apologize for the graphic nature of this lesson today. I can’t be helped. It may not be easy to hear but I have a reason for presenting it today. I hope that it will change some of your perspectives on how you treat others, even those who trouble you. I hope that it will change your prayers life. I hope that give you a renewed feeling of love and hope that we should have as a Christian. And I hope that each of you will take one of these books and read it to open your eyes to what’s going on around the world.
    This book was written by Richard Wurmbrand, who was at first was a non-believer but eventually became a minister who would heroically serve Jesus as the communism took control of his country, Romania.  Many in this generation know little about Communism, Communistic countries, what they believe, and how severely they can oppress a nation. So few of us do not know what is happening to our brothers and sister in Christ who live in communistic countries even today. That’s what this book is all about. The name of the book is Tortured for Christ. But don’t be deceived by the name. The book contains so much more than stories about torture.
    When we think of Christian martyrs many of us think of those Christians that were killed by the Romans in the first two or three centuries after Christ. But did you know that today around the world over 160,000 Christian are tortured and killed in an average each year because of their faith Christ? More Christians have been martyred in the past 100 years than all of the 1900 years prior. Did you know that there are over 50 countries today that persecute Christian believers. N. Korea is the worst, Saudi Arabia, holds the 2nd spot,  then Iran, and all the other Muslim countries. And then there are all the atheistic, communist countries: China, Vietnam, many many others. And then the severe persecution that takes place in India, and still in Russia. I would like to show you a new report and then a music video. I warn you, if you can’t watch please listen.
    IMPORTANT: Please click on and Watch Why the west don’t hear about Christian Persecution video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rb464pTKjOs&feature=related
    Also please click on and watch  We are Christians Just the Same video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQo7jGOJmt4
    This is hard to watch. It is hard for me to believe that this is actually taking place. But there are some things that these videos are not showing that are found in this book. I believe these things are important for you to know and so I have posted the following excerpts from the book:
    #1. Despite the horror we seen in the broadcasts, in these countries where there is great persecution, Christianity is spreading like wild fire. It doesn’t matter how much they are beat and abused, these people are spiritually starving to death. They need to know more about God and desire to worship Him and Jesus. And they also feel compelled to share the good news, even if it means torture. I have read story after story where people are just so grateful, they sing and dance after learning about Jesus and what He has done for them.
    “For me, to preach the gospel to the Russians is heaven on earth. I have preached the gospel to men of many nations, but I have never seen a people drink in the gospel like the Russians. They have such thirsty souls.
    An Orthodox priest, a friend of mine, telephoned me and told me that a Russian officer had come to him to confess. My friend did not know Russian. However, knowing that I speak Russian, he had given him my address. The next day this man came to see me. He longed for God, but he had never seen a Bible. He had no religious education and never attended reli­gious services (churches in Russia then were very scarce). He loved God without the slightest knowledge of Him.
    I read to him the Sermon on the Mount and the parables of Jesus. After hearing them, he danced around the room in rapturous joy proclaiming, “What a wonderful beauty! How could I live without knowing this Christ!” It was the first time that I saw someone so joyful in Christ.
    Then I made a mistake. I read to him the passion and cru­cifixion of Christ, without having prepared him for this. He had not expected it and, when he heard how Christ was beat­en, how He was crucified and that in the end He died, he fell into an armchair and began to weep bitterly. He had believed in a Savior and now his Savior was dead!
    I looked at him and was ashamed. I had called myself a Christian, a pastor, and a teacher of others, but I had never shared the sufferings of Christ as this Russian officer now shared them. Looking at him, it was like seeing Mary Magdalene weeping at the foot of the cross, faithfully weeping when Jesus was a corpse in the tomb.
    Then I read to him the story of the resurrection and watched his expression change. He had not known that his Savior arose from the tomb. When he heard this wonderful news, he beat his knees and swore—using very dirty, but very “holy” profan­ity. This was his crude manner of speech. Again he rejoiced, shouting for joy, “He is alive! He is alive!” He danced around the room once more, overwhelmed with happiness!”  (Tortured for Christ Pg 17-18)
    #2. These videos don’t show you how these people feel toward their persecutors. The following excerpt shed som light on what was going on in their heart.
    “When one Christian was sentenced to death, he was al­lowed to see his wife before being executed. His last words to his wife were, “You must know that I die loving those who kill me. They don’t know what they do and my last request of you is to love them, too. Don’t have bitterness in your heart be­cause they killed your beloved one. We will meet in heaven.” These words impressed the officer of the secret police who attended the discussion between the two. He later told me the story in prison where he had been sent for becoming a Christian.”
    “I have seen Christians in Communist prisons with fifty pounds of chains on their feet, tortured with red-hot iron pok­ers, in whose throats spoonfuls of salt had been forced, being kept afterward without water, starv­ing, whipped, suffering from cold —and praying with fervor for the Communists. This is humanly in­explicable! It is the love of Christ, which was poured out in our hearts.
    Later, the Communists who had tortured us were sent to prison, too. Under communism, Communists, and even Communist rulers, are put in prison almost as often as their adversaries. Now the tortured and the torturer were in the same cell. And while the non-Christians showed hatred toward their former inquisi­tors and beat them, Christians took their defense, even at the risk of
    being beaten themselves and accused of being accomplices with communism. I have seen Christians give away their last slice of bread (we were given one slice a week) and the medi­cine that could save their lives to a sick Communist torturer, who was now a fellow prisoner.” (Tortured for Christ pages 43 & 55)
    #3. These Videos don’t show the joy these Christian felt even while in prison and why the felt it.
    “When I look back on my fourteen years in prison, it was occa­sionally a very happy time. Other prisoners and even the guards very often wondered at how happy Christians could be under the most terrible circumstances. We could not be pre­vented from singing, although we were beaten for this. I imag­ine that nightingales, too, would sing, even if they knew that after finishing they would be killed for it. Christians in prison danced for joy. How could they be so happy under such tragic conditions?”
    Around me were “Jobs”—some much more afflicted than Job had been. But I knew the end of Job’s story, how he re­ceived twice as much as he had before. I had around me men like Lazarus the beggar, hungry and covered with boils. But I knew that angels would take these men to the bosom of Abraham. I saw them as they will be in the future. I saw in the shabby, dirty, weak martyr near me the splendidly crowned saint of tomorrow.
    But looking at men like this—not as they are, but as they will be—I could also see in our persecutors a Saul of Tarsus—a future apostle Paul. And some have already become so. Many officers of the secret police to whom we witnessed became Christians and were happy to later suffer in prison for having found our Christ. Although we were whipped, as Paul was, in our jailers we saw the potential of the jailer in Philippi who became a convert. We dreamed that soon they would ask, “What must I do to be saved?” In those who mocked the Christians who were tied to crosses and smeared with excrement, we saw the crowd of Golgotha who were soon to beat their breasts in fear of having sinned.
    It was in prison that we found the hope of salvation for the Communists. It was there that we developed a sense of respon­sibility toward them. It was in being tortured by them that we learned to love them.
    A great part of my family was murdered. It was in my own house that their murderer was converted. It was also the most suitable place. So in Communist prisons the idea of a Chris­tian mission to the Communists was born.” (Tortured for Christ pages 57-58)
    Now why would I present such a lesson on Easter Sunday? For a few reasons:
    #1. I wanted to make you aware of what’s going on around the world in other Christian circle. I want you to see how important and precious Jesus is to other people who are being persecuted. And I hope that their faith and courage will strengthen your faith and encourage you as well.
    #2. I wanted you to see that if these people can love their enemies who are abusing and torturing them, we should be able to love those who are un-lovable around us and pray for them. I believe that’s what Jesus wants.
    In His Sermon on the Mt. Jesus said, 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?” Mt. 5:43-46
    On the cross just after the Roman beat Him bloody and nailed him to those wooden beans He look up to heaven and prayed,  “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  Luke 23:34
    #3. I also want you have the same hope that they have. Standing at deaths door these people have one thing to look forward to; death being raised again like Jesus Himself. Easter Sunday was never meant to be a day dedicated to pretty dresses, colored Easter eggs, and such. For the Christian, it is a day of VICTORY.
    Christ Himself was beat, whipped and tortured, and then put to death. He told His disciples even then that if people will do that to Him, that we should expect the same. The victory comes into play when Jesus rose from the dead and conquered death itself, and now lives in Heaven and shows that it will be the same for us if we remain faithful.
    Those who do not give in and deny Christ have over the years been strengthened and encouraged knowing that their suffering as bad as it is, that suffering will never compared to the Glory and magnificent home in heaven that Jesus has waiting for us.
    Listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote concerning this. He also knew what it was like to be persecuted for his faith in Jesus.  Read 2 Cor. 4:16-18 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
    I also like what he wrote to the Ephesian church in 1:18-20 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,”   This is the hope that we should have in Jesus. A resurrection like Jesus’ and unknown powers given to us by God Himself.
    So, can we do anything for these people, our brothers and sisters who are suffers so much for their faith. Yes there are some things we can do. I would like you to read this book to learn more about this.
    One thing they ask for more than anything else is our prayers. To pray for them. To pray for their families who are without mom’s and dads. To pray for their persecutors, that they would have a change of heart and would also come to know Christ. And to pray that God’s word would continue to courageously spread. This day I challenge you to pray for them daily
    I would like to close by playing one more music video that communicate this same request.   Please click on and Watch Say a prayer for mehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oJgZmmzqWk
    For a free copy of the book Torture for Christ or for More information on how to help go to http://www.persecution.com/
    For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566