"THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY" The Scriptures Inspired Of God (3:14-17) by Mark Copeland


The Scriptures Inspired Of God (3:14-17)


1. As Paul prepared the Ephesian elders for the time when he would be
   a. He commended them to the word of God's grace - cf. Ac 20:29-32a
   b. Which was able to build them up, and give them their inheritance
      - Ac 20:32b

2. With Timothy, Paul did the same when writing his last letter...
   a. He admonished Timothy to continue in the things he had learned
      - 2Ti 3:14
   b. He first referenced the Holy Scriptures known since his childhood
      - 2Ti 3:15
      1) When Timothy was a child, the only scriptures available was the
         Old Testament
      2) So Paul clearly had the Old Testament scriptures in view
   c. He then spoke of the value of "all Scripture" - 2Ti 3:16-17
      1) That which was inspired of God
      2) That which had the ability to make the man of God "complete"

[If both the Ephesian elders and Timothy needed the word of God after
Paul's departure, much more do we today!  To fully appreciate why,
consider what our text (2Ti 3:14-17) reveals about...]


      1. The OT makes one "wise for salvation through faith which is in
         Christ Jesus" - 2Ti 3:15
      2. How?  The OT provides information regarding:
         a. The fall of man and the rise of sin
         b. The background and development of God's scheme of redemption
         c. Messianic prophecies which describe what to expect when He
      3. One cannot hope to fully understand such books of the New
         Testament like:
         a. Hebrews, without a knowledge of the Levitical priesthood
         b. Revelation, without a familiarity of OT prophecy and
            apocalyptic literature
      -- If one desires to be wise concerning their salvation, study the
         Old Testament!

      1. Note carefully what Paul wrote in Ro 15:3-4
         a. He appealed to a passage in the OT
         b. The things "written before" (i.e., the OT) were "written for
            our learning"
         c. The OT was written and preserved especially for the
            Christians' benefit!
         d. The OT provides "patience and comfort", that we "might have
      2. How?  The OT provides a record of God's faithfulness, how He
         kept His promises:
         a. To Abraham and the nation of Israel
         b. To judge the wicked and avenge the righteous
         c. To forgive the penitent, and protect the humble
      -- As we read this history of God's dealings with Israel, it gives
         us hope that God will keep His promises to us!

      1. Consider what Paul wrote in 1Co 10:11
         a. He had just reviewed the fall of Israel in the wilderness
            - 1Co 10:1-10
         b. The events described may have happened to Israel
         c. "They were written for our admonition, upon whom the end of
            the ages has come"
         d. The OT was written and preserved especially for the benefit
            of Christians!
      2. Thus the NT writers often appealed to the OT to admonish
         a. As did Paul, writing to the Corinthians
         b. As did the writer of Hebrews, exhorting Christians to remain
            steadfast - He 3:12-19
         c. As did James, encouraging Christians to be patient in their
            suffering - Jm 5:7-11
         d. As did Peter, warning of false teachers and scoffers - 2 Pe  2:3
      -- As we read the Old Testament, we should learn from what
         happened to Israel!

[Though we do not live under the Old Covenant, the Old Testament is of
great value to the Christian.  Together with all Scripture from God, it
provides every thing we need.  Indeed, Paul reveals...]


      1. All Scripture is "given by the inspiration of God" (NKJV)
         - 2Ti 3:16
         a. Literally, "God breathed" (theopneustos)
         b. Cf. "All Scripture is breathed out by God" (ESV)
      2. "The idea of 'breathing upon, or breathing into the soul,' is
         that which the word naturally conveys." - Barnes
      3. The writers of Scripture were moved along by the Spirit of God
         - cf. 2Pe 1:21
      4. The Spirit gave them their very words (i.e., verbal and plenary
         inspiration) - cf. 1Co 2:13
      -- The Scriptures are not the words or thoughts of mere men, but
         of Spirit-guided men who spoke and wrote the very Word of God!
         - cf. Jn 16:13; 1Co 14:37; 1Th 2:13

      1. For doctrine - 2Ti 3:16
         a. Teaching, instruction - Thayer
         b. Regarding all that God wants us to know regarding Himself
            and His will for us
      2. For reproof - 2Ti 3:16
         a. Proof, conviction - Strong
         b. Convicting those in error of their wrong, showing them the
            need to change
      3. For correction - 2Ti 3:16
         a. Correction, improvement of life or character - Thayer
         b. "the Scriptures are a powerful means of reformation, or of
            putting men into the proper condition in regard to morals."
            - Barnes
      4. For instruction in righteousness - 2Ti 3:16
         a. "Instruction in regard to the principles of justice, or what
            is right." - Barnes
         b. "Man needs not only to be made acquainted with truth, to be
            convinced of his error, and to be reformed; but he needs to
            be taught what is right, or what is required of him, in
            order that he may lead a holy life." - ibid.
      -- The Scriptures are truly "profitable" (helpful, advantageous),
         as extolled by David - cf. Ps 19:7-11

      1. Thoroughly equipped for every good work - 2Ti 3:17
         a. That is, completely furnished to do what is expected of him
         b. Note well:  equipped for every good work; not some, but all
            that God considers a good work
      2. Regarding life and godliness - cf. 2Pe 1:3
         a. We have been given "all things that pertain to life and
         b. Not 'some' things, but 'all' that we need for spiritual life
            and godly living
      3. Having been given once for all - cf. Jude 3
         a. The faith has been delivered "once for all" to the saints
         b. There is no need for 'modern day revelations', just as there
            is no more need of sacrifices for sins - cf. He 9:26-28;
            1Pe 3:18
      -- The inspired Scriptures alone are more than adequate to make
         the man of God "complete" (competent, ESV), to do everything
         God desires of Him for salvation


1. Dear friends and brethren, do we truly desire to...
   a. Be wise concerning the salvation by faith in Christ?
   b. Have hope in the promises of God?
   c. Learn from the mistakes of those in the past?
   d. Be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work?

2. Then take up the admonition of Paul to both the elders and the young
   a. Continue in the things learned from the Holy Scriptures!
   b. Let the inspired Scriptures be your guide in life through its
      doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness!

3. Give yourself to diligent study of the Word of God, which is...
   a. "able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in
      Christ Jesus"
   b. "able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those
      who are sanctified"

   "For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when
   you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed
   it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God,
   which also effectively works in you who believe.'  (1Th 2:13)

Could Paul have written the same about us...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Rob Bell and Eternal Hell by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Rob Bell and Eternal Hell

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

For several years, Rob Bell, the minister of the Mars Hill Bible Church has been mulling over the idea of hell. In his latest book, Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, Bell contends that the “traditional” view of hell, in which those who do not believe in Christ are lost, is ill-conceived and needs re-working. Jon Meacham, column writer for TIME magazine, noted that Rob Bell “suggests that the redemptive work of Jesus may be universal—meaning that, as his book’s subtitle puts it, ‘every person who ever lived’ could have a place in heaven, whatever that turns out to be” (2011). In essence, Rob Bell is little more than a recent advocate of a modified version of universalism.
The trend to minimize hell in our emotionally-driven, sentimental society is nothing new. Behind this teaching is the idea that love and eternal punishment are incompatible and mutually exclusive. The atheistic community has repeatedly challenged belief in the God of the Bible, due to the alleged moral dilemma presented by a God of love and eternal punishment (Butt, 2010, pp. 217-227).
A critical analysis of the situation brings to light a number of truths. First, it is clear that the Bible teaches that hell is a reality and will be eternal (Matthew 25:46, see Lyons and Butt, 2005a). Second, the concept of hell has been shown to be in perfect harmony with the concepts of morality and justice (Lyons and Butt, 2005b). Third, the erroneous teachings of universalism and the limited duration of hell are nothing new, and advocates of these beliefs will most likely continue to present themselves (see Colley, 2007; Butt, 2004; Miller, 2003).
The apostle Peter explained that one responsibility given to Christians is that they ought always to be ready to give a defense of their beliefs (1 Peter 3:15). One of those beliefs that is continually challenged is the idea of an eternal hell to which those who have not obeyed God will be consigned forever. Let us all be aware of these challenges to the Bible’s teachings and prepare ourselves to respond to them, holding fast to the faithful Word of God.


Butt, Kyle (2004), “The Reality of Eternal Hell,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&art2004icle=819.
Butt, Kyle (2010), A Christians Guide to Refuting Modern Atheism (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Colley, Caleb (2007), “Controversy About Hell Continues,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=2262.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2005a), “The Eternality of Hell, Part 1,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1474.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2005b), “The Eternality of Hell, Part 2,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1475.
Meacham, Jon (2011), “Is Hell Dead?” TIME, April 14, http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2065080,00.html?xid=feed-yahoo-full-mostpopular.
Miller, Dave (2003), “Who Believes in Hell Anymore?” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1204.

Richland Hills & Instrumental Music by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Richland Hills & Instrumental Music

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Richland Hills & Instrumental Music
3,060k (6 min 50 seconds
on a 56K modem)

Revelation and the Old Testament by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Revelation and the Old Testament

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Can you imagine what life without the Old Testament would be like for a Christian? Although the commands in the New Testament still could be obeyed without the Old Testament, our knowledge would be incomplete. We would be unable to appreciate fully the passages in the New Testament that speak of men and women such as Adam, Eve, Abraham, and Sarah, as well as events such as the Flood and the Exodus from Egypt. Our understanding of Jesus as the prophesied Messiah and the Great High Priest would be limited in the absence of books like Psalms, Isaiah, and Leviticus. The simple fact is, although we are under the new law today (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 8:7-13), God still expects us to be educated in the Old Testament Scriptures. The apostle Paul wrote, “Whatever things were written before were written for our learning that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). One of the main reasons we need to read and study the Old Testament is so we might have a better knowledge of the New. This especially is true when studying one of the most misunderstood books in the world—the book of Revelation.
Of the 404 verses in the book of Revelation, seemingly 278 of them make some allusion to the Old Testament. That is 68.8% of the verses! And some of these verses contain two, or even three, allusions to the Old Testament. The book of Revelation does not tell whence these allusions came. However, by a careful study of the Bible, we can understand that most of them come from the prophetic books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah. Thus, it would be good to have some knowledge of the Old Testament before studying the book of Revelation. For example, before reading the apostle John’s vision of the seven golden lampstands in Revelation 1, a student should realize that such language had been used when Zechariah had a similar vision in chapter 4 of the book that bears his name. Prior to reading John’s vision of a “new heaven” and “new earth” (Revelation 21:1), a person might want to read Isaiah 65 and 66 to understand that such language had been used long before Revelation ever was written.
The reason there are so many allusions to various Old Testament books is because, like Revelation, they were written in a time of oppression and cruel, foreign domination. Whereas Revelation was written while the Christians were oppressed by the Romans, the prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel wrote while the Jews where under Babylonian domination.
There are many similarities between Revelation and the Old Testament. In fact, of the 39 Old Testament books, one writer has found that Revelation alludes to 24 of them. Certainly then, by having a good knowledge of the Old Testament, and especially such books as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah, one likely will have an easier time understanding the book of Revelation.

Remembering the Role of Supplementation When Learning about Salvation by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Remembering the Role of Supplementation When Learning about Salvation

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

If Matthew 1:1 was the only Bible verse a person ever read about the family and genealogy of Christ, then one might think that Jesus was the immediate son of David, rather than a descendant of David separated in time from the second king of Israel by 1,000 years. If Matthew chapter two was the only passage a person ever considered regarding the birth and early childhood of Jesus’ life, then one would never know that shepherds visited Jesus shortly after His birth. According to Romans 3:23, “[A]ll have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If this sentence was the only inspired statement that a person ever read regarding sin, and disregarded both the context of Romans 3 as well as the rest of the New Testament, then one would think that Jesus was a sinner. But Jesus, of course, was “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Are football referees supposed to know only a few of the rules in order to officiate a game correctly? Is a baker content in knowing only one of the ten ingredients that go into a pineapple upside-down cake? Would you be pleased if the only traffic law that truck drivers knew was the law regarding on what side of the road to drive? The answer to all of these questions is obvious. People generally understand the need to learn the entire rulebook, driver’s manual, or recipe. Knowing just part of these things will result in chaos and negative consequences. Likewise, taking only a part of God’s Word, to the neglect of the rest of His Word, is a recipe for confusion and disaster. Since the “entirety” of Scripture is truth (Psalm 119:160), all of God’s Word on any subject must be considered.
Most Bible students seem to understand the importance of the holistic approach to Bible interpretation when considering any number of topics, including the aforementioned genealogy of Christ and His perfect, sinless nature. Sadly, however, when it comes to the question regarding what a person must do to be saved, this rational approach to Bible interpretation is discarded.
Consider, for example, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Many people have the idea that this one sentence is all they need to know to be saved. I once had a conversation with a man who said that the only part of the Bible that he needed was John 3:16. It did not matter what any other verse says. As long as he knew John 3:16 and believed what it said, he believed he was saved.
Notice, however, one problem (among many) that such a shallow interpretation of the Bible causes. If every student of the Bible picked a different verse and lifted that one verse above all others as “my little recipe for salvation,” then “Christianity” would be in a constant state of contradiction. Someone could say that nothing else matters except baptism because 1 Peter 3:21 says that “baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (NASB, emp. added). Does 1 Peter 3:21 teach that a person must be immersed to be saved? Yes. But anyone who claims that immersion in water is all a person must do to be saved would be wrong. Likewise, anyone who claims that a mere mental assent that Jesus is the Son of God is the only thing necessary for salvation would be equally wrong (cf. James 2:19).
The fact is, the Bible teaches that a person must believe and be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16). A person must believe in Jesus and confess His name to receive salvation (Romans 10:9-10). A person must repent and be baptized to have his sins forgiven (Acts 2:38). Additionally, a person must remain faithful until death in order to receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
Bible students will never properly understand Scripture if they adopt an interpretation method that pits one inspired passage against another. They will never understand what to do to be saved if they elevate one verse to the exclusion of all others. The truth is, the Bible is in perfect harmony with itself. One passage will never contradict another, but they will supplement each other. John 3:16 is a wonderful, truthful passage of Scripture. But, so is 1 Peter 3:20-21. And so is Mark 16:16, as well as the rest of Scripture. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, NASB, emp. added)

The Farsighted, Nearsighted, Blind Christian by Trevor Bowen


The Farsighted, Nearsighted, Blind Christian

We understand these maladies of vision to usually be mutually exclusive. A person cannot customarily be farsighted, nearsighted, and blind simultaneously. However, the Bible instructs us that as Christians, we should figuratively exhibit all of these characteristics, so how can a Christian exhibit these characteristics. How can this be desirable, when these are not normally good things? What do we mean by "farsighted, nearsighted, and blind"?


We typically think of someone being "farsighted" who has difficulty seeing objects that are near, while being able to clearly focus on those that are far. In this article, we are using the term "farsighted" figuratively. That is, it is not our physical eyesight with which we are concerned, but rather, our spiritual vision is of primary importance. Therefore, we speak of a Christian being spiritually farsighted with respect to time. He or she is able to clearly focus on the distant future, specifically, our spiritual goal - heaven.
"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14
Like the apostle Paul, who penned these words, the Christian is to be focused on the distant goal that lies before us. However, it is not a goal that can physically realized in this lifetime. No one in our day is able to see heaven and return to tell us about it. It is not a physical goal that we can see of tangibly experience in this life. Consequently, it requires one to perceive this goal with the "eye of faith".
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." II Corinthians 4:16-18
. . .
"So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him." II Corinthians 5:6-10
Therefore, the Christian must be focused on the distant future. He or she cannot be overcome with the temporal concerns of this life. In this way, the Christian can be said to be "farsighted".


So, if a Christian is to be spiritually farsighted, how can they be nearsighted at the same time? Are not these two things mutually exclusive? If nearsighted means being able to see clearly things that are near but unable to see distant objects, how can a person be nearsighted and farsighted at the same time?
A Christian is to be "nearsighted" in that he or she is focused on today. At first, that may seem contradictory to what we just said, but in fact, it is becoming spiritually farsighted that enables one to become nearsighted in this life.
"Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:31-34
In this life, the Christian is to be focused on "today". They should not be excessively worried about tomorrow or the future of this life. In fact, when Jesus was providing instruction to his disciples about how to pray, He showed that they were to pray for their "daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). We are not to be overly concerned about requesting things for this life (James 4:3-5), neither are we to make extravagant provisions for this life at the expense of our spiritual future (Luke 12:13-21I Timothy 6:6-917-19). It is only in this way that we will be able to correctly make the tough decisions. If we are overly concerned about tomorrow in this life, then we will be unable to make the right choices today (Luke 12:4-7John 12:42-43). Therefore, the Christian must also be "nearsighted" in that he or she is focused on making tough choices today, neither fearful of consequences tomorrow, procrastinating until tomorrow, nor excessively providing for a rich life here.


Since both nearsighted and farsighted imply some vision, how then can or should a Christian be blind?
And Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind."
Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, "Are we blind also?"
Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains." John 9:39-41
Are we like the Pharisees, so confident of our own abilities and understanding, that we cannot recognize our own weaknesses and failures? Christians are to be blind, in that they recognize their own blindness. They recognize that the ability to save themselves does not lie within themsleves (Jeremiah 10:23). Our sins have separated us from God, and we are in desperate need of His mercy.


Whether we recognize it or not, we are all in need of God’s mercy and salvation. Our blindness exists, whether we admit it or not. But, by seeing our blindness, we are then in a position to see a greater future, a heavenly goal. By securing our relationship with God, we then are enabled to focus clearly on today, making wise decisions, not burdened by the physical cares of tomorrow. Then finally, we can truly see, and we will be nearsighted, farsighted, and blind.

 Trevor Bowen

James (Part 14) James Final Advise – PRAY by Ben Fronczek


James (Part 14) His Final Advise

James  (Part 14) James Final Advise – PRAY                                                                                 
James 5:13-18 “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
In presenting this series of lessons from the epistle of James, I tried to do so from the perspective of someone who quite literally grew up with Jesus; that is in the same household. James was a step-brother of Jesus. I am sure that there are so much more I could have added, but I hope that these lesson have given you a new perspective on what James wrote here.
In these final verses of this epistle, don’t miss the importance of what James is saying here. No matter what the situation, in the good times or bad, we need to go to God and talk with Him.  I believe James learned this from his brother Jesus. Can you just imagine the prayers that James and his family heard from Jesus’ lip as they were growing up? Well James closes his letter by letting us know that the privilege of communicating with God is for all of us.
Martin Luther said, “As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and of cobblers to mend shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray.”
J.G. Ryle wrote: “Prayer is the simplest of acts.   It is simply speaking to God. It needs neither learning, nor wisdom, nor book knowledge to begin it.              It needs nothing but heart and will.  The weakest infant can cry when he is hungry. The poorest beggar can hold out his hands for alms and does not wait to find words.  The most ignored man will find something to say to God, if he only has a mind. “
Andrew Murray said: “The powers of the eternal world have been placed at prayers disposal.   It is the very essence of true religion, the channel of blessing, the secret of power and life. “
Charles Spurgeon: “Prayers are the believer’s weapons of war. When the battle is too hard for us, we call in our great ally, who, as it were, lies in ambush until faith gives the signal by crying out, ARISE O LORD!!” Prayer is the slender nerve, which unleashed the muscles of an omnipotent God”
In this passage James highlights several different scenarios when we need to turn to God and pray.
#1. When are in trouble, Pray. (v. 13a)When James speaks of trouble here it means ‘when we suffering through tough times.’   It’s not necessarily related to physical problems. It’s like when there isn’t enough money to pay the bills. Or when you feel like the rug is being pulled out from under your life, or when someone gives you a hard time, James tells us to pray!
This is not too difficult to understand, but notice what is not telling us;   He’s didn’t say that when you pray, God will always take away that trouble.
No matter how much we would like to find that promise, it just isn’t here.       In trying to bring about a greater good, God may be allowing a chain of events to unfold that you find troublesome.  As a matter of fact, in James 1:2-5 James wrote “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God.”        
Troubles are part of life, but in the midst of them we have a choice as to how we are going to act and react. We can trust God and ask  Him for help and understanding and allow Him to use those hard times to mold us into who He wants us to be, or we can allow the trials to beat us down and beat us up.
We can find strength and power in our troubles by turning to God while in them. “Is any one of you in trouble? (James says,) He should pray.”
#2. The 2nd thing that James tells us, that those who are happy, ‘well you should sing praises to God.’ (13b)      We teach our kids to say “thank you” when they receive something from someone, but all too often we are not genuinely thankful to the one who gives us everything we have. It is those prayers of thanksgiving that we often forget or neglect.
When we are in the deepest of trouble, it’s easy to remember to run to God and prayer. But when we are on the mountaintop and thing are going well, sometimes we have a tendency to forget God. James closes his letter by reminding us not to forget to praise and thank Him in heartfelt songs of praise!
We all have many reasons to rejoice! We are a people who have experienced God’s touch in so many ways. We live in a beautiful area. We all have nice homes and plenty of food. Many times we were sick or injured and have been physically healed. Now as a Christian we have purpose, we have the hope of heaven and eternal life,  our sins have been forgiven. We have a new family, new brothers and sisters.  There are all kinds of reason to be happy, and we need to be reminded, “Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise!”
#3.  James then goes on to address, those who are sick.    Now when there is sickness in the family, it is never a happy time. Many times our church has prayed for those who were sick and on some occasions we saw healings that seemed almost miraculous. Was it God who brought the sick ones back to health? I have no doubt in my mind.
In these verses James encourages us to recognize this fact; that we need to go to God, whether it is during times of trouble or in times of happiness or in times of sickness. We are to seek Him out.  He is our Father.
Regarding some special cases, James talks a little more about praying in such times of sickness and gives us some procedures to follow. Notice he says that the sick person needs to take the initiative to call the Elders.    After the sick person or their family takes the initiative to contact the elders, elders are given specific instructions about what they are to do.
First, they are to anoint with oil. Then they are to pray over the sick individual.  In the Greek it says, “…let them pray over him, having anointed him with oil in the name of the Lord.”   We need to recognize what this is all about.
In the Bible there are two terms used for “anoint.” The Greek word ‘chrio’ is the word used to refer to a ceremonial anointing. Like when Samuel anointed Saul and David with oil to declare them King.
In this passage we find a different word altogether, ‘aleipho’. It is the same word which is used in the parable of the Good Samaritan. If you remember that story, the Samaritan took the victim, anointed him with oil and took him to an inn. The word can be used to refer to a medicinal application of oil. It means “to apply or rub him with oil.”  Oil among these ancient people was highly valued for its therapeutic qualities. The oil provided more refreshment and soothing comfort than it did real relief for serious ailments. People even drank it as well as rubbing it on themselves as a medication.
James instructed that in times of weakness, spiritual or physical, Christians should ask their church elders to visit them, to pray for them, and to minister to them in Jesus’ name.
This is not about some procedure where the Elders of the church function in some mystical role. It is about them serving, helping and praying for their members.
But even in all this like Jesus we need to remember to say ‘Thy will be done Lord.’  Every sick person that is prayed for will not recover. The fact of the matter is, every person born into this world is terminal. All of us are going to die.  If every person we prayed for was made better, none of our friends or family would ever die. Even so, we still have seen God do some amazing things when we pray for certain people.
In our small group we always spend a considerable amount of time sharing prayer requests and lifting those people we care about up before God. I believe we have seen some miraculous recoveries take place. But we still need to remember, God has a plan for each of us, and we need to trust God when things don’t quite go the way we would have them.
James even goes on to say pray for people even when they are sick spiritually. He writes, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
Bad habits, a guilty conscious, a sinful life style can have an effect on our body’s physical condition as well as our spirit.   We know that now, and they really believed it back then. Read the book of Job. His friends that came to visit him were convinced that the reason for all the calamity and sickness in his life was due to him practicing sin and so they advised his to repent.
Sometimes the best medicine to confess our sin to the one we committed it against. If we know that we sinned against God we need to anti-up and confess it to Him. If we sinned against a person we need anti-up and confess what we did to them. If we sin against a group of people or our church we are encourage to anti-up and confess to them.  And James lets us know when that takes place, and the person is forgiven, and prayed for, a real healing takes place.
Notice that it is not just the elders who are to do the praying, rather we are to pray for one another. We all have the responsibility of praying for one another’s needs, struggles, and hurts.
James ends his letter by letting us know just how powerful our prayers are. In verse 16 he writes, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” NIV. The NLT puts it this way, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” The Amplified Bible says, ”The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”
Get the idea? And then James illustrates this very point by referring to a great man of prayer, Elijah. When Elijah prayed things happened showing that God  cares about what matters to you and me.
And when Elijah prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for the next three and a half years. When he prayed for the widows son, He came back to life. When he prayed that the Lord would consume the offering drenched in water at that competition against the 400 prophets of Baal the Lord send fire that not only consumed the wet sacrifice but also the water, and the rocks all around. When he later prayed for rain after three and half years. it poured.
Knowing that intercessory prayer is a mighty weapon and the supreme call for all Christians today, I urge people everywhere to pray. The reason why it is so powerful and effective is because God cares about what matters to us.  Father God really does care for us, so humbly seek Him out and talk to Him.
In closing Peter wrote in1 Pet. 5:6-7  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Keep God In Your Sight by Alfred Shannon Jr.


Out of sight, out of mind. When we forget God, we remember to do evil. When God’s Word is not before us every day to direct our every step, we get out of step with God. We wander off from the fold, and fall prey to the wolves of this world. Anyone who desires to get out of God’s sight is truly out of their mind. Seek the Lord diligently, search his word daily, and never let God out of your sight.
Jer 29:13; Prov 2:1-6; Ps 1:2; Ps 37:4; Ps 50:22; Jer 2:32; Jer 8:9; Acts 17:11; 1 Tim 4:13; 2 Tim 2:15

Christ and Judges by Jim McGuiggan


Christ and Judges

Robert Blatchford, a severe critic of religion and theism, had numerous verbal tussles with G.K. Chesterton (who liked Blatchford and everyone else he had debates with). The atheist was sure that no English judge would accept as adequate the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I think Chesterton's response was not only amusing but of consequence. He suggested that Christians don't share "such an extravagant reverence for English judges as is felt by Mr. Blatchford himself. The experiences of the Founder of Christianity have perhaps left us in a vague doubt of the infallibility of Courts of Law."
It's always tragic when we hear Christian types stupidly attack intelligence as if intelligence were an enemy to the faith rather than one of God's gifts by which we appropriate and rejoice in the truth that Christ is and brought. Just the same, it makes no sense to believe that our intellect isn't affected by our vested interests. Jesus called his judges and critics not to "judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." (John 7:24) Character and personal agendas can affect how we weigh evidence. In John 5:44, Jesus makes this clear when he says to his judges, "How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?" It's true that professing faith can be "fashionable" but so can unbelief. It's a stark and sad truth that we can profess ourselves to be wise and become fools (Romans 1:21) because we lack purity of heart. Christians and non-believers alike need to confess that humility! and a willingness to obey can open our eyes to the good and perfect and acceptable will of God (Romans 12:1-2)

Can We Give an Answer? by Richard Mansel


Can We Give an Answer?

In 1 Peter 3:15 we are told, "Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason of the hope that is within you." This is a very sobering challenge to all of us as Christians. Do we know what we believe and why? Can we defend it from Scripture?
Frequently you will ask someone to tell you what they believe and they will say, "I don't know, I will have to go ask my..." Naturally, it is acceptable to seek answers from a knowledgeable person. Moreover, "I don't know" is a legitimate answer.
But, I am talking about very simple questions we should be able to answer. Can you imagine going to a mechanic with twenty years experience and asking him a simple question about how an exhaust system works and hearing him say, "Um, I'm going to have to ask my boss."
What if you were at the mall and saw a friend you had not seen in a year. In "catching up" you find out that she is engaged. You ask, "What is your fiancee like?" She says, "Um, I don't know, I'll have to go ask his Mother."
These examples are easy to understand. Yet, we sometimes fail to apply the same principle to Christians who have been attending Bible classes and hearing sermons for years and can't tell someone what they believe or answer questions about the Bible. They just say, "Well, I'm not a preacher." Instead, they ought to be hanging their heads in shame.
We all have the same Bible. Attending seminary or Bible college does not give someone a special understanding of Scripture. All it does is provide the student with the tools to study the Scriptures in greater depth. Yet, the basics are there for everyone. We can all understand Scripture. John 8:31-32 says, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
We all must be more diligent Bible students if we wish to know God. If all you know about God is what you hear in Bible classes and sermons you will not know Him well. You must spend time studying the Word to become well acquainted with the Father and the Son.
Start today.
Richard Mansel

Published in The Old Paths Archive