"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN" Fellowship With Jesus (2:3-6) by Mark Copeland


Fellowship With Jesus (2:3-6)


1. A concern of John's first epistle is that we have fellowship with
   the Father and the Son:

   "that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you
   also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is
   with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." (1:3)

2. He began by stressing the basis upon which we may fellowship with
   the FATHER - 1Jn 1:5-2:22
   a. Walk in the light as He is in the light
   b. Confess our sins, don't deny that we have sin
   c. Make use of our "advocate" and "propitiation", Jesus Christ the 

3. But what about fellowship with the SON?  In our text (1Jn 2:3-6),
   John now describes how we can "know" that we have fellowship with 
   Jesus Christ

[A key phrase in this passage is "by this we know...", found twice 
(2:3,5).  In other words, "here is how we can be sure".

And John's first point is...]


      1. Identifying the "Him" of this passage
         a. Is it God or Jesus?  The Father or the Son?
         b. In light of the context, it is Jesus the Son of God - cf. 
            1Jn 2:1-2,6
         c. This fits in well with John's aim in this epistle - cf. 
            1Jn 1:3
            1) He has described the basis for fellowship with the Father
            2) Now he discusses the basis for fellowship with the Son
      2. What it means to "know" Jesus
         a. As frequently used by John, the word "know" {ginosko}
            denotes a knowledge that comes by experience, by sharing 
            experiences in life together
         b. In this sense, it implies that "fellowship" (sharing, 
            communion) has taken place

      1. Fellowship with Jesus is dependent upon keeping His teachings 
         - Jn 14:21-23; 15:10
      2. The person who claims to "know" (have fellowship) with Jesus, 
         and does not keep His commandments...
         a. Is a liar, and the truth is not in him! - 1Jn 2:4b
         b. Is just like the one who claims to have fellowship with the
            Father while walking in darkness! - cf. 1Jn 1:6
      3. But the person who keeps the words of Jesus, the "love of God"
         is perfected in him!
         a. This "love of God"...
            1) Is it God's kind of love? - cf. 1Jn 3:16-17
            2) Is it God's love for us? - cf. 1Jn 4:9
            3) Is it our love for God? - cf. 1Jn 5:2-3
            -- I suspect John is referring to our love for God, for the
               context concerns keeping the commandments of Jesus
         b. Such love for God is "perfected" (made whole, complete) 
            only when we keep the commandments of His Son! - cf.
            Jn 14:15,21,23

[So we can be sure that we "know" Jesus, that we are in fellowship with
Him, and that we have perfected our love for God, ONLY if we are 
keeping the commandments of Jesus!

To stress the point even further, John continues by point out...]


      1. The word "in" (5b) is parallel to the expression "abides in"(6a)
      2. "Abiding in Jesus" is described by Jesus Himself as similar to
         a branch abiding in the vine - cf. Jn 15:4-5
         a. There is a union, or attachment, between the branch and vine
         b. From this union comes a communion, or sharing
      3. So again, we are discussing the idea of having fellowship with Jesus

      1. The person claiming to "abide in Jesus" (or to have fellowship
         with Him) should "walk" (live) just as Jesus did!
         a. For only those who follow His words are truly His disciples
            - cf. Jn 8:31
         b. And those who are His disciples will become like their 
            Teacher - cf. Lk 6:40
         c. Such is the goal of discipleship, and of God's scheme of 
            redemption itself! - Ro 8:29
      2. Understanding and applying this truth should have powerful 
         ramifications in how we live (as illustrated in the novel "In 
         His Steps", by Charles Sheldon)


1. We learn from John, then, that the key to knowing that we have 
   fellowship with Jesus is understanding the difference between 
   "talking" and "walking"
   a. Anyone can say that they know Jesus, that they abide in Him
   b. But those that really know are those who...
      1) KEEP His commandments
      2) WALK just as He walked

2. Do you really know Jesus?  Are you in fellowship with Him, wherein
   is eternal life and fullness of joy?
   a. Have you kept the commands of Jesus?
   b. How about His commands concerning faith, repentance and baptism?
      - cf. Mt 28:18-19; Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38; 22:16
   c. How about His commands to observe ALL that He commanded,
      including those revealed through His apostles? - cf. 
      Mt 28:20;Ac 2:42; 1Co 14:37

How you answer reveals the truth regarding your relationship with God,
and your hope for eternal life!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Where is God when I Hurt? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Where is God when I Hurt?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

No doubt many people over the centuries and throughout the world have rejected belief in the one true God on the grounds that they have witnessed or experienced great pain and suffering. Perhaps the loss of a loved one, or some other tragedy in their life, made them resentful and bitter toward God and life. By blaming God, somehow the pain seemed more bearable. But the Bible speaks definitively on this matter. And only the Bible can give us an accurate explanation for the existence of pain and suffering on the Earth.
Many great men and women in Bible history have preceded us in their attempts to live faithfully for God in the face of great hardship. Being human beings just like us, they faced the daily struggle to overcome self, sin, and Satan. They, too, had to cope with the stress and strain of life. They, too, had to endure hurt. We can learn from their behavior (Romans 15:4). If we will consider their lives and their reaction to the difficulties of life, we can receive from their example the necessary strength to endure. When we observe how they were mistreated and persecuted, and how they coped with their hurt, we can draw from them the needed encouragement to endure and achieve the victory.


For example, in his efforts to live the Christian life, Stephen found himself standing before the highest legislative body of the Jewish nation—the 71 members of the Sanhedrin that included the High Priest as president. He was on trial for his life. Instead of offering a legal defense, he preached a sermon. He surveyed Israelite history, spotlighting their behavioral propensity for apostasy, and then he drove his sermon home with this grand conclusion:
You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it (Acts 7:51-53).
Here was this great man of God, on trial for his life, and yet no speech could ever be less calculated to gain one’s acquittal. Instead of defending himself to achieve his release, Stephen’s sermon placed his accusers on trial before the bar of God!
Their reaction? They were cut to the heart and gritted their teeth at him. They began yelling at the top of their lungs while they stopped up their ears. Then they ran at him, dragged him outside the city, and threw rocks at him until they beat the life from his body. Did Stephen experience great hurt? Yes, even unto death! Where was God? Right there with him! In fact, by the miraculous intervention of God, he was able to gaze upward into heaven itself and see the glory of God, and Jesus standing at His right hand. When you and I hurt, God and Christ are still there!


Then there was Elijah (1 Kings 19). Upon hearing that Jezebel had “put out a contract” on his life, he literally “ran for his life” into the desert and hid in a cave. God spoke to him directly and said, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” His response showed a heart filled with desperation and despair when he insisted that he had been very zealous for the Lord, despite the fact that the Israelites had forsaken the covenant, torn down God’s altars, and killed God’s prophets. He felt he was the only one left—and they were trying to kill him, too! Here was a man who felt the crushing pressure of persecution. Here was a man who was hurting.
Yet, God had provided him with appropriate victories in life. When he went to meet his king (1 Kings 18), he was accused of making trouble for God’s people. But the truth was, it was Ahab who troubled Israel by forsaking God’s commands. He then challenged the hundreds of false prophets to meet him in a contest on Mt. Carmel to determine once and for all who is God. When those false prophets tried all day long to evoke a response from their god to ignite the sacrifice, they failed miserably. Elijah then gathered all the people around him as he repaired the altar of the Lord. Placing wood upon the altar and carefully arranging the sacrificial meat upon the wood, he ordered it to be doused with water, thoroughly saturating the entire sacrificial site. Then he offered a simple prayer to the God of heaven, which elicited fire that roared down out of the atmosphere, consuming the sacrifice, the wood, the altar stones, the water, and even the dust! That caused God’s people to get their thinking straight, and Elijah ordered the execution of the false prophets. Was Elijah a man who had to endure hurt? Yes! But God was with him!


And what of Daniel? Deported from his homeland while still a youth, he was placed in an unfriendly foreign culture and forced to learn the language and literature of the Babylonians. When his political enemies became jealous over his success and favor with the king, they finagled the law to get Daniel in trouble with the legal system. His crime? Praying to the one true God regularly! His punishment? Death by being thrown to lions. Talk about hurt! Yet, God was with him and stopped the mouths of the lions (Hebrews 11:33). Though he spent the night in the lions’ den, he was retrieved the next morning safe and sound. His accusers were substituted in his place, and the Bible says the lions tore them in pieces before their bodies hit the ground (Daniel 6:24). Did Daniel have to face hurt in life? Yes! But God was with him!


Then there is Amos. He had no intention of being used by God as a prophet (Amos 7:14). He was spending his life tending sheep and sycamore trees that produced a fruit that had to be manually pierced to ripen. But when God commissioned him to travel from his home in southern Palestine to northern Palestine, and to present God’s words to those people, he went. But he was not well received. When he announced that Israel would be laid waste and the king himself would die by the sword, you can imagine the reaction. Amaziah the priest accused him of conspiracy to overthrow the government, and tried to intimidate him into leaving the country immediately. Amos responded by making clear that he was no prophet by profession, and would have been content to do the humble work he performed in his private life. But God had instructed him to prophesy, and that’s what he was going to do. Not only would Israel fall, but Amaziah’s own children would be killed and his own wife turned into a prostitute (Amos 7:17). Was Amos placed in a situation that brought hurt into his life? Criticism? Opposition? Yes! But God saw him through his hurt!


Micaiah, too, faced the pressures and hurts of life. When the king of Israel and the king of Judah met to discuss the possibility of a mutual military campaign, the king of Judah wanted some reassurance from God that their efforts would be successful. Ahab paraded his 400 false prophets before Jehoshaphat, and the “yes men” offered the desired reassurance. But Jehoshaphat was uneasy and wanted some more credible indication. Ahab admitted that Micaiah could be consulted—“but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (1 Kings 22:8).
Micaiah was immediately summoned. The two kings sat upon their thrones, listening to the false prophets. One false prophet, Zedekiah, even dramatized his reassurance by holding up an iron replica of some ox horns and declaring that the kings would gore the Syrians to death. Meanwhile, the officer who had been sent to bring Micaiah to them, urged him to go along with the other prophets and reassure the king. But Micaiah said he would say what the Lord told him to say, and when questioned by the king, he sarcastically suggested that they go right ahead. When pressed to get serious, Micaiah predicted that the army would be scattered and Ahab would be killed. He then described how a lying spirit was directing the advice of the false prophets—whereupon Zedekiah walked over, slapped Micaiah across the face, and taunted him with the words, “Which way did the spirit from the Lord go from me to speak to you?” Micaiah said he would find out on that day of military calamity when he would run and hide in an inner chamber.
Micaiah was sent to prison for his courageous stand, and was placed on bread and water. But when the battle ensued, Ahab disguised himself for the specific purpose of avoiding Micaiah’s prediction. The Syrian king even assembled a “swat” team of 32 assassins, and charged them to avoid all conflict and concentrate solely on getting Ahab. But God did not use them to accomplish His prediction. Instead, the Bible informs us that a nameless archer drew back his bow and let his arrow fly “at random,” that is, aiming at no one in particular—no doubt just excited in the heat of battle. Out of all those soldiers who were occupying the battlefield, that arrow found its way to Ahab. And out of all the places on Ahab’s armor, that arrow struck in the crevice between the joints of the armor and punctured his wicked heart. His blood pooled in the bottom of his chariot and he was dead by sundown. Micaiah had to face hurt—but God was with him, and he lived to see the demise of those who inflicted the hurt.


The Elijah of the New Testament faced the same thing. He had to stand up and confront the Pharisees and Sadducees face to face, label them “vipers,” insist upon repentance, and warn them of the wrath and unquenchable fire to come (Matthew 3:7-12). When he had the courage to inform the king that his marriage was unacceptable to God, the king’s illicit wife held it against John and wanted him eliminated. She got her way, and the executioner cut off John’s head, leaving only his headless corpse for his disciples to bury (Mark 6:14-29). Did John face hurt? Yes—even unto death! But was God with John? Jesus, Himself, said, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). God knows our hurt, and He is there.


Paul was a model of persecution. The list of his persecutions is lengthy (2 Corinthians 11:24-28). He received the customary 40 lashes (Deuteronomy 25:1-3) from the Jews on five separate occasions. Three times he received the customary Roman beating with rods (Acts 16:23). He was even stoned (Acts 14:19). Three times he went through the harrowing experience of being shipwrecked (e.g., Acts 27:41ff.), and even drifted on the ocean all night and all day. He experienced the fatigue of frequent travels, the perils of waters, robbers, angry countrymen, and Gentiles. He suffered in the city and in the desert, in the sea and among false brethren. He went through weariness, toil, sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, fasting, cold, and nakedness. He was a hounded, hunted, harassed, and hurt man! He experienced the insecurity and fright that comes from vicious opposition. But the Lord said to him, “Don’t be afraid, but speak, and don’t keep silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you” (Acts 18:9-10). When he faced the hurtful pain of a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him humble, the Lord reassured him—even in the midst of his suffering—“My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9). He was able to conclude: “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Infirmity, distress, reproach, persecution? These things hurt! But through it all—we are assured of the help of our Lord!


But the supreme example of suffering and hurt is that of Jesus Christ Himself. Besides the lack of physical comforts (Matthew 8:20) and the frequent mistreatment He endured throughout His earthly ministry, finally He was seized by an angry mob carrying swords and clubs. He was positioned before a kangaroo court to face the accusations of false witnesses. He encountered the tirade of a raging High Priest who accused Him of blasphemy, and He had to hear the council’s condemnation to death. He had people spit in His face, beat Him, and strike Him with the palms of their hands as they mocked and taunted Him. He was bound and taken before the Roman authorities where He experienced the further humiliation of a jeering crowd who chose a notorious criminal over Him for release. He then suffered further indignities at the hands of Roman soldiers who stripped Him, pressed a crown of thorns down upon His head, spit on Him, and struck Him on the head with the reed they had made Him hold as a scepter. Finally, He endured the excruciating, horrifying death inflicted by a Roman cross, as passers-by blasphemed Him, shook their heads at Him, and taunted Him to save Himself. Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him. Where was God? Where is God when you or I hurt? Where is God when a Christian loses a child? He is right where He was when He lost His own Son.
Whatever suffering or hurt you or I may experience, pales in comparison to the hurt endured by our Lord. We need to remember: Sunday followed Friday. His suffering unto death provided an incredible result that you and I may share. “God commended His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Must we hurt?
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was guile found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:21-23).
 In fact, Jesus was “made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death…that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” and, in so doing, He is able to “bring many sons to glory…for in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:9-10,18). Jesus suffered great hurt and harm, but He endured for us. May we endure for Him! We can and must be like Him. “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).


In Revelation 19, we are treated to a spectacular portrait. Heaven opens and out comes a white horse whose rider has three names: “Faithful and True;” “The Word of God;” and “King of kings and Lord of lords.” In righteousness, He judges and makes war. His eyes are flames of fire. He wears on His head multiple crowns, and his clothing has been dipped in blood. Protruding out of His mouth is a sharp sword. He rides at the head of the mounted cavalry of heaven. The Christians who were first given this awesome picture had been undergoing intense, excruciating pain and suffering. But neither they nor we can visualize this marvelous scene without coming to at least one undeniable conclusion: God knows when we hurt and experience untold pain and suffering; but He is there, He is with us, He will not abandon us, and we must continue to trust Him.

Where Did God Come From? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Where Did God Come From?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Where did God come from? Most everyone knows the Christian’s response to this question: “God is eternal. He did not ‘come from’ anywhere.” Although atheists may think that this answer is unscientific and merely an attempt to avoid the question, in truth, observation and reason declare otherwise.
The question “Where did God come from?” (or “What caused God?”) assumes that God had a cause. However, by definition, an eternal spirit (“the everlasting God”) cannot logically have a cause. Asking about God’s cause (or origin) is as incoherent as asking “Why matter is eternal?” Matter is not eternal. Matter is no more an eternal essence without a cause than God is a physical being with a cause. Asking “where did God come from?” is like asking “when did eternity start?” By definition, eternity never began. Eternity, by definition, is without beginning and end. By definition, so is God.
Consider that in nature, matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed. Scientists refer to this observed fact as the First Law of Thermodynamics. Evolutionists allege that the Universe began with the explosion of a ball of matter 13 to 14 billion years ago, yet they never have provided a reasonable explanation for the cause of the “original” ball of matter. Evolutionist David Shiga made an attempt a few years ago in an issue of New Scientist magazine in his cover story, “The Beginning: What Triggered the Big Bang.” Interestingly, in the last line of the article, Shiga admitted: “[T]he quest to understand the origin of the universe seems destined to continue until we can answer a deeper question: why is there anything at all instead of nothing?”1 The fact is, a logical, naturalistic explanation for the origin of the “original” ball of matter that supposedly led to the Universe does not exist. It cannot exist so long as the First Law of Thermodynamics is true (that matter and energy cannot create themselves).
Since the physical Universe exists, and yet it could not have created itself, then the Universe is either eternal, or else some thing or some One outside of the Universe must have created it. Relatively few scientists propose that the Universe is eternal. In fact, there would be no point in attempting to explain the “beginning” of the Universe (with a Big Bang, for example) if scientists believed it has always existed. What’s more, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that matter and energy become less usable over time, has led scientists to conclude that the Universe has not always existed; that is, it is not eternal.2
So why don’t the laws of thermodynamics or the law of causality3 apply to God? Because these scientific laws, like all scientific laws, apply to what we find and study in nature. Again, by definition, God is not natural and thus logically is not subject to the laws of nature.
In short, if matter is not eternal, and it cannot create itself, then the only logical conclusion is that some thing or some One outside of nature (i.e., supernatural) caused the material Universe and everything in it. Christians call this Someone, “the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 40:28).


1 David Shiga (2007), “The Universe Before Ours,” New Scientist, 194[2601]:33, April 28.
2 For additional information on the Laws of Thermodynamics, see Jeff Miller (2013), “Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics,” http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?article=2786
3 This law states that “every material effect must have an adequate antecedent or simultaneous cause.” For more information, see Jeff Miller (2011), Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Law of Causality,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=3716.

What Our “Lower Cousins” Teach Us About Infanticide by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


What Our “Lower Cousins” Teach Us About Infanticide

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Journalist Jeffrey Kluger recently penned an article titled, “Scientists Discover Mother Monkeys Who Kill Their Babies.” In that piece, he reported on the work done by primatologist Laurence Culot. Culot and his team spent a considerable amount of time studying wild mustached tamarins, a type of monkey that lives in Peru (Kluger, 2011).
Culot’s research uncovered the fact that mother tamarins sometimes allow their babies to fall to their deaths from the tops of trees. In addition, mother tamarins occasionally cause the death of their offspring in a more direct way. The team reported one incident in which the mother bit her own baby’s head off and proceeded to eat its brain and upper body.
Kluger’s article focused on why tamarins would be so brutal. Several factors are thought to be responsible for a mother tamarin’s decision to kill her offspring. The article noted that if there were not enough supporting males to help the mother raise the baby, or if there were too many other babies born at the same time, a mother would often kill her own baby or allow it to die without attempting to protect it. Apparently, if it does not look like the baby has a high probability of survival, the mother will terminate its life and wait for a more opportune time to give birth. As Kluger said: “The explanation for such pitiless behavior is as cold as it is unavoidable: tamarin mothers are simply very good at balancing their genetic ledgers and know when they’re heading for a loss” (2011).
So what does such brutal animal behavior have to do with human behavior and morality? Absolutely nothing if a person understands the truth that God created all humans in His own image, and that every human child has a right to life simple because it is human (Lyons and Thompson, 2002). Unfortunately, however, that fact is not understood by many in our world today. An increasing number of people have chosen rather to believe in the false idea of atheistic evolution. If, according to the atheistic evolutionary belief, humans evolved from animals and are related to primates, then primate behavior can help us understand human behavior. If we can find a naturalistic explanation for why tamarin mothers kill their babies, then we can use that same reasoning to account for why human mothers kill their babies. As James Rachels stated:
Animal behaviour is routinely studied with an eye to acquiring information that can then be applied to humans. Psychologists who want to investigate maternal behaviour, for example...might study the behaviour of rhesus monkey mothers and infants, assuming that whatever is true of them will be true of humans—because, after all, they are so much like us (1990, p. 166, emp. added)
Kluger applied this type of reasoning to the research on tamarins:
Humans recoil at such stark genetic number crunching, but while infanticide among our species is socially and criminally proscribed, it does happen—and far too often. And when mothers are the perps, they are often facing some of the same kinds of pressures as tamarins—uncertain resources (read: money) and an absent or unreliable male (2011).
The sickening, immoral connections Kluger makes between murderous tamarin mothers and humans is all too clear. If tamarins murder their babies because they don’t have the resources to raise them, and humans are related to tamarins, then it is “natural” for human mothers to kill their babies as well. Kluger attempted to soften the implications of his statement by saying that humans have options that “tamarins don’t” and “nothing excuses willful neglect, never mind murder.” His attempt failed, however, in light of his concluding statement: “We may be the highest primates, but we remain members of that sometimes brutish club, and our lower cousins still do have plenty to teach us” (2011, emp. added). What, pray tell, are our alleged “lower cousins,” the mustached tamarins, teaching us? They are teaching us that if you convince humans that they are nothing more than animals, they will act like nothing more than animals.


Kluger, Jeffrey (2011), “Scientists Discover Mother Monkeys Who Kill Their Babies,” Time, http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20110615/hl_time/08599207678600/print.
Lyons, Eric and Bert Thompson (2002), “In the Image and Likeness of God: Part 1,” Reason & Revelation, 22[3]:17-23, /apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=149.
Rachels, James (1990), Created from Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism (New York: Oxford University Press).

Teaching of Jesus (Part 22) Be Ready by Ben Fronczek


Teaching of Jesus (Part 22) Be Ready

Teachings of Jesus (Part 22) Warning to Be Ready for His Return.
Intro: Pretend to be afraid.  And then ask, ‘Is there anything that you are really afraid of?’ Maybe you are afraid of those things go bump in the night, those strange noises you hear at night when it’s totally dark. Or maybe you are afraid of getting attacked by someone, or getting sick with some kind of terrible disease like cancer. Maybe you are afraid losing your shirt financially. Or maybe you are afraid of losing you mind as you grow older with Alzheimer disease. People are afraid of all kind of things in this world.
Today I would like to show you something that sets me on edge. It seen in    2 Peter 3:1-14. It says  ” Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.[a]
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

This event is a bit scary to me and I pray that I am ready when that day comes. I mean, how would you feel right now if you knew for sure that this was all going to happen in 3 hours? Even though there people all around us every day who seem to care less about, or even doubt this event will ever happenings, you can be sure that one day it will. There are a number of scripture verses that warn us that we need to be ready to meet our Lord whether we die, or if He decides to bring about this event which we read about here in 2 Peter 3 before we die.
So far in this series of warnings, in our series of lesson on the Teachings of Jesus, over the past few weeks we’ve talk about Him warning people to: beware of Hypocrites, beware of Greed, and last week we saw that we need to beware of worrying. And this week we’ll see that the next warning Jesus gives in Luke 12 is that we have to be ready for His return.
I would like to read the text to you in Luke 12:35-48. It says “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”
42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
There are just a few things I would like to make note of from this text:
#1. In both scripture verses the one in 2 Peter and here in Luke, we read that when the Lord returns, He will come like a thief in the night, unannounced and when we least expect it. So we have to be ready all the time.
I read about someone in California who goes to bed every night with shoes and a flashlight under the bed. When she was a child, her father required every family member to be ready to leave the house in a hurry if an earthquake were to come during the night. She said that during a tremor windows would shatter and electricity would be lost. With shoes a hand reach away she could walk on broken glass and with a light she could find her way in the dark. Therefore till this day she never goes to bed without them there. She is ready.
When Jesus spoke to His followers about His return, He said, “Be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:40). What does it mean for a Christian to be ready for Christ’s return? Jesus said in verses 22-31 that instead of worrying about material things, we are to trust in God’s provision and make His kingdom our priority. In verses 32-34 He told us that instead of worry and fear, we are to put God and His kingdom first in our life. And here we read that like faithful servants, we should expect our Master at any time. Peter said, You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”  Be sure of this, He will return at an unexpected hour (vv.35-40).
Since we know what coming, and if we are wise enough to prepare and get ready, that should help takes away some fear when this event unfolds. That is if you are really ready.
#2) Jesus as well as Peter also let us know that there are certain things that we should be doing, and we should not be lulled into inactivity by the fact that the Lord has delayed His coming. Every day that passes by we are one day closer to His return, and we should be preparing for eternity, not frantically or desperately but responsibility. We should even be looking forward to this day.
A man commented, “I hope I don’t die suddenly. I want to have time to straighten out some relationships.” Another man asked, “Well, why don’t you do it anyway? If it’s worth doing, do it now.” The point is, if there are things you need to straighten out, do it now in a thoughtful fashion. Don’t wait until the doctor tells you you’ve got three weeks to live. Do it now!
One day while St. Francis was hoeing his garden, he was asked, “What would you do if you knew you only had one day to live?” “I would keep on hoeing my garden,” was the reply.  Our longevity ought not to determine our day-to-day agenda. We should be doing what we should be doing on a daily basis. We should be ready right now or at a moment’s notice.
Jesus promised to return and told us how to live as we wait for His coming. We need to be ready!
A teacher told his class that he would be GOING AWAY for several weeks, and he offered to give a prize to the student whose desk he found in the best order when he came back. But he didn’t tell them what day he would return. Because the prize was big, each child was determined to get it, including a little girl whose desk was normally quite messy. Her classmates jeered, “Mary, you’ll never win, Your desk is never neat.” “Oh, I plan to clean it the first of every week from now on.” “But,” someone said, “Suppose he comes at the end of the week?” “Then I’ll clean it every morning,” “But,” another classmate persisted, “He may come at the end of the day.” For a moment the child was silent in thought. Then she said decidedly,          “I know what I’ll do. I’ll just keep it clean!”
Jesus also lets us know that He will bless those that He finds prepared and faithfully serving when He returns, In verses 37, He said, “37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.
And in vss 43 &44 He says, 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.”
If we want to receive our Lord’s approval and blessings at His return, we must always be ready. Jesus did not tell us to “get ready,” but rather to “be ready” (Mt. 24:44). We are to live constantly in a state of spiritual preparedness, anticipating the moment when He will appear and ask us to give account of our stewardship.
#3) And finally Jesus also lets us know that it won’t be as good for those who slack off in serving Him and others, even if you are a Christian. He said, 47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.”
This is a stern if not strong warning for all of us to be ready. Someone once wrote, “We are to wait Patiently, we are to wait expectantly, as we are to wait faithfully. “ One thing for certain, He is coming.
The question is are you ready?
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566
All comments can be emailed to: bfronzek@gmail.com

Lead us not into temptation by Roy Davison


Lead us not into temptation

Jesus taught His followers to pray: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13 KJV).

What is temptation?

Temptation is an allurement or enticement to do wrong to obtain pleasure, ease or advantage.

What is the source of temptation?

Satan is the tempter. Paul was concerned about the Thessalonians: “For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:5).
Satan tries to manipulate us by appealing to our desires: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15).
Notice that temptation itself is not sin. Sin occurs only when we give in to temptation.
Everyone is tempted. Jesus was tempted by Satan for forty days in the wilderness (Mark 1:13), yet He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). 

The Scriptures show various reactions to temptation.

Having believed the devil’s lies, when Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate” (Genesis 3:6). 
In anger, Cain murdered his brother even after being warned by God that sin was “crouching at the door” (Genesis 4:4-8).
Many examples are given of people who yielded to temptation.
Joseph was a commendable exception. When his master’s wife “cast longing eyes on Joseph” and said, “Lie with me,” he replied “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Later, when she tried to grab him, he fled from the house (Genesis 39:7-12). 

Prayer is essential to resist temptation.

Jesus tells us to pray for God’s help. He told Peter, James and John in the garden: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). Instead of praying, they fell asleep. They wanted to do what was right, but later that night all the disciples except John fled and Peter denied Christ.
Jesus had warned Peter, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:31, 32). But Peter was overconfident. He declared, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble” (Matthew 26:33). 
It is dangerous to be overconfident and underestimate temptations. To the extent possible, we ought to avoid situations and activities that involve a high level of temptation.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:12, 13). This is a great promise. God limits temptation and provides a way of escape. “The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Peter 2:9). 
God helps us, but we must be on guard. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:8, 9). “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

We must be spiritually minded to resist temptation.

We must understand that eternal spiritual values are more important than temporary earthly pleasure or gain. Moses chose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25).
“And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:8-10). Notice that the promise of satisfaction in worldly riches is a false promise. They who love money get sorrow.
The promises of temptation - the enticing promises of pleasure or gain - are always deceitful promises. True pleasure and true gain come only from doing what is right.

Jesus shows us how to resist temptations.

Each time Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He responded with ‘It is written’. If we know, understand and apply the Scriptures we are armed to resist temptation.
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”’” (Matthew 4:1-4).
“Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: “He shall give His angels charge concerning you,” and, “In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone”’ Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”’” (Matthew 4:5-7).
In this second temptation, the devil quoted Scripture, misapplying it of course. Jesus replied by saying ‘It is also written’! We must know the Scriptures well to resist temptation. We need to know all the Bible says about something to avoid being deceived by a Scripture-quoting devil.
“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.”’ Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him” (Matthew 4:8-11).
The temptations in the wilderness illustrate the meaning of the word ‘temptation’. The devil enticed Jesus to do wrong by promising Him things that sounded inviting: bread when He was hungry, God’s providential care, and rulership over the whole world. Notice that none of these goals were wrong for Jesus. He needed food like we do. God had promised to care for Him. And He came to earth to be King of kings and Lord of lords. But the devil was enticing Him to seek these goals by doing things that would be wrong.

Jesus will help us resist temptation.

He was tempted like we are. He understands what it is like to be tempted. “In all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:17, 18). “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but [one who] was in all pointstempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15, 16).
Jesus forgave Peter after he yielded to temptation and denied Him. He is also willing to forgive us when we, like Peter, are sorry for our sins.
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). Amen.

Roy Davison

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

Published in The Old Paths Archive