6/3/20

"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Charity That Pleases God (6:1-4) by Mark Copeland

"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"
Charity That Pleases God (6:1-4)

INTRODUCTION

1. Are you a charitable person?
   a. If so, are you sure that your charity is pleasing to God?
   b. Were you aware that some forms of charity actually displease God?

2. In Jesus' day, there were religious people who were extremely charitable...
   a. The Pharisees, for example, would give ten percent to God - e.g.,Lk 18:11-12
   b. They tithed even the smallest of seeds - Lk 11:42
   -- But as indicated in these two cases, not all charity or giving pleased God

3. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus taught His disciples to have a
   righteousness which exceeded that of the Pharisees - Mt 5:20
   a. Jesus first contrasted the "righteousness of the kingdom" with
      what the scribes and Pharisees were teaching
   b. He then contrasted what He expected of His disciples with what
      the scribes and Pharisees were practicing

[In Mt 6:1-4, we find the first of several examples concerning the
practice of righteousness.  In it, we learn about "Charity That Pleases
God."   Note first what Jesus taught about...]

I. THE BASIC PRINCIPLE GOVERNING ACTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (1)

   A. CONCERNING THIS VERSE...
      1. Some manuscripts, upon which the KJV and NKJV are based, have
         the Greek word eleemosunen
         a. Translated "alms", or "charitable deeds"
         b. Which would make this verse refer specifically to 
            almsgiving, or charitable deeds
      2. Older manuscripts, upon which the ASV and NASV are based, have
         the Greek word dikaiosunen
         a. Translated "righteousness"
         b. Which would make verse one speaking in general terms, 
            establishing the principle to be applied to ALL acts of righteousness
      -- Textual support seems strongest for dikaiosunen, making verse
         one an introductory statement concerning all righteous acts

   B. THE BASIC PRINCIPLE...
      1. Stated simply:  we are not to do acts of righteousness to be
         seen of men - Mt 6:1a
         a. Note:  It is NOT to completely avoid ANY practice of 
            righteousness before men - cf. Mt 5:16
         b. Rather, it is to avoid doing them JUST TO BE SEEN OF MEN
      2. Therefore, it is proper to do good works before men...
         a. When we are trying to secure praise for GOD
         b. But not when we are trying to secure praise for OURSELVES!

   C. CONSEQUENCES OF IGNORING THIS BASIC PRINCIPLE...
      1. If, in the innermost being of your heart, you do not mean to
         please and glorify God, He will not reward you!
      2. What reward you may have (cf. Mt 6:2,5,16) will be limited to
         the praise of men

[Let's now consider how Jesus applies this to the matter of charitable deeds...]

II. CONCERNING CHARITABLE DEEDS (2-4)

   A. WHAT "NOT" TO DO...
      1. Don't be like the "hypocrites" (literally, "actors") - Mt 6:2a
         a. Who sound trumpets in the synagogues and streets
         b. Who are looking to be honored by men
      2. "They have their reward" - Mt 6:2b
         a. They receive exactly (and only) what they wanted:  the praise of men
         b. But remember verse one...
            1) They have no reward from the Father in heaven
            2) Neither in the present or in the future!

   B. CHARITY THAT PLEASES GOD...
      1. "Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing" - Mt 6:3
         a. This involves avoiding not only the praise of others, but
            self praise as well
         b. Some thoughts by others on what this metaphor means:
            1) "The right [hand], [represents] me with my good deed;
               the left, me with my good opinion about my deed." (Lenksi)
            2) "The expression probably refers to the fact that as much
               as possible a person must keep his voluntary 
               contribution a secret not only to others but even to
               himself; that is, he should forget about it, instead of
               saying in his heart, `What a good man, woman, boy, girl, am I!'" (Hendricksen)
         c. How can one develop the ability to give in this way?
            1) Perhaps by giving so often it becomes "second nature"
            2) So that you do it without much thought (just as with anything you do often)
      2. Note: Jesus is not condemning public giving per se - cf. Ac 2:44-45; 4:34-37
         a. He is condemning the spirit which seeks publicity
         b. He is teaching "secret-giving" in the sense of "secret to one's self"
         c. "The true Christian cares not how much men hear of his
            public charities, nor how little they hear of his private ones." (Toplady)

   C. THE REWARD FOR CHARITY THAT PLEASES GOD...
      1. "Your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly." - Mt 6:4
      2. The reward may be experienced to some degree in this life - Psa 41:1-3
      3. Without a doubt it will be experienced on the day of judgment
         a. For every secret thing will be made known - Ec 12:14
         b. We will experience the benefit of the good we have done - 2Co 5:10
   
CONCLUSION

1. Christians who have been blessed materially have been given a charge
   to be "rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share" - 1 Ti 6:17-19

2. But if we desire that our charity will indeed store up "a good
   foundation for the time to come"...
   a. We must be sure to practice "Charity That Pleases God"
   b. We must learn to give, not to be seen of men, but to glorify God
   c. We must learn to give without self-praise for what we are doing

Do our charitable deeds exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees in
Jesus' day, not only in quantity, but in the quality of our giving? May
the Lord keep us free from the giving of hypocrites!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Is God Talking to Me? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1550

Is God Talking to Me?

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Among those who profess to believe that the Bible is God’s Word, it has become a common practice to avoid following certain biblical commands. They do this based on the idea that such commands were specifically for the individuals at the time of the writing, and do not have broader application to those of us who are reading the text in a modern-day setting. For instance, one religious group formed a committee in 1992 to research the biblical passages dealing with homosexuality. One of the four tenets upon which the committee was able to reach a consensus was the following statement: “The 7 references to homosexuality in the Bible represent ancient culture and not the will of God. They cannot be taken as definitive” (Robinson, 2005). The idea, then, is that God is not really talking to us, but was talking only to “those” people “back then.”

Jesus had something to say about this very idea. On one memorable occasion, the Sadducees came to Jesus, testing Him with questions pertaining to the resurrection. In their minds, they had concocted an unanswerable scenario. If a woman had seven husbands in this life, they questioned, whose wife would she be in the resurrection? Jesus, knowing their wickedness and their ignorance of the Scripture, explained that “in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Matthew 22:30). He then said to the Sadducees, “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31-32, emp. added).

Notice that Jesus was quoting to the Sadducees a segment of Scripture that was taken from the Pentateuch (Exodus 3:6). The text was written almost 1,500 years before this group of Sadducees even existed. In the text, God was speaking directly to Moses, who had a much different culture than those of the first century Jews. And yet, even with such a lengthy time span and major cultural differences involved, Jesus stated clearly that God was talking to His first-century audience.

Several lessons can be learned from Jesus’ statement. First, we must realize that God speaks to us today through His inspired Word, just as He spoke to the Sadducees almost 2,000 years ago. Second, while it is true that some things in Scripture must be analyzed in their cultural setting, and the division between the Old Testament and New Testament must be recognized, it is extremely dangerous to jettison applicable commands and divine principles based on the idea that they no longer apply to us. Even though our culture may drift far from many of the biblical teachings, those teachings have not changed, and will not change due to ever-waffling cultural trends. Regardless of cultural shifts, it will never be right to jettison God commands regarding homosexuality, or any other sins, based on the idea that such commands were solely for someone else in some other time. As the psalmist wrote about God in the long ago, “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalm 119:160). If you want to listen to God speak to you today, open your Bible.

REFERENCES

Robinson, B.A. (2005), “The United Methodist Church and Homosexuality: Conference Decisions,” [On-line], URL: http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_umc6.htm.

Is God Immoral for Killing Innocent Children? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=260

Is God Immoral for Killing Innocent Children?

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Dan Barker and many of his atheistic colleagues claim that atheism offers the world a superior system of morality when compared to the moral system presented in the Bible. In fact, near the end of Dan’s ten-minute rebuttal speech during our debate, he stated: “We can know that the atheistic way is actually a superior intellectual and moral way of thinking” (Butt and Barker, 2009). One primary reason Dan gave for his belief that the Bible’s morality is flawed is that the Bible states that God has directly killed people, and that God has authorized others to kill as well. In Dan’s discussion about Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac, Dan said that Abraham should not have been willing to obey God’s command. Dan stated: “By the way, Abraham should have said, ‘No, way. I’m better than you [God—KB], I’m not going to kill my son’” (Butt and Barker, 2009).

In his book godless, Barker said: “There is not enough space to mention all of the places in the bible where God committed, commanded or condoned murder” (2008, p. 177). The idea that God is immoral because He has killed humans is standard atheistic fare. In his Letter to a Christian Nation, Sam Harris cited several Bible verses in which God directly or indirectly caused people to die. He then stated: “Anyone who believes that the Bible offers the best guidance we have on questions of morality has some very strange ideas about either guidance or morality” (2006, p. 14). In his landmark atheistic bestseller, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins wrote the following as the opening paragraph of chapter two:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully (2006, p. 31, emp. added).

After listing several Old Testament verses pertaining to the conquest of Canaan, Dawkins referred to God as an “evil monster” (p. 248). Christopher Hitchens wrote that God’s actions and instructions in the Old Testament had caused “the ground” to be “forever soaked with the blood of the innocent” (2007, p. 107).

Is it true that atheism offers a superior morality to that found in the Bible? And is the God of the Bible immoral for advocating or directly causing the deaths of millions of people? The answer to both questions is an emphatic “No.” A close look at the atheistic claims and accusations will manifest the truth of this answer.

ATHEISM CANNOT MAKE “MORAL” JUDGMENTS

The extreme irony of the atheistic argument against God’s morality is that atheism is completely impotent to define the term “moral,” much less use the concept against any other system. On February 12, 1998, William Provine delivered a speech on the campus of the University of Tennessee. In an abstract of that speech, his introductory comments are recorded in the following words: “Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent” (Provine, 1998, emp. added). Provine’s ensuing message centered on his fifth statement regarding human free will. Prior to delving into the “meat” of his message, however, he noted: “The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them” (1998).

It is clear then, from Provine’s comments, that he believes naturalistic evolution has no way to produce an “ultimate foundation for ethics.” And it is equally clear that this sentiment was so apparent to “modern naturalistic evolutionists” that Dr. Provine did not feel it even needed to be defended. Oxford professor Richard Dawkins concurred with Provine by saying: “Absolutist moral discrimination is devastatingly undermined by the fact of evolution” (Dawkins, 2006, p. 301).

If atheism is true and humans evolved from non-living, primordial slime, then any sense of moral obligation must simply be a subjective outworking of the physical neurons firing in the brain. Theoretically, atheistic scientists and philosophers admit this truth. Charles Darwin understood this truth perfectly. He wrote: “A man who has no assured and ever present belief in the existence of a personal God or of a future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones” (1958, p. 94, emp. added). Dan Barker admitted this truth in his debate with Peter Payne, when he stated: “There are no actions in and of themselves that are always absolutely right or wrong. It depends on the context. You cannot name an action that is always absolutely right or wrong. I can think of an exception in any case” (2005).

If there is no moral standard other than human “impulses and instincts,” then any attempt to accuse another person of immoral behavior boils down to nothing more than one person not liking the way another person does things. While the atheist may claim not to like God’s actions, if he admits that there is a legitimate standard of morality that is not based on subjective human whims, then he has forfeited his atheistic position. If actions can accurately be labeled as objectively moral or immoral, then atheism cannot be true. As C.S. Lewis eloquently stated:

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust...? Of course, I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too—for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist—in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless—I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality—namely my idea of justice—was full of sense. Consequently, atheism turns out to be too simple (Lewis, 1952, pp. 45-46, italics in orig.).

If there truly are cases of justice and injustice, then God must exist. Furthermore, we will show that the God of the Bible never is unjust in His dealings with humanity. On the contrary, the atheistic position finds itself mired in injustice at every turn.

STRESS “INNOCENT”

Generally, the atheistic argument against God’s morality begins with blanket statements about all of God’s actions or commands that caused anyone to die. When the case is pressed, however, the atheistic argument must be immediately qualified by the concepts of justice and deserved punishment. Could it be that some of God’s actions were against people who had committed crimes worthy of death? Sam Harris noted that he believes that the mere adherence to certain beliefs could be a legitimate cause for putting some people to death (2004, pp. 52-53). Almost the entirety of the atheistic community admits that certain actions, such as serial killing, theft, or child abuse, deserve to be punished in some way. They do not all agree with Harris that the death penalty may be appropriate, but they would argue that some type of punishment or preventive incarceration should be applied to the offender.

Once the atheistic community admits that people who break certain laws should be punished, then the only question left to decide is how they should be punished and to what extent. Atheists may quibble with God’s idea of divine punishment, but it has been sufficiently demonstrated that their arguments cannot be reasonably defended (see Lyons and Butt, 2005, 25[2]:9-15; see also Miller, 2002). Knowing that the idea of justice and the concept of legitimate punishment can be used effectively to show that their blanket accusations against God are ill founded, the atheists must include an additional concept: innocence.

The argument is thus transformed from, “God is immoral because He has killed people,” to “God is immoral because He has killed innocent people.” Since human infants are rightly viewed by atheists as the epitome of sinless innocence, the argument is then restated as “God is immoral because He has killed innocent human infants.” Dan Barker summarized this argument well in his debate with Peter Payne. In his remarks concerning God’s commandment in Numbers 31 for Moses to destroy the Midianites, he stated: “Maybe some of those men were guilty of committing war crimes. And maybe some of them were justifiably guilty, Peter, of committing some kind of crimes. But the children? The fetuses?” (2005, emp. added).

It is important to note, then, that a large number of the instances in which God caused or ordered someone’s death in the Bible were examples of divine punishment of adults who were “justifiably guilty” of punishable crimes. For instance, after Moses listed a host of perverse practices that the Israelites were told to avoid, he stated: “Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants” (Leviticus 18:24-25, emp. added).

Having said that, it must also be recognized that not all the people God has been responsible for killing have been guilty of such crimes. It is true that the Bible documents several instances in which God caused or personally ordered the death of innocent children: the Flood (Genesis 7), death of the first born in Egypt (Exodus 12:29-30), annihilation of the Midianites (Numbers 31), death of the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15), etc. Using these instances, atheists claim that God cannot be moral because He kills innocent children. Atheists then insist that modern-day atheism would never approve of such, and thus atheism is morally superior to the morality of the biblical God.

ATHEISM HAS NO MORAL QUALMS ABOUT KILLING INNOCENT CHILDREN

A closer look at atheistic morality, however, quickly reveals that atheists do not believe that it is morally wrong to kill all innocent children. According to the atheistic community, abortion is viewed as moral. In his debate with John Rankin, Dan Barker said that abortion is a “blessing” (Barker and Rankin, 2006; see also Barker, 1992, pp. 135, 213). One line of reasoning used by atheists to justify the practice is the idea that humans should not be treated differently than animals, since humans are nothing more than animals themselves. The fact that an embryo is “human” is no reason to give it special status. Dawkins wrote: “An early embryo has the sentience, as well as the semblance, of a tadpole” (Dawkins, 2006, p. 297)

Atheistic writer Sam Harris noted: “If you are concerned about suffering in this universe, killing a fly should present you with greater moral difficulties than killing a human blastocyst [three-day-old human embryo—KB]” (2006, p. 30). He further stated: “If you are worried about human suffering, abortion should rank very low on your list of concerns” (p. 37). Many in the atheistic community argue that unborn humans are not real “persons,” and killing them is not equivalent to killing a person. Sam Harris wrote: “Many of us consider human fetuses in the first trimester to be more or less like rabbits; having imputed to them a range of happiness and suffering that does not grant them full status in our moral community” (2004, p. 177, emp. added). James Rachels stated:

Some unfortunate humans—perhaps because they have suffered brain damage—are not rational agents. What are we to say about them? The natural conclusion, according to the doctrine we are considering, would be that their status is that of mere animals. And perhaps we should go on to conclude that they may be used as non-human animals are used—perhaps as laboratory subjects, or as food (1990, p. 186, emp. added).

Isn’t it ironic that Dan Barker protested to Peter Payne that God could not cause the death of an unborn human “fetus” and still be considered moral, and yet the bulk of the atheistic community adamantly maintains that those fetuses are the moral equivalent of rabbits? How can the atheist accuse God of immorality, while claiming to have a superior morality, when the atheist has no moral problem killing babies?

In response, God’s accusers attempt to draw a distinction between a “fetus” in its mother’s womb, and a child already born. That distinction, however, has been effectively demolished by one of their own. Peter Singer, the man Dan Barker lauds as one of the world’s leading ethicists, admits that an unborn child and one already born are morally equivalent. Does this admission force him to the conclusion that abortion should be stopped? No. On the contrary, he believes we should be able to kill children that are already born. In his chapter titled “Justifying Infanticide,” Singer concluded that human infants are “replaceable.” What does Singer mean by “replaceable”? He points out that if a mother has decided that she will have two children, and the second child is born with hemophilia, then that infant can be disposed of and replaced by another child without violating any moral code of ethics. He explained: “Therefore, if killing the hemophiliac infant has no adverse effect on others, it would, according to the total view, be right to kill him. The total view treats infants as replaceable” (2000, p. 190, emp. added; see also Singer, 1983).

He went on to argue that many in society would be aghast at killing an infant with a disability like hemophilia—but without good reason according to his view. He argued that such is done regularly before birth, when a mother aborts a child in utero after prenatal diagnosis reveals a disorder. He stated:

When death occurs before birth, replaceability does not conflict with generally accepted moral convictions. That a fetus is known to be disabled is widely accepted as a ground for abortion. Yet in discussing abortion, we say that birth does not mark a morally significant dividing line. I cannot see how one could defend the view that fetuses may be “replaced” before birth, but newborn infants may not (2000, p. 191, emp. added).

Singer further proposed that parents should be given a certain amount of time after a child is born to decide whether or not they would like to kill the child. He wrote: “If disabled newborn infants were not regarded as having a right to life until, say, a week or a month after birth it would allow parents, in consultation with their doctors, to choose on the basis of far greater knowledge of the infant’s condition than is possible before birth” (2000, p. 193). One has to wonder why Singer would stop at one week or one month. Why not simply say that it is morally right for parents to kill their infants at one year or five years? Singer concluded his chapter on infanticide with these words: “Nevertheless the main point is clear: killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all” (p. 193, emp. added).

It is clear, then, that atheism does not have moral constraints against killing all innocent babies, but rather only those innocent babies that the atheistic community considers “worthy” to live. How in the world would a person make a moral judgment about which children were “worthy to live?” Singer, Harris, and others contest that a child’s age in utero, mental capability, physical disability, or other criteria should be used to formulate the answer. Dan Barker has given his assessment about how to make such moral decisions. He claimed that “morality is simply acting with the intention to minimize harm.” He further insisted that the way to avoid making mistakes in ethical judgments is to “be as informed as possible about the likely consequences of the actions being considered” (2008, p. 214).

Using Barker’s line of reasoning, if God knows everything, then only He would be in the best possible situation to know all the consequences of killing infants. Could it be that all the infants born to the Amalekites had degenerative genetic diseases, or were infected with an STD that was passed to them from their sexually promiscuous mothers? Could it be that the firstborn children in Egypt, or Abraham’s son Isaac, had some type of brain damage, terminal cancer, hemophilia, etc.? The atheistic community cannot accuse God of immorally killing infants and children, when the atheistic position itself offers criteria upon which it purports to justify morally such killing.

Once again, the atheistic argument must be further qualified. The argument has moved from: “God is immoral because He killed people,” to “God is immoral because He killed innocent babies,” to “God is immoral because He killed innocent babies that we feel would not have met our atheistically based criteria for death.” Ultimately, then, the atheistic position argues that atheists, not God, should be the ones who decide when the death of an innocent child is acceptable.

ATHEISM TAKES “ALL THAT THERE IS” FROM INNOCENT CHILDREN

As with most logically flawed belief systems, atheism’s arguments often double back on themselves and discredit the position. So it is with atheism’s attack on God’s morality. Supposedly, God is immoral for killing innocent children. Yet atheists believe the death of certain innocent children is permissible. Have we then simply arrived at the point where both atheistic and theistic morality are equally moral or immoral? Certainly not.

One primary difference between the atheistic position and the biblical position is what is at stake with the loss of physical life. According to atheism, this physical life is all that any living organism has. Dan Barker stated: “Since this is the only life we atheists have, each decision is crucial and we are accountable for our actions right now” (2008, p. 215, emp. added). He further commented that life “is dear. It is fleeting. It is vibrant and vulnerable. It is heart breaking. It can be lost. It will be lost. But we exist now. We are caring, intelligent animals and can treasure our brief lives” (p. 220). Since Dan and his fellow atheists do not believe in the soul or any type of afterlife, then this brief, physical existence is the sum total of an organism’s existence. If that is the case, when Barker, Harris, Singer, and company advocate killing innocent babies, in their minds, they are taking from those babies all that they have—the entirety of their existence. They have set themselves up as the Sovereign tribunal that has the right to take life from their fellow humans, which they believe to be everything a human has. If any position is immoral, the atheistic position is. The biblical view, however, can be shown to possess no such immorality.

PHYSICAL LIFE IS NOT “ALL THERE IS”

Atheism has trapped itself in the position of stating that the death of innocent children is morally permissible, even if that death results in the loss of everything that child has. Yet the biblical position does not fall into the same moral trap as atheism, because it recognizes the truth that physical life is not the sum total of human existence. Although the Bible repeatedly recognizes life as a privilege that can be revoked by God, the Giver of life, it also manifests the fact that death is not complete loss, and can actually be beneficial to the one who dies. The Bible explains that every person has a soul that will live forever; long after physical life on this Earth is over (Matthew 25:46). The Bible consistently stresses the fact that the immortal soul of each individual is of much more value than that individual’s physical life on this Earth. Jesus Christ said: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

Although the skeptic might object, and claim that an answer from the Bible is not acceptable, such an objection falls flat for one primary reason: the skeptic used the Bible to formulate his own argument. Where is it written that God is love? In the Bible, in such passages as 1 John 4:8. Where do we learn that the Lord did, indeed, kill or order the death of babies? Once again, that information comes directly from the Bible. Where, then, should we look for an answer to this alleged moral dilemma? The answer should be: the Bible. If the alleged problem is formulated from biblical testimony, then the Bible should be given the opportunity to explain itself. As long as the skeptic uses the Bible to formulate the problem, we certainly can use the Bible to solve the problem. One primary facet of the biblical solution is that every human has an immortal soul that is of inestimable value.

With the value of the soul in mind, let us examine several verses that prove that physical death is not necessarily evil. In a letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul wrote from prison to encourage the Christians in the city of Philippi. His letter was filled with hope and encouragement, but it was also tinted with some very pertinent comments about the way Paul and God view death. In Philippians 1:21-23, Paul wrote: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (emp. added).

Paul, a faithful Christian, said that death was a welcome visitor. In fact, Paul said that the end of his physical life on this Earth would be “far better” than its continuation. For Paul, as well as for any faithful Christian, the cessation of physical life is not loss, but gain. Such would apply to innocent children as well, since they are in a safe condition and go to paradise when they die (see Butt, 2003).

Other verses in the Bible show that the loss of physical life is not inherently evil. The prophet Isaiah concisely summarized the situation when he was inspired to write: “The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart; merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness” (57:1-2, emp. added). Isaiah recognized that people would view the death of the righteous incorrectly. He plainly stated that this incorrect view of death was due to the fact that most people do not think about the fact that when a righteous or innocent person dies, that person is “taken away from evil,” and enters “into peace.”

The psalmist wrote, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15). Death is not inherently evil. In fact, the Bible indicates that death can be great gain in which a righteous person is taken away from evil and allowed to enter peace and rest. God looks upon the death of His faithful followers as precious. Skeptics who charge God with wickedness because He has ended the physical lives of innocent babies are in error. They refuse to recognize the reality of the immortal soul. Instead of the death of innocent children being an evil thing, it is often a blessing for that child to be taken away from a life of hardship and evil influence at the hands of a sinful society, and ushered into a paradise of peace and rest. In order for a skeptic legitimately to charge God with cruelty, the skeptic must prove that there is no immortal soul, and that physical life is the only reality—neither of which the skeptic can do. Failure to acknowledge the reality of the soul and the spiritual realm will always result in a distorted view of the nature of God. “The righteous perishes...while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil.”

We then could ask who is moral: the atheist who has no problem approving of the death of innocent children, while believing that he is taking from them the only life they have? Or an all-knowing God Who takes back the physical life He gave the child, exchanging it for an eternal life of happiness?

WHY NOT KILL ALL THE CHRISTIANS AND BABIES?

Once the atheistic position is forced to concede that it advocates the killing of babies, and that if there is an afterlife, then the biblical description of God’s activities could be moral, then the atheist often shifts his argument in a last ditch effort to save face. If death can be, and sometimes is, better for the innocent child or for the Christian, why not kill all children and execute all Christians as soon as they come up out of the waters of baptism (see Lyons and Butt, n.d.)? The atheist contends that if we say that death can be a better situation for some, then this position implies the morally absurd idea that we should kill every person that death would benefit.

Before dealing with this new argument, it should be noted that we have laid the other to rest. We have shown that it is impossible for atheism to accuse God of immorality in His dealings with innocent children. Since atheism’s attack against God’s character has failed on that front, the maneuver is changed to accuse the follower of God of not carrying his belief about death to its alleged logical conclusion by killing all those who would benefit. One reason that atheists argue thus is because many of them believe that humans have the right to kill those who they deem as “expendable.” Of course, atheism does not base this judgment on the idea that certain babies or other innocent people would benefit, but that society at large would benefit at the expense of those who are killed. Here again, notice that God is allegedly immoral because He “sinned” against innocent children by taking their lives; yet atheism cares nothing for innocent children, but for the society of which they are a part. In truth, atheism implies that once a certain category of people, whether unborn babies, hemophiliacs, or brain-damaged adults, is honestly assessed to be “expendable,” then humans have the moral right, and sometimes obligation, to exterminate them. The atheist berates the Christian for not taking his beliefs far enough, in the atheist’s opinion. If certain people would benefit from death, or in atheism’s case, society would benefit from certain people’s death, then the atheist contends we should be willing to kill everyone who would fall into that category. If we are not so willing, then the atheist demands that our belief involves a moral absurdity. Yet, the fact that death is beneficial to some cannot be used to say we have the right to kill all those that we think it would benefit.

What Humans Do Not Know

One extremely significant reason humans cannot kill all those people that we think might benefit from death is because we do not know all the consequences of such actions. Remember that Dan Barker stated that the way to make moral decisions was to “try to be as informed as possible about the likely consequences of the actions being considered” (2008, p. 214). Could it be that human judgments about who has the right to live or die would be flawed based on limited knowledge of the consequences? Certainly. Suppose the hemophiliac child that Singer said could be killed to make room for another more “fit” child possessed the mind that would have discovered the cure for cancer. Or what if the brain-damaged patient that the atheistic community determined could be terminated was going to make a remarkable recovery if he had been allowed to live? Once again, the biblical theist could simply argue that God is the only one in the position to authorize death based on the fact that only God knows all the consequences of such actions. The atheistic community might attempt to protest that God does not know everything. But atheism is completely helpless to argue against the idea that if God knows everything, then only He is in the position to make the truly moral decision. Using Barker’s reasoning, when God’s actions do not agree with those advocated by the atheistic community, God can simply answer them by saying, “What you don’t know is....”

It is ironic that, in a discussion of morality, Barker offered several rhetorical questions about who is in the best position to make moral decisions. He stated: “Why should the mind of a deity—an outsider—be better able to judge human actions than the minds of humans themselves...? Which mind is in a better position to make judgments about human actions and feelings? Which mind has more credibility? Which has more experience in the real world? Which mind has more of a right?” (1992, p. 211). Barker intended his rhetorical questions to elicit the answer that humans are in a better position to make their own moral decisions; but his rhetoric fails completely. If God is all-knowing, and if God has been alive to see the entirety of human history play out, and if only God can know all of the future consequences of an action, then the obvious answer to all of Barker’s questions is: God’s mind.

Additionally, there is no possible way that humans can know all the good things that might be done by the Christians and children that live, even though death would be better for them personally. The apostle Paul alluded to this fact when he said that it was better for him to die and be with the Lord, but it was more needful to the other Christians for him to remain alive and help them (Philippians 1:22-25). Books could not contain the countless benevolent efforts, hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, humanitarian efforts, and educational ventures that have been undertaken by Christians. It is important to understand that a Christian example is one of the most valuable tools that God uses to bring others to Him. Jesus noted that when Christians are following His teachings, others see their good works and glorify God (Matthew 5:13-16). Furthermore, the lives of children offer the world examples of purity and innocence worthy of emulation (Matthew 18:1-5). While it is true that death can be an advantageous situation for Christians and children, it is also true that their lives provide a leavening effect on all of human society.

Ownership and Authorization

The mere fact that only God knows all consequences is sufficient to establish that He is the sole authority in matters of human life and death. Yet, His omniscience is not the only attribute that puts Him in the final position of authority. The fact that all physical life originates with God gives Him the prerogative to decide when and how that physical life should be maintained. In speaking of human death, the writer of Ecclesiastes stated: “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (12:7, emp. added). The apostle Paul boldly declared to the pagan Athenians that in God “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). If God gives life to all humans, then only He has the right to say when that life has accomplished its purpose, or under what circumstances life may be legitimately terminated.

In addition to the fact that God gives life and, thus, has the authority to take it, He also has the power to give it back if He chooses. Throughout the Bible we read of instances in which God chose to give life back to those who were dead, the most thoroughly documented example of that being the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Butt, 2002, 22[2]:9-15). In fact, Abraham alluded to this fact during his preparations to sacrifice Isaac. After traveling close to the place appointed for the sacrifice, Abraham left his servants some distance from the mountain, and said to them: “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you” (Genesis 22:5). Notice that Abraham used the plural pronoun “we,” indicating that both he and Isaac would return. The New Testament gives additional insight into Abraham’s thinking. Hebrews 11:17-19 states: “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten...accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead...” (emp. added). Since God gives physical life to all, and since He can raise people from the dead, then any accusation of injustice that fails to take these facts into account cannot be legitimate.

CONCLUSION

It is evident that atheism has no grounds upon which to attack God’s character. Atheists contend that a loving God should not kill innocent babies. But those same atheists say that killing innocent babies could be a blessing under “the right” circumstances. Atheists contend that God is immoral for taking the lives of innocent children. Yet the atheist believes that it is permissible to take the lives of innocent children, when doing so, according to their belief, means that those children are being robbed of the sum total of their existence. Yet, according to the biblical perspective, those children are being spared a life of pain and misery, and ushered into a life of eternal happiness. Atheism contends that its adherents are in a position to determine which children should live and die, and yet the knowledge of the consequences of such decisions goes far beyond their human capability. Only an omniscient God could know all the consequences involved. The atheist contends that human life can be taken by other humans based solely on reasoning about benefits to society and other relativistic ideas. The biblical position shows that God is the Giver of life, and only He has the authority to decide when that life has accomplished its purpose. In reality, the atheistic view proves to be the truly immoral position.

REFERENCES

Barker, Dan (1992), Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist (Madison, WI: Freedom From Religion Foundation).

Barker, Dan (2008), godless (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press).

Barker, Dan and Peter Payne (2005), “Does Ethics Require God?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.ffrf.org/about/bybarker/ethics_debate.php.

Barker, Dan and John Rankin (2006), “Evolution and Intelligent Design: What are the Issues?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.ffrf.org/about/bybarker/ID_Debate.mp3.

Butt, Kyle (2002), “Jesus Christ—Dead or Alive?,” Reason & Revelation, [On-line], URL: /articles/121.

Butt, Kyle (2003), “Do Babies Go to Hell When They Die?,” [On-line], URL: /scrspeak/2003/ss-03-18.htm.

Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), Butt/Barker Debate: Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Darwin, Charles (1958), The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, ed. Nora Barlow (New York: W.W. Norton).

Dawkins, Richard (2006), The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin).

Harris, Sam (2004), The End of Faith (New York: W.W. Norton).

Harris, Sam (2006), Letter to a Christian Nation (New York: Alfred A. Knopf).

Hitchens, Christopher (2007), God is Not Great (New York: Twelve).

Lewis, C.S. (1952), Mere Christianity (New York: Simon and Schuster).

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (no date), Receiving the Gift of Salvation, [On-line], URL: /pdfs/e-books_pdf/Receiving%20the%20Gift%20of%20Salvation.pdf.

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2005), “The Eternality of Hell: Part 2,” Reason & Revelation, 25[2]:9-15, February.

Miller, Dave (2002), “Capital Punishment and the Bible,” [On-line], URL: /articles/1974.

Provine, William (1998), “Evolution: Free Will and Punishment and Meaning in Life,” [On-line], URL: http://eeb.bio.utk.edu/darwin/DarwinDayProvineAddress.htm.

Rachels, James (1990), Created from Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism (New York: Oxford University Press).

Singer, Peter (1983), “Sanctity of Life, Quality of Life,” Pediatrics, 72[1]:128-129.

Singer, Peter (2000), Writings on an Ethical Life (New York: Harper Collins).

Is Faith a Gift from God? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1246

Is Faith a Gift from God?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV).

For centuries, Bible commentators have differed on the precise reference of the pronoun “this” ("that" in KJV, ASV) in Ephesians 2:8. Does “this” (touto) refer to faith, as many have stated (e.g., Augustine, Chrysostom, Westcott, Lenski, etc.), or, does “this” refer to salvation from sin? Is faith “the gift of God,” or is this gift salvation by grace through faith?

Admittedly, from a cursory reading of Ephesians 2:8, it may appear that the demonstrative pronoun this has faith as its grammatical antecedent. Those who believe that faith is a gift (i.e., miraculous imposition) from God, often point out that in this verse “faith” is the nearest antecedent of “this” (“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”). However, when one examines Ephesians 2:8 in the language in which it was written originally (Greek), he finds that the pronoun this (touto) is neuter in gender, while the word faith (pistis) is feminine. Since the general rule in Greek grammar is for the gender and number of a pronoun to be the same as its antecedent (Mounce, 1993, p. 102,109,), then some extenuating linguistic circumstance, special idiomatic use, or other mitigating factor would need to be demonstrated to justify linking “this” to “faith.” If such reasonable justification cannot be made, then one is compelled to continue studying the passage in order to know assuredly what “this” gift of God is.

When no clear antecedent is found within a text, Greek scholar William Mounce wisely recommends that the Bible student study the context of the passage in question in order to help determine what a pronoun is referring to (1993, p. 111). The overall context of the first three chapters of Ephesians is man’s salvation found in Christ.

  • “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (1:7).
  • The heavenly “inheritance” is found in Christ (1:11).
  • After believing in the good news of salvation through Christ, the Ephesians were “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (1:13).
  • Sinners are made “alive with Christ” and saved “by grace” (2:5).
  • Sinners are brought near to God “by the blood of Christ” (2:13).
  • Paul became a servant of Christ “according to the gift of the grace of God…by the effective working of His power” (3:7).

Not only is the theme of salvation the overall context of the first three chapters of Ephesians, but the immediate context of Ephesians 2:8-9 is of salvation, not of faith. These two verses thoroughly document how a person is saved, not how a person believes.

  • Salvation is by grace.
  • Salvation is through faith.
  • Salvation is not of yourselves.
  • Salvation is the gift of God.
  • Salvation is not of works.

Paul was not giving an exposition on faith in his letter to the Ephesians. Salvation was his focus. Faith is mentioned as the mode by which salvation is accepted. Salvation is through faith. Just as water is received into a house in twenty-first-century America through a pipeline, a sinner receives salvation through obedient faith. The main focus of Paul’s message in Ephesians 2:8-9 was salvation (the living “water that springs up into everlasting life”—cf. John 4:14), not the mode of salvation.

Faith is not a direct gift from God given to some but not others. Rather, as Paul wrote to the church at Rome, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Faith in Christ as the Son of God is only found in those who have first heard the Word of God, and then believed (cf. John 20:31).

REFERENCES

Mounce, William D. (1993), Basics of Biblical Greek (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

Jesus And Eliza Doolittle by Jim McGuiggan


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

Jesus And Eliza Doolittle

The world doesn’t change? Of course it does! Reality includes thoughts and feelings, purposes and promises, convictions and emotional responses as well as rocks and rivers, mountains and recliner chairs, stars and ancient trees, sub-atomic particles and huge blue whales. Reality includes how we relate to the world that is “not us” and since our views change about people and things around us—the world changes.

Yes, but trees remain trees and streets still streets! Of course, and there’s no point in being silly about that; but what do you think the song-writer had in mind when he has Freddy Eynsford-Hill singing,
“I have often walked down this street before/
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before/
All at once am I, several stories high/
Knowing I’m on the street where you live”?
Freddy is now madly in love with Eliza Doolittle and ordinary prose won’t capture what he feels. The world is now new!
Well, that’s just poetry!
What’s just poetry? The way the guy feels! No! That’s not just poetry—the description of what he actually experiences is poetic but the experience, the emotional surge, the joy tinged with a little awe is real! He has changed and because that’s true he no longer feels the same about the street he thought nothing of before. The street has now become “her” street and because it’s hers he relates to it differently and that experience of relating is real, as real as the street he walks on. He knows the street is a street but his love for her invests the street with her presence. To tell him he’s silly, that he doesn’t actually rise off the pavement would be silly—it never entered his head that he did. To tell him he doesn’t feel joy and excitement at being on her street would be to talk nonsense for that’s exactly what he does feel! That long stretch of concrete with brick structures on each side of it will never be the same to him.
Reality (the world) actually changes because reality is perceived and experienced and how we perceive and experience reality changes depending on events or truths or convictions and such.
Well, this is all psychological stuff! Of course it is! Should we pretend otherwise? Humans are more than flesh and blood. They’re embodied dreams and fears, worries and joys, relationships and convictions. Should we pretend that the only reality is what we can bump into or see under a microscope or through a telescope? Reality includes the observer—bumping and telescoping and microscoping and whatever—they’re all possible only to personal observers.
This relational truth about things is not restricted to romance—friendship, parent/child, teacher/student and other relationships work the same transforming magic. The same holds true in our relationship to Jesus Christ for God works at the psychological level as well as all other levels.
I mention all this because just some time ago a young man asked me if the doctrine of the life, cross, resurrection and exaltation of Jesus made any difference to the “now” of people’s lives rather than the future and if it did, in what way.

We should insist, certainly, that a glorious future hope affects the present. Paul thought it should, in 1 Corinthians 15:54-58. He spoke of a coming day when for all who are embraced in Christ’s saving work that death would be obliterated and then he says (15:58 NRSV), “Therefore, my beloved, be…always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” The coming resurrection casts a light on their present lives for the Lord—none of it is lost!

The truth is: faith in Jesus is the future, it is the assurance, it is “being sure” of what we hope for (Hebrews 11:1). But that faith in light of the future (and it should never be severed from that) even now makes the world a different place if we have given ourselves in faith to Christ. As surely as streets remain streets pain and suffering remain pain and suffering but in light of faith in Jesus these realities are not the same; we now relate to them in an altogether different way. The pleasures and joys of life take on a new complexion when they are related to Jesus Christ. So do the  world’s great wrongs and the suffering endured by the plundered poor; tyrants are more tyrannical and sinister, injustice more unjust and self-centeredness less excusable.
If we don’t feel that at any serious level it might well be because we haven’t yet grasped at a significant depth (or been grasped by) the truth in and about Jesus. Perhaps if we spent more time prayerfully and seriously reflecting on the major issues of our faith and less on the needful but relatively peripheral matters we’d discover that the world has changed since He came.
Maybe one day, while we’re working our way through the truth about Him we’ll be transfixed by a realization, our eyes will get big and round and though the emotional experience will calm down the world will never be the same. Truth frees but it also makes us debtors to all those God loves! It isn’t always peace and quiet joy but through His eyes it’s always glorious; always cosmic as well as personal and individual!
A new world IS coming but even now we sense:

Heaven above is softer blue
Earth beneath is sweeter green,
Something lives in every hue
That Christless eyes have never seen.
Birds with gladder songs overflow
Stars with deeper beauty shine,
Since I know as now I know
I am his and he is mine.

Write me if you wish if you feel the need: holywoodjk@aol.com

The Jehovah Witnesses And The Christian GEORGE L. FAULL


http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-jehovah-witnesses-and-christian.html

The Jehovah Witnesses And The Christian

 

GEORGE L. FAULL


The Jehovah Witnesses had been in the old Christian’s home for half an hour jumping from one topic to another as the Christian would answer each of their arguments.  They were skilled at jumping to another subject when they were defeated in an argument on Christ’s deity, the nature of man, blood transfusion, saluting the flag or whatever subject they chose to pursue.  In desperation, the Jehovah Witnesses mentioned Hell.  On this topic, the Jehovah Witnesses felt safe.

“Let me ask you a question,” they asked the old Christian.  “Do you have any children?”

“Yes, I have four sons,” was the reply.

“Now you think,” said one of the Jehovah Witnesses, “that there is a Hell of eternal fire, is that right?”
“Yes, I do,” said the old Christian.

“Well,” said the Jehovah Witness, “would you cast them into a burning fire for punishment?”

“No, I would not,” said the old Christian.

“But you think God would?  I think He is much more righteous than you.”
“Well, let me ask you a question,” said the old Christian.  “Do you believe the Bible from cover to cover?”

“Yes, we do, every word of it, but the verses that you think say there is a Hell have been mistranslated and misunderstood.  God is too loving and righteous to burn someone in Hell.  You wouldn’t burn your child in Hell, would you?”

“Well, you said you believed every Word of the Bible.  Let me ask you this.  Do you believe millions died in the flood in Noah’s day?”

“Yes,” said both Jehovah Witnesses.

“Let me ask you if you would drown your kids?”  There was no answer.  “Do you believe a good God did that?”

“Yes,” said the Witnesses sheepishly.

“Do you believe that God destroyed thousands upon thousands of people in fire and brimstone in Sodom and Gomorrah in Lot’s day?” asked the old Christian.

“Yes,” said each of the Jehovah Witnesses.

“Would you destroy your child by raining fire and brimstone on them?”

The Jehovah Witnesses gave no answer.

“Let me ask you another question,” said the Christian as he watched the arrogance of the cultist dissipate, “would you send fire on your sons as God did Nadab and Abihu for offering strange fire?”

No answer came from the Jehovah Witnesses, for they saw where this was heading.

“Well, would you just open up the earth and swallow your sons and daughters and grandchildren alive the way God did Korah and the 250 princes and their families?”

No answer was given.

“You do believe God did all this don’t you?” asked the old Christian.

“Yes,” the Jehovah Witnesses softly answered.

“But you wouldn’t do it to your kids, right?” said the old Christian.

“No.”

“So, what’s the point of asking me if I would send my kids to a burning Hell?  God has already done things I would not do to my kids, therefore, what God will do with His creatures should not be the basis of judging what He said He will do to the wicked.  God is Righteous, Wise, Holy, and Sovereign.  He will do what He chooses, to whom He chooses your inconsistent arguments not withstanding.”

With that the Jehovah Witnesses remembered another appointment and were quickly out the door, hoping to find someone who was not so keen of mind and less Biblically informed than the old man.

Two Men Prayed by B. Johnson

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

Two Men Prayed

“And he spoke this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted”  (Luke 18:9-14).

When I was young in the faith and read the prayer of the Pharisee, I wondered how he could have been condemned if he really did all those things he claimed to do. I did not understand the heart behind the prayer. Jesus’ parable does not seem to apply to everyone – certainly not to those who genuinely follow God’s commandments. It was given especially to those self-confident souls who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others. Such were the Pharisees who made up their own righteousness (Rom 10:1-3) thereby making up their own commandments (Mt 15:1-3:8-9). The Pharisees despised others, trusting that they alone followed the “traditions” of the fathers. They despised others who did not (John 7:47-49).

The Pharisees were hypocrites (Luke 12:1) who pretended to serve God (Mt 23:23) but who in fact served men (Mt 23:3, 5). This Pharisee would have been justified for turning from extortion, unrighteousness, adultery, etc., if he had done those things for the Lord (Mt 6:1-5). He probably did give tithes of all that he possessed, but it was for the wrong motive (Mt 23:5). Therefore, all of his righteousness was as a filthy rag to God, for he did not love God (1 Cor 13:1-3).

Jesus gave the parable for the Pharisee and gave him a solution to his problem. The heart of the publican was his solution. The publican was genuinely sorry for his sin and begged God for mercy. He did not exalt himself for any reason, but sought God’s help to change. The Lord promised mercy for those who confessed and forsook their sins (Pro 28:13). The Pharisee, on the other hand, was genuinely proud that he only was “walking in the light” and had no intention of changing. There was no hope for the Pharisee. He was right in his own eyes and planned to stand in the same position forever.

Jesus pointed to the hearts behind both men. The Pharisee sought to exalt and justify himself (Luke 15:15), while the publican humbled himself before God. God intentionally abases the proud and promises to punish them (Pro 16:5). God promises to exalt those who humble themselves before Him (1 Peter 5:5-6). Let us confess our sins to Him and trust His promise to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). If we trust Him, He will do that for us.

Beth Johnson

 

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

Bible Reading for June 3 and 4 by Gary Rose





World  English  Bible



June 3

Ruth 3

Rth 3:1 Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?

Rth 3:2 Now isn't Boaz our kinsman, with whose maidens you were? Behold, he winnows barley tonight in the threshing floor.

Rth 3:3 Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself, and put your clothing on yourself, and go down to the threshing floor, but don't make yourself known to the man, until he has finished eating and drinking.

Rth 3:4 It shall be, when he lies down, that you shall mark the place where he shall lie, and you shall go in, and uncover his feet, and lay down; then he will tell you what you shall do.

Rth 3:5 She said to her, All that you say I will do.

Rth 3:6 She went down to the threshing floor, and did according to all that her mother-in-law told her.

Rth 3:7 When Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.

Rth 3:8 It happened at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself; and behold, a woman lay at his feet.

Rth 3:9 He said, Who are you? She answered, I am Ruth your handmaid: spread therefore your skirt over your handmaid; for you are a near kinsman.

Rth 3:10 He said, Blessed are you by Yahweh, my daughter: you have shown more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as you didn't follow young men, whether poor or rich.

Rth 3:11 Now, my daughter, don't be afraid; I will do to you all that you say; for all the city of my people does know that you are a worthy woman.

Rth 3:12 Now it is true that I am a near kinsman; however there is a kinsman nearer than I.

Rth 3:13 Stay this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform for you the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman for you, then will I do the part of a kinsman for you, as Yahweh lives: lie down until the morning.

Rth 3:14 She lay at his feet until the morning. She rose up before one could discern another. For he said, Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.

Rth 3:15 He said, Bring the mantle that is on you, and hold it; and she held it; and he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and he went into the city.

Rth 3:16 When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, Who are you, my daughter? She told her all that the man had done to her.

Rth 3:17 She said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said, "Don't go empty to your mother-in-law."

Rth 3:18 Then she said, "Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will fall; for the man will not rest, until he has finished the thing this day."


Rth 4:1 Now Boaz went up to the gate, and sat him down there: and behold, the near kinsman of whom Boaz spoke came by; to whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. He turned aside, and sat down.

Rth 4:2 He took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit down here. They sat down.

Rth 4:3 He said to the near kinsman, Naomi, who has come back out of the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's:

Rth 4:4 I thought to disclose it to you, saying, Buy it before those who sit here, and before the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it: but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is none to redeem it besides you; and I am after you. He said, I will redeem it.

Rth 4:5 Then said Boaz, On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must buy it also from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead on his inheritance.

Rth 4:6 The near kinsman said, I can't redeem it for myself, lest I mar my own inheritance: take my right of redemption on you; for I can't redeem it.

Rth 4:7 Now this was the custom in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning exchanging, to confirm all things: a man drew off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor; and this was the manner of attestation in Israel.

Rth 4:8 So the near kinsman said to Boaz, Buy it for yourself. He drew off his shoe.

Rth 4:9 Boaz said to the elders, and to all the people, You are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi.

Rth 4:10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead on his inheritance, that the name of the dead not be cut off from among his brothers, and from the gate of his place: you are witnesses this day.

Rth 4:11 All the people who were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. Yahweh make the woman who has come into your house like Rachel and like Leah, which two built the house of Israel: and treat you worthily in Ephrathah, and be famous in Bethlehem:

Rth 4:12 and let your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, of the seed which Yahweh shall give you of this young woman.

Rth 4:13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife; and he went in to her, and Yahweh gave her conception, and she bore a son.

Rth 4:14 The women said to Naomi, Blessed be Yahweh, who has not left you this day without a near kinsman; and let his name be famous in Israel.

Rth 4:15 He shall be to you a restorer of life, and sustain you in your old age, for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.

Rth 4:16 Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse to it.

Rth 4:17 The women her neighbors gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they named him Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Rth 4:18 Now this is the history of the generations of Perez: Perez became the father of Hezron,

Rth 4:19 and Hezron became the father of Ram, and Ram became the father of Amminadab,

Rth 4:20 and Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon became the father of Salmon,

Rth 4:21 and Salmon became the father of Boaz, and Boaz became the father of Obed,

Rth 4:22 and Obed became the father of Jesse, and Jesse became the father of David.


June 4

1 Samuel 1, 2

1Sa 1:1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite:

1Sa 1:2 and he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

1Sa 1:3 This man went up out of his city from year to year to worship and to sacrifice to Yahweh of Armies in Shiloh. The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, priests to Yahweh, were there.

1Sa 1:4 When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:

1Sa 1:5 but to Hannah he gave a double portion; for he loved Hannah, but Yahweh had shut up her womb.

1Sa 1:6 Her rival provoked her sore, to make her fret, because Yahweh had shut up her womb.

1Sa 1:7 as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of Yahweh, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

1Sa 1:8 Elkanah her husband said to her, Hannah, why do you weep? and why don't you eat? and why is your heart grieved? am I not better to you than ten sons?

1Sa 1:9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his seat by the doorpost of the temple of Yahweh.

1Sa 1:10 She was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to Yahweh, and wept sore.

1Sa 1:11 She vowed a vow, and said, Yahweh of Armies, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your handmaid, and remember me, and not forget your handmaid, but will give to your handmaid a boy, then I will give him to Yahweh all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come on his head.

1Sa 1:12 It happened, as she continued praying before Yahweh, that Eli marked her mouth.

1Sa 1:13 Now Hannah, she spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.

1Sa 1:14 Eli said to her, How long will you be drunken? put away your wine from you.

1Sa 1:15 Hannah answered, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I poured out my soul before Yahweh.

1Sa 1:16 Don't count your handmaid for a wicked woman; for out of the abundance of my complaint and my provocation have I spoken hitherto.

1Sa 1:17 Then Eli answered, Go in peace; and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of him.

1Sa 1:18 She said, Let your handmaid find favor in your sight. So the woman went her way, and ate; and her facial expression wasn't sad any more.

1Sa 1:19 They rose up in the morning early, and worshiped before Yahweh, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and Yahweh remembered her.

1Sa 1:20 It happened, when the time was come about, that Hannah conceived, and bore a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of Yahweh.

1Sa 1:21 The man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer to Yahweh the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.

1Sa 1:22 But Hannah didn't go up; for she said to her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned; and then I will bring him, that he may appear before Yahweh, and there abide forever.

1Sa 1:23 Elkanah her husband said to her, Do what seems good to you; wait until you have weaned him; only Yahweh establish his word. So the woman waited and nursed her son, until she weaned him.

1Sa 1:24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, and one ephah of meal, and a bottle of wine, and brought him to the house of Yahweh in Shiloh: and the child was young.

1Sa 1:25 They killed the bull, and brought the child to Eli.

1Sa 1:26 She said, Oh, my lord, as your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to Yahweh.

1Sa 1:27 For this child I prayed; and Yahweh has given me my petition which I asked of him:

1Sa 1:28 therefore also I have granted him to Yahweh; as long as he lives he is granted to Yahweh. He worshiped Yahweh there.


1Sa 2:1 Hannah prayed, and said: My heart exults in Yahweh! My horn is exalted in Yahweh. My mouth is enlarged over my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.

1Sa 2:2 There is no one as holy as Yahweh, For there is no one besides you, nor is there any rock like our God.

1Sa 2:3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly. Don't let arrogance come out of your mouth, For Yahweh is a God of knowledge. By him actions are weighed.

1Sa 2:4 The bows of the mighty men are broken. Those who stumbled are girded with strength.

1Sa 2:5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread. Those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. Yes, the barren has borne seven. She who has many children languishes.

1Sa 2:6 Yahweh kills, and makes alive. He brings down to Sheol, and brings up.

1Sa 2:7 Yahweh makes poor, and makes rich. He brings low, he also lifts up.

1Sa 2:8 He raises up the poor out of the dust. He lifts up the needy from the dunghill, To make them sit with princes, and inherit the throne of glory, for the pillars of the earth are Yahweh's. He has set the world on them.

1Sa 2:9 He will keep the feet of his holy ones, but the wicked shall be put to silence in darkness; for no man shall prevail by strength.

1Sa 2:10 Those who strive with Yahweh shall be broken to pieces. He will thunder against them in the sky. Yahweh will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

1Sa 2:11 Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. The child did minister to Yahweh before Eli the priest.

1Sa 2:12 Now the sons of Eli were base men; they didn't know Yahweh.

1Sa 2:13 The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest's servant came, while the flesh was boiling, with a fork of three teeth in his hand;

1Sa 2:14 and he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest took therewith. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there.

1Sa 2:15 Yes, before they burnt the fat, the priest's servant came, and said to the man who sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have boiled flesh of you, but raw.

1Sa 2:16 If the man said to him, They will surely burn the fat first, and then take as much as your soul desires; then he would say, No, but you shall give it to me now: and if not, I will take it by force.

1Sa 2:17 The sin of the young men was very great before Yahweh; for the men despised the offering of Yahweh.

1Sa 2:18 But Samuel ministered before Yahweh, being a child, girded with a linen ephod.

1Sa 2:19 Moreover his mother made him a little robe, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

1Sa 2:20 Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, Yahweh give you seed of this woman for the petition which was asked of Yahweh. They went to their own home.

1Sa 2:21 Yahweh visited Hannah, and she conceived, and bore three sons and two daughters. The child Samuel grew before Yahweh.

1Sa 2:22 Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons did to all Israel, and how that they lay with the women who served at the door of the Tent of Meeting.

1Sa 2:23 He said to them, Why do you do such things? for I hear of your evil dealings from all this people.

1Sa 2:24 No, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: you make Yahweh's people disobey.

1Sa 2:25 If one man sin against another, God shall judge him; but if a man sin against Yahweh, who shall entreat for him? Notwithstanding, they didn't listen to the voice of their father, because Yahweh was minded to kill them.

1Sa 2:26 The child Samuel grew on, and increased in favor both with Yahweh, and also with men.

1Sa 2:27 There came a man of God to Eli, and said to him, Thus says Yahweh, Did I reveal myself to the house of your father, when they were in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh's house?

1Sa 2:28 and did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire?

1Sa 2:29 Why do you kick at my sacrifice and at my offering, which I have commanded in my habitation, and honor your sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel my people?

1Sa 2:30 Therefore Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, I said indeed that your house, and the house of your father, should walk before me forever: but now Yahweh says, Be it far from me; for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

1Sa 2:31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off your arm, and the arm of your father's house, that there shall not be an old man in your house.

1Sa 2:32 You shall see the affliction of my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel; and there shall not be an old man in your house forever.

1Sa 2:33 The man of yours, whom I shall not cut off from my altar, shall be to consume your eyes, and to grieve your heart; and all the increase of your house shall die in the flower of their age.

1Sa 2:34 This shall be the sign to you, that shall come on your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die both of them.

1Sa 2:35 I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in my heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before my anointed forever.

1Sa 2:36 It shall happen, that everyone who is left in your house shall come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread, and shall say, Please put me into one of the priests' offices, that I may eat a morsel of bread.


Jun. 3, 4

John 10

Joh 10:1 "Most certainly, I tell you, one who doesn't enter by the door into the sheep fold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

Joh 10:2 But one who enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

Joh 10:3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.

Joh 10:4 Whenever he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

Joh 10:5 They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him; for they don't know the voice of strangers."

Joh 10:6 Jesus spoke this parable to them, but they didn't understand what he was telling them.

Joh 10:7 Jesus therefore said to them again, "Most certainly, I tell you, I am the sheep's door.

Joh 10:8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn't listen to them.

Joh 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture.

Joh 10:10 The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.

Joh 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Joh 10:12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who doesn't own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and flees. The wolf snatches the sheep, and scatters them.

Joh 10:13 The hired hand flees because he is a hired hand, and doesn't care for the sheep.

Joh 10:14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and I'm known by my own;

Joh 10:15 even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep.

Joh 10:16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice. They will become one flock with one shepherd.

Joh 10:17 Therefore the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.

Joh 10:18 No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down by myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father."

Joh 10:19 Therefore a division arose again among the Jews because of these words.

Joh 10:20 Many of them said, "He has a demon, and is insane! Why do you listen to him?"

Joh 10:21 Others said, "These are not the sayings of one possessed by a demon. It isn't possible for a demon to open the eyes of the blind, is it?"

Joh 10:22 It was the Feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem.

Joh 10:23 It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in Solomon's porch.

Joh 10:24 The Jews therefore came around him and said to him, "How long will you hold us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

Joh 10:25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you don't believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, these testify about me.

Joh 10:26 But you don't believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I told you.

Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Joh 10:28 I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Joh 10:29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand.

Joh 10:30 I and the Father are one."

Joh 10:31 Therefore Jews took up stones again to stone him.

Joh 10:32 Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?"

Joh 10:33 The Jews answered him, "We don't stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy: because you, being a man, make yourself God."

Joh 10:34 Jesus answered them, "Isn't it written in your law, 'I said, you are gods?'

Joh 10:35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture can't be broken),

Joh 10:36 do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You blaspheme,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God?'

Joh 10:37 If I don't do the works of my Father, don't believe me.

Joh 10:38 But if I do them, though you don't believe me, believe the works; that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father."

Joh 10:39 They sought again to seize him, and he went out of their hand.

Joh 10:40 He went away again beyond the Jordan into the place where John was baptizing at first, and there he stayed.

Joh 10:41 Many came to him. They said, "John indeed did no sign, but everything that John said about this man is true."

Joh 10:42 Many believed in him there.