"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" The Crucifixion Of Jesus (27:32-50) by Mark Copeland



 The Crucifixion Of Jesus (27:32-50)


1. Without question, the crucifixion of Jesus was a terrible event...
   a. It was an excruciating and painful way to die, which Jesus was
      willing to accept without pain-killing drugs - Mt 27:32-35
   b. It was a shameful way to die, mocked by those who watched,
      crucified with common thieves - Mt 27:36-44
   c. Along with the physical suffering, there was the spiritual agony- Mt 27:45-50

2. While there may be a place for contemplating upon the actual
   physical agony Jesus endured...
   a. Jesus did not want people to weep for Him, but for themselves- cf. Lk 23:26-31
   b. Even on the cross, His concern for others was evident - Lk 23:34
   -- So the purpose of the crucifixion was not just to engender pity for Jesus

[The significance and lessons to be learned from the crucifixion go far
beyond feeling sorry for what Jesus suffered.  For example, we should
never forget that "The Crucifixion Of Jesus" is...]


      1. As foretold, He died for our sins - 1Co 15:3; Isa 53:5-6
      2. He gave Himself for our sins - Ga 1:4
      3. He bore our sins on the cross - 1Pe 2:24
      -- May the thought of the crucifixion remind us of our own
         sinfulness and the need for redemption - 1Jn 1:8-10

      1. He condemned sin in the flesh through His death - Ro 8:3
      2. Now making it possible for sinners to destroy their own body
         of sin, when united with Him by baptism into His death - Ro 6: 3-6
      -- May the thought of the crucifixion remind us of our duty to
         crucify the sinful passions of the flesh - Ga 5:24; Col 3:5-11

[To motivate us in our efforts to let Jesus' death help us deal with
the problem of sin, we should also remember that "The Crucifixion Of
Jesus" is...]


      1. The love of the Father for a lost world - Jn 3:16; Ro 5:8
      2. The love of the Son - Ep 5:2
      -- May our contemplation of the crucifixion never neglect the
         love that was behind the fact - 1Jn 4:9-10

      1. We now understand the meaning of true love - 1Jn 3:16; Jn 15:13
      2. His love serves as the pattern for our love - Jn 13:34-35;15:12
      -- May our contemplation of the crucifixion remind us of the high
         standard of love we are called to show toward one another - 1Jn 4:11

[As we strive to overcome sin and love one another, assisted and
motivated by the death of Jesus on the cross, we should also be mindful
that "The Crucifixion Of Jesus" is...]


      1. God desires all men to be saved, not desiring any to perish- 1Ti 2:3-6; 2Pe 3:9
      2. Therefore He offered Jesus as a propitiation for all - 1Jn 2:1-2
      -- May our meditation upon the crucifixion include thinking about
         the need of others

      1. He is the only way to the Father - Jn 14:6
      2. Only in His name is salvation to be found - Ac 4:12
      3. Deny the Son, and one does not have the Father - 1Jn 2:23
      4. Abide in His doctrine, and one has both the Father and the Son- 2Jn 9
      -- May our meditation upon the crucifixion move us to do what we
         can to proclaim the message of redemption to those lost in sin- cf. 2Co 5:18-6:1

[And so the death of Jesus on the cross should prompt us to look both
inward and outward, to address both our spiritual needs and those of
others. To what extent effort may be required in these areas, we should
also view "The Crucifixion Of Jesus" as...]


      1. His death demonstrated the mind of humility - Php 2:3-8
      2. His suffering demonstrated the example of suffering patiently- 1Pe 2:20-24
      -- May our reflection upon the crucifixion move us to consider
         what His sacrifice should inspire us to do

      1. To walk in love - Ep 5:2
      2. To walk in humility - Php 2:3-5
      3. To suffer patiently when mistreated for doing good - 1Pe 2:20-24
      4. To give of ourselves to others - 2Co 8:9; 1Jn 3:16-18


1. Certainly more could be said about "The Crucifixion Of Jesus"

2. But perhaps these few thoughts will increase our appreciation of
   this significant event...
   a. His death is the condemnation of sin
   b. His death is the revelation of love
   c. His death is the redemption of the world
   d. His death is the inspiration of sacrifice

3. Have you taken advantage of what "The Crucifixion Of Jesus" means for you...?
   a. Have you been crucified with Christ?
   b. Are you putting to death the deeds of the flesh?
   c. Are you growing in love?
   d. Are you concerned and doing something about the redemption of the
   e. Are you inspired in your service to your brethren and the lost by
      the example of Jesus' sacrifice?

In the words of the apostle Paul:  "We then, as workers together with
Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain." (2 Co 6:1) 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Tolerance, Diversity, and Division by Dave Miller, Ph.D.



Tolerance, Diversity, and Division

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One of the “big myths” of society that surely will go down in history as a significant contributor to the moral decline of America is the incessant clamor by liberals for “tolerance” and “diversity.” They insist that those who oppose same-sex marriage are “intolerant” and lack basic human “compassion.” They maintain that “diversity” and “tolerance” (code words for acceptance of homosexuality) are healthy for society, and that those who oppose homosexuality are merely “demonizing people for political advantage” and “perpetuating division” (Obama, 2004).

Satan is slick. He uses “devices,” “wiles,” and “snares” (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:26) to distort people’s thinking. He is a shrewd master of advancing his agenda by disguising the immoral with a righteous veneer. If people give in to emotional impulse, rather than thinking rationally, logically, and biblically, they will swallow the propaganda and embrace Satan’s ploys.

The fallacy of such “reasoning” is made apparent when placed in syllogistic form:

1. Everyone should be compassionate, tolerant, and accepting of diversity;

2. Homosexuality is one form of diversity;

3. Therefore, homosexuality should be accepted/approved; to fail to do so is intolerant and divisive.

Few would disagree with the first premise. The Bible clearly teaches that God loves every person, and He requires Christians to do the same. However, toleration cannot and must not extend to any practice, action, or behavior that is evil, immoral, and sinful, i.e., out of harmony with God’s will.

Using the above line of reasoning, the tolerance/diversity umbrella ought logically to apply to pedophilia, necrophilia, incest, bestiality, and every other aberrant sexual behavior. Similarly, the same principle ought to apply to murder, stealing, drug dealing, and every other illegal action. Are we simply to cancel all laws in the United States that govern human behavior—on the guise that to enforce them is “intolerant”? Are we to open the doors of all the prisons in the country and free the criminals—on the grounds that to fail to do so is to “perpetuate division”? By such foolish thinking, placing anyone in prison constitutes a lack of “compassion.”

The tolerance/diversity viewpoint is completely nonsensical. If applied consistently and thoroughly, it would lead to social anarchy, rampant lawlessness, and the destruction of society. Opposing homosexuality, abortion, and a host of other social and moral evils is not incompatible with compassion and tolerance. One can oppose and punish murder while still maintaining compassion for the murderer. The overarching, governing principle is the recognition of and submission to the absolute standard of morality given to the human race by the God of the Bible—the God who is love (1 John 4:16). Those who reject that standard, thereby elevating their own fleshly appetites above the transcendent Creator, one day will face the consequences: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Those who consider themselves more tolerant and compassionate than God need a healthy dose of humility to alter their skewed perspective:

Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word (Isaiah 66:1-2, emp. added).

May we be among “those that tremble at the commandment of our God” (Ezra 10:3).


Obama, Barack (2004), “Obama on Marriage,” Windy City Times, November 2, [On-line], URL: “http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=4018.

To Whom Does Matthew 19:3-12 Apply? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.



To Whom Does Matthew 19:3-12 Apply?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

In order to sort out the proper application of the discussion on divorce in Matthew 19, one must take into account several contextual indicators. First, observe that in the context of the passage, Jesus addressed Himself to Jews (vs. 3—“Pharisees”)—not Christians. He answered their question: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?” (vs. 3).

Second, if Jesus’ answer applies only to Christians (as some claim), then He did not help His Jewish inquirers and, in fact, He completely dodged their question. But He made clear that His answer did apply to them and to everybody else, for three reasons:

  1. He said, “Have you not read” (vs. 4) and “But I say unto you” (vs. 9). He was speaking to them!
  2. He used the term “whosoever” (vs. 9)—an all-inclusive term that means anyone and everyone.
  3. In verses 4-5, He appealed to Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24 for His answer to their question. The instruction from Genesis predates the Mosaic period in its original context. Consequently, the teaching of Genesis (i.e., that God has intended from the very beginning of time for one man to be married to one woman for life, with the only exception being fornication) is teaching that applies to mankind and humanity in general.

Though (a) during certain time periods (e.g., Mosaic), people grew lax in their sensitivity to this Divine guideline, and though (b) God “winked at” this lax behavior (Acts 17:30), such is no indication that people today are free to ignore the laws of God on divorce and remarriage (Hebrews 13:4).

Third, notice the disciples’ reaction to the stringent nature of Jesus’ declaration: “[I]f the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry” (vs. 10). In other words, if a man is obligated to remain married to his first spouse (with the only possibility for divorce and remarriage being the sexual unfaithfulness of that mate), then the man ought to think twice, deliberating long and hard, before he decides to get married the first time. In marrying, he is committing himself to a lifetime with the same woman (in God’s sight). It may very well be preferable to live single than to risk permanent marriage to a mate who creates misery and is unpleasant to live with (but who remains sexually faithful). This is the gist of the disciples’ remark to Jesus. They understood Jesus’ instruction to be very restrictive. But they then drew an erroneous conclusion by proposing the propriety, even priority, of celibacy.

Fourth, in response to the disciples’ remark, Jesus noted in verse 11 that not everyone can live as they suggested (i.e., single and celibate). The implication is that some, more than others, possess a greater need for companionship and the sexual relationship that accompanies that marital companionship. (Notice that sex is perfectly permissible in God’s sight—after all, He designed it! But, if one desires to indulge, the participant is under obligation to conform to divine guidelines, limiting and confining sexual activity to a scriptural marriage relationship). Jesus then elaborated upon three classes of men (vs. 12) who would be able to pursue the celibate life which the disciples proposed: (1) those who are born physically defective and, consequently, are unable to function sexually; (2) those who are born physically normal, but who are then surgically rendered unable to perform sexually. Though odd to the modern mind, it was a common practice in ancient cultures to render impotent various individuals who sought to function in official capacities, e.g., wards in charge of royal bedchambers, servants who lived in the palaces of royalty, etc. (cf. Genesis 37:26; 40:2,7; Daniel 1:3; Esther 1:10; 2:21; 1 Kings 22:9; 2 Kings 8:6; 9:32; Acts 8:27); (3) those who simply choose to forego sexual relations and marriage in order to devote themselves completely to religious matters (like Jesus and Paul).

Fifth, Jesus’ concluding statement, “he that is able to receive it, let him receive it” (vs. 12), pertains to that which He had been discussing, i.e., the choice to live celibate. He could not have been referring back to the statement of verse 9. Such would be a contradiction. For, on the one hand, He would have been declaring emphatically that those who divorce/remarry unscripturally are guilty of committing adultery, and then, turning right around and minimizing this declaration by suggesting that a person does not have to abide by the stricture if he does not want to. If people are free to decide their own guidelines for marriage, there was no need for Jesus to have even mentioned the matter in the first place. But when has God ever laid down any regulation with the implication that men do not have to obey if they do not wish to? The “saying” (vs. 11) with which He took issue, maintaining that it should not be set in concrete or urged upon mankind indiscriminately and universally, was the saying of the disciples—that men ought to refrain from marriage and live celibate lives. Jesus’ statement in verse 9 is clearly universal in its application and import. The disciples’ statement in verse 10 is clearly limited in its scope and application to the three classes of individuals that Jesus delineated. Only those three categories of persons are in a position (physically, and/or mentally) to “receive this saying” pertaining to abstinence from marriage.

To Judge, or Not to Judge? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.



To Judge, or Not to Judge?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

One of the most oft’-quoted verses in the Bible is Matthew 7:1—“Judge not, that you be not judged.” Those engaged in immoral behavior frequently quote this verse when attempting to defend their sinful lifestyle. Certain religionists quote it when being challenged to prove that their questionable practices are backed by biblical authority. A belligerent teenager might be heard reciting this phrase to his parents when they inquire about his occasional association with “the wrong crowd.” Skeptics even quote Matthew 7:1 in an attempt to show an inconsistency in Jesus’ teachings. From church pews to barstools, from the “Bible belt” to Hollywood, Matthew 7:1 is ripped from its context and bellowed as some kind of scare tactic: “Do you dare judge me? Jesus said, ‘Judge not, that you be not judged.’ ” Allegedly, Jesus meant that we cannot pass judgment on anyone at anytime.

Sadly, Matthew 7:1 is not only among the most frequently quoted verses in the Bible, but also is one of the most abused verses in all of Scripture. Its exploitation becomes clear when the entire context of Matthew 7 is studied more carefully. Throughout Matthew chapters 5-7 (often referred to as the Sermon on the Mount), Jesus publicly criticized the Jewish scribes and Pharisees for their self-righteousness and abuse of the Old Testament. Near the beginning of this sermon, Jesus stated: “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). The unrighteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was at the heart of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus wanted His audience to understand that self-righteousness would not be permitted in the kingdom of heaven; rather, it would lead to “condemnation” in hell (5:20; cf. 23:14,33). A follower of God must be “poor in spirit” (5:3), not filled with pride. He must love his enemies, not hate them (5:44). He is to do good deeds, but only to please God, not men (6:1-4). The scribes and Pharisees were guilty of wearing “righteousness” on their sleeves, rather than in their hearts (6:1-8; cf. 23:1-36). It was in the midst of such strong public rebuke that Christ proclaimed:

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the speck from your eye”; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:1-5).

In Matthew 6:1-4, Jesus instructed us not to do charitable deeds…“as the hypocrites do” (to be seen of men). In 6:5-8, Jesus told us not to pray…“like the hypocrites” (to be heard of men). In 6:16-18, Jesus taught us not to fast…“like the hypocrites” (to be seen of men). Likewise, in Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus was teaching us that judging another is wrong…when that judgment is hypocritical.

But, what if we are doing charitable deeds to be seen of God? Then by all means, “do good to all men” (Galatians 6:10)! What if our prayers are led from a pure heart and with righteous intentions? Should we pray? Most certainly (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Can we fast today, if the purpose of our fasting is to be seen of God and not men? Yes. But what about passing judgment? In Matthew 7:1-5, did Jesus condemn all judging, or, similar to the above examples, did He condemn only a certain kind of judging? Matthew 7:5 provides the answer. After condemning unrighteous judgments (7:1-4), Jesus instructed a person to “first remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” He was saying, in essence, “Get your life right first. Then, in love, address your brother’s problem.” This is consistent with what Paul wrote to the church at Philippi: “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (2:4). God never intended for Christians to be recluses who never interacted with those around them. Rather, He gave us the responsibility of helping others by lovingly correcting them when they sin. In Matthew 7, Jesus was not suggesting that a person can never judge. He was saying, when you judge, judge righteously (as when we pray, fast, and do good deeds—do it without hypocrisy—John 7:24). Incidentally, Jesus already had judged the Pharisees. Thus, He obviously was not teaching that we should never judge anyone.

Further proof that Jesus did not condemn all judging can be found throughout the rest of chapter 7. In fact, in the very next verse after His statements about judging, Jesus implicitly commanded that His followers make a judgment. He said: “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces” (7:6). Disciples of Christ must judge as to who are “dogs” and who are “hogs.” Otherwise, how can we know when not to give that which is holy to “dogs”? Or how can we know when not to cast our pearls before “swine”? Jesus said we must judge between those who are “worthy,” and those who are like dogs and pigs (cf. Matthew 10:12-15; Acts 13:42-46). A few verses later, Jesus again implied that His disciples must make a judgment.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them (Matthew 7:15-20).

Question: How can we “watch out” for false prophets if we cannot make judgments as to who the false prophets are? According to Jesus, determining the identity of false teachers involves inspecting “their fruits” and making judgments—righteous judgments.

What does the rest of Scripture have to say to those who regard all judging as being wrong?

  • In his letter to the churches of Galatia, Paul commanded those “who are spiritual” to restore those who have been “overtaken in any trespass…in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (6:1). Certainly, determining who is spiritual and who has sinned involves making judgments.
  • While addressing an issue in the church at Corinth where a man had “his father’s wife” (1 Corinthians 5:1), Paul wrote through inspiration:
    In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus…. I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person…. Therefore, put away from yourselves the evil person (1 Corinthians 5:4-5,11,13b).
    Paul commanded the church at Corinth to purge a fornicator from its midst. This man’s sin was even to be addressed in a public manner. To follow Paul’s command, the church had to make a judgment. Paul also commanded the congregation to “put away” others who were living in a state of sin. When we make such judgments today, they are to be righteous judgments that are based on facts and carried out in love. Such judging should be performed in a merciful spirit (Luke 6:36-37), and for the purpose of saving souls (“that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus”—1 Corinthians 5:5). Judgments are to be made from good (righteous) intentions. But judgments nevertheless must be made.
  • Paul instructed the church at Ephesus to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (5:11). And to the Christians in Rome he wrote: “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (16:17). Were churches going to have to make important judgments to comply with Paul’s commands? Yes.
  • Similarly, the apostle John indicated that “whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (2 John 9-11, emp. added). To determine whether or not we are going to allow someone into our homes, necessitates a judgment on our part.
  • Finally, if all judgments concerning spiritual matters are wrong, then why would Jesus have commanded His disciples to go and teach the lost (Matthew 28:19-20; cf. Acts 8:4)? Before one ever teaches the Gospel to someone who is not a Christian, a judgment must be made. Is this person lost in sin, or saved “in Christ”? If we are to teach the lost today, then it is necessary to determine who is lost and who is not.

If we never can “judge people” in any sense, as many today suggest (through the misuse of Matthew 7:1), then the above commands never could be obeyed. But, they must be obeyed! Thus, (righteous) judgments must be made.

The popular and politically correct idea that “all judging is wrong” is anti-biblical. Those who teach that Jesus was condemning all judging in Matthew 7:1 are guilty of ignoring the context of the passage, as well as the numerous verses throughout the rest of the Bible which teach that judging the sinful lifestyles of others is necessary. One key ingredient that we need to incorporate in every judgment is “righteousness.” Jesus commanded that His disciples first get their own lives right with God; then they can “see clearly” to be of help to others who are overcome in their faults (Matthew 7:5). As Jesus told the Jews in the temple on one occasion: “Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

What Words Describe You? by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman



What Words Describe You?

One of my facebook friends posted this last week.  Look carefully.  What are the first four words you see?  Supposedly they will accurately describe you. Don’t read any farther until you see the four words!

Passionate.  Witty. Thoughtful.  Outspoken.  These were the first four words I saw.  I suppose some of my friends may question one or two of those words, but I thought they were pretty accurate!  In fact, my wife agreed.  So that must be right!

I’m not sure if we gravitate to those words that we want to see or not!  I do know it’s difficult to see ourselves the way we really are.  The Scottish poet Robert Burns penned, “O would some power the gift to give us to see ourselves as others see us.”  Probably most people don’t know that line comes from a Burns poem entitled “To a Louse.”   One Sunday while sitting behind a young lady in worship, Burns noticed a head louse roaming over the bows and ribbons of her hat and onto her hair.  Little did that poor woman know that she and her “companion” would be the subject of one of Burns’ poems!

Rarely do we really see ourselves the way others see us.  However, there is a more important question.  How does God see us?  And is it even possible to  know?  Well James provided some help when he wrote:

 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;  for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.  But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-25).

What do you see when you look into the mirror of God’s Word?  As you read through the New Testament what four words would describe you and your relationship to the Lord and His work?  Faithful? Loving?  Holy? Zealous?

Or would the four words be Faithless? Hateful? Ungodly?  Lukewarm?  Ouch!  That hurts to even think about it, doesn’t it?

However, I suppose the reality for most of us who wear the name of Christ is that a combination of those eight words may have described all of us at one time or another. We have not been totally unfaithful, but our faith has at times waned and wavered.  Hateful may be too strong a word to describe our attitude towards others or God, but no doubt there are times our love has become weak.

We yearn to be holy as He as holy, yet there are occasions we fall short of the mark.  We think, say and do things that are impure, dishonest or irreverent.  Our enthusiasm for spiritual things may not be ever stone cold, yet most of us experience periods of spiritual drought where at best our fervor is tepid.

What we desperately need is the ability to transparently see ourselves as God sees us.  Like David, let us pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).  Then when He does, may God help us to see the words that really describe us and muster the courage to change.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN? by steve finnell



HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN?  by steve finnell

How do men become Christians? They become Christians by believing and obeying God.

Galatians 3:26-27 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were united with Christ in baptism have been clothed with Christ. (NIV 1973)

Does complying with denominational doctrine result in a person becoming a Christian?

The Roman Catholic Denomination states that non-believing infants become part of the body of Christ when they are sprinkled with water. Those infants become Catholics, however, they do not become Christians.

Faith in Jesus precedes water baptism. (Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved...) NIV 1973) The Ethiopian eunuch heard the good news about Jesus before he was baptized.(Acts 8:26-40) The 3000 on the Day of Pentecost believed before they were baptized. (Acts Chapter 2) In every conversion account in Acts they all believed before they were immersed in water.

According to most Baptists denominations water baptism is not essential for salvation. They believe water baptism is essential in order to become a Baptist. Being baptized in a Baptist church makes a person a Baptist; but does it make them a Christian?

Question, do you know what your denomination teaches concerning becoming clothed with Christ?

Claiming to be a Christian does not make anyone a Christian anymore than claiming to be a medical doctor makes a person a physician.

There is one body (Ephesians 4:4) by Roy Davison



There is one body
(Ephesians 4:4)

The church is the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22,23). Jesus said He would build His church (Matthew 16:18). He did not say He would establish several thousand denominations.

Jesus prayed that His followers might be one.

"Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are" (John 17:11).

"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me" (John 17:20-23).

To accomplish this oneness, the distinction between Jew and Gentile had to be erased.

Jesus said to the Jews: "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd" (John 10:16).

Writing to Jews and Gentiles, Paul said: "For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity" (Ephesians 2:14-16).

Even the high priest who had Christ crucified -- without understanding what he was saying -- was inspired by God to speak of the oneness of all believers in Christ. "And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, 'You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.' Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad" (John 11:49-52).

This oneness in Christ encompasses heaven and earth! God had purposed "to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth" (Ephesians 1:9,10 RSV).

Christ's prayer was answered. His followers are one. There is one body (Ephesians 4:4) consisting of all those who are in Christ.

"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another" (Romans 12:3-5).

Our oneness is based on one baptism.

"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26-28).

"For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free -- and have all been made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:12,13).

This oneness expresses itself in the Lord's supper. "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread" (1 Corinthians 10:16,17). On the first day of the week, Christians in countless numbers assemble to partake of the one Bread, the bread of life.

The one body has one Lord and one faith. Paul admonished: "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:1-6).

Our oneness is based on the oneness of the Father and the Son, as Christ said in His prayer.

"For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5).

"But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ" (Matthew 23:8-10). "The Lord our God, the Lord is one" (Mark 12:29).

"But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him" (1 Corinthians 6:17).

Our oneness is based on the one faith. We must "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). To be one, God's word must dwell in us richly: "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:15-17).

When we worship God, we not only unite our voices but also our hearts. "Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God" (Romans 15:5-7).

When, on the basis of God's word, we maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, we can be of one heart and soul.

"Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you" (2 Corinthians 13:11).

"Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God" (Philippians 1:27,28).

"Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like- minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:1-4).

"But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body" (Colossians 3:14,15).

"Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing" (1 Peter 3:8,9).

There is one body. Jesus prayed that His followers might be one, and this prayer was answered. His followers are one. There is one body which consists of all those who are in Christ. Our oneness is based on one baptism. This oneness expresses itself in the Lord's supper. It is based on the oneness of the Father and the Son. When we worship God, not only our voices, but also our hearts are united. Confessing and practicing the one faith, we maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and we are one in heart and soul.

Roy Davison

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

Published in The Old Paths Archive

Bible Reading for October 7 and 8 by Gary Rose


Bible Reading for October 7 and 8

World  English  Bible

Oct. 7

Psalms 141-144

Psa 141:1 Yahweh, I have called on you. Come to me quickly! Listen to my voice when I call to you.

Psa 141:2 Let my prayer be set before you like incense; the lifting up of my hands like the evening sacrifice.

Psa 141:3 Set a watch, Yahweh, before my mouth. Keep the door of my lips.

Psa 141:4 Don't incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice deeds of wickedness with men who work iniquity. Don't let me eat of their delicacies.

Psa 141:5 Let the righteous strike me, it is kindness; let him reprove me, it is like oil on the head; don't let my head refuse it; Yet my prayer is always against evil deeds.

Psa 141:6 Their judges are thrown down by the sides of the rock. They will hear my words, for they are well spoken.

Psa 141:7 "As when one plows and breaks up the earth, our bones are scattered at the mouth of Sheol."

Psa 141:8 For my eyes are on you, Yahweh, the Lord. In you, I take refuge. Don't leave my soul destitute.

Psa 141:9 Keep me from the snare which they have laid for me, from the traps of the workers of iniquity.

Psa 141:10 Let the wicked fall together into their own nets, while I pass by.

Psa 142:1 I cry with my voice to Yahweh. With my voice, I ask Yahweh for mercy.

Psa 142:2 I pour out my complaint before him. I tell him my troubles.

Psa 142:3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, you knew my path. In the way in which I walk, they have hidden a snare for me.

Psa 142:4 Look on my right, and see; for there is no one who is concerned for me. Refuge has fled from me. No one cares for my soul.

Psa 142:5 I cried to you, Yahweh. I said, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living."

Psa 142:6 Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need. deliver me from my persecutors, For they are stronger than me.

Psa 142:7 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name. The righteous will surround me, for you will be good to me.

Psa 143:1 Hear my prayer, Yahweh. Listen to my petitions. In your faithfulness and righteousness, relieve me.

Psa 143:2 Don't enter into judgment with your servant, for in your sight no man living is righteous.

Psa 143:3 For the enemy pursues my soul. He has struck my life down to the ground. He has made me live in dark places, as those who have been long dead.

Psa 143:4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me. My heart within me is desolate.

Psa 143:5 I remember the days of old. I meditate on all your doings. I contemplate the work of your hands.

Psa 143:6 I spread forth my hands to you. My soul thirsts for you, like a parched land. Selah.

Psa 143:7 Hurry to answer me, Yahweh. My spirit fails. Don't hide your face from me, so that I don't become like those who go down into the pit.

Psa 143:8 Cause me to hear your loving kindness in the morning, for I trust in you. Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to you.

Psa 143:9 Deliver me, Yahweh, from my enemies. I flee to you to hide me.

Psa 143:10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.

Psa 143:11 Revive me, Yahweh, for your name's sake. In your righteousness, bring my soul out of trouble.

Psa 143:12 In your loving kindness, cut off my enemies, and destroy all those who afflict my soul, For I am your servant.

Psa 144:1 Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to battle:

Psa 144:2 my loving kindness, my fortress, my high tower, my deliverer, my shield, and he in whom I take refuge; who subdues my people under me.

Psa 144:3 Yahweh, what is man, that you care for him? Or the son of man, that you think of him?

Psa 144:4 Man is like a breath. His days are like a shadow that passes away.

Psa 144:5 Part your heavens, Yahweh, and come down. Touch the mountains, and they will smoke.

Psa 144:6 Throw out lightning, and scatter them. Send out your arrows, and rout them.

Psa 144:7 Stretch out your hand from above, rescue me, and deliver me out of great waters, out of the hands of foreigners;

Psa 144:8 whose mouths speak deceit, Whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

Psa 144:9 I will sing a new song to you, God. On a ten-stringed lyre, I will sing praises to you.

Psa 144:10 You are he who gives salvation to kings, who rescues David, his servant, from the deadly sword.

Psa 144:11 Rescue me, and deliver me out of the hands of foreigners, whose mouths speak deceit, whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

Psa 144:12 Then our sons will be like well-nurtured plants, our daughters like pillars carved to adorn a palace.

Psa 144:13 Our barns are full, filled with all kinds of provision. Our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields.

Psa 144:14 Our oxen will pull heavy loads. There is no breaking in, and no going away, and no outcry in our streets.

Psa 144:15 Happy are the people who are in such a situation. Happy are the people whose God is Yahweh.

Oct. 8

Psalms 145-147

Psa 145:1 I will exalt you, my God, the King. I will praise your name forever and ever.

Psa 145:2 Every day I will praise you. I will extol your name forever and ever.

Psa 145:3 Great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised! His greatness is unsearchable.

Psa 145:4 One generation will commend your works to another, and will declare your mighty acts.

Psa 145:5 Of the glorious majesty of your honor, of your wondrous works, I will meditate.

Psa 145:6 Men will speak of the might of your awesome acts. I will declare your greatness.

Psa 145:7 They will utter the memory of your great goodness, and will sing of your righteousness.

Psa 145:8 Yahweh is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and of great loving kindness.

Psa 145:9 Yahweh is good to all. His tender mercies are over all his works.

Psa 145:10 All your works will give thanks to you, Yahweh. Your saints will extol you.

Psa 145:11 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom, and talk about your power;

Psa 145:12 to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, the glory of the majesty of his kingdom.

Psa 145:13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Your dominion endures throughout all generations. Yahweh is faithful in all his words, and loving in all his deeds.

Psa 145:14 Yahweh upholds all who fall, and raises up all those who are bowed down.

Psa 145:15 The eyes of all wait for you. You give them their food in due season.

Psa 145:16 You open your hand, and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Psa 145:17 Yahweh is righteous in all his ways, and gracious in all his works.

Psa 145:18 Yahweh is near to all those who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Psa 145:19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear him. He also will hear their cry, and will save them.

Psa 145:20 Yahweh preserves all those who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.

Psa 145:21 My mouth will speak the praise of Yahweh. Let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Psa 146:1 Praise Yah! Praise Yahweh, my soul.

Psa 146:2 While I live, I will praise Yahweh. I will sing praises to my God as long as I exist.

Psa 146:3 Don't put your trust in princes, each a son of man in whom there is no help.

Psa 146:4 His spirit departs, and he returns to the earth. In that very day, his thoughts perish.

Psa 146:5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in Yahweh, his God:

Psa 146:6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps truth forever;

Psa 146:7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. Yahweh frees the prisoners.

Psa 146:8 Yahweh opens the eyes of the blind. Yahweh raises up those who are bowed down. Yahweh loves the righteous.

Psa 146:9 Yahweh preserves the foreigners. He upholds the fatherless and widow, but the way of the wicked he turns upside down.

Psa 146:10 Yahweh will reign forever; your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise Yah!

Psa 147:1 Praise Yah, for it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant and fitting to praise him.

Psa 147:2 Yahweh builds up Jerusalem. He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.

Psa 147:3 He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.

Psa 147:4 He counts the number of the stars. He calls them all by their names.

Psa 147:5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power. His understanding is infinite.

Psa 147:6 Yahweh upholds the humble. He brings the wicked down to the ground.

Psa 147:7 Sing to Yahweh with thanksgiving. Sing praises on the harp to our God,

Psa 147:8 who covers the sky with clouds, who prepares rain for the earth, who makes grass grow on the mountains.

Psa 147:9 He provides food for the livestock, and for the young ravens when they call.

Psa 147:10 He doesn't delight in the strength of the horse. He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man.

Psa 147:11 Yahweh takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his loving kindness.

Psa 147:12 Praise Yahweh, Jerusalem! Praise your God, Zion!

Psa 147:13 For he has strengthened the bars of your gates. He has blessed your children within you.

Psa 147:14 He makes peace in your borders. He fills you with the finest of the wheat.

Psa 147:15 He sends out his commandment to the earth. His word runs very swiftly.

Psa 147:16 He gives snow like wool, and scatters frost like ashes.

Psa 147:17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can stand before his cold?

Psa 147:18 He sends out his word, and melts them. He causes his wind to blow, and the waters flow.

Psa 147:19 He shows his word to Jacob; his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.

Psa 147:20 He has not done this for just any nation. They don't know his ordinances. Praise Yah! 

Oct. 7

Galatians 4

Gal 4:1 But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a bondservant, though he is lord of all;

Gal 4:2 but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed by the father.

Gal 4:3 So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental principles of the world.

Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent out his Son, born to a woman, born under the law,

Gal 4:5 that he might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of children.

Gal 4:6 And because you are children, God sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, "Abba, Father!"

Gal 4:7 So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Gal 4:8 However at that time, not knowing God, you were in bondage to those who by nature are not gods.

Gal 4:9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, why do you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental principles, to which you desire to be in bondage all over again?

Gal 4:10 You observe days, months, seasons, and years.

Gal 4:11 I am afraid for you, that I might have wasted my labor for you.

Gal 4:12 I beg you, brothers, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong,

Gal 4:13 but you know that because of weakness of the flesh I preached the Good News to you the first time.

Gal 4:14 That which was a temptation to you in my flesh, you didn't despise nor reject; but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

Gal 4:15 What was the blessing you enjoyed? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.

Gal 4:16 So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?

Gal 4:17 They zealously seek you in no good way. No, they desire to alienate you, that you may seek them.

Gal 4:18 But it is always good to be zealous in a good cause, and not only when I am present with you.

Gal 4:19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ is formed in you--

Gal 4:20 but I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

Gal 4:21 Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, don't you listen to the law?

Gal 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the free woman.

Gal 4:23 However, the son by the handmaid was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through promise.

Gal 4:24 These things contain an allegory, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, which is Hagar.

Gal 4:25 For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to the Jerusalem that exists now, for she is in bondage with her children.

Gal 4:26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Gal 4:27 For it is written, "Rejoice, you barren who don't bear. Break forth and shout, you that don't travail. For more are the children of the desolate than of her who has a husband."

Gal 4:28 Now we, brothers, as Isaac was, are children of promise.

Gal 4:29 But as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.

Gal 4:30 However what does the Scripture say? "Throw out the handmaid and her son, for the son of the handmaid will not inherit with the son of the free woman."

Gal 4:31 So then, brothers, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the free woman.

Oct. 8

Galatians 5

Gal 5:1 Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don't be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Gal 5:2 Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing.

Gal 5:3 Yes, I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

Gal 5:4 You are alienated from Christ, you who desire to be justified by the law. You have fallen away from grace.

Gal 5:5 For we, through the Spirit, by faith wait for the hope of righteousness.

Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love.

Gal 5:7 You were running well! Who interfered with you that you should not obey the truth?

Gal 5:8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you.

Gal 5:9 A little yeast grows through the whole lump.

Gal 5:10 I have confidence toward you in the Lord that you will think no other way. But he who troubles you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.

Gal 5:11 But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been removed.

Gal 5:12 I wish that those who disturb you would cut themselves off.

Gal 5:13 For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don't use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another.

Gal 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Gal 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don't consume one another.

Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won't fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, that you may not do the things that you desire.

Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness,

Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies,

Gal 5:21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,

Gal 5:23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Gal 5:24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.

Gal 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let's also walk by the Spirit.

Gal 5:26 Let's not become conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another.