Category: expositions

Luke 11 Teach Us to Pray – Part 2

Luke 11 Teach Us to Pray – Part 2

The closest disciples to Jesus had witnessed miracles.  They had seen the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the lepers healed.  Scripture tells us repeatedly; Jesus healed all who came to him.  The early disciples were eyewitnesses to these things, and many more.  The closeness of their relationship to Jesus gave them an insider’s view.

They must have noticed the way Jesus prepared himself each day.  They would have seen his dedicated prayer life.  They would have heard the prayers that Jesus prayed for healing. They herd the prayers of thanksgiving that rolled from his lips.  In hearing these and seeing the wonders wrought through this prayer fed lifestyle they were forced to examine their own prayer life.

In doing so, they could see that they fell short.  With all of their religious efforts, all of their sacrifices, all of their Hebrew upbringing, they had somehow missed this important lesson. It felt like the doors to heaven itself were sealed closed. In seeing Jesus’ prayer life and the results of his prayers on his ministry, then knew that they needed to know more.  So they asked him the same question that many of us ask today, “Lord teach us to pray”….

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. (Luke 11:2)

Now we see Jesus beginning his teaching of what an effectual prayer should be like.  He said, “When ye pray say”. There are allot of individuals who miss understand this phrase.  Some have mistakenly taken this to mean that what Jesus is about to say, should be said verbatim.  That is that is should be repeated word-for-word, or else you have not said a prayer.

Some believe that there is some supernatural binding to this prayer when recited exactly as written, God himself has to answer whatever follows. Some think that you have earned some special audience with God as a result of reciting this prayer.  There are thousands who believe that atonement can be made by reciting this prayer over and over.  This is not the case.  God cannot be invoked. You cannot summon him like some ethereal game piece. He is the Almighty, the creator of the universe who has all autonomous authority.  Meaning that God as God is self sufficient and answers to no one.

Luke is not saying to repeat identically each word and stanza that Jesus said.  The Greek words usage, in this phrase, infers that Jesus wanted them to “say” in the same manner or way; not implying an obligation to repeat the exact verbiage. Repeating the Lord’s Prayer line-by-line, or even over and over again does not bring salvation and is not a means of penance.

It is probably better to look at the translation in Matthew’s recording of the same teachings in order to give us another disciple’s point of view of this important message.  Matthew records, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9).  In this catalog of the event, Matthew clearly states that we should pray in the same manner, or “in this way” (Strong’s, 3778,3779) that Jesus then instructs his disciples to pray. So when you pray, pray something like this…

Our Father which art in heaven… I do not know if you know this, but the carnal minded cannot please God.  In all honesty there are some people praying, that really don’t have any faith that God exists.  There are those that believe God exists but that he doesn’t care and is uninvolved in men’s lives.  They are just throwing up their hands and speaking to the clouds and hoping that “if” there is a God, he will prove it in answering their prayer.

The Word of God tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God, and those that come to him must first believe that He IS.  Secondly the scriptures tell that God rewards those who seek him persistently. In addition, scripture tells us that those who believe on Jesus have been adopted into the family of God, as his children. Romans 8:14-16 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”

So then, since we have already believed that He is and that He rewards those who seek him, and believe that He has already adopted us as children through Jesus Christ, we can then boldly come to him.  Seeking him ourselves.  We can call him Father, because he literally is our Father. I am getting excited already!

Jesus further clarifies the importance of this relationship later in the chapter when he explains the nature of the Father.  Jesus explains, “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:11-13) WOW! Nail on the head!  Did you see that! Jesus said that even though we are evil, we still know how to give good things, then he said… that God is Good! So- if God is Good, then how much more does he have the ability and will to give good things to those who ask?

Jesus asked a rhetorical question, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those (his children) who ask of him?  I love my children and I can honestly tell you that one of the most heartbreaking things that a father has to face is when one of his children ask him for something that he cannot provide.  It never gets easier, and it does not matter which child asks.  You see as a father, I want to give all kinds of good gifts to my children because I love them, and I love being able to provide for them. I love being able to protect them. I love for them to look to me when they are in trouble, or even when they just need someone to listen.  I love being a confident to each and everyone of my children.  But you know, there are times when I can provide for them, but I don’t, because; they do not ask for me to.  If they don’t ask for my help, knowing that I want to help. I cannot help them though, if they don’t ask me to.  Why? Because it is their choice to make, not mine.

So first we must ask, then he will give.  Now he did specify what he would give, that is the Holy Spirit, but look he also said how much more… this means how much more willing is he to give the Holy Spirit.  It is like he is just there waiting for you to ask, and BAM! It is on the way! Now this is not a teaching on the Holy Spirit, but since it was brought up.  What good does that do?  The Holy Spirit does many things for the believer, just as a quick list; he is our comforter, he is a teacher, he is a counselor, he is an encourager, and many more things to us.  The Holy Spirit is the seal of God on our lives.  The Father gives the Holy Spirit whole heartedly, in fact scripture says that the Spirit of God indwells those who follow Jesus Christ.

Which art in heaven… The Creator of the universe exists outside of normal time and space, He is not hindered by laws of physics or the limits of mans imagination.  He does not dwell in little wooden crucifixes or crosses for that matter.  Those things are made my man, and cannot contain God.  The earth as a whole cannot contain God.  If the universe could contain God then what kind of a God would He be?  No God is above all powers and principalities.  God exists outside of our universe.  In scripture the heavens are referred to in three different arenas.  The first arena of the heavens referred to is the atmosphere of the earth.  This covers what we breath, the ozone which includes the clouds and weather.  The second spectrum that the heavens refers to is our universe.  This convers from the atmosphere on our into the area we call space.  Where the universe with it’s multiple galaxies spin and collide.  The third area that scripture refers to heaven is the place that is outside of time and space, the area where God resides.  This is Gods place from which He over sees all of creation.  Creation includes, the universe, the multiple galaxies, and the earth.

“Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest?” (Isaiah 66:1)

We now begin to see that when we come to the Lord God Almighty, we need to have an understanding of who He is.  We need to know that “he IS”.  We need to know that he is above all other things in existence.  If we don’t believe this about God, then why should we waste our time in seeking Him out? This then is where faith begins.

Faith doesn’t start with a warm fuzzy feeling, or some emotional high after a revival.  Faith begins with a proper understanding of God.  A proper understanding of God comes from scripture.  There are NO secular authorities on God.  There are no scientific rules that can determine that God does not exist.

Scripture tells us that the very design of creation points to the fact that God exists, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” (Psalm 19:1-6).  There is no excuse under heaven to NOT believe in God.

Hallowed be thy name… Hallowed means to be sanctified or set apart. This term set apart means to be unique, or different than anything else.  The manner that this refers to in saying hallowed be thy name is to mentally set his name apart in such a manner to bring honor to his name, by counting Him as holy. Acknowledging that God alone is holy. God is unique. God alone is good.  We need to have an understanding of the reverence that God deserves.  My children have an open door to me at any time.  We play around and kid one another.  We also pull pranks on one another from time to time.  We tell jokes, we fish, we camp.  We do all the informal things that fathers and their children do.  Do you know with all of that familiarity, they still address me as “sir”?  Why is that?  Because with everything we share, there is one thing we do not share… we are not peers. My children respect me as their father, and as an elder.

We should respect God in the same manner, as one who is our Father, and one who is Holy. In fact scripture says that we should mimic our Father, just like sons do to their earthly fathers. Peter wrote, “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;” (1 Peter1:15).  See if you believe that God is holy, and that you are called by his name, then you should honor him by being Holy in your behavior.  Faith breeds action.

Not so long ago, a man’s name was his reputation.  This is because everyone knows that you actually can judge a book by its cover.  Now I know this is contrary to the whole “why can’t we all just get along” politically correct stance that has paralyzed the entire human race.  What was meant as a good thing about not being to hard on someone who has fallen on hard times, has now gone to the extreme.  This saying and many others like “who are you to judge me?”, while many claim to be bible based, are twisted doctrines straight from the enemy.  Scripture in no manner ever says that a man should be lazy, if he can work.

If a man has shown himself untrustworthy, unsafe to be around, or in need of being imprisoned then that is the reputation of the man, that he has earned by his actions.  Not because someone judged him.  That man’s name is dirt.  Not so long ago, people understood that.  I know you think I have gotten off topic, but take a look again at the verse… thy name.  See I am still here.  The other part to “hallowed by thy name” is being able to trust in that “name”.  This is more important than you realize.  Being able to trust in that name is more than just getting your prayers answered.  It is the key to life itself.  In Acts 4:12 we read;

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

This was the Apostle Peter talking about Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified by the Romans at the behest of the Jews.  This Jesus rose from the grave and is now in the presence of the Father where he makes intercessory prayers for us.  This intercessory prayer is the true “Lords Prayer”, which goes up continuously on our behalf.  What have we to fear?

If we do not believe these simple truths about God then we need not go any further.  You see in order to ask God anything and expect that He will answer we must at a minimum believe:

  • God Exists
  • He is unique in any and every way
  • He is our Heavenly Father
  • He has all authority
  • He is willing to listen to us and to answer us
  • He is good and desires good things for his children
  • Jesus is the only way to the Father

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth…  We also see in this opening that prayer is about our relationship to God.  Knowing who He is, accepting of Jesus and Lord and Savior and seeking His guidance.  Prayer is foremost an acknowledgement of our responsibilities to God. Prayer is not about getting mans will done in heaven, but getting God’s will done on earth.  Prayer is asking God to use us in a manner that is pleasing to Him to accomplish what He needs done.  God is the one who is to be glorified in our lives, not us. We pray for His kingdom to be expanded and strengthened.  You see we are wanting his kingdom to come because we understand that no one can make peace here on earth, but God.  On one can make us whole, but God.  No one can take away our pains and fears, but God himself.

James says, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:3).  That is when you do ask, you ask for the wrong things and for the wrong reasons.  Selfish desires are not what prayer is for.  Here is another way to look at it.  What heavenly good does it really do for my little league team to win the ballgame?   Or how does my getting a new car further the advancement of the gospel?  Am I really praying for what I need to be walk in the spirit of God?  Notice I did not include prayers for legitimate needs.  Needs like deliverance from addictions, sicknesses, disease, or even financial burdens.  These prayers can affect your spiritual maturity and the furtherance of the gospel.  These are legitimate prayer needs.  These types of prayers should be done for ourselves and for one another.  These prayers show love and concern for one another.

Prayers for those in authority are also legitimate prayers that we are actually commanded we should pray.  We should pray for those who use you and persecute you for Christ’s namesake.  Prayers should be offered for all men everywhere.  We should pray for the widows, and orphans.  We should pray for the blind, that they may see.  We should pray for the lost, that they may seek and find Jesus.  This is the will of God.  These prayers bring the kingdom of God here to the earth where men live and breathe.  By praying these sorts of prayer and inviting God to take part in our governments, and in our schools, and in our neighborhoods, and churches we are seeking God in a manner that is pleasing to him.  These are unselfish prayers.

The challenge this week if to set some time apart to tell God that you do believe in Him, and his Son.  Pray for the Spirit to teach you what you should know.  Pray for someone else, that God may reveal Himself to them.  Pray that God will show you how to further His kingdom in your neighborhood.  Go  and be His ambassador, and his child.

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Luke 11 Teach Us to Pray – Part 1

Luke 11 Teach Us to Pray – Part 1

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“Is there something more? Am I missing something?” Came the question from a young man, whose name I will keep for my own treasure chest.  The reference was for what most people refer to as, “The Lord’s Prayer”.  This young man asked a very serious question, much like the disciples did of Jesus.  In 1st Thessalonians it tells us that we should pray without ceasing.  How can we indeed pray without ceasing is we do not know how to pray.  How do we talk to God?  What does a proper prayer life look like?  Is there some secret formula?

I hear all of these kinds of thoughts in the questions that I receive.  Is God listening? Does God even care?  How do I talk to God and get an answer?  Do I offend God with the way that I pray?  Does God love me? I told him yes, there is more to it, than it just being a model for prayer.

The significance of the teaching to pray itself is proof of the importance of prayer.  Especially if you take in consideration that it is God, himself that is giving the lesson.  Imagine that, the creator of the universe wants to communicate with us.  In the “Lord’s Prayer” we can see the benevolence of God towards man.  The Almighty God came down to earth and gave a special class on prayer.  We should probably study what Jesus was trying to tell us about the Father and how we should address the One Living God.

We as a people, who claim Christ as our Lord, have no idea how to talk to him.  I think that in the Lord’s Prayer we can find the answer to these questions.  We can not only use this model for how to pray, if we look closer, but also get an understanding of God in a very personal manner.

Examination of this model shows us the importance of prayer.  Looking at this model also gives us an attitude in prayer that expects results.  We can be confident in God’s hearing of our prayer and his timely answers. Jesus said in John 15:7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”  Then again, Jesus told Peter as they passed a withered fig tree, “Therefor I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them].”(Mark 11:24)  As we see we are to pray expecting results, not because of who we are, but because of who God is.

Now let us move into our verses with an open eye; considering what Jesus is trying to tell us, and how we should apply it to our lives.

1 And it came to pass, that , as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as john also taught his disciples.

How important is prayer?  Jesus, the Son of God, who was the Word in the flesh prayed on a regular basis.  Jewish custom is to pray a minimum of three times a day, although I don’t know of any commandment to do so, it would seem that the custom comes from the Book of Daniel.  Daniel was one of the Hebrews that were taken to serve in the king Darius’ palace when the Persians overtook Jerusalem.

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. (Daniel 6:10)

Something that might also catch our attention here that will lend to our latter discussion is that Daniel was kneeling.  Later in the New Testament, we see that Jesus also knelt.  Tradition has it that James the brother of Jesus knelt when he prayed, and prayed so often; that he developed callouses on his knees.  This is of great significance.  The posture of kneeling is unique in the world of religion at his time.  Pagan religious practices involved prayers that were offered while standing with the palms facing upward. Pagan prayers were done in public and associated with sacrifices made to idols.[i]  Here in our model, we see that they were kneeling, and in private.  Showing a level of humility and respect.  This also shows an intimacy with God, that others do not have. Notice that no sacrifice was necessary, even at this time, to speak with Jehovah.

King David in his Psalm 119:164 exclaims, “Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgements.”  This gives us another reference to frequency, motivation, and purpose

Some times when scripture noted Jesus prayed:

  • Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
  • Matthew 11:25-26 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
  • Mark 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
  • Matthew 14:23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.
  • John 17:1-26 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
  • Luke 5:16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
  • Luke 6:12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
  • Luke 22:41-44 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
  • Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
  • Luke 9:18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?
  • Luke 9:29 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.

Paul commands us to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This may be a direct reference to 1 Chronicles 16:11 – “Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.”

Note the phrase “he was praying in a certain place”.  “He” is in reference to Jesus.  Jesus was praying in a certain place.  This would give the idea that it was a specific place.  Whether it was a common spot for prayer, or not in not clear, but it is clear that the location was picked specifically to pray.  Jesus taught that prayer should be a time spent alone with the God the Father.  We should not seek to be seen by others, so that they can “see how holier than thou” we are. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:6).  Jesus often would withdraw to be by himself to pray.  He separated himself from the crowds and even his disciples.

When I was a youth, I use to have a closet that I would pray in.  My closet was a walk-in closet that was in our 2-room apartment that my dad and I shared.  I put all my clothing on one side, moved a desk into the closet along the other side.  I had a stool that I would sit upon and there I would read scripture and journal my prayers.  Now, I have an office in my home that I use for study, and for prayer.  I get up early in the morning, read my scriptures, and I journal and pray.  God Himself proclaims, I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” (Proverbs 8:17).  Praying the first thing in the morning demonstrates love and affection towards God.

Imagine if you were to get up in the morning, and your spouse gets up with you.  You both go about your morning routine to get ready for work.  You shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and grab the keys to go to work.  Then you realize, hey, I don’t have my lunch.  So the first thing you say to your spouse is, “would you make me lunch for work?”  No- “good morning”, no- “I love you”, no- “I will miss you today”… Does this show that you value your spouse?  Does it show that you love your spouse?  No, it only shows your selfishness, arrogance, and lack of consideration.  Your love of God should not be second hand either.  I mean after all, he did sustain your life while you slept…

Sometimes I will burn frankincense oil or incents.  Yes, I know that we are not required to offer up sacrifices, but I just like the smell of frankincense and apparently, God does not mind it either.  It is just something that helps me address my mood in prayers, in addition, when I walk by the room later and smell the incense; it reminds me to pray.  Let’s face it, we all get busy and mismanage our time every now and then.  Having a reminder to just be still and know the Lord IS, is a great way to say, Thanks Lord.

when he ceased…

Do not overlook this phrase, “when he ceased”.  Prayer with the Lord should be our highest priority.  I mean this is Old Testament kind of stuff.  Take a look at Deuteronomy, “But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find [him], if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”(v. 4:29). When we speak with God, He should have our attention.  Isn’t it frustrating when you are trying to talk to someone, and as you talk, you notice that whatever is on his or her phone is more important than what you are saying?  Therefore, when we pray we should not have other distractions.  This is probably the best reason for a “certain place” to pray.  Having as much as possible a place to be quiet and alone with the Father shows honor and respect.  Turn off the phone, the TV, and the radio.  Give the Lord your full attention; he deserves at least that much.  Now the flip side, notice the disciples waited.  They understood how important prayer is to Jesus.  They did not barge in and interrupt His communion with the Father.  Do others know the importance of prayer in your life?  If they do not, then you demonstrate that by prayer being important in your life, it should be a priority.  You do not need to tell everyone that it is important; they can observe it by our life of prayer.  Our prayer life can actually teach others the importance and manner of prayer.

That leads us to the last point in this verse, teaching others.  Discipleship is of utmost importance.  The primary thing a new disciple needs to know, is how to pray.  In Alcoholics Anonymous and new person getting sober is assigned a sponsor to help them I there new life of sobriety.  Unfortunately, this step is missing from Christianity.  We expect the new Christian to immediately be able to stand on their own, and be able to know how to talk to God.  What a terrible situation, we tell them that God will supply all their needs, and walk out of their lives without showing them how to talk with God.  That is like handing the keys to your car over to a 5 year old and telling them, “I will see you when you get there.” No one in his or her right mind would so such an irresponsible thing.  It is dangerous to the child, and anyone else along the way.

The problem is that, most of us have been treated the same way.  We were given the keys to the car with no instruction on how to drive it. Now we have a generation of disciples trying to disciple the next generation without proper experience or training themselves.  We should be teaching one another and encouraging one another.  Scripture says that the devil has come to seek and destroy.  We need to look out for one another.  Teaching how to study the scriptures and how to pray should be discipleship 101.

2 Timothy 3:16 – All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Colossians 3:16 – 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.

1 Peter 4:10 – As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

John 17:17 – Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

In evidence of the few items we have covered, I believe it is safe to say that we should pray on a consistent and frequent basis.  With a primary motivation of praising God. Prayer should in private, as both evidenced and commanded by Jesus.  Prayer should have priority in our lives.  Prayer is so important to our walk with God that we should spend time in prayer throughout the day.  We must also bring up the new convert in this crucial instruction on communicating with God.

 

 

References:

“Prayer Practices in Daniel by Judith H. Newman.” Covenant in the Hebrew Bible, http://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/passages/related-articles/prayer-practices-in-daniel.

 

[i] Why does Daniel get down on his knees to pray three times a day with his windows opened toward Jerusalem (Dan 6:10)? The reason is that prayerful bodies matter in the book of Daniel. Though supposedly serving in the Persian king Darius’s government, in this tale Daniel disobeys the king’s law to worship him. Instead, Daniel follows his own religious law, developing habitual practices that involve his body. His posture of kneeling is unique in the book and offers a strong contrast to pagan religious practice in the Babylonian and Persian Empires, as well as the Greek Seleucid Empire, which threatened the Jerusalem temple at the time of the book’s composition. In Greek religion, praying individuals stood with hands outstretched, palms facing upward. Prayers were recited aloud in public accompanied by a sacrifice. In contrast, Daniel prays in isolation in an upper room, kneeling down in “service.” Daniel’s prayer signals his resistance to empire and his radically alternative allegiance. Rather than offer honor and praise to King Darius in a public space, he seeks mercy by confessing sin, praying, and praising his own God. “Prayer Practices in Daniel by Judith H. Newman.” Covenant in the Hebrew Bible, http://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/passages/related-articles/prayer-practices-in-daniel.

 

John 7:41-43 Hath Not the Scripture Said?

 

“Others said, This is the Christ.  But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?  Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?  So there was a division among the people of him.” (John 7:41-43)

I sat in a church as a guest a few weeks back and they had a guest speaker.  The guest speaker started off saying how he could encourage the members of the church on how they could have confidence in their bible.  I did not have a real problem with this, however; it became evident that he had some issues against the Authorized Version of the Bible.  This is what most of us know as the King James Version of the Bible.  Now I know that there are allot of differences between the versions of the Bible and I have my own view of which one is best.  However, I did not understand how telling someone NOT to read a version of the Bible that has lasted for over 400 years and had such a great impact on the English speaking world would be productive.

So in light of that I thought that I would share my own ideas on why we can have trust in the scriptures.  No there are not allot of dates and scripture textual comparisons, instead, I am looking from the perspective that the scripture is consistent.  There are allot of people who say that the Bible contradicts itself, and this is one of the main arguments used against new Christians who are bold enough in their zeal to try to evangelize.  This lie has been told so many times that many Christians have assumed that it is true.  I will use this scripture as an example of how a lack of study, and proper context can be misleading.

There is an estimated 400 plus prophecies concerning Christ in the Old Testament.  (Associates for Biblical Research. Website. http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2012/07/27/400-Prophecies-of-Christ-in-the-Old-Testament.aspx#Article)

  • 117 prophecies, appearances, or foreshadowing of Christ in the Law
  • 144 Prophecies, appearances, or foreshadowing of Christ in the Writings
  • 153 Prophecies, appearances, or foreshadowing of Christ in the Prophets

So does the Bible contradict itself?  Are the Old and New Testament in disagreement with one another?  The confusion caused by this lie has gone on since the book of Genesis.  Even Satan tricked Eve with misleading the message of the Word of God. This though process as we will discover is not a new phenomenon.  This belief comes from a lack of knowledge of Scripture.

  • Some Scripture can be ambiguous.
  • Some Scripture can be symbolic and require dedicated study.
  • But some Scripture just takes a little research to gain understanding.
  • Some Scripture is written so plain that it cannot be missed if it is read in context with other Scripture.
  • All Scripture should be read and studied with an attitude of prayer and direction of the Holy Spirit.
  • “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Scripture tells us and most readily accept that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth yet Jesus chose the Galilean fishing village of Capernaum as His home base during His ministry. However, for those who were closet to the time period, they did not know all the circumstances of Jesus’ early childhood, that we are privileged to.

Capernaum comes from two words:  Kaphar Nachum (Village of Nahum), though it does not refer to the prophet Nahum. We don’t read about this village in the Old Testament because it simply did not exist in the time period of the Old Testament.  Capernaum first appeared during the 2nd century BC.

Why did Jesus privilege Capernaum as His ministry base?  There has been allot of speculation.  Different scholars and historians have tried to have relevant reasons for Jesus centering his ministry in this reagion.

  • Some might say because Capernaum is where he successfully called the following disciples:
    • Peter
    • James
    • John
    • Andrew
    • Matthew

 

  • Others might say because Capernaum offered a seaside escape from the hostility and drama of urban Jerusalem.  But even in Capernaum, a town of about 1,500 people, Jesus would withdraw “by boat to a secluded place by Himself.”(Matthew 14:13; Mark 1:35–37)

 

While these are some good reasons and may have contributed to the reasoning of Jesus, there is one that is already recorded hundreds of years prior.  The restoration of the Kingdom of David would be set to begin in this rejected area.  Israel would be redeemed to her King and her God. The real reason that Jesus chose to begin His ministry in Capernaum is that it fulfilled prophecy and set the stage for the physical and spiritual restoration of Israel and all nations of the world.

Eight centuries before the incarnation of Jesus the Messiah, God allowed the empire of Assyria to capture and take into captivity the ten tribes of northern Israel, whose land included the Upper and Lower Galilee. God had warned His people for centuries and even up to their final days that if they did not repent, then this would be the judgement they would receive.  They would be chastised by God for their disobedience. God warned them through a prophet named Hosea.  Hosea 11:1-6 reads:

 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.

I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.

I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.

He shall not return into the land of Egypt, and the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.

And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels.  (Hosea 11:1–6)

By 724 BC, Assyria had captured northern Israel.  This invasion brought a massive change of populace.  The influx of Gentiles repopulated the region, bringing with them their culture of pagan idols, rituals, and customs.  This changed the Israelis and their way of life.  This was recorded in 2 Kings.

“The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria [the capital of Northern Israel] in place of the sons of Israel.  So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities.”  (2 Kings 17:24)

For this reason, the region took on the name Galil ha’Goyim (Galilee of the Nations or Galilee of the Gentiles). These Gentiles incorporated Jewish customs into their own pagan practices, developing a range of superstitions and false doctrines. However, evidence suggests that by the time of Jesus’ arrival, many parts of Galilee had regained its Jewish identity.

Jesus’s choice of Galilee as His home base caused a stumbling block for those who looked to Scripture for Messiah, because they were ignorant.  They said,

“Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?  Has not the Scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”  (John 7:41–42)

  • These people did not understand thatJesus was, indeed, born in Bethlehem of Judea, where David lived (Micah 5:2; Luke 2:4–20).
  • He then had to flee to Egypt to escape to avoid death from the State
  • After the death of King Herod Jesus returned and His family was directed to Nazareth, located in the Lower Galilee
  • Jesus grew up in Nazareth (Matthew 2:13–23; paralleled in Hosea 11:1, 5).
  • Later Jesus moved to Upper Galilee, in Capernaum.

It is from Capernaum that Jesus would begin the work of restoring this once contemptible land to glory, as Isaiah prophesied: Isaiah 9:1-2 says:

 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. (Isaiah 9:1-2)

This is what Matthew is referencing when he records:

And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,  The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;  The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. (Matthew 4:13-16)

Isaiah said that this glory comes from a “great light” Just so that there would be no confusion as to who or what will be the source of this “great light” in Galilee, Isaiah tells us just a few verses later how to identify it: Continuing from Isaiah 9 at verse 6.

 “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon His shoulders; and He is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Everlasting, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6)

Jesus himself said that He (Jesus ) is the light, the way, and the truth!

700 years after Isaiah’s prophecies we find that Jesus has arrived.  He has been baptized (by immersion) by John the Baptist, then he was taken into the wilderness for trails and testings (put through the fire), and now enters Nazareth to declare His arrival as Messiah (Luke 4:16–21; Isaiah 61:1–2).

During this time, John the Baptist had been immersing people for the remission of their sins, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”  (Matthew 3:2) Jesus had begun recruiting his early disciples and started his missionary journey in Nazareth. But while in Nazareth, Jesus learned that John had been arrested.

The apostle Matthew tells us that when Jesus heard this news, “He left Nazareth and made His home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled. …”  (Matthew 4:13–14; see Isaiah 9:1–2)

Matthew wants us to know that Jesus came to this ancient land that God took away from the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali (due to their disobedience) because he wants us to understand that restoration has now arrived, as Isaiah prophesied.  That restoration is in Jesus.

Matthew tells us that Jesus entered Capernaum proclaiming, just as John the Baptist — “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

  • The Kingdom of God- Has Arrived
  • Jesus being there is in the direct fulfillment of prophecy
  • There is no error in Scripture
  • There is only error in human thought
  • John the Baptist declared, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
  • Jesus the Messiah declared, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
  • Christian you should be declaring, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

 

There, in the spiritual darkness of Galilee, Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  (John 8:12; also Luke 2:29–32)

Jesus declared he was indeed the messiah, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives,  And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;” (Isaiah 61:1)

Jesus backed up His claim Messiah by performing glorious acts of physical and spiritual restoration before the people of Galilee.  Some examples are:

  • Jesus healed a woman with an issue of blood
  • Raised the dead daughter of Jairus
  • Healed a nobleman’s son
  • Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law
  • Jesus multiplied a handful of bread and fish to feed four thousand (Matthew 15:29–39) and five thousand (Luke 9:10–17).
  • Jesus expelled a legion of demons from a tormented man (Mark 5:1–20).
  • Jesus walked on water (Matthew 14:22–33) and calmed a raging sea (Mark 4:35–41), restoring and strengthening His disciples’ faith in Him.

These people whom Jesus touched in some way in Galilee believed in His identity as Messiah and did not at all take offense at Him.  Because of that, they were greatly blessed.  The message that God has told us from Genesis to Revelation is still the same. God is always reaching out to you and me and even to Israel and the whole world to restore us back to Himself. The message of the Bible is – “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 

After His baptism, Jesus came to the land of Zebulun and Naphtali in the Galilee where God’s wrath against Israel’s disobedience first manifested in exile, as prophesied by Isaiah, and He is coming again to complete the physical and spiritual restoration of David’s kingdom for both Jew and Gentile, as prophesied:

“And I will set up one shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even My servant David; He shall feed them, and He shall be their shepherd.  And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them.”  (Ezekiel 34:23–24)

You see the scripture can be trusted.  The Old and New Testament support one another and edify one another.  What we need to do is get serious with our study.  If we truly believe that God exists, and that Jesus is his Son and He has paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, then what are we doing?  When the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus the voice of God said, this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased, -LISTEN TO HIM.

 

Self-Study of Scriptures Fulfilled by Jesus.

Scripture Prophecy Fulfillment

 

1. Gen. 3:15 Seed of a woman (virgin birth) Galatians 4:4-5Matthew 1:18
2. Gen. 3:15 He will bruise Satan’s head Hebrews 2:141John 3:8
3. Gen. 3:15 Christ’s heel would be bruised with nails on the cross Matthew 27:35Luke 24:39-40
4. Gen. 5:24 The bodily ascension to heaven illustrated Mark 16:19, Rev. 12:5
5. Gen. 9:26, 27 The God of Shem will be the Son of Shem Luke 3:23-36
6. Gen. 12:3 Seed of Abraham will bless all nations Galatians 3:8Acts 3:2526
7. Gen. 12:7 The Promise made to Abraham’s Seed Galatians 3:16
8. Gen. 14:18 A priest after the order of Melchizedek Hebrews 6:20
9. Gen. 14:18 King of Peace and Righteousness Hebrews 7:2
10. Gen. 14:18 The Last Supper foreshadowed Matthew 26:26-29
11. Gen. 17:19 Seed of Isaac (Gen. 21:12) Romans 9:7
12. Gen. 22:8 The Lamb of God promised John 1:29
13. Gen. 22:18 As Isaac’s seed, will bless all nations Galatians 3:16
14. Gen. 26:2-5 The Seed of Isaac promised as the Redeemer Hebrews 11:18
15. Gen. 28:12 The Bridge to heaven John 1:51
16. Gen. 28:14 The Seed of Jacob Luke 3:34
17. Gen. 49:10 The time of His coming Luke 2:1-7; Galatians 4:4
18. Gen. 49:10 The Seed of Judah Luke 3:33
19. Gen. 49:10 Called Shiloh or One Sent John 17:3
20. Gen. 49:10 Messiah to come before Judah lost identity John 11:47-52
21. Gen. 49:10 Unto Him shall the obedience of the people be John 10:16
22. Ex. 3:13-15 The Great “I AM” John 4:268:58
23. Ex. 12:3-6 The Lamb presented to Israel 4 days before Passover Mark 11:7-11
24. Ex. 12:5 A Lamb without blemish Hebrews 9:141Peter 1:19
25. Ex. 12:13 The blood of the Lamb saves from wrath Romans 5:8
26. Ex. 12:21-27 Christ is our Passover 1Corinthians 5:7
27. Ex. 12:46 Not a bone of the Lamb to be broken John 19:31-36
28. Ex. 15:2 His exaltation predicted as Yeshua Acts 7:5556
29. Ex. 15:11 His Character-Holiness Luke 1:35Acts 4:27
30. Ex. 17:6 The Spiritual Rock of Israel 1Corinthians 10:4
31. Ex. 33:19 His Character-Merciful Luke 1:72
32. Lev. 1:2-9 His sacrifice a sweet smelling savor unto God Ephesians 5:2
33. Lev. 14:11 The leper cleansed-Sign to priesthood Luke 5:12-14Acts 6:7
34. Lev. 16:15-17 Prefigures Christ’s once-for-all death Hebrews 9:7-14
35. Lev. 16:27 Suffering outside the Camp Matthew 27:33Heb. 13:1112
36. Lev. 17:11 The Blood-the life of the flesh Matthew 26:28Mark 10:45
37. Lev. 17:11 It is the blood that makes atonement Rom. 3:23-241John 1:7
38. Lev. 23:36-37 The Drink-offering: “If any man thirst” John 7:37
39. Num. 9:12 Not a bone of Him broken John 19:31-36
40. Num. 21:9 The serpent on a pole-Christ lifted up John 3:14-1812:32
41. Num. 24:17 Time: “I shall see him, but not now.” John 1:14Galatians 4:4
42. Deut. 18:15 “This is of a truth that prophet.” John 6:14
43. Deut. 18:15-16 “Had ye believed Moses, ye would believe me.” John 5:45-47
44. Deut. 18:18 Sent by the Father to speak His word John 8:2829
45. Deut. 18:19 Whoever will not hear must bear his sin Acts 3:22-23
46. Deut. 21:23 Cursed is he that hangs on a tree Galatians 3:10-13
47. Joshua 5:14-15 The Captain of our salvation Hebrews 2:10
48. Ruth 4:4-10 Christ, our kinsman, has redeemed us Ephesians 1:3-7
49. 1 Sam. 2:35 A Faithful Priest Heb. 2:173:1-367:24-25
50. 1 Sam. 2:10 Shall be an anointed King to the Lord Mt. 28:18John 12:15
51. 2 Sam. 7:12 David’s Seed Matthew 1:1
52. 2 Sam. 7:13 His Kingdom is everlasting 2Peter 1:11
53. 2 Sam. 7:14 The Son of God Luke 1:32Romans 1:3-4
54. 2 Sam. 7:16 David’s house established forever Luke 3:31Rev. 22:16
55. 2 Ki. 2:11 The bodily ascension to heaven illustrated Luke 24:51
56. 1 Chr. 17:11 David’s Seed Matthew 1:19:27
57. 1 Chr. 17:12-13 To reign on David’s throne forever Luke 1:3233
58. 1 Chr. 17:13 “I will be His Father, He…my Son.” Hebrews 1:5
59. Job 9:32-33 Mediator between man and God 1 Timothy 2:5
60. Job 19:23-27 The Resurrection predicted John 5:24-29
61. Psa. 2:1-3 The enmity of kings foreordained Acts 4:25-28
62. Psa. 2:2 To own the title, Anointed (Christ) John 1:41Acts 2:36
63. Psa. 2:6 His Character-Holiness John 8:46Revelation 3:7
64. Psa. 2:6 To own the title King Matthew 2:2
65. Psa. 2:7 Declared the Beloved Son Matthew 3:17Romans 1:4
66. Psa. 2:78 The Crucifixion and Resurrection intimated Acts 13:29-33
67. Psa. 2:89 Rule the nations with a rod of iron Rev. 2:2712:519:15
68. Psa. 2:12 Life comes through faith in Him John 20:31
69. Psa. 8:2 The mouths of babes perfect His praise Matthew 21:16
70. Psa. 8:56 His humiliation and exaltation Hebrews 2:5-9
71. Psa. 9:7-10 Judge the world in righteousness Acts 17:31
72. Psa. 16:10 Was not to see corruption Acts 2:3113:35
73. Psa. 16:9-11 Was to arise from the dead John 20:9
74. Psa. 17:15 The resurrection predicted Luke 24:6
75. Psa. 18:2-3 The horn of salvation Luke 1:69-71
76. Psa. 22:1 Forsaken because of sins of others 2 Corinthians 5:21
77. Psa. 22:1 “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46
78. Psa. 22:2 Darkness upon Calvary for three hours Matthew 27:45
79. Psa. 22:7 They shoot out the lip and shake the head Matthew 27:39-44
80. Psa. 22:8 “He trusted in God, let Him deliver Him” Matthew 27:43
81. Psa. 22:9-10 Born the Saviour Luke 2:7
82. Psa. 22:12-13 They seek His death John 19:6
83. Psa. 22:14 His blood poured out when they pierced His side John 19:34
84. Psa. 22:1415 Suffered agony on Calvary Mark 15:34-37
85. Psa. 22:15 He thirsted John 19:28
86. Psa. 22:16 They pierced His hands and His feet John 19:343720:27
87. Psa. 22:1718 Stripped Him before the stares of men Luke 23:3435
88. Psa. 22:18 They parted His garments John 19:2324
89. Psa. 22:2021 He committed Himself to God Luke 23:46
90. Psa. 22:2021 Satanic power bruising the Redeemer’s heel Hebrews 2:14
91. Psa. 22:22 His Resurrection declared John 20:17
92. Psa. 22:27-28 He shall be the governor of the nations Colossians 1:16
93. Psa. 22:31 “It is finished” John 19:30Heb. 10:10121418
94. Psa. 23:1 “I am the Good Shepherd” John 10:111Peter 2:25
95. Psa. 24:3 His exaltation predicted Acts 1:11Philippians 2:9
96. Psa. 30:3 His resurrection predicted Acts 2:32
97. Psa. 31:5 “Into thy hands I commit my spirit” Luke 23:46
98. Psa. 31:11 His acquaintances fled from Him Mark 14:50
99. Psa. 31:13 They took counsel to put Him to death Mt. 27:1John 11:53
100. Psa. 31:1415 “He trusted in God, let Him deliver him” Matthew 27:43
101. Psa. 34:20 Not a bone of Him broken John 19:31-36
102. Psa. 35:11 False witnesses rose up against Him Matthew 26:59
103. Psa. 35:19 He was hated without a cause John 15:25
104. Psa. 38:11 His friends stood afar off Luke 23:49
105. Psa. 38:12 Enemies try to entangle Him by craft Mark 14:1Mt. 22:15
106. Psa. 38:12-13 Silent before His accusers Matthew 27:12-14
107. Psa. 38:20 He went about doing good Acts 10:38
108. Psa. 40:2-5 The joy of His resurrection predicted John 20:20
109. Psa. 40:6-8 His delight-the will of the Father John 4:34Heb. 10:5-10
110. Psa. 40:9 He was to preach the Righteousness in Israel Matthew 4:17
111. Psa. 40:14 Confronted by adversaries in the Garden John 18:4-6
112. Psa. 41:9 Betrayed by a familiar friend John 13:18
113. Psa. 45:2 Words of Grace come from His lips John 1:17Luke 4:22
114. Psa. 45:6 To own the title, God or Elohim Hebrews 1:8
115. Psa. 45:7 A special anointing by the Holy Spirit Mt. 3:16Heb. 1:9
116. Psa. 45:78 Called the Christ (Messiah or Anointed) Luke 2:11
117. Psa. 45:17 His name remembered forever Ephesians 1:20-21Heb. 1:8
118. Psa. 55:12-14 Betrayed by a friend, not an enemy John 13:18
119. Psa. 55:15 Unrepentant death of the Betrayer Matthew 27:3-5Acts 1:16-19
120. Psa. 68:18 To give gifts to men Ephesians 4:7-16
121. Psa. 68:18 Ascended into Heaven Luke 24:51
122. Psa. 69:4 Hated without a cause John 15:25
123. Psa. 69:8 A stranger to own brethren John 1:117:5
124. Psa. 69:9 Zealous for the Lord’s House John 2:17
125. Psa. 69:14-20 Messiah’s anguish of soul before crucifixion Matthew 26:36-45
126. Psa. 69:20 “My soul is exceeding sorrowful.” Matthew 26:38
127. Psa. 69:21 Given vinegar in thirst Matthew 27:34
128. Psa. 69:26 The Saviour given and smitten by God John 17:418:11
129. Psa. 72:1011 Great persons were to visit Him Matthew 2:1-11
130. Psa. 72:16 The corn of wheat to fall into the Ground John 12:24-25
131. Psa. 72:17 Belief on His name will produce offspring John 1:1213
132. Psa. 72:17 All nations shall be blessed by Him Galatians 3:8
133. Psa. 72:17 All nations shall call Him blessed John 12:13Rev. 5:8-12
134. Psa. 78:1-2 He would teach in parables Matthew 13:34-35
135. Psa. 78:2 To speak the Wisdom of God with authority Matthew 7:29
136. Psa. 80:17 The Man of God’s right hand Mark 14:61-62
137. Psa. 88 The Suffering and Reproach of Calvary Matthew 27:26-50
138. Psa. 88:8 They stood afar off and watched Luke 23:49
139. Psa. 89:27 Firstborn Colossians 1:1518
140. Psa. 89:27 Emmanuel to be higher than earthly kings Luke 1:3233
141. Psa. 89:35-37 David’s Seed, throne, kingdom endure forever Luke 1:3233
142. Psa. 89:36-37 His character-Faithfulness Revelation 1:519:11
143. Psa. 90:2 He is from everlasting (Micah 5:2) John 1:1
144. Psa. 91:1112 Identified as Messianic; used to tempt Christ Luke 4:1011
145. Psa. 97:9 His exaltation predicted Acts 1:11Ephesians 1:20
146. Psa. 100:5 His character-Goodness Matthew 19:1617
147. Psa. 102:1-11 The Suffering and Reproach of Calvary John 19:16-30
148. Psa. 102:25-27 Messiah is the Preexistent Son Hebrews 1:10-12
149. Psa. 109:25 Ridiculed Matthew 27:39
150. Psa. 110:1 Son of David Matthew 22:42-43
151. Psa. 110:1 To ascend to the right-hand of the Father Mark 16:19
152. Psa. 110:1 David’s son called Lord Matthew 22:4445
153. Psa. 110:4 A priest after Melchizedek’s order Hebrews 6:20
154. Psa. 112:4 His character-Compassionate, Gracious, et al Matthew 9:36
155. Psa. 118:1718 Messiah’s Resurrection assured Luke 24:5-71Cor. 15:20
156. Psa. 118:2223 The rejected stone is Head of the corner Matthew 21:4243
157. Psa. 118:26 The Blessed One presented to Israel Matthew 21:9
158. Psa. 118:26 To come while Temple standing Matthew 21:12-15
159. Psa. 132:11 The Seed of David (the fruit of His Body) Luke 1:32Act 2:30
160. Psa. 129:3 He was scourged Matthew 27:26
161. Psa. 138:1-6 The supremacy of David’s Seed amazes kings Matthew 2:2-6
162. Psa. 147:36 The earthly ministry of Christ described Luke 4:18
163. Prov. 1:23 He will send the Spirit of God John 16:7
164. Prov. 8:23 Foreordained from everlasting Rev. 13:81Peter 1:19-20
165. Song. 5:16 The altogether lovely One John 1:17
166. Isa. 2:3 He shall teach all nations John 4:25
167. Isa. 2:4 He shall judge among the nations John 5:22
168. Isa. 6:1 When Isaiah saw His glory John 12:40-41
169. Isa. 6:8 The One Sent by God John 12:38-45
170. Isa. 6:9-10 Parables fall on deaf ears Matthew 13:13-15
171. Isa. 6:9-12 Blinded to Christ and deaf to His words Acts 28:23-29
172. Isa. 7:14 To be born of a virgin Luke 1:35
173. Isa. 7:14 To be Emmanuel-God with us Matthew 1:18-231Tim. 3:16
174. Isa. 8:8 Called Emmanuel Matthew 28:20
175. Isa. 8:14 A stone of stumbling, a Rock of offense 1Peter 2:8
176. Isa. 9:12 His ministry to begin in Galilee Matthew 4:12-17
177. Isa. 9:6 A child born-Humanity Luke 1:31
178. Isa. 9:6 A Son given-Deity Luke 1:32John 1:141Tim. 3:16
179. Isa. 9:6 Declared to be the Son of God with power Romans 1:34
180. Isa. 9:6 The Wonderful One, Peleh Luke 4:22
181. Isa. 9:6 The Counsellor, Yaatz Matthew 13:54
182. Isa. 9:6 The Mighty God, El Gibor 1Cor. 1:24Titus 2:13
183. Isa. 9:6 The Everlasting Father, Avi Adth John 8:5810:30
184. Isa. 9:6 The Prince of Peace, Sar Shalom John 16:33
185. Isa. 9:7 Inherits the throne of David Luke 1:32
186. Isa. 9:7 His Character-Just John 5:30
187. Isa. 9:7 No end to his Government, Throne, and kingdom Luke 1:33
188. Isa. 11:1 Called a Nazarene-the Branch, Netzer Matthew 2:23
189. Isa. 11:1 A rod out of Jesse-Son of Jesse Luke 3:2332
190. Isa. 11:2 Anointed One by the Spirit Matthew 3:1617Acts 10:38
191. Isa. 11:2 His Character-Wisdom, Knowledge, et al Colossians 2:3
192. Isa. 11:3 He would know their thoughts Luke 6:8John 2:25
193. Isa. 11:4 Judge in righteousness Acts 17:31
194. Isa. 11:4 Judges with the sword of His mouth Rev. 2:1619:1115
195. Isa. 11:5 Character: Righteous & Faithful Rev. 19:11
196. Isa. 11:10 The Gentiles seek Him John 12:18-21
197. Isa. 12:2 Called Jesus-Yeshua Matthew 1:21
198. Isa. 22:22 The One given all authority to govern Revelation 3:7
199. Isa. 25:8 The Resurrection predicted 1Corinthians 15:54
200. Isa. 26:19 His power of Resurrection predicted Matthew 27:50-54
201. Isa. 28:16 The Messiah is the precious corner stone Acts 4:1112
202. Isa. 28:16 The Sure Foundation 1Corinthians 3:11Mt. 16:18
203. Isa. 29:13 He indicated hypocritical obedience to His Word Matthew 15:7-9
204. Isa. 29:14 The wise are confounded by the Word 1Corinthians 1:18-31
205. Isa. 32:2 A Refuge-A man shall be a hiding place Matthew 23:37
206. Isa. 35:4 He will come and save you Matthew 1:21
207. Isa. 35:5-6 To have a ministry of miracles Matthew 11:2-6
208. Isa. 40:34 Preceded by forerunner John 1:23
209. Isa. 40:9 “Behold your God.” John 1:3619:14
210. Isa. 40:10. He will come to reward Revelation 22:12
211. Isa. 40:11 A shepherd-compassionate life-giver John 10:10-18
212. Isa. 42:1-4 The Servant-as a faithful, patient redeemer Matthew 12:18-21
213. Isa. 42:2 Meek and lowly Matthew 11:28-30
214. Isa. 42:3 He brings hope for the hopeless Mt. 12:14-21John 4:1-54
215. Isa. 42:4 The nations shall wait on His teachings John 12:20-26
216. Isa. 42:6 The Light (salvation) of the Gentiles Luke 2:32
217. Isa. 42:16 His is a worldwide compassion Matthew 28:1920
218. Isa. 42:7 Blind eyes opened. John 9:25-38
219. Isa. 43:11 He is the only Saviour. Acts 4:12
220. Isa. 44:3 He will send the Spirit of God John 16:713
221. Isa. 45:21-25 He is Lord and Saviour Philippians 3:20Titus 2:13
222. Isa. 45:23 He will be the Judge John 5:22Romans 14:11
223. Isa. 46:910 Declares things not yet done John 13:19
224. Isa. 48:12 The First and the Last John 1:30Revelation 1:817
225. Isa. 48:1617 He came as a Teacher John 3:2
226. Isa. 49:1 Called from the womb-His humanity Matthew 1:18
227. Isa. 49:5 A Servant from the womb. Luke 1:31Philippians 2:7
228. Isa. 49:6 He will restore Israel Acts 3:19-2115:16-17
229. Isa. 49:6 He is Salvation for Israel Luke 2:29-32
230. Isa. 49:6 He is the Light of the Gentiles John 8:12Acts 13:47
231. Isa. 49:6 He is Salvation unto the ends of the earth Acts 15:7-18
232. Isa. 49:7 He is despised of the Nation John 1:118:48-49, 19:14-15
233. Isa. 50:3 Heaven is clothed in black at His humiliation Luke 23:4445
234. Isa. 50:4 He is a learned counselor for the weary Matthew 7:2911:2829
235. Isa. 50:5 The Servant bound willingly to obedience Matthew 26:39
236. Isa. 50:6 “I gave my back to the smiters.” Matthew 27:26
237. Isa. 50:6 He was smitten on the cheeks Matthew 26:67
238. Isa. 50:6 He was spat upon Matthew 27:30
239. Isa. 52:7 Published good tidings upon mountains Matthew 5:1215:2928:16
240. Isa. 52:13 The Servant exalted Acts 1:8-11Eph. 1:19-22Php. 2:5-9
241. Isa. 52:14 The Servant shockingly abused Luke 18:31-34Mt. 26:6768
242. Isa. 52:15 Nations startled by message of the Servant Luke 18:31-34Mt. 26:6768
243. Isa. 52:15 His blood shed sprinkles nations Hebrews 9:13-14Rev. 1:5
244. Isa. 53:1 His people would not believe Him John 12:37-38
245. Isa. 53:2 Appearance of an ordinary man Philippians 2:6-8
246. Isa. 53:3 Despised Luke 4:28-29
247. Isa. 53:3 Rejected Matthew 27:21-23
248. Isa. 53:3 Great sorrow and grief Matthew 26:37-38Luke 19:41Heb. 4:15
249. Isa. 53:3 Men hide from being associated with Him Mark 14:50-52
250. Isa. 53:4 He would have a healing ministry Matthew 8:16-17
251. Isa. 53:4 Thought to be cursed by God Matthew 26:6627:41-43
252. Isa. 53:5 Bears penalty for mankind’s iniquities 2Cor. 5:21Heb. 2:9
253. Isa. 53:5 His sacrifice provides peace between man and God Colossians 1:20
254. Isa. 53:5 His sacrifice would heal man of sin 1Peter 2:24
255. Isa. 53:6 He would be the sin-bearer for all mankind 1John 2:24:10
256. Isa. 53:6 God’s will that He bear sin for all mankind Galatians 1:4
257. Isa. 53:7 Oppressed and afflicted Matthew 27:27-31
258. Isa. 53:7 Silent before his accusers Matthew 27:12-14
259. Isa. 53:7 Sacrificial lamb John 1:291Peter 1:18-19
260. Isa. 53:8 Confined and persecuted Matthew 26:47-7527:1-31
261. Isa. 53:8 He would be judged John 18:13-22
262. Isa. 53:8 Killed Matthew 27:35
263. Isa. 53:8 Dies for the sins of the world 1John 2:2
264. Isa. 53:9 Buried in a rich man’s grave Matthew 27:57
265. Isa. 53:9 Innocent and had done no violence Luke 23:41John 18:38
266. Isa. 53:9 No deceit in his mouth 1Peter 2:22
267. Isa. 53:10 God’s will that He die for mankind John 18:11
268. Isa. 53:10 An offering for sin Matthew 20:28Galatians 3:13
269. Isa. 53:10 Resurrected and live forever Romans 6:9
270. Isa. 53:10 He would prosper John 17:1-5
271. Isa. 53:11 God fully satisfied with His suffering John 12:27
272. Isa. 53:11 God’s servant would justify man Romans 5:8-918-19
273. Isa. 53:11 The sin-bearer for all mankind Hebrews 9:28
274. Isa. 53:12 Exalted by God because of his sacrifice Matthew 28:18
275. Isa. 53:12 He would give up his life to save mankind Luke 23:46
276. Isa. 53:12 Numbered with the transgressors Mark 15:27-28Luke 22:37
277. Isa. 53:12 Sin-bearer for all mankind 1Peter 2:24
278. Isa. 53:12 Intercede to God in behalf of mankind Luke 23:34Rom. 8:34
279. Isa. 55:3 Resurrected by God Acts 13:34
280. Isa. 55:4 A witness John 18:37
281. Isa. 55:4 He is a leader and commander Hebrews 2:10
282. Isa. 55:5 God would glorify Him Acts 3:13
283. Isa. 59:16a Intercessor between man and God Matthew 10:32
284. Isa. 59:16b He would come to provide salvation John 6:40
285. Isa. 59:20 He would come to Zion as their Redeemer Luke 2:38
286. Isa. 60:1-3 He would shew light to the Gentiles Acts 26:23
287. Isa. 61:1 The Spirit of God upon him Matthew 3:16-17
288. Isa. 61:1 The Messiah would preach the good news Luke 4:16-21
289. Isa. 61:1 Provide freedom from the bondage of sin John 8:31-36
290. Isa. 61:1-2 Proclaim a period of grace Galatians 4:4-5
291. Jer. 11:21 Conspiracy to kill Jesus John 7:1, Matthew 21:38
292. Jer. 23:5-6 Descendant of David Luke 3:23-31
293. Jer. 23:5-6 The Messiah would be both God and Man John 13:131Ti 3:16
294. Jer. 31:22 Born of a virgin Matthew 1:18-20
295. Jer. 31:31 The Messiah would be the new covenant Matthew 26:28
296. Jer. 33:14-15 Descendant of David Luke 3:23-31
297. Eze.34:23-24 Descendant of David Matthew 1:1
298. Eze.37:24-25 Descendant of David Luke 1:31-33
299. Dan. 2:44-45 The Stone that shall break the kingdoms Matthew 21:44
300. Dan. 7:13-14 He would ascend into heaven Acts 1:9-11
301. Dan. 7:13-14 Highly exalted Ephesians 1:20-22
302. Dan. 7:13-14 His dominion would be everlasting Luke 1:31-33
303. Dan. 9:24 To make an end to sins Galatians 1:3-5
304. Dan. 9:24 To make reconciliation for iniquity Romans 5:102Cor. 5:18-21
305. Dan. 9:24 He would be holy Luke 1:35
306. Dan. 9:25 His announcement John 12:12-13
307. Dan. 9:26 Cut off Matthew 16:2121:38-39
308. Dan. 9:26 Die for the sins of the world Hebrews 2:9
309. Dan. 9:26 Killed before the destruction of the temple Matthew 27:50-51
310. Dan. 10:5-6 Messiah in a glorified state Revelation 1:13-16
311. Hos. 11:1 He would be called out of Egypt Matthew 2:15
312. Hos. 13:14 He would defeat death 1Corinthians 15:55-57
313. Joel 2:32 Offer salvation to all mankind Romans 10:9-13
314. Jonah 1:17 Death and resurrection of Christ Matthew 12:4016:4
315. Mic. 5:2 Born in Bethlehem Matthew 2:1-6
316. Mic. 5:2 Ruler in Israel Luke 1:33
317. Mic. 5:2 From everlasting John 8:58
318. Hag. 2:6-9 He would visit the second Temple Luke 2:27-32
319. Hag. 2:23 Descendant of Zerubbabel Luke 2:27-32
320. Zech. 3:8 God’s servant John 17:4
321. Zech. 6:12-13 Priest and King Hebrews 8:1
322. Zech. 9:9 Greeted with rejoicing in Jerusalem Matthew 21:8-10
323. Zech. 9:9 Beheld as King John 12:12-13
324. Zech. 9:9 The Messiah would be just John 5:30
325. Zech. 9:9 The Messiah would bring salvation Luke 19:10
326. Zech. 9:9 The Messiah would be humble Matthew 11:29
327. Zech. 9:9 Presented to Jerusalem riding on a donkey Matthew 21:6-9
328. Zech. 10:4 The cornerstone Ephesians 2:20
329. Zech. 11:4-6 At His coming, Israel to have unfit leaders Matthew 23:1-4
330. Zech. 11:4-6 Rejection causes God to remove His protection Luke 19:41-44
331. Zech. 11:4-6 Rejected in favor of another king John 19:13-15
332. Zech. 11:7 Ministry to “poor,” the believing remnant Matthew 9:35-36
333. Zech. 11:8 Unbelief forces Messiah to reject them Matthew 23:33
334. Zech. 11:8 Despised Matthew 27:20
335. Zech. 11:9 Stops ministering to those who rejected Him Matthew 13:10-11
336. Zech. 11:10-11 Rejection causes God to remove protection Luke 19:41-44
337. Zech. 11:10-11 The Messiah would be God John 14:7
338. Zech. 11:12-13 Betrayed for thirty pieces of silver Matthew 26:14-15
339. Zech. 11:12-13 Rejected Matthew 26:14-15
340. Zech. 11:12-13 Thirty pieces of silver cast in the house of the Lord Matthew 27:3-5
341. Zech. 11:12-13 The Messiah would be God John 12:45
342. Zech. 12:10 The Messiah’s body would be pierced John 19:34-37
343. Zech. 12:10 The Messiah would be both God and man John 10:30
344. Zech. 12:10 The Messiah would be rejected John 1:11
345. Zech. 13:7 God’s will He die for mankind John 18:11
346. Zech. 13: A violent death Mark 14:27
347. Zech. 13:7 Both God and man John 14:9
348. Zech. 13:7 Israel scattered as a result of rejecting Him Matthew 26:31-56
349. Zech. 14:4 He would return to the Mt. of Olives Acts 1:11-12
350. Mal. 3:1 Messenger to prepare the way for Messiah Mark 1:1-8
351. Mal. 3:1 Sudden appearance at the temple Mark 11:15-16
352. Mal. 3:1 Messenger of the new covenant Luke 4:43
353. Mal. 3:6 The God who changes not Hebrews 13:8
354. Mal. 4:5 Forerunner in spirit of Elijah Mt. 3:1-311:10-1417:11-13
355. Mal. 4:6 Forerunner would turn many to righteousness Luke 1:16-17

1 John 1:1-4 What Have Your Heard?

1 John 1:1-4 What Have You Heard?

  1. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
  2. (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
  3. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
  4. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

John was so overwhelmed with the importance of his message that he dispensed with normal salutations and introductions what would normally arrive in such a letter. During the time of the writing of this epistle the church was being influenced with by the acceptance of Gnosticism.

The Gnostics were marked with a philosophy that had a variety of views, one such basic view is that the spirit is good and matter is inherently evil, and the two constantly war against one another.  So then the one who is more knowledgeable or of a strong enough will, could overcome the weaknesses of the flesh. As a result Gnosticism held two major thoughts on Christ.

Docetic Gnosticism held that the humanity of Christ was ethereal, and that he only appeared to have a body. That is that Jesus was just a phantom force, which appeared and had no real physical substance.

Cerinthus Gnosticism held that the man Jesus, the son of Joseph and Mary was not the “Christ” until is was bestowed upon him at his baptism and then the Spirit empowered his ministry, and then it left him before the crucifixion.

Now you may ask, who cares if they believed this?  What does it matter?  Well either view of Jesus in this manner removes the incarnation of Christ, and the atonement of his sacrifice.  The word “incarnation” simply means “the act of being made flesh”.  In other words, Jesus was indeed the Son of God and became man through his divine intervention and as such remained both God and man.

The Gospel of John puts it this way.  “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1).

If Jesus was not “Christ” from before his birth, through his death, and resurrection then he would have been just a man.  As a man, he could not have escaped the original sin of Adam. Jesus could not have brought atonement because he would have had sin.  It doesn’t matter how enlightened he may have been.  Knowledge does not relieve us of sin, knowledge exposes sin.

You see Adam (man) was created by God.  In fact man was singled out from all of God’s creation to be made in the likeness of God.  As part of this likeness of God man was created with a free will.  When man was created and set in the world he was given dominion over all the earth and man was without sin.  In fact when God finished creation He looked at it and said that it was “good”.

But man rebelled against God, of his own free will, and then sin entered into man, and a curse has since followed man.  Now that man was in sin and darkness, he was separated from God, because God is pure and righteous.  His presence would destroy man.  Romans 5:12 tells us, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered in to the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”.

So you see a man cannot save man, because he is already tainted with sin.  Only God can save man, through a sinless sacrifice that would only be made once, one that could cover all of man’s sin, past, present and future.  There could only be one way to bridge the gap between man (creation) and God (Creator), God would have to provide the sacrifice.  This shows the necessity of God becoming man.

God had compassion on man.  God in his grace, had a plan to redeem man, from the very beginning.

The whole bible from beginning to end is a revelation of God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ.  In Genesis 3:15 God tells the serpent that deceived Adam and Eve into rebellion that, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

This is the first prophecy concerning the salvation that would come through Jesus.  There are over 300 prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus in his short life here on earth, and there are still more prophecies yet to be fulfilled upon his return.

The author of this letter claims to be an eye witness to the ministry of Christ.  This makes the author and authority on who Jesus is and what he is doing. We must not ever forget the importance of having a witness.  John is telling his readers of this epistle that the things that they have been taught concerning Jesus is the truth and has been witnesses by them.  The witnesses are in what they have heard, both in the scriptures and in the words of Jesus.

  • Your testimony of what Jesus has done in your life is your witness of the truth of Jesus.
  • No one else can stand up and proclaim what you have seen and what you have heard from God.
  • No one else can explain how the love of Jesus has changed your heart.
  • No one else can explain the release of the guilt and the shame that you have suffered.

There is an old saying that people love to use.  “Who are you to judge me?” This is a true statement.  Who are you?  To many Christians get saved and in their enthusiasm to have others convert, forget that they were once lost and in rebellion.  They forget that it took someone who in genuine concern reached out and connected with them.

And you know how they did that?

  • They shared who they were, and who they are now.
  • They shared how Jesus made that difference and they shared the love that was given to them – freely.

It does not matter how much time we spend in church, Sunday school, or in memorizing bible scriptures.  It doesn’t even matter if we speak in tongues, or if we can heal others at a touch.  What matters is if we can reach out in love.  We have to love others enough to overcome the fear and insecurity of sharing our testimony.

Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one to another.” (John 13:35).  He also said that I speak that which I have heard of the father.  Jesus led by example.

He didn’t talk about things he didn’t know.

  • He talked about things of heaven.
  • He explained the things that pertained to the Kingdom of God.
  • He gave examples and illustrations.
  • He testified of things he knew, that he had seen, and he had heard.

How?

  • Because he is God.
  • He existed before creation.
  • He was the creator.

So what do you know? What have you seen?  What have you heard?

You know the truth

  • Jesus is the Son of God
  • Jesus is faithful
  • Jesus loves you
  • Jesus forgave you
  • Jesus provided atonement for you
  • Jesus released you from your bondage
  • From sexual immortality
  • From lies
  • From disease
  • From the bondage of sin
  • Jesus gave you a choice again
  • You are no longer a slave
  • You have eternal life

These are the things that are in your testimony.  Henry Clay Trumbull (1830-1903) is considered one of God’s pioneers in soul-winning evangelism.  In fact he wrote the first books ever devoted strictly to the principles of personal evangelism.  He was a renowned expositor of scripture, missionary, organizer and lecturer.  He was the editor of the Civil War era publication. “The Sunday School Times”.  He was the author of 38 books in total.  He lectured at Yale University and traveled relentlessly spreading and teaching the gospel.  Yet here is what he said concerning personal evangelism.

“Looking back upon my work in all these years I can see more direct results of good through my individual efforts with individuals that I can know of through all my spoken words to thousands upon thousands of persons in religious assemblies, or all my written words on the pages of periodicals or of books.  Reaching one person at a time is the BEST way of reaching all the world in time.”

When Jesus said no man lights a candle and puts it under a table, but he puts in on top of the table so that all who enter the house can see the light, he was talking about you.  You are the light of Christ!  Don’t put it under a table and hide it!  Tell somebody what Jesus has done for you. –Amen!

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Mark 12:28-31 The First Commandment

Mark 12:28-31 The First Commandment

If I were to ask 100 different Christians what they thought was the most important part of Christianity I would undoubtable get many different answers.  Some would say it is Faith, others study of the Bible, or Prayer.  Even others would say the Holy Spirit, or service in the church.  I am of the persuasion that while all of these are important, they are merely manifestations that come out of the most important aspect of your belief in Christ.

*******************Read the Passage Mark 12:28-31********************

In Mark 12:28-33 Jesus is asked this very question.  Jesus said that the first thing we should have is a directed love towards God.  We should be careful, that we don’t misunderstand this word love.  It is not a general kind of love.  It is not like when we say, “Oh I just love that dress, or I love this new car!”  It is not even like a when we say that we should “love all mankind”.

Jesus didn’t say that the most important commandment is to love God and to second, love animals.  Had he said that then we could take away that he was talking about a general kind of love, where we should express love for everything, love people, love animals, love the planet, love everything.  But “love” in itself is not the main topic Jesus is speaking of.

Even when he goes on to say that the second commandment is like it, to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  Instead he is still stressing the importance of the first command.  Jesus is saying the main point is to LOVE GOD!  The second is like it because it is still loving God, man was made in the image of God.

1 John 4:20 says that if a man says he loves God and hates his brother, then he is a liar!

James 3:9-10 says, “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessings and cursing.  My brethren this ought not so to be.”

This love Jesus is speaking of is not a blanket that we throw over our shoulders and sing warm little campfire songs for.  It is a more specific kind of love.  It is even more specific than a love for a spouse, or a child.  Instead it is a living love directed explicitly at God above all other things, places, or persons.

You see, God is Love (1 John 4.8 ”He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”).  So then whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him (1 John 4:16).

How do we then love God?  Jesus tells us this also.  We love with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.  We demonstrate this with our love for one another.  This is all simple words and easy to say, but how do we put this in action?

Our natural state as fallen creatures is not to love God, but rather to regard him with suspicion and resist his authority.  Jesus told Nicodemus that in order to enter heaven you must be born again.  You have to know that you are fallen and in danger of judgement, and in danger of eternal separation from God.  Matthew 25:41 “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”

But also as apostle Paul told us in the Colossians 1:20-22, that even though we were enemies with God, he had mercy on us and provided a sacrifice for our sins, in Jesus’ blood, to that we could be reconciled to God the Father.  So we were once alienated from God because of our evil nature.  But God Himself made a way for us to be with him.

“The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.” (Deuteronomy 30.6)

God himself gave us the way to love him, buy wiping out our record of sin.  By this I mean past, present, and future… This gives us the ability to love God with a pure heart and in good conscience, having a sincere faith.  Jesus has set us free, “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” (Tutus 1.15)

God knows that we cannot love him of ourselves.  He provided the way through Jesus Christ.  Jesus suffered so that we would not have to suffer in our sin and bondage.

Psalms  22: 14-16 records a portion of his suffering, “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it has melted within Me.  My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; you have brought Me to the dust of death.  For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation if the wicked has enclosed Me.  They pierced My hands and My feet;”

So knowing these things we desire to please him.  The question is not “What would Jesus do”, but “What would please Him?”  We put Him first in all things.  The psalmist said “Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” (Psalm 73.25)

We love the Lord with our all in all; as a result of salvation through Jesus.  This is the starting point, without this relationship with Jesus, we cannot love God.  The love of Jesus must be the key feature in our lives.

We love the Lord by eliminating competing loves.  Loving God must become the key feature in our lives.  Don’t compartmentalize God into on little piece of your life. 

Each one of us have 168 hours in a week.  In that week the average Christian devotes 7 hours in Church, Sunday School, and a small group devotion or study.  During each week if you sleep 8 hours a day, every day then you spend another 56 hours in sleep.  That leaves 105 hours that are spent in eating, school, work, shopping, social events, or other leisure activities.  The question is how much of that 105 hours is spent demonstrating an active love for God?(Southern Baptist of Texas Convention, 4/25/2017)

This isn’t just a temporary fasting. Not just a time where we skip a meal or that we don’t eat red meat for few weeks.  It is not even a deprivation of sleep from an all-night prayer meeting, or a week of revival.  It is instead a way of living for God. 

In fact the Lord said in Isaiah 58:6-7 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? 

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and hot hide yourself from your own flesh?”

Wouldn’t it be awesome if someone were to ask your best friend, or your wife, or husband, or your children, “Tell me one thing about so-in-so…” and they could say, “That you really love God.”  Shouldn’t your life SHOW others that you truly love God!

This is a conscious choice.  We purpose ourselves for his service (Romans 12:11 says that we should be passionate in spirit, serving the Lord).  We do everything in life as if we are performing it whole heartedly for the Lord (Colossians 3:23).  In short we live “all out” for Him.  We hold nothing back from Him.  We are fully dedicated to His purposes.  We have to be wholehearted in our devotion to Him.  We are not ashamed of Him. 

Do you know that God knows that we are not perfect?  Do you know that he knows that sometimes, even on the way to church some of us have terrible arguments in the car?  Then we put on a smile and walk in the church like we just love everybody.  Then as soon as we walk out and start the car, our argument picks right back up from where it was.  Do you know that is wrong?  Sure we do.

We need to pray, and seek the Lord.  You know that as we humble ourselves and understand that we are not perfect, and hey no one else is either, and we realize again that Jesus still loves us.  He forgave us.  You know we can forgive others too.  We can love God by loving those around us.

We can even be so radical in our love for Him… that “We Love Our Neighbors, as we Love Ourselves!” (Mark 12:31) Do you know the best thing you can do for someone else is to let them see you LOVE God with all you have to love Him with?

In Matthew 25:34-40  we read “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat:  I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink:  I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  Naked, and ye clothed me:  I was sick, and ye visited me:  I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  Then shall the righteous answer him saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have don’t it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:34-40)

If someone asked that question, if the asked about you… today… if they asked “tell me about so-in-so”; and they were pointing the finger at you… Could who they were asking say, “They really love God”?  Does your life show your love for God?  Does your language show that your love God?  Do your neighbors even know that you know who Jesus is?  If not, maybe you need to make a commitment today. 

Get things right with God today.  Come to the alter of his mercy and tell him.  Lord I have not been living like I love you.  I have not been doing the things that I should, or speaking up for you.  Lord people have no idea that you’re my God or my savior by the way I act, speak, or how I treat other people, not even other believers.  I want to make that right with you today.

Or maybe you’re here and you have never even considered the sacrifice that Jesus made for you; how he poured out his blood to make restitution for your wrong doings.  Maybe you need to come and tell him you believe in Him.  You believe that he sacrificed himself for you, so that you could learn how to truly live in love.

1 Corinthians 15:12-20 – You Cannot Believe in Just Half the Gospel and Be Saved.

1 Corinthians 15:12-20 – You Cannot Believe in Just Half the Gospel and Be Saved.

This letter of Corinthians was written by the apostle Paul.  It is believed that the letter was written around 55 AD.  The letter deals with spiritual and moral issues that had arose in the church since Paul’s preaching there in 50 AD.  The main emphasis on this of Chapter 15 verses 12-20 deals with the Athenian philosophers of the Epicurean and Stoic beliefs concerning death and the resurrection, and their influence on the church.

The Epicurean believed that when one dies, they simply no longer exist.  The Stoic believe that when we die, our soul is absorbed into the soul of the universe, there in no individual conscience.  These two philosophies originated between 341-313 BC. These two philosophies are still very prevalent in today’s one world philosophy.

They are portrayed in popular writings and movies like Star Trek and Star Wars.  Among the other thoughts in these philosophies are man’s oneness with the energy of the universe, the end justifies the means, and that everything that happens to a man is a cause and effect relationship, man has no real will of his own, or Kharma. For this selection in Corinthians we are concerned with the beliefs of what happens after one dies and the resurrection beliefs in modern churches.

There are many Christians today that don’t believe that a body can be resurrected out of the grave.  They make silly arguments about the condition of the body, the decay, or it the person was mutilated or burned to death.  This becomes their basis to say that the physical body cannot be raised.  The dead will not come out of the grave.

In 2006 a poll released by the Scripps Howard News Service and posed on the Ohio University Survey Research Center website stated that only 65% of professing “Born Again” Christians believe in the physical resurrection of Christ.

A more recent poll released in 2014, by Thomas D. Williams, PH.D., showed that 3 out of 4 Americans believe in some sort of life after death, but only 37% believe in a bodily resurrection from the dead.  This is from Americans who have some sort of “religious affiliation”. What seems to be an odd trend is that those with higher educations are more likely to believe in life after death of some sort.

The frightening aspect is that those who call themselves “Followers of Christ”, and “Born Again” in increasing numbers do not believe in the resurrection of the body, and do not believe that Jesus physically rose from the dead.  Christians are rejecting one of the fundamental beliefs of their own religion because of improper discipleship and ignorance of the full gospel. For an answer to this heresy we turn to Paul’s writings to the Corinthians.

Paul tells us that it is necessary to believe in the resurrection of the body.  You have to believe in the whole gospel or none of it.  The resurrection is not just a fable made up to give us a false since of security.

Let us begin at verse 12 in 1st Corinthians chapter 15.

V12. Now it Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is not resurrection of the dead?

Paul is saying here that this is essential to the gospel.  Remember he is speaking to believers.  Paul says if you have believed on Jesus, that you have then been baptized as an outward showing of your faith, then how can you deny the resurrection?  This is inconceivable to Paul.

Romans 10:9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

I can hear Paul saying, don’t you remember what we preached to you?  Don’t you remember how we told you that even the Apostle Thomas had his doubts because he did not see what the others saw?  Don’t you remember how we testified to you that Jesus appeared again to the disciples and told Thomas, and I quote;

“Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side.  Do not be unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27)

So this is what we preach, that Christ died and is risen again, because you cannot be saved unless you believe that He is risen.  This being so, if you confess that Christ is risen, then how can you not believe there is a resurrection of the dead?  The Greeks looked at themselves as very logical and philosophical people, Paul appeals to this reasoning they were so proud of.  It is illogical to say you believe that Jesus rose from the dead so you could have eternal life, but don’t believe you will be resurrected.

V13. But if there is not resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.

Here Paul starts his logical argument.  He says, “OK. Let’s say that there is not resurrection of the dead.”  Let us say that a dead body cannot rise from the grave.  Let’s forget about the story of Lazarus, and how Jesus raised him from the dead.  If when a man dies he simply ceases to exist, or he is absorbed into the cosmos, then it is impossible for Jesus to have risen from the grave.  If this is what you believe concerning death, then you cannot believe that Jesus arose, it is not logical.  Even though there were other examples that we have been told about.  The scriptures tell us about a resurrection and a judgment to come.

Let’s forget about how Psalm 19:9-10 prophesies about Jesus and says, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope.  For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

Let’s even forget how the scriptures of Daniel tell us in 12:2 about a general resurrection of the body where it is written, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

If there is no resurrection of the dead…. Then Christ did not rise either…. That is the first argument.  If you don’t believe in the dead rising from the grave, then you cannot believe that Jesus rose from the grave.  Why….?  Because Christ, while being the Son of God, was also human.  He died and was as dead as any other human.  Yes he was sinless, a sacrifice.  Stay with me now, in order for a sacrifice of death to be complete, something has to die in it’s place.  You see, Jesus was, “dead as a doornail.” As we say in south-east Texas.

How do we know that Jesus was a man?  The scriptures testify to it:

  • Acts 2:22 “Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God…”
  • Galatians 4:4 says Jesus was born of a woman
  • 1 Timothy 2:5 says that there is only mediator between God and Man and that HE is the Man Christ Jesus

There are at least 12 other references in the New Testament that describe how Jesus, wept, felt tired, slept, spit, breathed and so on, testifying that he was not some ethereal presence, but a real flesh and blood human being.

V14. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.

So in following that thought process, the deeper reality would begin to sink in.  If there is no resurrection of the dead, and Jesus therefor did not rise from the grave, because it is impossible for a man to be raised from the dead.  Then there is no basis for what we preach.

The whole of the apostolic preaching was the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. That was the whole point of the message! Therefore, if you believed our preaching, and it was not based on fact, then you have believed in nothing.  Christianity itself is empty.

There was never a claim that Mohammed rose from the grave.  There was never a claim that Buddha rose from the grave.  In fact neither of them said they were the Son of God.  But Jesus said he was the Son of God.  In fact in Matthew 12:38-40 Jesus says that a sign of Him being the Son of God would be His resurrection.

V15. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up_ if in fact the dead do not rise.

Paul goes farther, he says that if you do not believe in the resurrection of the Dead, and by extension do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus, and we have testified that we have seen his resurrection… then we are liars, and false witnesses.  You cannot believe anything we say.  If you cannot believe in the simple doctrine we put forward to you, then you cannot believe anything else.

V16. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.

Truth be told, if it is not possible for the dead to rise, then Christ did not rise.  If a man cannot come back from the dead, then Christ could not have come back from the dead either.

V17. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!

Now Paul shows why it is so important to believe in the resurrection of life.  The physical resurrection of Jesus.  IF Jesus is not risen, then Jesus is not alive and with the Father, then you have believed a lie.  So your faith is unfounded, and there is no forgiveness of sins.  You have not mediator for men.  Death is still inescapable.  Now you have a real problem to fear.  You have to enter into eternity within your fallen, unforgiven state.  You will be condemned.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6.32)

V18. Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.

This means that those who have been martyred for the cause of Christ have died in vain.  Those who believed and have passed on, are lost forever.  This also means all of the Old Testament prophets and patriarchs have also died in vain, because they prophesied about Jesus and His resurrection. The prophets of old looked forward to the resurrection. If a man cannot be resurrected, then Jesus could not have been resurrected.  If Jesus was not resurrected and the whole thing was made up.  If it was all made up then you cannot believe in a lie. If it is a lie, then there is no hope for mankind in Jesus. If the resurrection was a lie then so is the rest of the gospel, and all who have died, have died in sin.  That means that the war in Heaven is over and that God lost.  Everyone is doomed.  If Jesus did not accomplish our salvation, then no one can.

V19. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

If all this has been a lie, and we have believed in vain, then we are the stupidest people on Earth.  If we live a life to show love toward one another, and selfless sacrifice in gratitude for the hope of life we have in Jesus, and there is no basis for this belief, then we have been fools.  If we have put others first, and been beaten, and tortured, lost our homes, jobs, and even family ties for Christ sake, and it is a lie, then we are the most miserable people on the face of the earth.  It is right for others to call us stupid and mistreat us, because we deserve it.  We have purposely made ourselves a victim.  If the only benefit to believing in Jesus, in this life, is to be a good person, then we have wasted our lives.  Because we don’t believe in Jesus just to live a good life.

  • The scriptures tell us that none is good! (Matthew 19.17)
  • There is none righteous (Romans 3.10)
  • Everyone, altogether has become filthy and can do no good, NO NOT ONE! (Psalm 53.3)

V20. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

How do we know Jesus was resurrected?  We have witnesses; that is how know he was resurrected.

”For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, and then by the twelve.  After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once,…” 1 Cor 15:3-6a. 

Paul tells us, Hey, I myself have seen Him, Peter has seen him, the scriptures testify to God’s plan, and even 500 believers have seen him… All at the same time!  This is not made up, there are too many witnesses.

Jesus himself told us that the sign of His being the Son of God would be “the sign of Jonah”.  How Jonah was in the belly of the whale 3 day, so would the Son of Man be in the ground for 3 days, then he would rise.  This is God’s testimony of Jesus.  This is His Word fulfilled! – Amen

Jesus rose from the dead, he physically came out of the grave!  This is a sign that we are forgiven.  This is God’s signature at the end of the letter! He is saying, “Here is the guarantee!

If Jesus didn’t rise from the grave, then sin killed him.  If sin killed him then death was not subdued. But… scripture tell us that the resurrection of the dead out of the grave is not only possible, but that it will occur for everyone.  You do not need to believe it is possible for you to be resurrected.  But you do need to believe that Jesus was resurrected in order to avoid being condemned by your own lack of belief, not God’s. Listen to John 5:28-29.

John 5: 28-29 “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”

Therefore, we know that the resurrection of the dead is possible.  Therefore we know that the resurrection of Jesus is not only possible, but that it did occur.  It occurred as a testimony of the forgiveness of sins, and of the resurrection of life.

We also know that there is a day coming when everyone will be called up out of the grave and brought to judgment.  Those who have believed in Jesus will be rewarded.  Those who have not believed, those who were filled with how intellectually important they were, will be brought to face their condemnation.   But there is hope!  There is hope in Jesus, the Lamb of God, who was slain for the remission of sin.

By God raising Jesus from the dead it means that God was satisfied with the sin offering made by Jesus.  In Romans 4 the scriptures tell us about how Abraham’s faith in God being able to do what He said he would do was enough for God to impute righteousness to Abraham.  Having faith in God to do what he said He would do concerning Jesus, also imputes righteousness to us.

“It shall be imputed to use who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, Who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” (Romans 4: 24-25)

 

The resurrection of Jesus is a testimony from God that the sacrifice Jesus made for our sin, is acceptable to God, and that believing in this is how righteousness is imparted to us

Romans 5:8-10 says “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

Romans 8:11 says, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

The grace of God is that we have eternal life through Jesus Christ, the proof of that is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Because Jesus was resurrected, we will also be resurrected to eternal life.

How do we know that Jesus physically arose?

  • John 20.17 – Jesus tells Mary not to touch him yet because He still has to ascend to the Father.
  • Acts 20.11 – Tells us that Jesus ate with the disciples
  • Luke 24.38-39 – “Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”

Paul wrote to the Corinthians explaining, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15.20-22)

So I ask you today.  Do you believe that there is life after death? Do you believe that a man can be brought back from the dead?  Do you believe that Jesus was raised from the dead as a sign, that as the scripture records, and even Jesus himself told, that the sign of Jonah would be the only sign given concerning his atonement?

If you do then you need to confess it.

Acknowledge to God and to man, that Jesus was resurrected and that He is the only mediator between the Father and man.

He is because he lives. – Amen

Exposition: Joshua 24

Exposition: Joshua 24

1And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.

 Joshua gathered all the people of the Lord together so that they could present themselves to the Lord and he could speak to them, so that everyone could hear first-hand what he had to tell them.  What he was going to say would be extremely important for their survival and he did not want it misunderstood.  We all know how things can get misinterpreted through the grape vine.

2And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor: and they served other gods. 3And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. 4And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.

 At the time that God called Abraham, the whole world was in apostasy from God. This is after God broke the language of the people and scattered them all about the face of the earth.  But there was one man who the Lord heard.  Abraham wanted to know the one true God, to God searched his heart and found him to be genuine.  He called Abraham out of a land of idolatry to be separated unto Himself, so He could teach Abraham and eventually call a nation out of him that the messiah would come through.  Much like when we are saved the Lord calls us out of the bondage of sin and to be sanctified to Him, so that we may learn of His grace and mercy.

 5I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out. 6And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea. 7And when they cried unto the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.

 Joshua reminds the Israelis how God has always cared for them, even when they were in Egypt and how he used the bondage to make them grow strong and then delivered them in due time. Even when Israel disobeyed God, he did not abandon them, He instead provided their daily needs, reassured them, and guided them back to a place where they were willing to hear Him again, and obey.  They learned from their mistakes through Gods loving kindness and chastisement.

8And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you. 9Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you: 10But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.

 God reminds the children of Israel that he continued to care for them and delivered them from all of their enemies, and out of every circumstance.

 11And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand. 12And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow. 13And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and olive yards which ye planted not do ye eat. 14Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.

 Of major importance is that now that they occupied then land, they did not rid the land of all of its previous occupants as the Lord had demanded. This meant that they were surrounded and even had in their midst people who followed false gods.  Joshua instructed them that they needed to settle in their hearts to serve only the One True God of their ancestors, who had delivered them through all the events that he previously mentioned.  They were not to forget what God had done for them, and neither should we.  We cannot forget what Jesus has done for us, the bondages of sin and addictions that He delivered us from.

 15And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

 Joshua again let them know, that they were free to choose whether they were going to continue to serve the Lord God, or if they wanted they could choose to serve another god. God is not going to force Himself on us, we all have a choice.  Joshua does show the importance of making a choice and staying with it.  He leads by example and declares that He and his family will serve the Lord.  We as parents and community leaders and employers and peers to others should lead by example.  Showing boldly that we choose to serve the Lord, not out of fear, but out of remembrance of what He has done for us.

 16And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;

 The people following Joshua’s example choose wisely to serve the One True God.

 17For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: 18And the Lord drove out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for he is our God.

 The children of Israel gave God recognition for the wondrous things He had done for them, how He had always had his hand in their lives. Many times we do not give God the recognition of the praise for what He has done for us.  Giving praise and recognition to God not only honors God, but it strengthens our faith, it reassures us of His presence in our lives, it reminds us that He is in charge and that He is not slacking of His promises to us.

 19And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.

 We often forget that God is not only a God of love and mercy, but that He is a just God and a God of judgment.

 21And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord. 22And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. 23Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel. 24And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey. 25So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. 26And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.

 These events and the choices of the people of Israel were recorded as a reminder and a testimony against them and to all the other nations

27And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God. 28So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance. 29And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 30And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath–serah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash. 31And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel.

 This shows the importance of the godly influence Joshua’s leadership had on the nation. Strong godly leadership is a blessing to a nation.  We as Christians should be involved in our local, state, and federal governments at all levels.  Separation of church and state is not a biblical principle.  The governments of man are constructed by the will of God and are meant as a means to help us in our daily lives to have the freedom to serve God as God sees fit.

32And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.

This serves as a reminder of Josephs faith in God, and that he understood that God would continue to have His hand on his descendants and that God would honor His covenant.

 33And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.