Archive for the 'Bible' Category

10
Apr
14

Journey Through Mark – 12

What a great journey we are on together. I am looking forward to each time we walk with Jesus. Today’s trek opens our eyes to more of the opposition Jesus faces and we see His ability to answer with loving truth. We also see more about the importance of our heart. As we journey in Mark 12, we witness the following events:

  • Mark 12:1-12 – The Parable of the Tenant Farmerslove
  • Mark 12:13-17 – Paying Taxes to Rome
  • Mark 12:18-27 – The Resurrection of the Dead
  • Mark 12:28-34 – The Greatest of Commands
  • Mark 12:35-37 – The Son of David
  • Mark 12:38-40 – The Danger of Showy Religion
  • Mark 12:41-44 – Two Coins in the Coffer

Let’s stop and listen again to Jesus answer the question about the Most Important Commandment. Jesus’ answer is that there are two important commandments of which there are no other that are greater than these two: 1) “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:29-30). 2) “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” Mark 12:31).

  1. Love God with ALL Your Heart. The heart is in their understanding, the part of you that feels. It is your emotional seat. You are to love God like you love your spouse, children, parents, and grandchildren.
  2. Love God with ALL Your Soul. Soul is from the Greek word “psyche.” This word describes the whole of Human essence – our breath or life. The soul is everything that we are.
  3. Love God with ALL Your Mind. This is the seat of intellect. Loving God is more than a feeling it is a thinking and rational adventure.
  4. Love God with ALL Your Strength. This is what you can do. Love God with your abilities and energies. Love Him until you have nothing else to love Him with and then love Him more.

This thought crosses my mind: If Loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength is the Greatest Command; then “What is the greatest sin?” Would it be failing to love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul, mind and strength?

The Second Command is to love your neighbor as yourself. There are two keys to following God: Loving God completely and loving mankind earnestly. (cf. 1 John 4:19-21).

If loving God is the most important command, how do I love God? John says to “Walk in His commandments” (2 John 6). That is we are to do His will. Which would include obeying Him according to His terms (cf. Mark 16:15-16), worshiping Him according to His authority (John 4:24), and living for Him daily (1 John 1:7 – walk daily in the light; 1 John 2:15-17 – love God and not the world)

If the second command is to love my neighbor, how do I love my neighbor? The obvious answer is: as I love myself. It means putting the interest of others before my own. Is not that the example Jesus gave in life and in death?

-Scott

08
Apr
14

Journey Through Mark – 11

Our journey today in the eleventh chapter of Mark brings us to the point where the tension between Jesus and the religious authorities of His day reach a boiling point. Already, the Chief Priests feel they have to stop this Jesus. They fear His influence on people. They fear this could result in a loss of revenue for them. Politically, they begin to fear for their already precarious position with Rome. And greater still, as leaders of Judaism, they had fears that this Jesus was misleading people away from the coming Messiah.

  • Mark 11:1-10 – Jesus enters Jerusalem with Triumphal FanfareWeekend Reading
  • Mark 11:11-14, 20-26 – Jesus and a misleading Fig Tree
  • Mark 11:15-19 – Jesus clears the Temple of Avarice
  • Mark 11:27-33 – Jesus’ Authority, where does it come from?

For our walk today we focus on Jesus and the events at the Temple, “And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city.” Mark 11:15-19

We walk into the temple area known as the Court of Gentiles this is the open courtyard of the Temple. It is here that all people of all backgrounds and ethnicities can gather. Only Jews can proceed deeper into the temple, only priests can enter the Holy Place, and the High Priest alone can enter the Most Holy Place. The courtyard comprises the greater part of the approximately thirty acres of the Temple area.

By the time Jesus is ministering and proclaiming the coming Kingdom, this area of the Temple had become a market place, a bazaar, a giant yard sale, and stockyard. Here we come to be in the Temple, the place where God met with His people, where His people came to be nearer to Him. Here we are to worship and here we find, not God, but a market place – not a Publix or a Winn Dixie, but a market place like you would find in third world countries in our current world. Vendors are yelling from their tents and cubicles selling their wares. Pigeons are . . . doing what pigeons do. Animals are grunting, mooing, bleating, eating, and eliminating waste. We come to meet God and we meet the smells of dirty dusty animals and people. The atmosphere was less than conducive to worship.

Along with the disciples, we are trying to take all of this in, when we see Jesus. He seems to be too quiet and we can tell He is in deep thought. All of the sudden, Jesus cannot take it anymore! He seizes the moment. He overturns the tables of money changers and merchants. Coins roll across the courtyard, animals flee for safety, pigeons fly to the top of the walls, feathers flying as they escape. Jesus turns around those who using the Temple area as a short-cut to the other side of Jerusalem.

Jesus reminds them of the messages of the prophets:
“ . . . will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” Isaiah 56:7.
“Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the LORD” Jeremiah 7:11.

What can we learn from these events?

We begin understanding that the Church (gathered Christians) is the Temple today. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” Ephesians 2:19-22. The Church is:

  • A Group Religion
  • For salvation of the lost
  • For Spiritual Worship in His Name
  • Not a set of religious programs
  • Not a society or country club
  • Not business

But we also notice that each individual Christian is a Temple of God in his/her own right. “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body”1 Corinthians 6:18-20.

  • Do not sell yourself to sin.
  • Do not see yourself to the world.
  • Do not sell out to materialism.
  • Keep focused on God (cf. Rom 12:1-2)

- Scott

07
Apr
14

Journey Through Mark – 10

Ecuador 2013Welcome back to our journey together. I pray that by now this walk is a part of your daily routine. I pray that as we walk together, you are growing closer and closer to our walking companion – Jesus.  Today as we walk in His company, there is much to learn. Some of His teachings are uphill walks and until our spiritual health improves we will have to take these hills slowly. Some of what we learn from Him today, may upset you. That is okay, we all need reminders of who we should be and not just pats on the head telling us, “that’s alright.” Listen as Jesus talks as we walk.

  • Mark 10:1-12 – Jesus teaches about marriage, divorce, and remarriage. He gives only one reason for divorce and remarriage; the other person’s infidelity.
  • Mark 10:13-16 – Jesus welcomes little children to Him. We must become like children in His eyes.
  • Mark 10:17-27 – A wealthy young man learns a hard lesson about material possessions. A lesson we need to take a serious look at.
  • Mark 10:28-31 – Jesus tells about the cost of truly walking with Him.
  • Mark 10:32-34 – Jesus foretells of His death a third time.
  • Mark 10:35-45 – James and John make a mistaken request.
  • Mark 10:46-52 – Bartimaeus receives his sight.

When the disciples understand the wealthy young man’s plight, Peter exclaims, “See, we have left everything and followed you” (Mar 10:28). As we journey today, take time to reflect on your blessings and what you are willing to give up to walk with Jesus. Are we doing the same at Peter? Do I want to walk with Jesus? If I do, what is the cost?

Honestly, to walk with Jesus does have a cost. Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,” (Mark 10:29). The cost is our earthly ties. To give up our house is to let go of our possessions; what the wealthy young man could not easily do. If my life is build around gaining the world, and laying up treasures on earth (cf. Matt 6:19-21), then following Jesus will be difficult. If I life by the slogan “You Only Live Once,” and use that to do what I want to do and gain what pleases me getting what I can, saving for my long, relaxing, vacationing retirement, then I may have difficulty daily walking with Jesus. Society says to vote for the person and the policy that fattens your wallet and takes care of your wants at little cost to you. Society says to look out for yourself and your life on earth.

Jesus says, No.”  Give all that up and turn your back on your family too. This has to be difficult. My junior high Sunday School teacher converted to Christianity and his family disowned him and considered him “dead” for all practical purposes.

When we commit to this journey with Jesus, people (friends and family) will not understand and some will make your decision difficult. This is part of the persecution Jesus mentions in Mark 10:31. When I told my high school friends, just before graduation that I was going to school to become a minister, I knew some of them would not understand, but there was one I expected to support me. He was a member of a conservative Christian church, a part of the American Restoration Movement. We had very similar religious backgrounds and differed only in some of the specifics of worship.  I thought, he would support me. But it was this friend whose statement stung the hardest. “Why? You are too smart to be a preacher, you could make a lot more money as an medical doctor!”

Yes, the cost of walking with Jesus is high. But high cost equals high rewards. ” . . . receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Mark 10:30-31). Give up your belongings and life to God and know that God will take care of you (cf. Matt 6:25-34). God’s people will not go without necessities and added to that is our eternal inheritance that never fades away or decays! Part of that reality is our new family – those fellow Christians with whom we are so closely connected. I have more “mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers” than I can count. Family I know I can always count on. This family in Christ is a great blessing, one that will follow into eternity.

I high cost? Yes. But an even greater eternal dividend!

- Scott

04
Apr
14

Journey Through Mark – 9

This is our ninth walk as we journey through Mark’s account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. We are across the half-way point, do not turn back now! We are learning so much from this man, Jesus. He is turning heads and hearts everywhere He goes. During our last walk with Him, He asked His followers a challenging question, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter breaks the silence and confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God! If you believe, with Peter, that such is the case, I am joyful for you.  I hope and pray you commit your life to Jesus as the Christ.

Now let’s catch up to Jesus and the apostles as the walk the dusty roads of the Middle East.

  • Mark 9:1 – Jesus tells of the coming Kingdom
  • Mark 9:2-13 – Jesus’ transfiguration
  • Mark 9:14-29 – Evil spirits, healings, and prayer
  • Mark 9:30-32 – Jesus talks about His death and resurrection
  • Mark 9:33-37 – Who is the greatest in the Kingdom?
  • Mark 9:38-40 – People are either against Jesus or for Him
  • Mark 9:41-50 – Facing temptations, they will come

Walk back and take a look at Mark 9:1. Listen intently to what Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

Some standing around on that day; some standing there with Jesus would see His Kingdom. I am sure that Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddeus, Simon, and Judas were thinking of a physical kingdom with standing armies and a vast treasury. The were considering all the possibilities of being at Jesus side when He ruled over God’s people and even Rome from Jerusalem. They had visions of Jerusalem’s return to world prominence. I am not convinced they had yet fully grasped Jesus’ Kingdom. I know they had not, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).

Some people in Judaism and in Christendom today still wait for a Messianic Kingdom. Some today still look for a future when Christ will return to reign on the earth. But Jesus said some that stood with Him on that day would see the kingdom come with power. Either Jesus was wrong and the Kingdom did not come, or those who wait today are wrong and the Kingdom did come and does exist – today.20110816-122724.jpg

Jesus was not wrong! The Kingdom did come and it came with power. “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Act 2:1-4). All of the apostles, except Judas, were resent that day. It was Peter who would stand and declare the arrival of Jesus’ Kingdom (Acts 2:14-36). A few years later, the former persecutor turned preacher, Paul would write, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13-14).
His Kingdom is His Church on earth. You are welcome to enter His Kingdom. Those whom He adds to His people are part of His Kingdom. Will you allow Him to add you? “And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47) “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Act 2:36-38). So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). Be added to His Kingdom – today!

02
Apr
14

Journey Through Mark – 8

Welcome to the journey. Today’s trek promises to be busy, educational, and challenging.  This Jesus, that we are walking with and following around the towns and villages is gathering quite the crowds. There are about 4,000 additional followers in today’s story. The more that follow Him, the more opposition He faces from religious authorities.   Take a look around as we walk through Mark 8.

  • Mark 8:1-12, Jesus feeds a crowd of 4,000.
  • Mark 8:11-13, The Pharisees demand to see miraculous proof of who Jesus is.
  • Mark 8:14-21, Jesus warns the 12 about the leavening influence of the Pharisees and Herod.
  • Mark 8:22-26, A blind man at Bethsaida receives his sight in a two-step healing.
  • Mark 8:27-30, Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ – the Messiah God promised by the prophets.
  • Mark 8:31-33, Peter falls from a great confession to a mistaken pride and misunderstanding of what the role Christ is.
  • Mark 8:34-38, Jesus explains what following Him means.

Following Jesus, this is our journey – the one I am taking you on.  I am asking you to follow Him alongside of me.  Together, you and I, being followers of this Jesus; the one Peter confessed to be Christ. If you plan to follow Him as His disciple, and not as one of the multitude on the edge or as a Pharisee looking to trap Him, there are some warnings from Jesus that you need to know. Look back to Mark 8:34-38:

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

  1. You must deny you.  This is tougher than it sounds.  This means I tell myself, “NO” when my wants, desires, plans, and life are in conflict with the will and word of God.photo
  2. You must CRUCIFY you.  Taking up a cross is not simply carrying a burden, It is heading to your death.  You die to you so you can life for Christ (cf. Gal 2:20; Rom 6:3-6).
  3. Know that there is NOthing in this world that is worth giving up the salvation of your soul (cf. 1 Joh 2:15-17).
  4. Do not be ashamed of Jesus. Be willing to live in a way that seems crazy to those in the world. Do not let fear keep you from speaking Christ’s name, from praying, from shouting “Hallelujah!”, nor from giving God glory for life and salvation.

Let me offer some practical advice on how to do this.  This is what I try to put into practice.  I wish I can say that I am 100% consistent. I am not, but I am getting stronger and more consistent as I go.

  • Start each day with a verbal commitment in prayer saying, “Today is your day, God. Today, I am living for You and doing Your will.”
  • Look at each day’s events and decisions knowing you died to self and are living as a servant of God. Ask yourself, “Am I doing this for my glory and satisfaction or for God?” (cf. Col 3:4, 17).
  • Do only what will strengthen your relationship with God.  Avoid those things which can lead you into the world away from God.
  • Give God credit for the blessings in your life as you talk with co-workers and neighbors. Do not be afraid to sincerely and audibly say, “Thank God for . . .”

Will you continue the journey as a distant follower or as a disciple?

- Scott

Side note: Why do you think Jesus took two steps to heal the blind man in Bethsaida?

27
Mar
14

Journey Through Mark – 6

We pick up our walking-stick again today as we continue our Journey through Mark. This man Jesus, that Mark writes about is doing great things; crowds are following Him and He is becoming quite the successful Rabbi. As we join Him20111220-090908.jpg today, we walk home to Nazareth with Him. Will the town name streets after Him? Are there children named in honor of Him? Will his name be in paint on the market walls – Vote for Jesus!?

  • Mark 6:1-6, Jesus comes to His hometown to teach about God’s Kingdom
  • Mark 6:7-1, Jesus sends the twelve out to the villages in twos
  • Mark 6:14-29, Herod beheads Jesus’ cousin, John the Immerser
  • Mark 6:30-44, Jesus feeds a multitude of over 5,000
  • Mark 6:45-52, Jesus walks on water
  • Mark 6:53-56, Jesus heals many in Gennesaret

I know something about you. If you are able to access the internet and read this message, I know something. No, I do not have any tracking software on your computer that feeds me information. No, I cannot see you through your web-cam. I am not spying on you. But, I do know something about you. I know that somewhere in your life you FAILED. You have a failed relationship, you failed a test in high school or college, you may have failed an entire class. There was a job or task you simply could not or did not do. You FAILED!

Failure! Failure is common to all of us.  Failure hurts – DEEPLY!  Jesus knows and understands your failure.  He failed too!

No, that is not sacrilegious. Jesus failed in Nazareth.  Read Mark 6:1-6. There are few critics as severe as hometown critics.  “I know Him.” “Who does He think He is?” “Does He think He is better than us?” “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” “He can’t be important, He is one of us.” “He made me a table when He worked with His father, Joseph. The legs didn’t match, I ended up using it as firewood.”

So Jesus could do very few miracles in Nazareth. The attitude and atmosphere of the village was not right. Jesus failed and he faced failure with disappointment. “And he marveled because of their unbelief.” Mark 6:6a. I see Jesus shaking his head and maybe even doing a face-palm. Yet, He stuck to His mission, “And he went about among the villages teaching.” Mark 6:6b.

There are three lessons I learn from Jesus and His failure at Nazareth:

  1. Failure will come to all of us.
  2. Failure does not have to paralyze me, I must keep working.
  3. “Shake off the dust that is on your feet . . .” and move on.

- Scott

24
Mar
14

Journey Through Mark – 4

As we continue our quest we begin to hear this man Jesus teach in a way that the common man can understand basic principles. Jesus begins using parable. Jesus admits that the parables will disguise truth to some and reveal it to others (Mark 4:10-13). The word parable is a compound word in Greek from “para” meaning side by side and “bole” meaning throwing or to throw. The idea communicated by the word parable is to lay things side by side for comparison. Jesus will tell a story using common events and His disciple can learn a spiritual or kingdom truth from that story.  In Mark 4 we have the following events and Jesus lays out the certain parables:

  • Mark 4:1-20111108-084732.jpg9 – The Parable of the Soils
  • Mark 4:10-13 – The reason Jesus uses Parables
  • Mark 4:14-20 – The Parable of the Soils Explained
  • Mark 4:21-25 – Jesus Teaches about Illuminating Light
  • Mark 4:26-29 – The Parable of the Grain
  • Mark 4:30-34 – The Parable of the Mustard Seed
  • Mark 4:35-41 – Jesus Calms a Storm

Today, let’s journey beside the sower as he spreads the seed. As we spend time with him we will stay to watch the seed and the soil it lands on.

  • The Sower is God, any of His agents such as Christ, the apostles, or even Christians today.
  • The Seed as Jesus defines it is the Word of God.  This is the message God wants spread in the world. The message of the Gospel and of the Kingdom. It is a message of the great news concerning salvation (cf. John 1:1; John 12:48).

Now we come to the soils:

  1. The soil of the Path is hard and impenetrable. The Word of God falls on hard hearts and cannot get in deep to germinate and grow. Hard-heated people have their minds made up or are scarred by life and are unwilling to yield to God. Hard earth needs breaking and the dirt turned over to reveal the soft heart still below the surface.
  2. The soil that is rocky can still receive the seed. The Word of God reaches the soft part of the heart, but the soil is not deep. The sun beats down then  dries the plant that has no nourishing water.  The roots cannot go down to drink deeply or to hold fast. When the first torrential rain that comes along will wash the seed or the young plant away.  We must remove the rocks from the soil as we prepare the soil for sowing, helping people with rocky hearts to get rid of the traditions or philosophies that keep them from leaning fully on God.
  3. The soil full of thorns is also soft soil. They hear, obey, and begin to follow the Word of God. But the weeds of the world distract them and choke out what God is growing in their hearts. We must help weed-out those distractions, whatever they might be. We must, as Jesus says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Mat 6:33-34)
  4. The soil that is good is soil ready for seed and that will have a great harvest. The heart hears, obeys, and follows. They keep growing and as they mature they spread seed for a great harvest.

Which soil are you? What are you doing to prepare your soil and the soil of those around you?

- Scott

What lessons do you see in the other parables in this chapter?

17
Mar
14

Journey through Mark – 1

I want to take you along on a journey. For the next few blogs, I ask you to journey with me through Mark’s account of the Gospel.  Every blog will contain a simple outline of the chapter along with a brief lesson we can learn.  Please come along on this journey. It may be that as we walk through the Mark’s account that we meet someone important.

Mark 1

  • Meet John the voice crying in the wilderness – Mar 1:1-8ipad 015
  • Jesus comes to John for immersion – Mar 1:9-11
  • Mark relates a time when Satan tempt Jesus – Mar 1:12-13
  • Jesus begins His earthly ministry – Mar 1:14-15
  • Jesus call specific followers – Mar 1:16-20
  • Jesus casts out a demon – Mar 1:21-28
  • Jesus heals many people with medical conditions – Mar 1:29-34
  • Jesus preaches in the towns of Galilee – Mar 1:40-44
  • Jesus’ popularity spreads among the people – Mar 1:45

In this short chapter there lies a wealth of information. But in all of the potential lessons there is one that stood out to me as I read through and meditated on the text. Look at Mark 1:14-15, “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” This is a powerful sentence.  This sentence is Mark’s thesis statement and he will spend the next fifteen chapters demonstrating this statement.

  1. Jesus came proclaiming the gospel of God. The word gospel is from a compound word meaning good news. First century Judah needed good news. They were oppressed by Rome. Conditions were difficult so many were poor. Religious traditions were supplanting truth and making following God a burden not a joy. Sin controlled their lives. They sure could use a little good news.
  2. Good news, the time is fulfilled! Time fulfilled? What time? For hundreds of years the people of Judah waited for the time of the Messiah. They were waiting for the days to be over that would usher in the time of the anointed of God who would bring God’s rule back to His people. They studied the words of Moses, the messages of the Prophets, and the Writings (Luk 24:44). Marks says, that Jesus claims the time is now, the Messiah is come. Mark will point us to that Messiah, John the Baptist already had.
  3. Good news, the Kingdom of God is at hand. The Kingdom of God is the rule of the Messiah. Since the time is fulfilled the Kingdom will soon follow. The Messiah is God’s King over His Kingdom. Jesus says to the people of the first century, that the Kingdom is just around the corner.
  4. Good news, you can enter the Kingdom when you repent and believe the good news. Repentance is a change of life. It is stopping the direction your life is headed and turning to follow God’s path. Belief is more that mental acceptance only thinking something is true. Belief is placing full trust in by obeying what you believe. The gospel is the good news of the Messianic Kingdom – salvation in Christ and being added to His Body the Church.

As one of my undergraduate professors would say, “Boys, that will preach!”

What are some lessons you see in Mark 1?

- Scott

27
Feb
14

Is The Bible from God? Pt IV

If you have not had the opportunity to read the first three articles in this series, here they are:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Today we will look at the united theme of the Bible.  The fact that 40 penmen spanning 1,600 years writing in three different languages,ipad 016 and from multiple locations wrote the same theme, hints at the Bible being from the mind of God and not man.

The one theme is The Redemption of Mankind (Reconciliation of God’s Fallen Creation to Himself).

In Genesis we read about God’s creation. Soon the man and woman God placed in the garden sin against Him. God can no longer associate with them because of their fallen state. However, God has a plan to bring man back into relationship with Him. A plan to redeem man and reconcile man to the Creator. He makes a promise of vengeance through seed of woman(cf. Gen 3:15). Through Noah that seed line perseveres. In Abram (Abraham) God chooses a family chosen to be the nation to bring the Messiah (the Seed of Woman, anointed of God) who will make reconciliation possible.

As we read Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy we learn that this family grows into a great people. They are living as slaves in Egypt, when God calls them out to fulfill the nation promise to Abraham. In these books we learn how this people begin to understand more and more about God. Through Moses, God gives them a theocentric law to govern and protect them. Through this great people God will bring the Messiah, the Christ.

After the death of Moses, Joshua takes charge of the people. Through Joshua’s leadership this people with a law change from a large nomadic collective of tribes into a nation, the nation of Israel. The now live in the land promised to their ancestors.

In the recordings of Judges, I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, I & II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obidiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi we learn the history of this nation. We read about the leaders, kings, strength, weakness, victories, and failures.  We learn about their struggle to remain faithful to God. We learn about God’s love, patience, mercy, grace, as well as His anger and vengeance. We learn how God continues to preserve this family nation to bring about the Messiah.  The prophets continue to prepare the nation and the world for His arrival and the Word of the Lord that will come from Mount Zion for all nations.

In Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon, we get a glimpse of the heart and soul of this people through their poetry, songs, prose, and wisdom. We see more about God and His desire to bring fallen man back into relationship with the Divine.

The New Covenant begins with the arrival of the Messiah. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all record events from the life of the Messiah, the Christ. He comes with the mission of God to proclaim the good news of the kingdom and remission of sin.  He came to seek and save the lost. He teaches spiritual truths and a spiritual kingdom and ultimately the Messiah, the spotless Lamb of God, shed His own innocent blood to pay the price for the sin of Jew and Gentile alike. Redemption is in effect! Reconciliation begins!

In the book of Acts, we read of the birth of the God’s new people. God’s people are no longer a nation with physical boundaries, but are a universal people united in the and by the blood of the Christ. God’s new people are Jews and Gentiles, slave and free, male and female, they are those whose sin the blood of Christ removed (Acts 2:36-47). We read of how this new Kingdom of God rapidly spreads across the known world.

In Romans, I & II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, I & II Peter, I, II, & II John, Jude, and Revelation we learn how these early followers of Christ (Christians) were taught to live in the kingdom (household of God – the Church. We see their growth pains, we see the synergy of Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians as they learn to abandon old prejudices. We learn along with them, how to overcome the world and be ready for Christ’s return when He ushers in complete reconciliation (eternity in God’s presence).

Many books – One Theme! Many penmen – One Author of All! One God!

20
Feb
14

The Bible Is It From God? Pt III

ipad 105We continue our theme concerning the Bible and whether or not it is from God. If you missed the first two articles you can go back and read Part I and Part II.

Last week ended with the claim the the Bible, although penned by approximately 40 writers over a span of nearly 1600 years has only one theme. That theme is: The Redemption of Mankind (Reconciliation of God’s Fallen Creation to Himself). Today’s blog is a quick overview of the books of the Bible and how they fit that theme.

Genesis: In this book if beginnings we read about the Creation of the universe followed by the Fall of man. God then promises vengeance on the serpent (Satan) through seed of woman. As we continue reading we find God choosing a family to be the nation to bring blessings on the entire earth (this promise to Abraham and his descendants is about the Messiah).

Exodus – Deuteronomy: In these books of the Law of Moses we see this family grow to a vast people in number. So much so that the Egyptians look for ways to destroy them. But God in power and providence delivers His people and promises a land they can call their own. He gives them a theocratic law to govern and protect them so that through them He can bless the earth with the Messiah as He promised their fathers’ Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel).

Joshua: God’s chosen family, His people receive a land promised to their ancestors. Now with law and land, the people are a nation. Through this nation God will bring about the Messiah through Whom He will offer a blessing to the inhabitants of the earth.

Judges – Malachi: Are books of the history of the people who God chose to bring the Messiah into the world and their poetry and collected wisdom (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon). In these historical accounts, the people waver between faithfulness and faithlessness. Through all of their inconsistencies, God remains faithful and gracious works His redemptive plan to bring the Messiah into the world, through Whom all mankind can find salvation (access to God).

Matthew – John: These are four accounts of events in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. These writers demonstrate that this Jesus is the Messiah. He is a blood descendant (through His mother) and legal descendant (through His earthly father) of David. His birth right and the miraculous nature of being born of  a virgin, fulfill prophecies. He is the Messiah. God, anoints Him as Messiah when the Spirit lights on Him in the form of a dove. God’s voice speaks, “This is my beloved Son.” Jesus as the anointed Son of God teaches spiritual truths and announces the spiritual kingdom. Eventually the Messiah gives His life (sheds His blood as the Lamb of God) for the salvation of Jew and Gentile alike. He rises from the grave in victory over death and this Seed of woman deals a crushing blow to Satan. The death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah (Christ) become the cornerstone of the Good News of the Kingdom, that the Messiah proclaimed.

Acts – Revelation: The Kingdom comes into existence as the followers of the Christ respond to the Good News of salvation through His sacrifice (cf. Acts 2:1-47). As more and more people both Jews and Gentiles leave Judaism and idolatry and turn to serve the true and living God the apostles write letters to these Christians (followers of Christ) helping them learn how to live in the Kingdom (household of God – the Church). We learn from Paul that through Christ (the Messiah) we are all, whether Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, heirs of the seed promise to Abraham (cf. Galatians 3:26-4:3). They write to teach them how to overcome the world and be ready for His return to complete reconciliation (eternity in God’s presence).

One Theme: God’s mission – THE REDEMPTION OF MANKIND TO GOD!




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Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, used by permission, all rights reserved.

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