Saturday, September 16, 2017


    “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Isaiah 40:5 (NKJV)
    Campbell wrote: "We have, in writing, all the Hebrew and Greek that is necessary to perpetuate to the end of time, all the ideas which the Spirit of God has communicated to the world; and these languages, being dead, have long since ceased to change.  The meaning of the words used by the sacred penman, is fixed and immutable; which it could not have been, had these languages continued to have been spoken..."  The Sacred Writings, A. Campbell, 1826     [Modern Hebrew and modern Greek are different languages.]
    “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.”  Luke 1:1-4 (NKJV)
    “Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” Luke 24:44-45 (NKJV)
    Paul reminded Timothy of the role his godly mother and grandmother had played in his understanding of the Scriptures.   
    “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  2 Tim 3:14-15
    "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
    This shows that God does intend to communicate with us and that the Old Testament part of the Bible is also important (Timothy was taught from the OT).  "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we though the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope."  Romans 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11.  
    Merton  “The basic claim made by the Bible for the word of God is not so much that it is to be blindly accepted because of God's authority, but that it is recognized by its transforming and liberating power. The "word of God" is recognized in actual experience because it does something to anyone who actually "hears" it: it transforms his entire existence.” 
    "Despite the challenges we have seen, the power of the Bible does not depend on our ability to explain every problem.  Scripture has lasted for thousands of years without our defending it, and it is not in danger today.  'God's Holy Fire' has transformed lives throughout the centuries and continues to do so.  Our task is to accept the view of inspiration that the Bible actually claims for itself."  from God's Holy Fire, ACU Press.
    Usefulness.  The Bible was written to be understood in much the same way a newspaper is understood.  Some things are more difficult (2 Peter 3:15-16).  But we read words in their context and in the usual way of expressing things with words.
    The Bible is a library of Books, each one written to specific situations and time-periods in the history of the People of God.  Yet we see the thread of Christ-is-Coming; Christ-is-here (The Gospels); and Christ-is-Coming-Again.  Three great streams of prophecy are seen in the Old Testament part of the Bible: The Suffering Servant of God; The Coming King; The Descendant of King David.
    Peter writes in the context of assuring Christians of the hope we have, and of the dangers which face the church.  "We also  have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts..."  2 Peter 2:19. 
    The false teachers may not be whom we think.  Peter warns that some will "deny the Lord who bought them."  The devil first attacks the Holy Spirit; and then denies the Lord Jesus actually came in the flesh (see 1 John 4:1-3).  Some said Jesus only seemed to be human, and that He did not actually rise from death (1 Cor. 15:12-20).  A "rising from the dead" certainly proves the human side of Jesus who experienced life from our point of view (Phil. 2:5-9).  But He did not cease to be God even though He "lowered Himself" in order to die for us (Hebrews 2:5-9).  Christ Jesus in the flesh "tasted death for every man."  John emphasizes that Jesus came with the water [of His baptism] and the blood [of His death].  See 1 John 5:6.
    We allow the Light of Christ to shine on us and through us!

    “For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”  2 Cor 4:6-7 (NLT)

Saturday, September 9, 2017


      “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth."  Rev 16:1 (NKJV)
      God has not closed the doors of the Church of Christ.  The glory of Pentecost will continue until Jesus Comes Again.  But God allows times of testing [tribulation] which involve everyone on the earth.  We sort ourselves out by how we react to these severe times. We love God with all our heart and mind and soul and strength.  And we love our neighbor as our self.
      “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'  And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'”  Matt 25:37-40 (NKJV)
     “And He said to them, "To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables,  so that 'Seeing they may see and not perceive, And hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn, And their sins be forgiven them.' "  Mark 4:11-12 (NKJV)
      It was an intentional judgment on the hearers. Jesus' teaching in parables, and the resultant unbelief of outsiders, fulfilled what the Scriptures had predicted.  Jesus' teaching about the Kingdom of God (a theme that would have made Roman authorities very uneasy) made teaching in parables useful in defusing this issue.  If Jesus' hearers could not understand the parable, they might lack the grace of citizenship in Christ's Kingdom. However, even the insiders required Jesus' explanation.
      “Jesus taught and used things of our world to teach spiritual truth.  Different images used for different audiences: for farmers, heaven on earth is painted as a farm deliberately infested with weeds [tares] by an enemy, only to get sorted right at the end. For fishermen, an image of a net full of fish, good and bad, only to be sorted back on shore. For the cooks, an image of tiny bits of yeast lifting the whole loaf into life. For everyone, two similar stories of people selling up everything to scrape the cash together to buy a buried treasure chest / a unique pearl.  Mark joins in with some of these plus new ones: a seed grows – though we don’t know how; the smallest seed becomes the biggest bush – mustard. All images of heaven on earth. This is how Jesus connected with the public.”  Lacey   
      “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.”  Matt 7:24-25 (NLT)
      "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.”
Matt 22:2-3 (NKJV)
      Jesus tells a parable about a king who threw a wedding banquet for His Son. All the people you might expect to be there turned Him down. So He sent out servants to bring in whoever would come. So the servants went out and invited everyone and filled the banquet hall with anyone who would come. Jesus tells this story just after He has entered Jerusalem. If you were to make a list of those one would expect to figure out who the Messiah was, when He would come and what He would do it was the religious leaders of the day. But they rejected Jesus’ invitation. So, gracefully, Jesus extends the invitation to those one would not expect to be at the messianic banquet – both good and bad. Why? Because He is throwing a party and He wants everyone who wants to be there to be there. They don’t deserve to be there. They were not the ones we would expect to be there but they came eagerly when they received the invitation.
      None of us deserves to be with God and yet He invites us anyway. Now that is grace at its finest! God is throwing a party and we are invited…not because we were good enough but because God was generous enough to offer the invitation to all.
      “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  Eph 2:8-10 (NKJV)
      Because we have been saved by our obeying the gospel, we alllow the “Fruit of the Spirit” [Gal 5:22-23] to guide us in our obedience to God’s grace.

   “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.”  Gal 5:22-24 (NLT)