Biblical truth standing on its spiritual head to get our eternal attention.
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    Our Lord came down from life to suffer death; the Bread came down, to hunger; the Way came down, on the way to weariness; the Fount came down, to thirst. —Augustine, Sermon 78
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    "It is refreshing to see the truth unfold from God's word about this most important subject."
  • Acts 2:40-47 – When Does God Add Us To His People?

    Posted By on April 20, 2019

    Is baptism necessary for salvation? Another way of asking this is, “When does God save us and add us to His people?” Notice the beginning and end of Acts 2:40-47:
    A – vv.40-41 – (40) And with many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, “Be saved from this corrupt generation!” (41) So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them.
    A’ – v.47c – And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.

    The chiasm begins and ends with the inclusio showing God “saves” people (vv.4-41,47). Notice these couplets tie in nicely with vv.37-38. Please notice the important repetition of not only “saved” but “added”:
    • V.40-41 – Those who accepted the message were baptized; after they were baptized; they were “added” to the them (i.e. the “saved”).
    • V.47 – Every day the Lord added to them (the “saved”).
    • Do you see the progression: 1) Message preached; 2) Messaged accepted; 3) Baptism; 4) The Lord adds to those who were saved. 
    • Who did the Lord add? Those who listened, accepted, and were baptized. 
    • When did the Lord add? After those who listened, accepted, and were baptized.
    Is baptism necessary for salvation? It is when you see baptism is when God adds us to His people!

    3 Ways God is Like Numbers

    Posted By on April 11, 2019

    The concept of the God of the Bible is so unfathomable that we struggle to comprehend. “Saint John of Damascus” said, “God is infinite and incomprehensible, and all that is comprehensible about Him is His infinity and incomprehensibility.” In simple terms what you understand is you don’t understand! Since all our knowledge is experience-based, is there anything we know and accept that can help our comprehension? I ask this in hope of helping skeptics who doubt His reality. Although limited (as everything is compared to God), there is something deniers and questioners accept as true that is surprisingly familiar to God – numbers (and math).
    1. Numbers have no beginning or end. There is no last number or first, considering math includes negative and positive numbers going backwards and forwards. Like numbers, God has no beginning or end, the Alpha and the Omega, and therefore is eternal. God identified Himself to Moses as “I AM WHO I AM;” thus identifying Himself as the Eternal One (Exodus 3:14)
    2. Numbers have no inventor, they just exist. It is said the Mayans invented zero in mathematics and that may be so, but that is “nothing”. Math is not invented, but rather discovered. Like numbers and math, God is not an invention of mankind. God is self-existent. 1Tim 6:15-16: “God will bring this about in his own time. He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see, to him be honor and eternal power. Amen.” (CSB)
    3. Numbers (and math) are absolute. There are right and wrong answers to even the simplest equations: 1+1=2 in a base 10 system. Truth can and does exist outside of the mind of man. God is absolute truth. Jesus, God incarnate, is described as “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
    Pilate asked, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). The correct question is, “Who is truth?”. If we can accept the reality of numbers and math, then we can accept the reality of an eternal, self-existent, and absolute God. And that’s the truth!

    Genesis 18:17-33 – 7 Marks of Godly Leadership

    Posted By on April 10, 2019

    Genesis 7 Marks of Godly Leadership
    God and Abraham were friends (Isaiah 41:8). Their relationship was based on Abraham having faith, that is, trusting God (Genesis 15:6). What can we learn from their relationship about spiritual leadership in the home and church?
    Genesis 18:17-33
    1. Transparency – 17) “Then the LORD said, “Should I hide what I am about to do from Abraham? 
    [ ] There are times when closed doors and confidentially are essential, but the overall working relationship relies on openness. 
    2. Affirmation – 18) Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. 
    [ ] Good and godly leaders are not threatened by the abilities and accomplishments of others. It is the job of leaders to help others succeed. 
    3. Accountability – 19a) For I have chosen him 
    [ ] Leaders must stand by their choices and take responsibility for their decisions. Even when delegating the leader is responsible. 
    4. Direction – 19b) so that he will command his children and his house after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just. 
    [ ] Without direction how will those being led know the endgame? Leaders are responsible for the vision.
    5. Follow Through – 19c) This is how the LORD will fulfill to Abraham what he promised him.””
    [ ] Anyone can begin something. Beginning is easy, finishing takes strength, diligence, patience, etc.. As my mother said, “Maturity is finishing what you start”. So is leadership. 
    6. Communication – 23) “Abraham stepped forward and said, “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 31) “Then he said, “Since I have ventured to speak to my lord, suppose twenty are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it on account of twenty.””
    [ ] This whole passage is about God communicating with Abraham; but strong leaders allow communication to be free-flowing on both sides.
    7. Compromise – vv.24-33 Gen 18:32: “Then he said, “Let my lord not be angry, and I will speak one more time. Suppose ten are found there?” He answered, “I will not destroy it on account of ten.””
    [ ] Leadership does not mean “my way or the highway “. If God can compromise, how can one be a godly leader if he doesn’t?

    One Cup vs One Container

    Posted By on April 5, 2019

    A friend of mine and brother in Christ believes the “cup” mentioned in the Lord’s supper is the container. First I will present his brief argument, and then present my longer rebuttal:

    “I hear people say that the text never tells us how many cups they used at the institution of the Lord’s Supper… “Then He took a cup… gave it to them and they all drank from it” (Mark 14.23).
    “I hear people say there is no direct command to use only one cup in the Lord’s Supper… “Then He took a cup… saying ‘Drink from it all of you” (Matthew 26.28).
    “These statements are very clear and very clearly are not metonymical, figurative references to the fruit of the vine. If there is a reason why this information and these instructions are not binding on Christians today, explain it – but simply denying the Bible says what it says does nothing helpful for a better understanding of God’s Word.”

    Let’s examine Matthew 26:26-29. The strength of his argument (to me) is the preposition from/of/ex in “drink from the cup”. The weakness of his argument (to me) is I can drink “from” the container or “of” the contents; so how is the “cup” defined? 
    1) “the blood of the covenant” fits the imagery of drinking “of” the contents better than a container. 
    2) “poured out” fits the imagery of pouring liquids and therefore fits drinking “of” the contents 
    3) “for the forgiveness of sins” fits the theological import of blood. (All from v.28). Then Jesus completes His thoughts by saying He would drink (same word for the command in v.27) in v.29 the from/of/ek this (referring back to the drinking of vv.27-28) fruit of the vine therefore equating the fruit of the vine with the cup.
    If we look at the structure chiastically we learn more:
    A – 26) While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, 
    B – and after a blessing, 
    A’ He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 

    Notice how the chiastic structure shows the bread is the body and not that they were literally eating Jesus flesh.

    Now let’s see if the chiastic structure helps define what the cup is.

    A – 27) And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink (pino) from (ek) it, all of you;
    B – 28) for this (i.e. “cup”) is My blood of the covenant, 
    B’ – which is poured out (i.e. “cup” which is blood) for many for forgiveness of sins (i.e. “cup” which is blood). 
    A’ 29) “But I say to you, I will not drink (pino) of (ek) this fruit of the vine (i.e. “cup” which is blood) from now on until that day when I drink (pino) it (i.e. cup) new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

    Notice how the flow of nouns and pronouns shows what we drink is not literal blood, but is the fruit of the vine.
    Also, the chiastic structure shows that the cup of v.27 is the fruit of the vine of v.29.
    As we allow the context to define the blood that we drink to be the fruit of the vine, so should we take cup as referring to the fruit of the vine and not the literal container.
    Further we see how “cup” is used as an metonym when the same language is used in 1 Corinthians 10:21: 
    “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons.”
    “Cup” and “table” are both synonymous and metonyms. Just as there is not a literal table that must be used, there is not a literal cup. The literal table up front is not “the table of the Lord” any more than “the cup of the Lord” is a literal cup. Both refer to the emblems. 
    I love my brothers and sisters who use one container and hope for them the same grace I need.

    What Story Is This?

    Posted By on April 5, 2019

    What story is this?

    • It is a beginning and an end.
    • Emphasis on 3rd day.
    • Appearance of God on 3rd day.
    • Appearance on the morning of the 3rd day.
    • The scene is closely guarded.
    • No touching allowed.
    • The Lord descended.
    • Earth quake
    • Lightening
    • God speaks

    If you said God’s appearance on Mt. Sinai, you would be correct (Exodus 19). Most likely you were thinking of another scene, but maybe not quite sure. Yes, this is the story of Jesus’ resurrection too (Matthew 27-28; John 20). The tomb scene is the new Sinai; and both are temple narratives.

    • Both are beginnings – Mt. Sinai is the beginning of the Law and fulfilment of 2 Abrahamic promises; and the resurrection (and ascension) is part of the beginning of the reign of Christ and the completion of the 3rd – seed promise.
    • Emphasis on 3rd day – The third day is a day of promise in both scenes.
    • Appearance of God on 3rd day – At Mt. Sinai we have a theophany; and at the tomb there is the physical resurrection of Jesus, and therefore His second incarnation in the same body.
    • Both God and the Son of God appear in the morning.
    • The scene is closely guarded – God ordered boundaries around the mountain; and Pilate allowed the Jews to post guards.
    • The command was if anyone touched the mountain they would die; Jesus tells Mary to stop touching Him.
    • The Lord descended – This is what the text says in Exodus 19, but Jesus also descended back into His body.
    • Earth quake – This happened at both scenes.
    • Lightening – While actual lightening is recorded at Mt. Sinai, the appearance of the angel was like lightening.
    • God speaks – God speaks to Moses and Jesus speaks to Mary.

    The similarities are striking and purposeful. Overall both are temple motifs in various forms. The tomb is not just a grave to fulfill messianic prophecy (Isaiah 53). The tomb becomes another apologetic for the acknowledgement Jesus in the NT is Yahweh in the OT. The tomb is the new Mt. Sinai.

    Exodus 4 – Practical Advice About Snakes

    Posted By on April 4, 2019

    When my children were small, I would pick up snakes for them to touch. The whole purpose was to teach them to fight against the natural inclination of fear of snakes (something that apparently didn’t exist in Eden!). Fear can cause us to do the irrational, or even the rational yet dangerous. God told Moses to throw his staff on the ground and it became a snake. Moses, a grown man, ran from it! Remember, this is the same man who killed an Egyptian for mistreating Israelites. So, this must have been some snake! God then tells Moses to pick it up by the tail. That is how you are supposed to pick up snakes because they are not strong enough to turn and bite you. I made the mistake of picking them up for my children right behind the head. Only got bitten once but it was a hog snake. It’s essential to know how to recognize a poisonous snake. Oh, if you think the practical advice is to either run away from snakes or know how to pick them up, you are incorrect. The practical advice is obeying God, even when and especially when, obeying means overcoming our fear.

    Exodus 3:4 – “Here I Am”

    Posted By on April 2, 2019

    “Here I am”. This phrase of availability, opportunity, and vulnerability, when said to God, is not very common; but when it is watch out!

    “Here I am” said Abraham twice. The first time leading to the “binding of Isaac” and certain death. The second time probably said in hope combined with fear as God’s angel releases Abraham from God’s onerous sacrifice (Genesis 22:1,11).

    “Here I am” said Jacob to God’s angel leading to a dangerous mission to return home to the Promised Land. Dangerous because of Laban his father-in-law (Genesis 31:11).

    “Here I am” said again Jacob to God. This time he and all his family were to leave the Promised Land to travel to Egypt. No wonder God said, “Do not be afraid” (Genesis 46:2-3).

    “Here I am” said Moses to the voice coming out of the burning bush. This will lead to a calling that Moses tried to turn down, possibly the second most difficult leadership position outside of Jesus’ incarnated role.

    “Here I am” said Samuel, unknowingly to God thinking he was being called by Eli. The third time he replies to God whose reply back was, “I am about to do something in Israel that everyone who hears about it will shudder” (1 Samuel 3:1-11).

    “Here I am” (or “Here am I”) said Isaiah in answering God’s question, “Who should I send? Who will go for Us?” (Isaiah 6:8).

    “Here I am” said Ananias in preparation for God’s assignment concerning the religious terrorist Saul/Paul (Acts 9:10).

    Ananias was frightened as was Jacob, according to the texts. Isaiah’s vision was glorious yet terrifying. Samuel’s message to Eli was terrible. Moses would saying, “Who am I that I should go?” Abraham had the most intimidating order of all. Jesus calls us today. Many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). The reason is, saying “Here I am” while the right answer, is a difficult calling. When saying “Here I am” we are saying, “Here, I AM.”

    Asking and Being Asked

    Posted By on March 29, 2019

    Have you ever asked someone for their advice, and they put you down? That’s one reason we are hesitant. May we all become more like God. Notice his response: “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing…” (James 1:5). And may we always be humble enough to continue to seek wisdom from others despite the ones who make us feel small.

    Two Beginnings of Moses

    Posted By on March 29, 2019

    In reading Exodus 2 I noticed that while the Hebrew words are different mashah (Ex.2:10); dalah (Ex.2:16,19), the meanings are the same. Therefore, Moses begins his life as an Egyptian when his adopted mother, the Pharaoh’s daughter, “drew him out of the water” (2:10). And Moses begins his life as an exile from Egypt when he “drew water” (2:19) for Reuel’s daughters; one of which became his wife.

    5 Types of Sermons

    Posted By on March 29, 2019

    Over the years I’ve noticed people (including myself) overwhelmingly prefer (whether writing, reading, speaking, hearing) one type of lesson:1. How the story(ies) of the Bible fit and is told, which focuses on structure, connections, etc. The enticement is seeing the mind and hand of God from beginning to end. The danger is an overemphasis of the intellectual. 2. How “they” are wrong, which focuses on “others”. The enticement is both false security and needed validation. This outward look is periodically necessary and biblical; but too often focuses only on “basics” (which are often based on that church’s doctrinal culture). The danger is too much outward focus resulting in pride and complacency. 3. How “we” are wrong but “I” am not part of the “we”. The allure is understandable in that someone is a maverick within, and often change is necessary. The danger is this person enjoys the comforted being afflicted as along as they get to do the afflicting.4. How “I” am wrong. Looking inward is spiritually therapeutic. The danger is humility becomes confused with self-flagellation, resulting in doubt in God’s grace for them.5. “How to” stuff. Lists help make application of the texts, which is Biblical and needed (i.e. just like this article). The danger is the Bible becomes little more than a “How To Get Through Life To Heaven For Dummies” book.No doubt there are other categories, but probably an honest assessment leads to seeing ourselves in the above types of material. All have a place more or less. The greatest spiritual material has a higher goal. The greatest example is the Sermon on the Mount which has the following two themes, one stated negatively and the other positively: Matthew 5:20: “For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.” (CSB)Matthew 5:48: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (CSB)Both of these, and 4 out of the above 5, are found in Jesus (He was sinless and therefore never wrong although He did look inwardly). May our Leader always be the one type of lesson that is always number one.