There's no getting away from the fact that a great man has just died. There's no question that what he accomplished politically has been remarkable. In terms of world history Mandela will go down as one of the great Statesmen. Quite Gandhi like in his - latter - non-violent stance against apartheid. World leaders sought an audience with him as if something of his popularity would 'rub-off' on them.
Rewriting history, while standard fare for the MSM, is irresponsible and reprehensible. Far from a magnificent, 'hero'-worthy individual, Nelson Mandela was a leading member of the African National Congress (ANC) a terrorist organization. Dick Cheney voted against letting him out of prison, later commenting "he has mellowed." Perhaps imprisonment for terrorism could 'mellow' a person, however, it does not erase the horrors experienced by his victims.
- Okay, let’s start by seeing what the blogosphere had to say about the Mefferd-Driscoll debacle. Actually, let’s just see what the inimitable Carl Trueman says. He chimes in here and here.
- All exams will be open book.
- Denny Burk ponders how pastors ought to approach a brother who is in error.
- R.C. Sproul writes about escaping that Calvinistic ‘cage stage’.
- Brewton-Parker College has a new president . . . Ergun Caner. Yeah, I heard that collective sigh of grief.
- With that, I’ll turn you back to Trueman.
- New Age guru Marianne Williamson is going to run for Congress. *Insert punchline here.*
- Hey, it’s St. Nicholas day. Enjoy this story about Nicholas of Myra.
- So humans are the product of a chimpanzee mating with a pig, huh? How do these people earn Ph.Ds?
- This is your weekly dose of adorable.
- I suddenly feel like yodeling. Well, if I could yodel, that is.
- Some people get upset when atheists do things like this. I just shrug my shoulders. After all, why would I not expect an unregenerate pagan to hate God?
- Michael Kruger has been writing a series of posts responding to The History Channel’s new series ‘Bible Secrets Revealed.’ Read Kruger’s latest installment here.
- Also, listen to this sermon.
- Kevin DeYoung shares seven thoughts on pastors writing books.
- A true apostle was appointed by Jesus.
- B.B. Warfield answers the question, ‘Who is the Calvinist?’
- Absolutely tragic.
- Fred Butler has written a very thorough review of the documentary “Tares Among the Wheat.”
- Five strange things fast food does to your brain.
- Who wouldn’t want this for Christmas?
- I am totally buying my nephews a set of Mormon missionary action figures.
- Calvin’s critique of charismatic Calvinists:
This is the third installment of a new series reviewing the History Channel series entitled Bible Secrets Revealed (for others, see here and here). The newest episode is entitled, “The Forbidden Scriptures,” as is definitely one of the most provocative so far. It is designed to argue that certain books were “banned” or “forbidden” from the New Testament.
This episode makes numerous claims about the development of the New Testament that, once again, prove not to be the whole story. Many such claims were made, but I will only mention a few of the key ones here.
By Debbie Schlussel Only the good die young, as Billy Joel once sang. And so it goes with Nelson Mandela, Marxist leader, racist, Jew-hater, friend of HAMAS and Arafat, who died yesterday at age 95. (I was away at an annual all day film critics’ movie screening put on by the Hollywood studios–more on that […]
Nelson Mandela: Role model or Communist criminal?
You do not want a Winnie Mandela necklace….
Peter Hammond describes his meeting with Mandela, and encourages Christians to educate themselves about Mandela’s pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality, pro-marxist, pro-prostitution worldview.
I am sharing a site called “Another Slice,” with links and articles that are original documents from the site of radio host Janet Mefford that was recently scrubbed of all evidence of her interview with Mark Driscoll as well as documented instances where he appeared to have plagiarized (stolen) the work of other published authors without crediting their work. Below that is the transcript of the apology that Janet issued for her tone during the interview.
I am sharing this with permission from the site owner:
God is first identified as a “consuming fire” in Deuteronomy 4:24 and 9:3. The writer to the Hebrews reiterates, warning the Hebrews to worship God with reverence and awe “for our God is a consuming fire.” There is nothing mysterious about the Hebrew and Greek words translated “consuming fire.” They mean exactly that—a fire that utterly consumes or destroys. How, then, can a loving and merciful God also be a consuming fire that utterly destroys?
In both Deuteronomy passages in which God is called a consuming fire, Moses is speaking first to warn the Israelites against idolatry (Deuteronomy 4:23–25) because God is a “jealous God” and will not share His glory with worthless idols. Such behavior provokes Him to a righteous anger which is justified when His holiness is disrespected. In Deuteronomy 9:3, Moses again refers to God as a consuming (or devouring) fire who would go ahead of the Israelites into the Promised Land, destroying and subduing their enemies before them. Here again we see God’s wrath against those who oppose Him depicted as fire that utterly consumes and destroys anything in His path.
There are several incidents in which God’s wrath, judgment, holiness or power are displayed by fire from heaven. Aaron’s sons Abihu and Nahab were destroyed by fire when they offered a profane sacrifice, “strange fire,” in the tabernacle, a sign of their disregard for the utter holiness of God and the need to honor Him in solemn and holy fear. The confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel is another example of consuming fire from God. The prophets of Baal called upon their god all day long to rain fire from heaven to no avail. Then Elijah built an altar of stones, dug a ditch around it, put the sacrifice on the top of wood and called for water to be poured over his sacrifice three times. Elijah called upon God and God sent fire down from heaven, completely consuming the sacrifice, the wood, and the stones and licked up the water in the ditch. Then His anger turned against the false prophets and they were all killed. When prophesying the destruction of the Assyrians, who resisted the true and living God and warred against His people, Isaiah refers to the tongue of the Lord as a consuming fire and His “arm coming down with raging anger and consuming fire” (Isaiah 30:27–30).
God’s holiness is the reason for His being a consuming fire, and it burns up anything unholy. The holiness of God is that part of His nature that most separates Him from sinful man. The godless, Isaiah writes, tremble before Him: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” Isaiah answers this by saying that only the righteous can withstand the consuming fire of God’s wrath against sin, because sin is an offense to God’s holiness. But Isaiah also assures us that no amount of our own righteousness is sufficient (Isaiah 64:6).
Fortunately, God has provided the righteousness we need by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross for the sins of all who would ever believe in Him. In that one act, Christ mitigates God’s wrath, exchanging His perfect righteousness for our sin. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). All the wrath of God was poured out on Jesus, so that those who belong to Him would not have to suffer the same fate as the Assyrians. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31), but we need not fear the consuming fire of God’s wrath if we are covered by the purifying blood of Christ.
Since the Bible really does not say much at all about music ministers, it is difficult to arrive at an explicitly biblical position on women music ministers / worship leaders. After the exodus, Miriam functioned in at least one instance as somewhat of a worship leader (Exodus 15:20–21). At the Tabernacle, male Levites seem to be the ones who led in worship (Numbers 8:25–26; 1 Chronicles 9:33). In Judges 5, Deborah and Barak led the Israelites in a song. Second Samuel 19:35 and Second Chronicles 35:25 mention “singing men and women” (see also Ecclesiastes 2:8).
David appointed men from among the Levites (1 Chronicles 15:16–24), who were skilled singers and used brass cymbals, harps, trumpets, and other instruments to accompany the singing. First Chronicles 5:12–13 gives a description of the Levites who led the music at the dedication of Solomon’s temple, and they were all men. In the days of the rebuilding of the Temple, the sons of the Levites were appointed to lead the music in the Temple service (Ezra 3:10; Nehemiah 12:24). Psalm 68:25 says, “The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.” The women were participating in, but not leading, the worship.
The New Testament contains no specific instructions or examples of how worship was, or should be, practiced in the Christian church. The New Testament nowhere speaks positively or negatively regarding female music ministers / worship leaders. Some point to 1 Timothy 2:12, that a woman is not to teach or take authority over a man, as a prohibition against women leading men in worship. However, this text is better understood as focusing on the pastoral role of shepherding/teaching than on other forms of leadership. Further, it is questionable whether leading worship involves any “authority” that would violate 1 Timothy 2:12. In what sense does a worship leader have authority over the worshippers? Could a woman lead with an instrument, but just not with her voice? Does not a woman playing piano/organ in some sense result in her “leading” the worship?
Generally speaking, it would seem that with the consistent pattern of male leadership in the church, it would be best for men to serve in the role of worship leader / music minister. At the same time, there is nothing explicit in Scripture that would forbid women from serving in the role. Many women are undeniably very gifted/skilled in worship, whether by voice or instrument. These gifts most definitely should not be ignored or neglected: “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (Ephesians 5:19 ESV).
The Bible makes it quite clear that God hates human sacrifice. The pagan nations that surrounded the Israelites practiced human sacrifice as part of the worship of false gods. God declared that such “worship” was detestable to Him and that He hates it (Deuteronomy 12:31, 18:10). Furthermore, human sacrifice is associated in the Old Testament with evil practices such as sorcery and divination, which are also detestable to God (2 Kings 21:6). So, if God hates human sacrifice, why did He sacrifice Christ on the cross and how could that sacrifice be the payment for our sins?
There is no doubt that a sacrifice for sin was necessary if people are to have any hope of eternal life. God established the necessity of the shedding of blood to cover sin (Hebrews 9:22). In fact, God Himself performed the very first animal sacrifice to cover, temporarily, the sin of Adam and Eve. After He pronounced curses upon them, He killed an animal, shedding its blood, and made from it a covering for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21), thereby instituting the principle of animal sacrifice for sin. When He gave the Law to Moses, there were extensive instructions on how, when, and under what circumstances animal sacrifices were to be offered to Him. This was to continue until Christ came to offer the ultimate perfect sacrifice which made animal sacrifice no longer necessary. “But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:3–4).
There are several reasons why the sacrifice of Christ on the cross does not violate the prohibition against human sacrifice. First, Jesus wasn’t merely human. If He were, then His sacrifice would have also been a temporary one because one human life couldn’t possibly cover the sins of the multitudes who ever existed. Neither could one finite human life atone for sin against an infinite God. The only viable sacrifice must be an infinite one, which means only God Himself could atone for the sins of mankind. Only God Himself, an infinite Being, could pay the penalty owed to Himself. This is why God had to become a Man and dwell among men (John 1:14). No other sacrifice would suffice.
Second, God didn’t sacrifice Jesus. Rather, Jesus, as God incarnate, sacrificed Himself. No one forced Him. He laid down His life willingly, as He made clear speaking about His life: “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again” (John 10:18). God the Son sacrificed Himself to God the Father and thereby fulfilled all the requirements of the Law. Unlike the temporary sacrifices, Jesus’ once-for-all-time sacrifice was followed by His resurrection. He laid down His life and took it up again, thereby providing eternal life for all who would ever believe in Him and accept His sacrifice for their sins. He did this out of love for the Father and for all those the Father has given Him (John 6:37–40).
Friday, Dec. 6, 2013
President Obama called Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy a touchstone for him and an example “that all humanity should aspire to,” as tributes from world leaders poured in for South Africa’s first post-apartheid president. German Chancellor Angela Merkel cited his “shining example.” French President Francois Hollande said his message of reconciliation “will inspire those who battle for liberty.” India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said his death was “a loss to the world.”
The $3.7 trillion municipal market will decline in 2014 after falling in value this year, the first two-year losing streak in more than three decades, according to Barclays Plc.
Consumer spending in the U.S. rose more than forecast in October; a sign the biggest part of the economy is gaining momentum from a firming employment. Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, climbed 0.3 percent.
German factory orders fell more than economists forecast in October, signaling an uneven recovery in Europe’s largest economy.
Gold analysts are bearish for a third week, the longest stretch since February 2010, as prices approach $1,200 an ounce and a stronger U.S. economy improves the chance that the Federal Reserve will reduce fiscal stimulus.
The jobless rate dropped to a five-year low of 7 percent in November as American employers added more workers than forecast, showing further progress in the labor market that will provide a spark for the world’s largest economy.
The European Union will require labeling of pork, poultry, sheep and goat meat to show origin as well as where animals were reared and slaughtered, a move it said will allow consumers to make a more informed choice.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe secured final passage of a bill granting Japan’s government sweeping powers to declare state secrets, a measure aimed at shoring up defense ties with the U.S. that prompted a public backlash and revolt by the opposition.
Japan gave its strongest signal yet that it wishes to keep nuclear power following the meltdown in Fukushima almost three years ago, shifting away from the previous government’s intention to phase out the technology.
Vitamin D supplements don’t help prevent chronic diseases unrelated to the bones, according to a review of published research that challenges the prevailing wisdom held by proponents.
AP Top Stories
Hundreds of flights were delayed or cancelled on Friday in China’s commercial hub of Shanghai as record levels of air pollution shrouded the city in smog, prompting authorities to issue the highest level of health warning. The incident is especially embarrassing at a time when China seeks to build Shanghai into a global business hub on par with the likes of London, New York and Hong Kong by 2020.
Despite U.S. intervention to combat the Taliban’s misogynistic, dogma-driven agenda, Afghan women’s rights are still uneven and in danger, which is why activists are determined to increase female participation in the elections scheduled to take place in April.
Ukrainian police warned pro-Europe protesters they faced a “harsh” crackdown if they did not end their occupation of public offices in Kiev, while President Viktor Yanukovich’s prime minister denounced them as “Nazis and criminals”.
The U.S. pregnancy rate has fallen almost continuously over the last decade, and reached a 12-year low in 2009, according to a new government report.
Black students have been admitted to the University of California at starkly lower rates since racial consideration was banned in public college admissions in the state, especially at the most prestigious campuses.
China, the world’s second-largest economy, is on track to overtake India as the world’s biggest consumer of gold this year as falling prices encourage purchases for both personal use and investment. Combine that penchant for gold with a population that is rapidly urbanizing, and becoming more affluent and trend-conscious in the process, and building customer loyalty as well as keeping up with fashion becomes key to the prospects of jewellery retailers.
JP Morgan Chase is warning 465,000 holders of pre-paid cash cards issued by the US bank that their personal data may have been hacked.
Australian airline Qantas saw its credit rating downgraded to below-investment level, or junk, by the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.
Hurricane-force winds and tidal surges killed at least seven people in northern Europe, flood parts of Hamburg and left thousands of homes without power.
Russian promoters insist Elton John’s concerts will happen this weekend, despite concerns over the country’s legal crackdown on gay rights.
Reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the planet’s surface by geoengineering may not undo climate change after all. Two German researchers used a simple energy balance analysis to explain how Earth’s water cycle responds differently to heating by sunlight than it does to warming due to a stronger atmospheric greenhouse effect. Further, they show that this difference implies that reflecting sunlight to reduce temperatures may have unwanted effects on Earth’s rainfall patterns.
NYPD is taking aim at owners of shotguns and rifles capable of holding more than five rounds, demanding such guns be surrendered, altered or taken out of the city.
No one should feel safe entering personal information on the Healthcare.gov site, according to a well-respected information technology expert. Reports are also emerging that data security is even worse than before on the site, and some experts believe there’s no coherent security in place at all.
Voice of the Martyrs – December 6, 2013
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Country Descends into Chaos Sources: Huffington Post, CTV, The Guardian As rebel groups and soldiers ravage the country of Central African Republic (CAR), the international community fears the possibility of religious genocide. The rebels, known as “Seleka” (meaning “Alliance”), have been pillaging villages, raping women, conscripting children as soldiers, and brutally murdering innocent victims in recent months. Sources estimate that approximately 10 percent of the population has been displaced. The rebel group’s former leader, Michel Djotodia, ousted the…[view article]
Joseph Farah says man ‘wasn’t the saintly character portrayed by Morgan Freeman’
In other words, the world has been sold a bill of goods about Mandela. He wasn’t the saintly character portrayed by Morgan Freeman. He wasn’t someone fighting for racial equality. He was the leader of a violent, Communist revolution that has nearly succeeded in all of its grisly horror.
For the first time in nearly 40 years, a majority of Americans believe the United States is less important around the world and that it should mind its own business, a stunning rejection of President Obama’s foreign policy just four years after he received the Nobel Prize…….. Click here for full story
Bible Lessons / Small Group Studies:
Miscellaneous Subjects Concerning Christmas:
The Christmas Story:
by Mike Ratliff
Sola Scriptura In Sacred scripture alone we find
Sola Gratia Salvation is by grace alone
Sola Fide Through faith alone
Solus Christus In Christ alone
Soli Deo Gloria! For the glory of God alone!
3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4:3-4 ESV)
Thank God for the Many Glorious Instances of His Favor to the Old Testament Church
For the many glorious instances of God’s favor to the Old Testament church.
We adore that wisdom, peace, and goodness with which you brought the vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it; you cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land. Psalm 80:8-9(ESV)
And they did not win the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them. Psalm 44:3(ESV)
We bless you that the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God; Romans 3:2(ESV) that they had the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises: Romans 9:4(ESV) And that not one word has failed of all your good promise, which you spoke by Moses your servant. 1 Kings 8:56(ESV)
We bless you for all that which you did, at many times and in many ways, speak to the fathers by the prophets, Hebrews 1:1(ESV) those men who spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:21(ESV) and prophesied about the grace that should come to the people of God, predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories; and that, not to themselves only, but to us, they ministered those great things, things into which angels desire to look. 1 Peter 1:10-12(ESV)
And especially, we bless you that you have provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:40(ESV)
Matthew Henry’s Method for Prayer
Dear Lord, I am really looking forward to all the things You have prepared for me in the future.
Father, give me faith to inherit Your promises. Give me strength to walk obediently in Your ways. Give me patience to wait for Your timing.
Master, help me walk through the darkness with the candle of hope—my faith in a changeless God. Your light is enough for my journey.
Lord, I thank You that You have the answer to all my questions, the provision for all my needs. You are my refuge and rock.
Take it all, Lord—my reliance on education, appearance, personality, and abilities. Replace it all with dependence on the indwelling power of Christ.
Reading for Today:
1 John 4:1-21
Hosea 3:1 Go again, love. Having been previously separated, Hosea was commanded to pursue his estranged wife, Gomer, thereby illustrating God’s unquenchable love for faithless Israel. raisin cakes. Eaten as a part of special occasions (2 Sam. 6:19), they may have been used in idolatrous ceremonies, possibly as an aphrodisiac (Song 2:5).
Hosea 3:2 bought her. Probably from a slave auction, Hosea purchased Gomer for 15 shekels of silver and 1 1/2 homers of barley. Together, the total may have equaled 30 pieces of silver, the price paid for a common slave (Ex. 21:32). Barley was the offering of one accused of adultery (Num. 5:15).
Proverbs 29:18 no revelation. This proverb looks both to the lack of the Word (1 Sam. 3:1) and the lack of hearing the Word (Amos 8:11, 12), which leads to lawless rebellion (Ex. 32:25; Lev. 13:45; Num. 5:18). The proverb then contrasts the joy and glory of a lawful society (28:14; Mal. 4:4).
1 John 4:1 do not believe every spirit. The mention of the Holy Spirit in 3:24 prompts John to inform his readers that those other spirits exist, i.e., demonic spirits, who produce false prophets and false teachers to propagate their false doctrine (1 Tim. 4:1, 2). Christians are to have a healthy skepticism regarding any teaching, unlike some among John’s congregations who were too open-minded to anyone claiming a new teaching regarding the faith. test. The word “test” is a metallurgist’s term used for assaying metals to determine their purity and value. Christians must test any teaching with a view to approving or disapproving it, rigorously comparing any teaching to the Scripture. the spirits,…many false prophets. By juxtaposing “spirits” with “false prophets,” John reminds his readers that behind human teachers who propagate false doctrine and error are demons inspired by Satan. Human false prophets and teachers are the physical expressions of demonic, spiritual sources (Matt. 7:15; Mark 13:22).
1 John 4:17 Love…perfected among us. John is not suggesting sinless perfection, but rather mature love marked by confidence in the face of judgment. Confidence is a sign that love is mature. as He is, so are we. Jesus was God’s Son in whom He was well pleased on earth. We also are God’s children (3:11) and the objects of His gracious goodness. If Jesus called God Father, so may we, since we are accepted in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6). In v. 18, the same truth is stated negatively. The love that builds confidence also banishes fears. We love God and reverence Him, but we do not love God and come to Him in love and at the same time hide from Him in terror (Rom. 8:14, 15; 2 Tim. 1:7). Fear involves torment or punishment, a reality the sons of God will never experience, because they are forgiven.
DAY 6: What are the 5 reasons that John gives us for why believers love?
In stark contrast to the self-centered and destructive philosophies and practices of the false teachers, John unfolds the powerful reasons why Christians practice love. In 1 John 4:7–21, the apostle includes 5 such reasons:
1. Christians habitually practice love because God, who indwells them, is the essence of love. The Gnostics believed that God was immaterial spirit and light, but never defined the source of love as coming from His inmost being. As God is Spirit (John 4:24), light (1:5), and a consuming fire (Heb. 12:9), so He is love (4:7, 8). Love is inherent in all He is and does. Even His judgment and wrath are perfectly harmonized with His love.
2. Christians habitually practice love because they desire to imitate the supreme example of God’s sacrificial love in sending His Son for us (4:9).
3. Christians habitually practice love because love is the heart of Christian witness (4:12). Nobody can see God loving since He is invisible. Jesus no longer is in the world to manifest the love of God. The only demonstration of God’s love in this age is the church. That testimony is critical (John 13:35; 2 Cor. 5:18–20).
4. Christians habitually practice love because love is the Christian’s assurance (4:13–16; 3:21). Love banishes self-condemnation. When a Christian recognizes in his life the manifestation of love in actions, it results in confidence about his relationship with God.
5. Christians habitually practice love because love is the Christian’s confidence in judgment (4:17–20; 3:16–23). Confidence is a sign that love is mature. This is not to suggest sinless perfection in a Christian’s life, but rather a habitual practice of love marked by confidence in the face of judgment. Christians love, not in order to escape judgment, but because they have escaped judgment.
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, http://www.thomasnelson.com.
“In these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2).
When Christ first came to earth He became poor for our sakes, that we, through His poverty, might be made rich (2 Cor. 8:9). He had nothing for Himself–He had “nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). Even His clothes were taken from Him when He died, and He was buried in a tomb that belonged to someone else.
It is beyond our understanding to imagine that the Galilean carpenter who was crucified like a common criminal, naked and bleeding on a cross outside the city of Jerusalem, is the King of kings and Lord of lords. But He is!
As the Son of God, Jesus is the heir of all that God possesses. The apostle Paul explains that all things not only were created by Christ but also for Him (Col. 1:16). Everything that exists will find its true meaning only when it comes under the final control of Christ.
The psalms predicted that Christ would one day be the heir to all that God possesses. The Father, speaking to the Son, says, “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession’” (Ps. 2:8). God also declared, “I also shall make Him My first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth” (Ps. 89:27; cf. Col. 1:15). “First-born” refers to legal rights–especially those of inheritance and authority.
When Christ comes to earth again, He will completely and eternally inherit all things (Rev. 11:15). And because we have trusted in Him, we are to be “fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16-17). When we enter into His eternal kingdom, we will jointly possess all that He possesses. We will not be joint Christs or joint Lords, but will be joint heirs. His marvelous inheritance will be ours as well.
Suggestions for Prayer:
Thank God for making you a joint heir with Christ. Thank your Lord for allowing that to happen through His death on the cross.
For Further Study:
Read Revelation 5:1-14 and 11:15-18, noting how the inhabitants of heaven respond to Christ.
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, http://www.crossway.com.
“[Christ] emptied Himself.” – Philippians 2:7
Christ renounced His divine privileges.
Although Christ never surrendered His deity, He did empty Himself in certain ways. One such way was to give up His heavenly glory. That’s why in John 17:5 Jesus prays, “Glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was.” Christ gave up the glory of a face-to-face relationship with God for the muck of this earth. He gave up the adoring presence of angels for the spittle of men.
Christ also emptied Himself of His independent authority. He completely submitted Himself to the will of the Father and learned to be a servant. Philippians 2:8 says He was obedient, and we see that illustrated when He said in the garden, “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). He came to do His Father’s will, not His own (John 5:30).
Another way Christ emptied Himself was by setting aside the prerogatives of His deity—the voluntary display of His attributes. He didn’t give up His deity, but He did give up the free exercise of His attributes, limiting Himself to the point of saying that even He did not know the time of His second coming (Matt. 24:36).
Christ also emptied Himself of His personal riches. “Though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Christ was poor in this world; He owned very little. Finally, Christ emptied Himself of a favorable relationship with His Father. God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf” (2 Cor. 5:21). As a result our Lord cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46).
Though Christ renounced all those privileges, He never ceased to be God. At any moment He could have blasted His enemies off the face of the earth, but He didn’t. He voluntarily emptied Himself for you and me.
Suggestions for Prayer:
Christ submitted Himself completely to His Father’s will. Regularly ask for the Lord’s perfect will to be reflected in your life as well.
For Further Study:
Every now and then men glimpsed Christ’s glory. Read Luke 9:28-36 as one example, reminding yourself that Christ emptied Himself of the continuous outward manifestation and personal enjoyment of heavenly glory.
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, http://www.crossway.com.
Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.” – Matthew 13:13–15
Jesus quoted this passage from Isaiah 6:9–10 to describe the unbelieving Jews of His day. Isaiah pronounced judgment on the people of Judah for their pervasive sin and rebellion. As part of the Lord’s judgment, they were led away into captivity by Babylon, yet still they refused to repent and trust God’s mercies. Because the people in the prophet’s day intentionally closed their eyes and ears and refused any heartfelt understanding of truth, God judicially sealed them in their unbelief.
Christ’s parables served as similar forms of judgment on unbelief. Those who refused His previous, straightforward teachings would not be able to grasp His deeper, parabolic instructions.
Paul also quotes from Isaiah in reference to another first-century judgment on unbelievers: “In the Law it is written, ‘By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me,’ says the Lord. So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe” (1 Cor. 14:21–22). God allowed tongues (various human languages) to play a dramatic role on Pentecost and periodically thereafter as a testimony against those who refused to accept the gospel. Thus the Lord sometimes conceals His word to those predisposed to reject it.
Is there any pattern of rejection or disbelief in your mind as you deal with the holy Scriptures? Praise the Lord that He makes His Word plain to those called to be His children.
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, http://www.moodypublishers.com.
Most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
The implication of today’s verse is that before Paul’s imprisonment, the church in Rome lacked courage. When the believers saw that God provided for Paul and enabled him to have an incredible opportunity for outreach, they confidently began to proclaim the gospel. They realized that since God could minister through Paul in his condition, He could minister through them as well. As Paul’s strength became theirs, the leadership in Rome began “to speak the word without fear” (v. 14).
Does your joy ebb and flow according to the tide of earthly benefits? Do pleasure, possessions, prominence, prestige, reputation, comfort, and fulfillment or your own ambitions propel your joy? If they do, your joy will ebb and flow according to the shifting tides of life. But if your joy is tied to the progress of the gospel, it will never diminish. Fix your heart on the progress of the gospel, and your joy will be constant.
MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : A daily touch of God’s grace. Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.
Trust in the Lord. This is the practical challenge that the book of Isaiah lays down for God’s people (cf. 7:9; 10:20; 12:2; 30:15; 31:1; 32:17; 36:15; 42:17; 50:10; 57:13). the Lord God. Hebrew Yah YHWH, an emphatic form of God’s name. everlasting rock. The vindication of faith is secured by the solid dependability of God (cf. Deut. 32:4, 31; 1 Sam. 2:2; Ps. 18:2, 31; 61:2–3).
Trusting in God anticipates trusting in Christ, who has accomplished climactic salvation (Phil. 4:7).
ESV Study Bible