Daily Archives: June 4, 2017

June 3-4, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 06/03/2017

Saddleback Youth Mentor Arrested for Allegedly Committing ‘Lewd Acts’ With Teenage Boys   May 30, 2017 05:28 pm

LAKE FOREST, Calif. — A volunteer youth worker at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church has been arrested on allegations that he committed lewd acts with two teenage boys. According to reports, officials at the church called police after being informed that mentor Ruven Meulenberg, 32, had engaged in indecent behavior with a 14-year-old boy. An investigation led to a…

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Appeals Court Unanimously Rules Wisconsin School District Must Allow Girl in Boys’ Restroom   May 31, 2017 05:12 pm

MILWAUKEE, Wisc. — The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has unanimously ruled that a Wisconsin school district must allow a girl who identifies as a boy to use the boys’ restroom, concluding that the prohibition would likely cause “irreparable harm.” “A transgender student’s presence in the restroom provides no more of a risk to other students’ privacy rights…

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Parents Sue San Diego School District Over ‘Initiative to Combat Islamophobia’   May 29, 2017 01:32 pm

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Six parents and two non-profit organizations have filed a lawsuit against the San Diego Unified School District to challenge the implementation of a new “initiative to combat Islamophobia” in schools. “Students of all faiths face daily bullying, but instead of protecting all religious students, the school district has selected Muslim students…

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NYC De Blasio Admin Staffer, Young Democrats President Arrested for Possession of Over 3,000 Child Porn Files   May 30, 2017 01:48 pm

NEW YORK — An employee under the De Blasio administration and president of Manhattan Young Democrats has been arrested for allegedly being in possession of thousands of files containing child pornography. Jacob Schwartz, 29, was taken into custody on last week after investigators found on his computer more than 3,000 images and 89 videos depicting children…

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City Refuses Atheist Group’s Request to Remove Cross From Public Park   May 28, 2017 08:55 am

NEOSHO, Mo. — Officials at a city in Missouri have decided to refuse a prominent professing atheist organization’s request to remove a cross display from a public park. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter earlier this month to the mayor of the city of Neosho, stating that it had been informed by a complainant that a cross…

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Pregnant Teen Prohibited From Walking Christian School Graduation for Violating Code of Conduct   May 27, 2017 10:24 am

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — A pregnant teenager has been prohibited from walking her graduation ceremony due to a violation of her Christian school’s code of conduct, which requires that students refrain from premarital sex. Heritage Academy Principal Dave Hobbs says that he doesn’t believe the situation would be a good example for those in attendance and also doesn’t…

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Planned Parenthood’s Annual Report: 328,348 Abortions Performed by Organization in 2015   May 31, 2017 11:59 am

Photo Credit: Credit Tomasz Kobosz WASHINGTON — Following a several month delay, Planned Parenthood has released its annual report, which reveals that the number of abortions performed by the organization are the highest since 2011 while the number of women using Planned Parenthood’s services in general continues to be the lowest in a decade. The abortion…

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Ben & Jerry’s Australia Refuses to Sell Two Scoops of Same Flavor Until Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Legalized in Country   May 31, 2017 03:44 pm

Asserting that “love comes in all flavors,” the Australian branch of the popular ice cream parlor chain Ben & Jerry’s is refusing to sell two scoops of the same flavor until same-sex “marriage” is legalized in the country. The company has produced a short video and statement outlining why patrons in all 26 of its Australian locations won’t be able to have…

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Former Vice President Joe Biden Officiates Same-Sex Ceremony of DNC Staffer   Jun 01, 2017 06:01 am

Former Vice President Joe Biden officiated over his second same-sex ceremony on Saturday, this time between the finance chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and his partner. Biden presided over the ceremony for Henry Muñoz III and Kyle Ferrari on Saturday, and a photograph of the occasion was posted online by Melanie Griffith. “My dearest…

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Hallmark Offering Cards to Celebrate ‘Gender Transitions’   May 27, 2017 02:44 pm

The popular greeting card company Hallmark is selling cards to affirm those who identify as “transgender” and to celebrate those who are undergoing gender “transitions,” the company has confirmed. “Hallmark is committed to helping people share what’s in their hearts with those they love, and we strive to be inclusive and relevant with our products,” the…

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June 1, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — A George Soros-funded organization calling itself the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) held a conference on May 25 to celebrate 14 years of existence, while preparing “to continue the fight for trans equality.” Sponsors of this special event included Amazon, Facebook, Google, and the CIA…. (more)

June 1, 2017
JOAN SWIRSKY — It was a good plan. After their thunderous loss in the presidential election, our country’s premier Olympian liars – – Democrats all – – put their heads together to develop a plan to accuse the newly elected president of collusion with our Russian enemy, to get him impeached forthwith, and ultimately to preserve the communist/jihadist government that it took the previous eight years of formal power and a hundred years of planning to accomplish…. (more)

June 1, 2017

WORLDNETDAILY — President Trump made good Thursday on a campaign promise to pull the United States out of the Paris global climate-change agreement, to which most nations already have subscribed. “In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” he said at the White House’s Rose Garden…. (more)


June 1, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump’s America-first mantra steamrolled over the objections of lawmakers, top CEOs, the Pentagon, the U.N. and even his own daughter, as he announced Thursday that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate accord to limit greenhouse gas emissions…. (more)


June 1, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that they back President Trump’s decision to pull America out of the Paris climate agreement, which Trump said circumvented the will of Congress because it was never ratified by the U.S. Senate like other treaties…. (more)

June 1, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — With President Trump pulling out of the Paris climate pact, European leaders on Thursday declared that such a move is final and that the U.S. will not be welcomed back into the deal. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni and French President Emmanuel Macron released a joint statement an hour after Mr. Trump announced his decision, saying the landmark deal is “irreversible” and that America cannot change its commitment…. (more)

June 1, 2017
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON — Germans do not seem too friendly to Americans these days. According to a recent Harvard Kennedy School study of global media, 98 percent of German public television news portrays President Donald Trump negatively, making it by far the most anti-Trump media in the world…. (more)

June 1, 2017

ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — The House Intelligence Committee has reportedly issued seven subpoenas in connection with its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and of the Obama administration’s potentially illegal use of the government’s foreign-intelligence-collection power for the purpose of monitoring Americans – – in particular, Americans connected to the Trump campaign and transition…. (more)


June 1, 2017

NEW YORK POST — Imagine living in a bubble so impermeable, it didn’t occur to you that retailing a photograph of a decapitated president’s head would be a horrendous career move – – a bubble in which you don’t know anyone who doesn’t think the world would be a better place once Donald Trump had had his head cut off…. (more)


May 31, 2017
RICH LOWRY — For a bull in the china shop, President Donald Trump has so far gingerly stepped around the Paris climate accord. That dance could end as soon as this week, with Trump deciding whether to stay in or opt out… (more)

May 31, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said Democrats are unsatisfied with congressional probes into Russia because they believe only an independent commission will come to the conclusion Hillary Clinton was cheated, according to a report published Tuesday…. (more)

May 31, 2017
BOB UNRUH — Did the Democrats’ orchestrated attempt to catch the Trump administration in a major scandal with Russia just blow up? The Washington Times reported it was President Obama’s CIA director, John Brennan, who prompted the investigation into claims the Trump campaign had inappropriate contacts with the Russian government…. (more)

May 31, 2017
BOB UNRUH — Washington watchdogs at Judicial Watch say they have uncovered a case that illustrates how the “Deep State,” the federal bureaucrats left from the Obama administration, may be impacting the presidency of Donald Trump…. (more)

May 31, 2017
NEWSMAX — Huma Abedin has invited her admitted sex offender husband, Anthony Weiner, back home – – less than two weeks after filing for divorce from the serial sexter, the New York Post reported Tuesday night…. (more)

May 31, 2017
BOB UNRUH — A federal judge in California, William Orrick III, has banned the publishing of an undercover video in which abortionists joke among themselves about the killing of unborn infants…. (more)

May 31, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — Kathy Griffin’s picture triumphantly holding up the “bloody” decapitated “head” of a Donald Trump dummy is receiving the attention of the Secret Service. After she posted the image, numerous people on social media not only criticized her but also tagged the Secret Service, the agency charged with protecting the president and handling assassination threats…. (more)


May 31, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Barack Obama’s last year in office set a high watermark for new federal rules and regulations as the outgoing Democrat sought to leave his mark on the country through a “pen and phone” strategy…. (more)

May 30, 2017

NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump expressed his nation’s “boundless and undying” gratitude Monday to Americans who have fallen in battle and to the families they left behind, hailing as heroes the hundreds of thousands buried at Arlington National Cemetery…. (more)


May 29, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump has some unwavering support from a very unique demographic: Republican military veterans. An extensive new Pew Research Center reveals that 98 percent of these GOP vets approve of the job Mr. Trump is doing. He has some fans across the greater population of vets as well. The poll also found that 54 percent of them also approve of the president…. (more)

May 29, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson joined bikers on Sunday afternoon as part of the 30th anniversary of the Rolling Thunder’s “Ride for Freedom,” a Memorial Day event to honor the U.S. Military…. (more)

May 29, 2017
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump plans to announce an end to former President Barack Obama’s Cuba policy, The Daily Caller reported. The Caller said it learned of the plans from two unnamed sources at an anti-embargo group and the information was confirmed Sunday by John Kavulich of the nonpartisan U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council…. (more)

May 29, 2017
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — The Putin regime is hostile to the United States. Donald Trump’s infatuation with forging an alliance with Russia (much like his infatuation with crafting a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians whose objective is to destroy Israel) has always struck me as reckless, occasionally repugnant, and always hopelessly naive. Similarly naive, and obnoxious to the American tradition of resisting royalty, is President Trump’s reliance in major matters of policy on his son-in-law and daughter, two young people who have little if any experience in many of their swelling areas of responsibility…. (more)

May 29, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — What caused the Barack Obama administration to begin investigating the Donald Trump campaign last summer has come into clearer focus following a string of congressional hearings on Russian interference in the presidential election…. (more)

May 29, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — A budding independent TV news company is jumping into the Seth Rich murder case with both feet today – – boosting the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the slain Democratic National Committee employee’s killer or killers by an additional $100,000 and issuing a step-by-step report on why the mysterious death is more than a “conspiracy theory.”… (more)

May 29, 2017
ALAN KEYES — “I wonder, though, whether as I come to the end of my exploration, I have changed my mind about declaring myself an atheist. With my definition of God as that which we cannot know, to declare myself an atheist would mean that I believe there is nothing we cannot know…. In some sense I think I have proved that this God does exist. The challenge now is to explore what quality this God has”… (more)

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Uses Voice Changer To Call Law Firm Suing DNC – Forgets To Disable Caller ID
There was a hilarious filing with the court today in the lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee – in which Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a defendant. Attorney Elizabeth Lee Beck’s office received a call just before 5PM on Thursday from an individual who was apparently using a ‘robotic and genderless’ voice changing device, sniffing around with questions about the DNC lawsuit filed over cheating in the 2016 election.

Climate expert praises Trump for pulling out of ‘sham’ Paris accord
“I’m glad that Trump had the fortitude to stick it out despite all the attempts to waylay him,” said Dr. Tim Ball, a retired climatologist at the University of Winnipeg and author of “The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science.”

Leaving Raqqa Behind: What’s Behind Daesh Fleeing For Palmyra
Daesh fighters have been increasingly active in the areas near Palmyra since they want to recapture the strategically important city and use it to advance to Deir ez-Zor and other critical locations across Syria at a time when the brutal group is likely to lose its so-called capital of Raqqa.

Israel disappointed after Trump delays US embassy move
President Donald Trump on Thursday has signed a waiver to delay relocating the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv; Prime Minister Netanyahu expresses disappointment, saying, we appreciate ‘Trump’s friendship to Israel’; Jordan, on the other hand, welcomes the decision.

In Damascus, a general feeling that the war is winding down
In Syria’s capital these days, people are breathing a little easier. Across Damascus, new shops are sprouting up, business is brisk, and some people who fled the civil war years ago are contemplating a return.

Mattis says U.S. committed to Asia-Pacific as allies seek clear policy
Trump has actively courted Chinese support on North Korea, raising concerns among Southeast Asian allies in the lead-up to the dialogue that Washington might allow China a freer rein elsewhere in the region. Mattis told reporters that in a speech on Saturday to the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore he would talk about the “international order” needed for a peaceful Asia…

Putin: Russia Doesn’t Hack But ‘Patriotic’ Individuals Might
President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that some “patriotic” individuals may have engaged in hacking but insisted Russia as a country has never done it, and he pledged Thursday to wait out U.S. political battles to forge constructive ties with President Donald Trump.

Exclusive: Turkish embassy hosts banned Islamic Movement chief at Iftar dinner
Turkish ambassador Kemal Okem hosted Sheikh Raed Salah, an Islamist leader who has spent time in Israeli jails for incitement and violence, to an Iftar dinner Thursday night, angering and raising eyebrows in Jerusalem. A picture of Salah at the dinner appeared on the the Turkish embassy’s Twitter feed under the caption: “Amb Okem hosted an iftar dinner with the participation of the Arab and Muslim community leaders. #Ramadan Kareem!”

UN secretary-general: ‘Denial of Israel’s right to exist is antisemitism
“Denial of Israel’s right to exist is antisemitism,” declared United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at a meeting with senior officials of the Simon Weisenthal Center (SWC). The meeting took place at the UN headquarters in New York, according to an SWC press release sent out on Tuesday…Guterres said that “history must be respected. Jerusalem is a holy city for three religions.”

Kabul bomb: Angry protesters march in Afghan capital
Police in the Afghan capital Kabul have fired shots into the air to hold back hundreds of protesters demanding the government step down in the wake of a devastating bomb attack. Crowds rallied near the site of Wednesday’s blast, chanting anti-government and anti-Taliban slogans. Police in riot gear also used tear gas and water cannon to block them from the presidential palace.

Paris climate deal: Dismay as Trump signals exit from accord
There has been widespread international condemnation of President Trump’s announcement that the US is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the move “extremely regrettable”. She defended the accord, saying: “Nothing can and nothing will stop us.” Mr Trump said he was prepared to discuss a new deal, but key signatories to the accord quickly ruled that out.

US travel ban goes to Supreme Court
The White House has asked the US Supreme Court to reinstate a travel ban on people from majority Muslim countries. The ban has been blocked by lower courts which have said that it is discriminatory. Two emergency applications have now been filed by the government with the court’s nine justices that seek to overturn those lower court rulings.

Gravitational waves: Third detection of deep space warping
Scientists are reporting yet another burst of gravitational waves. The signals were picked up by the Advanced LIGO facilities in the US and are determined to have come from the merger of two huge black holes some three billion light-years from Earth. It is the third time now that the labs’ laser instruments have been perturbed by the warping of space-time.

Artificial intelligence will outperform humans in all tasks in just 45 years
In less than 50 years, artificial intelligence will be able to beat humans at all of their own tasks, according to a new study. And, the first hints of this shift will become apparent much sooner. Within the next ten years alone, the researchers found AI will outperform humans in language translation, truck driving, and even writing high-school essays – and, they say machines could be writing bestselling books by 2049.

Password manager OneLogin hacked, exposing sensitive customer data
Password manager and single sign-on provider OneLogin has been hacked. In a brief blog post, the company’s chief security officer Alvaro Hoyos said that it was aware of “unauthorized access to OneLogin data in our US data region,” and that it had reached out to customers. Hoyos said that the company had blocked the unauthorized access after the breach and is working with law enforcement.

 S&P, Moody’s Downgrade Illinois to Near Junk, Lowest Ever for a U.S. State
Illinois had its bond rating downgraded to one step above junk by Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings, the lowest ranking on record for a U.S. state, as the long-running political stalemate over the budget shows no signs of ending.

NATO Moves Thousands of Troops In One of Year’s Largest Europe Drills
NATO allies are conducting a massive drill in southeastern Europe meant to test the alliance’s ability to move large quantities of troops and equipment into the region.

Auto Bloodbath: Lowest Domestic Auto Sales In Three Years Despite Record Inventories And Incentives
After abysmal March and April sales data, any hope for a rebound in the US auto market fizzled as overall cars sales declined again, with domestic light vehicles sales printing an annualized 12.59 million, the lowest sales number going back more than three years, despite record inventories and car discounts.

“She Has No Self-Awareness”: RNC Chair Blasts Hillary Clinton For Her Election Excuses
“She seems to be totally unaware. She has no self-awareness. Maybe she needs a class or something that we can send her to… it reinforces why she lost every time she goes out and does these interviews.”

Trump to sign waiver delaying US embassy move to Jerusalem
Stepping back from a campaign promise and incurring Israeli ire, President Donald Trump has kept the U.S. Embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv for now instead of moving it to Jerusalem, a cautious move aimed at bolstering prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.

Secret Service relaxes marijuana policy in bid to swell ranks
Thirty-eight days into the job, the new director of the US Secret Service, Randolph Alles, is getting to know his agency. Alles told reporters Thursday that he’s working to grow the Secret Service, including by relaxing the agency’s drug policy on marijuana.

Dad overdoses on heroin to teach his addict son a lesson
A Sheepshead Bay father was so angry when he found his heroin addict son’s stash that he shot it up himself and almost died of an overdose — just to send a message to his kid.

Bill honoring reunification of Jerusalem makes its way through US Senate
Senator Mitch McConnell along with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer…introduced a bill this week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the “reunification of Jerusalem.”…it emphasizes that for 3,000 years, Jerusalem has been “Judaism’s holiest city…”The bill also praises Egypt and Jordan for their embracing of peace with Israel…and reiterates American policy that the permanent status of Jerusalem must be determined through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, “towards a two-state solution.”

US warns Beijing on South China Sea islands
The US will not accept China’s militarisation of man-made islands in the South China Sea, Defence Secretary James Mattis has warned. Speaking at a security conference in Singapore, he said such moves undermined regional stability. China’s territorial claims in the resource-rich South China Sea are contested by several nations.

Organic foods backed by landmark report – warning pesticides far more dangerous than was thought
Consumers should consider going organic because pesticides on foods are far more dangerous than was thought, causing damage to the human brain, a major study suggests. The research, published by the European Parliament, warns of the “very high costs” of current levels of exposure to pesticides – especially for children and pregnant women.

A big health insurer is planning to punish patients for ‘unnecessary’ ER visits
Anthem is the nation’s second-largest health insurer, with thousands of medical professionals on its payroll. Yet its Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia subsidiary has just informed its members that if they show up at the emergency room with a problem that later is deemed to have not been an emergency, their claim won’t be paid….It defined inappropriate visits as any but those that “a prudent layperson, possessing an average knowledge of medicine and health,” would believe needed immediate treatment.

Seizing of Philippines city by Islamist militants a wake-up call for Southeast Asia
At the beginning of the battle that has raged for the past 12 days in Marawi City at the southern end of the Philippines, dozens of Islamist militants stormed its prison, overwhelming the guards. “They said ‘surrender the Christians’,” said Faridah P. Ali, an assistant director of the regional prison authority. “We only had one Christian staff member so we put him with the inmates so he wouldn’t be noticed,” he said.

Boy ‘Identifying’ as Girl Swamps Opponents in Connecticut High School Track Meet
A…high school girl’s track star from New Britain, Connecticut, has lost her usual first place spot to a boy who “identifies” as a girl on an opposing high school track team, and her loss sparks many questions about fairness and rights. Freshman Andraya Yearwood, 15, a biological male who identifies as a girl, received permission to join the Cromwell High girls track team…And, all of this has occurred quite despite the fact that Yearwood has taken no steps to transition into a girl.

Puerto Rico’s Exodus Is Speeding the Island’s Economic Collapse
The choice is heartbreaking: stay to help other families, or leave to help your own That’s the calculation thousands in Puerto Rico are making. The bankruptcy of the U.S. commonwealth, the culmination of years of decline, has accelerated an exodus that’s adding to the island’s economic misery.

Clash Between Qatar And The Saudis Could Threaten OPEC Deal
The cohesion of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes all Arab Gulf countries, seems to be cracking.

Sweden: Three Out of Four ‘Child Refugees’ Are Actually Adults
A new study by the Swedish National Board of Medicines has found that three out of four so-called child “refugees” are actually adults, another illustration of how European people are being massively deceived about the true nature of the migrant crisis.

Trump Vows to Cut Obama Regs Draining $2 Trillion From Economy
A record-setting series of regulations issued by the outgoing Obama administration in 2016 will cost the economy nearly $2 trillion a year, but President Trump has vowed to boost the economy by cutting these regulations.

Hillary Aide Charged with Violations of Espionage Act and Conspiracy with Hostile Foreign Agents
Buried in the news of everything important by the Mainstream Media that is still protecting Hillary and Obama even after Donald Trump became president: Report what we need to report and cover up what we need to cover up.

Obama’s shadow government grows roots in Washington President Obama has bought the mansion he’s been renting in the nation’s capital to wage war against his successor’s administration.

Secret Court Rebukes Obama NSA for 5-year Illegal Surveillance of U.S. citizens
There is no doubt that Obama illegally abused his power against United States Citizens using the NSA as well the IRS and every other letter agency. Well we just got some more evidence that he was spying on us and a a secret court that called the matter a “very serious” constitutional issue.When does Obama get to wear an orange jumpsuit?

Top Palestinian official: Western Wall should stay under Israeli sovereignty
Senior Palestinian Authority official Jibril Rajoub said Saturday evening that the Palestinians recognize that the Western Wall should stay under Israeli sovereignty in any peace agreement, however the Temple Mount should not. In an interview on Channel 2’s ‘Meet the Press,’ Rajoub stated that “We understand that the Western Wall must be under Jewish sovereignty, but the Temple Mount is ours.”

Mosul battle: ‘Dozens of civilians killed’ fleeing IS-held district
Dozens of civilians have been killed in Mosul while fleeing a district held by so-called Islamic State (IS) in the Iraqi city, reports say. A Reuters TV crew found the bodies of men, women and children lying in a street in the Zanjili district. It is not clear how exactly the civilians were killed. A US aid worker was quoted as saying that IS had been shooting people trying to escape.

White House to ramp up infrastructure effort in coming days
The White House will kick its major infrastructure initiative into high gear next week with a string of high-profile events aimed at ramping up support for one of President Trump’s chief campaign promises. The administration had been under increasing pressure to show progress on the $1 trillion rebuilding package, which Trump broadly outlined in his budget proposal last week.

Over 1,000 Stores Close in a Single Week
It’s been a tough week for the retail industry, with more than 1,000 stores closing their doors for good…Michael Kors announced it would be closing over 100 locations, and…Radio Shack closed 1,000 locations across America…More than 100,000 retail workers have lost their jobs since October 2016.

Defense Secretary Mattis turns up heat on North Korea and China
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis turned up the heat on North Korea and its main benefactor, China, on Saturday, calling the North Koreans a “clear and present danger” and chastising the Chinese for coercive behavior in the South China Sea. His sharp words for both countries suggest he believes China will, out of self-interest, exert leverage on North Korea to halt its nuclear and missile programs even as Washington pushes Beijing to change course in the South China Sea.

United Airlines ends flights to Venezuela, further isolating country
United Airlines will end its daily flight service to Venezuela in July, further isolating the crisis-hit South American country from international travel…Many airlines have left after a protracted dispute over billions of dollars they say the government owes them. They say President Nicolas Maduro’s administration has failed to reimburse companies in hard currency for ticket sales in local currency, as per strict currency controls in the socialist nation.

149 Dead So Far In Ramadan Attacks

Significant terrorist attacks have sprung up across the globe since the beginning of Muslim holy month of Ramadan May 26, with current counts confirming three attacks and 149 dead, and a reported Saturday incident on London Bridge still developing. Islamist terrorist groups usually use the holiday to mount more significant terrorist attacks, and promise their followers extra benefits for dying in such attacks during the holy month.

Slashing of West Bank home plans frustrate settlers
Israeli settlers have learned that the Civil Administration’s High Planning Council, which will convene this week—for the first time during Donald Trump’s presidency—will not approve the construction of 4,000 housing units as originally planned, but only 2,291. According to them, of the units that will be approved, only a few hundred are planned for immediate construction.

Vice President Pence urges Congress to complete Obamacare repeal
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday urged the Republican-controlled Congress to complete the job of dismantling Obamacare this summer and move on quickly to another big-ticket item on President Donald Trump’s agenda: tax cuts. Speaking days before lawmakers return to Washington amid doubts about their ability to agree on legislation, Pence sought to add urgency to the debate by warning that consumers face dwindling access to Obamacare health coverage in some states.

North Korea says rejects new sanctions, to continue nuclear program
North Korea “fully rejects” the latest U.N sanctions against its citizens and entities as a “hostile act” and will continue its nuclear weapons development without a delay, its foreign ministry spokesman said on Sunday. The U.N. Security Council on Friday expanded targeted sanctions against North Korea after its repeated missile tests, adopting the first such resolution agreed by the United States and Pyongyang’s only major ally China since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

6 killed, 3 suspects dead after ‘terrorist incident’ at London Bridge, Borough Market
Six people were killed, three attackers are dead and many other victims have been transported to hospitals after a “terrorist incident” in London Saturday night involving a vehicle reportedly plowing into pedestrians on London Bridge and reported stabbings at Borough Market, police said.

Parents Shocked by Adult Drag Queen Performance – at Grade School Talent Show
What in the name of Ru Paul is wrong with the New York City Board of Education? Parents are furious after children as young as 5-years-old were exposed to a man’s erotic drag show performance at what was supposed to be a school district talent show.

USA Today: “Was the spying in the Obama administration worse than Watergate?”
…Obamagate is so much worse than Watergate. So much worse. Nixon wiretapped a room. Obama illegally surveilled 1000s of Americans, including President Trump, Republican news agents, SCOTUS, hundreds of judges, businessman etc. Susan Rice and Evelyn Farkas have already admitted this was the case. So much corruption. However, it’s not just the wiretapping and surveillance that is blatantly WRONG with the Obama era…

Obama Feds Refused to Prosecute NASA Intern Caught With Child Porn
A federal attorney in California refused to prosecute a NASA intern who was caught with nearly 1000 images of child pornography on his computer, according to a Inspector General’s report obtained by The Daily Caller.

Obama collusion with Russia?
Why didn’t the media go after President Obama for collusion with Russia? Was it simply because he wasn’t President Trump? To be clear, ace investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson does not believe the sometimes cozy contacts between the Obama administration and Moscow amounted to collusion, but, she observed, “under the definition currently used by Trump critics, it would be.”

CERN Director Visits Bilderberg, Fueling Fears Collider Opens Doors to “Extra Dimensions”
The top brass of CERN, which operates the the largest particle collider in the world, is attending Bilderberg this year, rekindling fears CERN will cause unfathomable changes to human civilization and may even lead to parallel dimensions.

Remember That Time Donald Trump Approved Sale Of 20% Of US Uranium To Russia? No, Wait…..That Was Hillary
…Remember the time that President Trump gave $150 Billion to a terrorist state and a sworn enemy of the United States. Then later shipped pallets full of small denomination unmarked bills to the same terrorist state and sworn enemy Oh no, that was President BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA.

Emails: Huma Abedin did ‘Russia’ favors for Clinton Foundation
… “The casual violation of laws concerning classified material and noxious influence peddling show the Clinton State Department was ‘corruption central’ in the Obama administration,” he said. “No wonder Clinton’s allies in the State and Justice Departments had been slow-walking and hiding these emails.”

Nebraska May Lose Last Obamacare Provider
Medica Health, Nebraska’s last remaining Obamacare compliant individual insurance provider, has not yet decided whether it will continue to offer plans next year, according to the Omaha World Herald. Should Medica join the ranks of providers that have left the state’s Obamacare exchanges, some 100,000 Nebraskans will be left without an option for Obamacare insurance.

Obama And Hillary’s Behavior Unreal Part Of Trump’s Term
Both former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed President Donald Trump last week, marking the earliest time a former president attacked a sitting president in recent political history.

Lindsey Graham: Obama Admin Surveillance May Have ‘Unmasked’ My Conversation
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in an interview on Fox News Friday, claimed that the Obama administration had improperly “unmasked” him, and worried that former FBI director James Comey would perform a “hit job on President Trump” in his testimony next week.


Trump Is The Number One Topic On The Agenda Of The Bilderberg Group This Year

The Bilderberg Group conference is being held less than 30 miles from the White House, and the number one subject on the official agenda this year is Donald Trump. The three day summit began on Thursday, and the Westfields Marriot in Chantilly, Virginia has essentially been transformed into an armed fortress in order to protect the 131 dignitaries that are attending. But unlike other gatherings of world leaders, the mainstream media won’t be telling us what is going on inside because reporters are banned. (Read More…)


12 Signs The Economic Slowdown The Experts Have Been Warning About Is Now Here

Since the election there has been this perception among the American public that the economy is improving, but that has not been the case at all.  U.S. GDP growth for the first quarter was just revised up to 1.2 percent, but that is even lower than the average growth of just 1.33 percent that we saw over the previous ten years.  But when you look even deeper into the numbers a much more alarming picture emerges.  Commercial and industrial loan growth is declining, auto loan defaults are rising, bankruptcies are absolutely surging and we are on pace to break the all-time record for most store closings in a single year in the United States by more than 20 percent.  All of these are points that I have covered before, but today I have 12 new facts to share with you.  The following are 12 signs that the economic slowdown that the experts have been warning about is now here… (Read More…)


A List Of 100 Things That Liberals Hate About America

Why do liberals seem to hate just about everything that is good and true and right about this country?  Earlier today I was writing an article about Kathy Griffin and the hate-filled ideology that she represents, and it got me thinking about a lot of things.  I truly believe that her now infamous photograph will turn out to be a defining moment in American politics.  It has become exceedingly clear that Kathy Griffin and those like her have nothing to offer but anger, hate and violence, and that is not a message that most Americans are going to embrace.  So if true conservatives can start communicating a message of love, peace, prosperity, liberty and freedom that is based on the principles and values that this nation was founded upon, there is no way that the left is going to be able to compete with that. (Read More…)


In “delusional interview” Hillary proclaims – “I Was The Victim”: Blames DNC, NYT, “1,000 Russian Agents,” Comey And WikiLeaks For Loss

Could this be any more Clintony?

Read More


Hypocrisy & Contradiction in the Liberal Media

Did you know the liberal media considers themselves “patriots” for hammering President Trump…but considers him “unamerican” for responding to their criticism?

Or that President Trump’s misspelling of a word on a tweet might be a sign of a President on the brink of mental and emotional collapse, and a danger to our nation?

Or how about “all this climate change is due to humanity” while they acknowledge natural climate change has been a reality for thousands of years?

These are a few of the topics we will cover in our Media Watch segment this morning. Also we respond to your questions from our last couple shows.

Read more


Tragedy and Crisis at Saddleback Church

A sad story to report this morning is one that the Left may try using to accuse the Christian Church in America or hate or hypocrisy. A 32 year old volunteer youth minister at Saddleback Church has been arrested and charged with taking sexual improprieties of two underage children. The man charged is the son of Pastor Abraham Muelenberg. He spearheaded the Muslim outreach program at Saddleback Church and presented the controversial “Kingdom Circles” teaching a few years back, claiming that people (Muslims) did not need to become Christians to be saved.

We will discuss how these allegations, if true, could have a chilling affect on church youth and counseling programs in the future. In our first segment we check in with Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Council to discuss the ruling by a Federal Court that a Kenosha transgendered person must be allowed to use whichever bathroom and shower facility fits with her gender fluidity. Parents, it may be coming to your child’s school if it is not already there.

Read more


Liberal Theology & Thought: A Cancer Spreading in the Professing Church?

We all celebrated when we thought Communism and Marxism had finally died with the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989. Little did we know Marxism hadn’t died; it had only morphed into something more subtle but every bit as dangerous: the new progressive liberalism. This is tolerance and inclusiveness on steroids!

By all accounts Marxism has infiltrated our colleges and media under the nomenclature of progressivism. It’s bad enough our nation’s younger people open their arms to this dangerous deception, but a growing number of professing Christians and churches have openly embraced and promoted this system that directly contradicts most of the Bible’s teachings. On today’s program, Mike LeMay and David Fiorazo explore this dangerous movement and how it is not only being openly embraced by millions of American citizens, but by too many ‘professing’ Christians in our nation.

Read more


The Great Deception of Media, Public Education and Fake Christianity

The Bible warns us that in the final days deception would become so rampant and powerful that many would abandon biblical Christianity for a world-wide system based on Humanism, elevating the thinking of mankind and dismissing God and His Word. Over the past 20-30 years the face of media, public education, and even the Church in America has changed so radically that it looks nothing like to used to. And the sad truth is in the here and now, Secular Humanism is winning the hearts and minds of many youth–youth that will one day lead this nation and our local churches.

Our guest today is Don Venoit of Midwest Christian Outreach as we take a sobering look at the decay of American culture and thought, along with the many problems facing the Christian Church in America.

Read more


The photo that lost radio’s ‘Bible Answer Man’ thousands of listeners

According to Tim Funk of Charlotte Observer, between 100 and 150 radio stations dropped BAM from their daily lineups. “That picture of Hank kneeling before a Greek Orthodox priest – that was hard for many evangelicals to see,” said Mike Carbone, chief operating officer at The Truth Network.  TTN dropped BAM from six of its stations, including those in Charlotte and Raleigh. “Hank is as likable a guy as you’ll find,” said Carbone, “but we were not able to go where he was going.”

CRN posted several stories on Hanegraaf’s shocking conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy that can be read here.  Now to Tim Funk’s report:

For nearly three decades, Hank Hanegraaff has been the “Bible Answer Man” to millions of evangelical Christians who tune in to his Charlotte-based radio program with questions – big and small – about Scripture.

“What does the Bible teach about debt?” they ask him. “When is divorce permissible?” And – the question that gets asked the most – “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”

Two months ago, Hanegraaff, whose faith had long been focused on exploring the truth of a book, went through a different kind of religious experience. It was, he says, “one of the premiere moments in my life.”

On Palm Sunday, he and wife Kathy and two of their 12 children were “chrismated,” or confirmed, at St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in southeast Charlotte. During the sacramental rite, a priest anointed them with oil and invoked the Holy Spirit.

And then …

View article →


Ontario passes ‘totalitarian’ bill allowing gov’t to take kids from Christian homes

Lianne Laurence of LifeSiteNews reports what’s happening to parent’s rights in Canada:

Liberals have passed what critics describe as “totalitarian” Bill 89 by a vote of 63 to 23 on the last day before Queen’s Park adjourns for the summer.

Pro-family advocates warn Bill 89 gives the state more power to seize children from families that oppose the LGBTQI and gender ideology agenda, and allows government agencies to effectively ban couples who disagree with that agenda from fostering or adopting children.

Bill 89, or the Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, 2017, repeals and replaces the former Child and Family Services Act that governs child protection services, and adoption and foster care services.

It adds “gender identity” and “gender expression” as factors to be considered “in the best interests of the child.”

View article →


Hollywood Suffers Meltdown Over Paris Climate Move

Todd Starnes, host of Fox News & Commentary, reports that Hollywood’s so-called esteemed ‘scientists’ fear President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord will put us on a “slippery slope to the hothouse.” He writes:

“Today, our planet suffered,” tweeted Leonardo DiCaprio.

President Trump’s decision to withdraw the Paris Climate Accord has sparked widespread hysteria in juice bars and luxury spas across Hollywood.

As a candidate, Trump vowed to “cancel” the Paris climate deal – slamming what he called “draconian climate rules.”

“The Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States,” the president told a gathering Thursday in the Rose Garden.

House Speaker Paul Ryan praised the president’s decision and thanked him for “withdrawing from this bad deal.”

“The Paris climate agreement was simply a raw deal for America,” Ryan said. “Signed by President Obama without Senate ratification, it would have driven up the cost of energy, hitting middle-class and low-income Americans the hardest.”

But some of Hollywood’s most esteemed scientists fear the president’s decision will put the nation on a slippery slope to the hothouse – an apocalyptic future with melting igloos and polar bears unable to put their Coca-Colas on ice.

View article →


Heresy Hunter’s Open letter to Michael Brown…

In letter posted a few days ago, Churchwatch Central (CWC) had a lot to say to Dr. Michael Brown, who is a charismatic, for calling those of us who are involved in online apologetics and discernment ministries “self-appointed heresy hunters.” Actually, what we are is “wolf hunters.” The name fits, as we’re the ones who go after wolves in sheep’s clothing who are savaging the sheep.  Some of those we call out are New Apostolic Reformation self-appointed prophets and apostles who’ve introduced every heresy imaginable into the visible Church. In short, wolf hunters report on anyone who doesn’t hold to the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.

See also Discernment is rooted in maturity in Christ by Mike Ratliff

Wolf hunters fear God, not man; thus, we will often “names names.” One of the names we’ve brought to the attention of the Christian community is prominent apologist Michael Brown (here).  Why?  For sending wolves into sheep pens.  Dr. Brown responded to what some bloggers were reporting about him — and CWC has hit back.

Dear Dr. Brown,

Recently you took aim at Christians and labeled them as, “self-appointed heresy hunters” who “are like a doctor who amputated his patient’s head because the patient needed eye-glasses.” You went as far as to painting them to be “like the hypocrites Jesus spoke of who strained out a gnat yet swallowed a camel.” You’ve unfairly stereotyped them by claiming they are “damning some of God’s children to hell because of a difference over a non-essential doctrine or practice.”

We already know what you think about us with your false accusations and your fallacious arguments as to ignore the claims about you and your theological practices and leanings. Yet you hold to an ideal in hoping “God reveal to them the fullness of His truth and love, and may the discover the fullness of the Spirit’s power.”

Do you sincerely want that desire to come to pass? Then keep supporting your NAR Apostle and Prophet friends. Keep strengthening the “relational structures” of your NAR network and keep promoting a culture of ‘unity’ at the expense of love and truth.

View article →


Featured Blogs


Top Headlines – 6/3-4/2017

Palestinians: Trump embassy decision shows his commitment to peace

Trump’s embassy waiver is another key policy disagreement with Israel

Evangelicals pray for God to give Trump courage to move embassy in the future

Pacific island nation Vanuatu recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Plans Underway for Construction of Third Temple in Jerusalem

Trump team looks to Obama-era West Bank security plan – report

Israeli minister holds rare meet with PA prime minister in West Bank

Israel said ready to give Palestinians extra control in some West Bank areas

Despite PA demands, Israel continues electricity supply to Gaza

Rivlin: Under peace deal, Jews will continue to live in Hebron

Reality drags more East Jerusalem Arabs toward quiet Israeli citizenship

Uproar at Israel Festival opening as culture minister jeered over nudity ban

IDF soldier wounded in stabbing attack at Samaria settlement

‘Kill the Jews’ spelled out in pine cones near Pittsburgh

Why Israel’s Quietest Border Could Face a ‘Massive Eruption’

Beauty amid the chaos: a snapshot of Syrian cities through Instagram

ISIS propaganda agency co-founder killed in Syria airstrike

U.S. hikes ‘combat power’ in Syria, with eye on Iran-backed militia

Turkish military says kills 6 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq

Putin says he’s ready to sell S-400 anti-aircraft system to Turkey

Putin says US anti-missile system in Alaska, S.Korea challenges Russia

US Sanctions 12 Over North Korea Weapons Programs

Taliban using rape, blackmail to recruit young terrorists

Tunisians get jail terms for eating during Ramadan

China bans Ramadan observance in Muslim region

Resorts World Manila attack: Injuries reported at hotel, casino complex in Philippines

Resorts World Manila attack: Suspect found dead, no ‘concrete evidence’ of terrorism, police say

Trump asks Supreme Court to reinstate Muslim travel ban

U.S. Has Admitted 46,371 Refugees So Far in FY 2017; Up 19% in May

‘You’re just there, trapped’: Why one Mexican woman decided to ‘self-deport,’ long before Trump

S&P, Moody’s Downgrade Illinois to Near Junk, Lowest Ever for a U.S. State

Wall Street hits record highs as economy seen accelerating

May’s U.K. Election Gamble Imperiled

‘Axis of love’: Saudi-Russia detente heralds new oil order

Putin denies a Russian state role in U.S. election, but says ‘patriotic’ hackers may have mounted attacks

Investigations focus on ‘unwittingly’ conspirators aiding Russia’s efforts to sabotage U.S. election

Nigel Farage is ‘person of interest’ in FBI investigation into Trump and Russia

Dem senators pressed FBI, Comey to probe Sessions’ contact with Russians

Hillary Clinton claims Trump unleashed ‘dangerous’ levels of hate

Hillary Lacks the Remorse of Conscience

Franken: Clinton should ‘move on’ from election loss

Jim Carrey on Kathy Griffin Controversy: Comedians Are ‘Last Line of Defense’ Against Trump

Kathy Griffin enlists celeb lawyer to respond to ‘bullying from the Trump family she has endured’

Secret Service relaxes marijuana policy in bid to swell ranks

First robotic cop joins Dubai police

Self-driving cars will double as security cameras, says Intel CEO Brian Krzanich

Doughnut delivery by drone in Denver is a peek at the future

About half of all U.S. retail jobs could vanish due to computerization, analysis finds

Video shows maiden flight of cyborg dragonfly

Parents denied access to dead teen’s Facebook account

San Diego faces heightened risk of major earthquakes, studies say

Earthquake swarm in Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Macquarie Island, Australia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Kasiguncu, Indonesia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 25,000ft

Kluchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 20,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 13,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 10,000ft

Massive Big Sur landslide added 13 acres to Central California coast

Antarctica’s Larsen C Iceberg Is on the Brink of Breaking Off

Refugees face ‘acute crisis’ in cyclone-hit Bangladesh

Sri Lanka appeals for help as floods foul water supply

Cape Town cuts back to survive worst drought in 100 years

Trump quits the Paris climate accord, calling it a ‘bad deal’ for the U.S.

Rejecting climate pact, Trump tilts ‘America First’ toward ‘America Alone’

Paris Agreement on climate change: Pence says Trump ‘fighting for American jobs’

‘I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris’

Pittsburgh mayor fires back at Trump: My city will follow Paris agreement

Trump’s climate pullback opens door to Chinese leadership

Incensed Europe to Trump: Climate pact ‘not renegotiable’

Tom Steyer: Trump’s Paris exit a ‘traitorous act of war’

Vatican would see U.S. Paris deal exit as slap in face

Trump urged to retain Paris climate deal by UN chief

Tech firms push Trump to not withdraw from Paris climate agreement

Weather Channel Website Goes Apocalyptic After Trump’s Paris Accord Repeal

Weather Channel sends Trump a message: ‘Still Don’t Care? Proof You Should’

The Left Is Melting Down Over Trump’s Climate Deal Exit

Hollywood suffers melt down over Paris Climate Accord

The 11 Dumbest Reactions to Trump Quitting the Paris Climate Accord

Think Tank Fellow: Paris Accord Is About Redistributing Wealth, Not Climate Change

Commerce Sec’y on Climate Pact: US Was Only Country Making Economic Sacrifice

Obama: Trump administration is joining ‘small handful of nations that reject the future’ with climate pact withdrawal

Single-payer healthcare plan advances in California Senate – without a way to pay its $400-billion tab

Man dies from flesh-eating bacteria after swimming with new tattoo

State urges residents to get vaccinated as number of mumps cases soars

CRISPR gene editing can cause hundreds of unintended mutations

Women’s bacteria thwarted attempt at anti-HIV vaginal gel

CDC says virus-removal technique is safe option for HIV-infected men who want to father children

Oregon transgender man expecting baby with husband

Illinois Forcing Foster Parents to Support Gender Transition or Lose Kids

Franklin Graham Defends Margaret Court After Lesbian Tennis Star Decries Views on Transgenderism as ‘Sick’

United Methodist Megachurch in Mississippi Leaves Denomination Over Homosexuality Debate

McDonald’s to use rainbow fry boxes at restaurants along Capital Pride parade route

Hinn, Oyakhilome to launch 24-hour TV channel, “LoveWorld USA

Word of Faith Fellowship – Prosecutor: Minister ‘directed’ beating of gay congregant

Prophetess Felly Wilson Says – You Can Command Speedier Lines & Lower Prices on Shoes

Trump’s evangelical Zionist Supporters Disappointed About Israel Embassy Decision

Hundreds of young Israeli’s join in Jerusalem ‘SlutWalk’

Trusted 70-Y-O Church Treasurer Sentenced for Thousands She ‘Stole From God’

Pastor, Wife Face Prison After Pleading Guilty to Stealing Thousands From Summer Food Program

Over 100 U.S. Mayors Join Letter Opposing Defunding of Planned Parenthood

Trinity Broadcasting Network trial: Jury to decide whether televangelist Jan Crouch covered up granddaughter’s sexual assault

Mike Ratliff – Struggling with repentance as God reveals to us what we are truly like outside of grace

Leaving the NAR Church: Kelsey’s story

God Is Moving to Unite Catholics and Protestants as Culture Crumbles, Says Peter Kreeft – ...what fellowship hath light with darkness?

UN secretary-general: ‘Denial of Israel’s right to exist is antisemitism’

Jerusalem reunification celebrated at European parliament

State to approve wave of construction in Judea and Samaria

Residents of historic Israeli settlement say they have returned home

Philippines wants new Israeli weapons – not US ‘second-hand’ equipment

Morocco king boycotts Africa summit to avoid Netanyahu

Thom Yorke on Israel boycott pressure: ‘I don’t agree with the cultural ban at all’

UN agency says Iran in compliance of landmark nuclear deal

Watchdog group: UNRWA urging aid for Gaza victims using photo of Syrian girl

U.S. hikes ‘combat power’ in Syria, with eye on Iran-backed militia

Did Trump’s Trip Abroad Add Thousands of Jobs? Maybe in Saudi Arabia

Clash Between Qatar And The Saudis Could Threaten OPEC Deal

Bahrain hackers post threats on foreign minister’s Twitter

Arctic Muslims don’t make light of extreme Ramadan schedule

China bans Ramadan observance in Muslim region

11 killed as girl suicide bombers hit camp in north Cameroon

Manchester Bomber Met With ISIS Unit in Libya, Officials Say

Belgian charged with leadership role in 2015 Paris attacks

Pakistan works to stay off list of terror-friendly nations

German police say rock festival evacuated over ‘terror threat’

Hungary’s leader: Soros’ criticism is ‘declaration of war’

Japan defense minister backs all U.S. options on North Korea, seeks deeper alliance

Mattis: North Korea a ‘clear and present danger’ to world

UN votes to add 15 North Koreans, 4 entities to UN blacklist

Trump officials pressed State Department staffers for plans to lift Russia sanctions: report

DOJ never told Comey of concerns before axing him and now he’s ‘angry,’ sources say

Will Trump block Comey testimony? White House does not know yet

Special counsel on Russia probe to expand scope

Putin: US election hackers could have been from anywhere

Kathy Griffin Reveals Death Threats & Secret Service Probe, Says Trump “Broke Me”

Flashback – Kathy Griffin: ‘Happy to Deliver Beat Down’ to Barron Trump

Forget Trump’s complaints about sanctuary cities. Most communities are actually helping enforce immigration laws.

Germany approves tougher migrant measures

Not So Great: 94,983,000 Americans Not in the Labor Force in May

Almost half of Americans die nearly broke

Global Stocks Ride a Wave of Optimism

Stocks close at all-time highs as Street shrugs off jobs report

Puerto Rico’s Exodus Is Speeding the Island’s Economic Collapse

Cash From America Is Crucial to Venezuela’s Protesters

Shaming ‘Chavistas’: Venezuela activists decry officials’ luxury lifestyles

Giant Swarm of Mysterious Bees Shuts Down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan

To fight crime, Miami-Dade may deploy blanket surveillance from the air

Ex-spy says NSA did mass surveillance during Utah Olympics

‘Miracle Material’ Could Save Smartphone Droppers

Space capsule with 2 astronauts returns to Earth

Two earthquake swarms in Iceland

6.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Attu Station, Alaska

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Madang, Papua New Guinea

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Attu Station, Alaska

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Hirara, Japan

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 26,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 20,000ft

Santa Maria volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Poas volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 11,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 11,000ft

Strong Religious Reaction to Trump Climate Accord Decision

Defying Trump, US states, cities and firms unite behind Paris accord

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein Joins Elon Musk In Condemning Trump’s Paris Accord Exit

UK’s May grilled by voters, urged to confront Trump on Paris

Kremlin says Paris climate deal unworkable without US

Unlike others, Putin doesn’t criticize Trump over decision

Climate deal exposes areas where Israel, Republicans radically depart

Organic foods backed by landmark report – warning pesticides far more dangerous than was thought

Allergy treatment: Scientists claim breakthrough that could lead to cure for all intolerances

Unsafe delivery of measles vaccine kills 15 children in South Sudan

Unicef Fears Yemen Cholera Outbreak Could Hit 300,000 in Coming Weeks

Mumps outbreak declared in LA after dozens of gay men fall ill

Ivanka Trump Slammed for Tweets Congratulating LGBT Community on Pride Month: ‘We’re Sick of Being Used’ as a ‘Prop’

Ireland set for youngest PM, an openly gay son of immigrants

Aussie tennis legend slams US gay ‘lobby’ for arena row

Why a gay law professor is trying to shut down women-only ‘Wonder Woman’ screenings

Illinois Forcing Foster Parents to Support Gender Transition or Lose Kids

Parents Shocked by Adult Drag Queen Performance – at Grade School Talent Show

Trump’s international debacles spell trouble for Israel

Trump Officials Studying Obama’s Security Plan in Case Israeli-Palestinian Peace Push Works

Bill honoring reunification of Jerusalem makes its way through US Senate

American envoy to UN Haley to travel to Israel next week

Nikki Haley: UN must stop wrongly singling out Israel for criticism

Netanyahu heads to West African summit seeking support at UN

The prolonged birth pangs of a Palestinian state

Report says Israel planned atomic detonation in Sinai if Six Day War went wrong

Six Day War Israeli veteran: ‘I saw a miracle’

Fatah official: Western Wall must be under Israeli sovereignty

IDF says false alarm as rocket sirens wail in Tel Aviv

Qatar said to order several Hamas terror chiefs to get out

Mosul battle: ‘Dozens of civilians killed’ fleeing IS-held district

Explosions kill at least 6 attending Kabul funeral

8 Filipino Christians Killed for Refusing to Recite Islamic Creed

Seizing of Philippines city by Islamist militants a wake-up call for Southeast Asia

India says no Islamic State presence on its soil

Several killed, injured in attacks in central London: Van plows into pedestrians, stabbings, shots fired

Police shoot dead three London Bridge terror suspects after rampage

‘They shouted ‘this is for Allah’, as they stabbed indiscriminately’ – How the London terror attack unfolded

UK prime minister says London incident ‘possible act of terrorism’

Police confirm hit-and-run and stabbing attacks are terrorism

London attackers wore fake suicide vests – police

London witnesses describe panic and fear as ‘evil, evil people’ attacked

ISIS Newspaper Days Before London Bridge: New UK Attack ‘Definitely Coming’

General Election disrupted by terrorism for second time within two weeks

UK parties suspend election campaigns after attack

Trump offers help on London attacks, touts need for travel ban

President Trump sends tone-deaf travel ban tweet amid London Bridge terror

French President Offers Refugee Status to U.S. Liberals

New York: Muslims pray, break fast in a protest outside Trump Tower in Ramadan

Jewish activists form protective barrier around Muslims as they protest in front of Trump Tower

Pastor Greg Locke Compares Kathy Griffin to ‘Perverted Whore’ Jezebel for Severed Trump Head Photo

Jeff Bezos: the ‘obsessive’ Amazon founder and world’s next richest man

Retail Wreck? Over 1,000 Stores Close in a Single Week

Toyota-supported flying car hopes to light the Tokyo 2020 Olympic flame

Lindsey Graham: Obama Admin Surveillance May Have ‘Unmasked’ My Conversation

Vladimir Putin Tells Megyn Kelly: U.S. Hackers Could Have Framed Russia

US missile defense test triggers alarm in Russia, China as North Korea issues new warnings

Mattis Urges China to Help Persuade North Korea to Halt Its Weapons Program

Japan holds evacuation drills as North Korea presses on with missile tests

US warns Beijing on South China Sea islands

NASA is launching colorful fake clouds Sunday morning. Here’s how to watch

6.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Balleny Islands region

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Severo-Kuril’sk, Russia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Neiafu, Tonga

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Calama, Chile

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 18,000ft

Karymsky volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 10,000ft

Poas volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 10,000ft

Major flooding engulfs Taiwan as storm unleashes over 1,000 mm of rain

Starting hurricane season without leaders of NOAA and FEMA should ‘scare the h*** out of everybody’

Nancy Pelosi: Trump Pulling US From Climate Pact a ‘Dishonor’ to God

Iran says Trump’s climate pact withdrawal will isolate US

The Corrupt Climate Deal is all about Wealth Redistribution, Not the Environment

Small Businesses Cheer ‘New Sheriff in Town’ After Climate Pact Exit

Every Bad Thing We Will Avoid By Rejecting the Paris Climate Accords

Obama Unwittingly Handed Trump a Weapon to Cripple the Health Law

Boy ‘Identifying’ as Girl Swamps Opponents in Connecticut High School Track Meet

13-Y-O Girl Kills Herself After Christian Parents Allow Her to Live as Transgender Boy

‘Strength in numbers’: 12,000 Mormon youths celebrate temple rededication

Ministry Leader on Death’s Door Discovers Power of Jeremiah 17:14

Posted: 03 Jun 2017 05:50 PM PDT

(By Mark Ellis) Carol Waisanen gave a talk at her church about “Facing Your Giants” on May 7th. She and her husband, Don, share pastoral duties…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Almost half of Americans die nearly broke

Posted: 03 Jun 2017 05:40 PM PDT

In a recent GoBankingRates study, 69% of adults admitted to having less than $1,000 in the bank, while 34% said they actually don’t have any…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pelosi says Trump ‘Dishonoring’ God in global warming decision

Posted: 03 Jun 2017 05:23 PM PDT

Rep. Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that President Trump was “dishonoring” God and questioned whether his grandchildren will even be able to breathe air after his…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US missile interceptor system won’t stop N. Korean ‘shower of nuclear strike’

Posted: 03 Jun 2017 05:15 PM PDT

Pyongyang condemned the successful US ballistic missile interceptor test from earlier this week as a “risky move” which “will only bring earlier the day when…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: London Under Attack at ‘FIVE’ locations in the Capital

Posted: 03 Jun 2017 05:07 PM PDT

Jihadi terrorists shouting ‘this is for Allah’ have reportedly killed seven people after stabbing revellers with 12-inch hunting knives after mowing down up to 20 people with…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

U.S. hits North Korea military and suppliers with economic sanctions

Posted: 03 Jun 2017 11:28 AM PDT

As it struggles for ways to thwart North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, the Trump administration Thursday slapped additional economic sanctions on Pyonyang’s military, coal suppliers and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Judges Rules Michigan Township Can “Ban” Christian School From Moving In

Posted: 03 Jun 2017 11:17 AM PDT

A panel of a U.S. Court of Appeals said Friday that a Michigan Township can forbid a Christian school from moving into its city. First…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Military mother told to remove American flag from her own apartment

Posted: 03 Jun 2017 11:09 AM PDT

(Reported By Todd Starnes) A Kansas City woman was ordered to remove an American flag that was flying from the balcony of her apartment. “Problem:…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

BIRTH PANGS: Seismic Unrest Continues to Reel the United States

Posted: 03 Jun 2017 11:04 AM PDT

The United States continues to reel with a series of earthquakes from Alaska to Georgia. Within the last 12 hours, 11 earthquakes have struck Yellowstone,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

UPDATE: Christian Business Sues Michigan City for Banning Them From Farmers’ Market for Opposing Same-Sex Marriage

Posted: 03 Jun 2017 10:48 AM PDT

A Michigan city is being sued for banning a Christian family’s business from a local farmers’ market because they refuse to host same-sex weddings on…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

8 Filipino Christians Killed for Refusing to Recite Islamic Creed

Posted: 03 Jun 2017 10:44 AM PDT

According to the Christian persecution monitoring website Morning Star News, eight Christians who were among the 19 killed when the IS-aligned Maute Group stormed the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mcdonald’s Rolls Out Rainbow Fry Boxes in Support of “Gay Pride”

Posted: 03 Jun 2017 10:40 AM PDT

Three McDonald’s restaurants along the route of the Capital Pride Parade, an event expressing pride in the sin of homosexuality, will use rainbow french fry…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Strong Magnitude 6.9 Earthquake Strikes Alaska!

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 04:37 PM PDT

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.9 has struck the Bering Sea between American and Russian islands, seismologists say. No tsunami warnings have…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Students Arrested for Handing Out U.S. Constitution on School Campus

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 02:22 PM PDT

Students in Michigan are suing their school after being arrested for handing out copies of the Constitution. Last September, several members of the Young Americans…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New Study Says Regular Church Attendance will Increase Longevity

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 02:11 PM PDT

New research says worship services might be just what the doctor ordered.   A recent study by Vanderbilt University Professor Marino Bruce has found that people who attend religious services…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Artificial Intelligence Can Predict Lifespan of Patients By ‘Looking’ At Organs

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 02:00 PM PDT

Scientists from the University of Adelaide have created an artificial intelligence (AI) program that can predict a person’s lifespan just by looking at images of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Parents Shocked by Adult Drag Queen Performance— at Grade School Talent Show

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 01:48 PM PDT

(Reported By Todd Starnes) What in the name of Ru Paul is wrong with the New York City Board of Education?  Parents are furious after…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

‘Apocalypse Degree’ Gaining Steam as Signs of the End Times Manifest All Around Us

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 01:39 PM PDT

(By Dr. Jack Nelson) This first-ever end-times seminary degree program by Luder Wycliffe Theological Seminary, has started a wildfire of interest around the globe. In…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

6th Circuit Appeals Court Panel: Banning Religious Schools Not a ‘Substantial Burden’ on Religious Liberty

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 01:34 PM PDT

According to a three-judge panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, if a jurisdiction decides to ban religious schools from locating within them,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mumps outbreak declared in LA after dozens of gay men fall ill…

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 01:30 PM PDT

More than 40 people in Los Angeles County and surrounding regions have been diagnosed with mumps, prompting public health officials Thursday to declare an outbreak…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Ireland set to have first Gay Prime Minister

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 01:20 PM PDT

Leo Varadkar is set to become the Republic of Ireland’s next taoiseach (prime minister) after winning the leadership of the Fine Gael party. The 38-year-old…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Scientists May have Created Solution to Eliminate ALL allergies…

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 01:16 PM PDT

Scientists in Australia claim to have discovered what could be a life-long cure for potentially fatal allergies to peanuts, shellfish and other food.  The researchers…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Tuna Sold In Texas May Be Tainted With Hepatitis A

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 01:05 PM PDT

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention are investigating foreign seafood providers that have shipped tuna to the Texas…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Google faces $9 Billion fine for rigging search results…

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 08:36 AM PDT

EU antitrust regulators aim to slap a hefty fine on Alphabet unit Google over its shopping service before the summer break in August, two people familiar…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Massive Crack in Antarctic Ice Shelf Grows 11 Miles in 6 Days

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 08:21 AM PDT

In the six days before President Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, an enormous crack in an Antarctic…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pastor calls Ky Governor’s plan to combat violence an “embarrassment to Christianity”

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 08:02 AM PDT

Gov. Matt Bevin’s highly anticipated plan to combat gun violence largely fell flat Thursday morning during a volatile public meeting at Western Middle School ….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

United Methodist Megachurch in Mississippi Leaves Denomination Over Homosexuality Debate

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 06:57 AM PDT

A large Mississippi congregation has opted to leave the United Methodist Church over the Mainline denomination’s divisive debate over its position on homosexuality.  The Orchard,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Illinois Forcing Foster Parents to Support Gender Transition or Lose Kids

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 06:48 AM PDT

The state of Illinois’ social services policies now bar social workers from employment and foster families from caring for children if they refuse to facilitate…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

End-Times Pastor Breaks Down Why He Believes the Manchester Terror Attack is Evidence We’re ‘Living in Prophetic Days’

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 06:43 AM PDT

Pastor and author Phil Hotsenpiller believes that many of the modern-day atrocities involving terrorism, shootings and other acts of violence have a direct tie to biblical…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Earthquake swarm continues at Taupo Volcanic Zone, NZ with more than 2339 quakes

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 06:34 AM PDT

This monthlong swarm of earthquakes has been ongoing since 13 February and consists of three major pulses of activity, with about 20 days between them…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Tropical Storm “Beatriz” to make landfall over Oaxaca, Mexico

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 06:22 AM PDT

Tropical Storm Beatriz made landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast with the threats of more heavy rain, flash flooding and mudslides, which will continue through Friday. The center of Beatriz…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Signs Emerging of Major Stock Markets On Verge of Imploding

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 06:17 AM PDT

Stock markets in Britain and the US have once again hit record highs this week, but experts have warned this could be the calm before…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Trump Is The Number One Topic On The Agenda Of The Bilderberg Group This Year

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 06:10 AM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) The Bilderberg Group conference is being held less than 30 miles from the White House, and the number one subject on…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

3,500 U.S. troops to deploy to South Korea as part of force rotation

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 06:07 AM PDT

A U.S. Army brigade with some 3,500 troops will deploy to South Korea this summer as part of a regular rotation of forces, the Department…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Key Founding Fathers are being erased from U.S. history books

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 06:01 AM PDT

Some of the most important names associated with the push for limited government at America’s founding have been shoved out of history, contends Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Trump administration approves tougher visa vetting, including social media checks

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 05:57 AM PDT

The Trump administration has rolled out a new questionnaire for U.S. visa applicants worldwide that asks for social media handles for the last five years…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

12 Signs The Economic Slowdown The Experts Have Been Warning About Is Now Here

Posted: 02 Jun 2017 05:52 AM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) Since the election there has been this perception among the American public that the economy is improving, but that has not…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

President Donald Trump Being Accused of Backtracking on a Major Campaign Promise Involving Israel

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 07:39 PM PDT

President Donald Trump has — at least for now — backtracked on his campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from its current…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

San Diego faces heightened risk of major earthquakes…

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 07:35 PM PDT

New research released this week found that a fault under the heart of San Diego can produce stronger and more frequent earthquakes than previously thought….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

This Group of Persecuted Believers Is Refusing to Compromise the Gospel

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 07:27 PM PDT

(By Dr. Rutland) Last week I was in Washington, D.C., at the invitation of International Christian Concern to speak at their one-day Summit Conference. Though…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Trump to Remove Obama-Era Bans on Birth-Control Exemption

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 07:22 PM PDT

The Trump administration is considering taking steps to broaden the Obamacare limits on claiming a religious or moral exemption from providing health insurance that covers birth control,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Attendance Drops at Disney Parks Worldwide…

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 07:07 PM PDT

In a rare slowdown in one of the hottest areas of the entertainment business, attendance declined at 13 of 14 Disney theme parks around the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

S&P, MOODY’S Downgrade Illinois to Near Junk, Lowest Ever for U.S. State…

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 07:04 PM PDT

Illinois had its bond rating downgraded to one step above junk by Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings, the lowest ranking on record for…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pittsburgh mayor fires back at Trump, Warns City will follow Paris agreement…

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 06:58 PM PDT

The mayor of Pittsburgh fired back at President Trump Thursday for his use of the city in rationalizing withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, saying…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

When it looks GOOD but it’s not of GOD!

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 01:37 PM PDT

(By Ricky Scaparo) In this segment we will show you how many times in our lives we will be faced with major decisions regarding finances,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

City Warns Michigan Farmer’s Market Of Selling Blueberries Unless It Affirms “Gay Marriage”

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 11:46 AM PDT

(Reported By Todd Starnes) The Tennes family has been farming in Michigan for generations. They grow all sorts of crops at the Country Mill Farm—organic apples,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Gunfire and explosions heard outside Resorts World Manila, Philippines

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 11:08 AM PDT

SWAT teams and fire brigades have surrounded the large Resorts World Manila complex, located next to the Philippine capital’s international airport, after reports of gunfire…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Miles of Antarctic ice collapsing into the sea

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 11:03 AM PDT

The acceleration is making some scientists fear that Antarctica’s ice sheet may have entered the early stages of an unstoppable disintegration. Because the collapse of vulnerable parts…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Worst drought in over a century strikes Cape Town, South Africa

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 10:57 AM PDT

Cape Town, South Africa’s seat of Parliament and the legislative capital, is enduring its worst drought in over a century and severe water crisis. This…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

U.S. Missile Intercept a Success. Now What?

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 10:52 AM PDT

Defense officials are taking a victory lap after successfully shooting down a mock ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean this week. It was the first…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Scientists warn of mass extinction compared to death of dinosaurs

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 10:47 AM PDT

Human activity is said to be leading to the world’s sixth mass extinction with tens of thousands of species set to perish in the coming…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Scientists create Black Hole inside lab using world’s strongest ever laser

Posted: 01 Jun 2017 10:42 AM PDT

Scientists have successfully created a black hole in a laboratory by using the world’s most powerful X-ray laser.  The groundbreaking research can be used to take…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn’t decide or didn’t care. But Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today don’t understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They’re content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That’s why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!

JESUS IS HOLY

God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13).

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy (Hebrews 4:15). Even His enemies couldn’t prove any accusation against Him (John 8:46)

God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

Our failure to obey God—to be holy—places us in danger of eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible calls our rebellion “sin.” According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: “Christ … died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He alone is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

Some people think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless

If you take poison—thinking it’s medicine—all the faith in the world won’t restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you’re trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God—then and forever.

JESUS IS LORD

Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection—the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son (Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That doesn’t mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge.

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you—free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?


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The Truth About Islam Revisited

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

Over two years ago, I wrote an article about Islam.  I am bringing this article out again with updates. I am sick to death of hearing that our fight is not against Islam. It most certainly is against this barbaric and satanic “religion of peace.”  To give Islam a name which includes “peace” is ludicrous.  It is the religion of hatred and death and domination.

Main Stream Media

The Left will go to their graves defending Islam.  I have racked my brain as to why liberals defend and seem to love Islam, when they see the horrific attacks and trail of death left by these people. The only thing I can come up with is that the Fundamentalist Muslims hate America. And so do the liberal Left. This is their bond.

From thereligionofpeace.com

Why Islamic Terrorists Commit Attacks
– In Their Own Words

“I am one of the servants of…

View original post 1,653 more words

5 Warnings to Those Who Merely Pretend To Be Godly

“God hates hypocrisy and hypocrites (as I’ve written here) because hypocrisy misuses religion, taking advantage of its laws and decrees for self-advancement ... The hypocrite wants religion — even the Christian faith — only for the advantages he gains from it.”

There is in each of us a dangerous temptation toward hypocrisy, to be one thing but to pretend to be another. There are many within the church who are hypocrites, people who claim to be Christians but who are, in fact, unbelievers attempting to convince others (and perhaps themselves) that they are followers of Jesus Christ. They are people who do not practice true virtue but who instead offer counterfeit versions of it. Jude compares them to clouds without water in that they seem to be full of the Spirit but are actually devoid of true goodness.

Here are five solemn warnings to those who only pretend to be godly:

Hypocrisy angers God. God hates hypocrisy and hypocrites (as I’ve written here) because hypocrisy misuses religion, taking advantage of its laws and decrees for self-advancement. The hypocrite wants religion—even the Christian faith—only for the advantages he gains from it. He fails to truly turn his heart to God and do good to God’s people. He carries Christ in his Bible, but not in his heart. He serves the devil while wearing the uniform of Christ. He will be condemned by God.

Hypocrisy is self-delusion. Many hypocrites deceive themselves, thinking that their hypocritical deeds are evidence of true godliness or, even worse, that they have the ability to merit God’s favor. The person who collects counterfeit money harms no one more than himself. The person who piles up counterfeit godliness does the greatest damage to his own soul. “The hypocrite deceives others while he lives, but deceives himself when he dies.”

Hypocrisy is offensive to God and man. Unbelievers hate the hypocrite because he makes himself appear godly; God hates him because he merely looks godly. Unbelievers are deceived by his veneer of godliness and hate him for it; God sees through that veneer and hates him for having no more than that. The hypocrite loses on all accounts because he becomes the enemy of unbelievers and of God. “The wicked hate the hypocrite because he is almost a Christian, and God hates him because he is only almost.”

Read More

The post 5 Warnings to Those Who Merely Pretend To Be Godly appeared first on The Aquila Report.

The First Great Theological Battle in the History of the Church

In his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul sought to correct a church that had lost the heart of the gospel. Dr. Grant Osborne calls this letter “the first great theological battle in the history of the church.” At the core of the disagreement was the place of traditional Jewish religious practices for Gentle converts to Christianity. The Jewish Christians of the Galatian churches believed that Gentles had to become Jews—be circumcised and submit to the Mosaic law—before they could be saved. These Judaizers were convinced that the law was still the heart of the gospel, rather than Jesus’ actions on the cross.

The modern church continues to struggle with the temptation of works-based salvation. Osborne recognizes this challenge facing Christians today and addresses it directly in Galatians Verse by Verse. In this excerpt, Osborne reveals core theme of Galatians and applies it to our lives today.

The core of this letter is the stability of the true Christian gospel. In fact, Paul defines the gospel in Galatians 3:1–4:11. Paul proves that the Judaizers’ attempt to replace the cross with circumcision and the law constitutes heresy. It is anathema to the gospel, which centers on salvation by grace through faith. When salvation in Christ is claimed to be attainable by works rather than by faith, the gospel is not merely threatened but destroyed. Jesus brought about a fundamental change in God’s economy of salvation by inaugurating the switch from the old covenant age of the law to the new covenant age of salvation in Christ. On the basis of Jesus’ willingly allowing himself to be placed on the cross and bearing our sins as our substitute, God declares us innocent, forgiven, and righteous in his sight. If we could earn this right standing with God by keeping the law or doing good works, Jesus’ death would be worth nothing (Gal 2:21).

Works righteousness keeps sneaking to the forefront in too many churches, leading them to replace the gospel with good works and do away with evangelism in favor of social concern and fellowship. These external issues must never be allowed to supplant the internal reality of faith in Christ as the core of everything we are and do. The unequivocal and unmistakable message of Galatians lies at the epicenter of the Christian faith: We are all sinners saved only by faith in the Christ who became the substitute for us and bore our sins on the cross. The works-oriented salvation of Paul’s Judaizer opponents was heresy, and to follow it constituted apostasy. In our day, we must be carefully attuned to so-called Christian movements that in reality depart from the clear gospel message and deeply endanger the church.

Our purpose is simple yet profound: We are to keep the cross central and maintain a lifestyle that is “crucified to the world”—that considers itself dead to the world’s values and goals. We are part of a “new creation,” no longer pursuing self-centered goals and sacrificing eternal realities for the fleeting pleasures of this life. We also seek a balanced life, enjoying the world in which God has placed us while centering on God, the Giver. Our goal must be to live for God’s mercy and within God’s peace.

* * *

Galatians Verse by Verse is the next volume in the Osborne New Testament Commentaries. Pre-order it today!

The post The First Great Theological Battle in the History of the Church appeared first on LogosTalk.

Six Marks of Regeneration

It is very unfashionable these days—not only in the world, but also within the church—to engage in anything resembling judgment. It is particularly unpopular to form opinions of the spiritual state of others. Doubting the profession of anyone who claims to be a Christian is simply not kosher. Yet we are given instructions such as “Do not be bound together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14), which we can hardly obey without—[gasp!]—judging.

Far more importantly, we must judge ourselves (2 Corinthians 6:5). To that end, J. C. Ryle offers “six great marks of regeneration,” laid down in Scripture

(1) First of all, St John says, ‘Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin’, and again, ‘Whosoever is born of God sinneth not’ (1 John 3:9; 5:18).

A regenerate man does not commit sin as a habit. He no longer sins with his heart and will, and whole inclination, as an unregenerate man does. There was probably a time when he did not think whether his actions were sinful or not, and never felt grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin;—they were friends. Now he hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, counts it his greatest plague, groans under the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be delivered from it altogether. . . .

(2) Secondly, St John says, ‘whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God’ (1 John 5:1).

A regenerate man believes that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour by whom his soul can be pardoned and justified, that He is the Divine Person appointed and anointed by God the Father for this very purpose, and that beside him there is No Saviour at all. In himself he sees nothing but unworthiness, but in Christ he sees ground for the fullest confidence, and trusting in him he believes that his sins are all forgiven, and his iniquities all put away. He believes that for the sake of Christ’s finished work and death upon the cross he is reckoned righteous in God’s sight, and may look forward to death and judgment without alarm. He may have his fears and doubts. . . . [But] he would say he found a preciousness in Christ, a suitableness to his own soul in Christ, that he found nowhere else, and that he must cling to Him.

(3) Thirdly, St John says, ‘Everyone that doeth righteousness is born of [God]’ (1 John 2:29).

The regenerate man is a holy man. He endeavours to live according to God’s will, to do the things that please God, to avoid the things that God hates. His aim and desire is to love God with heart, and soul, and mind, and strength, and to love his neighbour as himself. . . . No doubt he is not perfect. None will tell you that sooner than himself. He groans under the burden of indwelling corruption cleaving to him. He finds an evil principle within him constantly warring against grace, and trying to draw him away from God. But he does not consent to it, though he cannot prevent its presence. In spite of all short-comings, the average bent and bias of his way is holy,—his doings holy,—his tastes holy,—and his habits holy. . . .

(4) Fourthly, St John says, ‘We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren’ (1 John 3:14).

A regenerate man has a special love for all true disciples of Christ. Like his Father in heaven, he loves all men with a great general love, but he has a special love for them who are of one mind with himself. Like his Lord and Saviour, he loves the worst of sinners, and could weep over them; but he has a peculiar love for those who are believers. . . . They are Jesus Christ’s people: they are His Father’s sons and daughters. Then he cannot help loving them.

(5) Fifthly, St John says, ‘Whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world.’ (1 John 5:4).

A regenerate man does not make the world’s opinion his rule, of right and wrong. He does not mind going against the stream of the world’s ways, notions, and customs. ‘What will men say?’ is no longer a turning point with him. He overcomes the love of the world. . . . He overcomes the fear of the world. He is content to do many things which all around him think unnecessary, to say the least. They blame him: it does not move him. They ridicule him: he does not give way. He loves the praise of God more than the praise of man. . . .

(6) Sixthly, St John says, ‘He that is begotten of God keepeth himself’ (1 John 5:18).

A regenerate man is very careful of his own soul. He endeavours not only to keep clear of sin, but also to keep clear of everything which may lead to it. He is careful about the company he keeps. He feels that evil communications corrupt the heart, and that evil is far more catching than good, just as disease is more infectious than health. . . . He finds by experience that his soul is ever among enemies, and he studies to be a watchful, humble, prayerful man.

. . .

I know there is a vast difference in the depth and distinctness of these marks among those who are ‘regenerate’. In some people they are faint, dim, feeble, and hardly to be discerned. Yon almost need a microscope to make them out. In others they are bold, sharp, clear, plain, and unmistakable, so that he who runs may read them. Some of these marks are more visible in some people, and others are more visible in others. It seldom happens that all are equally manifest in one and the same soul. All this I am quite ready to allow.

But still, after every allowance, here we find boldly painted the six marks of being born of God. . . .

Now what shall we say to these things? What they can say who hold that Regeneration is only an admission to outward Church privileges, I am sure I do not know. For myself, I say boldly, I can only come to one conclusion. That conclusion is, that those persons only are ‘regenerate’ who have these six marks about them, and that all men and women who have not these marks are not ‘regenerate’, are not born again. And I firmly believe that this is the conclusion to which the Apostle wished us to come.

—J. C. Ryle, Knots Untied (Banner of Truth, 2016), 138–144.

Source: Six Marks of Regeneration

Where Grieving People Can Find Hope Today

Video Notes:

What in the world could a person call to mind – when their soul has no peace, when they have forgotten what happiness is, when their endurance has perished, and their hope is gone – that would make it possible to say, “This I call to mind and therefore I have hope”?

Here it is: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).



One member of our grief group said that the early days of her grief after her son was killed in a terrible accident were like being in a pit. She felt that she was sinking. She could feel herself going down. How could she get out?

She said, “I learned to thank God for the smallest things. I thanked him that the sky was blue and that the sun was shining. If I heard a bird sing, I would say, ‘Thank you, Lord.’ Every time I thanked God for something, it was as if I was taking another tiny step toward climbing out of the pit.”

The focus of hope for the person in the depth of sorrow, trying to put life together in the ruins and rubble of loss, is not the hope of God’s ultimate purpose, wonderful and glorious though that is.

The focus of that hope is God’s immediate presence. God’s mercies are new every morning. Your Redeemer is faithful. He is true. He is with you. He is for you and he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). 

Taken from Pastor Colin’s sermon “Hope and Healing.”

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Feasting on the Word of God

Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:13-17

Code: B170531

Christians should earnestly desire to grow. If we aren’t becoming more like Christ, we’re defying what Scripture plainly teaches about the Christian walk: “For those whom [God] foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).

Christian growth involves transformation from our old way of life into a new and upward Christlike trajectory of change—increasing strength and effectiveness as servants of Christ. That’s exactly what Paul describes in Romans 12:2 when he says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

And yet, as every Christian well knows, the old mind is still there with its habits of self-preoccupation, cravings for sensation, vain imaginations, and its appetite for what is cheap and gross. The old mind is the culprit that keeps us going back to the spiritual junk food. The old mind is the subtle enemy that keeps us feeding only on milk when we should be going on to meat. The old mind is what keeps us from being transformed and more committed to Christ and His Word. Many believers find themselves in a seeming holding pattern as they struggle with the besetting sins of their former lives. That’s because the key to breaking the cycle is often hidden right under our noses.

Lifting the Veil

Paul gives a beautiful explanation in 2 Corinthians 3:13–18. As he describes the glories of the new covenant that Christians have with God, he goes back to the time of Moses and the Israelites. At one point, after being in God’s presence, Moses’ face shone with such brilliant glory that he had to put a veil over it in order not to blind his people. But as glorious as Moses’ ministry of the law to the Israelites was, Paul says that it does not compare with the surpassing glory of the gospel of Christ and the new covenant that He installed with His death and resurrection (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:7–11).

And Paul adds that since we have such a wonderful hope in Christ, we can be very bold.

[We] are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted. (2 Corinthians 3:13–14)

What Paul is simply saying here is that the Jews of his day who didn’t know Christ remained with their minds veiled. They could not see the Lord because the veil of the old covenant—the Law—stood in the way. Paul says that the veil,

Remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:14–17)

And then Paul comes to the thought that I am most concerned with: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). So Paul tells us that we can be changed into the image and glory of the Lord. It is very simple, he says. We don’t change ourselves. We just stand staring into the face of Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God does the transforming for us!

The Solitary Source

But you may feel there is just one hitch. You may be saying, “If I’m supposed to look on the glory of the Lord, where do I find it to look upon?” And, of course, the answer to that is in God’s Word.

If you keep learning and beholding the glory of God in His Word, the Spirit of God will transform you into the image of Jesus Christ. It is just that simple (and just that difficult). So many Christians are seeking some shortcut to growth—naming and claiming their victory; watching Christian television; having the hands of “anointed prophets” laid on them. But the shortcut simply doesn’t exist.

The greatest thing that ever happened in my life, next to my salvation, was the day I learned to study and feed on God’s Word. I find that the longer, the more intensely, and the more devotedly I look into the glory of Jesus Christ through the pages of Scripture, the more the Spirit of God changes my life into the image of Christ. There are no shortcuts. If I am to grow, to mature, and to finally be transformed, I must feed on the Word of God!

The Growing Christian

Lack of growth is a sad thing to see in anyone or anything. It is especially tragic in Christians. And unfortunately too many believers don’t seem to be growing in their faith. The major cause is always a failure to be feeding on God’s Word.

In 1 Peter 1:23–2:3, the great apostle compares God’s Word to two things that are vital for life and growth: an imperishable seed and the milk of the Word. As Christ taught in His parable of the sower, God’s Word is like a seed that brings about the new birth. Just as a seed contains the power and energy of life, so too does God’s Word.

Before the Christian can get the most from feeding on God’s Word, he needs to get rid of the toxins that are still present in his life because of the lingering old nature. Peter describes these poisons as the evils of worldly malice, the guile of deceitfulness, the phoniness of hypocrisy, the self-centeredness of envy, and the slander of gossip. If we want to watch our diet, we should start with the sincere milk of the Word of God, and we are guaranteed to grow.

Our goal is to become fully mature and Christlike through feeding on the more solid food to be found in Scripture. The prophet Jeremiah described that process beautifully in Jeremiah 15:16: “Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.”

 

(Adapted from Why Believe the Bible.)


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How Intellectual Christians Can Fit in with the Evangelical Church

Reflections

man-in-church-alone

“It is man’s glory to be the only intellectual animal on earth. That imposes upon human beings the moral obligation to lead intellectual lives.”1

—Mortimer J. Adler

The first article I wrote on the subject of intellectuals in the church received so much attention on social media that I decided to follow up with a second. All of the positive comments and the flurry of likes and shares made me realize that I touched a nerve. I’m convinced that it is common for intellectually oriented Christians to experience difficulty “fitting in” with their local evangelical church.

Two common church-related factors create the problem.

First, the importance of the life of the mind often receives short shrift in many evangelical churches. The church often serves as a hospital, an aid station, a counseling center, a concert hall, or a sports stadium—all good and important things, of course—but the church must…

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How to Encourage Intellectual Christians in the Evangelical Church

Reflections

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“The church is always more than a school. . . . But the church cannot be less than a school.”

— Jaroslav Pelikan, Yale historical theologian1

Being an idea-oriented, bookish, and cerebral-type of Christian can have its challenges. Often times, intellectually inclined believers find it hard to fit into their local evangelical church.2 This difficulty usually arises because the life of the mind is not often identified as a high church priority. So, unfortunately too many churches within the broad sweep of evangelicalism are, to use Pelikan’s words, “less than a school.”

Parts of the evangelical theological tradition have struggled with the idea that the intense pursuit of the life of the mind is somehow at odds with Christian spirituality.3 Worse still, some congregations even exhibit anti-intellectualism, especially in their understanding of the critical relationship between faith and reason.

Welcoming Intellectuals

Thinkers often feel out of place…

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June 4, 2017: Verse of the day

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God’s Interest in Humankind (8:3–4)

3 The Creator has established two spheres of rule—heaven and earth. He has established the celestial bodies in the firmament and has given them the rule over day and night (Ge 1:17–18), whereas he appointed human beings to govern the earth (Ge 1:28). The psalmist reflects on the grandeur of space with the moon and stars. How space reveals the glory, wisdom, and power of the Great King (cf. 89:11; Job 36:29; 38:33; Isa 40:26)! The heavenly bodies all have their appointed place. They are his “work” (maʿaśēh, “act”). The reading “work” is preferable to “works” (BHS). A number of Hebrew MSS and CD support the singular form. The “fingers” of God express in a sensitive manner his care as a sculptor. Craigie, 108, comments, “In contrast to God, the heavens are tiny, pushed and prodded into shape by the divine digits; but in contrast to the heavens, which seem so vast in the human perception, it is mankind that is tiny.”

4 In relation to the vastness of space, the order and the importance of the heavenly bodies, what is humanity? Why did God invest his human creatures with glory? Why does God uniquely care for them? The questions are poetic devices to evoke a sense of awe and set a proper perspective on the self-worth of human beings. Inasmuch as God gave shape to the heavenly bodies with his fingers, why should he concern himself with humans? The word “man” (ʾenôš) is a poetic word for human beings in their frail existence (9:20; 90:3; 103:15), whereas the idiom “son of man” (cf. 80:17; 144:3) is contrasted with “God” (v. 5a; NIV text note, “heavenly beings”). Humans are by nature “earthlings,” and yet they are the particular objects of God’s attention. The God who gave shape to heaven with his fingers continues to focus his attention on human beings. This is brought out by Rui De Menezes, “From Dust to Glory—the Anthropology of the Psalms,” Jeev 16 (1986): 105–20.

Compositionally, the choice of words for the ideal human (man …, the son of man; ʾenôš …, ben ʾādām) links with the development of the argument on the nature of humanity in Psalms 8–11. The ideal human is endowed with glory and with the power to rule over God’s creation. The word ʾenôš is used in 9:19, 20 and 10:18 for oppressive mortals. God’s examination of human beings (benê ʾādām, 11:4; 14:2) concludes that humans are corrupt (11:5), do not seek him, and are thoroughly degenerate (14:3; cf. v. 1). Reading Psalm 8 in relation to Psalms 9–14 gives a hopeless portrayal. There is no inherent hope in humanity. Yet these psalms encourage hope in the ideal human, by whom God will bring about his kingdom (see also Psalms 11 and 14).

The Creator has invested glory and honor on humanity. The verbs “mindful” (zākar, GK 2349, “remember”) and “care for” (pāqad, GK 7212; lit., “visit”) convey the care of God, who remembers positively by acting in behalf of humans. Instead of “visiting” them with judgment, as their sin deserves, God’s goodness extends to all creatures in his care (Mt 5:45). According to Brevard Childs (Memory and Tradition in Israel [Naperville, Ill.: Allenson, 1962], 33–34), God’s fatherly compassion motivates him to be continually concerned with humankind. He has not forgotten human beings (cf. Ge 9:8–17). The imperfect aspect of the verbs supports the continuity of God’s care (cf. 144:3; Job 7:17; 14:3).[1]


8:3 No branch of science proclaims God’s greatness and man’s insignificance more eloquently than astronomy. The simple fact that distances must be reckoned in light-years (the distance that light travels in a year) illustrates the point. Light travels 186,000 miles per second, and there are 31.5 million seconds in a year, so light travels roughly six trillion miles in a single year! Yet some stars are billions of light-years from the earth. No wonder we call such computation astronomical.

To gaze into the heavens at night should give us great thoughts about God. The moon and the stars are the work of His fingers! When we think of the numberless myriads of stars, of the vast distances in the universe, and of the power that holds the planets in orbit with mathematical precision, it boggles the mind.

8:4 Relatively speaking, the planet earth is a speck of dust in the universe. If this is so, what is a single man perched upon this planet? Yet God is interested in every individual! He has a personal, intimate concern for every human being.[2]


[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, pp. 139–140). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 557). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

June 4 – Being Slow to Speak

“Let every one be … slow to speak” (James 1:19).

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Don’t rush into the role of a Bible teacher.

It is reported that when the Scottish Reformer John Knox was called to preach, he shed many tears and withdrew to the privacy of his room. He was grieved and greatly troubled at the prospect of such an awesome responsibility. Only the compelling grace of the Holy Spirit Himself enabled Knox to fulfill his calling.

John Knox understood the importance of being “slow to speak.” He knew that God holds teachers of the Word accountable for what they say and will dispense a stricter judgment to them if they violate their ministry (James 3:1–2).

In one sense, God holds everyone accountable for what they say. You are to “let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29). But being “slow to speak” doesn’t refer to vocabulary or opinions. It refers to teaching the Word. You are to pursue every opportunity to hear God’s Word but must exercise reluctance in assuming the role of a teacher. Why? Because the tongue reveals the subtle sins of one’s heart and easily offends others (James 3:2).

Does that mean you should never teach the Bible? No, because God commands every believer to “make disciples … teaching them to observe all” that Jesus taught (Matt. 28:19–20, emphasis added). And the Spirit gifts many believers to be preachers and teachers of the Word. Paul said, “I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16).

You must take every opportunity to share the gospel with others; and if God has called and gifted you to teach the Word, be faithful to do so. But remember, those are serious and sacred responsibilities. Be sure your motives are pure and your teaching accurate. If someone is offended, let it be by the convicting power of the Word, not by something you said at an unguarded moment.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask the Lord to teach you to guard your tongue and to speak only what is edifying to others.

For Further Study: Read Proverbs 10:19, 13:3, 17:28, and 29:20, noting what each verse teaches about wise speech.[1]


1:19a The rest of this chapter gives practical instructions as to how we can be firstfruits of His creatures. It sets forth the practical righteousness which should characterize those who have been born again by the Word of Truth. We know that we were begotten by the word in order to manifest the truth of God. So then, let us now discharge our responsibility.

We should be swift to hear. This is an unusual command, with almost a trace of humor in it. It’s like saying, “Hurry up and hear!” It means that we should be ready to hear the word of God, as well as all godly counsel and admonition. We should be teachable by the Holy Spirit. We should be slow to speak. It is surprising how much James has to say about our speech! He cautions us to be guarded in our conversation. Even nature itself teaches us this. Epictetus noticed so long ago: “Nature has given to man one tongue, but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.” Solomon would have agreed heartily with James. He once said, “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction” (Prov. 13:3). He also said, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Prov. 10:19). Compulsive talkers eventually transgress.

1:19b, 20 We should be slow to wrath. A man who is quick-tempered does not produce the kind of righteousness which God expects from His children. Those who lose their temper give people a wrong impression about Christianity. It is still true that “he who is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (Prov. 16:32).[2]


  1. My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,20. for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

Throughout the letter in general and here in particular, James talks directly to his readers. He tells them what to do and what not to do. Here he says, “Take note of this.” And what should they know? In typical Semitic parallelism he states the proverb:

Everyone should be

quick to listen

slow to speak

slow to become angry.

Speakers who have the talent to express themselves fluently and eloquently are much in demand. They receive recognition, admiration, and acclaim. James, however, puts the emphasis not on speaking but on listening. That is more important than speaking.

Listening is an art that is difficult to master, for it means to take an intense interest in the person who is speaking. Listening is the art of closing one’s mouth and opening one’s ears and heart. Listening is loving the neighbor as oneself; his concerns and problems are sufficiently important to be heard.

James cautions his readers to be fully aware of the words they speak. In effect, he echoes the saying of Jesus, “But I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:36–37; consult Eccles. 5:1–2; Sir. 5:11).

When James says that we must be slow to speak, he does not advocate that we take a vow to be silent. Rather, he wants us to be wise in our speaking. Jewish proverbs prevalent in the days of James were these: “Speak little and do much”; “It is wise for learned men to be silent, and much more for fools”; “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent” (Prov. 17:28). Solomon said something similar in this proverb: “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise” (Prov. 10:19).

Careless words often accompany an angry mood. Of course, there is a place for righteous anger, but the psalmist tells us to know the limit of righteous anger: “In your anger do not sin” (Ps. 4:4; Eph. 4:26; and see Matt. 5:22). James pleads for restraint in respect to anger.

We have our excuses ready for being angry: too busy, too much pressure, a family trait, or even “I can’t help it.” James rules out excuses when he says, “Be … slow to become angry.” That is, we must be able to give an account of every word we speak. “A quick-tempered man displays folly” (Prov. 14:29) and anger is sin (Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Titus 1:7). An angry man listens to the voice of the evil one and not to the voice of God.

James is direct. Says he, “Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” Anger hinders the prayers of a believer (1 Tim. 2:8) and thus prevents him from promoting the cause of Christ. In effect, he has given “the devil a foothold” (Eph. 4:27). Consider Moses, who became angry with the Israelites but did not listen to the instructions God had given him. He showed disobedience and thus was not permitted to enter the Promised Land (Num. 20:10–12, 24; 27:14; Deut. 1:37; 3:26–27).

When we live the righteous life that God desires of us, we listen carefully and obediently to the Word of God. When we plan to do or say something, we ought to ask whether our actions and words promote the honor of God and advance the cause of justice and peace for our fellow man. When we permit anger to guide us, we are no longer guided by the law of God. “An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins” (Prov. 29:22). Instead the believer ought to control his temper, pray for wisdom, and keep the law of God.[3]


Willingness to Receive the Word with Submission

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. (1:19–20)

This you know refers back to the truths just expressed: first, the general truth of the power of the Word in regenerating believers in the early church and making them entirely new creations; and, second, the subsidiary and marvelous truth that those believers became, in fact, “the first fruits among His creatures” (v. 18). From the apostle’s teaching as well as from their own experience, they knew what it was to be transformed by the incorruptible seed of the Word and given eternal life in the very family of God as His own child (cf. 1 Pet. 1:23–25).

At this point, James makes a clear transition in emphasis. Because we have experienced the transforming power of God and have been made new creatures, we are to continually submit to His Word, allowing it to continue its divine work in and through our lives. In James 1:18, Scripture is called “the word of truth”; in verse 21, “the word implanted”; in verse 22, simply “the word”; in verse 23, figuratively, as “a mirror”; and in verse 25, “the perfect law, the law of liberty.”

Scripture not only is given to bring men to salvation but also is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). By the continual, faithful hearing of the life-giving and life-sustaining Word, our divinely indwelt hearts are stimulated to obey the Word with willing submission to its teachings and truths. We exult with David that “the law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Ps. 19:7–8). “I have inherited Your testimonies forever,” another psalmist writes, “for they are the joy of my heart” (Ps. 119:111).

By addressing his readers as my beloved brethren James clearly indicates his deep compassion and concern for them. Like every wise Christian teacher, he is not simply trying to convince their minds in a purely intellectual way but also is trying to reach their hearts. His affection for them is equally as strong as his obligation to them. Few things can make a teacher’s work more effective than a genuine love for those being taught. Love can break down barriers—intellectual as well as spiritual ones—that no amount of fact and reason may do. And no matter how well the mind may understand and acknowledge a truth, it will be of little spiritual benefit to the believer or to the kingdom if the heart is not inclined to personally embrace and submit to it.

In the second half of verse 19, James gives three important commands for the believer who is willing to receive God’s Word with submissiveness. All three are deceptively simple. First, we must be quick to hear, that is, be a careful listener, making sure that we pay attention in order to get the message right. “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise,” the writer of Proverbs observes; “when he closes his lips, he is counted prudent” (Prov. 17:28). In another place he asks rhetorically, “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Prov. 29:20). In any field of knowledge we learn by listening, not by speaking (cf. Ps. 119:11; 2 Tim. 2:15).

James’s appeal is for believers to seize every opportunity to increase their exposure to Scripture, to take advantage of every privileged occasion to read God’s Word or to hear it faithfully preached or taught. The sincere, eager desire for such learning is one of the surest marks of a true child of God. When he is specially blessed, he turns to the Word to find passages of thanksgiving and praise. When he is troubled, he searches for words of comfort, encouragement, and strength. In times of confusion, he searches for words of wisdom and guidance. When he is tempted, he searches out God’s standards of purity and righteousness for power to resist. The Word is the source of deliverance from temptations and trials. It becomes the most welcome friend, not only because of what it delivers us from but also because of what it delivers us to—glorious, intimate, and loving communion with our heavenly Lord.

Periodically, every Christian should do a personal inventory regarding his hunger and thirst for God’s Word. He should ask himself with determined honesty, “Is my real delight, like the psalmist’s, truly in the law of the Lord; and do I meditate on it day and night?” (cf. Ps. 1:2); and, “If we miss reading Scripture before the day begins, do we notice a difference in the day and in ourselves?” Can we sing with Charles Wesley,

When quiet in my room I sit,

Thy book be my companion still;

My joy Thy sayings to repeat,

Talk o’er the records of Thy will,

And search the oracles divine

Till every heartfelt word is mine.

J. A. Motyer has perceptively written,

We might wonder why the ever-practical James does not proceed to outline schemes of daily Bible reading or the like, for surely these are the ways in which we offer a willing ear to the voice of God. But he does not help us in this way. Rather, he goes deeper, for there is little point in schemes and times if we have not got an attentive spirit. It is possible to be unfailingly regular in Bible reading, but to achieve no more than to have moved the book-mark forward: this is reading unrelated to an attentive spirit. The word is read but not heard. On the other hand, if we can develop an attentive spirit, this will spur us to create those conditions—a proper method in Bible-reading, a discipline of time, and so on—by which the spirit will find itself satisfied in hearing the Word of God. (J. A. Motyer, The Message of James [Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1985], 64–65)

The true believer will be marked by such an attentive spirit, which will find a way to be in Scripture regularly, not for the purpose of filling an allotted devotional time but to grow in the knowledge, understanding, and love of the truth—and through and above that, to grow in the knowledge, understanding, and love of the Lord Himself. He will be eager to attend Bible preaching and study, so that his heart and mind can again be exposed to God’s truth. He will be eager on the Lord’s Day to fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ and to worship Him.

Second, the believer who willingly receives the Word with submission must be slow to speak. That characteristic is a companion of the first. You cannot listen carefully while you are talking, or even while you are thinking about what to say. Many discussions are fruitless for the simple reason that all parties are paying more attention to what they want to say than to what others are saying.

In this context, therefore, it seems that slow to speak includes the idea of being careful not to be thinking about one’s own thoughts and ideas while someone else is trying to express God’s. We cannot really hear God’s Word when our minds are on our own thoughts. We need to keep silent inside as well as outside.

The primary idea here, however, is that, when the appropriate time to speak does come, what is said should be carefully thought out. When we speak for the Lord, we should have the gravest concern that what we say not only is true but is spoken in a way that both edifies those who hear and honors the Lord in whose behalf we speak. We should pursue every opportunity to read the Word ourselves, to hear it preached and taught, and to discuss it with other believers who love, honor, and seek to obey it. At the same time, we should be cautious, patient, and careful when we have opportunity to preach, teach, or explain it to others. It is doubtless for that reason that James later warns, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment” (James 3:1).

After many years of preaching and teaching the Word, I must confess that, although the exercise of preaching is the manifestation of my spiritual gift and certainly brings rich satisfaction, I cannot honestly say that I relish preaching and teaching or bask in the light of it. I do not rush into the pulpit with any sort of personal exhilaration or joy. There is always a certain reluctance in my heart, not a reluctance to fulfill my calling but a reluctance based on the great weight of responsibility to handle accurately and proclaim the truth of God (2 Tim. 2:15).

According to one of his biographers, when the great Scottish Reformer and theologian John Knox was first called to preach, “He burst forth in most abundant tears, and withdrew himself to his chamber. His countenance and behavior from that day until the day he was compelled to present himself to the public place of preaching, did sufficiently declare the trouble of his heart” (William Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975], 50).

When a famous Roman orator was asked by a young man to teach him the art of public speaking, the young man continued an incessant flow of meaningless talk that allowed the great teacher no opportunity to interject a word. When they finally reached the point of discussing a fee, the orator said, “Young man, to instruct you in oratory, I will have to charge you a double fee.” When asked why, he explained, “Because I will have to teach you two skills: the first, how to hold your tongue; the second, how to use it.”

It is tragic when new converts, especially celebrities, are immediately encouraged to begin speaking publicly, not simply to give testimony to their salvation, but to begin giving advice and counsel about other aspects of Christian doctrine and practice for which they are not biblically or experientially prepared. Not only does it tend to foster pride and false confidence in the new convert but almost inevitably offers shallow, and often erroneous and spiritually dangerous, ideas to those who hear them. Well aware of that danger, Paul warned Timothy that an overseer, or elder, should not be “a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil” (1 Tim. 3:6). Later in that letter he adds, “Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others” (5:22; cf. Ezek. 3:17–18; Acts 20:26–28; Heb. 13:17).

Judging from James 1:26 and 3:1, some believers in the churches to whom James wrote were accustomed to saying and teaching whatever happened to come into their minds, without giving it careful thought or checking it against Scripture. Many of the would-be teachers were perhaps sincere but poorly taught and unprepared. Some were proud and arrogant (see 4:6) and enjoyed hearing their own voices and being considered teachers and leaders. Some, being discontent, were given to criticizing and wrangling with each other (see 3:14; 4:1–2, 11; 5:9). And, although James does not mention the problem specifically, it would seem certain that there were also unbelieving false teachers who were deceptively undermining the doctrine and faith of church members, causing great confusion and damage.

The man of God whom God has anointed to preach and teach His Word is compelled to do that with both willingness and joy. But he also is to do it with a sense of awe, always making sure—by careful and patient study, preparation, and prayer—that he says nothing in God’s name that does not accurately reflect God’s Word.

Third, the believer who willingly receives the Word with submission must be slow to anger. Anger is a very natural emotion that is an all but automatic response—even for believers who are not spiritually prepared—to anything or anyone that harms or displeases them. Orgē (anger) does not refer to an explosive outburst of temper but to an inner, deep resentment that seethes and smolders, often unnoticed by others. It is therefore an anger that only the Lord and the believer know about. Therefore, it is a special danger, in that it can be privately harbored.

In this context, James seems to be speaking particularly about anger at a truth in the Word that displeases, that confronts sin or conflicts with a cherished personal belief or standard of behavior. It refers to a disposition hostile to scriptural truth when it does not correspond to one’s own convictions, manifested—even if only inwardly—against those who faithfully teach the Word.

As already noted, anger also was reflected in the general discontent and dissension within some of the congregations to whom James wrote. “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you?” he asks. “Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel” (4:1–2). People desired to have their own opinions confirmed, their own ways approved, their own likes and dislikes accepted by others. Self-will was supreme, personal hostility was rampant, and the spiritual damage was enormous. Instead of working together in love in each other’s behalf, they fought each other to have their own ways, regardless of the consequences to Christ’s church or to their own spiritual well-being.

But James’s emphasis here seems to be on those who hear the truth and resent its exposing their personal false ideas or ungodly lifestyles. Paul asked believers in Galatia, “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Gal. 4:16). In the minds of some church members, the answer doubtless was “yes.” In reality, of course, Paul’s persistently telling them God’s truth, without compromise or omission, was the kindest and most helpful thing he could do for them. That is the kindest and most helpful thing anyone can do for someone else.

But throughout the history of the church—in fact, throughout the history of fallen mankind—even believers have resented God’s truth and the messenger who brought it. Sometimes a pastor must therefore be severe in challenging and rebuking that resentment. “Now some have become arrogant,” Paul told the church at Corinth, “as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?” (1 Cor. 4:18–21).

In a similar but somewhat less specific way, James was trying to contain and defuse the personal resentment and hostility that plagued some, perhaps all, of the churches his letter would eventually reach. Many of the believers in those churches would have been under his pastoral care in Jerusalem before the church there was scattered after the martyrdom of Stephen (see Acts 8:1; 11:19).

There is, of course, a just anger, a holy indignation against sin, Satan, and anything that dishonors the Lord or assaults His glory. Jesus was intensely angry when He saw His Father’s house, the holy temple in Jerusalem, turned into “a place of business,” and He expressed His anger twice by driving out those responsible for the desecration (John 2:14–16; cf. Matt. 21:12–13).

But mere personal anger, bitterness, and resentment can never serve the cause of Christ, for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God, that is, does not accomplish what is right in God’s eyes. That is especially true when the hostility is against the truth of God’s Word, for that in reality is against God Himself.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 168). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2222–2223). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 56–57). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1998). James (pp. 68–73). Chicago: Moody Press.

JUNE 4 – ATTITUDE OF WORSHIP: EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the LORD Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

COLOSSIANS 3:17

I have to be faithful to what I know to be true, so I must tell you that if you will not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him on one day a week! There is no such thing in heaven as Sunday worship unless it is accompanied by Monday worship and Tuesday worship and right on through the rest of the week.

Too many of us try to discharge our obligations to God Almighty in one day—usually one trip to church. Sometimes, nobly, we make it two trips to church, but it is all on the same day when we have nothing else to do and that is supposed to be worship!

I do not say that you must be at church all of the time—how could you be? I am saying that you can worship God at your desk, on an elevated train, or driving in traffic. You can worship God in school, on the basketball court. You can worship God in whatever is legitimate and right and good.

Surely, we can go to church and worship on one day, but it is not true worship unless it is followed by continuing worship in the days that follow. We cannot pray toward the east and walk toward the west and hope for harmony in our beings! You can name the name of Jesus a thousand times, but if you will not follow the nature of Jesus, the name of Jesus will not mean anything to you!

See to it that there is not an hour or a place or an act or a location that is not consecrated and given over to God. You will be worshipping Him—and He will accept it![1]


3:17 Verse 17 is an all-inclusive rule by which to judge our conduct as Christians. Young people today especially have a difficult time deciding whether certain things are right or wrong. This verse, committed to memory, can prove to be the key for unlocking many of these problems. The great test should be: Can I do this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? Would this be to His glory? Could I expect His blessing to rest on it? Would I want to be doing it when He comes back again? Notice that this test should apply to the words we speak and to the deeds we do. Obedience to this command ennobles all of life. It is a precious secret when the Christian learns to do all as to the Lord and for His glory. Once again the apostle adds the word, “Giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! It is a perpetual duty for those saved by grace and destined for the courts of heaven.[2]


17. A fundamental principle for Christian life and conduct summarizes and climaxes this priceless paragraph, namely, And whatever you do in word or in deed, (do) all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

For the expression “Whatever you do” see also verse 23 and 1 Cor. 10:31. In connection with “Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” it should be noted that the name indicates the Lord Jesus himself as he has revealed himself. “In the name” means, accordingly, “in vital relation with him,” that is, in harmony with his revealed will, in subjection to his authority, in dependence on his power. The clause “giving thanks to God the Father through him” (in connection with which see especially Eph. 5:20; then also John 14:6; 15:5b; Rom. 1:8; 7:25; 16:27; 1 Cor. 1:20) is explained by the fact that it is on the basis of the Son’s atonement that sinners are accepted by the Father, and that they (“together with him”) receive every blessing. Hence, it is altogether just and fair that through him thanksgiving be given to the Father.

The main lessons of this closing paragraph should not escape us. As I see it they are the following:

(1) “Whatever you do” is very general. In contrast with the many specific rules and regulations which false teachers were trying to impose upon the Colossians (Col. 2:16–23), Paul simply enunciates a comprehensive principle, and permits believers to work it out for themselves in perfect freedom. After all, the child of God of the new dispensation is not under bondage. Let the Spirit within him rule him.

(2) This Spirit (hence also the Spirit-indwelt believer) operates in connection with the word, that is, the revelation (“name”) of the Lord Jesus. Man is “free” only when he abides in Christ. Let him therefore always ask himself, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10). Let him diligently and prayerfully study Scripture. It is in that sense that (1) above is to be understood.

(3) In connection with any and every word and deed the believer should ask himself, “Am I able to thank God the Father for having given me the opportunity to say or do this?” (Cf. Bruce, op. cit., p. 286).

(4) The sovereignty or pre-eminence of the Lord Jesus in relation to the entire universe with all its events and in relation to the believer himself should be joyfully acknowledged. Therefore, too, he should do everything “in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

We notice, therefore, that the present paragraph closes as did also the preceding one (see on 3:11), with a reminder of the theme of the entire epistle, Christ, the Pre-eminent One, the Only and All-Sufficient Savior.[3]


The Name of Christ

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (3:17)

The simplest, most basic rule of thumb for living the Christian life is to do everything, whether word or deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus. To do everything in the name of Jesus is to act consistently with who He is and what He wants. Paul expressed the same thought in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Again, Paul reminds that it is always to be done without reluctance or despair or legalistic duty, but with giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

To put on the new lifestyle is to put on Christ. That is the obligation of every believer: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Rom. 13:14). The goal of the Christian life is Christlikeness.

Guy H. King relates the following story:

Years ago I was leading the Children’s Special Service Mission at one of our South Coast holiday resorts. As I was approaching the beach one morning, this little fellow was going along there, too. As he caught sight of me, he said, “Mummie, here comes the JESUS man.” He only meant that I was the man who spoke to the children about the Savior; but his remark meant far more to my heart that day. What right had I—have I—to be called a JESUS man? What degree of resemblance is there about us?

I wonder if you have read that moving story of Jerome K. Jerome’s called The Passing of the Third Floor Back? Roughly, the tale is of a poor class lodging house, where lived a heterogeneous company of needy and seedy folk, and where there was a poor, ignorant little servant girl, a good deal of a slut, and ready to sell her virtue for a worthless trinket. Into the place there came one day a lodger who at once seemed to be different, and who occupied the third floor back. He quickly revealed himself to have a very kind heart and way. He always had a kindly word for the little slavery, usually so ignored and downtrodden. She almost worshipped him. The other lodgers, too, owed him much for his many deeds of helpfulness. He was always doing something for somebody, in his kindly, sympathetic way. At last the day came for him to move elsewhere. The little maid watched him, open-eyed, as he walked with his bit of luggage to the front door; and as he turned to her with a smile and a gentle pat on the shoulder, she took her leave of him with the words, “Please, are you ’I’m?” (Crossing the Border [Fort Washington, Pa.: Christian Literature Crusade, 1974], pp. 92–93)

Believers should so clothe themselves with Jesus Christ that when people look at them, they see Christ.[4]


17 In addition to allowing the peace of Christ to rule and the word of Christ to dwell in their hearts (3:15–16), the Colossians are to conduct their lives “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (cf. 2:6). In essence, Paul calls the assembly to worship Christ and to submit to his lordship with their lives as well as with their lips, with their works as well as with their words, in the church as well as outside of it (cf. 4:5). Worship cannot be confined to teaching, admonishing, and singing (3:16); it must be correlated with the yielding of one’s entire being to God (cf. Ro 12:1). As Paul puts it to the Corinthians, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Co 10:31).

In concluding this section, Paul once again issues a call to be grateful to God (see 3:15–16; cf. Eph 5:20; 1 Th 5:18). Here one’s giving thanks to God, who is further depicted as Father (cf. 1:2–3, 12), is linked to the Lord Jesus. “For Christ is the Lord who provides the basis and sets the goal for the life of believers” (Lohse, 153). If God’s grace in Christ is at the center of Paul’s theology, human gratitude to God because of Christ is at the core of his ethics (cf. Bruce, 138). For Paul, ethics impinges on the whole of the Christian life, including, as the next section illustrates, one’s life in the home.[5]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2012–2013). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Colossians and Philemon (Vol. 6, pp. 163–164). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Colossians (p. 159). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] Still, T. D. (2006). Colossians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 334–335). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

JUNE 4 – SPECTATOR CHRISTIANS

By love serve one another.

Galatians 5:13

This we have heard: “I am a born-again Christian and I am happy that my sins are forgiven and I go to church on Sunday because I like the fellowship!”

We ask: “Do you not go to put yourself in the way of spiritual blessing?”

The answer: “No, I am saved and I do not need anything!”

We ask: “Have you offered to witness, to pray, to encourage, to assist, to participate in your church’s life and outreach?”

The answer: “No. My church seems to get along very well without my help!”

Brethren, this “nonparticipation” kind of faith is a strange parody on Bible Christianity. Men and women who say they are believers just cancel themselves out. Is it something we have learned from the sporting events?—the great majority are spectators. They come and sit!

If there is any true spiritual life within us, God will give us a gift of some kind and the humble soul will find something to do for God!

Lord, I pray for my local church today, that many “fringe” attendees will desire to participate in our church’s life and ministry.[1]


5:13 Christian liberty does not permit sin; it rather encourages loving service. Love is seen as the motive of all Christian behavior, whereas under law, the motive is fear of punishment. Findlay says: “Love’s slaves are the true freemen.”

The Christian’s freedom is in Christ Jesus (2:4), and this excludes any possible thought that it might ever mean freedom to sin. We must never turn our freedom into a base of operations for the flesh. Just as an invading army will seek to gain a beachhead and use it as a base of operations for further conquest, so the flesh will utilize a little license to expand its territory.

A proper outlet for our freedom is this: “Make it a habit to be slaves one to another.”

A. T. Pierson says:

True freedom is found only in obedience to proper restraint. A river finds liberty to flow, only between banks: without these it would only spread out into a slimy, stagnant pool. Planets, uncontrolled by law, would only bring wreck to themselves and to the universe. The same law which fences us in, fences others out; the restraints which regulate our liberty also insure and protect it. It is not control, but the right kind of control, and a cheerful obedience which make the free man.[2]


13. For you were called to freedom, brothers; only (do) not (turn) this freedom into an opportunity for the flesh.… For the meaning of freedom see on 5:1. The present passage is linked in thought especially with verse 8. When these two verses (8 and 13) are combined the meaning of for and of both passages becomes clearer: “This persuasion (is) not (derived) from him who is calling you.… For you were called to freedom, brothers; only (do) not (turn) this freedom into an opportunity for the flesh.” When God applies the outward call, the gospel message, to the heart, thereby producing the effectual call, the person who experiences this basic change is introduced into the realm of freedom, the sphere of grateful and spontaneous living to the glory of his marvelous Benefactor, and is invited to roam about freely in this new country, delighting in its treasures and making full use of its opportunities. The Galatians must beware, nevertheless, that they do not accept a distorted interpretation of the concept freedom, as if it were an opportunity, that is, bridgehead, springboard, pretext, or incentive (cf. 2 Cor. 5:12; 11:12; 1 Tim. 5:14) for sinful human nature to assert itself.

Paul is not tilting at windmills when he issues this warning. Cf. Rom. 3:8; 6:1; Rasputin (cf. R. K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra, New York, 1967, p. 196). Turning liberty into license is an evil ingrained in sinful human nature. It is so easy to interpret liberty as “the right to sin,” and to construe freedom as “the privilege to do whatever one’s evil heart wants to do,” instead of looking upon it as the Spirit-imparted ability and desire to do what one should do. Even today how often does it not happen that such baneful practices as attending places of worldly amusement, chain-smoking, “boozing,” desecrating the sabbath, and reading smutty novels are defended with an appeal to “Christian liberty!” The apostle’s own inspired interpretation of the meaning of true liberty is set forth both here in Galatians and in equally touching passages of his first epistle to the Corinthians: see especially 6:12; 8:9, 13; 9:12, 19, 22; 10:23, 24, 31; 11:1.

Surely no loftier description of the essence of true freedom has ever been offered than the one given in the words: but through love be serving one another. For the concept love see the explanation of verse 6, where Paul speaks about “faith working through love.” Here in verse 13 note the paradox: “freedom … serving.” A paradox, indeed, but not a self-contradiction, for such service is voluntary, from the heart. It is a service rendered in imitation of him who “took the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:7), and who, during the solemn night when he stepped upon the threshold of his most profound and indescribable agony, “rose from the supper, laid aside his garments, and having taken a towel, tied it around his waist, poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel” (John 13:4, 5). He was the thoroughly consecrated, wise and willing servant pictured by Isaiah (42:1–9; 49:1–9a; 50:4–11; and 52:13–53:12), the spontaneously acting servant who resolutely fulfilled his mission, so that with reference to him Jehovah said: “Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delights.” It is such service that Paul has in mind when he says: “… through love be serving one another.” And what is meant by this love by means of which one brother voluntarily serves the other? Such ingredients as deep affection, self-sacrificing tenderness, genuine sympathy, readiness to render assistance, yearning to promote the brother’s (and in a wider sense the neighbor’s) welfare, spontaneous giving and forgiving: all these enter into it. But would it not be easier to count the glistening beads in the descending chains of rain than to catalogue all the elements that enter into that mysterious force which causes many hearts to beat as one?

When Paul warns the Galatians not to turn freedom into an opportunity for the flesh but through love to be serving one another, he is placing service over against selfishness, the positive over against the negative. Paul does this frequently: see Rom. 12:21; 13:14; 1 Cor. 6:18–20; Eph. 4:28, 31, 32; 5:28, 29; 6:4; Col. 3:5–17; 1 Thess. 4:7, etc. Vice can only be conquered by virtue, which is the Spirit’s gift, man’s responsibility.[3]


To Serve Others

but through love serve one another. (5:13c)

Second, Christian freedom takes believers to an even higher level than simply opposing the flesh. Positively, Christ frees His followers through love to serve one another. His freedom is the paradoxical freedom of loving subservience.

Again Jesus is our great example. When the disciples bickered among themselves “as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest,” Jesus said, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But not so with you, but let him who is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table, or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:24–27).

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,” Paul said, “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself taking the form of a bond-servant” (Phil. 2:5–7). When Christ incarnates Himself in believers, He endows them with the same nature of servanthood He exemplified when, as the Son of God and Son of Man, He lived on earth as the Servant of God and the Servant of man.[4]


13 Returning after the aside of 5:2–12 to the theme of freedom he began at 5:1, Paul once again ties the reality of the Galatians’ freedom in Christ to the call of God (cf. 5:1, 8). God’s redemptive purpose in Christ includes the capacity for the believer to live apart from the constraint of external compulsion with regard to moral life and relationship. The imperative for this moral life is actualized within, by means of the ministry of God’s Spirit though one’s identification with Christ. This is what Paul had in mind earlier when he instructed the Galatians to express faith through love and live in hope of righteousness through the Spirit (vv. 5–6).

Freedom that results through faith in Christ, however, must never be expressed by means of the “sinful nature” (sarx, GK 4922, “flesh”). The purpose of freedom is not self-indulgence or self-promotion, which results in strife with others (vv. 14–15). The purpose of freedom, biblically speaking, is the capacity to obey God and do his will by being empowered by God’s Spirit to serve one’s neighbor in love.[5]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1892–1893). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Galatians (Vol. 8, pp. 210–211). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Galatians (p. 147). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] Rapa, R. K. (2008). Galatians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 625). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

June 4 – Jesus on Wealth

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.—Matt. 6:19–21

The focus of Jesus’ teaching here is this: “Do not lay up treasures for yourself.” The Greek word for “lay up” connotes the idea of stockpiling or hoarding—it pictures wealth that isn’t being used, things kept mainly to show off one’s plenty.

Be sure of this, though: Jesus is not advocating poverty as a means of spirituality. Both the Old and New Testaments recognize the right to material possessions, including money, land, animals, houses, clothing, and anything else acquired honestly. In fact, the foundational truth underlying the commands not to steal or covet is the right of possessing personal property.

God expects and commands His people to be generous. But He also expects and commands that we not only be thankful for the blessings He gives but also derive pleasure from them—including the material blessings. The Lord “richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). This verse is specifically directed to “those who are rich in this present world,” yet it does not command them to divest themselves of their wealth. Rather, it warns them not to be conceited about it or to trust in it. It’s how we use our possessions for kingdom purposes that counts.

ASK YOURSELF
How would you define your general attitudes toward money? What is its purpose in the believer’s life? How are we supposed to handle it? What are some of the greatest abuses or misunderstandings of money that have plagued your life or distorted your freedom with it?[1]

A Single Treasure

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (6:19–21)

Lay up (thēsaurizō) and treasures (thēsauros) come from the same basic Greek term, which is also the source of our English thesaurus, a treasury of words. A literal translation of this phrase would therefore be, “do not treasure up treasures for yourselves.”

The Greek also carries the connotation of stacking or laying out horizontally, as one stacks coins. In the context of this passage the idea is that of stockpiling or hoarding, and therefore pictures wealth that is not being used. The money or other wealth is simply stored for safekeeping; it is kept for the keeping’s sake to make a show of wealth or to create an environment of lazy overindulgence (cf. Luke 12:16–21).

It is clear from this passage, as well as from many others in Scripture, that Jesus is not advocating poverty as a means to spirituality. In all of His many different instructions, He only once told a person to “sell your possessions and give to the poor” (Matt. 19:21). In that particular case, the young man’s wealth was his idol, and therefore a special barrier between him and the lordship of Jesus Christ. It provided an excellent opportunity to test whether or not that man was fully committed to turning over the control of his life to Christ. His response proved that he was not. The problem was not in the wealth itself, but the man’s unwillingness to part with it. The Lord did not specifically require His disciples to give up all their money and other possessions to follow Him, although it may be that some of them voluntarily did so. He did require obedience to His commands no matter what that cost. The price was too high for the wealthy young ruler, to whom possessions were the first priority.

Both testaments recognize the right to material possessions, including money, land, animals, houses, clothing, and every other thing that is honestly acquired. God has made many promises of material blessing to those who belong to and are faithful to Him. The foundational truth that underlies the commandments not to steal or covet is the right of personal property. Stealing and coveting are wrong because what is stolen or coveted rightfully belongs to someone else. Ananias and Sapphira did not forfeit their lives because they kept back some of the proceeds from the sale of their property, but because they lied to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). Holding back some of the money was selfish, especially if they had other assets on which to live, but they had a right to keep it, as Peter makes plain: “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control?” (v. 4).

God expects, in fact commands, His people to be generous. But He also expects, and even commands, them not only to be thankful for but to enjoy the blessings He gives-including the material blessings. The Lord “richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). That verse is specifically directed to “those who are rich in this present world,” and yet it does not command, or even suggest, that they divest themselves of their wealth, but rather warns them not to be conceited about it or to trust in it.

Abraham was extremely rich for his day, a person who vied in wealth, influence, and military power with many of the kings in Canaan. When we first meet Job he is vastly wealthy, and when we leave him-after the testing that cost him everything he possessed outside of his own life-God has made him wealthier still, in flocks and herds, in sons and daughters, and in a healthy long life. “And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12–17).

The Bible gives considerable counsel for working hard and following good business practices (cf. Matt. 25:27). The ant is shown as a model of the good worker, who“prepares her food in the summer, and gathers her provision in the harvest” (Prov. 6:6–8). We are told that “in all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (14:23) and “by wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches” (24:3–4). “He who tills his land will have plenty of food, but he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty” (28:19).

Paul tells us that parents are responsible for saving up for their children (2 Cor. 12:14), that “if anyone will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thess. 3:10), and that “if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).

During his exceptionally long ministry, which spanned most of the eighteenth century, John Wesley earned a considerable amount of money from his published sermons and other works. Yet he left only 28 pounds when he died, because he continually gave what he earned to the Lord’s work.

It is fight to provide for our families, to make reasonable plans for the future, to make wise investments, and to have money to carry on a business, give to the poor, and support the Lord’s work. It is being dishonest, greedy, covetous, stingy, and miserly about possessions that is wrong. To honestly earn, save, and give is wise and good; to hoard and spend only on ourselves not only is unwise but sinful.

Some years ago, I happened to have contact with two quite wealthy men during the same week. One was a former professor at a major university who, through a long series of good investments in real estate, had accumulated a fortune of possibly a hundred million dollars. But in the process he lost his family, his happiness, his peace of mind, and had aged far beyond his years. The other man, a pastor, also acquired his wealth through investments, but they were investments to which he paid little attention. Because of his financial independence, he gave to his church over the years considerably more than he was paid for being its pastor. He is one of the godliest, happiest, most fruitful, and contented persons I have ever met.

The key to Jesus’ warning here is yourselves. When we accumulate possessions simply for our own sakes-whether to hoard or to spend selfishly and extravagantly-those possessions become idols.

It is possible that both our treasures upon earth and our treasures in heaven can involve money and other material things. Possessions that are wisely, lovingly, willingly, and generously used for kingdom purposes can be a means of accumulating heavenly possessions. When they are hoarded and stored, however, they not only become a spiritual hindrance but are subject to loss through moth, rust, and thieves.

In ancient times, wealth was frequently measured in part by clothing. Compared to our day of mass-produced clothes, garments represented a considerable investment. Rich people sometimes had golden threads woven into their clothing, both to display and to store their wealth. But the best clothes were made of wool, which the moth loves to eat; and even the richest persons had difficulty protecting their clothes from the insects.

Wealth was also often held in grain, as we see from the parable of the rich farmer who said, “I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods” (Luke 12:18). Brōsis (rust) literally means “an eating,” and is translated with that meaning everywhere in the New Testament but here (see Rom. 14:17; 1 Cor. 8:4, “eating”; 2 Cor. 9:10, “food”; and Heb. 12:16, “meal”). It seems best to take the same meaning here, in reference to grain that is eaten by rats, mice, worms, and insects.

Almost any kind of wealth, of course, is subject to thieves, which is why many people buried their nonperishable valuables in the ground away from the house, often in a field (see Matt. 13:44). Break in is literally “dig through;” and could refer to digging through the mud walls of a house or digging up the dirt in a field.

Nothing we own is completely safe from destruction or theft. And even if we keep our possessions perfectly secure during our entire lives, we are certainly separated from them at death. Many millionaires will be heavenly paupers, and many paupers will be heavenly millionaires.

But when our time, energy, and possessions are used to serve others and to further the Lord’s work, they build up heavenly resources that are completely free from destruction or theft. There neither moth nor rust destroys, and … thieves do not break in or steal. Heavenly security is the only absolute security.

Jesus goes on to point out that a person’ished possessions and his deepest motives and desires are inseparable, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. They will either both be earthly or both be heavenly. It is impossible to have one on earth and the other in heaven (cf. James 4:4),

As always, the heart must be right first. In fact, if the heart is right, everything else in life falls into its proper place. The person who is right with the Lord will be generous and happy in his giving to the Lord’s work. By the same token, a person who is covetous, self-indulgent, and stingy has good reason to question his relationship with the Lord.

Jesus is not saying that if we put our treasure in the right place our heart will then be in the right place, but that the location of our treasure indicates where our heart already is. Spiritual problems are always heart problems. Sinful acts come from a sinful heart, just as righteous acts come from a righteous heart.

When the exiles who came back to Jerusalem from Babylon began turning to God’s Word, a revival also began. “Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people” and various leaders took turns reading “from the law of God” (Neh. 8:5–8). Through hearing God’s Word the people became convicted of their sin, began to praise God, and determined to begin obeying Him and to faithfully support the work of the Temple (chs. 9–10).

Revival that does not affect the use of money and possessions is a questionable revival. As the Tabernacle was being built, “everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord’s contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments” (Ex. 35:21). As plans were being made to build the Temple, David himself gave generously to the work, and “the rulers of the fathers’ households, and the princes of the tribes of Israel, and the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with the overseers over the king’s work, offered willingly … Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the Lord with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly” (1 Chron. 29:2–6, 9).

G. Campbell Morgan wrote:

You are to remember with the passion burning within you that you are not the child of to-day. You are not of the earth, you are more than dust; you are the child of tomorrow, you are of the eternities, you are the offspring of Deity. The measurements of your lives cannot be circumscribed by the point where blue sky kisses green earth. All the fact of your life cannot be encompassed in the one small sphere upon which you live. You belong to the infinite. If you make your fortune on the earth-poor, sorry, silly soul-you have made a fortune, and stored it in a place where you cannot hold it. Make your fortune, but store it where it will greet you in the dawning of the new morning. (The Gospel According to Matthew [New York: Revell, 1929], pp. 64–65)

When thousands of people, mostly Jews, were won to Christ during and soon after Pentecost, the Jerusalem church was flooded with many converts who had come from distant lands and who decided to stay on in the city. Many of them no doubt were poor, and many others probably left most of their wealth and possessions in their homelands. To meet the great financial burden suddenly placed on the church, local believers “began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need” (Acts 2:45).

Many years later, during one of the many Roman persecutions, soldiers broke into a certain church to confiscate its presumed treasures. An elder is said to have pointed to a group of widows and orphans who were being fed and said, “There are the treasures of the church.”

God’s principle for His people has always been, “Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Prov. 3:9–10). Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38). Paul assures us that “he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6). That is God’s formula for earning dividends that are both guaranteed and permanent.

At the end of His parable about the dishonest but shrewd steward, Jesus said, “I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9). Our material possessions are “unrighteous” in the sense of not having any spiritual value in themselves. But if we invest them in the welfare of human souls, the people who are saved or otherwise blessed because of them will someday greet us in heaven with thanksgiving.[2]


6:19, 20 In verses 19–21 Jesus contravenes all human advice to provide for a financially secure future. When He says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,” He is indicating that there is no security in material things. Any type of material treasure on earth can be either destroyed by elements of nature (moth or rust) or stolen by thieves. Jesus says that the only investments not subject to loss are treasures in heaven.

6:21 This radical financial policy is based on the underlying principle that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. If your money is in a safe-deposit box, then your heart and desire are also there. If your treasures are in heaven, your interests will be centered there. This teaching forces us to decide whether Jesus meant what He said. If He did, then we face the question, “What are we going to do with our earthly treasures?” If He didn’t, then we face the question, “What are we going to do with our Bible?”[3]


19, 20. Do not gather for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves dig through and steal. But gather for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves do not dig through and steal. First the negative command is issued, then the positive (cf. verses 5, 6; 7–9; 16, 17; 19, 20; 25, 26, 28; 31, 33; and 7:1, 5). How absurd (see d above), Jesus is saying, to “treasure up” for oneself perishable earthly “treasures,” and while doing this to lose the imperishable heavenly riches! Earthly treasures are vulnerable because of deterioration and defalcation.

As to the first, deterioration, the moth consumes them. Moths, skippers, and butterflies belong to the large order of insects called Lepidoptera, that is, insects with scale-covered wings. In distinction from butterflies, moths a. constitute the largest division of this order, b. are largely nocturnal, and c. have antennae that are not club-shaped. The reference here in 6:19–21 is to the tiny insect that deposits its eggs in woolens. It is in the larval stage that it feeds on the cloth until the garment, etc., becomes moth-eaten and is destroyed (Isa. 51:8; Luke 12:33; James 5:2). Rust probably indicates the corrosion of metals, their being gradually gnawed into by the action of chemicals.

In all probability, however, the terms “moth” and “rust” represent all those agencies and processes that cause earthly treasures to diminish in value and finally to cease completely to serve their purpose. Thus, bread becomes moldy (Josh. 9:5), garments wear out (Ps. 102:26), fields (particularly neglected ones) become weed-infested (Prov. 24:30), walls and fences break down (Prov. 24:31), roofs cave in so that houses begin to leak (Eccl. 10:18), and gold and silver become tarnished and perish (1 Peter 1:7, 18). Add the havoc brought about by termites, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, earthquakes, plant diseases, soil erosion, etc. The list is almost endless.

As to the second, defalcation, thieves break through and steal. Through the clay wall of the houses of which Jesus was thinking the thief rather easily digs an entrance and steals the ill-guarded treasures. Inflation, oppressive taxation which may amount to confiscation, bank failures, stock market slumps and crashes, expenses in connection with prolonged illnesses, these and many similar woes have the same effect. Besides, man’s body, including that of the strongest, gradually wears away (Ps. 32:3; 39:4–7; 90:10; 103:15, 16; Eccl. 12:1–8). When he dies, all the earthly treasures on which he had pinned his hopes vanish with him.

Completely different are “the treasures in heaven” (cf. 19:21), that is, those blessings that are reserved for us in heaven (1 Peter 1:4), that are heavenly in character, but of which we experience a foretaste even now. Beginning, as is proper, with the enumeration of some of these as Jesus himself describes them, one thinks of our standing with God as being fully pardoned (Matt. 6:14), answered prayer (7:7), the enrolment of our names in heaven (Luke 10:20), the Father’s love (John 16:27), a welcome not only to the “mansions” of heaven but to the Savior’s own heart (John 14:2, 3), a full share in Christ’s own peace (John 14:27), his own joy (John 15:11), and his own victory (John 16:33), and the Holy Spirit’s permanent indwelling (John 14:16, 26; 15:26). See also all the spiritual blessings mentioned in the beatitudes (Matt. 5:1–12). Paul is thinking of these same treasures, and describes them sometimes in the same, sometimes in his own terms: our “being justified by faith” (Rom. 5:1), “answered prayer” (2 Cor. 12:8, 9), “the love of God shed abroad in our hearts” (Rom. 5:5), “the crown of righteousness” with which the Savior will welcome us (2 Tim. 4:8), “the peace of God that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7), “rejoicing in God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:11), “the victory” (1 Cor. 15:57), and “his Spirit in the inner man” (Eph. 3:16; cf. Rom. 8:14, 16, 26, 27). The enumerations are merely illustrative, not exhaustive.

There is a degree of difference with which spiritual (as over against material) blessings are emphasized in the New Testament as compared with the Old. With the coming of Christ heaven as it were touches the earth. See N.T.C. on Ephesians, p. 73.

That the heavenly treasures are moth-proof, rust-proof, and burglar-proof (verse 20), in other words, that they endure forever in all their sparkling luster, as the irremovable possession of the children of the heavenly Father, is the teaching of Scripture throughout, for it tells us about:

a faithfulness that will never be removed (Ps. 89:33; 138:8),

a life that will never end (John 3:16),

a spring of water that will never cease to bubble up within the one who drinks of it (John 4:14),

a gift that will never be lost (John 6:37, 39),

a hand out of which the Good Shepherd’s sheep will never be snatched (John 10:28),

a chain that will never be broken (Rom. 8:29, 30),

a love from which we shall never be separated (Rom. 8:39),

a calling that will never be revoked (Rom. 11:29),

a foundation that will never be destroyed (2 Tim. 2:19),

and an inheritance that will never fade out (1 Peter 1:4, 5).

The following questions may well be asked, however, “But if it is wrong to gather treasures on earth, does this mean, then, that making provision for future physical needs is always and absolutely wrong?” “Must all trade, commerce, and industry, carried on for the purpose, at least in part, of making a profit, be condemned?” “Are all rich people to be considered reprobates?” To all three questions the answer is, “No.” God did not condemn Joseph for advising Pharaoh to store up grain for future use (Gen. 41:33–36). Nor were Solomon and Agur wrong in pointing to the ant as an example of the common sense revealed in providing during the summer for the needs of the winter (Prov. 6:6; 30:25). Nor did Paul make a mistake when he wrote 2 Cor. 12:14b and 1 Tim. 5:8. Business and banking are encouraged, by implication, in Christ’s parables (Matt. 25:14–30; Luke 19:11–23). The rich man Abraham (Gen. 13:2) was a friend of God (Isa. 41:8; 2 Chron. 20:7; James 2:23). Rich Zachaeus (Luke 19:2) was accounted worthy to be called “a son of Abraham” (Luke 19:9); and wealthy Joseph of Arimathea was a follower of the Lord (Matt. 27:57).

Nevertheless, the accumulation of wealth is fraught with spiritual danger (Matt. 19:24; Luke 12:16–21; 1 Tim. 6:10). To be sure, money can be a great blessing, if it is not an end in itself but a means to an end, namely, a. to prevent one’s own family from becoming a burden to others (1 Tim. 5:8), b. to help those who are in need (Prov. 14:21; 19:17; Acts 4:36, 37; 11:27–30; 24:17; Rom. 15:25; 2 Cor. 8:4, 9; Gal. 2:10; 6:10; Eph. 4:28), and c. to encourage the work of the gospel both at home and abroad (Mark 15:41; Luke 8:2, 3; Acts 16:15, 40; 1 Cor. 9:9; Phil. 4:15–17; 1 Tim. 5:17, 18), all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). However, money can also be a snare (Mark 14:11; Luke 22:5; Acts 8:18, 20).

Naturally, if a person’s real treasure, his ultimate aim in all his striving, is something pertaining to this earth—the acquisition of money, fame, popularity, prestige, power—, then his heart, the very center of his life (Prov. 4:23), will be completely absorbed in that mundane object. All of his activities, including even the so-called religious, will be subservient to this one goal. On the other hand, if, out of sincere and humble gratitude to God, he has made God’s kingdom, that is, the joyful recognition of God’s sovereignty in his own life and in every sphere, his treasure, then there is also where his heart will be. Money, in that case, will be a help, not a hindrance. Something of this nature Jesus must have had in mind when he said, 21. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The “heart” cannot be in both of these places at the same time. It is an either-or proposition! See verse 24.[4]


19 The present tense prohibition mē thēsaurizete (GK 2564) conceives of the “storing up” as a process, a practice that must be stopped (similarly at v. 25).

The love of wealth is a great evil (1 Ti 6:10), calling forth frequent warnings. For heirs of the kingdom to hoard riches in the last days (Jas 5:2–3) is particularly shortsighted. Yet, as with many of Jesus’ prohibitions in this sermon, it would be foolhardy so to absolutize this one that wealth itself becomes an evil (see Lk 14:12; Jn 4:21; 1 Pe 3:3–4 for other statements that cannot properly be absolutized). Elsewhere the Scriptures require a man to provide for his relatives (1 Ti 5:8), commend work and provision for the future (Pr 6:6–8), and encourage us to enjoy the good things the Creator has given us (1 Ti 4:3–4; 6:17). Jesus is concerned about selfishness in misplaced values. His disciples must not lay up treasure for themselves; they must honestly ask where their heart is (vv. 20–21).

This verse does not prohibit “being provident (making sensible provision for the future) but being covetous (like misers who hoard and materialists who always want more)” (Stott, Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 155). But it is folly to put oneself in the former category while acting and thinking in the latter (cf. France, “God and Mammon”).

The “treasures on earth” might be clothing that could be attacked by moths. Fashions changed little, and garments could be passed on. They could also deteriorate. “Rust” (brōsis, GK 1111) refers not only to the corrosion of metals but to the destruction effected by rats, mildew, and the like. Older commentaries often picture a farm being devoured by mice and other vermin. Less corruptible treasures could be stolen. Thieves could “break in [dioryssousin, “dig through,” referring to the mud brick walls of most first-century Palestinian homes] and steal.”

20–21 By contrast, the treasures in heaven are forever exempt from decay and theft (cf. Lk 12:33). The words “treasures in heaven” go back to Jewish literature (m. Peʾah 1:1; T. Levi 13:5; Pss. Sol. 9:9). Here it refers to whatever is of good and eternal significance that comes out of what is done on earth. Doing righteous deeds, suffering for Christ’s sake, forgiving one another—all these have the promise of “reward” (see comments at 5:12; cf. 5:30, 46; 6:6, 15; 2 Co 4:17). Other deeds of kindness also store up treasure in heaven (10:42; 25:40), including willingness to share (1 Ti 6:13–19).

In the best MSS, the final aphorism (v. 21) reverts to second person singular (cf. vv. 2, 6, 17; see comments at 5:23). The point is that the things most highly treasured occupy the “heart,” the center of the personality, embracing mind, emotions, and will (cf. NIDNTT, 2:180–84), and thus the most cherished treasure subtly but infallibly controls the whole person’s direction and values. “If honor is rated the highest good, then ambition must take complete charge of a man; if money, then forthwith greed takes over the kingdom; if pleasure, then men will certainly degenerate into sheer self-indulgence” (Calvin). Conversely, those who set their minds on things above (Col 3:1–2), determining to live under kingdom norms, discover at last that their deeds follow them (Rev 14:13).[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 164). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 409–413). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1225). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 343–346). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, pp. 211–212). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

JUNE 4 – THE MYSTERIOUS WAYS OF THE OMNISCIENT ONE

Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

—Matthew 11:26

A determination to know what cannot be known always works harm to the Christian heart.

Ignorance in matters on our human level is never to be excused if there has been opportunity to correct it. But there are matters which are obviously “too high for us.” These we should meet in trusting faith and say as Jesus said, “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.”…

Human curiosity and pride often combine to drive us to try to understand acts of God which are plainly outside the field of human understanding. We dislike to admit that we do not know what is going on, so we torture our minds trying to fathom the mysterious ways of the Omniscient One. It’s hard to conceive of a more fruitless task….

Under such circumstances the Christian thing to do is to say, “That thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest…. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Psalm 51:4, Matthew 11:26). A blind confidence which trusts without seeing is far dearer to God than any fancied knowledge that can explain everything….

To the adoring heart, the best and most satisfying explanation for anything always will be, “It seemed good in thy sight.” NCA057-058

Lord, whatever comes my way today, I’ll accept it gratefully, for I’ll know it is good in Your eyes. Amen. [1]


11:25, 26 The three cities of Galilee had neither eyes to see nor heart to love the Christ of God. He knew their attitude was but a foretaste of rejection on a wider scale. How did He react to their impenitance? Not with bitterness, cynicism, or vindictiveness. Rather He lifted His voice in thanks to God that nothing could frustrate His sovereign purposes. “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.”

We should avoid two possible misunderstandings. First, Jesus was not expressing pleasure in the inevitable judgment of the Galilean cities. Secondly, He did not imply that God had high-handedly withheld the light from the wise and prudent.

The cities had every chance to welcome the Lord Jesus. They deliberately refused to submit to Him. When they refused the light, God withheld the light from them. But God’s plans will not fail. If the intelligentsia will not believe, then God will reveal Him to humble hearts. He fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty (Luke 1:53).

Those who consider themselves too wise and understanding to need Christ become afflicted with judicial blindness. But those who admit their lack of wisdom receive a revelation of Him “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). Jesus thanked the Father for ordaining that if some would not have Him, others would. In the face of titanic unbelief He found consolation in the overruling plan and purpose of God.[2]


Humility and Dependence

that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes. Yes, Father, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight. (11:25b-26)

Jesus’ specific cause for praise is God’s sovereign wisdom in hiding these things from the wise and intelligent and instead revealing them to babes. He thanks His Father that the first step to salvation is humility, coming to God in utter despair of one’s own merit or resources. It is not by accident that the first beatitude is “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). The kingdom belongs only to the humble.

These things refers to the kingdom, on which Jesus’ entire ministry focused. Even during the forty days between His resurrection and ascension Jesus was “speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). His teachings about His messiahship, lordship, and saviorhood, and about salvation, submission, and discipleship all centered in the kingdom of God-the realm where He is sovereign, where His people dwell by grace through faith, and where His righteous will is done.

The wise and intelligent sarcastically refers to those who are intelligent in their own eyes and who rely on human wisdom and disregard God’s. The Lord does not exclude smart people from His kingdom but rather those who trust in their smartness. Paul was a brilliant, highly educated scholar, and he did not forsake his intelligence when he became a Christian. But he stopped relying on his intelligence to discern and understand spiritual and divine matters. It is not intelligence but intellectual pride that shuts people out of the kingdom. Intelligence is a gift of God, but when it is perverted by pride it becomes a barrier to God, because trust is in the gift rather than in the Giver. “For though the Lord is exalted, yet He regards the lowly; but the haughty He knows from afar” (Ps. 138:6).

The wise and intelligent include both religious and nonreligious people, who in their love of human wisdom are much more alike than different. Whether religious or irreligious, the proud person will not submit to God’s wisdom and truth and therefore excludes himself from the kingdom. The religious man who relies on tradition or good works to please God is just as far from God as the atheist.

The means God uses to hide these things from such people is the darkness of their proud, unregenerate hearts, which prevent them from seeing what God desires them to know and to accept. Paul said, “Just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.’ For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God” (1 Cor. 2:9–10). God’s spiritual truth is not empirically, objectively knowable. It cannot be externally discovered, but must be willingly received through man’s heart as God reveals it. As someone has said, “The heart and not the head is the home of the gospel.” No amount of human reasoning or speculation can discover or explain God’s saving truth, because, as Paul continues to say, “a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (v. 14).

No amount of evidence is sufficient to convince the confirmed unbeliever. John says of such people that, though Jesus “had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him; that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, ‘Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’ For this cause they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, ‘He has blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart; lest they see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and be converted, and I heal them’ ” (John 12:37–40). Those who hear God’s Word and refuse to receive it are subject to God’s judicial confirmation of that choice.

Just as wise and intelligent does not refer to mental ability but to a proud spiritual attitude, babes does not refer to physical age or capability but to a humble spiritual attitude.

A baby is totally dependent on others to provide everything it needs. It has no abilities, no knowledge, no skills, no resources at all to help itself. Nēpios (babes) is used in 1 Corinthians 3:1 and Hebrews 5:13 of infants who cannot eat solid food but only milk. In 1 Corinthians 13:11 it is used of those who have not yet learned to speak and in Ephesians 4:14 of those who are helpless.

During a question and answer period in a meeting one time, a young girl, perhaps 9 or 10 years old, came up to me and asked, “What happens to babies and retarded children when they die?” She was obviously very serious, and I did my best to answer her from Scripture. Beginning with David’s comment about his infant son who had died, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Sam. 12:23), I explained that God takes to Himself all of those, such as babies and retarded people, who are not able to choose Him. Afterward her mother explained that a younger brother was seriously retarded and understood almost nothing of what went on around him. His sister, young as she was, knew, the way of salvation and was deeply concerned that her little brother might not go to heaven because he was not able to understand how to receive Christ as Savior. I reminded her that Jesus said, “Unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). She was greatly relieved when I said that her little brother was a living illustration of the kind of person Jesus came to save and to receive into heaven-the utterly helpless.

It is to spiritual babes, those who acknowledge their utter helplessness in themselves, to whom God has sovereignly chosen to reveal the truths of His kingdom. It is to the “poor in spirit” who humbly confess their dependency that God makes the way of salvation clear and understandable. By the Holy Spirit they recognize they are spiritually empty and bankrupt and they abandon all dependence on their own resources. They are the cringing spiritual beggars to whom Jesus refers in the first beatitude-the absolutely destitute who are ashamed to lift up their head as they hold out their hands for help.

Babes are the exact opposite of the kind of person the scribes, Pharisees, and rabbis taught was pleasing to God. They are also the exact opposite of the imagined ideal Christian touted by many popular preachers and writers who glorify self-assertion and self-worth.

The contrast between wise and intelligent and babes is not between the knowledgeable and the ignorant, the educated and the uneducated, the brilliant and the simpleminded. It is a contrast between those who think they can save themselves by their own human wisdom, resources, and achievement and those who know they cannot. It is a comparison between those who rely on themselves and those who rely on God.

People who are famous, highly educated, wealthy, powerful, or talented are often difficult to reach for Christ, simply because human accomplishments easily lead to pride and pride leads to self-sufficiency and self-satisfaction.

Yes, Father, Jesus continues, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight. God is well-pleased with the gospel of grace because it brings glory to Him, which is the supreme purpose in the universe. “For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite’ ” (Isa. 57:15). God loves to help the humble and the repentant, because they know they are helpless. He is pleased when they come to Him for help, because that honors His grace and gives Him glory (cf. Luke 18:9–14).

Still to the lowly soul

He doth Himself depart,

And for His dwelling and His throne

He chooses the humble heart.

(Author unknown)

“For consider your calling, brethren” Paul reminded the Corinthian believers, “that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong” (1 Cor. 1:26–27).

Jesus referred to Nicodemus as the “teacher of Israel,” suggesting that he was perhaps the most highly respected rabbi in the land. He was a student of the Old Testament and of the many traditional writings of Judaism. Yet with all his religious training and knowledge he could not grasp Jesus’ teaching that “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Even after Jesus explained, Nicodemus did not understand, and Jesus said to him: “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and you do not receive our witness. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:3–12). Before he could comprehend or receive the gospel, Nicodemus had to go all the way back and start over as a spiritual babe, putting aside his human knowledge and achievements and coming to Christ with no merit of his own.[3]


26 Far from bemoaning or finding fault with his Father’s revealing and concealing, Jesus delighted in it. The conjunction hoti is best understood as “because” or “for” (NIV): I thank you because this was your good pleasure; and that is what Jesus “acknowledges” or “praises.” Whatever pleases his Father pleases him. “It is often in a person’s prayers that his truest thoughts about himself come to the surface. For this reason, the thanksgiving of Jesus here recorded is one of the most precious pieces of spiritual autobiography found in the Synoptic Gospels” (Tasker, 121). Jesus’ balance mirrored the balance of Scripture: he could simultaneously denounce the cities that did not repent and praise the God who does not reveal, for God’s sovereignty in election is not mitigated by man’s stubbornness and sin, while man’s responsibility is in no way diminished by God’s “good pleasure” that sovereignly reveals and conceals (cf. Carson, Divine Sovereignty, 205ff.).[4]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1245). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Mt 11:25). Chicago: Moody Press.

[4] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, pp. 318–319). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

June 4 – Integrity Triumphs over Personal Loss

“Now among them from the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Then the commander of the officials assigned new names to them; and to Daniel he assigned the name Belteshazzar, to Hananiah Shadrach, to Mishael Meshach, and to Azariah Abed–nego.”

Daniel 1:6–7

✧✧✧

You can’t always prevent personal loss, but you can respond to it in ways that glorify God.

It was a quiet January morning in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California until suddenly and without warning the earth shook with such a violent force that many department stores, apartment houses, homes, and freeway overpasses crumbled under the strain. Within minutes the 1994 Northridge earthquake left scars upon lives and land that in some cases may never heal. Such catastrophic events remind us of just how difficult dealing with personal loss can be.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah understood personal loss. Perhaps in our day only those who have suffered as prisoners of war or as refugees from war’s ravages can fully appreciate the deep sense of loss those men must have felt after being cut off from family, friends, and homeland.

Their loss included even their own names. When taken captive, each of them had a Hebrew name that reflected his godly upbringing. But in an apparent effort to remove that influence and to exalt the pagan deities of Bel (or Baal) and Aku, Nebuchadnezzar’s commander changed their names from Daniel (which means “God is judge”) to Belteshazzar (“Bel provides” or “Bel’s prince”), from Hananiah (“the Lord is gracious”) to Shadrach (“under the command ofAku”), from Mishael (“Who is what the Lord is?”) to Meshach (“Who is what Aku is?”), and from Azariah (“the Lord is my helper”) to Abed–nego (“the servant of Nebo [the son of Baal]”).

Daniel and his friends couldn’t prevent their losses, but they could trust God and refuse to let those losses lead to despair or compromise. That’s an example you can follow when you face loss.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Lord for the wisdom to see your losses through His loving eyes, and for the grace to respond appropriately. ✧ Pray for those whom you know who have suffered loss recently.

For Further Study: Read Job 1:13–22. How did Job respond to his losses? ✧ What can you learn from his example?[1]


1:5–7 Nebuchadnezzar sought to assimilate the exiles into Babylonian culture by obliterating their religious and cultural identity and creating dependence upon the royal court. For this reason, the exiles were given names linked with Babylonian deities in place of Israelite names linked with their God. Daniel (“God is my Judge”), Hananiah (“Yahweh is gracious”), Mishael (“Who is what God is?”), and Azariah (“Yahweh is a helper”) became names that invoked the help of the Babylonian gods Marduk, Bel, and Nebo: Belteshazzar (“O Lady [wife of the god Bel], protect the king!”), Shadrach (“I am very fearful [of God]” or “command of Aku [the moon god]”), Meshach (“I am of little account” or “Who is like Aku?”), and Abednego (“servant of the shining one [Nebo]”). They were schooled in the language and mythological literature of the Babylonians, and their food was assigned from the king’s table, reminding them constantly of the source of their daily bread.[2]


1:6 Daniel Means “God is my judge.”

 Daniel (prophet)

Little is known of Daniel outside of the biblical book bearing his name. At some point in Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Palestine, Daniel was taken captive to Babylon and served in the king’s court. He is renowned for his wisdom and ability to interpret dreams and omens. Portrayed as the quintessential Jewish sage, he serves as a model of covenant fidelity and righteousness (see Dan 2:14 and note).

Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah These Hebrew names identify the three young men with the God of Israel: Hananiah (“Yahweh has acted graciously”); Mishael (may mean “Who is what God is”); and Azariah (“Yahweh has helped”). The changing of their names in v. 7 places them firmly in the Babylonian courts.

the Judeans The royal tribe (see Gen 49:9 and note; Rev 5:5 and note).

When Jacob blesses his sons in Gen 49, he tells Judah that the scepter and ruler’s staff shall not depart from him, which developed the belief that the Messiah would be a Judahite. During the period of Israel’s monarchy, this concept was applied to the kings. As Israel’s kings failed to realize the ideal rulership desired by God, exile ensued and the messianic interpretation resurfaced. It became prominent during the Second Temple period.

1:7 gave them names A common custom in this time period was that a king would rename foreigners who were brought to the king’s court as captives. For Daniel and Azariah, the Hebrew references to God in their names (-el for God or -iah for Yahweh) are replaced with references to Babylonian deities like Nabu or Marduk (also called Bel). Their new names symbolized serving Babylon.

Daniel’s new name, Belteshazzar, probably means “Bel protect the prince” (see Dan 4:8). Azariah’s new name, Abednego, is probably a misspelling of Abed-Nabu, meaning “servant of Nabu.” The meanings of Shadrach and Meshach are uncertain, and the deity references may be missing from their names. The purpose of renaming was to completely disassociate captives from their former way of life. Since the Jews were known for their steadfast devotion to the faith of their ancestors, a complete reidentification was required for the palace master to successfully assimilate them into the Babylonian culture. However, these four Hebrew youths never abandon their faith, despite their name changes. Rather than reflect the nature and ideals of the gods of their new names, their actions display the character of the God of their Hebrew names.[3]


1:6 Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These Hebrew names contain the word “God” (el) or a shortened form of God’s covenant name, “Yahweh” (Ps. 50:1 note). Daniel means “my judge is God”; Hananiah, “Yahweh is gracious”; Mishael, “Who is what God is?”; and Azariah, “Yahweh has helped.”

1:7 Belteshazzar … Shadrach … Meshach … Abednego. Suggestions for the meanings of these names include: Belteshazzar, “May Bel protect his life” (Bel is another name for Marduk, the chief Babylonian god; cf. 4:8); Shadrach, “the command of Aku,” (the Sumerian moon god); Meshach, “Who is what Aku is?”; and Abednego, “servant of Nebo” (a Babylonian god). These name changes are a further step in Babylon’s attempt to reshape their religious and cultural identity.[4]


1:6 According to the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, all four of these young men were members of Zedekiah’s royal family.

1:7 The name Daniel means “God Is My Judge.” Daniel’s Babylonian name Belteshazzar means “Lady Protect the King,” referring to the goddess Sarpanitu, wife of Marduk. The name Hananiah means “The Lord Is Gracious.” Hananiah’s Babylonian name Shadrach means “I Am Fearful of the God.” The name Mishael means “Who Is What God Is?” Mishael’s Babylonian name Meshach means “I Am of Little Account.” The name Azariah means “The Lord Has Helped Me.” Azariah’s Babylonian name Abed-Nego means “Servant of (the god) Nebo.”[5]


1:6–7. No mention was made of how many captives were taken but four are mentioned here by name because of their later significant role in Babylon. Because all four bore names that honored Yahweh, the God of Israel, their names were changed. El means God and -iah (or -yah) is an abbreviation for Yahweh, thus suggesting that the young men’s parents were God-fearing people who gave them names that included references to God. Daniel, whose name means “God has judged” (or “God is my Judge”), was given the name Belteshazzar (Bēlet-šar-uṣur in Akk.), which means “Lady, protect the king.” Eight of the 10 times “Belteshazzar” occurs in the Old Testament are in the Aramaic section of the Book of Daniel (2:26; 4:8–9, 18–19 [3 times]; 5:12). The other 2 occurrences are in 1:7 and 10:1.

Hananiah (“Yahweh has been gracious”) became Shadrach probably from the Akkadian verb form šādurāku, meaning “I am fearful (of a god).”

Mishael (“Who is what God is?”) was given the name Meshach, which possibly was from the Akkadian verb mēšāku, meaning “I am despised, contemptible, humbled (before my god).”

Azariah (“Yahweh has helped”) was named Abednego, “Servant of Nebo” (Nego being a Heb. variation of the Babylonian name of the god Nebo). Nebo (cf. Isa. 46:1), son of Bel, was the Babylonian god of writing and vegetation. He was also known as Nabu (cf. comments on Dan. 1:1 on Nebuchadnezzar’s name).

Thus the chief court official (Ashpenaz, v. 3) seemed determined to obliterate any testimony to the God of Israel from the Babylonian court. The names he gave the four men signified that they were to be subject to Babylon’s gods.[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1586). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Da 1:6–7). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 1464). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1008). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[6] Pentecost, J. D. (1985). Daniel. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1330). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

June 4 – Think Differently

You should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind.

Ephesians 4:17

Salvation is—first and foremost—a change of mind. The apostle Paul says to believers, “You have not so learned Christ” (Eph. 4:20). Christianity is cognitive before it is experiential. A person needs to consider the gospel, believe its historic facts and spiritual truths, and then receive Christ as Savior and Lord.

The first step in that process is repentance, which means that you think differently about sin, about God, about Christ, and about your life than you used to think. The Greek word for “repentance” means “to change one’s mind.” As it is used in the New Testament, it always refers to a change of purpose, specifically a turning from sin.

That change should result in a change of behavior, which also is based on the mind. In today’s verse, Paul says that unregenerate people live “in the futility of their mind.” Proverbs 23:7 says, “As he thinks in his heart, so is he.” So when you think differently, you will act differently.[1]


4:17 Here begins the apostle’s eloquent appeal for a new morality, an appeal which extends to 5:21. Testifying in the Lord, that is, by authority of the Lord and by divine inspiration, he urges the Christians to put off every trace of their past life, as if it were a muddy coat, and to put on the virtues and excellencies of the Lord Jesus Christ. You should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk. They were no longer Gentiles; they were Christians. There should be a corresponding change in their lives. Paul saw the Christless world of the nations sunk in ignorance and degradation. Seven terrible things characterized them. They were:

Aimless. They walked in the futility of their mind. Their life was empty, purposeless, and fruitless. There was great activity but no progress. They chased bubbles and shadows, and neglected the great realities of life.[2]


17. The paragraph begins as follows: This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk. This “therefore” connects the present paragraph with all that has gone before in 4:1–16. “Because of your high calling, your duty to render service with a view to the building up of Christ’s body, no longer conduct yourselves as do the Gentiles.” The apostle introduces this admonition with all the authority he is able to summon. He says, “I say and testify.” As Bengel has pointed out: when the apostle admonishes he does it so that those addressed may act freely; when he encourages, so that they may act gladly; and when he testifies, so that they may act reverently (with a proper respect for the will of God). Note also “in the Lord.” He is speaking and testifying in the sphere of the Lord, with his authority, and in the interest of his Cf. Acts 20:26; Gal. 5:3; 1 Thess. 2:12.

They must no longer behave as Gentiles, for they no longer are Gentiles. When this statement is analyzed it becomes clear that two ideas are combined here: a. Lay aside your former manner of life (cf. 2:1–3, 12; 4:14, 22); and b. do not imitate your present evil environment. With reference to Gentile conduct Paul adds: in the futility of their mind. The rendering “vanity” instead of “futility” is not wrong, since the latter is one of the meanings of the former. Nevertheless, inasmuch as “vanity” also has another, very different and yet very common, meaning, namely, excessive pride, conceit, “futility” is to be preferred. The apostle emphasizes a very important point, namely, that all those endeavors which the Gentiles put forth in order to attain happiness end in disappointment. Their life is one long series of mocked expectations. It is a pursuing and not achieving, a blossoming and not bearing fruit. Cf. Rom. 8:20. All the rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never filled. The eye is never satisfied with seeing nor the ear with hearing. All this chasing after riches, honor, mirth, etc., is nothing but “a striving after wind” (Eccles. 1:7, 8; 3:9). Their mind or intellect is fruitless. It produces naught that can satisfy. [3]


The Walk of the Old Self

This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. (4:17–19)

The therefore refers back to what Paul has been saying about our high calling in Jesus Christ. Because we are called to salvation, unified in the Body of Christ, gifted by the Holy Spirit, and built up by the gifted men (vv. 1–16), we should therefore … walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk. We cannot accomplish the glorious work of Christ by continuing to live the way the world lives.

Ethnos (Gentiles) is not in all of the ancient Greek texts, and may have been a later addition. But its presence here is perfectly consistent with its use elsewhere in the New Testament, including Paul’s other letters. The term basically refers to a multitude of people in general, and then to a group of people of a particular kind. It is this secondary meaning that we see in our derived English word ethnic. Jews used the term in two common ways, first to distinguish all other people from Jews and second to distinguish all religions from Judaism. Gentiles therefore referred racially and ethnically to all non–Jews and religiously to all pagans.

In his first letter to the Thessalonians Paul uses the term in its pagan meaning when he refers to “the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thess. 4:5), and that is the sense in which he uses it in our present text. Gentiles here represent all ungodly, unregenerate, pagan persons.

Like the church in our own day, the churches at Ephesus and in almost every non–Palestinian area in New Testament times were surrounded by rank paganism and its attendant immorality. Ephesus was a leading commercial and cultural city of the Roman empire. It boasted the great pagan temple of Artemis, or Diana, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. But it was also a leading city in debauchery and sexual immorality. Some historians rank it as the most lascivious city of Asia Minor.

The temple of Artemis was the center of much of the wickedness. Like those in most pagan religions, its rituals and practices were but extensions of man’s vilest and most perverted sins. Male and female roles were interchanged, and orgiastic sex, homosexuality, and every other sexual perversion were common. Artemis was herself a sex goddess, represented by an ugly, repulsive black female idol that looked something like a cross between a cow and a wolf. She was served by thousands of temple prostitutes, eunuchs, singers, dancers, and priests and priestesses. Idols of Artemis and other deities were to be seen everywhere, in every size and made out of many different materials. Of special popularity were silver idols and religious artifacts. It was because Paul’s preaching cut deeply into that trade that the Ephesian silversmiths rallied the populace against him and his fellow believers (Acts 19:24–28).

The temple of Artemis contained one of the richest art collections then in existence. It was also used as a bank, because most people feared stealing from within its walls lest they incur the wrath of the goddess or other deities. A quarter mile–wide perimeter served as an asylum for criminals, who were safe from apprehension and punishment as long as they remained within the temple confines. For obvious reasons, the presence of hundreds of hardened criminals added still further to Ephesus’s corruption and vice. The fifth–century b.c. Greek philosopher Heraclitus, himself a pagan, referred to Ephesus as “the darkness of vileness. The morals were lower than animals and the inhabitants of Ephesus were fit only to be drowned.” There is no reason to believe that the situation had changed much by Paul’s day. If anything, it may have been worse.

The church at Ephesus was a small island of despised people in a giant cesspool of wickedness. Most of the believers had themselves once been a part of that paganism. They frequently passed by places where they once caroused and ran into friends with whom they once indulged in debauchery. They faced continual temptations to revert to the old ways, and the apostle therefore admonished them to resist. This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles walk. Peter gave a similar word when he wrote, “For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. And in all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you” (1 Pet. 4:3–4).

On the basis of what we are in Christ and of all that God now purposes for us as His redeemed and beloved children, we are to be absolutely distinct from the rest of the world, which does not know or follow Him. Spiritually we have already left the world and are now citizens of heaven. We are therefore not to “love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15–17). The world’s standards are wrong, its motives are wrong, its aims are wrong. Its ways are sinful, deceitful, corrupt, empty, and destructive.

The warning Paul gives did not originate from his own personal tastes or preferences. This I say … and affirm together with the Lord. The matter of forsaking sin and following righteousness is not the whim of isolated, narrow–minded preachers and teachers. It is God’s own standard and His only standard for those who belong to Him. It is the very essence of the gospel and is set in bold contrast to the standards of the unredeemed.

Paul proceeds to give four specific characteristics of the ungodly, pagan life–style that believers are to forsake. The worldly life is intellectually futile, ignorant of God’s truth, spiritually and morally callused, and depraved in mind.

intellectually futile

The first characteristic of unregenerate people is that they live in the futility of their mind. It is significant that the basic issue of life–style centers in the mind. Paul continues to speak of understanding and ignorance (v. 18), learning and teaching (vv. 20–21), and the mind and truth (vv. 23–24)—all of which are related to the intellect. Because unbelievers and Christians think differently they are therefore to act differently. As far as spiritual and moral issues are concerned, an unbeliever cannot think straight. His rational processes in those areas are warped and inadequate (cf. Rom. 1:28; 8:7; 1 Cor. 2:14; Col. 2:18; Titus 1:15).

In their two–volume book The Criminal Personality, Samuel Yochelson and Stanton Samenow maintain that criminal behavior is the result of warped thinking. Three entire sections (pp. 251–457) are devoted to “The thinking errors of the criminal.” By studying what criminals think, rather than trying to probe their feelings and backgrounds, these researchers use these sections to share their conclusions. “It is remarkable,” they write, “that the criminal often derives as great an impact from his activities during nonarrestable phases as he does from crime. The criminal’s thinking patterns operate everywhere; they are not restricted to crime.” That is a description of the depraved, reprobate mind. “Sociological explanations have been unsatisfactory,” the authors declare. “The idea that a man becomes a criminal because he is corrupted by his environment has proved to be too weak an explanation. We have indicated that criminals come from a broad spectrum of homes, both disadvantaged and privileged within the same neighborhood. Some are violators and most are not. It is not the environment that turns a man into a criminal, it is a series of choices that he makes starting at a very early age.” The researchers also conclude that the criminal mind eventually “will decide that everything is worthless.” “His thinking is illogical,” they affirm in summary.

Because man’s sinfulness flows out of his reprobate mind, the transformation must begin with the mind (v. 23). Christianity is cognitive before it is experiential. It is our thinking that makes us consider the gospel and our thinking that causes us to believe the historic facts and spiritual truths of the gospel and to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. That is why the first step in repentance is a change of mind about oneself, about one’s spiritual condition, and about God.

To the Greeks the mind was all–important. They prided themselves in their great literature, art, philosophy, politics, and science. They were so advanced in their learning that Greek slaves were prized by the Romans and other conquerors as tutors for their children and as managers of their households and businesses. Greeks believed that almost any problem could be reasoned to a solution.

Yet Paul says that spiritually the operation of the natural mind is futile and unproductive. Mataiotēs (futility) refers to that which fails to produce the desired result, that which never succeeds. It was therefore used as a synonym for empty, because it amounts to nothing. The spiritual thinking and resulting life–style of the Gentiles—here representing all the ungodly—is inevitably empty, vain, and void of substance. The life of an unbeliever is bound up in thinking and acting in an arena of ultimate trivia. He consumes himself in the pursuit of goals that are purely selfish, in the accumulation of that which is temporary, and in looking for satisfaction in that which is intrinsically deceptive and disappointing.

The unregenerate person plans and resolves everything on the basis of his own thinking. He becomes his own ultimate authority and he follows his own thinking to its ultimate outcome of futility, aimlessness, and meaninglessness—to the self–centered emptiness that characterizes our age (cf. Ps. 94:8–11; Acts 14:15; Rom. 1:21–22).

After a life of experiencing every worldly advantage and pleasure, the wisest, wealthiest, and most favored man of the ancient world concluded that the worldly life is “vanity and striving after wind” (Eccles. 2:26; cf. 1:2; 14; 2:11; etc.). Yet century after century, millennia after millennia, men go on seeking the same futile goals in the same futile ways.

Ignorant of God’s Truth

The second characteristic of ungodly persons is ignorance of God’s truth. Their thinking not only is futile but spiritually uninformed. They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart.

General education and higher learning are more widespread today than ever in history. College graduates number in the tens of millions, and our society, like ancient Greece, prides itself in its science, technology, literature, art, and other achievements of the mind. For many people, to be called ignorant is a greater offense than to be called sinful. Yet Paul’s point in this passage is that ignorance and sin are inseparable. The ungodly may be “always learning,” but they are “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Fallen mankind has a built–in inability to know and comprehend the things of God—the only things that ultimately are worth knowing. When men rejected God, “they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Rom. 1:21). Intellectual futility and foolishness combine as part of sin’s penalty.

The Greek word behind being darkened is a perfect participle, indicating a continuing condition of spiritual darkness. This darkness implies both ignorance and immorality. And darkness of understanding is coupled with exclusion from the life of God (cf. John 1:5). The cause of their darkness, ignorance, and separation from God is the hardness of their heart, their willful determination to remain in sin. Because men determine to reject Him, God judicially and sovereignly determines to blind their minds, exclude them from His presence, and confirm them in their spiritual ignorance. “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks,” Paul explains of fallen mankind. “Professing to be wise, they became fools. … Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity” (Rom. 1:21–22, 24).

Because of the hardness of their heart, the ungodly are unresponsive to truth (cf. Isa. 44:18–20; 1 Thess. 4:5). Just as a corpse cannot hear a conversation in the mortuary, the person who is spiritually “dead in [his] trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1) cannot hear or understand the things of God, no matter how loudly or clearly they may be declared or evidenced in his presence. Pōrōsis (hardness) carries the idea of being rock–hard. It was used by physicians to describe the calcification that forms around broken bones and becomes harder than the bone itself. It was also used of the hard formations that sometimes occur in joints and cause them to become immobile. It could therefore connote the idea of paralysis as well as of hardness. Sin has a petrifying effect, and the heart of the person who continually chooses to sin becomes hardened and paralyzed to spiritual truth, utterly insensitive to the things of God.

Leroy Auden of the University of Chicago has written, “We hide a restless lion under a cardboard box, for while we may use other terms than guilt to describe this turbulence in our souls, the fact remains that all is not right within us.” By one way or another—by psychological game playing, rationalization, self–justification, transferring the blame, or by denying sin and eliminating morality—men try futilely to get rid of the lion of guilt. But it will not go away.

Satan plays a part in the blindness of those who refuse to believe, because “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4). They refuse to see Christ because they refuse to see God, and their refusal is readily confirmed and reinforced by the god of this world.

And when men continually persist in following their own way, they will also eventually be confirmed in their choice by the God of heaven. The Jews who heard Jesus teach and preach had the great advantage of having had God’s Word given to them through Moses, the prophets, and other Old Testament writers. They had the even greater advantage of seeing and hearing God’s own incarnate Son. But “though He had performed so many signs before them,” John tells us, “yet they were not believing in Him. … For this cause they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, ‘He has blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart; lest they see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and be converted, and I heal them’ ” (John 12:37, 39–40). Because they would not believe, they could not believe. God one day says,

“Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and let the one who is filthy, still be filthy” (Rev. 22:11).

When men choose to petrify their hearts by constant rejection of the light (John 12:35–36), they became darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart. That is the unspeakable tragedy of unbelief, the tragedy of the person who makes himself his own god.

Spiritually and Morally Callused

The third characteristic of the unregenerate person is spiritual and moral callousness—they … become callous. When people continue in sin and turn themselves away from the life of God, they become apathetic and insensitive about moral and spiritual things. They reject all standards of righteousness and do not care about the consequences of their unrighteous thoughts and actions. Even conscience becomes scarred with tissue that is not sensitive to wrong (1 Tim. 4:2; Titus 1:15).

According to an ancient Greek story, a Spartan youth stole a fox but then inadvertently came upon the man from whom he had stolen it. To keep his theft from being discovered, the boy stuck the fox inside his clothes and stood without moving a muscle while the frightened fox tore out his vital organs. Even at the cost of his own painful death he would not own up to his wrong.

Our wicked society is so determined not to be discovered for what it is that it stands unflinching as its very life and vitality is ripped apart by the sins and corruption it holds so dear. It has become callous both to the reality and to the consequences of sin, and will endure any agony rather than admit that its way of “living” is the way of death.

On the other hand, sins that were once hidden or excused are now indulged in openly and blatantly. Often not even the semblance of morality is maintained. When self–desire rules, indecency runs wild and proceeds to cauterize the conscience, the God–given warning light and pain center of the soul. Those who are dying are desensitized to that which is killing them—because they choose it that way. Even when held up shamefully in full view of the world, their sins are not recognized as sinful or as the cause of increasing meaninglessness, hopelessness, and despair (cf. Rom. 1:32).

Depraved in Mind

Futile, self–centered thinking, ignorance of the truth, and spiritual and moral callousness lead inevitably to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

Aselgeia (sensuality) refers to total licentiousness, the absence of all moral restraint, especially in the area of sexual sins. One commentator says the term relates to “a disposition of the soul incapable of bearing the pain of discipline.” The idea is that of unbridled self–indulgence and undisciplined obscenity.

Sensuality characterizes the people Peter describes as “those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self–willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed” (2 Pet. 2:10–12).

All people initially recognize at least some standard of right and wrong and have a certain sense of shame when they act against that standard. Consequently, they usually try to hide their wrongdoing. They may continually fall back into it but still recognize it as wrong, as something they should not be doing; and conscience will not let them remain comfortable. But as they continue to overrule conscience and train themselves to do evil and to ignore guilt, they eventually reject those standards and determine to live solely by their own desires, thereby revealing an already seared conscience. Having rejected all divine guidelines and protection, they become depraved in mind and give themselves over to sensuality. Such a person cares nothing about what other people think—not to mention about what God thinks—but only about what gratifies the cravings of his own warped mind.

Ungodliness and its attendant immorality destroy the mind as well as the conscience and the spirit. Rejection of God and of His truth and righteousness finally results in what Paul refers to in Romans as a “depraved mind” (1:28)—a mind that is no mind, that cannot reason, that cannot think clearly, that cannot recognize or understand God’s truth, and that loses contact with spiritual reality. In its extreme, the depraved mind loses contact with all reality. That is the mindlessness of the self–indulgent, profligate celebrity who loses his career, his sanity, and often his life because of wanton sensuality. When indecency becomes a way of life, every aspect of life is corrupted, distorted, and eventually destroyed.

The rapid increase in mental illness today can be laid in large measure at the feet of increased sensuality of every sort. Man is made for God and designed according to His standards. When he rejects God and His standards he destroys himself in the process. The corruptions of our present society are not the result of psychological or sociological circumstances but the result of personal choices based on principles that are specifically and purposely against God and His way. Homosexuality, sexual perversion, abortion, lying, cheating, stealing, murder, and every other type of moral degeneration have become unabashed and callused ways of life through the conscious choices of those who indulge in them.

Ergasia (practice) can refer to a business enterprise, and that idea could apply here. The ungodly person often makes business out of every kind of impurity. A Christian leader commented some years ago that many of the books published in the United States today rival the drippings of a broken sewer. Yet pornography, prostitution, X–rated films, suggestive TV programs, and every kind of impurity form perhaps the largest industry in our country. The vast majority of it is open, unashamed, and legally protected.

An article in Forbes magazine (Sept. 18, 1978, pp. 81–92) entitled “The X–Rated Economy” began by stating the obvious—pornography is no longer an illegal business. The market for pornography is not confined to perverts or other emotional cripples. To the contrary, the largest part of the market is middle class people. In an increasingly permissive society those who enjoy pornography are free to revel in it. The surprising revelation was that, according to one official estimate, the nation’s pornographers do more than four billion dollars worth of business a year—more than the combined incomes of the often supportive movie and music industries! Other estimates place the total pornographic business—including a large segment of the burgeoning home video market—at three times that much.

Impurity is inseparable from greediness. Pleonexia (greediness) is unbounded covetousness, uninhibited lust for that which is wanted. Immorality has no part in love, and anything the sensual person does under the guise of caring and helpfulness is but a ruse for exploitation. The world of sensuality and impurity is the world of greediness. The person given over to godlessness and immorality greedily takes whatever he can from those around him. He evaluates life only in material terms (Luke 12:15), uses other people to his own advantage (1 Thess. 2:5; 2 Pet. 2:3), and turns his back on God in order to fulfill his own evil desires (Rom. 1:29). And his greediness is no less than idolatry (Col. 3:5).

When a person determines to think his own way, do things his own way, and pursue his own destiny, he cuts himself off from God. When that happens, he cuts himself off from truth and becomes spiritually blind and without standards of morality. Without standards of morality, immorality becomes a shameless and callused way of life. When that is continued it destroys the mind’s ability to distinguish good from evil, truth from falsehood, and reality from unreality. The godless life becomes the mindless life.

That process characterizes every unbeliever. It is the direction that every ungodly person is headed, although some are further along than others. “Evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). That some people may not reach the extremes Paul mentions in Ephesians 4:17–19 is due only to the protective shield of God’s common grace that He showers both on the righteous and the unrighteous (see Matt. 5:45) and to the preserving influence of the Holy Spirit (Job 34:14–15) and of the church (Matt. 5:13).[4]


Seeing the World as God Sees It

Ephesians 4:17–19

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

There is a saying of the ancient classical world that goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” It is an encouragement to conform. If you are among sophisticated people, act sophisticated. If you are among earthy, common types, act earthy and common. If you are among pagans, act like one. Above all, do not stand out—at least not if you want to get on and be successful in the world.

That is foolish advice in most contexts, because it is usually those who stand out who are successful. But what bothers me most about the saying is its wickedness. It is opposed to the way of Christ. In human terms I suppose there is some wisdom in conforming to the ways of others; it gets one liked, it opens doors. But in spiritual terms conformity to the world’s ways is fatal. That is why Paul tells us in the next section of Ephesians: “You must no longer live as the Gentiles do” (Eph. 4:17). The Ephesians were Gentiles and had lived as other Gentiles did in the past. But now things had become completely different. They had been called to discipleship and holiness by Christ, and they were to live as he lived. They were to be in the world—as we are in the world—but not of it.

The Holy Life

Ephesians 4:17 is the beginning of a new section of the epistle, the final one. The theme of these verses will now carry through to the end.

It is generally known that in most of his letters Paul follows a pattern of teaching doctrine first and then following it with applications. (That pattern is also repeated within the practical sections, as he brings in doctrine and applies it again and again.) Romans is a good example. The doctrinal section covers chapters 1–11. This is followed by chapters 12–16, which are practical. The doctrinal section of Galatians is in chapters 3 and 4, after a personal section in chapters 1 and 2, and the practical section closes the book.

The same is true of Ephesians. In the first three chapters Paul discusses the nature and origins of the Christian’s salvation, showing that it flows from the grace of God and has as its goal the revelation of the manifold wisdom of God in and through the church. Chapters 4–6, the second half of the book, apply these doctrines to the life of Christians in a secular world.

But the second portion itself falls into two parts: 4:1–16 and 4:17–6:24. The doctrinal section taught that God has called Christians from all nations and all walks of life to be one people who must strive for unity. That is what 4:1–16 is all about. However, the doctrinal section also taught that Christians are God’s holy people who must strive for purity. That is the burden of these closing comments.

This is an extremely important point. Christians are to live holy lives, not just because morality is good in itself (though it is) or because it promotes happiness or success or anything else (though it does), but because of what God has done. Because of what we believe about God’s actions toward us through Jesus Christ we should live as God wants and requires us to live. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says, “Our conduct should always be to us something which is inevitable in view of what we believe. … If my Christian living is not quite inevitable to me, if I am always fighting against it and struggling and trying to get out of it, and wondering why it is so hard and narrow, if I find myself rather envying the people who are still back in the world, there is something radically wrong with my Christian life.”

Therefore, if I am failing in the Christian life, what should trouble me is not that I am failing or that I have a problem but that I have failed God and his important purposes for me.

This Present World System

We might think that at this point, having laid his doctrinal foundation in chapters 1–3, Paul might now pass on quickly to positive moralistic instruction: Live a holy life, speak the truth, be kind and loving. He does that eventually. However, before he does, he reminds the Ephesians of some very important truths—in this case the true nature of the world system from which they have been delivered and the reasons it got to be that way.

So far as the nature of this present world system is concerned, Paul describes it in these words: (1) “the futility of their thinking,” (2) “darkened in their understanding,” and (3) “separated from the life of God” (vv. 17–18). We know that Paul is going to talk about conduct, urging the Ephesians to pursue a different and higher standard of behavior than their pagan neighbors. So what strikes us about this initial description of the world system is its emphasis on the intellectual in non-Christians’ lives. We are sometimes given the impression that what a person thinks is not important, so long as he acts properly, or again, that a person can mess up on a practical level and still have his life together intellectually. That is not the way things actually are, according to the apostle. People act as they think, and the reason they are constantly messing up is that they are vain in their thinking and darkened in their understanding as a consequence of being separated from God.

In other words, our problems go back to the mind. It is here and not elsewhere that the unsaved person has his chief flaw. He does not know God; so he cannot think properly. Everything is out of place, and his disordered and sinful conduct reflects his disordered, sinful mind.

This must have been a novel idea to many of Paul’s readers. They were Greeks, and the central principle of the Greek world-and-life view was that the best, noblest, and ultimately most worthwhile part of the human being is the intellect. In fact, the Greek made a sharp division between reason and flesh (or substance). The mind is the divine element within the human being. It links us to God and draws us upward. Our flesh is of the earth. It draws us down. For the ancient Greek thinkers salvation consisted mainly in being delivered from the powers of the flesh by human reason. Philosophy was the savior.

But, of course, philosophy did not save the ancients any more than it saves people today, and Paul wanted to impress that upon the Ephesians. Their ability to think was flawed. They thought “mind” was the solution to their problems, but it was actually the chief cause of their failures. It is true that the Greek could pursue a proper logical analysis. He could form syllogisms and paradigms and solve problems. He could master philosophical concepts. But the Greek did not know God. So at some point, though great, all his reasonings and especially his moral conclusions were distorted.

The Greeks were the greatest thinkers of the ancient world; the Romans learned from them. Nevertheless, most of the ancients were either polytheists, who believed in many gods (Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Aphrodite, and others); pantheists, who believed that god was in everything; or atheists, who believed in no god at all. What folly! Writing of the Roman period that followed and built upon the Greek age intellectually, Edward Gibbon said that the philosophers regarded all religions as equally false, the common people regarded them as equally true, and the rulers regarded them as equally useful.

It is no different today. We live in an age which prides itself on intellectual attainments, just as the Greeks did, but it lacks true spiritual understanding. People protest this conclusion. But this is the way the world is, as God sees it.

Hardness of Heart

The second important truth Paul holds before his readers in this paragraph is the reason the gentile world system has become as it has. It is because of the “hardening of [people’s] hearts” (v. 18).

Here is a place where the New International Version and other modern versions help us better than the older King James text. In the Greek language the word the niv translates as “hardening,” but the kjv translates as “blindness,” is pōrōsis. The noun from which it came was pōros, which meant “stone.” Usually it referred to a certain kind of marble.

The word was also used medically. Pōrion was a “callus.” The verb pōroō meant to “petrify” or “harden.” If it was applied to the joints, it referred to their stiffening, perhaps arthritis. If it was applied to a fracture, it referred to the process by which the broken pieces were united through the growth of new bone or cartilage. Applied to the eyes, it meant blindness. This is what the older translators picked up for the King James Version. And, of course, it is not wrong. A “blind heart” cannot see God. Still, the trouble with “blindness” is that it suggests an inescapable and therefore a morally blameless inability, and this is not the idea.

What Paul is saying is that the unsaved world is actually much to blame. People have willfully hardened themselves against God, and as a result they have become warped in their spiritual understanding. The newer translations help us at this point.

As soon as we see this, we notice that Paul is developing precisely the same line of thought in Ephesians as he did in writing the great first chapter of Romans. Beginning with verse 18 of Romans 1, Paul explains how the wrath of God is revealed against ungodly people, not because they are innocently ignorant of him but because they have willfully closed their eyes to the revelation that God has given to the world.

In Romans 1:18–23 there are four main points, which make a sequence:

  1. God has revealed himself to people in nature so that no one is without blame for failing to seek him out and worship him. He says, “What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them” (v. 19). This does not mean that the revelation of God in nature is a complete or saving revelation, for it is not. There is more to God than what is revealed in nature, and that includes everything pertaining to the work of redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ.

The revelation of God in nature is very limited. Paul refers to it as the revelation of “God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature” (v. 20). But although limited, it is nevertheless a real revelation and is sufficient in itself to lead a man or woman to worship God properly—if such a person did not have reasons for refusing to do so. It is this revelation that makes the failure of a person to know God a blameworthy offense.

  1. In spite of God’s revelation of himself in nature, people have rejected or suppressed the revelation. Paul says, they “suppress the truth by their wickedness” (v. 18). That is, they try to hide it and deny it. They sense rightly that if they acknowledged the truth about the existence and nature of God, they would have to change their thinking and living. Rather than change, they repress the revelation.
  2. Because their ignorance of God is willful and blameworthy and not a natural failure, God’s wrath is upon them (v. 18). That is, he is not favorable toward them but rather judges them for their sins.
  3. The fourth point in this sequence is about how God judges those who willfully ignore him. Paul is thinking here not so much of the final judgment, though there will be one, but that God judges people by an inevitable working out of sin. Saint Augustine once said, “The punishment of sin is sin.” That is what Paul has in mind. Therefore, having spoken of the revelation of the wrath of God against men and women for their rejection of the truth, Paul writes of the consequential darkening of their intellects and their moral lives: “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity … to shameful lusts … [and] to a depraved mind” (vv. 22–24, 26, 28).

We find an identical sequence of thought in Ephesians 4:17–19, although the Ephesians passage uses different words and is shorter. What is wrong with the world in which the Ephesians (and all other Christians) find themselves is that it has hardened itself against God. The very one who is the Christian’s joy and glory is the world’s enemy. So we are not on the same team as the world. We do not have the same goals or tasks or loyalties. If we are going to get on with anything like a vigorous Christian life in this world, we need to see that.

Prayer and Understanding

In the next section of this chapter Paul is going to carry this out in detail: “You must no longer live as the Gentiles do.” He will explain exactly what this means. But before we go on to that valuable explanation we need to draw a few conclusions and applications from this study.

First, we must know the world as it really is and not as it likes to think of itself or present itself to others. We live in the world and thus, sometimes almost inevitably, adopt the world’s self-assessment. The world thinks it is doing fairly well; it thinks it is getting better and will certainly be even better than it is now some day. We need to realize that this is not the case. This is how the world sees itself, but it is not how God sees it, and it is not the way things actually are. In truth, the world is a dreadful place. It has information, but it lacks true knowledge—the only knowledge that ultimately matters, the knowledge of God—and, lacking that knowledge, it becomes increasingly wicked. We are not to envy it.

Second, we must recognize the spiritual blindness with which the world operates. It is a blindness due to a willful hardening of the heart.

In his commentary on Ephesians, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones gives an excellent illustration of this point. William Pitt the Younger was one of the great prime ministers of England, a great intellect, and a friend of William Wilberforce, the man who devoted his life to the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire. Wilberforce had experienced a genuine evangelical conversion, and this had made him the upright man he was. It was because of his Christian convictions that he labored so long and struggled so hard against slavery. Pitt was a nominal Christian, as most Englishmen of that day were, but Christianity did not mean anything to him.

In London in those days there was also a great evangelical clergyman and preacher by the name of Richard Cecil. Wilberforce attended Cecil’s preaching regularly and was delighted with it. It fed his soul and warmed his heart. He wanted his friend, William Pitt, the prime minister, to go with him to hear Cecil. Wilberforce often invited Pitt to attend church with him, but Pitt made excuses. He was always too busy. However, a day came when Pitt told Wilberforce that he could accompany him.

That Sunday morning Cecil was at his best. Wilberforce was uplifted as he had scarcely ever been before; he was glorying in God and prayed for his friend. However, when the service ended and they were going out together, William Pitt turned to his friend Wilberforce and said, “You know, Wilberforce, I have not the slightest idea what that man was talking about.”

Many who have witnessed to their non-Christian friends have had that experience and have been saddened by it. This sadness is proper, though surprise is not. This is that blindness and hardness of the heart about which Paul is speaking. A person like this remains blind until God softens the heart and opens the eyes to his truth.

This leads to a final application. We are going to see in this last section of Ephesians that Christians are not to live as the world. That is quite true. But our duty toward the world is not exhausted when we have rejected its values or established a different way of life. We are to pray for the world too. And if prayer for the world seems a bit overwhelming, as perhaps it is, then we must pray for specific people we know who need to have their eyes opened. I cannot tell you for certain that God will save that unsaved friend for whom you pray. But I know that the Bible encourages us to pray. It tells us that we do not receive because we do not ask. And I know that historically every great movement of the Spirit of God in what we call revival has been preceded by a long period of fervent, burdened prayer for it by God’s people.

We need such a movement of God’s Spirit today. Do you believe that? Do you believe it enough to pray for it? It is not enough to denounce the world’s sins. It is not even enough to come out from the world and be separate. We must also pray for those we know. And we must make the Word of God known to them, seeing that it is the vehicle by which God habitually turns sinners from darkness to his marvelous light[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 173). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1937). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Ephesians (Vol. 7, p. 209). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 165–172). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] Boice, J. M. (1988). Ephesians: an expositional commentary (pp. 152–158). Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library.