Daily Archives: February 16, 2018

Worldview Matters: Truth or Consequences?

Some say we should just ‘Coexist;’ live and let live, that all religions lead to the same place. But they can’t all be true… can they? Our worldview directly impacts how we live. We should at least consider why we believe what we believe. Unlike Christianity, world religions claim that humans can work, control, or […]

Friday’s Featured Sermon: “Truth in the Crosshairs”

Code: B180216

When did humanity’s fall into sin take place? Was it when Eve ate the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Or was it when she persuaded Adam to eat, condemning all his offspring to the curse of sin?

In his message “Truth in the Crosshairs,” John MacArthur explains that sin entered the world before anyone ate of the tree.

As soon as one does not completely and wholeheartedly and unreservedly trust in the Word of God as absolutely true, and the source of our highest joy and greatest good and deepest satisfaction and broadest pleasure and most consummate fulfillment, then mistrust has gained a foothold of sin in the heart. And the Fall happened there. It didn’t happen when [Eve] ate; it happened when she didn’t trust.

From the beginning, Satan’s primary strategy has been to call into question the authority, sufficiency, and clarity of God’s Word. The entire world’s system is built on the premise that Scripture is flawed, incomplete, outdated, untrustworthy, and irrelevant. That’s why the world scoffs at the church, and why it endlessly assaults believers’ confidence that the Bible is the Word of God.

In “Truth in the Crosshairs,” John MacArthur identifies many of the primary avenues Satan uses to assault God’s Word today. Identifying the categories of these attacks—whether they be from critics, cultists, carnal wisdom, or the culture at large (to name just a few)—is vital to defending the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

Perhaps the most convicting aspect of the message is the reminder of the vast breadth of lies Satan promotes in his assault on the truth, and just how easy it is to succumb to his deceptions. John explicitly warns about the dangers of friendly fire in the church—that while we are mindful of threats from outside the church, we must be just as watchful for threats from within. This sermon is the church’s call to action; to know the enemy and his schemes, and to be on guard against his constant assaults.

Click here to listen to “Truth in the Crosshairs.”

 


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B180216
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February 16 The Joy of Pleasing God

“The blameless in their walk are [God’s] delight” (Prov. 11:20).

✧✧✧

Your love for God brings Him joy.

Our focus so far this month has been on the joy we experience in knowing and serving Christ. Before we turn our attention to the theme of godliness, I want you to consider two additional aspects of joy: the joy of pleasing God, and how to lose your joy. Pleasing God is our topic for today.

Perhaps you haven’t given much thought to how you can bring joy to God, but Scripture mentions several ways. Luke 15:7, for example, says, “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Verse 10 adds, “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Repentance brings joy to God.

Faith is another source of joy for God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” That’s the negative side of a positive principle: when you trust God, He is pleased.

In addition to repentance and faith, prayer also brings God joy. Proverbs 15:8 says, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.”

Righteous living is another source of joy to God, as David acknowledges in 1 Chronicles 29:17: “I know, O my God, that Thou triest the heart and delightest in uprightness.” Solomon added that those who walk blamelessly are God’s delight (Prov. 11:20).

Repentance, faith, prayer, and righteous living all please God because they are expressions of love. That’s the overarching principle. Whenever you express your love to Him—whether by words of praise or by acts of obedience—you bring Him joy.

Doesn’t it thrill you to know that the God of the universe delights in you? It should! Let that realization motivate you to find as many ways as possible to bring Him joy today.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the privilege of bringing Him joy. ✧ Thank Him for His grace, which enables you to love Him and to express your love in repentance, faith, prayer, and righteous living (cf. 1 John 4:19).

For Further Study: Read 1 Kings 3:3–15. ✧ What did Solomon request of God? ✧ What was God’s response?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 59). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

February 16, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

Mitt Romney announced Friday he’ll run for the U.S. Senate in Utah, potentially bringing to Washington a popular Republican who has been a scathing critic of President Donald Trump.

Acknowledging that ties with Turkey are at a “crisis point,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pledged cooperation with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government but also issued new warnings over the erosion of democratic norms and the country’s plan to sign a defense deal with Russia.

Brazil’s military will take control of public security in the state of Rio de Janeiro as a wave of violence rattles the population and dominates media coverage ahead of this year’s presidential election.

President Donald Trump “feels strongly” that the U.S. should permit collection of state and local sales taxes on purchases made over the internet, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday.

The field of teenage candidates running for Kansas governor has grown to seven, and the latest contender isn’t even from the state. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 18 -year-old Conner Shelton, a University of Delaware student from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was inspired to enter the race when a man launched a short-lived campaign for his dog, Angus. Elections officials put the brakes on the dog’s candidacy, but Kansas doesn’t have an age or residency requirement, which lawmakers are seeking to change.

Firearms companies face declining sales, falling stock prices and tremendous debt. Gunmaker American Outdoor Brands Corp., formerly known as Smith & Wesson, has seen its stock plummet by almost half, compared with 2017. On Monday, Remington Outdoor Co., an iconic, 200-year-old American firearms manufacturer, announced it’s planning to file for bankruptcy.

A helicopter’s crash landing in South Carolina this week may have been triggered by a civilian drone, which would make it the first drone-related crash of an aircraft in the U.S.

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc says it will take 12 years to build its prototype small nuclear reactor in the U.K.

It’s been a long time since any country shipped out as much wheat as Russia. As estimates for the Black Sea nation’s harvest keep growing, so does the outlook for exports. The world’s top exporter is now expected to sell 36.6 million metric tons overseas. The U.S. was the last nation to ship out more, a quarter century ago.

AP Top Stories

About 300 men working for a Kremlin-linked Russian private military firm were either killed or injured in Syria last week, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Turkey and U.S. agreed to work together in Syria after weeks of tensions over Ankara’s latest cross-border operation that raised fears of a military confrontation between the two NATO allies.

Admiral Harry Harris, the top US admiral in the Pacific, said that if “the United States does not keep pace” with China’s investment in military technologies, the American military will eventually struggle to compete with Chinese armed forces. China is a rapidly growing regional military power and is seeking to expand its global influence.

This season’s flu shot was 36 percent effective overall, far less than the 2016-2017 vaccine but still worth getting because it can help ward off serious complications, US health officials said.

Egypt’s military and police forces have killed 53 Islamist militants and arrested 680 suspects in a week-long offensive to crush insurgents that is focused on the Sinai Peninsula, a military spokesman said on Thursday.

Even as the Pentagon hustles to ensure that its defenses keep pace with North Korea’s fast-growing rocket program, US officials increasingly are turning attention to a new generation of missile threat. These weapons under development by China and Russia — as well as by the United States — can fly at many times the speed of sound and are designed to beat regular anti-missile defense systems.

BBC

A Turkish court has sentenced six journalists to life in jail for alleged links to the July 2016 coup plotters.

New York police have arrested a former teacher and his twin brother after stockpiles of explosive materials were found at their home. Christian Toro, 27, is accused of paying students from his former school to take fireworks apart to get gunpowder, officials said on Thursday. His twin brother Tyler is also in custody. The FBI investigated a bomb threat against the school in December. Mayor Bill de Blasio also reassured citizens that there was “no imminent threat directed at New York City at this time”.

More than 100,000 Critically Endangered orangutans have been killed in Borneo since 1999. Scientists who carried out a 16-year survey on the island described the figure as “mind-boggling”.

Police in India have arrested a woman who allegedly posed as a man and duped two women into marriage for dowry.

A transgender woman has been able to breastfeed a baby in the first recorded case of its kind, researchers said. The 30-year-old wanted to breastfeed after her pregnant partner said she did not want to do it herself.

WND

UN staff have carried out thousands of rapes all around the world, a former official claimed on Tuesday. Andrew MacLeod, who was chief of operations at the UN’s Emergency Co-ordination Centre, warned that ‘predatory’ abusers used aid jobs to prey on vulnerable girls. He estimated 60,000 rapes had been carried out by UN staff in the past decade, with 3,300 pedophiles working in the organization and its agencies.

In fact, of the 18 “school shootings,” only five occurred during school hours, and only four – including the latest – are what most people would consider a school shooting; in which someone brings a gun to school with the intent of shooting students.


The Briefing — Friday, February 16, 2018

1) Atheists want to say what they’re for, but their very name leaves them forever frustrated

New York Times (Laurie Goodstein) –
University of Miami Establishes Chair for Study of Atheism

The Atlantic (Isabel Fattal) –
How Should Atheism Be Taught?

2) New Jersey church defies reality at ‘renaming service’

The Jersey Journal (Caitlin Mota) –
Transgender pastor celebrated at renaming service

3) A step into greater paranoia: Iran claims lizards are being used to spy on nuclear program

Newsweek (Cristina Maza) –
Iran Says Enemies Used Lizards to Spy on Nuclear Program


News – 2/16/2018

Sanhedrin Mints Silver Half Shekel With Images of Trump and Cyrus
In gratitude to US President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Jerusalem, the nascent Sanhedrin and the Mikdash (Temple) Educational Center are minting a replica of the silver half-shekel Biblically mandated to be donated by every Jewish male to the Temple. An image of President Trump will be engraved alongside an image of the ancient Persian King Cyrus, who facilitated the building of the Second Temple that ended the Babylonian Exile in 538 BCE. “Trump’s political agenda can only succeed if it is focused on building the Third Temple on the place that God chose: the Temple Mount. He must not advance any two-state solution or this will lead to his downfall.”

US and Israel Stand United Against Iranian Aggression: Ambassador Danon
“The US & Israel will always stand together in the face of Iran’s aggression and provocations as it attempts to destabilize the region,” Danon wrote on Twitter. “The international community mustn’t stand idly by as the Iranian threat grows rampant.” Danon made his statement shortly after his US counterpart, Nikki Haley addressed the UN Security Council regarding the developments in Syria. Haley slammed Iran while defending the Israeli downing of an Iranian drone that penetrated Israeli airspace.

Rabbi Levenstein: Eradicate homosexuality just like we did AIDS
The fiercely anti-liberal rabbi reiterated his objections to any acceptance of homosexuals as normative people.
In his latest incendiary lecture delivered in January, the fiercely anti-liberal rabbi reiterated his objections to any acceptance of homosexuals as normative people, decried the inability to refer gay men and women to conversion therapy, and generally described acceptance of homosexuality as madness. “They’ve taken a tragedy of men and a tragedy of women and turned it into an ideology,” railed Levenstein during one of several lessons on the issue of sexuality…Problems we eliminate, defects can be eliminated,” he averred.

US rejects ‘Communist Chinese’ takeover of Chicago Stock Exchange
The top US regulator of the financial markets has blocked the sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange (CHX) to a Chinese-led investor group due to concerns over the would-be buyers’ ability to supervise the bourse after the deal. The decision by the SEC has put an end to a two-year battle for an approval of the sale and emphasizes once again zero tolerance by Donald Trump’ s administration toward Chinese buyers. During the election campaign the 45th US president pointed to the CHX deal as an example of how American jobs and wealth were leaving the country.

Flu kills up to 4,000 Americans a week, causing 1 in 10 deaths
The amount of influenza ravaging the U.S. this year rivals levels normally seen when an altogether new virus emerges, decimating a vulnerable population that hasn’t had a chance to develop any defenses. It’s an unexpected phenomenon that public health experts are still trying to decode. “This is a difficult season, and we can’t predict how much longer the severe season will last,” she said. “I wish there was better news, but everything we are looking at is bad news.”

Attorney-General: I will indict Netanyahu without hesitation if necessary
If he must indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he will do it without hesitation, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit said on Thursday night, two days after the country was turned upside down by the possibility of another prime minister on trial. Speaking at a conference at Tel Aviv University, he said it was unpleasant to probe or indict any minister, but he is bound to do what is right.

Sources: Russian toll in Syria battle was 300 killed and wounded
About 300 men working for a Kremlin-linked Russian private military firm were either killed or injured in Syria last week, according to three sources familiar with the matter. A Russian military doctor said around 100 had been killed, and a source who knows several of the fighters said the death toll was in excess of 80 men.

Syria conflict: US and Turkey agree to avert Manbij clash
The US and Turkey, whose forces are at loggerheads in northern Syria, have agreed to try to defuse the crisis. The Nato allies said joint teams would meet shortly to work through their diplomatic differences, including a dispute over the city of Manbij. Turkey has threatened to attack US-allied Kurdish forces in Manbij, whom they regard as terrorists.

White House: New bipartisan DACA plan “giant amnesty”
…The White House has been very clear on the terms it will accept for granting a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and normalization of the program. They want a border wall and an end to broad family-unification or “chain migration” practices in order to keep the problem from recurring. Donald Trump went so far as to issue a veto threat for anything that doesn’t fully resolve the issue.

SEC blocks Chicago Stock Exchange sale to China-based investors
U.S. regulators on Thursday killed the politically sensitive sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange (CHX) to a group led by China-based investors, saying a lack of information on the would-be buyers threatened the ability to properly monitor the exchange after the deal. The move…ends a two-year battle to gain approval for the sale and underscores the more hostile environment facing Chinese buyers…

Egypt halts deliveries of diesel into Gaza
Egypt stopped allowing diesel shipments to enter the Gaza Strip Wednesday, causing the strip’s power station to cease operations. As a result, residents have been limited to three hours of electricity a day. A meeting was thus called by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in light of the dire situation…

Muslims outraged as the Coliseum in Rome to be lit up in red February 24th, to draw attention to Islamic persecution of Christians around the world
How about lighting up the Vatican in red, to draw attention to the fact that Pope Francis keeps encouraging non-Muslim countries to take in even more Muslim invaders whose religion advocates the killing or enslavement of Christians who refuse to convert to Islam?

END OF TIMES: Did the Final War of Gog and Magog Just Begin in Syria?
Israel and Iran made direct military contact on Saturday for the first time, signaling a significant escalation in the multinational entanglement in Syria. This development contains unique elements that several end-of-days experts say presages the Messianic war of Gog and Magog.

Gen. Jerry Boykin: Obama ‘Weaponized’ US Intelligence
Gen. Jerry Boykin, a U.S. Delta Force commander who served as deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, tells Newsmax that the Obama administration “weaponized the intelligence community against our own people.”

Video: Second Shooter Reported in Florida Massacre
Eyewitness says she heard shots fired down hall while talking to suspect!

6th Graders Asked: How Comfortable Are You At A Gay Bar?
A teacher is under fire after giving a quiz to 6th-grade students asking how comfortable they are in situations such as meeting a “female-to-male transsexual.”

Alleged Shooter “On Meds”: Why SSRIs Are Suicide Murder Pills
Mainstream media will never talk about THIS aspect of virtually every shooting because Big Pharma is their sponsor. Buried in a local report on the background of the alleged Parkland shooter is a family member saying he was on meds for his emotional/mental issues.

Broward Sheriff: Give Police the Power to Involuntarily Commit People Who Raise ‘Red Flags’
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel on Thursday called for more first responders, more mental health treatment, and more power for police to involuntarily commit people who raise what he called “red flags.”

Strange: Responders Throw BODY BAG in Back of Truck Amid Florida Shooting
What’s in the bag? Footage shows possible violation of protocol

Why The Media Stopped Reporting The Russia Collusion Story
The media stopped reporting The Russia Collusion story because they helped create it. The press has played an active role in the Trump-Russia collusion story since its inception. It helped birth it.

IT’S COMING: Iran is on the march to Israel’s northern border
Iran has created a foothold in Syria that only stands to grow stronger, warns Orit Perlov, an analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies.

Florida mass shooting: Another deranged Democrat obsessed with guns, violence and “resistance”
…it’s important that you know the real facts about this shooter. In summary, the shooter (“Nicolas de Jesus Cruz”) is another deranged Democrat who is obsessed with guns, violence and “resistance.” Here are the facts you need to know:

Hijab Compulsory In Around 150 UK Schools, Government Too ‘Politically Correct’ to Step In 
Around 150 schools have made it compulsory for children to wear the hijab and the government is too politically correct to step in and do anything about it, according to the former head of Ofsted.

The Chinese Military Is Surpassing the American Forces
…Under Obama, US military spending decreased. China’s military spending increased by 120%. The importance of this spending gap cannot be overstated…Where have we seen this before? Building an economy based on military spending is how Hitler revived the post-World War I German economy which had descended into hyperinflation and utter chaos, and we know how this turned out.


February 16, 2018

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Mitt Romney on Friday was set to announce his campaign for Utah’s Senate seat that will almost certainly succeed, and will only be burdened by attributes that candidates normally kill for – – universal name recognition and the captivated attention of the national press corps…. (more)


February 15, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Mitt Romney’s ascension to Congress’s upper chamber may be a safe bet, but that doesn’t mean he’ll have an easy road. Just as the news broke indicating Romney will announce his candidacy for Orrin Hatch’s, R-Utah, Senate seat on Thursday, Utah’s Republican Party chairman slammed the former presidential candidate. “I think he’s keeping out candidates that I think would be a better fit for Utah because, let’s face it, Mitt Romney doesn’t live here, his kids weren’t born here, he doesn’t shop here,” Rob Anderson said in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, further accusing Romney of “using name recognition to win a seat.”… (more)

February 15, 2018
BYRON YORK — Observers are buzzing about a series of events in the last 60 days in the case of Michael Flynn, the Trump national security adviser who on Dec. 1 pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI in the Trump-Russia investigation. The new developments might add up to very little or they might be significant. In any event, they are raising eyebrows…. (more)

February 15, 2018
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — Back in early December, Trump fans started throwing stuff at me for suggesting that we await more information about FBI agent Peter Strzok before demanding that he be drawn and quartered. Yes, it was clear that Strzok engaged in serious misconduct: The married G-man’s reported extramarital affair with his married FBI colleague Lisa Page was scandalous not only for the obvious reasons but as potential blackmail material against counterintelligence agents…. (more)

February 15, 2018
BOB UNRUH — Bruce Ohr, the demoted Department of Justice official who provided information to the FBI for the anti-Trump “dossier,” did not disclose to the bureau that the opposition-research firm that produced the dossier was paying his wife, according to newly obtained government documents…. (more)

February 15, 2018

NEWSMAX — Former CIA Director John Brennan is in a “world of trouble” over statements he has made concerning British spy Christopher Steele’s dossier linking President Donald Trump to Russia, former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino said Monday…. (more)


February 15, 2018
DAILY CALLER — White House problems with the Democrats’ “rebuttal memo” on the surveillance of Trump associates are genuine and the document could disclose “sources and methods,” California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence confirmed…. (more)

February 15, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — With dozens of Dreamers looking on from the viewing gallery, the Senate was unable to muster the votes to approve an amnesty for them and 1.8 million other illegal immigrants, leaving their fate in doubt with just weeks to go before many of them start to lose their DACA protections…. (more)

February 15, 2018
DAILY CALLER — Justice Clarence Thomas decried the contemporary culture of victimhood during remarks Thursday, telling an audience at the Library of Congress that constant aggrievement would exhaust the country…. (more)

February 15, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., spoke pessimistically Thursday about preventing mass shootings like the one that took place in his home state a day earlier. “I’m trying to be clear and honest here, if someone’s decided I’m going to commit this crime, they will find a way to get the gun to do it,” Rubio said in a Senate floor speech. “That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a law to make it harder; it just means understand, to be honest, it isn’t going to stop this from happening.”… (more)

February 15, 2018

CBS NEWS — The leader of a white nationalist militia Thursday night appeared to walk back his earlier statements that Florida shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz was a member of his group. Law enforcement in Tallahassee, Florida, said they had no record of Cruz being part of the organization…. (more)


February 15, 2018
CBS NEWS — Seventeen people were killed and more than two dozen others were wounded when 19-year-old Nikolas Jacob Cruz allegedly opened fire on Wed., Feb. 14, 2018, on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus in Florida. Pictured are 14 of the victims who were killed in Parkland, Florida…. (more)

February 15, 2018
NEWSMAX — The alleged shooter in Wednesday’s Florida high school massacre had gone through mental health treatment but had stopped attending the sessions at least a year ago, according to a new report. Broward County Mayor Beam Furr told CNN the shooter, identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, had a history of mental illness before he allegedly shot and killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida…. (more)

February 15, 2018
NEWSMAX — Educators should consider employing armed combat veterans to protect students against the kind of senseless violence that claimed the lives of 17 people at a Florida high school, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik tells Newsmax TV…. (more)

February 14, 2018
SALT LAKE TRIBUNE — The Utah Republican Party chairman blasted Mitt Romney’s anticipated Senate run, hitting him for “essentially doing what Hillary Clinton did in New York” – – campaigning in a state he hasn’t spent much time in. “I think he’s keeping out candidates that I think would be a better fit for Utah because let’s face it Mitt Romney doesn’t live here, his kids weren’t born here, he doesn’t shop here,” Rob Anderson told The Salt Lake Tribune in an interview…. (more)

February 14, 2018

NEWSMAX — Former FBI director James Comey told lawmakers last March that the FBI agents who interviewed retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who briefly served in the Trump White House, said Flynn did not lie to them – – which contradicts what the Russia probe has concluded…. (more)


February 14, 2018
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — The Schiff memo, principally authored by Democratic staff on the House Intelligence Committee under the direction of ranking member Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), is the response to the Nunes memo, which was composed by the committee’s Republican staff under the direction of Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.)…. (more)

February 13, 2018

BOSTON HERALD — At the ceremony yesterday to unveil portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama, the former president joked that artist Kehinde Wiley cheerfully ignored almost all of his suggestions. “He listened very thoughtfully to what I had to say before doing exactly what he always intended to do,” Obama said. “I tried to negotiate less gray hair, but Kehinde’s artistic integrity would not allow it. I tried to negotiate smaller ears and struck out on that as well.”… (more)


February 13, 2018
ALAN KEYES — “Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils…. (more)

February 12, 2018
NEWSMAX — Sen. Rand Paul lashed out Sunday at his own party, calling members “hypocritical” for passing tax cuts – – and then turning around and voting for spending increases. In an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” the Kentucky Republican said the support for both doesn’t make fiscal sense…. (more)

February 12, 2018

WASHINGTON TIMES — Rep. Jim Jordan says the swamp struck back with the passage of a massive budget deal that increases government spending by $300 billion. “I’m saying the swamp won and the American taxpayer lost,” Mr. Jordan, co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, said on “Fox News Sunday.”… (more)


February 12, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Few things produce bipartisanship more than spending other people’s money. This week’s deal to add $320 billion to the deficit over the next 20 months and set the stage for $1.8 trillion more in deficits over the next decade has won strong reviews from those who want to see Democrats and Republicans get along better…. (more)

February 12, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Trump’s second budget will cut $3 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, White House officials indicated Sunday night, but won’t be balanced. Instead of balancing the budget, the Trump administration will tout lowering the debt relative to the economy in its budget document, to be released Monday…. (more)

February 12, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney defended the fact that his fiscal year 2019 budget request does not balance, and said Monday that Congress’ rejection of his savings proposals has put a balanced budget out of reach. “It’s not hypocritical,” said Mulvaney, a self-professed deficit hawk who pushed hard for spending cuts as a member of Congress. “It’s simply adjusting to the Washington, D.C., we live in.”… (more)

February 12, 2018
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was adamant Sunday he would not accept an immigration bill dealing with both increased border security and a pathway for citizenship for so-called Dreamers, or immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children…. (more)

MID-DAY SNAPSHOT

FEB. 16, 2018

Guns and Culture: Two Presidents Reveal the Divide

Obama blames guns, while Trump talks culture. Given the Left’s destruction of culture, Trump is right.

THE FOUNDATION

“If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?” —Benjamin Franklin


This ‘n’ That

  • This is a great interview with John MacArthur. He is so faithful and so consistent, as demonstrated by his now 49 years of ministry at Grace Community Church.
  • “Complementarianism does not mean so emphasizing male leadership that the voice of women is never heard…”
  • I’m with Seinfeld, especially when it comes to the luge.
  • Diabetes runs strong on both sides of my family. It helps to know the symptoms.
  • The world likes to think that truth is relative.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • These two deserved to win.
  • This is big news in some circles.
  • You really ought to give up these things for Lent.
  • Please pray for the families of these victims.
  • The way I see it, if you want to eat something healthy, you don’t go to McDonald’s.
  • A look at figure skating costumes through the years.
One of the most serious problems facing the orthodox Christian church today is the problem of legalism. One of the most serious problems facing the church in Paul’s day was the problem of legalism. In every day it is the same. Legalism wrenches the joy of the Lord from the Christian believer, and with the joy of the Lord goes his power for vital worship and vibrant service. Nothing is left but cramped, somber, dull and listless profession. The truth is betrayed, and the glorious name of the Lord becomes a synonym for a gloomy kill-joy. The Christian under law is a miserable parody of the real thing. —S. Lewis Johnson, “The Paralysis of Legalism” (emphasis added)
Source:

Headlines – 2/16/2018

Abbas refuses reconciliation until Hamas cedes control of Gaza – PA ex-minister

Intel report: W. Bank stabilized, Gaza on edge after Trump J’lem decision

Palestinians threaten protests over new Damascus Gate watchposts

Hamas decries US bill sanctioning ‘human shields’ practice

More Palestinians Are Dying Waiting to Get Medical Treatment Because Israel Won’t Give Them Travel Permits

Egypt halts deliveries of diesel into Gaza

As Gaza Strip deteriorates, Israel turns to world for help

Netanyahu to Attend Top German Security Conference Despite Crisis at Home

Ahead of Munich confab, Netanyahu says he won’t accept limits on Syria strikes

Tillerson rejects Israeli official’s claim that US is ‘not in the game’ in Syria

US and Iran call on each other to withdraw from Syria

Analysis: The Syrian War is now threatening world peace

The War in Syria Has Entered a Dangerous New Phase

U.S. Military Mission In Syria Endures As ISIS Nears Defeat

Lebanon tells US committed to calm at Israel border

Tillerson: Growing Hezbollah arsenal a threat to Lebanon

Egypt: 53 militants killed in massive security operation

Egypt army: Militants looking to Sinai for new home base

Tillerson meets Turkey’s Erdogan for ‘open’ talks after weeks of strain

Tillerson says US recognises Turkish right to secure borders, calls for restraint in Syria

Turkey to US: remove Kurdish fighters from anti-ISIS force

No ‘bloody nose’ plan for North Korea: U.S. official, senators

Mike Pence on Why He Ignored Kim Jong Un’s Sister: Leads Propaganda for ‘Evil We Have Witnessed Rarely’

Pentagon looks to counter rivals’ hypersonic missiles

U.S. court says Trump travel ban unlawfully discriminates against Muslims

Multiple immigration plans blocked in Senate, after Trump calls one proposal a ‘total catastrophe’

White House threatens veto for immigration plan DHS says would create ‘sanctuary nation’

Rick Gates is set to finalize a plea deal with Mueller and become the third cooperating witness in the Russia probe

US blames Russia for ‘largest cyber attack in history’

Thousands of FedEx Customer Records Exposed by Unsecured Server

Mortgage rates rise to nearly four-year high on inflation concerns

Dow Jumps 200 Points as Markets Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Inflation

Dow returns to 25,000 as stocks mount rally

Why Silicon Valley billionaires are prepping for the apocalypse in New Zealand

Dubai space center is joining the race to Mars

Enriched Uranium Particle Appears Over Alaska – and No One Knows Why

Fukushima operator ordered to pay $10 million in new damages

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Amahai, Indonesia

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Adak, Alaska

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Kokopo, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits North of Severnaya Zemlya

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 15,000ft

Mayon volcano in the Philippines erupts to 10,000ft

Small earthquake in southeastern New Hampshire Thursday morning

Water use climbs in California enclaves as drought returns

Human/AI hybrids and gene editing are going to change mankind in a big way

Eli rabbi: homosexuality a ‘problem to be exterminated’

Florida school shooting suspect belonged to white supremacist group

Huckabee says US should follow Israel’s lead to prevent mass shootings

Trump avoids talk of gun curbs after Florida school shooting

Trump says school shooting a scene of ‘hatred and evil,’ shows need for mental-health services

Broward Sheriff: Give Police the Power to Involuntarily Commit People Who Raise ‘Red Flags’

Twin brothers arrested in NYC on explosives charges after authorities find bomb-making materials

Sandy Simpson – Real Revival

On the Adulterous Affair of Ravi Zacharias and the Cover-Up

Samuel Rodriguez: Illegal Immigration is Necessary to Grow the Church

A royal error: Brian Simmons’ (The Passion Version) knavish translation of Psalm 91

Heidi Baker Brings Her Demons to I.H.O.P. – International House of Prayer

Perry Noble Says 47 People Received Christ Through His Online Church

Apollo Quiboloy, Megachurch Pastor Who Claims to Be Appointed Son of God, Detained With Piles of Cash

Vice President Pence Blasts ABC’s ‘The View’: Christianity Is NOT a Mental Illness

Massachusetts Elementary School Principal Announces That He Identifies as a Woman – FYI – This Is Mental Illness

Chinese Unregistered Church Prevented from Holding Services as Authorities Impose Fine

Idols in the Temple of God

Purgatory – A Place of Torment for Dying Catholics to Anticipate

Kris Vallotton — Prostituting a False Gospel and His Imagined Poverty Mindset

Gloria “Flu, I Bind You” Copeland Is a Witch……

Sovereign Grace Leaders Say Sexual Abuse Allegations Have Damaged Innocent Pastors and Churches

Southern Baptists Fight to Continue Chain Migration

Open Doors Rebuilds Nearly 700 Christian Homes Destroyed by ISIS in Nineveh Plains

How Great is This Darkness – The Return of Indulgences

Scholarship, Dogs, and Sarcasm – Did an 11th Century Rabbi Plant the Seeds of Dispensationalisms Dual Covenant Theology?

Chris Rosebrough interviews Costi Hinn about his book ‘Defining Deception’

Gaggle of Lady Preachers Do Immigration Propaganda Video

Bad News for Gaither Followers – Gloria Gaither Praises New Age Teachers Sue Monk Kidd and Richard Rohr

Ralph Stair – Judge rules Colleton Co. cult preacher will stand trial

Pa. pastor caught by cops in car with bound naked man says he was counseling him

Bulldozer Tears Down Evangelical Church in Sudan Over ‘Public Disturbance,’ Authorities Take Bibles

 

Does This String of Incredible Coincidences Connect Dr. Michael Brown to the NAR?

(Steven Kozar – Messed Up Church) Dr. Michael Brown is trying very hard to make it appear like the New Apostolic Reformation barely even exists. He’s recently completed an entire program devoted to distancing himself from the movement he doesn’t think is real. In the process of describing the thing he doesn’t believe exists, he ends up explaining some of the core beliefs of the movement itself… you know, the movement that doesn’t really exist.

It seems that Dr. Brown fluctuates between two opposing ideas:

  • On one hand, he wants people to believe that the NAR isn’t real and if you believe in it you’re “chasing shadows.” He ridicules NAR critics as “conspiracy theorists,” which is really a meaningless smear intended to stop people from even looking into the matter.
  • On the other hand, he describes the specific ideas coming from the leaders of the NAR (primarily the late C. Peter Wagner) and he makes it clear that he doesn’t agree with all of those ideas.

Here’s a brief compilation video showing how Dr. Brown contradicts himself on the existence of the NAR: 

In Dr. Brown’s radio show he described some of the specific beliefs of the NAR and how he doesn’t agree with them. While it is very good that Dr. Brown has explained why he doesn’t believe in or agree with certain NAR teachings, like “Dominionism” and the NAR’s idea of authoritative contemporary Apostles, he knows (and promotes) plenty of NAR leaders who hold to these very views. Looking at all the ways that Dr. Michael Brown is closely associated with the NAR, one would have to believe in a lot of incredible coincidences to think that Brown has nothing to do with the NAR.

Pirate Christian Media has done a lot of research, writing and podcasting on this issue, but Dr. Brown says that we’re “not credible” because we’re “unethical.” Why are we “not credible?” Because he says so. Why are we “unethical?” Because he says so. This is another thought-stopping device. His gullible listeners will hear those accusations and assume they must be true. But we’ve provided reams of evidence to support our assertions about Dr. Brown (as well as links to more information at other websites). Dr. Brown has such a bias against Pirate Christian Media that when Chris Rice called into his radio show to ask him some tough questions about the prosperity gospel, Brown talked over him and turned off his mic because he thought he was Chris Rosebrough; check out this article to hear that story: The Brown Rice ControversyHere’s a series of really good articles and videos about Dr. Michael Brown from Chris Rice’s blog: Is Not Satire on Dr. Michael Brown  View article →

Check out Berean Research’s White Paper on the New Apostolic Reformation!

Source: Does This String of Incredible Coincidences Connect Dr. Michael Brown to the NAR?

FEBRUARY 16 SECULAR MEN CONFUSE TRUTHS WITH “TRUTH”

The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.

PROVERBS 3:19

The celebrated prayer of the great German astronomer, Kepler, has been a benediction to many: “O God, I thank Thee that Thou has permitted me to think Thy thoughts after Thee!”

This prayer is theologically sound because it acknowledges the priority of God in the universe. Whatever new thing anyone discovers is already old, for it is but the present expression of a previous thought of God. The idea of the thing precedes the thing itself; and when things raise thoughts in the thinker’s mind these are the ancient thoughts of God, however imperfectly understood.

Should an atheist, for instance, state that two times two equals four, he would be stating a truth and thinking God’s thoughts after Him, even though he might deny that God exists.

In their search for facts, men have confused truths with truth. The words of Christ, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” have been wrenched from their context and used to stir people to the expectation of being made “free” by knowledge. Certainly this is not what Christ had in mind when He uttered the words.

It is the Son who is the Truth that makes men free. Not facts, not scientific knowledge, but eternal Truth delivers men, and that eternal Truth became flesh to dwell among us![1]


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

Idolatry, Demons, and Ecumenism

Depart, depart, go out from there; touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her; purify ourselves, you who bear the vessels of the Lord. ~ Isaiah 52:11

“Every false religion in the world is not just wrong. It is demonic. It is energized and powered by the kingdom of darkness that is ruled by Satan himself,” says Mike Riccardi. He goes on to say “There is absolutely no fellowship or spiritual partnership between the people of God and the people of this world.” So, if we’re in relationship with those who teach doctrines of demons, should we break fellowship with them? You must, says Riccardi. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. And he offers plenty of Scripture to back up what he says. Bottom line: “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” 1 Cor 10:21

In the comments below the article, Riccardi responds to a question. In his thoughtful answer he urges believers not to pray with apostates:

We cannot pray together because they do not pray to the one true God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And that’s precisely the point of 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1. Paul calls the Judaizers unbelievers, and then speaks about how the Corinthians must separate from their idolatry. But the Judaizers weren’t pagans, or even Jews. They were professing Christians who believed in the necessity of faith in Jesus for salvation; they just didn’t believe in the sufficiency of Christ’s work for salvation. And yet Paul likens them to idol-worshipers, because it didn’t matter that they called their god “Jesus,” that was “another Jesus” (2 Cor 11:4), nothing more than an idol, akin to the idols of the pagans.

In the same way, because Roman Catholics — though they believe in the necessity of faith in Christ — nevertheless do not believe in the sufficiency of faith in Christ for salvation, the god they worship is one fashioned by their own minds, and is not the God of the Bible. For that reason, it would be as blasphemous to join them in prayer to their false gods as it would be for us to pray with Hindus to their gods, or with the ancient Greco-Romans to their pantheon of gods.

Sadly, there are scores of false converts who truly believe they’re born again Christians. So,

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Now to another stellar article by Mike Riccardi that’s published on The Cripplegate:

 

Whom can the faithful church of God legitimately partner with in ministry? That question has been a point of contention among professing Christians for the past 100 years. And that’s been illustrated by what is known as the ecumenical movement, the history of which we surveyed last week.

And the principal dogma of the ecumenical movement of the 20th century was that anyone who called themselves a Christian was to be regarded as a Christian. It didn’t matter if they were a theological liberal who denied the bodily resurrection of Christ or penal substitutionary atonement, or if they were a Roman Catholic who denied the Gospel of justification by faith alone. The important thing was that those who called themselves Christians, and held somewhat to a “Christian” view of morality, were able to unite together in order to show strength in numbers, and therefore to compete in the culture wars for larger societal influence. Whether it was religious liberty, the unborn child’s right to life, race relations, a free-market economy, or improving education—all good things!—winning the battle over these social issues became more important to these people than the doctrine that divided them. So they downplayed the importance of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith in order to partner together on these issues.

Again, this is always done in the name of seizing influence, which, it is always assumed, is absolutely necessary for successful evangelism and for revival. It’s a fundamentally man-centered concept of salvation, because it supposes that unbelievers will be more likely to convert to Christianity if they see how popular, influential, and culturally relevant it is. The fruitlessness of this kind of thinking was illustrated in a classic interaction between a pro-ecumenical minister and Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The man believed the ecumenical movement to be a sign of hope for the future. He said, “But surely, when so many churches are coming together in a World Council of Churches, revival must be on the way.” Do you recognize the unspoken assumption? “If we can have worldwide movements and such large gatherings in the name of Christ, surely unbelievers will want to join us!” And Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ reply was just brilliant.  He said, “You seem to be arguing that if you succeed in bringing together a sufficient number of dead bodies they will come alive!” (G. N. M. Collins, “The Friend,” Chosen by God, 262–63).

Lloyd-Jones’ response reveals a different fundamental conviction about human nature and about what it means to be a Christian. Becoming a Christian isn’t joining a cultural movement. It’s not deciding to join a social club or some sort of fraternity. Becoming a Christian happens when a sinner who is spiritually dead is miraculously raised to spiritual life by God’s sovereign work of regeneration. A Christian is one whom God has made alive from the dead through the preaching of the one true Gospel of Christ. And those who are possessed of different fundamental convictions concerning the Gospel are not just “separated brethren;” they are the one spiritually alive and the other spiritually dead. And as Lloyd-Jones said, it doesn’t make a difference how many dead bodies you could gather into one place. What matters is whether God, by the Holy Spirit, breathes spiritual life into men and women by the preaching of the Gospel.

That is the test of whether Christianity is advancing in the world. Not how big our churches can get, but whether sinners were united to Christ by faith in the Gospel, and thus had found forgiveness of sins in Him. And if that’s what mattered, then it is the height of folly to downplay the importance of the doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the only way of salvation, in service of a substance-less “unity.” There can be no genuine unity between those who have been saved from their sins through the Gospel, and those who yet remain enemies of that Gospel—no matter what people are willing to call themselves. And so there can be no partnership in ministry between believers and unbelievers, because there is such a radical difference between them. And history has shown us that when we water down fundamental doctrinal distinctives for the sake of a bigger “tent,” we lose the Gospel—the Evangel itself. And if you lose the Gospel, there is no ground for genuine unity.

And it’s precisely this issue that Paul takes up in 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1:

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ 17Therefore, ‘Come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. 18And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ Says the Lord Almighty. 7:1Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

The apostolic instruction could not be clearer: because there is this radical, objective difference between believers and unbelievers at the most fundamental level, there can be no partnership between them in ministry.  View article →

Source: Idolatry, Demons, and Ecumenism

40 Days to the Cross: Week of Ash Wednesday – Friday

Confession: Psalm 51:9–12

Hide your face from my sins,

and all my iniquities blot out.

Create a clean heart for me, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,

and do not take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and with a willing spirit sustain me.

Reading: Mark 9:2–13

And after six days, Jesus took along Peter and James and John, and led them to a high mountain by themselves alone. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothing became radiant—extremely white, like no cloth refiner on earth can make so white. And Elijah appeared to them together with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! And let us make three shelters, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (For he did not know what he should answer, because they were terrified.) And a cloud came, overshadowing them, and a voice came from the cloud, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him!” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus alone.

And as they were coming down from the mountain, he ordered them that they should tell no one the things that they had seen, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. And they kept the matter to themselves, discussing what this rising from the dead meant. And they asked him, saying, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” And he said to them, “Elijah indeed does come first and restores all things. And how is it written concerning the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that indeed Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they wanted, just as it is written about him.”

Reflection

If other men cannot read our motives, we ought at least to examine them carefully for ourselves. Day by day, with extreme rigour, must we search our hearts. Motive is vital to the goodness of an action. He who gives his body to be burned might yet lose his soul if his ruling passion were obstinacy and not desire for God’s glory. Self may be sought under many disguises, and a man may be utterly unaware that thus he is losing all acceptance with God.

We must not impute ill motives to others, but we must be equally clear of another more fascinating habit—that of imputing good motives to ourselves. Severity in estimating our own personal character very seldom becomes excessive; our partiality is usually more or less blinding to our judgment. We will not suspect ourselves if we can help it; evidence must be very powerful before it can convince us of being governed by sordid aims. The stream of generosity does not always spring from gratitude to God. Zeal is not at all times the offspring of deep-seated faith. Even devotional habits may be fostered by something other than holy affections. The highest wisdom suggests that we spend much patient and impartial consideration upon a matter so fundamental as the heart’s intent in the actions which it directs. “If your eye is sincere, your whole body will be full of light” (Matt 6:22). Dear reader, stand by your inner springs and watch, and make faithful notes of what you see, lest you be deceived.

—Charles H. Spurgeon

Springs Uncovered

Response

Do you know yourself for who you truly are? This knowledge is not an end in itself, nor does it end with ourselves. Truly knowing ourselves means we are constantly fleeing to Jesus. Set time aside daily to honestly examine the motives of your heart and then turn to God in prayer.[1]


[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

A Good God in an Evil World

Norman Geisler

We can be sure that the world to come is not going to be like this one. This one is full of disaster, destruction and death. The next one will have none of these. John said it best: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. … And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:1, 4, KJV).

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February 16, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Luke’s Prologue

(Luke 1:1–4)

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. (1:1–4)

The world is full of stories. Some are compelling, others are moving, many are impactful, and a few are even capable of profoundly changing how people think and live. Many such stories have come and gone throughout history, from the legends of the ancient world, the myths of past civilizations, the fanciful stories surrounding the pantheon of Greek gods, to the classics of literature from Aesop’s fables to Beowulf to Shakespeare to modern writers. But there is one enduring and true story that stands above all the rest: the life of Jesus Christ. It is, as the title of a mid-twentieth-century Hollywood retelling of His life proclaimed, “The Greatest Story Ever Told.”

This is the compelling and glorious story of how God purposed in eternity past to save lost sinners from eternal hell. His gracious, loving plan was to send His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all who put their faith in Him. Jesus, as Paul wrote to the Romans, was “delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification” (Rom. 4:25). John wrote concerning Him, “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). It was only because “God displayed [Jesus] publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith” that He could “demonstrate His righteousness” (Rom. 3:25) and both “be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (v. 26). Because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), the gospel message of salvation from sin and judgment in Christ alone completely transcends the limitations of culture and time and definitively determines every person’s eternal destiny (cf. John 3:36; 8:24; 14:6; Acts 4:12).

Accordingly, the central theme of both the Old and New Testaments is the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Rev. 19:10). Just before His ascension He told the disciples, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44). It is the “Scriptures” (the Old Testament), Jesus declared to the hostile Jewish leaders, “that testify about Me” (John 5:39). The New Testament Epistles unpack all the theological riches of salvation in Christ, while the book of Revelation chronicles Christ’s second coming in glory (cf. Matt. 24:30).

But of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, the Gospels most clearly focus on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Luke is the longest, and most thorough and complete of the four (Luke covers approximately forty pages, Matthew thirty-seven, Mark twenty-three, and John twenty-nine). Including the book of Acts, Luke’s accurate, inerrant, comprehensive narrative of the life of Jesus and its impact spans more than sixty years. It begins with the birth of His forerunner, John the Baptist, and concludes with the apostle Paul’s first imprisonment and ministry of the gospel in Rome. Altogether, Luke’s writings make up more than one fourth of the New Testament. (For a further discussion of Luke’s writings, see the Introduction to Acts in Acts 1–12, MacArthur New Testament Commentary [Chicago: Moody, 1994], 1–6.)

But despite his major role in chronicling the history and spread of the good news of salvation, Luke remains virtually unknown. Nowhere in his inspired writings does he refer to himself by name—not even in Acts, where he was one of Paul’s traveling companions. In keeping with Luke’s humble anonymity, the rest of the New Testament mentions his name only three times (Col. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:11; Philem. 24). He was content to remain in the background and allow the majesty of Christ, who pervades his writing, to be the focus. Luke’s accurately recorded history and theology establish his readers’ understanding of the Lord’s life and ministry.

The four verses that constitute the prologue to Luke’s gospel are one long sentence, crafted in the polished style of a Greek literary classic. (The remainder of the gospel was written in the koinē Greek used in common, everyday speech, as were the other New Testament books.) Such prologues, explaining the writer’s sources, purpose, and approach, were common in the scholarly writings of the Greco-Roman world (including those by such noted historians as Herodotus, Thucydides, Polybius, and Josephus). Luke’s prologue thus marks his gospel as a serious literary and historical work, commanding the respect of even the most sophisticated, well-educated Gentile readers.

Despite his anonymity four elements of the evangelist’s identity appear implicitly and explicitly in the prologue. Luke is revealed as a physician and historian, and as a theologian and pastor.

Luke the Physician and Historian

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, (1:1–3a)

The phrase it seemed fitting for me as well contains this gospel’s only reference to its author. As noted in the introduction to this volume, the early church unanimously identified Luke as the author of the gospel that bears his name; there was never any other suggestion concerning its authorship.

All that is known about Luke’s life before he became one of Paul’s partners in spreading the gospel is that he was a physician. In Colossians 4:14 Paul referred to his dear friend as “Luke, the beloved physician.” Since verses 10 and 11 of that chapter identify Aristarchus, Mark, and Jesus Justus as the only ones among this list of Paul’s fellow workers who were “from the circumcision” (i.e., Jewish), it is reasonable to conclude that the people Paul refers to in verses 12–17, including Luke (v. 14), were Gentiles. (For further evidence that Luke was a Gentile, see the introduction to Luke in this volume.)

Being a physician in the ancient world did not carry the dignity that such a profession does today. Howard C. Kee gives a helpful historical perspective:

An obvious question is: did most of the Roman populace share the exalted view of the medical art propounded by its chief practitioners, and particularly by Galen [a second-century a.d. Roman doctor]? Galen is caustic in his denunciation of the money-seeking, routine-bound quacks who “enter the sickroom, bleed the patient, lay on a plaster, and give an enema.” Both from the epigrams and from non-medical writers of the second century [a.d.] it is evident that the medical profession was regarded as being characteristically greedy and fond of public display. Plutarch, in The Flatters, mocks the smooth bedside manner of the day. Dio Chrysostom describes the efforts of physicians to drum up trade by public lecture-presentations, intended to dazzle hearers and attract patients:

This sort of recitation … is kind of a spectacle or parade … like the exhibition of the so-called physicians, who seat themselves conspicuously before us and give us a detailed account of the union of joints, the combination and juxtaposition of bones, and other topics of that sort, such as pores and respirations, and excretions. And the crowd is all agape with admiration and more enchanted than a swarm of children.

In his fine survey, Roman Medicine, John Scarborough notes that there were two different classes of physicians serving two different groups of patients. The aristocrats had physicians as servants or as private employees in their own establishments, or had access to them despite their high fees and lofty reputations. There were also many illiterate doctors, quacks, charlatans; exploiters of a gullible and needy public. He remarks that, “The intellectuality of Galen fails to pierce the growing gloom of an age gradually turning from rational answers posed by the Greek heritage of questioning to the mystical, all-encompassing solutions of religion.” By the second half of the second century, there were many wonder-workers and rhetoricians, of whom Lucian draws satirical sketches in Alexander the False Prophet and The Passing of Peregrinus.… Although we cannot generalize from Lucian’s satirical remarks about the healing profession—in both its medical and its mystical aspects—we can safely conclude that [it] was [not] beyond criticism or universally esteemed in the later second century.

In the New Testament there are only seven occurrences of the word hiatros, and in only one of these is there a positive estimate of the physician. In Mt. 9:12 (=Mk. 2:17; Lk. 5:31) there is a proverbial expression about the physician’s role being to care for the ailing, rather than the well. This is offered in the synoptics as justification for Jesus’ attention to the sick, the unclean and the outcasts. In Mk. 5:26 (=Lk. 8:43), … the physicians have taken money from the woman with the menstrual flow but have not cured her ailment. Another proverbial expression in Lk. 4:23, “Physician, heal yourself!”, is a challenge to the one who points out problems that he must cure them. In Col. 4:14, Luke is identified as “the beloved physician,” with no indication of the nature of the medical role he may have performed. (Medicine, Miracle and Magic in New Testament Times [London: Cambridge, 1986], 63–65)

At the very outset of his gospel Luke acknowledged that many others had already undertaken to compile an account of the life of Jesus. He did not specifically identify any of these early sources, which have all been lost. The only ones still extant that Luke may have consulted are the inspired gospels of Matthew and Mark, which probably were written before he penned his gospel (although Luke’s omission of the material in an important section of Mark [6:45–8:26] suggests that he may not have seen Mark’s gospel before he wrote). Whether or not Luke saw their gospels, he had personal contact with both Mark and Matthew, since Mark and Luke both traveled with Paul (cf. Philem. 24), and Luke could have visited Matthew in Jerusalem during Paul’s two-year imprisonment at Caesarea (Acts 24:27). During that same period, Luke could have interviewed those in the Jerusalem church who had known the Lord, including the apostles and His mother, Mary. In addition, Luke had access to many others who had followed Jesus during His lifetime (such as the seventy [Luke 10:1–12], the women who ministered to Him [cf. Matt. 27:55; Mark 15:40–41; Luke 8:1–3; 23:49, 55], the 120 believers who gathered in Jerusalem following Christ’s ascension [Acts 1:15], and the 500 who gathered in Galilee [1 Cor. 15:6]). They would have vividly remembered the things that Jesus did and said, and Luke could have interviewed them, or possibly read their writings.

Luke’s goal was not to produce just another biography of Jesus, though that would have been a noble end in itself. Far more than that, he understood that the gospel is the story of what God accomplishes through Jesus Christ in the lives of sinners. The verb translated accomplished (peplērophorēmenōn) is an intensive compound word that indicates the complete fulfillment of something, in this case the redemptive plan of God. Luke’s gospel, like the other three canonical gospels, emphasizes the theme of divine accomplishment. It chronicles how God accomplished salvation for His people (cf. Matt. 1:21; Luke 19:10) through the redemptive work of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospels do not relate the story of a misunderstood ethical teacher, a failed social revolutionary, a model of selfless humility, or even a heroic martyr; they reveal the Savior who is God incarnate, the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

It is important to note that Luke was not critical of those who had undertaken (a term often used in connection with literary endeavors) to compile an account (a phrase often used to refer to historical writing) of Jesus’ life and ministry. He did not pen his gospel as a corrective to those accounts, but because God prompted him to write a comprehensive narrative of the life of Christ and the spread of His salvation gospel.

Luke’s reason for referring to his sources was twofold. First, it establishes his history as a legitimate, reliable account. He was a careful historian who used credible methods of research and writing, and based his content on the firsthand accounts of eyewitnesses. Second, Luke’s use of those sources places his gospel squarely in the orthodox tradition. His volume was not a bizarre, different, heretical gospel. Luke’s account was consistent with the teaching of the apostles (cf. Acts 2:42) and with those of eyewitnesses and especially the other Spirit-inspired gospel writers (cf. John 20:30–31; 21:24–25).

In writing his gospel Luke utilized the source material handed down to him by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses. These same men (one definite article in the Greek text modifies both groups) later became servants (cf. 1 Cor. 3:5–9; 4:1; 2 Cor. 3:6) of the word (a synonym for the gospel [cf. 5:1; 8:11–13, 15; Acts 6:4; 8:4, 14, 25; 10:36; 11:1, 19; 13:5, 7, 44; 14:25; 15:7; 16:6, 32; 17:11; 18:5; 19:10). They observed Jesus’ ministry firsthand and used that knowledge to faithfully preach the gospel. God preserved and transmitted the truth through them until He inspired four specific writers to record it in the New Testament. Eyewitnesses were the most significant sources who handed down (a technical term denoting the passing on of authoritative truth) the true information upon which Luke’s account was based. That Luke was not an eyewitness himself makes it evident that he was not an apostle, since one qualification of apostleship was to have witnessed the resurrected Christ (Acts 1:21–22; cf. Luke 24:45–48; John 20:19–29; 1 Cor. 9:1; 1 John 1:1–3). Like Mark, he was not himself one of their number, but was a companion of some of the apostles (most notably Paul).

Since Luke had access to this wealth of firsthand, eyewitness testimony, it was fitting (“good,” “proper”) for him to write his account. The phrase having investigated everything carefully from the beginning (“having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first” [nkjv]) further marks Luke as an accomplished and accurate historian. His careful and thorough research gave him a precise understanding of Jesus Christ’s life and ministry. As a result, he was uniquely qualified to write this gospel narrative under the Spirit’s inspiration.

Luke’s acknowledgement of his use of source material must not be misconstrued as a disclaimer of divine inspiration for his gospel. The process of inspiration never bypassed or overrode the personalities, life experiences, vocabularies, or writing styles of the Bible’s human authors; their unique traits are indelibly stamped on all the books of Scripture. The Spirit used Luke’s knowledge, gave him additional information, guided his selection of material, and controlled every word so that he wrote exactly what God wanted written (cf. 1 Cor. 2:12–13; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20–21). Therefore, his original account is infallibly and inerrantly true.

Luke the Theologian and Pastor

to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. (1:3b–4)

A good theologian is analytical, logical, and systematic. His goal is to persuade people to understand and accept doctrinal truth by means of a thoughtful, logical, progressive, consistent, persuasive explanation. Luke revealed himself to be a master theologian by writing his account in consecutive order. The New American Standard’s rendering implies that Luke’s gospel will be strictly chronological from beginning to end. Certainly it is generally chronological, starting with the birth of Christ, His circumcision and boyhood, moving on to His baptism and public ministry, and culminating with the cross and resurrection. (See the outline of Luke in the introduction in this volume.) There were instances, however, in which Luke arranged his material thematically to illustrate or expound a particular theological point (e.g., Luke’s record of John the Baptist’s arrest, 3:15–20). So Luke’s narrative exhibits a basic chronological flow, but not to the exclusion of thematic, doctrinal discussion, in which he uses material out of chronological sequence.

So the phrase in consecutive order is better understood as a reference to the logical, systematic nature of Luke’s writing. The New King James Version’s translation of this phrase, “an orderly account,” captures the essence of Luke’s purpose in writing. His goal was to persuade; to lead his readers to believe the gospel by means of his carefully researched, logical, systematic presentation of the truth concerning God’s saving purpose in Christ.

The first vital theological truth Luke wanted his readers to understand is God’s sovereignty in history. He viewed God’s sovereign plan of redemption, which unfolded through the life and work of Jesus Christ (cf. Acts 2:22–24), as of supreme importance. It was to die as a substitute for the sins of His people that He came into the world (19:10; cf. 9:22–23; 17:25; 18:31–34; 24:25, 26, 44). Second, Luke saw the significance of the universal sweep of redemption. He understood that salvation was available to everyone, not just the Jews (cf. Acts 10:34–48; 14:24–27; 15:12–19). Luke wanted to make it clear that the wonderful reality of God’s saving purpose included Gentiles (e.g., Luke 7:1–10; 14:15–23). He himself was a Gentile and he wrote to Theophilus, also a Gentile (Acts 1:1). In fact, Luke viewed the gospel not only as being for all ethnic groups, including Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles, but also for all categories of individuals within those groups, including women (even prostitutes), outcasts (including lepers), those possessed by demons, even tax collectors (cf. 7:36–50; 10:25–37; 15:11–32; 16:19–31; 17:11–19; 19:1–10). Luke’s emphasis on the gospel’s universal appeal can be seen in his genealogy of Jesus. Unlike Matthew, who began his genealogy with Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, Luke traces Christ’s genealogy all the way back to Adam, the father of the entire human race.

Though the main doctrinal emphasis in his gospel is the person and work of Jesus Christ, Luke did not neglect other important realities. Luke not only revealed God’s sovereign control over history, but also described His tender, compassionate concern for lost sinners (cf. the parables in chapter 15). The doctrine of salvation is critical in Luke’s gospel (his is the gospel that refers most specifically to the doctrine of justification, 18:14; cf. 7:36–50; 15:11–32; 19:1–10). In fact, the cross is the focus of more than half of his gospel, from 9:53 to the end of chapter 23. Luke also focused more on the ministry of the Holy Spirit than the other gospel writers, and recorded the Lord’s teaching on His second coming. In addition, Luke the theologian addressed several areas of practical theology, such as worship, forgiveness, mercy, thanksgiving, and prayer. Profiles of discipleship are presented.

Finally, Luke’s prologue reveals his pastor’s heart. He addressed this massive work to a single individual, a man whom he called most excellent Theophilus. No personal details are known about him, but the title most excellent suggests that he was likely from the upper level of society. (Luke uses the same phrase in the book of Acts to designate the governors Felix and Festus [23:26; 24:3; 26:25].)

Theophilus had already been taught certain things about Jesus. But some of that teaching had been unclear or incomplete and Luke wanted him to know the exact truth. The word translated exact means “reliable,” “certain,” or “accurate.” Luke presented to Theophilus and all others who would read his account a precise, accurate, and complete understanding of the gospel and the life of Christ. Whether Theophilus was an interested unbeliever or a new believer is not known. In either case, Luke’s intensive research and detailed writing reveals the immensity of his pastor’s heart. He cared enough about Theophilus’s soul that he made this Spirit-empowered effort to bring that one man to a more precise, accurate knowledge of the truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. (For other New Testament examples of that kind of concern, see Acts 18:26; 19:1–5.)

In the remarkable providence of God, the Holy Spirit ensured that the book Luke wrote initially to one man would be disseminated around the world. The beloved physician, historian, theologian, and pastor had the privilege of becoming the instrument God used for the salvation and edification of millions throughout history (cf. 24:44–53).[1]


Knowing for Sure

Luke 1:1–4

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1–4)

Doubt. Little by little, it gnaws away at the soul. To be sure, there are times when Christianity makes all the sense in the world. The mysteries of the birth, death, and resurrection of God the Son appear so certain that it would seem foolish even to call them into question. Yet there are also times when, as the poet Roger White so aptly put it, “A mosquito buzzes round my faith”—the mosquito of doubt. In solitary moments the nagging questions whine in our ears: Is the Bible really true? Does God actually hear my prayers? Can my sins truly be forgiven? Will I definitely go to heaven when I die?

Sometimes the doubting questions can lead to unbelief. In the opening chapter of his novel In the Beauty of the Lilies, John Updike describes the moment when a Presbyterian minister abandons the Christian faith. Doubt had been buzzing away at the man’s soul, and then one day his faith vanished altogether. As Updike tells it,

The Reverend Clarence Arthur Wilmot, down in the rectory of the Fourth Presbyterian Church at the corner of Straight Street and Broadway, felt the last particles of his faith leave him. The sensation was distinct—a visceral surrender, a set of dark sparkling bubbles escaping upward.… His thoughts had slipped with quicksilver momentum into the recognition, which he had long withstood, that … there is no … God, nor should there be.

Clarence’s mind was like a many-legged, wingless insect that had long and tediously been struggling to climb up the walls of a slick-walled porcelain basin; and now a sudden impatient wash of water swept it down into the drain. There is no God.

Even if we ourselves have not abandoned the Christian faith, we can understand how this could happen. We too have had our doubts. There are times when our faith falters, when the whole story of salvation suddenly seems quite improbable, if not impossible. We still believe in Jesus, but sometimes it is hard to know for sure.

Luke, the Historian

So Luke decided to write a Gospel. Knowing that people sometimes have their doubts about Jesus Christ, and that even believers may struggle to gain greater assurance of their faith, he sat down to write “the Gospel of knowing for sure.” He began with a formal dedication:

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1–4)

Although Luke does not mention himself by name, he has always been universally acknowledged as the writer of this book. In one long sentence, he tells us what kind of book he wanted to write: one that would help people to be more certain of their salvation in Christ. To accomplish this goal, he set out to write a historically accurate, carefully researched, and well-organized Gospel.

Luke is exactly such a Gospel. First, it is historically accurate. Luke was by no means the only person ever to write a biography of Jesus Christ. He was well aware that others had tried to record what Jesus had done. As he said, “Many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us” (Luke 1:1). Perhaps he was thinking of the Gospel of Mark, which has many similarities to Luke, and which Luke may well have used as one of his sources. But the word “many” indicates that there were other writings as well, including works that may no longer be in existence.

In mentioning what others had written, Luke was not trying to be critical. He gives no indication that he considered the other writings to be unreliable in any way. In fact, he says just the opposite. Others wrote down what they had received from “eyewitnesses and ministers of the word” (Luke 1:2), by which Luke meant the apostles. From the book of Acts, which is the sequel to this Gospel, we know that apostles like Peter and John were called to be witnesses for Christ (e.g., Acts 1:8; 4:33). What qualified them to preach the gospel was the fact that they were eyewitnesses of the risen Christ.

But eventually the apostolic gospel had to be written down. The apostles would not be around forever, and if their mission was to continue, their message needed to be handed down in a more permanent form. Others had begun to preserve the apostolic witness in writing, but Luke wanted to do it too. God had called him to write a Gospel that was similar to what others had written, but would also make a unique contribution. Partly drawing on the work of others, but also pursuing his own historical and evangelistic interests, Luke would write a more complete history, so that people would know for sure what Jesus had done.

Luke defined a Gospel as “a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us” (Luke 1:1). A narrative is simply a story, so Luke wanted to tell a story. But this particular narrative was historical. It was about things that had been accomplished, things that had really happened, things that had been done in time and space. Therefore, Luke is careful to place the story of Jesus in its historical context. For example, when he tells the story of the Savior’s birth, he says that it coincided with “the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria” (Luke 2:2). Luke was writing fact, not fiction, and he knew the difference, as did his original readers. Like Polybius, the Greek historian of Rome, he wanted to “simply record what really happened and what really was said.” In addition, as we shall see, he wanted to give a divinely inspired interpretation of the words and deeds of Jesus Christ.

During the nineteenth century, liberal Bible scholars tried to argue that Luke was a bad historian, that his books were riddled with factual errors. In the last one hundred years, however, their assessment of Luke’s historiography has been almost completely reversed. The more we learn about the ancient world, the more we see how careful he was to get the facts straight. One historian concludes: “Wherever modern scholarship has been able to check up on the accuracy of Luke’s work the judgment has been unanimous: he is one of the finest and ablest historians in the ancient world.” In the words of the famous archaeologist William Ramsay, “Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy; he is possessed of the true historic sense; he seizes the important and critical events and shows their true nature at greater length, while he touches lightly or omits entirely much that was valueless for his purpose. In short, this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”5Doubtless some scholars will continue to challenge Luke on historical grounds. But his concern for historical accuracy helps us to be more certain of our faith. If it could be shown that Luke’s work contained basic errors of fact, then his whole Gospel would be discredited. A Christian is someone who believes that Jesus is who he said he is and did what the Bible says he did. But if Luke didn’t have his facts straight on the governorship of Syria, how can we trust his testimony about miracles like the virgin birth or the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ? Our entire salvation depends on the things that Jesus accomplished in human history, specifically through his sufferings and death.

Fortunately, Luke was a good historian. He did not write some fanciful account of things that people wanted to believe about Jesus, but an accurate historical record of what Jesus actually did. Through the testimony of Luke and others, the things that Jesus accomplished are as well established as any fact of ancient history, and this provides a rational basis for our faith. Of course, we still have to accept that what the Gospel says is true. We have to put our own personal trust in Jesus, believing that he died on the cross for our sins and that he was raised again to give us eternal life. But we believe these things with good reason, knowing that they are based on reliable history.

Just the Facts

In order to write a book that was historically accurate, Luke had to do painstaking research. This is a second feature of his Gospel: it was carefully researched. This required someone with a scholarly temperament, and Luke was just the man for the job. We sense this from his literary style. Listen again to his dedication:

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1–4)

Who would begin a book with a word like “inasmuch” or write in such an elevated style? Only a man of letters—a highly educated, cultured, and sophisticated writer. Luke’s preface compares favorably to the formal introductions we find in works by Herodotus, Thucydides, Josephus, and other ancient historians. By way of comparison, consider this passage from the introduction Thucydides gave to his famous History of the Peloponnesian War: “But as to the facts of the occurrences of the war, I have thought it my duty to give them, not as ascertained from any chance informant, nor as seemed to me probable, but only after investigating with the greatest possible accuracy each detail, in the case of both the events in which I myself participated and of those regarding which I got my information from others. And the endeavor to discover these facts was a laborious task.” Like Thucydides, Luke was writing in the grand style, which was appropriate for a sophisticated audience across the Greek-speaking world.

For all his literary skill, Luke was not an eyewitness to the events he describes in his book. He admits this from the outset, honestly distinguishing his own work from those “who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word” (Luke 1:2). Luke was not an apostle. Nevertheless, he was a close companion of the apostles, and it seemed good for him to write a Gospel. He wrote on the basis of the testimony he received from the apostles, and he wrote as one who had “followed all things closely for some time past” (Luke 1:3).

What was Luke’s background? His name is Greek, which means that he may have been a Gentile. This would explain why he wrote a book presenting Jesus as the Savior of the world—a Gospel for the Gentiles as well as the Jews. What we do know is that Luke was medically trained. At the end of Colossians, he is described as “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14). We also know that he traveled with the apostle Paul. In addition to Colossians, he is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:11 and Philemon 24, where Paul calls him a “fellow worker,” and perhaps also in 2 Corinthians 8:18, where Paul mentions “the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel.” There are further hints of Luke’s partnership with Paul in Acts. Starting with chapter 16, parts of that book are written in the first person plural. For example, the author writes: “we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days” (Acts 20:6). This seems to indicate that Luke was one of Paul’s traveling companions.

What all of this means is that Doctor Luke, as we might call him, was in an excellent position to know the truth about Jesus Christ. He could describe Christ’s work as something “accomplished among us” (Luke 1:1). He was an eyewitness of the apostolic ministry and a member of the early Christian community, and as such, he wanted to know everything there was to know about Jesus. By his own testimony, he had “followed all things closely for some time past” (Luke 1:3). Norval Geldenhuys explains how Luke must have done his work:

Through long periods (during his travels along with Paul and also at other times) he made thorough researches concerning the Gospel stories so that he was able to set forth the actual course of events. He collected and studied all available written renderings of words and works of Jesus; wherever the opportunity was presented to him he discussed the Gospel stories with persons who possessed firsthand knowledge concerning Him; and during his stay in Jerusalem and in other parts of Palestine he collected as much information as possible concerning the buildings and places connected with the history of Christ. This is all clearly evidenced by the contents of the third Gospel.

If Mark was a storyteller, and John was a philosopher, then Luke was an investigative reporter. The result of his research is a rich account of the person and work of Jesus Christ. With a doctor’s gift for observation, Luke noticed things that other people overlooked. His is the most complete Gospel, which is why it is the longest book in the New Testament, including many precious details that the other Gospels omit. It is from Luke that we learn about the birth of John the Baptist and the infancy of Jesus the Christ—in all likelihood because he interviewed their mothers. It is from Luke that we learn the Christmas carols of Mary, Zechariah, Simeon, and the angel chorus of heaven. It is in Luke alone that we read parables like the good Samaritan, the prodigal son, and the Pharisee and the publican. Only Luke tells us what Jesus preached on the road to Emmaus. And only Luke gives us fuller portraits of the women who followed Jesus: Elizabeth, Mary, Anna, and Mary and Martha.

The result of Luke’s careful research is that reading his Gospel helps us to know for sure. Luke did his work with all the rigor of a prize-winning journalist, asking the famous questions: Who? What? When? Where? How? And at the back of his mind were the questions that we sometimes ask: Who is Jesus? What did he do? Did he really do what people said he did? When Luke was satisfied that he had the story straight, he wrote it down. As a careful historian, he wrote a sober, straightforward, nonsensationalized account of what Jesus did to save the world. This strengthens the assurance of our faith. The Gospel of Luke bears all the marks of authentic history, and as such, it reassures us that we are reading the real story of Jesus.

In describing how Luke came to write his Gospel, we must never forget that he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As John MacArthur explains,

Luke’s acknowledgment that he compiled his account from various extant sources does not invalidate the claim of divine inspiration for his work. The process of inspiration never bypasses or overrides the personalities, vocabularies, and styles of the human authors of Scripture. The unique traits of the human authors are always indelibly stamped on the book of Scripture. Luke’s research creates no exception to this rule. The research itself was orchestrated by divine Providence.

Luke was the one who did the research and the writing, but God was the one who gave us this Gospel. The work that Luke did was under the sovereign control of God’s Spirit, so that the Gospel he wrote is the very Word of God. Like everything else in the Bible, it is not merely a human book about God, but a divine book to humanity. As B. B. Warfield explained,

The whole of Scripture is the product of divine activities which enter it, however, not by superseding the activities of the human authors, but confluently with them; so that the Scriptures are the joint product of divine and human activities, both of which penetrate them at every point, working harmoniously together to the production of a writing which is not divine here and human there, but at once divine and human in every part, every word, every particular.

Getting Organized

One more feature of Luke’s Gospel is worthy of mention. Not only is the book historically accurate and carefully researched, but also logically organized. Luke tells us that his goal was “to write an orderly account” (Luke 1:3). Therefore, we would expect his Gospel to be organized in some careful and coherent way, and this is precisely what we find.

For the most part, the third Gospel is organized chronologically. Luke tells about things in the order they happened. However, he did not and could not tell us everything. Rather obviously, he did not have the space to report everything that Jesus ever said or did. He had to be selective. And as he chose what to include in his Gospel, he also had to decide how to arrange it. How did one event relate to the next? What was the best way to present the person and work of Jesus Christ? How should each phase of his life and ministry be connected to the story line of the gospel?

We can analyze the structure of Luke in several different ways. One good place to start is with Luke 4:17–21, where Jesus announces his intention to preach the good news and to perform liberating miracles of healing power. Or we could start with a thematic verse that aptly summarizes the book’s message. This verse comes at the end of the story of Zacchaeus, where Jesus describes his ministry: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus often identified himself as “the Son of Man,” especially in the Gospel of Luke. By using this ancient title, he was declaring his authority to judge the nations, for the Son of Man was prophesied as coming for judgment (see Dan. 7:13–14). Here he announces what the Son of Man has come to do, namely, “to seek and to save the lost.” By this point Jesus had already told the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (Luke 15). Now he makes their meaning clear: he is the Savior who has come on a search-and-rescue mission.

This is the structure of Luke’s Gospel, which is organized to show who Jesus is and what he has come to do. The opening chapters tell of Christ’s coming—his birth and preparation for ministry. Then Jesus begins his public ministry, and as he goes through Israel, teaching and performing miracles, he seeks lost sinners. But Jesus came to do something more than seek; he also came to save. So Luke ends with the great saving events of the gospel: the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Son of Man. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Roughly speaking, in chapters 1 to 3 he comes; in chapters 4 to 21 he seeks; and in chapters 22 to 24 he saves.

This is a good start in understanding Luke’s structure, but we can be more specific. Most scholars agree that the book has at least four major sections. The first section runs from the beginning through 4:13, at which point Jesus begins his public ministry. The opening chapters are about Christ’s coming and about his preparation for ministry. A good title for them is “The Coming of the Son of Man.”

The next section runs from Luke 4:14 to Luke 9:50. What separates this material from what comes before and after is a change of venue. In the opening chapters the Son of Man comes to the nation of Israel, but in chapter 4 he goes to Galilee in the north: “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee” (Luke 4:14). There he remains for the next six chapters, doing some teaching, performing many miracles, and clarifying his divine identity. We may call this part of Luke “The Ministry of the Son of Man.”

There is a significant turning point near the end of chapter 9, where Jesus moves on from Galilee. This is part of the orderliness of Luke’s account. The order is not simply logical and chronological, but also geographical. Luke says of Jesus, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). From this point on, there could be no turning back. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem—the most important journey in the history of the world. Jesus was going up to the city, up to the temple, up to the cross to die. His journey runs from Luke 9:51 to Luke 19:27, where he enters Jerusalem in temporary triumph. And as he makes his way to Jerusalem, we get hints of what will happen when he gets there. As he trains his disciples, the Son of Man begins to tell them what he must suffer for the salvation of sinners (Luke 9:21–22, 43–45; 18:31–34). He also starts to face opposition from people who reject his claim to be the Christ. Hence these chapters are about “The Disciples of the Son of Man,” or perhaps “The Rejection of the Son of Man.”

Finally the book ends with “The Salvation of the Son of Man”—not his own salvation, but the salvation he brings to all who trust in him. The section of Luke that runs from 19:28 to the end tells what Jesus did to save us. These are the climactic events of the Gospel: the Savior’s death on the cross, resurrection from the grave, and ascension into heaven.

The Assurance of Faith

Why did Luke organize his Gospel this way? As we study what Luke has written, we always want to keep his purpose in mind. Why was he so concerned about historical accuracy? Why did he do such painstaking research? Why did he arrange his Gospel so systematically? Luke tells us why at the end of his dedication: “that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:4).

When Luke says “you,” he is speaking most directly to his friend Theophilus. There has been a good deal of scholarly discussion as to whether or not this man was a real person. He probably was. To be sure, a name that means “beloved of God” might well refer generally to the church of Jesus Christ. Yet the name Theophilus was common enough in those days. Furthermore, the fact that Luke refers to him as “most excellent” Theophilus suggests that he may have been a ranking official in the Roman Empire. In the book of Acts the same title is used for the Roman governor Felix (Acts 23:26). So in all likelihood, Theophilus was a real but to us otherwise unknown nobleman. Alternatively, it has been proposed that the man to whom Luke wrote may have been the high priest of Israel.

When Luke says “you,” however, he is also speaking to us. Because Theophilus means “lover of God,” or “beloved of God,” it is the kind of name that Luke might have used to describe anyone who wants to have a relationship with God. Who is Theophilus? You are Theophilus, if you love God and are loved by him; therefore, Luke’s Gospel is for you.

The other main question about Theophilus concerns whether or not he was a Christian. At the very least, he knew something about Christianity. In verse 4 Luke reminds Theophilus about what he had been taught. One way or another, the man had heard the basic gospel message. He had been instructed in the faith. Maybe he was a Christian, maybe not. Perhaps he was a new believer. What we know is that he did not yet have the full assurance of his faith, which is why Luke wrote him this Gospel.

Perhaps the most important word in Luke’s dedication to Theophilus comes at the very end of verse 4. It is the Greek word asphaleian, meaning “certain,” or even “infallible.” The word indicates “the absolute certainty, the truthfulness of the report concerning the history of Jesus.” Luke puts this word at the end of his dedication for emphasis. This was his whole reason for writing! Theophilus knew about Jesus, but needed to know him for sure.

This is what we need as well: a sure and certain knowledge of Jesus Christ and the salvation that comes through faith in him. We need to know what Jesus accomplished. We need to know the perfection of his virgin birth, the obedience of his sinless life, the wisdom of his profound teaching, and the power of his divine miracles. We need to know these things because they prove that he is the Son of God. And we need to know what Jesus did to save us from the wrath of God. We need to know that he suffered and died on the cross for our sins. We need to know that he was raised from the dead to give eternal life to all who trust in him. And we need to know that he has ascended to heaven, where he rules over all things for the glory of God.

We need to know these things because sometimes we have our doubts. We are like the man who said to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24), or like the disciples who said, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5). This is part of our struggle as fallen creatures living in a fallen world. Assurance doesn’t always come right away, any more than it came right away for the apostles. We believe the gospel, but sometimes we are tempted not to, and thus we long to have greater assurance of our faith. The Westminster Confession of Faith wisely admits that “faith is different in degrees, weak or strong,” and that it “may be often and many ways assailed, and weakened” (14.3). If we are sometimes tempted to have our doubts, this does not mean that we are not Christians. It simply means that we are sinners who are struggling to live by faith. But God calls us to grow in our faith, seeking what the Confession calls “the attainment of a full assurance, through Christ” (14.3). As the Scripture says, we need to make our “calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10).

So how do we know for sure? Luke gives us the answer at the beginning of his Gospel. We do not become certain by looking at our own outstanding spiritual performance. If the assurance of our faith rested on our own ability to follow God, we could never be sure. We would always have our doubts about our obedience, or even about our faith, wondering if we were trusting God as well as we should. Nor does assurance come by going back to the moment when we first trusted in Jesus, as if our conversion experience could save us. Assurance does not come by looking within or by having some special experience. The only way we become sure of our salvation is by looking to Jesus.

This is why Luke wrote “the Gospel of knowing for sure.” He researched things carefully and wrote them down logically and accurately, giving us the real history of Jesus. He knew that like faith itself, the assurance of faith comes by hearing the gospel. So like a good doctor, he wrote a book that would heal the doubting soul.

Luke’s Gospel is for anyone who needs to know Jesus. It is for people who have never met Jesus before, and for people who need to meet him again, as if for the very first time. It is for people who aren’t quite sure about Jesus, for people who are just starting to trust in him, and for people who have known him a long time, but still need to become more secure in their faith. It is for anyone who wants to know for sure.

Do you know Jesus? Do you know him for sure? Are you so certain in your faith that you are able to live for Jesus, and even to die for him? If you want to be sure, study the Gospel of Luke and offer the prayer of the English Reformers: “Almighty God, who called Luke the Physician, whose praise is in the Gospel, to be an Evangelist, and Physician of the soul: May it please thee that, by the wholesome medicines of the doctrine delivered by him, all the diseases of our souls may be healed through the merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”[2]


3 The opening words in the Greek order are “it seemed good also to me” (edoxe kamoi). This establishes a balance and pattern of comparison between vv. 1–2 and 3–4: “Many have undertaken” and “it seemed good also to me”; “to draw up an account” and “to write an orderly account”; “handed down to us” and “so that you may know.”

Luke now describes his own work of investigation and writing. The word “everything” may partially explain how his work differed from that of the “many” (v. 1) and also from that of Mark—namely, in its greater comprehensiveness. “From the beginning” translates anōthen (GK 540), which can mean, according to the context, either “above” or “again.” Here in its relation to historical research it has a temporal sense. Theologically, Luke’s concern for the “beginning” of the gospel surfaces here. Luke did his research “carefully” (akribōs, GK 209; lit., “accurately”) and wrote an “orderly” (kathexēs, GK 2759) account. We cannot determine from this preface alone whether Luke is referring to a chronological or a thematic order. He does not specifically claim to have aimed at chronological sequence. Perhaps he may have followed an order found in his sources. If so, this could explain his occasional differences from Matthew and Mark. Or he may have rearranged his sources according to another pattern. Taken alone, the prologue is not conclusive as to these possibilities. In any event, Luke intended his claim of working in an orderly way to inspire confidence in his readers.

The identity of “Theophilus” is unknown, though many suggestions have been made (cf. R. H. Anderson, “Theophilus: A Proposal,” EvQ 69 [1997]: 195–215). The name (“friend of God”) might be either a symbol or a substitute for the true name of Luke’s addressee. Theophilus was, however, a proper name, and “most excellent” naturally suggests an actual person of some distinction. He may have been Luke’s literary patron or publisher, after the custom of the times (cf. E. J. Goodspeed, “Some Greek Notes: I. Was Theophilus Luke’s Publisher?” JBL 73 [1954]: 84).[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2009). Luke 1–5 (pp. 9–17). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Ryken, P. G. (2009). Luke. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (Vol. 1, pp. 3–15). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Liefeld, W. L., & Pao, D. W. (2007). Luke. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 50–51). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

FEBRUARY 16 WE SEE GOD’S PURPOSE

That…he might gather together in one all things in Christ…in heaven, and…on earth.

Ephesians 1:10

We trust the Word of God—and the inspired revelation makes it plain to the believing Christian that all things in the universe have derived their form from Christ, the eternal Son!

We are assured that even as an architect builder gathers the necessary materials needed to fashion the structure he has designed, so God will ultimately gather all things together under one head, even Christ (see Ephesians 1:9–10).

Everything in the universe has received its meaning by the power of His Word; each has maintained its place and order through Him.

Jesus Christ is God creating!

Jesus Christ is God redeeming!

Jesus Christ is God completing and harmonizing!

Jesus Christ is God bringing together all things after the counsel of His own will!

I can only hope that as we grow and mature and delight in our faith, we are beginning to gain a new appreciation of God’s great eternal purpose!

Your master design of the universe is perfect even though mankind has neglected Your creation and Your desire for fellowship. I pray that by Your Spirit our churches will become “like a mighty army” and help lead many people in the world to faith in Christ.[1]


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

February 16 What Did Jesus Mean by Mourning?

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.—Matt. 5:4

If you have spiritual poverty and true humility, they will lead you to godly sorrow. That’s what Jesus meant by “mourn” here in this second beatitude. Paul told the Corinthians about this kind of sorrow: “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you” (2 Cor. 7:10–11).

Of the nine different New Testament words that indicate the commonness of human sorrow, the one Matthew used here is the most severe. Usually it was used only to denote the grieving over the death of a loved one (cf. Mark 16:10; Rev. 18:11, 15). It conveys the notion of deep, inner agony that is not necessarily expressed by outward weeping or wailing.

Yet genuine, biblical mourning produces results that are surprisingly wonderful because God does something tangible in response to it—the forgiveness of your sins—a holy infusion of real happiness that breathes into you a sigh of relief.

Therefore, this is not simply a psychological or an emotional experience that makes you feel better. No, this mourning is met by blessedness. Genuine spiritual mourning invites communion with the true God, to which He responds with an objective reality—the reality of forgiveness that David knew: “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!” (Ps. 32:1–2).

ASK YOURSELF

When was the last time the gravity of your sins fell around you, burying you under its full weight? If it’s been awhile, you’re missing out on the sweet awareness of God’s forgiveness.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 55). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

February 16 Our Defense Mechanism

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.

Psalm 66:18

According to today’s verse, you cannot even commune with God, let alone grow spiritually, if you are harboring sin. That’s why confession is so vital.

You must first be willing to accept God’s chastening for your sin. If you think He is being too rough, you should examine your life to see if you deserve it. For the same reason parents must provide consequences for a child’s misbehavior, God chastens you so that you don’t repeat your mistakes.

God also has placed a system of guilt in you for your own good. Spiritual life without guilt would be like physical life without pain. Guilt is a defense mechanism; it’s like an alarm that goes off to lead you to confession when you sin. That’s when you need to confront your sin and acknowledge to God that it is an affront to Him. That admission must be a part of your life before you can ever grow spiritually, because it eliminates the sin that holds you back.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 59). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

February 16, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

23 This verse gives a report of compliance: “They obeyed the Lord’s order.” The repetitious nature of this section (vv. 15–23) enhances the expectation of continued obedience to the sure direction of the Lord in Israel’s movements through the wilderness. The role of Moses is mentioned for balance: Moses was the Lord’s agent who interpreted the movement of the cloud as signaling the movement of the people. The level of the tragedy of their subsequent disobedience is heightened by this paragraph of great obedience.

The whole section (vv. 15–23) is harmonious. There are several repeated phrasings (“by the mouth of,” “the cloud,” “settling/lifting,” and “journeying/encamping”). The perspective seems to be distant from the event. The narrator uses broad strokes of summary, suggesting the ideals of God’s direction and the promptness of the people’s response. There is no hint of disobedience here.[1]


9:23 at the command of the Lord: The cloud and the fire were manifestations of God’s will. When the cloud rose, the people were to set out. When the cloud settled, the people were to encamp. There was nothing predictable in the movement or settling of the cloud; all was dependent on God’s sovereignty. The people saw the glory and the will of God in the cloud’s actions.[2] †


9:23 — At the command of the Lord they remained encamped, and at the command of the Lord they journeyed .…

How blessed we would be if we would go when the Lord told us to go and stay when the Lord told us to stay! Obedience always brings blessing.[3]


9:23 command … command. The text emphasizes that Israel obeyed the Lord at this point in her experience. Throughout the wilderness wanderings, the Israelites could only journey as the cloud led them. When it did not move, they stayed encamped where they were.[4]


9:23 in the hand of Moses It is not clear what Moses’ role is in this scenario. Perhaps this refers to the regulations for the camp arrangement given to Moses in Num 1–4, and Moses’ orchestration of the people when the tent sets out and settles in later chapters.[5]


[1] Allen, R. B. (2012). Numbers. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Numbers–Ruth (Revised Edition) (Vol. 2, p. 174). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 205). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[3] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Nu 9:23). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nu 9:23). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Nu 9:23). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

FEBRUARY 16 MORE THAN TO KNOW ABOUT

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

—Matthew 11:27

The inability of the human mind to know God in a true and final sense is taken for granted throughout the Bible…. God’s nature is of another kind from anything with which the mind is acquainted; hence when the mind attempts to find out God it is confronted by obscurity. It is surrounded with mystery and blinded by the light no man can approach unto….

The Spirit of God is able to make the spirit of man know and experience the awful mystery of God’s essential being. It should be noted that the Spirit reveals God to the spirit of man, not to his intellect merely. The intellect can know God’s attributes because these constitute that body of truth that can be known about God. The knowledge of God is for the spirit alone. Such knowledge comes not by intellection but by intuition.

To know God in the scriptural meaning of the term is to enter into experience of Him. It never means to know about. It is not a knowledge mediated by the intellect, but an unmediated awareness experienced by the soul on a plane too high for the mind to reach. SOS047-048

Thank You, Father, for the ministry of the Spirit in revealing You to Your children. May I no longer simply know about You, but come to know You personally. Amen.[1]


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

February 16 The Comfort of God’s Omniscience

“And [Peter] said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ ”

John 21:17

✧✧✧

Since God knows all things, He knows our struggles and will help us through them.

It’s comforting to know that in the vastness of the universe, I’m not lost in insignificance; God knows me personally. Have you ever wondered if He knows you’re there? Some godly people in Malachi’s time wondered that. Malachi spoke words of judgment against the wicked, but the faithful believers feared that God might forget them and that they too would be consumed by God’s wrath. “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. ‘And they will be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him’ ” (Mal. 3:16–17). God has a book, and He doesn’t forget who belongs in it. I know that God knows me and that I belong to Him.

David, too, found comfort in God’s omniscience. He said, “Thou hast taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Thy bottle; are they not in Thy book?” (Ps. 56:8). It was customary for hired mourners at funerals in David’s time to catch their tears in a bottle, perhaps to prove they earned their money. David knew that none of his trials went unnoticed by God. Not only does He know about them, He cares about them too.

You might be frustrated sometimes in your Christian walk as you see sin in your life. But happily for us, God knows that we still love Him in spite of our failings. In John 21, Peter kept trying to convince Christ that he loved Him, although his words and actions didn’t always prove it. Finally Peter said, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You” (v. 17). Peter appealed to the Lord’s omniscience. We can do the same thing when we stumble.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for knowing and caring about your struggles.

For Further Study: Read Job 42:1–6. What did Job acknowledge about God? ✧ What did that lead him to do?[1]


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

February 15 Daily Help

TO know one’s self to be foolish is to stand upon the door-step of the temple of wisdom; to understand the wrongness of any position is half way towards amending it; to be quite sure that our self-confidence is sin and folly, and an offence towards God, is a great help towards the absolute casting of our self confidence away, and the bringing of our souls, in practice as well as in theory, to rely wholly upon the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

Nobody will err about the way to God if he really resolves to follow that way. The Spirit of God will guide those whose hearts are set upon coming to God.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 50). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

February 15, 2018 Evening Verse Of The Day

John’s Counsel to Gaius

You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth. (6b–8)

John encouraged this godly man to continue his generous love when other preachers of the truth arrived in the future. The apostle advised Gaius, You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. You will do well is an idiomatic Greek expression equivalent to the English word “please.” John entreated him to send any missionaries that came to him on their way refreshed and fully supplied for the next stage of their journey. John’s exhortation is reminiscent of Paul’s command to Titus, “Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them” (Titus 3:13).

The standard is high; Gaius was to treat them in a manner worthy of God. He was to give to them generously as God would give. Three reasons are suggested for supporting all faithful servants of Christ.

First, they went out for the sake of the Name. God’s Name represents all that He is. Their work is the work of God Himself for His own glory (1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17), the motive that underlies the church’s evangelistic efforts (cf. Matt. 6:9; Luke 24:47; Acts 5:41; 9:15–16; 15:26; 21:13; Rom. 1:5). It is an affront to God when people do not believe in the name of His Son, who is worthy to be loved, praised, honored, and confessed as Lord. When believers proclaim the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, people are saved, and as a result, “the grace which is spreading to more and more people … cause[s] the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 4:15).

Second, preachers of the truth could expect nothing from the Gentiles. It goes without saying that unbelievers are not going to support those who preach the true gospel. If Christians do not support them, no one will. And, as Paul explained to Timothy, those who faithfully proclaim the Word of God are worthy of financial compensation (1 Tim. 5:17–20).

Of course, while it is right for them to be paid for their labor, true ambassadors of the gospel are never in the ministry for the sake of money. In fact, it is precisely the issue of money that separates true preachers from false ones. Scripture is clear that the latter are invariably in it for the money, and have no honest commitment to the truth. They are hucksters, spiritual con men guilty of “peddling the word of God” (2 Cor. 2:17), “teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain” (Titus 1:11). “Woe to them!” Jude exclaimed, “For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah” (Jude 11). The Didache, an early Christian writing, offered the following wise advice about how to distinguish a false prophet:

Welcome every apostle [teacher; evangelist] on arriving, as if he were the Lord. But he must not stay beyond one day. In case of necessity, however, the next day too. If he stays three days, he is a false prophet. On departing, an apostle must not accept anything save sufficient food to carry him till his next lodging. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet. (11:4–6; cited in Cyril C. Richardson, ed., Early Christian Fathers [New York: Macmillan, 1978], 176)

To avoid any suspicion that he might be a charlatan, Paul worked with his own hands to support himself (Acts 20:34; 1 Cor. 4:12; 9:18; 1 Thess. 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:7–9; cf. 1 Peter 5:1–2).

Finally, we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth. In 2 John 10–11, John cautioned against participating in false teachers’ evil deeds by supporting them, even verbally. But by supporting those who present the truth, Christians partner with them. Jesus said in Matthew 10:41, “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.” Thus, He promised eternal reward, as if the one caring for a prophet was himself a prophet. In His limitless grace God not only rewards a true prophet, preacher, or missionary for his faithfulness, but also rewards anyone else who receives him. Receiving a prophet refers to embracing his ministry—affirming his call and supporting his work. Receiving a righteous man is that same principle, extended to every believer who is accepted for Christ’s sake. In an incomprehensible sharing of blessing, God showers His rewards on every person who receives His people because they are His people.

Whenever we become the source of blessing for others, we are blessed; and whenever other believers become a source of blessing to us, they are blessed. In God’s magnificent economy of grace, the least believer can share the blessings of the greatest, and no one’s good work will go unrewarded.[1]


8 This principle of “identity by association” becomes explicit at v. 8. Gaius should continue to support the brothers because in so doing he demonstrates that he is their “fellow worker in truth” (NIV, “work together for the truth”). Since the brothers promote God’s truth, anyone who supports them must be on God’s side as well. Financial support is a real and legitimate form of participation in Christian missionary activity, making it important for believers to reflect carefully on the missions they support. Those ministries that glorify God and are doctrinally sound will bring a reward to those who support them, while those that promote falsehood will bring judgment on everyone involved with them.[2]


8 / The we at the opening of v. 8 is emphatic: we, in contrast with the non-Christians (v. 7). Actually, the Elder has Gaius specifically in mind. He wants him, based upon what he has just said (therefore), to fulfill the obligation (we ought; opheilomen; the Didache passages above [see v. 7] reveal the same sense of duty) of showing hospitality (hypolambanō) to such Christian missionaries. Gaius is to provide them with the necessities for their journey and to support them in any way he can.

Such hospitality should be refused to those who come to the Johannine churches and who do not bring the true teaching that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (2 John 7–10). Such people (the secessionists) are deceivers and antichrists; they do wicked work, and so do those who help and support them (2 John 11).

By contrast, people like Gaius, who aid and strengthen those who have remained loyal to the Elder, share in their work … for the truth. Gaius is a good example of someone who shows love in practical action. He “has material possessions” and sees and helps his fellow Christian in need (1 John 3:17). Not every Christian has the gifts or opportunity to be an evangelist or a missionary, but nearly everyone can, like Gaius, be a “fellow worker in the truth” (rsv), by supporting those who go forth to bring the gospel to others.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 247–249). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Thatcher, T. (2006). 3 John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 533). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Johnson, T. F. (2011). 1, 2, and 3 John (pp. 173–174). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

February 15: Searching for the Wrong Kingdom

Exodus 35:1–36:38; John 6:15–24; Song of Solomon 4:14–16

Because of the signs He performed, Jesus drew large crowds. And because of His signs, those who followed Him decided that He should be king. It seems natural and fitting, in a way, that Jesus should be revered and honored among the masses. Why shouldn’t He be worshiped on earth like He is in heaven?

But Jesus wasn’t interested in gaining glory and fame. He had no interest in the kingdoms of this world, as His temptation in the desert demonstrates (Matt 4:8). This scene reveals both His character and His mission—He was seeking His Father’s glory and following His will.

“Now when the people saw the sign that he performed, they began to say, ‘This one is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world!’ Then Jesus, because he knew that they were about to come and seize him in order to make him king, withdrew again up the mountain by himself alone” (John 6:14–15).

It also reveals something about human nature. Although the crowds wanted to make Jesus king, they weren’t necessarily looking to revere Him. They were looking out for themselves. They wanted to install a new kingdom—one brought on by force and political revolution. They wanted their immediate physical needs met, but they didn’t necessarily consider the great spiritual revolution that needed to take place within.

Following Jesus shouldn’t be something we do because it’s somehow convenient for us. Following Jesus requires all of us—and it will often look like a life of sacrifice, not ease.

The Jews who followed Jesus were challenged to accept Him, not as a prophet or a Messiah, but as the Son of God. The same crowd that followed Jesus obsessively, looking for signs, was eventually confronted by teaching that shook their understanding of this Messiah and what God expected from them.

Do you follow Jesus for reasons of your own? How can you follow Him for the right reasons?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.