Daily Archives: March 17, 2018

March 17: Letting Evil Burn

Numbers 19:1–20:13; 1 Corinthians 2:1–16; Psalm 18:13–30

“And Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying … ‘let them take to you a red heifer without a physical defect …. And you will give it to Eleazar the priest, and it will … be slaughtered in his presence. Then Eleazar the priest will take some of its blood on his finger and spatter it toward the mouth of the tent of assembly seven times. The heifer will be burned in his sight; its skin, its meat, and its blood, in addition to its offal, will burn’ ” (Num 19:1–4).

This passage is so strange and gruesome, it is clearly symbolic. The heifer represents the perfect, unblemished sacrifice—which takes care of some (not all) of the purification associated with things Yahweh deemed unclean for the purpose of teaching His people obedience, and some of the results of sin (Num 19:9).

Also, the heifer is burned because it has to be made into ashes. This beautiful creature becomes ashes. That’s the cost of an impure life: good has to become worthless. The only way to purge impurities is to burn them away. Then what has been purified through fire (and then water) can be used (Num 19:9–10). The passage goes on to describe several uses associated with this practice (e.g., Num 19:11–13).

All of our lives include things that go against God’s will, and these things must burn. We must let the Spirit work in us to empower us to remove them. And there’s good news for this: Jesus has already done the great work of conquering sin in the world. There is no more need for the red heifer because Jesus’ sacrifice (His death) paid for our problems. He wasn’t the symbol of the sacrifice, like the heifer; He was the sacrifice itself.

God calls us to the great race of running toward Him—for Him—in honor of what Christ has done among us. So let’s let the evil burn.

What is God calling you to burn?

John D. Barry[1]


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

March 17 Displaying God’s Holiness

“Hallowed be Thy name” (Matt. 6:9).

✧✧✧

Sound theology that results in holy living hallows God’s name.

We have learned that hallowing God’s name requires setting it apart from everything common and giving Him first place in our lives. That starts with believing He exists. Hebrews 11:6 says, “He who comes to God must believe that He is.”

Beyond mere belief, you must also know the kind of God He is. Many people who claim to believe in God aren’t hallowing His name because they have erroneous concepts of who He is. The Israelites thought they were worshiping the true God when they bowed down to the golden calf (Ex. 32:4). The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day thought they worshiped the true God, but Jesus called them children of the Devil because they rejected God’s Word (John 8:44, 47). Sound Biblical doctrine about God is essential to revering God properly.

Hallowing God’s name also involves constantly being aware of His presence. That helps you focus on His priorities and to see every aspect of your life from His perspective. That’s what David meant when he said, “I have set the Lord continually before me” (Ps. 16:8).

Obedience is another way to hallow God’s name. Your theology might be flawless, and you may be constantly aware of His presence, but if you disobey Him, you dishonor Him. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

You are an instrument through whom God displays His holiness in the world. If His name is to be hallowed on earth as it is in Heaven, it must first be hallowed in your life. That occurs when you believe in Him, understand who He really is, maintain an awareness of His presence, and obey His Word.

That high calling sets you apart from every unbeliever (1 Peter 2:9–10). Live today in light of that glorious calling!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to help you be aware of His presence in every circumstance you face today. ✧ Pray that your life will manifest His holiness.

For Further Study: Read Exodus 32. ✧ Why did the Israelites build the golden calf? ✧ What was Moses’ response when God threatened to destroy His people?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 89). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

MARCH 17 RESPONSE TO THE WORD

The word of God is…sharper than any twoedged sword.

Hebrews 4:12

Men and women who read and study the Scriptures for their literary beauty alone have missed the whole purpose for which they were given.

God’s Word is not to be enjoyed as one might “enjoy” a Beethoven symphony or a poem by Wordsworth.

The reason: The Bible demands immediate action, faith, surrender, committal. Until it has secured these, it has done nothing positive for the reader, but it has increased his responsibility and deepened the judgment that must follow.

The Bible was called forth by the fall of man. It is the voice of God calling men home from the wilds of sin; it is a road map for returning prodigals. It is instruction in righteousness, light in darkness, information about God and man and life and death and heaven and hell.

Further, the destiny of each individual depends upon the response to that Voice in the Word!

Father, Your Word contains the precious words of life. I pray today that the Word of God will be proclaimed faithfully—and effectively—to people of every language, tribe and nation.[1]


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

March 17, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mk 5:17–20). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


The Damning Power of Depravity (5:17–20)

One would expect such a dramatic miracle to produce a spontaneous revival in that region. Instead, the response of the people was immediate rejection. Motivated by fear, they began to implore Him to leave their region. The word implore translates a form of the Greek verb parakaleō, meaning to entreat or beseech. In a tragic twist, the demons implored Jesus to let them stay in that country (v. 10) while the people implored Jesus to leave (v. 17). Their reaction revealed the calloused depravity of their lost condition (cf. John 3:19; 2 Cor. 4:4). They preferred the company of dangerous demons to that of the divine Deliverer.

In their rejection of the Lord Jesus, the people stand as an instructive illustration of the power of unbelief. The astonishing miracle Jesus performed did not lead them to faith in Him as Lord and Messiah. In fact, it had the opposite effect. No one could deny that He had displayed divine power. Nor did anyone doubt the transformation of the former demoniac. (Matt. 8:33 implies that his companion was also delivered.) Yet, in the face of such undeniable evidence, their hearts remained cold and impenetrable. Confronted with the presence of God the Son, and gripped with fear, they begged Him to leave their shores immediately. Earlier, Jesus had conceded the request of the terrified demons, allowing them to go into the pigs. Here He yielded to the wishes of the terrified residents, granting their wish for Him to depart.

Jesus and His disciples got back in their boats in order to return to Capernaum. As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him. In contrast to the unbelieving townspeople, the former demoniac did not want to live another day without Jesus. His tormented soul had been reborn, as clearly evidenced by his eagerness to leave everything behind to follow Christ. As a new believer, he begged the Lord to allow him to accompany Him. But Jesus had other plans for this man. Consequently, He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” Instead of bringing him back to Capernaum, the Lord commissioned this man to be a missionary where he was. As the Lord had earlier explained to His disciples, “A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand?” (Mark 4:21). With his life dramatically transformed, the former demoniac known to all in the region would radiate the transforming glory of the gospel simply by being there and declaring what Christ had done for him.

Though he initially and understandably wanted to accompany Christ, the man faithfully submitted to Jesus’ directive. And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed. Traveling throughout the Gentile region east of Galilee, the former demoniac spread the news about Jesus far and wide. It is important to recognize his impact. When Jesus again visited the region around Decapolis (Mark 7:31–8:9), a massive crowd came to hear Him teach—motivated, surely, by the reports from this man. The response to his testimony was that everyone was amazed. The word amazed (a form of the Greek verb thaumazo) means “to marvel” or “to admire with wonder.” Undoubtedly many, like the disciples, found themselves asking the question, “Who is this man, that even the demons obey Him?” (cf. Mark 4:41).

The main point of this account, like the storm on the Sea of Galilee, is to underscore the divine authority of Jesus Christ. As God incarnate, He rules over both the natural and the supernatural realms. No angelic power is any match for His absolute sovereignty (cf. Eph. 1:21). Thus, those who love the Lord Jesus have nothing to fear from demonic powers (cf. Rom. 8:38). Secondly, this account also teaches an important lesson about the requirements necessary for being a faithful evangelist. The former demoniac had no formal theological training, yet he still had everything he needed to fulfill Christ’s commission for him. Having been delivered and transformed by the Lord Jesus, he was given the simple responsibility of relating the wonder of his salvation transformation to others. That same responsibility is shared by all who belong to Jesus Christ. When believers tell others about how the Savior delivered them from sin and gave them eternal life, they similarly fulfill their God-given commission to the world (cf. Matt. 28:18–19).[1]


18–19 Jesus had come to the eastern side of the lake by boat (v. 2). Now he was about to return the same way. Not surprisingly, the formerly possessed man wanted to go with him. He was eager for Jesus’ company, for no one had ever showed him such love and compassion. The man’s request stands in striking contrast to the reaction of the townspeople. While they plead for Jesus to leave them (v. 17), the man begs for the opportunity to stay with him. The kingdom either attracts or repels, depending on whether one has eyes to see and ears to hear (4:12).

Yet Jesus does not allow the man to come with him. Instead he gives him the much more difficult task of returning home to his family to bear testimony to what was done for him. The command to “go home to your family [or ‘your people’]” is particularly significant in the light of the solitary and self-destructive life the man had been leading. Jesus’ healing brought restoration of normal human relationships.

The further command, “Tell them how much the Lord has done for you” (v. 19), is in marked contrast to Jesus’ instructions to the cleansed leper in 1:44—“See that you don’t tell this to anyone.” A probable reason for the change is that in the case of the demoniac Jesus was in Gentile territory, where there would be little danger that popular messianic ideas about him might be circulated. It was in Jewish territory that this possibility was always present. Or perhaps in this man’s case, Jesus realized that the true nature of his person and mission was perceived; so the man could be trusted to convey to others the truth about Jesus.

20 The man obeyed without argument and “began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him.” The Decapolis was a league of ten originally free Greek cities located on the east of Lake Galilee and the Jordan River (except for Scythopolis). They had been organized on the Greek model during the Seleucid period, brought under Hasmonean control by John Hyrcanus, and liberated by the Roman general Pompey. These cities heard the testimony of the former demoniac and responded with amazement. Anderson, 150, suggests that Mark may regard this incident “as the inauguration of the mission to the Gentiles.” Whether or not this view is correct, Jesus’ ministry in the Gentile region “across the sea” (v. 1) certainly foreshadows the proclamation of the gospel to all nations.

Mark exhibits a very high Christology when Jesus’ command to “tell them how much the Lord has done for you” (v. 19) results in the man’s telling “how much Jesus had done for him” (v. 20). The work of Jesus is the work of God (cf. France, 233; Marcus, 354).[2]


5:18–20. But the man knew the wonderful gift that he had received. He begged Jesus to take him with him. Jesus denied his request. Why? He left the man there as a witness to the region as well as a constant reminder of his judgment against them if they refused his gift. Jesus told the man to return to his family and tell everyone what God had done for him. The man did so. In his mind, God and Jesus were equal. This realization comes only through the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3). Note this was a situation where Jesus did not tell the healed person to remain silent. Perhaps he did so because this was a Gentile region where messianic expectations did not exist among the people.[3]


18. And as he [Jesus] was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessedbegged to go with him. It was a very natural request. The man wishes to be in the company of his Benefactor, to whom he has become so heavily indebted. He wishes to render to him every service he may require. 19. But he refused and said to him, Go home to your people, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you and how he had mercy on you. Several points should be noted:

  1. Is it not striking that the One who had granted the request of the demons, permitting them to enter the pigs, and of the people, that he leave their district, refuses to grant the request of a man who has become his own ardent follower? We learn from this that when God allows his people to get whatever it is they wish to have, this is not always an unmixed blessing. And when he refuses to say “Yes” in answer to their earnest petition, this is not necessarily a sign of his disfavor.
  2. True missionary activity begins at home … but does not end there. It does indeed begin at home (Acts 1:8; cf. Matt. 10:5, 6). Does this not also imply that a true church member is at least as concerned about providing a thorough Christian education for his own children as he is about sending missionaries to the heathen? The latter task is indeed very important and necessary, but the former should have the priority.
  3. The man is ordered to tell his people what great things “the Lord” has done for him. As verse 20 indicates, he understands this word “the Lord” to refer to Jesus. In Luke 8:39a the word “God” is substituted for “the Lord.” The man again interprets “God” to refer to Jesus (8:39b). This shows that, as the evangelists and the cured demoniac saw it, Jesus is the Lord. He is God.
  4. What may well be considered the main lesson is this: by ordering the man to go to his own “folks”—the term not to be taken too narrowly (see verse 20), and with the implied idea that neighbor will tell neighbor—, Jesus is showing a great kindness, and this not only to the former demoniac but also to the entire community that had so shamefully rejected him. They had asked him to leave, but he, in his great love, cannot completely separate himself from them. So he sends them a missionary, in fact the best kind of missionary, one who can speak from experience. See Ps. 34:6; 66:16; 116; John 9:25; 1 Cor. 15:9, 10; Gal. 1:15, 16; Phil. 3:7–14; 1 Tim. 1:15–17; 2 Peter 1:16; 1 John 1:1–4.

The man obeyed. 20. So he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everybody was amazed. The healed man did exactly what the Lord wanted him to do. He went home and there related what great things Jesus had done for him. But he did not stop then and there. So filled was he with joy and gratitude that he soon included the entire city where he was living in the sphere of his missionary activity (Luke 8:39). Even this did not satisfy his eagerness to ascribe the glory to God. Soon he was bearing testimony to God’s goodness in the Decapolis as a whole, as Mark states.

This “Decapolis” was a league of ten Hellenic cities: Scythopolis (located west of the Jordan River); east of the Jordan: Philadelphia, Gerasa, Pella, Damascus, Kanata, Dion, Abila, Gadara, and Hippos. See the sketch. These ten cities, at one time deprived of their freedom by the Maccabees, had by the Romans been delivered from their yoke and had even been given a considerable measure of home rule. Though required to render tribute and military service to Rome, they had been allowed to form an association for commercial progress and for mutual defense against any encroachment from the side of either Jews or Arabs. They had their own army, courts, and coinage. Throughout this region there was a scattering of Jews, but by and large this was definitely Gentile territory; a fact to which, for example, many Greek amphitheatres bore witness.

Everybody was amazed. The people who heard this man testify probably continued for some time to be filled with wonder and praise. No doubt some did more than merely marvel. In Decapolis, too, there must have been a “remnant” of people in whose hearts and lives the word of God was effective unto salvation, to his glory. See Isa. 55:11; Matt. 4:24, 25; Mark 7:31–37.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2015). Mark 1–8 (pp. 248–250). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Wessel, W. W., & Strauss, M. L. (2010). Mark. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, pp. 770–771). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Cooper, R. L. (2000). Mark (Vol. 2, p. 86). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Mark (Vol. 10, pp. 196–198). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 03/17/2018

Judge Rules in Favor of Christian Couple Who Lost Foster Children for Refusing to Lie About Easter Bunny   Mar 11, 2018 07:19 pm

ONTARIO — A Superior Court judge in Canada has ruled in favor of a Christian couple who lost their foster children, and were prevented from caring for other children, after refusing to lie by claiming that the Easter Bunny was delivering candy to their home. Derek and Frances Baars are Reformed Presbyterians and began fostering two girls, ages three and five,…

Continue reading the story


Arrested Pastor Asks for Forgiveness After Seeking to Relieve the ‘Pressure Cooker’ of Life With Meth   Mar 12, 2018 04:41 pm

SHREVEPORT, La. — A Louisiana pastor has asked his congregation for forgiveness after he was arrested Wednesday night for possession of methamphetamine, a drug that he said he wrongfully turned to in attempting to find relief from the pressures and pains of life. “A few months ago, in a time of weakness, I attempted to ease the pain in the wrong way,” wrote Andy…

Continue reading the story


Student Booted From University’s Religious Studies Course For Contending There Are Only Two Genders   Mar 13, 2018 04:39 pm

Photo Credit: Lake Ingle/Fox News INDIANA, Pa. — A student at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania says he was kicked out of his religious studies course for contending in class that there are only two genders and for providing his views when his professor had asked to hear from women only. Lake Ingle says that on Feb. 28, his class was shown a TED Talk…

Continue reading the story


Coach Under Investigation for Informing Boys’ Team That Wrestler Is Girl, Requiring Her to Use Girls’ Locker Room   Mar 10, 2018 11:38 am

WILMINGTON, Ohio — An Ohio high school wrestling coach is under investigation after he allegedly informed his boys’ wrestling team that one of its members who identifies as a boy is really a girl, and for requiring that she use the girls’ locker room. The mother of Aubry Pogue-Krabacher, who now goes by the name Aiden, recently went to the Wilmington School Board…

Continue reading the story


‘Shout Your Abortion’ Founder on ‘Bible Belt Abortion Storytelling Tour’   Mar 12, 2018 08:18 pm

The abortion advocate from whom the hashtag #shoutyourabortion emanated, who also has since founded a group of the same name, is now in the midst of an “abortion storytelling tour” throughout the Bible Belt in an effort to claim that “abortion is normal” and to urge mothers who ended their children’s lives to tell their abortion story. “Join Amelia Bonow…

Continue reading the story


United Methodist Clergy Woman Loses License for Officiating Same-Sex ‘Wedding’   Mar 15, 2018 01:08 pm

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A United Methodist clergy woman in Tennessee has had her ministerial license revoked for officiating a same-sex “wedding” in violation of the UMC’s Book of Discipline. The Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church withdrew the license of Anna Golladay, associate pastor at both St. Marks and St. Elmo United Methodist in Chattanooga, on…

Continue reading the story


Pastor Injured, Wife Dead Following Home Invasion, Arson; Suspects Remain at Large   Mar 12, 2018 01:21 pm

LITTLETON, NC — Members of a Virginia church prayed on Sunday for their pastor, who was injured in a home invasion and arson on Friday, and remembered his wife, who tragically was not able to escape the flames. According to the Warren County Sheriff’s County Office, John Alford and his wife, Nancy, arrived home Friday morning and found intruders inside of their…

Continue reading the story


Good Samaritans Rescue 9-Month-Old Found Lying in Middle of the Road   Mar 13, 2018 12:45 am

(Inside Edition) — A 9-month-old baby has been rescued after she was found in the middle of the street in upstate New York. In a heart-wrenching video taken by a bystander, the small baby can be seen crying as she lies in the middle of the road by herself. Eventually, a stranger picks up the distressed baby. A woman claiming to be the baby’s mother then…

Continue reading the story


Now Adults, Adoptees Learn Jewish Agency Separated Them From Twin as Part of Secret Study   Mar 11, 2018 12:43 am

(ABC News) — Howard Burack always knew he was adopted. “I grew up in a nice, upper-middle-class family in a nice, suburban area north of New York City, in Rockland County, and normal childhood, normal whatever, great parents,” said Burack, who was born in 1963. He told ABC News’ “20/20” that his parents adopted him when he was a baby from Louise Wise…

Continue reading the story


Federal Judge Rules School Must Allow Girl With Gender Dysphoria to Use Boys’ Locker Room   Mar 14, 2018 01:36 pm

BALTIMORE, Md. — A federal judge appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama has ruled that a Maryland high school must allow a female student who identifies as male to use the boys’ locker room. “M.A.B.’s claims come down to a boy asking his school to treat him just like any other boy,” wrote District Court Judge George Russell, III. “This…

Continue reading the story

Weekend Snapshot — Top Stories This Week for 03/17/2018

Weekend Snapshot

Mar. 17, 2018
Top Stories This Week
Quote of the Week

“If masculinity were truly toxic, then kids growing up without dads would presumably be better off than those who have them. But, they’re not: they tend to be more depressed, aggressive and criminal. Truth is: we need more masculinity in society, not less” —Allie Stuckey

10 invalid arguments in defense of false teachers

Rick Becker begins his piece with,

Scripture warns us that in the last days some will depart from the faith, and be deceived by evil spirits and teachings of demons. Those who teach false doctrines are not on the fringes of Christianity, they are in the center in the form of the Evangelical Industrial Complex.  Bethel, Hillsong and other NAR “churches” have infested the visible church like gangrene.  Those who are saved from this deception, try to warn their friends and family still caught up in the quagmire of celebrity teachers and false doctrines.  When we warn them of the precarious position they are in, they usually resort to arguments we are all familiar with. This post deals with some of those questions.

Then he offers what he believes are 10 invalid arguments people use to defend false teachers.  For example, “Who are you to judge?!” People involved in online apologetics and discernment ministries get this thrown in our faces all the time. Berean Research’s response to the judging jab is here. Becker responds to the finger-waggers with, “Jesus exercised righteous judgement by calling out sin and rebuking false teachers.  The epistles are replete with examples of judging sin, church discipline, and exposing false doctrine.”  And then he adds this zinger: “The person accusing you of exercising discernment is in fact judging you!”

Rick Becker’s post can be found over at Famine In The Land:

 

Do you know them personally?

It is not necessary to know figures such as Brian Houston or Bill Johnson personally to test their teachings.  Those of us who come out of these churches know what it takes to work your way up the hierarchical structure in order to “get to know them personally.”  Have they taken the time to get to know the people whose faith has been shipwrecked due to their teachings?  Do they care that their sponsored posts reach millions of naive and biblically illiterate people?  Not content with shepherding their own congregations,  these hirelings spread their doctrines with impunity.  They are not contributing to the body of Christ, but building their own empire.

Their teachings are in print, on social media, in the public domain and therefore open to public scrutiny.  It is their teachings we examine and compare to the word of God – as instructed in scripture.  If the apostle Paul’s teachings were compared to scripture, why give modern day apostles a pass?

“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11

 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1-2

Have you approached them directly?

Many will cite Matthew 18:15-18 as justification of a direct and private approach to dealing with false teachers: “ “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.  Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

In context, the issue is between two believers in a congregation. False teachers are not “your brother” – they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Their messages are public, and their sin is against the whole body of Christ.  There is no need to bring any witnesses to the table when it comes to false teachers, their own witness in the form of their teachings, condemn them.  This passage is instructive regarding church discipline, not how to deal with false teachers.  Incidentally, this is the same passage many use to justify the teaching of binding and loosing Satan.  Once again, that is an unbiblical concept as the text is dealing with church discipline among believers, not spiritual warfare.

If you are fortunate enough to be one of those rare cases where a celebrity prophet or apostle takes time to meet a concerned stranger, use your opportunity wisely.  Attempting to reach them via social media and email is usually a fruitless endeavour.  Most of these well known leaders have a team that manage their correspondence; the chances that you will actually get a direct reply from the teacher concerned is highly unlikely.  Many of these ministries have a culture of ignoring any outsiders who ask questions – legitimate questions.  They refuse to entertain what they deem as attacks on their ministry.

Why don’t you just pray for them?

Jesus didn’t pray for the pharisees, he rebuked them openly.  When Peter compromised the truth of the gospel, Paul didn’t cover up the issue and offer a silent prayer for Peter:  But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.” Galatians 2:11

We don’t ignore false teachings in the body of Christ.  When Paul wrote to Timothy warning him of those who have departed from the faith due to false teachings, he instructed Timothy to point out the errors : “If you put these things before the brothers,  you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.”

Paul is clear regarding those who bring a different gospel: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:8-9  View article →

Source: 10 invalid arguments in defense of false teachers

Vatican Caught Photoshopping, Forging Documents

(Pulpit & Pen News) No, the headline is not a repeat from the year 1073. After Pope Francis began condemning so-called “Fake News,” the Vatican has been caught red-handed, forging documents and issuing the photoshopped fakes in press releases. The story began as the Vatican began lauding a letter written by Pope Benedict on February 7, and sent to the Vatican’s prefect of the Secretariat for Communications. As Pope Francis is increasingly accused of heresy because of his Amoris Laetitia statement, in which he softens the traditional Romanist tone on divorce and traditional marriage (which has been used by Romanists the world over to embrace very non-Romanist ideas on human sexuality), it has caused many people to wonder what the former Pope is thinking about the current Pope, a historical phenomenon caused by Pope Benedict retiring in 2013, whereas historically, most Popes die in office, either from natural causes or from being murdered and/or deposed by their successors. …

Benedict’s letter to Pope Francis was heralded as a bold defense of the current Pontiff by the Vatican, which released copies of the letter.

Reportedly, Benedict wrote:

I applaud this initiative that seeks to oppose and react to the foolish prejudice according to which Pope Francis would only be a practical man devoid of particular theological or philosophical formation, while I would have been only a theoretician of theology that understood little of the concrete life of a Christian today.

In other words, Benedict had given a unilateral “thumbs up” to the current Bishop of Rome.

The problem is, the Associated Press discovered that the Vatican had “doctored” the letter and photoshopped it, distorting its message and violates standards of journalism. The photoshopping significantly changes the letter’s intention and meeting and was not meant to absolve the current Pontiff of heresy by the opinion of Benedict. In the part of the letter made visible by the Vatican, Benedict wrote that a series of books defending Francis’ theology might “react to the foolish prejudice” against him. However, in the part blurred out by the Vatican, Benedict actually declines the invitation from the Secretariat for Communications to read the books, saying he didn’t have time. It was not, therefore, a unilateral defense of Francis, as the Vatican made it out to be; Benedict had not read the books and applauded the effort to defend Francis, but stopped short of saying whether or not the books achieved that end. Similarly, Benedict declined to give a theological assessment of Francis, recusing himself from the process altogether. This is the opposite of the Vatican’s #FakeNews reporting.

The Vatican has reluctantly admitted – to their shame – of doctoring and photoshopping the letter.

When Hildebrand became Pope Gregory VII in 1073, he drew up a Dictatus – a list – of 27 powers of the Pope. Most were never assumed before. These new powers of the Pope included:

  • The Pope can be judged by no one on Earth
  • The Roman church has never erred and can never err
  • The Pope alone can depose bishops
  • The Pope can dethrone emperors and kings
  • All Princes must kiss the Pope’s feet

Most of Gregory VII’s evidence for these new powers of the Pope were build on forged documents, completely fabricated by the church in Rome. For more than 700 years, the Greeks called Rome “the home of forgeries.” Whenever someone challenged the Roman church, they would bring out documents, allegedly from centuries past, proving whatever at the moment they were trying to prove.

The documents already forged, however, did not satisfy Gregory VII. Soon, he had an entire school of forgers turning out documents, with his papal seal of approval (which he said lent them infallibility). Many early documents that weren’t outright forgeries were “touched up” to say what they originally did not say, a medieval version of photoshop. By constantly “going back in time” and changing these ancient documents, Gregory’s forgers could make it appear that the Romanist church wasn’t changing; after all, an infallible church must be an immutable church. “No, this has always been our teaching,” they would say, with as much conviction as Orwell’s Winston, shoving yesterday’s newspaper into the memory hole. View article →

See our Research Paper on Roman Catholicism

Source: Vatican Caught Photoshopping, Forging Documents

MARCH 17 NO ONE FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED IS WORTHLESS

Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

PROVERBS 16:5

Contempt for another human being is an affront to God almost as grave as idolatry, for while idolatry is disrespect for God Himself, contempt is disrespect for the being He made in His own image.

Contempt says of a man, “Raca! Fool! This fellow is of no worth. I attach to this person no value whatsoever!” The person guilty of thus appraising a human being is thoroughly bad. The gravity of the situation lies not in the fact that a man can cry “Fool!” but that he can entertain in his heart the contempt which the word expresses.

Contempt is an emotion possible only where there is great pride. The error in moral judgment that undervalues another always springs out of the error that overvalues one’s self. The contemptuous man esteems himself too highly, and for reasons that are invalid. His high opinion of himself is not based upon his position as a being made in God’s image; he esteems himself for fancied virtues which he does not possess. The error in his judgment is moral, not intellectual.

Here is our warning: the Christian believer’s disapprobation of the evil ways of men and women must not betray him into contempt for them as human beings! He must reverence the humanity of every man—for no one for whom Christ died can be common or worthless. To esteem anyone worthless who wears the form of a man is to be guilty of an affront to the Son of Man! We are to hate sin in ourselves and in all men, but never undervalue the man in whom the sin is found.[1]


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

March 17 The Cost of Discipleship

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.—Matt. 5:10

Our Lord made it clear from His earliest teaching that following Him was costly. Those who entered His kingdom would suffer for Him before they would reign with Him.

The cost of discipleship is billed to our account in many different ways. A believer today might be expected to hedge on the quality of his work to increase company profits. To follow one’s conscience in obedience to the Lord might cost him his job or at least a promotion. A Christian housewife who refuses to listen to gossip or to laugh at the crude jokes of her neighbors may find herself ostracized. Some costs will be great and some will be slight. But by the Lord’s and the apostles’ repeated promises, faithfulness always has a cost, which true Christians are willing to pay.

In the early days of the church, the price paid was often the ultimate. To choose Christ might mean choosing death by stoning. To choose Christ could mean torture by any number of excessively cruel and painful methods. That was the very thing Christ had in mind when He identified His followers as those willing to bear their crosses. That is His call to be ready to die, if need be, for the cause of the Lord (Matt. 10:35–39; 16:24–25).

Are you willing to pay that cost?

ASK YOURSELF

What are our usual reasons for not being willing to pay the cost of discipleship? Fear? Reputation? A stronger desire to be liked than to be lumped together with Christ’s followers? Ask yourself, “What makes me more strongly attached to these excuses than to bearing the name of my Lord?”[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 85). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

March 17 The First Step

Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:19

Baptism is the outward sign of one’s inward faith in Christ. It’s an act of obedience by which a person demonstrates the reality of his salvation. Salvation is not visibly seen but is a supernatural, spiritual transaction. The fruit or result of salvation, however, should be evident.

In the early church, the initial fruit of obedience was baptism, and this same fruit can be expected today. It’s the means by which an individual testifies to his or her union in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:3–4). Galatians 3:27 says, “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

The Great Commission in Matthew 28 commands us to preach the gospel and baptize others. That means we’re to tell people that salvation is something they should not only believe, but also publicly confess, with baptism as the first step. When someone is reluctant to publicly confess Christ in that way, we have reason to question the genuineness of his faith. Jesus said, “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32). That is the public confession we all should make.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 90). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

40 Days to the Cross: Week Four – Saturday

Confession: Psalm 62:1–2

Only for God my soul waits in silence.

From him is my salvation.

Only he is my rock and my salvation,

my high stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

Reading: Mark 14:12–21

And on the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare, so that you can eat the Passover?” And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” ’ And he will show you a large upstairs room furnished and ready, and prepare for us there.” And the disciples went out and came into the city and found everything just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

And when it was evening, he arrived with the twelve. And while they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, that one of you who is eating with me will betray me.” They began to be distressed and to say to him one by one, “Surely not I?” But he said to them, “It is one of the twelve—the one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. For the Son of Man is going just as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for him if that man had not been born.”

Reflection

Ask Him why He chose Judas, a traitor? Why He entrusted to him the bag when He knew that he was a thief? Shall I tell you the reason? God judges the present, not the future. He does not make use of His foreknowledge to condemn a man though He knows that he will hereafter displease Him; but such is His goodness and unspeakable mercy that He chooses a man who, He perceives, will meanwhile be good, and who, He knows, will turn out badly, thus giving him the opportunity of being converted and of repenting.

This is the apostle’s meaning when he says, “Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will repay according to each one’s deeds” (Rom 2:4–6 nrsv).

—Jerome

Against the Pelagians

Response

Spend time reflecting on God’s extravagant kindness to you. Write down the ways He has been kind—especially through the work of Jesus. Pray that you would be filled with thankfulness to Him.[1]


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

March 17, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

35:10 God validated Jacob’s change of name and reaffirmed His promises to him. Now Jacob would be called Israel (32:28). Note that Genesis uses the names Jacob and Israel interchangeably (vv. 14, 20–22; 46:2).[1]


35:10 God’s statement here confirms the importance of the transformation that has taken place in Jacob’s life. On the change of Jacob’s name to Israel, see note on 32:28.[2]


[1] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 61). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[2] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 111). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

March 17 The Danger of Selfishness and Conceit

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.”

Philippians 2:3

✧✧✧

Selfishness and conceit can prevent us from doing God’s will.

Selfishness and conceit are all too common among people today. It seems there is hardly a prominent entertainer or sports figure who doesn’t portray those characteristics to excess. Yet those traits are the very opposite of what should characterize the humble follower of Christ.

“Selfishness” in today’s passage refers to pursuing an enterprise in a factional way. It involves an egotistical, personal desire to push your own agenda in a destructive and disruptive way. “Empty conceit” describes the force behind such overbearing behavior—personal glory. A person driven by such motivation thinks he is always right.

Paul’s opening phrase in Philippians 2:3 has the force of a negative command: believers are never to act out of selfish ambition with the goal of heaping praise upon themselves. To do so inevitably leads to one of the common sin problems in our churches: factionalism, accompanied by jealousy, strife, disharmony, and partisanship. Paul knew what harm factionalism could do within a church. It was the primary problem he addressed in his letter of 1 Corinthians. The apostle summarized the Corinthian church’s condition this way: “For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” (1 Cor. 3:3). It is spiritually immature to be jealous of and to cause strife among fellow Christians, and it reveals a fleshly perspective.

Because our flesh (sinfulness) produces selfishness and conceit, it is vitally important to keep it under control (Gal. 5:16). Plans and agendas by themselves are valid, and they are not necessarily incompatible with humility in the Christian life. But if our goals and objectives are driven by selfishness, they become competitive and harmful. One key of dealing with selfishness is realizing that others also have goals and desires. Such a realization will help you go a long way toward killing the monster of selfishness in your life.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Pray that God’s Spirit would rid your heart and mind of any attitudes of selfishness and conceit.

For Further Study: The beginning of 1 Corinthians deals with the subject of factionalism. Read chapter 1. What perspective does Paul have regarding church divisions? ✧ What does the second half of the chapter offer as a prime reason for divisions within the church?[1]


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

MARCH 17 I FELL ON MY FACE

For our God is a consuming fire.

—Hebrews 12:29

Just because God cannot tell us what He is He very often tells us what He is like. By these “like” figures He leads our faltering minds as close as they can come to that “light which no man can approach unto” (1 Timothy 6:16). Through the more cumbersome medium of the intellect the soul is prepared for the moment when it can, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, know God as He is in Himself. God has used a number of these similitudes to hint at His incomprehensible being, and judging from the Scriptures one would gather that His favorite similitude is fire. In one place the Spirit speaks expressly, “For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). This accords with His revelation of Himself as recorded throughout the Bible. As a fire He spoke to Moses from the burning bush; in the fire He dwelt above the camp of Israel through all the wilderness journey; as fire He dwelt between the wings of the cherubim in the Holy of Holies; to Ezekiel He revealed Himself as a strange brightness of “a fire infolding itself” (Ezekiel 1:4)….

This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. (1:28) POM098-099

Great God, if I really saw You in all Your majesty I too would fall on my face before You. And this is only a glimpse of what You are! Show me Your glory, I pray. Amen.[1]


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

March 16 Daily Help

THE Bible is a vein of pure gold, unalloyed by quartz, or any earthly substance. This is a star without a speck; a sun without a blot; a light without darkness; a moon without its paleness; a glory without a dimness. O Bible! it cannot be said of any other book, that it is perfect and pure; but of thee we can declare all wisdom is gathered up in thee, without a particle of folly. This is the judge that ends the strife, where wit and reason fail. This is the book untainted by any error; but is pure, unalloyed, perfect truth.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 79). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

March 16, 2018 Evening Verse Of The Day

31Sovereignty of God. Ultimate success comes from God and not from human efforts. The contrast here is between the plans and efforts for the battle (“the horse is made ready for the day of battle”) and the true acknowledgment of the source of victory (“the Lord”; see Pss 20:7; 33:17).[1]


21:31 / Antithetic. Preparations for war (horse) can and should be made, but ultimately all depends on the Lord (1 Sam. 17:47), who alone is wise (Sir. 1:8). See also Psalms 20:7; 28:7; Jeremiah 9:23. This proverb specifies the more general saying in verse 30.[2]


21:31 Men may go to elaborate plans to insure military success, but victory on the day of battle comes from the Lord alone. It is better to trust in Him than in horses—or in nuclear weapons—(see Ps. 20:7).

Plumptre summarizes verses 30 and 31 as follows:

Verse 30: Nothing avails against God.

Verse 31: Nothing avails without God.[3]


21:31 A soldier can do all within his ability to prepare for battle (20:18), but in the end no preparation can override God’s power. Victory is in God’s hands.[4]


21:31. Human effort, like human wisdom (v. 30), has its limitations. It is useless to fight against God (v. 30), or without Him (v. 31). Soldiers may use horses in battle, but the superiority of a cavalry unit against foot soldiers is no guarantee of victory. That comes only from the Lord, who can turn battles His way in spite of man’s efforts (cf. Pss. 20:7; 33:17).[5]


[1] Ross, A. P. (2008). Proverbs. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 186). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Murphy, R. E., & Carm, O. (2012). Proverbs. In W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston (Eds.), Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (p. 107). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 846–847). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 770). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[5] Buzzell, S. S. (1985). Proverbs. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 952). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.