Daily Archives: June 8, 2018

June 8: Badly Aligned

2 Chronicles 19:1–20:37; Titus 3:12–15; Psalm 101:1–8

Like a car with bad alignment, we are prone to drift off course when we’re not focused on steering our faith. Often, we use intellectual pursuits to disguise our drifting. It’s easier to argue an opinion than to respond faithfully. It’s stimulating to have a theoretical conversation about a complex issue because there is no hard-and-fast application. When we drift, we might even succeed in convincing ourselves that we’re being faithful.

New Christians often have a zealous faith and a desire to learn that make seasoned Christians take a second look at their own faith. In Psalm 101, the psalmist expresses this type of zeal for God. While his specific actions can seem strange to our modern ears, his desire to pursue God with his entire being is one we ourselves should adopt. He follows his repeated “I will” statements with promises to sing of God’s steadfast love and justice, ponder the way that is blameless, and walk with integrity of heart. He knows the danger of haughty eyes and arrogance of heart, and he determines to avoid people with these traits. Instead, he aspires to seek out faithful people who can minister to him (Psa 101:6).

Complex faith issues don’t always have hard-and-fast answers. They require intelligent conversations and careful consideration. But most of all, they require humility and a committed zeal to follow God—whatever the outcome.

We need to be humble and honest about our weaknesses. If we know we need help, we need to be like the psalmist and seek out mentors who can minister to us. And if someone calls us out as arrogant and haughty, we need to address where we’ve drifted.

Take a look at your own heart. Where are you drifting?

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.

June 8 Being a Doer of the Word

“Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).

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A doer of the Word obeys what Scripture says.

Effective Bible study is built on three key questions: What does the Bible say? What does it mean? How does it apply to my life? Each of those questions is important, but applying the Word must always be the highest goal. Knowledge without application is useless.

Both the Old and New Testaments emphasize the importance of applying Scripture. For example, just prior to leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, Joshua received this message from God: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Josh. 1:8). That’s a command to be a doer of the Word—one who receives, studies, and understands Scripture and then applies it to every aspect of his or her life. That was the key to Joshua’s amazing success.

James 1:22 is a New Testament counterpart to Joshua 1:8 and is directed to every believer: “Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” It’s not enough to hear the Word—you must also do what it says.

The phrase “doer of the word” doesn’t refer to the person who obeys periodically, but the one who habitually and characteristically obeys. It’s one thing to run in a race; it’s something else to be a runner. It’s one thing to teach a class; it’s something else to be a teacher. Runners are known for running; teachers are known for teaching—it’s characteristic of their lives. Similarly, doers of the Word are known for their obedience to Biblical truth.

Never be content to be a hearer of the Word only, but prove yourself a doer in the Christian life. Your claim to love Christ will mean something only if you obey what He says.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Memorize Joshua 1:8, and pray regularly that God will make you a faithful doer of the Word.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 1. ✧ What are the benefits of delighting in God’s law? ✧ How does the psalmist characterize those who reject righteousness?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 172). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Average New Vehicle Auto Payment Hits Record High $523 Per Month | Zero Hedge

Authored by Mick Shedlock via MishTalk,

The average size of a loan for a new car in the U.S. set a record in the first quarter as did the average payment.

Database firm Experian notes U.S. Monthly Auto Payments Reach Record High in First Quarter.

• New vehicle loans averaged $31,455

• The average monthly payment for a new vehicle hit at record $523/month

• Consumers are lengthening loan terms, with six years being the most common, to adjust to the higher costs and rising interest rates.

• Outstanding loan balances reached a record high of $1.108 trillion

• Loans for used vehicles reached $19,536, also a record

Auto Math

$523 * 12 * 6 = $37,656

That total does not factor in the down payment.

Interest = $37,656 – $31,455 = $6,201.

That’s $1033.50 in interest annually.

Lovely.

At the end of six years, perhaps the car will fetch $5,000 in a trade-in, but everything depends on miles, damage, and of course advancements in self-driving.

Anyone trading the car in after three or four years will be hugely underwater.

The dream of owning a new vehicle is becoming more elusive,” said Melinda Zabritski, senior director of automotive financial solutions at Experian.

Elusive Dream?

Ah, the dream of spending $30,000 to $50,000 on a depreciating asset.

Elusive has not yet arrived, but it will.
— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-08/average-new-vehicle-auto-payment-hits-record-high-523-month

Obama Officials Spied on Trump Campaign Using at Least Five Methods – arclein

06-08-2018 • arclein

The FBI and DOJ obtained a FISA spy warrant on Carter Page, a volunteer adviser to the Trump campaign, on Oct. 21, 2016. Under the so-called “two-hop” rule, the FISA warrant could have been used to spy on anyone with two layers of separation from Page himself. This means that both of the people Page was in contact with himself at the campaign could have had their communications surveilled, which is the first hop, as well as anyone who was in contact with the campaign officials, the second hop.

Read Full Story

The Real Danger of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing –

“100% WOOL” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

Wolves in sheep’s clothing.

They are very, very dangerous.

Why?

Because they act gentle, approachable, innocent, and kind. Completely harmless.

But it’s all an act to earn your trust, draw you in, then, once you’ve surrendered yourself into their compassionate arms, they use you for their own pleasure.

Use your instincts. Trust your gut. Learn discernment!

If they smell like a wolf and, as they often do, let wolfish words and behaviors slip, then RUN!

You have to take care of yourself.
— Read on nakedpastor.com/2018/06/the-real-danger-of-wolves-in-sheeps-clothing/

Charles Krauthammer Reveals He Has Weeks to Live in Heartbreaking Letter to Colleagues — The Gateway Pundit

Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer, 68, revealed he has weeks to live in a heartbreaking letter to colleagues.

Krauthammer overcame many obstacles in life, including a diving accident when he was in college that left him a quadriplegic. 

The “Special Report” star went on to graduate from Harvard Medical school in 1975 and even won a Pulitzer-Prize.

Charles Krauthammer was missing from the network for nearly a year battling cancer.

Unfortunately the cancer returned in a very aggressive form; Fox News released Krauthammer’s letter Friday morning revealing he has weeks to live.

Fox News reported:

Charles Krauthammer, the beloved and brilliant Fox News Channel personality who gave up a pioneering career in psychiatry to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning political analyst, on Friday revealed the heartbreaking news that he is in the final stages of a losing battle with cancer.

“I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months,” the letter began. “I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me.”

“However, recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned,” Krauthammer wrote. “There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.”

“I leave this life with no regrets,” Krauthammer wrote. “It was a wonderful life – full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”

Rupert Murdoch released a statement:

Prayers to his family and loved ones.

via Charles Krauthammer Reveals He Has Weeks to Live in Heartbreaking Letter to Colleagues — The Gateway Pundit

Danny Akin, SEBTS, Allegedly Threaten Non-Woke Faculty with Sensitivity Training and Firing — Pulpit & Pen

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has been at the forefront of the Social Justice Wars of the SBC in recent months and years. A promoter of Critical Race Theory and Marxist Intersectionality, president Danny Akin has installed an Affirmative Action wing for the seminary – called the Department of Kingdom Diversity – and has promoted the work of radical Cultural Marxists like James Cone, hosted a Malcolm X read-in for students, and according to numerous faculty members, warned staff that if they publicly complain about the Marxist undertones of the seminary’s new “woke” direction, they would be subject to mandatory sensitivity training and ultimately, firing.

Since Akin’s strong promotion of the agenda set for the SBC by James Riadyand George Soros, especially as seen in the lead-up and aftermath of the MLK50 Conference, his status has risen to top-tier influencer among the New Calvinist contingent of the Evangelical Industrial Complex. After the successful veneration of non-Christian heretic and sex trafficker, Martin Luther King (King denied the deity of Christ, the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, and the Resurrection), at the ERLC and Gospel Coalition-sponsored event, this Social Justice contingent in the SBC has been promoting Egalitarianism, a view on gender roles that is contrary to the traditional view held by Southern Baptists, particularly post-Conservative Resurgence. While claiming to be Complementarian (the more traditional view that men and women have equal but different, complementary roles, with leadership positions and positions of authority being exclusive to men), Akin, upcoming presidential shoe-in, JD Greear, and other woke SBC recipients of Riady-Soros cash are busy advocating for women to serve at the highest levels of leadership in the SBC in order to better serve what they call an “underrepresented minority voice.”

Moving from the ethnic component of Critical Race Theory (CRT doesn’t pertain only to “race” or ethnicity, but to all special “identity groups”) to Intersectionality, Akin and SEBTS have followed the lead of Greear, Dwight McKissic and other Social Justice Warriors to ensure that women and minority groups are running the SBC. This is a vitally important part of the agenda set forth by the billionaire donors who have been pumping these educational institutions with progressive cash.

Pulpit & Pen has spoken to three witnesses – two faculty members and one non-faculty staff member – who have spoken on-the-record as confidential sources, claiming that Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) has threatened them with “sensitivity training” and possible termination for making posts referencing Critical Race Theory or Cultural Marxism. One faculty member has moved on to another Southern Baptist Seminary but is gravely concerned that its direction is also turning hard-left on the issue of gender and the other two remain (for the time being) at SEBTS.

“When I first spoke out on Facebook about the wisdom of promoting someone with dubious theological credentials and a severely problematic personal witness like Dr. King, I was immediately called by a colleague who urged me to delete my post. I was told that it could be used by the press to paint the institution as racist. This floored me, considering my post didn’t address the ethnicity of Dr. King, but his character. Nonetheless, I let the post remain.”

The source continued, “Within another hour, I received a phone call from Dr. Akin, who expressed disappointment that I would speak out publicly on the issue and was encouraged – strongly – not to criticize the work of the [ERLC] or [Russell] Moore. The implication was clear; Southeastern was going to make social justice a core focus in coming years, and I might be better off at a different institution.”

With nowhere else to go, the faculty member has remained. When asked if he was fearful that his published communications would lead to punitive consequences from Akin, the professor responded, “Good luck. I’m not the only one told to swallow the social justice camel or else. There is a culture of fear, and it’s pervasive. Many faculty members have received those phone calls.”

Another source, the faculty member now teaching at a different seminary, told us, “I was told when [the Department of Kingdom Diversity] began that if I didn’t like ‘righting injustice’ I should seek employment elsewhere else. I did; I do want to correct injustice, but I don’t think the Marxist agenda is just. I also let it be known – in writing – that the growing acceptance of women in positions of leadership at [SEBTS] would eventually lead to a full dismantling of what we worked so hard to defend in the Resurgence.”

He continued, “It’s like a brain-drain at SEBTS. The folks they’re bringing in to promote diversity don’t even have doctorate degrees. They’re not scholars. They’re organizers. When I decided that I wouldn’t send my own kids to [the seminary] for fear they’d receive more indoctrination than doctrine, I decided it was time to move.”

Now, that source is greatly concerned about a particular resolution proposed for the upcoming SBC meeting, from one of his new seminary’s leaders, that gives what he perceives to be a “hat-tip” to redefined egalitarianism.

“It’s out of the frying pan and into a slightly less hot skillet,” he added.

Finally, one long-term staff member at SEBTS recalls a threat to receive “sensitivity training” after posting a popular meme generated by Pulpit & Pen of the faces of many “Social Justice Warriors” during the week of Together for the Gospel, following on the heels of MLK50.

The source said, “I was emailed the [employee handbook] pdf and told that if I didn’t delete the post I would be in violation of expected conduct and would have to receive what was called ‘sensitivity training.’ This is my only employment. I deleted it.”

SEBTS Danny Akin was contacted for a response to these accounts. Akin was asked, “Why am I hearing from SEBTS profs that you’re requiring diversity training and telling them not to speak out about their objections to Critical Race Theory?”

Akin responded via text, “None of those are true. You need better sources my brother,” to which he was asked, “Better than your profs?” Akin then said curtly, “Unless you want to reveal your source, we can conclude this conversation.” 

As with our reporting on Greg Locke, Clayton Jennings, Ergun Caner, or Louisiana College, we may not always be able to cite the name of a source due to fear of repercussions toward the witness, but as you can see, our facts are always proven in God’s providential timing. There are also many reports of NAMB-funded church planters being warned that their funding would be cut if they continued to criticize Russell Moore or the Social Justice direction of the SBC. We will also publish those accounts soon.

via Danny Akin, SEBTS, Allegedly Threaten Non-Woke Faculty with Sensitivity Training and Firing — Pulpit & Pe

JUNE 8 MAKE GOD’S WILL OUR WILL

And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

Acts 9:6

The mystery of man’s free will is far too great for us! God said to Adam and Eve: “Thou shalt not eat from this tree” (see Genesis 2:16–17). Here was a divine requirement calling for obedience on the part of those who had the power of choice and will. When they disobeyed, they usurped the right that was not theirs!

The poet Tennyson must have thought about this, for he wrote in his “In Memoriam”: “Our wills are ours, we know not how; our wills are ours to make them Thine!”

“We know not how;” then Tennyson girds himself and continues, “Our wills are ours to make them Thine!”

As created beings, that is our only right—to make our wills the will of God, to make the will of God our will! God is sovereign, and we are the creatures. He is the Creator and has the right to command us with the obligation that we should obey.

It is a happy obligation, I might say, for “His yoke is easy and His burden is light!” It is important to agree that true salvation restores the right of a Creator-creature relationship, acknowledging God’s right to our fellowship and communion!

Heavenly Father, intellectually it is easy to say that I want to do Your will, but to really do so I need Your Spirit’s help. Strengthen me, Lord. I am Yours.[1]


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

June 8, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Redeemer

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. (15:20–22)

First Paul reaffirms Christ’s resurrection: But now Christ has been raised from the dead, a truth his readers already acknowledged and believed (vv. 1–2). The words “and become,” found in some translations (e.g., the KJV), do not come first in the original text and are misleading. Christ did not become the first fruits at some time after His resurrection, but at the moment of His resurrection, by the very fact of His resurrection. His being raised made Him the first fruits of all who would be raised.

Before Israelites harvested their crops they were to bring a representative sample, called the first fruits, to the priests as an offering to the Lord (Lev. 23:10). The full harvest could not be made until the first fruits were offered. That is the point of Paul’s figure here. Christ’s own resurrection was the first fruits of the resurrection “harvest” of the believing dead. In His death and resurrection Christ made an offering of Himself to the Father on our behalf.

The significance of the first fruits, however, not only was that they preceded the harvest but that they were a first installment of the harvest. The fact that Christ was the first fruits therefore indicates that something else, namely the harvest of the rest of the crop, is to follow. In other words, Christ’s resurrection could not have been in isolation from ours. His resurrection requires our resurrection, because His resurrection was part of the larger resurrection of God’s redeemed.

The resurrection of which Paul speaks here is permanent resurrection. Both the Old and New Testaments tell of persons who died and were miraculously brought back to life (1 Kings 17:22; 2 Kings 4:34–36; 13:21; Luke 7:15; John 11:44). But all of those persons died again. Even those whom Jesus raised—the son of the widow of Nain, Jairus’s daughter, and Lazarus—eventually died again. Christ Himself, however, was the first to be raised never to die again.

As in 15:6, 18 (cf. Matt. 27:52; Acts 7:60; 2 Pet. 3:4), those who are asleep refers to the dead, in this instance to the righteous dead, whose spirits have gone to be with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8; cf. Phil. 1:23) but whose remains are in the grave, awaiting recomposition and resurrection.

Through Christ, as a man, came the resurrection of the dead, just as through Adam, the first man, came death. Paul’s point here is that Jesus’ humanness was inextricably involved both in His resurrection and in ours. It was because Jesus died, was buried, and was raised as a man that He could become the first fruits of all other men who would be raised to glory. As already noted, the first fruits and the harvest were from the same crop.

In verse 22 Paul continues to explain how the great truth of the one resurrection of Christ affects believers. The convincing analogy comes from the first man: For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. Just as Adam was the progenitor of everyone who dies, so Christ is the progenitor of everyone who will be raised to life. In each case, one man doing one act caused the consequences of that act to be applied to every other person identified with him. Those who are identified with Adam—every person who has been born—is subject to death because of Adam’s sinful act. Likewise, those who are identified with Christ—every person who has been born again in Him—is subject to resurrection to eternal life because of Christ’s righteous act. In Adam all have inherited a sin nature and therefore will die. In Christ all who believe in Him have inherited eternal life, and shall be made alive, in body as well as in spirit. “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19).

From countless other passages of Scripture we know that the two alls in verse 22, though alike in some respects, cannot be equal. Those who attempt to read universalism into this passage must contradict those other passages that teach reprobation (Matt. 5:29; 10:28; 25:41, 46; Luke 16:23; 2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 20:15; etc.). The alls are alike in that they both apply to descendants. Every human being is a descendant of Adam, and therefore the first all is universal. With only the exceptions of Enoch and Elijah, whom the Lord took directly to be with Himself, and of those saints who will be raptured, every person born will die.

Only those who trust in Jesus Christ, however, are His descendants (as illustrated in John 8:44), and the second all therefore applies only to the saved. It is only all the fellow sons of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:26, 29; 4:7; Eph. 3:6; cf. Acts 20:32; Titus 3:7) who shall be made alive. In Adam is simply to be human, to have been born once. In Christ is to have eternal life, to be born again. By natural descent from Adam, having inherited his sin, all die. By supernatural descent from Christ, having inherited His righteousness, all shall be made alive.

Though the inheritance in both cases is bodily as well as spiritual, Paul’s major emphasis here is on the bodily. Through Adam’s sin, man died spiritually and became subject to death bodily. Likewise, through Christ believers are given life spiritually and will be raised bodily. But our spirits, because they go to be with the Lord at death, will not wait to be resurrected. Only our bodies will be resurrected, and that is the truth stressed here.[1]


20 “But now” (nyni de; NASB) are two of the sweetest words in the Bible, for they are often followed by words of comfort and hope (see, e.g., Ro 3:21; 6:22; 7:6; Gal 4:9; Eph 2:13; 5:8; Col 1:22; Heb 9:26; 1 Pe 2:10). Here Paul has just been speculating on the possibility that Christ had not been raised from the dead (vv. 13–19). But now he triumphantly states, “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.” Easter did happen, not (as some today claim) in the minds of the disciples in order to keep the ideals of Jesus alive, but in actual historical fact. The tomb was empty on the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion not because someone stole the body, but because the body that lay in the grave emerged alive. Thus all the hypothetical consequences of vv. 13–19 are false; i.e., preaching is valid, the apostles are not false witnesses, faith does save, we are not in our sins, and there is the hope of resurrection for all who have fallen asleep in Christ.

This last statement is the implication of the second part of v. 20: Christ is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” The imagery of “firstfruits” (aparchē, GK 569) links with the Feast of Firstfruits in the OT (cf. Ex 23:16; Lev 23:9–14). On this day, at the beginning of the grain harvest, the Israelites brought the first sheaf harvested and dedicated it to the Lord. This offering assured the Israelites that the rest of the harvest would follow. Christ is the firstfruits of the resurrection—the first person to be raised from the dead permanently. His resurrection assures us that someday there will be a complete harvest. A day is coming when all God’s people who have died will be raised to life and will enter the new kingdom of God—at the time when Jesus returns on the clouds of heaven (cf. 1 Th 4:13–17). Those in Corinth who were denying the possibility of human resurrection are simply wrong.[2]


15:20 / Paul sets this line in firm juxtaposition to his previous comments with the initial words “But now” (Gk. nyni de). In declaring a fresh starting point, Paul abandons imaginary rhetorical conditions and proclaims his essential conviction, which is to be taken as the foundation of the faith and understanding of the Corinthians: Christ has indeed been raised from the dead. Paul explains this basic conviction and its implicit meaning for Christian life in a biblical metaphor: the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

The declaration of Christ’s resurrection required explanation in part because its occurrence defied expectations. In Judaism the resurrection was thought to be future and corporate. All those who would be raised were expected to be raised together at some future time that God would determine. This pattern of expectation was developed in Judaism in a dialogue with the Scriptures. Thus, to claim that Christ was raised from the dead—before all others and before the end—seemed to go against the biblical perspective. Paul’s metaphor of “firstfruits,” however, demonstrates that the reality of Christ’s resurrection is not contrary to the teachings of Scripture, but in keeping with the biblical patterns of thought. In Judaism, the firstfruits were the first portion of the new crop that were taken as a sign and a promise of the remainder of the crop that was to come. By faith the Jewish farmer took the firstfruits and offered them to God in honor of God’s promise, and so the entire crop was consecrated to God.

In referring to Christ as the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep, Paul indicates that he understood the resurrection of Christ as an anticipatory promise of the general resurrection of the dead and as a consecrating reality that signaled the devotion of the remainder of those who were to be raised to God. This rich biblical metaphor ultimately sets and states Paul’s understanding of the meaning of Christ’s resurrection from the dead in more specific terms than did the complex arguments of verses 12–19.[3]


15:20. Paul insisted that it was a fact that Christ … indeed had been raised from the dead, but Christ’s resurrection was more than one person’s triumph over death. At the very heart of Christ’s resurrection was the idea that he was the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Paul drew an analogy between Christ’s resurrection and the Old Testament ritual of firstfruits. The firstfruits were the first portions of the harvest, and they were given as offerings to God (Lev. 23:15–17). The firstfruits indicated that the entire harvest was soon to follow.

In Paul’s outlook, Christ’s resurrection was not an isolated event. It represented the beginning of something much larger. His resurrection promised the rest of the harvest. The full harvest, of which Christ is the first sign, is the harvest of those who have fallen asleep.

The New Testament frequently uses the euphemism “sleep” for the death of believers to emphasize that their deaths are only temporary conditions. Christ himself had fallen asleep in death, but in his resurrection he left that state and entered eternal life. His entry into the “newness of life” (Rom. 6:4, NASB) was the firstfruits representing much more to come—the resurrection of all believers who have died.[4]


20. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

  • “But now.” The first two words in this text are important. The first one is the adversative but that changes the discourse from a series of negative statements on the resurrection (vv. 12–19) to a positive testimony on Christ raised from the dead. After writing seven conditional statements to demonstrate the effect of denying the resurrection, Paul turns from the contrary teaching of some Corinthians to the consistent doctrine of the Christian church: the tenet of Christ’s resurrection.

The second word now can indicate a temporal reference, a logical conclusion or, in this verse, both. For Paul, the raising of Christ from the dead was a historical fact with far-reaching and lasting implications; Christ Jesus has been raised by God the Father to effect the restoration of all his people. Conversely, the adverb now signals the logical conclusion of Paul’s lengthy discussion on the denial of the resurrection that some Corinthians championed.

  • “Christ has been raised from the dead.” This brief testimony sketches an incontrovertible fact that is rooted in history and is basic to the Christian faith: Christ arose. The evidence Paul has marshaled in the earlier part of this chapter is sufficient for believers, namely, the empty tomb and the appearances (see vv. 3–8). Granted that unbelievers continue to scoff, Christians do not need further proof for this historic truth that in their minds is irrefutable (see Acts 3:15; 26:23).

Paul repeats the words he wrote in verse 12. There he put the statement “If Christ has been raised from the dead” in conditional form, but here he phrases it as a declaration that relates a historical fact. There he raised the theological question that some Corinthians denied this fact, while he himself attested its truth. Here he reiterates positively the truth of the resurrection; he knows that only some of the Corinthians deny Christ’s resurrection. Perhaps the readers have not understood the implications of this redemptive doctrine, but after Paul’s expansive discourse on the subject they should now be able to realize the profound importance of this teaching.

The question remains whether Paul now excludes those who deny Christ’s resurrection or addresses all the Corinthians. Is he continuing his discourse directed against those who reject this teaching or is Paul now speaking only to those who accept it? There is no indication in the current section (vv. 20–28) that Paul excludes anyone. In effect, after thoroughly discussing the negative consequences of denying the resurrection, Paul invites all his readers to examine the positive aspects of confessing this doctrine.

  • “The firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” This clause is a pithy statement of only three words in the Greek text, yet it is filled with meaning. Paul assumes that his readers are acquainted with the Old Testament teachings on the firstfruits. These were the earliest gathered fruits that the people offered to God in recognition of his faithfulness for providing crops in due season. Moses instructed the Israelites to offer, before the Lord on the day after the Sabbath following the Passover feast, a sheaf of the first grain that was harvested (Lev. 23:9–11). Exactly seven weeks later, they were to present an offering of new grain to the Lord (Lev. 23:15–17; see also Deut. 26:1–11). In a later century, Israel was called the firstfruits (Jer. 2:3). Paul applied this word to the first converts in western Asia Minor and in southern Greece respectively (Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:15, NASB). And the 144,000 redeemed from the earth are offered as firstfruits to God (Rev. 14:3; compare James 1:18).

The term firstfruits signals that the first sheaf of the forthcoming grain harvest will be followed by the rest of the sheaves. Christ, the firstfruits raised from the dead, is the guarantee for all those who belong to him that they also will share in his resurrection. Paul describes the people who belong to Christ as those who have fallen asleep. He is not mentioning Jesus’ resurrection with reference to either the temporal or the religious aspect of the Jewish Passover. He means that Christ’s resurrection is a down payment for his people (v. 23) or their guarantee (2 Cor. 1:22). Christ is not the firstfruits of those who have been raised but of those who have died. In fact, no human being has been raised physically from the dead. The sons of both the widow of Zarephath and the Shunammite died in later years; so did the daughter of Jairus, the young man of Nain, and Lazarus. Only Christ has conquered death and is risen from the dead. All others must wait for their bodily resurrection until the appointed time.60[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (pp. 416–418). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Verbrugge, V. D. (2008). 1 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 395–396). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Soards, M. L. (2011). 1 Corinthians (pp. 331–332). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 263). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 18, pp. 547–548). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

New study: 90% of species on Earth today originated 100,000 to 200,000 years ago

WINTERY KNIGHT

Well, it’s Friday, so I thought we would all benefit from reading about a brand new peer-reviewed study that should be the final nail in the coffin of naturalistic evolution. At least for those with an open mind who are not wedded to the philosophical assumption of naturalism.

Phys.org (which is committed dogmatically to fully naturalistic evolution) reports:

Mark Stoeckle from The Rockefeller University in New York and David Thaler at the University of Basel in Switzerland, who together published findings last week sure to jostle, if not overturn, more than one settled idea about how evolution unfolds.

It is textbook biology, for example, that species with large, far-flung populations—think ants, rats, humans—will become more genetically diverse over time.

But is that true?

“The answer is no,” said Stoeckle, lead author of the study, published in the journal Human Evolution.

For the planet’s 7.6 billion people, 500 million house…

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June 8 Worry Is a Sin

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?—Matt. 6:25

For Christians to worry is to be disobedient and unfaithful to God. Nothing in our lives, internal or external, justifies our being anxious when God is our Master.

Worry is basically the sin of distrusting the promise and providence of God, and yet it is a sin Christians commit perhaps more frequently than any other. In the Greek, the tense of Jesus’ command includes the idea of stopping what is already being done. We are to stop worrying and never start again.

The English term worry comes from an old German word meaning to strangle, or to choke. That’s exactly what worry does—it’s a type of mental and emotional strangulation that probably causes more mental and physical afflictions than any other single cause.

The substance of worry is nearly always extremely small compared to the size it forms in our minds and the damage it does in our lives. It’s been said that worry is a thin stream of fear that trickles through the mind that, when encouraged, will cut a channel so wide that all other thoughts will be drained out.

If worrying is a pattern in your life—stop now. In the days to follow you’ll learn why you should trust your Father and stop worrying.

ASK YOURSELF

Would you categorize yourself as a worrier? If so, what do you think has driven you to choose the perceived relief of worry over the actual relief of trust in God? If not, what has tipped your heart in favor of less worry and more confidence and contentment?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 168). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

JUNE 8 A SPIRITUAL RULE: HOT FURNACE, COOL CHIMNEY

Now we have received…the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

1 CORINTHIANS 2:12

In our Christian fellowship two opposite dangers are to be recognized and avoided: they are the cold heart and the hot head!

For downright harmful effects the hot head is often the worst of the two.

The human heart is heretical by nature. Unless well instructed in the Scriptures and fully enlightened by the indwelling Spirit, it may confuse the fervor of the Spirit with the heat of the flesh, and mistake the scintillations of the overheated imagination for the glow of the true Shekinah.

It may be said without qualification that there can never be too much fire if it is the true fire of God, and it can be said as certainly that there cannot be too much cool judgment in religious matters if that judgment is sanctified by the Spirit.

Among the gifts of the Spirit scarcely any one is of greater practical usefulness in these critical times than the gift of discernment. This spiritual gift should be highly valued and frankly sought.

Human sweat can add nothing to the work of the Spirit, especially when it is nerve sweat. The hottest fire of God is cool when it touches the redeemed intellect. It makes the heart glow but leaves the judgment completely calm.

Let love burn on with increasing fervor but bring every act to the test of quiet wisdom. Keep the fire in the furnace where it belongs. An overheated chimney will create more excitement but it is likely to burn the house down. Let the rule be: a hot furnace but a cool chimney![1]


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

The Problem of Evil — Pulpit & Pen

The problem of evil (POE) is probably the most serious challenge to the rationality of Christian theism. At its core, the POE claims that there is a fundamental contradiction within Christian belief. Christians believe that there exists an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly good God. This belief is a necessary component of Christianity such that if proven false would prove Christian theism false. Christians also believe that the state of affairs that has obtained involves evil. This belief is also a necessary component of Christianity such that if proven false would prove Christian theism false. Hence, if Christianity is true, then it is also true that an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly good God created a world that includes evil. Every Christian should be able to reconcile these beliefs in a way that they do not lead to contradiction, but more importantly in a way that is also consistent with Christian Scripture. Some Christians attempt to solve the contradiction but end up compromising Christians beliefs about the nature of God. Others attempt to solve the contradiction but end up with a view of man is also quite out of step with Scripture. Such extremes must be avoided, and it is the purpose of this post to help you do just that.

The critic claims that the kind of God that Christians believe exists is not the kind of being that would create a world like this. An all-powerful God is powerful enough to create a world in which evil does not exist. An all-knowing God would know how to create a world in which evil does not exist. Finally, a perfectly good God would not create a world in which evil exists. There is good reason to examine these claims. The argument continues; since evil exists, the Christian claim that an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly good God exists is contradicted by the fact that evil exists. Therefore, Christianity holds to beliefs that contradict one another. Either Christianity must deny that evil exists, or it must relinquish its claim that the sort of God it believes in actually exists. Either way, Christianity is irrational for holding to the belief that this sort of God exists, and evil exists at the same time. It seems then, if this argument is sound, that the Christian religion is doomed because without evil Christianity collapses and without it’s God revealed in the Bible, it collapses. As you can see, the argument is really quite powerful and has caused many professing Christians to give up their Christian beliefs. How do you answer the charge?

via The Problem of Evil — Pulpit & Pen

June 8 A Christ–Centered Life

You have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him.

Ephesians 4:20–21

As Christians, we are no longer controlled by a self–centered mind; we learn from Christ. Christ thinks for us, acts through us, loves through us, feels through us, and serves through us. The lives we live are not ours but are Christ living in us (Gal. 2:20). Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” An unsaved person walks in the vanity of his own mind, but a saved person walks according to the mind of Christ.

God has a plan for the universe, and as long as Christ is working in us, He’s working out a part of that plan through us. Paul noted that He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20). Every day should be a fantastic adventure for us because we’re in the middle of God’s unfolding plan for the ages.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 177). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

The Briefing Friday, June 8, 2018 – AlbertMohler.com

New generation celebrates new traditions with the rising popularity of the ‘you be you’ wedding culture

New York Times (Marianne Rohrlich) — How the Royal Wedding Might Influence Weddings to Come

As young Americans postpone marriage, we see the unraveling of marriage and the entire understanding of the family

New York Times (Roni Caryn Rabin) — Put a Ring on It? Millennial Couples Are in No Hurry

Why our response to secularization should not be retreat and pessimism, but the preaching of the gospel

Religion News Service (Tom Heneghan) — Europe: Not as secular as you think
— Read on albertmohler.com/2018/06/08/briefing-6-8-18/

Solving Misogyny- You’re Doing It Wrong

Michelle Lesley

If God is the God of Romans 8:28…

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

…then Satan is the god of the anti-Romans 8:28. He wants to twist anything and everything that’s the least little bit good into harm, especially for those who are called according to God’s purpose.

Several very good things have come out of the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements. Many victims who previously kept silent out of fear and shame have found the courage to tell their stories and begin healing. We’ve had the opportunity to offer them comfort and encouragement through the gospel. Churches have become more aware of how widespread the problem of abuse is and have begun to respond accordingly. In several cases, abusers have been exposed and brought to justice.

Unfortunately, Satan has also used this…

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What happened to the Seven Churches of Revelation?

The ancient ruins where the Seven Churches in Revelation once gathered point to “the words of the Living One, and they bear weight on our devotion to Him today.”

IZMIR, Turkey (BP) — Not long ago, I didn’t know that the Seven Churches of Revelation were all located in modern-day Turkey.

Then a coworker and I made a three-day trip to the region, flying into Izmir, Turkey, where we rented a car and drove to find the seven churches.

In the end, we saw a lot of rocks.

Don’t get me wrong. They were beautiful rocks. But they were rocks, ruins of ancient cities once teeming with people long gone. In the apostle John’s vision of Revelation, Jesus spoke to the Christians in these cities, commending some but warning most. In reading Jesus’ words to the seven churches and learning about each location, I wondered how these rocks should change my life.
— Read on www.bpnews.net/51027

June 8 Friday: The Rock That Is Higher Than I

By James Boice on Jun 08, 2018 12:00 am

As we look back over Psalm 61 we are reminded that David began it feeling that he was at “the ends of the earth,” that is, far from God. But as he thought about God and prayed to him he drew closer to God and grew in confidence until he ends actually expecting to be established in Jerusalem, his capital, for many days and many generations. That is something to praise God for. And that, quite naturally, is how the psalm ends: “Then will I ever sing praise to your name and fulfill my vows day after day.”

Read more…

June 8 Forgiven and Forgiving

Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” (Luke 11:4a)

Here is the need for a cleansed conscience, for a sense of peace, of rest with God and man. This is the arena where the emotional clutter of our life takes a very deadly toll. Who of us has not experienced troublesome mental symptoms, morbid depressions and unreasoning fears and insecurity? Both Scripture and modern psychology, in its groping after truth, agree that underneath these symptoms lurk two frightening monsters: Fear and Guilt. If we can find a way to slay these fiery dragons, the whole emotional atmosphere of our life will pass into peace.

When we pray, “Forgive us our sins,” we are asking for the reality that God promises to every believer in Jesus Christ, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1a KJV). I do not know anything that troubles Christians more than a sense of guilt. But in this simple prayer is a fully adequate answer, for if we have laid hold of the forgiveness of God, we know there is nothing any longer between us and the Lord. Our hearts there are absolutely free before him and the result is a pervading sense of peace.

But notice, now, Jesus immediately adds a limitation to this. We cannot say to God, “Forgive us our sins,” unless we are willing and have said to others that they are forgiven for their sins against us. Jesus is not referring here to that divine forgiveness that accompanies conversion. The Lord’s Prayer is meant for Christians — for only Christians can really pray it intelligently. No non-Christian ever receives forgiveness from God on the basis claiming to forgive everyone else. It is impossible for him to forgive until he himself has first received the forgiveness of God, and that forgiveness is offered because of the death of Jesus. We Christians come thanking him for what the death on the cross has already done in taking away the awful burden of our sin.

But, having received that forgiveness, we will still never rest in God’s forgiveness for the defilements of our Christian walk unless we are ready to extend that same forgiveness to those who offend us. This forgiveness keeps us enjoying unbroken fellowship with the Father and with the Son, which is the secret of emotional quietness and rest. Jesus is simply saying that, if you are a Christian, then there is no use praying “Father, forgive my sins” if you are holding a grudge against someone else, or burning with resentment, or filled with bitterness. Your soul will always be distracted. What he says is, face that first, “First be reconciled with your brother, then come and offer your gift at the altar,” (Matthew 5:24b RSV). Forgive him, and then the healing forgiveness of God will flood your own heart and you will find there is nothing then that can destroy the God-given peace down at the very center of your being. If we refuse to forgive someone else we are really withholding from another the grace that has already been shown to us. It is only because we have already been forgiven the great and staggering debt of our own sins that we can ever find the grace to forgive the relatively paltry slights someone else has heaped upon us.

Father, thank you for the forgiveness you have promised through the work of Jesus on the cross, and thank you that knowing this forgiveness frees me to forgive others.

Life Application

Are we blocking the fullness and freedom of God’s forgiveness of our sins by refusing to extend to others the same grace of forgiveness God has made available to us?

Related Message

For more on this portion of Scripture read the message:

When Prayer Becomes Personal

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