Daily Archives: December 20, 2018

DECEMBER 20 THE ART OF TRUE WORSHIP

For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us.

—2 Corinthians 5:13-14

It remains only to be said that worship as we have described it here is almost (though, thank God, not quite) a forgotten art in our day. For whatever we can say of modern Bible-believing Christians, it can hardly be denied that we are not remarkable for our spirit of worship. The gospel as preached by good men in our times may save souls, but it does not create worshipers.

Our meetings are characterized by cordiality, humor, affability, zeal and high animal spirits; but hardly anywhere do we find gatherings marked by the overshadowing presence of God. We manage to get along on correct doctrine, fast tunes, pleasing personalities and religious amusements.

How few, how pitifully few are the enraptured souls who languish for love of Christ….

If Bible Christianity is to survive the present world upheaval, we shall need to recapture the spirit of worship. We shall need to have a fresh revelation of the greatness of God and the beauty of Jesus. We shall need to put away our phobias and our prejudices against the deeper life and seek again to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He alone can raise our cold hearts to rapture and restore again the art of true worship. TIC130-131

Father, help me to recapture the spirit of worship, that passion for Christ of which Paul speaks, through a fresh revelation of Your awesome presence. Amen. [1]


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

December 20 The Christmas Tree

The glory of Lebanon will come to you.

Isaiah 60:13

Christmas trees seem to have their origins in the ancient celebrations of Saturnalia. The Romans decorated their temples with greenery and candles. Roman soldiers conquering the British Isles found Druids who worshiped mistletoe and Saxons who used holly and ivy in religious ceremonies. All those things found their way into Christmas customs.

Interestingly, however, the first person to have lighted a Christmas tree may have been Martin Luther, father of the Reformation. He introduced the practice of putting candles on trees to celebrate Christmas, citing Isaiah 60:13 as biblical authority for the practice: “The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the juniper, the box tree, and the cypress together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I shall make the place of My feet glorious.”[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 381). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

Let Earth Receive Her King, Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room — Stand Up For The Truth

 

Let Earth Receive Her King, Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

Many of us began preparing for Christmas and the five ‘F’s a month ago: festivities, family, food, fellowship, and fun. It’s easy to forget one of the most important aspects of the season: forgiveness – and renewed hope. Christmas is the celebration of an actual historical event that forever changed the world, as the God who never changes carried out His plan to change the hearts of mankind.

No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done or what kind of past you’ve had, there’s always hope – if you open up your heart and receive the greatest gift of all. As the song says:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing…

Through the centuries before Christ, the prophets predicted the promised Messiah would come – and from where He would come. Micah 5:2 states:

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”

According to God’s preordained plan, when the perfect religious, cultural, and political conditions were in place, Jesus Christ left the Father’s presence and entered this world to become one of us. Isaiah 7:14 states:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel,”

Three of the most astounding words in history are, “God with us.”

Most people don’t have a problem with a baby in a manger, but the same baby we sing about during Christmas grew up and preached repentance to all people only to be killed by hypocritical religious leaders.

An infant in a feeding trough isn’t too confrontational or threatening. But Jesus declared that He is the Truth and the only way to God the Father (John 14:6). This claim is something to seriously consider. Why? Because evidence backed by archaeology, eye-witnesses, and history suggests it’s true.

So what is the meaning of Christmas? At the perfect time, Jesus was born for the purpose of dying for our sins. He lived a sinless life and sacrificed Himself so that we might believe in Him and live eternally. This really is good news! The gospel is the greatest gift God has given the church – because the message about Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the greatest treasure God has given the world.

The Lord sees the end from the beginning and His ways are above our ways. So where was Jesus before coming to earth?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men; And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-3, 14

But Christmas has been hijacked, secularized, commercialized, and made into a time for businesses to make tons of money, for people to exchange presents (often out of obligation), and for children to make their list of demands and sing meaningless songs such as Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and Frosty the Snowman.

Not all songs are meaningless. Some actually are based upon Scripture: O Holy Night, Away in a Manger, Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Not long after Jesus was born, God warned Joseph in a dream to leave Bethlehem, “Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt,” not just to escape Herod’s slaughter of babies, but to fulfill another prophecy!

Because when Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph again in a dream instructing him (Matt. 2:13-16) to move the family to the land of Israel which fulfilled Hosea 11:1, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

Paul further explains:

“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)”

Before the birth of Jesus Christ, mankind was without help and without hope in this world. We needed a Savior.

C. S. Lewis simplified it this way:

“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.”

The arrival of the Christ would also not be during peaceful times, but times of injustice, rebellion, the strong hand of government, religious hypocrisy and pride. But that wouldn’t stop the plan as the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary:

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:31-33

A Messiah, the descendant of David? A kingdom that would never end? Son of the Most High God? These are not just random prophecies, and the history of Jesus’ life and ministry isn’t just some fable manufactured by man. Hundreds of prophecies have been fulfilled.

Preaching on the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter declared to the people Jesus:

“…delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again (Acts 2:23-24)…”

And this is our hope: to be resurrected to life after death. This is all temporal; He is eternal.

God sent Jesus (“a Child was born”) so that whoever believes in Him could have everlasting life. “A Son was given.” If you have never received God’s perfect Gift and trusted in Him, why wait? You can have the assurance of salvation right now. That’s what Christmas is all about!

Jesus humbled Himself, set aside His deity, stepped down and set aside His crown of gold to temporarily wear a crown of thorns – that we might wear the crown of life. Believe God’s Word, it’s accuracy and reliability. Christian friend, this is why you and I live: to point others to Christ: the only true hope and lasting peace.

In all the busyness, bad news, and distractions of the season, may your heart prepare Him room. God bless you, stay strong in the truth of Christ; and have a meaningful, Merry Christmas!

*Freedom Project video:

Let Earth Receive Her King, Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room — Stand Up For The Truth

Heresy Peddler: TGC Honors “Legacy” of Thom Rainer at Lifeway — Pulpit & Pen

On the day of Judgment, the typical crack-dealer on the street corner will have less wrath of God poured out upon him that Thom Rainer. What Thom Rainer has made a career selling, destroys not only the body but the soul. Lifeway ‘Christian’ Resources peddles literally every known heresy under the sun. They have abused and mistreated the innocent, disabled, and elderly. And yet, The Social Gospel Coalition ran a glowing tribute to Thom Rainer’s legacy at Lifeway.

The Evangelical Intelligentsia is a group of men and women who were first defined by this news site in August of 2015. As explained at the time, these are primarily parachurch ministry leaders and CEOs, not pastors of local churches. The group has other typical characteristics, including “cross-pollination” (self-promotion from one another’s respective platforms). The Evangelical Intelligentsia is actually a very small group of people who control the Christian conference market and a giant piece of evangelical media. And today they are at their business-as-usual, with The Gospel Coalition paying tribute to who is perhaps the worst peddler of heresy in the so-called Christian world.

The glowing tribute to Rainer at TGC said…

“…quality [of books at Lifeway) was low. Our resources have to be of the highest quality, and not from a pure marketing point of view. When someone picks up our curriculum or books, or goes to one of our events, one of the first things we want them to say is, ‘Wow. God is really honored through this.’

“Frankly, that was not the case in many areas of LifeWay.”

Rainer knew he wanted better products. “But you can’t just mandate, ‘Give us better stuff.’”

To get there, he knew he needed a different culture.

Amazon may technically sell more heretical books than Lifeway, but at least Amazon doesn’t hide the fact that it’s a jungle. Lifeway claims to sell “Christian Resources.” The SBC-owned retail outlet sells books of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, New Age Mysticism, Anti-Trinitarianism, gay propaganda, Campbellism, the Prosperity Gospel, and worse. When Christians shop online at Amazon they’re aware that they should be discerning. When Christians go into a Lifeway store, their guard is down, assuming the resources are theologically solid.

Instead, what they find at Lifeway is a small number of quality Bible study materials hidden behind walls and walls of books from horrible teachers like Beth Moore, Priscilla Shier, Christine Caine, Ann Voskamp, TD Jakes, Jonathan Cahn, and John Hagee. Books by Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer are available behind the counter, like video rental stores used to sell porn back before the Internet.

And yet, TGC lauded Rainer’s legacy as snake-oil-selling heresy peddler. Here’s a few examples of the “resources” offered by Lifeway:

A ministry division for non-whites

Lifeway Women conferences promoting Hillsong lady pastors

Lifeway VBS curriculum teaching Modalism (anti-Trinitarianism)

The highly controversial and heretical book, The Shack

The heretical book, Jesus Calling

Crazy, wild-eyed prophetess, Beth Moore

Contemplative prayer movie, War Room

Catholic Mystic and Jesuit, Ignatius Loyola

Christian Mystics

Gay Propaganda

Yeah. Rainer really accomplished the goal of making resources at Lifeway, “solid,” did he not? Pathetic.

The fact is, Southern Baptist pastors have to work so hard at doing polemics and teaching discernment because the single greatest highway into the SBC churches upon which heresy is trafficked is Lifeway Christian Resources.

Furthermore, until #The15 forced them to stop, Rainer continued to sell Heaven Tourism books, even after the SBC voted to beg them to quit.

Rainer was warned in emails that Alex Malarkey was recanting his book, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, but he mocked the messenger and dismissed his concerns and continued to sell the book. When Malarkey’s Open Letter to Lifeway (originally posted on this very news site) made international news, Thom Rainer’s spokesperson at Lifeway lied and said he just heard about the book being fraudulent, and immediately pulled it down. When we released the emails showing Rainer knew much sooner and didn’t care, choosing to profit from the book anyway, Rainer simply said, “No comment.”

Scumbaggery.

In spite of Alex Malarkey being taken advantage of by Lifeway and in spite of Rainer ignoring the young man’s desperate pleas to make it right with God and be honest, Rainer worshipped the bottom line of money.

Rainer is, perhaps more than any other figure in evangelicalism, the prime example of being in it for the “filthy lucre.” He has leveraged his own image and reputation by capitalizing on a denominational appointment, probably more than any other figure in Southern Baptist history.

Oddly enough, TGC mentioned Lifeway’s sell of the Glorietta real estate as a part of his legacy. We couldn’t agree more.

Some Southern Baptists were furious about the sale, blaming LifeWay for not keeping Glorieta viable. A lawsuit was filed, claiming the sale wasn’t valid because it wasn’t approved by the SBC executive committee.

“The one time I thought might leave LifeWay was when plaintiff of this lawsuit started attacking my family,” Rainer said. “Then I said, ‘This is not worth it, guys.’ But my family said, ‘We’re fine. Don’t quit LifeWay because of us.’”

“To this day we get criticism over Glorieta,” Wilson said. “I saw up close the personal pain caused by the comments Rainer and his family were getting.”

In reality, far from Rainer (supposedly) having his family “attacked,” Rainer served as a brutal landlord who has forcefully evicted dozens and dozens of elderly senior citizens from their retirement homes in order to unburden himself from the “unprofitable” (the lawsuit disputes Lifeway’s figures and claims the camp was not bleeding money) Glorietta facilities.

Pulpit & Pen has personally spoken to some of these senior citizens who are a part of the lawsuit against Lifeway, and have heard their agonizing voice as they are fighting not to become homeless at the hands of Thom Rainer.

On numerous occasions, secular courts have rebuked Lifeway’s behavior in the matter and penalized them with fines and censures for their corruption and ineptitude. That is the only reason why the lawsuit has been going on so long and yet continues; Lifeway and Thom Rainer have very clearly been in the wrong.

While The Gospel Coalition remembers the legacy of Thom Rainer at Lifeway, so will the rest of us. Only his legacy, as they perceive it, is different than the way we perceive it.

We see a wicked man, who stands before God naked and under judgment.

Heresy Peddler: TGC Honors “Legacy” of Thom Rainer at Lifeway — Pulpit & Pen

December 20, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Answered Prayer

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death. (5:14–17)

As noted above, the full experience of eternal life awaits Christians in heaven. But though they have not yet entered into their eternal inheritance (cf. 1 Peter 1:4), they have access to all of God’s resources through prayer. Parrēsia (confidence) literally means “freedom of speech” (cf. the discussion of 3:21 in chapter 13 of this volume). It can also be translated “boldness” (Acts 4:31), or “openness” (Acts 28:31). The phrase translated before Him has the sense of “in His presence.” Through Jesus Christ believers have “boldness and confident access” (Eph. 3:12) to God that enables them to “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that [they] may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

The sure promise of God is that when believers boldly and freely come to Him with their requests, He will hear and answer. If we ask anything according to His will, John wrote, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. Hearing in this context refers to more than merely God’s being aware of believers’ requests; it also means that He grants the requests which we have asked from Him. That is nothing less than a blank check to ask God for anything, but it comes with one important qualifier: the requests must be according to His will.

To pray according to God’s will assumes first of all being saved. God is not obligated to answer the prayers of unbelievers. He may choose to do so when it suits His sovereign purposes, but God does not obligate Himself to any unbeliever. John illustrated this principle when he wrote earlier in this epistle, “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (3:21–22). The Lord Jesus Christ made a similar statement, recorded in John 15:7: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you [the definition of a genuine believer], ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (cf. v. 16). Only believers, those who obey God’s commandments, can have the certainty that He will answer their prayers.

Praying according to God’s will also means confessing sin. The psalmist wrote in Psalm 66:18, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (cf. 1 Peter 3:7).

Again, the Lord’s promise in John 14:13–14 affirms the requirement of praying according to God’s will: “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray consistent with who He is, with the goal of bringing Him glory. It is to follow the pattern of His model prayer: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10), and His example of humble submission to the Father’s will when He prayed in Gethsemane, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). The goal of prayer is not to gratify our selfish desires (cf. James 4:3), but to align our wills with God’s purposes.

Praying according to God’s will not only brings glory to the Son, but also joy to believers. “Truly, truly, I say to you,” Jesus said, “if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” (John 16:23–24). When obedient believers delight themselves in the Lord, He will plant the desires in their hearts for what glorifies Him (Ps. 37:4), and those desires will control their prayers. God’s answers to those prayers will glorify Him, bring believers’ wills into line with His purposes, and fill them with joy.

At first glance, verse 16 appears to introduce an abrupt change of subject. But upon further consideration, the connection of verses 16 and 17 to verses 14 and 15 becomes clear. By giving one important exception, John illustrates in a contrasting manner the extent of God’s promise to answer prayer. When a believer sees a brother (a real or professing believer) committing a sin not leading to death, the apostle writes, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. On the other hand, there is a sin leading to death, and the apostle did not advise Christians to make request for this sin.

Evidently John and his readers knew what the sin leading to death was, since no explanation is given, but its exact meaning is difficult for us to determine. Two possibilities present themselves.

First, the sin in question may be that of a non-Christian leading to eternal death. In that case it would be a final rejection of Jesus Christ, such as that committed by those who attributed His miracles to the power of Satan (Matt. 12:31–32). Such ultimate apostasy is unforgivable, as Jesus declared:

Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matt. 12:31–32)

Praying for the restoration of such people to the fellowship from which they have departed (1 John 2:19) is futile, because “it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame” (Heb. 6:6). John did not forbid prayer for such people, since it is impossible to know who they are. The apostle merely stated that prayer for them will not be answered; God has already made the final decision about their future. Supporting the view that John is referring to unbelievers is the present tense of the participle hamartanonta (“sinning”; the Greek text literally reads “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin …”); John elsewhere in this epistle uses the present tense to describe the habitual sins that characterize unbelievers (e.g., 3:4, 6, 8; 5:18).

Another possibility is that John is not referring to an unbeliever, but to a believer. According to this view, the sin leading to death refers to a Christian’s sin that is so serious that God takes the life of the one committing it. He put to death Ananias and Sapphira when they lied to the Holy Spirit in front of the church (Acts 5:1–11). Paul wrote to the Corinthians concerning those who were abusing the Lord’s Table, “For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep [have died]” (1 Cor. 11:30). The sin is not one particular sin, but any sin that the Lord determines is serious enough to warrant such severe chastisement.

Both of the above views reflect biblical truth, and it is hard to be dogmatic as to which one John had in mind. In either case, John’s point is that prayer for those committing a sin leading to death will not result in the outcome that might otherwise be expected.

Although God mercifully does not immediately punish every sin with death, every sin is nonetheless a serious matter to Him. All unrighteousness is sin, John reminded his readers, even sin not leading to death. Every sin is a violation of His law and an affront to God, and is to be confessed (1:9; Ps. 32:5), forsaken (Prov. 28:13), and mortified (Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5).[1]


Confidence in Prayer and Intercession

1 John 5:14–17

This is the assurance we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

There are few subjects in the Christian life more puzzling to more of God’s people than prayer. On the surface we might think that prayer should be the most natural and uncomplicated part of Christian living, for what should be more natural than to speak out of one’s heart to one’s heavenly Father? Nevertheless, in practice Christians often are confused by prayer and ask: What is prayer? Does prayer change things or does prayer merely change the one who is praying? How should we pray? What should we pray for? Can we be sure that God always hears prayer? Can we be confident that he will answer it? Most of these questions are answered in the verses that form the first half of the postscript to 1 John.

Strictly speaking, the letter has ended with 5:13. In that verse John has summed up his letter by saying that he has written to those who have already believed on Jesus in order that they might be assured of their salvation. But once again John seems reluctant to leave the matter. So he adds a postscript in which he first returns to the subject of prayer (vv. 14–17) and then lists three final affirmations about which the Christian may have confidence (vv. 18–21). He has already discussed prayer once in chapter 3.

The outline for his discussion of prayer is striking. The verses contain two subjects: confidence in prayer (vv. 14–15) and prayer for others (vv. 16–17). Each of these contains a promise followed by a qualification.

Confidence in Prayer (vv. 14–15)

Verse 14 contains the word “assurance” (parrēsia), which is translated three other times in John’s letter as “confidence.” Twice it has been used of the Christian’s confidence before God in view of the final judgment (2:28; 4:17). On one other occasion, as here, it refers to the Christian’s confidence in regard to prayer (3:21–22). The Christian need not fear that for some unknown reason God will refuse to hear him when he prays or turn from him, says John. Indeed, such confidence is actually a product of knowing that one is a true child of God and of having no doubts on the matter, as he says in chapter 3.

The Promise

In this verse John phrases the content of the Christian’s confidence as being “that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” In English this promise seems to fall into two parts, the two parts being (1) that God hears us and (2) that he answers when he hears. This is not quite the point, however. To begin with, whenever the Bible speaks of God hearing prayer, this means, at least in the great majority of cases, that God answers. So in this case the first part of the promise is actually that God hears in the sense that he answers. But, then, what does the second part mean? Is it mere repetition? Actually it introduces an entirely new idea, for the promise is not just that God answers, but rather that because he answers we have the items we requested of him now. In Greek the verb “have” is in the present tense. Consequently, the promise is not even that we will have them, but that we have them even as we pray.

How did the author of this letter arrive at such confidence? It is hard to miss the fact that he probably did so on the basis of Jesus’ own teaching about prayer, much of which is recorded in John’s Gospel. Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13–14). He said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. … The Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 15:7, 16). “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive” (John 16:24).

Certainly these were new and bold teachings, and they were remembered as such by John. They are the basis of his extraordinary confidence.

The Qualification

But the Christian is not to suppose that God will grant just anything he might happen to pray for, however foolish or sinful it may be, just because he prays for it. He must pray according to God’s will. In prayer the Christian can be absolutely certain that God hears and answers his requests so that whatever he asks he obtains, but with this qualification: that he prays not according to his own sinful wishes but rather according to what an all-wise, infinite, and holy God desires.

This, interestingly enough, is found in all the verses that speak so firmly about the Christian’s right to be confident in prayer. Earlier, in the third chapter, John said nearly the same thing as he does in this closing passage—“We have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask” (3:21–22). But there is a qualification there also, for the verses immediately go on to add, “because we obey his commands and do what pleases him” (v. 22). Similarly, in Jesus’ statements about prayer, qualifications are also added to the effect that we must pray “in my [that is, Christ’s] name” and “remain in me [that is, in Christ],” and that Christ’s “words” must “remain” in the believer.

This says a great deal about the nature of prayer, of course. Probably in most people’s minds prayer is thought of primarily as that means by which God’s will is changed or at least enlarged to include the concerns of the one praying. According to these verses prayer is not so much getting God to pay attention to our requests as it is getting our requests in line with his perfect and desirable will for us. It is learning to think God’s thoughts after him and to desire his desires. Dodd writes on this point, “Prayer rightly considered is not a device for employing the resources of omnipotence to fulfill our own desires, but a means by which our desires may be redirected according to the mind of God, and made into channels for the forces of his will.” In the same vein Barclay notes that prayer, even more than “talking to God,” is “listening” to him.2

Prayer for Others (vv. 16–17)

Having indicated the nature of true prayer and having stated the confidence in prayer that every Christian should possess, John now moves on to the content of prayer in answer to the question: What requests should the believer bring before God? A first response to that question is nearly always personal, which indicates no doubt our own limited understanding of this privilege. We think of our needs for food and clothing, a good job (or a better one), our desire for a husband or a wife, the elimination of a vexing problem, and other things. In other words, we think of ourselves. It is somewhat of a surprise, therefore, to find that, first of all, John thinks not of himself but of others and that, as a result, his first specific example of prayer is intercession.

This, too, says much about prayer, for it tells us that the privilege of prayer should not lead us into a preoccupation with our own affairs, as though prayer were a blank check drawn on the bank of heaven given to us so that heaven’s resources can be spent purely on our own needs or pleasure. Prayer implies responsibility, and part of that responsibility is in intercession for others. Do others have needs? Then we should pray for them. The one who truly understands prayer and who prays according to the will of God will pray for others, just as in material ways he will strive to show love practically (3:17–18).

The Promise

The encouragement to pray for others is based on a great promise; namely, the promise that God will hear and “give … life … [for] those whose sin does not lead to death” (v. 16). John has spoken often in this letter of the need to pursue righteousness as one evidence that the individual involved is truly a child of God. But in spite of the fact that the individual Christian must and, in fact, will pursue righteousness, he will, nevertheless, also sin and even from time to time become entangled in it. What then? Obviously, the Christian should confess sin and turn from it, knowing that he has an advocate in Jesus Christ and that the Father is faithful and just to forgive him on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice and continuing intercession (1:9–2:2). But it is often the case, when he is in this state, that this is what the Christian least wants to do. So what then? Should he be left to himself to suffer the consequences of his sinning? Not at all, says John. Rather, those who are spiritual should pray in his behalf, knowing that God will hear and respond when they thus pray for others.

In all honesty it must be acknowledged that in this area Christians often fail grievously, for sin in a brother becomes all too often a cause for gossip rather than a cause for prayer. What is wrong in this case? The answer is in these verses, for they suggest that it is when a believer is himself in the will of God and is therefore praying according to the will of God that he will pray for others. John does not even use the imperative (“Pray!”). He uses the future indicative, saying that the spiritual person will intercede for the sinning brother.

The Qualification

It is hard to imagine anything more obviously in accord with the will of God than the restoration of a Christian who has become entrapped in some sin. Yet, surprisingly, John seems to hesitate. His desire is obviously to encourage his readers to be bold in their prayers. He stresses confidence. But is it right, after all, that it is always God’s will to restore the sinner? Always? In verse 16 John seems to recognize that it is not always the case and therefore introduces an exception based on a distinction between sin that “leads to [literally, toward] death” and sin that does not. “There is a sin that leads to death,” he says. “I am not saying that he should pray about that.”

What is this sin that is “to death”? Apparently, in John’s day and with his readers the phrase was a common one and was well understood, for John does not bother to explain it. But today the key has been lost, and opinion is widely divided in regard to John’s meaning. Four views are prominent.

  1. The first view is that John is referring to some particularly heinous sin, which God, so we are told, will not pardon. At first glance this seems to be suggested by a long history of divisions between various types of sin, beginning with the Old Testament Scriptures. In the law codes of the Old Testament several distinctions are fundamental: a distinction between capital offenses and those that are not capital offenses, for example; or a distinction between sins of neglect or ignorance and sins of presumption or premeditation. This latter is the same kind of distinction that is made in modern American law between murder in the first (that is, premeditated) and murder in the second (that is, unpremeditated) degrees. Rabbinical law further elaborated such distinctions, and in time the classification of sins as forgivable and unforgivable entered the church. At this time it was spelled out as the difference between “mortal” and “venial” sin so common in Catholic theology.

The difficulty with this interpretation is that it is somewhat of an anachronism to apply the distinction between mortal and venial sins here. Moreover, it may also be said that such a distinction is simply not supportable from the pages of the New Testament and that John, even in this very letter, seems to contradict it (see the discussion on 3:6, 9).

  1. A second view, supported in part by the concerns of this letter, is that John is thinking of what we would call apostasy, namely a deliberate repudiation of the Christian faith by one who once was a Christian. Those who take this view find support for it both in 1 John, in regard to the Gnostics who had professed faith in Jesus as the Christ but who had later repudiated him, and in other select New Testament passages that speak of falling away from Christianity. Hebrews provides the best examples of such texts, for it speaks of those who, like Esau, are “rejected,” finding “no change of mind” though they seek it “with tears” (Heb. 12:17; cf. Heb. 6:4–6; 10:26–27).

But is it really possible for one who is truly a Christian to apostatize? Or, laying aside the whole of biblical teaching that is clearly against this conclusion, is such a view even consistent with the theology that we find in this letter? Here Stott writes, “Surely John has taught clearly in the Epistle that the true Christian cannot sin, that is, persist in sin (3:9), let alone fall away altogether. He is about to repeat it: ‘we know that anyone born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him’ (v. 18). Can he who does not sin, ‘sin unto death’?” In these verses John is teaching the doctrine of eternal security or perseverance; but if this is so, then there is no such thing as apostasy by a genuine believer. The Gnostics, for example, were just not Christians to begin with (2:19). Similarly, those touched upon in the problem texts in Hebrews are best understood as being merely external adherents to Christianity.

  1. A third view is that John is speaking of that “blasphemy against the Spirit,” about which Jesus warned his disciples. He warns of it in Matthew 12, defining it as that extreme form of rejection of truth seen in ascribing God’s works to Satan. On this occasion the Pharisees had claimed that Jesus did his works of healing by Satan’s power. He countered by saying, “Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. … Anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt. 12:31–32).

The major objection to this view is that it is hard to see how John could call such a hardened sinner a brother, as he seems to do. Stott, who holds to this interpretation, argues correctly that strictly speaking John does not call such a person a brother. He uses the word only for that one who does not thus sin, saying, “If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray, and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death.” However, says Stott, in actual fact neither one can be thought of as a brother in the sense of being a true child of God, for the prayer is that even the brother might be given “life,” and if this is so, then he must have been dead in sin originally. In this case the prayer that John has in mind is a prayer for the salvation of unbelievers, with the promise that God will save such, as the Christian prays.

But is John using the word “brother” in a way that does not mean another “child of God”? Stott points out that the word can be used in a broader sense to designate one whom we might call a “neighbor,” citing 2:9, 11 and 3:16–17 as examples. But it is not so clear that these cases do support a broader use of the word. Nor is it easy to feel that John can be departing from the more precise usage at this point of his letter.

  1. The fact that none of the other explanations is entirely satisfactory leads one to wonder whether John may not be speaking just of physical death inflicted on a Christian by God as a result of a Christian’s persisting in some deliberate sin. Certainly there are examples of such judgments. Ananias and Sapphira are two (Acts 5:1–11). A number of references in 1 Corinthians suggest others (5:5; 11:30). In speaking of the ministry of intercession, John may therefore be saying that in some cases God will not turn back a physical judgment on one of his disobedient children, no matter how much another Christian prays. So he does not say that prayer must be made in such a situation, although, we note, he does not forbid it.

The objection to this view is that “life” must mean spiritual life and that, therefore, “death” must mean spiritual death. But John is not necessarily making that distinction. For example, if the brother is a true Christian brother, then he is already alive spiritually; and the prayer would be, not so much that God would give him spiritual life, but that he might have life in abundance, as we might say.

A Further Qualification

The difficulty with a discussion such as this is that it becomes strangely fascinating to certain Christians, so much so that they tend to spend all their time on the exception (the sin unto death) and not on the central message of the passage. Whatever the interpretation we give to the exception, therefore, we must always bear in mind that it is the exception and that the burden laid upon us by John is to pray for any believer whom we see falling into sin.

Moreover, we must not even be quick to note the exceptional case even assuming that we have been able to decide what the nature of such a case is. Here the example of Jesus’ prayer for Peter should make us cautious. Peter had spent three years with Jesus; but at the time of Christ’s arrest, when asked by a servant girl and others if he knew Christ and was his disciple, Peter denied the Lord with oaths and cursings. We might say, if we did not know the end of the story, that if anyone had ever sinned unto death, certainly Peter had. Yet Peter did not die, either physically or spiritually. He had a lifetime of useful service. Moreover, far from refusing to pray for him, Jesus, we are told, actually interceded for him: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31–32).

We do not need encouragements not to pray. That comes naturally. We need encouragements to pray, particularly for others. In this responsibility we are greatly encouraged by John’s teaching and by the example of the Lord Jesus Christ in his prayer for Peter.[2]


14. And this is the confidence. He commends the faith which be mentioned by its fruit, or he shews that in which our confidence especially is, that is, that the godly dare confidently to call on God; as also Paul speaks in Eph. 3:12, that we have by faith access to God with confidence; and also in Rom. 8:15, that the Spirit gives us a mouth to cry Abba, Father. And doubtless, were we driven away from an access to God, nothing could make us more miserable; but, on the other hand, provided this asylum be opened to us, we should be happy even in extreme evils; nay, this one thing renders our troubles blessed, because we surely know that God will be our deliverer, and relying on his paternal love towards us, we flee to him.

Let us, then, bear in mind this declaration of the Apostle, that calling on God is the chief trial of our faith, and that God is not rightly nor in faith called upon except we be fully persuaded that our prayers will not be in vain. For the Apostle denies that those who, being doubtful, hesitate, are endued with faith.

It hence appears that the doctrine of faith is buried and nearly extinct under the Papacy, for all certainty is taken away. They indeed mutter many prayers, and prattle much about praying to God; but they pray with doubtful and fluctuating hearts, and bid us to pray; and yet they even condemn this confidence which the Apostle requires as necessary.

According to his will. By this expression he meant by the way to remind us what is the right way or rule of praying, even when men subject their own wishes to God. For though God has promised to do whatsoever his people may ask, yet he does not allow them an unbridled liberty to ask whatever may come to their minds; but he has at the same time prescribed to them a law according to which they are to pray. And doubtless nothing is better for us than this restriction; for if it was allowed to every one of us to ask what he pleased, and if God were to indulge us in our wishes, it would be to provide very badly for us. For what may be expedient we know not; nay, we boil over with corrupt and hurtful desires. But God supplies a twofold remedy, lest we should pray otherwise than according to what his own will has prescribed; for he teaches us by his word what he would have us to ask, and he has also set over us his Spirit as our guide and ruler, to restrain our feelings, so as not to suffer them to wander beyond due bounds. For what or how to pray, we know not, says Paul, but the Spirit helpeth our infirmity, and excites in us unutterable groans. (Rom. 8:26.) We ought also to ask the mouth of the Lord to direct and guide our prayers; for God in his promises has fixed for us, as it has been said, the right way of praying.[3]


14–15 The closing section of 1 John summarizes the privileges enjoyed by true believers. Primary among these privileges is the ability to pray with “confidence” (parrēsia). John elsewhere uses parrēsia to describe speech that is clear and direct, hiding nothing (Jn 16:25–30). Believers will speak to God with parrēsia on the day of judgment because they have no fear (1 Jn 4:17). The reason believers may pray in this way is indicated in v. 15: God hears our requests and is ready to grant them. This being the case, we should hold nothing back in our prayers.

Sadly, these two verses have been much abused by advocates of the “health and wealth gospel.” This school of thought insists that God wants all believers to be healthy, happy, and prosperous. Christians can therefore expect to receive any material blessing they ask God to grant them. Such thinking can produce two dangerous extremes. On the one hand, it can sanctify materialism and greed by cloaking the objects of worldly desire under a divine blessing; on the other hand, it can engender deep guilt and remorse in those whose prayers are not answered, under the logic that God is not listening because one’s faith is insufficient. John would reject both conclusions. Those who believe that God desires for them to have a new car and designer clothes while others starve should recall 1 John 2:16—that such cravings come not from the Father but from the world. The Johannine Jesus promises his followers pain and persecution in this world, not health and wealth (Jn 15:18–16:4). And those who fear that God has rejected them because their whims have not been granted should recall 1 John 3:19–20, which assures believers that all who love and obey God “belong to the truth,” regardless of their circumstances.

As though anticipating these misunderstandings, John specifies that God hears us “if we ask anything according to his will” (5:14). A similar condition appears at 3:21–24, which says that believers may receive anything they ask for as long as “we obey his commands and do what pleases him.” Marshall, 246, notes that the reference to God’s will at v. 14 directs the reader’s attention to the main point of this section in v. 16. John is not offering a general principle about prayer but rather is urging believers to pray for sinning brothers. God’s will is that all sinning believers confess and repent so that they may remain in fellowship with him. Barker, 355, is therefore correct to suggest that vv. 14–15 have more the force of a command than a promise. While only God can forgive sins, intercessory prayers indicate the community’s forgiveness and acceptance of the sinner and are therefore a critical aspect of complete restoration. To “ask according to his will” (v. 15), then, means that we should ask for things that God wishes to achieve; it doesn’t mean that God wants us to have whatever we ask for.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 203–206). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2004). The Epistles of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 137–143). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (pp. 265–266). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Thatcher, T. (2006). 1 John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 501–502). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Ted Malloch Speaks Out on the Real Russia Collusion – How the Media Got the Trump-Russia Dossier — The Gateway Pundit

Guest post by Ted Malloch author of the Plot to Destroy Trump

Ted Malloch is a friend of Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone and therefore is frequently mentioned by the mainstream media in their ongoing coverage of the Russia collusion hoax.

Hint: David Kramer, an aide to Senator John McCain, passed it to Buzz Feed.

The now late, senior Republican Senator from Arizona had been in office since 1987.

He is perhaps best remembered as the losing nominee for President in 2006, when he went down overwhelmingly in defeat to Barack Obama.

As a young Naval Academy graduate McCain was a less than brilliant student, graduating near the bottom of his class. But due to his family pedigree, his father and grandfather were both accomplished Admirals, he was able to secure a coveted spot as a naval aviator.

Don’t ask how.

Flying missions in the Vietnam War he was shot down captured, imprisoned and tortured.

As a hawkish neoconservative politician, McCain earned a reputation as a “maverick.” It was something the hot-tempered Senator sought and relished.

His colleagues and staff considered him most disagreeable.

As a member of the Keating Five scandal, McCain skirted with the law and redeemed himself in an all out effort on campaign finance reform. This became his signature piece of legislation.

McCain chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he developed a taste for personal diplomacy.

He vehemently opposed pork barrel spending at the DOD. He liked to grandstand and was a huge favorite with the mainstream press, i.e., he became a liberal.

In 2015, Senator McCain in his fifth term became chairman of the Armed Services Committee, something he longed for as a capstone in his long political career.

From that perch he would travel the world over, meet with global leaders and generals, and pontificate on US policy.

He was, some said, his own State Department — of one.

He loved all the attention.

On November 8, 2016 after Christopher Steele the former MI6 agent had passed his (DNC/Hillary Clinton paid for) Trump-Russia dossier on to both his own MI-6 intelligence service in the UK, and to the FBI, Sir Alan Wood, a former UK ambassador was at a meeting attended by Senator John McCain.

The meeting was the annual International Security Forum in Halifax, Canada.

The ambassador confidentially talked about a report that compromised the incoming President and got McCain’s full attention.

McCain was no fan of Donald Trump’s.

McCain dispatched a senior aide and former State Department official to London to meet Christopher Steele in person, the dossier’s author and get briefed.

The name of that person is David Kramer.

He was given a copy of the dossier and returned in 24 hours to Washington, DC, where he gave it to McCain.

It is now known that Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS met that same day with McCain and gave him the FULL copy of the dossier.

Senator McCain did not like what he read.

So he set up a meeting with FBI Director, James Comey, which took place on December 9, 2016.

Kramer also gave a copy to Buzz Feed, according to court filings released yesterday.

The meeting with Buzz Feed took place on December 23, 2016, where he saw Buzz Feed journalist, Ken Bensinger.

The entire dossier was then published on January 10, 2017.

Kramer was its source.

Kramer also met with McCain’s Chief of Staff to discuss the contents of the dossier. He went to see Victoria Nuland, who was the Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia for Secretary of State, John Kerry.

She sent him to meet with Celeste Wallende, President Obama’s Russia expert on the National Security Council.

This is how the Russia hoax got started and circulated across all of DC and the media.

McCain was no friend of Trump’s and did not back him in either his primary or general campaigns.

He saw him as dangerous, isolationist and a challenge to the entire establishment.

“Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the Director of the FBI. That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue,” the Senator said in a prepared statement.

Sure…

Ted Malloch is the author of the Plot to Destroy Trump

Ted Malloch Speaks Out on the Real Russia Collusion – How the Media Got the Trump-Russia Dossier — The Gateway Pundit

WOW! Even CNBC’s Jim Cramer Agrees! – Fed Chair Powell “Trump’s Worst Nightmare” — Who the Hell Raises Rates w/Dow Down 12% in 3 Mos.? — The Gateway Pundit

Since October The Fed has single-handedly dismantled the US economy.  The Trump tax cuts at year end 2017 set the economy on fire. The US stock markets set numerous records. So the Fed had to step in and kill the economy or Trump might get re-elected in 2020!

The Fed announced on Wednesday afternoon that they will increase rates and will also increase rates next year.
The Dow immediately dropped another 720 points.  The DOW was down at one point by 894 points!

The Fed is clearly a political machine not working in the interest of President Trump or the American people.
As a result of Fed policies Americans are being bound with massive interest payments on Obama debt for years to come while watching their 401k’s dissolve into thin air.

The Dow Jones dropped 3,500 points since the Fed’s Jerome Powell’s insidious comments in early October to continue to increase interest rates.

The stock market has lost MORE THAN $4 trillion in value since then.
On Wednesday it lost another trillion or so.

Who the hell raises interest rates when the stock marker is down 12% in 3 months?
TRUMP NEEDS TO FIRE JEROME POWELL TODAY!

Even CNBC’s Jim Cramer, who is no Trump supporter, is bewildered with the Fed’s move.

On Thursday Cramer called it, “If I were running Trump’s re-election campaign, Jay Powell would be my worst nightmare.”

CNBC reported:

CNBC’s Jim Cramer went off on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, saying President Donald Trump is right to worry about a possible recession in 2019 as a result of the central bank chief’s rate hikes.

“The president is spot on,” Cramer said on CNBC’s “Mad Money” on Wednesday evening, after the Powell Fed raised rates for the fourth time in 2018 and projected two more increases next year. “The Fed is perfectly happy to gradually strangle the economy, the U.S. economy, in order to stamp out inflation, or the potential of inflation. And that’s bad news for corporate earnings” and the stock market.

Cramer has been saying for months there’s no need to worry about inflation since it’s not problematically high, and that the economy is showing pockets of weakness. Taken together, those factors indicate the Fed should pause rate hike, he has argued.

“If I were running Trump’s re-election campaign, Jay Powell would be my worst nightmare,” said Cramer, who, like the president, has been calling on Powell to stop. Powell apologists, “they must have no sense or empathy for what’s about to happen to the working person in this country,” Cramer added.

Read the rest here.

WOW! Even CNBC’s Jim Cramer Agrees! – Fed Chair Powell “Trump’s Worst Nightmare” — Who the Hell Raises Rates w/Dow Down 12% in 3 Mos.? — The Gateway Pundit

James MacDonald and Harvest Church Claim in Lawsuit that “Bloggers” Are Keeping People from Getting Saved — Pulpit & Pen

P&P has reported on the demise of James McDonald and the meltdown of Harvest Bible Church on numerous occasions, including here, here, here, here, here, and here. Most of this reporting is due to the diligent work and journalism of Julie Roys and a few other independent reporters. As a sad part of this story, MacDonald and Harvest have sued “bloggers” (read that: journalists). Ultimately, MacDonald’s lawsuit against journalists will fare as well as Ergun Caner’s. However, it’s the reason Harvest gave for the lawsuit that is most absurd.

Amidst documentation of the lawsuit, there’s this line from the Religion News Service

The plaintiffs asked a judge for a restraining order to stop the defendants from publishing information about MacDonald and the church while the lawsuit moves forward.

Defendants’ false and defamatory statements have a negative impact on Plaintiffs’ ability to convert new persons to the faith, maintain their congregation and raise the funds necessary to operate,” the petition claims.

The judge denied the request.

HT Wartburg Watch

One of the Survivor Blog Gals made a few salient observations about this…

  • How does a court, presumably made up of people of religious and non-religious persuasions, rule on the claim that some people didn’t become Christians because other people said mean things about JM/HBC?
  • How would JM/HBC prove that people didn’t become *converted* because of a blog post or two?
  • Assuming some court somewhere bought this argument, they would have to come up with some formula to prove that JM and friends usually convert *x* number of people on any given day? Is that possible?
  • Assuming JM/HBC wanted to sue for the loss of conversions sometime in the future, how might JM/HBC put a value on conversion? Is it worth $12,000, $0.05 or $100,000,000? Would that be based on their expected tithes or some percentage thereof? Gross or net?
  • If MacDonald is Reformed, he might believe that he has nothing to do with the conversion of those who enter his sphere. That decision was made by God somewhere in eternity and MacDonald’s role is only to faithfully preach the Gospel without expectation of conversions or monetary awards.
  • I question MacDonald’s trust in the power of Jesus. Is he saying that if someone says bad things about him, people will stop being converted? Is his God that weak?
  • I have another idea for MacDonald to consider. Christians were persecuted and lied about throughout history. Yet Christianity was never stronger than during the times of persecution. An argument could be made that the church attracted more people when Christians went boldly into the Coliseum. Therefore, shouldn’t MacDonald be *converting* more people due to the negativity? “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Dee Parson’s commentary here is right. It is absolutely insane to blame “lost conversions” on bloggers journalists writing about the crazy and stupid junk you do. If anything, that’s your fault.

But ultimately, God is Truth, and we think he is honored and glorified by telling it.

James MacDonald and Harvest Church Claim in Lawsuit that “Bloggers” Are Keeping People from Getting Saved — Pulpit & Pen

December 20 The Authority of Christ’s Name

“God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow … and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

Philippians 2:9–11

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Christ’s name shows Him to be sovereign ruler.

The name “Lord” is a New Testament synonym for Old Testament descriptions of Yahweh (the Old Testament name of God), which show God as sovereign ruler. It signifies rulership based on power and authority. Though it was always evident that Christ was the living Lord, it was in His exaltation that He was formally given the name Lord—a title that is His as the God–man. On earth He was known by many names, but now He bears the name that is above every name: Lord.

Philippians 2:10 doesn’t say at the name Jesus every knee should bow, but at the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus immediately bestowed by the Father was “Lord.” It is not the name Jesus that makes people bow—that’s the name of His incarnation—but the name Lord.

That the name mentioned in verse 9 is Lord is confirmed by Paul’s allusion to Isaiah 45:21–23, which says, “Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” God said through Isaiah that He is sovereign—the Lord of all. That is what Paul was referring to when he said that every knee would bow and every tongue confess (or admit) that Jesus Christ is Lord. Only God is Lord.

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Suggestions for Prayer: In his prayer in Ephesians 1:17–23 Paul mentions that Christ’s name is above all other names (vv. 20–21). Use his prayer as a model when you pray for other believers.

For Further Study: Read the following verses: Luke 2:11; John 13:13; Acts 10:36; Romans 14:9–11; 1 Corinthians 8:6. What do they say about Jesus’ lordship?[1]


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

December 20 Daily Help

IN order to learn how to discharge your duty as a witness for Christ, look at His example. He is always witnessing: by the well of Samaria, or in the Temple of Jerusalem: by the lake of Gennesaret, or on the mountain’s brow. He witnesses so clearly and distinctly that there is no mistake in Him. Christian, make your life a clear testimony. Be you as the brook wherein you may see every stone at the bottom. You need not say, “I am true:” be true. Study your great Exemplar, and be filled with His Spirit. Remember that you need much teaching, much upholding, much grace, and much humility, if your witnessing is to be to your Master’s glory.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 358). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

Rand Paul: ‘The Deep State Needs More Oversight’ | Breitbart

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) delivered a fiery speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, contending that the “deep state needs more oversight.”

Sen. Paul delivered a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday, contending that Congress needs more oversight power over the American government’s secret drone program which would allow the government to “to kill anyone, anywhere, anytime” and serves as “an ominous power.”

Paul suggested the program has a lack of checks and balances.
— Read on www.breitbart.com/politics/2018/12/19/rand-paul-the-deep-state-needs-more-oversight/

How does seeking direct revelation destroy your current obedience?

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

Do you believe that the Lord still speaks? That He has a fresh word? That you can receive individual directions for specific circumstances in your life? Get career advice, parenting advice, life advice, by becoming still and waiting for impressions, thoughts, impulses, and urges?

A lot of people believe these things. There’s an entire cottage industry within Christian publishing telling us how to hear the whispers, voices, and mental impressions that you, too, can receive from God. There are additional books and guides telling you how to interpret them. Why wouldn’t you believe this, if entire publishing houses are promoting it? Why dismiss this idea if local pastors are teaching from these studies or telling you to listen for God? Or telling you they have heard from God themselves, as many claim?

Whoa. Hold on. Take a breath.

If God is still speaking then what He says…

View original post 900 more words

December 20 Throwing out the Anchor

“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Heb. 2:1).

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God’s Word is the anchor that will prevent people from drifting past the harbor of salvation.

When English explorer William Edward Parry and his crew were exploring the Arctic Ocean, they needed to go further north to continue their chartings. So they calculated their location by the stars and began a treacherous march.

After many hours they stopped, exhausted. After taking their bearings, they discovered they were now further south than when they’d started! They had been walking on an ice floe that was traveling faster south than they were walking north.

That is similar to the situation that people who continue rejecting Christ find themselves in. Therefore Hebrews 2:1 says, “We must pay closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”

Why would anyone knowingly reject Christ? He came into the world as God incarnate, died on a cross to bring us forgiveness for our sins, paid our penalty, showed us divine love, and gives us blessing and joy beyond imagination.

The Greek words translated “pay much closer attention to” and “drift away from” both have a nautical usage. The first means “to tie up a ship,” and the second can be used of a ship that has been carelessly allowed to drift past the harbor because the sailor forgot to attend to the steerage or to chart the wind, tides, and current. Hebrews 2:1 could be translated: “We must diligently anchor our lives to the things we have been taught, lest the ship of life drift past the harbor of salvation and be lost forever.”

Most people don’t deliberately turn their backs on God; they almost imperceptibly slip past the harbor of salvation and are broken on the rocks of destruction. Be sure you warn those you know who might be slipping past that harbor.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to strengthen your resolve when you know you need to confront someone regarding his or her relationship with the Lord.

For Further Study: Memorize Proverbs 4:20–22 as your own reminder of how important it is to hold on to God’s Word.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 367). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Thirty Days of Jesus Redux: Day 24, His omniscience

Thursday Briefing Dec. 20, 2018 – AlbertMohler.com

Download MP3

In a hyper-partisan age, how was bipartisan consensus reached on criminal justice bill?

The personal side of politics: Understanding the human factors behind the legislative process

Paul Ryan bids farewell: Why the type of elected official he represents is becoming an endangered species

Why the national debt is a moral problem, not just a fiscal issue

Chick-Fil-A to Become Third-Largest Fast Food Chain in U.S.

Chick-fil-A is growing at such a rapid pace that it is expected to become the third largest fast food chain in the U.S., surpassing competitors like Subway.
— Read on www.breitbart.com/economy/2018/12/19/chick-fil-a-become-third-largest-fast-food-chain-u-s/

‘Russophobic mentality’: World’s reaction to Skripals poisoning & Khashoggi killing very different — RT World News

The poisoning the Skripals was a pretext to attack Russia and impose sanctions in line with the “Russophobic mentality,” Vladimir Putin said, while the world’s reaction to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi was very different. 
— Read on www.rt.com/news/446976-russophobic-mentality-skripal-khashoggi/

Why the Beginning of the Universe Points to the Existence of God (Podcast) — Cold Case Christianity

In this podcast, recorded during a church presentation, J. Warner Wallace provides an investigative template from God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe to investigate evidence in the universe. Can the origin of the universe be explained from purely natural causes? If not, how does this evidence point to a Divine Creator?

https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/7764269/height/360/theme/legacy/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/direction/backward/

Why the Beginning of the Universe Points to the Existence of God (Podcast) — Cold Case Christianity