Daily Archives: April 19, 2020

April 19th The D. L. Moody Year Book

Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.—Mark 16:15.

I CAN imagine Jesus saying: “Go search out the man who put that crown of thorns on My brow; tell him I will have a crown for him in My kingdom, if he will accept salvation; and there shall not be a thorn in it. Find out that man who took the reed from My hand, and smote My head, driving the thorns deeper into My brow. Tell him I want to give him a sceptre. Go, seek out that poor soldier who drove the spear into My side; tell him that there is a nearer way to My heart than that. Tell him I want to make him a soldier of the Cross, and that My banner over him shall be love.”[1]

 

[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (p. 76). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

April—19 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.—Isa. 26:19.

Thy morning meditation was a blessed portion to show thee, my soul, how the justification of the believer is affected by the person of his glorious Head. When Jesus died on the cross, not as a private person, but as the public head of his Church, then he paid the full debt of sin; and when he arose from the dead, then full release was given to our whole nature in him. Jesus received the discharge, the bond he had entered into for his people was cancelled, and his resurrection became the proof of theirs also. But as the justification of all the persons of his redeemed is in him and by him, so another sweet confidence is in him also; Jesus is not only the cause of their being justified, but of their being glorified also. In these precious words we have, first, God the Father’s promise to his dear Son: “Thy dead men shall live;” first in grace and then in glory. How shall this be effected? Christ then takes up the subject in answer: “Together with my dead body (saith he) shall they arise!” or is it possible the words may be still the words of the Father; for the body of Christ is said to be given of the Father: “A body hast thou prepared me.” (Heb. 10:15.) But in either sense, the doctrine is the same; the resurrection of the believer is assured from its union with Christ. Jesus is the head of his body, the Church. “Your life (saith the apostle) is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3.) And so again, “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Rom. 8:11.) Lastly, to crown all, as Jesus is the whole cause both in justifying and in glorifying, so is he the pattern in his resurrection how they shall arise. As the dew of herbs casteth out the same from the earth every year, so shall the earth cast out her dead. Christ’s body was in substance the same, and so must be his people. “This corruptible,” (saith the apostle,) this very identical body, “must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” Not “another body,” for then it would be “another person;” and this, instead of a resurrection, would be a creation. But the identical person that was buried, shall arise with the same identity. Well might the prophet, when giving this blessed promise at the command of Jehovah, close it with that delightful injunction; “Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust.” And what a song to God and the Lamb will burst forth at once from millions of the redeemed, when rising to all the wonders of futurity, in, and through, and from a personal union with the Lord Jesus Christ![1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 117–118). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

April 19, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

Comfort Comes from Trusting Christ’s Proclamation

And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (14:4–6)

Since He had already told them that He was returning to the Father (e.g., 7:33; 13:1, 3), Jesus expected the disciples to know the way where He was going. But by this time their minds were so rattled (cf. the discussion of v. 1 above) that they were not sure of anything. Thomas vocalized their perplexity when he said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” (cf. Peter’s similar question in 13:36). By now they understood that Jesus was going to die. But their knowledge stopped at death; they had no firsthand experience of what lay beyond the grave. Furthermore, Jesus Himself had told them that at this time they could not go where He was going (13:33, 36). If they did not know where the Lord was going, how could they know the way to get there?

Jesus’ reply, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,” is the sixth “I AM” statement in John’s gospel (cf. 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; the seventh comes in 15:1, 5). Jesus alone is the way to God (10:7–9; Acts 4:12) because He alone is the truth (John 1:14, 17; 18:37; Rev. 3:7; 19:11) about God and He alone possesses the life of God (John 1:4; 5:26; 11:25; 1 John 1:1; 5:20). The purpose of this gospel is to make those things known, so they are repeated throughout the book so as to lead people to faith and salvation (20:31).

The Bible teaches that God may be approached exclusively through His only-begotten Son. Jesus alone is the “door of the sheep” (10:7); all others are “thieves and robbers” (v. 8), and it is only the one who “enters through [Him who] will be saved” (v. 9). The way of salvation is a narrow path entered through a small, narrow gate, and few find it (Matt. 7:13–14; cf. Luke 13:24). “There is salvation in no one else,” Peter boldly affirmed, “for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Thus, it is “he who believes in the Son [who] has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36), and “no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11), because “there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

The postmodern belief that there are many paths to religious truth is a satanic lie. F. F. Bruce writes,

He [Jesus] is, in fact, the only way by which men and women may come to the Father; there is no other way. If this seems offensively exclusive, let it be borne in mind that the one who makes this claim is the incarnate Word, the revealer of the Father. If God has no avenue of communication with mankind apart from his Word … mankind has no avenue of approach to God apart from that same Word, who became flesh and dwelt among us in order to supply such an avenue of approach. (The Gospel of John [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983], 298)

Jesus alone reveals God (John 1:18; cf. 3:13; 10:30–38; 12:45; 14:9; Col. 1:15, 19; 2:9; Heb. 1:3), and no one who rejects His proclamation of the truth can legitimately claim to know God (John 5:23; 8:42–45; 15:23; Matt. 11:27; 1 John 2:23; 2 John 9). It was because the early Christians taught that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation that Christianity became known as “The Way” (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22).[1]


The Only Way Home

John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The exclusive claim of the Lord Jesus Christ to be “the way and the truth and the life” is wrapped up in three phrases. He claims to be the way to God, indeed, the only way; he claims to be the truth about God, himself the truth; and he claims to be spiritual life, not merely the way to life. We would think, as we read that phrase, that it has said all that needs to be said. Yet, as we read the Lord’s own words, we find that immediately after saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life,” he says the whole thing over again in different words, lest we misunderstand it. He says, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” If the Lord stated this a second time, lest we misunderstand it, then we should look at it a second time also.

Only through Jesus

Taken together, these phrases mean that Christianity makes an exclusive claim. People sometimes suggest that we are narrow-minded as Christians when we say that Christ is the only way to God, and we have to confess that this is precisely what we are at this point. We are as narrow as the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord said—this is the emphasis of the verse—that he is the only way to God. There is no other way. So while it would be nice for us to equivocate on this point and say, in order to win friends and influence people, that other ways have some value—though we would like to say this, we are nevertheless unable to do so. Rather, we find ourselves affirming with the Lord Jesus Christ and with all the biblical writers that there is no salvation apart from Jesus.

Many verses teach it: 1 Corinthians 3:11—“No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ”; Acts 4:12—“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men, by which we must be saved”; 1 Timothy 2:5—“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

If you are one who is rejecting all this, if you are one who perhaps is interested in Christianity but not exclusively, if you think that perhaps Jesus Christ is a way to God but not the way to God, I want to stress that, according to his teaching, he is the only way and that any attempt to find another way is folly, is bound to produce despair, and is perverse. The tragedy is that apart from the grace of God folly, despair, and perversity characterize each one of us. We are fools because we seek another way. We despair because there is no other way to be found. We are perverse because God has told us that there is only one way. Therefore, in turning from him to try to find another way we dishonor him.

The Fool Has Said

First, there is the folly of trying to find another way. Why is it folly? It is folly because, if a way to God has been provided, it is nonsense to look for another. Who would seek for a second cure for cancer if a perfect cure had been found?

Yet this is the folly of the human heart in spiritual things. Jesus told about it in a parable that concerned a rich man. This man thought the way to life was through material possessions, so he spent a lifetime accumulating worldly goods. He was a farmer. He had produce. His wealth was in the storage of his barn. When the barn became too small for what he was accumulating, he said, “I’ll tear down my old barn and build a bigger one that can hold my possessions.” The Lord’s comment on that man’s life was: “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (Luke 12:20).

It is not the preacher who calls the unbeliever a fool. If that were the case, it would mean little indeed. The unbeliever could simply say to the preacher, “You are the fool for believing as you do.” No, God is the one who calls men fools, fools for refusing to come to him in the way he has provided.

If we explore a bit deeper to find out why this is so, we find that it is because we are determined to provide for ourselves. During World War II, my father served as a doctor in the air force in the southern part of the United States. When he was released from military service he and the family began to drive northward to the family home in western Pennsylvania. It was only a few days before Christmas. So it was no surprise that on the way we ran into an early blizzard in the mountains of Tennessee. The storm got worse and worse and eventually halted our progress. At one point, however, before we had stopped for the night and as we were going uphill in a little mountain area with a dangerous precipice at our right, a car up ahead stopped. My father realized that, if the car ahead stopped, he would have to stop and, if he stopped, he would immediately begin to slide over the precipice. So he grabbed a blanket, jumped out of the car, ran around to the back wheels and stuck the blanket under one of them to stop our descent. We were stopped. But there we were, stranded in the blizzard on the mountainside.

My father was an Irishman, and at this point two things characterized him: first, pride in his achievement and, second, determination to bring off another. He had saved us from going over the precipice. Now he was going to get us up the mountain. So he began to work, shoveling snow and placing boards and blankets under the tires. He worked for about an hour, but without much success. All the time my two sisters and I, my mother, and my aunt were in the car, getting colder and colder. We were very depressed. Suddenly a truck with wonderful traction came by. This truck moved ahead of us and stopped. It was obvious that the driver knew he could get going again. He got out, came back to my father and said, “I have a chain. Would you like me to hitch onto your car and take you up the mountain?”

Do you know what my father said? He said, “No, thanks. We’re doing fine.” And he did do fine! But it was about sixty cold and gloomy minutes later!

God says that we are exactly like this spiritually, except for the fact that it does not matter whether we spend an hour, two hours, a year, or a lifetime. We are never going to get ourselves going up the road to salvation. So Jesus says, “Look, I’ve come to provide the way to salvation. I am the way. Don’t be so foolish that you turn your back on me out of pride.”

No Exit

Second, you are not only foolish, you are also on a trip to despair. If Jesus is right when he says, “I am the way … no one comes to the Father except through me,” then no other way can be found. The Father is the source of all spiritual blessings. The way to the Father is through Jesus. If you are trying to find another way, you are never going to get those spiritual blessings. To go in any other way is to embark upon a road that has no exits and no destination.

Paul spells it out in the Book of Romans, pointing to the different ways men and women try to reach God. There are three categories. First, there is the way of natural theology. This is the way of the man who goes out into the field at night and says, “I am going to commune with God in nature.” It is the man who says, “I worship God on Sunday afternoon in my golf cart.” Paul says that this is a dead end, because you cannot find God in nature. No man has ever found God in nature. You can find things about God in nature, but these condemn you.

Romans says that nature reveals two things about God. It reveals the “Godhead” of God, that is, his existence, and it reveals his “power,” because obviously something or someone of considerable power stands behind what we observe. That is all that can be known of God in nature. So if you think you are going to find God in nature, you are destined to emptiness in your search. You cannot worship an eternal power; you cannot worship a supreme being; you cannot worship a law of nature. Moreover, says Paul, “You don’t even try!” Because when you say to yourself, “I’m going to worship God in nature,” what you are really doing is using nature as an excuse to avoid God. Actually you do not want to be with Christian people, nor do you wish to be under the preaching of the Word. You find it disturbing. What you are really trying to do is to escape from God into nature. If you worship anything at all, it is nature you worship; and the worship of nature is idolatry.

Some years ago, after I had given a message along these lines, a woman said, “I found that to be true in my work with the beach crowd in California.”

I asked, “What do you mean?”

“Well,” she said, “we used to have meetings on the beach, and I used to witness to the surfers. When I would speak to them about God, they would reply that they worshiped God in nature. At first I didn’t know what to say, but after a while I caught on. I learned to ask, ‘And what is God?’ They would reply, ‘My surfboard is my god.’ ” At least that is honest, but it is paganism and idolatry.

Second, there are people who try to find God in the way of human morality. They say, “God certainly likes good men and women; therefore, I’ll be good, and I’ll get to him that way.” Paul says that this line will lead you to despair also. Why? We see the answer when we reason as follows. If God loves good people—and it is true that he does—how good do they have to be? The answer is that they have to be absolutely good, perfect, because God can settle for nothing less. But no one is perfect. So Paul says, “When you start like that, when you start thinking that you are going to please God by getting better and better, you fail to see that even if you could achieve the maximum goodness possible to anyone in this world, you would never get to God in that way because it would not be good enough.

We have a strange situation in the church today. The church has a message to proclaim; it begins with the total depravity of man. But this is offensive to most people. So the church gets cold feet at this point—ministers do, of course—and it backs off from preaching these things. Ministers say, “We admit that the Bible does say that all are sinners; it does say that all are dead in trespasses and sins; but it does not really mean that. It is hyperbole. What it really means is that we just need a little help. People are really pretty good underneath. So if we just appeal to their natural goodness, they’ll come and be Christians. Besides, they’ll join our churches and give us money.”

Does the world congratulate the church for congratulating the world? Not at all! The world knows that this is not true. So you have people like Jean Paul Sartre and other existentialists leaping to their feet to say, “If the church is not going to tell the truth, we are going to tell the truth! We know that when you scratch beneath the veneer of mankind, when you get rid of the social conventions, when you get rid of the desire to be acceptable with other people by matching up to certain preestablished patterns of behavior, what you find beneath the surface is garbage. You find a sewer of corruption.” The existentialist does not have the answer. The despair of the existentialist is proof of what lies at the end of his road. But at least he speaks out; he is not silent.

Then, in Romans 2:17–29, Paul says that there is a third way that people try; it is the way of religion, a sort of formalism. This person says, “If I cannot be righteous, at least I can do things that God likes. I’ll be baptized. I’ll be confirmed. I’ll go to communion.” Paul says that this leads to despair also. Why? Because it is based on a false conception of God. It suggests that God will settle for externals. Does he? No! People may settle for externals, but not God; he looks on the heart. God sees that although you can go through the rite of baptism, it does not mean a thing if your heart is not cleansed. He sees that although you may come to communion, it does not mean a thing unless you have first fed on Jesus Christ by faith and have drunk at that stream that he provides.

An Insult to God

To say that one is a fool for looking in another direction than Christ sounds insulting. To say that it leads to despair sounds grim. But there is worse to come. For seeking a way other than Jesus is not only foolish and leads to despair, it is perverse. It is insulting to God. How is it insulting? It is insulting because Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” So if you go another way, it is not merely that you are doing something for yourself, and it is certainly not the case that you are doing something praiseworthy. What you are really doing is saying to the Lord Jesus Christ, “Lord Jesus Christ, you are a liar!”

Do you think that God is going to be proud of you for trying to find your own way? Do you think that God is going to admire you for that, love you for that, praise you for that? God is going to regard this for what it is, an insult to the Lord Jesus Christ his Son, because that is the equivalent of saying, “You, Lord Jesus Christ, you in whom the Father is well pleased, cannot be trusted.”

Furthermore, to seek another way is not only an insult to Christ, it is an insult to the love of God who planned the way of salvation out of his great love for the sinner. What the Lord Jesus Christ did was in fulfillment of the desires of his Father. He said, “I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do your will, O God” (Heb. 10:7). It was God’s will that Jesus Christ, his Son, should die in your place. So it is an insult to God to ignore it. Do you think that it was easy for God to send Jesus Christ to die for you? I am asking you fathers: Would it be easy for you to give up your son or your daughter, to see that son or daughter killed, in order that someone else might be saved? I ask you mothers: Would it be easy for you to have a son or daughter killed in your sight, to turn your back when you could save that son or daughter, in order to have someone else saved? Of course not! You who are brothers: Would you give up a sister? You who are sisters: Would you give up a brother? If it is not easy for you, why should you think that it would be easy for God? Yet that is what God did for you.

Do you think it was easy for the Lord Jesus Christ to stand with his disciples on the verge of his crucifixion and say, “I am the way”? He knew what it meant to be the way. It meant that he had to go to the cross; he had to die; he had to suffer; he had to have the Father turn his back on him while he was made sin for us; he had to have the wrath of God poured out upon him. That is what it meant when the Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the way … no one comes to the Father except through me.” Yet he said it.

Come … Come

So I ask: Is it anything but sinful, obstinate perversity for someone to say, “That is all very nice, but I am going to go another way”? To go another way is to condemn yourself to hell! For there is no other way. “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

How foolish it would be, how much despair is involved, how perverse on your part to go away, saying, “Well, that is all very interesting, of course; but I’m going to look a bit farther.” Today is the day of salvation! This may be the last opportunity you will ever have! I cannot promise that you will ever hear the gospel again. I cannot promise that the Holy Spirit will ever speak to your heart again, if he is speaking at this moment. Heed the invitation and come! The Bible says, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Rev. 22:17).[2]


6 Unwittingly, the mundane question by Thomas led to one of the most far-reaching and provocative statements ever made by Jesus. For Thomas, the way to an unknown destination cannot be known. Jesus answers, “I am the way.” Jesus is not one who shows the way but the one who himself is the way. He is the way—the only way—to the Father, for “no one comes to the Father except through [him].” The particularism of Jesus’ teaching has caused many to stumble. The mind-set of secular society regards such exclusive claims as intolerant. Certainly there are other paths that lead to God. Not so! To accept Jesus Christ involves accepting all that he said, even though open support of his claims may cause a bit of embarrassment when brought up in certain circles of contemporary society.

Jesus is the only way to God because he is also “the truth.” Note that each of the three nouns (way, truth, life) is preceded by a definite article. “Truth” and “life” do not modify “way,” as though Jesus were saying, “I am the real and living way” (Moffatt). He is the truth. Ultimate truth is not a series of propositions to be grasped by the intellect but a person to be received and therefore knowable only by means of a personal relationship. Others have made true statements, but only Jesus perfectly embodies truth itself. He is the truth. And he is also “the life.” Eternal life is to know Jesus Christ (17:3; cf. 1 Jn 1:2; 5:20). Apart from him is darkness and death.

Barclay, 2:157, mentions that in this sublime statement Jesus took three of the great basic conceptions of Jewish religion and made the tremendous claim that in him all three found their full realization. The fifteenth-century Augustinian priest Thomas à Kempis (The Imitation of Christ [1441; repr., Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983], 208) joined the three as follows: “Without the way, there is no going; without the truth, there is no knowing; without the life, there is no living.”[3]


6 Jesus now introduces a somewhat different topic. He has been talking about leaving the disciples, and it is with this that Thomas is concerned. But Jesus is to go to the Father (13:3; 16:5, 10, 17), and he now speaks of the way (“way” is emphasized by repetition, vv. 4, 5, 6). He not only shows people the way (i.e., by revealing it), but he is the way (i.e., he redeems us). In this connection “the truth” (see Additional Note D, pp. 259–62) will have saving significance. It will point to Jesus’ utter dependability, but also to the saving truth of the gospel. “The life” (see on 1:4) will likewise take its content from the gospel. Jesus is both life and the source of life to believers. All this is followed by the explicit statement that no one comes to the Father other than through Christ. “Way,” “truth,” and “life” all have relevance,18 the triple expression emphasizing the many-sidedness of the saving work. “Way” speaks of a connection between two persons or things, and here the link between God and sinners. “Truth” reminds us of the complete reliability of Jesus in all that he does and is. And “life” stresses the fact that mere physical existence matters little. The only life worth the name is that which Jesus brings, for he is life itself. Jesus is asserting in strong terms the uniqueness and the sufficiency of his work for sinners. We should not overlook the faith involved both in the utterance and in the acceptance of those words, spoken as they were on the eve of the crucifixion. “I am the Way,” said one who would shortly hang impotent on a cross. “I am the Truth,” when the lies of evil people were about to enjoy a spectacular triumph. “I am the Life,” when within a matter of hours his corpse would be placed in a tomb.[4]


6 Although Thomas speaks for all the disciples, Jesus replies at first “to him” alone: “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (v. 6). This is the first “I am” pronouncement since “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (11:25), which it resembles in two ways: first, in that Jesus says it only once, and second, in having more than one predicate (one of which is “the Life”). The dominant predicate here is “the Way.” Jesus could have just said, “I am the Way. No one comes to the Father except through me,” and the dynamic of the exchange would have been the same. “The Truth” and “the Life” simply spell out for his disciples the benefits of the salvation to which “the Way” leads. Jesus has already told Martha explicitly that he was “the Life” (11:25), and he implicitly claimed to be “the Truth” by telling a group of “believing” Jews at the Tent festival that “the truth will set you free” (8:32), and “if the Son sets you free, you will really be free” (8:36, italics added).

The central pronouncement, “I am the Way,” is profoundly significant within the chapter as a whole, for it states in so many words what Bunyan knew, that “the way” is not what Thomas thought it was, a literal route or pathway, but a Person, Jesus himself. The destination, accordingly, is not a place (not even precisely “my Father’s house”), but also a Person, the Father himself: “No one comes to the Father except through me” (italics added). The terms of the whole discussion now begin to change, from talk of a departure, a journey, a “way,” and a destination, to talk of Jesus and the Father. There is profound mutuality in their relationship, for the claim that “No one comes to the Father except through me” stands as a kind of sequel to the principle stated much earlier that “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him” (6:44), or “unless it is given him from the Father” (6:65). That is, only the Father can bring anyone to Jesus, and only Jesus can bring anyone to the Father. Those who are quite willing to press the exclusivity of the latter principle—that is, that salvation is possible only through Jesus Christ—are sometimes less willing to acknowledge the exclusivity of the former—that is, that no one comes to Christ without being “drawn” or “given” by the Father to the Son. But both things are true, and therein lies the characteristic exclusivism, even dualism, of the Gospel of John.53 At the same time, the invitation is universal, for the last phrase, “through me,” recalls an earlier pronouncement that accented its positive side: “I am the Door. Through me, if anyone goes in he will be saved, and will go in and go out and find pasture” (10:9). Such is the dialectic of salvation throughout this Gospel.[5]


I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life

John 14:4–6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Christians are sometimes dismayed by the world’s opposition to our gospel. For this reason, many Christians emphasize having a nonoffensive attitude toward unbelievers and seek to use expressions that avoid giving offense. So long as we do not compromise our message or biblical standards of behavior, it is proper for believers to show such care in their dealings with non-Christians. Yet as we do this, we will soon find that the gospel’s real offense is one that we cannot easily avoid. Christianity’s true offense is none other than Christ himself. This is especially true when we consider Jesus’ exclusive claims as the one Lord and only Savior of mankind.

One modern critic has spouted contempt for Christianity’s exclusivity in these words: “Christianity is a contentious faith which requires an all-or-nothing commitment to Jesus as the one and only incarnation of the Son of God.” We can endorse this author’s assessment, though not perhaps all that he goes on to say: “[Christians are] uncompromising, ornery, militant, rigorous, imperious and invincibly self-righteous.” This is not a recent opinion of our faith: Philip Ryken asserts that “for the past 2,000 years, Christianity’s claims about the unique truth of Jesus Christ have aroused no end of opposition from Jews, pagans, Muslims, Communists, humanists, and atheists.”2

We might think this opposition to have lessened with the advent of post-modernity, given its emphasis on tolerance. Instead, the opposite has happened. Postmodern unbelievers grant tolerance to every religion except Christianity, precisely because the gospel is seen as the ultimate intolerant creed. The gospel’s message that only Jesus can save offends postmodernity’s relativist mantra, since Christians insist that all other religions are false and any other route to God is a dead end. Objections to these doctrines have marked the world’s hatred for Jesus ever since he spoke the words that John’s Gospel continues to proclaim today: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

Uncompromising Exclusivity

This is the sixth of Jesus’ seven famous “I am” sayings, each of which is radically exclusive in setting Jesus apart as the one and only Savior. In each of these statements, Jesus uses the word the rather than a. He is “the bread of life” (John 6:35), not a bread of life: that is, Jesus is the one and only source of satisfaction for the hunger of our souls. Likewise, Jesus is “the light of the world” (8:12), the only guide who can lead mankind out of darkness into the light of God. Jesus said, “I am the door” (10:7), since through him alone we can enter the fold of God, and “I am the good shepherd” (10:11), who alone lays down his life for the sheep. To these, Jesus added the remarkable statement, “I am the resurrection and the life” (11:25), claiming to be the Conqueror even of death—a claim that he backed up by raising Lazarus from the grave (11:43–44). Each of these statements is radically exclusive, asserting that none but Jesus can save us from sin, bring us to God, and grant us eternal life.

This same focus on the person of Jesus is seen all through this portion of John’s Gospel, which centers on four questions asked by the disciples, each of which Jesus answered by directing them to himself. Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” (John 13:36). Thomas continued, “How can we know the way?” (14:5). Philip added, “Lord, show us the Father” (14:8), and Judas (not the betrayer) asked, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” (14:22). These are slightly different questions, and each receives a slightly different answer. But each of the answers is a variant on John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

Despite the world’s disdain for John 14:6, the content of this saying tells us why we must not surrender Christ’s exclusive claims, however offensive they may be. For not only is John 14:6 true, but it offers the only real answer to the great needs of the world. Man’s tragic plight is that we are alienated from God, ignorant of truth, and condemned to both physical and spiritual death. Jesus has come as the answer to sin’s dreadful predicament. He is the way for sinners to be reconciled to God, the truth that God has revealed to correct our ignorance, and the life that we need to regenerate us from the power of death.

The Way: Reconciliation

There is an obvious priority to the first of Jesus’ descriptions. While Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, the context focuses on Jesus as the way. We can see this in the dialogue, going back to John 13:33. Jesus informed the disciples that he would soon depart, adding, “Where I am going you cannot come.” This was disturbing to the disciples, so Peter demanded, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward” (13:36). Jesus was referring to his return to the glory of heaven, and perhaps also to the cross that he would bear on the way. But Peter was not settled, insisting that he would follow Jesus even to death (13:37). This statement prompted Jesus’ prophecy of Peter’s three denials that very evening. Then, to comfort the disciples, Jesus told them that he was going to his “Father’s house” to prepare a place for them and that he would return to get them (14:1–3). He concluded in verse 4, “And you know the way to where I am going.” This time it was Thomas who answered: “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (14:5). He meant that if one does not know the destination, he cannot know the way there. To clarify his meaning that the disciples’ relationship to himself was the way of which he spoke, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (14:6).

Like Thomas, if we are to understand what Jesus means, we have to know the destination to which he was referring. Verse 6 makes it clear that Jesus is speaking of God the Father and his glorious presence in heaven. That is where Jesus was going, and that is where we are to follow him. But we need also to know where we are. A way is the path between a starting point and an ending point. So, spiritually speaking, where does man start? In what condition does man find himself in his search for God? According to the Bible, mankind is utterly ruined. We are condemned before God for the guilt of our sin. Paul writes, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), and are thus barred from God’s holy presence and his blessing. Our need is to be reconciled to him.

So bad is our condition that there is nothing we can do to reconcile ourselves to God. Even if we should turn a new leaf and begin leading a morally upright life, we still have the guilt of our previous sins to pay for. Moreover, we are not only condemned in sin, but utterly corrupted by sin. Therefore, we are not able to perform an adequate moral reformation. In the light of the Bible’s teaching of God’s unrelenting justice, our past haunts us, our present confounds us, and our future dismays us. For this reason, not only is it true that sinful mankind cannot come to God, but sinful mankind does not even want to come to God. Just as Adam and Eve clothed their shame with fig leaves and fled from God in the garden, we are alienated not only by God’s justice but by our own God-loathing consciences.

We see now where the true offense of Jesus’ gospel lies. Christianity scandalizes because the gospel declares that man’s alienation from God is humanly hopeless because of sin. The gospel says that we could be reconciled only if God sent a Savior to die for our sin. Only Jesus, as God’s sinless Son, could atone for sin through his death. His way of salvation requires us to confess our sin, humble ourselves seeking pardon, and surrender our claims to self-rule: the very acts that sinful mankind refuses to do. Man hates the message that he cannot save himself! Man would come to God, but not by this way! Jesus offers only a salvation from sin, and a world that will not confess its sin takes offense in him and refuses reconciliation with the God who sent him.

Yet it remains good news that Jesus came from heaven to earth in order to reconcile sinners to God. Jesus said that he was returning to his Father’s house, and this makes us wonder why God’s Son departed the glory of heaven to live in our world. The answer is given in all the Gospels, which record Jesus’ explanation for why he came. Luke records: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). In Matthew, Jesus explained: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). John’s Gospel records another of Jesus’ explanations: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Thus, when Jesus said that he is “the way,” he meant that sinners may come to God only through the ministry of reconciliation for which he came. Jesus is the way because God in his grace has provided for sinners to be justified in his sight through faith in his Son. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Paul laments. But the good news is that we may be “justified by [God’s] grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:23–24).

Skip Ryan tells of having served on a special project for the United States Department of State. The working group to which he was assigned once held a briefing at the White House. The meeting took place in the Roosevelt Room, a conference room across the hall from the Oval Office. After the meeting, the State Department official in charge asked whether Ryan would like to see the Oval Office, the official working place of the President of the United States, since the President was out of town. Ryan recalls two things about that visit. The first was the awe he felt at being in such a place. The second was that he could not possibly have entered the Oval Office unless he was taken there by someone authorized to bring him.

If that is true of the office of the President of the United States, how much more true is it of the glorious presence of almighty God in heaven? People who would never think to enter the White House simply assume that they will go to heaven after they die. But heaven is far more restricted than any high-security location here on earth. Heaven is guarded by mighty angels armed with swords of divine power (Gen. 3:24). Entry into heaven is governed by the perfect and unyielding justice of God’s holy law. How much more true of heaven are the words that Psalm 24 spoke about God’s temple in Jerusalem:

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?

And who shall stand in his holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

who does not lift up his soul to what is false

and does not swear deceitfully.

He will receive blessing from the Lord

and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Ps. 24:3–5)

To enter heaven and approach God on your own rights requires you to present hands that have never sinned, a heart that has never known impure thoughts, and lips that have never spoken falsely. None, of course, can meet this holy standard. For us, therefore, there must be someone authorized to bring us into heaven, and it was for this that Jesus came: he said, “I am the way” (John 14:6). It is through his perfect life and atoning death that we may “receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation” (Ps. 24:5).

The Truth: Revelation

The second and third statements that Jesus made about himself in John 14:6 are rightly seen as subordinate to the first. Jesus is first the way, and coordinated with this is his claim to be the truth and the life. Some scholars have therefore wanted to translate the verse to read, “I am the true and living way.” But that is not what Jesus said. He said that he is the way, and that he is the truth and the life.

Man needs the revelation of truth because it was through ignorance and lies that we first fell into sin. Our first parents did not merely happen to sin, but they were led into sin by Satan. The Serpent of the garden beguiled Eve by asking, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1). God had not said that: they could eat of every tree in the garden except one, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (2:16–17). Satan’s lie suggested that God’s commands are not for our good and that the way for mankind to experience freedom and blessing is by breaking God’s commands. This lie has marked the way of sin ever since.

A great part of mankind’s plight in sin is ignorance of God and blindness to God’s truth. Paul explained, “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart” (Eph. 4:18). In order for us to be saved, we must therefore be enlightened by the revelation of God’s truth, the fullest expression of which comes through Jesus Christ.

Most specifically, Jesus is the truth “because he embodies the supreme revelation of God—he himself ‘narrates’ God (1:18), says and does exclusively what the Father gives him to say and do,” and is himself one with God the Father as his only begotten Son. Jesus is the way to God not only by what he did for lost mankind, dying on the cross for our sins, but also in revealing the truth of God so that we might believe and come to God through faith in him.

God had been revealing the truth about himself and his salvation before the coming of Christ. But Jesus is the truth in that all that God ever revealed points to Jesus and comes into focus in him. D. A. Carson writes, “The test of whether or not Jews in Jesus’ day, and in John’s day, really knew God through the revelation that had already been disclosed, lay in their response to the supreme revelation from the Father, Jesus Christ himself.” This is why the writer of Hebrews said that God had previously spoken in many ways through the prophets, “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb. 1:1–2). All that God ever revealed comes into clarity, focus, and ultimate truth in the coming of his Son, Jesus Christ.

We must expand this principle beyond the realm of mere religious knowledge, for when Jesus said that he is “the truth,” he spoke of all truth. Even when men and women know things and those things are true, unless this knowledge is held through faith in Christ, it is not known truly. Truth itself is known falsely if opposed to Jesus. It is out of accord with its true purpose and meaning. The great model of this falseness is Satan, who knows many truths but knows none of them truly. “There is no truth in him” (John 8:44), Jesus said about Satan, for despite his great genius and vast knowledge, in his rebellion to God and his Son there is no truth.

This reality explains so much of the darkness and ignorance of our well-educated times. For all of mankind’s increasing knowledge, unless it is held in obedience to him who is the truth, there can be only ignorance, folly, and darkness. Ultimately, as A. W. Pink wrote, “Truth is not found in a system of philosophy, but in a Person—Christ is ‘the truth’: He reveals God and exposes man. In Him are hid ‘all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Col. 2:3).”

The obvious application of this teaching is that Christians must therefore be students of Jesus, which means that we must be devoted in study of his Word in the Bible. “Heaven and earth will pass away,” Jesus said, “but my words will not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,” he taught, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32). In the light of heaven, Christians will wish they had read their Bibles more frequently and looked at newspapers or the Internet less often. How much more true will this be of unbelieving men and women who neglected him who is the truth and thus entered into eternity unsaved and unforgiven by God.

The Life: Regeneration

Jesus’ third claim is that he is “the life” (John 14:6). “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), and man in sin has fallen under death’s power and curse. Apart from Christ we are spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1–3), unable to do anything spiritually for our salvation, so that life increasingly becomes a living death, without satisfaction or hope. But Jesus came “that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). John said of him at the beginning of his Gospel: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (1:4).

Jesus is the source of eternal life for those who believe and follow him. It would not have been enough for Jesus as the way to gain our reconciliation with God, tearing down the veil by his death on the cross for our sins. It likewise would not be enough for Christ the truth to grant us a revelation of God. We would yet remain dead, morally corrupt, and spiritually disabled, so that we would never be able to follow in the way that he has made or believe the truth that he has revealed. Jesus made this known to the Pharisee Nicodemus, saying, “Unless one is born again …, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5). In order to be saved, we must be not only forgiven but also regenerated. We must be made alive spiritually, so that we believe and are made willing and able to follow after Jesus.

Jesus is the source of the life that we need, and he conveys his power of life through his Word. Thus he called to dead Lazarus, who had been four days in the grave, “Lazarus, come out,” and “the man who had died came out” (John 11:43–44). All who are saved come to Jesus by the power of life in his call through the gospel. And those who come to Jesus as the way of salvation and believe him as the Revealer of God’s truth receive life in him. His is the way of truth that brings life. Jesus said, “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life” (5:24). For “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (3:36).

Only Jesus

Jesus’ answer to Thomas’s question was, according to James Montgomery Boice, “probably the most exclusive statement ever made by anyone.” Jesus’ claims so assume deity that we must either reject Jesus or worship him as Savior and Lord. Just in case we missed his radical claim to be the exclusive and only Savior, Jesus added, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Little wonder that this Jesus has aroused such opposition and hatred from the world. How bold were these words on the eve of the cross! Leon Morris comments: “ ‘I am the Way,’ said one who would shortly hang impotent on a cross. ‘I am the Truth,’ when the lies of evil people were about to enjoy a spectacular triumph. ‘I am the Life,’ when within a matter of hours his corpse would be placed in a tomb.” How could Jesus speak so boldly when he knew what was about to happen? The answer is that Jesus also knew that he would rise from the grave, that his truth would be proclaimed with power across the world, so that multitudes who believed and followed—in the earliest times they were called followers of “the Way” (Acts 19:9, 23)—would be reconciled to God and enter into glory with him. As the bearer of resurrection life, Jesus can give eternal life to those under death’s power. As the incarnate truth, Jesus can reveal the truth amid the errors and lies of the world. And as the only way to the Father, Jesus has the right to demand our faith and exclusive devotion, as our only Savior and Lord. No wonder the apostle Paul stated of salvation that “no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). For as Peter declared, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Since only Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, he calls us to faith in himself. Notice that when Thomas asked the way to the Father, Jesus did not hand him directions, or point out a path of good works or spiritual achievements that must be followed. He directed Thomas, and us, to himself. “I am,” he declared, and we are not saved by following a way, believing a truth, or seeking after life. We are saved by Jesus, and he is the way, the truth, and the life. We therefore do not need to discover or make a way for ourselves, but we need to trust in Jesus and follow him. We do not need to master all truth, but we need to know Jesus and then grow in his truth. We do not need to achieve the life that we desire, but we need to receive Jesus and the life that he gives.

The question may be asked what kind of life we will have if we simply trust in Jesus. The answer is that as he is the way, he will lead us to the Father and we will gain a life of love as dear children. As Jesus is the truth, he will teach us the wisdom of salvation so that our lives are freed from the darkness of ignorance and folly. As he is the life, he will grant us entry into the courts of heaven and we will know an increasing measure of life as we draw nearer to him. Apart from Jesus, the world offers many things, but they are all godless, darkened, and deadly. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” Jesus said (John 14:6). He presents himself to us, demanding no achievements, not waiting for our improvement, but calling us simply to receive him in trusting faith, and ready to give to us by grace all that he has and all that he is. We will never receive a better offer, and we will never have a better time to receive Jesus than now.[6]


6. Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life.

This is another of the seven great I AM’s of John’s Gospel (for the others see on 6:48; 8:12; 10:9; 10:11; 11:25; and 15:1). In the predicate each of the words way, truth, and life is preceded by the definite article.

“I am the way.” Jesus does not merely show the way; he is himself the way. It is true that he teaches the way (Mark 12:14; Luke 20:21), guides us in the way (Luke 1:79), and has dedicated for us a new and living way (Heb. 10:20); but all this is possible only because he is himself the way.

Christ is God. Now God is equal to each of his attributes, whereas he “possesses” each attribute in an infinite degree. Hence, not only does God have love (or exercise love), but he is love, nothing but love; he is righteousness, nothing but righteousness, etc. So also Christ is the way: in every act, word, and attitude he is the Mediator between God and his elect.

Notice also the pronoun I. In the last analysis we are not saved by a principle or by a force but by a person. In the school the pupil is educated not primarily by blackboards, books, and maps, but by the teacher who makes use of all these means. In the home he is brought up by father and mother. So also the means of access to the Father is Christ himself. We are persons. The God from whom we have been estranged is a personal God. Hence, it is not strange that apart from living fellowship with the person, Jesus Christ, who exists in indissoluble union with the Father, there is no salvation for us (cf. Rom. 5:1, 2).

Now Jesus is the way in a twofold sense (cf. also on 10:1, 7, 9). He is the way from God to man—all divine blessings come down from the Father through the Son (Matt. 11:27, 28); he is also the way from man to God. As already indicated, in the present context the emphasis falls on the latter idea.

“I am … the truth.”

Much of what has been said in connection with “I am the way” applies here also. Jesus is the very embodiment of the truth. He is the truth in person. As such he is the final reality in contrast with the shadows which preceded him (see on 1:14, 17). But in the present context the term the truth seems to have a different shade of meaning. It is that which stands over against the lie. Jesus is the truth because he is the dependable source of redemptive revelation. That this is the sense in which the word is used is clear from verse 7 which teaches that Christ reveals the Father. Cf. Matt. 11:27.

But just as the way is a living way, so also the truth is living truth. It is active. It takes hold of us and influences us powerfully. It sanctifies us, guides us, and sets us free (8:32; cf. 17:17). Basically, not it but he is the truth, he himself in person. Pilate asked, “What is truth?” (18:38). Jesus here in 14:6 answers, “I am the truth.”

“I am … the life.”

Jesus is not referring here to the breath or spirit (πνεῦμα) which animates our body. He is not thinking of the soul (ψυχή) nor of life as outwardly manifested (βίος), but of life as opposed to death (ζωή). All God’s glorious attributes dwell in the Son of God (see on 1:4). And because he has the life within himself (see on 5:26), he is the source and giver of life for his own (see on 3:16; 6:33; 10:28; 11:25). He has the light of life (8:12), the words of life (6:68), and he came that we might have life and abundance (10:10). Just as death spells separation from God, so life implies communion with him (17:3).

All three concepts are active and dynamic. The way brings to God; the truth makes men free; the life produces fellowship.

How are these three related? As more or less separate, wholly coordinate entities? Or, as forming a single concept: “the true and living way”? It is not necessary to choose either of these alternatives. Truth and life are nouns, not adjectives. Christ is the truth and the life, just as well as he is the way. Nevertheless, the context indicates that the idea of the way predominates. The meaning appears to be: “I am the way because I am the truth and the life.” When Jesus reveals God’s redemptive truth which sets men free from the enslaving power of sin, and when he imparts the seed of life, which produces fellowship with the Father, then and thereby he, as the way (which they themselves, by sovereign grace, have chosen), has brought them to the Father. Hence, Jesus continues: No one comes to the Father but by me.

Since men are absolutely dependent upon Christ for their knowledge of redemptive truth and also for the spark that causes that truth to live in their souls (and their souls to become alive to that truth), it follows that no one comes to the Father but through him. With Christ removed there can be no redemptive truth, no everlasting life; hence, no way to the Father. Cf. Acts 4:12. Both the absoluteness of the Christian religion and the urgent necessity of Christian Missions is clearly indicated.[7]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2008). John 12–21 (pp. 102–103). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 1081–1086). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 561). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Morris, L. (1995). The Gospel according to John (pp. 569–570). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[5] Michaels, J. R. (2010). The Gospel of John (pp. 774–775). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[6] Phillips, R. D. (2014). John. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (1st ed., Vol. 2, pp. 202–211). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[7] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to John (Vol. 2, pp. 267–269). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

April 19 Streams in the Desert

Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord

(Exod. 14:13.)

THESE words contain God’s command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut upon the right hand and on the left. What is he now to do?

The Master’s word to him is “stand still.” It will be well for him if, at such times, he listens only to his Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions. Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.” But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in His love and faithfulness.

Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part; it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.”

But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it, if you are a child of God. His Divine fiat has bid thee go from strength to strength, and so thou shalt, and neither death nor hell shall turn thee from thy course. What if for a while thou art called to stand still; yet this is but to renew thy strength for some greater advance in due time.

Precipitancy cries, “Do something; stir yourself; to stand still and wait is sheer idleness.” We must be doing something at once—we must do it, so we think—instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something, but will do everything.

Presumption boasts, “If the sea be before you, march into it, and expect a miracle.” But faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands.

Stand still”—keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.”—Spurgeon.

“Be quiet! why this anxious heed

About thy tangled ways?

God knows them all. He giveth speed

And He allows delays.

’Tis good for thee to walk by faith

And not by sight.

Take it on trust a little while.

Soon shalt thou read the mystery aright

In the full sunshine of His smile.”

In times of uncertainty, wait. Always, if you have any doubt, wait. Do not force yourself to any action. If you have a restraint in your spirit, wait until all is clear, and do not go against it.[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 121–122). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

Mercy Not Wrath — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

The body of Christ was created not to fulfill God’s wrath, but to complete His mercy.

Remember, we are called to be a “house of prayer for all…nations.” Consider passionately this phrase: “prayer for.” Jesus taught His disciples to “pray for” those who would persecute or mistreat them (Mathew 5:44). When Job “prayed for” his friends, God fully restored him (Job 42:10). We are to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6), and “pray for” each other so that we may be healed (James 5:16).

According to the Word of God, the Lord “desires all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4). Therefore, Paul urged “that entreaties and prayers…be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority” (vv. 1-2). You see, the call is to pray for people.

But,” you argue, “my country (or city) is a modern manifestation of ancient Babylon.”

I don’t think so. But even if it were, when the Lord exiled Israel to Babylon, He didn’t order His people to judge and condemn their new cities. Rather, He said,

Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you…and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfareJeremiah 29:7

Time after time, the scriptural command is to pray for, not against; to pray mercifully, not vindictively. God’s call is for prayer moved by compassion, not condemnation. Indeed, my friend, at its very essence, the nature of intercession is to appeal to God for redemption to come to sinful people.

By Francis Frangipane
Used by Permission

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via Mercy Not Wrath — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

April 19.—Morning. [Or August 5.]
“Quit you like men, be strong.”

1 Samuel 3:19–21

AND Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord. And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord. (He was faithful when God spake to him once, and therefore he honoured him again. May all young Christians be firm and true from the first, and God will bless them. Meanwhile God was preparing terrible judgment for the wicked sons of Eli.)

1 Samuel 4:1–11

1, 2 Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle; and, when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men.

¶ And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. (They trusted in the outward sign, and forgot that the most holy emblems bring no blessing to ungodly hearts. God will have us know that external religion is nothing worth without inward holiness. It is vain to trust in lying words, saying, “the Temple of the Lord are we.” Ceremonies cannot help us if the Lord be not with us. A cross on the bosom is worthless, Christ in the heart is precious.)

So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. (Thus in the order of providence they were fetched to the field where they were doomed to forfeit their guilty lives. God knows how to reach wicked men, and deal out justice to them.)

And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again.

Presumptuous men are always ready to shout, but ere long they will have to weep and wail as did these noisy boasters. The law was in the ark, but what help could the broken law bring to them, its very presence condemned them; those who trust in the law are in an evil case.

And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the Lord was come into the camp.

7, 8, 9 And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.

The Philistines were heathens, and therefore mistook the ark for God himself, but they knew well enough that if God were indeed with Israel, it would go hard with them. Had they known God to be Almighty, they would not have attempted resistance, but believing him to be only such a god as their own Dagon, they shewed their valour by determining to quit themselves like men. If they were so bold in their apparently desperate condition, how brave ought we to be who are assured of victory, because the Lord of Hosts is with us. To us the Lord says, “Quit you like men, be strong.” To be cowardly in the cause of Jesus would be infamous. Never let the fear of man have the slightest power over you, or the reality of your religion will be doubtful.

10 ¶ And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter.

11 And the ark of God was taken; (It was never captured till it was defended by carnal weapons; true religion always suffers when men would guard it by force;) and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.

Thus did the Lord keep his word. He will be as faithful to his threatenings as to his promises. Woe unto us if we continue in sin; for the Lord will surely punish us. Are we all saved in Christ Jesus?

April 19.—Evening. [Or August 6.]
“Thou art the glory of their strength.”

1 Samuel 4:12–18; 20–22

AND there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head. (Bad news is sure to find a messenger and a swift one. Alas, that the good news of the Gospel should so often remain untold.)

13, 14 And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out. (Thus was fulfilled the prophecy that the judgments of the Lord on Eli’s sons should make many ears to tingle. Shiloh had been defiled with sin, and it therefore came to be defaced with sorrow.) And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult? And the man came in hastily, and told Eli.

15 Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see.

16 And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to day out of the army. And he said, What is there done, my son?

17 And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken.

The venerable old priest, within two years of a century old, heard all the sad news with fortitude and patience till the last item was reached.

18 And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years. (His heart was broken and then his neck. He fell in a swoon of grief. No sword of the Philistines could have killed him more certainly than this terrible news that God’s ark was captured. Nothing so much affects good men as calamity to the Church, or dishonour brought upon the name of the Lord.)

The sad tidings that the ark was taken, and that her husband was slain, caused the wife of Phinehas to be seized with deadly pangs.

20, 21, 22 And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it. And she named the child I-chabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken. (She seems to have been a pious woman, though her husband was a wicked man: her piety led her to forget her own miseries in the greater miseries of the Church of God, and to make her child’s name the memorial of the departed glory of Israel. Her death was another stroke at Eli’s house, but it was sent in love to her, for she was spared the sight of Israel’s sorrows.)

THE sad story of the destruction of Eli’s family is a special warning to all parents not to suffer sin to go unpunished in their households. Want of discipline is want of love. Let us see what Solomon says upon it

Proverbs 23:13–18

13, 14 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. (Mr. Bridges in his “Notes on Proverbs,” says, “Eli tried gentler means, and the sad issue is written for our instruction. Is it not cruel love that turns away from painful duty? To suffer sin upon a child is tantamount to hating him in our heart. Is it not better that the flesh should smart than that the soul should die? What if thy child should reproach thee throughout eternity, for the neglect of that timely correction which might have saved his soul from hell.”)

15, 16 My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.

It is a father’s highest happiness to have a son who is not only good himself, but the bold champion of goodness, speaking out bravely for right and truth and God.

17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long.

18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off. (This life’s trouble will soon be over, and then shall the godly begin their best life. Their hope shall not be ashamed. May the Lord teach us as a family to serve him faithfully, that both here and hereafter we may be blessed.)[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 227–228). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

POLL: Trump is unpopular, but Biden bores America to tears | RT – Daily news

A new poll shows a majority of voters disapprove of President Donald Trump. But hardly anybody trusts Joe Biden in his place. Even against an unpopular incumbent, Biden has his work cut out for him.

Low approval ratings are nothing new for President Trump, especially when it’s liberal or centrist outlets carrying out the polling. The NBC/WSJ poll is a case in point. The president’s approval rating in this monthly survey has never topped 43 percent, and this Sunday came in at 41 percent, with 51 percent rating his performance negatively.

One would think that Democratic nominee Joe Biden would fare better, but all that can be said about the former vice president is that people hate him slightly less. Biden’s approval rating sat at 37 percent, but only 41 percent rated him negatively.

Also on rt.com

Should Biden create his own ‘SHADOW GOVT, shadow cabinet, shadow SWAT team’ to counter Trump… asks MSNBC host

While Trump is a polarizer, a significant chunk – one in five – of the electorate have no opinion either way on Biden.

The coronavirus crisis has illustrated this divide perfectly. Trump has held daily press briefings, which often degenerate into verbal sparring matches between the president and the media. Biden, on the other hand, has rambled into a webcam from his Delaware basement. When he actually appeared on live television, not even sympathetic hosts like CNN’s Anderson Cooper could save him from stuttering through his meandering and semi-coherent musings.

Trump’s combative pressers have been a ratings hit. Biden’s YouTube monologues rarely crack 10,000 views.

Trump’s off-the cuff and often misinformed statements (for example, when he declared he had “total” authority to lift lockdown measures on individual states) have left some Americans questioning his leadership ability. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed in Sunday’s poll disapprove of his handling of the crisis.

Despite this, more Americans consider Trump’s statements on the virus trustworthy. In fact, only a quarter trust what Biden has said on the virus so far. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all rate higher than Biden when it comes to trust.

MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle suggested on Wednesday that Biden step up to the plate and form a “shadow government” to deliver an alternative response to the pandemic. Ruhle proposed that Biden take to the podium every night to say “Here’s the crisis we’re in, here’s what we need to do to address this.”

Also on rt.com

Hello ‘Chinagate’: Why blaming Beijing is all the rage this US election cycle

While such an idea may sound good to the rabidly anti-Trump journalists and executives at MSNBC, it would be a hard sell for voters. Biden is seen as less trustworthy than an already unpopular administration, he inspires shrugs of apathy from a large chunk of the population, and the idea of him outwitting Trump on the debate stage is laughable to all but the most delusional of Democrats.

His one and only selling point is that he’s not Trump, which makes running him a dangerous gambit for the Democratic Party, and essentially makes the election a referendum on Trump’s first term.

Biden’s lukewarm performance in the polls is relatively static, with no swings either way since last summer. Approaching election day, the Democratic Party will have to hope that Trump bungles his coronavirus response, or pray for a crashing economy (as some liberal pundits have already done) to damage Trump.

Also on rt.com

No Surprise: Obama endorses fellow corporate Democrat Joe Biden

They’ll also need to take polls with a share of skepticism. Failure to do so was a critical mistake the party made in 2016. While the NBC/WSJ poll shows a majority of Americans disapproving of Trump’s virus response, a Gallup poll late last month found that 60 percent approve of his stewardship throughout the crisis.

If Gallup is right and NBC wrong, the Democratic party could be slouching toward another defeat in November, only this time they’ll be forced to admit that the warning signs were twice as obvious from the outset.

Source: POLL: Trump is unpopular, but Biden bores America to tears

US coronavirus death toll rises to 40,000, almost double Italy’s figures – Reuters tally

The number of people, who died of Covid-19 in the US has climbed to over 40,000 on Sunday, according to the calculations by Reuters. The American death toll is the highest in the world, being almost two times larger than the figures in Italy that comes second.

Source: US coronavirus death toll rises to 40,000, almost double Italy’s figures – Reuters tally

Stanford Study Proves Covid-19 Was Overhyped. “Death Rate Is Likely Under 0.2%” | Global Research

MIT Tech Review’s hyped coverage of the Covid-19 outbreak is led by the tag-line, “Navigating a world reshaped by Covid-19.”

Their articles reflect an eager embracement of the public hysteria prompted by Covid-19’s spread, the socioeconomic paralysis it has created, and the many profitable solutions – particularly those involving technology – proposed to “shape” the world post-Covid-19.

It should come as no surprise that a corporate-influenced outlet hiding behind academia and technology would take issue with anyone casting doubt on just how warranted all of this hysteria really is or isn’t – going as far as labeling them “pandemic skeptics.”

This is particularly the case when MIT Tech Review covered the work of researchers at Stanford University who found a much larger number of people are infected with Covid-19 than reported – meaning that the death rate is much, much lower than we’ve been told.

In fact, MIT Tech Review had to admit that the actual death rate is likely under 0.2%, which means its is about as “dangerous” as the common flu. If the common flu isn’t “reshaping the world,” Covid-19 certainly isn’t – at least not the pathogen itself.

An Oblique Smear 

Instead of acknowledging the work of Stanford University as an important advancement in our understanding of Covid-19 and a check against public hysteria – MIT Tech Review peppered their article with oblique smears against the team who carried out the study.

The headline includes the subtitle (emphasis added), “A study from a noted pandemic skeptic suggests the virus is more widespread but less deadly than people think.”

We know that the suffix “-skeptic” is added to undermine the credibility of people who call into question widely promoted narratives. The article also uses the term “data skeptic” to describe John Ioannidis who helped carry out the study.

MIT Tech Review continued by adding:

Ioannidis, a Stanford medical statistician and a coauthor of the new report, made waves in March by suggesting the virus could be less deadly than people think, and that destroying the economy in the effort to fight it could be a “fiasco.”

Ioannidis’ statement regarding Covid-19 – even without the results of this study – is already self-evident even if looking only at available and limited statistics regarding Covid-19 infections versus deaths and the demographics hit hardest.

But Stanford’s findings not only bolster Ioannidis’ statement – the findings were predictable.

An RT article titled, “How likely are you (yes, you) to die from the Covid-19 virus?,” published over a month ago predicted (emphasis added):

When the worst of the crisis is over, the real overall death rate will potentially be significantly lower than the reported one — since many people will contract the virus but remain asymptomatic or display only mild symptoms and will never get tested at all.

Indeed, Jeremy Samuel Faust, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital wrote in Slate that the frightening death rates are “unlikely to hold” as time goes on and that the true fatality rate is “likely to be far lower than current reports suggest.”

Stanford’s study confirms this. And it makes sense. Infection and death rates can only be determined by actually testing people – and the narrative the world has been presented is that not enough testing can be done because of a lack of testing kits, and those being tested are people who are already ill and showing symptoms.

Obviously if many more people have little to no symptoms and aren’t being tested – they also aren’t making it into Covid-19 infection statistics and thus “death rates” are artificially high because of this. If many more people are getting the virus and not dying, the death rate obviously goes down – in this case – drastically so.

The study from Stanford University, which was released Friday and has yet to be peer reviewed, tested samples from 3,330 people in Santa Clara county and found the virus was 50 to 85 times more common than official figures indicated.

The article would also reluctantly note that (emphasis added):

That also means coronavirus is potentially much less deadly to the overall population than initially thought. As of Tuesday, the US’s coronavirus death rate was 4.1% and Stanford researchers said their findings show a death rate of just 0.12% to 0.2%.

MIT Tech Review is based out of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology – the university the magazine is named after. Why – instead of an oblique smear against the Stanford team who carried out the study – didn’t MIT go out into their local community and carry out a similar study to compare results?

Isn’t that what real scientists are supposed to do?

MIT Tech Review closes its article on the study by reasserting a narrative meant to stoke panic and allow the publication to continue on with its “a world reshaped” theme, claiming:

Overall, there are more than 30,000 covid-19 deaths in the US, more than in any other country, so it’s hard to find good news in the blood surveys even if you are looking for it. If the Santa Clara study is accurate and the death rate is lower than many think, covid-19 is still going to lead to a shocking accumulation of bodies if it moves through the rest of the population, which explains the extraordinary stay-at-home measures in place in most of the country since March.

If 30,000 have died in the US because of Covid-19 since the virus appeared in December, that means another 30,000 would need to die this month and next in order for it to even match a moderate to severe annual flu season which runs from December to May.

So – no – there is not going to be a “shocking accumulation of bodies” unless Covid-19 deaths are presented to the public by the media out of context deliberately to shock uninformed audiences. And thus – obviously – it does not “explain the extraordinary stay-at-home measures in place in most of the country since March” or the hysteria promoted by MIT Tech Review in its other Covid-19 articles.

Studies will continue to emerge proving what many have already known – that Covid-19 the pathogen is nowhere near the threat we were told and nowhere near justifying “Covid-19 the hysteria.” Society is in the crosshairs for transformative policies enacted by the very interests who hyped the outbreak in contradiction to scientific fact, not because of it.

It is important to expose this and more importantly to resist it. It is also important to ensure that the governments, politicians, “experts,” institutions, and corporations that were involved in hyping Covid-19 and all the socioeconomic damage it has done never be allowed to do so again.

*

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This article was originally published on Land Destroyer Report.

Source: Stanford Study Proves Covid-19 Was Overhyped. “Death Rate Is Likely Under 0.2%”

US lawyers sue China for TRILLIONS of dollars as they accuse Beijing of coronavirus negligence

The class action, which involves thousands of claimants from 40 countries including Britain and the US, was filed in Florida last month, and has piled huge pressure on President Xi Jinping.

Source: US lawyers sue China for TRILLIONS of dollars as they accuse Beijing of coronavirus negligence

Obama’s NIH Gave A $3.7 Million Grant Using Taxpayer Money in 2015 to Support Wuhan Institute of Virology

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

Should this shock or surprise any of us? Do you remember the $billions which went missing after the big bail out in 2008? That made headlines for a couple of days, but then it was dropped.

It makes me wonder how many nefarious projects around the world Obama funded without the knowledge of the American people. Don’t forget that he was the darling of the media. To question anything he did was treading on dangerous turf.

Now we are discovering that NIH, during the Obama reign, funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the amount of $3.7 million tax payer dollars!  

And what was NIH asking of this Institute in China? They wanted scientists at the institute to study the NARS Corona Virus and its source being bats.

From dailymail.co.uk

REVEALED: U.S. government gave $3.7million grant to Wuhan lab at center of coronavirus leak scrutiny that was performing experiments…

View original post 2,440 more words

Russia reports record daily rise in coronavirus cases

April 19, 2020 MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia on Sunday reported a record rise of 6,060 new coronavirus cases over the previous 24 hours, bringing its nationwide tally to 42,853, the Russian coronavirus crisis response center said. The number of coronavirus cases in Russia began rising sharply this month, although it had reported far fewer infections than many western European countries in the outbreak’s early stages. (Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Polina Devitt; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Source: Russia reports record daily rise in coronavirus cases

Star-Studded ‘One World’ Benefit Concert for the W.H.O. Sparks Outrage: ‘Commie Propaganda’

Critics of the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed anger over Saturday’s star-studded “One World” benefit concert held to raise funds for the U.N. body after President Donald Trump pulled funding for the organization over its connections to the Chinese communist regime.

Source: Star-Studded ‘One World’ Benefit Concert for the W.H.O. Sparks Outrage: ‘Commie Propaganda’

New York State Coronavirus Death Toll Rises by 507 in 24 Hours – Governor

Earlier in the week, Cuomo ordered all state residents to wear face-coverings in public to prevent new infections. He also extended the statewide economic shutdown until May 15.

Source: New York State Coronavirus Death Toll Rises by 507 in 24 Hours – Governor

U.S. coronavirus death toll approaches 40,000 as more than 1,900 people die in 24 hours

The coronavirus death toll in the United States climbed by 1,903 in 24 hours to reach 39,115 on Saturday, latest statistics show. Confirmed cases also soared to a total of 741,866 early Sunday.

Source: U.S. coronavirus death toll approaches 40,000 as more than 1,900 people die in 24 hours

China’s disappeared: What happened to those who dared to speak up about coronavirus?

Two men in hazmat suits told businessman Fang Bin they had come to take him into quarantine. But the textile trader, in his 40s, wasn’t ill and the men outside his Wuhan apartment weren’t doctors.

Source: China’s disappeared: What happened to those who dared to speak up about coronavirus?

U.S. Economy Contracting “At Its Sharpest Pace Since World War Two” And “The Worst Is Yet To Come” — The Economic Collapse

Fear of COVID-19 has unleashed economic chaos on a scale that has already surpassed anything that we witnessed during the last recession, and as you will see below, we are now being warned that “the worst is yet to come”.  Many Americans are hoping that things can start to return to normal as the U.S. economy “reopens” in the weeks ahead, but the truth is that we are still in the very early chapters of this crisis.  In fact, it is being estimated that we are only one-tenth of the way through this pandemic, and by “flattening the curve” we have actually extended the economic pain.  You see, the truth is that most Americans are going to end up catching this virus one way or another.  All of the “shelter-in-place” orders have temporarily slowed down the spread of this coronavirus, but once they are lifted it is inevitable that we will see new waves of people becoming infected.  And if you think that a vaccine will be the golden ticket that gets us out of this mess, you might want to reconsider that belief, because there has never been a successful vaccine for any coronavirus.  Of course it is possible that scientists could come up with something this time around, but if the virus mutates significantly that could render any potential vaccine absolutely useless.

In the days ahead, there will be a tremendous amount of debate about the correct way to fight this virus, but meanwhile the U.S. economy will continue to deteriorate.

In fact, Reuters is reporting that economists are now projecting that the U.S. economy is contracting “at its sharpest pace since World War Two”…

The deepening economic slump was also amplified by other data on Thursday showing manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region plunged to levels last seen in 1980 and homebuilding tumbling by the most in 36 years in March.

The reports followed dismal reports on Wednesday of a record drop in retail sales in March and the biggest decline in factory output since 1946. Economists are predicting the economy, which they believe is already in recession, contracted in the first quarter at its sharpest pace since World War Two.

Yesterday, I documented the fact that we are in the midst of the largest tsunami of job losses in U.S. history by a very wide margin.

In fact, we are absolutely obliterating the old records, and that truly puts us in unchartered territory.  And as bad as things have already gotten, one prominent expert told Reuters that “the worst is yet to come”…

Economists are estimating the economy contracted as much as 10.8% in the first quarter, which would be the steepest drop in gross domestic product since 1947. They say the massive fiscal package will likely provide little cushion for the economy.

“The economy is in a downward spiral where job losses beget job losses and the federal government emergency relief checks will not be enough to turn the tide,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York. “The recovery is looking less V-shaped by the day as the deeper we fall, the harder it will be for the nation to climb back out of this deep hole the pandemic has dug for the economy. The worst is yet to come.”

As areas around the country start “reopening for business”, some of the jobs that were lost will come back.

But the truth is that millions of those jobs are gone permanently, and large numbers of the businesses that were closed down will never open again.

For the foreseeable future, a lot of Americans are going to avoid going to restaurants, bars, movie theaters, shopping malls and other businesses that require close human interaction.  One expert that was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times says that for the next few years we need to accept the fact that the world “will be totally different than what we are used to”…

“The world that we are going to live in for at least the next two to three years will be totally different than what we are used to,” said Sung Won Sohn, president of SS Economics and professor at Loyola Marymount University.

“Because of the psychological shock that we have experienced, we are going to be more cautious, and we will probably spend less and save more, and we will have fewer contacts with other individuals,” he said. “We are going to be suspicious about things, [such as] whether people we are meeting have the virus and will the economy fall back down again.”

The fear that this pandemic has created is going to be with us for a very long time, and it is going to cause enormous shifts in economic behavior even after the U.S. starts “reopening”.

In an environment like this, very few people are buying vehicles, the housing market is already imploding all over the nation, and retailers are having a very difficult time envisioning any sort of a positive future for their industry at this point.

But at least we will all be getting big, fat socialist bailout checks from the government, right?

Actually, they won’t be that big, and for most Americans the checks will only get them through about one month.

So once that money is gone, will the federal government send us another round of “universal basic income” checks?

Now that they have gone down this rabbit hole, the federal government is in danger of sparking civil unrest if they don’t keep the checks coming.  In fact, Jim Rickards is entirely convinced that large scale “social disorder” is on the way…

Looting, burglary and violence in the midst of a state of emergency are the shape of things to come.

The veneer of civilization is paper-thin and easily torn. Most people don’t realize how fragile it is. But they’re going to learn that lesson, I’m afraid.

Expect social disorder to get worse long before it gets better.

Unfortunately, Rickards is right on point, and I have also been warning about “great civil unrest” for a very long time.  The delicately balanced debt-fueled prosperity that we had been enjoying for so many years has now been shattered, and things are going to get really ugly in this country.

And this coronavirus pandemic is not going away any time soon.  Over the last 24 hours, the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has jumped by more than 30,000 and the death toll has risen by more than 2,400 even though most of the nation is currently shut down.

Ending the lockdowns will give a boost to the economy, but it will also cause the virus to start spreading faster, and once that happens we could see another round of lockdowns.

In the end, our battle with COVID-19 will not be over until the virus has swept through most of the population, and we are not going to reach that point for quite a while.

via U.S. Economy Contracting “At Its Sharpest Pace Since World War Two” And “The Worst Is Yet To Come” — The Economic Collapse

April 19, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Command

I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (3:18–20)

The Lord Jesus Christ could have instantly judged and destroyed this church filled with unredeemed hypocrites. Instead, He graciously offered them genuine salvation. Christ’s threefold appeal played on the three features the city of Laodicea was most noted for and proud of: its wealth, wool industry, and production of eye salve. Christ offered them spiritual gold, spiritual clothes, and spiritual sight.

The Lord, of course, did not teach that salvation may be earned by good works; lost sinners have nothing with which to buy salvation (Isa. 64:5–6). The buying here is the same as that of the invitation to salvation in Isaiah 55:1: “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” All sinners have to offer is their wretched, lost condition. In exchange for that, Christ offers His righteousness to those who truly repent.

Christ advised the Laodiceans to buy from Him three things, all of which symbolize true redemption. First, they needed to purchase gold refined by fire so that they might become rich. They needed gold that was free of impurities, representing the priceless riches of true salvation. Peter wrote of a “faith … more precious than gold” (1 Pet. 1:7), while Paul defined saving faith as “rich in good works,” having the “treasure of a good foundation for the future” (1 Tim. 6:18–19). Christ offered the Laodiceans a pure, true salvation that would bring them into a real relationship with Him.

Second, Christ advised them to buy white garments so that they might clothe themselves, and that the shame of their nakedness would not be revealed. Laodicea’s famed black wool symbolized the filthy, sinful garments with which the unregenerate are clothed (Isa. 64:6; Zech. 3:3–4). In contrast, God clothes the redeemed with white garments (3:4–5; 4:4; 6:11; 7:9, 13–14; cf. Isa. 61:10), symbolizing the righteous deeds that always accompany genuine saving faith (19:8).

Finally, Christ offered them eye salve to anoint their eyes so that they might see. Though they prided themselves on their allegedly superior spiritual knowledge, the Laodiceans were in fact spiritually stone blind. Blindness represents lack of understanding and knowledge of spiritual truth (cf. Matt. 15:14; 23:16–17, 19, 24, 26; Luke 6:39; John 9:40–41; 12:40; Rom. 2:19; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 2:11). Like all unregenerate people, the Laodiceans desperately needed Christ to “open their eyes so that they [might] turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in [Him]” (Acts 26:18; cf. 1 Pet. 2:9).

Some argue that the language of Christ’s direct appeal to the Laodiceans in verse 19, those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, indicates that they were believers. Verses 18 and 20, however, seem better suited to indicate that they were unregenerate, desperately in need of the gold of true spiritual riches, the garments of true righteousness, and the eye salve that brings true spiritual understanding (v. 18).

Christ has a unique and special love for His elect. Yet, such passages as Mark 10:21 and John 3:16 reveal that He also loves the unredeemed. Because the Laodiceans outwardly identified with Christ’s church and His kingdom, they were in the sphere of His concern. To reprove means to expose and convict. It is a general term for God’s dealings with sinners (cf. John 3:18–20; 16:8; 1 Cor. 14:24; Titus 1:9; Jude 15). Discipline refers to punishment (cf. Luke 23:16, 22) and is used of God’s convicting of unbelievers (2 Tim. 2:25). Thus, the terminology of verse 19 does not demand that Christ be referring to believers. The Lord compassionately, tenderly called those in this unregenerate church to come to saving faith, lest He convict and judge them (cf. Ezek. 18:30–32; 33:11).

But in order for the Laodiceans to be saved, they would have to be zealous and repent. That is tantamount to the attitude of mourning over sin and hungering and thirsting for righteousness of which Jesus spoke (Matt. 5:4, 6). While repentance is not a meritorious work, the New Testament call to salvation always includes it (e.g., Matt. 3:2, 8; 4:17; Mark 6:12; Luke 13:3, 5; 15:7, 10; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 8:22; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:10; 2 Tim. 2:25; 2 Pet. 3:9). In repentance, the sinner turns from his sin to serve God (1 Thess. 1:9).

Repentance means that you realize that you are a guilty, vile sinner in the presence of God, that you deserve the wrath and punishment of God, that you are hell-bound. It means that you begin to realize that this thing called sin is in you, that you long to get rid of it, and that you turn your back on it in every shape and form. You renounce the world whatever the cost, the world in its mind and outlook as well as its practice, and you deny yourself, and take up the cross and go after Christ. (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974], 2:248)

The message to this lost church, as it is to all the unsaved, is to zealously pursue the “repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:18).

The Lord Jesus Christ followed the call to repentance in verse 19 with a tender, gracious invitation in verse 20. The apostate Laodicean church could only have expected Christ to come in judgment. But the startling reality, introduced by the arresting word behold, was that Christ stood at the door of the Laodicean church and knocked; if anyone in the church would hear His voice and open the door, He would come in to him and dine with him, and he with Christ.

Though this verse has been used in countless tracts and evangelistic messages to depict Christ’s knocking on the door of the sinner’s heart, it is broader than that. The door on which Christ is knocking is not the door to a single human heart, but to the Laodicean church. Christ was outside this apostate church and wanted to come in—something that could only happen if the people repented.

The invitation is, first of all, a personal one, since salvation is individual. But He is knocking on the door of the church, calling the many to saving faith, so that He may enter the church. If one person (anyone) opened the door by repentance and faith, Christ would enter that church through that individual. The picture of Christ outside the Laodicean church seeking entrance strongly implies that, unlike Sardis, there were no believers there at all.

Christ’s offer to dine with the repentant church speaks of fellowship, communion, and intimacy. Sharing a meal in ancient times symbolized the union of people in loving fellowship. Believers will dine with Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb (19:9), and in the millennial kingdom (Luke 22:16, 29–30). Dine is from deipneō, which refers to the evening meal, the last meal of the day (cf. Luke 17:8; 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25, where the underlying Greek is rendered “sup,” “supper,” and “supped,” respectively). The Lord Jesus Christ urged them to repent and have fellowship with Him before the night of judgment fell and it was too late forever.[1]


20 To those who hear the words of rebuke, Christ extends an invitation to dine with him. Some older commentators find the reference to the “door” as parallel to the new age that will dawn at the advent of Christ (so Swete, Beckwith; cf. Mt 24:33; Jas 5:9). So the challenge is to be ready to enter the banquet of Christ at his return. This view, however, does not seem to fit the immediate context, nor does it agree with other NT teaching on the Lord’s return.

Others hold that the figure represents Christ standing at the door to the hearts of the members of the congregation at Laodicea. Christ will come and have fellowship with anyone who hears his voice of rebuke and thus proves himself Christ’s friend by zeal and repentance. The “eating” (deipneō, GK 1268) refers to the main meal of the day, which in Oriental fashion was a significant occasion for having intimate fellowship with the closest of friends. It is through the Holy Spirit that Christ and the Father come to have fellowship with us (Jn 14:23). There may be an allusion to Song of Songs 5:2: “Listen! My lover is knocking: Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one.”

While most commentators have taken this invitation as addressed to lapsed, halfhearted Christians, the terminology and context (v. 18) suggest that these Laodiceans were, for the most part, merely professing Christians who lacked authentic conversion to Christ, which is the essential prerequisite for true discipleship. Verse 20 is, therefore, more evangelistic than admonitory. Those who find in it an allusion to the Lord’s Supper may be right. Oscar Cullmann (Early Christian Worship [London: SCM, 1953]) sees v. 20 as a response to the old eucharistic prayer, “Maranatha” (marana tha, “Our Lord, come!” GK 3448).[2]


20 Verse 20 is often quoted as an invitation and promise to the person outside the community of faith. That it may be pressed into the service of evangelism in this way is obvious. Compared with other world religions the seeking God of the Judeo-Christian heritage is perhaps its major uniqueness. In the context of the Laodicean letter, however, it is self-deluded members of the church who are being addressed. To the church Christ says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.” In their blind self-sufficiency they had, as it were, excommunicated the risen Lord from their congregation. In an act of unbelievable condescension he requests permission to enter and reestablish fellowship.

Two principal interpretations of v. 20 exist: (1) that it represents a call to the individual for present fellowship, and (2) that it is eschatological and speaks of the imminent return of Christ. The latter interprets the verse in conjunction with the reward promised the overcomer in v. 21 (an eschatological scene, to be sure), while the former ties it in with the call to repentance in v. 19. In that the phrase “he/him that overcomes” serves as a semi-technical term that leads to the close of each letter (cf. 2:7, 11b, 17b, 26; 3:5, 12) and because v. 20 provides a strong positive motivation for the repentance demanded in the previous verse, it seems best to interpret the saying as personal and present rather than ecclesiastical and eschatological.

As in Holman Hunt’s famous picture (The Light of the World), Christ is outside the door and knocking. The invitation is addressed to each individual in the congregation: “if anyone hears … and opens.” The response of Christ to the opened door is that he enters and joins in table fellowship. In Oriental lands the sharing of a common meal indicated a strong bond of affection and companionship. As such it became a common symbol of the intimacy to be enjoyed in the coming messianic kingdom. Enoch portrays the future blessedness of the elect, saying, “And with that Son of Man shall they eat and lie down and rise up for ever and ever” (1 Enoch 62:14). In Luke 22:30 Jesus tells his disciples that they are to eat and drink at his table in the kingdom (cf. Matt 26:29; Rev 19:9). Whether eucharistic associations are intended or not, it is hard not to see in the picture at least an anticipation of the future messianic kingdom. All present fellowship with God is a foretaste of eternal felicity.[3]


3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. If believers take to heart Jesus’s rebuke and repent under his loving discipline (3:19), he promises restored fellowship. In this case, the promise is directed toward believers rather than unbelievers. Again, the progression is significant: Jesus waits outside offering restoration, waiting for believers to deny themselves and open their hearts to renewed fellowship with him. Table fellowship was reserved for intimate friends in the ancient world, and the image conveys the depth of Jesus’s desire to forgive and reconcile. A fellowship meal means real forgiveness.[4]


Admonition

3:19–20

19. Those whom I love I reprove and discipline. Be zealous, therefore, and repent. 20. Look, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and I will dine with him and he with me.

  • “Those whom I love I reprove and discipline.” In these two verses, Jesus admonishes the church in Laodicea. As with much of his teaching, he bases it on the Old Testament Scriptures. Thus, the words “Those whom I love I reprove and discipline” allude to Proverbs 3:12 (see also Heb 12:6): “Because the Lord disciplines those he loves.” Jesus changes the clause from the third person to the first person and adds the verb to reprove. Also, the Greek has the pronoun I at the beginning of the sentence for added emphasis. And last, the Lord speaks in general. He utters the pronoun “those” when he says, “those whom I love,” to indicate that love and discipline go hand in hand in renewing their relationship.

Although the Greek verb agapaō can be translated “I truly love” and the verb phileō “I love” (John 21:15–17 NIV), these verbs are often seen as synonyms. The word agapaō appears in the letter to the church of Philadelphia, “I have loved you” (v. 9), but the verb phileō here. This does not mean that Jesus loved the Philadelphians with true love and the Laodiceans with affection. Rather, it signifies that within the context of rebuke and discipline, Jesus addresses the church of Laodicea in love.

  • “Be zealous, therefore, and repent.” Renewal takes place when the recipients of this letter obediently follow the twofold command: “be zealous” and “repent.” Logically, the act of repenting precedes that of being zealous, but the oriental mind is interested in concepts, not analyses. The Greek shows a play on words: the adjective zestos (hot, vv. 15–16, from which we have the derivative “zest”) and the verb zēleue (be zealous!) have the same root. Jesus tells them to begin being zealous for him with a passion that generates spiritual fervor. Zeal is a necessary component of love for God.

Whereas being zealous is a command in the present tense to denote continuity, the imperative “repent” is a once-for-all action. That is, the Laodiceans must make a 180-degree turn by forsaking the past and wholeheartedly adopting their new life in Christ.

  • “Look, I stand at the door and knock.” Being shut out from the spiritual life of the individual members of the Laodicean church, Jesus figuratively stands outside the door of their heart and knocks to gain entrance (compare James 5:9). He persistently knocks to gain their attention, so that no one will ever be able to say that the Lord failed to call them. He calls them individually by continually rapping on the doors of their hearts as though the owners are asleep. The stress is on human responsibility to go to the door and answer the one who is seeking entrance. The Lord opened Lydia’s heart (Acts 16:14), but here he waits for the sinner to do so. Here is the crux of divine action and human responsibility. When these two appear with reference to God’s electing grace in human beings, we encounter a mystery that defies human understanding. Scripture teaches God’s intervention and human accountability as the two sides of the proverbial coin (Phil. 2:12–13).

Some scholars view this passage eschatologically as a parallel to the parable of the watchful servant (Matt. 24:33; Mark 13:29; Luke 12:36). They relate the text to the Second Coming of Christ and contend that an eschatological interpretation agrees with a similar motif in Revelation (2:5, 16, 25; 3:11). But formidable objections dissuade other commentators from seeing this parable in the context of the church members in Laodicea whom Jesus told to repent. The Lord stands at the door of their heart, knocks repeatedly, and expects a response from them. The context of the watchful servant parable differs in its details from this passage.

  • “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and I will dine with him and he with me.” The term anyone indicates that the call to repentance is broad and inclusive. Jesus not only stands at the door of a sinner’s heart and knocks repeatedly, but he also speaks and calls him or her to repent. As soon as a person responds to Jesus’ voice (compare John 10:3; 18:37), Jesus enters his or her heart. Note well that Jesus is fully in control, for the emphasis in this sentence is on Jesus who speaks, enters one’s heart, and dines with the person who responds. It is clear that the responsibility for listening and responding to Jesus’ voice rests with the hearer.

This sentence teaches “a distinctively Johannine doctrine.” That is, Jesus desires to fellowship with us. In the Eastern mind, hospitality at mealtime demonstrates the host’s trust in and respect for the guest (Ps. 41:9), for the host has opened his home to the guest and breaks bread with him. But here it is Jesus who assumes the role of host, for he says that he will enter and dine with his guest for the main meal of the day. This meal was enjoyed near the end of the day, after working hours, in an atmosphere of leisure and close fellowship. This was a time of conversation during which wholesome topics were discussed, laughter was heard, and counsel was given for solving problems. This passage speaks of union with Christ in a day-by-day walk with him. Although it hints at the celebration of the Lord’s Supper and the wedding feast at the return of the Lord, especially in light of the eschatology of verse 21, that is not the main emphasis in verse 20. The emphasis is on communion with Christ.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1999). Revelation 1–11 (pp. 138–140). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Johnson, A. F. (2006). Revelation. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 638). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (pp. 113–114). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Duvall, J. S. (2014). Revelation. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (pp. 78–79). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Vol. 20, pp. 173–175). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Mike Pence: Donald Trump ‘not happy’ with China, seeking ‘proper time’ to respond

Vice President Mike Pence said President Trump is “not happy” with China over its early fumbles in disclosing the coronavirus that erupted in Wuhan but stopped short of outlining consequences Sunday, saying the administration is looking into it.

Source: Mike Pence: Donald Trump ‘not happy’ with China, seeking ‘proper time’ to respond