Daily Archives: September 25, 2020

A Great (Free) Resource for Learning the Bible’s Grand Story — Anchored in Christ

Some of the most eye-opening and transformative workshop sessions I’ve given with Leadership Resources have traced the Bible story from Genesis to Revelation. Many pastors have never thought much about the Bible’s story or how it influences their preaching. But to be a good Bible reader, you need to have a firm grasp on the Bible’s story. And you can’t be a good Bible preacher without first reading it right.

That’s why I’m thankful for another great resource for learning the Bible’s grand story: Dr. Stephen Wellum and Trent Hunter’s book Christ from Beginning to End: How the Full Story of Scripture Reveals the Full Glory of Christ (Zondervan). The lectures below given at Desert Springs Church summarize the book’s contents.

Download the audio below or here.

Session 1—“Adam” (audio | blog recap)

Session 2—“Noah” (audio | blog recap)

Session 3—“Abraham” (audio | blog recap)

Session 4— “Moses” (audio | blog recap)

Session 5— “David” (audio | blog recap)

Session 6— “Jesus” (audio | blog recap)

Session 7—Panel Discussion— (audio | blog recap)

Session 8— “Church” (audio | blog recap)

Session 9— “New Creation” (audio | blog recap)

Browse audio and video of other conferences Desert Springs Church has hosted, featuring G.K. Beale, Kevin DeYoung, D.A. Carson, and others.

Check out the Vaughan Roberts video course through God’s Big Picture for another great Bible overview.

Also check out the Kingdom Through Covenant lectures by Peter Gentry.

A Great (Free) Resource for Learning the Bible’s Grand Story — Anchored in Christ

Video Surfaces Of Biden Calling Troops “Stupid Bastards” When They Won’t Clap | Zero Hedge

A “dull bunch…”

In 2016, Joe Biden called US troops stationed in Southeast Asia “stupid bastards” and a “dull bunch” – and we don’t need to trust anonymous sources in the Atlantic to believe it, since he said it on a recently resurfaced recording.

“I have incredibly good judgment,” says Biden. “One, I married Jill, and two, I appointed Johnson to the academy. I just want you to know that.”

When nobody reacts, Biden adds “Clap for that, you stupid bastards.”

He then calls the soldiers a “dull bunch,” adding “It must be slow here, man.”


From another angle:

The video, posted in 2017, is from an appearance in front of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing on March 7, 2016 – and comes weeks after President Trump was accused of calling troops “losers” and “suckers.” 

The account has been refuted by at least 21 sources – but that didn’t stop Biden from turning it into a campaign ad.

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/political/video-surfaces-biden-calling-troops-stupid-bastards-when-they-wont-clap

September 25th The D. L. Moody Year Book


Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.—John 5:14.

NOTE that the difference between a believer and unbeliever is right here. An unbeliever is living in his day, and he has nothing but a long dark eternal night to look forward to; a Christian is now living in his night, and he has a grand morning that he is looking forward to. The day is ahead, the glory is ahead, the best of life is ahead; it is not behind. That is the teaching of Scripture. For a man whose life is hid with Christ in God, judgment is already passed; he will not come into judgment. Christ was judged for me, and judgment is behind me, not before me.[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.) (pp. 168–169). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

Three Reasons Believers Should Attend This Annual Apologetics Event — ChurchLeaders

I am sorry I missed the first one. For 27 years, Southern Evangelical Seminaryhas held an annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA). I have attended all of them since 1994. Admittedly, for about half of them, my attendance was related to work. Nevertheless, even before that, I can remember eagerly awaiting the conference, encouraging my friends and family to attend, and buying my ticket. For an experienced or novice Christian apologist, there is nothing else like it. Nowhere else can you go listen to, and speak with, seasoned Christian apologists who work on the front lines of diverse apologetic ministries. Where else at one event can you listen and speak with men and women who specialize in a defense of the Christian faith related to the Bible, theology, cults, morality, philosophy, religions, science, archeology, and history? Indeed, such conferences are rare, sorely needed today, and nothing else compares to it. In my experience, I would often need months to digest and take in all that I learned and gleaned from some of the best apologists in the nation, if not the world. 

Given the unknowns related to COVID-19 restrictions for gatherings and travel, for the first time ever this year’s NCCA will be completely virtual. For a very modest admission fee, you will have access to over 100 hours of live-stream content (with on-demand recordings posted back to the event) from Frank TurekRichard LandRichard HoweAbdu MurrayHugh RossGary HabermasJohn StonestreetDaniel Wallace and nearly 70 other apologists. There is literally no excuse to miss this invaluable training. 

But just in case you need convincing, here are my top three reasons every Christian should attend (virtually in this case) an apologetics conference at least once a year.

1. You Will Learn Something New or See Something Important That You Likely Cannot Get Elsewhere.

I have been around apologetics for a long time. I have listened to many talks. I have heard the best and on rare occasions the “not-so-best” — the ones that went over my head and the ones I had to pick up my feet to get over. Many of them spiritually convicted me. In almost every talk, however, I always take away or identify something new or important. It could be something as obvious as a question, objection, answer, argument, new evidence, a clear concise definition, illustration, or story. It could be as subtle as something humorous or a book or article mentioned. Even in the “not-so-best” talks, I can always identify something, even if it was something never said or done that I know should have been. My growth over the years in the subject of apologetics ministry personally and professionally is a testimony to everyone under whose tutelage I have had the opportunity to sit and learn even if it was just once a year. It was a time to concentrate on one thing rather than be concerned about other things. 

2. You Will Be Highly Motivated to Defend the Faith.

The Bible says all believers, to the best of their ability, should prepare to give an answer for their faith, yet with humility (Romans 12:31 Peter 3:15). Often in our preparation, we lack the central ingredient of motivation. Attendees I have spoken to over the years comment how they wish they could get their whole family, school, or church to come. They often say, “There is no other place we can go and be motivated to learn and do apologetics.” Indeed, no man is an island. Iron sharpens iron. Such motivation can only come from surrounding yourself on a regular basis (even just once a year) with like-minded believers, inspiring talks, and important resources. If you go, you will be blessed, equipped, and motivated to share Christ after seeing the defense of the Gospel.

3. The Church Is Failing to Equip Believers in Christian Apologetics.

This one hurts, and I share in the blame. In the 20 plus years I have been attending the NCCA I have seen it grow from hundreds of attendees to thousands. Over the years, I have seen the proliferation of apologetic programs of study, ministries, books, and resources especially via the internet, as I never imagined. The number of well known apologists is increasing (some of them I went to seminary with, and others are my former students). Yet, given the total number of Christians in churches today, to our shame we are still a comparatively small movement whose impact within the church can merely be described as marginal. The bottom line is that most churches today, for whatever reasons, continue to ignore the biblically mandated ministry and role of equipping every believer in apologetics. Given our culture’s hostility towards truth and goodness in general, and Christianity in particular, the defense of the Gospel cannot be neglected. Therefore, we have an annual apologetics conference you should attend.

Answer this one question. Does a qualified person in your church regularly teach a class that centers on the sequential steps that demonstrate the truthfulness of Christianity and equips you with the ability to engage our post-Christian culture? If you answered “Yes,” that’s wonderful, and you are encouraged to attend the NCCA for the first two reasons. However, if you answered “No,” will you attend to help change reason three? Like it or not, we are in the midst of an ever-growing spiritual warfare, and we dare not fight this war of ideas ill equipped and unprepared.

The 2020 SES National Conference on Christian Apologetics will be a six-day virtual apologetics event Oct. 12-17 (Monday-Friday evenings; Saturday afternoon). To get tickets and learn more, click here.

Three Reasons Believers Should Attend This Annual Apologetics Event — ChurchLeaders

News Round-Up and Comment — VCY America

Date:  September 25, 2020  
Host:  Jim Schneider  
MP3 ​​​| Orderhttps://embed.sermonaudio.com/player/a/925202110106438/

Another weekly news round-up is complete.  Here’s a sample of stories that were covered:

–Law enforcement recently foiled what appears to be an alleged assassination attempt by a Canadian woman against President Trump involving a package with ricin.

–In an address to the General Assembly, President Trump put the U.N. on notice that the U.S. is committed to recognizing and protecting unborn children.

–President Trump announced an executive order to provide medical care for babies that survive abortion.

–A crowd assembled outside the Supreme Court loudly booed the President and the First Lady as they paid their respects to late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

–In less than six weeks Colorado residents will be voting on a ballot initiative (Proposition 115) that will decide whether to ban abortions at 22 weeks without the input of the state’s Democrat governor or legislature.  

–A petition is being launched calling on the Lubbock, Texas, City Council to declare their city a sanctuary city for the unborn.  

–Nancy Pelosi makes bizarre claim that Republicans are coming after your children.  Then why is she sanctioning the taking of life in the womb by abortion? 

–Heritage Foundation Researchers have demonstrated throughout the coronavirus pandemic that the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. has been heavily concentrated in a small number of states and among a small number of counties in those states.

–For the second time this year, Joe Biden grossly exaggerated the number of coronavirus deaths during a campaign speech in Philadelphia.

–The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it erroneously posted guidance saying that the coronavirus spreads through airborne particles that can remain suspended in the air and travel beyond six feet.  

–House Resolution 908, introduced in March, was approved in the House of Representatives last week.  It comes down to this: Don’t name or speak COVID-19 in any way that indicates its place of origin because such terms perpetuate an anti-Asian stigma.

–A woman was tasered at an outdoor middle school football game for not wearing a mask.

–A religious gathering at the city hall in Moscow, Idaho, resulted in several arrests for not complying with police directives.

–A Christian church in Washington D.C., is suing the Democrat mayor claiming a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as well as the 1st and 5thAmendments to the U.S. Constitution.

–Attorneys for California Pastor John MacArthur announced that their client and church have won the right to a court trial in the ongoing legal fight with local and state public officials.

News Round-Up and Comment — VCY America

Flynn Family Releases Statement Following Documentary Evidence of FBI, DOJ and Special Counsel Abusive Intent… — The Last Refuge

The time for diplomatic niceties is over… The time for complimentary judicial decorum has ended….  The time has come to dispatch delicate sensibilities….  The time has come to lock the door… from the inside.  The time has come for full frontal WOLVERINE level confrontation…. The time has come for #COLD ANGER to turn the tables!

(Statement Source)

Flynn Family Releases Statement Following Documentary Evidence of FBI, DOJ and Special Counsel Abusive Intent… — The Last Refuge

Sidney Powell Discusses Latest Explosive Evidence Outlining FBI Misconduct… — The Last Refuge

Michael Flynn attorney Sidney Powell talks with Liz Mac about the latest revelations and documents showing the intentional abusive motives by the DOJ, FBI and Special Counsel against her client; and by extension against a sitting United States President.

Sidney Powell Discusses Latest Explosive Evidence Outlining FBI Misconduct… — The Last Refuge

President Trump Great American Comeback Rally and Peaceful Protest – Newport News, VA – 9:00pm Livestream… — The Last Refuge

Arriving at the third state in 12 hours President Donald Trump holds a Great American Comeback rally and peaceful protest at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport in Newport News, VA. Anticipated Start Time 9:00pm ET. [Livestream Links Below]

Donald Trump Campaign Livestream – RSBN Livestream – Fox News Livestream

President Trump Great American Comeback Rally and Peaceful Protest – Newport News, VA – 9:00pm Livestream… — The Last Refuge

BREAKING: The Clinton Foundation Is Now Morphed into a Criminal Investigation by US Attorney John Durham – KA-BOOM! — The Gateway Pundit

George Papadopoulos dropped a bomb on Friday.  He pointed out the obvious but somewhat overlooked.  

John Durham’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation is a criminal investigation.

Papadopoulos was on Newsmax Friday where he shared the following:

What a week.  I thought after the bombshell developments about Senator Johnson about Hunter Biden’s overt corruption in the Ukraine would have been the headline of the week, but this I think even beats what’s happening.  The Clinton Foundation’s investigation has now morphed into a criminal probe by John Durham.  And why is this very important – because there have obviously been growing frustration with Huber’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation and his inability to get to the bottom of what exactly was going on.

It’s the same case with Horowitz’s investigation into the FBI.  There were many questions that still remained after Horowitz.  And the reason they remain, just like they remained after Huber’s, and why this is so important this has morphed into Durham’s investigation is because Durham’s investigation is a criminal probe.

That means that Durham can force testimony.  He can issue subpoenas.  He can issue grand juries, to get to the bottom of exactly what these allegations about pay-to-play are all about and whether the ex-Secretary of State was involved or not.

Papadopoulos shared this interview in the tweet below:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-2&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1309542143837515778&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwordpress.com%2Fread%2Ffeeds%2F8941419%2Fposts%2F2932591871&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

Yesterday we reported John Durham, the Connecticut U.S. Attorney appointed by Attorney General William Barr to investigate the Trump-Russia collusion hoax investigation by the Obama administration and Deep State operatives is reportedly also investigating the Clinton Foundation and the government’s handling of that investigation.

Yesterday’s report however came from the (notoriously fake news) The New York Times and a follow up from FOX News.  The New York Times excerpt claimed Durham was biased and that was why he is looking at the Clinton Foundation.  The Times calls Durham’s investigation a “conspiracy theory” something they never said about Obamagate, the made up collusion between candidate and President Trump and Russia – all made up by the Obama Administration with help from candidate Hillary:

From the beginning, John H. Durham’s inquiry into the Russia investigation has been politically charged. President Trump promoted it as certain to uncover a “deep state” plot against him, Attorney General William P. Barr rebuked the investigators under scrutiny, and he and Mr. Durham publicly second-guessed an independent inspector general and traveled the globe to chase down conspiracy theories.

It turns out that Mr. Durham also focused attention on certain political enemies of Mr. Trump: the Clintons.

Mr. Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut assigned by Mr. Barr to review the Russia inquiry, has sought documents and interviews about how federal law enforcement officials handled an investigation around the same time into allegations of political corruption at the Clinton Foundation, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Durham’s team members have suggested to others that they are comparing the two investigations as well as examining whether investigators in the Russia inquiry flouted laws or policies. It was not clear whether Mr. Durham’s investigators were similarly looking for violations in the Clinton Foundation investigation, nor whether the comparison would be included or play a major role in the outcome of Mr. Durham’s inquiry…

End excerpt. Please read the complete Times report at this link.

Fox News excerpt:

Aspects of U.S. Attorney John Huber’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation have been assumed by U.S. Attorney John Durham as part of his review into the origins of the Russia probe, Fox News has learned.

A source familiar with Durham’s investigation told Fox News on Thursday that parts of what Huber was investigating in 2017 — involving the Clinton Foundation — have been incorporated in Durham’s investigation.

In November 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed Huber, the U.S. attorney for Utah, and other senior prosecutors to evaluate “certain issues” involving the sale of Uranium One, and other dealings related to the Clinton Foundation. Sessions tapped Huber after requests by congressional Republicans, who had been calling for the appointment of a special counsel to review the matters.

Huber was also tasked with reviewing the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email probe, including allegations that the Justice Department and FBI “policies or procedures” were not followed.

Please read the complete Fox News report at this link.

Barr said earlier this month ‘there could be’ more chargesin the Durham probe.

DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in July a report by Durhan was hoped for by the end of summer, which has come and gone this week without a report. Kupec did not guarantee a report and noted the goal of the probe is a criminal investigation and not a report, but that the American people deserve to know what happened.

The New York Times is notorious for pushing messages from the Deep State.  The fact that the Times did not highlight that the fact that Durham is investigating the Clinton Foundation is because it is now a criminal investigation is not surprising.

The fact Durham is investigating the Clinton Foundation is a big deal.  Now Americans want these criminals put in jail.

BREAKING: The Clinton Foundation Is Now Morphed into a Criminal Investigation by US Attorney John Durham – KA-BOOM! — The Gateway Pundit

LEAKED Inside Documents show BLUE PRINT of Radical Left’s Rapid Response Plan to Disrupt SCOTUS Nomination and Vote — The Gateway Pundit

Investigative journalist Millie Weaver released the far left blue prints for the far left’s plans for protesting President Trump’s Supreme Court pick.

President Trump is expected to announce his pick on Saturday at 5:00 PM Eastern.

The left has already released its blue print to disrupt and shut down the Senate during the confirmation hearings and vote to confirm.

The Blue Print includes tips on messaging, coordinated social media posts and slogans.

The blue prints even instruct the mob on staging tacticsduring the demonstrations.

EXCLUSIVE – LEAKED Inside docs show BLUE PRINTS for the radical left’s entire plans for protesting Trump’s SCOTUS nomination 👇https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1309638954770214912&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwordpress.com%2Fread%2Ffeeds%2F8941419%2Fposts%2F2932591871&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

LEAKED Inside Documents show BLUE PRINT of Radical Left’s Rapid Response Plan to Disrupt SCOTUS Nomination and Vote — The Gateway Pundit

Al Mohler Believes Some Politicans Are Using Coronavirus Pandemic to Engage in ‘Overt Hostility’ Toward Churches — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Southern Baptist leader Albert Mohler Jr. believes that some politicians are using the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to enact policies that reflect an “overt hostility” toward churches.

The president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, was a speaker at the Values Voter Summit on Wednesday evening.

The event, which normally brings large numbers of conservatives to the Washington, D.C., was largely virtual this year due to the lockdown of venues in response to the novel coronavirus.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins interviewed Mohler for the segment, with the former talking about a “spiritual dynamics” to recent events in the United States.

At one point, Perkins asked Mohler when churches should start to question “the motives of government” regarding COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on in-person worship.

Mohler responded that he believed “some politicians have used COVID-19 as an opportunity for overt hostility to religious congregations and especially the Christian churches.”

“And that overt hostility is what we have to confront,” said Mohler. “No government authority has a right to say that the church isn’t essential.”

“No government authority has the right to tell us how we are to order our worship services, and no government has the authority to say that Christian churches or other religious gatherings can be uniquely discriminated against.”

Mohler did express support for “reasonable, temporary, generally applicable rules” aimed at curbing the pandemic, but warned, “that’s not what we’re looking at in some cases.”

As an example, he referenced Capitol Hill Baptist Church of Washington, D.C., which recently filed a lawsuit against Mayor Murriel Bowser over outdoor worship gathering restrictions.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski

Al Mohler Believes Some Politicans Are Using Coronavirus Pandemic to Engage in ‘Overt Hostility’ Toward Churches — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Survey Finds Only 5% of Democrats, Less Than Half of Republicans Believe Decline in Faith and Church Attendance is a Major Issue for American Families — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Only 5% of Democrats and less than half of Republicans believe the “decline in religious faith and church attendance” is a top-three issue facing families in the United States, a new survey has found. 

The 2020 American Family Survey was released Tuesday, a poll of 3,000 Americans conducted by YouGov and sponsored by Deseret News and Brigham Young University in Utah, institutions associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The sixth annual survey was done between July 3 and July 14 and has an error margin of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.

Among the many questions in the survey was one asking respondents to pick three issues from a list of curated issue items that they find to be the “most important issues facing families today.”

About 41% of respondents selected the answer: “parents not teaching or disciplining their children sufficiently,” while about one out of three (32%) answered with “the costs associated with raising a family.”

One-quarter of respondents (25%) said they think “high work demands on parents” and “More children growing up in single-parent homes” are among the three most pressing issues facing families today.

Just over 2 out of 10 respondents (21%) identified the “decline in religious faith and church attendance” as a major issue facing families.

When broken down based on ideological lines, 44% of Republicans included in a half sample (1,500 respondents) answered that “decline in religious faith and church attendance” as one of three major issues facing families in the U.S.

The result comes as there has been a recorded rise in Americans who do not identify with religious faiths and a decline in church attendance in recent years.

Some 51% of Republicans selected “parents not teaching or disciplining their children sufficiently” as a major issue facing families.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith

Survey Finds Only 5% of Democrats, Less Than Half of Republicans Believe Decline in Faith and Church Attendance is a Major Issue for American Families — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

True You Episode 8: Embracing How Great It Is to Be a Girl — Lies Young Women Believe

Fifty-one percent of Christian tweens don’t think it’s great to be a girl. They think it’s difficult. Maybe you do too. One thing’s for sure: the conversation is complicated . . . and confusing. Before you know it, you could be believing lies about your identity because you have questions about gender.

On today’s episode of True You, we’re jumping into the gender conversation. I know . . . we’re scared too! It’s easy to live on the outskirts of this topic, but today we’re leading the way and encouraging you to begin to share your thoughts when the discussion arises. Your voice needs to be in this conversation. Check out how God provided one girl with the courage to speak into this issue:

If you’ve been somewhat afraid of jumping into the conversation on gender or just don’t know what to say, here are a few Scriptures that provide Truth regarding the topic and also encourage you to relay that Truth in God’s love:

We’d love to hear from you! Send us your freedom story—that’s what we call it when God sets you free through His Truth found in the Bible. Post your one-minute video on social media and tag @liesyoungwomenbelieve or upload it here, and it could be selected to be featured on a future episode of True You.

True You Episode 8: Embracing How Great It Is to Be a Girl — Lies Young Women BelieveLies Young Women Believe

September 25 Life-Changing Moments With God


Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Now for a little while, if need be, I have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of my faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

It is good that I should hope and wait quietly for Your salvation, Lord God. I have a better and an enduring possession for myself in heaven. So I do not cast away my confidence, which has great reward. For I have need of endurance, so that after I have done Your will, Lord God, I may receive the promise. My Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and You, my God and Father, who have loved me and given me everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort my heart.

Thank You for reminding me that You, Almighty God, are in charge, that trials are not pointless, and that eternal rewards await.

James 1:4; 1 Peter 1:6–7; Romans 5:3–4; Lamentations 3:26; Hebrews 10:34–36; 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17[1]


[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 288). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 25 – Every Knee Shall Bow! — VCY America

September 25
Isaiah 45:11-48:11
Ephesians 4:1-16
Psalm 68:19-35
Proverbs 24:3-4

Isaiah 45:12 – Creation is not just a doctrine taught in Genesis. It’s emphasized again and again throughout the Bible (Psalm 102:25, Nehemiah 9:6, Isaiah 40:28, 42:5, 44:24, 45:12, 45:18, Jeremiah 27:5, 32:17, Zechariah 12:1, Hebrews 11:3).

Isaiah 45:18 – Evolution says that modern man (homo sapiens) has been around for only 0.078% of the alleged 4.5 billion years that the earth has been here. Yet the earth was created to be inhabited. Theistic evolution compromises the authority of God’s Word.

Isaiah 45:22 – God declares a universal invitation – look and live!

Isaiah 45:23 – This promise is echoed throughout the New Testament in Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2:10. But notice that Isaiah stops short – what will every tongue declare? Paul says it in Philippians – that Jesus Christ is LORD!

Isaiah 47:10 – “None seeth me.” Throughout the prophets we’ll see God attacking this false belief.

Ephesians 4:3-6 – The unity of believers is a beautiful thing. But we must be united in truth.

Ephesians 4:11 – What gift has God given you that you can use for the ministry? We see hear the free gifts (v.11), the function (v.12), and the fulfillment (v.13).

Ephesians 4:15 – The tough balance is speaking the truth in love. On the one hand you have groups dedicated to “love.” Love is love, according to them, but they never define love. On the other hand you have the Westboro Baptist Church gang that preaches “truth.” The path of the straight and narrow is met by deep ditches on each side.

Psalm 68:19 – What a great prayer of thanksgiving to declare each morning!

Proverbs 24:3 – Yes wisdom is the foundation, and the building blocks of our lives!

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

September 25 – Every Knee Shall Bow! — VCY America

September 25, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

How to Be Great

It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (20:26–28)

This simple, clear passage is one of the most beautiful in the gospels. The principle it teaches needs little explanation, but it is in great need of emulation by those who call Jesus Lord.

First Jesus presents the precept and then the pattern.

the precept of true greatness

It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; (20:26–27)

Jesus turned the world’s greatness upside down. The self-serving, self-promoting, self-glorying ways of the world are the antithesis of spiritual greatness. They have no place in God’s kingdom and are not to be so among you, Jesus told the Twelve. In many different ways He had taught them what He told Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

The world’s way of greatness is like a pyramid. The prestige and power of the great person is built on the many subordinate persons beneath him. But in the kingdom, the pyramid is inverted. As the great commentator R. C. H. Lenski has observed, God’s “great men are not sitting on top of lesser men, but bearing lesser men on their backs.”

Unfortunately, however, there are still many people in the church who, like James and John, continually seek recognition, prestige, and power by manipulating and controlling others to their own selfish advantage. A tragic number of Christian leaders and celebrities have gained great followings by appealing to people’s emotions and worldly appetites. But that is not to be so among Christ’s disciples today any more than among the Twelve.

Jesus went on to explain that it is not wrong to desire great usefulness to God, only wrong to seek the world’s kind of greatness. Paul assures us that “it is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do” (1 Tim. 3:1). As the apostle goes on to point out (vv. 2–7), the standards for an overseer in Christ’s church are high. But the man who is willing to meet those standards for the Lord’s sake and in the Lord’s power will have the Lord’s blessing.

Therefore, Jesus said, “Whoever wishes to become great among you, that is, great by God’s standards rather than men’s, shall be your servant.” He was not, as some have suggested, contradicting what He had just taught. He was speaking of an entirely different kind of greatness than the sort James and John were seeking and that the world promotes. This kind of greatness is pleasing to God, because it is humble and self-giving rather than proud and self-serving. The way to the world’s greatness is through pleasing and being served by men; the way to God’s greatness is through pleasing Him and serving others in His name. In God’s eyes, the one who is great is the one who is a willing servant.

It is not only not wrong but very much right to seek eternal glory, because that glory is God-given. Paul declared, “Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority” (1 Thess. 2:6). But he also declared to those same believers in Thessalonica that “it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 2:14). The way to that divine and eternal glory, which comes from God, is the way of renouncing the worldly and temporal glory that comes from men. The way to God’s glory is the way of the servant. Man’s focus must be on rendering spiritual service with consummate excellence and leaving the success of that service to the Lord.

Jesus was speaking of being a true servant, not a sham. He did not have in mind the “public servant” who uses his office for personal gain and power. Godly greatness comes from genuine humility. Only God knows a person’s heart, and Paul assures us that the Lord “will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God” (1 Cor. 4:5).

Servant is from diakonos, from which the term deacon is derived. The original Greek word was purely secular, referring to a person who did menial labor, such as house cleaning or serving tables. It was not necessarily a term of dishonor but simply described the lowest level of hired help, who needed little training or skill.

But Christ elevated diakonos to a place of great significance, using it to describe His most faithful and favored disciples. He could have chosen any number of more noble words to characterize obedient discipleship, but He chose this one because it best reflects the selfless, humble life that He honors. It is also the life that He Himself exemplified, as He would go on to say (v. 28).

The surest mark of the true servant is willing sacrifice for the sake of others in the name of Christ. The sham servant avoids suffering, while the true servant accepts it.

Paul had the pure, genuine heart of a servant. He readily acknowledged his apostleship and the divine authority that came with that unique, high office. But he even more readily acknowledged that his office and authority belonged to God and were only entrusted to him as a steward (1 Cor. 4:1). To the proud, self-centered, factious, and worldly Corinthians he said, “What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one” (1 Cor. 3:5). Later in that letter he says sarcastically,

You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us.… For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now” (4:8–13)

In his book A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, William Law writes,

Let every day be a day of humility; condescend to all the weaknesses and infirmities of your fellow-creatures, cover their frailties, love their excellencies, encourage their virtues, relieve their wants, rejoice in their prosperities, compassionate their distress, receive their friendship, overlook their unkindness, forgive their malice, be a servant of servants, and condescend to do the lowliest offices of the lowest of mankind.

Another great saint of past years, Samuel Brengle, wrote,

If I appear great in their eyes, the Lord is most graciously helping me to see how absolutely nothing I am without Him, and helping me to keep little in my own eyes. He does use me. But I am so concerned that He uses me and that it is not of me the work is done. The axe cannot boast of the trees it has cut down. It could do nothing but for the woodsman. He made it, he sharpened it, and he used it. The moment he throws it aside, it becomes only old iron. O That I may never lose sight of this. (Quoted in Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership [Chicago: Moody, 1967], p. 58.)

Jesus reiterated and intensified His description of God’s way to greatness: “Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.” The position and work of a slave were much lower and demeaning even than those of a servant. A servant was to some degree his own person. He often owned little more than the clothes on his back, but he was free to go where he wanted and to work or not work as he pleased. But a slave (doulos) did not belong to himself but to his master and could go only where the master wanted him to go and do only what the master wanted him to do. He did not belong to himself but was the personal property of someone else.

In several of his letters Paul identified himself as Christ’s slave (doulos) even before identifying himself as His apostle. He greeted the Romans with the words, “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle” (Rom. 1:1; cf. Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:1). That is why he could say, “If we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14:8). Slaves were the property of their owners and could therefore be bought and sold. Like such a slave, Christians “have been bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20; cf. 7:23) and are the property of the Lord who bought them with His own precious blood (1 Pet. 1:18–19).

Paul greatly desired to be exalted and to receive glory, but the exaltation and glory he sought were God’s and he sought them in God’s way, through the suffering of servanthood and the bondage of slavery. It was said of one leader in the early church that “He belonged to that class of early martyrs whose passionate soul made an early holocaust of the physical man.”

In one of her most beautiful poems Amy Carmichael wrote,

Hast thou no scar?

No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?

I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,

I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star;

Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?

Yet, I was wounded by the archers, spent.

Leaned me against the tree to die, and rent

By ravening beasts that compassed me, I swooned:

Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?

Yes, as the master shall the servant be,

And pierced are the feet that follow Me;

But thine are whole. Can he have followed far

Who has no wound? No scar?

The cost of true greatness is humble, selfless, sacrificial service. The Christian who desires to be great and first in the kingdom is the one who is willing to serve in the hard place, the uncomfortable place, the lonely place, the demanding place, the place where he is not appreciated and may even be persecuted. Knowing that time is short and eternity long, he is willing to spend and be spent. He is willing to work for excellence without becoming proud, to withstand criticism without becoming bitter, to be misjudged without becoming defensive, and to withstand suffering without succumbing to self-pity.

When faithful believers have done everything they can for the Lord to the limit of their abilities and energy, they say to Him, “We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done” (Luke 17:10). It is to such disciples that the Lord will say in return, “Well done, good and faithful slave; … enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21).

William Barclay has succinctly commented, “The world may assess a man’s greatness by the number of people whom he controls and who are at his beck and call; or by his intellectual standing and his academic eminence; or by the number of committees of which he is a member; or by the size of his bank balance and the material possessions which he has amassed; but in the assessment of Jesus Christ these things are irrelevant.”

the pattern for true greatness

just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (20:28)

The emphasis of this verse is in the words just as the Son of Man. What Jesus says about Himself should also characterize His followers. “I am your perfect Pattern,” He was saying, “your supreme Example. My attitude should be Your attitude, and My kind of living should be your kind of living. If you want to be great as God wants you to be great, be like Me.”

To discover what it means to become a godly servant and slave, the disciples had only to look at the Son of Man Himself. Many years after John presumptuously asked to be seated at Jesus’ side in the kingdom, the now humble apostle wrote, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). As once his life had centered in himself and his great desire had been to lord it over others, now it was centered in Jesus Christ and was abandoned to the selfless service of others in His name. He no longer sought to manipulate Jesus but only to emulate Him.

In His incarnate role as the Son of Man, Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. “Although He existed in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:6–9).

Jesus is the supreme example of humility and servanthood, because, as the sovereign of the universe and of all eternity, He subjected Himself to humiliation and even to death. He is the most exalted because He faithfully endured the most humiliation. Although He was the King of kings and had the right to be served by others, He ministered as a Servant of servants and gave His life to serve others.

During the Last Supper, after the disciples had again been arguing about which of them was the greatest, Jesus asked, “Who is greater, the one who reclines at the table, or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27). It was probably at this time that Jesus gave them the beautiful object lesson of servanthood recorded by John.

[Jesus] laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself about. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.… And so when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” (John 13:4–5, 12–17)

Jesus’ ultimate act of servanthood, however, was to give His life. “Greater love has no one than this,” He said, “that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Some years ago, Joe Delaney, a star football player for the Kansas City Chiefs, saw three young boys out in a lake, crying out for help and struggling to stay above the water. Although he was himself a poor swimmer, Joe dived into the water and tried to save them. One of the boys was rescued, but Joe and the other two boys drowned. He willingly laid down his life in an effort to save those boys, making the ultimate sacrifice in their behalf.

Although such heroes are lauded, the world understands little of that kind of selflessness, which runs counter to man’s natural inclination to self-preservation. But self-giving is to be the normal pattern for Christians, just as it was the normal pattern for Christ.

In His next statement, Jesus presents the first explicit New Testament teaching about the redemptive work of the Messiah. He would vicariously suffer for the sins of mankind as a ransom for those who trust in Him. He did not simply give His life an example for others. He was no mere martyr for a godly cause, as some claim. Nor was He merely an example of life-giving selflessness, although He was indeed the supreme example of that. Jesus not only lived and died for others but died as a ransom for others.

In that redemptive aspect, of course, His followers cannot follow His example. Nothing that a believer can do will have any direct spiritual benefit for himself or others. If he could not merit his own salvation, he surely cannot merit the salvation of someone else.

Lutron (ransom) was the term commonly used for the redemption price of a slave, the amount required to buy his freedom. It is used only twice in the New Testament (see also Mark 10:45), both times in reference to Christ’s giving of Himself to redeem others. Here it is followed by the preposition anti (“instead of”), expressing an exchange. In 1 Timothy 2:6, the word used for “ransom” is antilutron, which simply combines the two words used here. In both cases the idea is that of a price paid for a life.

The unbeliever is a slave to sin, the flesh, Satan, and death, and it was to redeem men from those slaveries that Jesus gave His life a ransom in exchange for sinners. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Paul explained to believers in Rome. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:1–3). “Having been freed from sin,” the apostle had told them earlier, “you became slaves of righteousness” (6:18). Christ’s sacrifice bought us back from the slavery of sin.

And although the noun lutron is used only twice in the New Testament, other forms of the root word are used frequently, as are numerous synonyms. “For you have been bought with a price,” Paul reminded the worldly Corinthian believers; “therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20). To the Galatians he wrote, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13; cf. 4:5); to the Ephesians he wrote, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7; cf. v. 14; 4:30); and to Titus he wrote, “[Christ] gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). Peter reminds believers that they “were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold, … but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:18–19). In John’s magnificent vision on Patmos he heard the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders proclaim of Christ, “Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).

Jesus’ ransom was paid to God to satisfy His holy justice, and it was more than sufficient to cover the sins of everyone who has ever lived and ever will live. His death was sufficient for “the whole world,” says John (1 John 2:2). It is not the Lord’s will “for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). And because He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4), He has therefore provided atonement for every person. “For this is the will of My Father,” Jesus said, “that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40).

Although His ransom is sufficient for every person, it is valid only for those who believe in Him. It is in that sense that His redemption is for many, rather than for all. The Lord was not teaching limited atonement, the idea that He died only for the sins of a select few. Paul makes it clear that Christ died for the whole world: “The man Christ Jesus … gave Himself as a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:5–6).

The basic idea behind anti (for) is that of being set over against something else, and the word was often used to denote an exchange or substitution. In becoming a ransom for many, Jesus exchanged His life for the lives of the many who would believe in Him. It became His death for the deaths of those many, His undeserved punishment for the punishment they deserved. As Isaiah had predicted 700 years earlier, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; … He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed” (Isa. 53:4–5).

Christ, then, is the pattern for all to follow in being servant leaders. By giving His life He gained the eternal glory and esteem of God and men. That is the path to greatness.[1]

24–27 The indignation of the ten doubtless sprang less from humility than jealousy plus the fear that they might lose out. If these verses scarcely support egalitarianism—choice positions, after all, will be allotted—they demonstrate that interest in egalitarianism may mask a jealousy whose deepest wellsprings are not concern for justice but “enlightened self-interest.” The disciples revert to the squabbling of an earlier period (Mk 9:33–37; cf. Mt 18:1). Jesus calls them together and draws a contrast between greatness among ta ethnē (“pagans” or “Gentiles,” v. 25) and greatness among heirs of the kingdom. The “pagans” or “Gentiles” who would spring to mind were Romans; power and authority characterized their empire. The NIV’s “lord it over” gives a false impression. Jesus is not criticizing abuse of power in political structures—the verb never has that meaning (cf. K. W. Clark, “The Meaning of [κατα] κυριεύειν,” in Studies in New Testament Language [ed. Elliott], 100–105) and should be translated “exercise lordship over,” parallel to “exercise authority over” in the next line—but insists that the very structures themselves cannot be transferred to relationships among his followers.

Greatness among Jesus’ disciples is based on service. Anyone who wants to be great must become the diakonos (“servant,” v. 26, GK 1356) of all. Here diakonos does not mean “deacon” or “minister” (KJV) in the modern church use. One of the ironies of language is that a word like “minister,” which in its roots refers to a helper, one who “ministers,” has become a badge of honor and power in religion and politics. But lest the full force of his teaching be lost, Jesus repeats it in v. 27 with the stronger word doulos (“slave,” GK 1528; cf. 1 Co 9:19; 2 Co 4:5). In the pagan world, humility was regarded not so much as a virtue but as a vice. Imagine a slave being given leadership! Jesus’ ethics of the leadership and power in his community of disciples are revolutionary.[2]

26–27 In contrast with the world’s social conventions Jesus lays down an alternative agenda. For the imperatival future tenses see p. 755, nn. 4, 5. The “you” who must operate by a different standard are initially, of course, the Twelve, but the principle applies to all who belong to the kingdom of heaven. The demand that such people should “become like children” and accept the lowest position in order to be great (18:3–4) is now rephrased in terms which more directly echo the social realities of the day, “servant” and “slave.” The former term, diakonos, occurs here for the first time in Matthew, but its verb, diakoneō, has appeared in 4:11 and 8:15 for the practical “taking care” which focuses on household duties, especially the provision of food; it is about doing things for other people rather than for oneself. Doulos, “slave,” has been more prominent, denoting someone who is not free to do what they wish, but is bound to obey a master (8:9; 10:24); note especially the verb douleuō in 6:24 for a person’s being under the control of either God or wealth. The doulos, even more than the diakonos, is at the bottom of the pecking order; they are the last, who under God’s rule are the first. If there is to be ambition in the service of God (note the repeated “whoever wants”), it must be the ambition to serve others (cf. Paul’s similar challenge in a different context, 1 Cor 14:12).[3]

The benevolent use of power (20:26–27)

‘It will not be so with you. On the contrary [the strong adversative alla], whoever wants to become great among you must be [the imperatival future estai] your servant [diakonos], and whoever wants to be first among you must be [estai] your slave [doulos].’ God and Messiah will greatly empower these apostles and their successors for the global mission (Matt. 28:18–20). In using these powers, they will be sorely tempted to emulate those pagan rulers. ‘A minister who seeks to control people is acting both out of and into pride. Pride moves him to wield the power, and wielding the power bolsters his pride; pride is both the root and the fruit of power. The minister may more easily dominate others when he wields power under a pretext of humility—a deception assured of some success, given the perception of this profession as one of service to others.’

The way to greatness is categorically different (Matt. 20:26a). All disciples are slaves of Jesus (10:24–25) [with two instances of doulos] and 24:45–50 [with four]; so all of them, leaders included, are answerable to him (23:8–10). They show their allegiance to him by becoming slaves (douloi) and servants (diakonoi) to his people (20:26–27; 23:11). By thus loving their Christian neighbors, they show that they love God (22:37–39), both God the Father and God the Son.

Let leaders in the church beware lest they domineer persons who belong to God, and whom God has entrusted to them (18:1–14). Apostles echo Jesus’ language in 2 Corinthians 1:24, ‘not that we lord it over you’ (the verb kyrieuō, as in Luke 22:25, parallel to Matt. 20:25), and in 1 Peter 5:3, ‘not lording it over those in your care’ (the verb katakyrieuō, as in Matt. 20:25). Persons truly secure in who they are as servants of Jesus have no need to domineer others; embraced by the love of God’s own Son, their self-worth does not depend on esteeming themselves superior to others (on the contrary, Phil. 2:1–4). Moreover, as those who emulate Jesus, they discover that sacrificial service is the very place where God releases his stupendous power (cf. 2 Cor. 4:7–12; 12:9–10). Accordingly, disciples’ greatness lies not merely beyond present service (Matt. 23:12), but in the service as well (23:11). When all believers heed the instructions of 20:26–27, ‘the equality of the workers’ (cf. comments on 20:1–16) will be visibly evident to both church and watching world (cf. John 13:34–35). As Jesus says in Luke 22:26 (parallel to Matt. 20:26–27), ‘let the greatest among you become like the youngest, and the one who leads like the one who serves.’[4]

Ver. 26.—It shall not be so among you. There is good authority for reading “is” instead of “shall be.” The new order of things was already prepared. In Messiah’s kingdom a contrary rule holds good. There the governors rule solely for the good of the flock, with no self-seeking, and serving no private interests. Whosoever will be (ὃς ἐὰν θέλῃ … γενέσθαι: whosoever would fain become) great among you … minister (διάκονος). Taking for granted that there will be ranks and gradations of office in the Church, Christ lays down the rule that men become governors therein in order that they may serve their brethren, be the ministers of those who are subject to them. So the pope, in his official documents, with a verbally proper humility, terms himself, “Servus servorum Dei.”[5]

26. It shall not be so among you. There can be no doubt that Christ refers to the foolish imagination by which he saw that the apostles were deceived. “It is foolish and improper in you,” he says, “to imagine a kingdom, which is unsuitable to me; and therefore, if you desire to serve me faithfully, you must resort to a different method, which is, that each of you may strive to serve others.” But whoever wishes to be great among you, let him be your servant. These words are employed in an unusual sense; for ambition does not allow a man to be devoted, or, rather, to be subject to his brethren. Abject flattery, I do acknowledge, is practised by those who aspire to honours, but nothing is farther from their intention than to serve. But Christ’s meaning is not difficult to be perceived. As every man is carried away by a love of himself, he declares that this passion ought to be directed to a different object. Let the only greatness, eminence, and rank, which you desire, be, to submit to your brethren; and let this be your primacy, to be the servants of all.[6]

25–27. While there may be a note of disapproval in the verbs katakyrieuō and katexousiazō (‘lord it over’ and ‘exercise authority over’), because human authority is seldom, if ever, exercised without an element of selfishness, the verbs themselves are not necessarily pejorative, and these verses do not suggest that human society has no need of properly structured authority. The point is that the values of secular society do not apply among you; authority and ‘greatness’ among the disciples of Jesus are the reverse of what the world is used to; true greatness is in service. In this, as in other areas of human values, Jesus has turned the world upside down. (Cf. above, on 18:1–5; 19:13–15, 23–30; 20:1–16; etc. For other teaching on ‘greatness’, cf. 5:19; 11:11; 18:1–5; etc.) Self-importance, the desire to be noticed and respected, the ambition to make one’s mark and to impose one’s will on others, this is the value-scale of the rat-race, not of the kingdom of Christ.[7]

26, 27. Not like that shall it be among you; rather, whoever wishes to become great among you let him be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you let him be your humble attendant. Essentially this is the teaching of 18:1 ff. See also 10:39; 16:24, 25; Luke 9:23, 24. The form given to it is new and refreshing. It is an unforgettable paradox. Jesus is saying that in the kingdom over which he reigns greatness is obtained by pursuing a course of action which is the exact opposite of that which is followed in the unbelieving world. Greatness consists in self-giving, in the outpouring of the self in service to others, for the glory of God. To be great means to love. See John 13:34; 1 Cor. 13; Col. 3:14; 1 John 3:14; 4:8; 1 Peter 4:8. Were not the following—the list is incomplete—truly great? Was not childlike faith in God coupled with loving service to men (according to the rule of Gal. 6:10), characteristic of them all?

Abraham (Gen. 13:8, 9; 14:14–16; 15:6; 18:22–33; 22:15–18)

Moses (Exod. 32:32)

Joshua (Josh. 24:14, 15)

Samuel (1 Sam. 7:5)

David (Ps. 23; 103)

Jonathan (1 Sam. 23:16)

Nehemiah (Neh. 1:4 ff.)

The commended centurion (Matt. 8:5–13)

Barnabas (Acts 4:36; 11:22–26)

Stephen (Acts 6:8)

Paul, Silas, and Timothy (1 Thess. 1:1, 9; 2:1–12)

Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25–30; 4:18)

Epaphras (Col. 1:7, 8; 4:12, 13)

Luke (Col. 4:14)

Ruth (Ruth 1:16–18)

Hannah (1 Sam. 1:27, 28)

Abigail (1 Sam. 25:18–42)

The “great woman” of Shunem (2 Kings 4:8–10)

Naaman’s servant-girl (2 Kings 5:1 ff.)

Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:38, 46–55; Acts 1:14)

Elizabeth (Luke 1:39–45)

The “generous” widow (Luke 21:1–4)

Mary and Martha (John 11:1, 2; 12:1–8)

Dorcas (Acts 9:36–42)

Lydia (Acts 16:14, 15, 40)

Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:26)

It is the inverted pyramid, the believer being at the bottom—being the servant, the humble attendant of all others—that symbolizes the position of the Christian as, with simple trust in God and love for all men, he continues on his way to the mansions of glory. In doing this is he not following in the footsteps of his Lord and Savior? See Luke 22:27; John 13:34, 35.[8]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 3, pp. 239–246). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 488). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] France, R. T. (2007). The Gospel of Matthew (p. 760). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co.

[4] Chamblin, J. K. (2010). Matthew: A Mentor Commentary (pp. 978–980). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

[5] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. Matthew (Vol. 2, p. 282). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[6] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Vol. 2, p. 426). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[7] France, R. T. (1985). Matthew: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 1, p. 296). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[8] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 747–749). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

How Can I Love the Truth without Becoming a Pharisee? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

The truth of God’s Word should not leave us unchanged. From one of our Ask Ligonier events, Stephen Nichols considers how we can be careful not to respond to the truth as the Pharisees did.

Get answers to your biblical and theological questions online as they arise at ask.Ligonier.org.

How Can I Love the Truth without Becoming a Pharisee? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

September—25 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion


For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.—Zechariah 2:5.

Precious promises these, my soul! and, like all the other promises of our God, are “yea and amen in Christ Jesus!” Is the Church, in this wilderness-state, exposed to the ravages of Satan, who goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour? Then will God be unto her “a wall,” and that “of fire,” which (like travellers in the desert, who encircle themselves with fire against the attacks of wild beasts by night) will keep her secure from all approaches. Doth the Church, in her poor circumstances, need comfort within? Then will God in Christ be “the glory in the midst of her.” And hence, all around, within and without, in every direction, and in every way, Jesus will be “the hiding-place from the storm, and a covert from the tempest; and upon all the glory shall be a defence.” Look up, then, my soul! What hast thou to fear? What though the rains beat without, and poverty be felt within; he that is “the wall of fire” can never be extinguished, and he that is “the glory in the midst” will still shine upon thee, and fully satisfy all thy need. Precious Lord Jesus! while thou art my defence, what host of foes can I fear? And while thou art my glory, surely I shall never consider my own humble circumstances. I will therefore say, with an exercised believer of old, “At what time I am afraid, I will trust in thee!” (Psalm 56:3.) To whom shall a child run, but to his father, in a season of distress? And to whom shall a poor ransomed soul of Jesus look, but to his Redeemer? And he will be both a shield and sun, “when the blast of the, terrible ones is as a storm against a wall.” Sweet thought to hush the soul asleep! And thou, my soul, take it with thee to thy bed, this night: Jesus is unto thee as “a wall of fire round about;” and he that is in the midst of thee is “thy God, thy glory!”[1]


[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 279–280). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

Can You Trust the Bible If It was Written by Humans? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

The Bible is allegedly the inspired “Word of God,” but it was written by humans who are fallible. How can we trust anything written by human authors given their failings and propensities? In this video from J. Warner’s “Quick Shots: Fast Answers to Hard Questions” series on RightNow Media, J. Warner answers this common question related to the claims of Christianity.

To see more training videos with J. Warner Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.

Can You Trust the Bible If It was Written by Humans? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

September 25 The Strength of Tenderness


1 Peter 3:7–8

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife.… Be tenderhearted.

In every survey I have seen asking women what is the main thing they need from their husbands, it’s always been the same: Tenderness. In our John Wayne and Rambo-inspired culture, men are encouraged to maintain a macho-type persona where tenderness and emotion are not to be displayed. In varying degrees and places, tenderness—not to mention tears—has been viewed as a sign of weakness. But, from God’s perspective nothing could be further from the truth.

Perhaps the greatest impediment to tenderness for men, especially when it comes to praying and pursuing spiritual interests together, is the presumption of weakness. We don’t like to see ourselves as helpless, totally dependent on God. And yet often, the greatest sign of strength that a wife is looking for in her husband is the evidence that he is totally dependent on God, and not afraid to confess his own need for Him. His vulnerability in that area is what frees his wife to confess her needs, her fears, her dependence on God as well.

A marriage that is led by a man who loves his wife authentically, sacrificially, deliberately, and unconditionally will be a prosperous marriage, one that mirrors the relationship between Christ and His church.[1]


[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 280). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.