Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Limit to Free Speech

1 Kings 12:1-20; Mark 3:20-30 / Psalm 22:1-31

I. Jesus’ Ministry Disrupted Life

A. People demanded so much from Jesus that He did not have time to deal with the basic necessities of His own life. “And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.” (Mark3:20) “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:34)

B. Friends proposed an intervention under the assumption that Jesus had lost control of His life; some of his own family did not believe in Him. “And when his friendsheard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.” (Mark 3:21) “For neither did his brethren believe in him.” (JOHN 7:5)

C. People who refused to listen to Jesus came up with evil alternate explanationsfor what people were seeing in the Lord’slife and work. “And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.” (MARK 3:22) Beelzebub [Lord of the Dung or Master of the Flies] was the abomination of the Philistines.

D. Fear factored significantly into the decision to call Jesus a liar and servant of Satan; any other decision would have compelled detractors to recognize Him as the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel. “The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.” (MATTHEW 21:25-26)

II. Jesus Countered Detractors with a Parable

A. To label opposition to Satan as satanic requires an impossible stretch of the imagination; Jesus was being slandered. And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?” (Mark 3:23)

B. Division yields destruction in spiritual matters just as it does in civil matters. “And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” (Mark 3:24)

C. The principle of destruction through division applies in every field of endeavor. “And if a house bedivided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (MARK 3:25)

D. If Satan divided his kingdom, it would come to an end. “And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.” (Mark 3:26)

III. Do Not Lie about Grace

A Satan is the strong man, his house the body of the demoniac, and his goods the evil spirit within the man; Jesus had entered Satan’s house and seized his goods, proving that, instead of being in partnership with Satan, Jesus had overpowered Satan. No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” (MARK 3:27)

B. The power of grace is enormous. “Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:” (MARK 3:28)

C. Free speech stops at the point of condemning the truth-bringer as a liar.But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:” (Mark 3:29) “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13)

D. When people reverse truth and error, they cut themselves off from life-saving truth and serve Satan [Father of Lies}. “Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.” (MARK 3:30) “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)

E. Trust in God and be careful when speaking; mistakes can kill.Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21) “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” (Proverbs 14:15)

F. Even God gets tired of some things people say; occasionally it is best to stop talking. Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?” (MALACHI 2:17) “Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” (James 3:12)

Foolish Fearlessness

Psalm 36

I. People Who Refuse Grace Demand Disaster

A. When people do evil things, their actions demonstrate that they do not expect terrible consequences; functionally such people are atheists. To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD. The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.” (Psalm 36:1) “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” (Psalm 14:1)

B. People who defend themselves with flattery do not understand their peril till the situation becomes disgusting to the surrounding world; rottenness eventually smells bad. “For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.” (Psalm36:2) “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)

C. Wisdom and goodness simply have no place on the fool’s agenda; evil people in effect repent of their righteousness in a cruel mockery of people who turn from sin to God. “The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.” (Psalm 36:3)

D. The background noise in an evil heart promotes evil and accepts evil as normal. He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.” (Psalm 36:4)

II. God Is Totally Different

A. In contrast to the self-centered evil, God’s mercy reaches everywhere. Thy mercy, O LORD, is in theheavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.” (Psalm 36:5)

B. Rather than consume, God preserves life. “Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.” (Psalm 36:6) “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)

C. God illustrates lovingkindness. “How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.” (Psalm 36:7)

1. God’s compassion stretches across Scripture and history. “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.” (Psalm 145:8)

2. David’s family knew God’s compassion vividly in the story of Ruth who trusted in God and received a blessing, which would ultimately bring eternal life to multitudes from her time to the end of the world. “And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.”(Ruth 2:11-12)

D. God delivers the pleasure which evil seeks in devious and hidden ways.They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.” (Psalm 36:8) “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (Psalm 23:5-6)

E. God produces abundant life and through Him comes insight to understand all levels of wisdom. “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” (Psalm 36:9)

1. The light David was praising is ultimately Jesus.In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)

2. The ignorance and distress of evil people cannot change the fact that Jesus is the great wisdom of reality.That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” (John 1:9-10)

3. In contrast to evil, which promotes decay and yields death, God produces unending life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

III. Believers Can Live Confidently

A. Believers seek what God provides. “O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart.” (Psalm 36:10)

B. God protects people who want protection. “Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me.” (Psalm36:11)

C. God continually pours out goodness on those who turn to Him while evil people experience the inevitable consequences of their destructive lives. “There are the workers of iniquity fallen:they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.” (Psalm 36:12)

D. Ultimately, peace and healing are reserved for those who rely on God. “I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” (Isaiah 57:19-21)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Temple and City of Our God

1 Kings 8:22-53; Revelation 22:1-21 / Psalm 133:1-3

I. God Explained the Temple

A. The great I Am is unlike anyone or anything else; He keeps His promises. “And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenantand mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:” (1 Kings 8:22-23) “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)

B. The Temple was to be a place to approach God; prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of His mercies. “Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” (ISAIAH 56:7)

C. Solomon testified that it was not God who needed the Temple. “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” (1 Kings 8:27) “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven ismy throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?” (ISAIAH 66:1)

D. The Temple is where people find rest from the burdens of sin.Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

II. A Greater Temple Now Exists

A. St. John the Evangelist explained how God in Christ has become the Temple. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (JOHN 1:14)

B. St. John the Baptist confirmed the testimony. “John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.” (John 1:15)

C. In Christ, people come to the dwelling place of God. “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (JOHN 1:16-18)

D. Solomon’s Temple pointed toward the Temple of the Holy Saints John.God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Hebrews 1:1-3)

III. Approach the Temple and City of God

A. St. John the Evangelist described the ultimate Temple and New Jerusalem. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:1-5)

B. Christ is the cornerstone of the Temple. “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” (1 Peter 2:6)

C. The people of God are the living stones of the Temple. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)

D. The builders in Jesus’ day did not understand the Biblical doctrine of the Temple and therefore rejected the starting point for understanding God; do not make the same mistake.Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,” (1 Peter 2:7)

The Redeemer

I. People Need a Redeemer

A. People need redemption from their sins. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)

B. The problem extends to all who descend naturally from Adam. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”(Romans 5:12)

C. The problem is universal. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:10)

D. The abiding hope of God’s people is placed in this Redeemer. “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27)

II. The Lord Jesus Christ Is the Redeemer

A. Scripture states that Jesus is the deliverer from sins or the Redeemer. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

B. Only Jesus could meet the demands of redemption. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” (1 Peter 1:18-19) “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

C. Jesus Christ is the atoning substitute for sinners.Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Timothy 2:6) “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

D. As a man, Jesus could endure the punishment due for sin and make it possible for believers to become the children of God. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Galatians4:4-6)

E. The Redeemer had to be God to endure the punishment. “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews9:22) “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Ephesians 1:7)

F. As both God and man, the Redeemer could mediate between God and man. “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertainingto God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:16-17) “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” (Hebrews12:24)

III. Trust in Jesus the Redeemer

A. Changed lives experientially attest to the Biblical doctrine. “And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” (John 4:42)

B. Jesus fulfills what the prophets saw and promised in the Redeemer.To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43) “Havingtherefore obtained help of God, I [Paul] continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:” (Acts 26:22)

C. The life and work of Jesus testify that He is the unique Redeemer. “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” (John 5:36) “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John5:9-12)

D. God the Father personally confirmed the Redeemer. “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Matthew17:5)

E. In Jesus believers find all that Scripture promised and that they know they need. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1 John 5:11)

Take My Side, God

Psalm 35

I. God, We Have a Problem

A. David called on God to help with his enemies and oppressors.A Psalm of David. Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.” (Psalm 35:1)

B. David needed reassurance down inside that God would handle his enemies and his problems. “Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. Draw out also the spear,and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.” (Psalm 35:2-3)

C. God has many resources to bring to any problem and evil people face many dangers they ignore until it is too late. “Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt. Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them.” (Psalm 35:4-6) “The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.” (Psalm 1:4)

D. People who torment and persecute for private reasons will trap themselves. “For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul. Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.” (Psalm 35:7-8)

1. The false accusation, which both David and Jesus experienced, has been common to the believer’s lot in all ages since the rebellion began. “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.” (John 15:25)

2. Eventually corruption entraps itself. “The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.” (Psalm 9:15)

3. The day of final accounting is inevitable; this is the message of the imprecatory psalms. “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.” (Revelation19:1-2) “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)

E. Part of asking God for help is praising Him when it comes. “And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation. All my bones shall say, LORD, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?” (Psalm 35:9-10)

II. Enemies Misrepresented David

A. David’s enemies attacked him without cause and he responded by humbling himself before God and mourning. False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not. They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.” (Psalm 35:11-14)

B. David’s enemies enjoyed his trouble and mocked him as people mock the helpless; remember how Jesus was mocked on the day of His death. “But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not: With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.” (Psalm 35:15-16)

C. David turned to God rather than relying on himself, knowing that God’s victory would give God the glory. “Lord, how long wilt thou look on? Rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions. I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people. Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.” (Psalm 35:17-19)

III. Set Everything Right

A. David called on the Lord to notice the lies of his enemies and to remember the truth. “For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land. Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it. This thou hast seen, O LORD: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me. Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord.” (Psalm 35:20-23)

B. Show the truth; David was taking action by referring matters to God. Judge me, O LORD my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.” (Psalm 35:24)

C. See that the tormenters get their appropriate reward. “Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up. Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.” (Psalm 35:25-26)

D.Side with those who care for persecuted and abused believers.Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favor my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.” (Psalm 35:27-28)

Friday, June 13, 2008

You Shall Have Authority

Jeremiah 23:15-32; Mark 3:13-19 / Hebrews 4:1-13

I. Jesus Chose Apostles

A. Jesus went to a private place to select those whom He would train and send as His agents; He called and they came. “And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.” (Mark 3:13)

B. The selection began with a protracted period of prayer. “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;” (Luke 6:12-13)

C. An apostle is “one sent forth” (apo, “from,” stello, “to send”); the word is used of the Lord Jesus to describe His relation to the Father. “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;” (Hebrews 3:1) “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)

D. The apostles were chosen, they did not advance themselves or come with election certificates.Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)

II. Jesus Prepared His Apostles

A. Jesus took charge of a select group. “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,” (Mark 3:14)

B. He ordained 12, calling to mind both the history and the future of God’s people. “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matthew19:28)

C. Though the focus grows more precise across time there is only one church and one message of gracious redemption. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” (James 1:1) “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,” (1 Peter 1:1)

D. Christ’s servants must be much with him; interaction with Jesus is the foundation for Christian service. “Now when they sawthe boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.” (Psalm 119:99)

E. The Apostles who went out to evangelize the world began with three years of intense personal instruction and example. “And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” (John 15:27) “And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:” (Mark 3:15)

F. Jesus left precise instructions at the end of His earthly ministry. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

G. Jesus provided for continuing education on the job. “And I will pray the Father,and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:16-17) “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13) “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)

III. Study the Apostles

A. Three other lists confirm the selection. “And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.” (Mark 3:16-19)

B. Jesus even selected His own betrayer. “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.”(Matthew 26:14-16)

C. The most amazing biographies of all time resulted from obedience to Jesus’ closing instructions; the agents of Christ are missionaries. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Blog Archive