MIRACLES in Acts?

A problem with many denominations today is the belief that God still uses Holy Spirit gifts [9 HS Gifts, 1Cor 12:7-11] through men today. The belief includes thinking that God is still speaking directly to individuals. They say things like, “God spoke to me,” “I’ve been called by God.”

While God is all powerful and can do whatever He wants, He is not still revealing His will and is not using men to do miracles today. Remember this verse:

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” [John 20:30-31]

The miracles & the revelations to the Apostles recorded in Scripture are sufficient for us to believe, repent & obey [Eph 3:3-4]. The miracles in Acts will bolster this assertion.

The MiracleLocationVersePurpose & Result
Baptism of the Holy Spirit #1Jerusalem2:1-21to confirm the teaching at beginning of the church. John 20:30-31; Heb 2:3-4; Mark 16:17-20
Peter heals a lame manJerusalem3:1-11Teaching. 11-26; Belief John 20:30-31; Heb 2:3-4; Mark 16:17-20
Ananias & Sapphira struck deadJerusalem5:1-10Teaching at the beginning of the New Covenant. Cr. Lev 10:1-3
Apostles perform many wondersJerusalem5:12-1620 “go stand & teach”
PhilipSamaria8:4-13 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching
Paul convertedRoad to Damascus9:1-9To call an Apostle out of due season. 1Cor 15:8
Peter heals Eneas of a palsyLydda9:33, 34Belief. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Peter raises Tabitha, or Dorcas, to lifeJoppa9:36-41Belief. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Gentiles receive Holy Spirit Baptism #2 (& last)Caesarea10; Acts 11 & 15Confirming God’s acceptance; Acts 2
Peter delivered out of prison by an angelJerusalem12:7-17Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
God smites Herod, so that he diesJerusalem12:21-23Teaching at the beginning of the new Covenant. Cr. Lev 10:1-3. 24 word of God grew.
Elymas, the sorcerer, smitten with blindnessPaphos13:6-1112 astonished at the teaching. Belief Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals a cripple Lystra 14:8-1017 witness. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul casts out a spirit of divinationPhilippi16:16-18Confirming Preaching. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul and Silas’s prison doors opened by an earthquakePhilippi16:25-34Lead to converting the Jailor
Paul communicates the Holy SpiritEphesus19:1-6Confirming the word before it was written. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals multitudesEphesus19:11,12Belief John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul restores Eutychus to lifeTroas20:9-12Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul shakes off a viperMalta28:3-6Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals the father of Publius and othersMalta28:7-9Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4

An honest review of the above list will show the student why the miracles were needed.

  • To Confirm the preachers and the teaching were from God.
    • John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
  • For Belief, not for them alone, but for us in our times.
    • “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” [John 20:31]
    • Spiritual gifts were to edify in the absence of the written Word [1 Cor. 14:12-13,26; cf. 13:9]. The written Word is now completely sufficient to edify us [Acts 20:32; 2 Tim 3:16-17].
  • To produce Godly Reverence at the beginning of a covenant to demonstrate God’s displeasure. Not repeated for same error.
    • see Leviticus 10:1-3; Acts 5:1-10; Acts 12:21-23;

Spiritual gifts have fulfilled all three reasons for which they were given.

WHAT MORE SHOULD WE SEEK? When you review both the Old and New Testaments, considering the time frame of the writing, you’ll discover that the Miraculous is quite rare. Additionally, you’ll see that God is very patient and longsuffering [2Pet 3:15]. You don’t see God constantly striking people down. “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” [1Cor 10:6]

God has completed His revelations to us, and He confirmed them through the various signs, miracles and wonders. As you read the last chapters of Acts, you’ll see fewer and fewer miracles. Even Paul, Timothy, Trophimus & Epaphroditus did not perform miracles on each other to cure their pains. [cr. 2Tim 4:20; 1Tim 5:23; 2Cor 12:7; Phil 2:25-27].

The Miracles in Acts show us how and why miracles were done. They were done primarily to confirm the Word that was spoken through the Apostles. These signs were referred to, NOT REPEATED, in Acts 15:7-12 to show the others God’s approval of their activities. Now that the Scriptures are complete and the church has been built, what further need do we need of Miracles?

“…thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

[2Tim 3:15; cf 16-17]

Understanding what God Wants

Scriptural Authority in Acts.

One of the biggest questions of life is, What Does God Want? Along those lines comes the question, how do we find out?

Acts fifteen contains an event that will show us how God communicates, whereby we can know today what it is that God wants.

As we begin this study, we must recognize a few facts.

  • The New Testament was not yet written.
  • Miraculous gifts were to confirm what God wants. Heb 2:4; cf. Deut 18:21-22; 13:1-5.
  • Once the Written Word was completed, the signs and miracles were no longer needed. John 20:30-31; 1Cor 13:10; Eph 3:3-4; 2Tim 3:15-17.

These facts being established, we can learn how to determine what God wants by examining this passage.

God communicates in the same manner as we do with one another. We communicate our desires by TELLING, SHOWING, & IMPLYING. We also trust that our SILENCE on a matter is prohibitive. We can easily see these four concepts being utilized in Acts fifteen. The question the disciples wanted answered was, Are Gentiles candidates for the Gospel of Christ?

And certain men came down from Judaea and taught the brethren, saying, Except ye be circumcised after the custom of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” [Acts 15:1]

Some claim that this was a council to vote on the question. This is wrong. The Apostles already knew the answer, as will be shown by their looking at God’s method of communication (Telling, Showing, Implying & Silence).

FIRST, Peter rose up and reminded them about the first Gentile converts (Acts 10 & 11). How the Holy Spirit fell upon them as He had them “at the beginning.” [Acts 11:15]. Peter Necessarily Infers (inescapably concluded) that God had implied, both through a vision and the falling of the Holy Spirit upon them, that God is accepting Gentiles. He closes by saying, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples…” [Acts 15:10] “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” [15:11]

NEXT, Paul and Barnabas “declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.” [15:12] This is God communicating through SHOWING. Another way this is stated is Approved Apostolic Example. This testimony agrees with Peter, and with what was said about miracles. (see opening statements). “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” [Heb 2:4]

THEN, James answered. His appeal is to the revealed written word from God. He quotes from Amos nine, verses eleven and twelve. His appeal is to the DIRECT STATEMENTS of God. From this command of God, he concludes that God had already planned and authorized for Gentiles to be included in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

James connects the testimony of Peter with these verses in Amos. Who are we to fight against God? He begins by saying, “as it is written.” [15:15] We know from both Old and New Testaments not to go beyond that which is written. [1Cor 4:6; Deut 4:2; 12:32; Rev 22:18; Prov 30:6]

LASTLY, a letter is written and from it we find this statement about the prohibitive nature of SILENCE. “Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:” [Acts 15:24. emph mine seb]

From this we learn that if there is no command, there is no permission. It is to speak presumptuously, something God has already condemned. [De 18:22; 13:2; 18:20; Jer 28:9] Silence is prohibitive is logically understood and demonstrated in at least two other places. Read & Study 2Samuel 7:1-7; Hebrews 7]

In conclusion, we see that the Apostles already knew what the Lord had commanded. They were guided into all truth [John 14:17,26; 15:26; 16:13]. They then declared to those in error the truth of the matter by appealing to God’s Direct Statements, Approved Examples, Inescapable conclusions along with the prohibitive nature of Silence.

We can do the same today utilizing “the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” [2Tim 3:15-17]

Here are some questions to ask ourselves and of any who still believe that miracles are happening, revelation is still being received.

  • We know that Gentiles that obey the Gospel are accepted by God. What further evidence beyond the scriptures do we need to prove this?
  • We know that Baptism is commanded by God, what further miracle do we need to show this?
  • We know what moral behaviors are accepted and which behaviors God abhors, what further miracle do we need to show this?
  • We know that there will be a judgment day, what additional miracle do we need to show this?
  • We know that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God and that we are to do whatever He commands [Luke 6:46], what additional miracle do we need to show this?

What Would You Do?

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“And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” [Gen 2:8]

There’s a TV program called, “What Would you Do?” The premise is to create scenarios in public and film the reactions of innocent bystanders.

What if we took the same concept except, we used events from the Scriptures?

What Would You Do if…

You were in the Garden?

You were called to build an ark?

You were told to marry a harlot?

You were told to sacrifice a son?

You met Jesus by a well?

You were Peter by that fire?

You were standing by Stephen?

These are just a few of the People and events we will explore in this & future articles.

What would you do

If you were in the GARDEN in Eden?

GOD had placed man in the Garden and was told to dress it and to keep it. [Gen 2:8] Having access to all the good fruit that God had made, What Would You Do? Would you view the work as being good, or would you view work as a necessary evil?

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” [Eph 4:28]

Adam was ALONE in the Garden. What Would You Do if you were alone? How would you feel if after a search of all of creation that not a creature was found suitable for you? What Would You Do if no one was watching? Would you continue to be faithful? Would you slack up on your work?

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching:” [Luke 12:37]

What Would You Do if you were RESTRICTED from just one tree? You’re given everything else, but one tree, the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. [Gen 16-17]. Just two commands, one positive (do) and one negative (do not). What Would You Do? Would you be angry saying, ‘I don’t like being told what to do?’ You have freewill. Why can’t you do what you want? What Would You Do, realizing the penalty for disobedience?

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” [Ecc 12:13]

What Would You Do if the DEVIL appeared to you in the form of a Serpent? [Gen 3:1-5] What Would You Do if someone misquotes God’s command? Would you put up with it?

[2Cor 11:1-4] Would you know that the original command had been changed? An addition was made.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” [Gen 2:17]

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” [Gen 3:3]

You’ve EATEN the forbidden fruit, now What Would You Do? Will you hide from God? How would you do that exactly? Where would you go, What Would You Do? Would your conscience try to excuse you or accuse you? Would you consider it sin, or would you call it a little thing?

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” [1John 3:4]

The last question is more troubling. What Would You Do if were NOT allowed to remain in paradise? Would you cry out that it’s not fair? Would you put together a list of all the good things you’ve done trying to ignore or overlook your iniquity? Would you blame everyone else as they did?

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?”

[Mat 7:22]

What Would You Do?

God’s LOOK

God LOOKS at the Heart

God’s LOOK

“Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him: for Jehovah seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looketh on the heart.

[1Sam 16:7]

What a comforting verse, or troubling, depending on what’s going on in our hearts. Whether we like the scrutiny or not, the looking continues.

This passage demonstrates two divine truths:

  • God Looks upon the heart. [cr. Prov 15:11]
  • Man looks upon the outer appearance. [cr. Mat 7:1-2]

There are two looking at man, but did you know there’s a third?

Who’s Looking at whom? Being aware that someone’s watching gives us an advantage. We can and should make adjustments to our lives.

The DIVINE look.

We think of God as LOOKING down from above. “And the LORD came down to see…” [Gen 11:15] And in another passage; “I will go down now, and see…” [Gen 18:21].

Man is willing to overlook or hide sin when it favors him, but God looks down and sees. “For mine eyes are upon all their ways; they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity concealed from mine eyes.” [Jer 16:17] He has, “set our iniquities before thee, Our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.” [Psalm 90:8] In looking down, Divinity takes account of these three main things:

God sees our state of mind, or attitude, when rendering service. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” [2Cor 8:12] “Let each man do according as he hath purposed in his heart: not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” [2Cor 9:7] God doesn’t accept our obedience if the heart is not connected.

God sees and takes into account our capacity of output. What are we able to do? “…to each according to his several ability;” [Matt 25:15] The problem for the one talent man wasn’t his one talent. It was his failure to USE his talent. The first two received the same reward; “Well done, good and faithful servant:” [25:21,23] Neither did more than the other for each were doing according to their ability. It is not the amount of work done that gets the attention & approval of our Lord. What matters is whether we are reaching our capacity for output in service to the Lord. We will be LOOKED upon based on our individual ability as well as our attitude.

The third thing God sees is not how much we give, but how much we have left after giving. Don’t mistake this statement as being just about money. It includes our TIME and other RESOURCES. We remember that the widow gave all that she had. [Luke 21:3]. The Macedonians were poor, but it wasn’t the money they gave that got God’s attention, “But first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God.” [2Cor 8:5] God sees whether we are trusting in Him or in ourselves. [cr. 1Tim 6:10-17; Matt 6:19-21] “for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.”

The SATANIC look.

“And Jehovah said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” [Job 1:7] What was Satan looking for? Satan looks OVER the earth for the purpose of seeing where he can hinder our Christian work. “…and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary.” [Zec 3:1]

Paul said, “we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” [1Thess 1:18] Satan’s power is limited, but his teaching and his human followers are certainly hindering the Gospel. [cr 2Cor 11:13-15] Peter also warns, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” [1Peter 5:8] Satan hinders the spreading of the gospel, which is able to save men’s souls, through false teachers. Satan looks OVER to hinder.

The HUMAN look.

God LOOKS DOWN, Satan is looking OVER, and man is to look into his OWN self. If man looks unjustly at another he is looking with the eyes of Satan. The bible clearly teaches that we humans are to look at our OWN heart. “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” [Matt 7:3] The Lord is emphasizing that we must look into our hearts by looking in His word.

The Lord wants us to look at our OWN selves during worship. “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” [1Cor 11:28] While we eat, we may find ourselves looking at another, impugning their hearts, while we are to be looking at our own heart. This is an outward examination, when our Lord says it should be inward.

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your OWN selves. Know ye not your OWN selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” [2Cor 13:5] An inward look is essential for our lives. David said, “I thought on my ways, And turned my feet unto thy testimonies.” [Psalm 119:59] God LOOKS down, Satan looks OVER to hinder and humans are to look at our OWN heart. One more thing; Our eyes should be KEEPING watch; “Watch therefore: for ye know not on what day your Lord cometh.” [Matt 24:42]

2021 Easy Bible Reading Plan

No photo description available.

How to EAT an Elephant?

One Bite at a Time.

The answer to this question is one way of talking about beginning & finishing an enormous task. Another illustration… “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

I’m inviting you on a journey with me in 2021. A journey through the scriptures. Admittedly, it appears at first as a daunting task. Some have said, “where do I even begin?”

I can empathize, the Bible is…

66 Books, with 1,189 chapters.

There are

929 chapters in the Old Testament.

260 chapters in the New Testament

Where do we begin?

How do we stay motivated?

What does it mean to me?

The answer to these questions is the same answer to the question; “How do you EAT an Elephant?” One bite at a time.

Jesus said, “I Am the Bread of Life.” This discourse about Himself, He is not referencing the Lord’s Supper. Rather, He is encouraging followers to learn everything we can about Him. This is done through reading His word. [John 6:22-68]

Following is a 3-step overview of how to EAT an Elephant, then a Bible Reading Plan for 2021;

3 Steps for how to…

EAT an elephant?

The first thing is to break it into

EASY to manage, smaller bites. (A Bible Reading Plan)

Just as we have regular eating times, we should set an

APPOINTED time to bite, chew & digest. Nothing ever gets done until it is scheduled. (Set an Appointment with yourself)

The hardest part has been in taking the first bite, now just

TAKE another bite. Then rest a bit. Chew on what you’ve read.

Psalm 1 says; “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (emp mine seb)

The Hebrew word for meditate literally means to chew the cud. It is an agrarian term used for us to compare how cows digest their food & how we can study God’s word. Cows sit and ‘chew the cud’ so as to squeeze out as much nutrition from their food as is possible. So, take small manageable bites. Meditate upon what you’ve read. Then TAKE another bite.

Here is an easy Bible Reading Plan for 2021. Here are a few helpful tips.

  • Maintain your own pace, each according to their own ability.
  • If you miss a day, just read what is appointed for that day.
  • Read to understand not just to get through the material.

Pray for wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” [James 1:5]

The COMFORT of the scriptures

Romans 15:4 Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach  us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently  for God's promises to be fulfilled. |
…through COMFORT of the scriptures we might have hope.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope.[Romans 15:4]

Read that again; “…through the comfort of the scriptures we might have hope.” Did you catch it? Paul was referring to the Old Testament scriptures, and that those scriptures can give us comfort and hope.

I know many that find the Old Testament unpalatable, being too disgusting and violent. While it’s true that the OT is full of those things, the Holy Spirit has revealed that through them we may have COMFORT and HOPE.

The new year is upon us. Let’s renew our efforts to read for COMFORT and HOPE.  

7 ways we may find…

COMFORT and hope in the OT Scriptures.

The first thing we can notice is that CHRIST is in the Old Testament. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” Jesus taught of Himself to those on the road to Emmaus, and they said, “Was not our heart burning within us, while he spake to us in the way, while he opened to us the scriptures?” [John 5:39; Luke 24:13-27,32]

Paul wrote in two of his letters saying the scriptures were written for OUR Learning and OUR admonition upon whom the end of the age are come. We have a huge advantage in that we have the full revelation of Jesus Christ. [Rom 15:4; 1Cor 10:11]

In the letter to the Corinthians he wrote about those God brought out of Egypt, “Howbeit with MOST of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. We always learn by others example or experiences. The Old Testament scriptures reveal both good and negative examples. It is foolish to try to learn from just your own mistakes. You may never recover! [1Cor 10:1-13]

A major lesson the entire world needed from the very first day of man in the Garden until now is to learn the FEAR of the Lord. Every generation, every person must learn this. The Old Testament teaches this lesson over and over through the example of those that disobeyed God. “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.” Some dislike this idea of the FEAR of the Lord, but they misunderstand. If you’re in Christ through faithful baptism, you will have a reverential fear. But if not, you ought to have a terror type fear. “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” [Job 28:28; 2Cor 5:11; cr Prov 1:7; Ecc 12:13; Mat 10:28]

Another lesson is that the OLD Covenant was hard, really hard. By reading Leviticus & Deuteronomy (reading through Romans & Hebrews also) we can see that the Law of Moses went well beyond the 10 Commandments. The Jewish traditions teach that there are about 613 commandments. But now we are under the Liberty of Christ. “A better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises.” We are no longer under the bondage of the OLD testament system that couldn’t remove sins, but left a reminder of sin year by year. “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.” [Heb 8:6; Gal 2:4; 4:3, 9, 24, 25; 5:1]

The Law of Moses has been REMOVED & REPLACED by the Love and Blood of Christ on that cross. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments. We now live under grace through the doctrine of Christ. [Col 2:12-14; Eph 2:15; 2John 1:9]

Finally, we can use both the Old and the New Testament scriptures to TEST the spirits. The Bereans were “more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.” Who’s teaching where they testing? It was the Apostle Paul’s delivered to him through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, AND THEY ARE CALLED MORE NOBLE! [Acts 17:11; Eph 3:3-4; cr. 1Thess 5:21; 1John 4:1-4; Deut 13:1-11; 18:20-22]

We need not abhor the OT scriptures for in them is COMFORT and HOPE.

What made the Wise Men WISE?

What made the Wise Men WISE?

FOLLOWING THE STAR…

We know not the date of His birth

We have no command to celebrate it.

We have no idea how many Wise men.

Mat 2:1-12 Wise men following the star

Following the star, what made these…

WISE men? Matt 2:1-12

What can we learn from these WISE men?

It’s WISE to

WORSHIP. Mat 2:11.

When Christ was born, all the angels of God worshipped Him. (Heb 1:6)

John 4:24 must, in spirit and in truth.

It’s WISE to

INVEST in Christ. Mat 2:11; 6:20

GIVE. Gold = King; Fran = Priest; Myrhh = Burial.

GOD has always required it.

Deut 14:22-29 (1st Tithe, Lev 27:30-33; 2nd & 3rd Tithe Deut 14:22-29

Abraham gave; [Heb 7:4].

Give of yourself first! 2Cor 8:5

INDIVIDUALLY, directly. Luke 10:33.

The judgment scene, Mat 25:31-46

VOLUNTARY. 2Cor 8:12, 9:7

EVEN a cup of water. Mr 9:41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name,

It’s WISE to

SEEK Christ. What GUIDE to use?

Those with lessor wisdom seek the perishing things. Col 2:22-23 perish with using.

They had a divine GUIDE, the star.

Mat 6:33 seek ye first. Col 2:1-2 seek, set…

Emotionalism. Deceived, joy or hurt. Consider Jacob about Joseph. Gen 37:34; 45:26

A painful or joyful falsehood, if believed by us, will affect us in the same way.

Wise men depend not on uncertain guides.

DIRT man wisdom.

Mars Hill Men’s IGNORANCE. Act 17:22,23

Man’s wisdom doesn’t know God. 1Cor 1:21

The wisdom from above is not within man. James 3:17; Jer 10:23. Judges 21:25

INSIDE your conscience? consider Paul.

Ac 26:9 I verily thought with myself, contrary

His conscience was perfectly clear. Act 23:1

A Conscience trained in the truth urges.

A conscience untrained cannot bear the truth.

Rom 2:15 conscience accusing or excusing

Weak (1Cor 8:12), Defiled (Titus 1:15), Seared (1Tim 4:2), Evil (Heb 10:22).

Wise men depend not on uncertain guides.

UNIVERSE, nature?

While the heavens declare (Rom 1:20; Psa 19:1)

Nature as a sole guide makes sun, river, moon, animal worshippers. EGYPT.

We can learn from nature… Prov 6:6

Nature alone doesn’t lead us to know God.

Wise men depend not on uncertain guides.

NOT… Emotion, Dirty man, Inside us, Universe…

The wise men followed a divinely created star, the only divine guide for today’s wise man is

GOD’S revealed, inspired word.

Ps 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Pr 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

John 8:33 The truth shall make you free. John 17:17

2John 1:9 abide not… hath not God.

Mat 7:21-23; Luke 6:46

It’s WISE to go the

ENTIRE way.

The wise of the east did not stop until they reached.

Far too many stop SHORT of reaching Jesus…

SCRIBE was close. Mar 12:34 Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.

HARD sayings stop some short. Joh 6:60-66

One w/ greater sin, Judas. Mat 26:14-17; John 19:11

RULER so young, lacked one thing. Mark 10:17-22

TURNING back once the hand is at the plow… Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

ENDURE unto the end.

“But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13

Sixth of Seven Musts of Salvation; GROWTH

Spiritual Growth

The sixth of Seven Musts of Salvation: GROW in Grace & Knowledge…

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.” [2Peter 3:18]

Everyone recognizes the need for growth. Mothers desire for their children to not only grow physically, but to grow emotionally and intellectually.

God is no different. He uses Parent-child phrases to demonstrate our relationship with Him…

He is our Father. Heb 12:9

Jesus is like a Mother Hen. Mat 23:37

He calls us Newborn babes. 1Peter 2:2

We’re His children. 1Peter 1:14 Let us examine a few verses where God is commanding and therefore expecting spiritual GROWTH.

#6, we must GROW: All quotations are from the ASV or KJV

  1. “For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food.” Hebrews 5:12
  • “Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation;” 1Peter 2:1-2
  • “…that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ;” Ephesians 4:14-15
  • “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2Timothy 2:22
  • “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” Mark 4:20
  • “Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge; and in your knowledge self-control; and in your self-control patience; and in your patience godliness; and in your godliness brotherly kindness; and in your brotherly kindness love.” 2Peter 1:5-7
  • “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2Peter 3:18

No verse states we are to grow at the same pace as another. We grow, each according to our ability. [cr. Mat 15:15]

5 keys to spiritual…

GROWTH? 2Peter 3:18

We are to have GROWTH in

GRACE and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2Peter 3:18. It is to be cultivated. Grace is a gift from God to be received by us and utilized.

GROWTH requires

REFLECTION and examination to see if we are in the faith. 2Cor 13:5. “But let a man examine himself,” [1Cor 11:28]

GROWTH requires spiritual weeding by

OFFLOADING (put off) the old man of sin. “But now ye also put off all these…” [Colossians 3:8; cr. Heb 12.1; 1Pet 2:1; Eph 4:22; Jas 1:21]

GROWTH requires a

WEIGHT check. “the LORD weigheth the spirits.” [Prov 16:2; cr. Dan 5:27; 1Sam 2:3; Job 31:6] God weighs the thoughts and intents of the heart.

When GROWTH stalls, a Mother will often make a

TEMPERATURE check. God does also, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” [Rev 3:14-16; cr. Titus 2:14]

Finally, GROWTH requires a

HEALTHY diet of spiritual food. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life:” [John 6:35, 48, 51]. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” [1Peter 2:2; cr. Heb 5:12]

No two children grow at exactly the same rate. There are benchmarks to which the Great Physician will look to determine our GROWTH. As we mature, we ought to examine those benchmarks in ourselves so we may be will pleasing to our HEAVENLY FATHER. May God Bless you all. Spencer

Ad Hominem and Personal Attacks pt3: That’s your OPINION.

That's Just Your Interpretation!” - ppt video online download

The third ATTACK sounds like this: “That’s just your interpretation (OPINION).”

This objection most often occurs when we refer to a bible passage from memory, or even if we quote it accurately and in context. It sounds more like an opinion without evidence. Therefore, whenever you’re speaking with someone about the Bible, OPEN your bible and show them. Quoting scripture from memory has value. You can quote it then repeat it by showing them in God’s word. Have a bible and show it. People will have to direct their anger at the Word when they read it for themselves. Then we may ask, “Can we sit down and figure this out together?”

We might could show them 2Peter 1:20; “…no prophecy of scripture is of PRIVATE interpretation.” Used with the first principle in this guide, we can show that the word stands alone and is against any PRIVATE beliefs or ‘I think so.’ We live in a culture that looks at contradictory viewpoints as being equally valid. “There’s no absolute truth,” some might even say. What they fail to see is they’re being dogmatic against dogmatism.

When hearing this attack (objection), one must realize that the person may not believe in the INSPIRATION of Scripture. Many denominations today don’t teach that the Bible is the only way to hear from God. From the Catholics onward, they’re taught that extra-biblical books, feelings and opinions are just as valid as the written Word. Perhaps pausing and looking at the evidence for the INSPIRED word before continuing.

Another approach to answering this challenge is by showing examples of people doing similar things. NAAMAN is one such example. When told clearly and concisely what needed to be done, his response was ‘I thought.’ [2Kings 5:1-14]. Point out that it was the objector who has a private interpretation. This may work only IF you are following the first point, to OPEN your bible and let the person read for themselves.

It must also be said that we’re not INTERPRETING, we’re reading. What we do when we read is to seek understanding. Many passages teach that we can understand when we read. [John 20:30-31; Romans 10:17; Eph 3:3-4; 2Timothy 3:16-17]

Recognized that this objection comes usually when a clear, concise teaching OPPOSES the person’s practices. (ie. MDR, Instrumental music, Fornication etc.) An appeal to the authority of God through the scriptures may be in order. [Luke 6:46; John 12:48; Mat 7:21-23; Acts 17:11] There are resources available to teach how to determine Biblical Authority. [Billy Moore, James P. Needham, Roy Cogdill and others.]

Lastly, one of the reasons why this objection is raised is because of our own words. We say things like, “I believe” “In my opinion.” We do this with a mind of humility, unfortunately it is working against us. NEVER say ‘I think’ or ‘I believe’ when you’re quoting from the word of God. A Thus saith the Lord shouldn’t be watered down by our fear or cowardice.

Young Samuel knew this lesson. Although he was afraid to tell Eli what the Lord had spoken to him, he didn’t withhold one word of it nor did he water it down to make it easier to swallow.

And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him.” [1Sam 3:18a]

Let’s proclaim God’s word boldly without pride on our part. It’s God’s word, not ours.

–Spencer

Ad Hominem & Personal Attacks p1; You’re ARROGANT

The Debate Pyramid V2 Simple Tt Norms Bold Text - Pyramid, HD Png ...   The Ad Hominem Fallacy (3 Flavors) and Ridicule in the Bible

 

If you’ve done any evangelism at all, you’ve likely experienced a personal attack (Ad Hominem; in a way that is directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining).

This should come as no surprise for Christ gave us warnings about it in addition to experiencing the ultimate attack, the one against His life. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” [Mark 13:13]

While some accusations may be well founded due to our own poor attitudes, words & acts, most are ad hominem attacks.

Let’s look at a few and learn how to respond without reviling.

 

Before we answer this attack, we need to remember how Jesus responded to personal attacks. He didn’t revile in return. “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:” [1Peter 2:23; Isa 53:7]

 

The First ATTACK has a few versions: “You’re Arrogant. You’re just closed minded. It’s obvious you’ve already got your mind made up.”

First off, ACCURATELY define your intentions & motives. Tell them that it is true that you have your mind made up, and it’s not because you haven’t examined the evidence nor heard the arguments. It’s made up BECAUSE you’ve given careful consideration to the scriptures. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” [Acts 17:11].

This attack is vile in that it impugns your motives. It attempts to judge you unfairly and we know how the Lord feels about that [Matt &:1-2].

RESPOND calmly with a question; “Are you saying it’s arrogant to say & do what the bible teaches? [Luke 6:46; Mat 7:21-23; Col 3:16] Jesus often used questions (about 100) to challenge His accusers & His disciples. [Matt 15:3; 21:25]

One good question from Christ’s spiritual arsenal is, “Have you READ this scripture?” [Matt 21:42]. It’s much more effective to show someone the verse in the bible than it is to refer to it or even to quote it from memory. Otherwise it’s just arguing opinions. Show them, not just tell them. Let them READ it for themselves.

I sometimes ask; “Is it ONLY the OTHER guy that has his mind made up?” The other person has their own steadfastness and sees your steadfastness as pride. “How come your unwavering assertions aren’t arrogant?” This response is not to conflate the conversation. It’s to calm it down by finding common ground. Paul used a similar strategy at the beginning of his speech on Mars Hill [Acts 17:22].

It’s a good reminder for them and for yourself that GOD HATES pride & arrogance. [Prov 8:13; Luke 18:14]. Perhaps you can restore civility by admitting that you’re working on avoiding this sin.

Remember that debate is healthy, ARGUMENT is not. We must have discussions about our differences, but we mustn’t allow ourselves to resort to ANGER & HATE. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” [Phil 2:3] Consider these passages for additional study on scriptural debate [1Thess 5:21; Titus 2:15; 2Tim 4:2; 1Tim 5:20; 2Tim 2:24-26; Jude 3; 1Tim 6:12; 2Cor 10:4-5; Acts 14:26-15:2] It’s better to end the discussion if either of you are having trouble with their emotions. [Mat 7:6; 15:14]

Another good reminder is that it’s NOT ABOUT WINNING an argument, it’s about winning a soul. “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” [1Cor 9:22]

Finally, if you’ve handled yourself well, made no mistakes in your defense of the Gospel and never raised your voice or rolled your eyes, THEY MAY STILL accuse you of pride. THEY did it to the Master Teacher, are you any more special than He? [Mark 14:61-65]

–Spencer