The 3 Things We Forget About Jesus Christ

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The 3 Things We Forget About Jesus Christ- Who He Is, What He Said, and What He Did

Any Christians offended yet? Sometimes I like to “offend” Christians, because when someone is offended, they’ll engage in a “fight”. And if I can engage you, hopefully you will listen. Jesus was known to offend people, but we’ll get into that shortly.

1. Jesus- Who Is He?

Of course, Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Most Christians will agree with that.

But, also, Jesus was a Jew. Not only was he a Jew by the nationality of the word, or the religious sense, he was a Jew through and through. The gospel of Luke tells of his genealogy from Joseph, his earthly father, all the way back to Adam, the first man created by God (read Luke 3: 38).

So we as Christians need not forget this important fact: Mary was favoured by God (read Luke 1:30), a servant to God (Luke 1:38) and her husband to be, Joseph, was a man faithful to the Law of God (Matt. 1:19).

We can consider the specific ‘role’ of parenting the Son of God, but I just want us to point out that God chose two people with such a task who were obedient and faithful.

This brings me to point 1 of Jesus Christ and who he is: He did not distance himself from the Old Testament. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets;
I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen,
will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 
Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

2. Jesus And The Pharisees (What He Said)

The Pharisees were important to the story of Jesus Christ and his ministry. They were highly religious, they loved the Law and they could not tolerate people who broke the Law. They even made laws to prevent people from breaking the Law.

Isn’t that interesting?

In a lot of sense, Jesus would have fit right in because of his exceptional moral character. Sadly, Jesus was (and is) the Son of God, and thus Jesus cared more about the people than a position of high status. In Matthew 23 many flaws in the Pharisees. Let’s begin with verses 2-6:

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”

“Everything they do is done for people to see…they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues…”

I encourage you to read Matthew 23 for yourself, but I’ll share a few key verses with you here:

13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness.

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

3. Jesus And What He Did

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Sadly, a lot of people simply believe Jesus came to earth to die. But he didn’t.

  • He was born in Bethlehem (fulfilling prophecy from Micah 5:2)
  • Fleeing to Egypt (fulfilling prophecy from Hosea 11:1)
  • Growing up in Nazareth (fulfilling prophecy)
  • Going to Jerusalem on a donkey (fulfilling prophecy from Zechariah 9:9)
  • Dying on a cross (fulfilling prophecy fulfilling Psalm 22:14 “my bones are out of joint” which illustrates that the death was not by weaponry. Psalm 22 also records the people around Jesus in verse 16 as “dogs” and “a pack of villains”, their actions in verse 18 “they cast lots for my garments” and their words in verse 8, “He trusts in the LORD let the LORD rescue him.”
  • Resurrecting (fulfilling prophecy from Psalm 16:10)
  • And ascending to Heaven and seated at the right hand of God recorded in Hebrews 1:3 (fulfilling prophecy from Psalm 16:11)

Now that you see that Jesus was born and lived, let’s go back to the verse above where Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and LEARN from me…”

So what did he do in the time on the earth? He taught. How many times did people call him “Rabbi” or “Teacher”.

The Sermon On The Mount

And the most famous of sermons? “The Sermon on the Mount” found in Matthew 5-7. And what did Jesus teach? Law. Not the Law the Pharisees taught. Not a Law that is designed to condemn man kind in their sins. He taught the Law in it’s purest form.

Matthew 7:28-29 says, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Now, let’s look at the teaching of Jesus Christ.

Jesus would say, “You have heard it said (dot dot dot), but I tell you.” He would take the Old Testament Law and put it on a higher plateau. “You’ve heard it said murder is a sin, but I tell you that if you call someone a “Fool” you’re endanger of the fires of hell.”

“Oh, you’ve heard not to commit adultery? Well I tell you that if you look at a woman lustfully, you’re an adulterer at heart.”

Check out what he says in Matthew 5:20-

“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

I encourage you to read for yourselves. But check out this last line concluding the Sermon On The Mount:

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 
because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Why Am I Sharing This?

I am sharing this with you because God loves you. By no means am I saying that we are saved by the Law, but through it we get a glimpse of the Holy, Eternal God who has set eternity before us.

In 1 John 1:5-6, it says,

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him
and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 

Let us put away our sins. “Put To Death,” Apostle Paul tells us in Colossians 3:5, “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”

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Is There a Law Against Love?

While Paul wrote that there is no law against love, Tolstoy wrote there is a law of love. He believed that no law prohibits choosing to do what is loving. The Christian is not threatened by external things when he is liberated within to love.

“The divine law of love, which is implanted in the soul of every man and is brought into consciousness by Christ.” –

The Kingdom of God Is Within You by Leo Tolstoy

Three hundred burka-clad women stood at the gate imploring to get in to give their last respects to their beloved doctor. Security forces had warned hospital staff to let only Christians in for the funeral. But these Muslim women would have none of that, they would bring down the gate if they couldn’t say good-bye to the German doctor who had loved them and delivered their babies for over 20 years. Hospital staff decided to open the doors, but under one condition. To ensure identity and that no militants entered disguised as women, every woman went against strict conservative norms to lift her veil, exposing her face to a male, as she walked through the gate.

The lady doctor had served the people in a tribal part of Pakistan, in an area that even police officials dared not trod. Everyone received special care at the hospital whether they were Muslim, Christian, military or Taliban. All experienced the doctor’s loving care, especially the women. She was so well-loved and respected that the Government of Pakistan awarded her a prestigious national award for her dedicated humanitarian work in that region.

The women poured into the church and wept for the one who had loved them so much. Her love, kindness, and gentleness turned potential hostility into friendliness.

Is There a Law Against the Fruit of the Spirit?

Paul says there is no law against the fruit of the Spirit. But that was centuries ago, what about today? A quick search of Google says it is still true. There is no law against the kind of love Paul writes to us about. Rather, the fruit often breaks down barriers and binds enemies into friends.

I live in a restricted country where we must be careful what we say and who we associate with. We must be mindful not to loudly declare our displeasure with anything or anyone in the establishment. That is if we value our lives. My husband and I laughingly say, “We have no rights, only responsibilities. And ours is the bigger word.” No one can object to love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Some have bad-mouthed us in the face of kindness, but we will never be charged for having and demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit. Others have seen the fruit and it has softened the heart and bound us together.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

No Water for Ablution

To illustrate I will share one more story.

Adil’s employee approached him, “The water pump at the mosque is broken and no one can wash before prayers.” Adil picked up his toolbox and with his employee in tow, went to the neighbourhood mosque to repair the pump. Fortunately, it was an easy fix he could do with a little help from his employee. A gaunt old man, leaning against his cane, watched. When the repairs were finished, he turned to the religious leader and asked, “Where are all your rich cronies? Could they not do this task? Look, here is the one you call a kafar (infidel) doing it for us. He didn’t have to do it, but out of the kindness of his heart he came.” An act of kindness is noticed and usually well-received.

And that, folks, brings my posts on the fruit of the Spirit to a conclusion.

The next time you see that prostitute, that gay person, that transgender, that Muslim, Hindu, atheist, whoever it might be; how can you demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit with that person? How can we love our neighbour as ourselves? In what ways can we be a Good Samaritan to those who are outside our comfort zone?

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The Weekly Bible Lab: S1E4- The Parables- with John Stapleton

YouTuber John Stapleton continues with the Gospel of Mark 5- The Parables. Be sure to subscribe.

Also, if you’re on the go or in the car, click on the podcast play button to listen to the audio just below the YouTube video.

The Parables
Get it on Apple Books

BIG IDEA

We fight fear with faith. Based on Mark 5.

1. The Story

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered
around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and
when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying.
Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to
bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had
spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.

When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from
her suffering. (5:21-29) 1

2. Comparison of Jairus and the Woman

1 Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. http://www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and
“New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica,
Inc.™

3. Responses to Jesus: Fear and Faith

Jesus switches the two, raising the status of the woman by making her the one to emulate. The
woman was afraid, but she professed her faith. “Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just believe.’”
(5:36).

Jesus goes and raises the girl and the witnesses still don’t believe. “They were completely astonished.”
(5:42). The root of unbelief is fear. Fear is a lack of faith and this is a theme that serves as an
undercurrent of this gospel.

The disciples were afraid when Jesus calmed the sea (4:40).

  • The townspeople were afraid when they saw the demoniac healed (5:15).
  • Peter was afraid at the transfiguration (9:6).
  • The disciples were afraid of thinking about Jesus dying (9:32).
  • The disciples were afraid going up to Jerusalem (10:32).
  • The women were afraid at the tomb (16:8).

CONCLUSION: “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” (5:36)

Q&A

1). Why did the Biblical God give humanity the option not to follow God?

Because love would not be freely given if it is forced. The ability to choose love
over hate; to choose who we will love, is what makes love so genuine. But if God
pre-programmed humans to love him, that wouldn’t be love from the will; it
would be instinct. If love is free, it is possible that some people won’t choose to
follow God.

2). I’m getting better at knowing how to read the Bible and understanding it.
Why is that?

I don’t know you personally, so I can’t tell you specifically what is working, but
my guess is you have devoted a lot of time to learning it.

It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything. Your commitment to the
day in, day out, rhythms of daily devotions, Bible reading, and Bible study has
certainly paid off!

The Bible has been described as pond that an infant can splash in, as well as an
ocean that the biggest of elephants can wade in. Perhaps you want to start
learning the original languages to know the precision of the text better. Maybe
you want to read commentaries. I just want to challenge you, as I also encourage
you, to keep up the good work as you grow deeper in love and understanding (as
you always can)!

3). What is the most relevant to modern life, the Old or New Testament?

The New Testament is more applicable to Christianity, since the New
Testament is the words of the New Covenant that was inaugurated by the blood
of Jesus

However, the question is about modern life. Well, the Bible is an ancient book
that records ancient history and people; the Bible however is timeless, so it’s able
to speak to any people at any time. We are not that different from them.

The book of Proverbs (in the Old Testament) is a great practical book that is
modern people could stand to benefit from. It has a wealth of information about
living well – from money to relationships! I think we rob ourselves when we pick
and choose of gleaning from all of the Bible.

4). Will this current generation live to witness the rapture and Christ’s return?

No generation can confidently affirm that they will see Christ return. Howbeit,
we are one generation closer to his return than before.

It’s tempting for every generation to look at the brokenness of the world in their
given era of history and assume that they are the last generation, but we would be
false prophets if we make that claim.

When I consider what Jesus taught about this, I conclude that he wants us to
know about the day of his return (it won’t surprise us like it will surprise the
world) but we won’t know the precise time of the event itself, and that is how
God wanted it because only he knows. Our ignorance of when Jesus is coming
back encourages us to live faithfully and expectantly, like the Old Covenant Jews
waited for the Messiah. Faithfulness is our only option, not predicting dates.

5). What does “for the time is at hand” mean in Revelations 1:3?

John means that the time is near. This creates more questions though, like, “The
time for what?” and, “How soon is soon?”

When John says that the time is at hand, he’s saying it’s time for Jesus to be
revealed and for the curtain to be pulled back that divides life on earth from
spiritual realities. The book of Revelation wasn’t given to us so that we can know
the future timeline of world events; it was given to see Jesus’ authority over all
time and space.

What does ‘soon’ mean? I’ve done a word study on it and it simply means… soon.
One thing to keep in mind when reading the Bible is it is a mix of God’s
perspective and ours. What does ‘soon’ mean to God who is not confined by
time? It will mean something different than how we consider soon. It’s almost
comparable to how long you thought an hour was when you were a kid versus
now; an hour felt like forever and now it’s a small window of time.

6). How do you pronounce ‘Selah’ in the Bible?

“Say-law”

Selah is a Hebrew word that appears many times throughout the Psalms and
means something like an interlude. It is an invitation for the hearer or reader to
stop and reflect on what was just said.

In general, Selah is a constant reminder in the Bible to not just read it, but
meditate on it, mull it over, keep chewing, keep pondering; have the scriptures on
playback in your mind.

7). What does it mean in the Bible, “godliness with contentment” in 1 Timothy
6:6?

In order to understand godliness, we need to understand what wickedness is.
Earlier in this passage, Paul gives us a definition:

“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our
Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand
nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3-4 NIV).

If wickedness is against biblical teaching, godliness is what lines up with what
God’s revealed will is in the Bible.

Contentment is not complacency. It is being satisfied with your situation while
planning for the future. It’s not a constant grabbing for more; not a constant
ache for the next stage of life.

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The Weekly Bible Lab: S1E3 -Proximity Of Jesus- with John Stapleton

YouTuber John Stapleton shares with us more on the Proximity of Jesus with a deeper look into the Gospel of Mark 3:7-35. Be sure to subscribe to his channel by clicking on the icon on the top of his video screen below.

Also, if you’re on the go or in the car, click on the podcast play button to listen to the audio just below the YouTube video.

3 | Proximity To Jesus

BIG IDEA

Many people wanted to be with Jesus, but Jesus only selected a few to
be with him.

Mark 3:7-21, 31-35 (Markan sandwich)
● The Crowds
○ The Apostles
● The Family of Jesus

1). Jesus Withdrew from Crowds

Mark 3:7-12
The first two words we see in our passage today is that “Jesus withdrew”
(verse 7). In fact, every section we are looking at today begins with this
idea:

“Jesus withdrew with his disciples” (verse 7).
● “He went up a mountain and called to him those whom he desired”
(verse 13).
● “Then he went home” (verse 20).

In correlation to this, look at the reaction of the crowds:

“Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd
followed” (verse 7).
● “When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to
him” (verse 8).
● “Then he went home and the crowd gathered again” (verse 20).
● “His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent
to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him” (verses
31-32).

This is very clear from the passage: Jesus is highly sought out because he
is a miracle-worker (verse 8-10).

2). Jesus Selected Those He Wanted

Mark 3:13-19
The passage starts off with Jesus separating himself from the crowds,
then he “called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him”
(verse 13). Jesus intentionally puts distance between himself and the
crowds, and he calls his disciples to do the same. This harkens back to the
Old Testament when God reveals himself as a holy God, which means he
is separate from sin and sinners (Leviticus 19:2; Hebrews 7:26).

Now, it is interesting to notice “those whom he desired” (verse 13). It is an
eclectic mix of dysfunction; they were also unimpressive. They were
blue-collar guys who would have been rejected from rabbi school. The
only thing that is consistent about this bunch is that they are slow and
unbelieving throughout this gospel account. One of them “betrayed him”
(verse 19). Peter was a hot-head, usually acting or reacting before
thinking. Matthew collected taxes for Rome and Simon was a freedom
fighter who would have despised Matthew (who probably slept with one
eye open). James and John were immature (Matthew 20:20-24 ;Mark
9:38-39; Luke 9:54). The rest of disciples are so common that they aren’t
mentioned in many places.

These were the guys that Jesus picked.

3). Jesus Redefines Family

Mark 3:20-21, 31-35
This last section brings our sandwich to a close. In contrast to the apostles
(the sent ones), Jesus’ family shows up to get him because they think he’s
lost his mind. Can you blame them? Jesus is so familiar to them that it is
weird that he now has a ministry. Why is he preaching and healing? Why
is he casting out demons? This is likely the kind of thoughts they had
(Mark 6:2-3).

The other interesting factor is that the religious leaders show up in the
section above this one, basically accusing Jesus of being empowered by
demons. Already, his family thinks he’s crazy and the Pharisees think he’s
empowered by Satan.

Q&A

1). When you read Matthew 23:1-12, what is the most important thing
that you can gather and really remember for the rest of your life?

If you are religious, don’t live your life in such a way that shames
God and misrepresents Jesus. Don’t make Christianity look bad.

That’s the lesson. Jesus started off the entire chapter by telling us to
do what they say (because they teach the Bible) but don’t live like
them.

2). How can one say that they take the Bible literally when it is full of
so many contradictions? Surely one would have to be highly selective
when picking their poison or their cherries.

You assume a lot when you claim the Bible is full of contradictions.
In fact, the burden of proof is on you to back up your statement.
Serious study will clear up these so-called “contradictions.”

The other thing to know is the Bible is actually a library of 66 books
that comprise various genre’s of writing. That means that you won’t
read Revelation the same way you read Leviticus. The Psalms are
different than the gospels. The logical arguments in Paul’s letters
are not the same as the Job. Anyone that reads literature as
literature would get this concept.

3). Which character of the Bible had problems with impulse control?

Jephthah, hands down. My other example is Peter.

4). How long will Christianity last?

It is helpful to distinguish between Christianity and Christendom.
Christianity is following the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.
Christendom is the Western experiment birthed from the freedom of
religion, to have a culture that is broadly Christian.

What we have seen most explicitly in the last twenty years has been
the decline of Christendom. Christian culture is not cool anymore. It
is no longer a benefit to tell people that you are a Christian
business owner, or that you go to church, or that you are a minister.
That is like social suicide

The benefit of this is that we get a more accurate picture of what
the church really is, who really follows Jesus, and what things in
Christian culture are holy and pure. A lot of ridiculous things have
been burned away.

In response, Christianity is not dying and will not end. Historically,
the church always has an ebb and flow. There are revivals and there
are lean times. We are seeing nothing new.

5). Why shouldn’t you just read the Bible once?

Because the Bible is more than a book that we read; it’s a book that
reads us. You can read a news article once because it is merely an
exchange of information. The Bible however is a book of
transformation. Another reason we read it is because God uses his
written Word to feed our souls. As the body digests food, the mind
and heart is encouraged by and internalizes the Word.

Those are two good reasons to keep reading it.

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The Weekly Bible Lab: S1E2- The Son of Man (Mark 2:1-12)- with John Stapleton

YouTuber John Stapleton shares on The Son of Man from the Gospel of Mark. (Notes Below)

2 | The Son of Man

BIG IDEA

Jesus proves his claim to be God by healing a paralyzed man to show that he has forgiven the man’s sins.

CONTEXT

Mark 1 was all about introducing Jesus Christ, second person of the trinity,
who demonstrated his authority as God by exercising his rule over demons
and sickness. As you could imagine, this captivates the appeal of large
throngs of people who then begin to follow Jesus around. This brings us to
chapter 2.

THE STORY

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, and by now Jesus is
residing in Capernaum. Jesus has been traveling from town to town
throughout the Galilean region preaching. Now that Jesus has returned
home, he still “was preaching the word to them” (Mark 2:2). If you are
wondering what he may had been saying, I would look at Mark 1:15: “Jesus
came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is
fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the
gospel.’” Jesus had one message: Repentance and kingdom allegiance.

As Jesus was preaching in (what some scholars think to be Peter’s house),
many people gathered to hear him and then five men are introduced into
the narrative. “When they could not get near him because of the crowd,
they removed the roof above him” (Mark 2:4). Jesus saw their faith by
them thinking outside the box to get to Jesus. We also don’t if the
paralytic himself had any faith, but his friends did, and that was enough
for Jesus. He directs his attention to the man and forgives his sins. Some
religious people were present judging Jesus: “Why does this man speak
like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark
2:7).

But Jesus is already God!

“Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves…”
(Mark 2:8).

Only God can read people’s thoughts. It’s interesting whenever this word
“questioned” comes up, it often has negative contexts. Let’s look at other
occurrences in Mark’s gospel:

  • Mark 8:16-17 | They began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?
  • Mark 11:31-33 | They discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Their mind would have gone back to this story in the Old Testament:
  • Leviticus 24:10-16 | 10 Now an Israelite woman’s son, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the people of Israel. And the Israelite woman’s son and a man of Israel fought in the camp, 11 and the Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the Name, and cursed. Then they brought him to Moses. His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. 12 And they put him in custody, till the will of the Lord should be clear to them.
    13 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 14 “Bring out of the camp the one who cursed, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. 15 And speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. 16 Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.
I love Jesus’ response:
  • Mark 2:9 | Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’?

I always missed what Jesus meant by saying this, but I’ve recently
discovered that it would be easier to say that the man’s sins are forgiven
because there is no tangible way to prove that. It’s harder to tell the man
to walk, because if he doesn’t walk, nobody will believe anything Jesus is
teaching.

  • Mark 2:10-12 | But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Jesus possesses the authority that he claims; he successfully backed his
claim to be God and forgive sin. This is an unmistakable miracle that
everyone became witnesses to and they “glorified God” (verse 12). People
are still curious about Jesus as he is the great miracle worker. As we get
deeper into Mark’s gospel, we will see two groups of people: People who
follow Jesus because of the miracles and others who follow Jesus because
they love him. In other parts of Mark, when people are “amazed,” that
usually indicates unbelief.

Ask yourself: Why do I follow Jesus? Do I believe what Jesus said about
himself? Why or why not?

Q&A

1). Is it true that the Bible has become a god to many who idolize it?
Can the Bible actually become a God to people and keep them from
knowing the true God himself? – Samuel Jones

While Christians don’t worship the Bible, we can never stress how
important it is because it points us to the God we worship. Without
the Bible, we will never would know God’s character, or God’s will, or
let alone how we are to interpret the world around us.

It would be really hard to worship the Bible because it points
outside of itself. The only times the Bible points to itself is when it
reminds us that these are the words of God.

2). Which character of the Bible displays great persistence? – Laurel
Anderson

Hebrews 11 give us many examples of persistence or faith, but 2
characters in particular come to mind for me:

The first is the fictitious widow in Luke 18, who keeps hounding a
careless judge for justice. The second is Job. He is a weird example
because as I read through Job, he isn’t all that patient. He whines
throughout the book. Yet James, a New Testament writer
encourages us to consider “the steadfastness of Job” (James 5:11).

Maybe the Bible is telling us in this example that it is okay to
grieve, even question God, but still be patient.

3). Is it possible that Isaiah 5:20 is occurring currently in society? –
Mark Bloemers

This is definitely happening today. We are always redefining things
to sound less bad. We don’t like to call infidelity adultery; instead it
is an affair. We don’t like to call abortions murder; it is a mother’s
choice… to murder. The examples I could mention are numerous.

If we can redefine terms, this directly effects how the next
generation thinks about morality. I firmly believe that the most
sinful thing we can do with our speech is not cussing (though I don’t
condone free use of profanity) but it is dishonesty. Calling good
things bad and bad good is dishonest.

No it was not God’s will. A closer look at 1 Kings 11:1–4 reveals that
these wives turned Solomon’s heart away from God. It also mentions
that God commanded not to marry foreign women from other
religions because that’s what will happen – the husband will be
influenced away from the Lord. So it is important to realize that
Solomon broke God’s law (see Deuteronomy 17:17).

Later, after the reign of Solomon, we get the reflection of
Nehemiah concerning this situation in Nehemiah 13:23-27.

Long story short, it was never God’s will for Solomon to have many
wives.

4). Is the Great Tribulation prophesied to be the same as the time
before Noah’s flood? – Stef Lynn

I would encourage you to look at Luke 17:26–27. Jesus compares the
flood and the Great Tribulation because of 4 basic realities: 1). The
world was sinful, 2). Life went on as usual, 3). God’s judgment took
everyone by surprise, 4). Except for God’s chosen people.

These events are very unique from each other. The first judgment
was a flood; the last judgment is fire (2 Peter 3:7). Moreover, Jesus
said that no other events ever have or ever will match or exceed this
event (Matthew 24:21). So according to Jesus, this is not the same
event. Jesus was using the flood as a point of reference.

5). Why is Paul’s name not mentioned in Revelation 21:14 where the
twelve apostles of the Lamb are listed?

The main thing to focus on is the symbolism of the number 12. The
reason I take this angle is because I can’t say with confidence who
the twelfth apostle is. Remember, Judas committed suicide. The
apostles then cast lots to decide who will officially be the twelfth
apostle “and the lot fell on Matthias” (Acts 1:23). Later, Saul gets
saved and becomes Paul.

Paul also saw himself as the outsider (2 Corinthians 12:11). That’s just
how it was. The twelve apostles are a class to themselves because
they walked with Jesus. “He appointed twelve (whom he also named
apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them
out to preach and have authority to cast out demons” (Mark
3:14–15). While Jesus picked his disciples, Paul was being a Pharisee.
He just didn’t pick Paul and after he got saved, he felt like he had a
lot to prove.

The big idea behind the symbolism in Revelation 21 is that the
twelve foundations and names reflect the twelve tribes of Israel. It’s
a symbol for Israel and spiritually, God’s people.

6). Which character of the Bible is overly trusting?

The person that comes to mind for me is Hezekiah. Isaiah 39:1–6
recalls the king showing envoys from Babylon everything in his
house. The prophet Isaiah came back to Hezekiah that he shouldn’t
have been so proud and gullible by showing everything off. He
predicted that everything would be stolen by them.

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Jim Elliot by Robert Lloyd Russell

Jim Elliot

Jim Elliot

Background:

In early 1956 Christian missionaries Roger Youderian, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Jim Elliot lost their lives. On “Palm Beach” on the banks of the Curaray River in a steamy jungle in Ecuador. They were brutally killed by an unreached tribe they had worked long and hard to reach with God’s love.

Many thousands of individuals have come to know Christ in a personal and living way and thousands of others have altered the direction of their lives as a result of the shocking massacre and the many articles and books written about it.

Even the Auca Indians who thrust those fatal spears have seen a significant portion of their number come to know Jesus Christ.

Content:

This unique book contains transcripts of four messages given by Jim Elliot before leaving for the mission field. The first two messages are hard-hitting straightforward talks to seventh and eighth-grade students.

  • The first is about “Spiritual Desire” including its nature and how to increase it.
  • The second discusses “The Effects of Sin in a Christian.”
  • The third message, entitled “Peter,” is an exposition of 1 Peter 1:3.
  • The fourth, “God’s Prophet,” traces the concept and role of a prophet with the primary focus being Jesus Christ, the Father’s ultimate Prophet.

Robert Lloyd Russell grew up in the same local church as Jim Elliot and was a friend of the Elliot family for many years. Jim was one of his childhood Sunday School teachers and there was a period of several weeks when Russell and his parents and siblings lived with the Elliots in their home.

One of Jim’s brothers, “Dr. Bob,” officiated at Mr. Russell’s wedding.

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The Fruit of Self-Control: Something I Need

The Fruit of Self-Control: Something I Need

When we think of someone with a lack of self-control, perhaps we turn to a historical figure like Henry VIII. Henry is known for his enormous appetite, six wives and multiple executions during his reign. One could say that he overindulged and had no self-control. But we don’t have to go back into history, most of us overindulge at the dinner table at Christmas, New Years’ Day, Thanksgiving or on other festive times. You might be wondering what controlling our appetites has to do with the fruit of self-control. Surely, Paul is talking about a different kind of control. Isn’t he? The self-control Paul talks about is sensual appetites and desires that requires not only mental but also physical self-control, something we all need more of.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

I Could Do with More Self-Control

Couldn’t we all! So how do we get more self-control over our bodies and minds? Where do we get that power? It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the ability to exercise self-control. So, there you have it folks, try as you might, on your own, the amount of self-control we need to be fruitful isn’t from within, it’s from the Holy Spirit. That is a relief and takes the pressure off us as we turn to God and ask him for another measure of self-control. We don’t have to do it by ourselves. Let’s run to our Abba Father and ask him for the self-control we need.

Okay, it can help us control our appetite and maybe lose a pound or two, but what else can it do? Besides keeping us from sensual sins, what benefits does self-control have?

Creates Harmony, Not Discord

A gentle response, rather than words spoken hastily in anger, creates harmony. Controlling our tempers doesn’t mean that we can’t be upset, but maybe it is that proverbial counting to ten before speaking that creates peace in the family or the workplace. Disciplining a child should be a controlled event, not a cuff over the head with curses angrily spoken. Relationships flourish rather than diminish when the fruit of self-control is exercised.

Strengthens our Relationship with God

This is a rich one. With a strengthened relationship in God, often our other relationships are strengthened too. The graphic illustration of a vertical relationship with God means a horizontal relationship with people. While this is often true, it isn’t always so. New believers from other religions embrace Christ, often at great costs. What is most precious is Jesus Christ and him alone. Paul understood that when he said, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (Philippians 3: 8). We don’t know how Paul’s family took his conversion to Jesus Christ, but being Pharisees, I imagine some members were not happy with him. Yet, he held himself in control to follow Christ. Furthermore, he often likened the Christian life to that of an athlete in training. Athletes require lots of self-control. Self-control encourages perseverance which means the prize at the end of the race will be won.

What area of your life requires more self-control? How will you acquire that added measure of self-control?

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Jim Elliot: Recorded Messages (Missions) by Robert Lloyd Russell

Jim Elliot Recorded Messages
Get it on Apple Books

Jim Elliot: Recorded Messages (Missions)

This book is directly relevant to all Christians. All Christians will appreciate Jim’s straightforward, hard-hitting style of speaking.

  • Young Christians—from junior high through college—and new Christians of any age, will benefit from the understanding gained from Jim’s discussions on “Spiritual Desire” and “The Effects of Sin in the Christian.”
  • Mature Christians will appreciate the spiritual meat in his messages on Jesus Christ and Peter–they are rich and thought-provoking.
  • Missions-oriented Christians and those with an interest in the history of missions will find the book riveting.

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Thy Will Be Done on Earth by Robert Lloyd Russell

Thy Will Be Done On Earth

Thy Will Be Done on Earth

Do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:17 NIV)

  • Confidently understand God’s desire for you!
  • Increase your Christian maturity with Godly inner convictions!
  • Make decisions according to God’s specific desires for you!
  • Live the Christian life you desire-and God wants for you! Reviewers say.

“I was blown away by the book. exciting. a quality work”

“Very rewarding. Both the new Christian and seasoned Christian will find it instructive.”

“This is absolutely great! It is a must for any Christian to understand and apply these elements!”

“It is very practical, easy to read and nicely presented, and it will be helpful to many people.”

“Easy to read, easy to understand, and deals with substantial issues. I especially appreciate the way it places the understanding of God’s will in the context of basic Christian discipleship.”

Thy Will Be Done On Earth provides:

  • A clear foundational presentation of God’s will
  • The Christian Life Model – the general will of God
  • The Christian Guidance Model – God’s specific will for you

Robert Lloyd Russell has a Master of Christian Leadership Degree from Western Seminary and has been a popular Bible teacher for over forty years.

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