Archives for : August2010

Failing to put God first

“A gallon holds 128 ounces. If one puts 138 ounces into a one gallon container, 10 ounces will spill over the side. This is a simple idea to grasp. I believe the same concept is part of the reason attendance suffers, especially on Sunday and Wednesday evening. Not only attendance, but participation in the work of the church is certainly not engaged in as it should be. In our society we have more than enough material possessions and activities with which to fill our time so many that we are unable to contain them in the 168 hours we have each week. Just as with the gallon container, if we try to fill our week with more than 168 hours, some other activity must be sacrificed. How often is it that one’s service to the Lord is that which is sacrificed? Let us fill our lives with more activities for the Lord. When we do, we will naturally rid ourselves of things that steal our time and service from the Lord.”
–Tom Wacaster

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The garden of daily living

First, you come to the garden alone,
while the dew is still on the roses….

FOR THE GARDEN OF YOUR DAILY LIVING,

PLANT THREE ROWS OF PEAS:

1. Peace of mind
2. Peace of heart
3. Peace of soul

PLANT FOUR ROWS OF SQUASH:

1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness

PLANT FOUR ROWS OF LETTUCE:

1. Lettuce be faithful
2. Lettuce be kind
3. Lettuce be patient
4. Lettuce really love one another

NO GARDEN IS WITHOUT TURNIPS:

1. Turnip for meetings
2. Turnip for service
3. Turnip to help one another

TO CONCLUDE OUR GARDEN WE MUST HAVE THYME:

1. Thyme for each other
2. Thyme for family
3. Thyme for friends

WATER FREELY WITH PATIENCE AND CULTIVATE WITH LOVE. THERE IS MUCH FRUIT IN YOUR GARDEN BECAUSE YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW.

Loving your neighbor as yourself

1) Do we have a neighbor that we are hoping will move out sometime soon?
2) The Bible is a book that quite often speaks about “neighbors.”
3) In the Old Testament “neighbor” is usually a fellow Hebrew.
4) In the New Testament “neighbor” is much broader – anyone who has a need.
5) Jesus said a little something about “neighbors” in Mk. 12:31Mk. 12:31
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

31 The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

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6) Let’s see what this verse says – READ Mk. 12:28-31Mk. 12:28-31
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

28 And one of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together, and knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, What commandment is the first of all? 29 Jesus answered, The first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one: 30 and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. 31 The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

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a) Jesus said we are to love our neighbors and love them as ourselves.
b) If there is a forgotten command in the Bible, this is probably it.
7) There is a lot more information about “neighbor” than I expected to find.
8) More than 100 times in the Bible we find information about our neighbors.
a) Ex. 20:16Ex. 20:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

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says – READ
b) Since we are to “love our neighbor” (Mk. 12:31Mk. 12:31
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

31 The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

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), lying about them cannot be right.
9) Verse 17 goes even further– READ
a) READ Ex. 21:14Ex. 21:14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 And if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbor, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.

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b) The Hebrews had to be kind to their neighbors.
c) State Farm Insurance used to have a little jingle about being a “good neighbor.”
d) Lev. 19:18Lev. 19:18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 Thou shalt not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people; but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am Jehovah.

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prohibited the people of Israel from having a “grudge” against the people of Israel.
e) The latter part of this verse says “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
f) Bearing a grudge is not in harmony with loving neighbors as ourselves.
g) In a group of this size it is very likely that at least some have a grudge against a neighbor.
h) This verse says the destruction comes from the “mouth.”
10) If we are a Christian, we want our words to neighbors to be “seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6Col. 4:6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer each one.

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11) We want to do this because of our next reference, Prov. 12:26Prov. 12:26
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

26 The righteous is a guide to his neighbor; But the way of the wicked causeth them to err.

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a) The wise man said the “Righteous is a guide to his neighbor.”
b) The “righteous” can often be a spiritual guide to others by being a good neighbor.
12) Our next passage is a very sad verse.
13) Prov. 14:20Prov. 14:20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

20 The poor is hated even of his own neighbor; But the rich hath many friends.

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says – READ
a) The wise man said the “poor is hated by his neighbors.”
b) Jesus was a friend to the social outcasts of His day and time.
c) This should also be true for us.
d) Prov. 14:21Prov. 14:21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

21 He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth; But he that hath pity on the poor, happy is he.

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– READ
14) Some despise a neighbor.
15) Others go even further – they “devise evil” against neighbors (Zech. 8:17Zech. 8:17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

17 and let none of you devise evil in your hearts against his neighbor; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith Jehovah.

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16) God said “do not do this.” This is also not loving our neighbor instead of ourselves.
17) Instead of trying to hurt neighbors, we need to see how we can help them.
18) Neighbors are not always good neighbors, no matter what we do.
19) In Rom. 12:20Rom. 12:20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

20 But if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him to drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.

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Paul said we are to “heap coals of fire on people” by doing good to them.
20) This is God’s strategy for dealing with difficult neighbors.
21) Our neighbors should see that we are Christians.
22) After we have set a good example, we should try to teach them.

The Keeley Institute

In studying from an old Bible commentary on Second Peter by J. Nieboer I came across a reference to the “Keeley Cure” for alcoholics and was curious if many others have heard of this “cure” (please take the survey below). Also below is a short description about the “Keeley Cure” from wikipedia

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“The Keeley Institute, known for its Keeley Cure, was a commercial medical operation that offered treatment to alcoholics from 1879 to 1965. Though at one time there were more than 200 branches in the United States and Europe, the original institute was founded by Leslie Keeley in Dwight, Illinois, United States. After Keeley’s death the institute began a slow decline but remained in operation under John R. Oughton, and, later, his son. The Keeley Institute offered the internationally famous Keeley Cure, which drew sharp criticism from those within the mainstream medical profession. The Keeley Institute’s location in Dwight, Illinois had a major influence on the development of Dwight as a village. There are only a few remaining indications in Dwight that the Keeley Institute was once a major force.”

The Pencil Maker

The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box.

“There are 5 things you need to know,” he told the pencil, “Before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best pencil you can be.”

“One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in Someone’s hand.”

“Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you’ll need it to become a better pencil.”

“Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.”

“Four: The most important part of you will always be what’s inside.”

“And Five: On every surface you are used on, you must leave your mark. No matter what the condition, you must continue to write.”

The pencil understood and promised to remember, and went into the box with purpose in its heart.

Now replacing the place of the pencil with you. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best person you can be.

One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in God’s hand. And allow other human beings to access you for the many gifts you possess.

Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, by going through various problems in life, but you’ll need it to become a stronger person.

Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.

Four: The most important part of you will always be what’s on the inside.

And Five: On every surface you walk through, you must leave your mark. No matter what the situation, you must continue to do your duties.

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Do you do the devil's will?

a) A government may have a “will” for its citizens.
b) If we are employed at a secular job, our employer has a “will” for us to accomplish.
c) Stores and other businesses have a “will” for consumers.
2) The devil has a “will” for mankind. God also has a “will” for people.
3) As individuals we also have our own “will.”
4) Lots of people and organizations and lots of people want us to do lots of things.
5) Since there are many “wills” to choose from, which will should we choose?
6) We might not only ask which will we should choose, we should ask WHY we select the one we do.
7) The Bible encourages us to choose God and His will.
8) In Mt. 7:21Mt. 7:21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.

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Jesus spoke of the “will of the Father.”
a) Jesus said only those who do the “will of God” will be in heaven – READ Mt. 7:21Mt. 7:21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.

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9) In Mt. 18:14Mt. 18:14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

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Jesus said it is not God’s desire that any “little ones” perish.
a) Virtually every person or organization has a “will” about some things it likes and dislikes.
b) Our government wants its citizens to do certain things and avoid other activities.
c) Such is also true for God.
10) Mk. 3:35Mk. 3:35
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

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says doing the will of God allows us to be regarded as His brother, sister and mother
11) Eph. 5:17Eph. 5:17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

17 Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

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says “understand what the will of the Lord is.”
a) Paul believed it is possible to understand God’s will.
b) This may take some time and effort, but it is possible.
c) In Eph. 5:15Eph. 5:15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise;

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Paul said, “look carefully how you walk” (be careful how to live).
d) Why be careful? We need to be careful because we can step outside the will of God.
12) Not only can we understand God’s will, we can do it and do it with great sincerity.
13) Eph. 6:6Eph. 6:6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 not in the way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

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speaks of doing God’s will “from the heart” – here is the full verse READ
14) Peter recognized that some will “suffer” because they do God’s will (1 Pet. 4:191 Pet. 4:19
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

19 Wherefore let them also that suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well-doing unto a faithful Creator.

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15) Today people sometimes suffer because they are trying to do the will of God.
a) Heb. 10:36Heb. 10:36
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

36 For ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise.

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says those who do the will of God “receive the promise.”
b) This is what all people want—this promise is conditional. We must do the will of God.

1) Christians should seek to do the will of God because of the God’s record.
2) 700 years before Jesus came into the world it was said the Lord would be born of a “virgin,” Isa. 7:14Isa. 7:14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

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3) When Jesus came into the world, this is exactly what happened, Mt. 1:18, 23Mt. 1:18, 23
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 23 Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, And they shall call his name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us.

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4) Isaiah also predicted that Jesus would be named before His birth (Isa. 49:1Isa. 49:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

49 1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye peoples, from far: Jehovah hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name:

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) – READ
a) This is precisely what we find in Lk. 1:30-31Lk. 1:30-31
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. 31 And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

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b) Micah (5:2) said Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, and this happened, Mt. 2:1Mt. 2:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise-men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying,

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5) Jeremiah (31:15) said Jesus would create sorrow for many people and did (Mt. 2:1Mt. 2:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise-men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying,

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7-18).
6) The trip Jesus and His family had to take to Egypt (Mt. 2:1Mt. 2:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise-men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying,

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4-15) was a subject of prophecy (Hos. 11:1Hos. 11:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

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7) 400 years before Jesus came to the world (Mal. 3:1Mal. 3:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 1 Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom ye desire, behold, he cometh, saith Jehovah of hosts.

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) it was said He would have a forerunner.
8) In Ps. 78:2Ps. 78:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,

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we learn that the Savior would speak in “parables.”
9) When we study the Lord’s life, we find Him teaching with parables.
10) Isaiah said Jesus would be “despised” (Isa. 53:3Isa. 53:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 He was despised, and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we esteemed him not.

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) and “rejected” (Isa. 8:14Isa. 8:14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

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) without cause (Ps. 69:4Ps. 69:4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head: They that would cut me off, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: That which I took not away I have to restore.

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11) Hundreds of predictions were made and all fulfilled down to the last detail.
a) These predictions help demonstrate why we need to follow the will of God.
12) God shows us through predictive prophecy that we can and should rely on His will. 1 Jn. 2:171 Jn. 2:17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

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Sunshine Magazine

The following story seen in “Sunshine Magazine” about a professor of psychology illustrates how difficult it is to love others.

Although he had no children of his own, whenever he saw a neighbor scolding a child for some wrongdoing, he would say, “You should love your boy, not punish him.”

One hot summer afternoon the professor was doing some repair work on a concrete driveway leading to his garage. Tired out after several hours of work, he laid down the towel, wiped the perspiration from his forehead, and started toward the house. Just then out of the corner of his eye he saw a mischievous little boy putting his foot into the fresh cement. He rushed over, grabbed him, and was about to spank him severely when a neighbor leaned from a window and said, “Watch it, Professor! Don’t you remember? You must ‘love’ the child!”

At this, he yelled back furiously, “I do love him in the abstract, but not in the concrete!”

That’s so true. It’s easy to love people “in the abstract”. It’s easy to talk about love and the importance of love. What’s much more difficult is to love people in “concrete” ways, especially when we’re dealing with people are very unlovable, who have been unkind and irritating to us.

But love is not something for us to talk about — it is something for us to demonstrate in some very practical ways, as John makes clear in this familiar passage:

“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-181 John 3:16-18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath the world's goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him? 18  My Little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth.

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How about it — are you loving in the abstract, or in the concrete?

Alan Smith

Do not pinch me

As I was standing in a checkout line I witnessed a small child literally “pinch” the cashier. This cashier expressed her displeasure at having her arm repeatedly abused by the youngster, but the dad didn’t seem to mind. Finally the cashier became very vocal; I didn’t write down her exact words but it something like “HEY THAT HURTS!” At this point the father told his son “it is not nice to pinch people” and then turned back to focus on his purchases.

As soon as the father and his arm pinching son were out of earshot the cashier told me she would have “spanked this child had she been his mom.”

Many in today’s world would not agree with her thinking, but the Bible is on her side. Proverbs 22:15Proverbs 22:15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; But the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

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says “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; (But) the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”

If people refuse to properly discipline their children they may end up with a finger pinching child or behavior that is far, far worse.

Wendy and Jill

Imagine two women; we will call the first Jill and the other Wendy. Tomorrow Jill gets so upset with Wendy she wants to kill her.

Since Jill knows she cannot personally murder someone (Rom. 13:9Rom. 13:9
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is summed up in this word, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

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), she contacts a “hit man” to kill Wendy. Jill believes God will understand and accept her decision because the Bible never says “Thou shall not hire someone to commit murder for you.”

If the preceding paragraph sounds absolutely absurd and wrong, congratulations. Jill’s reasoning is wrong. The lack of a specific prohibition in the Bible does not mean something is right.

The next time someone tries to justify some idea or practice based on the claim that “the Bible does not specifically prohibit it,” remember this silly example about Wendy and Jill.

Divine bells, Exodus 28:34-35

1) Some judges are telling people some clothing is not allowed in their courtrooms.
2) In Bakersfield, CA a judge does not allow people to wear flip flops.
3) Another courtroom closer to home – Michigan – says blue jeans are not allowed.
4) No shorts are allowed in a Dover, Delaware courtroom

WHAT WE SEE TAKING PLACE IN SOME AMERICAN COURTROOMS IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO SOME INFORMATION IN EXODUS 28.

1) Ex. 28 provides us with details about the clothing worn by Aaron.
2) In Ex. 28:2Ex. 28:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for glory and for beauty.

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we learn that Aaron’s clothing was “beautiful.”
3) Threads of various colors were used to construct this clothing (verse 8).
4) Engraved stones were also part of the clothing (verse 9).
5) Two pure twisted gold chains were part of the outfit (verse 14).
6) The collar was to be made in such a way where it would not tear (verse 32).
7) We want the information in verses 34-35 – READ
a) There were “golden bells” on Aaron’s priestly attire.
b) These bells were not just for show – they actually made a sound.
c) The bells warned people like Aaron that serving God was a very serious matter.
8) The message of Ex. 28 is still very relevant for our day and time.
9) Today people can become lax about God and spiritual things.
10) If we are somehow involved in the worship, we need to concentrate on what we are doing.
11) It is true that we are talking about the Old Testament and it is true that we are not high priests.
a) 1 Pet. 2:91 Pet. 2:9
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 But ye are a elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

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says Christians are a “royal priesthood.”
b) 1 Pet. 2:51 Pet. 2:5
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5 ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

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– READ
c) What are our minds focused on when it is time to offer up a spiritual sacrifice in worship?
12) If a lot of people thought about Ex. 28 and 1 Pet. 2, they would worship very, very differently.
13) 1 Cor. 11:291 Cor. 11:29
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

29 For he that eateth and drinketh, eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself, if he discern not the body.

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– READ
14) Some of the Corinthians were “not discerning the Lord’s body.”
15) Paul said this would bring about “condemnation” (judgment).
16) Notice the verse that follows – READ verse 30.
a) Three key words stand out in this verse: WEAK, SICKLY, DEAD.
b) Worship is a time to come to God and say: You are great, holy, and our creator.
17) Most congregations would not try to create rules if people simply understood the seriousness of worship.
18) When it comes time for worship, we need to “remember the bells” in Ex. 28.
19) These items were a reminder to be serious and reverential about worship.

Exodus 28:34-35Exodus 28:34-35
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

34 a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the skirts of the robe round about. 35 And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and the sound thereof shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before Jehovah, and when he cometh out, that he die not.

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What is heaven like?

An 85-year-old couple, having been married almost 60 years, died in a car crash. They had been in good health the last ten years mainly due to her interest in health food and exercise. When they reached the pearly gates, Peter took them to their mansion which was decked out with a beautiful kitchen and master bath suite and Jacuzzi. As they “oohed and aahed”, the old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. “It’s free,” Peter replied, “this is heaven.”

Next they went out back to survey the championship golf course that the home backed up to. They would have golfing privileges every day, and each week the course changed to a new one representing the great golf courses on earth. The old man asked, “what are the green fees?” Peter’s reply, “This is heaven, you play for free.”

Next they went to the club house and saw the lavish buffet lunch with the cuisines of the world laid out. “How much to eat?” asked the old man. “Don’t you understand yet? This is heaven, it is free!” Peter replied with some exasperation. “Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol tables?” the old man asked timidly. Peter said, “That’s the best part…you can eat as much as you like of whatever you like and you never get fat and you never get sick. This is heaven.”

With that, the old man went into a fit of anger, throwing down his hat and stomping on it, shrieking wildly. Peter and his wife both tried to calm him down, asking him what was wrong. The old man looked at his wife and said, “This is all your fault! If it weren’t for your blasted bran muffins, I could have been here ten years ago!”

If only we knew what lies ahead, we might not be so hesitant to leave what lies around us. We cling so tightly to what we see, wondering if anything could possibly be better. But we have God’s assurance that His children have an inheritance far greater than anything we can even imagine.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-41 Peter 1:3-4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

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Our inheritance is “incorruptible”. In a day of transient fads, it’s difficult to find anything permanent. But in our heavenly inheritance we’ll finally know real permanence and unending security.

Our inheritance is “undefiled.” Isn’t it disgusting when your freshly mown lawn is cluttered with beer cans thrown from passing cars? When beautiful lakes and rivers are choked with pollution? Even truth is perverted, morality is corrupted. But there will be no such defacing of our heavenly inheritance. The heavenly inheritance is for those who appreciate the beauty of being with God.

Our inheritance is “unfading.” In this world, life fades with age. Even relationships with friends and sometimes even with family members can grow stale. But, in heaven, everything remains as fresh as it is at the outset.

Alan Smith

God's grace in Titus 2:11-13

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…
Titus 2:11-13Titus 2:11-13
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world; 13 looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

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, ESV

Men and women through the centuries have extolled the magnificent grace of God. Beloved old hymns and countless sermons have impressed upon the minds of multiplied millions the wonders of God’s undeserved yet unreserved kindness to man. Consider the following brief points from the inspired words Paul wrote to Titus…

A. God’s grace brings salvation (v. 11a).
B. God’s grace has appeared to all men (v. 11b).
C. God’s grace teaches six crucial concepts (v. 12-13).

We must renounce ungodliness (v. 12a).
We must renounce worldly passions (v. 12b).
We must live self-controlled lives (v. 12c).
We must live upright lives (v. 12d).
We must live godly lives (v. 12e).
Doing all the above will enable us to anticipate the return of Christ (v. 13).

–Source unknown

Titus 2:11-13Titus 2:11-13
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world; 13 looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

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God's Law Of Marriage, Divorce, And Remarriage Applies To All People

People approach the very sensitive subject of marriage, divorce, and remarriage in several ways. Some, ignorant of what Jesus says about it, are a law to themselves and come up with any number of “alternatives” including living together without marriage, homosexuality, adultery, and the like. Some have become stricter than Jesus, saying that divorce for any reason is a sin. This is making a law where God has not (Prov. 30:6Prov. 30:6
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6 Add thou not unto his words, Lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

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; Rev. 22:18-19Rev. 22:18-19
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18 I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book: 19 and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.

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). Some have become less strict than Jesus, making allowance where He has not. One of the most common allowances is the idea this law does not apply to everyone. Also, some have tried to make the sin of adultery something other than what context shows it to be. Here are five reasons why God’s law of marriage, divorce, and remarriage applies to all.

(1) Jesus Goes Back To The Beginning Of Creation (19:4,8). Jesus is not teaching something that was limited to His own time and it certainly was not an articulation of the Law of Moses (see 19:7-8). Instead, Jesus goes back to the dawn of time to Adam and Eve in the Garden. Jesus, in giving His command, reaches behind Moses to “the beginning.” This shows a timelessness to the command. God designed it a certain way, man distorted it, and Jesus dictates a new way that is universal in nature. He points ahead by pointing back to the beginning.

(2) What God Has Joined Should Not Be Separated (19:6). When two people have a right to be married, whether or not a preacher or religious person performs the ceremony, God is joining those two together. Verse nine gives God’s only exception for allowing the marriage bond to be severed and only then for the one against whom fornication is committed (the “innocent party”)(see the last phrase in verse nine). There is no qualifying phrase beyond that one exception to justify ending one marriage and forming another.

(3) Jesus’ Teaching Is Explicitly Clear (19:9). It truly takes “expert help” to misunderstand what Jesus teaches here. Take out the exception and here is how the “rule” reads: “Whoever divorce his wife and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” That could not be clearer! The exception is also perfectly clear.

(4) The Disciples’ Reaction (19:10). Their reaction is actually extreme. They conclude that it is better not to get married. Jesus does not validate such thinking, but it gives us insight in to what they understood. Jesus’ law for marriage, divorce, and remarriage is stringent! If “adultery” merely meant “covenant breaking,” would the disciples react so? One would simply need to “repent” of having broken their marriage vows, and then enter another marriage. If Jesus meant that, the disciples would hardly have reacted at all.

(5) Christ’s Final Response About Eunuchs (19:11-12). Jesus clears up any doubt by how He ends this discussion. He speaks of three classes of eunuchs-those born that way, those made that way by men, and those who make themselves that way “for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” Being delicate here, we understand what it means to be a “eunuch.” That cuts to the heart of what our Lord is saying and one of the blessings accompanying the marriage relationship. Those who divorce for reasons other than the exception Jesus gives in verse nine would have to be in that third category of person discussed in verse 12.
This is not a truth that can be delivered with cold stare, pounding fist, and judgmental heart. It is one that more likely will be accompanied with breaking heart, blinding tears, and extreme hesitation. Probably nothing is more unpleasant to teach, but as part of the “whole counsel” (Acts 20:27Acts 20:27
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27 For I shrank not from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God.

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) it must be taught. Culture cannot be the authority on this matter. Neither can emotion. Instead, as always, we must let Jesus be the authority (cf. Col. 1:18; 3:17Col. 1:18; 3:17
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18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 17 And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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; Matt. 28:18Matt. 28:18
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18 And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.

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). — Neal Pollard

Was Jesus taught by an Indian guru?

“Russian writer Nicolas Notovitch, whose writings are popular among New Agers today, describes Luke as saying Jesus ‘was in the desert until the day of his showing unto Israel’ (Cf. Luke 1:80Luke 1:80
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80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel.

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)” (Correcting the Cults, p. 146). “This, Notovitch declared, proves that no one knew where the young Jesus was for about sixteen years. He said he had found documents substantiating that Jesus went to India and learned from Indian gurus to raise people from the dead and cast out demons” (ibid).

If Mr. Notovitch had taken the time to read a little bit of the context (see Lk. 1:76Lk. 1:76
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76 Yea and thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Most High: For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to make ready his ways;

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), he would have known Zacharias was describing John the Baptist instead of Jesus. The problem with many people today is that they do not read the Bible or they do not read enough of it.

Brad Price
www.abiblecommentary.com

A spiritual GPS

Many travelers today use a “GPS” to help them reach their destination. GPS stands for “Global Positioning System.” According to the Garmin Company website, “The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense. GPS was originally intended for military applications, but in the 1980s, the government made the system available for civilian use.”

The Garmin Company also gives an explanation of how the GPS works: “GPS satellites circle the earth twice a day in a very precise orbit and transmit signal information to earth. GPS receivers take this information and use triangulation to calculate the user’s exact location. Essentially, the GPS receiver compares the time a signal was transmitted by a satellite with the time it was received. The time difference tells the GPS receiver how far away the satellite is. Now, with distance measurements from a few more satellites, the receiver can determine the user’s position and display it on the unit’s electronic map.” *

Isn’t it fascinating how satellites “in the heavens” are used to determine our location on Earth and gives guidance as to travel routes that we can use to reach particular areas!

Yet, the use of the GPS illustrates the fact that we ALL need guidance from Heaven above! Long ago, the prophet Jeremiah exclaimed: “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (10:23).

What you and I need is “God’s Positioning System” For God knows where we are, where we need to be, and how to get there. As we consult the divine GPS (God’s Word, Psalm 119:105Psalm 119:105
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105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And light unto my path.

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), we can answer the following questions:

Where are we? We are “in Sin.” Due to our wrong choices, we are guilty of sin (James 1:13-15James 1:13-15
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13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempteth no man: 14 but each man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is fullgrown, bringeth forth death.

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). Due to our sins, we are lost and doomed, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23Romans 6:23
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23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Where do we need to be? We need to be “in Christ.” In Christ, “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7Ephesians 1:7
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7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

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). Those “in Christ” can look forward to living eternally with God in heaven (Romans 6:23Romans 6:23
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23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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).

How do we get there? We “get there” in and through Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6John 14:6
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6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me.

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). One who puts his trust in Christ (Acts 16:30-31Acts 16:30-31
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30 and brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house.

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), turns from his sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31Acts 17:30-31
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30 The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent: 31 inasmuch as he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

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), and confesses Christ (Romans 10:9-10Romans 10:9-10
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9 because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: 10 for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

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), and is baptized (immersed) for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38Acts 2:38
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38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

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) is placed by God “in Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27Galatians 3:26-27
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26 For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.

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). Then, as long as one remains faithful to Christ, the promise is that one day – by the grace of God – he will enter into heaven (1 John 1:71 John 1:7
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7 but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

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; Revelation 2:10Revelation 2:10
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10 Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer: behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.

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).

According to “God’s Positioning System” – the divine GPS, where are YOU?

Won’t YOU submit your life to Christ so that you can be found in Him and on your way to heaven? (Philippians 3:9Philippians 3:9
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9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith:

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— David A. Sargent

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Serving God ALL OUR DAYS

1) If we listed all the things we do tomorrow, would our list of tasks include the item found in Lk. 1:75Lk. 1:75
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75 In holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

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?
2) It is God’s will that people “serve” Him (Verse 74).
3) The additional detail in verse 75 might cause some people to sit up and take notice.
4) How often does God want us to “serve” Him? ALL OUR DAYS is what we find in Lk. 1:75Lk. 1:75
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75 In holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

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5) We find this same idea as early as Deut. 6.
6) Deut. 6:1Deut. 6:1
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6 1 Now this is the commandment, the statutes, and the ordinances, which Jehovah your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it;

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refers to the time when Israel would arrive in the Promised Land.
7) Deut. 6:2Deut. 6:2
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2 that thou mightest fear Jehovah thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.

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is the verse we want – READ
a) God told the Hebrews to keep “all His laws” ALL the days of their lives.
b) For the Hebrew people, religion was a lifetime commitment.
8) God says there is to be a religious commitment to Him that lasts for our entire life.
9) Every single day we are to think about God and our commitment to Him.
10) Is this how we approach life?
11) Someone might think that is a lot to ask.
12) Someone might even say: “If I do this, what is in the deal for me?”
13) God promised to help and bless His people, Deut. 6:3Deut. 6:3
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3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as Jehovah, the God of thy fathers, hath promised unto thee, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

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.
14) God’s will for Christians is expressed quite well in our next reference, Eph. 1:4Eph. 1:4
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4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love:

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.
a) Paul said God did some “choosing” before the world was created.
15) God did “choose,” but he chose a “class” of people, not individuals.
16) Those who fall into the class of the obedient and the righteous will be saved.
17) Those who decide to disobey will be put into a class that God has chosen for condemnation.
a) God wants people to be “holy and blemish” before Him.
b) We know from Lk. 1 that this is God’s will for our lives every single day.
18) Some things in life take almost no work.
19) Other things in life take a long, long time.
a) How long will it take for a person to become “holy and without blemish”?
b) For people to do well at living the Christian life, they need daily practice.
c) Christians need to daily follow the instructions in the Bible to be the type of people God wants.
20) If we try to serve God all our days we will be “holy and without blemish.”
21) If we do not act in this way “all our days” we will unholy and fully of blemishes.
a) Eph. 4:24Eph. 4:24
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24 and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.

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– READ
b) God also allows us to have a “new life.”
FOR US TO RECEIVE THIS “CLEAN SLATE” WE MUST BE WILLING TO “WALK” BEFORE THE GOD OF HEAVEN AND EARTH.
a) In the Old Testament Abraham was told to “walk before God” (Gen. 17:1Gen. 17:1
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17 1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, Jehovah appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

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).
b) More than 150 times in the Old Testament we read about “walking” before and with God.
c) This concept is also found in the New Testament.
2) Jn. 8:12Jn. 8:12
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12 Again therefore Jesus spake unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.

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says the followers of Christ do not WALK in darkness.
a) For all of our days we need to strive to walk in the light.
b) Rom. 6:4Rom. 6:4
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4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.

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says the saved “walk in the newness of life.”
c) Every single day we should try to walk in the newness of life.
3) Many think they will find and serve God in their latter years.
4) This is not God’s message to us: Walk before Him with “all our days.”
5) We start out in the right way very early in life and we continue in that way.
6) If we miss out on the early years, we get on this road as quick as we can in our later years.

Can people really speak in tongues?

The modern tongues movement is usually traced back to Charles F. Parham (1873-1929). Parham was a former Methodist minister who opened a Bible college in Topeka, Kansas. He believed people could receive a great outpouring of divine power. After hands were laid on one of his students (Agnes Ozman), this girl “spoke in tongues.” Soon more than 30 other students were also “speaking in tongues.” Parham then took the Pentecostal or “full gospel” message to various parts of the United States (Galena, Kansas; Lawrence, Kansas; El Dorado Springs, Missouri; Joplin, Missouri; Kansas City, Missouri; Orchad and Houston, Texas) and this movement continues at the present time throughout the world. Before Parham many others wrote and spoke about tongue speaking, including: Irenaeus (130-200 A.D.), Tertullian (160-220 A.D.), Chrysostom (345-407 A.D.), Augustine (354-430 A.D.). For a fuller study of this subject see Hoekema (pp. 10-33).

Some excellent books have been written on tongue speaking, two of which are “The Psychology of Speaking in Tongues” by John P. Kildahl and “What About Tongue Speaking?” by Anthony A. Hoekema. Kildahl was a psychotherapist who studied tongue speaking for ten years (his work was sponsored by the American Lutheran Church as well as the National Institute of Mental Health). He traveled coast to coast listening to tongue speakers use their gift and explain their beliefs. He also recorded his own personal observations.

Hoekema was Professor of Systematic Theology at the Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His book is largely based on lectures given at the Conservative Baptist Seminary in Denver, Colorado in 1964 and this material focuses on a Biblical and theological evaluation of tongue speaking. In addition to these resources, which are cited below, readers are encouraged to consult and study the chart on tongues located in the commentary on 14:2 in this book.

Tongue speaking is sometimes called glossolalia, a term based upon two Greek words: Glossa (the tongue) and lalein (to talk or speak). Many who now claim to speak in tongues profess to follow Jesus, but “Glossolalia or speaking in tongues is not restricted to Christian experience. Ecstatic utterances of a divinely inspired nature are mentioned in early Egyptian writings. The oracles of Delphi, Dodona, and Epirus among many others, which laid claim to prophecy, sometimes through the spirits of the dead, appear to be related to glossolalia” (Kildahl, p. 11).

Questions and answers about tongue speaking:

Are all tongue speakers members of the Pentecostal movement? No. As indicated in the preceding paragraph, non-Christians (heathens) have claimed to speak in tongues. In recent times tongue speakers have claimed membership in the Lutheran church, the Episcopal faith, the Presbyterian church, the Baptist faith, the Russian Orthodox religion and even Catholic churches. “The Church of the Latter-day Saints—popularly known as Mormons—was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith in New York. Belief in gifts of the Spirit was one of its articles of faith. Emphasis was placed on ‘the gifts of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc’” (Kildahl, pp. 17-18). Some of the early Quakers also professed to speak in tongues; one of the best known was the so called “Ranters in England.”

Claims about tongue speaking have come from many different countries including the United States, Sweden, Norway, etc. Gromacki (The Modern Tongues Movement, p. 9) noted how some Eskimos in Greenland are said to have engaged in tongue speaking. Their “religious services are led by the angakok, the medicine man or priest. In these services, there is a definite attempt to get in touch with the nether world. The services are characterized by drum beating, singing, dancing, and nudity of both men and women.”

Claims of tongue speaking have not only been world-wide, they have sometimes involved the very young (in some cases children as young as four are said to have spoken in tongues). Tongue-speaking claims also pre-date the New Testament. One claim comes from the “Report of Wenamon,” approximately 1100 B.C. A young worshipper of “Amon” is said to have become possessed of a god and spoken in a frenzied and ecstatic language.

Why do people want to speak in tongues? There may be many reasons, but Kildahl (p. 4) noted that this “experience brings peace and joy and inner harmony. Glossolalists view it as an answer to prayer, an assurance of divine love and acceptance.” See, too, the How intense is the tongue speaking experience question and answer below.

Are people taught to speak in tongues? True tongue speaking (the divine gift from God) was not “taught.” The Holy Spirit determined who received this gift (1 Cor. 12:7-111 Cor. 12:7-11
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7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: 9 to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, in the one Spirit; 10 and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 but all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will.

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) and Christians were automatically able to speak in tongues (languages they had never learned) without any prompting or guidance. Today, what is called tongue speaking, is often a “taught gift” (people are trained to “speak in tongues”).

Shortly after this author became a Christian, a member of the Pentecostal movement offered to “teach him to speak in tongues in less than ten minutes.” Similar offers are still made and Kildahl (p. 3) offered a specific example of how this is done. People have knelt as a group “and the leader encouraged them to try to ‘receive’ this ability. He went from one to another, laying his hands on each person’s head. Bill told me that with a prayer in tongues and with encouragement, the leader asked him to make an effort to move his lips in a free and relaxed manner. ‘Say after me what I say, and then go on speaking in the tongue that the Lord will give you.’ ‘Aish nay gum nay tayo…’ prayed the leader and waited for Bill to repeat the same sounds, and then go on in his own words. Bill tried. ‘Aish nay gum nay tayo…’ and then stopped. ‘Aish nay gum nay tayoo…Aish nay gum nay tayoo…’ The leader, keeping both of his hands on Bill’s head again prayed that Bill would open himself to receive the ‘gift of the Spirit.’”

Tongue speakers have even gone so far as to grab the chin of a non-tongue speaker and say, “I’ll move your chin; make the sounds I have made” to help someone start speaking in tongues. This process makes a mockery of God’s power and the true gifts. It is also contrary to what we find in the Bible (read carefully Acts 8:15-18Acts 8:15-18
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15 who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: 16 for as yet it was fallen upon none of them: only they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,

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and Acts 19:1-6Acts 19:1-6
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19 1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples: 2 and he said unto them, Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed? And they said unto him, Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given. 3 And he said, Into what then were ye baptized? And they said, Into John's baptism. 4 And Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Jesus. 5 And when they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

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). Kildahl also noted (p. 3) how two participants in this group “tried earnestly, and the leader exhorted them, placing his hands on their heads, but the words never came.” Kildahl concluded (p. 74) that “tongue speaking is a learned phenomenon” and “is explicable in rational ways” (p. 85). For additional information on this point see the commentary on 1 Cor. 12:101 Cor. 12:10
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10 and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues:

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b.

Do tongue speakers often misapply Bible passages? Yes. Advocates of tongue speaking frequently try to inject the supernatural into parts of the Bible where such was never intended by God. One example of this is found in Jas. 5:7Jas. 5:7
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7 Be patient therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receive the early and latter rain.

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, a passage that speaks of the “early and latter rain.” The original thought is that farmers in Palestine literally rely upon rain for their crops. The early rain comes at the end of October or November and loosens the soil so farmers can plant their crops. The latter rains come in March and April and help crops mature. Pentecostal teachers have claimed that the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 is an example of “early rain” and our day and time is “the latter rainy season.” Since we allegedly live in the “latter rainy season,” Pentecostal teachers have said “spiritual gifts are still available.” Paul refuted this idea in places such as 1 Cor. 13:8-101 Cor. 13:8-10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 10 but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.

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.

Pentecostal teachers have also incorrectly claimed that other verses such as Acts 4:31Acts 4:31
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken wherein they were gathered together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

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(Christians “were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word with boldness”) refer to tongue speaking. Other texts such as Rom. 8:26Rom. 8:26
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

26 And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered;

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(the Spirit makes intercession for Christians that cannot be uttered); Eph. 5:19Eph. 5:19
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

19 speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

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(Christians sing “spiritual songs”); Eph. 6:18Eph. 6:18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints,

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(Christians pray “in the Spirit); 1 Thess. 5:19-201 Thess. 5:19-20
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

19 Quench not the Spirit; 20 despise not prophesyings;

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(“quench not the spirit” and “despise not prophesying”); and 1 Pet. 4:111 Pet. 4:11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 if any man speaketh, speaking as it were oracles of God; is any man ministereth, ministering as of the strength which God supplieth: that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, whose is the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

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(“speak as the oracles of God”) have been misconstrued to support Pentecostal claims. Because these incorrect interpretations come from people who claim to be led or directed by the Holy Spirit, their misapplication of various passages is on-going proof that people claiming to be led and directed by the Holy Spirit are not true servants of God (this point is also discussed in the commentary on 12:3a and 12:3b).

Have Pentecostal believers ever “tarried” (waited) for the Holy Spirit to come upon them? Yes; in some cases people are said to have “wrestled with God” to receive Holy Spirit baptism or the “gift of tongues.” This false idea is based on Lk. 24:49Lk. 24:49
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

49 And behold, I send forth the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high.

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, a passage where Jesus made a promise to His apostles. Heaven fulfilled this promise on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5, 8; 2:1-4Acts 1:5, 8; 2:1-4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 For John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence. 8 But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 2 1 And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

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). Aside from this specific promise to the apostles, no individual or group of people in the New Testament was ever told to “tarry for the Holy Spirit.”

Do those who speak in tongues believe tongues are always for the same purpose? No. Some regard tongues as a sign that someone has received Holy Spirit baptism and this sign may be temporary (i.e. the person may only be able to speak in tongues for a while and, then, the gift ceases). Others think tongues are given and this sign is permanent. Still others claim that tongues are for “devotional use” (i.e. this gift helps them pray, give thanks or sing). There are also those who think tongues are “congregational” (they are to be used at or during a worship service).

How strongly do tongue speakers believe in their “gift”? One man, and his opinion seems typical of tongue speakers, said: “I do not know what language I have and I don’t question it. I believe it is from God and that is good enough for me” (Kildahl, p. 7). Since members of the Pentecostal movement usually elevate their experience above what the Bible says, this is one more proof that it is not of divine origin (compare 1 Thess. 5:211 Thess. 5:21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

21 prove all things; hold fast that which is good;

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and Mt. 7:21-23Mt. 7:21-23
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

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).

Do tongue speakers believe they are receiving a message from God? In some cases, yes. Kildahl (p. 8) noted how one said, “God will use this gift when God wishes to give a direct message to the people.”

While all the errors associated with claims about tongue speaking are troublesome, this one is especially serious. When people believe God is still giving messages to people through their “gifts,” but the Bible says heaven’s message to man is already 100% complete (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 22 Tim. 3:16-17; 2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: 17 that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work. 2 1 Thou therefore, my child, be strengthened in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier on service entangleth himself in the affairs of this life; that he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier. 5 And if also a man contend in the games, he is not crowned, except he have contended lawfully. 6 The husbandmen that laboreth must be the first to partake of the fruits. 7 Consider what I say; for the Lord shall give thee understanding in all things. 8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel: 9 wherein I suffer hardship unto bonds, as a malefactor; but the word of God is not bound. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 Faithful is the saying: For if we died with him, we shall also live with him: 12 if we endure, we shall also reign with him: if we shall deny him, he also will deny us: 13 if we are faithless, he abideth faithful; for he cannot deny himself. 14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them in the sight of the Lord, that they strive not about words, to no profit, to the subverting of them that hear. 15 Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth. 16 But shun profane babblings: for they will proceed further in ungodliness, 17 and their word will eat as doth a gangrene: of whom is Hymenaeus an Philetus; 18 men who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some. 19 Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his: and, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness. 20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some unto honor, and some unto dishonor. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, meet for the master's use, prepared unto every good work. 22 But flee youthful lusts, and follow after righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But foolish and ignorant questionings refuse, knowing that they gender strifes. 24 And the Lord's servant must not strive, but be gentle towards all, apt to teach, forbearing, 25 in meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him unto his will.

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Pet. 1:3), we must either accept the claims of tongue speakers and reject what Paul and Peter said or accept the claims of the inspired apostles and reject the claims of tongue speakers. We cannot believe both New Testament teaching and Pentecostal claims. For more reasons why Pentecostalism conflicts with the Scriptures, see the commentary on 12:13b.

How intense is the tongue speaking experience? “Emotionally, the experience was one of fantastic release, comparable in intensity to sexual orgasm, or to the sense of freedom just after an intense stomach cramp subsides” (Kildahl, p. 46).

Is it fair to say that tongue speakers elevate their experience over the Bible? Yes. If a tongue speaker is feeling discouraged, “he can begin to speak in tongues and recall that God is with him, that glossolalia is a special gift from God, and that he can unload his problems through releasing his feelings in tongue-speech. Each time he speaks in tongues, he performs a physical act which he surrounds with a set of beliefs reconfirming that he is a special person, specially blessed” (Kildahl, pp. 46-47). First century tongue speakers could use their gift for personal edification (see 1 Cor. 14:281 Cor. 14:28
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

28 but if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

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and the comment on this gift), but now that the Scriptures have been completed, edification comes through the New Testament (Acts 20:32Acts 20:32
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32 And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you the inheritance among all them that are sanctified.

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).

Why did the Pentecostal movement become so popular in the twentieth century? There are several answers to this question, but only a few of them will be listed here. Pentecostalism was zealously promoted and too many preachers were unwilling or ignorant to refute the false claims. A third reason for its popularity is that people want a “taste of the supernatural.”

Does Pentecostalism make other claims? Yes, and many of these claims lay great stress on what is material instead of what is spiritual. Pentecostalism has often focused on solving man’s earthly problems (healing the sick and prosperity to the poor). In some foreign countries Pentecostalism has offered protection from witchcraft and promised children to the barren. Pentecostal preachers have often stressed physical blessings instead of stressing the terribleness of sin and man’s need for salvation. While Jesus and the apostles did heal and help the poor, these acts were only tools to help people with their greatest need: Salvation.

The emphasis by Pentecostal groups on material prosperity, especially in the United States, has been unmistakable. This author has spoken with “tongue speakers” who said their relationship with God was financially beneficial to them (i.e. they went to bed with $5 in their pocket and woke up with $10). Kildahl (p. 8) reported this as well: “He (Jesus, BP) is our banker—He puts money in our pocket, He makes a $5 bill stretch into a $10 bill, He pulls us back from danger and covers us from unknown dangers.”

Do people believe their “spiritual gifts” increase their spirituality? Yes. It is often claimed that having a gift such as tongues provides people with a new and greater level of spiritual maturity. While this is a popular belief, it is false and Paul showed the error of this claim in this letter. The Corinthians excelled in gifts such as tongue speaking, but they suffered from internal division, lawsuits, sexual sin, and possibly drunkenness at the Lord’s table (be sure to read 1 Cor. 3:11 Cor. 3:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ.

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). Also, rather than indicate maturity, as shown in the discussion on 13:10-12, spiritual gifts were a sign of spiritual infancy.

What are the basic conclusions about tongue speaking? Hoekema (p. 126) rightly quoted V. Raymond Edman who said, “there are really only three possibilities: Either glossolalia today is of the devil, or it is a genuine gift of the Spirit, or it is a phenomenon which, without being either primarily inspired by the devil or by the Spirit, has been psychologically induced.” Since modern tongue speaking is not “of the Spirit” (see the commentary on 1 Cor. 13:8-101 Cor. 13:8-10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 10 but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.

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), what is now done is either psychologically induced, a tool of Satan, or both. Let’s not forget that Satan “fashions himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:142 Cor. 11:14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 And no marvel; for even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light.

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) and he has previously used “signs” to lead people astray (Mt. 24:24Mt. 24:24
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24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

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). Satan’s signs are called “lying signs” in 2 Thess. 2:92 Thess. 2:9
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9  even he, whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

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.

What Bible books refer to tongue speaking? Only three New Testament books refer to tongue speaking (Mark, Acts and First Corinthians).

Where can we find all the New Testament verses on tongue speaking? See Mk. 16:17Mk. 16:17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

17 And these signs shall accompany them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues;

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; Acts 2:4-11; 10:46; 19:6Acts 2:4-11; 10:46; 19:6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound was heard, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speaking in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying, Behold, are not all these that speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we, every man in our own language wherein we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Judaea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, 10 in Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabians, we hear them speaking in our tongues the mighty works of God. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

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; 1 Cor. 12:101 Cor. 12:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues:

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, 28, 30; 13:1, 8; 14:2, 4, 5, 6, 13, 14, 18, 19, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28). For a contrast between the Biblical gift of tongues and modern claims, see the chart located in the commentary on 14:2.

Are tongue speakers consistent in how they handle the Scriptures? No, and one terrific example of this is found in Mk. 16:17Mk. 16:17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

17 And these signs shall accompany them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues;

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-18. Jesus said people would “speak with new tongues” (verse 17) and “take up serpents” (verse 18). Each of these statements is expressed exactly the same way in the Greek text (Jesus used the future indicative to describe both actions). If Mk. 16:17Mk. 16:17
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17 And these signs shall accompany them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues;

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means tongue speaking is for today, believers are also to handle snakes (verse 18). There is no way to say that tongue speaking can be done unless one is also willing to handle snakes. Since Pentecostal teachers do not want to handle snakes, they have been forced to re-interpret the word “snakes” to mean “enemies.” This is just one more example of how people “wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction” (2 Pet. 3:162 Pet. 3:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

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).

What happens today when tongues are “interpreted?” Many times the “interpretation” is very general or people claim the tongue speaker was expressing thanksgiving to God. Kildahl (p. 63) cited an example of a young man who attended a meeting and said the words of the “Lord’s Prayer” in an African dialect he learned in his youth. There was an “interpreter of tongues” present at this meeting and the interpreter said the young man said Jesus’ second coming was imminent! The words were incorrectly interpreted and a false prediction was made about Jesus’ final return. For a discussion of the genuine gift of “interpretation of tongues,” see the commentary on 12:10c.

Do tongue speakers often rely upon a leader? Yes, and Kildahl (p. 44) said his research showed it was “vital” for tongue speakers to have a “complete sense of trust and confidence in the leader.” On this same page he described how tongue speakers often refer to their leaders: “‘That man is a holy man.’ ‘He is fantastic, I never met someone who is as sincere and dedicated as he is.’ ‘He truly lives every moment close to the Lord.’ ‘She is utterly charismatic, her whole life is a gift from God to the rest of us.’” This author has heard similar claims from the tongue speakers he has encountered. In fact, as Kildahl (p. 44) said, it can be “difficult to distinguish whether glossolalists were talking about their leader or about Jesus.”

“It is not surprising that a profound sense of trust in a leader is necessary for beginning to speak in tongues, just as it is for the induction of hypnosis” (ibid). Kildahl also (p. 50) said: “We never met a deeply involved tongue-speaker who did not have some leader to whom he looked for guidance” and the “importance of the leader was well illustrated by the fact that the style of glossolalia adapted by the group bore a close resemblance to the way in which the leader spoke” (ibid, p. 53).

Has modern tongue speaking been viewed negatively? Yes. In the past some have regarded tongue speakers as naïve and gullible people who accepted things without investigation. Today those who claim to speak in tongues can be found in virtually every walk and profession of life (doctors, lawyers, ministers, professors, etc.).

Why do some people speak of the “Holy Ghost” and others refer to the “Holy Spirit?” Many within the Pentecostal movement seem to prefer the word “ghost” because this term more quickly stirs the emotions and passions of people. Ghost has an almost eerie sound to it and is useful in creating an environment that is often not “decent and orderly” (compare 1 Cor. 14:401 Cor. 14:40
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40 But let all things be done decently and in order.

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).

While the KJV normally uses the words “Holy Ghost” instead of “Holy Spirit,” there are four places in the New Testament where the KJV says “Holy Spirit” instead of “Holy Ghost” (see Lk. 11:13Lk. 11:13
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13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

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; Eph. 1:13; 4:30Eph. 1:13; 4:30
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13 in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,—in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 30 And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption.

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; 1 Thess. 4:81 Thess. 4:8
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8 Therefore he that rejecteth, rejecteth not man, but God, who giveth his Holy Spirit unto you.

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).

For more information on “tongue speaking” and spiritual gifts feel free to get the free on line Bible commentary for First Corinthians from abiblecommentary.com at this link: http://www.abiblecommentary.com/firstcorinthians_biblecommentaryonthebookoffirstcorinthians

Is the church the same as the kingdom?

The answer to this question is both “yes” and “no.” In some places “church” and “kingdom” are virtual synonyms. In other passages “church” and “kingdom” do not mean the same thing.

Jesus said His people would partake of the Lord’s Supper in the “kingdom” (Mt. 26:29Mt. 26:29
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29 But I say unto you, I shall not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

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) and Paul said this activity is done in the “church” (1 Cor. 11:20-221 Cor. 11:20-22
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20 When therefore ye assemble yourselves together, it is not possible to eat the Lord's supper: 21 for in your eating each one taketh before other his own supper; and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22 What, have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you? In this I praise you not.

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). In Mt. 16:18Mt. 16:18
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18 And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

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Jesus spoke of the “church” and then immediately spoke of the “kingdom” (Mt. 16:19Mt. 16:19
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19 I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

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). Paul said the saved are “translated into the kingdom” (Col. 1:13Col. 1:13
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13 who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love;

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) and then spoke of the “church” just a few verses later (Col. 1:18Col. 1:18
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18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

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). In this same book he referred to “fellow workers in the “kingdom” (Col. 4:11Col. 4:11
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11 and Jesus that is called Justus, who are of the circumcision: these only are my fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God, men that have been a comfort unto me.

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) and then spoke of the “church” (Col. 4:15-16Col. 4:15-16
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15 Salute the brethren that are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church that is in their house. 16 And when this epistle hath been read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye also read the epistle from Laodicea.

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). Paul wrote to the “church” at Thessalonica (1 Thess. 1:11 Thess. 1:1
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The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians 1 1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

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) and then said these Christians had been “called into the kingdom” (1 Thess. 2:121 Thess. 2:12
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12 to the end that ye should walk worthily of God, who calleth you into his own kingdom and glory.

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). The Hebrew writer spoke of the “church” (Heb. 12:23Heb. 12:23
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23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

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) and then said these saints had access to the kingdom (Heb. 12:28Heb. 12:28
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28 Wherefore, receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, whereby we may offer service well-pleasing to God with reverence and awe:

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). Jesus’ blood purchased a “kingdom” (Rev. 5:9-10Rev. 5:9-10
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9 And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, 10 and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon earth.

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, ASV), but Acts 20:28Acts 20:28
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28 Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood.

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says Jesus’ blood purchased the church. Just as there are different words in the New Testament that describe “elders” to describe different facets of an elder’s work (compare Tit. 1:5Tit. 1:5
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5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city, as I gave thee charge;

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with Tit. 1:7Tit. 1:7
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7 For the bishop must be blameless, as God's steward; not self-willed, not soon angry, no brawler, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre;

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), so “kingdom” and “church” are sometimes used in this same way.

While many passages do use “kingdom” and “church” interchangeably, these two words are not always identical. In Mt. 8:12Mt. 8:12
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12 but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

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when Jesus said “but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth” He clearly was not referring to the church. Satan has a “kingdom” (Mt. 12:26Mt. 12:26
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26 and if Satan casteth out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand?

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), but this kingdom is certainly not the church. At the end of time when Jesus invites the saved into the kingdom (Mt. 25:34Mt. 25:34
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34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

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) He will not be inviting people into the church.

In places where “kingdom” and “church” are not interchangeable, the word “kingdom” generally has the sense of “rule.” All are “in the kingdom” in the sense that each one is accountable to God for his or her actions (i.e. God reigns or rules over all people). Only those who become Christians are “in the kingdom” in the sense of being a member of the church and thus part of the saved.

Are you part of the “kingdom” in the sense of the church? If not, I encourage you to do a basic study of Christianity at this link: http://www.abiblecommentary.com/newtestamentchristianity

Brad Price
www.abiblecommentary.com

Children are an heritage of the Lord

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3). No gift or asset exceeds their value, the value of children! And, no, they do not always drink their drinks “spill-free,” make 100s on their tests, make us proud by their conduct, or get along with others just so. Yet, who would really trade them in?

Parents must be a present force for good in their children’s lives! They must seriously and joyfully undertake the privilege parenting presents. Adults should regularly have a physical to ascertain their fitness. In the same way, parents should have a regular spiritual to ascertain their fitness as parents.

Upon examination, some parents find their:

HEAD in the clouds! Some children could never be guilty of any wrongdoing under any circumstances. The teachers and others children with whom the child has problems are always to blame. Really?!

MIND in the gutter. Where will many children view their first pornography or nudity on the screen? Yes, in the home. Mom? Dad? Are we guarding our lips (Titus 2:8Titus 2:8
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8 sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of us.

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) and hearts (Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
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23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life.

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)?

NOSE to the grindstone! Sixty-hour workweeks, ten hours in commute, forty-two hours for sleep, and parents have left, at most, eight hours per day for their children. If one bathes and dresses for work, chews his meals with care, buys groceries, pays bills, and watches the average daily dose of TV, how much time do the kids get?

Down in the MOUTH! It is true, children imitate the behavior modeled before them. In an age of grumbling and complaining, parents must teach by example that such is not the way God wants to act (cf. Acts 2:14Acts 2:14
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14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spake forth unto them, saying, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and give ear unto my words.

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).

EYES on the prize! Spiritual focus is vital for successful parenting to occur (2 Corinthians 5:72 Corinthians 5:7
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7 ;

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). When parents emphasize Christ above all, emulate Christ rather than any other, and esteem heaven rather than earth, children being to see things more clearly, too.

The Great Physician says it all (parents should pay extra special attention) when he says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37Matthew 22:37
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37 And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

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). Parents, let’s always work on “shaping up” for our children’s sakes!

–Neal Pollard

STEVE SLATER'S MELTDOWN

Most have heard about the “very small meltdown” (his mom’s words) Steve Slater had aboard a JetBlue flight in New York City after an extended run-in he had with a foul-mouthed, rude female passenger with a lethal roller bag. He is an instant celebrity, hailed by large numbers of people as a folk hero and gutsy. News stories about the incident have included background music by Johnny Paycheck, playing the line, “Take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more.” By all accounts, Slater got on the plane’s intercom, used profanity, grabbed two cans of bear, deployed the emergency slide, and thereby exited the plane in reaction to the inflamed woman passenger. He was arrested at his home and faces a potential jail sentence of seven years. Most pundits agree no jury would convict Slater because too many are empathetic to him and enthusiastic approve of how he handled himself.

I have seen many rude passengers on airplanes. Even frequent fliers act entitled and behave badly in pursuit of their perceived rights. It sounds like Slater had a bad case scenario on his hands, but he has galvanized an image for himself that is not conducive for good in our society. Slater symbolizes a growing attitude toward such fundamental landmarks like authority, law and order, civility, and responsibility. He jeopardized the safety of people on the ground, broke clearly stated industry rules, used profanity over the loudspeaker, and has remained to this point mostly unapologetic.

People have said they wish they could pull a “Steve Slater” and walk away from their job so flamboyantly. Only the economy and related economic realities keep them in check. Is he the working man’s hero? Or is he the latest symptom that betrays a societal, spiritual sickness?

If everyone were to behave like Mr. Slater did yesterday, society would be on the brink of collapse. Blatant disregard for others already characterizes a great many people in our world. Outbursts of anger, clearly condemned in scripture (Gal. 5:20Gal. 5:20
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20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties,

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), certainly do not characterize “those who belong to Christ Jesus” and “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24Gal. 5:24
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24 And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof.

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). Can you imagine a world where everybody did what they felt without regard for the other person? New Testament writers urge self-control and deference to others, even if it means going a second-mile and turning the other cheek (Matt. 5:39, 41Matt. 5:39, 41
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39 but I say unto you, resist not him that is evil: but whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go one mile, go with him two.

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). We are to repay evil with good (1 Th. 5:151 Th. 5:15
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15 See that none render unto any one evil for evil; but always follow after that which is good, one toward another, and toward all.

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). We are not to return evil for evil or insult for insult (1 Pet. 3:91 Pet. 3:9
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9 not rendering evil for evil, or reviling for reviling; but contrariwise blessing; for hereunto were ye called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

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). Mr. Slater did not accomplish those things with his little meltdown, and he should not be hailed as a hero. What a wonderful day it will be when the cult heroes are those who are renowned for their civility, dignity, and selflessness!

–Neal Pollard