Just men reading, memorizing and studying the bible together!

Alternate Plans
Bible Order: Romans 1–3
Old Testament Only: Ezekiel 17–19
New Testament Only: James 2
(Current Plan is Chronological)

The Great Harlot

2 Thessalonians 1-3

Episcopal Church Supports Gay MarriageBrothers, I’m going to admit something to you. I am rushing to get work under control so I can enjoy some time with family over Thanksgiving so I am going to rely heavily for the next few days on the commentary of others to fill the pages of this blog for the next several days.

I will again pull from “Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee”. In his introduction to 2 Thessalonians Dr. McGee makes a claim that the Church will eventually go into apostasy. I don’t agree with Dr. McGee’s understanding of End Times prophecy but I must admit that I am certainly not as well educated in such matters as he. In fact, my view is consistent with that held by the majority of Christians prior to the mid-1800s while Dr. McGee’s is consistent with that held by the majority of Christians today. That said, I found his commentary on the Church turning to apostasy interesting in light of the fact that we see various denominations today doing just that.

“The Christians in Thessalonica were still baby Christians when Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians. His first letter to them had given rise to further questions, and Paul is attempting to answer them in his second letter. There was circulating in the Thessalonian church a letter or report, purported to have come from Paul, which was inclined to disturb the Christians. This false report claimed that Christ had already come and had already gathered out the church to Himself, and that the world was then living in the judgments of the “day of the Lord.” These people were being persecuted, as we saw in the first epistle. They were suffering for the gospel’s sake, and it was easy for them to believe that they had entered the Great Tribulation Period, and that all of the believers (not only the dead) had missed the Rapture. Paul attempts to allay their fears by writing this epistle and stating definitely that “our gathering together unto him” is yet future (2 Thess. 2:1), and that “the day of the Lord” has certain forerunners which must first come: the apostasy and the “man of sin” must come first. Therefore they could reasonably believe they were not in the Great Tribulation.

Paul says that the outward organization of the professing church is going to go into total apostasy. In Luke 18:8 the Lord asked, “… when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” The way the question is couched in the Greek it demands a negative answer. He will not find the faith on the earth when He comes again. The organized church will be in total apostasy. This is confirmed in the Book of Revelation. In the fourth chapter the church has been removed from the earth, and nothing is left but an empty shell of an organization that has a form of godliness but denies the power of it. That same organization is the great harlot in chapter 17 of Revelation, which is about as frightful a picture as you will find in the Word of God.”

McGee, J. V. (1997). Thru the Bible commentary (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

So what do you think? Will the Church become the “Great Harlot” mentioned in Revelation? Scary thought isn’t it?

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

Alternate Plans
Bible Order: Acts 27–28
Old Testament Only: Ezekiel 16
New Testament Only: James 1
(Current Plan is Chronological)

How Are You Living

1 Thessalonians 1-5

DrunkI don’t know if you’ve noticed but because we are reading through the Bible chronologically we have read a bit in Acts then jumped to James and Galatians and then back to Acts and today we find ourselves in 1 Thessalonians. We’ll follow that with 2 Thessalonians and then back to Acts. The book of Acts is a book of history written by Luke and which relays to us the history of the early, early church. The books of the Bible to and from which we jump are letters written to individuals or early churches that were written during the time being described by Acts. What you should be seeing in this is what the Apostles are experiencing and teaching as the Gospel and time progress. I’m sorry I didn’t point that out earlier but do look for the connections that are to be made between these books.

I thought I would share with you part of what Dr. J. Vernon McGee had to say about 1 Thessalonians.

“The apostle obviously had emphasized the second coming of Christ for believers and had taught that the return of Christ was imminent; for during the period of time since Paul had left, some of the saints who had come to know and believe in Christ Jesus had died, and this had naturally raised the question in the minds of the Thessalonians as to whether these saints would be in the Rapture or not. Paul presents the second coming of Christ in relationship to believers as a comfort, and this forms the theme of the epistle. This emphasis is in sharp contrast to Christ’s catastrophic and cataclysmic coming in glory to establish His kingdom by putting down all unrighteousness, as seen in Revelation 19:11–16.

The epistle has a threefold purpose: (1) To confirm young converts in the elementary truth of the gospel; (2) to condition them to go on unto holy living; and (3) to comfort them regarding the return of Christ. Paul’s message offered a marked contrast to the paganism and heathenism which were present in Thessalonica. A heathen inscription in Thessalonica read: “After death no reviving, after the grave no meeting again.”

In 1 Thessalonians the emphasis is upon the Rapture of believers, the coming of Christ to take His church out of the world. The fact that the coming of Christ is a purifying hope should lead to sanctification in our lives. There are a lot of people today who want to argue prophecy, and there is a great deal of curiosity about it. But John tells us, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3). This hope should have a purifying effect in our lives. I am not interested in how enthusiastic and excited you get over the truth of the Rapture of the church; I want to know how you are living. Does this hope get right down to where you are living, and does it change your life?”

McGee, J. V. (1997). Thru the Bible commentary (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

If we have truly submitted our life to Christ then there should be evidence of that fact in our life; in how we are living. How are you living?

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

Alternate Plans
Bible Order: Acts 24–26
Old Testament Only: Ezekiel 13–15
New Testament Only: Hebrews 13
(Current Plan is Chronological)

Know The Reasons For Your Faith

Acts 17:1-18:18

Studying ManI noticed in a couple of places where it was said that when Paul went into a new town he would go to the synagogue and “reason” with the people. Below is one of those instances in question.

Acts 17:1-4 ESV

“[1] Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. [2] And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, [3] explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” [4] And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.”

Many Christians are afraid to share their faith for fear of being ridiculed as someone who believes in fairytales. The implication is that we believe in something that can’t be proven; that it is something that has no basis in reality. This is unfortunate. Christians who have such a fear have allowed the Lost to define what is rational. Sometimes they don’t really have the rational answers they need to be able to defend themselves against such allegations.

The word the Bible uses to describe Paul’s interaction with the lost is “reasoned”. Verse 3 above says that Paul proved that it was necessary for Christ to suffer and rise from the dead. The only way Paul could reason with the Lost and to prove his case was by knowing the evidence. You can’t reason with someone if you don’t have the reasons. Far too many of us are ignorant of our faith. When cornered we cop out by saying things like “I can’t prove it I just have faith”, as if faith has nothing to do with reason.

Brother I have faith that when I go out to my car to drive to the church in a little bit that it will start and get me to the church and back without any mechanical difficulty. I have faith the car will do that because I know that car; I know how old it is, I know its track record, I know how it has been maintained. It is all that knowledge that gives me faith. My faith in God is not based on nothing. I don’t have faith because I don’t have reason. I have faith because I do have reason. My faith is based on what I know about God. My faith is not based on the unknown but on the known. God is knowable!

We are ambassadors for Christ. We are to engage our community and our culture but we must be prepared for that engagement. If you don’t know what you believe or why you believe it then start studying; get to know the God you worship and to whom you belong. You need to be able to reason with the Lost so get to know the reasons for your faith.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

No Reading Today

by | November 23, 2014 | In Daily Reading No Comments

Alternate Plans
Bible Order: Acts 21–23
Old Testament Only: Ezekiel 10–12
New Testament Only: Hebrews 12:18–29
(Current Plan is Chronological)

No Reading Today

Sleeping ManOur current chronological reading plan has no reading for Sundays. Take this day to reflect on what God has said to you through His Holy Word this past week.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

Alternate Plans
Bible Order: Acts 19–20
Old Testament Only: Ezekiel 7–9
New Testament Only: Hebrews 12:1–17
(Current Plan is Chronological)

The Founder And Finisher Of Our Faith

Acts 15-16

CarpenterI have the great and high honor to open Sunday morning worship at my church with prayer. It is a great joy for me to stand before my brothers and sisters in Christ and to cry out praise to our Lord and to pray that His will be done in the hearts and minds of those attending. I always ask that God open the heart and mind of any Lost person who might be attending as well. This request is based on the understanding that no one comes to God unless God Himself opens the heart of the Lost person in question. Now this is not some idea I made up out of whole cloth. The Bible tells us that this is the case, and one verse from today’s Scripture illustrates that claim. Take a look at the following verse.

Acts 16:14 ESV

“One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.”

Paul spoke the truth to Lydia but she was able to comprehend the truth through the work of God’s Holy Spirit. God truly is the founder and finisher of our faith.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

Alternate Plans
Bible Order: Acts 16–18
Old Testament Only: Ezekiel 4–6
New Testament Only: Hebrews 11:18–40
(Current Plan is Chronological)

Slavery

Galatians 4-6

Partners in CrimeIn today’s passage Paul refers repeatedly to slavery but these references are not all about the same thing. The first reference that caught my eye was this.

Galatians 4:1-3 ESV

“[1] I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, [2] but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. [3] In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.”

There are a couple of things going on in the passage above. In full, Paul is making a point about us being a slave to sin but being saved through Christ and therefore becoming a child of God, an heir. In these three verses you see the two ways Paul uses the imagery of a slave. Without Christ we are slaves to sin. Slavery in this sense is crushing; you labor hard and reap no reward but death. Once we become a child of the Living God, we become heirs of God but we are still under authority. This is the other kind of “slavery” to which Paul refers. Jesus used similar language. On the one hand He would call us servants of God, but on the other He would point out that we are more than servants, we are heirs.

Back in the day a slave and a son would work the fields of the father. For one the work was slavery, work for which there was no more recompense than room and board. For the other the work was work of ownership. While the son might labor as hard as the slave, the inheritance of the son is increased by his labor. It’s kind of like working in the family business. If you help your father build the family business, when you inherit the business you gain from the investment of labor you made. There is another point here as well. A slave works for fear of punishment. A son works for love of the father. A son recognizes the father’s authority, but he also recognizes that what is the father’s is also his.

Returning to the issue of slavery to sin, Paul reminds us that Christ has set us free so let us not return to slavery.

Galatians 5:1 ESV

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

Stand firm. You and I, brothers in Christ, were set free from sin. Why would we willingly go back into slavery? Temptation is as slippery slope. If we take one step in the wrong direction we can find the earth falling away beneath our feet. We do need to stand firm. We should not allow the temptations of the world to draw us down to destruction. Here we have an exhortation to realize that what we left behind needs to be left behind. What we left behind was slavery to death; leave it where it belongs, in the past. As a reading earlier in the week said, “resist the Devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Tell him where to go!

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!