Month: January 2016

The Great Transition in John’s Gospel (4)

The Mystery of Israel’s Blinding This article will require careful thinking. But I can’t stress enough how important the subject is, because it directly affects how you think about grace, about God’s earthly people Israel, and, most importantly, how you think about God Himself. And as A.W. Tozer famously wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” John 12:35-50 is a vital section in discussing the transition from the Lord’s focus on Judaism to the building of the Church, but in order to understand it, we must carefully link...

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The Great Transition in John’s Gospel (3)

What About Those Who Are Not His Sheep? “The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (Jn 10:25-27). It’s good to understand the picture here. A large sheepfold had been built just outside the city gate. It was used by shepherds who had matters to attend to in the city. Their sheep would be kept in the fold with other shepherds’ sheep, where...

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The Great Transition in John’s Gospel (2)

Transitional Passage 2 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that every one who sees the Son and believes in Him...

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The Great Transition in John’s Gospel (1)

Introduction When the Lord Jesus arrived on the planet, we must remember there were people living who were the spiritual children of Abraham by faith. They had, like the patriarch, a true and vital relationship with Jehovah, though they had not yet met Jesus. As the Lord Jesus would later say, “You believe in God, believe also in Me” (Jn 14:1). But a new society was about to be birthed—the Church—constituted of both Jews and Gentiles. And some of those who previously would have been considered the wife of Jehovah (see Jer 31:1-5, 32; Ezek 16:8; Hos 2:14-23) would now...

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In Season, Out of Season

Last Minute Changes It was Thursday night, two days before I was to leave for three weeks of Bible teaching in Colorado, The phone rang. It was my friend Larry  on the line with a frantic plea to speak at the Labor Day youth conference in North Carolina—starting Friday evening! The other speaker had withdrawn for personal reasons at the last minute. They were desperate since 120 young people were expected. The topic had already been selected and advertized. I told him I was heading to Colorado. Couldn’t I see if I could come a few days later, he wondered? I...

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AWOL: Where Did These Verses Go?

Can we be complete without a complete Bible? What Christian doesn’t know the statement: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17)? All Scripture inspired? Absolutely! All Scripture profitable and necessary to make us complete and equipped for every good work? Hmmm. You’ve seen a red-letter edition of the Bible. But, it seems, the far more popular one is the invisible-ink edition, where scores of what seem to be...

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Perfumed Living

The Fragrance of His Knowledge 2 Corinthians 2:12-17 Introduction I have examined as many commentaries as I have in my library, perhaps twenty in number, and they all seem to substantially agree that this passage is using an illustration very familiar to First Century Corinthians. Let Charles Erdman vividly portray the scene: The whole paragraph is phrased in figures borrowed from the scene of triumph in which a victorious general swept through the streets of imperial Rome. In pomp and glory, crowned with laurel, mounted on his chariot, preceded by the senate, magistrates, musicians, the spoils and the captives in...

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You Can Speak for God!

Top 10 Reasons Christians Don’t Witness “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Martus, translated as both “witness” and “martyr,” refers to those who, because of their testimony, give their lives either all at once or one day at a time for Christ. What is a witness? A witness is not a prosecutor, defense attorney or judge. A witness is required simply to tell what he knows. For the Christian,...

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Five Fatal Flaws: The Warning Passages in Hebrews (5)

5. A Warning About God’s Choice (Heb 12:14-29) In this study we have stated that the Old Covenant was God-given, and ideal for its intended purpose, but it was never designed to be a comprehensive answer to man’s need. A fine china cup is not flawed because it breaks when I use it to hammer nails; the cup was never intended for that. And the Mosaic Covenant was not meant to be an end in itself. Rather, “the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal 3:24). The fifth fatal flaw...

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Five Fatal Flaws: The Warning Passages in Hebrews (4)

Another blessing offered in Christ, but not available in the Mosaic system, is forgiveness for acts of willful sin. The repeated refrain of the Law read: “for everyone who has sinned unintentionally or in ignorance.” Any willful sin brought certain judgment without mercy. Anyone claiming the law as a means of salvation, either in the first century or today, must face this grim fact.

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