Psalm 145:4 – Let This Generation Praise the Mighty Acts of God in Christ!

Psalm 145:4 One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.

Each generation has the responsibility and the privilege of declaring the works of the Lord to the generations that follow.  What generation has done this better than the truly greatest generation?

Let us imitate therefore them, that our voice might be added to theirs – to the end that all the generations to come will have heard collectively from us about the glorious works of the Lord.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Hosea 12:13 – Jesus Is the Great Prophet to Come

Hosea 12:13 But by a prophet the LORD brought Israel from Egypt,
And by a prophet he was kept.

Remember that Moses said God would raise up a prophet like him (Deuteronomy 18:15).  Jesus was that great prophet.  By that great prophet, the people of God were delivered from the world of flesh, and by that same prophet they are kept from the world of flesh.

Christ who saves you from your sins, keeps you from sin.  In the same way that He saved you, He will hold you.

As you received Christ in the beginning, so walk with Him always.  As Paul wrote:

Colossians 2:6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

That is, in the way you came to Christ, you stay with Christ.  You came to Him in faith.  Therefore, you stay with Him by faith.

Why do people who think they are saved by “the sinner’s prayer” think that they are going to be kept by some other method – say, like churchgoing?  As you called upon Christ in the sinner’s prayer, so walk with Him day by day.  Churchgoing is no substitute for faith.

Just as you prayed the sinner’s prayer with a conviction of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1), so live your life with that same conviction.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Revelation 21:22 – The Lord Himself Is Our Temple

Revelation 21:22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

In this age, the Lord Himself is our temple.  We need no earthly structure in Jerusalem.  We need no gatherings of believers in various cities under human leadership.  We need only gather to our Lord Himself.  So, whether we are alone from human standpoint, or in the midst of other humans calling on His name with us, it is His presence that we seek and value.  He will not overlook us.  He knows those who call upon Him in sincerity of heart and without personal agendas (2 Timothy 2:19).

This is the day and age to which the prophets looked forward. This is the day which the apostles saw as imminent – the day in which the Christ would be fully revealed.  We now know Christ to be not merely an emissary of God, but rather God Himself in the flesh.  Truly, truly, He is Immanuel, “God with us.”

Therefore, look not for a house of the Lord unless it is the Lord Himself you seek to house you.  For these are not the days of the ancient nation of Israel.  Nor are these the days of church.  These are the days of the kingdom of God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Genesis 7:5 – The Greater Noah

Genesis 7:5 Noah did according to all that the LORD had commanded him.

This scripture is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  That is, Noah was a type, or foreshadowing, of the Christ who would come.

If Noah “did according to all that the Lord had commanded him,” how much more did Jesus do according to all that the Lord commanded him?  For God used Noah to save a few people from his generation, but God used Jesus to save all people from all generations:  Everyone Is Going to Heaven.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

If Jesus Is God…

If Jesus is God, what is going on at His baptism and the Mount of Transfiguration?

First, let’s recognize that the Old Testament is Jesus’ biography – written in advance.  In Acts 2:23, after forty days of instruction from Jesus (Luke 24:27, 44), the apostle Peter reported to the Jewish crowds assembled in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost that the crucifixion of Jesus by the hands of godless men had been part “the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.”  In other words, evil men had not spoiled the plan of God – they had participated in it.  God’s Messiah had not be thwarted.  On the contrary, He used the sins of men to overcome the sins of men.  The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth had been planned.  In the light of this understanding, let’s take a look back at Jesus’ baptism and transfiguration.

Both at His baptism (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22) and at His transfiguration (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35), the texts say that “a voice” came from above.  I don’t think that God is so shorthanded that He has to do His own announcements.  Like any great king, He has servants to carry out His wishes and make His words known.  Thus I take it that an angel of some kind was proclaiming the words.  It doesn’t seem too hard to imagine that as part of “the predetermined plan of God” that these announcements were planned to be made at certain time and/or when certain conditions were met.

Before leaving heaven for His transformation into a human being through conception in Mary’s womb, God made all the necessary arrangements associated with His plan for the redemption of creation – including the use of generations of prophets beginning with Moses to document the plan (in what we call the Old Testament)…so that it could be read to Him once He became a human being – eventually even being able to read it Himself (Luke 4:16, 17).  Thus God arranged for the messages from heaven long before they took place.  In short, God had left Himself these messages for when He would be Jesus.  This is true not just of these voices but of the entirety of the Old Testament.

 

Psalm 31:19 – The Resurrection of Christ Elevated His Goodness to the Heavens

Psalm 31:19 How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!

This verse prophesies “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

As we heed “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” we draw upon the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ – the work of God.  For God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19).

See:  The Resurrection of Jesus Christ Changed Everything

Through the resurrection of Christ, the goodness of God was “stored UP.”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

SL020 – The Concluding Episode of the Scriptural Literacy Podcast

Scriptural Literacy:

Understanding the Bible –

An Ancient Text of Timeless Truths for a Modern Age

SL020 – The Concluding Episode of the Scriptural Literacy Podcast

Our purpose in this podcast has been to increase our biblical literacy – that is, to become more comfortable reading the Bible.  The purpose of reading the Bible is to understand Jesus Christ – God’s revelation of Himself to the world.  Proverbs 25:2 and Jeremiah 15:19 speak of discerning the principles to be found in this ancient set of texts.  See also James 1:5 to establish that God wants to share His wisdom with us.

This is the 20th and final (at least for the time being) episode of this podcast.  I will leave it here on the blog as a 20-part introduction to the Scriptures for those who would desire to be able to read them on their own.

Review-to-Date (starts at 00:00)

I.  Reminder Warnings (begins at 11:34)

    • John 5:39-40
    • Acts 13:27,40-41; John 16:2
    • John 1:47; 3:19-21; Acts 10:34-35
    • Psalm 119:28
    • Landing zones in a jungle

II.  How I Approach the Bible (begins at 26:49)

III.  The Bible Is Complete in Christ (begins at 59:11)

    • Genesis 3:24 and Revelation 2:7; 22:2, 14, 19
    • Acts 3:21 (“the restoration of all things”)
    • Isaiah 65:17; 66:22 (“new heavens and a new earth”)
    • Revelation 21:1 (“and there is no longer any sea”)
    • Acts 4:24 (“the heaven and the earth and the sea”)
    • John 4:35-38 (the prophets and the apostles)
    • Ephesians 2:20  (“Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone”)

Total time elapsed is 1:17:53

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are to the New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Philippians 3:14 – The Upward Call of God Is in Christ Jesus

Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The “upward call” of God is, of course, rooted in the resurrection of Christ.  That is why this “upward call of God” is “in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus of Nazareth lived the exemplary human life, and was raised from the dead to heaven that our attention might be drawn there.  Heaven is the light of the earth.  Heaven was dark to us – unknown – until Jesus illumined it.  In His human qualities (e.g. humility, gentleness, and kindness) are reflected the divine qualities of our Creator.

God is calling us through Jesus Christ, for Christ is the message of God.  Listening to this message draws our attention from earth to heaven, and so enables us to live in the manner that our Lord did.

Let us keep listening to the upward call; let us keep following the upward call.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Preaching Christ Without Preaching Church

He who preaches Christ without preaching church preaches rightly.

Humanly-organized church is an unnecessary weight on those who aspire to be among the people of God.  Let the children of God experience the liberty Christ died to give them.  Let them walk in His light and not be encumbered with the idolatry of man-made church – its gatherings, buildings, and human heirarchies.

Christ alone…is enough.  And the true church walks always in His presence.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Lineage in the Kingdom of God Is by the Spirit and Not by the Flesh

In 1 Peter 3:6, Peter writes that those who behave as Sarah become her children.

In Galatians 3:7, Paul writes that those who practice faith are the sons of Abraham.

In Romans 2:28-29, Paul writes that being a Jew had become a matter of the heart rather than a matter of the body.

What these and other scriptures make clear is that being a “son of” – at least in the kingdom of God – is a matter of “being like.”

Therefore, in the kingdom of God it’s not a matter of who claims to be a son of God (as many Christian would have it) – it’s rather a matter of who behaves like God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

“He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood”

Revelation 19:13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

Jesus was clothed in a robe dipped in blood.  Clothing speaks of His righteous acts – the generous way He lived His life.  As it says a few verses earlier in this chapter of the book of Revelation:

Revelation 19:8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Thus righteous acts are the clothing God gives us to wear.

That Jesus’ garment was dipped in blood speaks to the sacrificial death to which He submitted Himself.

It was given to Peter, Paul, James, and Stephen to follow Jesus in this regard.  Blessed be their memories to us and our children forever.  They followed the example of their Lord.  The least we can do is believe their testimony.

Jesus was clothed with a life of good works ending in rejection and death.  Yet He loved anyway.  And His love still endures, as it will forever and ever.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Setting Your Mind on the Spirit

Romans 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
Romans 8:7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,
Romans 8:8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

When you set your mind on the flesh, you are seeing only the world that science can see.  You are ignoring the world that built the world that science can see (Hebrews 11:3).

When we ignore the spiritual dimension then we – humanity – are the highest authority there is.  We have ignored God as supreme and made ourselves supreme in His place.  This is why “the mind set on the flesh is death.”  It accepts as true something that is plainly false.  It is living a lie.  Human beings are not supreme.  If they were, they wouldn’t die.

We must rather set our minds on the spirit.  In this view, human beings are sub-regents to God in the earth, and accountable to Him.  To set our minds on the spirit is to walk in the fear of God.  This is life.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Vocabulary of Righteousness Without the Practice of It?

For some, the Bible gives a vocabulary of righteousness.  That is different, however, from the practice of righteousness.

The vocabulary of righteousness without the practice?  Ugh!

If you are to study the Bible, be sure you seek its testimony of Jesus so that you can serve Him with a whole heart.  As He Himself said:

John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;
John 5:40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

How awful it is for those who study the Bible, only to hear the Lord say:

Matthew 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Do not be like them!  Learn the vocabulary of righteousness in order to practice righteousness before Him – not just talk about it.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Matthew 5:1-2 – Jesus “Sat Down” to Teach

Matthew 5:1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
Matthew 5:2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,

As I described in yesterday’s post about Luke 19:28, Matthew is similarly giving a mundane account of something Jesus did while simultaneously portraying grander movements.  Consider:

“When Jesus saw the crowds”  –  That is, when Jesus saw the multitudes swelling, He took it as a sign that His destined end was near.  In this regard, see John 12:19-23.

“He went up on the mountains”  – That is, He went up to the mountain of heaven.  In this regard, see the prophecy in Isaiah 2:1-4.

“and after He sat down”  –  That is, after He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God according to the prophecy of Psalm 110:1.

“His disciples came to Him”  –  This is what we see happening in the book of Acts.  The apostles preached Him risen from the dead and reigning in heaven.  Those who believed – thousands  of them – came to Him by faith.

“He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying”  – In these words, we can see Jesus’ pouring out of the Holy Spirit on His disciples.  By the Holy Spirit, Jesus speaks to and teaches His disciples even to this day.

If we want to learn Scripture, the Holy Spirit has much to teach us.  And He is all the teacher we need.  In this regard, see 1 John 2:20, 27

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

SL019 – The Cornerstone of the Scriptures

Scriptural Literacy:

Understanding the Bible –

An Ancient Text of Timeless Truths for a Modern Age

SL019 – The Cornerstone of the Scriptures

[Note: I misspoke at the very beginning of the recording by saying “Scriptural Christianity” instead of “Scriptural Literacy.”  I can’t easily re-record that one statement so please just overlook the mistake.  I did correctly say “Scriptural Literacy” just a few sentences later.]

Our purpose in this blog and podcast is to increase our biblical literacy – that is, to become more comfortable reading the Bible.  The purpose of reading the Bible is to understand Jesus Christ – God’s revelation of Himself to the world.  Proverbs 25:2 and Jeremiah 15:19 speak of discerning the principles to be found in this ancient set of texts.  See also James 1:5 to establish that God wants to share His wisdom with us.

Review-to-Date (starts at 00:00)

I.  The Cornerstone in the Gospels (begins at 6:21)

    • Matthew 21:42 (Mark 12:10-11; Luke 20:17)
    • Matthew 21:23-46 (How biblically literate were the Pharisees?)
    • Acts 13:27-30

II.  The Cornerstone in the Acts of the Apostles (begins at 19:13)

    • Acts 4:11
    • Acts 4:1-13 (contrast the fishermen and the professors)

III.  The Cornerstone in the Old Testament (begins at 29:55)

    • Psalm 118:22
    • Psalm 118:22-26

IV.  The Cornerstone in the Epistles (begins at 41:22)

    • Ephesians 2:20
    • 1 Peter 2:7
    • 1 Peter 2:4-8
    • Isaiah 28:16
    • Isaiah 8:14
    • There are two kinds of biblical literacy: seek the kind that God only can give
    • Don’t read the Bible and be blind to its point
    • 2 Peter 1:20-21
    • Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of biblical literacy and of the Scriptures themselves

Total time elapsed is 1:03:01.

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are to the New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Luke 19:28 – Jesus “Went Up”

Luke 19:28 After He had said these things, He was going on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

In this verse, Luke straightforwardly describes what happened as Jesus approached Jerusalem for what would be the last week of His earthly life.  Even so, the verse also provides the outline for a grander unfolding of events.  Consider:

“After He said these things” – that is, “after Jesus taught all that we read in the four Gospels.”

“He was going on ahead”  –  Jesus was going to rendezvous with death in a way that no other human being had ever approached it – sinlessly.

“going up to Jerusalem”  – Jesus would be literally “going up” to the heavenly Jerusalem that is heaven.

Luke is portraying a pattern here that Jesus followed.  What Jesus did on earth foreshadowed what He would do in heaven.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

1 Kings 19:8 – Jesus Is the Bread That Nourishes Forever

1 Kings 19:8 So [Elijah] arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.

Some food has a more lasting effect than others.  Of course, this is God’s doing…and “it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23).  Consider the most profound case in point:

John 6:58 “This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

Jesus is the bread that sustains not just 40 days…but forever!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Ps 102:12 – The Name of Jesus the Lord

Psalm 102:12 But You, O LORD, abide forever,
And Your name to all generations.

The name of Jesus Christ abides to all generations because He is the Lord…forever and ever.  As Paul says in Philippians 2:9 and Ephesians 1:21, the name which Christ has been given will “abide forever.”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Born Again to a Living Hope Through the Resurrection of Christ

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

The Jewish people had long cherished a hope that the dead would be resurrected.  Here are a couple of examples of this sentiment.  Paul is defending himself by pointing out that his proclamation of Jesus as raised from the dead was at the very least based on a longstanding hope of the Jewish people:

Acts 23:6 But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Council, “Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!”

Acts 24:15 having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

This helps point out the importance of the word “living” in Peter’s expression above.  That is, once Jesus was raised from the dead, the hope was now “living” because a resurrected one was “living.”  This obviously gave the longstanding hope in resurrection a new life and greater vibrancy.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Are We Even Aware of God’s Comings and Goings?

Jacob says he didn’t know the Lord was present:

Genesis 28:16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”

By contrast, Samson thought the Lord was present when He wasn’t:

Judges 16:20 She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.

We should seek the Lord for discernment so that we might not be so oblivious to His comings and goings.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

God Reveals Himself by His Word

God is invisible.  How are we going to know what He’s thinking unless He tells us?

The fact that the Bible exists testifies to God’s willingness to speak to humanity and reveal to us His thoughts.

If God doesn’t want to be found out, no one is going to find Him out.  That’s why we must pay all the more attention to what He says about Himself.  For this reason Moses wrote:

Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Bible Testifies That God Speaks, Promises, and Keeps His Promises

The Bible doesn’t just testify that God is, it testifies that He speaks.

And the Bible doesn’t just testify that God speaks, it testifies that He makes promises.

And the Bible doesn’t just testify that God makes promises, it testifies that He keeps the promises that He makes.

Those who look to the Bible merely to see if it claims God is, are missing the grander and more specific claims it is making on behalf of the Creator: that He makes and keeps promises.  Those promises are documented in the Bible.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

SL018 – Suffering and Glory

Scriptural Literacy:

Understanding the Bible –

An Ancient Text of Timeless Truths for a Modern Age

SL018 – Suffering and Glory

Our purpose in this blog and podcast is to increase our biblical literacy – that is, to become more comfortable reading the Bible.  The purpose of reading the Bible is to understand Jesus Christ – God’s revelation of Himself to the world.  Proverbs 25:2 and Jeremiah 15:19 speak of discerning the principles to be found in this ancient set of texts.  See also James 1:5 to establish that God wants to share with us His wisdom.

Review-to-Date (starts at 00:00)

I.  The Sufferings and Glories of Christ Throughout the Scriptures (begins at 2:44)

II.  Recognizing the Pattern of Suffering and Glory in the Scriptures (begins at 21:42)

III.  Recognizing the Pattern of Suffering and Glory in Our Own Lives  (begins at 39:14)

Total time elapsed is 1:05:21.

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are to the New American Standard Bible (NASB)

John 1:31 – Repentance Is the Key to Recognizing Jesus

John 1:31 “I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.”

The obvious implication of this verse, especially when considered in the light of who in Israel rejected the Messiah, is that without repentance we have no hope to see God.  As it says in Hebrews:

Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

There was a certain degree of sanctification required to see Messiah in the flesh (that is, to recognize Him as the Messiah).  There would also be a certain degree of sanctification required to see Jesus in the glorious coming of His kingdom.  Those who would not repent of their sins were blind to His second coming, just as the Pharisees – who had rejected John’s call to truly repent – were blind to Christ’s first coming.

The lesson for us to learn today is that we must turn from our sins in order to have the vision necessary to see God.

Don’t let the light that has come to you turn into darkness.  Keep yourself free from sin, for sin will take you back to darkness.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

God Expects Us to Reason

God expects us to use the reasoning powers He’s given us – especially where He’s concerned.  After all, He gave us reasoning powers that He did not give to animals.  Therefore, it seems quite strange to Him when animals exhibit more reason than human beings.  As He said through Isaiah:

Isaiah 1:3 “An ox knows its owner,
And a donkey its master’s manger,
But Israel does not know,
My people do not understand.”

Consider also that He wants us to come to Him freely and not because He’s applying some external tool (like a bit or bridle) to draw us:

Psalm 32:9 Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.

Think.

If you do think, and think properly, you are likely to conclude that it’s reasonable to draw near to God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Old Testament Is the Root; The New Testament Is the Fruit

Think of the Old Testament as the roots of the New Testament.  And think of the New Testament as the fruit of the Old Testament.

The Old Testament bears witness to the promises made by God.  The New Testament testifies to those promises being kept by God.

The two testaments are thus organically intertwined.  Each is incomplete without the other.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

How Does the Bible Define Success?

God has no regard for worldly success.  This has been true from the beginning, for we see that the Tower of Babel did not impress Him in the least (Genesis 11:1-9).

In Psalm 1:1-6, God speaks of the righteous man as succeeding (see especially the last line of verse 3).  Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled this psalm.  Of course, Jesus was not considered a success in the world’s eyes.  They publicly executed Him.  Still, He succeeded in God’s eyes because He did God’s will in spite of great resistance.

Here then is what God considers success for a human being:

Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

If, when you finish your life, you can say that you did justice, loved mercy, and walked humbly with God, then you can consider yourself a success.  This is a success with which the world is not familiar.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Put Your Trust in His Prophets and Apostles and Succeed!

Consider this Old Testament verse:

2 Chronicles 20:20 They rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the LORD your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.”

Of course, in Old Testament times God spoke through the prophets “in many portions and in many ways” (Hebrews 1:1), but in New Testament times spoke through His Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:2) – who sent the apostles to proclaim His message.

Therefore we may update the words of Jehoshaphat and exhort the people of God in this way:

“Put your trust in His prophets and apostles and succeed!”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

God Did Not Entrust His Word to Secular Media

God has never sent His word into the world through secular media.  In biblical times, He chose holy men to speak for Him.  During Old Testament times that was the prophets; during New Testament times, it was the apostles.

God speaks through vessels that He Himself has purified.  In the ways of God, the messenger is as important as the message.

Unbelievers today say that they don’t trust God’s word because it was handed down and preserved by believers – as if unbelievers could be trusted with the task!

No one is objective when it comes to God.  To pretend otherwise is simply to deceive ourselves.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

What the Law of Moses Was…and What It Is

The Law of Moses was according to the flesh.  That is, it regulated the activities of the nation of Israel which consisted of physical descendants of the man named Abraham.  In the flesh, these regulations were good and beneficial to those people at that time.  However, as such, it could do nothing about the sinful human heart.

For this reason Jesus Christ came, to rise from the dead in order to bring a spiritual cast to that law.  From that time on, the Law of Moses would become the Law of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 6:2), which was according to the spirit.  In the spirit, this law would regulate the thoughts of the human heart – bringing it restoration and redemption from the Creator God.

The Law of Christ is therefore a spiritual law with a spiritual purpose.  It deals with sin at the very root – that is, the thoughts that lead to sinful behaviors.  For example, eliminate hateful thoughts and you won’t have to worry about keeping yourself from murdering.

The Law of Moses was a good thing.  The Law of Christ is supremely better.  Therefore, do not read the Law of Moses as it was of Moses; rather, read it as the law of Christ, because that is whose it has become.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

SL017 – The Old Testament Is About Jesus Christ – His Suffering and Glory

Scriptural Literacy:

Understanding the Bible –

An Ancient Text of Timeless Truths for a Modern Age

SL017 – The Old Testament Is About Jesus Christ – His Suffering and Glory

Our purpose in this blog and podcast is to increase our biblical literacy – that is, to become more comfortable reading the Bible.  The purpose of reading the Bible is to understand Jesus Christ – God’s revelation of Himself to the world.  Proverbs 25:2 and Jeremiah 15:19 speak of discerning the principles to be found in this ancient set of texts.  See also James 1:5 to establish that God wants to share with us His wisdom.

Review-to-Date (starts at 00:00)

I.  Continuation: The Scriptures Are About Christ (begins at 3:53)

The Old Testament = the Hebrew Bible
The verses I talk about in this segment continue can be found in this post:
The Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus Christ

II.  The Old Testament Is About Christ, His Suffering and Glory – New Testament View (begins at 24:33)

The verses I talk about in this segment are all listed in the following post:
The Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus Christ – His Suffering and Glory

III.  The Old Testament Is About Christ – Old Testament View  (begins at 54:16)

The verses I talk about in this segment are all listed in the following post:
The Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus Christ – His Suffering and Glory

The verses I talk about in this final segment are also listed in the following post:
The Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus Christ

Total time elapsed is 1:07:18

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are to the New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Can You Learn Boxing from a Book?

Suppose you spent twenty years reading all the books you could find on the sport of boxing.  Let’s also assume that you took copious notes, and even gave lectures on the subject to others.  Lastly, however, let’s assume that during those twenty years you never laced up a pair of gloves, entered the ring, and fought someone.  Could you really be an expert on boxing?

Thus the Scripture says:

Ps 111:10 …A good understanding have all those who do His commandments…  [emphasis added]

And we might add for further emphasis, “Only those who do His commandments have a good understanding of them!”

Reading the Bible only brings you genuine knowledge to the degree that you are putting into practice what you are learning from your reading.  Only those who have read a book on boxing and actually boxed with someone in a ring can actually have any expertise on the subject.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

John 10:16

John 10:16 “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

This scripture was fulfilled when Jesus came again.

It was prophesied by Peter when he wrote:

1 Peter 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Thus there is only one flock of God today, and Jesus is its shepherd.  You do not know where they are?  Fear not, the Lord does:

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,”…

This flock is sanctified by the eyes of the spirit, not the eyes of the flesh.

Make this your cry:  The Lord Is Our Pastor

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

“Let Us Make Man in Our Image”

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image…”

We can almost hear God and Messiah conferring on this point.  Certainly, the apostles may have thought this when it dawned on them that the Jesus with whom they had walked was indeed the promised Messiah, of whom the prophet Micah had said:

Micah 5:2 “…His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”

Since Micah was speaking of Messiah (“One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel”), it’s clear he was saying that Messiah was not a newcomer to the scene.  Rather, He’d been around since the beginning.  For this reason also, the apostle John could say:

John 1:1  “In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God…”

Thus it would have become clear to the apostles why Genesis 1:26 had God speaking in the plural.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Wings for the Messiah

The Sadducees would not believe in a resurrection of the dead because, among other reasons, they could not figure out how God would reconstitute families where there had been a death and remarriage (Matthew 22:23-28).  They, along with everyone else, were therefore stunned to hear Jesus explain:

Matthew 22:30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Everyone in that age saw resurrection as leading back to earth – not to heaven.

Jesus, however, was believing the prophets, who had said, among other things, that:

Malachi 4:2 “the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings…

See the connection?  Angels…wings.

Jesus knew that the resurrection led to heaven, and that He – as the Sun of Righteousness – would be the Son of Man in Daniel 7:13-14 who would receive an everlasting kingdom.  After all, how could He get to heaven without “wings.”  And how could we join Him there unless we would be given them, too.  Of course, these wings are not physical – they are spiritual.  That is, the Bible is speaking in figurative language in order to convey spiritual (i.e. eternal) truths.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Who Gets Called a Christian?

The term “Christian” appears a grand total of three times in the Bible (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16).

By contrast, the word “Christ” appears in the Bible over 500 times.

Let that be our guide as to which the Bible considers more important.

The reason that the disciples were called Christians in Acts 11:26 was that they were so often talking about Christ.  That is, they were not talking about themselves – they were talking about Him.

Let people call you a Christian because you talk so much about Christ.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.