1 Peter 5:12-14

Some Christians serve God in the “limelight” while others work behind the scenes in the “shadows.” But each member in the Body of Christ plays an important role in the growth of the Church. Christ, who is the One and only Head and Mediator of the true Church (Ephesians 4:5; 1 Timothy 2:5), cannot say to the feet, “I have no need of you” (1 Corinthians 12:21). He gave a spiritual gift to each New Testament believer at the time of his/her salvation (1 Peter 4:10). Each believer is needed for the Body of Christ to function well. Some of the members in the Body have already graduated to heaven. But many of us are still here on earth with some work to do (Ephesians 2:10; John 15:16). Are we doing it for the glory of God and the good of others (1 Corinthians 10:31; Galatians 6:10)?

Assistants. The Apostle Peter wanted to acknowledge those who had assisted him in the work of the Lord. He appreciated those who served with him in the ministry and was desirous that other believers recognize them for their service to God and others (1 Thessalonians 5:12; Hebrews 13:7, 17). He also wanted them/us to know that “…God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10). Eventually we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).

Silvanus (Silas). He was a travel companion with the Apostle Paul on his second missionary journey (Acts 15:40). He and Paul were Roman citizens and yet were unjustly beaten in Philippi (Acts 16:37) for casting a demon out of a young girl who had been proclaiming, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us [a] way of salvation” (Acts 16:17). No, Jesus wasn’t/isn’t one of many ways to God. He is the only way (John 14:6). After leaving Philippi and Thessalonica, Silas remained in Berea for awhile to help the new believers there (Acts 17:10-15). Peter considered him to be a faithful brother in the Lord (1 Peter 5:12). He seems to have been either the secretary or the messenger who took Peter’s letter to the suffering believers in Asia Minor (Turkey).

She Who Is In Babylon. The identity of this person is not known. Babylon may be a code word for Rome, but we can’t be sure. Believers are in the world but not of the present world system (John 15:19; 17:16). We are to let our words be seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6) and to act as lights in the darkness (Ephesians 5:8).

John Mark. He was a travel companion with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 12:25). But when the way got hard, Mark deserted them and went back to Jerusalem where his mother had a home in which some believers met (Acts 12:12;13:13). We don’t know what reaction the believers there had or what they thought of Mark. When it came time for Paul and Barnabas to go on their second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take his cousin, Mark (Colossians 4:10) with them again, but Paul refused. He seemed to be more concerned about the work, whereas Barnabas was concerned about the worker. Paul and Barnabas split up over the issue of John Mark. Barnabas took Mark with him and they went back to Cyprus to minister there where he once owned some property that he sold and gave the money for the benefit of the suffering saints in Jerusalem (Acts 4:32-37).

Silent Years. Mark was pretty much out of the picture until Paul requested that he come to see him in prison just before he was beheaded (2 Timothy 4:11). No doubt Peter had had a good influence on Mark to whom he passed on much information about Jesus’ ministry. In fact, Mark was instrumental in writing one of the Gospels where Jesus is presented as the “Servant of the Lord” (Isaiah 42:1-21; 49:1-7; 52:13-53:12; Mark 10:45).

Profile. Whether you’re a “high profile” person in the “limelight” or one in the “shadows,” every Christian plays a vital role within the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). If you are a true Christian, do you know which one is your spiritual gift? Do you know which gifts were temporary and which ones are extant (1 Corinthians 13:8-13)? They need to be used with love (1 Corinthians 13; Galatians 5:13) for edification of the Body and for the glory of God. When Christians fail God, they can be restored as Peter and Mark were.  Do you feel like a failure?  Would you like help from God’s Word? Ask for it. When Christians assemble together (Hebrews 10:24, 25), we should greet each other cordially with a “kiss of love” (“holy handshake”) and extend peace to those who are in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 5:14; See Romans 12:18). If you’re a believer, are you thankful that you can attend the assembly meetings? Do you attend them merely to be blessed, or to bless others too?

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John 12:23-26

It’s not hard for us to imagine that a loving father would risk his own life to protect his little child. But how willing do you think he’d be to forgive someone who brutally raped and murdered his six year old daughter? What would you do if something like this happened to you? Maybe some of you have had some tragic things happen in your lives too. Does God care? Yes, He does (1 Peter 5:7; Hebrews 4:14-16)!

What did God the Father do and provide for those who brutally murdered His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16)? Why did Jesus willingly go to the cross (John 10:17, 28) and allow wicked men to mistreat Him as they did (Hebrews 10:7; 12:2, 3)? We’re told that Jesus endured the shame and agony of the cross for six hours so that He could carry out the Divine Plan for man’s salvation (deliverance from hell) for all those who would believe on Him (Romans 5:6-10; 6:23). He died once and for all in our place for our sins…and then rose again bodily on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). We don’t re-crucify Christ when we observe the Lord’s supper (Hebrews 10:10). It is a memorial in remembrance of Him until He comes back for us (1 Corinthians 11:24, 25). His return is imminent (John 14:1-3). Do you, as a Christian, love His appearing? If you do, you will receive the “Crown of Righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:8).

Analogy From Nature. To illustrate how His death would result in God’s being glorified, Jesus spoke about a grain of wheat (John 12:24). It could be eaten for one’s nourishment (Leviticus 26:5; Isaiah 62:9), or it could be planted in the ground so that more grain could be produced. But first the seed has to die before it can come back to life and grow to produce more grain. This is what farmers do when they plant their crops. They prepare the ground, plant the seed at the appropriate time, water it, and try to keep the weeds from choking out the crop. They depend on the right amount of sunshine too. But it is God who gives life to the seed that dies in the ground.

Application. In like manner, unless we are willing to lay down our lives for the benefit of others, and die to our selfish desires, not much good will result from our lives on earth. The Apostle Paul told us that he endured all things so that other people could be saved and go to heaven someday (2 Timothy 2:10; 2 Corinthians 11:23-33). Many other Christians have given up their lives so we could hear the Good News about Christ and be saved.

Suffering. If you’re a Christian, how much have you suffered for the cause of Christ? Do you consider your life as your own to regulate (James 4:13, 14; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20), or have you dedicated your body to Him as a living sacrifice (Romans 12, 1, 2)? Is He free to use you for His glory and for the good of others, especially for Christians (1 Corinthians 10:31; John 13:34, 35; 1 John 3:16, 17)? Have you given thanks to Him for the life you have? What kind of seeds are you sowing? We will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:6-10; 1 Corinthians 15:58).

A Paradigm Shift. Our natural inclination is to please ourselves and use other people to get what we want out of life. This is especially true in our day and the “Me, Myself, and I” generation (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Washing other people’s feet and serving others doesn’t go well with us (John 13:1-17). But maturing, Spirit filled Christians through love should serve one another with the spiritual gift that we have been given (Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8).

An Invitation. During His days on earth Jesus invited others to follow Him if they wanted to be His disciples – learners (Matthew 4:19;10:37-39). Many people followed Him for the physical blessings He had for them, but when it came time for them to trust in Him for spiritual deliverance, they stopped following Him (John 6:66). Judas was one of Jesus’ disciples but not a true believer (John 13:18, 21). Technically speaking, one cannot follow Jesus around today because He is in heaven at God the Father’s right hand (Ephesians 1:20). But, having trusted in Him as our personal Savior, we can/should go on to spiritual maturity when we learn and apply Bible doctrines for Christians to our lives (2 Peter 3:18; Titus 1:9; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17). All of the Scriptures are for us but not all of it is to us. Don’t be misled by those who teach “Lordship for Salvation.”  The only condition for our salvation is, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Don’t put the cart before the horse.

Choice. We have a choice to make as believers. We can live our lives to please ourselves or to please God (Romans 15:1; 2 Corinthians 5:9). The Apostle Paul wrote, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Have you placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died for your sins…and rose again bodily on the third day? If not, why not do so now? If you’re a true Christian, have you presented your body to God as a living sacrifice? Is He free to live His life through your life (Galatians 2:20; 4:19)? Will you walk by means of the Holy Spirit so you don’t fulfill the “lusts of the flesh” (Galatians 5:15-25)? Are you loving the present world system or using it properly (1 John 2:15-17; 1 Corinthians 7:31). Are you resisting successfully the fiery darts of the devil (Ephesians 6:16)? Are you willing and ready to lay down your life for other believers (1 John 3:16, 17; John 13:34, 35), and so that the lost can be saved (2 Timothy 2:10)?  What is/should be the purpose of your life on earth (1 Corinthians 10:31)?

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1 Peter 5:10, 11

“One of the most crucial lessons to learn as a Christian is how to handle suffering. In this fallen world, suffering is a certainty. And, it will make you grow bitter or better, depending on how you handle it. – Steve Cole

Jesus said, “If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). The Apostle Paul wrote, “…all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). But “[our God] is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20, 21). Let’s consider –

The Benefactors. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). He is the God of all grace (unmerited favor) who called believers to share in His glory (1 Peter 5:10; Romans 8:17, 18). He and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit share the same essence and Divine nature (John 4:24; 10:30). There is one God who exists as three Persons (Deuteronomy 6:4; Genesis 1:27; John 14:16). The subordination of the two Persons in the Godhead relates to time (the seven dispensations) and God’s decree (Ephesians 1:11; John 14:16). Once eternity future begins, there will be no more subordination of one Person to the others (1 Corinthians 15:28). There are at least 1,0007 years before God creates a new heavens and earth (Revelation 21:1). After the Rapture of the true Church, there will be 7 years of Tribulation (Daniel 9:27; Revelation 6-19), and then the 1,000 year reign of Christ on/over the earth (Revelation 20:1-6). If Christ were to return today, would you be left behind?

The Beneficiaries. God is a good God who delights in the happiness of others (Matthew 19:17). But He won’t make us happy unless we’ve believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as the One who died for your sins…and rose again bodily from the dead (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). If you’re a believer living a life of sin (lawlessness), He will give you an opportunity to repent (change your mind) and make honest confession of your sins (2 Corinthians 7:9; 1 John 1:9; Proverbs 28:13). If you don’t do this, He will chasten you (Hebrews 12:5-11). He could even take you life prematurely if you commit the sin unto death (1 John 5:16, 17; James 5:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 10:8-10; 11:30). Are you a “professor” who claims to be a Christian, or are you a “possessor” of eternal life (Matthew 7:21-23; 1 John 5:11-13)? Are you believing in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2)? If you’re a Christian, God wants to live out His eternal life through your life so others can learn about Him (Galatians 2:20; 4:19).

The Benediction. If you are suffering and/or being persecuted for being and acting like a Christian should (John 15:20; Timothy 3:12), keep in mind that there is coming a day when there will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4). Believers who die in the Lord are resting in peace (R.I.P.). In God’s presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). But this is not so with unbelievers who die (Luke 16:19-31; See Matthew 15:30, 41, 46; Revelation 21:8). God will use the believer’s suffering to perfect us, establish us, strengthen us, and settle us (1 Peter 5:10; See Romans 8:28, 29). Nothing can separate God’s children from His love (Romans 8:35-39). Are you sure that you are one of His children rather than a child of the devil (John 8:44; 1 John 3:9, 10)? Have you been “born again from above” (John 3:3-5)?

Help. If you have doubts about your relationship with God, we’re here to help you. We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

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 1 Peter 5:8, 9

When it comes to the subject of the devil, two mistakes are often made by many people, including Christians. Some folks joke about him while others ignore him. Both of these responses are dangerous positions to take.

Warning. The Apostle Paul warned Timothy that in the latter times some people would depart from the faith and give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. They would speak lies in hypocrisy, having their consciences seared with a hot iron. They would tell people not to marry and abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth (1 Timothy 4:1-5; See Acts 10:14, 28). He told Timothy to preach the word with authority and to be ready in season and out of season because many people would seek to follow teachers with itching ears who would tell the people what they want to hear (2 Timothy 4:1-4).

Ignorance. The Apostle Peter, having given in to a temptation from the devil to play the role of a coward (Luke 22:31, 32; Matthew 26:74), was well aware of Satan’s tactics. They seem to be intensifying in our day and we need to know the truth about him so we who are true Christians can resist and overcome him (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8, 9; 1 John 4:4) after we have put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17). Let’s not be ignorant of his tactics (2 Corinthians 2:11).

Satan’s Activities

Independence. He seeks to provoke believers to rely on themselves rather than on God (See John 15:5; 1 Corinthians 4:7; Philippians 4:13). As a result of King David’s yielding to Satan’s solicitation to number and rely on his troops rather than on God Himself, 70,000 Israelite men died (1 Chronicles 21:1). The leaders of the world have made and will make decisions to engage in unjust wars and in the future billions of people will die. Do you know how many people will die during the seven years of the Tribulation when the devil, the anti-Christ, and the false prophet are in charge? It will be over ½ of the world’s population (Revelation 6:8; 9:15). If God allowed them to have power for more than seven years, no one would survive (Matthew 24:22). By the way, not all wars are unjust and some have been ordered by God Himself (Deuteronomy 20:17-20). God gave the wicked nations in the land of Canaan 400 years to repent but they didn’t (Genesis 15:16; Leviticus 18:24). God is long suffering and wants people to be saved (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4). But there will come a day when He will judge the unrepentant and unbelievers (John 5:22; 2 Timothy 4:8). You and I can cause great harm to others too if we act like the heathen and the Israelites who sacrificed their live babies to the pagan god Molech (Leviticus 18:21; Jeremiah 32:35). Can God forgive the sin of murder and other sins (Exodus 20:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)? Yes! He forgave King David, King Manasseh, and the Apostle Paul (2 Samuel 12:9; 2 Chronicles 33:1-20; Acts 8:1-3).

Victims. He roams the world to find victims to overwhelm (1 Peter 5:8). He’d like for believers to become bitter and have an unforgiving spirit (Hebrews 12:15; 2 Corinthians 2:10, 11) and get them to curse God and die for not protecting them from harm and danger (Job 2:9). The patriarch Job was an upright man and became the object of Satan’s abuse. He was allowed by God to strip Job of his children, his wealth, and his health (Job 1, 2). He became a prime example of our need to trust God even when things are going badly (Proverbs 3:5, 6; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Do you do this?

Blindness. The Scriptures talk about three kinds of spiritual blindness: Natural blindness. This keeps all unbelievers from understanding many things in the Scriptures or think of them as simply being foolish (1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 2:14; 3:19). Satanic blindness. He spiritually blinds the minds of unbelievers to prevent them from understanding the power of the Gospel to save Jews and non-Jews (2 Corinthians 4:4; Romans 1:16, 17). Judicial blindness. This was imposed on the Jewish people because of their rejection of their promised Messiah (Romans 11:25; Matthew 27:25). Only God Himself can remove these three blinds from people’s spiritual eyes after the Gospel has been presented to them by a human agent (1 John 4:4; Romans 1:16).

Darts. Satan has in his arsenal 14 fiery, mental darts that he directs at a believer’s mind but only if God allows it (Ephesians 6:10-17). Disappointment, discouragement, doubt are very effective tools he uses to bring Christians down and cause them to lose their power from God (Philippians 3:10; 4:13). Do you know what the other 11 temptations are and how to overcome them? They are not to be confused with the temptations that come from our old sin nature (Galatians 5:19-21; See 1 john 1:8) or from the present world system (1 John 2:15-17; 1 Corinthians 7:31; Genesis 4:17-24).

Hinder. Whenever he can, he tries to hinder those who are engaged in the work of evangelizing the lost with the Gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4) and the edification of believers (1 Thessalonians 5:11) for their work of service (1 Thessalonians 2:18; 1 Peter 4:10). He encourages and promotes greedy, false teachers who do his bidding (Ephesians 2:2; 2 Timothy 3:1-9). Beware of the “health, wealth, and happiness preachers” (2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11; Revelation 2:14).

Doubt. He undermines the Word of God by casting doubt on it (Genesis 3:1). He often uses false teachers to twist the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16). Many of them use the allegorical rather than the normal, historical, grammatical method of interpreting the Scriptures (Matthew 13:19; Genesis 3:1).

Angel. Believe it or not, he can transform himself into an angel of light so as to try to deceive other good angels (2 Corinthians 11:14). He drew 1/3 of the angels with him in his rebellion against God (Revelation 12:4). They became demons and are destined for the eternal lake of fire (Matthew 25:41, 46). This Biblical teaching stands in sharp contrast to the false teachers who teach and promote the “universal reconciliation” (salvation) of all of God’s creatures in the end.

Satan’s Future

Abyss. After the seven years of the tribulation (Daniel 9:27; See Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:15ff) the devil will be captured by a low ranking angel and will be bound in the Abyss for 1,000 years while the Lord Jesus Christ rules on/over the earth (Revelation 20:1-6; Isaiah 9:6, 7). But when the 1,000 years are over the devil will be released from the Abyss for a brief time. He will gather to himself those who inwardly rebelled against Christ during His 1,000 year reign on earth (Revelation 20:7-9). Then Christ will cast the devil, his angels (demons) and the unbelievers into the lake of fire where they will suffer forever (Revelation 20:10). God is a righteous and holy God and must/will sentence the unbelievers to that awful place. There are no second chances to be saved once a person dies (Hebrews 9:27). Don’t be misled by false teachers who teach otherwise. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). His Word is truth (John 17:17).

Conclusion: Therefore, if you still are a child of the devil (John 8:44; 1 John 3:9, 10), you need to be “born again from above” (John 3:3-6) so you can become a child of God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died for your sins…and rose again bodily on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). Believers need to “Be sober, be vigilant; because our adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. [Having submitted yourself to God, and having put on the whole armor of God], resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:8, 9; James 4:7; Ephesians 6:10-17).

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Video  —  Posted: March 17, 2017 in Devil / Satan, Gospel, Hell, Salvation, Spiritual Enemies, Spiritual Warfare, Tribulation

John 12:20-24

Crisis situations. We all encounter them from time to time. Sometimes they creep up on us and take us by surprise. How we respond to people and/or the circumstances of life will display a lot about us to others. This information will become a part of our “Book of Life.” Aren’t you glad that God isn’t still causing the Scriptures to be written and having the story of your life recorded for all to read.

Man – A Moon. When we write autobiographies or have biographies of us written, we tend to leave out those parts which we want to stay hidden from others. Mark Twain said it well. Every man is a moon and has a side which he turns toward nobody: you have to slip around behind it if you want to see it.”

Hall Of Faith. Those men and women in “The Hall of Faith” (Hebrews 11) had some character flaws that they probably didn’t want others to know about. What about you? Did you know that God extends forgiveness to mankind (Ephesians 1:7)? Do you know how you can be forgiven and cleansed (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 4:32)?

The Pressure. When Jesus entered Jerusalem five days before He was to be crucified, He was under intense pressure from the common Jewish people. They wanted to make Him their King on their terms (John 6:15; 12:13). Furthermore, the religious leaders wanted Him dead because He referred to Himself as being equal to God (John 5:18; 8:58; 10:31). Rather than being forced by God the Father to die for our sins, God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily chose to go to the cross and pay the debt/penalty that we owed to God so that we could be saved from eternal condemnation with the devil and his angels in the lake of fire (Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:22; 10:7, 9; Matthew 25:41, 46).

The Greeks. We’re not sure if these Greeks were Jewish proselytes or not and what their motives were for wanting to see Jesus. Generally speaking, the Greeks were interested in worldly wisdom and the Jews wanted to see sign miracles (1 Corinthians 1:22-24; Acts 17:19-21; James 3:13-18). Being the God-man, and omniscient, Jesus knew what was in the heart of men (John 2:24, 25). It appears that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night wanting to learn more about Him (John 3:1-15; 19:39).

The Hour. It had finally come for Jesus to glorify God by dying for the sins of all mankind so we could spend eternity with God by believing on Him as our personal Savior (John 12:23, 24). He likened His death to a grain of wheat being put into the ground. It would die and then come to life and bear much fruit. That is the way it was with Christ’s death and bodily resurrection (Luke 24:39).

Virtual Reality. If a camera crew could follow you around 24 hours a day and record your conversations, examine your day planner, your checkbook, and your credit card bills, what would they learn about you? What if somehow they were able to read your mind and know the motives behind your actions? Would you be embarrassed or happy to let others in on your life? If anyone’s life was under such scrutiny, it was Jesus’ life by His disciples with lived with Him for three years. Yet none of them, including Judas who betrayed Him, found any faults in Him (John 8:46; 1 John 1:1, 2; Hebrews 4:14-16). He knows all about us and cares for you and me (1 Peter 5:7). You can/should trust Him with your life. He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). His promises are sure and need to be mixed with faith so we can live the “Faith/Rest Life” (Hebrews 4:2; Philippians 4:6, 7).

Omniscience. While men can’t know everything about us, God can and does. Is He pleased with your actions and reactions? Are your motives pure or suspect? If you’re a Christian, what kind of rewards, crowns, and praise will you receive or fail to receive from Him someday (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)? Are you a part of God’s family? Have you been “born again from above” (John 3:3-6)? Do you know that you will go to heaven the moment you die (1 John 5:13)? Why should God let you into heaven (Ephesians 2:8, 9)? If you think you’re saved, is there anything you could do or fail to do that would cause you to lose your salvation? If so, what?

Gospel. My friend, we’re all sinners (Romans 3:10-23). But Christ died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4. Any and all who put their trust in Him alone will be saved and spend eternity with God (Acts 16:31). We’re not saved by our good works lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5).  If you’re a true Christian, are you sharing the Gospel with others?  They can’t be saved unless they hear it and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Help. If you’re not sure you’ll spend eternity with God in heaven, we’re here to help you. We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this has helped you, we’d like to hear from you and ask you to share this with others. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”  Join us on Facebook for audio messages and Bible studies.

     “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us…Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, ‘What comes into your mind when you think about God?’ we might predict with certainly the spiritual future of that man.  Were we able to know exactly what our most influential religious leaders think of God today, we might be able with some precision to foretell where the Church will stand tomorrow…The man who comes to a right belief of God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems…The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.” – The Knowledge Of The Holy, by A. W. Tozer, Harper and Rowe, Publishers. Chapter 1.

There is no doubt about it.  “The Shack” (the book and the movie) by William Paul Young, and his book “Lies We Believe About God” have a lot of people talking and wondering.  Are the things he says in his books and the movie biblical or diabolical?   What should we use to evaluate them?  What does he believe and teach about the true and living God of the Scriptures?  Does the way he portrays the members in the Godhead differ dramatically from the way the Scriptures portray God?  What does Paul Young really believe and teach about man, salvation, and his future destiny?  What about sin and the way it affects man?  Do the Scriptures teach universal reconciliation and the ultimate salvation of all men including the devil and demons?  What’s the big deal anyway?  What relationship did Dr. James B. DeYoung, who wrote “Burning Down The Shack” once have with William Paul Young?  Is the movie anti-Christian, anti-family, and anti-American?

David Steele writes, “Paul Young has shared openly and honestly about some of the hurts in his life. Pain and suffering, while inevitable in this life are regrettable realities. The dark night of the soul will likely affect most of us. And so we sympathize with Young and his Great Sadness and pray that God will minister in deep and abiding ways. But no amount of personal tragedy or loss can excuse the propagation of false views of God.”

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John 12:12-19

Like clockwork, everything that Jesus did on earth was on God’s time schedule including His going to Jerusalem for the Passover feast (Galatians 4:4; John 1:29; 10:17, 18). This was the time each year when the Jews celebrated their deliverance from 400 years of slavery in Egypt prior to their going to the land that God had promised to give to them and their descendants forever (Genesis 15:13-21; Acts 7:6). Even though His disciples weren’t fully aware of what was about to take place there, Jesus set His focus toward the cross on which He would provide salvation for the Jews and all mankind (1 John 2:2; Romans 1:16, 17).

Gospel. My friend, you are a sinner like all the rest of us (Romans 3:10-23). But Christ died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day and became our Substitute so we wouldn’t have to be eternally separated from God in the lake of fire (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; Romans 6:23). By one act of faith in Him, you can be transferred out of the devil’s family into God’s family (John 3:16; 8:44; Colossians 1:13; 1 John 3:9, 10). Today may be your last day on earth (James 4:14). Now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Count Down. Five days before He would be hung on a cruel cross, Jesus made His way to the city of Jerusalem to officially present Himself as the rightful King of the Jews and their promised Messiah (Matthew 2:2-12; 16:16; 27:11; John 4:26). Josephus, the historian, estimated that about 2,700,000 Jews came to Jerusalem for this feast to offer up 250,000 lambs. The forerunner of Christ (Malachi 3:1), John the baptizer had said of Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)! The Prophet Isaiah referred to the vicarious sacrifice of the Christ as a lamb who would be slaughtered without opening His mouth (Isaiah 52, 53).

Multitude. Some of those who made up this crowd of Jews had seen Jesus perform many miracles during His earthly ministry. Thirty five of them are recorded for us in the Scriptures. Recently Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead who had been dead for four days (John 11:43, 44). When they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they cried out “Hosanna! Blessed is He whom comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel” (John 12:13; Psalm 118:26). “Hosanna” means “Save now!” The Jews were anxious to be delivered out from under the heel of Rome who oppressed them. To welcome Him, they took palm branches and their clothes and put them on the road to usher Him into the city (Matthew 21:8; John 12:13).

Irony. But sadly, some of these same people would turn on Jesus in a few days and join the religious leaders and cry out for Him to be crucified (Luke 23:21). As He was being led to His crucifixion, He wept for the Jewish people (Luke 23:28-31) because He knew what would take place in A.D. 70 when Titus would come to destroy Jerusalem and its inhabitants. According to one historian, there weren’t enough buyers in Egypt for all the Jewish slaves. They remained scattered as a nation until A.D. 1948 when they were allowed to return to the land that God had promised to give to them. Most of those in Israel today are agnostics or claim to be atheists (Psalm 14:1).  They have a judicial blindness that only God can remove so they can be saved (Romans 11:25; 1:16, 17; See 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4).

Donkey. Even though the prophet had predicted that the Jewish Messiah would be coming to them the first time riding on a donkey’s colt (Isaiah 40:9; Zechariah 9:9; John 12:14, 15), they were hoping that He would come as a conquering King on a white horse. But this won’t happen until His second coming to earth after “the time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7; Revelation 19:11) known also as “the great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21; Daniel 9:27). This period of time seems to be imminent as antisemitism (hatred for the Jews) grows around the world and the Jews are made the “scapegoat” for the problems in the world. Those who hate the Jews need to read Genesis 12:1-3.

Disciples. The Lord’s twelve disciples had mixed emotions at this time and weren’t quite sure what to expect (John 14:1-3). They had initially followed Him as He taught them about the “kingdom of the heavens” in which they hoped to be leaders (Matthew 20:21-23; See Daniel 2:44, 45). But after being rejected by the majority of the Jews, Jesus had also told them that He was going to Jerusalem to die. Peter opposed His plan and had to be rebuked by Jesus (Matthew 16:20-23). It wasn’t until after Jesus had died, been raised from the dead, and ascended back to heaven, and been glorified, that they came to realize what the prophets had written about Him (John 12:16; See Luke 24:25, 26).

Perplexed Pharisees. These religious leaders obstinately opposed Jesus at every turn because He made Himself out to be equal with Jehovah God (John 5:18; 10:30; 11:57). Yes, Jesus did claim to be Jehovah by His “I AM…” statements (Exodus 3:14; John 6:35, 48; 8:12; 10:9, 11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1). Furthermore, Jesus threatened their power and authority over other Jews whom they oppressed (John 11:48; See Matthew 11:28, 29; 23:4). Jesus denounced them as hypocrites and told them of their eternal destiny in the lake of fire with the devil and his angels (Matthew 6:5, 16; 7:21-23; 23:13-36; 25:41, 46). The wicked dead aren’t annihilated as some cults teach nor are dead people reincarnated.

Decree. Jesus, the God-man carried out the plan that He and the other two members of the Godhead had agreed upon prior to creation (Ephesians 1:11; Galatians 4:4). He was in complete control of the timing of His death and bodily resurrection (Matthew 12:40; John 10:18). Have you placed your faith in Him alone to save you? If not, why not do so right now? Whether you are Jewish or not, by one act of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for your sins…and rose again bodily, you can be saved from eternal condemnation and enter God’s family (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Acts 16:31; Romans 8:1).

Good Works. God prepared beforehand some works for every Christian to do (Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 4:10; John 15:16). We are to do them with the power that God provides for us (Philippians 3:10; 4:13) for the glory of God and the good of others with and attitude of love (Galatians 5:13; 6:10; 1 Corinthians 13).

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