Archive for March, 2014

Empathy for Peter

Posted in Gospel with tags , , , , , , on March 30, 2014 by paulthepoke

Doctrinal Emphasis: The Flesh Is Weak

The point of the story is not to bash Peter. The story of Peter’s denial of Christ provides valuable lessons as to how vulnerable man is to sin. We would like to think that if we were in Peter’s sandals, things would have been different. We would like to think that we would not have done that to Jesus. There are plenty of opportunities to deny Christ in today’s world: the culture, science, philosophy, family, and friends. Peter had an action packed day. Look at the conditions. How would we respond under these conditions?

First, let’s examine the setting. We know it was cold outside. This is noted in John 18:18. The high priest’s courtyard had a charcoal fire with others warming themselves. The text states directly that it is cold.

Peter was tired. He had put in a full day. His belly was full from supper. He was falling asleep in the garden as Jesus was praying. Jesus came three times to wake Peter, James, and John (Mark 14:32-42). This is at the beginning of the time sequence. The arrest, procession, and the illegal Jewish trials lasted throughout the night. Peter had been awake for quite a while with very little sleep.

The physical location of the denial is in the high priest’s courtyard. This is not exactly a place of comfort for Peter. He is a fisherman. The crowd at the courtyard is not who he is used to being with. The courtyard is where the religious elite congregate. Peter is used to being on a boat with the fellas. He is keeping himself warm with the friends of the enemy. For Peter, this is a clash of social classes.

I think it is fair to say fear and adrenaline are probably factors. Peter had watched Judas betray Jesus. Peter had drawn a sword and removed Malchus’ ear before the arrest in the garden. He had seen the arrest and removal of Jesus. He had seen his fellow disciples scattered. Peter followed Jesus to the courtyard and eventually entered. Then there was the pressure of people identifying Peter as a disciple, including a relative of Malchus who saw Peter take a sword to his family member’s ear.

Lastly there is an unseen spiritual component, Satan. Jesus informs Peter that Satan has requested permission to sift him like wheat (Luke 22:31). Satan’s power should not be underestimated, remember Job. It is important to remember that Satan is limited by what God allows. Permission is required by Satan and God does set limits (Job 1:12, 2:6).

Clearly Peter failed Christ in his denial. His arrogance and pride were on display in telling Jesus he would never fall away and was willing to die with Him. Peter was the super apostle. He would stick with Jesus even though the others would not (Matthew 26:32-34).

Legally, he could have been arrested for assault or attempted murder for his actions toward the slave Malchus. He lied and denied Christ as he entered the courtyard. He further denied association with Christ to others. Ultimately, Peter loses control of his emotions. He curses and swears at others. Then, the cock crows… (Mark 14:66-71).

And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a cock crows today, you will deny Me three times.” (Luke 22:61)

In the end, Peter was forgiven of his sins. He was personally asked by Jesus to care for His sheep and lambs (John 21:15-17). And like Peter, as sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8b).

What is Truth?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2014 by paulthepoke

1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude
Doctrinal Emphasis: Knowing Truth from Lies
Key Theme: These four epistles offer concepts of contrasts. Ultimately, what is the truth and what is a lie.
Memory Verse: 3 John 1:4, I have no greater joy than this, to hear my children walking in the truth.
God is the source of truth. All three persons of the Trinity are truth as a source. May God be found true (Romans 3:4). The Spirit is stated as truth in 1 John 5:7. Jesus proclaimed He is the truth in John 14:6. Jesus is the representation of the Father (Hebrews 1:3).
Truth can be learned from many sources. Some of these include the apostles. The apostles saw, touched, and heard the truth in Jesus for themselves (1 John 1:1-3). Truth can be learned from members of the church. A positive example would be Demetrius who received a good testimony from the truth itself (3 John 1:12). Truth can be learned from the spirits. But it is important to test the spirits to determine if they are from God (1 John 4:1). A teacher of the church can teach the truth for the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12). Practically, the truth can be learned by reading the Word, our Bible.
There are consequences when choosing or rejecting the truth. Choices lead to practicing righteousness or sin (1 John 3:7-10). There is the choice of light (God) or darkness (lies), (1 John 1:5-6). How do we handle the issue of sin? Are sins confessed or is personal sin denied? Confession of sins results in forgiveness and cleansing. Denying sin results in making Christ a liar (1 John 1:8-10).
There are considerations of obedience and practice in regards to God’s commandments. Application of teaching determines whether or not one has God (2 John 1:6-9). Choose good over evil (3 John 1:11). The choice to love leads to life. He who does not love abides in death (1 John 3:14). Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer (1 John 3:15). It is important to practice what one believes. Ultimately, your eternity hinges on whether or not you believe the truth that Jesus died for sins (1 Corinthians 15:3).
Jesus tells us in John 8:44 that truth is not found in Satan. He is the father of lies. It is his nature to lie. It is his desire to lie. Satan does not stand for the truth. He is a liar. Satan is a sinner from the beginning (1 John 3:8).  Satan has many instruments at his disposal to dispatch lies. The antichrist of the future is noted in 1 John 2:18. Even now the spirit of the antichrist is at work (1 John 4:3). In Revelation 13 the beast from the earth or the false prophet dispenses lies. He calls for the worship of the antichrist. False spirits are called to be tested in 1 John 4:1. False prophets (1 John 4:1) are at work in the world. Satan also has demons at his disposal. He is the ruler of demons (Matthew 12:24).
Members of the church are noted. Negative characteristics of men are described in Jude 1:12, 13, and 16. A specific example of a man in the church would be Diotrephes. He rejected the authority of the apostles and was singled out with condemnation (3 John 1:9-10). Satan also has the world at his disposal. The whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19).
What is truth? – Pontius Pilate

Isaiah 11:9-10 Universal Knowledge of God

Posted in Gospel, Isaiah, Prophecy with tags , , , , on March 9, 2014 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 11:9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

The holy mountain is Jerusalem. It sits on a hill. Thus the phrase, “Let’s go up to Jerusalem”. Is there peace in Jerusalem today March 2014? Right…

“Hurt” in the Hebrew is ra`a`. It can also be translated: to do an injury or hurt, to do evil or wickedly, mischief.

“Destroy” in the Hebrew is shachath. It can be translated: to spoil, ruin, destroy, to pervert, or corrupt (morally). Definitions provided by Strong’s Concordance.

God is promising. Jerusalem will not be injured, spoiled, ruined, destroyed, perverted, or corrupted. Evil or mischief will fall upon the city. A king will be in place who will prevent these things from happening.

Peace in the animal kingdom is equated with peace in Jerusalem.Isaiah 11:8-9 parallels Isaiah 65:25 with this concept.

Isaiah 65:25 “The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD.

Is the Earth full of Biblical knowledge today in March 2014? This verse says Biblical knowledge will be worldwide. The assumption is a worldly kingdom. It is going to happen just as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11:10 Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.

The Hebrew grammar indicates it is the Gentile nations who will seek and enquire towards the root. The root of the line of Jesse is Jesus. The Apostle Paul confirms this root is Jesus in Romans 15.

The idea of a “signal” is consistent with a banner, ensign, or sign that is raised up on a pole. Granted, the language in this verse is figurative. Jesus was literally raised up on a cross. In Him, there will be security and peace.

Isaiah 11:8 Animal Peace Treaty? Yes…

Posted in Isaiah, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2014 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 11:8 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.

Previously, the relationship between animals was discussed in the verse. In a nutshell, there will be harmony among and between the animals in the future. The relationship of predator and prey will be removed. What about the relationship between animals and humanity? There are multiple verses that speak to this relationship as well.

Prior to the flood, animals and humanity had a peaceful coexistence. But after Noah’s global flood, things changed. God informs Noah and the survivors of the flood they can now eat meat. From this point forward, animals are a food source. Hostility between humanity and zoology had been initiated. Genesis 9:2 “The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given.

The Bible says there will come a time when humanity and animal angst will end. A harmonious relationship with zoology will be restored as originally intended. PETA will rejoice! This concept of peace with animals is noted in multiple places. God makes a peace treaty or covenant with the animals.

Hosea 2:18 “In that day I will also make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds of the sky and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land, and will make them lie down in safety…”

Job 5:22-23 “You will laugh at violence and famine, and you will not be afraid of wild beasts. For you will be in league with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field will be at peace with you…”

Ezekiel 34:25 “I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods…”

Dr. Dolittle, the Dog Whisperer on the Animal Planet, or the cat psychologist from “My Cat from Hell” have nothing on God. Some of these folks in today’s world (March 2014) will be looking for a new job once this covenant is enforced. There will no longer be a “cat from hell”. Animal therapists will not be necessary.

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