Thursday, July 11, 2019

We are Proud of Angela

We had the privilege of being able to teach Angela as a high school student at the International Christian School in Lima, Peru. Wonderful family. Now, we have the honor of being able to financially support her as she pursues of calling to Missionary Kids (MKs) and Third Culture Kids (TCKs) from expatriate families through the guidance department at Evangelical Christian Academy in Spain

She just recently wrote to us and said, "Thank you for your gift! Because of your contribution, I am one step closer to starting my ministry in Spain! I praise God for you and for your desire to support me and give towards the work He is accomplishing through international Christian education. Please pray for me as I continue to raise support and prepare to move, settle, and begin work in Spain.

If you would also like to support Angela, please use this LINK.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Land Purchase!

We were blessed just recently to be able to purchase a piece of land for Moises Rayo and his family in Esteli, Nicaragua to build their own home. A special word of thanks to all of our supporters for helping make this a reality.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Extent of Our Faith

In today's study from Matthew 17:3-27, we take a longer look at the Transfiguration, the healing of the demon-possessed young man, and the apostles continued inability to see the impending crucifixion.

You may hear the audio study on SoundCloud or see the video study on YouTube.

Moses and Elijah
v.3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Why Moses and Elijah? Most would contend that they represent those who go to heaven (Jude 1:9; 2Ki 2:11). Some, like Moses, will die to get there; while others, like Elijah, will go without dying, i.e., the rapture in 1Th 4:13-18. Another might be because they represent the fulfillment of the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah). This is why they are considered to be the two witnesses of Rev 11:3-13.

The Supremacy of Christ
vv.4-5 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. In effect, Peters statement about building three shrines was putting Jesus on the same level as Moses and Elijah, which drew a strong rebuke from the Father. Why did Peter make this suggestion? Apparently, he didn't even know why! Mark tells us in Mark 9:5-6 "Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah"-- (6)  because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid."

The Apostles Reaction
vv.6-8 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. The apostles react in abject fear. Getting rebuked by God is not exactly on anyone's list for the day. However, I am sure that the Transfiguration served as a reassurance for the apostles as to Jesus' identity.

The Question about Elijah
vv.9-13 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. Again, he reassures them that Elijah will come before the Second Coming, and he will in Revelation 11 as one of the two witnesses. He again, reiterates that had they accepted John, he could have been Elijah.

Too Tough to Handle
vv.14-16 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. This boy was might have had epilepsy. The symptoms are certainly the same. However, it was apparently demon possessed as well. Of course, that is not to imply that everyone today who has epilepsy is demonized. Notice that the disciples were unable to cast this demon out. 

Jesus Rebuked the Demon
vv.17-21 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. Now Jesus does what his disciples could not. He furthermore tells them that their unbelief hindered their ability to cast the demon out. Apparently, in this case, they did not even have the faith of a mustard seed. 

He also says that "this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." Most likely the Devil merely knew the extent of their faith and succeeded it. Makes you wonder if the Devil knows the extent of our faith?  I am going to go with, yes, he does. 

Somber Announcement
vv.22-23 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry. This is another somber announcement for the disciples.

Notice that the Lord offered them the bad news but with the good news as well. Of course, they still did not totally understand what he was truly saying to them.

Jesus and Taxes
vv.24-26 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. The questioning goes along these lines…of who do the kings of this earth take taxes?  Do they take them from their own children?  No!  They take them from strangers.  Conclusion: if the king does not tax his own family, then the Father would not tax the son since it is His temple.

Lest we Offend
v.27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee. However, Jesus saw no reason to offend them (they were already all over him and he apparently saw no reason to provoke them further) and told Peter to go and cast in his hook and look in the mouth of the first fish he catches to find the tribute money for him and Peter. It's just a little curious to me that Jesus would be concerned about offending them now.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Transfiguration

In today's study we look at Matthew 16:21-17:2 and see what it really means to follow Christ and the significance of the Transfiguration.

You may hear the audio study on SoundCloud or see the video study on YouTube.

Official Rejection
v.21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. The Kingdom is being rejected and now our Lord turns his attention toward Jerusalem and his crucifixion. This must have come as a total shock to the disciples as that they were not looking for a "Suffering Messiah" but a "Reigning Messiah."

Notice, "and be raised again the third day." They probably did not hear this because they had to be reminded later. Luke tells us that even though they did not fully grasp what he was saying here, they ultimately did (Luk 24:6-8).

Peter's Rebuke
vv.22-23 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." Here we see Peter's misunderstanding. Understand that Peter's reaction was out of total love for his Lord. However, unbeknownst to him, he was being used by Satan to keep Jesus from the cross. Just goes to show that you do not have to be possessed by demons to be used by Satan.

Notice, "for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." In other words, you're thinking worldly instead of spiritually.

Call to Denial
v.24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. After announcing that he was going to Jerusalem to die, he encouraged his disciples to be willing to do the same. That is totally against our nature. Second only to our desire for air is our desire for survival. And yet, the Christian faith is about death and denial. Both of those fly in the face of our flesh.

The Paradox
vv.25-27 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. This is the great paradox of the Christian faith. John 12:24 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." In other words, the command here is that we look past the present and look to the future.

Shall not Taste Death
v.28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." What did this mean?  The answer is in the next chapter.

The Transfiguration
vv.1-2 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. Here we see the transfiguration. It's curious as to why the Lord only took these three apostles.  Why not the rest? Maybe it's because these three would prove to be the pillars of the church? Maybe it's because they needed to see with their own eyes to believe while the other did not?

The word "transfiguration" means that Jesus begins to shine so brightly that it was very difficult to even look at him.  Much like when Moses came down from Mt. Sinai. David Guzik says that this was not the miracle of the transformation. The miracle was that our Lord could keep his glory under wraps for as long as he did. This is the fulfillment of the last first of the last chapter!

However, there was some confusion that came from it later because some felt that some of the apostles would live to see the Second Coming of Christ. Later John 21:22 compounded the issue.


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Peter's Confession

In today's study from Matthew 16:13-20, we take a look at Peter's Confession to determine exactly what was being said and which interpretation is the correct one.

You may hear the audio study on SoundCloud or see the video study on YouTube.

The Great Confession
vv.13-16 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 

Here Peter confesses Jesus as Messiah in response to the Lord's question. Notice that Jesus was not really concerned with what others thought but what they thought.

The Correct Answer
vv.17-20 Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. 

In response to Peter's confession, our Lord tells him that that knowledge did not come from flesh and blood, but from God the Father. Of course, this has generated much controversy as to what it actually means.

Notice, "upon this rock, I will build my church." Either the Lord was a. gesturing to himself as the rock, or b. he was referring to Peter's actual confession or, c. he is referring to Peter himself. We do know that Christ is indeed referred to as the rock (Isa 28:16; 1Pe 2:8). Also, Paul said in 1Co 10:4 that they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.

I think that it would be a little absurd to say that a literal rock followed them in the wilderness. Instead, it means that God provided for them while on their journey. Literally, in Exo 17:6 during their first year and again in Num 20 during their last year. Paul is saying that Christ is the provider of life just as that rock from beginning to end.

Now others will say that Jesus is referring to Peter's actual confession. After all, to be a part of the Kingdom Church and even the church of our day, one must believe that he is indeed the Christ.

Still other's will say, no Jesus was referring to Peter and upon him, Christ would build his church as a reference to Pentecost. We shirk from that interpretation because of how the Roman Catholics have twisted it, but I believe that it has merit for sure.

Notice, "I will build my church." The church belongs to our Lord and not us.

Notice, "and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." This is a promise that no matter how dark it gets, the church will always survive.

Notice, "and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven." This is not to say that everyone gets in has to come through Peter but that Peter would be used to open the doors to the kingdom to both the Jews on the Day of Pentecost (Act 2:38-39) and the Gentiles (Cornelius) in Act 10:34-44.

Notice, "and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven." In other words, Jesus was giving Peter and the other apostles the ability to set boundaries authoritatively for the church, e.g., the Jerusalem Council (Act 15:22); Paul when speaking on marriage in 1Co 7:10; 1Co 7:12.

Notice, "Then charged his disciples that they should tell no man." Again, Jesus doesn't want to rush the cross because he has things to do before then.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Thoughts on Acts, Part 6

In today's study from Acts 3:18-26, we again talk about who Peter was addressing, Israel's failed national repentance, and discussed what would have happened had they repented.

You may hear the audio study on SoundCloud or see the video study on YouTube.

Times of Refreshing
vv.18-19 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, The times of refreshing is referring to the Kingdom. 

Times of Restoration of All Things
vv.20-21 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. The "times of restoration of all things" will take place during the Tribulation. cf. the Title Deed of Revelation 5. This also clearly indicates that Peter understood that even though they did repent (v.19), it would have been followed by the Tribulation before the  Second Coming. He knew Daniel 9 and the 70th week would take place next.

A Prophet of Deliverance
vv.22-23 For Moses truly said to the fathers, 'THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN. HIM YOU SHALL HEAR IN ALL THINGS, WHATEVER HE SAYS TO YOU. AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERY SOUL WHO WILL NOT HEAR THAT PROPHET SHALL BE UTTERLY DESTROYED FROM AMONG THE PEOPLE.' Just as Moses delivered the nation from bondage then, Jesus will do the same for them if they would accept it. 

These Days
v.24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. Notice that Peter says that the prophecies were for "these days".

v.25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, 'AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.' Again, Peter is not addressing Gentiles at all! "Our fathers" is referring to Israel! The bottom line is that God's plan was to use the nation of Israel to reach the nations (Deu 32:8; Isa 42:1; Isa 49:5-7; Isa 59:20-21; Isa 60:1-3 (Mat 5:14); Zec 8:23).

The Abrahamic Covenant was threefold:
1. Nation - Israel
2. Land - Promised Land
3. King - Messiah and Savior

From that point, God would use them to reach the nations. 

National Repentance
v.26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities." It is very clear that Christ came to the Jews first. Notice that the call was that "every one of you from his iniquities". God was asking for national repentance, not necessarily individual. Had they done it, the Tribulation would have taken place, they would have preached to the Gentiles, and the Second Coming. Of course, they did not, Rome came in forty years later and destroyed the city and the temple and scattered them throughout the nations and the Times of the Gentiles came in. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Thoughts on Acts, Part 5

In today's study from Acts:2:42-3:17, we continue to see the characteristics of the Kingdom Church and mystery that was still to be revealed about the Body of Christ today.

You may hear the audio study on SoundCloud or see the video study on YouTube.

v.42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. How many times have I head this quoted as the key to a healthy church. Well, no doubt, it can be, but this is not referring to the church we are in today, but instead to the Kingdom Church.

It is also noteworthy that those who use Acts 2:42 as the basis for the purpose of the church seem to ignore verses 43-45. No doubt, this is a fellowship of believers who had aligned themselves with the teaching of the apostles. They had been baptized and had received the gift of the Holy Ghost (v. 38).

Again, while this may be similar to the church as we know it today, a careful study of this group will display too many differences with the church of today to call this Acts 2 group the first church, or the day of Pentecost the birth of the church.

vv.43-46 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, The wonders and signs were done by the apostles. Nowhere in the book of Acts will we see the miraculous performed by anyone other than the Apostles or their emissaries.

v.47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. This verse is referring to the Kingdom Church and not the Body of Christ. 

Chapter 3
v.1 Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. Notice that even after Pentecost, they returned to the Temple. Why? There is no NT Church in view here. The church has no prescribed hour of prayer! Again, Peter is addressing Jews!

vv.2-5 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, "Look at us." So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Chapter 4:22 tells us that this man was forty years old. Because of his age, he had probably been there for quite some time. Why didn't Jesus heal him? Maybe, it was for this moment? cf. Joh_11:1-4 and the death of Lazurus. 

vv.6-11 Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God. Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon's, greatly amazed. Understand, that at this point, Peter had no idea about the gentile church because it was still hidden from him (Deu 29:29; Luk 18:31-34). We must understand that they had no idea that Christ was going to rise again from the dead. He had hidden it from them (Joh 13:6-7; Eph 3:1-9; Col 1:24-26). 

vv.12-15 So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. 

Notice who Peter is addressing! Jews! Martin Luther was antisemitic because of this verse. The Nazi's referred to the writings of Luther as justification for what they did to the Jews. 

v.16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. Notice that Peter makes no reference to the death, burial, and resurrection. Peter is still preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom! 

v.17 "Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. Peter is still addressing Jews! Some believe that Peter might be referring back to the law of unintentionally killing someone and the cities of refuge as compared to murder which required the death penalty. This was an important distinction because it left the door open for God to continue dealing with them rather than destroying them for murder, i.e., offering the Kingdom.

Paul obviously agreed with this assessment because he said in 1Co 2:7-8  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 

On another note, we cannot assume that the apostles had any idea that Christ was to be crucified in advance and that he would turn to the Gentiles. The scriptures clearly indicate that they did not. Their statement of faith was simply that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the living God, period (Mat 16:16; Act 8:26-37). 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Signs and Leaven

In today's study from Matthew 16:1-12, we take a look at why the Jews still demanded a sign after all that he had already done and the tag-teaming that was going on between the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

You may hear the audio study on SoundCloud or see the video study on YouTube.

Still Seeking Signs
vv.1-4 Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." And He left them and departed.

It's interesting to see how well these guys are working together: the Pharisees and the Sadducees. They disagreed on many things, but not in their disdain for Jesus. It is the old expression that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Common enemies create uncommon alliances, e.g., the Russians and the Americans in WW2

Back to the text, the religious leaders were, in essence, saying that they wanted to see a sign from heaven. Why? - They apparently were not convinced by all of the earthly signs he had already did.
Why? - Tradition held that signs done on earth could actually be from Satan, but signs in the Heaven's (from the sky) had to be from God.

I know, that sounds strange, but part of their reasoning was that the Devil was the God of this world, and as such, any miracles done could be attributed to him. Remember that back in chapter 10 and 12, they had already accused him of using Satin to perform is miracles (Mat 12:24; Mat 12:27).

Jesus' Response
Hypocrites! They were willing to accept signs from the fallen world around them (the sky) and yet they were blind to the fact that he was their long_awaited Messiah as foretold in the Scriptures. All of the Old Testament pointed to this moment...and yet, here it is, and they can't see it.

Notice, a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign. I believe that he called them this for two reasons: First, they should have known who He was from the Old Testament. Second, because they didn't know the Scriptures, they were instead placing their faith in signs.

Don't get me wrong, nothing wrong with signs, but he had already given them enough signs. They were now walking in unbelief. Remember that the two generations in Jewish history who received the most signs where those of the Exodus and those here at the First Advent, and they both rejected him. The bottom line is that signs do not bring people to the faith, and it is not because the signs are insufficient; instead, it is because the darkness of man's heart is even more insufficient.

Jesus Warns His Disciples
vv.5-12 Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees." And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "It is because we have taken no bread." But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, "O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. 

Now Jesus warns his disciples about the false teaching of the religious leaders. It's amazing that the disciples were still thinking of physical bread when the Lord mentioned leaven. They surely knew that Jesus didn't need bread to feed people by now. He had just proven that in the previous two great feedings.

On another note, I think that we are too quick to judge the disciples in their short-sightedness in that we can be the same way. I believe that God's hand can be seen all around us, and we too, don't see it routinely. Why? - We are too focused on ourselves and the world around us. 

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Feeding of the 4000

In today's study from Matthew 15:21-39, we review the healing of the Canaanite women, the issue of faith, and the lesson learned from the feeding of the four thousand.

You may hear the audio study on SoundCloud or see the video study on YouTube.

A Gentile’s Request
vv.21-22 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.  (22)  And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

Lest we overlook it in the text, our Lord walked some fifty miles from Galilee to the area of Tyre and Sidon to encounter this woman. It was not an accident. These were Gentile cities. It was a divine appointment. No such thing as coincidences, my friend.

On another note, it is interesting that at the same time this woman is proclaiming exactly who Jesus is, his own countrymen are plotting his demise.

Jesus Healed Her Daughter
vv.23-28 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.  (24)  But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  (25)  Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.  (26)  But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.  (27)  And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.  (28)  Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Jesus is not being cold or rude toward this woman.  He is merely stating his purpose. The term “dog” in v.26, while it was a slur towards the Gentiles; Jesus used it as a term of endearment by saying, “little dogs” (NKJV).

The Point
However, bear in mind, that Jesus did walk fifty miles to heal this woman’s daughter. I believe he purposely used this to show that the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” were in the process of rejecting him while the “dogs” were not. We read no other reason than this as to why Jesus went to this area. It can be said that he simply had a divine appointment with this woman and used it to make a point.

More Healings
vv.29-31 And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.  (30)  And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them:  (31)  Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.

It’s interesting that while faith was mentioned in the healing of the Gentile women in the previous verses, it is not in these healings. As a matter of fact, the faith appears to be more on the part of those who brought them. Point being, Jesus can do anything that he wants to without any preconceived “formula”. But like all healings should be, they glorified God as a result. I believe that all that God does ultimately is to bring glory to himself and not the recipients. Pastor Chuck Smith used to say that when we began taking bows, God removes Himself from the situation.

The Feeding of the 4000
vv.32-39 Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.  (33)  And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?  (34)  And Jesus saith unto them,  How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.  (35)  And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.  (36)  And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.  (37)  And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.  (38)  And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.  (39)  And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.

This miracle, though separate, is essentially the same as the feeding of the 5000 in the previous chapter. John Bonner was the first to point out to me that the disciples not only gave but also received. Cf. 14:20 and 15:37 The point is that God wants to minister as much to us as He does to them that we minister to. Another point to be made is that we cannot out give God!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Thoughts on Acts, Part 4

Some more challenging thoughts on what was happening on the Day of Pentecost from Acts 2:20-41. Again, who was Peter addressing in these verses? Was it the church that you and I are in today? What was he wanting Israel to do and why? What if they had repented? What would have happened next?

You may hear the audio study on SoundCloud or see the video study on YouTube.

v.19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 

Peter fully expected these things to happen next or he would not have said it. Peter was there when Jesus taught Matthew 24! As a matter of fact, Peter is still talking about it in 1 Peter.

v.21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 

This verse confuses many because they connect it to the Gospel of Grace. 

v.22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 

This begins the final offer of the Kingdom.

v.23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 

This is prophesied by many Old Testament prophecies. The crucifixion had to happen before any legitimate Kingdom offer could be made.

vv.25-37 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 

Peter uses the Hebrew Scripture from Psa 16:8-11 to show that the crucifixion and resurrection are proof that Jesus was their true Messiah (v.32). He and the other apostles had missed this small detail as well back in  Luk_18:31-34. It is not a good news sermon but is one that is attempting to lead them to repentance. 

vv.38-41 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.   

Many use this as a proof text for the necessity of baptism. However, this is not true in that Peter was not addressing the Church, but Israel, e.g., Act 2:14, Act 2:22, and Act 2:36.

Paul never teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation, e.g., 1Co 12:13. He makes it obvious that it is a baptism of the Spirit and not water. The last mention of baptism is the Bible is found in Eph 4:3-6.