Category Archives: Blog

What has been happening the last two years.

After my last post we had a family emergency and has taken a long time to recover. I thank you for reading my blog and as soon as I can, I will start up again.

Thank you for reading and participating in these lessons. Please feel free to ask questions and make comments on what I have already posted.

I hope to get back to this soon.

Bob

Seeing or Recognizing?

             

                  Seeing or Recognizing ? [Evangelism Lesson]

         John 20:1-18                                                      March 31 2013

 From the very beginning the church has set aside Sunday, the first day of the week, and commemorated the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 20:7 ).

 Jesus had passed through the linen strips. They probably still held their shape, because of the sticky myrrh and aloes wrapped with them.

John entered after Peter’s discovery, looked, and believed. Only later did any of the disciples understand the Scripture. Today too faith precedes understanding.

Her first reaction, “Who took His body?” continues to show the psychological state of Jesus’ followers. None of them expected a resurrection, despite what Jesus had earlier said. Two words for “see” are found in v. 14 . Mary “observed” a figure near the tomb, then she “perceived” it was Jesus.

Today many see the Jesus of history, but too few recognize Him. Jesus didn’t refuse to let Mary touch Him. He told her not to detain Him.

 Before Jesus always spoke of “My” Father. This post-resurrection appearance is the first time He adds “and your Father.” Only by His death and resurrection could Jesus bring those who believed in Him into God’s family.

1.The sepulchre found to be empty. (John 20:1-10)     

John 20:1 Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 or as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

If Christ gave his life a ransom, and had not taken it again, it would not have appeared that his giving it was accepted as satisfaction. It was a great trial to Mary, that the body was gone. Weak believers often make that the matter of complaint, which is really just ground of hope, and matter of joy. It is well when those more honoured than others with the privileges of disciples, are more active than others in the duty of disciples; more willing to take pains, and run hazards, in a good work. We must do our best, and neither envy those who can do better, nor despise those who do as well as they can, though they come behind. The disciple whom Jesus loved in a special manner, and who therefore in a special manner loved Jesus, was foremost. The love of Christ will make us to abound in every duty more than any thing else. He that was behind was Peter, who had denied Christ. A sense of guilt hinders us in the service of God. As yet the disciples knew not the Scripture; they Christ must rise again from the dead.

2. Christ appears to Mary.  (John 20:11-18)     

John 20:11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”She said to them, “Because e they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”18Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

We are likely to seek and find, when we seek with affection, and seek in tears. But many believers complain of the clouds and darkness they are under, which are methods of grace for humbling their souls, mortifying their sins, and endearing Christ to them. A sight of angels and their smiles, will not suffice, without a sight of Jesus, and God’s smiles in him. None know, but those who have tasted it, the sorrows of a deserted soul, which has had comfortable evidences of the love of God in Christ, and hopes of heaven, but has now lost them, and walks in darkness; such a wounded spirit who can bear? Christ, in manifesting himself to those that seek him, often outdoes their expectations. See how Mary’s heart was in earnest to find Jesus. Christ’s way of making himself known to his people is by his word; his word applied to their souls, speaking to them in particular. It might be read, Is it my Master? See with what pleasure those who love Jesus speak of his authority over them. He forbids her to expect that his bodily presence look further, than the present state of things. Observe the relation to God, from union with Christ. We, partaking of a Divine nature, Christ’s Father is our Father; and he, partaking of the human nature, our God is his God. Christ’s ascension into heaven, there to plead for us, is likewise an unspeakable comfort. Let them not think this earth is to be their home and rest; their eye and aim, and earnest desires, must be upon another world, and this ever upon their hearts, I ascend, therefore I must seek the things which are above. And let those who know the word of Christ, endeavour that others should get good from their knowledge.

Summary

Several different followers went to Jesus’ grave and discovered the empty tomb on the first day of the new week (20:1-3; see also Resurrection Events chart ). Again John adds eyewitness details: He tells of seeing the empty strips of linen in which Jesus’ body had been wrapped . And he shares the story of other witnesses. Mary Magdalene is the first to see Jesus alive again . Jesus appears inside a locked room to speak to all His disciples but Thomas . Later Jesus returns when Thomas is present, and the disciple who earlier earned the nickname “Doubting” immediately fell to his knees in adoration and worship .

Then, stepping back, John shares the focus and purpose of his book. He has recorded a true account of Jesus’ miracles and His teachings, His death and rising to life again, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life through His name” .

Robert G OHaver
deacon@ohaver.net
cudeacon@gmail.com
deaconrob33@earthlink.net
    ><((((°>
 

Idiffeence Or Compassionate Action?

                                 March 17 2013

 Jesus’ story defines “neighbor” in the most rigorous of ways. Any person in need is your “neighbor,” even if he is a member of a race that is a traditional enemy!

 The Samaritan story illustrates love for neighbor. The Mary and Martha story illustrates love for God. Martha was busy preparing a large meal for Jesus and His disciples. Mary ignored her sister and sat at Jesus’ feet, the traditional place of a disciple.

Jesus’ rebuke might be paraphrased, “Just a casserole, Martha, not a smorgasbord.” Love for God is expressed best in listening and responding to Jesus’ words, not in busily doing “for” Him.       

  (Luke 10:25-37)    

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ Arial;mso-fareast-language:JA”>‘your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

         If we speak of eternal life, and the way to it, in a careless manner, we take the name of God in vain. No one will ever love God and his neighbour with any measure of pure, spiritual love, who is not made a partaker of converting grace. But the proud heart of man strives hard against these convictions. Christ gave an instance of a poor Jew in distress, relieved by a good Samaritan. This poor man fell among thieves, who left him about to die of his wounds. He was slighted by those who should have been his friends, and was cared for by a stranger, a Samaritan, of the nation which the Jews most despised and detested, and would have no dealings with. It is lamentable to observe how selfishness governs all ranks; how many excuses men will make to avoid trouble or expense in relieving others. But the true Christian has the law of love written in his heart. The Spirit of Christ dwells in him; Christ’s image is renewed in his soul. The parable is a beautiful explanation of the law of loving our neighbour as ourselves, without regard to nation, party, or any other distinction. It also sets forth the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward sinful, miserable men. We were like this poor, distressed traveller. Satan, our enemy, has robbed us, and wounded us: such is the mischief sin has done us. The blessed Jesus had compassion on us. The believer considers that Jesus loved him, and gave his life for him, when an enemy and a rebel; and having shown him mercy, he bids him go and do likewise. It is the duty of us all, in our places, and according to our ability, to succour, help, and relieve all that are in distress and necessity.

Summary

JA”>Jesus has left Galilee and His itinerant ministry will now focus in Judea. He sends 72 followers ahead to warn that God’s kingdom is near and laments over those cities where He has preached and been rejected . The messengers return, excited at their new power over evil spirits. But Jesus is joy-filled at the salvation of those who have chosen to believe in and follow Him .

JA”>Questioned by an expert in Old Testament Law, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan to show the full extent of the Law’s demands on the believer. For love for God and neighbor require unlimited commitment to meeting needs . Later, at Mary and Martha’s home in Bethany, Jesus gently rebukes the harried Martha for her anger at Mary, who expresses her love for God by listening intently to Jesus .

 

Half-Hearted Interest or Total Commitment?

Luke 9:20-26, 57-62                                           March 10 2013

 Each Gospel records this miracle and this command of Jesus. It’s not enough for us to see the needs of others. Being aware makes us responsible.

JA”>On Peter’s confession, the meaning of “losing yourself,” and the Transfiguration.

         1. Peter’s testimony to Christ, Self-denial enjoined.

(Luke 9:20-26)      

Luke 9:20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”21 And He strictly warned and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.

                  It is an unspeakable comfort that our Lord Jesus is God’s Anointed; this signifies that he was both appointed to be the Messiah, and qualified for it. Jesus discourses concerning his own sufferings and death. And so far must his disciples be from thinking how to prevent his sufferings, that they must prepare for their own. We often meet with crosses in the way of duty; and though we must not pull them upon our own heads, yet, when they are laid for us, we must take them up, and carry them after Christ. It is well or ill with us, according as it is well or ill with our souls. The body cannot be happy, if the soul be miserable in the other world; but the soul may be happy, though the body is greatly afflicted and oppressed in this world. We must never be ashamed of Christ and his gospel.

  (Luke 9:57-62)      

JA”>Luke 9:57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

JA”>Here is one that is forward to follow Christ, but seems to have been hasty and rash, and not to have counted the cost. If we mean to follow Christ, we must lay aside the thoughts of great things in the world. Let us not try to join the profession of Christianity, with seeking after worldly advantages. Here is another that seems resolved to follow Christ, but he begs a short delay. To this man Christ first gave the call; he said to him, Follow me. Religion teaches us to be kind and good, to show piety at home, and to requite our parents; but we must not make these an excuse for neglecting our duty to God. Here is another that is willing to follow Christ, but he must have a little time to talk with his friends about it, and to set in order his household affairs, and give directions concerning them. He seemed to have worldly concerns more upon his heart than he ought to have, and he was willing to enter into a temptation leading him from his purpose of following Christ. No one can do any business in a proper manner, if he is attending to other things. Those who begin with the work of God, must resolve to go on, or they will make nothing of it. Looking back, leads to drawing back, and drawing back is to perdition. He only that endures to the end shall be saved.

Summary

JA”>We now near the end of Jesus’ time in Galilee, and there are yet many places needing His ministry. So Jesus commissions His twelve disciples, empowers them to preach and to heal, and sends them out . As they travel they hear much speculation about who Jesus really is . Later, after Jesus had fed thousands with just a few loaves of bread and fishes , the disciples reported the people’s gossip and Peter, speaking for them all, acknowledged Jesus as the Christ . The disciples were correct—but following Jesus would not be easy, for it meant surrendering one’s will to God and so “losing” the old life in exchange for one that is different and new . Jesus’ transfiguration, just a few days later, prefigured what Christ’s own self-surrender would mean: after the cross there would be a return to glory. The implication is clear. Glory awaits us when we too surrender fully to the Lord . When we do we will learn a new way to greatness . But to choose that way we must pay the price and put God above all human values .

The Reward of Endurance

 

The Reward of Endurance   

2 Timothy 2:1-13                             February 24 2013

JA;”>Even before the N.T. was complete, basic truths were understood, entrusted to reliable men, and passed on unchanged to the next generation.

JA;”>The word is used here as a euphemism for “Christian.” Paul is in chains, but gladly endures that others may hear and respond to the Gospel promise of salvation in Christ.

JA;”>Suffering can be endured if we are convinced it is for a good purpose. In fact there is a glory in suffering, if the purpose is great enough.

     The last two “if” statements here have caused some confusion. The Gk. words for “disown” are also translated “deny.” In some places they mean “decisive rejection of Christ” but in others have the sense of “a fall from fellowship.” Thus, Peter’s denial of Jesus was not a final rejection, but a temporary withdrawal. It is best to take this passage as a warning: If we abandon fellowship with Jesus, His withdrawal of fellowship with us must follow. Even so “He will remain faithful” to His commitment to save us, “for He cannot deny Himself.”

1. The apostle exhorts Timothy to persevere with diligence, like a soldier, a combatant, and a husbandman. (2 Tim.2:1-7)      

JA;”>2 Tim.2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure  hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and  may the Lord give you understanding in all things.  

JA;”>As our trials increase, we need to grow stronger in that which is good; our faith stronger, our resolution stronger, our love to God and Christ stronger. This is opposed to our being strong in our own strength. All Christians, but especially ministers, must be faithful to their Captain, and resolute in his cause. The great care of a Christian must be to please Christ. We are to strive to get the mastery of our lusts and corruptions, but we cannot expect the prize unless we observe the laws. We must take care that we do good in a right manner, that our good may not be spoken evil of. Some who are active, spend their zeal about outward forms and doubtful disputations. But those who strive lawfully shall be crowned at last. If we would partake the fruits, we must labour; if we would gain the prize, we must run the race. We must do the will of God, before we receive the promises, for which reason we have need of patience. Together with our prayers for others, that the Lord would give them understanding in all things, we must exhort and stir them up to consider what they hear or read.

2. Encouraging him by assurances of a happy end of his faithfulness.

(2 Tim. 2:8-13)      

JA;”>2 Tim. 2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.11 This is a faithful saying:

mso-fareast-language: JA;”>12 If we endure,We shall also reign with Him.He also will deny us.13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

JA;”>Let suffering saints remember, and look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of their faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despised the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God. We must not think it strange if the best men meet with the worst treatment; but this is cheering, that the word of God is not bound. Here we see the real and true cause of the apostle’s suffering trouble in, or for, the sake of the gospel. If we are dead to this world, its pleasures, profits, and honours, we shall be for ever with Christ in a better world. He is faithful to his threatenings, and faithful to his promises. This truth makes sure the unbeliever’s condemnation, and the believer’s salvation.

Summary

JA;”>What will it mean for Timothy to follow the pattern of commitment set by the Apostle Paul and to teach that pattern to others?  Three images provide insight. A committed Christian is like a soldier in his ability to endure hardship . He is like an athlete who keeps in training for competition . He is like a farmer who works hard in expectation of enjoying the harvest .

JA;”>Paul is very clear that commitment to the Gospel is likely to result in suffering . He is also clear on the need to remain fully committed . Actually commitment calls for a disciplined attention to service and Scripture that many have been unwilling to give . This is not unexpected, for everyone uses cheap dishes as well as expensive chinaware. But it’s important for us to “cleanse ourselves” that we might serve the more noble function . Finally, commitment calls for the most rigid self-control, not only in fleeing evil desires, but also in maintaining a loving attitude toward those who oppose our teaching, with prayerful reliance on God to change the heart of the lost .

mso-bidi-font-family: Times; mso-fareast-language: JA;”> 

From Failure to Salvation

      

From Failure to Salvation

John 4:7-18,25-26,39                                Oct. 7 2012

Jesus, finding that the Pharisees took offense at his making many disciples, leaves Judea to pass into Galilee . And passing through Samaria comes to Sychar, and rests at Jacob’s well . While his disciples were gone to the city to buy meat, a woman of Samaria comes to draw water, with whom our Lord discourses at large on the spiritual nature of his religion, the perfection of the Divine nature, and the purity of his worship. On his informing her that he was the Messiah, she leaves her pitcher, and goes to inform her townsmen . His discourse with his disciples in her absence. Many of the Samaritans believe on him ; He stays two days with them, and goes into Galilee . He comes to Cana, and heals the son of a nobleman, in consequence of which he believes on him, with his whole family.

1.His discourse with the Samaritan woman.

(John 4:4-26)          

John 4:4 And he must needs pass through Samaria. 5 so he cometh to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph: 6 and Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 For his disciples were gone away into the city to buy food. 9 The Samaritan woman therefore saith unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, who am a Samaritan woman? (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered and said unto unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his sons, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Every one that drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come all the way hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said unto him, I have no husband. Jesus saith unto her, Thou saidst well, I have no husband: 18 for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: this hast thou said truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father. 22 Ye worship that which ye know not: we worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh (he that is called Christ): when he is come, he will declare unto us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

John 4:39 And from that city many of the Samaritans believed on him because of the word of the woman, who testified, He told me all things that ever I did.

There was great hatred between the Samaritans and the Jews. Christ’s road from Judea to Galilee lay through Samaria. We should not go into places of temptation but when we needs must; and then must not dwell in them, but hasten through them. We have here our Lord Jesus under the common fatigue of travellers. Thus we see that he was truly a man. Toil came in with sin; therefore Christ, having made himself a curse for us, submitted to it. Also, he was a poor man, and went all his journeys on foot. Being wearied, he sat thus on the well; he had no couch to rest upon. He sat thus, as people wearied with travelling sit. Surely, we ought readily to submit to be like the Son of God in such things as these. Christ asked a woman for water. She was surprised because he did not show the anger of his own nation against the Samaritans. Moderate men of all sides are men wondered at. Christ took the occasion to teach her Divine things: he converted this woman, by showing her ignorance and sinfulness, and her need of a Saviour. By this living water is meant the Spirit. Under this comparison the blessing of the Messiah had been promised in the Old Testament. The graces of the Spirit, and his comforts, satisfy the thirsting soul, that knows its own nature and necessity. What Jesus spake figuratively, she took literally. Christ shows that the water of Jacob’s well yielded a very short satisfaction. Of whatever waters of comfort we drink, we shall thirst again. But whoever partakes of the Spirit of grace, and the comforts of the gospel, shall never want that which will abundantly satisfy his soul. Carnal hearts look no higher than carnal ends. Give it me, saith she, not that I may have everlasting life, which Christ proposed, but that I come not hither to draw. The carnal mind is very ingenious in shifting off convictions, and keeping them from fastening. But how closely our Lord Jesus brings home the conviction to her conscience! He severely reproved her present state of life. The woman acknowledged Christ to be a prophet. The power of his word in searching the heart, and convincing the conscience of secret things, is a proof of Divine authority. It should cool our contests, to think that the things we are striving about are passing away. The object of worship will continue still the same, God, as a Father; but an end shall be put to all differences about the place of worship. Reason teaches us to consult decency and convenience in the places of our worship; but religion gives no preference to one place above another, in respect of holiness and approval with God. The Jews were certainly in the right. Those who by the Scriptures have obtained some knowledge of God, know whom they worship. The word of salvation was of the Jews. It came to other nations through them. Christ justly preferred the Jewish worship before the Samaritan, yet here he speaks of the former as soon to be done away. God was about to be revealed as the Father of all believers in every nation. The spirit or the soul of man, as influenced by the Holy Spirit, must worship God, and have communion with him. Spiritual affections, as shown in fervent prayers, supplications, and thanksgivings, form the worship of an upright heart, in which God delights and is glorified. The woman was disposed to leave the matter undecided, till the coming of the Messiah. But Christ told her, I that speak to thee, am He. She was an alien and a hostile Samaritan, merely speaking to her was thought to disgrace our Lord Jesus. Yet to this woman did our Lord reveal himself more fully than as yet he had done to any of his disciples. No past sins can bar our acceptance with him, if we humble ourselves before him, believing in him as the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

John 4:39

Many of the Samaritans—believed on him for the saying of the woman—This woman was the first apostle of Christ in Samaria! She went and told her fellow citizens that the Messiah was come; and gave for proof, that he had told her the most secret things she had ever done: see on John 4:29 ( note ). This word, which is twice repeated, in John 4:29 and here, strongly intimates that a more particular conversation had taken place, between our Lord and the Samaritan woman, than what is here related.

Summary :

We have in the gospels a faithful record of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, Acts 1:1 . These two are interwoven, because what he taught explained what he did, and what he did confirmed what he taught. Accordingly, we have in this chapter a miracle and a sermon.  The miracle was the cure of an impotent man that had been diseased thirty-eight years, with the circumstances of that cure . The sermon was Christ’s vindication of himself before the sanhedrim, when he was prosecuted as a criminal for healing the man on the sabbath day, in which,  He asserts his authority as Messiah, and Mediator between God and man . He proves it by the testimony of his Father, of John Baptist, of his miracles, and of the scriptures of the Old Testament, and condemns the Jews for their unbelief .

Your Decision

 

   

                   “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

                                    Your Decision

                  Matt.7:13-29                           Sept. 30  2012

         The necessity of strictness in conversation urged upon us . A caution given us to take heed of false prophets . The conclusion of the whole sermon, showing the necessity of universal obedience to Christ’s commands, without which we cannot expect to be happy . The impression which Christ’s doctrine made upon his hearers .

1. The broad and narrow way. (Matt.7;13-14)      

     Matt.7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Christ came to teach us, not only what we are to know and believe, but what we are to do; not only toward God, but toward men; not only toward those of our party and persuasion, but toward men in general, all with whom we have to do. We must do that to our neighbour which we ourselves acknowledge to be fit and reasonable. We must, in our dealings with men, suppose ourselves in the same case and circumstances with those we have to do with, and act accordingly. There are but two ways right and wrong, good and evil; the way to heaven and the way to hell; in the one or other of these all are walking: there is no middle place hereafter, no middle way now. All the children of men are saints or sinners, godly or ungodly. See concerning the way of sin and sinners, that the gate is wide, and stands open. You may go in at this gate with all your lusts about you; it gives no check to appetites or passions. It is a broad way; there are many paths in it; there is choice of sinful ways. There is a large company in this way. But what profit is there in being willing to go to hell with others, because they will not go to heaven with us? The way to eternal life is narrow. We are not in heaven as soon as we are got through the strait gate. Self must be denied, the body kept under, and corruptions mortified. Daily temptations must be resisted; duties must be done. We must watch in all things, and walk with care; and we must go through much tribulation. And yet this way should invite us all; it leads to life: to present comfort in the favour of God, which is the life of the soul; to eternal bliss, the hope of which at the end of our way, should make all the difficulties of the road easy to us. This plain declaration of Christ has been disregarded by many who have taken pains to explain it away; but in all ages the real disciple of Christ has been looked on as a singular, unfashionable character; and all that have sided with the greater number, have gone on in the broad road to destruction. If we would serve God, we must be firm in our religion. Can we often hear of the strait gate and the narrow way, and how few there are that find it, without being in pain for ourselves, or considering whether we are entered on the narrow way, and what progress we are making in it?

         Those opinions come not from God that lead to sin.main subject of our thoughts, even for weeks together. Let us not rest in general and confused desires after them, whereby we grasp at all, but catch nothing.

     2. Against false prophets.  (Matt.7:15-20)      

     Matt.7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Nothing so much prevents men from entering the strait gate, and becoming true followers of Christ, as the carnal, soothing, flattering doctrines of those who oppose the truth. They may be known by the drift and effects of their doctrines. Some part of their temper and conduct is contrary to the mind of Christ.

         3. To be doers of the word, not hearers only. (Matt.7:21-29)      

         Matt. 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

                  Christ here shows that it will not be enough to own him for our Master, only in word and tongue. It is necessary to our happiness that we believe in Christ, that we repent of sin, that we live a holy life, that we love one another. This is his will, even our sanctification. Let us take heed of resting in outward privileges and doings, lest we deceive ourselves, and perish eternally, as multitudes do, with a lie in our right hand. Let every one that names the name of Christ, depart from all sin. There are others, whose religion rests in bare hearing, and it goes no further; their heads are filled with empty notions. These two sorts of hearers are represented as two builders. This parable teaches us to hear and do the sayings of the Lord Jesus: some may seem hard to flesh and blood, but they must be done. Christ is laid for a foundation, and every thing besides Christ is sand. Some build their hopes upon worldly prosperity; others upon an outward profession of religion. Upon these they venture; but they are all sand, too weak to bear such a fabric as our hopes of heaven. There is a storm coming that will try every man’s work. When God takes away the soul, where is the hope of the hypocrite? The house fell in the storm, when the builder had most need of it, and expected it would be a shelter to him. It fell when it was too late to build another. May the Lord make us wise builders for eternity. Then nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ Jesus. The multitudes were astonished at the wisdom and power of Christ’s doctrine. And this sermon, ever so often read over, is always new. Every word proves its Author to be Divine. Let us be more and more decided and earnest, making some one or other of these blessednesses and Christian graces themain subject of our thoughts, even for weeks together. Let us not rest in general and confused desires after them, whereby we grasp at all, but catch nothing.

Summary:

     How important that we focus on living for God—in His way . While we are not to judge others, we are to distinguish between the true and false prophet. The way we do this is by observing the fruit of their lives, those words and actions which spring from and reveal their innermost motivations . It is not verbal commitment to the Lord that counts. Only doing His will is an adequate expression of relationship with Him .

          Jesus’ lengthy Sermon on the Mount concludes with a powerful illustration. We build on a solid foundation by putting Jesus’ words into practice. Only then will we be able to withstand the storms of life .

 

Persevere in Obedience

              

                           Persevere In Obedience

August 26 2012                                (Jer. 37:11-17;38:4-6,14-18)

     Some expositors have agreed with Jeremiah’s enemies, that he had taken his own prophecies seriously and was about to go over to the enemy. But Jeremiah was committed to stay and warn his own people as long as there was hope of saving even one! His own explanation makes sense. Jeremiah intended to go home—Anathoth was just three miles from Jerusalem—and put his affairs in order before the Babylonians returned.Don’t expect your enemies to believe your explanation of your actions, even when you’re telling the truth.We make a mistake when we assume that the priorities of God and country are always the same. The officials who complained that Jeremiah was weakening the people’s morale were undoubtedly correct. But did this make him a traitor? Jeremiah put God’s Word and values first and believed that if his country did the same, all would be well. We need to follow Jeremiah’s example. God must be put first, country a distant second. And when the two are in conflict, we must make Jeremiah’s choice, and be faithful to God.

1. Jeremiah is imprisoned. (Jer.37:11-17) 

Jer 37:11 And it happened, when the army of the Chaldeans left the siege of Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s army, 12 that Jeremiah went out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin to claim his property there among the people. 13 And when he was in the Gate of Benjamin, a captain of the guard was there whose name was Irijah the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are defecting to the Chaldeans!”14 Then Jeremiah said, “False! I am not defecting to the Chaldeans.” But he did not listen to him. So Irijah seized Jeremiah and brought him to the princes. 15 Therefore the princes were angry with Jeremiah, and they struck him and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe. For they had made that the prison.16 When Jeremiah entered the dungeon and the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days, 17 then Zedekiah the king sent and took him out. The king asked him secretly in his house, and said, “Is there any word from the Lord?”  And Jeremiah said, “There is.” Then he said, “You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon!”

There are times when it is the wisdom of good men to retire, to enter into their chambers, and to shut the doors, Isaiah 26:20 . Jeremiah was seized as a deserter, and committed to prison. But it is no new thing for the best friends of the church to be belied, as in the interests of her worst enemies. When thus falsely accused, we may deny the charge, and commit our cause to Him who judges righteously. Jeremiah obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful, and would not, to obtain mercy of man, be unfaithful to God or to his prince; he tells the king the whole truth. When Jeremiah delivered God’s message, he spake with boldness; but when he made his own request, he spake submissively. A lion in God’s cause must be a lamb in his own. And God gave Jeremiah favour in the eyes of the king. The Lord God can make even the cells of a prison become pastures to his people, and will raise up friends to provide for them, so that in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

Jeremiah 38

2. Jeremiah is cast into a dungeon, from whence he is delivered by an Ethiopian. (Jer .38:4-6) 

Jer 38:4 Therefore the princes said to the king, “Please, let this man be put to death, for thus he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but their harm.”5 Then Zedekiah the king said, “Look, he is in your hand. For the king can do nothing against you.” 6 So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah  the king’s son, which was in the court of the prison, and they let Jeremiah down with ropes. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire. So Jeremiah sank in the mire.

Jeremiah went on in his plain preaching. The princes went on in their malice. It is common for wicked people to look upon God’s faithful ministers as enemies, because they show what enemies the wicked are to themselves while impenitent. Jeremiah was put into a dungeon. Many of God’s faithful witnesses have been privately made away in prisons. Ebed-melech was an Ethiopian; yet he spoke to the king faithfully, These men have done ill in all they have done to Jeremiah. See how God can raise up friends for his people in distress. Orders were given for the prophet’s release, and Ebed-melech saw him drawn up. Let this encourage us to appear boldly for God. Special notice is taken of his tenderness for Jeremiah. What do we behold in the different characters then, but the same we behold in the different characters now, that the Lord’s children are conformed to his example, and the children of Satan to their master?

3. He advises the king to surrender to the Chaldeans. (Jer. 38:14-18)     

Jer.38:14 Then Zedekiah the king sent and had Jeremiah the prophet brought to him at the third entrance of the house of the Lord. And the king said to Jeremiah, “I will ask you something. Hide nothing from me.”15 Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I declare it to you, will you not surely put me to death? And if I give you advice, you will not listen to me.”16 So Zedekiah the king swore secretly to Jeremiah, saying, “As the Lord lives, who made our very souls, I will not put you to death, nor will I give you into the hand of these men who seek your life.”17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘If you surely surrender to the king of Babylon’s princes, then your soul shall live; this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. 18 But if you do not surrender to the king of Babylon’s princes, then this city shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans; they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand.’

         Jeremiah was not forward to repeat the warnings, which seemed only to endanger his own life, and to add to the king’s guilt, but asked whether he feared to do the will of God. The less men fear God, the more they fear men; often they dare not act according to their own judgments and consciences.

Summary

         A powerful position is no guarantee of strength of character. This is evident in these two chapters that trace the relationship between Jeremiah and King Zedekiah during the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Zedekiah begs Jeremiah to pray for the city , but the prophet can only promise impending defeat . When the siege is temporarily lifted, Jeremiah tries to leave the city but is accused of treason and arrested . This begins his imprisonment, first in a dungeon and later in an official’s courtyard . While there Jeremiah urges the people to go over to the Babylonians and save their lives, arousing the fury of Jerusalem’s “hawks” . The prophet is thrown into a cistern to die and then rescued . King Zedekiah, terrified of both the Babylonians and his own officials, secretly asks Jeremiah what to do. But he is afraid to follow the prophet’s advice , even terrified lest someone discover he had asked . Through it all the prisoner shows courage and strength of character, the king utter weakness.

 

Rise Above Discouragement

                           Rise Above Discouragement

         August 19 2012                                (Jer. 20:1-13)

When Pashur, a priest charged with temple security, heard Jeremiah preach he had the prophet beaten and put in stocks . The next day Jeremiah announced that God had given Pashur a new name, one that meant “terror on every side.” The priest and his family would be carried captive to Babylon, along with the temple treasures . But when alone, the bold Jeremiah again cries out to God in despair. He is driven to prophesy, but terrified by the hatred and antagonism which his words generate . Jeremiah knows the Lord is with him in all his hardships , but even the sense of God’s presence cannot console him. Why, Jeremiah cries out, was he ever born?

1.The doom of Pashur, who ill-treated the prophet. (Jer.20:1-6)      

Jer.20:1 Now Pashhur the son of Immer, the priest who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. 2 Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord. 3 And it happened on the next day that Pashhur brought Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord has not called your name Pashhur, but  Magor-Missabib. 4 For thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes shall see it. I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive to Babylon and slay them with the sword. 5 Moreover I will deliver all the wealth of this city, all its produce, and all its precious things; all the treasures of the kings of Judah I will give into the hand of their enemies, who will plunder them, seize them, and carry them to Babylon. 6 And you, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house, shall go into captivity. You shall go to Babylon, and there you shall die, and be buried there, you and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied lies.’”

     Pashur smote Jeremiah, and put him in the stocks. Jeremiah was silent till God put a word into his mouth. To confirm this, Pashur has a name given him, “Fear on every side.” It speaks a man not only in distress, but in despair; not only in danger, but in fear on every side. The wicked are in great fear where no fear is, for God can make the most daring sinner a terror to himself. And those who will not hear of their faults from God’s prophets, shall be made to hear them from their consciences. Miserable is the man thus made a terror to himself. His friends shall fail him. God lets him live miserably, that he may be a monument of Divine justice.

2. Jeremiah complains of hard usage. (Jer.20:7-13)      

Jer.20:7      O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded;

      You are stronger than I, and have prevailed.

      I am in derision daily;

      Everyone mocks me.

8      For when I spoke, I cried out;

      I shouted, “Violence and plunder!”

      Because the word of the Lord was made to me

      A reproach and a derision daily.

9      Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him,

      Nor speak anymore in His name.”

      But His word was in my heart like a burning fire

      Shut up in my bones;

      I was weary of holding it back,

      And I could not.

10      For I heard many mocking:

      “Fear on every side!”

      “Report,” they say, “and we will report it!”

      All my acquaintances watched for my stumbling, saying,

      “Perhaps he can be induced;

      Then we will prevail against him,

      And we will take our revenge on him.”

11      But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One.

      Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail.

      They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper.

      Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten.

12      But, O Lord of hosts,

      You who test the righteous,

      And see the mind and heart,

      Let me see Your vengeance on them;

      For I have pleaded my cause before You.

13      Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord!

      For He has delivered the life of the poor

      From the hand of evildoers.

     The prophet complains of the insult and injury he experienced. But vs. 7 may be read, Thou hast persuaded me, and I was persuaded. Thou wast stronger than I; and didst overpower me by the influence of thy Spirit upon me. So long as we see ourselves in the way of God, and of duty, it is weakness and folly, when we meet with difficulties and discouragements, to wish we had never set out in it. The prophet found the grace of God mighty in him to keep him to his business, notwithstanding the temptation he was in to throw it up. Whatever injuries are done to us, we must leave them to that God to whom vengeance belongs, and who has said, I will repay. So full was he of the comfort of God’s presence, the Divine protection he was under, and the Divine promise he had to depend upon, that he stirred up himself and others to give God the glory. Let the people of God open their cause before Him, and he will enable them to see deliverance.

Summary:

His post as “chief officer” placed Pashur in charge of the temple police, who guarded the treasury and maintained order on the temple grounds. The name was common, and this Pashur cannot be confidently identified with the Pashur of 1 Chron. 9:12.

This is the first instance of physical violence against God’s prophet. The word translated “beaten” in the NIV is yakkeh, which means “struck.” It’s possible that a furious Pashur struck him with his hand ( Matt. 26:67 ). However the “stocks” were clearly intended not just to restrain but to punish. The Heb. word (mahpeket) means “causing distortion,” and the stocks forced arms, neck, and legs into an extremely painful position. Pashur’s unjust treatment of Jeremiah led to a word of divine judgment, which the prophet delivered the next morning.There is little glamour in ministry. Jeremiah experienced the down side of God’s calling and shares the anguish he feels. Rather than taking God’s Word to heart, his listeners insult and reproach him and even make fun of his pronouncements . It hurts deeply when a minister really cares for the people he or she serves, and they do not respond.Jeremiah again begs to see his ministry vindicated and his enemies fall. God assures him he will, and he rejoices.

 

 

Wise

 

                                             Wise

                  July 22 2012                           (1 Cor.2 )

     This is the special work of the Holy Spirit by which He enlightens believers to the meaning of Scripture’s objective revelation. This does not mean that a non-Christian is unable to understand what the Bible teaches intellectually. It does mean that the person without the Spirit will not accept the Scripture’s testimony as an accurate portrayal of reality and will be unable to apply revealed truth appropriately as a guide to personal decision-making.

     The NIV “man without the Spirit” is psychikos, typically rendered in older versions as “the carnal man.” The word is best translated “soulish” and means persons limited to natural rather than supernatural capacities. In contrast, possession of the Spirit makes a believer pneumatikos, “spiritual,” with the supplied capacities needed to understand revealed truths and apply them in personal moral decisions.

         Natural man may ridicule the claims of the believer in discerning reality. But because the Spirit links us with Jesus we know Him and can discern His will.

 

1.The plain manner in which the apostle preached Christ crucified. (1 Cor. 2:1-5)  

    

1 Cor.2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

 

Christ, in his person, and offices, and sufferings, is the sum and substance of the gospel, and ought to be the great subject of a gospel minister’s preaching, but not so as to leave out other parts of God’s revealed truth and will. Paul preached the whole counsel of God. Few know the fear and trembling of faithful ministers, from a deep sense of their own weakness They know how insufficient they are, and are fearful for themselves. When nothing but Christ crucified is plainly preached, the success must be entirely from Divine power accompanying the word, and thus men are brought to believe, to the salvation of their souls.

 

2:The wisdom contained in this doctrine. (1 Cor. 2:6-9)  

 

1 Cor.2:6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.9 But as it is written:

      “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,

      Nor have entered into the heart of man

      The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

 

Those who receive the doctrine of Christ as Divine, and, having been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, have looked well into it, see not only the plain history of Christ, and him crucified, but the deep and admirable designs of Divine wisdom therein. It is the mystery made manifest to the saints, Colossians 1:26 , though formerly hid from the heathen world; it was only shown in dark types and distant prophecies, but now is revealed and made known by the Spirit of God. Jesus Christ is the Lord of glory; a title much too great for any creature. There are many things which people would not do, if they knew the wisdom of God in the great work of redemption. There are things God hath prepared for those that love him, and wait for him, which sense cannot discover, no teaching can convey to our ears, nor can it yet enter our hearts. We must take them as they stand in the Scriptures, as God hath been pleased to reveal them to us.

3. It cannot be duly known but by the Holy Spirit.

(1 Cor.2:10-16)  

         1 Cor. 2:10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the  Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

         God has revealed true wisdom to us by his Spirit. Here is a proof of the Divine authority of the Holy Scriptures, 2 Peter 1:21 . In proof of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, observe, that he knows all things, and he searches all things, even the deep things of God. No one can know the things of God, but his Holy Spirit, who is one with the Father and the Son, and who makes known Divine mysteries to his church. This is most clear testimony, both to the real Godhead and the distinct person of the Holy Spirit. The apostles were not guided by worldly principles. They had the revelation of these things from the Spirit of God, and the saving impression of them from the same Spirit. These things they declared in plain, simple language, taught by the Holy Spirit, totally different from the affected oratory or enticing words of man’s wisdom. The natural man, the wise man of the world, receives not the things of the Spirit of God. The pride of carnal reasoning is really as much opposed to spirituality, as the basest sensuality. The sanctified mind discerns the real beauties of holiness, but the power of discerning and judging about common and natural things is not lost. But the carnal man is a stranger to the principles, and pleasures, and actings of the Divine life. The spiritual man only, is the person to whom God gives the knowledge of his will. How little have any known of the mind of God by natural power! And the apostles were enabled by his Spirit to make known his mind. In the Holy Scriptures, the mind of Christ, and the mind of God in Christ, are fully made known to us. It is the great privilege of Christians, that they have the mind of Christ revealed to them by his Spirit. They experience his sanctifying power in their hearts, and bring forth good fruits in their lives.

Summary:

         Paul abandoned the approach taken by itinerant philosophers and teachers when he came to Corinth, to rely totally on God’s Spirit in his presentation of the Gospel . Paul’s present appeal does display “wisdom,” but a secret wisdom which is beyond the comprehension of mankind . That wisdom has been revealed in words by the Spirit of God who, being God, knows the thoughts of God. And the spiritual truths contained in those Spirit-shaped words are interpreted by the Spirit to those who through faith in Christ possess the Spirit . Because the Spirit both reveals God’s Word and illuminates its meaning for us, we can know and do the mind of Christ.