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Archive for the category “Bible Study”

Peter Pan Christians

Today I heard a new Term on the radio. The term? Peter Pan Christians!

This is also the name of the Sermon of Dr. David Jeremiah which I heard on his program Turning Point. The summary for this broadcast is listed below:

Have you matured from adolescence to adulthood? Or would you characterize yourself as having the “Peter Pan Syndrome,” refusing to grow up? Dr. David Jeremiah warns that the Peter Pan Syndrome can also reach into our spiritual lives as immaturity and lethargy keep us from growing in our Christian faith. As David continues his series from the book of Hebrews, he challenges us to mature in our Christian faith.

This message references: Hebrews 5:11-14

Are you a Peter Pan Christian? Find out by listening!


Choose This Day Who You Will Serve

A Treatise On Matthew 6:19 – 34

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.
But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,
yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I referenced Matthew 6:19-34 so that you could follow along in your translation of the Bible. I use the New American Standard Bible (NASB) in almost all of my Bible quotes. If I use another translation it will be noted.

The Open Edition of the New American Standard ...

The Open Edition of the New American Standard Bible. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The topic of the first section (verses 19 – 24) is wealth; the topic of the next section is anxiety or worry.

Jesus point in verses 19 through 24 is that earthly treasure, whatever that may be is at best temporary. If your treasure is money, thieves can steal it! Your own lustful desires can cause you to misspend your wealth thereby depriving you of both your treasure and probably the thing you spend it on.

But let’s say you wisely spend your money (by earthly standards) on houses, stocks, cars, art, etc. The houses require constant maintenance to preserve their value. Even then, ups and downs in the market can cause you to lose your equity if not your whole investment. Then there are natural disasters like floods, fires, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes that can destroy your house and potentially wipe you out. The same is true for the other investments! None of them is lasting!

Another thing you have probably forgotten; none of them are yours! We are reminded of this in Psalm 24, “The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” So by attempting to amass treasure for yourself you are stealing from God! You need to ask yourself these questions: “What would God have me do with what He has given me?”; “How can I use this to honor God?” If you ask yourself those questions, answer them honestly, and then act appropriately on the answers, you will be storing up treasure in heaven! Jesus then declares that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. He makes this declaration so that you can assess yourself; is your treasure on earth or in heaven?

When He states that the eye is the lamp of the body he is using a metaphor. The Greek word for eye is ‘ophthalmos’. One of the possible translations for this is ‘envy’. Doctor Donald A. Hagner’s commentary on Matthew says, “… is the ‘evil eye’ of Near Eastern cultures – an eye that enviously covets what belongs to another”. Dr, Hagner’s translation of verses 22 and 23 is:

The Eye enables a person to see light. If, therefore, your eye is generous, your whole person will be full of light. But if your eye is covetous, your whole person will be full of darkness. If therefore, the very organ that should bring you light is the source of darkness in you, how great is your darkness.

As is typical in the Bible, light is a metaphor for the truth or God (God is a source if spiritual illumination and strength) and of course, darkness is a metaphor for the opposite. It seems to me that what this is saying is that if your treasure is physical, you are chasing a false treasure!

Finally, it is impossible to be the slave of two masters. Make no mistake, you are the slave of that which you serve. You were created by God to serve Him! Again I refer to Psalm 24 referenced above. You must either be the slave of God or of earthly wealth. You can’t do both or divide your time. One of your masters will appropriate your affections. Your actions will show everyone where your desires lay.

My NASB Bible inserts a heading at this point which I decided to leave out. The heading is “A Cure for Anxiety”. My New King James translation’s heading is “Do Not Worry”. My New Living translation’s heading is “Jesus teaches about Worry”. My point is that the heading leads the reader to believe that a new topic is being introduced. But is it?

In some translations, the first word in verse 25 is “therefore”. I believe we have all heard a preacher say “When you see the word ‘therefore, you should find out what it is there for!” The Encarta Online dictionary defines therefore as “and so, or because of that”. It stands to reason what follows is an extension of what was said previously. In a nutshell, what was Jesus’ point? Jesus’ point was that either you serve God or you serve yourself, your covetous nature.

My NASB starts off “For this reason, I say to you, do not be worried about your life”. I believe what Jesus means can be phrased like this, “If God is your master, why do you worry about the temporal things? Things like “What will I eat?” or “What will I drink?” or “What will I wear?” I will paraphrase verses 26 through 32.

Doesn’t God take care of the birds? They don’t sow or reap or gather crops into a storehouse, yet they are fed by your Heavenly Father! Does this mean that some birds don’t go hungry? No! Does this mean that some birds don’t die of starvation? No! But they don’t shorten their lives with worry, either!

Consider the flowers. They don’t have to work for their attire. Not even Solomon was clothed as beautifully as one of the lilies of the field. Your Heavenly Father bestows this beauty this beauty on flowers which are here today and gone tomorrow. Does this mean that all flowers are beautifully decked out? No! It does mean that God has given to each what He wanted them to have.

Aren’t you more important than flowers and birds? So, if God takes care of the flowers and the birds, won’t he take care of you also. Does this mean that you will never be hungry? No! Does this mean that you will never be thirsty? No! Does this mean that you will never be poorly clothed? No! Will working hard and worrying about what you will eat and what you will drink and what you will wear mean that you will never be hungry or thirsty or poorly clothed? No!

So if working hard and worrying produces the same result as having faith and trusting in God, why worry? Live by faith!

In verse 33, Jesus is telling you how you should live to produce the heavenly treasure. Wait, didn’t we talk about that in verse 24. He who serves God will have treasure in heaven. To serve God, the most important thing you can do is make the kingdom of God and the righteousness He demands your number one priority. If you do that and let God take care of the necessities of life, you just may find that God will take care of you. You may get hungry or thirsty or become naked, but if that is God’s will, nothing you can do will change that. Don’t forget that God may test your faith!

English: Biting one's lip can be a physical ma...

English: Biting one’s lip can be a physical manifestation of worry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember how God tested Abraham’s faith. When Abraham was a young man, God told him that he would be the father of many nations. Abraham trusted God! Abraham had his first child when he and Sarah were well past child bearing age. Later when God told to sacrifice Isaac, the son of the promise, Abraham by faith obeyed. He was fully prepared to sacrifice Isaac and was in the act when God stopped him. Abraham didn’t know how God would fulfill His promise through Isaac if Isaac was dead, but Abraham believed that God would do what He promised!

Don’t make the mistake of the “Christian” who believes that verse 33 means that if you seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you will never be hungry or thirsty or naked. That is not what this verse is saying!

Finally, verse thirty-four reiterates the imperative “don’t worry” about things that you have no control over. It detracts from your kingdom work!

The First Battle

Numbers 31 and 32 talk a little about the battle of the Israelites against the Midianites before entering the land. One thousand of the people from each tribe went to war and the Midianites were completely vanquished. The booty from this battle was 675,000 sheep, 72,000 cattle and 61,000 donkeys. Half of the booty went to the warriors and half went to the people. This was by God’s decree.

Chapter 32 starts off with the tribes of Reuben and Gad, who had great numbers of livestock, wanting the settle the land of the Midianites who the Israelites had just conquered, for their inheritance because it was a land suitable for livestock. I point this out because of yesterday’s post about the Israelites having much livestock in the desert for 40 years and God sustaining them. This battle in Numbers is the first known battle and yet they had much livestock.

Again, the People spending 40 years in the desert and maintaining their flocks and herds was at least as big a miracle as all of the other miracles.

All This in the Desert?

This morning’s reading including Numbers 28. I already know from previous chapters that the number of Israelites in the “desert/wilderness” was over 600,000 men over age 20. When you add their families to this number A reasonable estimate of the number of people is 1.5 million. I know that God provided manna for them to eat while in the desert and made water to flow from rocks when they got dry. Sounds like a pretty start existence!

Then I read Numbers 28. The verse which got my attention is three. They were to offer two lambs every day for a continual burnt offering. The first question I need to ask is, “How long have they been in the desert when this command was given? Was this offering to be give after they entered the land?” It sounds to me like they had their flocks and herds with them. What about the grain offering that went with the two lambs? Then there was the oil and the drink offering. Where did they get all of these provisions. Not only did the people have to eat but their animals as well. I’m thinking that God not only provided manna, for the people to eat, but the grain and other food for the animals as well as for the offerings.

When I read the Pentateuch previously, I never thought about this. I read about the egregious miracles, the manna, the water, the qail, the pillar of fire and of smoke. But the fact that this people, maybe 2 million strong with their animals, was sustained by God for forty years. Still they grumbled. Still their faith was not strong enough to obey God and take the land in the manner prescribed. What a wicked people!

Are we any different today? God sustains us in ways that we aren’t aware of or ignore, and then we blame Him when we don’t get what we want.

Be Transformed

The apostle Paul admonishes us “Do not be conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Why should Paul want us to be transformed? “… so that you may prove what the will of God is; that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

What does he mean “prove what the will of God is”? The Encarta Dictionary defines prove as “to establish the truth or existence of something”. Strong’s concordance indicates that it means “to test”. So Paul is saying that if you set your mind on the things of God, it will prove that the will of God is good, acceptable and perfect.

How do you renew your mind? Paul tells the Colossians “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” What is it that fits this description? The word of God! If you want to renew your mind, read, memorize and meditate on the word of God.

Taking Every Thought Captive

My reading for today was 2 Corinthians 10. In this letter to the Corinthians, Paul says that every thought is being taken captive for the obedience of Christ.

What does it mean to take every thought captive? At first read, it seems understandable enough, thinking about it a little, about how a person can take every thought captive, I am not sure I understand what Paul is talking about. I do know that God is so awesome to have Paul choose these words so that I would study more and learn what this means.

Nuggets from Scripture

This morning as I was reading 2 Corinthians chapter 9, the verses that stood out for me were 13 and 14. While we have all heard sermons on giving from this chapter, I wonder how many sermons have been preached on verse 13 which says, “… they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ …” To have someone glorify God for my obedience to Him, what a blessing! What a testimony!

Oh Lord, create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me.

Growing In Wisdom

I just finished reading Luke 2. It was the last verse in the chapter that caught my attention. “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.” This statement was made after the story of how the boy Jesus was found in the temple, discussing spiritual things with the teachers. Jesus as God knew everything yet had to learn the ways of God when he was small here on earth. Apparently he devoted himself to this task from his youth. This is evident in this passage and by the fact that He countered the devil’s tempting with scripture. He obviously was very familiar with the Bible of His day.

As Christians we are supposed to be like Jesus. This includes the studying and memorizing of scripture. Yet many of us don’t do this. The benefits are enormous. What comes to mind immediately is Psalm 119:11, “Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.” So memorizing scripture is a defense against temptation and sin. It helps us lead a life that resembles Jesus’ life and is pleasing to God.

Time to Start My Study of Matthew

Well I said that I would start studying the book of Matthew this month. I will probably do a chapter a week. That seems kind of slow learning. At that rate it will take six months to get through the Bible. I’m glad I read through the Bible every year as part of my daily devotional.

Anyway I started last night by reviewing the Inductive Bible Study method. Particulary, I pay attention to the Observation part of the method. Observation isn’t the most important part of the method but without it the most important part, Application, cannot be accomplished.

I have my marking pencils, I have my concordance, my notebook, of course my Bible, and a commentary. I will only go to the conmmentar after I think I understand what the chapter is saying. Then it is only to gains some insights that I missed and  Determine what questions that I didn’t ask. A good commentary can also reveal “stinkin’ thinkin'”.

Time to get reading.

Looking Forward to March

This month I am starting a Bible Study in the book of Matthew. I will try to post my thoughts on the study daily. I also have a couple of questions to explore. They are:

  1. What did Jesus mean by abundant life?
  2. The evangelistic diagnostic question we are taught is, “When you die are you going to heaven?” Jesus made it a point that God is the God of the living not the God of the dead. So how can we focus our evangelistic message on the here and now, not when the persons dies. ought be interesting.

That is what is coming up. I hope you join me.

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