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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Five Smooth Stones

1 Samuel 17:38-41
"Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off.
Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine. So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David, and the man who bore the shield went before him."
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Goliath had been coming before the armies of Israel for 39 days straight, taunting them.  He dared them to send out any man and, iIf that man could defeat Goliath, the Philistines would be servants of Israel.  But if Goliath won, the Israelites would serve them instead.
But this imposing giant of a man even went so far as to hurl insults at the God of Hosts.  BIG MISTAKE!
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King Saul and all his troops, of course, were terrified of the giant!  I mean, who wouldn't be?  His height was "six cubits and a span," the Bible says.  That's about 9'6" tall!
Now, all you skeptics out there may think that no one that tall could possibly stand up let alone bear the weight of all his armor.  But understand this: Goliath was not fully human.  He was a demon/human hybrid, a post-flood version of the Nephillim known as "Anakim and Rephaim."  He had demonic help.
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(For more on that topic, follow this link:
https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/noahs-ark-flood-series-part-1/)
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On his head, he wore a bronze helmet and was dressed all in armor of bronze, which weighed five thousand shekels (approx. 125lbs).  He had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. His spear was as big as a weaver's beam (you know, like the size of a telephone pole), and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels (15lbs).  The total weight was more than 1,000lbs!   
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David Arrives.
On day fourty, young David came on the scene, sent there by his father to check on the status of his brothers.  He heard the same taunts from the giant man that everyone else heard, yet his response was quite different. 
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1 Samuel 17:26
"Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, 'What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?'”
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David knew his God, the One Who was with him when a lion or a bear came near his sheep to harm them.  Every time, he defeated the wild animal.  This God would help him defeat this Philistine.
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But there was only one giant.  So why did he choose five smooth stones?  Do he not fully trust God or himself?  No.  There was another reason.
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Four Brothers
2 Samuel 21:16-22
" 16 And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David. 17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, saying, “Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished.
18 In the course of time, there was another battle with the Philistines, at Gob. At that time Sibbekai the Hushathite killed Saph, one of the descendants of Rapha.
19 In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair the Bethlehemite killed the brother of Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod.
20 In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha. 21 When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David’s brother, killed him.
22 These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men."
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According to the above passage of scripture, Goliath wasn't the only giant in town.  There were at least four others:  Ishbi-Benob, Saph, the brother of Goliath the Gittite, and a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot."  The last two are not named, but were obviously giants like Goliath.
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It is quite likely that David knew of them.  After all, they were related to Goliath in one way or another.  Could it be that David thought he might have to kill the other four giants?  I think so!   Now, THAT'S FAITH, Church!
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And that, Church, is why David picked up Five Smooth Stones!







Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Gospels Part 1: The Key Hangs By The Door

2 Peter 1:2
"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."
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God's word is full of eternal truths that benefit and bless us.  It tells us in the verse above that the more our knowledge of Jesus increases, the more grace and peace are MULTIPLIED in our lives.  He wants us all to have life, and to have it more abundantly.
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Key Hangs By The Door.
When you want to study the gospels or, for that matter, any book of the Bible, the key to each and every one of them hangs, as it were, by the door.  What do I mean by that?  
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Somewhere in the first few verses or, at least in the first chapter, you’ll find the key that reveals the theme of the entire book. This key will help you increase that knowledge and understanding, whatever you are reading or studying.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.

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Genesis.
The first few words of the book of Genesis are, "In the beginning," right?  This book is all about "beginnings:"  The beginnings of humanity, of civilization, of marriage, the beginning of nations, of the Jewish people, and so on.
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Ecclesiastes.
Here's another one.  This can be one very puzzling book.  What is it all about?  "Vanity of vanities," King Solomon writes.  "Everything is vanity."   It's about the vanity of life "under the sun" (ch. 1, vs. 3) without THE SON.  
In this book, we find King Solomon, a man who had virtually unlimited wealth.  He could have, do and experience pretty much anything and everything a man could ever want to in life, yet he found it all so much emptiness. 
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Song Of Songs.
In stark contrast, the very next book, "The Song of Songs," is all about life above the sun WITH The Son:  "The King has brought me into His chambers." (vs.5).
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Compare And Contrast.
These two books are placed by the Holy Spirit side by side to compare and contrast one with the other.  In Ecclesiastes, Solomon at last concludes, "Emptiness of emptiness; life is empty," under the sun and all his work was emptiness.  But in the Song of Songs by contrast, above the sun in the heavenlies WITH THE SON, life and work are not in vain.  In fact, they are enjoyable!
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Revelation.
This book is yet another good example.  It perhaps one is of the most confusing of all, full of strange symbols and even stranger creatures.  But right in the very first verse, it says, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants..."  It's not a revelation of all the weird creatures or symbols, but of Jesus Christ!
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With all that in mind, focus on the theme of whatever book it is you are studying and you will understand and see things you never saw before.  The whole Bible will open up to you.
Armed with that information, let's go check out the some interesting things about the Gospels in general.  
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Please follow the link below to Part 2 where we will be discussing why we have four gospels.  



Monday, April 17, 2017

The Gospels Part 7: John

John 1:1-3, 14
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made."
"14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." 
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Finally, we come to John, a gospel like no other.  John speaks of Jesus' Divinity, the One Who came to us directly from heaven.
The Gospel of John is quite different from the other three, which are known as the synoptic gospels.  Synoptic: "Syn," means, "Together; "Optic," means "to see."  They are "seen together" and parallel each other in many ways.
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(For details about the gospel of John that are not covered in this article, follow the link below:
https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/05/07/the-gospels-part-3-of-16-rightly-dividing-the-word-of-god/)
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Signs.
The miracles in this gospel are called, "Signs."  Yes, they are only miracles He actually performed, but they "signify" deeper spiritual truths and have prophetic significance.  God saw fit to single out these seven "signs" to teach spiritual truths and tell us about things that would happen in the last days.  
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The Gospel Of Love.
This account of Jesus earthly life is all about the Love of God.  It says in chapter 1, vs. 18, "No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who IS in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him."  Bosom, or breast, is where love resides.
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Notice the present tense of the word, "IS."  The reason Jesus lived such a victorious life on earth and was able to do so many miracles was His unceasing awareness of the Father's love for Him. He didn't come FROM the bosom of the Father, as if He left that place to come to earth.  He IS always living there!  
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Unique To John.
95% of the stories and accounts in John are not found anywhere else.  The Gospel of Mark is just the opposite. 95%of his gospel is found in the others.  Only 5% is unique to Mark.  
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If John had not written his gospel, there are many things of which we would be unaware.  In Chapter 1, for instance, he told us that "The word became flesh and dwelt among us."  In Chapter 2, Jesus turned the water to wine. That isn't mentioned in the other gospels.
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In Chapter 3 we have the story of Nicodemus.  This account is also is not found in the other gospels.  Chapter 4 is the story of the woman at the well.  If not for chapter 5, we wouldn't know about the pool of Bethesda.  Chapter 6 is details the woman caught in adultery.  Chapter 7 is all about the amazing story of Lazarus being raised from the dead.  Every single one of these accounts is peculiar to John.
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Lord Of Time.  
The first miracle Jesus ever performed, where He turned water into wine demonstrates that He is Lord of time.  
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When you want to make wine and you start from scratch, it takes several years for the seedlings to mature to the point where the grapes are suitable for making wine.  Even then, once the vines have produced fruit, you must wait another 3-4 more years until they are mature enough to make wine.  The longer you wait, of course, the better the quality of your grapes.
After they have matured and you have made your wine, the longer it ferments, the better the quality of your wine.  The longer you keep it, the better the quality.  20, 30, even 50 years later. And yet, in an instant, Jesus compressed time and the water in the 6 water pots became the BEST WINE!
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Sign To Israel.
This miracle is a sign to Israel that the days of continual cleansing for purification, washing their hands and feet, have come.  Jesus turning that water into wine indicates the times of celebration have come.  The days of the Law and constant cleansing are over!  Ever sin has been removed by the precious blood of the Lamb of God!  He has made us the righteousness of God In Christ.  
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Saved The Best For Last.
As you saw, Jesus turned the water into the best wine to the point that the governor of the feast said to the bridegroom that he had saved the best wine until last.  Very unusual!  Normally, the best was served first and the cheap Wilde saved for the end.  
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The message is that Jesus, THE BRIDEGROOM, has saved the best for last:  The end-time generation!

(For more on the prophetic message in the miracle at the Pool of Bethesda, follow the link below:

(For more on this topic of Lazarus being raised from the dead, follow this link:

https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/lazarus/)
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It is also only in John that we have the teachings in the upper room, the message for the Church, and Jesus' high priestly prayer.

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Events In The Garden.
John is the only one who told us about certain events that transpired in the Garden of Gethsemane.  For instance:  
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One thousand big, strong, temple guards came to arrest Him, brandishing their spears and swords.  Jesus, knowing ALL that would soon happen, nevertheless stepped forward and said, "Whom do you seek?"  
When they answered Him, Jesus responded with one word:  "Anoki: I AM," the Name He revealed to Moses at the burning bush.  At the mention of His Name, one thousand big, burly, strong soldiers fell flat on the ground before Him!  They were pinned to the ground until He let them go. No other gospel tells us that.
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Jesus Was Bound.
No other gospel mentions that Jesus was bound.  Why is it recorded only here?  Because this is the gospel all about the Love of God. 
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The very first mention of someone being bound in the Bible is when Abraham bound Isaac.  Isaac was his "beloved son" and a picture of Jesus who would give His life for the whole world one day.
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(For more on that topic, follow the link below:
https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/isaac-and-rebecca-patriarch-series-part-2/)
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NO ONE can bind Jesus unless He allows it.  Remember, at the mention of His Name, all the soldiers fell.  They we pinned to the ground simply at the mention of His name.  He had to wait for them to recover and get back up in order to arrest Him.  Then He said to them a second time, "Whom are you seeking?”
And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.”
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What a Savior!  What a hero the way He protected His people!
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The Death Of Jesus.
The Gospel of John is the only one that tells us the following information about how Jesus died.
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Many people were crucified at hands of the Romans in Jesus' Day.  It was the most humiliating kind of death.  Though this ignominious form of death did not originate with them, they certainly perfected it.
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Archaeologists tell us that victims of this cruel form of execution, in their attempt to gasp for air, often cracked the back of their own skulls.  Their necks were all bent back at a severe angle in their struggle.  In a matter of a few hours, the victims died of asphyxiation as their lungs collapsed.  It's the most horrible way to die.  
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Jesus, however, in stark contrast, did exactly the opposite.  Yes, He was in extreme pain from all the physical abuse He had undergone, but He did not die from those wounds.  Demonstrating His majesty and complete control, he bowed His head....FORWARD....dismissed His spirit and breathed His last.  
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John 19:30 
"So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit."  
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The Greek word for "gave up" in this verse is the word, "paradidómi."  It means, "to hand over deliver, commit, commend."  Jesus didn't helplessly lose his life, overcome by the pain and the suffering He endured.  His spirit could not leave without His consent.  He purposefully committed His spirit into the hands of His Father, after He spoke His last word, "Finished."  The price was paid; our redemption was complete; all judgment was satisfied to the fullest extent of the law.  
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The other word in bold letters comes from the Greek word, "klinó," which means, "Rest."  The only other time this word is used is in Matthew 8:20.  "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.”
Jesus at last had found a place to rest His head.  He found rest in saving us, in loving us, when He bowed His head and dismissed His spirit.  
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Oh how He loves you and me!  What a God!  What a Savior!  I'm so glad John wrote about our wonderful Jesus and His love for us! 
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Please follow the link below to part 8




The Gospels Part 6: Luke

Luke 1:3-4
"it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the CERTAINTY of those things in which you were instructed."
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Luke was a physician and the only non-Jewish writer of the Bible, who wrote about the Perfect Man, Jesus.  Tell me, who better than a doctor, familiar with the physical workings of man, to write about the Perfect Man?
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God's Word Deals In Certainty.
He wrote his gospel in a letter to a young believer named, "Theophilus," so that he would know "the CERTAINTY of those things in which you were instructed."  How many young people today lack that sense of certainty?  No wonder they turn to drugs, alcohol, and hedonistic lifestyles.  They have no security, no sure foundation.
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Priestly Gospel.
Luke opens up with the story of John the Baptist's father, Zechariah, who was a priest.  
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Luke 1: 5
"There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years."
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Son Of Man.

Luke portrays Jesus as the Son of Man in his account of His life.  This particular phrase appears more often in Luke's Gospel that in any other.  He documents not only His birth but His genealogy, proving He descended bodily from Adam.  He didn't take on human form like invasion of the body snatchers or something.  He was fully human.  100% man; 100% God.
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This gospel reveals the glory of this perfect. Man.  It is the only one which has any details of His growing up.  The story of his birth in Bethlehem is here.  We also find only in this gospel the story of Him as a young lad in the temple, asking the doctors of the law questions.  When they had no answers, they asked Him.  He answered their questions to with such wisdom and understanding that they were utterly amazed!
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From His lineage, traced all the way back to Adam, to His birth, account of Him in the Temple at age 12, to adulthood, Luke proves that Jesus grew up and lived a normal, human life.  He grew in grace, in stature, and in favor.
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Deaf And Dumb?
Did you ever notice that, when John was born to Zacharias and Elizabeth, that when they asked the father what they should name the boy, they made "signs to him" what he should be called.  If he was only struck dumb, why did they have to make signs?  BECAUSE HE WAS NOT JUST DUMB BUT DEAF AS WELL.  Otherwise, they could merely speak to him and he could hear them.
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"His Name Is John."
Zacharias asked for a writing tablet and, as you know, wrote John's name on it.  John's name means, "God's grace."  As soon as wrote his son's name on that tablet, he was once again able to speak.  
This is no coincidence!  Upon writing the word, "Grace," his voice and hearing returned.  That's right, folks:  Grace opened his ears and loosed his tongue!  
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There is a wonderful message about Jesus in the meanings of the names of John and his parents.  To read all about it, follow this link:  https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/god-remembered-his-promise/
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First Mention.
The "law of first-mention" is the principle in the interpretation of Scripture which states that the first mention or occurrence of a subject in Scripture establishes an unchangeable pattern, with that subject remaining unchanged in the mind of God throughout Scripture.
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The very first mention of a "writing tablet" is in the Old Testament where God wrote on "tablets of stone" the Ten Commandment; and the very first mention of writing tablet in the New Testament is right here, in this story.  It's a picture of Law and Grace!  Grace is greater than the law!
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Compare And Contrast.
As we saw in the Gospel of Mark, events were listed in chronological order.  Not so the book of Luke.  The Holy Spirit has purposely placed many chapters side by side to compare and contrast law and grace.  Chapter 18 about the rich young ruler and chapter 19 about Zacchaeus, demonstrate to us the differences between the two.  Law demands; grace supplies.  
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In Luke 18, the rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked what he could "DO" to inherit eternal life, emphasis on, "DO."  Zacchaeus, on the other hand, was dealt with totally by grace.  
Where the rich young ruler went away and could hardly give up one cent to the poor, the sinner, tax collector Zacchaeus, not only gave back everything he stole to those he robbed but restored four times what he took.  Not only that, but half of his goods he gave to the poor.  Amazing!  
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For more on the topic above, follow the link below:
https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/where-your-treasure-is/
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Jesus is portrayed in this gospel in very domestic settings, living among the ones He loved so much:  Mary, Martha, Lazarus. The Prodigal son is recorded here. 
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Why portray Him as a man?  Because it is so easy to get caught up in His majesty and might as a holy God that we sometimes forget that He is also fully human.  He has human emotions and human sympathies.  He doesn’t merely know how we feel: He feels what we feel!  He loves us as family!
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The first three gospels are known as the "Synoptic Gospels."  They are "Seen together."  There are stories in Luke that are found the other two, like the account of the Centurion's beloved servant.  These stories, though similar, have important differences.
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Different Strokes For Different Folks.
In Matthew 8 it says that the Centurion came to Jesus and begged Him to heal his servant, which He did.  But in the Gospel of Luke there is information that was not mentioned in Matthew.  Let's follow the story:
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Luke 7:3-10
"So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.
Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.
When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” 10 And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick."
 
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The Holy Spirit purposely did not have Matthew record that this centurion sent elders of the Jews to Jesus to ask Him to heal his servant; but He allowed Dr. Luke to document the fact.  Why?
Because Matthew was writing to the Jews.  If he had written that this Roman centurion, this Gentile, had sent elders of the Jews to Jesus, it would build pride in them.  But Luke was writing to Gentile believers.  Gentiles need to respect Israel, so he let it be known that this man sent Jewish people to speak for him. 
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You see, what is included and what is omitted is by Divine intent.  God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.  He wants us to be full of grace which means He wants us to be humble people.
You see, like water, grace flows to the lowest place.  So if you stay low, grace will always find you and lift you up!  Not that you have to make yourself low to earn grace, mind you.  
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Don't  you just love the Bible even more?  God is SO AWESOME!!!  He knows what to reveal to whom for their greatest benefit! 
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Please proceed to Part 7 where we'll talk about the theme of the Gospel of John:










Sunday, April 16, 2017

Gospel Series Part 2: Why We Have Four Gospels.

Revelation 4:6-7
6 “Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystalAnd in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were FOUR LIVING  CREATURES full of eyes in front and in back.  7 The first living creature was like a LION, the second living creature like a CALF, the third living creature had a face like a MAN, and the fourth living creature was like a flying EAGLE.”

Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to see exactly what John saw on the island of Patmos?  But alas, we really don’t know what he saw with his physical eyes because, as you saw in part 1, Revelation is a book of symbols.  How do we know that?  It tells us right here in the very first verse:
“1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and SIGNIFIED IT by His angel to His servant John,”
Signs And Symbols.
“SIGNIFIED” means “SYMBOLS,”..…unless you really believe that Jesus is literally a young lamb with seven horns and seven eyes.  
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I don't think so!  That's ridiculous, of course.  He doesn’t really look like that in heaven.  The symbols do, however, tell us a lot about Jesus.  When you can consistently interpret what the symbols mean, you can decode much of the Book, and I’m not just referring to Revelation.
1) Horn speaks of authority.
2) Seven horns means “full authority.”
3) Eyes typify discernment.
4) Seven eyes means “full discernment.”
Jesus has FULL authority, FULL discernment and is FULL of the Holy Spirit.

Why Four Gospels?
What does all this have to do with why we have four gospels?” you ask.  My question is, “Why are there only four gospels? Why do we need four?  Why not one…..why not more?  After all, there were more than four apostles, right?  And how does the above scripture from Revelation fit in with this topic?  I’m glad you asked!

Transformed By Beholding.
Paul told the Christians of Corinth in II Corinthians 3:18, “…we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

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Since we are transformed by beholding Jesus, it stands to reason that the better, clearer picture we have of Him, the more like Him we become.  The better for us!  Well, the four gospels are Holy Spirit’s very creative way of giving us that crystal clear picture.  God saw fit to have documented four stories of His life in the flesh.
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The Number Four.
Numbers in the Bible have meanings.  They reveal truths that you won’t find in the surface story.  You have to dig deeper to find their significance and what truths they uncover.  
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Each of the four gospels tell different stories of different aspects of Jesus' life.  Each unveils a different side of His glory, His beauty, His work and His love for us.  There's that number four again! 
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Four is a recurring theme through scripture. Around the tabernacle of Moses, for instance, the tribes of Israel camped on it's four sides.  Pictured on the banners immediately surrounding it were four faces:  That of a lion, an ox, a man's face and a flying eagle.  These same four pictures are also on the veil of the Tabernacle. The veil that hung between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies rested on four pillars.
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The Four Living Creatures.
These four living creatures are mentioned here in other places in scripture.  Did you ever run across them and wonder what they meant?  Let's let the Bible to interpret itself.  
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Everywhere they are found in scripture, they are always listed in the exact same order:  The LION, the CALF or ox, the face of a MAN and a FLYING EAGLE. 
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John said he saw these creatures in the “midst of the throne.” What are they?  THE FOUR FACES OF JESUS.  That is why there were four pictures on the veil of the tabernacle. They represent the four gospels.  In other words, they are all Jesus!
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The LION.
The first living creature was “like a “LION."  The lion is called the king of the beasts, a typology of Jesus as The King of Kings; King of the Jews.  The Lion also depicts “boldness.”  
Matthew is all about Jesus as King of the Jews, therefore the Lion represents the Gospel of Matthew.

Jesus is portrayed most often here in His role as “King of the Jews,” though his Kingliness appears throughout all four gospels.
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There are two genealogies of Jesus documented in the Bible which we will discuss in another portion of this series.  The lineage documented in Matthew begins with David; the other in Luke goes all the way back to Adam.  Both demonstrate that Jesus has a DOUBLE CLAIM to the throne of His father, David.
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(For more on that topic and some interesting , though little-known history, follow this link:
Matthew's gospel is Jewish in nature.  He wrote specifically TO them.  That is why you see the phrase “Kingdom of heaven” everywhere because the Jewish people don’t like to say “God” or “Yahweh,” for fear of blaspheming His Name.   Instead they say “Kingdom of Heaven,” or refer to Him as “haShem: the Name;” or they’ll write “G-d.”  Matthew wrote his gospel this way out of respect for their reverence of the  Name of God.
But there is another reason.  You see, they were waiting for the literal, physical Kingdom to be established with a conquering King ruling from Jerusalem.  Had they recognized and accepted Jesus as their Messiah back then, that kingdom would have been set up then.  But because they rejected Him, it will have to wait until after the seven years of tribulation are ended by Jesus' 2nd coming.
That’s a rather simplistic explanation.  Since there is too much to cover here, please follow the link below for more on this topic:

In other gospels, a similar passage would use God’s name because Christians are not afraid to say "God, Yahweh, or Jesus."  We are not under any religious bondage or slavish fear about His Name.  You and I are Sons, not servants.  Because of that, we also get to call God, “Daddy!”  That’s His favorite name, the one Jesus came to reveal.  

Not The Gospel Jesus Preached.
The gospel we preach today is not the one Jesus preached.  He went about proclaiming,  “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  That’s because He would have set up His millenial kingdom and ruled the whole world from Jerusalem, seated on the throne of a His father, David, if the Jews had recognized and accepted their Messiah at His first coming.   But that didn’t happen. (Refer to the link above.)



Parable Of The Ten Virgins.
Once you understand that Matthew wrote TO the Jewish people, it clears up all the confusion regarding the parable of the ten virgins.  The story is about Israel, NOT THE CHURCH.

You see Church, we are not the only group the Bible calls “Virgin.”  Israel is also called the “Virgin daughter of God” in several Old Testament references.  Those of natural Israel who are not ready, i.e. born again (lamps full of oil/the Holy Spirit) when the Bridegroom comes to call for His Bride, at the time of the rapture, will be left-behind.  When it takes place only about half the nation of Israel will be born again believers.
This passage of scripture is so often misunderstood and misapplied to the Church.  Those who think it does must be consistent and say that only half of those who are honest-to-goodness, born again believers are going up in the rapture.  The other half will be left behind.  That is not only cruel and doesn’t make ANY sense at all,  IT ISN’T TRUE.
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(For more in depth information on this topic follow this link:


(The Raptrue:  We will suddenly disappear in the blink of an eye.)

The Rapture.
Most people, being a bit more on the negative side, will certainly fear they are going to be in the “left-behind group.”  The ones who self-righteously hold this erroneous view believe, undoubtedly, that they are in the “going up group” if you asked them.
The truth is, Church, EVERYONE WHO IS BORN AGAIN, regardless of their level of faithfulness, IS IN THE GOING-UP GROUP, whether they believe in the rapture or not.  The "unbelieving" believers just may be a “bit” surprised. The only qualification found in scripture is that you be alive and remain.  (See 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)

The Ox.
The next living creature was “like a calf or ox.”  This represents the Gospel of Mark.
A calf is an untiring servant; a laboring worker.  You don’t see a genealogy written here because one doesn’t inquire about the pedigree of a servant.

Divine Servant.
Jesus is portrayed throughout Mark’s gospel as our Divine Servant.  He went about “doing good;” ministering, healing, providing, saving, restoring, everywhere He went, always on the lookout for anyone who had needs for Him to meet.  He has eyes full of compassion!  He is our Servant King.

Mark opens with the word “Immediately,” a word or words to that effect which is used repeatedly throughout this gospel.  Why?  Because a servant does his master’s bidding “immediately.”  Jesus Himself said He did not come to “be served” but “to serve,” a rather difficult concept for us to grasp.

In the book of Revelation John saw Jesus with a “golden girdle.”  This is the garb of a servant.  In Biblical times, servants wore flowing robes which had to be tied up with what they called “a girdle” around their waist so their garments didn’t get in the way while they worked.  John saw Jesus in heaven with a golden girdle around His “breast,” not His waist because breast speaks of love; His love for us!

Mary And Martha.
I know, we all prefer to think in terms of us serving Jesus but the truth is, we are bankrupt. We have nothing to give Him. THE HUMBLEST THING WE CAN DO IS ALLOW HIM TO SERVE US.  That’s why he defended Mary when Martha complained about her.  Mary was allowing Jesus to serve her.  He gained strength as a result of her act because she allowed Him to be God to her.
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Martha, who was worried about serving Jesus was in essence, “pouring out of an empty vessel.”  The essence of true ministry is pouring out of ourselves what Jesus has first poured in. Then, and only then, can it flow out effortlessly.
Attempting to serve without first being filled caused Martha to be angry and bitter, blaming both Jesus and Mary in one shot.  She was more worried about the “many things” instead of “THE ONE THING;” or should I say, the One Person, humbling  herself to let Jesus to serve her.


Because Mary allowed herself to be served, who was it that appeared at the foot of the cross, ready to minister to Jesus when He was most greatly in need? It was Mary.  Martha was nowhere to be found.

FULLY Human.  The next living creature was like a MAN. This is the Gospel of Luke where we see Jesus as the Son of Man.  Man speaks of intelligence; of human sympathies and emotions.


Why portray him as a man?  Because we can get so caught up in the deity, Lordship and majesty of Jesus that we completely forget He is also 100% man.  He has feelings and emotions just like us.  He’s been through the same things.  He doesn’t merely understand what we go through; HE FEELS WHAT WE FEEL, and is full of compassion for us.  
There is an honest to goodness, real, live, beating human heart in heaven today, a perfect Man, seated at the right hand of our Father, interceding for us.  That’s the kind of Great High Priest we have!

The Eagle.
The last living creature is like a FLYING EAGLE.  There is no genealogy is listed in this gospel either.  Since God has “no beginning and no end, hence NO GENEALOGY.
John begins by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God……..and the Word became flesh and dwelled among us…”
Jesus is portrayed most often throughout the gospel of John as the “Son of God” Who came directly from heaven.

When you think of an eagle what comes to mind?  Sharp vision, flying far above in the heavens.  Eagles can see far and wide, descriptive of discernment and prophetic insight.
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Dual Nature.
Jesus was born of a human, yes, but He came to us straight from God. He has a dual nature:  Both God and Man.  Like His Father, He is eternal.  Like the eagle who soars effortlessly in the heavens, Jesus is from heaven. 
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It is in John’s gospel where He says amazing things like,
“Before Abraham was, I AM.”
“I AM the Good Shepherd;”
“I AM the resurrection.”
“I AM the life.”


Incomplete Name.
In the Old Testament, Moses asked God His Name as He stood before the burning bush.  He answered, “I AM.”   This is an incomplete name.  Jesus, however, revealed His Full name as you read above.


When Walking on the stormy sea toward His disciples who were foundering in the boat He cried out to them, “Don’t be afraid; I AM.”  The word, “He” in your Bible is not in the original text.  It was added by translators.  THAT’S MY GOD!  Even the wind and the waves obey Him!
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In the garden, big, strong, strapping soldiers came along with Judas to arrest Jesus. He stepped forward and said to them, ” I AM.”‘ THEY ALL FELL, PINNED TO THE GROUND BEFORE HIM!  He stood there patiently as He waited for them to recover, pick themselves back up from the ground, dust themselves off so that He could ALLOW them to arrest Him.  He held out His hands and allowed them to bind Him.  He is Divinity, glory and majesty through and through!
Complete Picture.
Again, the word, “He,” is not in the original text.  These four accounts give us the most complete picture of Jesus:
Our King:  Matthew
Our suffering Servant:  Mark
The Son of man:  Luke
The Son of God:  John

He IS the Lion, He IS the Calf {ox}, He IS the Man, He IS the Flying Eagle!

The more we study Jesus in all His fullness in the gospels THE MORE LIKE HIM WE BECOME.  We become leaders, as bold as a lion.  We become as strong and as healthy as an ox, regardless of our chronological age.  In order to serve tirelessly, you need to be in good health.  Though it is not impossible, it is hard to serve if you are flat on your back all the time.  We also take on the human feelings, intelligence and sympathies of the Perfect Man, as well as the discernment, prophetic insight and keen vision of the flying eagle.
We truly become like Jesus as we behold Him in all His beauty and fullness.  And that, Church, is why we have FOUR GOSPELS.
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Please follow the link below to Part 3 where we'll discuss the Genealogies of Jesus: