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He is not here: for he is risen (Matt.28:6)


A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. Mathew 7:18

In this month’s issue: 3.

Need Determines Supply

Edwin & Lillian Harvey (USA)

4.

It is Finished

Mathew Bartlett (UK)

5.

Pontius Pilate: Behold the Man!

Mathew Bartlett (UK)

9.

Five Secrets To Discovering God's Will

Daniel Kolenda (CfaN)

10.

Revelation 13 - The Rise of Anti-Christ

Mathew Bartlett (UK)

13.

Faith-builders Bible Study Mark 6

Derek Williams (UK)

17.

Happy Mother’s Day

Mathew Bartlett (UK)

19.

In Depth Study – 1 Cor. 13

Mathew Bartlett (UK)

©Photos above © ENE Cover: © Creativeimpression Left © from top: Xxknightwolf, Subbotina, Philcold and Sebastian Grecu. Facing Amandee Back Cover: A. J. Cotton Living Word Magazine is published in the United Kingdom by Sharon Full Gospel Church, 7 Park View, Freeholdland Road, Pontnewynydd, Pontypool, NP4 8LP Editor: Mathew Bartlett

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Need Determines Supply An extract from “Royal Insignia” by Edwin & Lillian Harvey

BUY ON KINDLE! £3.86 Image © Subbotina Reproduced by kind permission of Harvey Publishers. www.harveycp.com Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety-and-nine just persons, which need no repentance (Luke 15:7). A MAN’S own need is the measure of his greatness. —Pascal. “No need?” How tragic! The Psalmist again and again speaks of himself as being “poor and needy.” That is why God speaks of David as a man after His own heart. The full Christ sends empty away, but the hungry are satisfied, and the thirsty are refreshed, and the needy take of His fullness. Jesus had been criticized by the Pharisees for eating with publicans and sinners, and the entire fifteenth chapter of Luke is Christ’s answer to that criticism. The sheep that was lost demanded the Shepherd’s care so that He left the ninety-nine who needed nothing. The woman who had lost her coin rejoiced when she found it. The prodigal is but the story of every soul who in fullness goes into a far country. It is always a far

country when we leave the Father and venture on our own. It is always riotous living when we walk after the flesh, living only for that which is passing and thus missing that which is eternal and enduring. Like the prodigal, our true success story begins when we first feel the pinch and “begin to be in want” when “no man gives unto us.” It is only then we come to ourselves and realize that in the Father’s house is bread enough and to spare while we perish with hunger amidst the world’s seeming fullness. The elder brother had no need. He lived in the midst of His Father’s plenty, and all that the Father had was his as well, but his self-sufficiency and self-righteousness blocked the inflow of love to his flinty heart. Blessed day, when those things in which we trusted are snatched from us. We call it tragedy. God calls it blessedness. He makes His promises to needy people—those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are filled. Christ uses the picture of

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hunger and thirst for they are universal, ever-recurring needs. No wonder He could say they were blessed, for they more often partook of the Living Christ Who was the Bread of Life. Eating His flesh and drinking His blood were the only means of LIFE. “He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” Christ used the picture of the Vine to illustrate to us the importance of need. What is it that causes the branch to receive sap from the parent stem? Osmosis—need! The branch’s need calls on the vine for a supply of sap, and lo, it is supplied. More need! More supply! Blessed bereavement which casts me for companionship upon Jesus. Blessed bankruptcy which causes me to rest on Eternal Resources instead of the riches that have wings and fly away. Blessed ill health that flings me upon the mighty virtue and healing that comes from Jesus, the Great Physician. Blessed failure in my ministry which at last reveals to me that my own efforts are unavailing and my best works ephemeral. Blessed collapse of all selfconfidence, for I now have the allsufficient One, Who came to be my life, my wisdom, my sanctification, my redemption, and most of all, my righteousness. — J. R. Miller. God lets us go our way alone, till we are homesick and distressed, and humbly then come back to own; His way is best. He lets us thirst by Horeb’s rock, and hunger in the wilderness; yet, at our feeblest, faintest knock, He waits to bless. He lets us faint in far-off lands, and feed on husks and feel the smart, till we come home with empty hands, and swelling heart. (Miller)


Bible says: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and 1 body in hell.” “The soul that sins 2 shall die.” At the cross Jesus took our sin and its consequences in His own body. He willingly bore death and separation from God on our behalf. When he cried the words “It is finished”, Jesus meant that he had successfully provided a way for our all sins to be forgiven. Three days after his death, Jesus demonstrated his success by rising again. Sin and death continue to affect the whole human race. But the forgiveness of sin must be received individually, one person at a time. For although Jesus Christ died for everyone, the benefits of what he has done can only be experienced by those who personally trust in him. Jesus said, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, but whoever does not believe the Son shall not see life, for the wrath of 3 God remains on him.”

It is Finished These were his dying words. To some onlookers it sounded like this was the end of Jesus from Nazareth. As He was dying on a rugged wooden cross between two criminals, Jesus cried out “It is finished!” But a closer consideration of these words reveals their true meaning. Jesus did not cry “I am finished” but “It is finished!” This was a cry of triumph, not defeat – for Jesus had successfully completed His mission on earth.

What was this mission? Jesus came to deal with the problem caused by our sin. Sin had brought devastating consequences to humanity - death and separation from God. Every person has sinned. Pride, jealousy, hatred, lust, greed, anger and despair all tell us that sin is still present in the world. The problem of sin affects all people of all ages. Eternal death is the inevitable consequence of sin – Jesus called it ‘the second death’ or separation from God in torment forever. The 5

Do you believe that Jesus died and rose again for you? Have you confessed to God that you are a sinner and asked him to forgive you? If not, do so today, and trust the Lord Jesus to cleanse and forgive you. 1

Bible References: Matthew 10:28; 3 Ezekiel 18:4; John 3:36 (NKJV) Image © Flashon Studio 2

This is the text of our latest gospel tract, suitable for individual one to one use or for mass distribution. All tracts available for £1.99 per 50 including free UK postage. Also available in a Welsh / English bilingual version - see website for details.


put quite simply, “He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” John 3.36 God sent his only begotten Son into the world to be the Saviour of men. The one Pilate saw standing before him is the One who came into the world to save sinners. He is none other than God of very God. He created the world, and sustains it by his power. Pilate was wrong to suppose that he had power to dispose of Jesus - but he was right to recognize that he could not avoid this question, neither can you or I, for: 1) Jesus has the Foremost Place in History

Pontius Pilate: Behold the Man! John 19:5 Images © Philcold

Introduction

I. An Inescapable Question

The name of Pontius Pilate will always be associated with the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was Roman governor in Judea at that time of our Lord’s execution. Historians tell us that he was a capable man of shrewd judgment, trained in Roman law and in the giving of correct judgment. Like Pilate, when Jesus Christ stands in the judgment hall of our mind, heart and will, we must all face:

“What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:22). As the Lord Jesus Christ was brought before Pontius Pilate, Pilate was faced with an inescapable question. It is this very same question that every man must answer. God we see to it that at some time in your life you will be confronted with this question, and your answer to this question will affect your whole eternity. No one can ever escape this question, for 6

“What shall I do then with Jesus?” (Matthew 27:22). Some have been foolish enough to question the actual existence of a man named Jesus of Nazareth. But when Pilate asked this question, Jesus himself was standing in front of him in person; he could neither ignore nor avoid him. In the same way, Jesus in an unavoidable figure in history. Let me illustrate. What year is it? It is 2014 A.D. - A.D. Stands for Anno Domini or year of our Lord, meaning it is 2014 years, approximately since our Lord Jesus Christ was born. Prior to that, dates are given as years B.C. or before Christ. We cannot look at any event in history without encountering Christ in the date. We cannot look at art or literature through the ages without realizing how profoundly Christ has influenced artistic and literary history Just look at the vast statue of Christ the redeemer towering


over Rio de Janero, or at Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper. Consider classic books written about him such as Paradise Lost and Regained by Milton, Ben Hur, a Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace or even Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, in which the man cast away on a desert island is converted to Christ. We cannot consider the history of civilization, without noticing His stamp on culture and custom. For example, my own land of Wales has been mainly Christian, not pagan, since the time of the Celts. St. David lived in the 6th century, when Christianity was already well established. The fact that faith in Christ remained a predominant feature in Celtic life can be seen by the Celtic crosses such as those at Margam and Penally which are over 1200 years old. We could go on and on, but wherever you look there is no escaping Christ, for he has the foremost place in history. 2) Jesus has the Foremost Place in Eternity “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:22). Whether or not Pilate understood the full meaning of the title “Christ” is not clear; but Jesus endorsed His divine claims when He told the governor that His “Kingdom was not from this world.” (Matthew 27:11). Jesus is not of this world. He had ever lived with God His Father in heaven. When God sent his son into the world, he put on flesh, becoming a man like you and I, yet without sin. Even in this state of voluntary humiliation, one could not help but notice that everywhere Jesus went, he was King. Not merely King of the Jews, but the king of eternal ages; king of kings and Lord of Lords. The one standing under

the judgment of ate that day was the one who will One day appear to judge the living and the dead. (Acts 10.42)

crucify Jesus, He ends up as he stands before the Saviour, trembling from head to foot. Consider:

God has exalted His Son and given Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of things in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Since Jesus has the foremost place in eternity, we must be careful how we answer the question “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ.”

1) The Witness Analysed

Did Pilate truly know who it was who was standing before him? There is some evidence which suggests that Pilate knew more than is generally supposed. Alexander Whyte in his history of Bible Characters claims that in one of his reports to Caesar Tiberius, Pilate had written: “Jesus the Christ, as He is called, is worth more to my administration than any legion of my armed men. He is the most peaceable and inoffensive of men…I shall not lift a single finger against this ‘King of the Jews,’ as His disciples call Him, till I am commanded by Caesar so to do”

II. An Important Question “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:22). Since Jesus Christ is the most important person in time and eternity, this is the most important question you will ever face, Pilate realized that he had never stood before anyone like Jesus before. If we read just briefly the account of his interview with Christ, we get a feeling for the perplexity Pilate faced. Even though he claimed the power to release or 7

"You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him;” Luke 23:14 It was not the witness of His disciples, nor of those who followed Him, nor of the many who had been healed during his ministry. It was the witness of those who were hounding Him to death. Pilate, having analysed their evidence, had to say, “I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:38). Pilate was saying, in effect, that every claim that Jesus Christ had made, for which they were accusing Him of blasphemy, was absolutely true. He was faultless. Christ had claimed to be the son of God, and even Pilate found no reason to refute him. Have you ever faced the fact that the One who stands in the judgment hall of your mind, heart and will is not merely a man of history, not some Jew in a far-off land, not some obscure name, but God Himself, the Saviour of the world, the King of kings, the Judge of all? This is the most important issue you will ever face. 2) The Warning Verbalized Even as Pilate sat on the judgment seat, weighing up the whole situation, a message came to him from his wife, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him” (Matthew 27:19). We do not know the contents of her dream, but one


thing is certain: it was God-sent, because it upheld the absolute innocence of God’s beloved Son— “that righteous man.”

Jesus and you stand alone at this moment, as Jesus and Pilate did on the memorable day. Yet his attitude was:

I wonder if the heavens were opened and she saw a throne, and one sat on it who looked like a son of man, from whose face the whole earth fled away. Could it be that she recognized this figure to be Jesus of Nazareth, who was now standing before her husband? Did she hear the wails and cries of those who called for the mountains and rocks to fall on them, and hide them from the wrath of this lamb of God which was about to fall on an unbelieving world?

1) Marked by Carelessness

We read in the light of Christ’s coming in judgment, the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! Rev 6:15-16 As Pilate stood before Christ, he faced his most important decision. The most important decision you will ever face, is a decision you must face tonight, “What will you do with Jesus which is called Christ?” The decision cannot be put off forever, for “Today is the day of salvation.” None of us knows if we have tomorrow. It is a decision which will determine our whole eternity. how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, (Heb. 2:3)

III. An Individual Question “What shall I do…?” (Matthew 27:22). You may be in a crowd, but

With an air of indifference he looks out on the mob and says, “Take ye him, and judge him according to your law” (Matthew 18:31). He thought he could rid himself of Jesus with a snap of the finger and a shrug of the shoulder, but it didn’t work. It won’t work for you either. You cannot ignore the claims of Jesus. Your future meeting with him is inevitable - you could be called away to stand before him at any moment. How will you stand then? 2) Marked by Cowardice “As soon as he knew that was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod” (Luke 23:7). Pilate sends the pure and perfect Son of God to Herod, a man totally unrestrained in his sinful indulgence; a man to whom Jesus never spoke, but whom he called “that fox” (Luke 13:32). Here is a man who proved that there is a point in time when God will cease to speak. The Lord said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever,” (Gen 6:3) But Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate, and Pilate, hearing the tramp, tramp of marching feet, knows that he has to face Jesus again. Fearing to face this important issue did not get Pilate off the hook, and it won’t do you any good either. We must face up to our solemn responsibility. Christ's call is still repent and believe the gospel. 3) Marked by Cleverness "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They said, "Barabbas!" (Mat 27:21)

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Knowing that at the time of the Passover it was the custom to release a prisoner to the people, he reasons, “If I put Barabbas, the robber, against Jesus, they will certainly release Jesus. They would not want to do less than stone Barabbas to death.” But such is the condition of the human heart that they lift their voices and call for Jesus to be crucified. So Pilate’s cleverness fails. We cannot get out of this decision by any amount of cleverness. Bring out all the arguments you can against Christianity. Convince yourself if you like, that there is no God, or that evolutionary chance created the world, but you will never avoid your destiny. Let me read it to you. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. (Rev 20:12) 4) Marked by Compromise So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck Him with their hands. Pilate then went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him." (John 19:1-4) Pilate stepped out on Gabbatha to declare the absolute innocence of Jesus Christ and then dares to turn around and order that He should be scourged. Then taking the bleeding Christ of God, he sets Him forth as a spectacle of innocent suffering, thinking that this would satisfy their


thirst for blood; but the people cry out for His crucifixion. So Pilate finds that carelessness, cowardice, cleverness and compromise have not worked. You cannot escape from Jesus. You may hide in your room but Jesus, will look down on you. You may throw yourself into your work, but Jesus will be there. You may drink yourself stupid, but when you wake up with an aching head you will still hear those words, “What will you do with Jesus?” And when you plunge into the river of death you will emerge to meet Him—no longer as Saviour, but as Judge. What, then, will you do with Jesus? The issue is important, individual and inescapable. You must either crucify Him or crown Him. Ask Him to come into your life as Saviour, Lord and King.

Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall, Friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all; Hearken! what meaneth the sudden call? What will you do with Jesus? Refrain: What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be; Someday your heart will be asking, “What will He do with me?” Jesus is standing on trial still, You can be false to Him if you will, You can be faithful through good or ill: What will you do with Jesus?

Will you evade Him as Pilate tried? Or will you choose Him, whate’er betide? Vainly you struggle from Him to hide: What will you do with Jesus? Will you, like Peter, your Lord deny? Or will you scorn from His foes to fly, Daring for Jesus to live or die

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What will you do with Jesus? “Jesus, I give Thee my heart today! Jesus, I’ll follow Thee all the way, Gladly obeying Thee!” will you say: “This I will do with Jesus!”

A Hymn by Albert B. Simpson (Public Domain)


Five Secrets To Discovering God's Will (pt. 5) A Bible Study by Daniel Kolenda (CfaN) Photo: © Sebastian Grecu

An extract from Daniel’s new book- Live before you die. £9.99 BUY NOW.

The imperative of seeking God’s kingdom is not only relevant in the context of highly spiritual ministry issues. Jesus says that if we seek the kingdom first, all these things will Repentance be added to isus. such This is an one oftenof the most powerful secrets to misunderstood concept. Contrary discovering God’s will for your life. to what many people think, If you will set your sights on His repentance not make a dirty that word.your It’s kingdom is and as the you move it you notpriority, just for sinnertoward who wants will automatically come across to get saved, nor is it just for those everything else you need!

who are committing gross sins and living inafter blatant immorality. For the Once I had finished preaching about the kingdom of God, an elder child of God repentance should be in the church approached me and a lifestyle. To repent means to said, “You know, all these lofty “turn,” one’sbutmind ideas to arechange wonderful, mostand of the people in the church are just direction.

trying to figure out how to pay their and get along with their people spouse Butbillshere is where many and raise their kids and do a good misunderstand. We tend to think job at work.” I realized that in many of ways repentance as primarily this dear friend wasturning right. away fromChristians something,consider as in turning Most the kingdom of God to be something so away from sin and making a onelofty that it is best left to pastors hundred-eighty-degree change to and evangelists.

the opposite direction. But this is The famous Abraham missing the psychologist real point. For Maslow espoused a similar view. He example, a sinner could turn away constructed a pyramid that he titled from sin and still be lost.It In the a“Hierarchy of Needs.” wasfact, his there are many religions that teach opinion that before someone could “self-actualize,” he first needed to morals and abstinence from meet the baser needs of human various sins, but that in and of nature such as food, shelter, and itself does not Maslow save anyone. companionship. believed that beforefrom one could the Therefore, the reach Christian lofty ideals at the top of the perspective, what you turn away pyramid, he would need to climb from is not really the issue. It is what you turn to that makes the difference.

from the bottom, meeting the basic needs first.

kingdom, and you’ll land in the right school!

This seems to be the most intuitive approach to life. Many people think the kingdom of God is an ethereal and irrelevant topic, and they prefer to be “down to earth.” They have decided to first concentrate on putting food on the table and paying the bills. This seems to be the responsible and practical thing to do.

If you want to know where you should live—seek His kingdom, and He’ll lead you to the right geographical location! Can it really be that simple? Could this one command really be the secret to finding out God’s will? My friend, these are not my words. These are not the words of a philosopher or a preacher. These are the words of the Son of God Himself; “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33, NKJV, emphasis added).

But what Jesus taught is quite the opposite. Jesus said, “Don’t worry about what you will eat or what you will wear. Your Father in heaven knows you need these things, and He will take care of you. Instead seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you.” (See Matthew 6:25-33.) What Jesus was teaching was Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in reverse. Jesus turns Maslow’s pyramid upside down! Jesus teaches us to start at the pinnacle of the pyramid, the highest and loftiest place. Put the kingdom of God first, and everything else will be taken care of—physical, mental, and emotional needs included. If you want to know what job God has for you— seek His kingdom, and you’ll find your occupational calling! If you want to know whom you should marry—seek His kingdom, and you’ll find your spouse! If you want to know where you should go to college— seek His 10

Many people have put education first in their lives. When all is said and done, they will be highly intelligent fools, missing the greatest wisdom of all in their endless search for knowledge. Many people have put money first in their lives. When all is said and done, they will know the truth of Matthew 6:24 “You cannot serve both God and Money” (NIV). Many people put family first in their lives. When all is said and done, it is their family who will pay the price for their misdirected priorities. When we put anything ahead of Christ and His kingdom in our lives, not only will we miss God’s kingdom, but we will also miss all the other treasures as well.


In this chapter we see what could be described as a Coup d’ etat of evil, for we are permitted to observe the bringing into being of Satan’s brief world dominion.

The Beast from the Sea 1. “Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.”

Revelation 13 The Rise of AntiChrist

2. “Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.”

Truth for Today A brief extract from our forthcoming book.

By Mathew Bartlett

The Cosmic Scope of Photo © Pidiyath100 Conflict

We have already seen Satan depicted as having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. Now Satan raises up a man to represent him on earth. For since Satan is an angel, he cannot rule among men by himself. He needs a viceroy, a man referred to as the Beast or anti-Christ, to whom he gives all his authority that he might rule his earthly kingdom on his behalf. If Satan gives all his authority to him, v2, in return it is reasonable to suppose, that this man has utterly surrendered his soul to the devil. No wonder John describes him as “the embodiment of all blasphemy.” If Satan has seven crowns on his heads, the Beast has ten crowns on his horns, for these ten horns represent a confederation of ten kingdoms and the ten crowns are ten regents who rule these kingdoms by appointment of and under the control of the Beast.

the

It is not unusual for such visions to refer to world rulers and their empires. Daniel received similar 11

visions about Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire, followed by the Persian, the Grecian then Roman empires. (Daniel 7) Each vision conveyed certain characteristics of the empire and its rulers. The beast, as in Daniel’s vision, rises from the sea, which is taken by commentators to be a reference to the Gentile nations, as it was in Daniel’s visions. I wonder if this is why faithful Jews recognize him as an impostor. Moses said “The Lord your God shall raise up a prophet like me from among your brothers” DRW “The creature dominantly resembled a panther, that is with the grace, slyness and swiftness of that animal. His feet are like a bear’s, powerful and deadly, for unlike a cat, bears are unable to retract their claws and so are always ready to attack. The lion’s mouth depicts the cruelty of the creature and the way it tears its prey apart with its teeth.” 3,4. “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marvelled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” Throughout the vision, the beast is taken as being synonymous with his empire - since he is the empire - its sole and absolute dictator. The wounded head is Anti-Christ himself who is apparently killed and raised from death by satanic power in a mocking parody of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this way Satan catapults his chosen puppet into the public


light - he may not necessarily have been a world leader before this time. But because of his seeming invincibility, the whole world will follow him with wonder and amazement, giving homage to him. They also worship the Devil, for they know that he has given this authority to Anti- Christ. It should therefore be clearly understood that the last religion to dominate the world before Christ’s coming not be Catholicism, Islam nor any mishmash of these- but Satanism in its most direct form. 5. “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.” The beast is given, as DRW says “the eloquence to propound (in a surprisingly impressive, stunning or overwhelming way) astounding and blasphemous things” and was allowed to exercise his authority for three and a half years. 6. “Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.” The Beast continually blasphemes God, speaking against His person, His dwelling place and all who dwell in heaven. Paul instructed the converts at Thessalonica about this man when he said the man of sin will be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 2Th 2:3-4. We see from this that the antichrist does not rule from Rome or

Brussels, but from Jerusalem - his headquarters being either a fully or partly restored Jewish temple. 7. “It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.” I have been asked whether the European Union corresponds with the kingdom of the Anti-Christ. The answer is an obvious no. For although the existence of the EU and the moral and spiritual decline across the continent shows that Satan is preparing people of Europe to receive the beast, notice that his empire stretches over the whole earth, not a single continent. Power is given him to rule all nations of the world. This is why in my introduction I called it a coup d’ etat - a complete takeover of the whole world. Notice that is Rev 17.12,13 "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. This makes it very clear that the world rulers of the end time have never been world leaders before. They are not elected, but imposed upon the people as they are appointed personally by antichrist on the basis of their complete submission to the will of Satan. The Devil’s regent is granted to make war against the faithful Jewish remnant and to overcome them. This presents a difficulty, a point of great disagreement among commentators. For we have seen in Rev. 12 Israel being protected by God in the wilderness. Could it be that the Jews who had read the 12

New Testament, heeded Christ’s words about what to do IMMEDIATELY they saw this man proclaim himself God in the temple, are the ones protected by God in this way, for Christ said let those who live in Judea flee to the mountains. Will some Jews are left behind in Jerusalem and seal their faith with their blood? Clearly, many faithful Jews will die. By the way, the reason I do not believe these saints to be Christians is that we will already have been removed from the earth with the Holy Spirit, for according to Paul’s words, the antichrist cannot be revealed until the Holy Spirit is removed from the world, and hence the church. And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 2Th 2:6-7 8. “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Every inhabitant of the earth will pay homage to him “bow down, in voluntary, inward veneration of soul, to him as their god” (Tatford). Except those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. 9,10. “If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” Here is a warning for all who will hear, a reminder that vengeance belongs only to God (Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19). Whoever takes people into captivity will themselves be taken. Whoever kills with the sword


will be killed with the sword. As God’s sealed people are persecuted by the Beast they are called to exercise faith and endurance, and are not to take up arms against him, for any such attempt would be futile.

14. “And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.”

exactly what it is and means. It will not be a form of ID or silicon chip technology to replace the VISA card. Rather it is a mark of allegiance to Satan, a sign that they are devotees of the antichrist. All who refuse this mark will be killed or left to starve.

The Beast from the Land

In addition to the veneration of the beast, he deceives the people of the world to make a statue in the likeness of the Anti-Christ and worship this as well - probably for no other reason than it is a further breaking of God’s commandments.

18. “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: his number is 666.”

11. “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.” John saw another beast coming out of the earth. If rising from the sea was a reference to the beast being from the Gentile nations, we may regard the beast rising from the earth to be from Israel. His appearance is very different to the first, but they have one aim. This false prophet pretends to be as gentle as a lamb, being very plausible and smooth tongued. He does not appear to be as vicious as the first beast - but he is - for the words that he speaks are, just as those spoken by the first beast, uttered with authority of the Devil. 12,13. “And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” The false prophet acts under the authority of Anti-Christ, making all the inhabitants of the world worship the Anti-Christ who had apparently died and risen again, by reason of the Satanic miracles he is able to perform even to making fire come from the sky to the earth in the sight of all the people. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)

15. “He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” So great was the power given to the false prophet by Satan that he is able to impart life to the image so that it could speak. This will not be affected by trickery, robotics, or televised media, but by an appalling manifestation of satanic power, imparting demonic life to the statue of the beast. Those who refused to bow down and worship the statue he caused to be put to death. 16,17. “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, And that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” The false prophet compels everyone, irrespective of their station in life, to receive a mark engraved on either their right hands or in their foreheads. Let us be very clear about this. This mark will not be introduced surreptitiously. People will know 13

Throughout church history there has been endless speculation about what this number of the beast signifies. Personally, I have no idea at all. But please note that it is not six, six, six; but six hundred and sixty and six, and was written in full in the earlier manuscripts. John says that it requires the wisdom of God to interpret its meaning. The number is the number of a certain man whose number is six hundred and sixty and six. Receiving of this mark signifies complete and knowing rejection of and rebellion against Christ. Those who receive it will be Satan’s servants and Christ’s sworn enemies, even gathering, as we see in later chapters, to make war with him. Of the mark itself, Tatford says, “Whatever the interpretation of the symbol, identification of the individual referred to will doubtless be impossible until the particular period in which he lives”.

Conclusion Here is wisdom for you. Don’t you think with all that is surely about to happen, you would be wise to put your trust in Christ now, and live a holy life as you wait for his coming? Don’t leave it till it’s too late.


The Faith-builders Bible study series The ‘Faith-builders Bible study series’ has been developed a useful resource for today’s students of God’s Word and their busy lifestyles. Pastors, home or study group leaders and indeed for anyone wishing to study the Bible for themselves will benefit from using Faith-builders studies. Each volume is the result of many years of group Bible study, and has been revised again and again to be relevant, challenging and faith building whilst remaining clear and easy to understand. Each chapter had thought provoking questions to aid study and sample answers are provided. Below are the study notes for Mark chapter 6.

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Mark Chapter 7 (an abstract) ‘Faith-builders study series’ has been ByThe Derek Williams & Bible Mathew Bartlett (UK) Image © Rorem developed a useful resource for today’s students of God’s Word and their busy lifestyles.

A Form of Godliness 7:1 Now the Pharisees and some of the experts in the law who came from Jerusalem gathered around him. The fame of Jesus had spread as far as Jerusalem and the reports of his teaching, more than his miracles disturbed the chief priest and the religious rulers. So they sent a contingent of Pharisees, who represented the Law and laid great stress not on the righteousness of an action, but upon its formal correction, and the Scribes who were teachers of the Law, to find out exactly what was happening. They did not come with open hearts or minds they had already judged

Pastors, home study group and indeed for theyleaders do not eat unless they wash. the Lord and came with aor criticising anyone wishing to study the Bible for themselves will They hold fast to many other spirit, which can be an hindrance to benefit from using Faith-builders studies. traditions: the washing of cups, the church and the work of God and pots, kettles, andof dining couches.) the Each downfall of manyisa the righteous ImageBible © Rorem volume result of many years group manstudy, (2 Cor. 8:20; Actshas 11:2 NIV). and been revised again and again to be expected everybody to do the relevant, challenging and faithThey building whilst remaining same as they did, according to the 7:2 clear And they thattosome of andsaw easy understand. rules and regulations which were Jesus' disciples ate their bread with Each chapter had thought provoking to aid additions to questions the Law of God that unclean hands, that is, unwashed. study and sample answers arehad provided. been handed down by their That is why these spies, for that is forefathers. It was not for hygienic are the for chapter 2. whatBelow they were, whenstudy they notes saw reasons they washed their hands or Jesus' disciples eating without the other items mentioned for it Buy paperback now for £7.99 washing their hands they criticized had to be done in a special way with themKindle in order Edition to get at Jesus. if onlyFor£2.01 ceremony, and that is all it was he allowed them to do this kind of ceremonial. thing as their master then he must 7:5 The Pharisees and the experts in do the same. the law asked him, ‘Why do your 7:3-4 (For the Pharisees and all the disciples not live according to the Jews do not eat unless they perform tradition of the elders, but eat with a ritual washing, holding fast to the unwashed hands?’ tradition of the elders. And when they come from the marketplace,

Mark Chapter 2 (abstract)

By Derek Williams & Mathew Bartlett (UK)

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So they kept on asking Jesus why his disciples did not keep these traditions. 7:6-7 He said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.' He knew their hearts and that they had a form of true religion but denied and rejected the power of it and thus he quotes to them from Isaiah 29:13. If we are called to give an answer to anyone it is far better to quote from scripture (not necessarily the actual words, although it is better if we can, but the correct meaning of them) than to try to from our own knowledge and our own words. He called them pretenders and hypocrites (playing at being religious) for although outwardly they honour, that is, esteem, praise, exalt, God with their mouths their hearts are hardened and they are in truth far away from him (2 Tim. 3:5). Their worship of God was useless because it was not acceptable unto him for they do not worship in spirit and truth (Phil. 3:3). Instead they went about ordering and teaching the commands of men. 7:8 Having no regard for the command of God, you hold fast to human tradition. They despised the word of God and in fact rejected it in preference for that of men. By doing this they were placing a heavy burden upon the people, more than they could bear and that God demanded. That is why Jesus could say in Matt.

11:30 “my burden is light”, for he did not come to place a burden upon us but to take our burdens away. 7:9 He also said to them, ‘You neatly reject the commandment of God in order to set up your tradition. They rejected and discouraged people from following God's word in order to keep their own. In the next few verses he gives an example of this.

Honor Parents 7:10 For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever insults his father or mother must be put to death.' He quotes from a number of scriptures (Ex. 20:12; Ex. 21:17). God considers it very important that this command should be obeyed. Honour, that is respect with tenderness of feeling and obedience (Col. 3:20) both parents with equality, that is, without having preference. (Note: If obedience to parents would mean disobeying the word of God - then we must obey God rather than man). There may be many reasons that we may come up with as to why we shouldn't obey this but God has said that it should be so and for a good reason, in order that we may benefit. Any resentment or bitterness on our part causes a barrier between us and God (Heb. 12:14-15). Curse not - that is, do not speak ill of or abusively against either parent. Under the Old Testament Law this was punishable by death, and although under the New Covenant this is not the case, it may still result in great spiritual loss.

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7:11-13 But you say that if anyone tells his father or mother, 'Whatever help you would have received from me is corban' (that is, a gift for God), then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like this.’ They taught that if a son or daughter told their parents that whatever they may have received from them or whatever they had that would have been a help to them, is given as an offering and gift to the Temple instead. The result of this was that there was no caring or providing for the parents, which was in contradiction to God's word (1 Tim. 5:8).

Heart the Centre of Man's Inward Life 7:14 Then he called the crowd again and said to them, ‘Listen to me, everyone, and understand. Having dealt with the Pharisees and scribes Jesus now turns his attention to the crowds for what he is about to say concerns everyone both then and today. It is not enough for people just to listen; they need to understand what is being said. 7:15 There is nothing outside of a person that can defile him by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles him. (7:16) (TEXT OMITTED) What he says here in parable form is that it is not the things round about us or the things we say or do that corrupt but it is the things that come out of a sinful heart that defiles and makes unclean.


7:17-18 Now when Jesus had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, ‘Are you so foolish? Don't you understand that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him?

Persistent Asking

His disciples are still dull and hard of hearing for by now they should have understood what he was saying, but they did not. How patient the Lord is with us! So he rebukes them. They could not understand the simple truth and so he explains it to them in such a way that they cannot fail to do so.

Jesus departs from those to whom he was sent, the Jews, and goes into Syria which was a Gentile country, to the area of Tyre and Sidon. Tyre was a very important seaport and is in fact an island just off the shore. Sidon was about twenty miles away from there. Because this was Gentile country it would seem that Jesus for a while needed a time of rest from the people he was sent to minister to (Matt. 15:24). The end of the verse suggests this for he did not want anyone to know that he was there but this was not possible for one person at least had heard that Jesus was in the area and she had such a desperate need that made her determined that no one and nothing was going to stop her from taking this need to the Lord.

7:19-20 For it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and then goes out into the sewer.’ (This means all foods are clean.) He said, ‘What comes out of a person defiles him. The food that we eat goes into the stomach not into the heart. Then travels through the digestive system where the goodness is extracted and feeds the body, while the poisons or wastes are passed out of the body and it is this that comes out that contaminates. 7:21-23 For from within, out of the human heart, come evil ideas, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, evil, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, pride, and folly. All these evils come from within and defile a person. Jesus makes it quite clear that we sin because we are sinners not, we are sinners because we sin. It comes from within the heart (Rom. 7:17) Paul refers to it as the Law of Sin (Rom. 7:23). He gives a list of the acts of sin that come from a sinful heart and heads it with evil thoughts for that is where they grow until they become acts of sin.

7:24 After Jesus left there, he went to the region of Tyre. When he went into a house, he did not want anyone to know, but he was not able to escape notice.

7:25-26 Instead, a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him and came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, of Syrophoenician origin. She asked him to cast the demon out of her daughter. This woman by nationality was a Syrophoenician, that is, she was a Phoenician living in Syria and by religion as opposed to a Jew was a Gentile. The fame of Jesus and the miracles that he had done had gone over the border into a foreign country and this woman having heard all about it sought him out. She did not come to him for herself but for the desperate need of her daughter who was possessed by a demon. Such was the love that this 16

woman had for her daughter that she was prepared to go to whatever lengths necessary to help her. And yet not even a mother's love exceeds the love that God has (Isaiah 49:15). Although this woman had nothing in her favour in being excepted or heard by Jesus, and the chances of her request being granted nil, yet on seeing Jesus she, a Gentile of all things, falls at his feet in all humility and begs him to deliver her daughter. In Matthew 15:22-23 we are told that she cried to him using his title that only the Jews would use of the Messiah “O Lord, thou Son of David”. (A title that she had no rights to call him) and that Jesus completely ignored her and that when she persisted in spite of this snub, the disciples begged him to send her away. But the woman would not be put off by anything. Was the Lord being completely ignorant and inattentive to this woman's need? Did he have no compassion for her daughter? Or was he testing her faith, or showing her that he had come as Messiah to the Jew and not the Gentiles? 7:27 He said to her, ‘Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and to throw it to the dogs.’ He turns and, in fact, says to her that he has come to the Jew first that it was their day of opportunity to receive from him all that he had come to give from the Father and that it was not right to take that which belongs to the children (bread) and give it to those who had no claims to it (the dogs - the Gentiles [the Jews referred to the Gentiles in an insulting manner as dogs - although the Lord does not use it to this woman in this way as the correct reading here would be “little dogs” meaning the house


dog]). The Jews were God's chosen people (Deut. 14:2) and he had separated them to himself that through them the Saviour of the world may come. The time of the Gentiles had not yet come, but God had never planned to exclude them from obtaining salvation (Isaiah 42:6; Luke 2:32). In his foreknowledge God knew that Israel as a nation would reject the Messiah (Christ) and this would open the door for the Gentiles to accept him (Acts 14:27; Rom. 11:11). 7:28 She answered, ‘Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.’ The woman was not offended or discouraged by this remark but accepted that what he had said was quite true but pointed out that the dogs under the table that waited for the crumbs received and eat of them. She accepted that as a Gentile she had no claims to the promises made to the children of Israel but appealed to the mercy of God to receive whatever the children rejected. 7:29 Then he said to her, ‘Because you said this, you may go. The demon has left your daughter.’ Here it is recorded that for this saying the Lord cast out the demon from her daughter. In Matthew 15:28 it records that Jesus said “great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt” Jesus saw in what this woman had said the greatness of the faith that she had in him and so she received what she came for. 7:30 She went home and found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. And when she arrived home she found her daughter delivered even

as Jesus said. This is the only recording of Jesus having delivered someone from demon possession from a distance. This was also the first healing of a Gentile.

The Faith of Faithful Friends 7:31 Then Jesus went out again from the region of Tyre and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee in the region of the Decapolis. Jesus did not prolong his stay in Syria, perhaps, like the woman he met at the well of Sychar where it states that “He needs go through Samaria” (John 4:4) for the purpose of meeting her, that he also needed to go to Syria to meet with and deliver the woman's daughter. 7:32 They brought to him a deaf man who had difficulty speaking, and they asked him to place his hands on him. The friends of the deaf and dumb man prove to be friends indeed, those who could be trusted and depended on (Prov. 17:17 and Prov. 18:24). It is in their faithfulness to him that they bring him to Jesus and it is their faith in Jesus that brings the man his healing. 7:33 After Jesus took him aside privately, away from the crowd, he put his fingers in the man's ears, and after spitting, he touched his tongue. The Lord handles this man in a special way and as he always does, as an individual. He considered the man's condition, being deaf he would not be able to hear what Jesus said to him and so the Lord uses a type of sign language that the man could understand what he was going to do. He puts his fingers 17

in his ears, to show that he was going to heal his deafness, the touch of the tongue to enable him to speak. 7:34-35 Then he looked up to heaven and said with a sigh, ‘Ephphatha’ (that is, ‘Be opened’). And immediately the man's ears were opened, his tongue loosened, and he spoke plainly. The looking up to heaven would tell the man that Jesus was praying for him. At the command “Ephphatha, be opened” he immediately hears and is able to speak without any impediment in his speech at all, a complete healing. 7:36 Jesus ordered them not to tell anything. But as much as he ordered them not to do this, they proclaimed it all the more. Again Jesus commands the people not to say anything about what has happened but they disobey and do so all the more. 7:37 People were completely astounded and said, ‘He has done everything well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.’ This time the people were overwhelmed with amazement as they saw that the Lord Jesus Christ is able to make the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak and declare that he has done everything excellently well. This remark echoes the words spoken by the Creator in Genesis 1, for after every act of creation “God saw all that he had made and behold it was very good.” In the same way, all that Jesus does is good!


fruitful and multiply’ (Genesis 1:2728). Since the time God created Adam and Eve (the mother of all living) every human being has had a mother; without whom we would not have come into existence (1 Corinthians 11:11). That is why the word of God says: "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment accompanied by a promise, namely, "that it may go well with you and that you will live a long time on the earth." (Ephesians 6:2-3) If we keep this particular command of God, then we can expect the blessing of a good and long life without some of the problems we might otherwise face. And let’s face it—we’ve only got one mother, and they won’t be with us here in this life forever. So let’s make the best of them now. By the way, the word ‘honor’ in the original text carries the idea of practical help and also financial support. Our moms were their when we needed them – can they count on us to return the kindness and be there for them?

Image © Ruth Black

In the United Kingdom this year, th Mother’s Day is celebrated on 30 March. But don’t worry if you live in Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA, you’ve still got time – it is th celebrated in your countries on 11 May. In fact, the only other countries to share the UK date are Ireland and Nigeria!

But whatever country you live in (and Living Word is read on almost every continent on earth—just no readers in Antarctica yet!)—it’s never the case that we should only honor our mothers once a year. When God created humanity in the beginning he ‘created them male and female, and told them to ‘be 18

To be honest, I don’t think I really appreciated my mother until I became a parent myself and understood just what goes into the parenting role. Some of our mothers are already in heaven with the Lord and Saviour. This Mother’s Day in our church, we are placing flowers in a simple table ‘garden’ to remember each and every one of them – until we see them again when Jesus comes! So happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers, it’s not just once a year!


Our In Depth Study 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 By Mathew Bartlett Photo © Xxknightwolf

Scripture taken from the NET Bible®.

Our In Depth Study. 1 Corinthians 9:1-27 By Mathew Bartlett Photo © Godfer The Superiority of Love The way beyond comparison, or the more excellent way referred to in 12:31 is the way of love. Although he has not finished with the subject of spiritual gifts, Paul pauses in his treatise to show that the central theme of Christian life is not to be gifts but love. The word used for love is agape, which is always the word employed in the New Testament to denote the love of God. Christians recognize this love as that which motivated God to give His only Son and as that which was perfectly displayed by Christ in His death for us on the cross. Morris says, ‘It is a love for the utterly unworthy, a love which proceeds from the God who is love’. Paul’s aim is not so much to demonstrate the superiority of love over gifts, but to show how the usefulness of all spiritual gifts is directly related to the spirit in which they are used. True Christian love is to motivate all Christian ministries. If spiritual gifts are employed as the servants of love, then they can accomplish much good within the church. But if they are used without

Scripture taken from the NET Bible®. love, perhaps for show or for other brothers or sisters in Christian love? self-serving reasons, then although The sound would be little different they remain divinely authored, yet in its effect than that of a bronze they have lost something of the gong, or a clashing cymbal. Both credentials which their giver these instruments produce plenty intended them to have – for of noise as they resound (vibrate), spiritual gifts are meant to be but are good for nothing else. evidences of the divine love. 13:2 And if I have prophecy, and 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men know all mysteries and all and of angels, but I do not have knowledge, and if I have all faith so love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging that I can remove mountains, but do cymbal. not have love, I am nothing. Morris insists that if I speak in the tongues of men and of angels is as far reaching as a statement as there can possibly be, for ‘no language in earth or heaven is to be compared with the practice of love’. Therefore, the use of the gift of tongues without the practice of Christian love is of no value. In fact, Paul's argument is general enough to include all kinds of speech. Whilst some at Corinth were taken up with the importance of spiritual gifts and others with the eloquence of certain preachers, the fact is that if all a person does is talk, and not love, then he or she is nothing. What would be the good of speaking in tongues if it were not for the purpose of building up our

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As with tongues (an inspired utterance which does not inform the speaker's understanding), so with prophecy (an inspired utterance where the speaker understands what is said). Paul rates prophecy as the greatest spiritual gift in terms of its usefulness to the church. Yet if through this gift I could pass on the sum total of wisdom and knowledge, but did not love those whom I sought to instruct, I would be nothing. (Note: whilst knowledge refers to that which men may know or discover, mysteries refers to truth that can only be revealed by divine revelation). If I possessed the kind of faith which could accomplish miracles, the phrase that can move mountains


being a Jewish proverb for something impossible, yet without the exercise of Christian love my ministry would utterly fail to build up the body of Christ. Love is the nature of God, and is therefore eternal; miracles are gifts of God which are, in the main, temporal. The possession of spectacular gifts was not as important as the Corinthians had supposed, indeed, someone who possesses the greatest gifts, yet who lacks love, is inconsequential; of no account. 13:3 If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit. Paul next considers acts of devotion and charity. A person may sell all their possessions to feed the poor, or give themselves up to the most painful of deaths - being burned by fire - but if their sacrifice is not motivated by genuine love then nothing could actually be achieved by their death. Indeed, no extravagant action can make up for a basic lack of love. For example, many parents have discovered that paying thousands of dollars for Christmas presents is, in their children’s eyes, no substitute for their being present at their kindergarten graduation or at their first football game. Paul is making a very similar point in these verses. Far more good may be achieved by simple acts done in genuine love than by the greatest empty demonstrations which lack love. What might others think of the person who spends a huge effort to raise money to help the poor in Central Africa, but who has not spoken to his or her closest relative for years because of a family feud? To such a person the application of Paul’s words might be ‘get things rights at home first, and then your gift will really mean something’. The Nature of Love 13:4-5 Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it

is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. Having shown that even the greatest gifts or deeds achieve nothing without love, Paul goes on to show loves' qualities. What is love like? Love is long suffering. Morris observes that ‘love has an infinite capacity for endurance’ and cites Barclay who points out that the word patient or longsuffering means patience with people rather than patience with circumstances; in other words, love is selfrestrained. Love is kind and does well even to those who ill-treat it (Matt. 5:44). Love selflessly gives itself in the service of others (1 John 3:16) and is not jealously displeased with the success of others. Love is not proud. It does not show off or assert its rights. The Corinthian church certainly had a problem with pride, even relative to the use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Paul recognized that the root cause of this problem was a lack of clear appreciation of Jesus’ command to love one another. Indeed, Jesus Himself ‘never seemed at all interested in gaining recognition, let alone in demanding his rights’. Love does not behave unseemly. It will avoid anything that is disgraceful, dishonourable, or indecent. Love is the very opposite of selfishness. Love is always asking ‘what can I do for the one I love?’ rather than ‘what can they do for me?’ Love is not easily provoked; that is, it is not quickly irritated or offended. It thinks no evil and so is always prepared to see the virtues of others more readily than their faults. When love looks into the heart of its object, it sees itself reflected, whether or not it is requited. In this way it is ready to overlook offenses and keep no record of wrongs done (1 Pet. 4:8). 20

13:6 It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. Many people seem to relish the ill fortune of others, as the popularity of television murder mysteries illustrates. Love, however, takes no joy in seeing wrong done to others; rather it delights in truth, righteousness and equity. Only when truth is victorious can love be victorious and vice versa. Only when truth rejoices does love rejoice. Love and truth are inseparable partners, for truth, like love, is at the very heart of Christianity (John 14:6) and stands in direct opposition to cold-hearted falsehood and iniquity. 13:7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love bears all things, or literally covers over all things. It not only puts up with problems, but is prepared to deliberately overlook whatever is unpleasant in another person. Love believes all things since it is always prepared to make allowances for others and to notice their virtues (however few). Love hopes all things, a trait which Morris describes as ‘a refusal to take failure as final’ but which confidently looks forward to the ultimate victory which has been secured for us by God's grace. Since love endures all things, it never loses heart. Hence the one who loves will be unwavering in their love; for love is never overwhelmed by any difficulty it might face (Song 8:7). The Eternity of Love 13:8-10. Love never ends. But if there are prophecies, they will be set aside; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be set aside. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when what is perfect comes, the partial will be set aside. Paul firstly emphasizes the stability of love, for love will never end or fail; it will never collapse under


strain. This love is evidently the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit; a love that nothing can separate us from (Rom. 8:39). By contrast, the spiritual gifts which the Corinthians made so much of were temporary in nature. As Carson says, ‘[this] too demonstrates love’s intrinsic superiority’.

we had had up till that point will forever be forgotten swallowed up in the completeness of heavenly revelation.

Some debate has arisen concerning what Paul means when he says when what is perfect comes. Some have supposed that it is a reference to the church’s reaching an age of spiritual maturity, or to the completion of the New Testament; but even a ‘non-charismatic’ scholar such as Carson is convinced (as was Calvin) that the reference is to coming of Christ (the parousia), or more specifically the eternal state which the coming of Christ will introduce. Indeed, as Carson goes on to affirm:

That which shall happen when we see the Lord can be best understood with the aid of an illustration from human life. Since we have all been children, none of us can doubt the truth of Paul's words here. When I was a child I understood and reasoned as a child does, without the full understanding that an adult has. A child's faculties are not fully developed, as an adult’s are. A child does not possess the same experience or knowledge of life as an adult. When the child has become an adult, they may look back and realise that all that which was imperfect or childish in their attitude and understanding has been left behind.

To argue that the spiritual experience and maturity of the early church before the canon’s completion are to the experience of maturity of the post canonical church just what the experience of an infant’s talk and understanding is to that of an adult is historical nonsense. That which we know of God is as yet imperfect and incomplete. Consequently, even though truth may be revealed to us by prophecy, we still are only in part possession of the whole truth, for God reveals only a glimpse of Himself to each prophet on each occasion that the gift is used. The words used for vanish, cease and fail in the Authorised Version (rendered set aside and cease in the New English Translation, above) all mean the same thing. Spiritual gifts and the imperfect knowledge of Christian teaching will be no more because they will be no longer needed. When we see Christ face to face, our knowledge of Him will be complete; a full revelation of who God is. The partial knowledge which

13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways.

At the present time, we are like children, growing a little at a time in our understanding of the things of God. But one day we shall be adults, with a perfect knowledge and understanding. This perfect comprehension of God’s nature will not be developed as the result of our study but will be the outcome of a change in our natures which shall be effected by God; a change which is compared with the change from childhood to adulthood. It will be the change from the mortal to immortal, from the temporal to the eternal, and from imperfection to perfection. We shall only at that time receive a fullness of understanding, for only then, being changed in this manner, shall we be able to receive such revelation. 13:12 For now we see in a mirror indirectly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known. 21

Paul compares our experience as Christians looking into the immensity of God with that of someone looking in a mirror of polished metal. Since good mirrors were very expensive, the Corinthians would realize that Paul was referring to a cheaper, rather dull mirror when he says that in a mirror we see darkly; that is, not with full clarity. Morris says ‘while we live our life on earth, our sight of things eternal is at best indistinct’. The time when we will see face to face is at the coming of Christ; and when we see Christ we shall and be changed into His likeness (1 John 3:2). Paul has more to say about the nature of this change in 1 Corinthians 15. When it is completed, our knowledge of God shall be perfect and complete, even as God's knowledge of us is complete. 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. As we wait for the blissful moment of change, the most important features to be cultivated within the Christian church are not great gifts which shall one day pass away, but those great qualities of character which each of us shall carry into eternity (for our characters are the one thing of earth which we shall retain in eternity) – particularly those of faith, hope and love - the most important being love, which is an expression of the very nature of God (1 John 4:8). Paul’s thought is not that faith and hope will disappear completely in eternity, for as Carson writes, Our hope is in God, in Christ; and as such, hope continues forever… Consider faith:… Will there be any time… during which the very basis of my presence in the celestial courts will be something other than faith in the grace of God? It appears, then, that faith, hope, and love, these three, all remain. They are eternal, permanent virtues.


O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; (Psalm 105:1-5 AV)

Pastor? Preacher? Looking for a sermon outline this week? Here is a brief but excellent outline for Psalm 105:1-5 which you can make your very own! By Derek Williams Image Š Tracy Moore

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1. Give Thanks.

Shall be delivered

5. Seek Him.

a) For who He is.

Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered:

a) Seek Him early.

b) His Name.

b) Seek Him wholeheartedly.

1. God of gods (Ps. 136:2) 2. Lord of Lords (Ps 136: 3) 3. God of Heaven (Ps. 136: 26) Lord Almighty (Jer. 33: 11)

4.

b) For His Goodness.

His Name is His character, who He is

nature,

His

Declared all through scripture. c) Jesus gave thanks. 1. For the bread (His body) 2. For the wine (His Blood) (Luke 22: 19) (Luke 22: 17) d) Let us give thanks. (note it is give thanks not merely say thanks) For His unspeakable gift 2 Cor. 9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! For the victory 1 Cor. 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. For all things 1 Thess. 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. For one another 1 Thess. 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.

2. Call on His Name. a) Pray

Shall be saved. Acts 2:21 That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.

Isaiah 26: 9 Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;

Jer. 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. c) Seek His Kingdom First - the things of Heaven.

3. Make Him known. a) His Attributes. 1) His Faithfulness

Ps. 89:1

2) His Mighty Power

Ps. 106: 8

3) His Truth

Isa. 38:19

4) His Riches

Rom 9:23

Luke 12:31 "But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Col 3: 1 seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

b) The Gospel.

6. Glory in Him.

Eph. 6:19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.

The word glory used here means boast. a) Boast in the Lord only. 2 Cor. 10:17 But "he who glories, let him glory in the LORD. '

4. Sing to Him.

b) In the Cross.

a) Sing Aloud.

Gal 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Psalms 59:16 But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defence And refuge in the day of my trouble.

7. Remember what He has Done

b) Sing Together

a) Remember His Word

Isaiah 52:8 Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, With their voices they shall sing together; For they shall see eye to eye When the LORD brings back Zion.

John 15:20 Jesus said to His disciples "Remember the word that"

c) Sing In the Spirit and with understanding

Luke 22:19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

1 Cor. 14: 15 I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

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b) Remember the Lord.


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Living Word April 2014