Sep 20, 2020. Philippians 1:15-18

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THE MESSAGE AND THE MESSENGER. Philippians 1:15-18. 9/20/20. #03.

Philippians 1:15-18 []New King James Version]

15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

  • Wolves that bleat
    • Paul praised God for allowing him to preach to his guards
      • Some guards became believers and then took the Gospel into Caesar’s palace to share with others
      • Paul was able to expand his ministry to the best placed people in society
    • Paul’s enemies thought they would increase Paul’s punishment if they preached the Gospel as well
      • If it seemed like Paul’s influence was spreading then gov. officials would be more determined to eradicate Paul and his movement
      • Paul’s enemies could have been Jews or pagans
    • Three basic ways to taint the Gospel message:
      • Identify the message with a perverted religion
        • The cults identify Christ with their corrupt doctrine (Jeh. Wit., Mormons, Rom. Cath. …)
        • Via adding to the Gospel, subtracting from the Gospel, changing who Jesus is, or polluting the message, a false Gospel emerges
      • Message preached by fleshly and worldly false believers (lustful, lying, thieving, coveting…) = no life change
      • Connecting Gospel to Spiritism, paganism, or occult (woman with divination = Acts 16)
    • Whenever the Gospel is tied to corrupt people, there is a tainting of the testimony
      • II Samuel 12 by sin David caused unsaved to curse God
      • The behavior of Samson, Jacob, Balaam, Demus, Ananias/Sapphira and others reflect poorly on Gospel)
    • However, good was glad that the Gospel was preached from whatever corner it came from
      • A poor messenger doesn’t alter the validity of the message (though it might tie it to a poor testimony)
      • No one can judge whether a message is being preached by a true believer with a poor testimony (1 Corinthians 3) or a false believer (Jude 1)
      • There are those saved by the Gospel even when it is spoken by unsaved (Hb. 4:12 = power of Word)
    • Paul was glad that the message was going forth
  • The divine sorter
    • Even though Paul warned against false teachers, he did not seek to track down and stop them
      • Romans 12 it was not Paul’s job to judge others
      • Paul chose to focus on message and not messenger
    • Good spiritual songs are still good, even if the song writers drift away from the faith
    • There are many different denominations, belief systems, and claims that God will sort out, but we need to be on guard
    • Paul’s main concern was that Christ was being preached
    • Paul’s ministry was before many of the heresies developed (veneration of Mary, Arianism, modalism, Pelagianism,…)
      • Paul dealt with Judaizers, early Gnostics, syncretism, scammers, and false doctrine
      • This passage only deals with the Gospel and not doctrine
    • 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Paul was not concerned who gave the Gospel, just as long as the Gospel was dispensed
      • Galatians 1 Paul wanted the correct Gospel to go forth
      • II Timothy 2:15 Paul was concerned about false doctrine
  • Fellowship of the faithful
    • Not every doctrinal belief must align to fellowship with a believer of a different denominational bent
    • The essentials of the Gospel, the Word, and Christ are central
      • Any belief that causes error or taints testimony = nil
      • Learn to rejoice when true Gospel is shared

Key verse:  I Corinthians 15:1-11 [New King James Version]

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Sep 20, 2020. I Samuel 29

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WHERE LOYALTIES LIE. I Samuel 29. 9/20/20. #80.

1 Samuel 29 [New King James Version]

1 Then the Philistines gathered together all their armies at Aphek, and the Israelites encamped by a fountain which is in Jezreel. 2 And the lords of the Philistines passed in review by hundreds and by thousands, but David and his men passed in review at the rear with Achish. 3 Then the princes of the Philistines said, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” And Achish said to the princes of the Philistines, “Is this not David, the servant of Saul king of Israel, who has been with me these days, or these years? And to this day I have found no fault in him since he defected to me.” 4 But the princes of the Philistines were angry with him; so the princes of the Philistines said to him, “Make this fellow return, that he may go back to the place which you have appointed for him, and do not let him go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become our adversary. For with what could he reconcile himself to his master, if not with the heads of these men? 5 Is this not David, of whom they sang to one another in dances, saying: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands’?” 6 Then Achish called David and said to him, “Surely, as the Lord lives, you have been upright, and your going out and your coming in with me in the army is good in my sight. For to this day I have not found evil in you since the day of your coming to me. Nevertheless the lords do not favor you. 7 Therefore return now, and go in peace, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines.” 8 So David said to Achish, “But what have I done? And to this day what have you found in your servant as long as I have been with you, that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” 9 Then Achish answered and said to David, “I know that you are as good in my sight as an angel of God; nevertheless the princes of the Philistines have said, ‘He shall not go up with us to the battle.’ 10 Now therefore, rise early in the morning with your master’s servants who have come with you. And as soon as you are up early in the morning and have light, depart.” 11 So David and his men rose early to depart in the morning, to return to the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

  • Mixed allegiances
    • David has been put in a delicate position
      • In order to escape Saul’s pursuit, David defected to the Philistines at Gath under King Achish
      • Previously, David had killed 1000’s of Philistines
      • David is accepted by Achish because each had a common enemy in Saul
    • Achish does 3 questionable things in regard to David:
      • He receives him as a loyal subject and ally
      • He gives David and men Ziklag in southern Philistia
      • He gives David free reign in the south of his land
    • David deceives Achish
      • David had been plundering non-Philistine villages in the southern part of land, leaving no one alive
      • He lies to King Achish, stating that he raided Judah
  • Abhorrence at Aphek
    • The 5 lords of the Philistines gather at Aphek to fight Israel
      • Aphek was north of Mt. Carmel near Phoenicia at the west end of the Plain of Jezreel
      • Achish brings David and his men to fight with him
    • The other lords of the Philistines are appalled that David is there
      • They seemed to be surprised that Achish trusted him
      • They ask, “Why have you brought this Hebrew here?”
    • Achish states that David had been completely loyal to him
    • The Philistines lords reject David as an ally
      • David is an Israelite
      • David may turn in battle and attack the Philistines to win favor with Saul to affect a reconciliation with him
    • Achish is forced to send David home (David protests)
    • Unanswered questions:
      • Would David have attacked his own people?
      • Did God prevent David from committing treason?
      • Would David had turned against the Philistines?
      • Did David have some scheme in mind?
      • Had David inquired of Lord before joining Achish?
  • Hard choices
    • David was placed in a hard position
      • He could have betrayed his people to fight Saul
      • Hadn’t God stopped David, history would be different
    • David had played Achish for a fool
      • The king never found out that David was raiding him
      • Achish viewed David as a prize captive
      • The other four lords correctly saw David as a threat
    • Many have had to make hard loyalty choices:
      • Rahab chose to identify with Israel instead of Jericho
      • Esther opposed her husband’s orders
      • Peter and John chose to continue preaching
    • David had to try to stay alive by aiding Achish, while also staying loyal to Israel (God prevented this test to occur)
    • It is important to decide loyalties in advance
      • God vs. country: Neb. and 3 Heb., John the Baptist, Stephen
      • Judges and guards in Nazis Germany
      • Oscar Schindler = making faulty weapons
    • No one knows what David would have done, but he would have defied God to fight against God’s people

Sep 13, 2020. Philippians 1:12-14

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UNRELENTING WITNESS. Philippians 1:12-14. 09/13/20. #02.

Philippians 1:12-14 [New King James Version]

12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole [a]palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

  • The Good, the Bad, and the Better
    • No one thought that Paul’s imprisonment was good
      • Paul was awaiting trial to possible be killed
      • Paul was out of circulation as a preacher
      • Paul was not a state criminal
    • Even though, like Joseph (Genesis 50:20), his enemies meant his jailing for evil, God meant it for good
      • Instead of axing the Gospel, it advanced it
      • God used the situation to spread the Word
    • Three benefits came from Paul’s imprisonment:
      • Paul gained a powerful new audience: the prison guards, who had influence in palace
      • Instead of gaining a reputation as a criminal Paul was known to be persecuted for preaching Christ (exposing more to message)
      • Paul’s chains and his boldness while jailed, emboldened new believers
  • Prison Pulpit
    • Paul was in prison and guards rotated watch over him
      • Being a captive, Paul witnessed to a captive audience (guards had to hear the Gospel)
      • As guards considered Paul’s words, many came to faith
    • As the guards came to faith, they took Gospel to others in the palace (stewards, chefs, maids,…)
      • The move to stop the Gospel, actually brought the Gospel into Caesar’s house
      • Paul was not deterred by jail or threats
      • Paul was able to speak to an audience unreachable by any other means
    • Paul saw his persecution as an opportunity
      • Romans 8:18-30 God uses the suffering of the believer as a testimony and the faithful sufferer bears fruit
      • We do not always know what the Lord is doing through our trials, but we must trust his leading
    • Persecution has 3 main purposes:
      • Proving the saint to show genuineness of faith
      • Working in others in new ways
      • Growth of faith and expansion of testimony
    • Both the guards and those who met Paul understood plight:
      • Paul was not a criminal (thief, murderer, rebel…)
      • Paul was in prison for his beliefs
      • Paul’s demeanor and deportment testified that he was an honorable man suffering for a genuine faith
  • Chain reaction
    • Before Paul’s imprisonment, many believers were fearful to witness, not wanting to suffer the wrath of the government
    • After Paul demonstrated courage and even joy of suffering for Christ, fearful believers were emboldened to witness
      • When believers bravely suffer with joy, other saints are greatly encouraged in their walk of faith
      • Once the fear of suffering and death are removed, a believer can reach his full influence (Matthew 11:28-30)
    • Three great enemies of faith: (1) laziness  (2) fear  (3) pleasure
      • Paul showed how to be confident in sharing faith
      • There is an eternal purpose in trials (beyond sight)
    • Instead of seeking why my suffering, a believer needs to seek what the Lord wants to do through the suffering
    • Faithfulness through trials will bear fruit in due season

Sep 13, 2020. I Samuel 28

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MEDIUM MADNESS. I Samuel 28. 9/13/20. #79.

I Samuel 28 [New King James Version]

1 Now it happened in those days that the Philistines gathered their armies together for war, to fight with Israel. And Achish said to David, “You assuredly know that you will go out with me to battle, you and your men.” 2 So David said to Achish, “Surely you know what your servant can do.” And Achish said to David, “Therefore I will make you one of my chief guardians forever.” 3 Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had lamented for him and buried him in Ramah, in his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the spiritists out of the land. 4 Then the Philistines gathered together, and came and encamped at Shunem. So Saul gathered all Israel together, and they encamped at Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. 6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets. 7 Then Saul said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at En Dor.” 8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Please conduct a séance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you.” 9 Then the woman said to him, “Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the spiritists from the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die?” 10 And Saul swore to her by the Lord, saying, “As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.” 11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, “Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!” 13 And the king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What did you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.” 14 So he said to her, “What is his form?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.” And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down. 15 Now Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” And Saul answered, “I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do.” 16 Then Samuel said: “So why do you ask me, seeing the Lord has departed from you and has become your enemy? 17 And the Lord has done for Himself as He spoke by me. For the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. 18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. 19 Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.” 20 Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, and was dreadfully afraid because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day or all night. 21 And the woman came to Saul and saw that he was severely troubled, and said to him, “Look, your maidservant has obeyed your voice, and I have put my life in my hands and heeded the words which you spoke to me. 22 Now therefore, please, heed also the voice of your maidservant, and let me set a piece of bread before you; and eat, that you may have strength when you go on your way.” 23 But he refused and said, “I will not eat.” So his servants, together with the woman, urged him; and he heeded their voice. Then he arose from the ground and sat on the bed. 24 Now the woman had a fatted calf in the house, and she hastened to kill it. And she took flour and kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread from it. 25 So she brought it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they rose and went away that night.

  • Unrepentant to the end
    • God had given Saul many warnings:
      • After sacrificing in the place of Samuel
      • Specific instructions to Saul about Amalekites
      • Saving David from multiple attacks by Saul
    • Saul’s list of crimes were many:
      • Illicit sacrifice
      • Saving King Agag and taking the Amalekite livestock
      • His foolish vow
      • Killing the priests and their families (+ Gibeonites)
      • Seeking David’s life on multiple occasions
    • In all his sins and God’s judgment, Saul refused to repent
      • Samuel warned him twice
      • God sent a troubling spirit to torment Saul
      • David could have killed Saul twice
  • Saul served medium rare
    • Saul had made sacrifices and killed witches and sorcerers, but he kept some alive just in case (like Jacob burying idols)
    • God turned his back on Saul, refusing to answer him
      • God no long answered using Umim and Thummim
      • Saul should not have been surprised by this
    • Saul shows his hypocrisy and disdain for God again
      • Since God will not answer him, he turns to the devil for answers by consulting a medium
      • He is told that a witch at En Dor still existed
        • They knew where she was, but spared her
        • The Law prescribed death for those who consulted spiritists (Leviticus 19:31; 20:27)
      • Saul disguises himself and seeks answers from med.
    • The medium is fearful, but Saul assures her, that she is safe
  • Cave talk
    • Saul is facing a new battle against the Philistines
      • He needs to know what to do and the outcome
      • He asks the witch to bring up Paul from the dead
    • Normally, a deceiving spirit would take the form of the deceased person in order to give a false answer
    • The medium is shocked to see Samuel actually appear
      • She quickly recognizes that Saul has deceived her
      • God allowed Sam. to appear to deliver the message
    • Saul guarantees the medium that she will not be harmed
    • Samuel asks two questions: (1) “Why have you disturbed me? (2) “If God will not answer you, why do you come to me?”
      • God allows Samuel to speak his last prophecy
      • Saul should not have been surprised to be judged
    • Saul provides five nuggets of information:
      • Saul will be killed the next day (a debate as to the meaning of “be with me”—dead or in Paradise)
      • Since Saul didn’t destroy Amalek = God his enemy
      • Saul’s three sons would die with him
      • All of Israel will be given over to the Philistines
      • Saul’s kingdom would be given to another (David)
    • Saul ends up like all of God’s enemies
    • Saul is weak from fasting so the medium and servant feed him
    • Saul is distraught = shouldn’t have expected anything else

Sep 6, 2020. Philippians 1:1-11

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A FINISHED WORK.  Philippians 1:1-11. 09/06/20. #1.

Philippians 1:1-11 [New King James Version]

1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

  • A heartfelt greeting
    • This is the longest opening greeting in the epistles
      • Paul had a close affinity to the Php. church
      • Epistle of joy; from prison; only church to send money to him; 1st church in Europe; where Paul was imprisoned after he cast out a demon…
    • Philippi was a strategic city
      • Founded by Philip II of Macedonia (father of Alexander the Great); where Anthony defeated Brutus and Cassius (murderers of Julius Caesar) in 42 BC
      • Controlled main road from Europe to Asia
      • Home of retired Roman soldiers and followers of Anthony (placed there by Augustus Caesar)
    • Philippian believers were dear to Paul
      • Lydia, seller of dyed cloth, was 1st to convert
      • Acts 16:11-34 place of amazing conversion of jailer
      • “Joy” and “rejoice” are mentioned 16 times in book
    • Epaphroditus of Phil. carried epistle to them
    • Unlike other epistles, no correction is given—only warning
  • Joyful prayers
    • Paul rejoiced at every remembrance of Phil.
    • Paul notes that from the beginning the Phil. received him
      • Philippians never wavered in their faith or concern for him
      • With deacons and elders, they had a vibrant church
    • Paul praised God for the support and partnership of Phil.
  • Crowning day
    • Paul was confident that God would finish the good work that he had begun in the Php. believers
      • Salvation is only the beginning of God’s work in us
      • True believers will be sanctified and glorified
    • The evidence of salvation in Pp. was their faithfulness
    • We are God’s work in progress
      • We will be completed to the fullness of maturity
      • The rate of maturing here determines how much more maturing will be needed after life ends here
    • One reason Paul is confident, is that they partnered with him, even while he was a prisoner
      • They were not embarrassed by his chains or afraid
      • They proved faithful, even when being threatened as Paul defended the faith
  • Paul prays for the continued growth of the Phil. believers
    • Paul prays for 3 aspects to increase in their lives:
      • Growth in love (I Corinthians 13) = motivation for all
      • Growth is knowledge (to know more about Christ and their faith) Romans 10:17
      • Growth in discernment (diakrinos = to examine or judge thoroughly, to investigate, to analyze)
        • A reasoned faith bearing up under scrutiny
        • To wisely and fully seek to understand
        • II Timothy 2:15 studious reasoning elevates a believer to understanding and maturity
    • Four results of maturity in Christ:
      • Demonstrate the truthfulness of Gospel and Word
      • Display the sincerity (genuineness) faith (real!)
      • Avoiding offense = a mature life shuns sin
      • Full of fruits of righteousness = a faith that is seen
    • Objective = your life is a praise to Lord

Key verse:  Acts 16:11-34

Acts 16:11-34 [New King James Version]

11 Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us. 16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. 20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” 29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

Aug 30, 2020. Ephesians 6:14-24

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BATTLE GEAR. Ephesians 6:14-24. 08/30/20. #34.

Ephesians 6:14-24 [New King James Version]

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 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, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 21 But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; 22 whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts.

23 Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

  • Preparing for spiritual warfare
    • No one prepares for battle unless war is certain
      • Spiritual warfare is certain for all believers
      • The battle is daily, often intense, but always there
      • Those not prepared for battle will succumb to it
    • Warfare requires 4 actions to gain ultimate victory:
      • Possessing the right equipment
      • Using the equipment properly
      • Having the right plan of defense and attack
      • Not quitting the battle
    • Effectiveness of ancient armor is to have all vulnerable areas covered by protective substances
      • Any exposed area was open to penetration
      • Unless all the equipment is used, one is not prepared for battle and will likely fall
  • The equipment of spiritual warfare
    • Paul compares each aspect of the believer’s arsenal with a piece of equipment from ancient armor:
      • Waist = truth; breastplate = righteousness
      • Feet = proclaiming the gospel; shield = faith
      • Helmet = salvation; sword = Word of God as given to us by the Holy Spirit
    • All the gear must be used together to be successful
      • Exact coordination is necessary
      • Skillfulness and maintaining gear is vital
    • Truth and righteousness go together, as does the breastplate and segmented torso armor
      • Truth = knowing what is right (God’s truth)
        • Spiritual truth is key to understanding and belief (John 8:31-36 truth sets us free)
        • Satan specializes in lies (John 8:44)
      • Righteousness = living by the truth (integrity, honesty, sincerity, fidelity, dependability)
    • The Gospel of peace
      • Romans 10 the Gospel is related to the overlaid sandals because we are to take the Gospel to others
      • We are to recruit more soldiers for the Lord’s army
    • Above all else, the shield of faith
      • Hebrews 11:6 faith is necessary for salvation
      • John 14 trust is necessary for spiritual living
        • Satan tries to sow doubts, discouragement, despair, and weakness
        • A vibrant faith deflects the attacks of devil
      • Hebrews 11:30-12:4 we are to consider the faith of the Lord and the faithful before us and walk in their path
      • Every aspect of life hinges on the strength of faith
    • Helmet of salvation = without trust in Lord for salvation, there is not set of armor of faith (the head = thought and will)
    • The sword = the Word of God (only offensive weapon)
      • The Word defeats Satan (Matthew 4), strengthens faith (Romans 10:17), reveals our thoughts and motivations (Hebrews 4:12), teaches and corrects us (II Timothy 3:16), and equips us (II Timothy 3:17)
      • By the Word we preach the Gospel (Romans 10) and make disciples of men (Matthew 28:19-20)
  • Use your weaponry
    • Paul states that even in chains by prayer, he perseveres, for he is fully equip, and he doesn’t cease to share the Gospel
    • Paul is an ambassador for Christ, as are all the faithful, that by full preparation we bring the Good News to men
    • Paul ends with a benediction sent by Tychicus

Key verse:

Hebrews 11:30-12:4 [New King James Version]

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who [a]did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. 32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, [b]were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. 1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the [c]author and [d]finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.

Aug 30, 2020. I Samuel 27

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DOUBLE AGENT IN PHILISTIA. I Samuel 27. 8/30/20. #78.

I Samuel 27 [New King James Version]

1 And David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines; and Saul will [a]despair of me, to seek me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand.” 2 Then David arose and went over with the six hundred men who were with him to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath. 3 So David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, each man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s widow. 4 And it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath; so he sought him no more. 5 Then David said to Achish, “If I have now found favor in your eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there. For why should your servant dwell in the royal city with you?” 6 So Achish gave him Ziklag that day. Therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day. 7 Now [b]the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was one full year and four months. 8 And David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the [c]Girzites, and the Amalekites. For those nations were the inhabitants of the land from [d]of old, as you go to Shur, even as far as the land of Egypt. 9 Whenever David [e]attacked the land, he left neither man nor woman alive, but took away the sheep, the oxen, the donkeys, the camels, and the apparel, and returned and came to Achish. 10 Then Achish would say, “Where have you made a raid today?” And David would say, “Against the southern area of Judah, or against the southern area of the Jerahmeelites, or against the southern area of the Kenites.” 11 David would save neither man nor woman alive, to bring news to Gath, saying, “Lest they should inform on us, saying, ‘Thus David did.’ ” And thus was his behavior all the time he dwelt in the country of the Philistines. 12 So Achish believed David, saying, “He has made his people Israel utterly abhor him; therefore he will be my servant forever.”

  • Exit strategy
    • David realizes that as long as he stays in Judah, Saul will pursue him to kill him
      • David also realizes that Saul’s spies are everywhere
      • David decides that he must leave Judah
    • David has only one choice, which is Philistia
      • David wants to stay hear Judah
      • Edom and Moab are trans-Jordan and Egypt is far away
    • David had killed many Philistines
      • David must play the traitor to gain trust
      • Ironically, Gath was home of Goliath
      • King Achish accepts David’s ruse since Saul seeks to kill him, not realizing that Saul and not Israel is David’s enemy
    • By the grace of God, David is accepted by a former enemy
      • David is now out of Saul’s reach and so Saul ceases pursuing him (David is behind a Philistine wall)
      • Saul figures that David can do no harm to him now
  • David, the marauder
    • David asks for a town for his men to call home (Ziklag)
      • Ziklag = on border of Philistia and Judah
      • David moves to Ziklag with his family and men plus their families (approximately 1000 people)
        • It is interested that Ahinoam is mentioned before Abigail
        • David settles in for a long stay
      • David stays for 16 months
      • David’s location 25 miles SW of Gath protects Achish’s southern flank from raiders
    • David ends up raiding non-Philistine villages within Philistine territory
      • He kills all the inhabitants so no one could report of David’s deeds to King Achish
      • David kills men, women, and children and then takes away their livestock and possessions
        • Amazingly, no one catches David
        • Whole villages are wiped out in rural areas
    • Moral issues abound in this action
      • No indication that God directed David to do this
      • David murders people who have done him no harm
      • David uses these raids to support his followers
    • David could have justified his actions several ways
      • Israel was supposed to have destroyed these people when they entered Canaan (Josiah 1)
      • David is eliminating threats to him and Judah
  • Achish is duped
    • David tells Achish that he has been raiding southern Judah
      • Achish is pleased, since Judah would hate David
      • Achish believes that he has made David as servant
    • Several moral puzzles in old testament that we have no answer to:
      • Was God pleased with David’s genocidal actions?
      • Did God condone Ezra commanding Judah to put away their foreign wives (Malachi 2:14)?
      • Why did God use Jacob’s 2 wives and 2 concubines to produce the 12 tribes of Israel (Genesis 2:25)?
      • Why was Solomon chosen to succeed David?
    • There were many acts God allowed fallen man to do (Deuteronomy 24)

If God gives no explanation of immoral acts, we don’t also

Aug 23, 2020. Ephesians 6:10-13

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SPIRITUAL WARFARE. Ephesians 6:10-13. 08/23/20. #33.

Ephesians 6:10-13 [New King James Version]

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

  • The nature of spiritual warfare
    • We speak of spiritual warfare too loosely or ill-informed
      • Spiritual Warfare is not equal to frustration over things that irritate us in life
      • Spiritual Warfare should not make us panic
      • Spiritual Warfare is not searchable by humans
    • Facts about spiritual warfare:
      • IT IS REAL! – there are demonic forces at work
      • IT IS INFLUENTIAL – men are influenced to do great evil by demonic forces
      • IT IS COOPERATIVE – men are responsible if they cooperate with evil (not puppets of Satan)
        • Genesis 3 Eve was not forced by Satan to sin
        • John 3:19 men do evil because they love it
      • SATAN IS LIMITED BY GOD – he does have free reign (Job 1; I Corinthians 10:13)
      • THE FORCES OF DARKNESS ARE TOO STRONG FOR MAN TO RESIST ON HIS OWN – Matthew 16:23
      • GOD EMPOWERS BELIEVERS TO RESIST EVIL
        • Romans 7 the law of Christ battles sin
        • II Corinthians 10:3-6 we have mighty weapons
  • Preparing for battle
    • Paul commands us to be strong in the Lord
      • Strong (endunamos) = empowered (we have no excuse to be weak when he provides us power)
        • If we are spiritually weak we choose it
        • John 16:33 warfare is hard, but winnable
        • No room for self-pitying or lazy believers
      • The Lord gives might and strength
    • We are to put on the entire armor of God (he provides it)
      • God provides all we need to be victorious
      • If we fall, we do so on our own (Jam. 1:12-15)
    • Our battle is against the trickery (crafty schemes) of Satan
      • Satan’s 2 major weapons: counterfeiting truth (2 Corinthians 11:14-15) and deception (Genesis 3)
      • We are often tricked openly: we know narcotics are a destructive sham, adultery is a momentary pleasure, greedy gain does not satisfy…
      • Satan convinces men that he provides lasting joy
  • The battle is for a lifetime
    • Wrestling with great evil does not end in this life
      • The moment we stop wrestling, we lose (David and Bathsheba, Paul going to Jerusalem, Peter in Galatia, Demus loving the world, Uzziah and offering)
      • Demonic forces (evil of every rank) never stop
  • Spiritual armor is a daily suit
    • “Take up” the entire armor of God
      • It’s provided, but we must put it on
      • Ephesians. 4:22-24 put off old man and put on new
    • It takes the entire armor of God to stand against the devil
    • We are tempted daily and must battle daily
      • Armor must always be ready for an attack
      • “The evil day” = all the days on earth are evil days with evil men and demons growing increasingly worse (2 Timothy 3:13)
    • If we always use our armor, we will stand and be victors
    • Galatians 6:9 our greatest enemy is spiritual fatigue (takes grit)
    • Pleasure and pride are defaults of sin nature causing falls

Aug 23, 2020. I Samuel 26

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THE FLEA & THE KING. I Samuel 26. 8/23/20. #77.

I Samuel 26 [New King James Version]

1 Now the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not hiding in the hill of Hachilah, opposite Jeshimon?” 2 Then Saul arose and went down to the Wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the Wilderness of Ziph. 3 And Saul encamped in the hill of Hachilah, which is opposite Jeshimon, by the road. But David stayed in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness. 4 David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul had indeed come. 5 So David arose and came to the place where Saul had encamped. And David saw the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army. Now Saul lay within the camp, with the people encamped all around him. 6 Then David answered, and said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother of Joab, saying, “Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?” And Abishai said, “I will go down with you.”  7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night; and there Saul lay sleeping within the camp, with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. And Abner and the people lay all around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him [a]at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!”  9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless?” 10 David said furthermore, “As the LORD lives, the LORD shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. 11 The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD’s anointed. But please, take now the spear and the jug of water that are by his head, and let us go.” 12 So David took the spear and the jug of water by Saul’s head, and they got away; and no man saw or knew it or awoke. For they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the LORD had fallen on them.  13 Now David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of a hill afar off, a great distance being between them. 14 And David called out to the people and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, “Do you not answer, Abner?”  Then Abner answered and said, “Who are you, calling out to the king?”  15 So David said to Abner, “Are you not a man? And who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not guarded your lord the king? For one of the people came in to destroy your lord the king. 16 This thing that you have done is not good. As the LORD lives, you deserve to die, because you have not guarded your master, the LORD’s anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the jug of water that was by his head.”  17 Then Saul knew David’s voice, and said, “Is that your voice, my son David?”  David said, “It is my voice, my lord, O king.” 18 And he said, “Why does my lord thus pursue his servant? For what have I done, or what evil is in my hand? 19 Now therefore, please, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant: If the LORD has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if it is the children of men, may they be cursed before the LORD, for they have driven me out this day from sharing in the inheritance of the LORD, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20 So now, do not let my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD. For the king of Israel has come out to seek a flea, as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”  21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David. For I will harm you no more, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly.” 22 And David answered and said, “Here is the king’s spear. Let one of the young men come over and get it. 23 May the LORD repay every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the LORD delivered you into my hand today, but I would not stretch out my hand against the LORD’s anointed. 24 And indeed, as your life was valued much this day in my eyes, so let my life be valued much in the eyes of the LORD, and let Him deliver me out of all tribulation.” 25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, my son David! You shall both do great things and also still prevail.” So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.

  • The chase continues
    • David once again moves to the Judean wilderness
      • Once again the Ziphites inform Saul of David’s location
      • Once again God places Saul in David’s hands
    • God puts Saul & his entire army to sleep (including the guards)
      • God frequently intervened to foil the wicked: Midianites fighting themselves, opening & closing of Red Sea, an angel killing 185,000 soldiers, water looking like blood…
      • David approaches Saul unnoticed
    • Abishai (David’s nephew) wants to strike Saul down with a spear
      • Says again (Chapter 24) “God has delivered Saul…”
      • Again, David refuses strike “God’s anointed” (God will either strike him down or he will die in battle)
    • Instead & killing Saul, he makes off with his jug & spear
  • Taunts from on high
    • David moves across a ravine to a ridge overlooking Saul’s camp
    • He first calls out to Abner, Saul’s general
      • Abner was responsible to protect the king
      • David states that Abner’s failure meant he should die
    • Notice the respect David gives Saul: “…my lord, the king…”           
    • Again, David pleads his case to Saul
      • David spared Saul’s life again
      • David is not a flea to be swatted contemptuously
      • David has always been loyal to Saul
        • If the Lord sent Saul, why is David protected?
        • If evil men have urged Saul, they are accursed
      • David asks what he has done to be hunted down
        • The wicked will always pursue the righteous
        • Righteous will always be vindicated in the end
      • David has been chased out of his inheritance among Israel by accursed men who drive him to pagan lands
      • David pleads for his life, for he isn’t a hunted game bird
  • Saul again relents
    • For a second time Saul admits that he has sinned (still not repented)
      • Saul says that David should return to his home, for he will not seek to harm him (David doesn’t trust Saul)
      • Saul admits that he has played the fool
      • Saul admits that not only did David hold his own life as precious, but Saul’s also
    • Saul blesses David, stating that he would prevail in many great endeavors (which would include the kingship)
      • This is the way Saul feels at the time
      • He will soon forget that David spared him
    • Saul goes home and does not chase David anymore
      • David moves out of Saul’s reach to the Philistines
      • Saul is engaged in battle with the Philistines to the end
    • Saul recognizes his son, but does not repent
      • He eventually consults a witch (medium)
      • Unless a man turns his life over to Lord, he cannot truly repent of his sins
    • Saul could have changed his ways
      • His pride, jealousy, & greed did not bring contentment
      • Only a fool continues down a destructive path
    • Saul had not learned that it is God who raises up & takes down
      • All who rebel will eventually be destroyed (Psalms 14:12)
      • Earthly acclaim & power are an illusion (Luke 12, Ecclesiastes 12)

Aug 16, 2020. Ephesians 6:5-9

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SUBMISSION TO SUPERIORS. Ephesians 6:5-9. 8/16/20. #32.

Ephesians 6:5-9 [New King James Version]

5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

  • Contextual interpretation
    • There are many things allowed in the Bible that are accommodations to a fallen world
      • Deuteronomy 24 divorce and remarriage were allowed but are not in harmony with God’s will (Malachi 2:14)
      • Genesis 2:25 polygamy is not the will of God
      • John 8:36 God never intended that men should be enslaved, but allowed for it (Exodus 21)
    • Due to sin, God allowed certain acts not in his perfect will
      • It took centuries to overcome slavery in England (1833) and America (1865)
      • Murphy vs. Ramsey, et al (1885) declared that Utah couldn’t enter union until it outlawed polygamy
      • Slavery and polygamy still persist in many parts of the world today
    • The modern context of this passage is the employer/employee relationship
      • Your employer has a certain amount of control and authority over you
      • The employer will be judged by God as to how he treated his employees
  • Servant of the Lord
    • For the third time, Paul states that service must be “as unto the Lord (for wives, for children, and for servants)
      • Whatever we do we need to do it as for Lord
      • Integrity is to be maintained if we volunteer to do something or are compelled to do it
    • Joseph is a prime example of one who did his best as a son, slave, prisoner, or governor (Daniel, Nehemiah…)
    • Paul lists several reasons for a servant obeying a master:
      • Fear and Trembling: adverse consequences for those who rebel
      • Sincerity – displaying a genuine testimony of how a believer behaves in any circumstance
      • As unto the Lord – serving one’s earthly master as one would serve the Lord
      • Not as a men-pleaser = not only when being watched (integrity is doing right always)
      • As servants of the Lord = under bondage to Christ (the Lord has you in that situation)
      • Doing good as either free or slave is rewarded by the Lord
    • I Corinthians 7:17-24 Paul argues that this life is so short and that no temporal status will ever be remembered (Isaiah 65:17), it makes no difference in eternity at all (just do well!)
  • Masters beware!
    • Paul then warns those who have authority, that God will require an account from them (Matthew 18:23-35)
      • Luke 12:48 the one who holds the most authority, has the most responsibility and is held accountable to a higher standard ŵ greater judgment for abuse
      • Hebrews 9:27 all things will be brought to account
    • Romans 12:16-21 abuse on earth is recompensed in heaven
    • Paul particularly mentions threatening (rule by fear and arbitrary whims will receive equal judgment)
      • Matthew 7:2 whatever judgment we dispense on others will be the standard for your judgment
      • Judgment delayed is not judgment dismissed
    • Psalms 75:7 do well in whatever position you are called to

Key verse: I Corinthians 7:17-24

17 But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches. 18 Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. 20 Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. 22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called.