Ancient city in Anatolia
24 Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. 25 He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John's baptism. 26 When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.
What would happen if your pastor preached till midnight? In this study, Paul visits Troas on his third missionary journey. His time in their city was short, and the people were hungry to hear the Word of God. So, Paul kept teaching them until way after midnight. And then a funny thing happened. Dr. McGee shares the story and Paul's journey continues to Ephesus.
Our journey through Acts continues as the gospel takes root in people's hearts in the city of Ephesus. People were turning from their idols to Jesus Christ. And it was upsetting the idol industry in Ephesus! Find out what happens next and follow along as Paul prepares to set sail for Greece and Corinth.
A new MP3 sermon from Calvary Community Church is now available on SermonAudio with the following details: Title: Dear Ephesus | Dear Church 02 Subtitle: Dear Church Speaker: Pastor Jesse Martinez Broadcaster: Calvary Community Church Event: Sunday - AM Date: 8/7/2022 Bible: Revelation 2; Revelation 1 Length: 68 min.
A new MP3 sermon from Calvary Community Church is now available on SermonAudio with the following details: Title: Dear Ephesus | Dear Church 02 Subtitle: Dear Church Speaker: Pastor Jesse Martinez Broadcaster: Calvary Community Church Event: Sunday - AM Date: 8/7/2022 Bible: Revelation 2; Revelation 1 Length: 68 min.
A new MP3 sermon from Calvary Community Church is now available on SermonAudio with the following details: Title: Dear Ephesus | Dear Church 02 Subtitle: Dear Church Speaker: Pastor Jesse Martinez Broadcaster: Calvary Community Church Event: Sunday - AM Date: 8/7/2022 Bible: Revelation 2; Revelation 1 Length: 68 min.
RG AUDIO 080822 Psalm 96:1-7 The message of scripture is occasionally directed to individuals (Abraham, Deborah, Timothy). Sometimes its words are to families, clans, or other groups (Jacob's descendants, the tribe of Judah, the church at Ephesus). And, at times the message is directed to whole nations (Israel, Egypt, Babylon). There are even some […]
This is the second introduction lesson to the Ephesians study. Part I of the introduction focused on Paul while Part II focuses on the early beginning of the Ephesian church. This background sets the context of the letter Paul wrote to them years later.
The resistance to the gospel was big in Corinth, so much so that Paul thought of leaving. But just as he was making plans, God spoke to him through a vision and basically told him stay. Find out what happens in Corinth and travel with Paul to Antioch and Ephesus in this eventful study.
This message is the beginning of our series, 7 Churches of Revelation. In this series, we focus on God's message to these churches and to us. We start by looking at God's message to Ephesus. Pastor Parker teaches about the warning signs of someone drifting away from God and about how to get back on track. If you feel like your relationship with God has not been growing, this is an excellent message for you!
aul is praying for believers in Ephesus, that they would know… His incomparably great power for us who believe.Consider Ephesians 3:20–21… Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Does this describe the kind of life you feel that you are living as a Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ? I'm sure most of us feel that we are coming up short of this prayer and promise, but our hearts soar at the possibilities a life fully engaged and empowered by the Holy Spirit would offer.
Acts 18:1-28 New King James Version Ministering at Corinth 18 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. 3 So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. 5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. 6 But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7 And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. 8 Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized. 9 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” 11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. 12 When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, 13 saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” 14 And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you. 15 But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.” 16 And he drove them from the judgment seat. 17 Then [d]all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things. Paul Returns to Antioch 18 So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow. 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, 21 but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus. 22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch. 23 After he had spent some time there, he departed and went over the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples. Ministry of Apollos 24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; 28 for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.
* In our study of Paul's letter to the church of Ephesus, we come to his second recorded prayer for the believers in Ephesus. * In his first prayer, Paul had prayed for God to grant the believers the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the Knowledge of Him. Today, we will see a similar spiritual desire of Paul for the saints. * As we enter this next portion, we want to consider two parallelisms. * First, THE REASON. Paul states, "For this reason ..." This is the second time in this chapter that he uses this expression. In fact, this expression (using the accusative of the word for "Grace" as a preposition) is very rare. Of the fourteen instances two are in the of this passage. Verse 1 and Verse 14 are being expressed in parallel coming from the discussion of chapter 2 - that the Jews and Gentiles are now made one in Christ. Hence, "Because of the nullification of the enmity of the law and the establishment of the unity of Jews and Gentiles approaching the God of the heavens and earth in the same fashion ... I was given this mystery (to reveal it to everyone) ... I am bowing my knees to that God and interceding on your behalf! * Second, this prayer of Paul's somewhat parallels Jesus' model prayer (Matthew 6) ... Jesus shared that we should proclaim our allegiance to the Father, then pray for spiritual needs, and finally praise God. * This message was presented on August 7, 2022 by Bob Corbin.
Gospel Empowered Witness | Pastor Drew Belden | August 7, 2022 | 2 Timothy 1:8-18: 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound[d] words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.15 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.
In this sermon from our WIND + FIRE series, Pastor Lee Cummings returns to the pulpit with a powerful word out of Acts 20. Acts 20:17-32 (ESV) 17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. 18 And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” When it comes to the Church Paul knows: - What begins as pure can become tainted - What starts powerfully can become weak - What originates in heaven can get hijacked by hell - What God builds through mans obedience and become corrupted and coopted because of rebellion and selfish ambition Satan's greatest tool is deception Paul identifies three groups of people to pay attention to Shepherds: those who have been called by Jesus to lead His Church Wolves: false teachers or influencers, who present themselves as either sheep or shepherds but have a secret motive or ambition besides your maturity in Christ The Flock: made up of both sheep and goats (Matthew 25) True shepherds lay down their lives, while wolves have their own agenda Shepherds are appointed by God and recognized by men, while wolves appoint themselves Shepherds point and lead to Jesus, while wolves draw to themselves Sheep know the voice of their shepherd Sheep stick together and follow the shepherd Goat ignore the voice of their shepherd Goat are reckless and are driven by curiosity and their own personal appetites Beware of anyone teaching you a doctrine or “new” perspective of the bible that has been formed on the anvil of culture and not in the forge of the Holy Spirits fire and attested to by those who've paid in martyrs blood throughout the ages of church history Ours is a faith to be received – theirs is a faith to be deceived
You know, I don't know if you have ever had to write a farewell speech before. Maybe for you, it was a letter of resignation. Maybe you got hired somewhere else and had to say goodbye to your boss, your coworkers, or perhaps even your parents if you had to then move long distance. Twice I have had to do that; in fact very much what Paul is doing in our passage today; and that is say goodbye to men and women I loved and ministered to and served alongside with for years. And both times were very very painful, even when people (after I explained in those board meetings and during those worship services) understood how God was leading and accepted it. But honestly, I have never fully accepted it. I miss those people. That is one of the blessings and the curses of ministry; getting attached to people and then sometimes having to say goodbye. And during both those transitions and in the years that have followed, I have hoped that (1) those churches were blessed by my being there and (2) that my ministry will have produced lasting fruit. And if God ever calls me to leave the church I am pastoring now (if so, hopefully many years down the road), I want to leave the church thriving, growing, and anchored deeply in Christ Jesus and in the Word of God. Well that is the situation we find Paul in in our passage today here in Acts chapter 20. He and his team have arrived at Miletus and are probably waiting for their ship to be unloaded and re-loaded. And the elders of the Ephesian Church he had helped start come to see him for what Paul knows will be the last time. And so he wants to encourage and exhort them. And so he gives this beautiful farewell speech to these Ephesian elders. And it is a very special speech, because it is the only record we have of a speech that Paul gave specifically to believers. And in it we have three primary themes. (1) First, Paul defends his behavior; but even more so was able to present it as an example to the Ephesian elders (vv. 18-27, 33-35). (2) Secondly, Paul presents both a charge and a warning to them. (3) And third, Paul commits these Ephesian elders to God and to His Word (v. 32). And so those three elements will form the outline of our discussion today and in the weeks ahead. Go ahead and look with me at the first section in of Paul's speech here in Acts 20, verses 18-38. Starting with 17, it says… Acts 20:17-27 (NKJV) The Ephesian Elders Exhorted— 17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, 19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. SECTION 1: PAUL'S EXAMPLE (20:18-27)— And so in this first section we find Paul relating to the Ephesian elders the example he has set (20:18-27). And in Paul's example we see him highlighting four major things in his example that he wanted the Ephesian elders to emulate: (1) The first was that he had identified with the people, having lived among them (v. 18). He knew what their own personal struggles were and identified with them in those struggles, much as Jesus Himself did. He had served God with humility and tears (v. 19), going from house to house (v. 20). And he did that because in doing that he was able to identify what his people's own personal needs were and then share specific points of the gospel message that were directly relevant to their own situation. He didn't have a “one-size-fits-all“ approach to ministry. He knew his people. And what this also shows us is that he was very available to people, which we see not only in this passage, but also earlier in this chapter while he was in Troas (vv. 9–10), where he spent a whole night eating with, chatting with, and teaching the believers there. He wasn't just a preacher, who comes and preaches and leaves and nobody really cares. No, he was a shepherd; a pastor who was deeply involved with his people, which is why we see people grieving whenever and from wherever he leaves. (2) Now the second element of Paul's example was that he was a teacher. He identified what the Ephesians needed to hear and taught them constantly both publicly and from house to house (v. 20). He wanted to make sure that they were fully equipped to be able to endure in their faith in the midst of a very pagan and worldly context. (3) Now the third element of Paul's example was that he was a witness to the gospel (v. 21). And the Greek word behind this word “witness” actually means “declared”. And it carries the idea that evangelism is a very serious and awesome responsibility because in it you are calling people to repent of their sins and turn to faith in Jesus Christ. Both in this verse, but also in verses 26–27, there is this reminder to us that we are called to be watchmen. We have an awesome responsibility to warn people of God's coming judgment and implore them to seek life in Christ. And in Paul's talking about his being innocent of the blood of all men, he is drawing directly from the Old Testament book of Ezekiel (particularly chapters 3 and 33). Just to give you a glimpse, listen to the words of just the first part of Ezekiel chapter 3. It says in… Ezekiel 3:16-19 (NKJV)— 16 Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: 18 When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. A Faithful Watchman— And so what Paul is saying here is that he has been a faithful watchmen. He has been faithful to warn and instruct the people and now their fate is in their own hands. And that is something you and I need to be sure we are doing as well. God will not hold you guilty of the blood of your brother or sister if you witness to them and they don't listen. He won't even hold you guilty if (in trying your best) you don't even do it all that well. But He will hold you accountable if you keep silent. All of us are watchmen. The question is whether or not we are faithful watchmen. (4) Now the fourth element of Paul's example is something that is intimately tied to his commitment to evangelism. And that was that Paul suffered because of obedience. We see in verses 22–23 that there are two key things that he says the Holy Spirit is doing in his life. First, the Holy Spirit is compelling him towards Jerusalem. And secondly, through the voices of prophetic believers he has encountered, the Holy Spirit is revealing that he will suffer if he does go to Jerusalem. And what that shows you and me is that our ultimate goal is not “long life and happiness”. No, our ultimate calling in life is to be faithful to “declare” the message of the Gospel. And that may mean having to go through some very unpleasant circumstances. It may mean facing persecution, suffering, imprisonment, or even death. But our goal is to strive towards the Kingdom of God and the storing up of wealth there, not becoming comfortable here; because this world is not our forever home. All of it will pass away. Olaf's Dilemma— Just recently I watched with my kids the movie Frozen II. And in it there's this little magic snowman named Olaf, one of my favorite Disney characters, perhaps because he is so much like me; oddly shaped and slightly misunderstood. But in this movie he is having an emotional crisis. He's laying in the grass next to Princess Anna and starts pondering the deeper questions of life. And he says to Anna, “Tell me, you're older, and thus all-knowing, do you ever worry about the notion that nothing is permanent?” Anna replies, “Uh, no.” “Really?”, asks Olaf. “Wow, I can't wait until I've aged just like you, so I don't have to worry about important things.” And of course she is a little taken aback by that. But Paul knew what Olaf pointed out; and that is that nothing in this world is permanent. However, there is a world that is. And so if we want to make investments that last, we need to make them there. You will not see my face again – Now after revealing to the Ephesian elders what the Holy Spirit has been communicating to him, he tells them very frankly that because of this they will not see him again (v. 25). And this of course prompts his declaration that he is “innocent of the blood of all men” because he had been faithful to warn them of God's truth (vv. 26-27). On That Day— Now that phrase prompts me to ask some questions. What about you and me? Have we been faithful to warn people of God's coming judgment? When we get to heaven, are there going to be people there because we had the courage to speak up? Or is there going to be blood on our hands? Have we been faithful watchmen? When I get to heaven, I want Jesus to say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I want Him to say, “Cameron, just look at how much fuller heaven is because you were faithful to do the most important thing I told you to do in the world.” I want Jesus to start pulling people from the crowds in heaven; people who will come up to me and say “Hey Cameron, you may not know this, but I am here because of you; because you took the time, because you had the courage, because you valued me enough to (in whatever small way you could) put my hand in the hand of Jesus.” What will be said of you and me? Let that scene so permeate your mind that any fear or hesitation that might come the next time the Holy Spirit prompts you might evaporate and be squelched by your even greater desire to see that your life made not just a long-lasting impact, but an everlasting one; an eternal one. Let's live under that weight of glory. Amen.
Satan's World System As we discussed previously, Satan is permitted, for a time, to rule over the majority in this world. Three times Jesus referred to Satan as “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Other passages of Scripture call Satan “the god of this world” (2 Cor 4:4), and “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2), informing us “that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Satan rules as a tyrant who has “weakened the nations” (Isa 14:12), and currently “deceives the whole world” (Rev 12:9). He personally attacked Adam and Eve (Gen 3:1-7), Job (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-13), David, (1 Chr 21:1), Joshua the high priest (Zec 3:1-2), Jesus (Matt 4:1-11), Judas (John 13:27), and Peter (Luke 22:31-32). He continues to attack God's people today (1 Pet 5:8), practices deception (2 Cor 11:13-15), and has well developed strategies of warfare (Eph 6:10-12). Furthermore, humanity is living in an “evil age” (Gal 1:4), under “the dominion of Satan” (Acts 26:18), whose sphere of influence is called “the domain of darkness” (Col 1:13). Though Satan has attacked some people directly, he mainly operates as commander of an unseen realm of demons, through a worldwide system of philosophies and values he's created, through unbelievers whom he energizes to do his will, and through the sinful inclinations of our fallen nature. These all help advance his agenda in which he attacks God and His people. Paul, when writing to Christians in Ephesus, discusses the reality of these things. Paul said: "And you [Gentile Christians, before salvation; see Eph 2:4-9] were dead [νεκρός nekros – dead, corpse; i.e., separated from God] in your trespasses and sins [i.e., acts of disobedience against God], 2 in which you formerly walked [περιπατέω peripateo – to walk, conduct oneself, behave] according to the course of this world [κόσμος kosmos - world, system], according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan – the commander of an unseen realm], of the spirit that is now working [ἐνεργέω energeo – to work, energize, empower] in the sons of disobedience [i.e., sons characterized by their disobedience to God]. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh [σάρξ sarx – flesh, body, i.e., sin nature], indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind [even their reasoning processes were corrupt], and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest." (Eph 2:1-3) The Bible recognizes Satan's world-system and warns us not to love it. John writes and tells the Christian, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world” (1 John 2:15-16). We live in a fallen world, and John's command is intended to warn us of real danger. First, John opens with the negative particle Μὴ Me, which is followed by the Geek verb ἀγαπάω agapao, which is in the imperative mood—the mood of command. The word ἀγαπάω agapao denotes desire or commitment to something or someone. David L. Allen comments on love: "In its essence love is two things: a desire for something and a commitment to something … Whatever it is you desire and whatever you're committed to, that's where your time and resources will go. If you love football, that's where your time and resources will go. If you love hunting or fishing, that's where your time and resources will go. If you love your spouse, you desire to spend time with her and you are committed to her. Love is more than an emotional feeling. Love requires a commitment of time and resources." John then gives the object we are not to desire or be committed to, namely, the world (τὸν κόσμον). The Greek word κόσμος kosmos is used in Scripture to refer to: 1) the physical planet (Matt 13:35; Acts 17:24), 2) people who live in the world (John 3:16), and 3) the hostile system created and controlled by Satan that he uses to lure people away from God (1 John 2:15-16). It is this third meaning that John has in mind. Hence, the word κόσμος kosmos refers to “that which is hostile to God…lost in sin, wholly at odds with anything divine, ruined and depraved.” Concerning, the word κόσμος kosmos, David L. Allen writes: "Sometimes the word “world” is used to refer to the organized evil system with its principles and its practices, all under the authority of Satan, which includes all teachings, ideas, culture, attitudes, activities, etc., that are opposed to God. A fixation on the material over the spiritual, promotion of self over others, pleasure over principle—these are just a few descriptors of the world system John is talking about. The word “world” here means everything that opposes Christ and his work on earth. Jesus called Satan “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30; 16:11), and Paul called him “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). In Luke 16:8 Jesus referred to all unsaved people as “the sons of this world.” Satan's world-system consists of those philosophies and values that perpetually influence humanity to think and behave contrary to God and His Word. This operating apart from God is first and foremost a way of thinking that is antithetical to God, a way of thinking motivated by a desire to be free from God and the authority of Scripture, a freedom most will accept, even though it is accompanied by all sorts of inconsistencies and absurdities. Lewis Chafer writes: "The kosmos is a vast order or system that Satan has promoted which conforms to his ideals, aims, and methods. It is civilization now functioning apart from God-a civilization in which none of its promoters really expect God to share; who assign to God no consideration in respect to their projects, nor do they ascribe any causality to Him. This system embraces its godless governments, conflicts, armaments, jealousies; its education, culture, religions of morality, and pride. It is that sphere in which man lives. It is what he sees, what he employs. To the uncounted multitude it is all they ever know so long as they live on this earth. It is properly styled “The Satanic System” which phrase is in many instances a justified interpretation of the so-meaningful word, kosmos." Many people who live in Satan's world-system exclude God and Scripture from their daily conversations. This is true in news, politics, academic communities, work and home life. God is nowhere in their thoughts, and therefore, nowhere in their discussions (Psa 10:4; 14:1). These are the agnostics and atheists. But there are others in Satan's world-system who are very religious, and these are the worst kind of people, because they claim to represent God, when in fact they don't. In the Bible, there were many religious people who spoke in the name of the Lord (Jer 14:14; 23:16-32; Matt 7:15; Acts 13:6; Rev 2:20), claiming to represent Him, even performing miracles (Deut 13:1-4; Matt 24:24; 2 Th 2:8-9; Rev 13:13). The Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes where this way, and they said of themselves, “we have one Father: God” (John 8:41b). But Jesus saw them for what they really were and said, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father” (John 8:44a). The religious—like Satan—are blinded by their pride. Humility must come before they will accept God's gospel of grace, and it does no good to argue with them (2 Tim 2:24-26). These false representatives loved to talk about God, read their Bibles, pray, fast, give of their resources, and spent much of their time in fellowship with other religious persons. Theirs is a works-system of salvation, which feeds their pride; giving them a sense of control over their circumstances and others. These false organizations and their teachers appear as godly and righteous, but Paul described them as “false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13). Though very religious, these are in line with Satan, who operates on corrupt reasoning and is a deceiver. Paul goes on to say, “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore, it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds” (2 Cor 11:14-15). The contrast between the growing Christian and the worldly person is stark, as their thoughts and words take them in completely different directions. The growing believer thinks about God and His Word all the time, as “his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psa 1:2). The word law translates the Hebrew word תּוֹרָה torah, which means law, direction, or instruction. Navigating the highways of this world can be tricky, and the believer needs the direction or instruction God's Word provides. It is our divine roadmap for staying on God's path and getting to the destination He intends. At the core of Satan's world-system is a directive for mankind to function apart from God, and when obeyed, people produce all forms of evil, both moral and immoral. We should understand that Satan's system is a buffet that offers something for everyone who rejects God, whether that person is moral or immoral, religious or irreligious, educated or simple, rich or poor. Satan is careful to make sure there's even something for the Christian in his world-system, which is why the Bible repeatedly warns the believer not to love the world or the things in the world. We are to be set apart (Col 2:8; Jam 1:27; 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16). Lightner states, “The world is the Christian's enemy because it represents an anti-God system, a philosophy that is diametrically opposed to the will and plan of God. It is a system headed by the devil and therefore at odds with God (2 Cor 4:4).…It is in this wicked world we must rear our families and earn our livelihoods. We are in it, yet are not to be a part of it.” It is important to understand that we cannot change Satan or his evil program; however, we must be on guard, for it can and will change us if we're not careful to learn and live God's Word. At the moment of salvation, God the Father “rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col 1:13), and “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil 3:20). This transference is permanent and cannot be undone. Once this happens, we are hated by those who remain in Satan's kingdom of darkness. For this reason, Jesus said to His disciples, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you” (John 15:18-19; cf. John 16:33; 1 John 3:13). Love and hate in this context should be understood as accept or reject, which can be mild or severe in expression. When praying to the Father, Jesus said, “they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:14b), and went on to say, “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). It is not God's will that we be immediately removed from this world at the moment of salvation, but left here to serve as His representatives to the lost, that we “may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9). We are not to participate in worldly affairs that exclude God, but are to “walk as children of Light” (Eph 5:8), manifesting the fruit of the Light “in all goodness and righteousness and truth, trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Eph 5:9-10), and we are told, “do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them” (Eph 5:11). The growing Christian faces real struggles as Satan's world system seeks to press him into its mold, demanding conformity, and persecuting him when he does not bend to its values. The world-system not only has human support, but is backed by demonic forces that operate in collaboration with Satan. Scripture tells us “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). The battlefront is more than what is seen with the human eye and is driven by unseen spiritual forces. As Christians living in the world, we are to be careful not to be taken “captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Col 2:8). Realizing the battleground is the mind, we are to think biblically in everything, which is our only safeguard against the enemy (2 Cor 10:3-5). As Christians we face situations every day in which we are pressured to compromise God's Word. We face difficulties at work, school, home, or other places, in which we are confronted by worldly-minded persons, both saved and unsaved, who demand and pressure us to abandon our biblical values. There is room for personal compromise where Scripture is silent on a matter; however, where Scripture speaks with absolute authority, there we must never compromise! Wiersbe states, “The world, or world-system, puts pressure on each person to try to get him to conform (Rom 12:2). Jesus Christ was not ‘of this world' and neither are His people (John 8:23; 17:14). But the unsaved person, either consciously or unconsciously, is controlled by the values and attitudes of this world.” By promoting the gospel and biblical teaching, the church disrupts Satan's domain of darkness by calling out of it a people for God. By learning God's Word, Christians can identify worldly conversations and activities and either avoid them or seek to redirect them by interjecting biblical truth, which should never be done in hostility. When sharing God's Word with others it's proper to know that not everyone wants to hear God's truth, and even though we may not agree with them, their personal choices should be respected (Matt 10:14; Acts 13:50-51). We should never try to force the gospel or Bible teaching on anyone, but be willing to share when opportunity presents itself. At times this will bring peace, and other times cause disruption and may even offend. In this interaction, the growing Christian must be careful not to fall into the exclusion trap, in which the worldly person (whether saved or lost) controls the content of every conversation, demanding the Christian only talk about worldly issues, as Scripture threatens his pagan presuppositions. Having the biblical worldview, the Christian should insert himself into daily conversations with others, and in so doing, be a light in a dark place. He should always be respectful, conversational, and never have a fist-in-your-face attitude, as arrogance never helps advance biblical truth (2 Tim 2:24-26). The worldly-minded person may not want to hear what the Christian has to say, but he should never be under the false impression that he has the right to quiet the Christian and thereby exclude him from the conversation. As we grow spiritually and walk with God, learning and living His Word (2 Tim 2:15; 3:16-17), we stand in opposition to Satan's world-system and sow the seeds of spiritual insurrection in the lives of those who live and walk in his kingdom of darkness. We disrupt Satan's kingdom when we share the gospel, “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4). When anyone places their faith in Christ, trusting solely in Him as Savior, they are forgiven all their sins (Eph 1:7), gifted with eternal life (John 3:16; 10:28), and the righteousness of God (Rom 4:1-5; 5:17; 2 Cor 5:21; Phil 3:9). They are rescued from Satan's enslaving power, as God rescues them from the “domain of darkness” and transfers them into “the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col 1:13). The gospel is the only way a person can be delivered from spiritual slavery; “for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16). Once saved, we seek to influence the thoughts and lives of other Christians through fellowship (Heb 10:23-25), prayer (Jam 5:16), edification (Eph 4:29), encouragement (1 Th 5:11), love (1 Th 4:9; cf. Eph 4:14-15), and words of grace (Col 4:6).  David L. Allen, 1–3 John: Fellowship in God's Family, ed. R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013), 96–97.  Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, p. 562.  David L. Allen, 1–3 John: Fellowship in God's Family, 96.  Lewis S. Chafer, “Angelology Part 4” Bibliotheca Sacra 99 (1942): 282-283.  There are many church denominations today that call themselves “Christian”, but who come with a false gospel in which human works are added as a requirement for salvation (i.e., Catholics, Methodists, Church of Christ, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.).  Robert P. Lightner, Handbook of Evangelical Theology, p. 206.  Warren Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, New Testament, Vol. 2, p. 18.
Full Text of ReadingsFriday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 411All podcast readings are produced by the USCCB and are from the Catholic Lectionary, based on the New American Bible and approved for use in the United States _______________________________________The Saint of the day is Dedication of Saint Mary Major Basilicaof the Dedication of Saint Mary Major Basilica First raised at the order of Pope Liberius in the mid-fourth century, the Liberian basilica was rebuilt by Pope Sixtus III shortly after the Council of Ephesus affirmed Mary's title as Mother of God in 431. Rededicated at that time to the Mother of God, St. Mary Major is the largest church in the world honoring God through Mary. Standing atop one of Rome's seven hills, the Esquiline, it has survived many restorations without losing its character as an early Roman basilica. Its interior retains three naves divided by colonnades in the style of Constantine's era. Fifth-century mosaics on its walls testify to its antiquity. St. Mary Major is one of the four Roman basilicas known as patriarchal churches in memory of the first centers of the Church. St. John Lateran represents Rome, the See of Peter; St. Paul Outside the Walls, the See of Alexandria, allegedly the see presided over by Mark; St. Peter's, the See of Constantinople; and St. Mary's, the See of Antioch, where Mary is supposed to have spent most of her later life. One legend, unreported before the year 1000, gives another name to this feast: Our Lady of the Snows. According to that story, a wealthy Roman couple pledged their fortune to the Mother of God. In affirmation, she produced a miraculous summer snowfall and told them to build a church on the site. The legend was long celebrated by releasing a shower of white rose petals from the basilica's dome every August 5. Reflection Theological debate over Christ's nature as God and man reached fever pitch in Constantinople in the early fifth century. The chaplain of Bishop Nestorius began preaching against the title Theotokos, “Mother of God,” insisting that the Virgin was mother only of the human Jesus. Nestorius agreed, decreeing that Mary would henceforth be named “Mother of Christ” in his see. The people of Constantinople virtually revolted against their bishop's refutation of a cherished belief. When the Council of Ephesus refuted Nestorius, believers took to the streets, enthusiastically chanting, “Theotokos! Theotokos!" Saint of the Day, Copyright Franciscan Media
1 Timothy 1:1-17 New International Version Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God's work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Old Testament: Ezra 6–7 Ezra 6–7 (Listen) The Decree of Darius 6 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in Babylonia, in the house of the archives where the documents were stored. 2 And in Ecbatana, the citadel that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found on which this was written: “A record. 3 In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king issued a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be rebuilt, the place where sacrifices were offered, and let its foundations be retained. Its height shall be sixty cubits1 and its breadth sixty cubits, 4 with three layers of great stones and one layer of timber. Let the cost be paid from the royal treasury. 5 And also let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought back to the temple that is in Jerusalem, each to its place. You shall put them in the house of God.” 6 “Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and your2 associates the governors who are in the province Beyond the River, keep away. 7 Let the work on this house of God alone. Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site. 8 Moreover, I make a decree regarding what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the rebuilding of this house of God. The cost is to be paid to these men in full and without delay from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province from Beyond the River. 9 And whatever is needed—bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests at Jerusalem require—let that be given to them day by day without fail, 10 that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons. 11 Also I make a decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house, and he shall be impaled on it, and his house shall be made a dunghill. 12 May the God who has caused his name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who shall put out a hand to alter this, or to destroy this house of God that is in Jerusalem. I Darius make a decree; let it be done with all diligence.” The Temple Finished and Dedicated 13 Then, according to the word sent by Darius the king, Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates did with all diligence what Darius the king had ordered. 14 And the elders of the Jews built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They finished their building by decree of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia; 15 and this house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. 16 And the people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. 17 They offered at the dedication of this house of God 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel 12 male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 And they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their divisions, for the service of God at Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses. Passover Celebrated 19 On the fourteenth day of the first month, the returned exiles kept the Passover. 20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together; all of them were clean. So they slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves. 21 It was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile, and also by every one who had joined them and separated himself from the uncleanness of the peoples of the land to worship the LORD, the God of Israel. 22 And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel. Ezra Sent to Teach the People 7 Now after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, 2 son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, 3 son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, 4 son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, 5 son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest—6 this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the LORD, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him. 7 And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants. 8 And Ezra3 came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9 For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. 11 This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, a man learned in matters of the commandments of the LORD and his statutes for Israel: 12 “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven. Peace.4 And now 13 I make a decree that anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offers to go to Jerusalem, may go with you. 14 For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God, which is in your hand, 15 and also to carry the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16 with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, vowed willingly for the house of their God that is in Jerusalem. 17 With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God that is in Jerusalem. 18 Whatever seems good to you and your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God. 19 The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. 20 And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which it falls to you to provide, you may provide it out of the king's treasury. 21 “And I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, 22 up to 100 talents5 of silver, 100 cors6 of wheat, 100 baths7 of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. 23 Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons. 24 We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God. 25 “And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God. And those who do not know them, you shall teach. 26 Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment.” 27 Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem, 28 and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king's mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the LORD my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me. Footnotes  6:3 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters  6:6 Aramaic their  7:8 Aramaic he  7:12 Aramaic Perfect (probably a greeting)  7:22 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms  7:22 A cor was about 6 bushels or 220 liters  7:22 A bath was about 6 gallons or 22 liters (ESV) New Testament: Ephesians 1 Ephesians 1 (Listen) Greeting 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful1 in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Spiritual Blessings in Christ 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us2 for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known3 to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee4 of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,5 to the praise of his glory. Thanksgiving and Prayer 15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love6 toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Footnotes  1:1 Some manuscripts saints who are also faithful (omitting in Ephesus)  1:5 Or before him in love, 5having predestined us  1:9 Or he lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight, making known . . .  1:14 Or down payment  1:14 Or until God redeems his possession  1:15 Some manuscripts omit your love (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 31 Psalm 31 (Listen) Into Your Hand I Commit My Spirit To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. 31 In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!2 Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! 3 For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me;4 you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge.5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God. 6 I hate1 those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.7 I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul,8 and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place. 9 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also.10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. 11 Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.13 For I hear the whispering of many— terror on every side!— as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. 14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”15 My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!16 Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!17 O LORD, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol.18 Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt. 19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!20 In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues. 21 Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city.22 I had said in my alarm,2 “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help. 23 Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! Footnotes  31:6 Masoretic Text; one Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint, Syriac, Jerome You hate  31:22 Or in my haste (ESV) Proverb: Proverbs 20:26–27 Proverbs 20:26–27 (Listen) 26 A wise king winnows the wicked and drives the wheel over them.27 The spirit1 of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts. Footnotes  20:27 Hebrew breath (ESV)
On his way to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost with the believers there, Paul had a voyage layover in Miletus. He summoned the Ephesian pastors to travel the thirty miles south to Miletus so that he could encourage them in the ministry. Paul knew that the best way to encourage the Ephesian believers in their faith was to encourage their pastors. He provided an excellent example of the importance of leading leaders. As their time came to a sorrowful close, Paul turned from the subject of his ministry philosophy and his own ministry path forward to a specific message for the Ephesian pastors. The points of this admonition are both relevant and vital for pastors and disciples alike today. Let's be good students as we study this God inspired message that Paul delivered to the pastors of Ephesus. Download Notes ________________ Thanks for joining us for this episode and please take a moment to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. If you enjoy this content, please don't hesitate to leave us a 5-star review and share this podcast with your friends. We'd like to extend an invitation to you and your family to join us for worship this week at Grace Baptist Church. We'd also love to connect with you online at https://gracekettering.org. Thanks again for checking out this episode, and we look forward to having you join us again right here on the Grace Baptist Church Podcast!
During a persecution of Christians under the Emperor Decius, these seven Christian youths hid themselves in a cave outside Ephesus. When they were discovered, their persecutors sealed them in the cave to die; but God instead sent them a miraculous, life-preserving sleep. There they rested for about two hundred years. In the time of the Emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450), a heresy that denied the bodily Resurrection of the dead began to trouble the people. The Emperor prayed God to reveal the truth to the people. At this time, some shepherds removed the stones blocking the cave in order to build a sheep-pen. They discovered the seven youths, who awoke in full health and told their miraculous story. The miracle was told throughout the empire, and the Emperor himself came to Ephesus and spoke with the youths. A week later, they again fell asleep, this time in death.
Please join us as guest speaker pastor Suk Hoa Lee breaks down three steps in recapturing our love for Christ! Passage: Revelation 2:1-7 - Sermon Reflection and Discussion - From the sermon or your direct reading of Revelation 2:1-7, share something that surprises, encourages, or challenges you. What was the problem with the church in Ephesus? What are some things that you did at first when you were most in love with Jesus? What are some changes that you need to make as a Christian to recapture your first love once again? How can we pray for you?
What brought about the riot at Ephesus? What can we learn about the Christian and pagan religions in Ephesus from this display at the theater? What relevance does this passage have for us today?
Episode 171 – Paul’s Places – Part 12: Summary 2 Welcome to Anchored by Truth brought to you by Crystal Sea Books. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The goal of Anchored by Truth is to encourage everyone to grow in the Christian faith by anchoring themselves to the secure truth found in the inspired, inerrant, and infallible word of God. Script: With this letter I'm introducing Phoebe to you. She is our sister in the Christian faith and a deacon of the church in the city of Cenchrea. Give her a Christian welcome that shows you are God's holy people. Provide her with anything she may need, because she has provided help to many people, including me. Romans, chapter 16, verses 1 and 2, God’s Word Translation ******** VK: Hello! I’m Victoria K. Welcome to Anchored by Truth brought to you by Crystal Sea Books. We’re very grateful for the chance to be with you today. For several weeks now we have been working on a series we call “Paul’s Places.” This is our 12th episode in this series and we are concluding it today. Anyone who has missed any of the previous lessons can find them on our website, crystalseabooks.com, or on their favorite podcast app. We wanted to do this series for one simple reason – to help people understand that the New Testament documents are historically reliable. In our last episode we begin to summarize some of the major points that we’ve covered during this series and we want to conclude that summary today. To do that, today In the studio we have RD Fierro, the author of a number of great Christian books and the founder of Crystal Sea Books. RD, what’s on your mind as we close out our series on “Paul’s Places?” RD: Well, let me start by thanking our listeners for joining us here today. As you said the reason we wanted to do this “Paul’s Places” series was to help listeners think a little more deeply about the books that comprise our New Testament. If you open just about any internet news site these days on many days you’ll see a headline that says something like “facts about the most famous Bible myths” or “the truth about Jesus’ miracles.” Skepticism about the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, is pretty much the stock in trade for a great many peddlers of “click bait.” Well, here’s a question most people rarely think about. Why? Why do so many internet headlines claim to reveal a new “truth” or “fact” about Jesus, the Bible, or a Bible story or character? I mean there are a lot of books that one group or another claims to be the word of God. But you never see the names of those other books used in one of those headlines. There are no headlines that “what is the truth about the Bhagavad Gita (bah-gah-vahd geeta) or “where does the Book of Mormon get it wrong?” VK: I suppose the internet headline people would tell you that the Bible is the book that is the most widely known in our culture so it’s the book that sparks the most general interest. In other words, they would tell us that these headlines and banners are primarily a cultural phenomenon based on the historical basis for Western culture. RD: And I would agree that that is part of the reason those kinds of headlines are featured. But you never see headlines that are more generalized like “how we know all books claiming to be God’s word are false.” No. What you see in our culture in this day and age are repeated and determined attacks aimed specifically at the reliability of the Bible. To deny that the Bible is the primary, if not the singular, focus of the skeptics’ wrath in our culture would be to try to deny an easily confirmable fact. VK: So, why do you think the Bible is, as you say, “the primary, if not the singular, focus of the skeptics’ wrath?” And what does that have to do with “Paul’s Places?” RD: The reason the skeptics, critics, etc. focus on the Bible is because they know that it is God’s word. Other books that claim to be God’s word carry no peril for the skeptic or critic in our culture. But just as in the Garden of Eden the authentic word of God is always a threat to God’s enemies and rebels. VK: You’re thinking about the serpent’s very first words to Eve, aren’t you? Genesis, chapter 3, verse 1 actually records the second instance of a creature speaking in the Bible. “The snake was more clever than all the wild animals the LORD God had made. He asked the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must never eat the fruit of any tree in the garden'?" Before those words were spoken the only other creature we heard speaking was in Genesis, chapter 2, verse 23, when Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She will be named [woman] because she was taken from man." Both of those are from the God’s Word Translation. RD: Yes. The very first thing Satan did, in the guise of the serpent, when he confronted people was to cast doubt on God’s word. VK: So, really the internet headlines are just continuing a pattern that has been going on for over 6,000 years. RD: Yes. And in that odd, ironic kind of way that widespread attempt to cast doubt on the reliability of God’s word is a strange form of confirmation that the Bible is God’s word. The skeptics and critics can recognize, just as Satan did, God’s word. Why would they spend so much time attempting to debunk or cast doubt on a book that is actually a book of, as the critics often assert, “myths and fairy tales.” VK: Well, it is true you don’t see any internet banners saying, “The true details of Grimm’s fairy tales” or “where the Norse legends got it wrong.” But still, wouldn’t the critics say that the reason they have to spend all that energy correcting the misinformation in the Bible is that the Bible has so many people who believe it? And that is what offends them – that the Bible has so many people who believe in something that cannot possibly be true. RD: I’m sure they would say that. But the next legitimate question that the critic must answer is “what is it in the Bible that isn’t true?” When you ask that question all too often you get these vague, generalized dismissals such as “well, there is no evidence in historical records that a large Hebrew exodus from Egypt ever occurred” or “science has shown that the Bible is full of misinformation.” That is a form of fallacious argumentation called “elephant hurling.” And when you look closely at the Bible critics’ assertions you find that the sky is so full of elephants it looks gray instead of blue. VK: Ok. That’s an image I’m not sure I want to hold. I’m almost expecting a pachyderm to start falling into the studio right about now. What is “elephant hurling?” RD: “Elephant hurling” is the argumentative approach of throwing out a generalization out and making it seem like it is seemingly backed by a large and weighty body of evidence. The idea is to suggest that there is so much evidence in favor of the hurler’s point that it is useless to try and rebut it. Elephant hurlers say things like “archeologists have never found anything that confirms anything from the Bible,” or more commonly “all scientists agree that the earth is 4.5 Billion years old.” The elephant hurler wants to quash dissent by making it appear that all reasonable people must agree with them or appear foolish. But more often than not the elephant hurler does not even bother to determine whether the evidence actually supports their contention. They just hurl purported studies or volumes around under the guise that they all support their assertion – regardless of whether the study or analysis does. VK: And when it comes to criticizing the Bible you do find a lot of elephants being hurled – especially when it comes to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The critics will say things like, “Almost all historians say that there is no evidence outside the Bible that Jesus ever lived at all” or “Scientists will tell you that if people claim to have seen Jesus after he died it was a form of mass delusion.” Elephant hurlers don’t delve into the details because the real world gets a lot more confusing when you look at the details. That’s one of the reason we do series like Paul’s Places – to get into the details. The more you look into the details the more you find out that the elephant hurlers don’t have nearly as much evidence on their side as they would like you to believe. And when it comes to the Bible the details overwhelmingly validate the Bible’s reliability. RD: Yes. So, when you get beyond the elephant hurling we come back to the original point. The reason there are so many stories and articles all over the internet about the Bible is because the Bible is a book that communicates truth and our culture finds much of the truth the Bible contains very disagreeable. Most of the supposed analysis is really just disguised animosity. The Bible’s truth is an implied rejection of a great deal of contemporary culture. VK: The classic enemies of an authentic believer are the world, the flesh, and the devil. Well, the world around us right now expresses its enmity less by direct attack than by casting subtle doubts. People might resist or be alarmed by an outright attack but compromise by degree is far less likely to encounter resistance. But even subtle push back is still push back. And if the Bible were really just a “collection of myths and fairy tales” why would so much push back be necessary? The critics push back because no matter how much they dislike it the truth of the Bible continues to weigh upon their consciences. As Paul puts it in the book of Romans, chapter 1, verses 18 through 21: “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks.” That’s the New Living Translation. RD: Critics may deny God exists but even their denials betray their awareness of His presence. No one publishes articles pushing back on Grimm’s fairy tales or ancient pagan mythologies because those things are self-evidently not true. They are not accurate portrayals of reality. No one spends any time pushing back on those things but they spend enormous amounts of time telling us that the Bible falls in the same category of fable and myth. But, if that were true, why do they treat the Bible so differently? They spend time pushing against the Bible precisely because they know the Bible is true. Truth is that which corresponds to reality. The Bible is an accurate reflection of reality. It’s an accurate reflection of human and world history. It’s an accurate reflection of the problems associated with living in a fallen creation. It’s an accurate reflection of man’s true awareness of an ultimate judgement and it’s an accurate reflection of God’s sovereignty over all the created order. So, the critics must try to dismiss it. It’s just that their strategies for doing so always simply wind up pointing back to the fact that the Bible is true. VK: Most of the criticism of the Bible is either based on faulty facts or faulty analysis. For instance, you often hear the criticism that God cannot exist because evil exists. It’s usually framed something like this: “A good God who is all powerful would not permit evil to exist. So, God is either not all powerful because He cannot stop evil. Or God is not good because He could prevent the existence of evil but He chooses not to.” But – and this is a huge but – the criticism presumes that there is a real difference between good and evil. After all, you can’t complain about God allowing evil to exist if there is no difference between good and evil. But, without God, how would such a distinction between good and evil be established? When we say that slavery and child pornography are evil we do not mean that we simply do not like them. That’s a matter of preference. We do not mean that they are inconvenient. That would be a matter of personal taste. When we say they are evil, and they are, we mean they violate an objective standard that should govern human behavior because there is a real difference between actions that are good and those that are evil. But the existence of an objective standard requires the existence of a Standard Maker who has the legal capacity to set standards and who can judge and hold accountable violators. So, the person complaining that the existence of evil means that God can’t exist rebuts their own basic premise. They wind up providing an affirmative demonstration that God must exist. RD: So, all this is why we did the Paul’s places series. The elephant hurlers’ arguments lose their power when you start looking at the flying pachyderms more closely. When they pass overhead at a distance they look imposing. But once you examine them you find out they were just balloons filled with hot air. You quickly find out that rather than there being no solid historical evidence for Christ’s life, death, and resurrection that there is an abundance of evidence. And you find out that the Bible, rather than being filled with myth and fable, when it addresses matters of human history contains history that is reliable, reasonable, and verifiable. It has been said that one of the strongest lines of evidence for the reality of the resurrection was the appearance and “stickiness” of belief in the resurrection after Jesus’ earthly life and ministry. VK: What you’re saying is that prior to Jesus’ life there was no widespread belief in physical resurrection even among the Jews. In fact, at the time that Jesus lived the Jewish sect that controlled their governing body outright rejected the entire concept of life after death. RD: Yes. During Jesus’ lifetime the Sadducees controlled the Sanhedrin – the Jews’ governing council. And the Sadducees rejected many of the supernatural aspects of the Jewish faith such as the existence of angels. And they firmly rejected the idea of life after death. The Sadducees chief opponents, the Pharisees, did accept the idea of life after death but even they had a very poorly defined concept of what such life looked like. None of the major Jewish beliefs held to the idea of a physical resurrection of a body. That’s one reason even Jesus’ own disciples had such a hard time with what he told them about what would happen to him. VK: Neither the disciples, the common people, nor the Jewish leaders ever envisioned their Messiah dying much less coming back to life after death. The general idea of the Messiah was that he would be a conquering hero would crush Israel’s enemies militarily and establish a golden era of Jewish prosperity. So, even though the disciples had heard Jesus say that he was indeed the Messiah they had no real concept of what he was talking about. The disciples thought Jesus was going to defeat the Romans. Jesus knew that he was going to defeat a much more difficult enemy – death itself. RD: Right. So, it is easy to see why the disciples were so devastated when Jesus died on the cross. Jesus’ death wasn’t just the death of a man it was the death of an entire set of hopes and dreams. VK: After all, if they had believed that Jesus would die on Friday only to rise on Sunday they would not have exhibited the utter devastation that they did. They might have been grieved over what Jesus had endured but they would have said to themselves, “but once Sunday arrives he’ll be back.” But they didn’t believe Jesus was coming back. That illustrates that the Jews simply did not have physical resurrection as a plank of their belief system. And even after Jesus returned they still had a hard time integrating the enormity of what had happened into that thinking. We think of Thomas saying, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” That’s the gospel of John, chapter 20, verse 25 in the New International Version. RD: Yes. So, this reluctance to believe wasn’t just present among the disciples. It was present among all the Jews and of course the larger culture surrounding them. Paul, when he was still Saul, shared in this disbelief. It wasn’t until he personally encountered the risen Christ that his life changed. And it was in the culture of disbelief that Paul then had to minister and testify. VK: But minister and testify he did, as did the rest of the Apostles and first converts many of whom had also seen the resurrected Jesus. And evidence of the reality of Jesus’ resurrection is that those early believers were so convicted that despite persecution and martyrdom they held to that belief for the rest of their lives. Church tradition tells us of the original 11 disciples who believed only the Apostle John was not martyred. And even John endured exile and maltreatment for maintaining his conviction. Judas, of course, who had betrayed Jesus committed suicide before the resurrection. RD: It has been said that the biggest loser of all time was Judas – not because he betrayed Jesus – even Peter denied Jesus when it counted most. Judas is the biggest loser of all time because he hung himself without waiting for Sunday and the resurrection. Had he waited he would have seen the risen Christ who would have forgiven him. VK: Now that is eternal death. Judas was less than 36 hours away from obtaining eternal glory. Instead he is condemned for all time. That will give you something to think about. RD: In an odd way we live in an era not too dissimilar to the era in which the Apostle Paul conducted his ministry. We live in an era when skepticism about religion abounds. In fact, we live in an age where skepticism about truth is widespread. Just about every institution in the U.S. has become hostile to Christianity and government power has been used to both suppress Christians and their faith. In America we worship the “separation of church and state” far more than we actually worship in church. VK: The phrase “separation of church and state” has become a slogan and rallying cry of American officialdom to mean Christian influence must be eradicated from the public square. Yet, ironically, when Thomas Jefferson used the phrase, “wall of separation between church and state” in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 Jefferson’s point was that the government should stay out of the church’s business not vice-versa. Jefferson held church services in the White House. He would have never recognized the application of the phrase as it manifested itself in the 20th and 21st centuries. RD: Yes. So, in an odd way the Apostle Paul’s epistles take on a unique role for Christians in the western world today – actually a dual role. The content of the Pauline epistles shows us that they are authentic letters written to groups of believers living in and around the Roman Empire in the last half of the 1st century AD. Their unique characteristics demonstrate that and confirm both their authenticity and their historicity. They are both historically appropriate and historically informative. The Pauline Epistles have always done that – and will always play that role. VK: The Pauline epistles are no less God’s Word than any other part of the Bible. They are God’s communication to man in the same way as the law that God gave to Moses. And it was Jesus himself who said, “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” That is Matthew, chapter 5, verse 18 from the New International Version. RD: But the Pauline epistles can have special meaning for believers today because we testify to a culture that is very similar to many parts of the culture that was present in the Roman Empire. The city of Corinth was economically vibrant but morally degenerate. They literally worshipped the goddess of sex and pleasure. The believers in the region of Galatia were being harassed by agitators who wanted to pervert the simplicity of the gospel by adding extraneous requirements. How often in the church have we heard legalists who have insisted that you cannot be a Christian unless you follow a particular set of rules none of which are present in scripture. The church in Colossae was located in a region where mystery religions flourished and the practitioners of those religions claimed to have unique insights that were available only to them. In our culture there is a tsunami of groups or people who have claimed to possess “codes,” “secrets,” or “special revelations” that communicate the hidden wisdom of the universe or tell us “what really happened to Jesus or his disciples?” VK: What you’re saying is that beside the Pauline epistles containing abundant evidence of being true, the truth they communicate is more important than ever to current believers. In a culture where a widespread consensus on the truth Christianity has been abandoned we can learn from the Apostle Paul’s approach to witnessing. Paul witnessed in a culture that bears striking similarities to our own. In the Roman Empire emperor worship was mandated. In our own culture we have so elevated our opinion of ourselves, and the cultural devices we have created, that we are perilously close to an identical idolatry. The Romans tried to create gods out of men and we have created gods out of various ideologies and purportedly “scientific concepts.” RD: Exactly. But we can take heart from Paul’s experiences. In Acts, chapter 19, verse 26 we hear one of Paul’s opponents, a silversmith named Demetrius lead a riot and proclaim, “You see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but almost all over [the province of] Asia, this Paul has persuaded [people to believe his teaching] and has misled a large number of people, claiming that gods made by [human] hands are not really gods at all.” That’s from the Amplified Bible. So, one of Paul’s most ardent opponents inadvertently gave an amazing testimony of the effectiveness of Paul’s ministry. And as we have talked about frequently in this Paul’s Places series Paul always kept his testimony and teaching focused on the crucified Christ. Paul knew that the crucified Christ was foolishness to many and a stumbling block for many others but that did not deter him. The gospel’s power is in its truth and it was persuasive to the first people to hear it like Phoebe who we heard about in our opening scripture. And that truth is just as persuasive today but we must proclaim it. The simple truth is that Jesus died on a cross and paid the price for our sins. That’s a simple historical fact that has a profound spiritual implication. Well, if all Jesus had done was die we would have no hope. But it is also a simple historical fact that Jesus walked, on his own power, out of a sealed tomb, witnessed to hundreds, and ultimately ascended back to His eternal throne. That is a simple historical fact but it is the most profound spiritual truth of all time. VK: Well, that’s a good place to end for today. This “Paul’s Places” series is all about helping people see more clearly that the Pauline epistles, the letters contained in the New Testament written by the Apostle Paul, are exactly what they claim to be. They are letters written by one of Christianity’s first evangelical preachers to convey important truths to those who had begun to place their trust in Jesus. Those letters most certainly assert Christ’s divinity but far from that assertion being some kind of myth it is backed up by solid historical evidence and testimony. Let’s close with prayer as we always do. Today let’s listen to a prayer for our friends who have yet to begin a saving relationship with Christ Jesus. The smallest prayer of the most frail believer when heard by God is more powerful than we can possibly imagine. ---- PRAYER FOR THE SPIRITUALLY LOST VK: Before we close we’d like to remind our audience that a lot of our radio episodes are linked together in series of topics so if they missed any episodes in this series or if they just want to hear one again, all of these episodes are available on your favorite podcast app. To find them just search on “Anchored by Truth by Crystal Sea Books.” If you’d like to hear more, try out crystalseabooks.com where “We’re not perfect but our Boss is!” (Opening Bible Quotes from the God’s Word Translation) Romans, chapter 16, verses 1 and 2, God’s Word Translation paultanner.org/English Docs/SpecialArt/Pauline Chronology.pdf
With family: Judges 16; Acts 20 Judges 16 (Listen) Samson and Delilah 16 Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her. 2 The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here.” And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. They kept quiet all night, saying, “Let us wait till the light of the morning; then we will kill him.” 3 But Samson lay till midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron. 4 After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” 6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.” 7 Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9 Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner chamber. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known. 10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you might be bound.” 11 And he said to her, “If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 12 So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And the men lying in ambush were in an inner chamber. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread. 13 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 14 So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web.1 And she made them tight with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web. 15 And she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,' when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.” 16 And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. 17 And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 18 When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up again, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19 She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 20 And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him. 21 And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison. 22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. The Death of Samson 23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.” 24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us.”2 25 And when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. 26 And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained. 28 Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. 31 Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years. Footnotes  16:14 Compare Septuagint; Hebrew lacks and fasten it tight . . . into the web  16:24 Or who has multiplied our slain (ESV) Acts 20 (Listen) Paul in Macedonia and Greece 20 After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. 2 When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. 3 There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews1 as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. 4 Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, 6 but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days. Eutychus Raised from the Dead 7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. 9 And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. 12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted. 13 But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. 15 And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and2 the day after that we went to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders 17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. 18 And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.3 22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by4 the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God,5 which he obtained with his own blood.6 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” 36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38 being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship. Footnotes  20:3 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time; also verse 19  20:15 Some manuscripts add after remaining at Trogyllium  20:21 Some manuscripts omit Christ  20:22 Or bound in  20:28 Some manuscripts of the Lord  20:28 Or with the blood of his Own (ESV) In private: Jeremiah 29; Mark 15 Jeremiah 29 (Listen) Jeremiah's Letter to the Exiles 29 These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem. 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said: 4 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream,1 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD. 10 “For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare2 and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. 15 “Because you have said, ‘The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,' 16 thus says the LORD concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your kinsmen who did not go out with you into exile: 17 ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, behold, I am sending on them sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like vile figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten. 18 I will pursue them with sword, famine, and pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, 19 because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the LORD, that I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, declares the LORD.' 20 Hear the word of the LORD, all you exiles whom I sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon: 21 ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying a lie to you in my name: Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall strike them down before your eyes. 22 Because of them this curse shall be used by all the exiles from Judah in Babylon: “The LORD make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire,” 23 because they have done an outrageous thing in Israel, they have committed adultery with their neighbors' wives, and they have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them. I am the one who knows, and I am witness, declares the LORD.'” Shemaiah's False Prophecy 24 To Shemaiah of Nehelam you shall say: 25 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: You have sent letters in your name to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying, 26 ‘The LORD has made you priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, to have charge in the house of the LORD over every madman who prophesies, to put him in the stocks and neck irons. 27 Now why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who is prophesying to you? 28 For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, “Your exile will be long; build houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat their produce.”'” 29 Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet. 30 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 31 “Send to all the exiles, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD concerning Shemaiah of Nehelam: Because Shemaiah had prophesied to you when I did not send him, and has made you trust in a lie, 32 therefore thus says the LORD: Behold, I will punish Shemaiah of Nehelam and his descendants. He shall not have anyone living among this people, and he shall not see the good that I will do to my people, declares the LORD, for he has spoken rebellion against the LORD.'” Footnotes  29:8 Hebrew your dreams, which you cause to dream  29:11 Or peace (ESV) Mark 15 (Listen) Jesus Delivered to Pilate 15 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. 2 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” 3 And the chief priests accused him of many things. 4 And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” 5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified 6 Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. 7 And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. 8 And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. 9 And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. 12 And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” 14 And Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged1 Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Jesus Is Mocked 16 And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor's headquarters),2 and they called together the whole battalion.3 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him. The Crucifixion 21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. 22 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25 And it was the third hour4 when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.5 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. The Death of Jesus 33 And when the sixth hour6 had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.7 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he8 breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son9 of God!” 40 There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem. Jesus Is Buried 42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died.10 And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph11 bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid. Footnotes  15:15 A Roman judicial penalty, consisting of a severe beating with a multi-lashed whip containing embedded pieces of bone and metal  15:16 Greek the praetorium  15:16 Greek cohort; a tenth of a Roman legion, usually about 600 men  15:25 That is, 9 a.m.  15:27 Some manuscripts insert verse 28: And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “He was numbered with the transgressors”  15:33 That is, noon  15:33 That is, 3 p.m.  15:39 Some manuscripts insert cried out and  15:39 Or a son  15:44 Or Pilate wondered whether he had already died  15:46 Greek he (ESV)
With family: Judges 15; Acts 19 Judges 15 (Listen) Samson Defeats the Philistines 15 After some days, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with a young goat. And he said, “I will go in to my wife in the chamber.” But her father would not allow him to go in. 2 And her father said, “I really thought that you utterly hated her, so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her instead.” 3 And Samson said to them, “This time I shall be innocent in regard to the Philistines, when I do them harm.” 4 So Samson went and caught 300 foxes and took torches. And he turned them tail to tail and put a torch between each pair of tails. 5 And when he had set fire to the torches, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines and set fire to the stacked grain and the standing grain, as well as the olive orchards. 6 Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” And they said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion.” And the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. 7 And Samson said to them, “If this is what you do, I swear I will be avenged on you, and after that I will quit.” 8 And he struck them hip and thigh with a great blow, and he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam. 9 Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and made a raid on Lehi. 10 And the men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” They said, “We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he did to us.” 11 Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, “As they did to me, so have I done to them.” 12 And they said to him, “We have come down to bind you, that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.” 13 They said to him, “No; we will only bind you and give you into their hands. We will surely not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock. 14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. 15 And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. 16 And Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey have I struck down a thousand men.” 17 As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand. And that place was called Ramath-lehi.1 18 And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the LORD and said, “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 And God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore the name of it was called En-hakkore;2 it is at Lehi to this day. 20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years. Footnotes  15:17 Ramath-lehi means the hill of the jawbone  15:19 En-hakkore means the spring of him who called (ESV) Acts 19 (Listen) Paul in Ephesus 19 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland1 country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.” 4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in2 the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. 7 There were about twelve men in all. 8 And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.3 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. The Sons of Sceva 11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all4 of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. A Riot at Ephesus 21 Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while. 23 About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.” 28 When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's companions in travel. 30 But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. 31 And even some of the Asiarchs,5 who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater. 32 Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd. 34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 35 And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky?6 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you seek anything further,7 it shall be settled in the regular assembly. 40 For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly. Footnotes  19:1 Greek upper (that is, highland)  19:5 Or into  19:9 Some manuscripts add from the fifth hour to the tenth (that is, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)  19:16 Or both  19:31 That is, high-ranking officers of the province of Asia  19:35 The meaning of the Greek is uncertain  19:39 Some manuscripts seek about other matters (ESV) In private: Jeremiah 28; Mark 14 Jeremiah 28 (Listen) Hananiah the False Prophet 28 In that same year, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, Hananiah the son of Azzur, the prophet from Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the LORD, in the presence of the priests and all the people, saying, 2 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. 3 Within two years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the LORD's house, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. 4 I will also bring back to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon, declares the LORD, for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.” 5 Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to Hananiah the prophet in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the LORD, 6 and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the LORD do so; may the LORD make the words that you have prophesied come true, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the LORD, and all the exiles. 7 Yet hear now this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. 8 The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. 9 As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the LORD has truly sent the prophet.” 10 Then the prophet Hananiah took the yoke-bars from the neck of Jeremiah the prophet and broke them. 11 And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, “Thus says the LORD: Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all the nations within two years.” But Jeremiah the prophet went his way. 12 Sometime after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke-bars from off the neck of Jeremiah the prophet, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 13 “Go, tell Hananiah, ‘Thus says the LORD: You have broken wooden bars, but you have made in their place bars of iron. 14 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: I have put upon the neck of all these nations an iron yoke to serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and they shall serve him, for I have given to him even the beasts of the field.'” 15 And Jeremiah the prophet said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah, the LORD has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie. 16 Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will remove you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have uttered rebellion against the LORD.'” 17 In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hananiah died. (ESV) Mark 14 (Listen) The Plot to Kill Jesus 14 It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, 2 for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.” Jesus Anointed at Bethany 3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,1 as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4 There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii2 and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9 And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Judas to Betray Jesus 10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him. The Passover with the Disciples 12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13 And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” 16 And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. 17 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18 And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19 They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. 21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Institution of the Lord's Supper 22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the3 covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Jesus Foretells Peter's Denial 26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.' 28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same. Jesus Prays in Gethsemane 32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”4 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus 43 And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” 45 And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 46 And they laid hands on him and seized him. 47 But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant5 of the high priest and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” 50 And they all left him and fled. A Young Man Flees 51 And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, 52 but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked. Jesus Before the Council 53 And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. 54 And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council6 were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. 56 For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.'” 59 Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”7 61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. 65 And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows. Peter Denies Jesus 66 And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway8 and the rooster crowed.9 69 And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” 71 But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” 72 And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.10 Footnotes  14:3 Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13  14:5 A denarius was a day's wage for a laborer  14:24 Some manuscripts insert new  14:34 Or keep awake; also verses 37, 38  14:47 Or bondservant  14:55 Greek Sanhedrin  14:60 Or Have you no answer to what these men testify against you?  14:68 Or forecourt  14:68 Some manuscripts omit and the rooster crowed  14:72 Or And when he had thought about it, he wept (ESV)