In April 50AD, about six months after the Jerusalem Council, Paul set out on his second missionary journey. His partner was Silas. Paul and Silas started by visiting the churches Paul had planted on his first missionary journey: Derbe, Lystra, Iconium and Antioch in Pisidia.
How do I make sense of God when I'm suffering? 1. Jacob is tricked into marrying 2 sisters. He obviously loved and treated one of them (Rachel) better than the other (Leah). 2. Consequently, He treated the children of Rachel differently and better than the children of Leah. Genesis 37:3-4 NIV "Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons because he had been born to him in his old age, and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him." Genesis 37:5-9 NIV "Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, 'Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.' His brothers said to him, 'Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?' And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. 'Listen,' he said, 'I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.'" Genesis 37:10-11 NIV "When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, 'What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?' His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind." Jesus is most present in us when we are most pressed on all sides. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 NIV "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body." Joseph reveals 2 kinds of suffering: Suffering from the consequences of bad decisions Suffering for good on behalf of Christ. 2 Timothy 3:10-17 NIV "You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted... While evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of because you know those from whom you learned it and how from infancy, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." When you suffer well, you become like Jesus. 1 Peter 1:17-21 NIV "Since you call on a Father who judges each person's work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him, you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God." The key to suffering well is to hang on to your faith through hope.
With family: 2 Kings 13; 2 Timothy 3 2 Kings 13 (Listen) Jehoahaz Reigns in Israel 13 In the twenty-third year of Joash the son of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned seventeen years. 2 He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from them. 3 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them continually into the hand of Hazael king of Syria and into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael. 4 Then Jehoahaz sought the favor of the LORD, and the LORD listened to him, for he saw the oppression of Israel, how the king of Syria oppressed them. 5 (Therefore the LORD gave Israel a savior, so that they escaped from the hand of the Syrians, and the people of Israel lived in their homes as formerly. 6 Nevertheless, they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin, but walked1 in them; and the Asherah also remained in Samaria.) 7 For there was not left to Jehoahaz an army of more than fifty horsemen and ten chariots and ten thousand footmen, for the king of Syria had destroyed them and made them like the dust at threshing. 8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz and all that he did, and his might, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 9 So Jehoahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in Samaria, and Joash his son reigned in his place. Jehoash Reigns in Israel 10 In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash2 the son of Jehoahaz began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned sixteen years. 11 He also did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin, but he walked in them. 12 Now the rest of the acts of Joash and all that he did, and the might with which he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 13 So Joash slept with his fathers, and Jeroboam sat on his throne. And Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel. The Death of Elisha 14 Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash king of Israel went down to him and wept before him, crying, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” 15 And Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” So he took a bow and arrows. 16 Then he said to the king of Israel, “Draw the bow,” and he drew it. And Elisha laid his hands on the king's hands. 17 And he said, “Open the window eastward,” and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot,” and he shot. And he said, “The LORD's arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria! For you shall fight the Syrians in Aphek until you have made an end of them.” 18 And he said, “Take the arrows,” and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them.” And he struck three times and stopped. 19 Then the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.” 20 So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. 21 And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet. 22 Now Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. 23 But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, nor has he cast them from his presence until now. 24 When Hazael king of Syria died, Ben-hadad his son became king in his place. 25 Then Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again from Ben-hadad the son of Hazael the cities that he had taken from Jehoahaz his father in war. Three times Joash defeated him and recovered the cities of Israel. Footnotes  13:6 Septuagint, Syriac, Targum, Vulgate; Hebrew he walked  13:10 Jehoash is an alternate spelling of Joash (son of Jehoahaz) as in verses 9, 12–14; also verse 25 (ESV) 2 Timothy 3 (Listen) Godlessness in the Last Days 3 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. All Scripture Is Breathed Out by God 10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom1 you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God2 may be complete, equipped for every good work. Footnotes  3:14 The Greek for whom is plural  3:17 That is, a messenger of God (the phrase echoes a common Old Testament expression) (ESV) In private: Psalm 119:145–176; Hosea 5–6 Psalm 119:145–176 (Listen) Qoph 145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep your statutes.146 I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies.147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O LORD, according to your justice give me life.150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law.151 But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true.152 Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever. Resh 153 Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law.154 Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise!155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes.156 Great is your mercy, O LORD; give me life according to your rules.157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies.158 I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands.159 Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love.160 The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever. Sin and Shin 161 Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words.162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.163 I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law.164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.166 I hope for your salvation, O LORD, and I do your commandments.167 My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly.168 I keep your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before you. Taw 169 Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word!170 Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word.171 My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes.172 My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right.173 Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.174 I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight.175 Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments. (ESV) Hosea 5–6 (Listen) Punishment Coming for Israel and Judah 5 Hear this, O priests! Pay attention, O house of Israel! Give ear, O house of the king! For the judgment is for you; for you have been a snare at Mizpah and a net spread upon Tabor.2 And the revolters have gone deep into slaughter, but I will discipline all of them. 3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from me; for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore; Israel is defiled.4 Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. For the spirit of whoredom is within them, and they know not the LORD. 5 The pride of Israel testifies to his face;1 Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt; Judah also shall stumble with them.6 With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the LORD, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them.7 They have dealt faithlessly with the LORD; for they have borne alien children. Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields. 8 Blow the horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah. Sound the alarm at Beth-aven; we follow you,2 O Benjamin!9 Ephraim shall become a desolation in the day of punishment; among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure.10 The princes of Judah have become like those who move the landmark; upon them I will pour out my wrath like water.11 Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment, because he was determined to go after filth.312 But I am like a moth to Ephraim, and like dry rot to the house of Judah. 13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria, and sent to the great king.4 But he is not able to cure you or heal your wound.14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear and go away; I will carry off, and no one shall rescue. 15 I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me. Israel and Judah Are Unrepentant 6 “Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.3 Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” 4 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away.5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light.6 For I desire steadfast love5 and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. 7 But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.8 Gilead is a city of evildoers, tracked with blood.9 As robbers lie in wait for a man, so the priests band together; they murder on the way to Shechem; they commit villainy.10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing; Ephraim's whoredom is there; Israel is defiled. 11 For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed. When I restore the fortunes of my people, Footnotes  5:5 Or in his presence  5:8 Or after you  5:11 Or to follow human precepts  5:13 Or to King Jareb  6:6 Septuagint mercy (ESV)
Morning: Jeremiah 25–26 Jeremiah 25–26 (Listen) Seventy Years of Captivity 25 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), 2 which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: 3 “For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, to this day, the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened. 4 You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the LORD persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets, 5 saying, ‘Turn now, every one of you, from his evil way and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers from of old and forever. 6 Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, or provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.' 7 Yet you have not listened to me, declares the LORD, that you might provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm. 8 “Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words, 9 behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares the LORD, and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations. I will devote them to destruction, and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. 10 Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the LORD, making the land an everlasting waste. 13 I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. 14 For many nations and great kings shall make slaves even of them, and I will recompense them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.” The Cup of the Lord's Wrath 15 Thus the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. 16 They shall drink and stagger and be crazed because of the sword that I am sending among them.” 17 So I took the cup from the LORD's hand, and made all the nations to whom the LORD sent me drink it: 18 Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, its kings and officials, to make them a desolation and a waste, a hissing and a curse, as at this day; 19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, his servants, his officials, all his people, 20 and all the mixed tribes among them; all the kings of the land of Uz and all the kings of the land of the Philistines (Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod); 21 Edom, Moab, and the sons of Ammon; 22 all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the coastland across the sea; 23 Dedan, Tema, Buz, and all who cut the corners of their hair; 24 all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the mixed tribes who dwell in the desert; 25 all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of Media; 26 all the kings of the north, far and near, one after another, and all the kingdoms of the world that are on the face of the earth. And after them the king of Babylon1 shall drink. 27 “Then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Drink, be drunk and vomit, fall and rise no more, because of the sword that I am sending among you.' 28 “And if they refuse to accept the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: You must drink! 29 For behold, I begin to work disaster at the city that is called by my name, and shall you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth, declares the LORD of hosts.' 30 “You, therefore, shall prophesy against them all these words, and say to them: “‘The LORD will roar from on high, and from his holy habitation utter his voice; he will roar mightily against his fold, and shout, like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.31 The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth, for the LORD has an indictment against the nations; he is entering into judgment with all flesh, and the wicked he will put to the sword, declares the LORD.' 32 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Behold, disaster is going forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth! 33 “And those pierced by the LORD on that day shall extend from one end of the earth to the other. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall be dung on the surface of the ground. 34 “Wail, you shepherds, and cry out, and roll in ashes, you lords of the flock, for the days of your slaughter and dispersion have come, and you shall fall like a choice vessel.35 No refuge will remain for the shepherds, nor escape for the lords of the flock.36 A voice—the cry of the shepherds, and the wail of the lords of the flock! For the LORD is laying waste their pasture,37 and the peaceful folds are devastated because of the fierce anger of the LORD.38 Like a lion he has left his lair, for their land has become a waste because of the sword of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.” Jeremiah Threatened with Death 26 In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from the LORD: 2 “Thus says the LORD: Stand in the court of the LORD's house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the LORD all the words that I command you to speak to them; do not hold back a word. 3 It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds. 4 You shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD: If you will not listen to me, to walk in my law that I have set before you, 5 and to listen to the words of my servants the prophets whom I send to you urgently, though you have not listened, 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh, and I will make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.'” 7 The priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. 8 And when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests and the prophets and all the people laid hold of him, saying, “You shall die! 9 Why have you prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without inhabitant'?” And all the people gathered around Jeremiah in the house of the LORD. 10 When the officials of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king's house to the house of the LORD and took their seat in the entry of the New Gate of the house of the LORD. 11 Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to all the people, “This man deserves the sentence of death, because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.” 12 Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and all the people, saying, “The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the words you have heard. 13 Now therefore mend your ways and your deeds, and obey the voice of the LORD your God, and the LORD will relent of the disaster that he has pronounced against you. 14 But as for me, behold, I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you. 15 Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and its inhabitants, for in truth the LORD sent me to you to speak all these words in your ears.” Jeremiah Spared from Death 16 Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, “This man does not deserve the sentence of death, for he has spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God.” 17 And certain of the elders of the land arose and spoke to all the assembled people, saying, 18 “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and said to all the people of Judah: ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “‘Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.' 19 Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Did he not fear the LORD and entreat the favor of the LORD, and did not the LORD relent of the disaster that he had pronounced against them? But we are about to bring great disaster upon ourselves.” 20 There was another man who prophesied in the name of the LORD, Uriah the son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim. He prophesied against this city and against this land in words like those of Jeremiah. 21 And when King Jehoiakim, with all his warriors and all the officials, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death. But when Uriah heard of it, he was afraid and fled and escaped to Egypt. 22 Then King Jehoiakim sent to Egypt certain men, Elnathan the son of Achbor and others with him, 23 and they took Uriah from Egypt and brought him to King Jehoiakim, who struck him down with the sword and dumped his dead body into the burial place of the common people. 24 But the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah so that he was not given over to the people to be put to death. Footnotes  25:26 Hebrew Sheshach, a code name for Babylon (ESV) Evening: 2 Timothy 3 2 Timothy 3 (Listen) Godlessness in the Last Days 3 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. All Scripture Is Breathed Out by God 10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom1 you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God2 may be complete, equipped for every good work. Footnotes  3:14 The Greek for whom is plural  3:17 That is, a messenger of God (the phrase echoes a common Old Testament expression) (ESV)
Unexpected OutcomesThroughout many of our life experiences, we often encounter the unexpected. Unexpected outcomes may be a surprise to us, but we can live with confidence that they are no surprise to God. Relying on God's guidance throughout our life can help us to overcome challenges and take advantage of new opportunities to the glory to God. --- God can do amazing things through ordinary people who are empowered by the Holy Spirit. In the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit was given to all believers and the church was born. The church is God's chosen instrument in the world for sharing the good news about Jesus Christ. The book of Acts is all about the unhindered movement of God throughout the world as the gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed through the church. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the early church was an unstoppable movement that proclaimed the Kingdom of God and Jesus Christ as the only way to eternal life. Today, the church empowered by the Holy Spirit is called to continue God's redeeming work in the world by fulfilling God's mission of making Jesus known to the ends of the earth. Acts of the Apostles 15:36-41 NLTAfter some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let's go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.” Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord's gracious care. Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there. • • •Acts of the Apostles 16:1-10 NLTPaul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium, so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek. Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day. Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas. That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there. • • •Sermon Points (Life Lessons from Paul's Journey):1. Not all endings are happy endings. (Acts 15:36-41)2. Invite others to be a part of your life. (Acts 16:1-5)3. Rely on God's guidance. (Acts 16:6-10) • • •Supporting Texts:2 Timothy 4:112 Timothy 3:14-17Philippians 2:3-4Romans 12:1-2 • • •Challenge: When it comes to following God's guidance, begin by obeying God's will for your life as revealed in the Bible. Make sure to pay attention to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and seek the wisdom and counsel of Godly people in your life. Yield your life to God, because going through life with God will always be better than going through life without God!
INTRODUCTION The early church father John Chrysostom once said that the apostle Paul went through a “blizzard of troubles.” This passage, this text, is one of the places where we learn something of them. But, if truth be told, we are probably just learning a fraction of them. Paul's adversaries at Corinth were apparently arguing that Paul could not be from God—look at how much trouble he was in, all the time. The man was a controversy magnet, and this was upsetting to that breed of Christian that wants to stay well away from all controversy magnets. But Paul's reply that the troubles did not negate his ministry. Rather, his long endurance through those troubles confirmed his ministry. THE TEXT “Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged” (2 Cor. 6:3–18). SUMMARY OF THE TEXT Paul here works through a litany of his troubles. He is careful not to give offense in anything (v. 3). He is of course talking about unnecessary offense. In the original, there are 28 descriptive comments. As Kent Hughes points out in his commentary, the first 18 are prefaced with the word in, the following 3 by the word through, and the last 7 by the word as. Not only so, the first round tends to come in triplets. First we see general troubles—afflictions, necessities, and distresses (v. 4). The second triplet was made up of troubles from others—stripes, imprisonments, and riots (v. 5). Remember that Paul went through riotous tumults in Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, Ephesus, and Jerusalem (Acts 13:50; 14:5,19; 16:22; 18:12; 19:23; 21:27). That man knew his riots. Then there was the triplet of troubles he went through that might be called self-sacrificial—labors, watching, and fasting (v. 5). How could he endure all this? Paul then gives us a list of the inner graces that made it possible for him to maintain his steady equilibrium, despite all the commotion around him. In the middle of this list he mentions the Holy Spirit Himself by name. So Paul does what he does BY pureness, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, and by genuine love (v. 6). He does it BY the word of truth, the power of God, and the armor of righteousness on the right and on the left (v. 7). The word armor here would be better rendered as weapons—for the right hand and left. He does what he does BY honor and dishonor, BY evil report and good (v. 8a). For the last seven, Paul gives us a series of paradoxes, all of them ending on an upward note of triumph. AS deceivers, but actually true (v. 8). As unknown, but actually well known. AS dying, and yet look at us live. AS punished, but actually not killed (v. 9). AS sorrowful, but always rejoicing, and AS poor, while actually enriching many others, and AS possessing nothing while at the same time owning everything (v. 10). Paul then speaks straight to the Corinthians—our mouth is open, and our heart is enlarged (v. 11). They were not restricted in Paul and company, but rather were constricted in their own attitudes (v. 12). The kink in the hose was in them, not in Paul. Paul pleads with them as with his own children—be enlarged in heart, just as Paul is (v. 13). This is something we can imitate the apostle in. THE GRACE OF CONTROVERSY There are those who believe the ministry to be an indoor job with no heavy lifting. There was an old Southern joke that said that a hot sun and a slow mule had been responsible for many a call to the ministry. This has always been a lure. There were men in the first century who confounded gain with godliness (1 Tim. 6:5). And remember what Paul warned against just a few chapters before—“For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.” (2 Cor. 2:17, NKJV). And when there is constant trouble, it disrupts marketing. It discourages sales. It makes it hard to be friends with the world, and to monetize that friendship. That's why Demas had to leave Paul's company to take a new position (2 Tim. 4:10). BEDROCK JOY Notice that biblical joy is not a frothy bubble gum kind of joy. It is not happy happy joy joy. It is not superficial sentiment. Paul says “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (v. 10). This shows us that when Paul tells us elsewhere that we are to rejoice all the time (Phil. 4:4), he is not urging into a masochistic glee. The soil in your life may grow some plants that have thorns, but down underneath it all must be the bedrock of joy. LARGENESS OF HEART Paul concludes this section by urging expansiveness of heart upon the Corinthians. He tells them that it was because of his largeness of heart that made tell them about all the troubles he had gone through. His mouth was open because his heart was enormous. He spoke because he loved. “I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.” (Psalm 119:32). When King Solomon pleased the Lord by asking for wisdom instead of other things, what did God do for him? “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore” (1 Kings 4:29). Fussers don't have this largeness of heart. They fuss right and they fuss left. They fuss about their meals, they fuss about the traffic, they fuss about the sermons, they fuss about the lack of things to grumble about. Because this had happened at Corinth, the saints there had fallen prey to certain agitators who wanted to circulate complaints. So Paul opened his heart wide, and poured everything out. And it was at that moment that he told them the problem was in their own twisted, constricted hearts. Open up, Paul says. Imitate him as he imitates Christ. Join him and his company of great hearts. It sounds inspiring, but what is the cost? It means going and walking with Paul as he works through his blizzard of troubles.
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.2 Timothy 3:10-13—Thanks for joining us for a special edition of Passion Daily as Pastor Ben Stuart guides us through a twenty-day look at Paul's last letter in scripture, 2 Timothy.—Give towards what God is doing through Passion City Church: https://passioncitychurch.com/give-online—With Passion City Online, you can join us every Sunday live at 9:30a and 11:45a, and our gatherings are available on-demand starting at 2p! Join us at https://passioncitychurch.com/online—Subscribe to our channel to see more messages from Passion City Church: https://www.youtube.com/passioncitychurch1—Looking for content for your Kids? Subscribe to our Passion Kids Channel:https://passion.link/passionkidsonline—At Passion City Church, we believe that because God has displayed the ultimate sacrifice in Jesus, our response to that in worship must be extravagant. It is our privilege, and our created purpose, to reflect God's Glory to Him through our praise, our sacrifice, and our song.—Follow Passion City Church: https://www.instagram.com/passioncity/Passion City Church is a Jesus church with locations in Atlanta
Acts 14:19- 28 “But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.” Sermon Transcript: Morning, everybody. Morning. Please take in your bi, Take your Bibles to Acts. Chapter 14. Gonna be looking at Acts chapter 14 versus […]
Acts of the Apostles 14:8-20 NLTWhile they were at Lystra, Paul and Barnabas came upon a man with crippled feet. He had been that way from birth, so he had never walked. He was sitting and listening as Paul preached. Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed. So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped to his feet and started walking. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human form!” They decided that Barnabas was the Greek god Zeus and that Paul was Hermes, since he was the chief speaker. Now the temple of Zeus was located just outside the town. So the priest of the temple and the crowd brought bulls and wreaths of flowers to the town gates, and they prepared to offer sacrifices to the apostles. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening, they tore their clothing in dismay and ran out among the people, shouting, “Friends, why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. In the past he permitted all the nations to go their own ways, but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts.” But even with these words, Paul and Barnabas could scarcely restrain the people from sacrificing to them. Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe. • • •1. Know your audience. (v. 8-13) 2. Know the living God. (v. 14-18) 3. Know your mission. (v. 19-20) • • •Supporting Texts:Acts 17:16-34Romans 1:18-321 Thess. 1:9-102 Timothy 3:10-122 Corinthians 11:24-28 • • •Challenge: When witnessing to others about Jesus, don't be afraid that you will create a mess too big for God to sort out. Trust that God is in control, and that He will remain in control. He can use even our most inept good-faith efforts to accomplish His plan. The important thing is to go and witness. – Chuck Swindoll.
Old Testament: Isaiah 34–36 Isaiah 34–36 (Listen) Judgment on the Nations 34 Draw near, O nations, to hear, and give attention, O peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that fills it; the world, and all that comes from it.2 For the LORD is enraged against all the nations, and furious against all their host; he has devoted them to destruction,1 has given them over for slaughter.3 Their slain shall be cast out, and the stench of their corpses shall rise; the mountains shall flow with their blood.4 All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree. 5 For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; behold, it descends for judgment upon Edom, upon the people I have devoted to destruction.6 The LORD has a sword; it is sated with blood; it is gorged with fat, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom.7 Wild oxen shall fall with them, and young steers with the mighty bulls. Their land shall drink its fill of blood, and their soil shall be gorged with fat. 8 For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.9 And the streams of Edom2 shall be turned into pitch, and her soil into sulfur; her land shall become burning pitch.10 Night and day it shall not be quenched; its smoke shall go up forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever.11 But the hawk and the porcupine3 shall possess it, the owl and the raven shall dwell in it. He shall stretch the line of confusion4 over it, and the plumb line of emptiness.12 Its nobles—there is no one there to call it a kingdom, and all its princes shall be nothing. 13 Thorns shall grow over its strongholds, nettles and thistles in its fortresses. It shall be the haunt of jackals, an abode for ostriches.514 And wild animals shall meet with hyenas; the wild goat shall cry to his fellow; indeed, there the night bird6 settles and finds for herself a resting place. 15 There the owl nests and lays and hatches and gathers her young in her shadow; indeed, there the hawks are gathered, each one with her mate.16 Seek and read from the book of the LORD: Not one of these shall be missing; none shall be without her mate. For the mouth of the LORD has commanded, and his Spirit has gathered them.17 He has cast the lot for them; his hand has portioned it out to them with the line; they shall possess it forever; from generation to generation they shall dwell in it. The Ransomed Shall Return 35 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;2 it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. 8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.79 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Sennacherib Invades Judah 36 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. 2 And the king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh8 from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem, with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer's Field. 3 And there came out to him Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder. 4 And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? 5 Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me? 6 Behold, you are trusting in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. 7 But if you say to me, “We trust in the LORD our God,” is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, “You shall worship before this altar”? 8 Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. 9 How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master's servants, when you trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 10 Moreover, is it without the LORD that I have come up against this land to destroy it? The LORD said to me, “Go up against this land and destroy it.”'” 11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 12 But the Rabshakeh said, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and drink their own urine?” 13 Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! 14 Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. 15 Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, “The LORD will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 16 Do not listen to Hezekiah. For thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me9 and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, 17 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 18 Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 20 Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?'” 21 But they were silent and answered him not a word, for the king's command was, “Do not answer him.” 22 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of the Rabshakeh. Footnotes  34:2 That is, set apart (devoted) as an offering to the Lord (for destruction); also verse 5  34:9 Hebrew her streams  34:11 The identity of the animals rendered hawk and porcupine is uncertain  34:11 Hebrew formlessness  34:13 Or owls  34:14 Identity uncertain  35:8 Or if they are fools, they shall not wander in it  36:2 Rabshakeh is the title of a high-ranking Assyrian military officer  36:16 Hebrew Make a blessing with me (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 92 Psalm 92 (Listen) How Great Are Your Works A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath. 92 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;2 to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,3 to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.4 For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. 5 How great are your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep!6 The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this:7 that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever;8 but you, O LORD, are on high forever.9 For behold, your enemies, O LORD, for behold, your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered. 10 But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; you have poured over me1 fresh oil.11 My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants. 12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.13 They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,15 to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. Footnotes  92:10 Compare Syriac; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain (ESV) New Testament: Acts 16 Acts 16 (Listen) Timothy Joins Paul and Silas 16 Paul1 came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brothers2 at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily. The Macedonian Call 6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul3 had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. The Conversion of Lydia 11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the4 district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. Paul and Silas in Prison 16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. 19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. The Philippian Jailer Converted 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer5 called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. 35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed. Footnotes  16:1 Greek He  16:2 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 40  16:10 Greek he  16:12 Or that  16:29 Greek he (ESV)
Acts 14:1-18 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. Sermon Transcript: Good morning. Thank you worship team. Thank you all as we worship with one another, reminding each other the reality of our God. We’re gonna […]
10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom[a] you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[b] may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Old Testament: Isaiah 29–30 Isaiah 29–30 (Listen) The Siege of Jerusalem 29 Ah, Ariel, Ariel, the city where David encamped! Add year to year; let the feasts run their round.2 Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be moaning and lamentation, and she shall be to me like an Ariel.13 And I will encamp against you all around, and will besiege you with towers and I will raise siegeworks against you.4 And you will be brought low; from the earth you shall speak, and from the dust your speech will be bowed down; your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost, and from the dust your speech shall whisper. 5 But the multitude of your foreign foes shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff. And in an instant, suddenly,6 you will be visited by the LORD of hosts with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.7 And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, all that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her, shall be like a dream, a vision of the night.8 As when a hungry man dreams, and behold, he is eating, and awakes with his hunger not satisfied, or as when a thirsty man dreams, and behold, he is drinking, and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched, so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion. 9 Astonish yourselves2 and be astonished; blind yourselves and be blind! Be drunk,3 but not with wine; stagger,4 but not with strong drink!10 For the LORD has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes (the prophets), and covered your heads (the seers). 11 And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” 12 And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.” 13 And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,14 therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.” 15 Ah, you who hide deep from the LORD your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”16 You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”? 17 Is it not yet a very little while until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.19 The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.20 For the ruthless shall come to nothing and the scoffer cease, and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off,21 who by a word make a man out to be an offender, and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate, and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right. 22 Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: “Jacob shall no more be ashamed, no more shall his face grow pale.23 For when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in his midst, they will sanctify my name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.24 And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding, and those who murmur will accept instruction.” Do Not Go Down to Egypt 30 “Ah, stubborn children,” declares the LORD, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance,5 but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin;2 who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!3 Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.4 For though his officials are at Zoan and his envoys reach Hanes,5 everyone comes to shame through a people that cannot profit them, that brings neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace.” 6 An oracle on the beasts of the Negeb. Through a land of trouble and anguish, from where come the lioness and the lion, the adder and the flying fiery serpent, they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys, and their treasures on the humps of camels, to a people that cannot profit them.7 Egypt's help is worthless and empty; therefore I have called her “Rahab who sits still.” A Rebellious People 8 And now, go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever.69 For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD;10 who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions,11 leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them,13 therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant;14 and its breaking is like that of a potter's vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found with which to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern.” 15 For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning7 and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, 16 and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift.17 A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill. The Lord Will Be Gracious 18 Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. 19 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. 22 Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!” 23 And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, 24 and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25 And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26 Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the LORD binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow. 27 Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;8 his lips are full of fury, and his tongue is like a devouring fire;28 his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck; to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray. 29 You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel. 30 And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones. 31 The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the LORD, when he strikes with his rod. 32 And every stroke of the appointed staff that the LORD lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them. 33 For a burning place9 has long been prepared; indeed, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it. Footnotes  29:2 Ariel could mean lion of God, or hero (2 Samuel 23:20), or altar hearth (Ezekiel 43:15–16)  29:9 Or Linger awhile  29:9 Or They are drunk  29:9 Or they stagger  30:1 Hebrew who weave a web  30:8 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac, Targum, Vulgate, and Greek versions; Masoretic Text forever and ever  30:15 Or repentance  30:27 Hebrew in weight of uplifted clouds  30:33 Or For Topheth (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 90 Psalm 90 (Listen) Book Four From Everlasting to Everlasting A Prayer of Moses, the man of God. 90 Lord, you have been our dwelling place1 in all generations.2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3 You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!”24 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. 5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning:6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. 7 For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed.8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. 9 For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span3 is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? 12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.13 Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.16 Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.17 Let the favor4 of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! Footnotes  90:1 Some Hebrew manuscripts (compare Septuagint) our refuge  90:3 Or of Adam  90:10 Or pride  90:17 Or beauty (ESV) New Testament: Acts 14 Acts 14 (Listen) Paul and Barnabas at Iconium 14 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.1 3 So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4 But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. 5 When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6 they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, 7 and there they continued to preach the gospel. Paul and Barnabas at Lystra 8 Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well,2 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crow
Bible Study with Jairus – Acts 13 The Paradox of Salvation: God's Election and Man's Free Will One of the big questions that frequently arises in Christian circles is the relationship between God's sovereign election and man's free will. Does God choose who will be saved, or is it determined by our own subjective choice? God's Election and Man's Subjective Will Acts 13:48 says, "And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed." How can we understand this verse? How do we know who is appointed by God to eternal life? Are we saved by God's election or by our own free will? One prominent evangelist said that as Christians approach the gates of heaven, they see a sign that reads, “Whoever believes shall have eternal life.” However, after they pass through the door, they turn back and see a sign that says, “You were chosen before the creation of the world.” In other words, before salvation, we make a choice. After salvation, we realize we were chosen. Before a person is saved, debating election is unhelpful. For an unbeliever, the only message is “believe.” Satan wants us to waste time debating who is “chosen before the creation of the world” and miss the salvation that is right in front of us. God chooses us first, and then he works to win our hearts. For instance, God chose Isaac's son Jacob, and eventually captured Jacob's heart (despite his resistance). This story demonstrates the importance of God's unconditional election, despite human resistance. However, our free will also plays a very important role. If we choose to harden our hearts towards God continually, he may allow us to refuse his free gift. Acts 13 gives a good example of this concept. The false prophet Bar-Jesus was strongly opposing the apostles' words. Acts 13:7 says, "[Bar-Jesus] was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God." Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, rebuked Bar-Jesus. He said that Bar-Jesus would become blind, and he did. Astonished, Sergius Paulus believed in Jesus. Sergius Paulus made a choice to believe. In Acts 24, we see another person who was interested in Christ. The governor Felix and his Jewish wife Drusilla enjoyed listening to Paul talk about Jesus Christ (Acts 24:24). Felix understood Christianity and was concerned about righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment (Acts 24:22, 25). He was counting on Paul to send him money, so he often sent for Paul and conversed with him. But there is no record that he believed. Instead, Felix left Paul in prison to do the Jews a favor (Acts 24:27). My personal guess is that Felix wasn't saved, while Sergius Paulus was. Why? Did these men make a choice, or did God choose one and not the other? God wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). So in a general sense, God has chosen everyone. But the difference in our hearts—that is, our free will—will bring about completely different results. God does not interfere with our free will. Are we worthy of God's eternal life? If our heart is willing, we will receive God's life. For "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9). Why did the disciples shake the dust off their feet? Acts 13:51 says, "They shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium." Why shake off the dust? Some Bible teachers believe that the power of the Holy Spirit could be transmitted through handkerchiefs, water, Peter's shadow, etc. Similarly, when a believer is in a city that is against God, evil spirits can be transmitted through mediums such as dust. This theory may sound a bit exaggerated. I believe that they shook the dust off their feet as a prophetic act with spiritual implications. For instance, Moses threw a branch into the water, making it sweet. This was a prophetic act. It was God who made the bitter water sweet, but this prophetic act allowed Moses to demonstrate his faith. Baptism is another example of a prophetic act. Baptism is a physical action that shows our attitude or obedience to Christ. It shows that God is baptizing us into Him. Similarly, when the disciples shook off the dust from their feet, it was a visible external act that prophetically expressed the invisible truth. God had drawn the line. This city was clearly in rebellion against him. Breaking ungodly soul ties Shaking the dust off one's feet is somewhat similar to "breaking ungodly soul ties," a concept taught in the Healing and Deliverance Ministries. This theory teaches that if we have an ungodly extramarital sexual connection with someone or if we watch pornographic videos, we will develop ungodly soul ties with other people and evil spirits. The Bible tells us that when we join ourselves to a prostitute, we become one flesh with the prostitute. But when we join ourselves to the Lord we become one spirit with Him (1 Corinthians 6:16-17). We need to repent, confess our sins, and declare that we are breaking these ties so that the Holy Spirit can help us break free from them. Then we will not be further influenced by the evil spirits entering through these soul ties. If we are not willing to repent, God will not force us to do so. He does not violate our free will. But these ungodly soul ties are the entrance through which the evil spirits continue to attack us. All who oppose the Lord's work are participating with evil spirits; these evil spirits want to drag them into hell. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "The guilty one is not he who commits the sin in darkness, but the one who causes the darkness." Who is the creator of darkness? Satan, of course. Satan and the evil spirits have designed various methods of deception and temptation. They want to harden and darken people's hearts, influencing them to reject salvation. We must break free from Satan and the influence of evil spirits. Then we can be saved and choose faith. Disconnect from Satan and Evil Spirits and Choose Faith The next two stories in this chapter show us that longing for God brings very different results than living in jealousy and selfishness. In this chapter, Paul preaches in the synagogue about Jesus' death and resurrection and the history of Israel (Acts 13:13-43). He explicitly states that Jesus, the descendant of David, is the Savior of Israel (Acts 13:23). The Israelites crucified Jesus because they did not know who he was. But God raised Jesus from the dead. The Bible says, “After the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God." (vs. 43) The hearts of these people were open, and they accepted Jesus Christ. But the next paragraph records the story of some Jews who turned against Paul and Barnabas because of jealousy. The next Sabbath, nearly the whole city came to hear Paul and Barnabas. Verse 45 says, "But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him." Evil spirits took advantage of these men's jealousy to build strongholds and ungodly links within them. Their hearts began to harden, and they ultimately rejected salvation. Paul told the people that since they rejected the word of God, he must go to the Gentiles to preach the gospel. He said that God had sent him to be a light for the Gentiles and to bring salvation to the ends of the earth (Acts 13:47). Angered, the Jews "incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district" (Acts 13:50). Both Paul and Barnabas shook off the dust from their feet, left Antioch, and went to Iconium. This story is consistent with Jesus' teachings. Jesus told his disciples, "And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.” (Matthew 10:11-15). God gives us free will to test our hearts. He wants to know if we will voluntarily love Him and choose Him. Our heart is important to God. If our heart accepts God, we are worthy of His salvation and will receive His peace. But if our heart does not want God, we are not worthy of His salvation and will be disciplined by Him in the future. Although Satan and the evil spirits have created darkness to deceive us, God has prepared the light of the gospel. The sunlight from on high has visited us, to guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:78-79). But if we refuse to be guided by this light, we will remain in darkness. Conclusion The question about God's election or man's free will is addressed by several stories in this chapter. God chose us and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our salvation. But we must also choose him with our own free will. God never forces us to change our hearts. But He hopes that we will choose Him and be worthy of His salvation.  All Scripture quotations are taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.
Old Testament: Isaiah 26–28 Isaiah 26–28 (Listen) You Keep Him in Perfect Peace 26 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks.2 Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.4 Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.5 For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust.6 The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.” 7 The path of the righteous is level; you make level the way of the righteous.8 In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul.9 My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.10 If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the LORD.11 O LORD, your hand is lifted up, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed. Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.12 O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.13 O LORD our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance.14 They are dead, they will not live; they are shades, they will not arise; to that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them.15 But you have increased the nation, O LORD, you have increased the nation; you are glorified; you have enlarged all the borders of the land. 16 O LORD, in distress they sought you; they poured out a whispered prayer when your discipline was upon them.17 Like a pregnant woman who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near to giving birth, so were we because of you, O LORD;18 we were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind. We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.19 Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. 20 Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.21 For behold, the LORD is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain. The Redemption of Israel 27 In that day the LORD with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea. 2 In that day, “A pleasant vineyard,1 sing of it!3 I, the LORD, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Lest anyone punish it, I keep it night and day;4 I have no wrath. Would that I had thorns and briers to battle! I would march against them, I would burn them up together.5 Or let them lay hold of my protection, let them make peace with me, let them make peace with me.” 6 In days to come2 Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit. 7 Has he struck them as he struck those who struck them? Or have they been slain as their slayers were slain?8 Measure by measure,3 by exile you contended with them; he removed them with his fierce breath4 in the day of the east wind.9 Therefore by this the guilt of Jacob will be atoned for, and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin:5 when he makes all the stones of the altars like chalkstones crushed to pieces, no Asherim or incense altars will remain standing.10 For the fortified city is solitary, a habitation deserted and forsaken, like the wilderness; there the calf grazes; there it lies down and strips its branches.11 When its boughs are dry, they are broken; women come and make a fire of them. For this is a people without discernment; therefore he who made them will not have compassion on them; he who formed them will show them no favor. 12 In that day from the river Euphrates6 to the Brook of Egypt the LORD will thresh out the grain, and you will be gleaned one by one, O people of Israel. 13 And in that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain at Jerusalem. Judgment on Ephraim and Jerusalem 28 Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim, and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome with wine!2 Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong; like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest, like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters, he casts down to the earth with his hand.3 The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trodden underfoot;4 and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley, will be like a first-ripe fig7 before the summer: when someone sees it, he swallows it as soon as it is in his hand. 5 In that day the LORD of hosts will be a crown of glory,8 and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people,6 and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. 7 These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are swallowed by9 wine, they stagger with strong drink, they reel in vision, they stumble in giving judgment.8 For all tables are full of filthy vomit, with no space left. 9 “To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast?10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” 11 For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the LORD will speak to this people,12 to whom he has said, “This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose”; yet they would not hear.13 And the word of the LORD will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. A Cornerstone in Zion 14 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem!15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement, when the overwhelming whip passes through it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;16 therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am the one who has laid10 as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.'17 And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plumb line; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”18 Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, you will be beaten down by it.19 As often as it passes through it will take you; for morning by morning it will pass through, by day and by night; and it will be sheer terror to understand the message.20 For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on, and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in.21 For the LORD will rise up as on Mount Perazim; as in the Valley of Gibeon he will be roused; to do his deed—strange is his deed! and to work his work—alien is his work!22 Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord GOD of hosts against the whole land. 23 Give ear, and hear my voice; give attention, and hear my speech.24 Does he who plows for sowing plow continually? Does he continually open and harrow his ground?25 When he has leveled its surface, does he not scatter dill, sow cumin, and put in wheat in rows and barley in its proper place, and emmer11 as the border?26 For he is rightly instructed; his God teaches him. 27 Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin, but dill is beaten out with a stick, and cumin with a rod.28 Does one crush grain for bread? No, he does not thresh it forever;12 when he drives his cart wheel over it with his horses, he does not crush it.29 This also comes from the LORD of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom. Footnotes  27:2 Many Hebrew manuscripts A vineyard of wine  27:6 Hebrew In those to come  27:8 Or By driving her away; the meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain  27:8 Or wind  27:9 Septuagint and this is the blessing when I take away his sin  27:12 Hebrew from the River  28:4 Or fruit  28:5 The Hebrew words for glory and hosts sound alike  28:7 Or confused by  28:16 Dead Sea Scroll I am laying  28:25 A type of wheat  28:28 Or Grain is crushed for bread; he will surely thresh it, but not forever (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 89:30–52 Psalm 89:30–52 (Listen) 30 If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules,131 if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments,32 then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes,33 but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness.34 I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips.35 Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David.36 His offspring shall endure forever, his throne as long as the sun before me.37 Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah 38 But now you have cast off and rejected; you are full of wrath against your anointed.39 You have renounced the covenant with your servant; you have defiled his crown in the dust.40 You have breached all his walls; you have laid his strongholds in ruins.41 All who pass by plunder him; he has become the scorn of his neighbors.42 You have exalted the right hand of his foes; you have made all his enemies rejoice.43 You have also turned back the edge of his sword, and yo
He was born in Iconium during the reign of Aurelian, and knew St Thecla. He was arrested, tortured and condemned to death for his Christian faith. But before his execution was carried out, the cruel Emperor Aurelian died, and Chariton was freed. He travelled to Jerusalem and took up the ascetical life in the Palestinian wilderness. Monks gathered around him, and in the course of his life he established three monastic communities in the Holy Land. He died in peace at a great age. According to the Prologue, the practice of tonsuring monks originated with St Chariton.
The Poison Of UnbeliefReader: Jon WatsonDate: 27th September 2022Passage: Acts 14:2-------------------Many a person has been imprisoned (or executed) for poisoning someone they planned to murder. It is a terrible crime deliberately to poison someone to death. It is also a terrible thing to poison people's minds. There are fanatical people who try to brainwash the young into believing extreme ideologies or political views or even wrong religious theories.When Paul and Barnabas arrived at the city of Iconium which was 80 miles from their last port of call they began to preach the Gospel. At first things went well and many believed. But as so often happened unbelieving Jewish people became angry with Paul and Barnabas and the message they preached. In their anger they twisted the truth that the brothers had been preaching and "poisoned the minds of the people against the Gospel message".In our own day there are certain writers who deliberately set out to contradict the teaching of the Bible and to undermine and destroy the faith of people who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a 'criminal' thing to do. The poison of unbelief can be very strong, even deadly, if it turns people away from Christ. But God has a day when such poisoners will have to answer to him personally for what they have done. But God also has the word of his grace to help those whose belief is challenged to keep on believing in Jesus. His truth will triumph. PrayerDear Lord Jesus, I pray that you will help me to keep believing in your Word. Amen.
Old Testament: Proverbs 15–16 Proverbs 15–16 (Listen) 15 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.4 A gentle1 tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.5 A fool despises his father's instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.6 In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.28 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but he loves him who pursues righteousness.10 There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die.11 Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD; how much more the hearts of the children of man!12 A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.13 A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.15 All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it.17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.19 The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.20 A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.21 Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.23 To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!24 The path of life leads upward for the prudent, that he may turn away from Sheol beneath.25 The LORD tears down the house of the proud but maintains the widow's boundaries.26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, but gracious words are pure.27 Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live.28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.29 The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes3 the bones.31 The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.32 Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.33 The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. 16 The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.43 Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.4 The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.5 Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.6 By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.7 When a man's ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.9 The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.10 An oracle is on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment.11 A just balance and scales are the LORD's; all the weights in the bag are his work.12 It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness.13 Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right.14 A king's wrath is a messenger of death, and a wise man will appease it.15 In the light of a king's face there is life, and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain.16 How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.17 The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life.18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.19 It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.20 Whoever gives thought to the word5 will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.21 The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.22 Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.23 The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.626 A worker's appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on.27 A worthless man plots evil, and his speech7 is like a scorching fire.28 A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.29 A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good.30 Whoever winks his eyes plans8 dishonest things; he who purses his lips brings evil to pass.31 Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. Footnotes  15:4 Or healing  15:7 Or the hearts of fools are not steadfast  15:30 Hebrew makes fat  16:2 Or spirits  16:20 Or to a matter  16:25 Hebrew ways of death  16:27 Hebrew what is on his lips  16:30 Hebrew to plan (ESV) New Testament: 2 Timothy 3:10–4:8 2 Timothy 3:10–4:8 (Listen) All Scripture Is Breathed Out by God 10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom1 you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God2 may be complete, equipped for every good work. Preach the Word 4 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound3 teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. Footnotes  3:14 The Greek for whom is plural  3:17 That is, a messenger of God (the phrase echoes a common Old Testament expression)  4:3 Or healthy (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 69:1–18 Psalm 69:1–18 (Listen) Save Me, O God To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. Of David. 69 Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck.12 I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.3 I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. 4 More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause; mighty are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies. What I did not steal must I now restore?5 O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you. 6 Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel.7 For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach, that dishonor has covered my face.8 I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons. 9 For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.10 When I wept and humbled2 my soul with fasting, it became my reproach.11 When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them.12 I am the talk of those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me. 13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.14 Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.15 Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me. 16 Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.17 Hide not your face from your servant, for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.18 Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies! Footnotes  69:1 Or waters threaten my life  69:10 Hebrew lacks and humbled (ESV) Proverb: Proverbs 23:15–16 Proverbs 23:15–16 (Listen) 15 My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad.16 My inmost being1 will exult when your lips speak what is right. Footnotes  23:16 Hebrew My kidneys (ESV)
Proper 19 First Psalm: Psalms 56–58 Psalms 56–58 (Listen) In God I Trust To the choirmaster: according to The Dove on Far-off Terebinths. A Miktam1 of David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath. 56 Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me;2 my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly.3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? 5 All day long they injure my cause;2 all their thoughts are against me for evil.6 They stir up strife, they lurk; they watch my steps, as they have waited for my life.7 For their crime will they escape? In wrath cast down the peoples, O God! 8 You have kept count of my tossings;3 put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?9 Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that4 God is for me.10 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise,11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.13 For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. Let Your Glory Be over All the Earth To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam5 of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave. 57 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.2 I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.3 He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! 4 My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts— the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. 5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! 6 They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!8 Awake, my glory!6 Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!9 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.10 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! God Who Judges the Earth To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam7 of David. 58 Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?8 Do you judge the children of man uprightly?2 No, in your hearts you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth. 3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.4 They have venom like the venom of a serpent, like the deaf adder that stops its ear,5 so that it does not hear the voice of charmers or of the cunning enchanter. 6 O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD!7 Let them vanish like water that runs away; when he aims his arrows, let them be blunted.8 Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime, like the stillborn child who never sees the sun.9 Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns, whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away!9 10 The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.11 Mankind will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth.” Footnotes  56:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term  56:5 Or they twist my words  56:8 Or wanderings  56:9 Or because  57:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term  57:8 Or my whole being  58:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term  58:1 Or you mighty lords (by revocalization; Hebrew in silence)  58:9 The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain (ESV) Second Psalm: Psalms 64–65 Psalms 64–65 (Listen) Hide Me from the Wicked To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. 64 Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from dread of the enemy.2 Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the throng of evildoers,3 who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows,4 shooting from ambush at the blameless, shooting at him suddenly and without fear.5 They hold fast to their evil purpose; they talk of laying snares secretly, thinking, “Who can see them?”6 They search out injustice, saying, “We have accomplished a diligent search.” For the inward mind and heart of a man are deep. 7 But God shoots his arrow at them; they are wounded suddenly.8 They are brought to ruin, with their own tongues turned against them; all who see them will wag their heads.9 Then all mankind fears; they tell what God has brought about and ponder what he has done. 10 Let the righteous one rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult! O God of Our Salvation To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song. 65 Praise is due to you,1 O God, in Zion, and to you shall vows be performed.2 O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come.3 When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions.4 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple! 5 By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas;6 the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might;7 who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples,8 so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy. 9 You visit the earth and water it;2 you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it.10 You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.11 You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy,13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy. Footnotes  65:1 Or Praise waits for you in silence  65:9 Or and make it overflow (ESV) Old Testament: Job 40 Job 40 (Listen) 40 And the LORD said to Job: 2 “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” Job Promises Silence 3 Then Job answered the LORD and said: 4 “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth.5 I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.” The Lord Challenges Job 6 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 7 “Dress for action1 like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.8 Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?9 Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his? 10 “Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor.11 Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on everyone who is proud and abase him.12 Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low and tread down the wicked where they stand.13 Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below.214 Then will I also acknowledge to you that your own right hand can save you. 15 “Behold, Behemoth,3 which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox.16 Behold, his strength in his loins, and his power in the muscles of his belly.17 He makes his tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together.18 His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron. 19 “He is the first of the works4 of God; let him who made him bring near his sword!20 For the mountains yield food for him where all the wild beasts play.21 Under the lotus plants he lies, in the shelter of the reeds and in the marsh.22 For his shade the lotus trees cover him; the willows of the brook surround him.23 Behold, if the river is turbulent he is not frightened; he is confident though Jordan rushes against his mouth.24 Can one take him by his eyes,5 or pierce his nose with a snare? Footnotes  40:7 Hebrew Gird up your loins  40:13 Hebrew in the hidden place  40:15 A large animal, exact identity unknown  40:19 Hebrew ways  40:24 Or in his sight (ESV) New Testament: Acts 15:36–16:5 Acts 15:36–16:5 (Listen) Paul and Barnabas Separate 36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. Timothy Joins Paul and Silas 16 Paul1 came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brothers2 at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily. Footnotes  16:1 Greek He  16:2 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 40 (ESV) Gospel: John 11:55–12:8 John 11:55–12:8 (Listen)
Introduction In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Paul set forth 15 qualifications for church leaders. In Titus 1:5-9, he presented 17 qualifications. Though similar in most ways, the two lists differ slightly. Each list served either as a general guideline, or was specifically tailored by the apostle Paul for each church-group to whom he was writing. I tend to think Paul was providing a general list of characteristics that one would like to see when considering a person as an elder in the church. Paul's list of qualifications for overseer in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 Paul moved from a discussion about authority in the church (1 Tim 2:11-12) to the office and qualities of an overseer in the local assembly. Paul said, “It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do” (1 Tim 3:1). The term overseer (ἐπισκοπή episkope) refers to “engagement in oversight, supervision, of leaders of Christian communities.” The term overseer appears to be synonymous with elder (πρεσβύτερος presbuteros) and pastor (ποιμήν poimen), as these terms are used interchangeably in the New Testament (Acts 20:17, 28; Tit 1:5-7; 1 Pet 5:1-3). Beginning his list of qualities for overseers, Paul states: "An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6 and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." (1 Tim 3:2-7) Above reproach (ἀνεπίλημπτος anepilemptos) means there must be nothing observable in an overseer's life that others can take hold of and legitimately criticize him for. This requires sound doctrinal thinking by the church and time to observe the candidate. Sadly, Satan will always have those who oppose a good candidate, and where a genuine flaw cannot be found, one can be manufactured, in order to disqualify an elder candidate. This sort of false attack was certainly true for the Lord Jesus, whom the Pharisees and Sadducees had called “a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (Matt 11:19). Surely, their estimation should not count. The husband of one wife (μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα), is literally, a one-woman man. This phrase is somewhat ambiguous. Certainly it prohibits polygamy. I take the phrase to mean the overseer must have his affections directed solely to his wife. However, some Bible teachers take the phrase to include men who have been divorced and remarried (Wiersbe). According to Duane Litfin, “The reasoning behind this view is usually that divorce represents a failure in the home, so that even though a man may be forgiven for any sin involved, he remains permanently disqualified for leadership in the congregation (cf. vv. 4–5; 1 Cor 9:24–27).”One must consider this matter carefully, for though the church must select qualified men to serve as overseers, it must also guard against weaponizing these qualifications to rule out good candidates. Wisdom is needed. Temperate (νηφάλιος nephalios) “pertains to being very moderate in the drinking of an alcoholic beverage, temperate, sober.” The Bible does not condemn drinking alcohol (John 2:1-10; 1 Tim 5:23), but it does prohibit drunkenness (Eph 5:18; cf. 1 Cor 11:21). This is because alcohol can impair a person's thinking and behavior, which must always be under control. A church elder must always be able to think, and to think doctrinally in order to lead effectively. Prudent (σώφρων sophron) “pertains to being in control of oneself, thoughtful, self-controlled.” This means he must take his work in the church seriously and be disciplined. Of course, this does not mean he is not friendly or jovial, for one with a dour personality will not last long in church leadership. Respectable (κόσμιος kosmios) means he must be orderly. Wiersbe states, “The pastor should be organized in his thinking and his living, as well as in his teaching and preaching.” There is a discipline and ordered structure to the life of a church elder. Hospitable (φιλόξενος philoxenos) means he must love strangers. Elders should be friendly toward unbelievers (Rom 12:13; Heb 13:2), who must feel welcome in the local assembly, but also to Christians who might be traveling from city to city and looking for Christian fellowship (3 John 1:5-8). Able to teach (διδακτικός didaktikos) means he is skilled to teach others. This requires years of training and practice as a communicator of God's Word. There's no place for sloppiness in handling God's Word, and judgment will fall upon the one who does (Jam 3:1). Not addicted to wine (πάροινος paroinos) pertains “to one who is given to drinking too much wine.” This touches on the matter of maintaining self-control in one's thoughts and actions, which is forfeited when intoxicated. The Bible clearly prohibits and condemns drunkenness (Eph 5:18; 1 Cor 11:21). Not pugnacious (πλήκτης plektes) refers to a person who is “a striker, one apt to strike; a quarrelsome, violent person.” Such behavior is characteristic of a bully, and there's no place for bullies in the church. Charles Spurgeon used to tell his students, “Don't go about the world with your fist doubled up for fighting, carrying a theological revolver in the leg of your trousers.” Gentle (ἐπιεικής epieikes) describes the believer who is “not insisting on every right of letter of law or custom, yielding, gentle, kind, courteous, tolerant.” Where God's Word is silent, the overseer will make room for others in the church to exercise their preferences. Peaceable (ἄμαχος amachos) means the Christian leader must “not be disposed to fight; not quarrelsome or contentious.” He is one who, when possible, prefers peace in all situations. Elsewhere, Paul said, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Rom 12:18). Free from the love of money (ἀφιλάργυρος aphilarguros) means “not fond of money, not covetous, generous.” The one who loves money might be tempted to twist or compromise God's Word lest it offend a would-be giver. The writer to the Hebrews states, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have” (Heb 13:5a). A good family manager. Paul states, “He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Tim 3:4-5). This means he must manage his home well, controlling his children—as best he can—while not throwing his dignity out the window. Paul's rationale is that if he cannot manage his own home life, he will not be able to manage the local church. According to Wiersbe, “This does not mean that a pastor must be married, or, if married, must have children. However, marriage and a family are probably in the will of God for most pastors. If a man's own children cannot obey and respect him, then his church is not likely to respect and obey his leadership.” The overseer must a mature believer. Paul states the elder must “not be a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil” (1 Tim 3:6). According to Litfin, “An overseer must not be a recent convert (neophyton, “neophyte”), lest his rapid advancement to leadership fill him with pride and conceit, and he experience the same kind of judgment that the devil incurred for his pride.” He must have a good reputation with outsiders. Paul closed this section, saying, “And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Tim 3:7). Thomas Constable states, “A good reputation with those outside the church is essential so that the elder will not bring reproach on the name of Christ and the church. Paul saw this as falling into disgrace and the snare of the devil.” Warren Wiersbe asks, “Does he pay his bills? Does he have a good reputation among unsaved people with whom he does business? (see Col 4:5 and 1 Th 4:1).” Additional Matters Biblically, it appears God is the primary Person who selects elders to serve in His church. The Apostle Paul, when speaking with the elders at Ephesus, said, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). William MacDonald states: "Only the Holy Spirit of God can make a man an elder. This is clear in Acts 20:28. The Holy Spirit lays a burden on a man's heart to take up this important work and also equips him for it. It is impossible to make a man a bishop by voting him into office or by ordaining him. The responsibility of the local assembly is to recognize those men in its midst who have been made elders by God the Holy Spirit (1 Th 5:12-13). It is true that we find the appointment of elders in the book of Titus, but there it was simply a matter of Titus' singling out those men who had the qualifications of elders. At that time, the Christians did not have the NT in printed form, as we have it today. Therefore, they did not know what the exact qualifications for elders were. So Paul sent Titus to them with this information and instructed Titus to set apart those men who had been raised up by the Spirit of God for the work. The recognition of elders by a local assembly might be quite informal. It often happens that Christians instinctively know who their elders are because they have acquainted themselves with the qualifications of elders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1." The Bible does not specify how many elders may serve in a church, or even what process is to be followed concerning their appointment to office. The church has the liberty to follow a relaxed or formal policy depending on its membership. Other qualifications for church elders are as follows: They consist of men only (1 Tim 3:2; Tit 1:6; cf. 1 Tim 2:12-14). They solved doctrinal problems in the church through biblical discussion and research (Acts 15:1-11, cf. Acts 16:4). They worked with “the whole church” in choosing men to send on a missionary journey (Acts 15:22). This is important because elders lead from the front, not the top. They work within the church, and with the church, serving as examples to the church, and not “lording” their authority over others (1 Pet 5:3). They received biblical instruction from Paul regarding the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Today the elder spends the majority of his time studying Scripture so he can be spiritually prepared to meet his obligations as a church leader. Studying God's Word is important, for he cannot live what he does not know. They shepherded the church through general oversight (Acts 20:17; 28). They guarded against false teachers and their false doctrines, guiding believers into God's will, and feeding the church with the truths of Scripture (Acts 20:28-32; Eph 4:11-14, cf. Jer 3:15). All the elders were leaders (1 Th 5:12-13; Heb 13:7, 17), but only some functioned at “preaching and teaching” (1 Tim 5:17; cf. Eph 4:11-14). They were supported financially by those who benefitted from their oversight and teaching (Gal 6:6; 1 Tim 5:17-18). The elders offered support and prayer to fellow believers who were suffering (Jam 5:14). The first elders in Scripture had their place in the church by apostolic appointment. First, Paul appointed elders in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch (Acts 14:21-23), and later, he commanded Titus to appoint elders in the church (Tit 1:5). Since we do not have apostles today, authority does not rest in a person, but Scripture alone. Church leadership is still appointed by God (Acts 20:28; cf. Eph 4:11), and the church recognizes leadership because they measure up to the qualifications set forth in Scripture (1 Tim 3:1-7; Tit 1:5-9). The role of elder/overseer/pastor is very challenging. Though there are no perfect pastors, they must display a level of maturity and godly qualities to be eligible for leadership service in the local church. Pastors have huge responsibilities and often bear great burdens for those in the church (2 Cor 11:29). Today, a qualified pastor will devote many years to learning God's Word, which requires great discipline and financial cost, both for his education and library. Afterwards, he will often accept pay well below what he could have earned if he'd chosen another profession. Many pastors serve bivocationally (Paul was a tent maker who often paid for his own needs; Acts 18:3; 20:34), and some work purely as volunteers. These men need all the encouragement and support a congregation can provide, to help lift them up that they might stay the course and lead God's people in His will. ______________________________________  William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 379.  A. Duane Litfin, “1 Timothy,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 736.  William Arndt, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 672.  Ibid., 987.  Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 220.  William Arndt, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 780.  William D. Mounce, Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 1246.  William Arndt, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 371.  William D. Mounce, Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words, 1079.  Ibid., 1103.  Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Vol 2, 221.  A. Duane Litfin, “1 Timothy,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, 737.  Tom Constable, Tom Constable's Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), 1 Tim 3:2.  Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Vol 2, 221.  William MacDonald, Believer's Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments, ed. Arthur Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 2086.
Paul and Barnabas preach to both Jews and Gentiles in the region of Lycaonia, but the people are divided, and some persecute them. Some, after witnessing the healing of a crippled man, seek to worship the two as gods, but are sternly rebuffed by Paul. Then he is attacked, dragged out of the city and stoned by the Jews. Left for dead, he is revived and immediately goes back into the city.
2 Timothy 3:10-13 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live […]
Proper 18 First Psalm: Psalm 119:49–72 Psalm 119:49–72 (Listen) Zayin 49 Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.50 This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.51 The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law.52 When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O LORD.53 Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law.54 Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.55 I remember your name in the night, O LORD, and keep your law.56 This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts. Heth 57 The LORD is my portion; I promise to keep your words.58 I entreat your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.59 When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies;60 I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.61 Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me, I do not forget your law.62 At midnight I rise to praise you, because of your righteous rules.63 I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts.64 The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes! Teth 65 You have dealt well with your servant, O LORD, according to your word.66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.68 You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.69 The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;70 their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law.71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.72 The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. (ESV) Second Psalm: Psalm 49; Psalm 53 Psalm 49 (Listen) Why Should I Fear in Times of Trouble? To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. 49 Hear this, all peoples! Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,2 both low and high, rich and poor together!3 My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.4 I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre. 5 Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me,6 those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches?7 Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life,8 for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice,9 that he should live on forever and never see the pit. 10 For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others.11 Their graves are their homes forever,1 their dwelling places to all generations, though they called lands by their own names.12 Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish. 13 This is the path of those who have foolish confidence; yet after them people approve of their boasts.2 Selah14 Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; death shall be their shepherd, and the upright shall rule over them in the morning. Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.15 But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah 16 Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases.17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him.18 For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed —and though you get praise when you do well for yourself—19 his soul will go to the generation of his fathers, who will never again see light.20 Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish. Footnotes  49:11 Septuagint, Syriac, Targum; Hebrew Their inward thought was that their homes were forever  49:13 Or and of those after them who approve of their boasts (ESV) Psalm 53 (Listen) There Is None Who Does Good To the choirmaster: according to Mahalath. A Maskil1 of David. 53 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. 2 God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand,2 who seek after God. 3 They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. 4 Have those who work evil no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon God? 5 There they are, in great terror, where there is no terror! For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you; you put them to shame, for God has rejected them. 6 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad. Footnotes  53:1 Probably musical or liturgical terms  53:2 Or who act wisely (ESV) Old Testament: Job 29:1; Job 30:1–2; Job 30:16–31 Job 29:1 (Listen) Job's Summary Defense 29 And Job again took up his discourse, and said: (ESV) Job 30:1–2 (Listen) 30 “But now they laugh at me, men who are younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to set with the dogs of my flock.2 What could I gain from the strength of their hands, men whose vigor is gone? (ESV) Job 30:16–31 (Listen) 16 “And now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction have taken hold of me.17 The night racks my bones, and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.18 With great force my garment is disfigured; it binds me about like the collar of my tunic.19 God1 has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes.20 I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me.21 You have turned cruel to me; with the might of your hand you persecute me.22 You lift me up on the wind; you make me ride on it, and you toss me about in the roar of the storm.23 For I know that you will bring me to death and to the house appointed for all living. 24 “Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand, and in his disaster cry for help?225 Did not I weep for him whose day was hard? Was not my soul grieved for the needy?26 But when I hoped for good, evil came, and when I waited for light, darkness came.27 My inward parts are in turmoil and never still; days of affliction come to meet me.28 I go about darkened, but not by the sun; I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.29 I am a brother of jackals and a companion of ostriches.30 My skin turns black and falls from me, and my bones burn with heat.31 My lyre is turned to mourning, and my pipe to the voice of those who weep. Footnotes  30:19 Hebrew He  30:24 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain (ESV) New Testament: Acts 14:19–28 Acts 14:19–28 (Listen) Paul Stoned at Lystra 19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria 24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they remained no little time with the disciples. (ESV) Gospel: John 11:1–16 John 11:1–16 (Listen) The Death of Lazarus 11 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus1 was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin,2 said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Footnotes  11:6 Greek he; also verse 17  11:16 Greek Didymus (ESV)
Proper 18 First Psalm: Psalm 45 Psalm 45 (Listen) Your Throne, O God, Is Forever To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Maskil1 of the Sons of Korah; a love song. 45 My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. 2 You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever.3 Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty! 4 In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; the peoples fall under you. 6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;9 daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir. 10 Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father's house,11 and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him.12 The people2 of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts, the richest of the people.3 13 All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold.14 In many-colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions following behind her.15 With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king. 16 In place of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth.17 I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever. Footnotes  45:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term  45:12 Hebrew daughter  45:12 Or The daughter of Tyre is here with gifts, the richest of people seek your favor (ESV) Second Psalm: Psalms 47–48 Psalms 47–48 (Listen) God Is King over All the Earth To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. 47 Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!2 For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth.3 He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet.4 He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah 5 God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.6 Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!7 For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!1 8 God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.9 The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted! Zion, the City of Our God A Song. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. 48 Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.3 Within her citadels God has made himself known as a fortress. 4 For behold, the kings assembled; they came on together.5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they were in panic; they took to flight.6 Trembling took hold of them there, anguish as of a woman in labor.7 By the east wind you shattered the ships of Tarshish.8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God, which God will establish forever. Selah 9 We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.10 As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness.11 Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments! 12 Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers,13 consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation14 that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.2 Footnotes  47:7 Hebrew maskil  48:14 Septuagint; another reading is (compare Jerome, Syriac) He will guide us beyond death (ESV) Old Testament: Job 29:1–20 Job 29:1–20 (Listen) Job's Summary Defense 29 And Job again took up his discourse, and said: 2 “Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me,3 when his lamp shone upon my head, and by his light I walked through darkness,4 as I was in my prime,1 when the friendship of God was upon my tent,5 when the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were all around me,6 when my steps were washed with butter, and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!7 When I went out to the gate of the city, when I prepared my seat in the square,8 the young men saw me and withdrew, and the aged rose and stood;9 the princes refrained from talking and laid their hand on their mouth;10 the voice of the nobles was hushed, and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.11 When the ear heard, it called me blessed, and when the eye saw, it approved,12 because I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to help him.13 The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban.15 I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame.16 I was a father to the needy, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.17 I broke the fangs of the unrighteous and made him drop his prey from his teeth.18 Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand,19 my roots spread out to the waters, with the dew all night on my branches,20 my glory fresh with me, and my bow ever new in my hand.' Footnotes  29:4 Hebrew my autumn days (ESV) New Testament: Acts 14:1–18 Acts 14:1–18 (Listen) Paul and Barnabas at Iconium 14 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.1 3 So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4 But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. 5 When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6 they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, 7 and there they continued to preach the gospel. Paul and Barnabas at Lystra 8 Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well,2 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them. Footnotes  14:2 Or brothers and sisters  14:9 Or be saved (ESV) Gospel: John 10:31–42 John 10:31–42 (Listen) 31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods'? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,' because I said, ‘I am the Son of God'? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. 40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there. (ESV)
Proper 18 First Psalm: Psalm 41; Psalm 52 Psalm 41 (Listen) O Lord, Be Gracious to Me To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. 41 Blessed is the one who considers the poor!1 In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;2 the LORD protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.3 The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.2 4 As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me,3 for I have sinned against you!”5 My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die, and his name perish?”6 And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad.7 All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me.4 8 They say, “A deadly thing is poured out5 on him; he will not rise again from where he lies.”9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.10 But you, O LORD, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them! 11 By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.12 But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever. 13 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen. Footnotes  41:1 Or weak  41:3 Hebrew you turn all his bed  41:4 Hebrew my soul  41:7 Or they devise evil against me  41:8 Or has fastened (ESV) Psalm 52 (Listen) The Steadfast Love of God Endures To the choirmaster. A Maskil1 of David, when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul, “David has come to the house of Ahimelech.” 52 Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day.2 Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.3 You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah4 You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue. 5 But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah6 The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying,7 “See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!”2 8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.9 I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly. Footnotes  52:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term  52:7 Or in his work of destruction (ESV) Second Psalm: Psalm 44 Psalm 44 (Listen) Come to Our Help To the choirmaster. A Maskil1 of the Sons of Korah. 44 O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old:2 you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free;3 for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them. 4 You are my King, O God; ordain salvation for Jacob!5 Through you we push down our foes; through your name we tread down those who rise up against us.6 For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me.7 But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us.8 In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah 9 But you have rejected us and disgraced us and have not gone out with our armies.10 You have made us turn back from the foe, and those who hate us have gotten spoil.11 You have made us like sheep for slaughter and have scattered us among the nations.12 You have sold your people for a trifle, demanding no high price for them.13 You have made us the taunt of our neighbors, the derision and scorn of those around us.14 You have made us a byword among the nations, a laughingstock2 among the peoples.15 All day long my disgrace is before me, and shame has covered my face16 at the sound of the taunter and reviler, at the sight of the enemy and the avenger. 17 All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you, and we have not been false to your covenant.18 Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way;19 yet you have broken us in the place of jackals and covered us with the shadow of death.20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god,21 would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.22 Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. 23 Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever!24 Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our belly clings to the ground.26 Rise up; come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love! Footnotes  44:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term  44:14 Hebrew a shaking of the head (ESV) Old Testament: Job 32:1–10; Job 32:19–33:1; Job 33:19–28 Job 32:1–10 (Listen) Elihu Rebukes Job's Three Friends 32 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 Then Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, burned with anger. He burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God. 3 He burned with anger also at Job's three friends because they had found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong. 4 Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were older than he. 5 And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, he burned with anger. 6 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said: “I am young in years, and you are aged; therefore I was timid and afraid to declare my opinion to you.7 I said, ‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.'8 But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.9 It is not the old1 who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right.10 Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me; let me also declare my opinion.' Footnotes  32:9 Hebrew many [in years] (ESV) Job 32:19–33:1 (Listen) 19 Behold, my belly is like wine that has no vent; like new wineskins ready to burst.20 I must speak, that I may find relief; I must open my lips and answer.21 I will not show partiality to any man or use flattery toward any person.22 For I do not know how to flatter, else my Maker would soon take me away. Elihu Rebukes Job 33 “But now, hear my speech, O Job, and listen to all my words. (ESV) Job 33:19–28 (Listen) 19 “Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed and with continual strife in his bones,20 so that his life loathes bread, and his appetite the choicest food.21 His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen, and his bones that were not seen stick out.22 His soul draws near the pit, and his life to those who bring death.23 If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him,24 and he is merciful to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit; I have found a ransom;25 let his flesh become fresh with youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor';26 then man1 prays to God, and he accepts him; he sees his face with a shout of joy, and he restores to man his righteousness.27 He sings before men and says: ‘I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me.28 He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.' Footnotes  33:26 Hebrew he (ESV) New Testament: Acts 13:44–52 Acts 13:44–52 (Listen) 44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews1 saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'” 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Footnotes  13:45 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time; also verse 50 (ESV) Gospel: John 10:19–30 John 10:19–30 (Listen) 19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” I and the Father Are One 22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,1 is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” Footnotes  10:29 Some manuscripts What my Father has given to me (ESV)