Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Gospel According to John, Chapter 1

I was praying about what to share with everyone who reads Prayers and Paintings.  So the Lord told me to share The Gospel According to John.  Here is the first chapter in this wonderful book.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.  He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor or the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John bore witness about him, and cried out,  "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'")  And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"  He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ."  And they asked him, "What then?  Are you Elijah?"  He said, "I am not."  "Are you the Prophet?"  And he answered, "No."  So they said to him, "Who are you?  We need to give an answer to those who sent us.  What do you say about yourself?"  He said, "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,' as the prophet Isaiah said."

(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.)  They asked him, "Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"  John answered them, "I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."  These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  This is he of whom I said,  'After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.'  I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel."  And John bore witness:  "I saw the Spirit descend from heaven light a dove, and it remained on him.  I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'  And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.  Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, "What are you seeking?"  And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means teacher), "where are you staying?"  He said to them, "Come and you will see."  So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.  One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.  He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ).  He brought him to Jesus.  Jesus looked at him and said, "So you are Simon the son of John?  You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter).

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee.  He found Philip and said to him, "Follow me."  Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.  Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."  Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?  Philip said to him, "Come and see."  Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!"  Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?"  Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."  Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel!"  Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe?  You will see greater things than these."  And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."  John 1  ESV

Explanation of John 1:1-3 is from The MacArthur Study Bible, page 1533.

"1:1 In the beginning.  In contrast to 1 John 1:1 where John used a similar phrase ("from the beginning") to refer to the starting point of Jesus' ministry and gospel preaching, this phrase parallels Gen. 1:1 where the same phrase is used.  John used the phrase in an absolute sense to refer to the beginning of the time-space-material universe.  was. The verb highlights the eternal pre-existence of the Word, i.e., Jesus Christ.  Before the universe began, the Second Person of the Trinity always existed; i.e., he always was (cf. John 8:58).  This word is used in contrast with the verb "were made" in 1:3, which indicates a beginning in time.  Because of John's theme that Jesus Christ is the eternal God, the Second Person of the Trinity, he did not include a genealogy as Matthew and Luke did.  While in terms of Jesus' humanity, he had a human genealogy; in terms of his deity, he has no genealogy.  the Word.  John borrowed the use of the term "Word" not only from the vocabulary of the OT but also from Greek philosophy, in which the term was essentially impersonal, signifying the rational principle of "divine reason," "mind," or even "wisdom."  John, however, imbued the term entirely with OT and Christian meaning (e.g, Gen. 1:3 where God's word brought the world into being; Ps. 33:6; 107:20; Prov. 8:27 where God's word is his powerful self-expression in creation, wisdom, revelation, and salvation) and made it refer to a person, i.e., Jesus Christ.  Greek philosophical usage, therefore, is not the exclusive background of John's thought.  Strategically, the term "Word" serves as a bridge-word to reach not only Jews but also the unsaved Greeks.  John chose this concept because both Jews and Greeks were familiar with it.  the Word was with God.  The Word, as the Second Person of the Trinity, was in intimate fellowship with God the Father throughout all eternity.  Yet, although the Word enjoyed the splendors of heaven and eternity with the Father (Isa. 6:1-13; cf. John 12:41; 17:5), he willingly gave up his heavenly status, taking the form of a man, and became subject to the death of the cross (see notes on Phil. 2:6-8).  was God.  The Greek construction emphasizes that the Word had all the essence or attributes of deity, i.e., Jesus the Messiah was fully God (cf. Col. 2:9).  Even in his incarnation when he emptied himself, he did not cease to be God but took on a genuine human nature/body and volulntarily refrained from the independent exercise of the attributes of deity.
1:3 All things were made through him.  Jesus Christ was God the Father's agent involved in creating everything in the universe. (Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2).

Let's Pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I lift up those reading the Bible and that hearts will be softened and believe in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  John 20:31, "but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."  I say these things in Jesus' name.  Amen.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

God's Righteous Judgment

"Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges.  For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.  Do you suppose, O man--you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself--that you will escape the judgment of God?  Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.
He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.  There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.  For God shows no partiality.
For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.  For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.  For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.  They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse of even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus."  Romans 2:1-16 ESV

Explanation for Romans 2:1-16 from The MacArthur Study Bible, page1650 and 1651.

"2:1-16 Having demonstrated the sinfulness of the immoral pagan (1:18-32), Paul presents his case against the religious moralist--Jew or Gentile--by cataloging six principles that govern God's judgment: 1)knowledge (2:1); 2)truth (vv. 2-3); 3) guilt (vv. 4-5); 4) deeds (vv. 6-10); 5) impartiality (vv. 11-15); and 6) motive (v. 16).

2:1 no excuse. . . you who judges.  Both Jews (Paul's primary audience here, cf. v. 17) and moral Gentiles who think they are exempt from God's judgment because they have not indulged in the immoral excesses described in ch. 1, are tragically mistaken.  They have more knowledge than the immoral pagan (3:2; 9:4) and thus a greater accountability (cf. Heb. 10:26-29; James 3:1).  condemn yourself.  If someone has sufficient knowledge to judge others, he condemns himself, because he shows he has the knowledge to evaluate his own condition.  practice the very same things.  In their condemnation of others they have excused and overlooked their own sins.  Self-righteousness exists because of two deadly errors; 1) minimizing God's moral standard usually by emphasizing externals; and 2) underestimating the depth of one's own sinfulness (cf. Matt. 5:20-22, 27-28; 7:1-3; 15:1-3; Luke 18:21).

2:4 presume. Lit., "to think down on," thus to underestimate someone's or something's value, and even to treat with contempt.  kindness.  This refers to "common grace,"  the benefits God bestows on all men (cf. Matt 5:45; Acts 14:15-17).  forbearance.  This word, which means "to hold back," was sometimes used of a truce between warring parties.  Rather than destroying every person the moment he or she sins, God graciously holds back his judgment (cf. Rom. 3:25).  He saves sinners in a physcial and temporal way from what they deserve (see note on 1 Tim. 4:10), to show them his saving character, that they might come to him and receive salvation that is spiritual and eternal.  patience.  This word indicates the duration for which God demonstrates his kindness and tolerance--for long periods of time (cf. 2 Pet. 2:5).  Together these three words speak of God's common grace--the way he demonstrates his grace to all mankind (cf. Job 12:10; Ps. 119:68; 145:9).  repentance.  The act of turning from sin to Christ for forgiveness and salvation.  See notes on 2 Cor. 7:9-11.

2:5 hard.  The English word "sclerosis" (as in arteriosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries) comes from this Greek word.  But here the danger is not physical, but spiritual hardness (Ezek. 36:26; Matt. 19:8; Mark 3:5; 6:52; 8:17; John 12:40; Heb. 3:8, 15; 4:7).  impenitent heart.  A refusal to repent (cf. Rom 2:4) and accept God's pardon of sin through Jesus Christ.  storing up wrath.  To reject God's offer of forgiveness and cling to one's sin is to accumulate more of God's wrath and earn a severer judgment (see notes on Heb. 10:26-30; Rev. 20:12).  day of wrath. . .judgment.  Refers to the final judgment of wicked men that comes at the great white throne at the end of the Millennium (see notes on Rev. 20:11-15).

2:6-10 See notes on vv. 1-16.  Although Scripture everywhere teaches that salvation is not on the basis of works (see notes on 4:1-4; Eph. 2:8), it consistently teaches that God's judgment is always on the basis of a person's deeds (Isa. 3:10-11; Jer. 17:10; John 5:28-29; 1 Cor. 3:8; 2 Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:7-9; cf. Rom. 14:12).  Paul describes the deeds of two distinct groups: the redeemed (Rom 2:7, 10) and the unredeemed (vv. 8-9).  The deeds of the redeemed are not the basis of their salvation but the evidence of it.  They are not perfect and are prone to sin, but there is undeniable evidence of righteousness in their lives (see notes on James 2:14-20)."

Let's pray.  Dear Lord Jesus,  I lift up those reading Your Word today.  I pray for those who are unsaved and therefore not covered by Your blood.  I pray that You will give us Your wisdom and Your knowledge so we can see the truth always.  I pray for soft and kind hearts so we can hear Your holy voice.  I pray that we will not be deceived and I ask You to give us the gift of discernment so we will always see the truth.  Thank You Lord for the gift of salvation.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Beliefs May Vary, But Truth Does Not

Truth exists.
Truth is eternal.
You can not change the truth.
Truth trumps your beliefs.

"I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, Seek me in vain. I the LORD speak the truth.  I declare what is right." Isaiah 45:19 ESV

"These are the things that you should do:  Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace, do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD." Zechariah 8:16-17 ESV

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32 ESV

"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6 ESV
Explanation of John 14:6 from The MacArthur Study Bible, page 1571.
"14:6  This is the sixth "I am" statement of Jesus in John (see 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 15:1, 5).  In response to Thomas's query (14:4), Jesus declared that he is the way to God because he is the truth of God (1:14) and the life of God (1:4; 3:15; 11:25).  In this verse , the exclusiveness of Jesus as the only approach to the Father is emphatic.  Only one way, not many ways, exist to God, i.e. Jesus Christ (10:7-9; cf. Matt. 7:13-14; Luke 13:24; Acts 4:12)."

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  For what can be know about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse. For although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal men and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in their lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen."  Romans 1:18-25 ESV

"to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you." Galations 2:5 ESV
Explanation for Galations 2:5 from The MacArthur Study Bible, page 1743.
"2:5 we did not yield.  Paul and Titus (v. 3) never budged from their position of salvation by grace alone through faith alone.  truth of the gospel.  The true gospel as opposed to the different (1:6-8) and false one propagated by the Judaizers (see note on Rom. 1:1)."

"and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved."  2 Thessalonians 2:10 ESV
Explanation for 2 Thessalonians from The MacArthur Study Bible, page 1807.
"2:10 those who are perishing.  His influence is limited to deceiving the unsaved, who will believe in his lies (cf. Matt. 24:24; John 8:41-44).  They perish in the deception because of Satan-imposed blindness to the truth of the saving gospel. Cf. John 3:19-20; 2 Cor. 4:4."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus.  Thank You for the truth.  Thank You for Your gift of salvation.  I pray that those who read the Bible will see the truth.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Peter's Denial, Jesus's Death and Resurrection

"Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest's house, and Peter was following at a distance.  And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them.  Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, "This man also was with him."  But he denied it, saying, "Woman, I do not know him."  And a little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them."  But Peter said, "Man, I am not."  And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, "Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean."  But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about."  And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.  And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, "Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times."  And he went out and wept bitterly."  Luke 22:54-62 ESV

"It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!"  And having said this he breathed his last.  Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent!"  And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts.  And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things." 
Luke 23:44-49 ESV

"But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.  And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were preplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.  And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?"  He is not here, but has risen.  Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise."  And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.  Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.  But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened."  Luke 24:1-12 ESV

"As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, "Peace to you!"  But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.  And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?  See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.  Touch me, and see.  For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."  And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.  And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?"  They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.
Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."  Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you.  But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.  While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.  And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God." 
Luke 24:36-53 ESV

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You doesn't seem enough for what you did for us on the cross, but I will say a humble thank You!   You died and then rose from the dead.  Our hope and salvation is in Jesus alone.  I pray as we celebrate Easter that our eyes will be opened to the Scriptures from the Bible and that those who are struggling with unbelief will believe and be saved.   In Jesus' name, Amen.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

By Faith Noah. . .

"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exits and that he rewards those who seek him.  By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.  By this he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith."
Hebrews 11:6-7 ESV

Explanation for  Hebrews 11:6-7 from The MacArthur Study Bible page 1867.
11:6  impossible to please.  Enoch pleased God because he had faith.  Without such faith is is not possible for anyone to "walk with God" or "please him" (cf. 10:38).  he exists.  The emphasis here is on "he," the true God.  Genuine faith does not simply believe that a divine being exists, but that the God of Scripture is the only real and true God who exists.  Not believing that God exists is equivalent to calling him a liar (cf. 1 John5:10). rewards. A person must believe not only that the true God exists, but also that he will reward men's faith in him with forgiveness and righeousness, because he has promised to do so (cf. Heb. 10:35; Gen. 15:1; Deut. 4:29; 1 Chron. 28:9; Ps. 58:11; Isa. 40:10).

11:7 Noah.  See Gen. 5:28-9:29; Ezek. 14:14.  unseen. See notes on Heb. 11:1,6.  The world had not seen anything resembling the great flood (not even rain; see notes on Gen. 7:11), yet Noah spent 120 years (Gen.6:3) fulfilling God's command to build the massive ark (Gen. 6:13-22).  reverent.  Noah treated God's message with great respect and awe (cf. 5:7).  His faith was expressed in obedience (cf. Gen 6:22; 7:5).  condemned.  Noah warned the people of his time about God's impending judgment (cf. 1 Pet. 3:20), and is called "a herald of righeousness" (2 Pet. 2:5).  heir of the righteousness.  See notes on Heb. 6:12; 9:15.  He who was a herald of righteousness (2 Pet. 2:5) also became an heir of righteousness.  He believed the message he preached.  Like Enoch before him (see notes on Heb. 11:5), Noah walked with God in faith and obedience (Gen. 6:9).

"because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water."
1 Peter 3:20, ESV

Explanation for 1 Peter 3:20 from The MacArthur Study Bible page 1894
3:20 did not obey. . . in the days of Noah.  Peter further explains that the abyss is inhabited by bound demons who have been there since the time of Noah, and who were sent there because they severely overstepped the bounds of God's tolerance with their wickedness.  The demons of Noah's day were running riot through the earth, filling the world with their wicked, vile, anti-God activity, including sexual sin, so that even 120 years of Noah's preaching, while the ark was being built, could not convince any of the human race beyond the eight people in Noah's family to believe in God (see notes on 2 Pet. 2:4-5; Jude 6-7; cf. Gen. 6:1-8).  Thus God bound these demons permanently in the abyss until their final sentencing.  safely through water.  They had been rescued in spite of the water, not because of the water.  Here, water was the agent of God's judgment, not the means of salvation (see note on Acts 2:38).

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, I ask that the truth found in the Bible will be made known, and that the false gods people worship will be exposed as false.  I pray for the unsaved--especially those who beleive they are saved, but in fact are not, but are deceived by the world and their church leaders. I pray for those questioning Your existence--that they will have the courage to ask You to show them the truth.   I ask that Your favor, protection and blessing will be on Your people and I also ask that they will never be deceived and lead away from You. I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

One more thing...I know that this is not a painting of Noah's Ark, but it is the only "boat" I have ever painted and is meant to symbolize an ark for this post.   Have a blessed day!