Summing Up

~ Merrit

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. ~ Philippians 4:8-9

There is a principle in these two verses that I think people tend to miss, one that is critical to healthy and happy living.  These two verses are quoted often, I’ve even heard them quoted to “prove” that we shouldn’t use bad language, but to me, that sort of thing really misses the point. Let’s see if we can find a little more than meets the eye here.

Read more: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2019/01/18/summing-up-5/

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Are the Parables of Jesus Authentic?

SeanMcDowell.org

Jesus told some of the most famous parables in world history. Whether it is the parable of the prodigal son, the sower, or the good Samaritan, Jesus is commonly known as a storyteller.

But besides tradition, what reason to we have to believe Jesus actually told parables? How do we know the parables attributed to Jesus genuinely trace back to him?

Considerable debate is spent examining the passages in which Jesus claims to be God. My father and I have an extensive chapter on this issue in the revised Evidence that Demands a Verdict. But less ink is often spent defending the authenticity of the parables of Jesus.

Since the Synoptic Gospels report over forty parables, which contain some of Jesus’ most memorable and powerful teachings, it is also vital to consider the historical evidence they actually trace back to Jesus.

More to read at: https://seanmcdowell.org/blog/are-the-parables-of-jesus-authentic

The Goal Before Us

 

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14

Read blog at: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2019/01/16/the-goal-before-us/

Why Would the Non-Eyewitness, Luke, Alter the Memoirs of Peter, Allegedly Recorded in the Gospel of Mark?

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/55207291/posts/2129554865

Paul’s Unique Way of Looking at Things

 

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Philippians 1:15-18a

Paul has been telling the Philippians that he is rejoicing because as a result of his imprisonment the gospel is being preached in Rome, and now he continues his thoughts on that subject. It would seem that there are people who are preaching the gospel with impure motives, that they would like to stir up trouble for Paul.  He hasn’t told us exactly how this would happen for him, so I will leave the speculation to others, but let’s be honest; there are those today who preach for the wrong motives as well.

I have seen and heard of some who preach out of envy and rivalry, have you?  I have seen some who simply can’t stand the thought of anybody else serving Christ in that way, who are always afraid that someone might supplant them or their ministry.  Maybe they are afraid for their job or their position, or maybe they just have a sense of inferiority. Whatever the reason, they are only good “team players” if everyone else is on their team.  It’s sad really, for it should never be this way in the Body of believers, for all of us are on His Team!  Most that I have seen, however, serve out of goodwill.  As Paul has noted here, they serve out of love for others. As Paul put it, they know that he was put here for the defense of the gospel.  Yes, isn’t that why all of us are “put here”?

“Selfish ambition” may be a reason that many preach, thinking that they can “be somebody” by attracting followers, just as a celebrity might attract fans.  This sort of thing has no place in the church, and yet perhaps it is more common than we might like to admit.

I know about a particular case where there was a minster leading a growing church. He was doing good work, and yet like all of us, wasn’t good at everything. His leadership considered adding an “associate” to staff who was much more experienced and who could handle the areas that the minister had problems in.  When the minister heard about this, he became quite upset; all he could see was that the leaders were thinking he wasn’t doing the job right.  He felt that if they added someone to help him, the people would see him as having been rebuked in some way.  When the other guy heard of this, he removed himself from consideration, not wanting to cause any division.  Was the growth and health of that church damaged by this?  Would it have been even more vibrant had things worked out differently? We will never know; maybe that guy coming on board just wasn’t God’s plan, but I think you get the idea of what can happen… Right about now, we might want to jump on the bandwagon of condemnation and indignation, but before we do, maybe we should see how Paul reacts…

Paul recognized the situation, and while he did not endorse false motives in any way, he saw that good was coming out of it in spite of everything.  What did it matter anyway? For whatever reason, the gospel of Christ was being proclaimed, and that is the most important thing.

Have you noticed how Paul views things?  He isn’t overly concerned with his unfortunate circumstances, he isn’t overly concerned that everything isn’t always ideal, his sole concern is that the gospel of Jesus Christ goes forth so that some will be saved, that their sins may be forgiven, and that they may inherit eternal life.  I wonder, is there a lesson in this for us today?

Why So Many Interpretations?

A Broadcast with Stephen Nichols

Since the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth (John 16:13), why are there so many interpretations of the Bible? Today, Stephen Nichols discusses the clarity of Scripture.

Why Sixty-Six Books? The Development of the Canon

A Broadcast with Stephen Nichols

Have you ever wondered why there are 66 books in the Bible? And why those particular books and not others? Today, Stephen Nichols explains the development of the canon.