Sunday, July 6, 2008

study, study, study

Bible Misquotes

The lion shall lay down with the lamb.
False. Isaiah 11:6 says,
“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together, and a little child shall lead them.”

Isaiah 65:25 also says,
“The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, says the Lord.”

God helps those who help themselves.
False. The saying, "God helps those who help themselves," came to us by way of Benjamin Franklin (1736). Franklin himself was a deist and so he believed that God did not play an active role in men's lives. In his point of view if man was not able to help himself, then man was hopeless. The Bible teaches something entirely different than the above saying, because God makes special provision to help the helpless.

Romans 5:6,8 says,
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly....But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Proverbs 28:26 says,
“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.”

Jeremiah 17:5 says,
“Thus says the LORD, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD.”

Money is the root of all evil.
False. This expression stems from the biblical phrase that says, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils" (1 Timothy 6:10). There is a big difference between the two statements. Money is neutral and can be used either for the good or for the bad. Money of itself is not evil, yet the love of it is the root of all kinds evil.

Spare the rod, spoil the child.
False. Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”

To thine own self be true.
False. This is actually a saying that comes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

God works in mysterious ways.
False. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, The secret things belong to the Lord our God.

Romans 8:28 says, And we know that all thing work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

Pride comes before the fall.
False. Proverbs 16:18 says, Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Why do I mention these sayings? Some of them are close enough to what the Bible says, what harm does it do?

2 Timothy 2:15 says,
“Study to show thyself approved unto God a workman who is not ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” KJV

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” NKJV

To study, to be diligent, is from the Greek word, spü-dä'-zō, which means to make haste, to hurry! To exert one’s self.

To show, to present, is from the Greek word, pä-rē'-stā-mē, which means to prove, or to present to another person for them to see and question.

Is not ashamed, is from the Greek word, ä-ne-pī's-khün-tos, which literally means, having no cause to be ashamed.

Rightly dividing is from the Greek word, or-tho-to-me'-ō, which means to proceed on straight paths, hold a straight course, to teach the truth directly and correctly.

The Word of Truth is from the Greek words, lo'-gos and ä-lā'-thā-ä, which covers The Word, the sayings of God, doctrine, teaching, John tells us that Jesus is the Word. The truth means that we should be telling people, accurately, who Jesus is, the truth as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man, opposing alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians.

Importance of standing up for the Word of God!

Let’s look at Jesus’ final week in the Temple.
Mark 11:11 Jesus entered Jerusalem, and went to the temple: He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve. (Jesus had been traveling and arrived in Jerusalem in the evening. He came to the Temple and looked around and then they all left to spend the night in Bethany)
Mark 11:12-14 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then He said to the tree, May no one ever eat fruit from you again, And his disciples heard him say it.
A little later on Monday
Mark 11:15-19 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the Temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “is it not written, -- My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. But you have made it a den of robbers.” The chief priests and teachers of the Law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. In the evening, they went out of the city.

Mark 11:27-33 Verses 20-26 talk about their return trip to the Temple from Bethany. They pass by the fig tree that Jesus had cursed and Jesus talks about the power of faith. Once they get to the Temple, the leaders were waiting for Him. Verse 27 starts it off by saying, Then they came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to Him. And they said to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave you this authority to do these things? But Jesus answered and said to them, I also will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John – was it from heaven or from men? Answer Me.” And they reasoned among themselves saying, “If we say From heaven, He will say, Why then did you not believe him? But if we say from men, -- they feared the people, for all counted John to have been a prophet indeed. So they answered and said to Jesus, We do not know.” And Jesus answered and said to them, neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
Still on Tuesday
Mark 12:1-44 Here Jesus begins speaking in parables.
12:13 is about paying taxes to Caesar or not. (Pharisees)
12:18 is about the marriage at the resurrection (Sadducees)
12:28 is about the Greatest Commandment (Teachers of the Law)
12:35 is about whose Son is the Christ (Jesus speaking)
Jesus has been speaking to each group according to their questions.
Now follow me here and watch what is happening.
Mark 12:38-39 As He taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the Law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. Did you catch it? He said “Watch out for them!!”
Mark 12:40 They devour widows houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely. Please remember this – They Devour Widows Houses!
1 Peter 5:8 “…your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Galatians 5:15 “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
Jeremiah 30:16 “But all who devour you will be devoured; all your enemies will go into exile.”
Mark 12:40 “they devour widow’s houses…”
The Greek word for devour is kä-tes-thē'-ō, which means to forcibly take widow’s property, to strip one of his goods, to consume and to destroy!

1 Timothy 5:3, 16 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those who are really in need.

Exodus 22:22-24 Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.

Now that I have set the stage, let’s take a look at what Scripture says.
It is still Tuesday
Mark 12:41-44 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.

Here is where some of my own struggles come in. I used to preach on Mark 12:41-44 and I would preach about how it teaches us to give sacrificially. That Jesus praises this widow for giving all she had. But the more I search and study the Scriptures, the more convinced I am that that is not what was happening here. There is no evidence that Jesus is commending her for giving all she had – He does not say, The kingdom of heaven awaits one such as her. No, He is just stating a fact. She gave all she had. She will lose her house and she will most likely die. WHY? The preceding verses tell us. Watch out for teachers of the Law. They devour widows houses!

Pull out a chair and sit down with head down. Luke 21 says He looked up!
What did He see? He saw a widow giving her very life savings into the treasury when in fact, the people in the Temple were responsible to see to it she was taken care of. But they were not doing that. In fact, they were getting rich off of the Temple. Remember what happened on Monday? Jesus overturned the tables because of all of the money changing that was taking place. Leaders were getting rich off of the people.

I believe it is safe to say that Jesus was actually mad about what He was seeing. Not celebrating her giving, but mad because He knew that they would not be taking care of her, in fact, they would be devouring her home and her livelihood (her very life!)

Notice what the disciples say immediately after seeing this poor woman give all she has.
Do they say…
Master, she does a great thing and this is true, a hearty giver is blessed?

As Jesus and the Disciples were leaving the Temple, look at what one of the disciples says…
Look Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!

Jesus puts absolutely no honor in that Temple. In fact, let’s see what Jesus said about the Temple.
Mark 13:2 Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down. (the Temple was destroyed in 70AD)

So, is Jesus commending this poor widow for giving sacrificially? I don’t think so. It doesn’t make sense. This whole week has been about the temple and the abuse that is taking place in it. His time on earth is drawing to a close – He is about to be betrayed by Judas. I think it makes sense that He is just stating a fact that the rich people put in a lot of money and she gave her all. For what? Those people were not going to help her, in fact, they will devour her house!

I used to teach as a cross reference 2 Corinthians 8:12 to support my claims about giving out of our abundance. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.

But it is important to read the rest of the Scripture to see how it lines up. If we continue on with verses 13 and 14 we will see the purpose for the giving. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality,

This widow was in no position to help others. She was supposed to have been the one RECEIVING help! It is nice that she gave but the heart of the matter is that these leaders were being abusive and were not going to use the collection of money to help her. How can they? They would be devouring her home!

Can you see how it does make a difference to do a deep study of God’s Word. See, we can leave it at: we need to give sacrificially, but we will be missing a huge picture of what Jesus was teaching. Can you see how it is important for a church to understand what is being taught within their church walls. If Pastor Paul, Pastor Don, Nona, Billy, Dave and I were not here, would you know your Bible well enough to discern biblical truths? Many Christians will sit in the pews and shake their heads in affirmation to the sermon without examining the Word for themselves. We must study God’s Word diligently.

Think of the Laodicean Church found in Revelation 3.
Rev 3:14 starts off saying…
These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the Creation of God; I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot, I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked – I counsel you to buy from Me, gold refined in the fire that you may be rich, and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent!

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

There are some key truths in these verses.
Laodicea was the wealthiest, most important commercial center in the region, it was known for 3 industries; banking, wool, and medicine (eye salve). An inadequate local water supply forced the city to build an underground aquaduct. All 3 industries, as well as the inadequate water supply played a major part in this letter.

So, is Jesus speaking to a true believer in Christ? A person who is obedient to His Word?
NO! He is talking to hypocrites within the church.
Verse 19 says,
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. Does He need to discipline the obedient or the disobedient? The disobedient!
How do we know it is the disobedient?
Look at the next line…
So be earnest and repent. It is the disobedient person who needs to repent of his sins.
Everything leading up to verse 20 is Jesus speaking to church members who are still dead in their sins. They have not repented of their sins.

Matthew 24:33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.
James 5:9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the Door!
Revelation 3:16 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock

So how many times have we heard this taken out of context? I stand at the door and knock. Is this talking about a person’s heart? No. There is no mention of the heart here. To put that in here is to add to Scripture something that is not there. We need to let Scripture stand on its own merit. Many times it is taught that Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart but that is far from the truth here. Many times it is said, Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart and all you have to do is let him in and you will be saved. That is very dangerous to say that. Because what could happen is, false converts can be created. There is no mention of the need to repent of sins. There is no mention of the need to be obedient to His Word. There is no mention of becoming a new creature in Christ. If all a person does, is say, I let Jesus in my heart. They will most likely continue to live in their sins. They will most likely continue to live for the world.

Here is what Jesus said…
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot…

He would rather a person be hot on fire for the Lord, full of passion and living for Him
He would rather a person be cold and indifferent, rejecting the gospel. Because then, people can see where you stand! To be lukewarm makes Him sick. This is a person who professes to be a Christian. In fact, this is a person in church, who has an attitude of “I am rich and in need of nothing.” Jesus says they are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

This is a church that has Jesus on the outside. They do not even realize that He is not inside with them. The term for knock is the literal term meaning to knock on a door with knuckles.

I think we can all agree that there are many churches out there who have forgotten Jesus within their church walls. They are so worried about entertaining people that they have forgotten to preach God’s Word. They have failed to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

My prayer is that each person here will study diligently to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who is not ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Commentary Bibles can be a great resource. They give you a starting point. But should we put all of our trust and faith in the people who prepare the commentaries? NO.
Why? I did some research on some of the people who wrote comments in a study bible last year. I found some interesting facts.

Back in late summer of 2007 over a hundred pastors and religious leaders responded to a letter to the Muslems. It is called A Common Word Between Us and You. In it, these Christian leaders pushed Jesus off as being nothing more than Mohammed. A prophet of God. They completely acknowledged that we serve the same God without claiming that Jesus is the Son of God. You would have to read it, but it is very disturbing. There were many very big Christian names in the USA that signed this pact. You would be surprised to see who signed it. You would also be very disappointed to know they signed it.

Many of the signatories were people who wrote comments in the study bible that I used to have. As I look back, I can see how they did not give the true biblical account in many of their comments. They were Christian comments disguising a worldly viewpoint.

Our faith and trust should be in God alone! Use the commentaries but do not let that keep you from diligently searching the Scriptures on your own.

In order for your bible study to help you…
We need to apply what we learn to our own life,
If there is a command to be obeyed, we obey it.
If there is a promise to be embraced, we claim it.
If there is a warning to be followed, we heed it.

We need to submit to Scripture and let it transform our lives.
It is not enough to just study the Bible, we must meditate upon it. In a very real sense, we are giving our brain and our hearts a bath; we are washing it in the purifying solution of God’s Word.

2 Timothy 2:15 says,
“Study to show thyself approved unto God a workman who is not ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” KJV

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